Hypertrophy Year Round

My latest E-Book “Mash Method” is live and it’s FREE! Check it out now at: http://www.mashelite.com/mashmethod
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Hypertrophy Year Round

Before we dive in, I want to clarify a few things about hypertrophy. Hypertrophy is the enlargement of tissue due to the increase in size of its cells. There use to be certain parameters around this training like: 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps or 45-60 seconds time under tension. Well that repetition range does cause hypertrophy, but so does almost all rep ranges. You can look at most powerlifters that perform 5 sets of 5 repetitions, and they are jacked as well.

However today we are mainly talking about the 8-12 repetition range. That repetition range still seems to be the most optimal range to elicit muscle growth. All of my athletes will go through these repetition ranges whether they are weightlifters, powerlifters, or field athletes.

A bigger muscle is a stronger and faster muscle. Hypertrophy is a very efficient way of making an athlete bigger, faster, and stronger. We have moments in the macrocycle that are totally focused on hypertrophy. Not only are there mesocycles dedicated to hypertrophy in our training, but also there are aspects of focused hypertrophy work throughout all of my athletes training.

What about the field athlete’s parent that says, “I don’t want my child to bulk up because it will make him slower?”

Number one that statement makes absolutely no sense. Did they ever watch Barry Sanders play football? He was jacked and back squatted north of 600 pounds. Have they ever watched a 100-meter sprint in the Olympics? Those guys are jacked, and they are the fastest men and women on planet earth.

Here’s a statement that I am most confident to make: “You can add as much muscle as you want. As long as the athlete remains mobile and their relative strength remains the same or improves, that athlete just got faster and stronger.” The moral of the story is get jacked as you want, but make sure to stay mobile and lean.

Most young athletes don’t have the ability to add massive amounts of muscle in the first place. By all means they need to add muscle. It’s always amazed me at the parents that made such irrational comments to me. Normally their child was 130 pounds soaking wet, and they were worried about them bulking up and getting slow. Kids like that need to do everything in their power to add some muscle just to have a chance to compete. So many times my heart is broken for young kids because I know that their parents will always be the roadblocks to their success.

Ok my rant is over, but I had to educate any of you up and coming athletic performance coaches. I also want to educate any athletes or parents that might be reading this as well. I want to leave you with this bit of information. I have been coaching athletes for over twenty years. I have worked with hundreds of D1 athletes, several professional athletes, three Olympians, and several Team USA weightlifters and powerlifters. Here is what I have found. The fastest athletes that I have ever worked with where the most muscular, had the best relative strength, and all of them were strong. Maybe this isn’t a published scientific study, but it is a pretty massive case study with real life athletes.

At Mash Elite we use dedicated hypertrophy work in three ways:

1. Non-Specific Hypertrophy- this is called our accumulation phase. This microcycle lasts anywhere from 2-4 total weeks. Normally this mesocycle takes place right after a meet and as far from the next big meet as possible. This phase is designed to give the joints a break, add some quality muscle, and to strengthen the body in areas that aren’t normally focused on. Here are a few of the characteristics:

• Unilateral work- most of my athletes focus on movements like squats, deadlifts, cleans and snatches. This is a good time to correct asymmetries with some unilateral lunges and presses.
• Repetition ranges between 3-12
• Sets between 3-10
• Lower reps are paired with higher sets and vice versa
• Very little if any competition lifts

2. Specific Hypertrophy- This phase comes right after the non-specific phases. This microcycle lasts anywhere from 4-6 total weeks. The focus is shifted back to the bigger multi-joint movements like squats and pulls. This is the phase designed to gain the most muscle hypertrophy. During this phase an athlete can expect big movements like back squats, presses, and pulls for lots of repetitions. We are chasing the pump for lack of better words. Here are a few of the characteristics:

• A focus on major compound movements like squats, deadlifts, rows, and presses.
• Repetition ranges between 3-12 with a focus between 8-12.
• Sets between 3-10
• 3-4 sets between 8-12 repetitions is the focus.
• Competition lifts are added back in with mainly complexes, eccentric loading, and a higher volume. The goal is to strengthen positions during this phase.

3. No Weaknesses Hypertrophy– this is where we focus on muscular imbalances with accessory work. This form of hypertrophy work is performed year round. We are normally targeting smaller muscle groups, so this type of training more easily recovered from. One of the biggest mistakes that people can make is eliminating accessory work the closer they get to the meet.

Two groups have proven to me that accessory work should be a focus at all times. Westside Barbell has preached this since I started in the sport of powerlifting. If performing dips or reverse hyperextensions were making an athlete stronger and better, why would you drop those exercises right before competing? We might drop the volume a bit to allow for super compensation, but we don’t drop accessory work.

