The Coaches that have Influenced me the Most and Why

My latest E-Book “Mash Method” is live and it’s FREE! Check it out now at: http://www.mashelite.com/mashmethod
===================================
This book has several of the techniques that I used to set personal records and world records along with some of my latest techniques that I’m using to get my athletes and me hitting all-time numbers.
-wave training
-bands and chains contrasted with straight weight
-walk outs
-partials contrasted with full ROM
-Squats for vertical leap -Sled drags to set PR 40 yd dash times
And more!

http://www.mashelite.com/mashmethod

The Coaches that have Influenced me the Most and Why

I have led a blessed life in the world of strength and conditioning. I have somehow managed to hang out and get to know some of the most influential coaches in the world. My athletic career opened the doors, but I think that my treatment of others nurtured those relationships. Here’s a quick tip before I get into the meet of this article. If you desire to learn or gain from another coach or athlete in the country, you should be willing to give as much as you get. If you focus on giving and helping others, you won’t have to worry about gaining from others. It will happen.

People often ask me who were my biggest influencers in the strength and conditioning world. If I list them all, this article would be a book. Really that’s a great idea for a book, but for today we will keep it simple. I am going to break it down into categories:

• Olympic weightlifting
• Powerlifting
• Athletic Performance

I am going to try and stick to one or two coaches per category if I can. I hope that all of you will learn a couple of things from each coach. More importantly I hope this encourages you to go out and form relationships of your own. You can read all the cool books that you want, but nothing replaces seeing it in person or talking to the author over drinks.

Personally I like focusing on the coaches that are actually producing athletes. There are a lot of self-proclaimed gurus on the Internet nowadays, but proof is in the production of fruit. You might have a PhD, but if you aren’t producing anything, then there is nothing to substantiate your claims. I am not totally sold on studies. Studies are a great first step to get me to try new things, but normally these studies are done on some random general people. I coach great athletes, so there are some pretty big differences.

Anyways, let’s get to it.

1. Olympic weightlifting– without a doubt I have been influenced more by Coach Don McCauley than any other coach. I first had the opportunity to work with him at MuscleDriver USA, and he totally took me under his wing. Yeah I had already produced some pretty big athletes, but Don has produced Olympians.

Too many of you coaches think that you are coach of the year because you have a few National competitors. That is a terrible mindset to take. You have so much to learn. I have tripled my knowledge of weightlifting, since meeting Don McCauley. Now I am blessed to work with him everyday at my own gym. He does a great job coaching our men and women. I have personally watched him coach people into major PRs on the same day as meeting them. I am not talking about new weightlifters. Anyone can pumped up a newbie and get them to PR. I am talking about seasoned veterans.

Here are just a few of the amazing things that I have learned from him:

It’s all about timing. Most weightlifters want to focus on how high they pull the bar. Yes you have to peak the bar as high as possible, but here is the thing. Once the hips are open, you have done all that you can to peak the bar. Great lifters are the ones that waste no time at the top of the lift, but instead focus on getting under the bar and meeting it strongly.

Back foot down on the jerk– I have always been told to step through the jerk with the front foot. I never really understood how to do this until Don talked about getting the back foot down. The back foot will always touch down first in the jerk. If I focus on driving it straight down, that movement will propel into the right position under the bar driving the front foot out.

Focus on the Vertical Drive more than the split of a jerk– Most athletes want to sneak under the bar during the split jerk causing them to get driven to the ground. Don teaches the athlete to load the posterior chain by getting on the entire foot. Then he teaches them to focus on the vertical drive. The split will become a mostly involuntary motion that is perfected from all the hundreds of reps in practice. The goal is to catch the weight as high as possible in the strongest position as possible.

2. PowerliftingLouie Simmons has had the biggest influence on me. I don’t follow the conjugate system exactly like he prescribes, but I use several of his principles. Here’s a short list:

Attack Muscular Weaknesses with accessory movements– my e-book “No Weaknesses” was greatly inspired by Louie. I think that this is his biggest secret to producing so many champions. They will attack weaknesses for up to 70% of a workout, and they will do this right up to a meet. I totally agree with this approach.

Conjugate– I might not take it to such an extreme, but I use the conjugate system to keep the body from stagnating. For squats we use pauses, bands, chains, and sometimes-different bars. For the Olympic lifts we use pauses, blocks, hangs, and complexes.

