Simple Ideas for Guaranteed Strength
The all new “Mash Squat Every Day” Learn 2 Lift Seminar Series kicks off at the Mash Compound Saturday March 12th. We will be going over weightlifting, powerlifting, technique fixes, programming, and mindset. Don’t miss it!:
Today’s online world is full of some crazy information. It is really hard for a new lifter to decipher through what is right and what is wrong. January is the month that a lot of people begin their journeys in strength. Whether you are brand new or a veteran, I wanted to give you all some ideas that will help you in your quest to get strong.
1. Get the most out of the least! I have watched countless rookies jump right on a sheiko powerlifting plan or a smolov squat cycle. This is ridiculous. Sure they will get stronger because they are rookies. When you are brand new, you could eat dirt and lift rocks to get your squat up. However, the higher volume is not good for a new athlete. They need to condition their bodies and work up to increased volume over time. That way their ligaments, tendons, and muscles can advance at relatively the same pace.
Basic linear periodization is a great place to start. That is where I started. I attribute building that strong base to allowing me to lift heavy over thirty years later. Getting started on the correct path is a very important choice when it comes to the longevity of your lifting career.
2. If you want to increase a certain lift, do it more often. Greg Nuckols once asked me if I needed to increase my squat 30lbs in one month to save my wife’s life, how often would I squat? The answer is obviously every day. Now realistically I am not saying to squat every day. However if you want to improve the squat, you need to squat more often. Now I am talking to more intermediate and advanced lifters.
Squats, cleans, or any other movement are athletic activities just like shooting a basketball or hitting a baseball. The more you practice the movement, the more efficient that you will become. Now you shouldn’t go from squatting once per week to seven times per week, but try going from once per week to 2-3 times per week.
3. Hit the lift from all angles to improve it! This principle has always worked for me. There are so many different ways to perform a lift. My favorite as most of you know is pauses. I pause the squat in the hole, at the top, and sometimes 2 inches out of the hole. I pause the bench on the chest and 2 inches off the chest both in the eccentric and concentric phases. I pause the deadlift at the knee and 2 inches off the floor. I pause the snatches and cleans 2 inches off the floor, below the knee, at the knee, in the power position, and in the catch. You get the idea!
There are a lot of ways to perform the lifts. I recommend staying as true to the lift as possible. If the variation that you choose is forcing you out of a natural groove or bar path, don’t do it. Chains are great for squatting. They allow you to stay in a natural groove, while teaching compensatory acceleration and accommodating resistance.
4. Stay balanced! This is important whether you are a powerlifter or a weightlifter. Your deadlift and your pull should be almost identical with the deadlift maybe being slightly heavier. Pull-ups and dips should be within 90% of one another. Standing Presses and upright rows should be close to one another. You should clean within 10% of your Front Squat. These are just a few. My man Zach Greenwald specializes in structural balance, and he has amazing tests for every variable.
When you discover a weakness, target the weakness until it is caught up. When you muscular imbalances are corrected, your body as a whole will perform better and be at less risk of injury. I have personally watched the process work with several members of Team MDUSA, so I recommend all of you digging deeper on this one.
5. Focus on Recovery! This is the area that most people skip. Heck I have to admit that I dropped the ball on this one during my powerlifting career. It’s silly really when you think about it. We all crush our bodies in the gym. We know that working out hard literally breaks us down. It is in the recovery phase that muscles get bigger and stronger, so focusing on this phase should be a priority.
There are many ways to recover, but here are a few of my favorites. Nutrition is key. Food is fuel for the body, so take some time to research the topic of “proper nutrition”. Sleeping 9-11 hours is optimal for athletes that are training at high levels. During sleep is when the body is restoring the bodies endocrine system and repairing the damage from the day. Weekly visits to a good Chiropractor have always been my secret weapon. Dr. Gray in Winston-Salem is phenomenal. Massage, sauna, Epson salt baths, and contrast baths are some of my other favorites.
6. Make Training Fun! This is the key in my opinion. Lately I have been performing my #GridStyle Training with Will Hall, and I have been seeing Gainzz every week. It is because I am having fun again. The Barbell is meant to be fun. There are a lot of versions that can be performed by the barbell. If you are in a gym that is not fun, I recommend changing gyms right away. Whether you want to weightlift, powerlift, CrossFit, #GridStyle, or bodybuild, I say go do and have fun.
Weight training with a barbell is the most fun activity that I have ever performed athletically. It has helped change my life and shape me as a person. It’s a beautiful thing that I want for you all. The key is smart progress. Be careful of the sources that you trust online! Enjoy your journey!
2016 is going to be an exciting year for us. We hope that we can help as many people reach their goals as possible. Here are a couple ways that we can help you:
Join the all-new Mash Mafia Online Team! Weightlifting, Powerlifting, Bodybuilding, or whatever you want! Check it out here:
For Nutrition, Programming, and Coaching, check out the Eat & Lift What You Want Team. We can help you lose weight, gain weight, and reach any of you fitness goals. Find out more here: