Category Archives for "Bodybuilding"

Insight on the low Back: Asymmetries is Where it All Begins

Mash Mafia is celebrating Christmas and the Holidays with the “12 Days of Christmas” Holiday Specials. Here’s what you get:

10% off all E-Books

and

Free Domestic Shipping for all of our New Apparel

img_7298

Check out all the savings here: ==> 12 Days of Christmas Holiday Specials

Insight on the low Back: Asymmetries is Where it All Begins

Groceries

In 2004 I was diagnosed with two herniated discs, and I was told to retire from all competitive strength sports. I was faced with two options:

1. Quit even though I was 70lb from breaking the all-time total record.

2. Learn as much about the back as possible and take matters into my own hands.

Obviously I chose option 2. After researching the leading back people in the world, I landed on Dr. Stuart McGill. He is not only a leading researcher, but he also puts out work that is easily understood by us lesser academic mortals.

I also found Dr. Lawrence Gray of Gray Chiropractic and Sports Associates to be my weekly practitioner. Dr. Gray is on the same page as Dr. McGill, so it was a great fit. Dr. Gray kept me as balanced as a possible, and with the help of Dr. McGill’s work I started bulletproofing my core.

Rebecca Gerdon, Malcolm Moses-Hampton and I came out with the E-Book “No Weaknesses” regarding all the intricacies that we use for recovery. I am known as the guy that can get you strong, and now I want to be known as the guy that can keep you strong. Let’s face it! The person that can train the longest without major injury wins the game in the end.

I started working on recovery for the back. Obviously the first place that I started was Dr. McGill’s work. As I research I always like to pass on the information to you guys. Not only does it help you guys learn, but it also helps me retain the information.

Today I want to talk about asymmetries. Most practitioners want to talk about pain and range of motion to diagnose and predict back injuries. However, asymmetries in movement and strength are the first place to look because studies have shown that asymmetries in movement (especially in the hips) and strength in the low back is the number one way to diagnose and predict back injuries.

Think of the spine as a wall holding up your roof. If anything pulls the base of the wall in any direction, the wall is going to want to collapse. The balance of the low back and pelvis region is critical for low back health.

If your range of motion, function, or strength in the hips varies from right to left or front to back, I suggest working on mobility and finding a practitioner like Dr. Gray to assist in the process. Asymmetrical strength work should be a staple in everyone’s training. I suggest the following exercises:

1. Unilateral Bottom Up Kettlebell Carries: Instead of KB carries with the bell tucked against the wrist, hold the KB with the bell straight up in the air. Dr. McGill’s studies in his lab showed much more recruitment of the quadratus lumborum and abdominal obliques, which are crucial for hip movement and back and hip strength.

maxresdefault-3

2. Traditional Farmers Walk

3. Traditional Kettlebell Carries

4. Unilateral Fat Grip Dumbbell Overhead Carries

5. Staggered Kettlebell Carries- one kettlebell is held overhead and the other down by the side.

6. Unilateral Farmers Walk

7. Axle Bar Zercher Carries

8. Sled Pushes

9. One arm sled drags

10. Deficit Suitcase Deadlifts

If you visit the Mash Compound, you will see one of these versions being used by our athletes. Our athletes are taking a long-term view to their training. We have a young team, so we are thinking not just the next Olympics but also the next two or three. I hope that you will too.

I love how Dr. McGill turns his corrective exercises into performance enhancers. The same carries mentioned above not only help to stabilize the spine, but they also give athletes the power to absorb and transfer force. Unilateral carries are great for any athlete that needs to plant off one foot and change direction. This could be a football player making a cut, or a boxer planting and throwing the knockout overhand right.

Last night I had the honor of podcasting with Dr. McGill. It’s safe to say that he blew us all away with his knowledge bombs. Let me give you one nugget that should encourage you to make some shifts in your training. Here goes:

Proximal stiffness equals distal movement and athleticism. Here’s an example. Let’s look at the jerk. If an athlete is able to maintain complete stiffness in the torso during the dip and drive, this will lead to maximal force distributed up through the barbell with the arms moving at maximal velocity to lockout.

You could also look at the swing of a bat. If the athlete is able to maintain maximal stiffness in the core/torso, this will lead to maximum bat velocity. If the core/torso gives in any way, there will be power leakage. That’s why optimal torso/core training is critical for all athletes in performance and injury prevention.

“No Weaknesses” was a blast to research and develop. I believe that it could be a fantastic tool for all of you to avoid injury and to maximize performance. However, after last night’s podcast, I plan on doing even more research. I know that weightlifters, powerlifters, and all athletes could benefit from more resources regarding muscular balance and proper core stability.

