American Open 2016 Thoughts

“The Mash Blueprint for Strength Programming” and “Squat Every Day II: Variations in Intensity and Volume” have both launched. Check them out below:

==> “Squat Every Day II and The Mash Blueprint”

American Open 2016 Thoughts

It’s once again Meet Week. We have high hopes for our team, and we are looking forward to seeing our friends from around the country. Unfortunately it looks like I won’t make it this year. My wife is expecting another boy at any minute, and of course I am not going to miss the birth of my child. However Coach Don McCauley and Coach Vinh Huynh are incredible coaches, so the athletes are in good hands.

This year we are sending 24 top-notch athletes to the American Open. Two of our very best athletes are sitting this one out: Jacky Bigger and Dylan Cooper. Jacky just had surgery on her ankle to repair a stress fracture, and Dylan is healing up from multiple nagging injuries including knees, back, and hips.

The Olympics are four years away, so there is no better time than right now to give these athletes a little rest and get them healthy. I want to win the American Open as much as anyone, but I care more about the long-term goals of these athletes. A coach must always keep an eye on the big goal instead of worrying about each individual meet. Each coach should also put their athlete’s best interest if front of their own.

Morgan McCullough gets us started on Thursday evening in the Youth portion of the American Open. His openers will be American Records in his age and weight category, so we are hoping for a big start from him. This kid is about to light the weightlifting world on fire. I have never coached a kid that could move like him at that young of age not to mention he already back squats 400lb.

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Nadeen Pierre is another youth that will compete on Thursday. She is new to our National Team, and she trains out of Undisputed Strength and Conditioning in Eagan, MN, which is the home of Mash Mafia MN. We have high hopes that she will be making some International Teams here in the near future.

Our starting lineup for the Senior Team looks like this:

Mattie Sasser will be kicking off things for our team in the 58k A Session. She will have her hands full with Jessica Lucero, but we have high hopes for Mattie. She is 19-years-old, and was an Olympian in Rio for the Marshall Islands. Luckily for Team Mash Mafia, she has dual citizenship. In training she has matched the American Open Snatch of 93k, and she has Clean & Jerked 121k, which is 6k over the American Record. This should be a fun session to watch.

Danielle Bloomquist is also a 58k lifter. This is her first time being a part of the Mash Mafia National Team. I have high expectations from her not to mention Mash Mafia OG Rebecca Gerdon coaches her.

Adrianne Acosta is another new member to the Mash Mafia National Team. She also trains with Mash Mafia MN in Eagan, MN, and she is about to shock a lot of people in the 63k category. I believe that she is one year away from giving a run at some International Teams, so keep an eye on this girl. She is in the A Session, and I could see her making a run at the top 5.

Rebecca Gerdon (75k class) makes her return to the National Stage at the American Open. She took some much-needed time off from the Olympic lifts to prepare her body for this next quad, but I still have high hopes for her. She is a National Medalist and a Team USA Member, so you can never count her out.

Genie Francisco (75K) is also new to the Mash Mafia National Team, but she is familiar to all of us. Jon North was coaching her when I first met her. She has a lot of potential in this sport, and we are excited to watch her blossom over the next few years.

Tori Brady (90k+) is competing in her first National Meet at this year’s American Open, and it’s her 4th meet ever. Tori could easily medal in this group, but that’s not my main concern. I want her to get experience and have fun. I have high expectations for her over the next four years.

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The Men’s Team kicks off with Brian Risenhour in the 56k class. This young man should give a run at the medals and some American Records. His training has gone perfectly, so now it’s a matter of performing on the platform. Brian should be an International Team member within the coming year. He also joins us from Undisputed Strength and Conditioning (Mash Mafia MN). Obviously if you are near Minneapolis, you need to be training with this crew.

Tri Phu (69k), also from Mash Mafia MN, is a veteran on our team. This is his first time moving up to the 69k class, but he is a strong competitor. I could easily see him break into the top 10 this time. However as soon as he grows into this new class, I look for him to get back on the podium.

We have two men competing in the 77k class: Mason Groehler and Jacob Wyatt. Mason should make it to the podium, but you can never count out Jacob. He’s coming off a 6th place finish at Nationals, so he’s getting hungry for the podium. I am excited to watch both of these young men battle. Mason has gone 140k+ and 170k+ in training, so he could put up something huge.

