Category Archives for "Athletic Performance"

Bringing the Juice or X’s and O’s?

I hope to see all of you at our “Even-Esh Underground Strength Coach and Mash Learn 2 Lift” Combined Certs. Here are the dates:

March 17th and 18th at the Mash Compound in Clemmons, NC find out more and get Early Bird Pricing Below:

Even-Esh and Mash Cert

June 9th and 10th will be at Zach’s place in Manaquan, New Jersy

Details coming later!

Bringing the Juice or X’s and O’s?

Saturday I was hanging out with Coach Joe Kenn, Head Strength and Conditioning Coach for the Carolina Panthers and two-time NSCA Coach of the Year. I am giving you a little of his background because I want you to know where this information is coming from. First let me give you a little more of the plot. Coach Kenn hosted a deadlift party at the Big House Power World Head Quarters. He invited an all-star cast of characters including:

• Martin Rooney, creator of Training for Warriors
• Chris Ox Mason, Pro-Powerlifter and owner of TFW Winston-Salem
• Coach Liane Blyn, Director of Strength and Conditioning at Appalachian State University and World Champion Powerlifter
• Coach Justin Blatnik, one of Coach Kenn’s assistants and a competitive strength athlete
• Derek Selles, champion powerlifter, professional videographer and editor
• Justin Lovingood, National Weightlifter and Powerlifter

The deadlift party was awesome, but it was the talk afterwards that intrigued me the most. It was awesome to hear Martin, Coach Kenn, and Coach Blyn talk about “brining the juice” on a daily basis. They were talking about bringing the energy, motivation, and buy-in to their athletes on a daily basis. They agreed that this ability trumped exercise science knowledge.

I have to agree. Now let me be the first to say that this life should be one big quest for knowledge. It just seems that lately the world is made up of so-called experts that have never really coached anyone, and all they want to talk about is energy systems and periodization. That entirely means nothing if you don’t have the ability to relay the information to your athletes in a way where they buy-in to what you are saying. That’s simply a fact!

Martin told us that there are now studies being done showing increases in performance from athletes coached by dynamic coaches versus low-key coaches. I will need to look at those studies first, but it only makes sense. As an athlete, I didn’t want to be coached by some boring dude talking about fiber types. I wanted to be coached by someone that understands fiber types and recruitment. However, when we are in the gym training, I want that coach to have the ability to shift my mindset and work harder than ever.

I have known opposite ends of the spectrum in my lifetime. I have known coaches that had all the knowledge that were never able to acquire one good athlete because they were so boring. I have also known mental clowns that thought yelling was a program. Neither extreme is worthy of advertisement. Neither extreme will ever create one good athlete.

A great strength coach spends his life acquiring knowledge. The athletes deserve that. They trust us with their careers and lives. It is up to us to do everything in our power to ensure that they are getting every tool necessary to reach their goals. Personally I don’t care if my athletes are constantly improving, getting stronger, and winning. That doesn’t mean that I have the perfect program. The quest for the perfect program never ends.

However, here’s the part that the Instagram Coach has no idea about. A great strength coach is a performer. The weight room is our stage, and each day is another episode of our show. Each day, my goal is to motivate, encourage, and entertain my athletes. Yes I want to entertain my athletes. Get over yourself already! It is ok to have fun in the weight room. Heck if you want to see you athletes improve, let them have fun and watch their numbers skyrocket.

Coach Kenn is a performer. I have watched him coach at the Carolina Panthers Stadium several times. The guys love him. His big smile and crazy lingo make it fun for these athletes to go to the gym. Guess what? Most football players don’t want to go to the gym. They want to play football. If you want them to see results in the weight room, find ways to get them to enjoy their time.

Martin Rooney is the King of Performers. I know because I have watched him give a presentation for Perform Better, and it was amazing. He owns the crowd from the minute he starts talking, and the crowd loves every second. When he is done with them, they leave that room wanting to be better athletes and coaches.

Here’s the thing that I want to leave you with. If you want to be a strength coach, you need to learn from real strength coaches. If someone that has coached less than five people in their lifetime is grooming you, you are a fool. People can talk theory all they want, but you want to find out the exact results that they have gotten with their athletes. The best program in the world is worthless if no athlete in the world will buy into it.

If you are a prospective strength coach, weightlifting coach, or powerlifting coach, I encourage you to spend 50% of your time on acquiring knowledge and the other 50% on communication skills. If you can relate to your athletes, you can impact their lives. If you can’t, you are worthless as a coach. Now that’s the bottom line, and I hope that all of you will go out and crush it this week with your athletes. They deserve your best.

