Category Archives for "Barbell Life"

Go Where You are the Weakest! Best Advice Ever!

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

Go Where You are the Weakest! Best Advice Ever!

This weekend, I am hosting one of my high school best friend’s son, Matthew Greer. He is a senior in High School, and he is on his way to play football for Carson-Newman University in Tennessee. He’s going to be spending some time on the weekends with me in preparation for college.

He text me the night before saying, “ I am not use to being the weakest person in the gym.”

I responded by saying, “You are going to be right where you are supposed to be.”

It’s so true. Most people love being a big fish in a small pond. That small pond is going to restrict your growth every time. When you are the strongest guy in the room, there is no incentive to get stronger or better. Your daily view of reality is just the weight that you are lifting. This can quickly become a stagnant environment.

I use to drive hundreds of miles every week to seek out the strongest individuals around. I wanted to find those people and understand why they were stronger. I wanted to challenge myself to become stronger. I mean if you want to be better at basketball, you find the courts where the best players are balling. It doesn’t matter the sport. The universal truth remains the same: “Go where the best are”.

Here’s why:

• It’s a mindset thing. Your view of reality will completely shift. Maybe you think that a 600lb squat is heavy. If you come to our gym, you will see multiple people that can squat 600lb.
• It’s a skill thing. You will see athletes performing the movement in a more efficient manner. This will also rub off.
• It’s a competitive thing. If you are a naturally competitive athlete, you are going to rise to the occasion. You aren’t going to allow defeat for too long.
• Most environments with great athletes have great coaches. If you come to our gym, you have Coach McCauley on a daily basis and me on an almost daily basis. That’s two International coaches in one gym. That’s a lot of knowledge to be spread around.
• It’s an expectations thing. If you come to Mash Elite, you are expected to become great. If you make an International team, you just did your job. We expect all of our athletes to eventually make Team USA.

I get it. It’s a scary thing to leave your home gym. You are the expert. Everyone looks up to you. However we both know that you will never grow in that environment. Going to those amazing gyms will also be learning experiences that will serve as sources of knowledge for the rest of your life. I learned a lot at Appalachian State University. I have read books that have greatly enriched my life. However, the real life experiences far outweigh any other forms of learning. For example you guys read an article from Louie Simmons, and then you think you know where he’s coming from. If you go there, you will learn exactly where he’s coming from.

Most of my knowledge that I have right now comes from my time in gyms like:

• Westside Barbell
• MuscleDriver USA
• Olympic Training Center
• Champion Health in Colorado with Coach Charles Poliquin and T Nation
• Big Iron Gym
• East Coast Barbell back in the day (where I met Coach Joe Kenn)
• Attitude Nation Gym (met Donnie Shankle, Jon North, Ryan Grady, Jessica North, Charlie Zamora, and so many more)

These are just a few, but each gym taught me so much. Each gym had an athlete capable of doing amazing things. Each gym had coaches that were amazing in multiple areas. Each gym had a limitless atmosphere. Each gym was filled with athletes that desired to be the absolute best in their chosen sport.

These gyms will teach you everything you need to know as an athlete. Are you really cut out for the sport? Do you really want to be the best? Will you rise to the occasion during competitive situations? Will you work hard? Will you persevere? These are questions that will forecast your future in life. Not everyone is cut out to be the best. Some people will naturally fill supportive roles. That’s ok too. The key is don’t quit and do the work. If you can do those two things, you will be successful in life.

Not everyone will make it. My gym has watched people come and go. Not everyone finds that they really want to be the best. They quickly realize that Mash Elite is not the place to be if you want to be second. We train hard, and our athletes are driven and confident. It can be overwhelming for some.

Our gym has hosted some of the best athletes in the entire country like:

• Tommy Bohanon, starting fullback for the NY Jets
• Jon North, Team USA Weightlifter
• Cade Carney, starting running back for Wake Forest University
• Nathan Damron, Team USA Weightlifter
• Mattie Sasser, Olympian weightlifter
• Joe Mbang, NBA Basketball player
• Trip McNeil, starting Offensive Lineman for Duke University
• Donnie Shankle, Team USA Weightlifter
• Jared Enderton, Professional Grid Athlete and weightlifter
• Jacky Bigger top 63k weightlifter
• Rebecca Gerdon Team USA Weightlifter
• Greg Nuckols, World Record Holder in Powerlifting
• Kevin Nason, National Champion Powerlifter
• Michael Black, American Record Holder in Powerlifting
• Chris Mason, Professional Powerlifter
• Adee Zukier, Champion weightlifter, professional Grid athlete, and owner of Team WAG
• Hayden Bowe, Champion Powerlifter
• Morgan McCullough, American Record Youth Weightlifter
• Coach Joe Kenn, Head Strength and Conditioning Coach for the Carolina Panthers

