Have Belt, Will Travel: Training at Project Deliverance

On the Saturday of Thanksgiving weekend I went and trained with some old friends at a gym called Project Deliverance. It all started with driving up and meeting two old friends that will be referred to as Twinky (his old nickname) and Armoire. IT was awesome seeing these guys since Twinky and I haven’t trained together since right before new years of 2015.

The Gym

The gym itself opens up immediately with some bikes, rowers, and freaking ski ergometers. From there they have a solid barbell rack area along with a dumbbell area off in the corner. They have a number of specialty bars including an axle that looked to be about 6 inches in diameter, which I didn’t try to lift but can only imagine it is hard as anything to hold on to.

The owner squatting in the foreground then Twinky spotting Armoire on the bench press in the center.

The Owner

Shortly after entering I got to meet the owner who is Matt Owen. He is a nice, high energy guy who not only runs the gym but also competes in strongman along with trains a decent amount of Olympic lifting. I enjoyed meeting with him and chatting with him for a few about training along with what he did during his master’s program at Lindenwood University since I know a few of the faculty there.  During our workout Matt did some front squats and axle clean and jerk. He ended up front squatting a bit over 250 if memory serves along with a decent load on the axle clean and jerk. It is impressive that he does all of his axle work double overhand and has a PR in the movement around 300lbs. (meanwhile he doesn’t even weight 200lbs.).

The Workout

So the owner then talks about how excited he is for us to be doing the workout with Twinky. This was news to me, and I started to have mild traumatic memories of training with the bride down in Arkansas. Thankfully, Twinky is a power lifter and we only had a little cardio work to do at the very end.

project-deliverance-workoutWarming up

We started off with just 5 minutes on the rower and then moved on to some total body warm up exercises which felt pretty good along with just a little bit of foam rolling. From there we actually started with T-Bar rows for 5 sets of 12 which was fun and different since the T-Bar row they have there is definitely beefier than I am used to working with. After hitting all of the rows and some required smacking talking, Twinky and Armoire went on to bench press while I did some log clean and press.


Twinky is quite the bench presser and worked up to just over 400lbs., after that they dropped down and worked some extra volume with 80% for a few doubles. I somewhat patterned the same program only working up to a strict set of 5 with one clean and then press for 5 reps with log. And dropped off twenty percent of that load and did a few sets of five. It felt nice to use a log again. It was specifically one of the rogue logs, which the handles are spaced a bit wider than the logs I have used in the past which was a bit uncomfortable, but then again so is log pressing in general.


We finished up the workout with some kneeling dumbbell presses superset with 100m ski erg sprints. I’ve never tried the kneeling press before and honestly I can say I’m a bit of a fan now. They felt good and were a nice little change of pace for me. However, the ski erg due to the sprint being so short was mildly tolerable. If we had to row 500m with these things I’m quite sure that my body would then go in to revolt. This is an interesting piece of cardio equipment to try if you want a change of pace. Made me think of an unholy version of the old school Nordic track.


This is another great gym in Saint Louis to check out if you live in the area. It caters more to Crossfit style training but with sensible programming (Matt and I talked for a while about the importance of programming for strength and not sacrificing it for quantity of work or otherwise). Good luck to the gym owner and Twinky at their upcoming meet and thanks again for letting me come in and train with you folks. Thanks as always for taking the time to read this.


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