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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

Intangible Attributes of Great Strength Coaches

I hope to see all of you at our “Even-Esh Underground Strength Coach and Mash Learn 2 Lift” Combined Certs. Here are the dates:

March 17th and 18th at the Mash Compound in Clemmons, NC find out more and get Early Bird Pricing Below:

Even-Esh and Mash Cert

June 9th and 10th will be at Zach’s place in Manaquan, New Jersy

Details coming later!

Intangible Attributes of Great Strength Coaches

Yesterday I had the honor of visiting the weight room of Wake Forest Football Strength and Conditioning. They just come off of one of their best in a longtime going 8-6, and winning the Military Bowl against 25th ranked Temple Owls. Being in the weight room with the team made it easy to understand why this team did so well. Did I mention that they are a young team as well, so look out?

Coach Brandon Hourigan is their Head Strength Coach, and it was easy to see what makes him great. Coach Hourigan brought the energy to the program. He was lit on fire, and the team responded. Weightlifting Coaches could learn a thing or two from great strength and conditioning coaches if they would open their minds to learning new ideas.

Here’s what made the program great:

• The Programming was excellent
1. Excellent movement and injury prevention warm up
2. Neck Work to prevent concussions
3. Cleans performed exceptionally well for a football program (remember they are not weightlifters)
4. Full Depth Squats
5. Emphasis on the posterior Chain
6. Partner Stretching
• The Team Comraderie was through the roof! People were cheering each other on, supporting one another, and helping each other.
• The Athletes were having fun! This one is way too often overlooked. If you make the weight room a scary, boring, or bashing place, none of the athletes will want to be there.
• The Coaches were coaching the entire practice. Yes they were pumping the players up, but they were also coaching the movements and helping the athletes.
• Work ethic was off the charts, and it was the entire team.
• The Head Coach was leading from the front, and he was the energy of the room. Coach Hourigan brought the intensity to the room. Plus I have to say that his new beard is on Fleek!

Some of these points might seem elementary to some of you, but I promise that 50% of these elements are missing from 95% of all programs. I have visited multiple D1 Weight Rooms, and I have to give Coach Hourigan an A+. I think that my man Coach Kenn of the Carolina Panthers would like this guy and his staff, and that’s saying something because Coach Kenn has the highest standards.

I am excited to announce that Zach Even-Esh and I are teaming up to teach another dual certification. I believe that combined we go over all the attributes necessary to become a great strength and conditioning coach. Here’s what we are going to cover:

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

Guys great strength coaches are way more than programmers or technique guys. Personally I believe that great weightlifting coaches are way more than programmers and technique guys. One of the reasons that I love Dane from Garage Strength is that he gets his lifters fired up. His lifters feed off of his intensity. Heck, I can see that at the meets. He’s just a bigger taller version of me, and that’s why his team is unreal.

If your athletes don’t want to be in the weight room, you are not coaching. If your athletes aren’t working hard, you are not coaching. If your athletes aren’t cheering each other on and supporting one another, you aren’t coaching. If your athletes aren’t smiling because they are having fun, you aren’t coaching. This is the bottom line.

This is what separates the online gurus that have never produced one solid athlete, and the coaches that are producing the ballers. You can read “Supertraining” and all the programming books that you like, but these intangible traits of great coaches will be the ones that make or break you. You can develop the coolest looking excel sheets on the planet, but if your athletes don’t buy in to your program, you don’t have anything. What I am saying now is the truth that all of you need to hear.

Now go look yourself in the mirror and ask yourself if you are producing this culture in your gym or not. If you are not, these are the things that you need to work on. I have watched coaches with average sport science and programming knowledge produce amazing athletes by getting their athletes to buy in and producing the proper culture in the gym. I have also watched people that I consider to be brilliant exercise scientists never produce one good athlete.

Guys you have to have it all to be a great coach. You have to be the energy on the weight room each and every day. You have to find ways to get your athletes to have fun and want to be in the room with you. I hope that everyone reading this will become great strength coaches, and that’s why I am dropping this tough love on all of you. Now walk in your weight room today filled with energy. Walk in your weight room today and find ways to help your athletes love what they are doing.

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I hope to see all of you at our “Even-Esh Underground Strength Coach and Mash Learn 2 Lift” Combined Certs. Here are the dates:

March 17th and 18th at the Mash Compound in Clemmons, NC find out more and get Early Bird Pricing Below:

Even-Esh and Mash Cert

June 9th and 10th will be at Zach’s place in Manaquan, New Jersy

Details coming later!