You guys are going to love the podcast with Dr. McGill. I encourage you to listen to the podcast with a pen and paper. There are going to be a lot of misconceptions about core training revealed in the podcast. Some of you might get upset, and some of you will learn a better course of action. Either way you are going to learn and enjoy this lecture from the most interesting man on earth, Dr. Stu McGill.

If you don’t want to miss this podcast, get signed up for our newsletter and receive the FREE E-Book, “The Big Six”. Sign up below to get your Free E-Book and to never miss a podcast or article.

Receive the E-Book “The Big Six” for Free and keep up to date on podcasts and articles.

Mash Mafia is celebrating Christmas and the Holidays with the “12 Days of Christmas” Holiday Specials. Here’s what you get:

10% off all E-Books

and

Free Domestic Shipping for all of our New Apparel

img_7298

Check out all the savings here: ==> 12 Days of Christmas Holiday Specials

snatch-push-up

The Mash Method

“The Mash Blueprint for Strength Programming” and “Squat Every Day II: Variations in Intensity and Volume” have both launched today at the lowest price that they will ever be. Check them out below:

==> “Squat Every Day II and The Mash Blueprint”

The Mash Method

Over the years people have constantly asked me, “So what programming did you use as a powerlifter or weightlifter?” That’s actually a very good question. I performed a semi-Westside program, but at the end of the day I went heavy very often. However, I had found a way to constantly set personal records, and I didn’t even realize that I was simply using several versions of the post activation potentiation theory or PAP.

Before writing this book, I researched for a couple of days, so that I would get a better understanding of PAP. I wanted to know why it works, and I wanted to know why it works better for some than others. My man, Bret Contreras, wrote a great article on his website laying out the details of PAP. Before we go any farther, I need to give a brief definition of PAP.

This is taken directly from Bret’s article: “PAP is a phenomena by which muscular performance characteristics are acutely enhanced as a result of their contractile history. The underlying principle surrounding PAP is that heavy loading prior to explosive activity induces a high degree of CNS stimulation which results in greater motor unit recruitment lasting anywhere from five to thirty minutes.”

Most of the time people refer to PAP when using a strength movement in conjunction with a powerful more ballistic movement like plyometrics or sprinting. My man Coach Joe DeFranco is famous for his contrast speed training. He calls in contrast training. One example is where he uses heavy sled drags in contrast to short sprints. I will admit right now that I use this method with all of my sport athletes with amazing success.

Travis Deadlift

A lot of people including me will perform back squats with a jump of some sorts. Others will use the bench press in contrast to explosive push-ups. Whether you are doing a squat with jumps or bench press with plyo-push ups, the key is to pair similar exercises together. The heavy strength movement will excite the nervous system, and the contractile history will be that of a heavy squat or bench. The theory is that will leave your body prepped for the heavy movement when you simply performing a jump, sprint, or plyo-pushup with bodyweight. Both of these are great, but there are a lot of other uses for PAP.

The one that I used during the majority of my career was heavy holds, partial movements, bands, chains, and weight releasers in contrast to straight weight full range of motion movements. This Mash Method Principle is the one that I used the most to break records on a daily basis. Let me give you one example that I used.

I would perform the prescribed sets for a dynamic squat day with bands. Then I would work up to a heavy double with bands but not to failure. Then I would take the bands off and hit a PR. How did this work?

Let’s pretend that I worked up in the squat to 625lb bar weight + Blue Bands, which is 825lb total weight at the top. If my max is 800lb, that’s a total of 103% of my max squat. At the bottom of the squat the bands will deload to about 30% of their original strength, so that leaves about 685lb of total intensity at the bottom portion or 83% of maximum. 83% isn’t that hard or taxing on the CNS. I was able to squat this weight easily, and I was able to excite my nervous system for 825lb at the same time.

When I would take the bands off and work up to a max single of say 805lb, my body was prepared for 825lb. All of this gave me an advantage to hit PRs on a regular basis. The biggest issue was balancing the PAP response and fatigue. The response was the highest right after completing the set, but so was the fatigue. I found out that it was best to complete the straight weight max somewhere between 3-8 minutes after the banded word was complete.

It was also a good idea to not kill myself during the banded sets and repetitions. The less total volume that I completed would always equal the better result for the straight weight portion. I will detail how this worked over a few weeks in my FREE Book that is coming out soon called you guessed it: “The Mash Method”.

The book will contain over 15 different ways to use the Mash Method with detailed descriptions, periodization, and more. This is the way that set so many records in days as an athlete. It’s also the way that my athletes are setting so many records.

