Category Archives for "Travis Mash"

Training 1/16/18 and Improving Joint Health

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Training 1/16/18

Yesterday was another fantastic day of training. Each week, I am getting closer and closer to my to my goals. Of course, after taking 90% of 2016 off from training, it makes having gains in 2017 a little easier.

Session 1

I started my Monday at TFW Winston-Salem training with Chris Ox Mason. I was really stiff to start things out. I am assuming it was the results of the heavy deadlift on Saturday along with several breakout lifts last week. I was scheduled to Front Squat first, but I decided to focus on mobility and just bench press. It was the right call.

Bench Press Max Effort- 360lb x 1 easily and 370lb x 1 also easily and both were PRs.

Mobility Work-
Half Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch
Cobra Pose
Frog Pose
Paused Kettlebell Potato Sack Squat
Plate between feet Squats

I am pumped with my bench press. Six weeks ago my max was a hard fought 320lb, so it’s coming back rather quickly. The 370lb lift was probably an 8 RPE, which is where I am trying to keep things right now. I would rather know that I could do more than actually find out all the time. This approach is allowing me to comeback faster without all the pain that normally comes with training hard.

The Kettlebell Potato Squats are an excellent way to mobilize. You simply hold onto the bottom of a kettlebell, sit into the bottom of a squat, and let the kettlebell pull you down as you focus on shooting the chest out. This movement really encourages a proper position and spine.

Session 2 at the Mash Compound

Back Squat Mash Method
215k x 1
185k x 5
225k x 1
195k x 5
240k/528lb x1
205k/451lb x 5

Sumo Deadlift Mash Method

375lb x 1
315lb x 5
400lb x 1
340lb x 5
425lb x 1
365lb x 5

Back Squat- Mobility in the morning really helped to make the back squat perform better. My position was much better than last weeks along with my depth and strength. This workout was about 818lb heavier in total volume than last week, so I am very excited with the progression. My last five rep was about 50lb heavier than last weeks, and my top single was 53lb more than last week. Hopefully next week will bring the same gains, and then I will already be within striking distance of a 600lb+ squat. I am very excited to see the progress this early in my training.

Sumo Deadlift- first let’s address that this is not a cheat lift. If it were truly easier, everyone in powerlifting would use it. I am over 100lb stronger at conventional deadlift. The main reason that I am sumo deadlifting is to encourage hip health and to work on my weakness. Mobility is good, but you need to make a joint stronger if you want it to get healthy.

Sumo Deadlifts actually hurt me just to warm up, and then my hips start to loosen up during the heavy sets. I am writing this at 6am in the morning, and I can say that my hips feel much better today. Of course the word “feel” is very subjective, so let me put in a way that may substantiate my claim. Normally my hips start to bother me the last couple of hours during my sleep at night. They didn’t interrupt my sleep at all last night. Uninterrupted sleep means better recovery, and that means the sumo deadlifts are working.

I hate working the sumo deadlift, but I know that I need to strengthen that position. I am excited to watch the progression as I actually focus on the lift for a few weeks. Of course my hope is that my hip mobility and strength improves over that time.

Thanks for reading! If you have any questions, feel free to ask below. You can keep up with my training videos on Instagram: ⇒ @coachtravismash

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Deadlift Party at Big House Power World HQ & Bringing the Juice

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“Deadlift Party at Big House Power World HQ”

I just got back from the first Deadlift Party at Coach Joe Kenn’s “Big House Power World HQ”, and I can say that I had a great time. We had a guest appearance from TFW Creator Martin Rooney, which is always fun. Ox joined me with a host of other characters for some fun, big lifts, and idea swapping. Guys this is where real knowledge is passed on. By all means, I want all of you to study and understand all the elements that make up Exercise Science, but you have to get out from behind a book to get the real world experience.

Martin really sparked the most influential conversation about what he calls “bringing the juice”. That means great strength coaches have to be able to put on a show each and every day. I didn’t realize that there are people out there actually doing studies about the ability of coaches to motivate their athletes. They are proving positive that coaches with the ability to motivate have a better chance of increasing the performance of their athletes.

Now that is something that seems obvious to me. Most of the coaches that I hang around with would think that motivation is super important, but there are coaches out there that only care about the “X’s and O’s”. Yes that’s important, but without “the juice” that knowledge is rendered useless. We were actually rattling off examples of some very knowledgeable coaches that absolutely lacked any results to speak of. All that I can say is that my interest is peaked to find out more about this topic.