Work Capacity– athletes that don’t focus on conditioning are really missing out on an aspect that could help them. We use low eccentric and low impact movements to increase to work capacity of our athletes. If you can perform more work than your competitors, then you will eventually win.

3. Athletic Performance– without a doubt Coach Joe Kenn is my go to guy in this arena. Coach Kenn is the Head Strength Coach for the Carolina Panthers, and he has been voted coach of the year two-time by the NSCA. He’s been a friend of mine since 2005, and he actually works out at the Mash Compound from time to time. We are lucky that he lives near us. Here’s what I have learned:

Keep the athletes moving– most strength and conditioning coaches are strapped for time. This includes me. Athletes have other places to be like practicing their sport, watching film, studying their plays, or in the classroom. However we still have to get a lot of work done with them: strength work, core work, mobility, injury prevention, stabilization, etc. The Tier System, Coach Kenn’s system, is a great way of balancing all of this in a short amount of time. Here’s an example:

1a Squats
1b Planks
1c Scap Retracts with Bands

The athletes use the two smaller movements as active recovery between sets.

Each Job is the best job in the world– This is a great mindset to take as a strength coach. If you are always thinking about how amazing another job is, you will never do well in the one that you are in. If you suck at your current job, you will never get that other job. He said that when he started taking this mindset, he never had to fill out another application. The jobs came to him.

Without brining the Juice knowledge is useless– he told me a long time ago that if you couldn’t get your athletes excited and bought in (bringing the juice), knowledge is rendered useless. If your athletes don’t approach the workout with excitement, then they are going to give a crappy effort. If they doubt you, then nothing is going to happen.

Please understand that this is just a shortened list. There are so many coaches and athletes that have influenced me. However, these three men have helped me the most, and the three of them continue helping me. I owe these three men so much. The least that I could do was acknowledge them.

===============================================================
Guys and Gals if you want to learn all that it takes to build champion athletes, Zach Even-Esh and I are getting together for two dual certifications this year. Check them out at ⇒ Mash and Even-Esh Unite

March 17th and 18th at the Mash Compound in Clemmons, NC

June 10th and 11th at Underground Strength and Conditioning in Manasquan, NJ

Here’s what to expect:

• 1) Athlete Warm Ups & Assessments / Large Group Training
• 2) Bodyweight & Jump Training for Athletes (Sport + Strength Athletes)
• 3) Quick Lifts & Assistance Work for Sport & Strength Athletes (Barbell / Dumbbells)
• 4) Program Design for Athletes from Youth to D1 to Olympic Hopefuls
• 5. Snatch basics and teaching progressions
• 6. Clean basics and teaching progressions
• 7. Squat Programming and Tricks
• 8. Deadlift Programming and Tricks
• 9. Controlling and demanding the respect of groups
• 10. The business of Private Coaching

Extras-

• This will certify you as an official Underground Strength Coach
• This will certify you for the Mash Mafia Learn 2 Lift Cert

Find out more at:

www.MashElite.com/seminars/

Go Where You are the Weakest! Best Advice Ever!

Check out one of our six E-Books:

• “Squat Every Day”
• “Eat What You Want”
• “Squat Every Day 2”
• “No Weaknesses”
• “Mash Program Sampler”
• “The Mash Blueprint for Program Design”

Check them out here: ⇒ Mash Elite E-Books

Go Where You are the Weakest! Best Advice Ever!

This weekend, I am hosting one of my high school best friend’s son, Matthew Greer. He is a senior in High School, and he is on his way to play football for Carson-Newman University in Tennessee. He’s going to be spending some time on the weekends with me in preparation for college.

He text me the night before saying, “ I am not use to being the weakest person in the gym.”

I responded by saying, “You are going to be right where you are supposed to be.”

It’s so true. Most people love being a big fish in a small pond. That small pond is going to restrict your growth every time. When you are the strongest guy in the room, there is no incentive to get stronger or better. Your daily view of reality is just the weight that you are lifting. This can quickly become a stagnant environment.

I use to drive hundreds of miles every week to seek out the strongest individuals around. I wanted to find those people and understand why they were stronger. I wanted to challenge myself to become stronger. I mean if you want to be better at basketball, you find the courts where the best players are balling. It doesn’t matter the sport. The universal truth remains the same: “Go where the best are”.

