Category Archives for "Athletic Performance"

The Coaches that have Influenced me the Most and Why

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

http://www.mashelite.com/mashmethod

The Coaches that have Influenced me the Most and Why

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

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

• Olympic weightlifting
• Powerlifting
• Athletic Performance

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

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

Anyways, let’s get to it.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here’s what to expect:

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

Extras-

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

Find out more at:

www.MashElite.com/seminars/

Are the Olympic Lifts Necessary for Athletic Development?

Check out one of our six E-Books:

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

Check them out here: ⇒ Mash Elite E-Books

Are the Olympic Lifts Necessary for Athletic Development?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here’s what to expect:

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

Extras-

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

Find out more at:

www.MashElite.com/seminars/

Odd Objects for Athletic Development

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

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

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

Odd Objects for Athletic Development

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

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

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

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

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

Tires
Flips
Partner Passes
Partner shove of war

Farmers Walk Handles
Bilateral Walks
Unilateral Walks
Suitcase Deadlifts

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

Axle Bar
Clean & Press
OH Carry
Zercher Carry
Deadlift

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here’s what to expect:

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

Extras-

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

Find out more at:

www.MashElite.com/seminars/

Hybrid Workouts: Strong and Conditioned

Check out one of our six E-Books:

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

Check them out here: ⇒ Mash Elite E-Books

Hybrid Workouts: Strong and Conditioned

A question that we get a lot is: “Can I get strong and conditioned at the same time?” When I was younger, I would have said absolutely not. When I was a powerlifter, conditioning was a set of ten on squats. I increased work capacity through more and more work in the weight room. Obviously it worked, but is there a better way? Better yet, is there a healthier way?

In the last year, I have studied, tested, and developed some cool ways to get strong and in great shape. I have to admit that my man Chris “Ox” Mason came up with the concept that I am about to present. I started working out with him earlier this year to get out of my slump that I slipped into during 2016. Ox is my old training partner from college all the way into my professional powerlifting days. Training with him again was like taking things back for me back to a place where I fell in love with training.

I developed our strength portion, and he developed our conditioning portion. Today I am talking about how we mixed the two. I have enjoyed these workouts probably more than any other workouts ever. I have recovered better, experienced less chronic pain, gotten way stronger, and way more conditioned.

Let’s look at the structures:

Structure 1
Low eccentric and Low impact strength movement
Active Mobility Piece
Low eccentric and Low impact strength movement
Active Mobility Piece
Low eccentric and Low impact strength movement
Active Mobility Piece

Volume: 3-4 sets of 30 second of each movement with 1-3 minutes rest between rounds. We also did 3 sets of Tabata while changing exercises each tabata.

Ex.
Sled Push
Leap Frogs
Kettlebell OH Carry
Grasshoppers
Heavy Bag Carry
Side Lunges

Structure 2
Sprint Conditioning Piece 20-30 seconds
Low eccentric and Low impact strength movement 20-30 sec
Active Mobility Piece 20-30 sec

Volume: Completing each exercise 3 times is one set, rest 1-3 minutes, completed 3 sets

Ex.
Aerodyne or Rower
Farmers Walk
Spiderman Walks

Let’s go through some of the principles. First the low eccentric and low impact strength piece is something that Louie Simmons has been preaching for years, so no one can say that they made this up. So what do I mean by low eccentric? I am talking about movements that are either concentric or isometric in nature. That means you are picking movements that are only loading the muscles during their shortening (ex. Ascent of a Back Squat or a Bench Press), or when the length isn’t changing at all (a heavy carry or pressing against a wall).

The low impact refers to the fact that the movements aren’t putting undue pressure on any major joints. Some examples of low eccentric and low impact movements are: farmers walk, zercher carries, heavy bag carries, sled pushes, sled drags, rope pulls, and overhead carries.

Sleds are great for increasing your heart rate, conditioning and strengthening the hips. The carries are the best way to strengthen the core. Overhead Carries (my favorite) are great for overhead stability and the entire kinetic chain. We normally throw in overhead carries because I have some neuromuscular damage in my left arm, so we are trying to wake up those pathways. I have noticed some major improvements during the last few months regarding position, endurance, and load.

The mobility movements are designed to target our trouble areas in my case the hips. The movements are also designed to keep us moving. We want to keep the heart rate up for some cardiovascular improvements.

There is one benefit from this style of training that means the most to me. I have some major hip damage in my right hip. It’s very arthritic, and it hurt all the time in the past. I was getting a cortisone shot almost every three months, and I was taking way too many NSAIDs. I haven’t had a cortisone shot since June of last year. That’s a record for me over the last five years. I am also sleeping better.