The book will contain:

• Ways to increase absolute strength in the squat, bench, deadlift, press, and the Olympic lifts
• Ways to maximize hypertrophy by using this method
• Ways to use the method in everyday strength training phases
• Ways to increase vertical leap
• Ways to increase 40yd dash time
• Ways to crush sticking points

I think that you are going to love it, and I am excited to give it away for Free. Make sure that you are signed up for the Newsletter to get the book. If you sign up now, you will get my Free E-Book “The Big Six”.

==> Sign up for the Free Newsletter and receive the Free E-Book “The Big Six”

Thanks for reading!

Squat Every Day a Little Deeper

For an awesome tool to quantify weaknesses, fix those weaknesses, control common aches and pains, and all things recovery, check out our new book “No Weaknesses. Check it out here:

The Brand New Mash Elite E-Book: “No Weaknesses”

Check out the “Mash Squat Every Day” E-Book with 4 twelve-week programs for weightlifting, powerlifting, super total, and bodybuilding. Find out more below:

>>>Mash Squat Every Day<<<

Squat Every Day a Little Deeper

20141117-180404-65044342.jpg

Squat Every Day a Little Deeper

2016 has been an amazing year. Rock (my son), is growing up. Every day he changes into a little man more and more. Emily Drew and I are expecting another little boy at any moment. I have traveled the world as a Coach for Team USA thanks to coaching some of the best athletes in America.

Squat Every Day has done a lot more than just get me strong. I am moving better, and I feel more athletic. Crushing my first ever Super Total Meet (Snatch, Clean & Jerk, Squat, Strict Press, and Deadlift) last year reminded me that anything is possible if I put my mind to it. Now I am inspired to teach all of you not only how to get stronger and more athletic, but I also want to teach you how to conquer life. That is what Squat Every Day has really done for me.

Here’s what I am talking about:

1. It’s all about Mind Set! It really is. What is your paradigm? By paradigm, I mean what is your reality, or your view of reality. I have news for you! Your view of reality is probably a lie put there by negative family and friends, and then reinforced by society. Trust me I grew up in a place where nothing really amazing happens. It took me getting out and seeing the world to understand that my view of reality was totally messed up.

The view that I had of me as an athlete was messed up. I thought that I was good, but not great. I am from the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. How could I be great? We are just a bunch of rednecks. Aren’t we?

The answer is no! We are the strongest group of people that I have ever met. I have been all over the world, and I am yet to meet a stronger group of men and women. The problem is that no one told us that until now. This discovery inspired me to help others discover their inner-greatness. I don’t want to let negative opinions shape the men and women that I am in contact with. That means “You” the one reading this right now.

Squatting Every Day has allowed me to lift massive weights at the age of 42. These are weights that I never dreamed where still possible, but they were possible. Great things are possible for you as long as you let go of all the crap that was fed to you by the people in your life.

A great way of letting it go is to forgive the people that told you those negative things. They didn’t mean too. They were just passing on the same negative things that were told to them because those negative things were their reality. Your job is to kill those negative thoughts right now, and refuse to pass them on to anyone in your life.

2. Simplify your life to the important things! Squat Every Day is all about picking out the important exercises, and then performing those exercises often. I am focused right now on Super Total Meets, so I am going to Snatch, Clean & Jerk, Squat Press, and Deadlift often. I am also going to lunge, row, and pull-up because those things are important just not as important.

This simple concept applies to life so well. If family is important, then make QUALITY Time for them daily. Let’s call it “Family Every Day”! Then pick out the important parts of your career, and focus on them. With me, writing, coaching, and teaching are the favorite aspects of what I do. Therefore I do them almost daily, and then I have hired out the rest. You will always get best results from focusing on what is important and letting someone else handle the small details.

My relationship with God is the most important part. Funny how we let the most important part slip the most. This year, I have definitely improved, but I am still only touching the surface. 2016 has to be God Every Day for me.

Hopefully you get the point. If it is important, then do it often, and do it well. If we are not careful, we will let distractions keep us from what’s important. Laser focus in the key to reaching great heights.

Last year, I let business pull me from coaching my athletes. That was a big mistake because I found myself totally unhappy and grumpy. I am called to be a teacher/coach. If I vary from that calling, then I can only expect sadness. God gifted me with the ability to teach and inspire. I am now back on a track that I will never sway from again unless God calls me somewhere else.