Here’s why:

• It’s a mindset thing. Your view of reality will completely shift. Maybe you think that a 600lb squat is heavy. If you come to our gym, you will see multiple people that can squat 600lb.
• It’s a skill thing. You will see athletes performing the movement in a more efficient manner. This will also rub off.
• It’s a competitive thing. If you are a naturally competitive athlete, you are going to rise to the occasion. You aren’t going to allow defeat for too long.
• Most environments with great athletes have great coaches. If you come to our gym, you have Coach McCauley on a daily basis and me on an almost daily basis. That’s two International coaches in one gym. That’s a lot of knowledge to be spread around.
• It’s an expectations thing. If you come to Mash Elite, you are expected to become great. If you make an International team, you just did your job. We expect all of our athletes to eventually make Team USA.

I get it. It’s a scary thing to leave your home gym. You are the expert. Everyone looks up to you. However we both know that you will never grow in that environment. Going to those amazing gyms will also be learning experiences that will serve as sources of knowledge for the rest of your life. I learned a lot at Appalachian State University. I have read books that have greatly enriched my life. However, the real life experiences far outweigh any other forms of learning. For example you guys read an article from Louie Simmons, and then you think you know where he’s coming from. If you go there, you will learn exactly where he’s coming from.

Most of my knowledge that I have right now comes from my time in gyms like:

• Westside Barbell
• MuscleDriver USA
• Olympic Training Center
• Champion Health in Colorado with Coach Charles Poliquin and T Nation
• Big Iron Gym
• East Coast Barbell back in the day (where I met Coach Joe Kenn)
• Attitude Nation Gym (met Donnie Shankle, Jon North, Ryan Grady, Jessica North, Charlie Zamora, and so many more)

These are just a few, but each gym taught me so much. Each gym had an athlete capable of doing amazing things. Each gym had coaches that were amazing in multiple areas. Each gym had a limitless atmosphere. Each gym was filled with athletes that desired to be the absolute best in their chosen sport.

These gyms will teach you everything you need to know as an athlete. Are you really cut out for the sport? Do you really want to be the best? Will you rise to the occasion during competitive situations? Will you work hard? Will you persevere? These are questions that will forecast your future in life. Not everyone is cut out to be the best. Some people will naturally fill supportive roles. That’s ok too. The key is don’t quit and do the work. If you can do those two things, you will be successful in life.

Not everyone will make it. My gym has watched people come and go. Not everyone finds that they really want to be the best. They quickly realize that Mash Elite is not the place to be if you want to be second. We train hard, and our athletes are driven and confident. It can be overwhelming for some.

Our gym has hosted some of the best athletes in the entire country like:

• Tommy Bohanon, starting fullback for the NY Jets
• Jon North, Team USA Weightlifter
• Cade Carney, starting running back for Wake Forest University
• Nathan Damron, Team USA Weightlifter
• Mattie Sasser, Olympian weightlifter
• Joe Mbang, NBA Basketball player
• Trip McNeil, starting Offensive Lineman for Duke University
• Donnie Shankle, Team USA Weightlifter
• Jared Enderton, Professional Grid Athlete and weightlifter
• Jacky Bigger top 63k weightlifter
• Rebecca Gerdon Team USA Weightlifter
• Greg Nuckols, World Record Holder in Powerlifting
• Kevin Nason, National Champion Powerlifter
• Michael Black, American Record Holder in Powerlifting
• Chris Mason, Professional Powerlifter
• Adee Zukier, Champion weightlifter, professional Grid athlete, and owner of Team WAG
• Hayden Bowe, Champion Powerlifter
• Morgan McCullough, American Record Youth Weightlifter
• Coach Joe Kenn, Head Strength and Conditioning Coach for the Carolina Panthers

Really this is just a short list of the amazing athletes and people that I have coached at Mash Elite Performance. There have been hundreds of National Champions, World Record Holders, Professional Athletes, and simply amazing people. This is the secret to my success. It’s not the programming. Yeah we have great programming, but the fact is that we have the best people and coaches. It’s an atmosphere designed to create champions.

If you desire to be the best, you need to go where you are the weakest. If you want to learn, you need to go where you are the dumbest. This is the best advice that I can give any of you. This is where the rubber meets the road.