Collin Worm joins our National Team for the first time, and we have huge expectations. He has gone 150k and 180k in training. If comes close to those numbers, he should find himself high on the podium.

The 94k Class is stacked with two of our top lifters: Nathan Damron and Tom Summa. Both could end up on the podium, and both could make a Senior International Team within the next year. Both are former Youth and Junior Team USA Members, and now it’s time to unleash them on the Seniors. Nathan should be battling for Gold. Both of them will be taking some cracks at the Junior American Records. I totally expect those records to fall.

Anthony Sannella (105k) joins our National Team for the first time. This young man is going to shock a few people this year. I could see him in the Top 5 this year, but I expect him to stand on the podium very soon.

Here’s the list of our other athletes that will be taking the stage:

Bryan Simone 85k
Steve Yanda 69k
Hunter Elam 63k
Katy Davis 69k
Nadeen Pierre 69k Youth
Justin Eberhart 69k
Curvan Williams 94k
Jeffrey Blackwell 94k
Grant Debendictus 105+k

I have high expectations for my entire team as always. However this is the first National Meet in this Olympic Quad, so I want to see made lifts and confidence soaring more than anything else. It’s going to be a long quad, so each National Meet is a time to teach, learn, and grow. I hope that all of you will enjoy watching these competitors do what they love.

For an awesome tool to quantify weaknesses, fix those weaknesses, control common aches and pains, and all things recovery, check out our new book “No Weaknesses. Check it out here:

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The “Mash Elite Program Sampler” is 8 of our Complete Programs that we’ve used to get our athletes jacked. All proceeds will go towards helping our team get to the American Open and take one step closer to their Olympic Dream. Check it out now:

==> Mash Elite Program Sampler

The Squat Part II

“The Mash Blueprint for Strength Programming” and “Squat Every Day II: Variations in Intensity and Volume” are on sell for the last day.

Prices go up tonight at Midnight! Check them out below:

==> “Squat Every Day II and The Mash Blueprint”

Squat Part II

This is probably going to be a multi-part article. There just seems to be so much to cover, so I will keep writing. I covered the following in the first article:

• Eyes up
• Eyes Straight ahead
• Eyes down
• Neutral spine
• Sit down
• Sit back

You can check out that article here: ⇒ “The Most Awesome Exercise on Earth: The Squat”

Last time we went over a lot of absolutes that people try to use, and we decided that there simply aren’t a lot of absolutes. Today I am just going to talk real with you. I am going to go over some basics from someone that’s performed the squat to break world records, performed the squat to get better at Olympic weightlifting, and performed the squat to get better at sport.

I am not telling you that what I am saying are absolutes. I am just telling you that these are some of the things that I have done over my career to squat big weights. Here are some of my records:

• Raw Squat 805lb
• Equipped Squat 1015
• Front Squat 285k/629lb
• High Bar Squat 320k/704lb
• Last year at 43-years-old I high bar squatted 295k/650lb

Does this mean that I am an expert? Absolutely not, I could simply be designed to squat, and I am designed to squat. That’s why I watched several videos of my favorite squatters:

• Ed Coan (of course)
• Kirk Karwoski
• Shane Hamman
• Dan Green
• Greg Nuckols
• Nathan Damron
• Eric Lilliebridge

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These are just a few, but I encourage you to go watch videos of each. Try to analyze their technique. It’s really easy to get caught up in the shear awesomeness. Let’s go over some basics.

1. Stance- Once again there are no absolutes. Most people fall into that shoulder width category, but there are plenty exceptions to the rule. I am more hip width. Dan Green is a little wider than shoulder width. The key is comfort, so I would start around hip width. Then play around with wider and closer to see what works the best and feels the best.

If you are a powerlifter, you are going to want to go as wide as possible as long as you can break parallel. You don’t get extra credit for going lower. You want the maximum stretch reflex to happen right below parallel.