The Chinese were the other group to prove the importance of accessory work. They are dominant in the sport of weightlifting right now. They appear to have no weaknesses. I had the chance to watch them firsthand in the training hall at Junior Worlds in Tbilisi, Georgia. They performed their snatches, clean & jerks, and squats, and then they crushed the accessory work. It looked like Arnold and Franco in the pump room at the Olympia in “Pumping Iron”.

Here are some of the characteristics:

• Single joint exercises like dips, pull-ups, plate lateral raises, reverse hyperextensions, etc.
• Bodyweight movements like lunges, handstand walks, and push-ups
• Carries for core stabilization (easy to recover from because to eccentric contractions)
• Sled pushes and pulls (easy to recover from because to eccentric contractions)
• 3-5 sets of 8-12 repetitions for concentric/eccentric exercises
• 3-4 sets of 30-60 seconds on the carries, pulls, and pushes

We focus on hypertrophy at Mash Elite. It seems like an obvious aspect of any strength program, but a lot of people neglect this area to their detriment. All of you watch Nathan Damron go through personal records like a knife through butter following his hypertrophy phases. It is Nathan’s focus on hypertrophy that has made him into the monster that he is along with his great genetics of course.

Next month we have two new books coming out that will go into detail about the Mash Hypertrophy Phases. One will detail Nathan’s “Train Stupid” program, and the other will take you much deeper into our hypertrophy programs. I am pumped for both of these.

In the meantime you can enjoy the latest e-book “The Mash Method” for FREE. This will also ensure that you are alerted to any of our book releases in the future. Here is some more information on “The Mash Method”:

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

Setting an Example for our Youth by Crystal McCullough

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Check out our latest E-Book “Performance Zone” for only $19! Offer ends Monday at Midnight!

Check it out now at:

==> www.mashelite.com/performancezone/
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Setting an Example
By: Crystal McCullough (Follow her on Instagram @crystalmac_72)

Why do we do the things we do? Why do we choose certain career paths? Why do we dedicate the time it takes to reach goals in the gym? I hope your answer is passion. I know mine is. There are many reasons why I am passionate about my career path as well as my health and fitness. My first career path was nursing. I became an RN because I love to help people. That being said, I prefer to educate those on how to stay healthy in the public health area rather than taking care of those already sick. That led me into what I do now. I am a CrossFit Affiliate Owner, General Manager and Head Trainer. I chose this career path for the very same reason. The two go hand in hand; two sides to the same coin.

I read an article a while back about a 3-year old child diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes (first time in history this has happened!). This child weighed 77 pounds and was considered morbidly obese at the age of 3!!!! Now, tell me whose fault that is? It certainly isn’t the child’s fault!! The parents were both considered obese themselves and they were simply ‘passing it on.’

The following statistics are courtesy of www.letsmove.org. There has been very close monitoring of childhood obesity since the early 1980’s when the rate of obesity in kids ranging in age from 6 to 11 was 6.5%. That same age range bumped up to 19.6% in 2008. In a span of a little less than 30 years, obesity in youth of all ages has close to tripled. 1 in 3 children are considered obese in the United States at this very moment. Depressed yet?

With a gym on every corner, a baseball field or park in nearly every neighborhood in America and a wealth of information out there as to why our kids are suffering from this epidemic, why is there still an issue? Is it laziness, socioeconomics, education…what is it? If we keep going at the rate we are going, we will have condemned our youth to lifelong chronic health issues before they even reach adulthood.

There is good news in all of this. It is NEVER too late!! We have the opportunity to set a good example for our youth. This can manifest in various roles: parents, teachers, youth group leaders, coaches, and adults in general. We can make a difference in a child’s life and possibly save them from a long future of chronic health issues like diabetes, heart disease, etc. For this article, my focus is on the parents out there!

Regardless of your circumstances, you can still set a good example for you children. My son has been blessed in that he has been a gym rat from the age of 6. He has fallen in love with simply being at the gym and moving. As he has gotten older, he has grown into an athlete with goals. Not all parents have the ability to provide this to their kids and that is definitely more than ok. And, not all children have athletic goals like my son does, but movement and exercise are still a functional necessity in their lives. Here are a few tips on how to get our children involved in moving and eating healthy.