3. Nothing is better for overall human health that proper movement. I fractured a vertebra in my cervical spine in 2007. That injury has caused major issues for the left side of my body. The radial nerve has been compromised, and that makes holding and pressing on the left side very difficult. Squatting Every Day has strengthened my left side dramatically. I am now Snatching 297lb, which is right at that 300lb mark. I am bench-pressing 400lb again.

If you want to get mobility and stability in a movement or exercise, then perform that exercise often. You can do all the lacrosse balling and foam rolling that you want, but nothing beats the movement to improve the movement. You don’t get better at basketball by playing baseball.

I hope that these points help you in life. I want you all inspired to crush 2017. Squat Every Day, love your family every day, and worship every day! That’s where I am heading for 2017. Where will you?

“Squat Every Day II” and “The Mash Blueprint for Strength Programing” drop this weekend.

If you want to be informed when the books drop to get in on the low introductory price, simply sign up for the newsletter and receive the Free E-book “The Big Six”. Sign up here:

⇒ The Mash Newsletter and FREE “The Big Six” E-Book

travis-deadlift

Squat Every Day Cures All Ailments

For an awesome tool to quantify weaknesses, fix those weaknesses, control common aches and pains, and all things recover, check out our new book “No Weaknesses. Check it out here:

The Brand New Mash Elite E-Book: “No Weaknesses”

Check out the “Mash Squat Every Day” E-Book with 4 twelve-week programs for weightlifting, powerlifting, super total, and bodybuilding. Find out more below:

>>>Mash Squat Every Day<<<

Squat Every Day Cures All Ailments

Lu Squat

This is the article that I wrote over one year ago. I thought that you guys might want to check it out again. There were some pretty cool results. Enjoy!

Eleven Weeks ago from the day that I am writing this, I embarked upon my #SquatEveryDay Journey. Cory Gregory, Co-Founder of MusclePharm, inspired me to give it a try. Up until this point, I had steered clear of all high frequency squat programs. However, Cory Gregory inspired me on many fronts. Cory was a coal miner before becoming the fitness icon that he is today. He used his savings from his time in the mines to start his first gym. From that moment on, Cory used the same blue-collar work ethic learned in the mines to work his way to the top of the fitness world.

cory

My Grandfather retired from the Coal Mines of West Virginia, so right away I felt a connection to Cory. His family is hard working and strong just like mine, so right away there was a trust established. It is hard to explain this type of trust. Let me explain!

I watched my Grandfather and Father leave the house well before the sun ever shed a grain of light. I also watched them come home after dark with hands and feet bleeding from their daily work. They never complained. They were just happy to provide for their families. They didn’t want anything given to them from anyone. They just wanted outwork everyone around them to provide a better life for their family than they had experienced growing up. They did just that, and still found time to love their families. That’s my image of a real man!

Cory’s story of his own family was much like my own, and all I can say is that I felt connected. It takes a lot for me to trust someone with my training or programming, but he had earned that right. I trusted him, so I decided to give the Squat Every Day a try.

My friend and peer Coach John Broz inspired Cory to try the Squat Every Day Program. Broz has been preaching squat every day for years, and all of his athletes have made major improvements with his Bulgarian Methods. There belief is that to get better at a movement one needs to practice the movement every day. Kinda makes sense!

aif-broz-italia-02

I will be honest here in saying that I had low expectations going into the program. Remember I have been a world record holder in the squat, so I wasn’t expecting a program to have a major impact on my ability to squat. However, in the second week I was noticing major changes. In the eleven weeks that I have used the Squat Every Day Program I have experienced PRs every single week. That’s not common at all especially at 42-years-old.

Cory put his own spin on the program using the Conjugate Method from Westside Barbell. Cory is a Louie Simmons fan just like me, and he has used the Westside Methods to hit some respectable numbers in the powerlifting world. Conjugate is simply a fancy word for change. The body will sometime plateau when an athlete performs the same movement everyday. If you slightly vary that same movement, then it is perceived as a new movement forcing the body to get stronger and adapt to the new stimulus. Cory has used pauses, bands, chains, and even specialty bars to vary the lifts. I love this concept.