I see people trying to give advice all the time on the Internet. A lot of them are super smart, but most of them have one thing missing. You cannot teach someone to be a champion if you have never: 1. Been one yourself, or 2. Coached one yourself, or 3. Both. That’s the bottom line. You can’t learn that from a study, classroom, or book. It’s something that you must experience.

Go experience it now before it’s too late!

==============================================
My latest E-Book “Mash Method” is live and it’s FREE! Check it out now at: http://www.mashelite.com/mashmethod
===================================
This book has several of the techniques that I used to set personal records and world records along with some of my latest techniques that I’m using to get my athletes and me hitting all-time numbers.
-wave training
-bands and chains contrasted with straight weight
-walk outs
-partials contrasted with full ROM
-Squats for vertical leap -Sled drags to set PR 40 yd dash times
And more!

http://www.mashelite.com/mashmethod

Are the Olympic Lifts Necessary for Athletic Development?

Check out one of our six E-Books:

• “Squat Every Day”
• “Eat What You Want”
• “Squat Every Day 2”
• “No Weaknesses”
• “Mash Program Sampler”
• “The Mash Blueprint for Program Design”

Check them out here: ⇒ Mash Elite E-Books

Are the Olympic Lifts Necessary for Athletic Development?

Are the Olympic lifts necessary for Athletic Development? This question has been debated for years. It normally comes up at coaching clinics when there are opposing camps one from the powerlifting side and the other Olympic weightlifting. It’s normally a fun debate that can escalate quickly. I was at Wake Forest clinic once when a group from Westside Barbell started heating up against a weightlifting coach that was lecturing. People were so set on protecting their agendas that no one really learned anything.

I was there, but I stayed out of it. Both sides were making great points, and then again both sides were blinded by their desire to be right. There is a lesson to be learned here. Don’t let your passion or agenda blind you to learning new ideas that could enhance your own platform.

I have been on both sides of this debate. I have competed in weightlifting at a high level, and I have competed in powerlifting at the highest level. I also played college football. I have coached amazing athletes in athletic performance, weightlifting, and powerlifting. I don’t know that all of this makes me an expert in answering the question, but it at least gives me some credibility. So what’s the answer?

The Olympic lifts are a great tool for power production, kinesthetic awareness, mobility, and speed. However they require that someone be very proficient at teaching them, or they can become non-effective and sometimes dangerous. Here’s another thing to consider. Just because an amazing amount of power is generated during a lift doesn’t mean the lift is creating the power. The lift is just a demonstration of one’s power development. To increase that power output the athlete has to get stronger.

Now before you think that one of Team USA’s weightlifting coaches doesn’t like the Olympic lifts, I want to remind everyone that I do use the Olympic lifts in coaching my athletes. All of them perform cleans, push presses, overhead squats, front squats, and a version of the snatch (depending on abilities and mobility), but that’s because I know how to teach them. I use cleans because if athletes are producing massive amounts of power on a daily basis, their bodies will become more efficient at power production. I also love the overall mobility that overhead squats encourage. It’s the movement, power, and athleticism that make them a great choice for my athletes.

Here’s the other side of the coin. If you are a strength and conditioning coach that isn’t 100% proficient with teaching the progressions of the Olympic lifts, you can always do the following exercises:

• Back Squat
• Front Squat
• Overhead Squat
• Depth Jumps
• Other Plyometrics
• Med Ball Throws
• Clean Pulls
• Push Presses

This is an incomplete list, but you get the idea. With these simpler exercises, you can train rate of force development, power production, mobility, absolute strength, and overall athleticism. An educated strength coach can easily pick up these movements, and these movements can easily be taught to athletes of all levels. If time is an issue, these movements can be implemented much faster allowing for more time to stimulate results in strength, speed, and muscle mass.

Here’s a checklist that every strength and conditioning coach should consider:

• Are you 100% proficient at teaching the Olympic lifts and their progressions?
• Are their time restraints on getting your athletes improvements?
• Are you dealing with lots of athletes?
• Do you have enough assistant coaches to ensure that all athletes are getting enough attention?
• Do you have the right equipment to teach the Olympic lifts: bars that spin, bumpers, and proper flooring?