1. Involve your kids in your exercise when possible. If you are running, have them trail along on their bike. As they get older, they may want to run as well. We used to make a game out of running with our son. He never even realized he was getting exercise.
2. Involve your kids in meal prep. Bring them into the kitchen and have them help you cut up the vegetables and prep the meats. They will enjoy spending time with you and it also gives you an opportunity to educate them on good food choices.
3. Lose the video game controller and take the kids outside for a game of tag or throw the ball around. Any exercise is better than no exercise. They will enjoy the time they get to spend with you and memories can be made!
4. Give your child the opportunity to watch you train. If it is possible, let them in on some your training sessions. When I did CrossFit GPP (General Physical Preparedness), my son loved sitting in the room just watching the athletes work out. He couldn’t wait until he was old enough to join in!! Now, I use my son as my spotter on bench and my videographer to get him involved. He loves it!! At times, he joins in with me and lifts as well. It is great bonding time for us AND he is getting fit at the same time.
5. Share your goals with your children. Teach them the importance of setting goals for themselves and working hard is what will help them achieve those goals. Stick to your own goals and teach them to finish what they start.
6. Let your kids set the tone of what they want to do. Don’t use exercise as a form of punishment. It will backfire on you because they will begin to dislike the very thing you are trying to promote.
7. Don’t push your kids into athletics. Support them and help guide them. Be a facilitator not a dictator.

Bottom line, this nonsense with childhood obesity has to stop! If we don’t reverse the damage that we’ve already created, the future will be very bleak. There may be those of you who have no idea where to start. You might be searching for a healthier version of yourself. That’s ok!! Bring your kids along for the ride!! Let them learn with you. If this is you, you know how hard it is to re-train yourself as an adult. Let your kids learn now so they don’t ever have to go through what you are going through.

Sidenote:
Since writing this piece, my son has literally gone from working out in the gym to spend time with mom to an elite weightlifter. He has competed at Youth Nationals and set an American Record in the Clean and Jerk. He has also most recently, squatted 400 pounds. Yes 400#!!

About the Author: Crystal McCullough BIO

40-year old Army wife and Mom to a genetic 13-year-old freak. Basketball player turned runner turned CrossFitter turned powerlifter. Crystal has podiumed over the years at 5k and 10k road races, local CrossFit competitions, and most recently competed at the Arnold 2016 XPC Powerlifting Finals as well as USAPL Raw Nationals 2016 in the Open division. Her best lifts are 145k squat, 81k bench, and 162k deadlift. She is an RN with a Masters degree in Nursing Education, a CrossFit affiliate owner, and a Mash Elite Performance nutrition coach (among other stuff). She is a member of the Mash Mafia Powerlifting team and is currently studying for her CSCS as she prepares to move to Winston Salem with her family in May to join the Mash Mafia crew on a full-time basis.
====================================================
Check out our latest E-Book “Performance Zone” for only $19! Offer ends Monday at Midnight!

Check it out now at:

==> www.mashelite.com/performancezone/
====================================================
This book will help you discover all the steps necessary for “getting in the zone”, or what we call “entering the flow state”. This book will help you:

-Give you the history of flow or the zone
-Explain what is needed to get into flow or the zone
-Give you The Guide to Initiate Flow
1 Clear goals
2 Feedback
3 Skill ratio

This is definitely my favorite book to have written. I hope that all of you enjoy reading it!

==> www.mashelite.com/performancezone/

Adapting GPP to Strength Work by Crystal McCullough

Last Weekend to get our latest E-Book “Performance Zone” for only $19! Check it out now at:

==> www.mashelite.com/performancezone/
====================================================

Adapting GPP to Strength Work
by Crystal McCullough (Check her on Instagram @crystalmac_72)

Strength training is extremely important and has so many health benefits and very few, if any, risks (knuckleheads aside) for anyone of any age. Women, unfortunately, tend to shy away from strength training because they have believed the old wive’s tale that says women will get bulky if they lift weights. This is a misconception and flat out wrong. “Bulky” is a subjective term that can mean different things to different people. I would love to review a study that compares women in one camp (let’s call them Team Weak) vs. the women in another camp (let’s call them Team Strong) and their incidence of osteoporosis. For those of you that don’t know, osteoporosis is a debilitating disease where bones become so weak and brittle, you can break a bone by simply standing on it. Women, because of hormonal changes as we age, are more susceptible to this disease. Strength training has proven to reduce the risk of osteoporosis by strengthening bones and increasing bone density. Other health benefits of strength training is decreased body fat percentage and increased muscle mass. The more muscle mass you have, the better your metabolism is. So, why would we not want to get strong? I target women here because what man doesn’t want to get strong? Women are harder to convince.