If you are a weightlifter, general strength, or other athlete, I would recommend finding the stance that allows for maximum depth. Range of Motion is directly related to muscle fiber recruitment; so deeper gets you more jacked. Deeper squats will also keep you more mobile and moving better. Weightlifters obviously need maximum depth and more upright torso. If you are a football player, you need the hypertrophy (muscle growth), strength, and the mobility to optimize their athleticism.

2. Toes forward or out- this is another one that doesn’t come with an absolute. Once you’ve found the most comfortable stance, now it’s time to see where your feet go. The goal is to have the toes and feet tracking the same direction. A closer stance will normally come with near straight ahead toes, medium around 15 degree, and wide around 40 degrees. Once again this all depends on your own personal anatomy and skill level.

To say that everyone should be hip width and toes straight ahead is to not take into consideration that people have different anatomical lengths and angles. Greg Nuckols would have a hard time performing a close stance and toes straight ahead air squat. Does that mean that he is dysfunctional in the squat? No may it never be!

You will find that a wider stance with as straight of toes as possible will make it really tough to reach depth. The toes straight will start to lengthen the glutes and other external rotators early in the squat. This can create a little extra torque, and therefore lead to a little more stretch reflex. However if that position is uncomfortable or won’t allow for good depth, that slight advantage is rendered null and void.

Personally I would play around with the stance and foot position until maximum comfort is established, and then roll with that stance. You can play with things as you progress with the barbell. Right now the key is good depth, comfort, and adding muscle mass.

3. Descent- now I am going to get real with you. This is coming from a world record squatter, and someone that is friends with a lot of other world record squatters. In the list of athletes that I mentioned prior, the only one to choose an eyes down stance is Dan Green. Is he wrong? Well of course not, but all the others aren’t wrong either.

All that I am saying is that the final battle of a squatter is staying upright. It seemed easier to do so for me by keeping my eyes up. Now I am done with the eye thing, so you can do whatever you want.

Here are some of the things that I do:

-If you are a powerlifter, sit slightly back and then down. We talked last time about the advantages of sitting back. You will start to lengthen the glutes and hamstrings, which will limit the ROM a little sooner.

-If you are a weightlifter or basically any other athlete, break at the hips and knees simultaneously sitting straight down. This will give you the most range of motion and allow for a more upright torso. However, if you are a weightlifter that is loose in the bottom or is hypermobile, a slight sit back isn’t a total no, no.

-As a powerlifter I will am going to spread the floor with my feet and screw my feet in the ground (screwing outwards). This will activate my glutes during the entire movement and help me to keep my knees out. Once again this will cause for maximum torque and a slightly shortened ROM, since I am shortening the glutes as they are trying to lengthen.

-As a weightlifter the goal is to simply keep the toes and knee in alignment. If you are having major trouble with knee valgus, you might want to try spreading the floor as well to counter that movement.

-Speed- I want to sit as fast as I can, but under control. The best powerlifter ever at sitting with the most speed is Shane Hamman. He basically dive-bombed without losing a bit of rigidity of the torso. It was amazing to see him dive-bomb with 1,008lb in person.

Once again this is a personal thing that you can get better with over time. As you get the torso stronger, you will be able to go a little faster. The faster that you can sit will equal a more powerful stretch reflex, but that doesn’t matter if you are getting loose in the bottom.

-Bracing- without a doubt using intra-abdominal pressure is the way to go. A diaphragmatic breath is the key. Basically breathe into your belly, and then push out against your belt with your abs and obliques. The goal is to produce enough pressure in all points of the belt that it would chop off someone’s finger if it was placed in your belt prior to taking a breath.

We will go over ascent next time. I think that this series might go on for a long time. I am enjoying writing about my favorite exercise, and I am having more fun researching all about the most functional exercise on earth.

My next FREE E-Book drops in a few days: “The Mash Method”. The book will contain over 15 different ways to use the Mash Method with detailed descriptions, periodization, and more. This is the way that set so many records in days as an athlete. It’s also the way that my athletes are setting so many records.

The book will contain:

• Ways to increase absolute strength in the squat, bench, deadlift, press, and the Olympic lifts
• Ways to maximize hypertrophy by using this method
• Ways to use the method in everyday strength training phases
• Ways to increase vertical leap
• Ways to increase 40yd dash time
• Ways to crush sticking points

I think that you are going to love it, and I am excited to give it away for Free. Make sure that you are signed up for the Newsletter to get the book. If you sign up now, you will get my Free E-Book “The Big Six”.