20141117-180404-65044342.jpg

So far, I have only used the Back Squat and the Front Squat with pauses from 1 to 5 seconds in the bottom. I have used a rep scheme from 1-2 reps in the max set, and 3-5 reps in the down sets. Look at all the variations that one can form from these slight variations:

Back Squat
Paused 1 sec for 1 rep
Paused 2 sec for 1 rep
Paused 3 sec for 1 rep
Paused 4 sec for 1 rep
Paused 5 sec for 1 rep
Not Paused for 1 rep
Paused 1 sec for 2 rep
Paused 2 sec for 2 rep
Paused 3 sec for 2 rep
Paused 4 sec for 2 rep
Paused 5 sec for 2 rep
Not Paused for 2 rep
1st rep only Paused 1 sec for 2 rep
1st rep only Paused 2 sec for 2 rep
1st rep onlyPaused 3 sec for 2 rep
1st rep only Paused 4 sec for 2 rep
1st rep only Paused 5 sec for 2 rep

Front Squat
Paused 1 sec for 1 rep
Paused 2 sec for 1 rep
Paused 3 sec for 1 rep
Paused 4 sec for 1 rep
Paused 5 sec for 1 rep
Not Paused for 1 rep
Paused 1 sec for 2 rep
Paused 2 sec for 2 rep
Paused 3 sec for 2 rep
Paused 4 sec for 2 rep
Paused 5 sec for 2 rep
Not Paused for 2 rep
1st rep only Paused 1 sec for 2 rep
1st rep only Paused 2 sec for 2 rep
1st rep onlyPaused 3 sec for 2 rep
1st rep only Paused 4 sec for 2 rep
1st rep only Paused 5 sec for 2 rep

From just the Back Squat and Front Squat you can get 34 variations from the pauses and the two different rep schemes. This doesn’t even take into consideration the volume manipulations that one can form from varying the down sets. Normally I try to increase volume for 3 weeks, and then deload volume on the fourth week while maintaining intensity. Slowly increasing volume over the months and years of training is another necessity for increasing strength. Increased workload forces the body to adapt and become stronger.

I have used the Squat Every Day Program to formulate Olympic Weightlifting, Powerlifting, and a Powerlifting/Weightlifting Combo that I am using to prepare for a Super Total Meet in November. Super Total simply means the competition of the Snatch, Clean & Jerk, Squat, Press, and Deadlift, or as I call it, the Big 5! I have successfully taken all five lifts higher than they have been for over 12 years. I’ll call it the fountain of youth. At 42-years-old competing in five events makes training more exciting, but controlling the volume becomes tricky. The key is to push the body’s threshold without crushing the immune system. Believe me, I am pushing that threshold.

So far, here are the PRs that I have set in the last 11 weeks:

Snatch 135k/297lb up from 115k/253lb
Clean & Jerk 166k/365lb up from 150k/330lb
Clean 170k/374lb up from 150k/330lb
Jerk from Blocks 182k/400lb up from 160k/352lb
High Bar Back Squat no wraps 285k/627lb up from 250k/550lb
Bench Press 400lb up from 315lb
Deadlift 700lb up from 630lb
Front Squat 242k/532lb up from 205k/451lb
Paused Front Squat 230k/506lb up from 190k/418lb

I have also developed a Squat Every Day Program for Bodybuilding. If you are that guy or gal that can’t seem to get the wheels to grow, this program is for you. Not to mention that we all know that heavy squats are great for the endocrine system. There is not other lift on the planet better for spiking natural growth hormone and testosterone levels than the almighty squat.

The last eleven weeks I have spent most of my time researching all about the program and talking to the experts like John Broz and Cory. I have also unleashed the program on my athletes with phenomenal results. I have found that newer athletes need a little more volume, so I am using the repetition method with them. Rookies need more of a base. We still squat every day, but I am using a higher rep scheme on some days.

I am just excited to bring all of these detailed plans to all of my readers. There is nothing better than passing on information, and helping people reach their goals. Cory did it for me, and now I am doing it for you.

Here is the way Super Total Squat Every Day Plan looks now:

Week 1-4
Day 1 Week 1
Warm Up with OH Squat Variations 2 Snatch Grip Push Presses & 1 OH Squat work up to 75% of Snatch
Front Squat Paused 3 sec no belt Max, then -20% for 3 not paused
Snatch Start at 70% 8 sets x 1 rep working up heavy but no misses
Bench Press Paused 3 sec Work up to a max, then -20% for 3
Upper Muscular Imbalance Work 1

Conditioning
200M Lunges BW Only

Day 2
Front Squat Paused 3 sec with Belt max
Clean & Jerk Start at 70% 8 sets x 1 rep working up heavy but no misses
Snatch Pulls 95% for 3×3 with a 6 sec eccentric
Core Muscular Imbalance 1 This is normally a carry
Optional Cardio, GPP, HIIT

Day 3
High Bar Back Squat Paused 3 sec with Belt Max, then -20% for 3 no pause
Jerk from Block work Paused 3 sec in dip and catch 1RM, then -20% for 2×2
Bench Press Pause all Reps Start at 60% 8 sets x 3 rep working up heavy but no misses
Deadlift EMOMs Paused 2 sec 2 inches off Floor 70% 6×1 work up but not past 90%
Upper Muscular Imbalance 2