Programming Made Simple

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

Programming Made Simple

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In today’s world of strength and conditioning, weightlifting, powerlifting, and CrossFit, everyone seems to be looking for the perfect program. To be sure, there are programs that are better than others, but the program is only as good as the coaching, atmosphere, and determination that goes along with the program. The magic of a program lies more within the atmosphere, coaching feedback, and your own determination. There are certain elements that have to be present for a program to be successful. These elements should be obviously present. My goal in writing this is for you to recognize a solid program, so that you can choose a program wisely.

The first element that has to be present in a solid program is a steady increase in volume. There are several ways to do this linear, undulated, daily undulated, and other forms of periodization, but the one common theme is that you will be performing more work at the end of the year than at the beginning. There are several popular programs out there that do a poor job at steadily increasing volume. For the body to signal an adaptation process, there has to be a stimulus. It’s like working a blue collar labor intensive job. For example, when someone begins a job like logging, the first few weeks are terrible. They will get tired and sore, and they will struggle to keep up with the veteran workers. After the first month, their body will adapt, the soreness will ease, and they will be working at a much faster rate. Their body has strengthened and become more efficient in the tasks. The same goes for any type of strength and conditioning.

Weightlifters need the reps and sets to get stronger and to become more efficient at weightlifting. Football players need sprinting, jumping, and strength to force their bodies to get stronger and faster. Work capacity is one’s ability to perform work. The higher an athlete can increase their ability to perform work, the stronger and faster they can become. This simple concept holds true for all sports: wrestling, powerlifting, football, MMA, and all the rest. Volume is something that all coaches should be aware of when writing programs, and if not, they are not doing their athletes justice.

Second the program has to address weaknesses. Every athlete is different, so a one size fits all approach is really not the best option. If someone is strong but immobile, then the program has to address mobility. If an athlete is super mobile, but lacks the stabilization to maintain positions, then exercises to address those stability issues are necessary. If a football player wants to get faster in the 40 yd. dash, then program needs to incorporate speed mechanics, deep squats, cleans, posterior chain, acceleration work, and mobility. It’s a simple concept that is often overlooked.

Also, periodic deloads and a taper before competition needs to be present. A steady climb in periodization needs to have periodic deloads present for the body to compensate for the extra high demands. There are several ways to do it, but in my programming we follow 4 week block periodization with the fourth week being a type of deload. The last four weeks of a plan will be a systematic tapering process allowing full recovery and full body compensation to take place. This will ensure the body’s readiness for competition. A perfect taper will have the athlete primed for his or her event which is the whole point of the plan. The tapering process brings us to the next component of programming, recovery.

Recovery has to be addressed for an athlete to be fully prepared for battle. All athletes workout hard, but it’s what they do when they are not working out that makes them great or not. We call this being the “Master of the Mundane”. An athlete needs to ask themselves if they are really doing everything that they can to get better. Recovery includes sleep, stretching, eating properly, massage, Active Release Technique, Chiropractic, and anything else that will help the body recover from the high demands of being a top athlete. If a program doesn’t at least address these things, then it is doomed to fail. There is no such thing as overtraining, just under recovering.

An athlete must practice what’s important often. If you are a weightlifter, you need to snatch and clean & jerk 3-4 times per week. If you are a powerlifter, you need to squat, bench press, and deadlift at least 2-3 times per week. Strength sports are no different than any other sport.

Basketball players practice basketball every single day. They don’t necessarily plan a game every day, but they do pick up the rock and practice. Why are strength sports any different? If you become more efficient at a movement, you will lift more weight. Period!

The last suggestion that I have for programming is “cut the fat”. If you don’t absolutely need an exercise in a program, get rid of it. Too many coaches simply throw the kitchen sink at their athletes hoping that something will work. I recommend focusing on the competition lifts and choose assistance exercises that target weaknesses.

Just to recap:

1. Volume must increase over time!

2. Address Weaknesses!

3. Periodic Deloads to acclimate to increased volumes.

4. Recovery must be a consideration

5. Practice what’s important often.

6. Cut the Fat! If you don’t need an exercise, get rid of it.

I recommend choosing a program wisely, but keep in mind that the program is only as good as the coaching feedback, atmosphere, and the work that you put into it. The best part of the internet age is that there is a lot of information out there for an athlete to choose. The worst part is that there is a lot of information out there. The key is being able to make educated decisions between all the options.