Obviously if you are capable of teaching the Olympic lifts, you have the time, you have enough coaches to ensure get the proper coaching, and you have all the equipment, then of course I want you to teach your athletes the Olympic lifts. The Olympic lifts are a great tool to get your athletes powerful, mobile, and athletic. However, if you don’t have proper conditions, there are plenty of exercise choices to stimulate some awesome results for your athletes.

So to bring this back, the answer is the Olympic lifts aren’t necessary for athletic development, but they sure do help. If you don’t know how to teach the lifts, I suggest taking a certification and finding a qualified coach in your area to fine tune your skills. I would hope that this article would encourage all of us to not have a dogmatic approach to our training and philosophies. There are multiple ways to reach a goal. It doesn’t matter what road you take. All that matter is that you reach that goal. We all want our athletes to get stronger. The best way for that to happen is to maintain a mindset open to learning. We owe it our athletes to never stop our quest of knowledge.

===============================================================
Guys and Gals if you want to learn all that it takes to build champion athletes, Zach Even-Esh and I are getting together for two dual certifications this year. Check them out at ⇒ Mash and Even-Esh Unite

March 17th and 18th at the Mash Compound in Clemmons, NC

June 10th and 11th at Underground Strength and Conditioning in Manasquan, NJ

Here’s what to expect:

• 1) Athlete Warm Ups & Assessments / Large Group Training
• 2) Bodyweight & Jump Training for Athletes (Sport + Strength Athletes)
• 3) Quick Lifts & Assistance Work for Sport & Strength Athletes (Barbell / Dumbbells)
• 4) Program Design for Athletes from Youth to D1 to Olympic Hopefuls
• 5. Snatch basics and teaching progressions
• 6. Clean basics and teaching progressions
• 7. Squat Programming and Tricks
• 8. Deadlift Programming and Tricks
• 9. Controlling and demanding the respect of groups
• 10. The business of Private Coaching

Extras-

• This will certify you as an official Underground Strength Coach
• This will certify you for the Mash Mafia Learn 2 Lift Cert

Find out more at:

www.MashElite.com/seminars/

“Let the Recovering Begin” a look at Coach Mash’s Recovery

My latest E-Book “Mash Method” is live and it’s FREE! Check it out now at: http://www.mashelite.com/mashmethod
===================================
This book has several of the techniques that I used to set personal records and world records along with some of my latest techniques that I’m using to get my athletes and me hitting all-time numbers.
-wave training
-bands and chains contrasted with straight weight
-walk outs
-partials contrasted with full ROM
-Squats for vertical leap -Sled drags to set PR 40 yd dash times
And more!

http://www.mashelite.com/mashmethod

Let the Recovering Begin

For all of you that don’t know, last week I underwent a surgery to repair a ruptured triceps tendon on my right arm. It was just a freak thing that happened when I was snatching. There were signs that I ignored like a super achy right elbow. Here is my advice. If you are having chronic pain, there is a reason. I would simply get it checked out. Getting it check out could easily prevent 4-6 months of recovery.

Coach Ox Mason, my longtime friend and training partner, pointed out that he believes the whole thing was caused from my right side constantly compensating for the weaker left side. In 2007 I sustained a fracture in my cervical spine. The injury caused a weakness in my left arm. This weakness has caused me to spin to the right on snatches, cleans, and jerks to compensate. My right arm tries to take most of the load on all presses as well. It’s even hard for my scapula to stay tucked in the right position when weight is overhead.

As you can see, I was compensating in a lot of different ways leaving my right arm susceptible to this injury. A little more patience with the muscular balance work towards my left side could have prevented all of this as well. However, like you I want to get to the heavy stuff. The big six (snatch, clean, jerk, squat, bench, and deadlift) is what I love to do. However this impatient approached led to surgery and six months of rehabbing. A wiser approach could have left me doing what I love for a lot longer time without surgery.

I am telling all of you this, so you can make wise decisions for yourself. Hopefully some of you can learn from my mistakes. The only benefit to an injury is the ability to share with others. If my injury helps just one person, then it was all worth it. In my experience, my mistakes have led to better life lessons than my successes. If you are someone that is injured, I hope that you can cling to this positive.

My rehab workouts started two days after my surgery, and they consisted of range of motion work to the injured arm. Basically I curl my arm to 90 degrees, and then I let gravity straighten the arm as much as possible. I am trying to perform 3 x 10 with 3 sessions per day.