Really this is just a short list of the amazing athletes and people that I have coached at Mash Elite Performance. There have been hundreds of National Champions, World Record Holders, Professional Athletes, and simply amazing people. This is the secret to my success. It’s not the programming. Yeah we have great programming, but the fact is that we have the best people and coaches. It’s an atmosphere designed to create champions.

If you desire to be the best, you need to go where you are the weakest. If you want to learn, you need to go where you are the dumbest. This is the best advice that I can give any of you. This is where the rubber meets the road.

I see people trying to give advice all the time on the Internet. A lot of them are super smart, but most of them have one thing missing. You cannot teach someone to be a champion if you have never: 1. Been one yourself, or 2. Coached one yourself, or 3. Both. That’s the bottom line. You can’t learn that from a study, classroom, or book. It’s something that you must experience.

Go experience it now before it’s too late!

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

http://www.mashelite.com/mashmethod

“Let the Recovering Begin” a look at Coach Mash’s Recovery

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

http://www.mashelite.com/mashmethod

Let the Recovering Begin

For all of you that don’t know, last week I underwent a surgery to repair a ruptured triceps tendon on my right arm. It was just a freak thing that happened when I was snatching. There were signs that I ignored like a super achy right elbow. Here is my advice. If you are having chronic pain, there is a reason. I would simply get it checked out. Getting it check out could easily prevent 4-6 months of recovery.

Coach Ox Mason, my longtime friend and training partner, pointed out that he believes the whole thing was caused from my right side constantly compensating for the weaker left side. In 2007 I sustained a fracture in my cervical spine. The injury caused a weakness in my left arm. This weakness has caused me to spin to the right on snatches, cleans, and jerks to compensate. My right arm tries to take most of the load on all presses as well. It’s even hard for my scapula to stay tucked in the right position when weight is overhead.

As you can see, I was compensating in a lot of different ways leaving my right arm susceptible to this injury. A little more patience with the muscular balance work towards my left side could have prevented all of this as well. However, like you I want to get to the heavy stuff. The big six (snatch, clean, jerk, squat, bench, and deadlift) is what I love to do. However this impatient approached led to surgery and six months of rehabbing. A wiser approach could have left me doing what I love for a lot longer time without surgery.

I am telling all of you this, so you can make wise decisions for yourself. Hopefully some of you can learn from my mistakes. The only benefit to an injury is the ability to share with others. If my injury helps just one person, then it was all worth it. In my experience, my mistakes have led to better life lessons than my successes. If you are someone that is injured, I hope that you can cling to this positive.

My rehab workouts started two days after my surgery, and they consisted of range of motion work to the injured arm. Basically I curl my arm to 90 degrees, and then I let gravity straighten the arm as much as possible. I am trying to perform 3 x 10 with 3 sessions per day.

Today I am going to start working out in the gym again. Here is what my workouts are going to look like:

Day 1
SS Bar Max Effort 5RM, then -15% for 2 x 5
SS Bar Goodmornings 3 x 8
Left arm Bench Press 3 x 10
Left Arm KB OH Carry 3 x 40 yd

Day 2
Belt Squat Deep Squats 3 x 10
Belt Squat Glute Marches 3 x 6 seconds
Left Arm Strict Press 3 x 10
Sled Drags 3 x 40 yd ea direction

Day 3
SS Bar Max Effort Mash Method (1, 5)
SS Bar Goodmornings 3 x 8
Left Arm KB upright Row 3 x 10
Left Arm Farmers Walk 3 x 40 yd

The goal is to take advantage of this time to get the left arm stronger in all directions. The secondary goal is to keep my legs strong. I will also be adding in some Yoga in about a week along with some aerodyne sprint and distance work. I will stick with this style of workout until I am allowed to start loading the right arm.

The key to mentally surviving this moment in time is focusing on the positives:

• A chance to address my left arm weaknesses
• A chance to influence and encourage others
• A chance to be an example of perseverance for my family, team, and friends

I have already experienced moments of sadness, and I am sure that there will be some more. However my faith in God and my willingness to reflect back on the positives will sustain me through this time. Here’s the thing. It’s just a triceps tendon. It’s not cancer. There are people out there going through much worse than me.