Check out one of the Online Teams:

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

Check them out here: ⇒ Mash Mafia Online Teams

“Don’t take your guns to town son.” by Coach Nick Scott

The “Eat What You Want” E-Book by @rebekahhopetilson is live! Launch Price is only $19! http://www.mashelite.com/eatwhatyouwant/
=========================
The Book comes complete with: – Macro Calculator – Explanation of Macros
-Determining Personal Macros and Goals
– Meal Planning and Grocery Shopping
– Macros and Real Life
-Budgeting and More!

http://www.mashelite.com/eatwhatyouwant/

“Don’t take your guns to town son.”

Wow my man Coach Nick makes some great points for CrossFitters, general strength athletes, and the weekend warriors out there. If you are masking pain and dysfunction with wraps, shoes, and other items, you might want to handle the pain and dysfunction before moving on. If you are not in this thing to compete or be a world champion, I hope that your main goal is health and wellness. If health and wellness is your top priority, then alleviating pain and eliminating dysfunction should be your priority.

If you like what Coach Scott is saying in his articles, you might want to follow him on Instagram:
–> @scottstrengthsystems

Now enjoy the article!

As I sit here and listen to my Johnny Cash, watching all these athletes, I notice something. An overwhelming amount of them are strapped, knee sleeves, knee wraps, wrist wraps, belts, Olympic shoes, etc. Another thing I notice, a lot of them move poorly….and I think there might be a connection here. Most of these athletes aren’t competitors; they are just training for life, health, and fitness.

So I say to myself, you should leave your guns at home son! Let’s think about this for a moment.
If you’re just the average CrossFit box goer, why on earth are you all decked out like a competitive weightlifter or Rich Froning?

All of these items are useful in the right circumstances. Knee sleeves or wraps make sense if you have a previous injury, or if you’re maxing your clean or squat, or if you’re 8 weeks or so out from a powerlifting/weightlifting competition and are really in the training grind. But, they do not make sense if you’re doing weights at 80% of your max or below, nor if you’re doing a metcon. If your knees are so banged up that you need wraps or sleeves every day, on every movement regardless of weight, then you have a problem.

You have a big problem. You are either grossly over-trained beyond your body’s ability to recover, or your movement/mobility/form is so bad that your body is about to explode. If this is the case, the answer is simple. STOP! Go back and fix your technique, improve your mobility, or simply drop the volume! The human body should not be so broken all the time, and you should be able to do most of your training without assistance.

Olympic shoes make sense if you’re doing an Olympic program, but if you can’t complete the movements at below 80% of your max without them…. then there’s a problem. You likely don’t have good enough mobility to get into position properly without the assistance the shoes give you. Now let’s think about that for a second. If you literally can’t do the movement properly without a specially designed shoe, don’t you think that at some point, something is going to give? Your body is telling you that you have a serious issue that needs to be addressed before you go down this road. Putting a band aid on it isn’t the way to go, it’ll just lead to a major failure down the road. That’s the opposite of health and wellness.

Having to wear wrist wraps every time you go overhead to alleviate pain is a no go as well. Unless you have a preexisting injury, this means your wrists are too weak. If that’s the case, how do you ever expect them to get stronger if you’re constantly supporting them artificially?

Weight belts are amazing, they can be a crutch as well. My rule for my athletes is no belt unless it’s over 80%. I do this because if you cannot confidently get under a bar at 80% or less for a couple of reps without it, then that means you probably have a midline weakness or imbalance. Putting a belt on will surely help you lift more weight, but when you take it off, are you really any stronger? A chain is only as strong as its weakest link.

My advice is for the average gym goer, the non-competitor. However, if you are a competitor who has no previous knee/wrist/back problems you probably shouldn’t need this stuff either. At least not on a daily basis, if you’re 8 weeks or so out from a competition that’s another matter entirely.

The fittest man alive, Rich Froning, was once interviewed and stated that when he was the “fittest” he was also the unhealthiest he’d ever been. Everything hurt, tons of nagging injuries, etc. That’s the price you pay to play the game. When it’s game time, it’s PAIN TIME baby!!!

But normal everyday training volume should not leave you in this state. Even as a competitor. A competitor understands that competing will hurt, and acknowledges that they will pay a price in the long term. For those who are gifted, they will end up reaching a level that makes a life of aches and pains worth it.