Today I am going to start working out in the gym again. Here is what my workouts are going to look like:

Day 1
SS Bar Max Effort 5RM, then -15% for 2 x 5
SS Bar Goodmornings 3 x 8
Left arm Bench Press 3 x 10
Left Arm KB OH Carry 3 x 40 yd

Day 2
Belt Squat Deep Squats 3 x 10
Belt Squat Glute Marches 3 x 6 seconds
Left Arm Strict Press 3 x 10
Sled Drags 3 x 40 yd ea direction

Day 3
SS Bar Max Effort Mash Method (1, 5)
SS Bar Goodmornings 3 x 8
Left Arm KB upright Row 3 x 10
Left Arm Farmers Walk 3 x 40 yd

The goal is to take advantage of this time to get the left arm stronger in all directions. The secondary goal is to keep my legs strong. I will also be adding in some Yoga in about a week along with some aerodyne sprint and distance work. I will stick with this style of workout until I am allowed to start loading the right arm.

The key to mentally surviving this moment in time is focusing on the positives:

• A chance to address my left arm weaknesses
• A chance to influence and encourage others
• A chance to be an example of perseverance for my family, team, and friends

I have already experienced moments of sadness, and I am sure that there will be some more. However my faith in God and my willingness to reflect back on the positives will sustain me through this time. Here’s the thing. It’s just a triceps tendon. It’s not cancer. There are people out there going through much worse than me.

I am excited to get back on the horse today, and at least feel some weight on my body. I think that when I come out of this, I will develop a different mindset towards training. Don’t worry I will never be the old man lifting light weights, but I will definitely take a slightly different approach. I will take a more balanced approach like:

• Focus my training on squat, bench, front squat, deadlift, and press
• Olympic lifts will be done once per week each with a focus on technique and movement.
• Yoga will find its way in there somewhere.
• Ox Mason Conditioning
• No Weaknesses Accessory work

I want to be able to train until the day that I die. I also want to be able to move well, so that I can play with my children as they grow up. I am actually excited to see what I come up with. I believe that God allows things to happen to us to either teach us a lesson or show us a new path. In my case I think that it’s a little of both. I guess time will tell.

========================================================
My latest E-Book “Mash Method” is live and it’s FREE! Check it out now at: http://www.mashelite.com/mashmethod
===================================
This book has several of the techniques that I used to set personal records and world records along with some of my latest techniques that I’m using to get my athletes and me hitting all-time numbers.
-wave training
-bands and chains contrasted with straight weight
-walk outs
-partials contrasted with full ROM
-Squats for vertical leap -Sled drags to set PR 40 yd dash times
And more!

http://www.mashelite.com/mashmethod

Odd Objects for Athletic Development

Guys and Gals if you want to learn all that it takes to build champion athletes, Zach Even-Esh and I are getting together for two dual certifications this year. Check them out at ⇒ Mash and Even-Esh Unite

March 17th and 18th at the Mash Compound in Clemmons, NC

June 10th and 11th at Underground Strength and Conditioning in Manasquan, NJ

Odd Objects for Athletic Development

Obviously I am a huge proponent of the barbell. When I am training my football players, soccer athletes, and all other sport athletes, I like to use the barbell as a staple of their program. Squats, cleans, and presses produce strength, power, and speed. The barbell is measureable, which is another reason that I like using it.

However there is one downfall to the barbell. The barbell was designed to be lifted. Your competitor’s on the field of play were not designed to be lifted. That’s a big reason that we like to use odd objects. Here is a small list of odd objects that we use:

• Sandbags
• Tires
• Farmers Walk Handles
• Heavy Bags
• Axle Bars
• Stones

Here are some of the exercises that we use for each:

Sandbags
Clean & Press
Shoulder Carry
Zercher Carry
Swings
OH Toss
Bear Hug Carry

Tires
Flips
Partner Passes
Partner shove of war

Farmers Walk Handles
Bilateral Walks
Unilateral Walks
Suitcase Deadlifts

Heavy Bags
Bear Hug Carries
Zercher Carries
Shoulder Carries
Shoulder for Reps

Axle Bar
Clean & Press
OH Carry
Zercher Carry
Deadlift

Stones
Front Carries
Shoulder Carries
Over Shoulder Toss for Reps
Platform Places for Reps

You can still develop power and strength with odd objects, but there is so much more. These objects weren’t designed to lift, which forces the athlete to brace much harder when lifting. When you are on a field or matt trying to move your opponent, they don’t want to be moved. The odd objects prepare you better for this on the field encounter.