==> Sign up for the Free Newsletter and receive the Free E-Book “The Big Six”

Thanks for reading!

Strength and Conditioning: Where to Begin

The Mash Blueprint for Strength Programming” and “Squat Every Day II: Variations in Intensity and Volume” have both launched today at the lowest price that they will ever be. Check them out below:

Squat Every Day II and The Mash Blueprint

 

Strength and Conditioning: Where to Begin

 

Recently I have started my latest crop of young athletes. There ages range from 13 to 14-years-old, and none of them have ever trained outside of their sport. As a strength coach it is always refreshing to go back to the beginning with another chance to do it even better.

 

I learn new ideas and concepts every year from either reading or visiting with other coaches throughout America. I am also blessed to host my podcast “The Barbell Life”, where I get to talk to some of the biggest names in the industry on a weekly basis. I guess that gives me a slight edge, but there is information all around at this point in history. The key is having enough of a scientific background to sift through the bull mess. Your job as a coach is to learn as much as possible. Your athletes trust you to do just that.

 

So how should you begin a new athlete? This is a very important question. New athletes are a blank sheet of paper. The pattern they form at the beginning will follow them throughout their lives. It’s very important that you are teaching them proper patterns. This goes for strength & conditioning, weightlifting, powerlifting, or any other type of training. It’s very important that rookies get close attention.

 

Here’s the way it goes:

 

  1. Assessment- I want to see what I am working with. Some athletes will come to you ready to do work, and some will come to you with some work to be done. Your job is to find out where they need the most help. You are a strength coach. Your assessment doesn’t have to be 100 steps. Here’s what I do:

 

  • OH Squat with PVC Pipe (Looking for a near vertical spine, foot position, are T-Spine mobility)
  • Air Squat (Looking for foot placement, angle of torso, depth, knee in relation to toe, and eccentric capabilities)
  • Bodyweight lunge (torso control and knee stability)
  • Pushups in one minute (relative strength and core stabilization)
  • Pull=ups max reps (relative strength)
  • Sprint mechanics   (arm action, natural acceleration skills, foot strike on ball or heel, knee height, stride length, eyes straight ahead, comfort in the face)
  • Jump mechanics (looking for technique and ability to absorb force in landing)

 

This simple test will tell me where I need to begin. Here’s a short example. I have two new young athletes that are both exceptional. One was able to perform a bodyweight squat with control, nice torso angle, and knee stability. The other one who is 6’4” at 14-years-old had a major torso lean, lack of depth, and more knee stability. One started with a KB Squat, and the other started with step-ups, mobility work, and squat progression. 4-weeks later they are both on the same level.

 

This leads me to another point. Just because someone is a great athlete on the field, that doesn’t mean that you can throw him to the dogs in the gym. That person needs attention to detail just like everyone else. I have a total take on strength and conditioning at this point of my life. My goal is the bulletproof these athletes, which brings me to my next point.

 

  1. Bulletproof your athletes- the biggest limiting factor to a lot of athletes is injury. There are some injuries that not preventable, but your job is to prevent as many non-contact injuries as possible. How many times have to talked to someone that could have played D1 sports, but a knee injury or back injury ended their dream. Especially when you are dealing with the best of the best, your job has to be to stabilize them from the top down and bottom up.

 

You will find that stabilizing an athlete will give them a huge push in their performance, but the biggest advantage is keeping them healthy. Strength coaches don’t realize that keeping an athlete healthy will give them a huge advantage as far as making it to the next level. Here are some tips:

 

  • Stabilize the knee
  • Stabilize the foot
  • Keep the hips and T-Spine mobile
  • Strengthen the neck (avoid concussions)
  • Train for eccentric strength
  • Make sure they have proper deceleration mechanics and strength
  • Use isometrics to strengthen weak joint angles
  • Make sure the shoulders move optimally

 

These are just a few to get you going, but I can’t over emphasize the importance to these points. Keep your athletes stabile and moving properly, and you’ve won half the battle.