August of 2015, I took over as affiliate owner, general manager, and head coach (yes, I wear many hats). One of my responsibilities is the programming, which I absolutely love to do. I came into a situation where the athletes were accustomed to one way of programming which was very traditional CrossFit. It was random and constantly varied. My way of thinking and many of my peers is that strength training should be planned out and you should know why you are programming what you are programming at any given time. The worst thing you can say to a member of your gym when they ask you a question about your programming is “I don’t know”. KNOW!! I have our strength planned out for several weeks in advance and work conditioning around that strength. I had a brief transition period because I was not ready for the programming to be placed in my lap at that time. So, I fell into the mold of random until I could get it together. After a few weeks, I was able to create a template that I felt would better our athletes and keep them coming back. Conditioning is still very much constantly varied from movements to time domains. The program still consists of traditional CrossFit style couplets and triplets in various time domains. I also like to put some non-traditional movements in to shake things up a bit and work on muscular imbalances. Strength is not random nor is it constantly varied. In the last few months, I have adopted the Squat Everyday approach and my members are seeing the benefit in it. I have also begun to add in underused movements such as barbell rows and dumbbell work.

Adapting my athletes to more strength work has not been much of an issue. It has actually been very smooth. I would like to credit my passion and belief in what I program and the backing I have from my other coaches. I will not say that the programming is flawless because there is always room for improvement. I am constantly learning and will adapt the programming accordingly. The worst thing we can do is come to a point when we feel there is nothing else for us to learn because we know everything. We are then no longer useful to our athletes.

Some key points:
1. Have a plan and a purpose for everything you do. Don’t make things up as you go. Take the time to sit down and create a template for programming. Map out your strength cycles and then build in your conditioning around it.
2. Don’t keep that plan from your athletes! Athletes want to know why they are doing what they are doing. It isn’t them questioning your programming, but instead, they are empowering themselves with an understanding of how and why they are training.
3. Have scheduled de-load days, and quite possibly weeks when you think it is necessary.
4. Be able to answer questions posed to you by members. Give your other coaches the same insight so they can answer those same questions.
5. Be passionate about it and believe in the programming you are creating. If you are passionate and believe in it, your athletes will be excited and buy in!
6. Educate your athletes, especially your female athletes, on those myths that make them shy away from strength training. Also, make sure they are fully aware of all the benefits strength training provides.

You don’t want to create a program that will eventually break your athletes due to the volume. The goal should be to better them and, at the same time, give them longevity and an injury free experience if at all possible. The foundation for this is smart programming and also teaching athletes to listen to their body as well as having a coach’s eye when we see an athlete struggling. And I will end with reiterating if you believe in it and are passionate about it, they will be too.

====================================================
Last Weekend to get our latest E-Book “Performance Zone” for only $19! Check it out now at:

==> www.mashelite.com/performancezone/
====================================================
This book will help you discover all the steps necessary for “getting in the zone”, or what we call “entering the flow state”. This book will help you:

-Give you the history of flow or the zone
-Explain what is needed to get into flow or the zone
-Give you The Guide to Initiate Flow
1 Clear goals
2 Feedback
3 Skill ratio

This is definitely my favorite book to have written. I hope that all of you enjoy reading it!

==> www.mashelite.com/performancezone/

About the Author:

Crystal McCullough

40-year old Army wife and Mom to a genetic 13-year-old freak. Basketball player turned runner turned CrossFitter turned powerlifter. Crystal has podiumed over the years at 5k and 10k road races, local CrossFit competitions, and most recently competed at the Arnold 2016 XPC Powerlifting Finals as well as USAPL Raw Nationals 2016 in the Open division. Her best lifts are 145k squat, 81k bench, and 162k deadlift. She is an RN with a Masters degree in Nursing Education, a CrossFit affiliate owner, and a Mash Elite Performance nutrition coach (among other stuff). She is a member of the Mash Mafia Powerlifting team and is currently studying for her CSCS as she prepares to move to Winston Salem with her family in May to join the Mash Mafia crew on a full-time basis.

Hypertrophy: Does Getting Jacked equal Getting Strong?

Our latest E-Book “Performance Zone” has dropped! Check it out now at:

==> www.mashelite.com/performancezone/
====================================================

Hypertrophy: Getting Jacked to Get Strong

I have been studying a lot lately about muscular hypertrophy. For anyone that doesn’t know, hypertrophy is simply the enlargement of tissue. In the strength world we are talking about getting really big muscles of course. For the athletes at Mash Elite, it’s about getting bigger muscles that can lift more weight and create better function.

In my studies there are a lot of different opinions and a few conflicting studies, but most everyone agrees on three primary ways to grow muscle:

• Mechanical Tension
• Metabolic Stress
• Muscle Damage

Hypertrophy will happen pretty much throughout any training as long as there is some form of periodization. However there are periods of training where hypertrophy is the main goal, so the three major keys of hypertrophy will guide the training. This block will begin after a major competition, and will probably come after a slight break to let the body repair and to let the mind relax.