My workouts look like this:

Day 1 Monday
Bench Press Max Effort Rep Max 1-5 for Now
Back Squat Mash Method Strength 3-4 Sets of 1-2 and 5-6 each (What I am saying is 3-4 sets of 1-2 rep and 5-6 rep waves. The Free E-Book is here, so check it out!)
Deadlift Rep Max 1-5 for Now
Smaller Version of the Ox Conditioning Method

Day 2 Tue
Snatch Simple 3-2-1-1 (focus increase Volume)
Strict Presses Mash Method 3-4 Sets of 1-2 and 5-6 reps each

Day 3
Front Squat Max Effort Rep Max 1-5 for Now
No Weaknesses Overhead, core, mobility, and work capacity focused

Day 4
Clean & Jerk Simple 3-2-1-1 (focus increase Volume)

Day 5
Bench Mash Method 3 sets of 3 & 10 each
Front Squat Mash Method 3 sets of 3 & 10 each
Sumo Deadlift 3-4 Sets of 1-2 and 5-6 each

Smaller Version of the Ox Conditioning Method

I am convinced that this style of training would have allowed me when I was younger to train a lot longer without getting so beat up. The added volume is helping to strengthen my joints as well. I may or may not compete again, but I will use this style of conditioning forever. It’s fun, easily quantified, and leaves you feeling better. That’s the best part. You will leave the gym feeling better than ever making the rest of your day brighter.

The volume that I prescribed is just a starting point that we are using. We are 40+-year-old ex-powerlifters, so you may need to scale up or down. We will continue to raise the volume in one of a few ways:

• Increasing work times
• Decreasing rest times
• Adding exercises
• Increasing loads
• More challenging movements

It really is endless. I see this style of conditioning working for the masses. I am excited to work with Coach Ox on perfecting this style of training, and offering it more clearly to all of you. At the end of the day, I just want to impact lives in a positive way. I hope that is everyone’s goal.

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Check out the latest FREE E-Book “The Mash Method” and learn all about the latest method that is blowing up at the Mash Compound and around the world:

==> The Mash Method

Mindset Approaching Personal Records

Check out one of our six E-Books:

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

Check them out here: ⇒ Mash Elite E-Books

Mindset Approaching Personal Records

This is a question that a lot of you have been asking: “How do I get psyched up for a PR attempt?” That’s a great question, and now with the help of our Psych Guy Nathan Hansen, I feel better giving all of you an answer. I will say that getting ready for a PR attempt is where a lot of you go wrong. Here’s why.

There is a lot that goes into working towards a personal record especially once you’ve been in the game a while. What I am about to say goes for any barbell personal record: snatch, clean & jerk, squat, bench, and deadlift. The key is all in the preparation.

The best athletes will form a pattern. They will approach the bar the same way. They will set up the same way. They will run the same checklist in the brain. They will take the same amount of time before attempting the lift. They will have warmed up the same way before the attempt.

This pattern helps to put the body on cruise control. If you start to change your pattern, your body perceives the attempt as a new activity. That can cause coordination and fiber recruitment to go haywire. I see it all the time in my own gym. Some people approach a personal record the same as any other lift, and they are the most successful. Others will change everything, and they are the least successful. Here’s an example of what not to do:

I have watched one particular athlete kill it during all preceding attempts leading up to a PR. They were keeping a pattern for setting up. Their mechanics were right on par for the course. Then they add a little weight, and everything changes. Their breathing increases. They cut the music up or down. They take longer to approach the bar. Then 100% of the time their mechanics change ending with a miss. That particular athlete has since changed that mindset quite a bit resulting in more made lifts.

Getting psyched up is an individual thing, but here’s something to consider. Some people will cause nervous energy when they get psyched up, and that leads to a lot of negatives. If your breathing changes and your heart starts to race, you might want to consider sticking to just a checklist in the brain. Greg Nuckols is normally joking around before taking world record attempts and laughing with the spotters as he sets up. The key is knowing what works for you.

You also need to consider if the PR is in training or competition. If you are in training, I wouldn’t recommend getting psyched up too much and/or too often. Getting psyched up to much can lead to adrenal fatigue, which can ruin the rest of your training because recovery is hindered. If it’s a competition, you can turn up a little for the big attempts. The key is being able to channel the energy.

At a big competition, I would take the following approach:

1st Attempt I would simply go over my mental check list, keep my pattern, and remember that I was doing exactly what I loved to do. Normally I would be smiling during my first attempt.

2nd Attempt Everything would be the same with just a little more focus and intensity.

3rd Attempt would normally be the Big PR or World Record. I wouldn’t change a thing except I would channel all my energy. Now what I am about to tell you is my personal way. That doesn’t mean that it will work for you. I would think about all the people that doubted me. I would remember all the hard things in my life that I had overcome. Last I would remember the people that I love, and that had always believed in me.

This thought process would channel an enormous amount of positive energy that I kept internalized. I would keep all of that energy inside until it was time to actually lift. I wouldn’t scream, yell, or shake. I was focused with positive energy waiting to explode. My pattern and approach didn’t change a bit. The result was normally a PR.