 

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  1. Start with the basics- we don’t grab a bar and start slinging weights. Of course that’s where I want them to progress, but first things first. Here’s where we start:

 

  • Sprint mechanics (acceleration first with a lot of mechanics taught in the warm-ups)
  • Deceleration mechanics (dropping center of gravity, positioning of feet and hips)
  • Jumping and landing mechanics
  • Squat mechanics
  • Beginnings of the Olympic lifts (start with hang clean and Oh Squat with empty bar or lighter)
  • Unilateral work to avoid asymmetries
  • Mobility and movement (rolls, crawls, bird dogs, etc)
  • Carries, prowler pushes, sled drags for conditioning, core strengthening, and stability.

 

This is a great way to get them started. Here’s the big key. You have to let them have fun. If your gym is like a prison for them, they will never learn to love the process of strength and conditioning. It should be the most fun part of their day with a lot of positive vibes and laughs.

 

Yeah I want them to become beast athletes, but there is something more important than all of that. I want them to enjoy fitness. I don’t want to see any of my athletes become obese, unhealthy, and out of shape. I want them to enjoy the process of fitness. At that point you have affected their lives in a positive way for the rest of their lives. I’ll take that over a D1 Scholarship any day. Preferably I’ll take the scholarship and the enjoyment of fitness.

 

Here are some other elements that you will want to touch on as well:

 

  • Goal setting
  • Mindset
  • Nutrition
  • Recovery
  • Life choices

 

These elements are just as important, and once again these elements will follow them throughout life. That’s your job guys and gals. It’s not just to create a monster on the field. It’s to give these men and women skills that they can use for the rest of their lives to make their lives better and more fulfilled.

 

The last one is a personal one for me. Personally I want the athletes to see God in the way that I treat them, my staff, my family, and the others around me. Ultimately this is the most important aspect of anything that I do. Maybe it is for you too. That’s your own decision.

 

Anyway I hope that this helps you guys get a grasp on starting a new athlete down the road of strength and conditioning. You have an important job. It’s important that you realize that. You have the ability to affect each athlete in a way that will make the rest of his or her life a little better. That’s what I want you to remember.

 

HUGE ANNOUNCEMENT:

We have been waiting so long, and the day is finally here. We have launched two new amazing resources.

First, there’s the Mash Blueprint for Strength Programming. It’s a simple but effective system for building your own program. There are guidelines for how to add assistance and cardio – as well as how to change the program so you can keep progressing for a lifetime of gains.

We’re also launching #SquatEveryDay II: Variations in Intensity and Volume. The original #SquatEveryDay from last year works perfectly for some athletes. However, I’ve realized that some of my lifters have different volume needs. So in this second #SquatEveryDay book, I’ve outlined two levels of higher volume programs. Lifters tend to fall into one of three categories as far as volume requirements – and with both #SquatEveryDay books, you will now have programs for all three levels.

And while we’re launching these products, you can grab The Blueprint and grab #SquatEveryDay II right now for the lowest price they will ever be.  Prices increase Monday at midnight!

 

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The Mash Method

“The Mash Blueprint for Strength Programming” and “Squat Every Day II: Variations in Intensity and Volume” have both launched today at the lowest price that they will ever be. Check them out below:

==> “Squat Every Day II and The Mash Blueprint”

The Mash Method

Over the years people have constantly asked me, “So what programming did you use as a powerlifter or weightlifter?” That’s actually a very good question. I performed a semi-Westside program, but at the end of the day I went heavy very often. However, I had found a way to constantly set personal records, and I didn’t even realize that I was simply using several versions of the post activation potentiation theory or PAP.

Before writing this book, I researched for a couple of days, so that I would get a better understanding of PAP. I wanted to know why it works, and I wanted to know why it works better for some than others. My man, Bret Contreras, wrote a great article on his website laying out the details of PAP. Before we go any farther, I need to give a brief definition of PAP.

This is taken directly from Bret’s article: “PAP is a phenomena by which muscular performance characteristics are acutely enhanced as a result of their contractile history. The underlying principle surrounding PAP is that heavy loading prior to explosive activity induces a high degree of CNS stimulation which results in greater motor unit recruitment lasting anywhere from five to thirty minutes.”