For most of us, however, that’s just not reality. Everyone must decide for themselves ultimately how much they are willing to accept for where they are as an athlete. I’m not going to preach to anyone about what I think they should do with their lives. Just remember that in today’s day and age, life is likely to be very long. Before my grandad passed on he told me “Nick, if I had known I’d have live so damn long, I would’ve taken better care of myself!” I’ll always remember this, it taught me to think more about what I’m doing, what I’m sacrificing, and where that might leave me down the road. For myself, I try to balance my life and training as much as possible.

If you have to go into the gym strapped like old Billy Joe in the song, maybe stop to think about what and why you need all this stuff to become fitter. Try to fix the issues, and leave your guns at home!

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

Mash Method Report

The “Eat What You Want” E-Book by @rebekahhopetilson is live! Launch Price is only $19! http://www.mashelite.com/eatwhatyouwant/
=========================
The Book comes complete with: – Macro Calculator – Explanation of Macros
-Determining Personal Macros and Goals
– Meal Planning and Grocery Shopping
– Macros and Real Life
-Budgeting and More!

http://www.mashelite.com/eatwhatyouwant/

Mash Method Report

I am happy to report that I ended 2016 in a much better state than I started out. I committed much of the year to growing my team and my business as well as spending more time with my family. I am very excited with the growth of our business, and the state of Team Mash Mafia.

I have several great people in place within the business, and of course I have the great Coach Don McCauley coaching. This infrastructure will allow me to actually get back in shape, and hopefully get back on the platform next year. The birth of my third child, Behr Bradley Mash gave me the motivation to get back in shape but in a little different way.

Here are my goals for 2017:

• 130k Snatch
• 170k Clean & Jerk
• 300k Back Squat
• 190k Bench Press
• 320k Deadlift
• Run a 5K

I was in the worst shape of my life going into my training, so I didn’t have to train 6-days per week to see results. I have started things out in a very simple way. Here’s what it looks like:

Day 1
Mash Method Bench Press
Max Effort Front Squat
Repetition Method Clean & Jerk

Day 2 (No Weaknesses Day)
Multiple Carries (Zercher, Farmers, Kettlebell)
Unilateral Overhead Work
Prowler Pushes
Mobility

Day 3
Max Effort Bench Press
Mash Method Front Squat
Max Effort Clean & Jerk

Right now I am only doing three Days per week, but I intend on adding one day in January. I will add in Snatch on Day 3 and the extra day with some pulling, accessory, and cardio work. I will probably stick with this for a month or two before beginning a 5 to 6 day per week schedule. Right now I am sticking to my principle of getting the most out of the least, and it’s working well for me.

I have been training with my old training partner Chris “Ox” Mason at his gym “Training for Warriors Winston-Salem”, and I can tell you that this has help immensely. Ox was my training partner throughout college and during my professional powerlifting days. I am not sure if it’s a trained response or what, but when I drive to his gym, I feel the old me coming out. I am learning to enjoy training again. I once again feel excited about the possibilities of my body.

I have only been at it for about six weeks so far, and here are the results:

Front Squat 175k/385lb to 215k
Bench Press 137k to 162k
Clean 130k/286lb to 150k/330lb

Not to mention we are doing the Day 2 Workouts in a type of Met Con, and I can really feel my conditioning improving. The Day 2 “No Weakness” Work isn’t the sexy stuff, but that’s the day that is most important to my quality of life. I want to be active and mobile as my children grow up. For this to happen I have to focus on muscular balance and conditioning.

The first few weeks of the Mash Method have looked like this:

Weeks 1 thru 4

Set 1 93% x 1
Set 2 75% x 5
Set 3 93% +5-10k x 1
Set 4 75% +5-10k x 5
Set 5 93%+5-10k x 1
Set 6 75%+5-10k x 5

I have definitely played around with the percentages, as there are many possible variations. For example I have maintained the 5-rep percentage throughout adding a 5+ to the last set. PAP really helps to knock out some repetitions. From week to week, I have started a couple of kilos higher as to slowly progress in intensity and overall volume.

Weeks 5 + 6

Set 1 95% x 1
Set 2 80% x 3
Set 3 added five to ten kilos to set 1 for 1
Set 4 added 5-10 kilos to set 2 for 3
Set 5 added 5-10 kilos to set 3 for 1
Set 6 added 5-10 kilos to set 4 for 3+

Now I am starting all over with a hypertrophy phase where I will be doing sets of 3 reps and 10 reps. I am a little scared of this phase, but I know that I need it. I love the results so far, and I look forward to playing around with the sets and reps for a little while longer. A couple of my athletes are testing a first round draft of the method, so hopefully I will have some good data for a new book later this year.