Personally I like them for building the core most of all. The core is designed to support the spine and pelvis in an upright position. This is more of an isometric contraction with the occasional pulse for throwing or punching. Sit-ups and crunches simply don’t get the job done.

Forms of the zercher carry are my favorite for developing the anterior core especially the transverse abdominis and rectus abdominis. When you displace the weight out in front of the center of gravity, it forces the abdominals to brace with full recruitment. One workout with zerchers and you will fill like you completed 1,000 sit-ups the day before.

Overhead carries are my go to for strengthening overhead stability and the entire kinetic chain. All athletes should incorporate overhead carries in their training. I am not sure if kid these days are spending too much time on their computers or what, but overhead weakness is becoming a very common condition.

There is one positive element of odd object training that is hard to measure, but there is definitely something to it. That’s simply the toughness that hard work teaches athletes. Those big farm boys are strong and tough for a reason. They grew up working hard.

One advantage that I always had over my competition was my work ethic and mental toughness. I grew up in the unforgiving mountains of North Carolina. I grew up pitching hay, chopping wood, and working hard. The weather outside didn’t dictate the work that had to be done. It could be snowing, raining, or 100 degrees outside. The work had to get done.

This work ethic and toughness is missing in today’s society of video games and smart phones. I have watched athletes transform their demeanor in 6-weeks of handling odd objects. I love watching my athletes on the turf outside carrying stones, flipping tires, and throwing sandbags. You start to see their faces toughen up as the beads of sweat run down their cheeks. When you add a team element to the odd object lifts, you will elevate the intensity even higher.

With odd objects the coaches have major responsibilities to focus on their athletes’ abilities to:

• Brace
• Hinge
• Squat
• Pull
• Press
• Row

Technique will be the key to injury free training. I recommend that you keep it light at first with attention to detail of the technique. Your athletes will adapt quickly to the movements. This adaptation will be the body stabilizing, which will be the first benefit generated from this type of training. Here are some volume considerations:

• Focus on distance and time
• Increase sets are reps
• Intensity is last

I would focus on endurance when trying to strengthen the core and stability. Remember the core is more about an isometric contraction than eccentric and concentric contractions. The core is designed to keep us stable for long periods of time, so endurance makes the most sense.

Zach Even-Esh and I are hosting a seminar at the Mash Compound March 17th and 18th. We will be going over odd objects, where they fit, programming, and technique for each. This dual certification brings the barbell together with odd objects in a way that has never been done before. Check out the details below:

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Guys and Gals if you want to learn all that it takes to build champion athletes, Zach Even-Esh and I are getting together for two dual certifications this year. Check them out at ⇒ Mash and Even-Esh Unite

March 17th and 18th at the Mash Compound in Clemmons, NC

June 10th and 11th at Underground Strength and Conditioning in Manasquan, NJ

Here’s what to expect:

• 1) Athlete Warm Ups & Assessments / Large Group Training
• 2) Bodyweight & Jump Training for Athletes (Sport + Strength Athletes)
• 3) Quick Lifts & Assistance Work for Sport & Strength Athletes (Barbell / Dumbbells)
• 4) Program Design for Athletes from Youth to D1 to Olympic Hopefuls
• 5. Snatch basics and teaching progressions
• 6. Clean basics and teaching progressions
• 7. Squat Programming and Tricks
• 8. Deadlift Programming and Tricks
• 9. Controlling and demanding the respect of groups
• 10. The business of Private Coaching

Extras-

• This will certify you as an official Underground Strength Coach
• This will certify you for the Mash Mafia Learn 2 Lift Cert

Find out more at:

www.MashElite.com/seminars/

Big Goals, Clear Goals, and Daily Wins

Check out one of our six E-Books:

• “Squat Every Day”
• “Eat What You Want”
• “Squat Every Day 2”
• “No Weaknesses”
• “Mash Program Sampler”
• “The Mash Blueprint for Program Design”

Check them out here: ⇒ Mash Elite E-Books

Big Goals, Clear Goals, and Daily Wins

Today I want to take a closer look at goals. Goals can and should be the driving force of your daily and weekly activities. If chosen wisely, your goals are a reflection of your personal values and purpose. Here are some questions that you need to ask yourself before making any goals:

• What’s important to you?
• What do you value?
• What rules do you want to follow?
• What’s your purpose?
• How do you want to leave the world a little better than you found it?
• How do you want to be remembered?