Most of the time people refer to PAP when using a strength movement in conjunction with a powerful more ballistic movement like plyometrics or sprinting. My man Coach Joe DeFranco is famous for his contrast speed training. He calls in contrast training. One example is where he uses heavy sled drags in contrast to short sprints. I will admit right now that I use this method with all of my sport athletes with amazing success.

Travis Deadlift

A lot of people including me will perform back squats with a jump of some sorts. Others will use the bench press in contrast to explosive push-ups. Whether you are doing a squat with jumps or bench press with plyo-push ups, the key is to pair similar exercises together. The heavy strength movement will excite the nervous system, and the contractile history will be that of a heavy squat or bench. The theory is that will leave your body prepped for the heavy movement when you simply performing a jump, sprint, or plyo-pushup with bodyweight. Both of these are great, but there are a lot of other uses for PAP.

The one that I used during the majority of my career was heavy holds, partial movements, bands, chains, and weight releasers in contrast to straight weight full range of motion movements. This Mash Method Principle is the one that I used the most to break records on a daily basis. Let me give you one example that I used.

I would perform the prescribed sets for a dynamic squat day with bands. Then I would work up to a heavy double with bands but not to failure. Then I would take the bands off and hit a PR. How did this work?

Let’s pretend that I worked up in the squat to 625lb bar weight + Blue Bands, which is 825lb total weight at the top. If my max is 800lb, that’s a total of 103% of my max squat. At the bottom of the squat the bands will deload to about 30% of their original strength, so that leaves about 685lb of total intensity at the bottom portion or 83% of maximum. 83% isn’t that hard or taxing on the CNS. I was able to squat this weight easily, and I was able to excite my nervous system for 825lb at the same time.

When I would take the bands off and work up to a max single of say 805lb, my body was prepared for 825lb. All of this gave me an advantage to hit PRs on a regular basis. The biggest issue was balancing the PAP response and fatigue. The response was the highest right after completing the set, but so was the fatigue. I found out that it was best to complete the straight weight max somewhere between 3-8 minutes after the banded word was complete.

It was also a good idea to not kill myself during the banded sets and repetitions. The less total volume that I completed would always equal the better result for the straight weight portion. I will detail how this worked over a few weeks in my FREE Book that is coming out soon called you guessed it: “The Mash Method”.

The book will contain over 15 different ways to use the Mash Method with detailed descriptions, periodization, and more. This is the way that set so many records in days as an athlete. It’s also the way that my athletes are setting so many records.

The book will contain:

• Ways to increase absolute strength in the squat, bench, deadlift, press, and the Olympic lifts
• Ways to maximize hypertrophy by using this method
• Ways to use the method in everyday strength training phases
• Ways to increase vertical leap
• Ways to increase 40yd dash time
• Ways to crush sticking points

I think that you are going to love it, and I am excited to give it away for Free. Make sure that you are signed up for the Newsletter to get the book. If you sign up now, you will get my Free E-Book “The Big Six”.

==> Sign up for the Free Newsletter and receive the Free E-Book “The Big Six”

Thanks for reading!

How to Improve as an Athlete by Coach Nick Scott

“The Mash Blueprint for Strength Programming” and “Squat Every Day II: Variations in Intensity and Volume” have both launched at the lowest price that they will ever be. Prices will go up on Monday. Check them out below:

==> “Squat Every Day II and The Mash Blueprint”

Today I want to introduce someone to all of you. Coach Nick Scott has already been assisting Mash Elite Performance with some new programs that we are working on for all the CrossFitters and functional fitness enthusiasts around the world. Today we will start out with his background, and then he will answer the question “How do I improve?” Enjoy!

Let’s start with his background-

Nicholas Scott

I have been a CrossFit affiliate owner for 5 years. I started my gym in my back yard on a 14’x15’ slab of concrete with some pull up bars stuck into the ground and a squat rack. I have been a personal trainer since 2005, and a CrossFit coach and athlete since 2009. Every year since 2011 I have qualified athletes to Regionals, and have even competed at Regionals twice myself. Over the years I have had the incredible privilege of learning from some of the world’s greatest coaches. I started my coaching education by learning from Rick Hussey and Becca Sawnson at Omaha’s Big Iron gym. They introduced me to powerlifting training and the sport of powerlifting.