I am excited to get back on the horse today, and at least feel some weight on my body. I think that when I come out of this, I will develop a different mindset towards training. Don’t worry I will never be the old man lifting light weights, but I will definitely take a slightly different approach. I will take a more balanced approach like:

• Focus my training on squat, bench, front squat, deadlift, and press
• Olympic lifts will be done once per week each with a focus on technique and movement.
• Yoga will find its way in there somewhere.
• Ox Mason Conditioning
• No Weaknesses Accessory work

I want to be able to train until the day that I die. I also want to be able to move well, so that I can play with my children as they grow up. I am actually excited to see what I come up with. I believe that God allows things to happen to us to either teach us a lesson or show us a new path. In my case I think that it’s a little of both. I guess time will tell.

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

http://www.mashelite.com/mashmethod

Big Goals, Clear Goals, and Daily Wins

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

Big Goals, Clear Goals, and Daily Wins

Today I want to take a closer look at goals. Goals can and should be the driving force of your daily and weekly activities. If chosen wisely, your goals are a reflection of your personal values and purpose. Here are some questions that you need to ask yourself before making any goals:

• What’s important to you?
• What do you value?
• What rules do you want to follow?
• What’s your purpose?
• How do you want to leave the world a little better than you found it?
• How do you want to be remembered?

It’s important that you understand the answer to these questions. If you make a goal without taking these questions into consideration, there will be no substance to the goal. A goal without substance is doomed to fail. Let me explain!

Let’s pretend that you want to medal at the 2020 Olympics in the sport of weightlifting. That’s great but why? How is that important to you? How does it align with your values? What’s your purpose? There is a lot to consider.

So why is it important to know these answers? Here’s the thing that you are not considering. There is a lot of work that will be required to reach this fantastic goal. You will be required to train about 3800 hours over the next four years. You will be asked to skip parties. Your diet will need to be perfect. No one is going to do what’s required unless the goal is grounded in something that matches the athlete’s values and purpose. There has to be something bigger attached to the goal.

How big is too big for a goal? I don’t think that there is a goal that is too big, but there will need to be smaller, more measurable, and clearer goals that are focused on during the weekly and monthly grind. If the Olympics are your goal, that goal is really hard to measure for the day in and day out work. There is not specific number that you can attach to that goal until you are closer to the moment. Plus there are a lot of smaller and more measurable goals along the way that will also need to be reached like:

• Medal at Nationals
• Gold Medal at Nationals
• Qualify for a World Championships
• American Record Snatch
• American Record Clean & Jerk
• American Record Total

Some of these goals are a little easier to grasp than making the Olympics, but all of them will bring you closer to your ultimate goal of the Olympics. It’s easier to put numbers on these goals, and now these goals are measureable. These goals are now clear.

Ex. Instead of Make the Olympics you could start with “Medal at Nationals”. You could look at what Medaled last year and look at the most recent results in your weight class. After some easy research on USA Weightlifting’s website, you could easily come up with that number.

Now that you have a clear and measurable goal, you will need to establish some daily focuses to establish daily wins. You can’t just focus on a number in your daily workouts. That approach will drive you crazy. We all know that improvement isn’t linear. There is a process that we will all have to go through to reach the bigger numbers. The key is not letting the process drive you crazy.

Here are some daily focuses or wins:

• Start and First pull
• Aggressive Second Pull
• Timing between second and third pull
• Meeting the bar during the third pull
• Catch position
• Movement of feet
• Long arms with elbows out

These are just a few daily focuses that an athlete can have. You will want to establish one focus for the day, and that becomes your main focus on that day. Here’s the thing. Your goal is to be present in the moment. You don’t want your brain wandering to the past or the future. Those thoughts are of no value for the daily workout.

Example- Aggressive movement of feet from hip width to shoulder width landing on the entire foot.

During that session, the movement of my feet is the main focus. Each lift I am focused on making my foot movement more and more perfect. I am not as concerned with the weight on the bar. I am more engaged on the process. That doesn’t mean that I am not adding weight to the bar. If I am feeling good, I am definitely adding weight to the bar. However the weight on the bar is secondary to the movement of my feet. I can control the movement of my feet. I can’t always control the weight on the bar.

How much weight that you can lift for a daily max relies on factors that are out of the control of the athlete. Is your endocrine system primed for a max session? Are you recovered? Is your brain ready for that next step? The answer for all three of these questions is “maybe and maybe not”. However nothing can prevent you from improving the movement of your feet.