Hypertrophy blocks are a big key to our lifters’ success. Every last lifter on our team will go through these blocks. Some will stay in it longer than others depending on their individual responses. Nathan Damron lives in the hypertrophy block, and it works really well for him.

If there is ample time, I like two different hypertrophy blocks: hypertrophy non-specific and hypertrophy specific. The non-specific block could last 2-4 weeks, and there will be very little if any competition movements with several exercises that aren’t normally performed. The specific block lasting 4-6 weeks will start adding the competition movements back in, and the exercises will start to resemble the movements that transfer the best like back squats and pulls.

Let’s look at all three of the components of hypertrophy training:

1. Mechanical Tension- this simply means that weight matters. You have to add weight to the bar to get stronger. This will happen pretty much throughout our training cycle. The range for hypertrophy is 3-8 sets of 3-8 repetitions, and some studies have shown that keeping the load below 90% is best for adding muscle.

During our dedicated hypertrophy block we will stay around 3-4 sets of 8 reps or slightly higher. We take this time to give our joints a little break from the heavy sets and just focus on growing some new muscle. There are also some benefits to the higher repetitions that we are going to talk about now.

2. Metabolic stress- The bodybuilders are always talking about getting a pump. When I was growing up, I thought that this was the holy grail to adding muscle and getting stronger. Then I was told that the pump didn’t matter that much. Well it does matter. Great News! I mean who doesn’t like getting a pump? Let me explain!

When you are blasting through those sets of 8-12 reps and keeping constant tension on the muscles, you are ultimately causing a build up of certain metabolites at a cellular level like lactate, hydrogen iron ion, and creatine to name a few. Basically this cellular volumization causes the muscles to expand and grow from the inside out.

Now before you go saying that bodybuilding hypertrophy isn’t functional muscle, you might want to look more closely at the research. Sarcoplasmic hypertrophy (getting a pump) will ultimately lead to contractile hypertrophy (getting strong). Quoting Dr. Brad Schoenfeld, “There’s evidence that the increased hydration of the cell associated with sarcoplasmic hypertrophy may mediate a hypertrophic response, thus leading to subsequent increases in contractile hypertrophy.”

3. Muscle Damage- this is simply good old fashioned adaptation. You have to put stress on the muscles in a way that will break them down causing them to grow stronger than ever. There are a few ways to do this:

• Eccentric Contraction focus- almost everyone that I read agreed that focusing on the eccentric portion of bigger lifts would elicit a solid hypertrophy response. Basically you want to lower weights more slowly than you lift them up. Ex. Lower a squat in 4-6 seconds and then squat it up as fast as possible.
• Use the Conjugate Method- use variations as often as possible. You can use pauses, different bars, different sets and reps, etc. The list can go on and on, but I recommend never swaying too far when it comes to the competition lifts. Those need to be practiced with some sort of specificity especially the closer to a meet that you are getting to.
• Frequency- you don’t have to train an exercise every day, but training it 2-3 times per week at least will cause the body to adapt forcing more hypertrophy.
• Train through soreness- I am not talking about pain, but training through soreness is totally ok. This will force the body to adapt to the breakdown, and that adaptation is going to be hypertrophy. Remember it’s like those old timers with huge hands and forearms working in the lumberyard. When they first started in that lumberyard, their muscles ached. However, eventually they adapted by growing those massive muscles designed to move lumber.

I hope that you enjoyed this article. I am really enjoying my studies on hypertrophy. Our athletes have made massive amounts of progress by focusing on hypertrophy at different periods of the year. My athletes enjoy moving away from their competitive lifts during these phases. It gives them a break mentally and physically on their joints.

This article isn’t just for weightlifting. I am talking about powerlifting as well. I know for a fact that Ed Coan would take off-seasons to focus on bodybuilding moving away from the competition lifts. Even during his competitive phase, he would incorporate major hypertrophy blocks that were more specific to the competitive lifts. Ed is exactly why I started incorporating hypertrophy blocks into my own training leading to much success in my career.

The quickest way to get stronger is to add muscle. That’s a fact man. If you want to get strong as a weightlifter, powerlifter, or any other athlete, you need to add some muscle. One important factor that we haven’t covered is that you do have to eat the calories to support the workload. Hypertrophy season is a great time for excess calories to ensure that you have enough to build with.

Now go out and enjoy a massive pump today!

