10/20/Life Book Review

I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Brian Carroll elite powerlifter and author of 10/20/Life. Brian’s book chronicles his journey through the sport of powerlifting and provides an excellent look into his philosophy for training and how to integrate it into your life. You can listen to the interview I did with Brian right here.

–> Listen to LT 065 | Brian Carroll – 10/20/Life



The Philosophy of 10/20/Life

This book really resonated with me both from a personal and coaching stand point. Brian’s raw honesty was refreshing and he provides a rare perspective as an athlete and champion who has risen to the top, suffered a near career ending injury and risen again to set the world record.

There are several main themes that are really driven home throughout the book:

  • Quality through Shorter Training Cycles
  • Mindset and Neural Drive
  • Balance between the offseason, the competitive season, and your life
  • Proper Warm-Up
  • Addressing your weak points and using assistance exercises

One of the main themes throughout this book is on quality and that you will never sacrafice technique for weight or reps. To do this Brian implements a shorter microcycle for periodization. Typically training plans go in 4-6 weeks blocks but the book outlines to do two weeks of training and de-load in the third week.

The reason is simple. We program rest before it’s ever needed. This makes complete sense to me. You are taking a proactive, sustainable approach to your training and life.

In addition, 10/20/Life provides you with a Warm-Up Index, Weak Point Index, and Assistance Exercise Index.

Brian provides excellent insight into what you want to achieve from a warm-up. I’ll let you read the book but here is a hint, we want to increase the body temperature and prep our mind and body for the lifts at hand. As Brian says “Warming up does not entail loosening up.”  Further, would you really want to get loose when you are try to lift heavy and create superstiffness? I don’t think so.

Two other areas that will be of particular interest to the reader are the Weak Point Index and Assistance Exercise Index. Brian taps into his experience and provides technical areas that many lifters break down in. He walks you through how to address these from both a technical standpoint as well as with the assistance exercises. By programming accessory lifts in to address your weaknesses you will continue to build strength and buffer your body’s tolerance for injury.

This was really insightful knowledge and frankly only someone who has had Brian’s experience can deliver with confidence. I also think it’s worth noting that the only other book I’ve read that talks about openly identifying and addressing weaknesses by searching for the breakdowns in biomechanics has been in Dr. Stuart McGill’s work. It is clear Stu has had an impact on Brian and myself as well as many others.

This is a book I highly recommend for learning more about powerlifting but also a philosophy that provides some key principles for sustainable long term success while also integrating in health. I will be following up with another blog post in the next few days to share how I am integrating this into my own training.

Check out 10/20/Life today!