It’s important that you understand the answer to these questions. If you make a goal without taking these questions into consideration, there will be no substance to the goal. A goal without substance is doomed to fail. Let me explain!

Let’s pretend that you want to medal at the 2020 Olympics in the sport of weightlifting. That’s great but why? How is that important to you? How does it align with your values? What’s your purpose? There is a lot to consider.

So why is it important to know these answers? Here’s the thing that you are not considering. There is a lot of work that will be required to reach this fantastic goal. You will be required to train about 3800 hours over the next four years. You will be asked to skip parties. Your diet will need to be perfect. No one is going to do what’s required unless the goal is grounded in something that matches the athlete’s values and purpose. There has to be something bigger attached to the goal.

How big is too big for a goal? I don’t think that there is a goal that is too big, but there will need to be smaller, more measurable, and clearer goals that are focused on during the weekly and monthly grind. If the Olympics are your goal, that goal is really hard to measure for the day in and day out work. There is not specific number that you can attach to that goal until you are closer to the moment. Plus there are a lot of smaller and more measurable goals along the way that will also need to be reached like:

• Medal at Nationals
• Gold Medal at Nationals
• Qualify for a World Championships
• American Record Snatch
• American Record Clean & Jerk
• American Record Total

Some of these goals are a little easier to grasp than making the Olympics, but all of them will bring you closer to your ultimate goal of the Olympics. It’s easier to put numbers on these goals, and now these goals are measureable. These goals are now clear.

Ex. Instead of Make the Olympics you could start with “Medal at Nationals”. You could look at what Medaled last year and look at the most recent results in your weight class. After some easy research on USA Weightlifting’s website, you could easily come up with that number.

Now that you have a clear and measurable goal, you will need to establish some daily focuses to establish daily wins. You can’t just focus on a number in your daily workouts. That approach will drive you crazy. We all know that improvement isn’t linear. There is a process that we will all have to go through to reach the bigger numbers. The key is not letting the process drive you crazy.

Here are some daily focuses or wins:

• Start and First pull
• Aggressive Second Pull
• Timing between second and third pull
• Meeting the bar during the third pull
• Catch position
• Movement of feet
• Long arms with elbows out

These are just a few daily focuses that an athlete can have. You will want to establish one focus for the day, and that becomes your main focus on that day. Here’s the thing. Your goal is to be present in the moment. You don’t want your brain wandering to the past or the future. Those thoughts are of no value for the daily workout.

Example- Aggressive movement of feet from hip width to shoulder width landing on the entire foot.

During that session, the movement of my feet is the main focus. Each lift I am focused on making my foot movement more and more perfect. I am not as concerned with the weight on the bar. I am more engaged on the process. That doesn’t mean that I am not adding weight to the bar. If I am feeling good, I am definitely adding weight to the bar. However the weight on the bar is secondary to the movement of my feet. I can control the movement of my feet. I can’t always control the weight on the bar.

How much weight that you can lift for a daily max relies on factors that are out of the control of the athlete. Is your endocrine system primed for a max session? Are you recovered? Is your brain ready for that next step? The answer for all three of these questions is “maybe and maybe not”. However nothing can prevent you from improving the movement of your feet.

Here’s what I am saying in a simplified versions:

1. All goals should be wrapped up in your values and purpose.

2. These goals can be as large as you can dream. Ex. Olympics

3. However the focus is on the smaller, more measurable, and clearer goals that will lead you to the big goals. Ex. Medal at Nationals

4. The Daily Grind is wrapped around Daily Wins that are measureable and achievable. Ex. Movement of Feet

This approach will keep you mentally healthy and focused on the process. Daily wins and a process approach will have you taking steps towards the bigger goals on a daily basis. This approach will keep your goals grounded on your values and purpose leading to a more fulfilled life. If you want to dream big, you have to plan even bigger.

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Check out one of the Online Teams:

• Mash Mafia Bronze
• Mash Mafia Silver
• Mash Mafia Gold
• Eat What You Want
• Eat and Lift What You Want

Check them out here: ⇒ Mash Mafia Online Teams

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