After receiving my CrossFit Level 1 in 2010 I was lucky enough to be coached and trained in Olympic weightlifting by coaches Mike Burgener, Ursula Garza, Jodi Vaughn, Chad Vaughn, and Cody Burgener. After that I received my CrossFit Endurance certification and worked with several triathletes and marathon runners.

In 2011 I was able to learn movement and mobility from Dr. Kelly Starrett during my certification, also was able to receive coaching from Carl Paoli in gymnastics during that same time. In 2011 and 2012 I competed on my affiliate team at Regionals, also having qualified as a individual in 2012 as well. In 2013 I received my certification in Westside Barbell methods from Shane Sweatt and Laura Phelps. I have received personal coaching from both of these phenomenal coaches, and we remain good friends to this day.
To date I have coached and programmed for 19 CrossFit Regional athletes, 1 Kona Ironman top 10 finisher, and 1 World Masters gold medalist (Olympic weightlifting). I program for several CrossFit affiliates as well.

Over this journey I have been able to leave my ego (mostly) at the door, and continue my pursuit of knowledge among these multiple disciplines with a open mind. I am fond of saying “always a white belt”, meaning that one is always a student. With this mentality I have been able to stay ahead of the curve, and always able to help my athletes stay competitive. In this time I have tried many approaches, many successful, some average, and even some that didn’t work at all. Over these experiences I have developed my own system/method of programming. It’s fairly unique from what is generally available at this time, and draws from all of the amazing individuals I’ve had the immense honor of learning from (many of them listed above).

Now he will answer the questions, “How do I improve?”-

I want to address something I get thrown at me all the time: when someone walks up to me and says “I really am not where I want to be right now, and I don’t feel like I’m getting any better.” or “I want to be really good, and at such and such level.”

Ok, I’m going to start this off with a quote “You are what you repeatedly do.” So with that in mind here is my take on this standard line I keep receiving.

Ask yourself these 5 questions.

#1. Take a look at the people in your gym, are there a lot of really great athletes, a small group, a few, a couple, or none at all?

#2. Does your coach or coaching staff get hired by athletes outside of your gym to train them? Do they get asked by other gyms to hold training camps or seminars? Do your coaches host training camps, or seminars from other high level coaches/gyms in order to advance their own knowledge?

#3. How good of athletes are your coaches, can they do all of the movements you are being asked to do so that they can demonstrate?

#4. If there are good athletes in your gym, did they come into the gym at a high level from previous training, or have they been developed at your gym for a decent measure of time?

#5. How long has your gym been open and how long have you been going?

Now, after collecting this data, you can come up with some pretty accurate conclusions as to the quality of training you are receiving and the level you can expect to attain while at that gym. If the answers paint a picture that doesn’t thrill you….well then, you have three choices. One, go to a different gym with the things you are looking for. Two, seek outside help. Try hiring a local coach or even a remote coach who meets your criteria. Three, try to get more knowledge to your coaches. Ask them to host a seminar, training camp, or what have you from elite level coaches.

So as I opened this with the quote “You are what you repeatedly do,” then if your coach/coaches or gym are consistently producing high level athletes then they are maintaining a standard of excellence that is applicable to all levels of athletes. The proof is in the pudding as they say, all you need to do is look around objectively and you’ll find the answers you’re looking for.

HUGE ANNOUNCEMENT:

We have been waiting so long, and the day is finally here. Today we launch two new resources that we have been working on for months.

First, there’s the Mash Blueprint for Strength Programming. It’s a simple but effective system for building your own program. There are guidelines for how to add assistance and cardio – as well as how to change the program so you can keep progressing for a lifetime of gains.

We’re also launching #SquatEveryDay II: Variations in Intensity and Volume. The original #SquatEveryDay from last year works perfectly for some athletes. However, I’ve realized that some of my lifters have different volume needs. So in this second #SquatEveryDay book, I’ve outlined two levels of higher volume programs. Lifters tend to fall into one of three categories as far as volume requirements – and with both #SquatEveryDay books, you will now have programs for all three levels.