Day 4
Warm Up with OH Squat Variations Work up to 70% for 3 reps with 1st rep paused 5 sec
Front Squat with Belt no pause Max
Snatch Max Effort Snatch to Hang Snatch Max, then -10% for one down set
Optional Cardio, GPP, HIIT

Day 5
Low or High Bar Back Squat no pause with Belt Max
Clean & Jerk Max Effort Clean, 2 Front Squats, and Jerk Max, then -15% for 1 down set
Clean Pulls 95% 3×3
Core Muscular Imbalance 2

Day 6
OH Squat Variation Max Effort 1RM with 5 sec pause, then -20% for 3 reps not paused
Bench Max Effort 3RM 3 Board, then work up to 90% of Max Bench to Chest for 1 pause
Deadlift Max Effort 5RM from Blocks with Bar at Knees
RDLs 3×8
Lower Muscular Imbalance

Lunges 200-400m

Day 7 Optional Day
Thruster or Cluster 3RM, then -15% for 3
Optional Cardio, GPP, HIIT
Mobility

This will give you an idea of what the full plans will look like. This is just week 1. My detailed plans will explain the muscular balance work, mobility, recovery, general physical preparedness, and much more. The full versions will be out in November, so make sure that you are signed up for the Newsletter list to receive notification that the completed versions are out.

Please ask any and all questions in the comments section. I will answer all questions. Thanks for reading and enjoy squatting every day!

Guys and gals, if you want a tool that will help you along your fitness path, I would be honored if you checked out the brand new “No Weaknesses” E-Book. For more information, click on the link below:

The Mash Elite “No Weaknesses” E-Book

No_Weaknesses-01

Bullet Proofing with No Weaknesses

Bullet Proofing with No Weaknesses

Well I am excited to announce that today we are launching our latest book “No Weaknesses” to the world. This book has taken our team over one year to finish because I wanted to deliver the perfect bulletproofing tool to all of you. I believe that’s exactly what we’ve done.

However this article isn’t going to be one massive plug for the book. I can’t do that. My writing has always been and always will be all about you the reader, so we are going to talk about the keys to balancing and stabilizing (bulletproofing) your body. I want all of you to have a lifetime of fitness, PRs, and fun in the gym. Over the last 32-years of my training life, I have learned a lot about staying in the game. One of my biggest goals is to teach all of you, so that you can avoid the torn quads, protruding lumbar discs, fractured cervical vertebra, torn supraspinatus, and destroyed hips.

Deadlift

I wouldn’t change my life one bit other than the fact that I wish I had known a little better how to take care of my body. However, maybe God intended that I go through this to help all of you. If so, I am totally cool with that. There is nothing more joyful on earth than to help someone reach a goal or improve his or her life. I will take the beating to provide for all of you guys and gals.

Before I dive deeper into this article, let me be straight with you. There is no way on earth to completely prevent injuries. There are only methods to decrease the risks. I want all of you to know the methods to decrease the risk of injuries to yourself and/or athletes.

1. Consider the Sport- This one is easy, and uses a little bit of common sense. If you play football, it’s probably wise to protect the neck. If you play soccer, protect the neck and knees. If you do weightlifting, it’s wise to protect the back, shoulders, knees, and hips. It’s that easy. Look at what you’re doing and consider the things that you are doing on a daily basis.

If there is something repetitive like weightlifting, you will want to stabilize the joint that is being overworked. If your sport commonly has you making a collision or receiving a blow like football or MMA, then you have to protect the entire spine, neck, and head. It’s that simple.

13124938_954666431297818_1176227487536122945_n

2. Quantify a Weakness and Attack It- There are a few ways to go about this process. Louie Simmons uses his accessory work to target weaknesses. For example he uses the belt squat to target and pinpoint hip weaknesses. He uses the Inverse Leg Curl to show hamstring weakness especially as they cross the knee. He uses the Reverse Hyper to show low back weakness and to strengthen that low back.

We use assistance movements as well to pinpoint weaknesses, but we also use a tool that’s in the “No Weaknesses” e-book. It’s a test of several movements and exercises compared against one another. “The Tool”, we’ll call it, will then spit out ratios letting the athletes know where they are weak, and where they are strong. Not only will it tell them where they are weak and strong, it will tell them a ratio to quantify the amount. This is also important when addressing the weaknesses. You will also be able to quantify the amount of improvement.