====================================================
Our latest E-Book “Performance Zone” has dropped! Check it out now at:

==> www.mashelite.com/performancezone/
====================================================
This book will help you discover all the steps necessary for “getting in the zone”, or what we call “entering the flow state”. This book will help you:

-Give you the history of flow or the zone
-Explain what is needed to get into flow or the zone
-Give you The Guide to Initiate Flow
1 Clear goals
2 Feedback
3 Skill ratio

This is definitely my favorite book to have written. I hope that all of you enjoy reading it!

==> www.mashelite.com/performancezone/

The CrossFit Paradox by Coach Nick Scott

Our latest E-Book “Performance Zone” has dropped! Check it out now at:

==> www.mashelite.com/performancezone/
====================================================

The CrossFit Paradox

In this piece I am going to go over what I refer to as the “CrossFit Paradox”. This is based off of several years of observation, and experimentation involving literally hundreds of athletes. So what is the CrossFit Paradox? The basic gist of the principal is this: You can improve athletic performance in a given sport using CrossFit training, but you cannot improve in the sport of CrossFit beyond a certain level by only using CrossFit training. Let that sink in a moment…

Now, that we’ve processed that statement, I’m going to start backing up my claim. For years Louie Simmons has been telling big, sweaty, huffing and puffing powerlifters that the only way they can beat the guy standing next to them is to out work them. He has always maintained that a lifter needs to have a good GPP (general physical preparedness) base in order to have the requisite conditioning to be able to handle more volume in the weight room. I think everyone can agree this statement is true. The more fit you are, the more you can do; and the more you can do, the faster you’ll develop. Simple really. So here’s the funny thing, what is CrossFit? Yep, you guessed it….a GPP program (straight from coach Glassman’s mouth).

Over the years I have used Westside barbell methods to train my CrossFit athletes. At every single powerlifting meet I have had athletes in I have always had people on the podium, and in fact at every single meet we have won best overall lifter. Now keep in mind these are CrossFit athletes competing in powerlifting. So we weren’t up in the super high weight classes, and weren’t doing equipped meets. These were all raw meets, and yes we stuck out like a sore thumb. However people were always surprised that we were winning all the time, especially against people that just did solely powerlifting. I would often get asked how I was able to develop their strength so quickly, and I would always reply “CrossFit.”

If you think about it, this makes a lot of sense. Westside uses the conjugate system for accessories and GPP for conditioning. So what does a metcon end up looking like? A constantly varied group of accessories (conjugate), plus conditioning (GPP). In fact, we learned that prepping for meets, it was actually really easy to combine your conjugate/accessory work with your metcon. Simple, just use movements that make sense and make a metcon out it!

My lifters had such a level of conditioning that they could do more squats, more deadlifts, and more sets of bench than the average powerlifter. They could also recover from their training sessions faster. As a result, my athletes got stronger in a shorter frame of time when first starting out than traditional powerlifters just starting out. I’m not the only person who has seen the light on this, in fact the strongest woman in the world Laura Phelps-Sweatt does CrossFit these days.

Moving on to Olympic weightlifting. At every single meet I have had athletes in, we have won gold. Period! In fact in my team’s first ever weightlifting meet they gave out 10 total medals, my athletes took home 7 out of 10 of those medals. Again I was asked how I did this, again I replied “CrossFit.” For the record, I have only ever trained one dedicated weightlifter…and yeah, I still made him do CrossFit (he hated it too). That guy went on to be the Kansas state champion, and took best overall lifter in powerlifting and weightlifting (he did back to back meets actually). CrossFit lends itself very well to quickly developing weightlifting aptitude. The reasons are obvious, we do Olympic weightlifting A LOT in metcons. Tons of movement pattern reinforcement (if coached properly), as well as even more volume within the lifts themselves. As mentioned previously, more work gets you there quicker. I believe when you have plateaued in a specific thing, and you feel that perhaps “this is my limit” that the way forward is not do more of the same. To me that’s like slamming your head against a wall. But rather the way forward may very well be something else entirely. Only an open mind is capable of seeing possibilities beyond what is in front of them. To achieve true mastery in a thing requires one to often times search outside of that thing for answers.

Lastly in the strength spectrum we have strongman. Every athlete that I have had compete in strongman has qualified for nationals. Every. Single. One. And again, CrossFit. They moved faster, got tired less quickly, and were on average as strong or stronger than their competition. GPP for the win again! Tons of athletes and coaches have added CrossFit into their training to help elevate them in their sport. For example: Cristiane Justino (UFC fighter), New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton, Danica Patrick, Houston Astros pitcher Brady Aiken, Robert Guerrero (boxer), Erin Cafaro (Olympic gold medalist – rowing), Mattie Rodgers (weightlifter), Ilya Ilyin (Olympic gold medalist – weightlifting), and so on.

Now for the paradox. I have never seen a CrossFit athlete get to a very high level within the sport of CrossFit and break through into Regionals or the Games by just doing CrossFit. Now don’t get me wrong, you can get super fit by just doing CrossFit. But you’ll never see anyone getting to Regionals on CrossFit alone. You can probably smash some local comps, and kill it in your gym against your classmates. But beyond that, it won’t happen. You see a guy named Michael Rutherford way back in the “Preebok” days of CrossFit saw the writing on the walls. He saw that his athletes as a majority weren’t strong enough to do the WODs as Rx’d. Their rate of progress to get to that point was very slow, and in some cases would just never happen. So he started having his athletes do dedicated strength training on top of their WODs. As a result, they got stronger, faster! Again the inverse result, to get more out of CrossFit you needed to do more work outside of CrossFit! Now you see it everywhere with high level CrossFit athletes. They have a weightlifting coach, a gymnastics coach, a running coach, etc. They all know what Louie Simmons has been telling lifters for years. If you want to beat the guy next to you, you need to out work them! But for CrossFit athletes this means doing more in weightlifting, powerlifting, gymnastics, and aerobic-specific training/development.

I will end this with saying that I know this obviously isn’t a catch all and absolute rule for sport specific athletes. There will always be outliers. However, more often than not, I’ll be correct in this. If you’re a powerlifter, weightlifter, football player, or what have you, that wants to get better at their sport, then I strongly suggest getting outside your comfort zone big time. Especially in the off-season!

If you’re a CrossFit athlete who is really wanting to breakout, I suggest focusing your training to supplement your sport. If you’re not strong enough, then add in powerlifting. If your Olympic lifts aren’t making the cut, then add in more weightlifting, and so on.

You see, sometimes when you plateau, the answer isn’t to keep grinding forward with what’s in front of you. Then you will just be slamming your face into a wall. Sometimes the answer is to do something else entirely. This only works when you have an open mind and you are able to see the possibilities outside of what lies directly in front of you. It has been my experience that in order to achieve true mastery of a thing, you not only need to have the discipline to train dedicated in that thing until you feel that you have reached the end, but to search outside of that thing for answers. It is when we close our minds to possibilities that we see less.

About Coach Nick Scott:

Nicholas Scott
CrossFit affiliate owner of 5 years. 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. Follow him on Instagram: @scottstrengthsystems

====================================================
Our latest E-Book “Performance Zone” has dropped! Check it out now at:

==> www.mashelite.com/performancezone/
====================================================
This book will help you discover all the steps necessary for “getting in the zone”, or what we call “entering the flow state”. This book will help you:

-Give you the history of flow or the zone
-Explain what is needed to get into flow or the zone
-Give you The Guide to Initiate Flow
1 Clear goals
2 Feedback
3 Skill ratio

This is definitely my favorite book to have written. I hope that all of you enjoy reading it!

==> www.mashelite.com/performancezone/

“CrossFitter Turned PowerLifter: Mentality Differences” by Crystal McCullough

====================================================
Our latest E-Book “Performance Zone” has dropped! Check it out now at:

==> www.mashelite.com/performancezone/
====================================================

CrossFitter Turned PowerLifter

“Mental toughness is a collection of attributes that allow a person to persevere through difficult circumstances (such as difficult training or difficult competitive situations in games) and emerge without losing confidence.”

I consider myself a multi-sport athlete. Yes, I am a Powerlifter, but I am still a CrossFitter. I am simply on an extended hiatus from CrossFit to pursue certain Powerlifting goals. My hope is to go back and forth between the two depending on the time of year and the season.

I am going to be honest with you from the get-go. I am a baby in the sport of Powerlifting. I do not pretend to be an expert or even know very much about this sport. I am in the process of absorbing as much knowledge as I can from the best in the sport so I myself can be successful as both coach and athlete. I want to just go ahead and put that out there.

I was initially introduced to Powerlifting in 2010 through a friend of mine that personal trained his athletes out of a CrossFit gym. He then held a meet in that same gym. It was the first time I had heard of a powerlifting meet. We were there, didn’t have anything better to do, so myself and a few other gym members decided to sign up. I had not trained at all for it, nor did I really know what I was doing. That day in May 2011, I benched 110, squatted 205, and deadlifted 275. I thought I was the shizz!! Little did I know how those numbers would change quite drastically over the next few years once I put some work into it. And, man, oh man, I’m not done yet!!