Here’s what I am saying in a simplified versions:

1. All goals should be wrapped up in your values and purpose.

2. These goals can be as large as you can dream. Ex. Olympics

3. However the focus is on the smaller, more measurable, and clearer goals that will lead you to the big goals. Ex. Medal at Nationals

4. The Daily Grind is wrapped around Daily Wins that are measureable and achievable. Ex. Movement of Feet

This approach will keep you mentally healthy and focused on the process. Daily wins and a process approach will have you taking steps towards the bigger goals on a daily basis. This approach will keep your goals grounded on your values and purpose leading to a more fulfilled life. If you want to dream big, you have to plan even bigger.

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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

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

The Only Absolute is there are no Absolutes

==============================================
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
===============================================

The Only Absolute is there are no Absolutes

My team member Dan Koppenhaver posted an article by Yasha Kahn entitled “Just Remember to Have Fun”. In this article he contrasted typical Russian coaches that were too stern and cold in their coaching approach with American coaches that are ambassadors of “just remember to have fun”. In his opinion either side is incorrect. However the Russian side will make athletes better if they are able to stick around.

The article was well written, but I have to call BS on everything that was said. I also want to call out once and for all coaches that are out there using absolutes with exactly nothing to back up their statements. Guys this really has to end. Unless what you are saying is backed up by some credible scientific studies, it’s just your opinion.

Let me give you some great examples of absolutes that are simply no absolutes:

• Neutral spine when squatting
• Neutral spine when pulling
• Feet turned out during squats
• Feet turned straight during squats
• Low butt during the initial pull of a snatch or clean
• High butt during the initial pull of a snatch or clean
• Brush the thighs during a snatch or clean
• Extreme bar and body contact during the snatch or clean
• Be a stern coach
• Be a happy coach

Look we can all stop now. By all means you should give your opinion, but if someone is out there doing it the opposite way and succeeding, obviously it’s not an absolute. It’s probably just what your coach taught you, and now you are regurgitating it to your athletes. That’s not science. That’s just unoriginal.

I have watched coaches in America use the “just remember to have fun” quite successfully. Coach CJ Martin used that very term each lift with his athlete Maddy Myers at the Junior Pan American Weightlifting Championships last year. The result was first place in the 63k weight class and Best Overall Female of the meet. Something is working.

I use that very term with athletes that need to hear it. Here’s the thing Mr. Kahn. Great coaches will look into the souls of each of their athletes, and will determine what each of them need individually. There is no one size fits all. When I coach Rebecca Gerdon, you better believe that we are going to have fun. When I coach Nathan Damron, it’s going to be more of a Russian coach situation.

I find it funny that the coaches using such absolutes are the very coaches not producing athletes. How is that people can write articles describing what good coaches should or shouldn’t do when they aren’t good coaches their dang selves? This baffles me. If you aren’t producing athletes, then how do you know what it takes to produce great athletes? Most coaches should focus on perfecting their craft before trying to help others perfect their craft.

As you can tell this article struck a nerve, but it really wasn’t just this article. This has been several years coming. Here’s a quote directly from the article:

“Maybe I don’t have the same definition of “fun” as they do, but if an athlete wants to become better, or reach their full potential, there is really little fun in weightlifting.

Coaches who tell their non-beginner athletes to “just have fun out there” are either peddling bullshit or trying to sugarcoat self-inflicted torture. Athletes who smile through a lift are either masochist, or they aren’t working hard enough.”

I am a weightlifter and a coach, and I personally enjoy the sport. I enjoy the movement of both lifts. I enjoy the progress that one makes with hard work. I enjoy the daily grind with my team. There are definitely aches and pains that come with the territory, but the overall process is quite enjoyable and beautiful I might add.

Then to say coaches that remind their athletes to have fun are peddling BS is just too bold of a statement from a coach at his level. Just because you have traveled around with certain coaches doesn’t automatically give you their credibility. Credibility is something that you must earn with your own accomplishments. One way to earn respect as a coach is to give respect.

My team produced eight International competitors last year. I was the Head Coach for Team USA three-times. I am not saying that to brag. I am saying that to completely discredit what Mr. Kahn is saying. I tell several of my athletes to have fun when competing. Coach CJ Martin is obviously a great coach, and he does the same thing. Coach Ray Jones, coach of CJ Cummings, is a big proponent of having fun, and since CJ is already the best weightlifter in American History at 17-years-old, that makes Ray a dang good coach.