I will keep you guys updated as I try to aspects of the method. All that I can say is that I am very pleased so far. I hope to bridge this method with squat every day sometime in the spring. I need to increase my work capacity just a bit before I begin that phase. I am very excited to be getting after it as we enter 2017. I hope that I can show all of my 40+-year-old readers that age doesn’t need to be an excuse.

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

Coach and Athlete Relationship

The “Eat What You Want” E-Book by @rebekahhopetilson is live! Launch Price is only $19! http://www.mashelite.com/eatwhatyouwant/
=========================
The Book comes complete with: – Macro Calculator – Explanation of Macros
-Determining Personal Macros and Goals
– Meal Planning and Grocery Shopping
– Macros and Real Life
-Budgeting and More!

http://www.mashelite.com/eatwhatyouwant/

Coach and Athlete Relationship

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Some might think that this is a straightforward answer, but it is not. It changes overtime. The relationship starts one way and ends up another. Well at least it should. A lot of coaches want total control throughout a lifter’s career, but nothing could be more incorrect. Let me explain!

When an athlete first starts, they have no idea what they are doing. They have no idea how their bodies will respond to training. They have no idea how their body is moving throughout space. At this point the coach should have total control of an athlete’s training. The coach will know best because they will know what works best for rookie lifters. They will focus on basics and GPP. There will be a huge emphasis on technique, timing, and movement. A lot of the movement patterns that are developed during this stage will be with the athlete forever, so attention to detail is everything.

During this phase the lifter should compete often, so they and the coach learn how the athlete is affected by competition. They will learn if they like extra time during warm ups, or if they like to warm up quickly. The coach will learn how the athlete reacts during pressure situations. The coach should put the athlete in as many situational moments as possible to prepare the athlete for the future. Teaching the athlete to compete well is a must as a coach. This rookie stage is the first 2-3 years of an athlete’s career.

Years 3-7 is the intermediate stage where the athlete should begin to have more input. The athlete is beginning to develop an understanding of the way their body works. Not to mention, “If an athlete believes that something will work, it will”! I live by that saying. It is so true. If an athlete is having trouble with their jerk, and they think that push presses will help them, almost 100% of the time the push presses will help them.

Every athlete has a different body that will react differently to certain stimuli. For example, Jon North knew that Front Squats hurt his back. Why would I test that theory? I just did back squats. It’s not like he didn’t positional work because his clean rack position was perfect. If an athlete in this stage, feels that they need more pulls in their training, it will probably work.

The key is learning to fit the suggestions within the coach’s program scheme. Remember, if the volume is well thought out, adding something means subtracting something. If you add push presses, then subtract a press somewhere else. As a coach, the worst mistake is assuming that you know everything about the athlete. If a lifter is a true athlete, they are going to know their own bodies better than anyone else. I suggest using this awesome trait in conjunction with the program that a great coach has designed.

The last stage is 7+ years of training. At this point the athlete knows best. They have performed countless cycles of programming. They have tried countless exercises and variations of the lift. They have had success with certain styles of training, and they have failed with others. Certain volume loads have propelled them to greatness, and others have put them in the hospital.

At this point the athlete needs to have the majority of input about their program. The coach is used to simply guide them in their decisions. Really at this point, the coach is for accountability, guidance, technique feedback, and meet strategy. Travis Cooper at Team MDUSA has been training for over 10 years. All of the coaches including myself give him a ton of freedom in the program that he performs. He gives suggestions, and we offer guidance. He knows his body, and he knows what works. He knows that if he is squatting certain weights, then he is prepared to lift the weights that he is targeting.

All of this requires the coach to remember that he is there for the athlete. All to often the coach thinks that the athlete is there for him/her. They are wrong. Their time has come and gone. If they are truly great coaches, then they derive their pleasure in aiding the athlete in reaching their own goals. My prayer is that more coaches will let go of their pride and remember that they are privileged to have a part in helping an athlete reach awesome goals in life. Coaches are just tools for the athlete.

Yes I feel a sense of victory when one of my athletes does well, but really I am happier for them. I am helping young men and women feel the same sense of accomplishment that I felt when I was young. It’s one of the most rewarding feelings that I have ever experienced. If coaches out there will coach for the right reason, they will feel the most rewarding feeling in the world. A feeling of helping someone else can’t be matched.

2017 is going to be an exciting year for us. We hope that we can help as many people reach their goals as possible. Here are a couple ways that we can help you:

Check out one of our five E-Books:

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

Check them out here: ⇒ Mash Elite E-Books

Cade

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