I am super excited about my deadlift. After only one full week of Deadlifting, I hit a relatively easy 605lb Deadlift this morning. One week ago, I pulled for the first time in well over six months, and I only hit 495lb. That’s not bad for one week of work.

Yesterday I performed a double day. Here’s how it went:

Session 1

I started out a Ox Mason’s TFW Winston-Salem. I was scheduled to Clean and Jerk and Bench Press, but I didn’t have “The Juice”. For once I listened to my body, and I only Bench Pressed and mobilized.

Bench Press Mash Method-

295lb x 3
215lb x 10
320lb x 3
225lb x 10
340lb x 2
225lb x 10

I was hoping to hit the 340lb for a triple, but it just wasn’t in the cards. However, the double was a comeback PR, so I will take it. I just needed some extra rest and food, so that’s exactly what I did.

I went home and ate a ton of good food, and I took time out to get in a little rest. I also went to my go to recovery method. I took a Hot Bath. I was able to rest, recover, and relax my mind. Then it was time for session 2!

Session 2-

I trained with my team at the compound for Max Out Friday. There were some good vibes going around the gym, so we had a lot of fun.

Clean & Jerk Volume-
110k x 3
120k x 2
130k/286lb x 1

Front Squat Mash Method-

170k x 3
120k x 10
180k x 3
120k x 10
190k/418lb x 3 PR Triple
140k/308lb x 10 PR Ten

I took it easy on the Clean & Jerks and focused on technique. Then I turned up the volume for the Front Squats. This Mash Method Program has really helped to get me stronger and feeling better about my positions. Now it’s time to rest, recover, and have some fun with my family.

I hope that these journals are helping you guys out. I am having a lot of fun writing about my daily adventures. If you have any questions, feel free to comment below.

Check out the videos on Instagram: ⇒ @coachtravismash

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A Breakthrough Moment

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A Breakthrough Moment

Yesterday during Session 2 of my Mash Method Training, I Front Squatted 220k/484lb. It was the first moment that I actually believed that not only could I get back in great shape, but also I believe now that I can get in the best shape ever. This lift put me way ahead of schedule for my goals in 2017.

I think that we all have certain numbers that we must first get to that propels us further towards our goals. It’s quite arbitrary when one things about it really. Why 220k? Why didn’t I get this confidence boost when I front squatted 215k a few weeks ago?

Possibly because 220k puts me close to a 500lb Front Squat again, and there is something manly about front squatting 500lb. At least I think so, and really when it comes to training goals, nothing matters other than what I think. No body really cares other than me, so it needs to matter to me. The same goes for you. Your training has to matter to you and no one else.

Yesterday I told my training partner and friend Chris Ox Mason that I had Front Squatted 220k. He replied, “Why?”

I answered by saying, “Because I could!” That’s the truth. To me the heavy lifting makes me feel young. I am able to lift more weight in the squats and pull than 99% of my athletes. Yes I am heavier than most of them, but I don’t care. Of course there is Nathan Damron, but he doesn’t count because he’s not human. However don’t think that I am not going to try and squat with him by the end of the year. Yes it’s probably not going to happen, but I have always shot for the big dog. I think that it adds to our coach and athlete bond, and it allows us to have some fun in the gym.

I find that I relate to my athletes better when I am training. I am more fun to be around, and I definitely bring more energy to the room when I am training. That’s just the way I am when I am training. I get excited, and I like to have a goodtime. A lot of my athletes need to be reminded to have a good time.

So what is your breakthrough lift that you need to hit to believe that you are truly capable of your goals? Is it high enough? Just because I am 43-years-old doesn’t mean that I am going to start setting mediocre goals. I am not that kind of coach, and I am certainly not that kind of athlete. I leave mediocrity to the coaches talking junk about our team while failing to produce more than one or two National Athletes. OK that was a little harsh, but I am not going to erase it. Haha

Here’s another small rant that I will leave you with before I am off to Wake Forest University to help with their strength program. Why is it that people get their feeling hurt when they talk junk on a social media post and then others attack them? I mean you started the talking. Here’s the thing. You will never find great coaches ever critiquing, criticizing, and talking junk on social media. We are too busy producing athletes. All that we ask is that you leave our athletes along. I recommend focusing on yourself because that will produce the most fruit in your own life. An outward focus will never yield a crop because there is never any improving. Anyways I hope that is taken as guidance. I really don’t care when people criticize Coach McCauley or me. We are producing. You can read about our results, and we are respected amongst our peers. That’s all that we can ask for.