Here’s the moral of the story. All of us should be careful making absolute statements with absolutely nothing to back up our statements. Here are two questions that you should ask yourself before claiming something is an absolute:

1. Is there credible science that confirms the statement from a credible study?

2. Is there someone out there doing it the opposite way and succeeding?

If your answer is “no” to the first question or “yes” to the second question, then your thoughts or statements aren’t an absolute. And look, a thought or statement doesn’t have to be an absolute for it to be a good thought or statement. It’s all about how you are portraying it. Maybe I like a neutral spine with eyes down in the deadlift. Maybe I have used that technique to strengthen the pulls of several athletes. That still doesn’t make it an absolute when people like Ed Coan have pulled much more without a neutral spine and there is not science to back up the statement.

This entire article has been somewhat of a rant, but I hope that all of you can learn from this. Personally I believe that the entire strength world is fun. It’s full of new things to try and new things to say that might help get your athlete or you a little stronger or a little faster. I suggest that all of us enjoy the process and never stop learning. If you take that type of attitude towards strength and conditioning, you are less likely to claim any absolutes as you are always searching for something better.

===============================================================
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

No Weaknesses Paying Off

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

No Weaknesses Paying Off

Yesterday I started my training off at TFW Winston-Salem with my training partner Chris Ox Mason. This is the day that we perform our “no weaknesses” training combined with conditioning and mobility. I think that Ox is on to something with these workouts. They have improved my conditioning by 100%, but they do way more than that.

Once my heart rate returns to normal, they leave me feeling better. I have PRed my Front Squat two-weeks in a row during the evening session after these workouts. This week I hit a massive marker of 227k/500lb in the Front Squat, and I believe that I owe a big percentage of these improvements to these workouts. Our mobility is focused on the following:

• Overall hip movement
• Squat Quality
• Thoracic Spine Movement

The “No Weaknesses” or muscular imbalance and stability work is focused on:

• Scapula Stabilization
• Overhead stability
• Core Stabilization with different versions of carries

Here’s what the workouts looked like:

-Round 1 (3 Rounds of the following)

• 20 second sprint on Aerodyne Bike
• Trap Bar Carry 40 yd
• Leap Frogs x 10

-Round 2 (3 Rounds of the following)
• 20 seconds sprint on Aerodyne Bike
• One Arm Kettlebell Overhead Carry 20yd ea arm
• Med Ball Rotations into wall 5 per side

-Round 3 (3 Rounds of the following)
• 20 seconds sprint on Aerodyne Bike
• Bear Hug Carry 100+lb Heavy Bar 40yd
• Grasshoppers 5 per leg

This workout was tough. We took two minutes between rounds. Within 30-minutes afterwards, I felt better than when I walked in. I believe that this is the key to a great workout. You don’t need to be crushed for two-days to consider something a good workout.

A couple of good things that happened during the workout:

1. I was able to use the most weight yet in the kettlebell bottom up carries. This is a huge advantage for me. I fractured a cervical vertebra in 2007, which dramatically affected the strength in my left arm. Ever since that accident, I normally spin towards the right, which is my dominant arm. For the last three weeks, I have caught all of my snatches without turning or stepping. This is a huge objective marker that confirms the effectiveness of these workouts.

2. I was able to complete the workout without quitting or redlining. I have asthma. Asthma can really send me into a panic when I lose my breath. The only hard part was bear hugging the heavy bag. Two weeks ago, I had to quit because this movement sent me into a panic. I was able to cruise through the movement this week.

3. My Hip Mobility has improved a great deal. You can look at my Instagram @coachtravismash and you will see my squats improving week to week both in depth and position. Yesterday’s 227k/500lb was the deepest and best position of all my recent squats.

Since the workouts have very little eccentric contractions or joint loading, they are easily recovered from. Actually the carries and movement work get my muscles activated and moving better than ever for my evening workouts. I am able to warm-up quicker and move better than ever for the second workout each day.

I give Ox Mason full credit for developing these great workouts. Our workouts are finished on less than an hour including our warm-up. We end the workout rolling each other out with Donnie Thompson’s awesome mobility tools like the “ex-wife”. They really help to break up scar tissue and improve muscle tissue. I have never experience workouts that kicked my butt like these that also left me feeling better for the rest of the day. Coach Mason’s unique combinations are perfect. Maybe you guys can get some cool ideas.

You can see some video clips on my Instagram: @coachtravismash

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