One of the things that holds lifters back is the ability to approach a personal record the same way they approach all other attempts. They get nervous and panic. Here are several other ways to prevent this:

• Same Warm-Ups- I suggest warming up the same way every day with the same jumps, reps, and sets.
• Patterning- approach the bar the same way, set up the same way, and take the same amount of time.
• Learn to relax and have fun! This was a game changer for me. I stopped getting nervous, and thought of training and competition the same way. Both were times for me to get together with friends that I cared about to do the very activity that I had loved my entire life. That’s it and nothing more. This over simplification will help relax you.
• Visualization- before approaching the bar, you should see the lift in your mind exactly the way that you want to perform the lift. I suggest practicing this technique as much as possible. You should be able to feel the bar in your mind. You should see the background, and experience as many senses as possible. The more real that you can make the visualization will make the technique better and better. Then you can go into auto-pilot during the lift. This will keep you from over thinking during the actual lift. You don’t want paralysis by analysis.

These are some ways that worked for me, and these are the ways that I try to teach my athletes to be successful during their heavy attempts. We are coming out with a new book in the future written by Nathan Hansen and me all about mindset and finding flow. After this book is complete, we will have programming, nutrition, muscular balance, and mindset covered by our E-Books and Online Services. Pretty exciting for me, and awesome for you!

Sport Specialization Causes Injury

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

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

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

Sport Specialization Causes Injury

A few days ago someone posted an article on Facebook that once again confirmed what good strength and conditioning coaches have been saying for years. If you have your children specializing in one sport, they are 70% more likely to succumb to injury.

Here’s a link to the article: ⇒ Specialization Causes Injury

It’s a crazy battle for parents to fight, so I get that. Sports like soccer and baseball almost require that the athlete play more often to perfect skills and for the exposure. However, the injury rate of sports like soccer and baseball are through the roof especially for females.

Here’s the thing. If you play any sport all year long, you are at higher risk because of muscle overuse. Soccer is nothing but running, decelerating, and running some more. Deceleration and cutting side to side are movements that require the body to absorb high amounts of force. The knees, ankles, and hips need to be stabilized for such movements. If you do these movements over and over without some form of stability work, your risk of injury will increase. If you drive a car more, you have a higher chance that it will break down especially if you don’t take care of it. The same goes for baseball, volleyball, tennis, and swimming.

Now I know that some of you are trying to earn scholarships, so I get it. Here’s my advice:

1. Don’t start specializing before High School. If your child excels and enjoys one sport, let them play a season, get them a skills coach, but let them play other sports. There are too many studies out confirming that multiple sports at an early age are the best way to develop athleticism. By the way no one is recruiting your 8-year-old, I promise.

2. Pick your poison wisely! Ask multiple D1 Athletes that compete in your favorite sport what route they took to get there. I see a lot of parents getting taken by travel squads in hopes that they will get their children exposure. If your child is a great athlete, you shouldn’t have to pay extraordinary amounts for travel teams. Cade Carney is the starting running back at Wake Forest University. He started as a true freshman. I coached him from 7th grade on, and he never paid a dive for these special camps and teams. All of his teams and combines were free because he was a real prospect.

There are a lot of frauds out there trying to take your money by praying on your hopes and dreams. Don’t let them! I suggest informing yourself, so that you know what direction to take.

Soccer is a little different. The travel teams are getting recruited more than the high school teams. I suggest maybe foregoing the high school team if your son or daughter is truly a prospect. It’s a thought.

3. Make time for a strength coach- Find someone that understands the body and let them stabilize your child. A little strengthening can go a long ways for preventing injuries especially non-contact injuries. They should also be able to teach basic sprinting mechanics and deceleration mechanics. Good mechanics can also trim down the chance of injury.

4. Be honest with yourself and your child- I see so many parents that are trying to force their children to play college sports. Here’s the biggest thing. If your child doesn’t want it, it’s not going to happen. That’s just a fact. Also not every child is going to play D1. Actually the majority of all children playing high school sports aren’t going to play D1. Don’t force your children to play year round sports, when they don’t have a chance of playing at the next level.

Why would you want to increase their chances of injury if you don’t really need to? Find a college coach and ask them their honest opinion. They will normally give you the cold hard truth. Now they might just tell you things that need to improve, and that’s a great thing. However they might tell you that there is no chance. That’s cool too! There is a lot to gain from playing sports in high school other than a college scholarship. They will learn teamwork, discipline, perseverance, hard work, and much more.

5. Find teams that show a history of caring about their athlete’s health. There are a lot of teams out there that have strength coaches and athletic trainers to help offset the overuse. There are coaches that will rest players when they notice recovery issues. These are the teams that you want your young athletes on.

I know some of you aren’t going to agree with me. That’s fine. However I want you to know one important fact. If an athlete is truly good enough with the right character, they are going to play at the next level no matter what you do. It happens all the time. An athlete will decide to play football or basketball their senior year and bam they get a scholarship. It doesn’t seem fair, but that’s life man.

Go out there and find a good athletic performance coach. They will teach your child functional movement, sprint mechanics, and deceleration mechanics. They will strengthen your young athlete in a balanced way. They will teach your children to move their own bodies through space. They will help give them the athleticism that they are missing from concentrating on one sport.

Now go out there and play!

Sincerely,

Coach Travis Mash

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

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

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

Here’s what to expect:

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

Extras-

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

Find out more at:

www.MashElite.com/seminars/

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