And while we’re launching these products, you can grab The Blueprint and grab #SquatEveryDay II right now for the lowest price they will ever be.

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PAP Applied to Olympic Weightlifting

“The Mash Blueprint for Strength Programming” and “Squat Every Day II: Variations in Intensity and Volume” have both launched today at the lowest price that they will ever be. Check them out below:

==> “Squat Every Day II and The Mash Blueprint”

PAP Applied to Olympic Weightlifting

pisarenko-sn-hi-pull

At last year’s American Open, there were over 900 people competing. It was the biggest competition in the history of the sport. This was great for the sport, but it made things a little difficult for the athlete.

The biggest obstacle was the wait time between attempts. A 3-kilo increase could put you 12+ attempts back in the pack. This was especially true for some of the “C” and lower flights because the athletes are grouped based on qualifying total. That means they are all fairly close in strength and talent levels. 12 or more attempts are a long wait without performing lifts to stay warm. This leaves the athlete faced with three decisions:

1. Go to the warm up room and drop down in weight and wave back up.

2. Don’t do anything and risk getting the athlete cooled down.

3. Try something else!

The first option is a common way of doing things, but the problem at this meet is that the athletes might end up doing this four times throughout their session. Four waves are enough to exhaust any lifter. We did this once or twice throughout the weekend, but we wanted to find a better way.

Letting the athlete cool down is normally a terrible idea. Weightlifters need to feel warm, so their movement isn’t restricted. Getting cooled down can also make the weight feel heavier. This technique doesn’t work well for many people.

We ended up trying option 3 and trying something else. We decided to use Postactivation Potentiation to give our lifters an advantage. P.A.P. is a fancy term for finding ways to feel heavier weight throughout the exact or partial Range of Motion that you are about to perform before performing the movement with the actual weight. The theory is that the force exerted by a muscular contraction is influenced by its previous contraction.

We use this theory all the time with the powerlifts, but we have never used it for the Olympic lifts. Well this was trial by fire because we had to figure something out. We used Snatch Pulls and Clean Pulls for our experiment. Here is the way it looked:

If the athlete had just snatched 120k and was increasing to 125k putting them 12 attempts back, we would do three Snatch pulls:

9 attempts out- 110k
6 attempts out- 120k
3 attempts out-130k

Then snatch 125k on the platform 3 attempts later. This technique worked like a charm. We used it sparingly at first, and at one time we were 6 for 6 using P.A.P. That is when we changed to using it solely as the wave technique.

The meet had my head spinning about the application of this principle into a program. I want to use it for my advanced athletes to increase their snatch, clean, and jerk. I finally completed a plan this weekend, so now it is going into trial phase with my athletes and me.

Here are some keys to think about if you are going to try the same things:

• Only try this with experienced lifters that already have great technique.
• Adjust the volume of your program to accommodate the increased volume of pulls or whatever you decide to use.
• Start by using the technique one or two days and then note the effects.

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For the jerks we are going to use jerk squat dips to overload. We will use jerks from the blocks to experiment with this technique. However, I am going to get creative with this technique, so you might see some bands and chains for the pulls. However, remember that less is more when trying something new. Don’t get carried away to soon.

HUGE ANNOUNCEMENT:

We have been waiting so long, and the day is finally here. Today we launch two new resources that we have been working on for months.

First, there’s the Mash Blueprint for Strength Programming. It’s a simple but effective system for building your own program. There are guidelines for how to add assistance and cardio – as well as how to change the program so you can keep progressing for a lifetime of gains.

We’re also launching #SquatEveryDay II: Variations in Intensity and Volume. The original #SquatEveryDay from last year works perfectly for some athletes. However, I’ve realized that some of my lifters have different volume needs. So in this second #SquatEveryDay book, I’ve outlined two levels of higher volume programs. Lifters tend to fall into one of three categories as far as volume requirements – and with both #SquatEveryDay books, you will now have programs for all three levels.

And while we’re launching these products, you can grab The Blueprint and grab #SquatEveryDay II right now for the lowest price they will ever be.

img_7226

lu-xiaojun-snatch-pulls

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