Obviously when you’ve targeted a weakness, you need to attack it. I recommend, spending 30-50% of your time on attacking the identified weaknesses. When you strengthen the weaknesses, your body will be more stable, more efficient, and more durable. It’s like aligning the tires of a car. The wear and tear on the body will be much less if everything is balanced and strong.

3. Understand the Kinetic Chain- It starts from the ground up. Your feet need to be stable. Your ankles need to be mobile. Your knees must be stable, hips mobile, lumber spine stable, thoracic spine mobile, and cervical spine stable. You get the picture. If the foot gets weak, then the ankles try to stabilize, causing the knees to get weak, and so on. This is why it’s a good idea to do some training barefoot. One thing that I can tell you that I like to do with most people are carries performed barefoot. We have turf outside, so it makes for a great place to perform this movement.

4. Get Your Recovery on Point- I preach this all the time, but I’m not sure that everyone gets it. Here’s the deal. If your sleeping sucks, so will you. If your nutrition sucks, so will you. People are all the time telling me that they train like a boss, but they don’t have time to sleep. That tells me that the person will receive moderate results. He or she can get better, but they are still selling themselves short.

If you don’t have a soft-tissue expert on your team, then you aren’t going to succeed. That’s it! Point blank! Dr. Gray from Gray CSA and Sports Associates was my go to expert on all aspects of my body. He traveled to my competitions with me. Heck we became so close that he was in my wedding. That’s the relationship that you are going to need with your practitioner as well.

5. Joint Distraction and Manipulation- If you have areas that are giving you problems with mobility and moderate pain, using a band to distract the joint will help with mobility. Personally I believe that athletes get carried away with this. I watch athletes walk into the gym and takes bands to every part of their body. They’re either OCD, or they need to go to the Emergency Room with all of those issues.

My hips are my trouble spot. I like to come in the gym, attach one end of the band to the power rack and one to my hip, and then do a series of mobility exercises to open the hip up. There are several exercises for the shoulders, ankles, and thoracic spine that will help with common aches and mobility issues.

We added all of our favorite exercises to the “No Weaknesses” E-Book. Teaching athletes to deal with the common aches and pains of training is a big part of coaching. I have news for all of you. If you are going to be an athlete, you are going to deal with some aches and pains. That’s part of practicing a sport day in and day out. I promise that it’s all worth it. In the long run dealing with a few aches and pains in training will lead to a lot less aches and pains the older you get.

I hope that this article helps all of you bulletproof your bodies, so that you can all crush your goals and dreams. Remember everyone does the big things like training hard in the gym. However, the champions do the little things to one-day end up on top. Whether you are into general fitness or you want to be the strongest man or woman on earth, this whole thing is a marathon not a sprint.

Guys and gals, if you want a tool that will help you along your fitness path, I would be honored if you checked out the brand new “No Weaknesses” E-Book. For more information, click on the link below:

The Mash Elite “No Weaknesses” E-Book

No_Weaknesses-01

No Weaknesses Approach

Check out the “Mash Squat Every Day” E-Book with 4 twelve week programs for weightlifting, powerlifting, super total, and bodybuilding. Find out more below:

>>>Mash Squat Every Day<<<

Remember on September 17th-18th we will be hosting the Mash Barbell Picnic” on the Farm. Weightlifting Day 1 and Powerlifting Day 2, but more importantly hanging out together the entire weekend. Check it out below:

The Mash Barbell Picnic

No Weaknesses

Watching the Olympics this year has been incredible. We have all been able to once again watch these athletes perform. We have all been wowed, shocked, and sometimes saddened. That’s why we watch.

As a coach that works with athletes in an Olympic sport, the march for 2020 has already begun. Coach Don McCauley and I talk daily about the things that need to happen for our athletes to make the next team. Yesterday he was tweaking the jerk techniques of two of our female athletes. He says that he wants to go ahead and make the changes, so that they will be prepared for 2020. I say amen to that.

As coaches we have to make sure that our athletes have “No Weaknesses”. That’s our job. We need to look at all the variables that we can affect, and then our job is to improve as many of those variables as possible. I am not talking just about programming and coaching technique. I am talking about all the mundane aspects of athletic performance.

This article isn’t just for Olympic weightlifting. I am talking about all sports. If you want to be great, you have to do the things that no one wants to do. If you are an athlete, I have some news for you. Everyone goes to practice and trains hard so don’t be bragging about that. All of my athletes train hard in the gym. However, what are you doing when no one is looking? That’s the question.