I had always enjoyed the Big 3 lifts from the time I was introduced to them, but didn’t think much about specializing in it. I just thought they were a part of the CrossFit regimen and methodology Kool-aid I was drinking. It has been said by many in both sports that CrossFit has opened up the world of Powerlifting to a very large population. This, in turn, has made powerlifting a more popular sport than previous years. I couldn’t agree more. Powerlifting meets are being held weekend after weekend in CrossFit gyms across the country. Each and every week, more and more people are being introduced to the sport of powerlifting. That being said, I know several powerlifting athletes who have supplemented with CrossFit-style workouts to break up the routine or try something new. It is a symbiotic relationship where both sports benefit from the other in relation to exposure. I believe this will continue as both sports grow.

There is a definite mentality difference between the two sports. Everything in the CrossFit community is for time. You are racing against yourself, the clock, each other….each day you walk in, you are competing in some way. There are no “sets” or focuses on small muscle groups in traditional CrossFit programming. I get looked at funny in the CrossFit gym I manage when I do barbell shrugs or hammer curls. My athletes don’t understand just yet the slowing down and focusing on specific small muscle groups. I am slowly but surely educating them on the importance of dumbbell work. They are already grasping the importance of squatting!! There is a benefit in both powerlifting and CrossFit where these types of movements can be of great value to both sports. When you are stronger, the lighter weights in conditioning workouts can be moved faster. I have had to transition my mentality from GO, GO, GO into longer resting sets and much less conditioning.

For me personally, it has taken time for me to appreciate the rest periods and focus in on the little things that had been neglected/ignored for quite some time. What led me to powerlifting in the first place was a shoulder ailment that would not go away. In all honesty, since focusing on powerlifting, the shoulder has healed and strengthened at the same time. I feel stronger and healthier now than I ever have! Definitely makes you trust the process and very appreciative of my coach forcing me to address the issue.

The one area I was NOT mentally prepared for by CrossFit was making weight and what athletes are willing to go through to get there. I had to make two drastic weight cuts in December 2015 and again March 2016. I went from 162 to 148 in a short period of time. The federation I competed in was a 24-hour weigh in. My attempt to cut weight was two-fold. First, if I could lift the same or better at a lower weight class, well, that would be awesome on all accounts. Second, I proved to myself I have the discipline to do it. There are no weight classes in CrossFit, so instead of focusing on the scale, I focus eating for performance and the weight I will perform my best at in both strength and gymnastics. There has had to be a mental switch on my part to cutting weight for the purposes of a weigh in with no intention of actually lifting at that weight. I have since switched federations to USAPL where I am comfortably in the 72k weight class with minimal to no cutting!

Mental toughness is required in both sports and I know without a doubt, the time I spent focusing solely on CrossFit helped prepare me for what I needed to succeed in Powerlifting. CrossFit requires a lot of skill in gymnastics movements and the Olympic lifts. There are a lot of days you leave the gym frustrated and disheartened. The key is to use those days to fuel yourself to keep pushing to get better. That is where being mentally tough breeds success. Powerlifting is strength only. Yes, there is technique that comes into play with the lifts just like everything else. Foot placement, bar placement, bracing yourself, depth, how you set up, etc. are extremely important and must be consistent with the lightest to heaviest of lifts. At the end of the day, the goal is to stay healthy, train smart, and be as strong as you possibly can be. This could apply to both sports. When I have a training day that I am required to lift at 90+%, I have to be mentally focused in order to be successful.

Whatever the sport you are competing in, mental focus and toughness are the only way you will succeed at a higher level. I will leave you with these pieces of advice:

1. Find a coach you trust and knows what they are doing!
2. Listen to that coach!
3. Work hard and put in the work required.
4. Realize you will have bad days and those are the days that just might be the best training days to train that mental toughness.
5. Celebrate small victories. A PR is a PR and new skills are always worth celebrating.
6. Go back to the basics and make your technique flawless.
7. Don’t talk smack or degrade others. Put your head down and let your numbers talk for you.

You could add so much more to this list, but bottom line, allow your sport to bring out the best in you!!

Good luck to you in whatever you are aiming for!!

Crystal is quickly becoming a world class powerlifter. She has squatted 325lb raw, benched 175lb, and deadlifted 370lb all at the age of 40-years-old. To find out more about her, check out her Instagram: @crystalmac_72

====================================================
Our latest E-Book “Performance Zone” has dropped! Check it out now at:

==> www.mashelite.com/performancezone/
====================================================
This book will help you discover all the steps necessary for “getting in the zone”, or what we call “entering the flow state”. This book will help you:

-Give you the history of flow or the zone
-Explain what is needed to get into flow or the zone
-Give you The Guide to Initiate Flow
1 Clear goals
2 Feedback
3 Skill ratio

This is definitely my favorite book to have written. I hope that all of you enjoy reading it!

==> www.mashelite.com/performancezone/

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