Let me end by giving some advice on “breakthrough moments”. I recommend setting goals that are big. Of course set smaller goals that can be achieved weekly or monthly. I recommend circling one of those numbers as a breakthrough number. You know a number that lets you know that your big goals are achievable.

I can tell you this. After yesterday, I am ready to lift more weight than any other time in my life. Here are some of the principles that are helping me along the way:

• Frequency- I still do the important things often.
• Mash Method- This is a play on PAP, but it is really helping me add some quality muscle and strength at the same time.
• Surround yourself with people with equally or greater goals. Insane people make each other more insane I have found.
• Focus on your weaknesses for accessory movements. This has been a game changer.

Tomorrow is Mash Method Front Squat and Bench Press. Saturday I am visiting Big House Power HQ to work with the world’s best strength coach, Coach Joe Kenn. We are hitting some deadlifts on a Saturday morning. Stand by for all of the results and shenanigans.

You can check out the Front Squat on Instagram: @coachtravismash

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No Weaknesses, Conditioning, and Mobility 1/11/17

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No Weaknesses, Conditioning, and Mobility 1/11/17

Today I started out my training at TFW Winston-Salem with my boy Ox Mason. Wednesday is the day that we focus on muscular imbalance, conditioning, and mobility. Here’s what it looked like:

1. Heavy Bag Carry with seat belt grip
2. Leap Frogs
3. Prowler Push
4. Grasshoppers
5. Bottom Up KB OH Carry
6. Med Ball Rotations into Wall

We performed each exercise for 30-seconds with 30-seconds rest between exercises for 3 Total Sets. We took 2-3 minutes between sets to focus on maximal effort. Those sessions leave me smoked, but feeling better. I believe that training like this is more optimal for long-term training. There aren’t a lot of eccentric contractions or loading of major joints, so there is little damage done of the system. The mobility work leaves my joints especially my hips feeling and functioning better.

I am happy to report that the overhead carries are really having a major impact on my overhead exercises like the Snatch. Every week I get a little better with the position and the strength of this exercise. I will probably try to add in more volume on exercises like this:

• Bottom Up KB Z Press
• One Arm Kettlebell Press or Push Press
• Axle Bar OH Carries
• KB or DB One Arm OH Squats

Here’s the moral of the story. If you have a weakness, you have to attack it on a regular basis. I fractured a cervical vertebra in 2007. That injury damaged the radial nerve in my left arm. There were times when I just assumed that it would never improve. Now I can say that with persistence things can get better.

I am performing a Max Effort Front Squat this evening at the compound, so I will probably report on that tomorrow. You can keep up with these videos on Instagram at:

@masheliteperformance or @coachtravismash

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Training 1/10/16, Mobility Work, and Elbow Pain

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Training 1/10/16

This year is starting out well. I did part of today’s workout at the Mash Compound, and the other part was at the family farm, Rolling Hills Stables. Today is the day that I focus mainly on the Olympic lifts, accessory work, and mobility.

If you are able to train in multiple places, personally I recommend it. You always need your go to spot to get right, but I love mixing things up. It keeps training fun, and that’s a key not talked about near enough.

Here’s what it looked like:

Session 1

Snatch Volume 80k x 3, 90k x 2, 100k x 1, 105k/231lb x 1 Comeback PR

Clean & Press Mash Method
75k x 1+3
55k/121lb x 1+10
80k x 1+3
55k x 1+10
85k/187lb x 1+3
55k x 1+10

The Snatch Volume work was a big increase from last week by a total of 50lb total volume. The weight moved a lot better, but I still need more mobility work. I am just not able to get in a position that is comfortable yet during the start. It’s mainly my hips that are jamming everything up. I have damaged hips from my powerlifting days, but that doesn’t mean they can’t improve. It just takes a lot of time.

The Clean & Press was fun. I love overhead press especially with a clean. I think that the clean and press is the manliest strength lift of all. If you can take 315lb from the floor, clean it and then strict press, you possess all the upper body strength necessary to handle any task. I would take a 315lb Clean and Strict Press over a 500lb Bench Press anytime. I can say that because I have done both. Clean and Strict Press is just way more functional. At least that’s my opinion.