Let’s look at the variables that coaches can affect other than just programming and practice:

• Mobility
• Overall nutrition
• Body Fat
• Recovery
• Muscular balance
• Supplements
• Sports Psychology
• Joint manipulation to deal with aches and pains

These are just a few that I can think I want to touch on. A lot of variable will vary based on the sport, but all of these are pretty common amongst all sports. Optimal mobility is important in just about every sport on the planet. Notice that I said optimal mobility. That doesn’t mean to stretch everything for hours every day. Some sports require maximum mobility, and some sports like weightlifting require just the right amount. If a weightlifter is hypermobile, they could be at risk of injury due to joint instability.

Nutrition is an aspect of athletic performance that can be a real game changer. There is an optimal body fat percentage for all sports. The key is to find out that percentage, and then eat to optimize your own body composition. For all of you in strength sports, I have some news for you. Fat doesn’t move weight. Look at all the top powerlifters in the world, and you will see some ripped dudes. When I was competing, I was very lean. In weightlifting all you have to do is look at the Chinese. Those athletes are ripped and jacked. Fat has nothing to do with muscular contractions. It just sits there.

Deadlift

Nutrition is also important to overall recovery. If you are an athlete, you either need to understand macronutrient or find someone who does. It’s not just about losing body fat. It’s also about performance during training and competition. If you are a competitive CrossFitter, you are going to need carbs and lots of them. You need carbs for energy.

Recovery can be affected by nutrition, sleep, stress levels, and outside forces to deal with the stress on the body. The body treats working out the same as an infection. Isn’t that crazy? We break down tissue, and then the body sends a signal to repair the breakdown. The speed of those repairs as well as the efficiency of those repairs is what we call recovery. Besides sleep and nutrition, we use a team Physical Therapist, John Davidson, DPT to help our athletes recover and mend their aches and pains.

Muscular Balance is the new buzzword, but this time the buzzword is for real. If your athlete can reach and maintain muscular balance, they will have a better chance of optimal performance and a lower risk of injury. I am on my way to see Louie Simmons today, which I am very excited about. He has been preaching about muscular balance, since the 1990’s. Now people are talking about it like it’s a new idea. It’s not!

We developed a 24-point test that will help us pinpoint the weaknesses in our athletes. It will give us ratios that will help quantify muscular imbalances, give us ideas of what to target with accessory movements, and it will help us quantify improvement. We plan to use this as a major tool to help our athletes have a better chance of competing on the International stage.

We are coming out with a book that will have this test for all of you. The book will have way more than just the test. It will also tell you exactly what to do with each ratio. The book will also have several of the techniques that we use to keep our athletes recovered and moving properly.

The book is called “No Weaknesses”. I am the most excited about this product than any other things that I have ever created. It’s a tool that I wish I had when I was competing at my highest level. If you are interested in this book, join the newsletter. You will also get my Free book “The Big Six”, which give you several of my ideas to improve the snatch, clean, jerk, squat, bench, and deadlift. Here’s the link:

⇒Join the Mash Newsletter and receive the Free E-Book “The Big Six”

This article isn’t an infomercial, but I am pretty pumped about the book. Supplements are another way to maximize recovery and performance. They key is knowing which supplements to take. Dr. Gray, my longtime sport’s doctor, is going to do several tests on our athletes. One of which is to determine which vitamins and minerals that my athletes are deficient. Then we can pinpoint, which supplements to give them. That is the best way to optimize supplement use.

Sports Psychology is something that I have been curious about for many years. I have watched it affect the performance of several athletes that I have worked with over the last few years. Some athletes are born with the ability to perform well during competition, and some struggle with negative or irrational thoughts. A good sports psychologist can help program healthier game day habits and thought processes.

Every athlete that competes is going to experience aches and pains. Sports at an elite level aren’t the healthiest thing in the world. You are pushing your body to its limit. At the highest point the body is somewhere between awesome and crushed. It’s that fine line that all athletes must learn to balance.

A big key is knowing when you are just aching and when you are hurt. If you aren’t able to perform the movements of your sport or you are altering those movements, I recommend going to a professional. The key is finding someone that you trust. We are blessed to have Dr. John Davidson, and Dr. Gray to go to. You need to find someone as well.

In our book “No Weaknesses”, we have included all the ways that we have dealt with aches and pains in the various joints with all of our athletes. We have also included ways to stabilize those joints to prevent injuries. I think that you guys are going to love “No Weaknesses”. My goal is that it helps all of you reach your goals, stay injury free, and keeps you competing for many years to come.

Once again, if you want to know when the book comes out, click on the link below and also receive the Free E-Book “The Big Six”:

⇒Join the Mash Newsletter and receive the Free E-Book “The Big Six”

1 2 3