I did the 10-reps with 6 more pounds than last week, and I finished with 22lb more in the triples. I will be glad to get this rep count with over 200lb. Having that overhead strength simply makes everything else feel better.

Session 2

1. Rower 250m as fast as possible
Superset with
Half kneeling hip flexor stretch
And Quad Stretch

X 5 sets

2. Axle Bar Bicep Curls 5 x 8
Superset
Plate Between Feet Squat x 5 sits
Superset
Sumo Stance Twists x 10 ea way

This session was mainly to get some work capacity with the rower, Axle Bar Curls to help my elbows, and mobility work. I am excited about the conditioning work that I have been doing with Ox Mason because the Rower wasn’t that bad.

The Axle Bar Curls really help to alleviate elbow pain. I got this from Dan John. I am not 100% as to why, but here’s my guess. I do almost all of my movements with a pronated grip. Shoot I even deadlift with a double overhand pronated grip. I suspect that the axle bar curls help to open up the joint and restore functional movement. However, I want to do more research on elbow pain and get back to you

Putting a plate between my feet and attempting to squat is to date the best hip mobility movement for me. I normally do this exercise near a rack, so I can hold on. By holding on, I am able to work way down by taking deep breaths and displacing weight back and forth. My hips are just terrible, but this exercise helps to restore function in about one month of daily use. Once you can sit in a full squat with proper position, you can put a green band behind you and attach the other end to a squat rack. This will help with ankle mobility as well. I learned this movement from Tom Sroka and Sean Rigsby during my days at MDUSA.

If you want to catch some of the video action, check it out on Instagram at either: @masheliteperformance or @coachtravismash

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Training 1/9/16 and Accessory Insight

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Training 1/9/16

As promised, I picked it up a bit today. It was a little snowy and icy, but that wasn’t going to stop me. I am focused again finally. When I am like this, there isn’t a lot that can get in the way of my goals. Ice and snow are not one of those things.

I trained with my old buddy Ox Mason at TFW Winston-Salem. I like training somewhere besides my gym. When I am at my gym, I am a coach first and athlete second. When I take the 20-minute drive to train with Ox, my mind shifts to the task at hand. My mind also wanders to the times that I use to drive to meet Ox for bigger stake lifts. That’s where I want my mind traveling to because that is where I intend on taking things once again.

At my age (43-years-old) you never know when it’s all going to end. I could suffer the injury that I can’t recover from. My family might need more of my focus. I am taking this training cycle like it could be my last. I want 2017 to be a year that I could end on. So far so good!

Here was today’s training:

Back Squat Mash Method
425lb x 1
365lb x 5
455lb x 1
385lb x 5
475lb x 1
405lb x 5

Max Effort Bench Press 335lb x 3

Max Effort Deadlift 525lb x 1

I started out the back squat a little conservatively. For whatever reason, I am more prone to injury with the back squat, so I want to deposit some volume into my training bank before withdrawing many massive PRs. I could tell that the movement felt better towards the end and the depth improved. It will take my hips a few more months to get health enough for super deep squats. I am breaking parallel, but I want more ROM. Practicing the movement of squats will provide most of what I need for improved ROM. I will use some of my go to mobility movements to get the rest like:

Frog Pose
Cobra Pose
Half Kneeling Hip Flexor Work
Foam Roller for IT Bands
Lacrosse Ball for Piriformis and Glute

I was really pumped with the Bench Press. It is feeling better each and every day. When I benched 400lb over a year ago, I still wasn’t focusing as much as I am right now. The Mash Method is giving me the muscle mass for a big bench. I could see a possible 455lb Bench this year. I will be adding my favorite accessory movements to strengthen the press and to prevent injuries:

• Closegrip Floor Presses
• Weighted Dips
• DB Tricep Extension
• DB P. Cleans mainly for the external rotation
• Hang Muscle Snatch
• Axle Bar Curls for Elbow Health per advice from Dan John

I told you guys that the Deadlift would continue to shoot through the roof. The 525lb was still submaximal. This Friday I am going to do some volume mainly to keep my posterior chain strong. Of course I will be adding my favorite Pulling accessories as well:

• Unilateral RDLs
• GHDs
• Belt Squat KB RDLs
• Belt Squat Good mornings

If you guys have any questions, ask them below and I will answer. You can check out my Instagram videos: @coachtravismash or @masheliteperformance

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Check out one of our five 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