Summer Strong and a Week of Learning from Legends

Below is a blog that I published over a year and a half ago. It’s just ironic to see where fate has taken me. I hope that you enjoy it, and I trust that you will see the irony as well.

I will be back in Eagan, MN in November! I am also getting my schedule for my Learn 2 Lift Seminars for next year. Email me at to get your gym/box on the schedule!

Learn 2 Lift Seminars


Summer Strong and a Week of Learning from Legends

This Weekend I had the chance to visit Sorinex’s Summer Strong for the first time. It won’t be the last! Glenn Pendlay, Head Coach of Team MDUSA, is out of the country, and he asked me if I would assist Don McCauley in coaching some of the team. I was very excited and honored for three reasons: 1. Rebecca Gerdon/my adopted daughter is on that team, and 2. I love what MDUSA is doing for the sport of weightlifting, and 3. The guys on the team are just super nice guys.

Rebecca stole the show going 6 for 6, setting PRs in the Snatch, Clean & Jerk, and Total, and qualifying for the Nationals with lots of room to spare. Watching her improve every meet is so warming to my heart. It’s my art, and Rebecca is the end piece. My man Tom Sroka killed it too, and qualified for the A Session of the Nationals.

After I was done coaching them, I had a chance to talk to Richard Sorin. He knew all about my powerlifting career, but had no idea that my first love is weightlifting. He told me that my passion for my lifters was inspiring, and coming from him that is the biggest honor of the weekend. The Sorin’s simply love the world of strength whether it is powerlifting, weightlifting, highland games, or strongman they love it.

I also had the chance to coach Matt Vincent the reigning Highland Games world champion. He was competing in the weightlifting competition, and I promised my friend Matt Bruce that I would look after him. He didn’t need a lot of looking after because he Snatch 145 k and Clean & Jerked 177k in his first meet. He actually cleaned 182k/400lbs, but missed the jerk. This kid is simply strong and explosive, and he is a lot of fun to be around. I was also pleasantly surprised by my man Coach Joe Kenn, the legend himself. He is on vacation from the Carolina Panthers at the moment, and was just checking out the venue. Coach Kenn is a legend in the strength and conditioning world, and I look up to him as a mentor.

During the day and later that night I hung out with Chad Wesley Smith, Zach Even-Esh, and my man Chris “ox” Mason. To be honest the real knowledge is dropped at the after party. Zach and Chad are true entrepreneurs, and it is exciting that people are making good livings doing what they love. We all get to help people reach their goals, get in shape, and we help mold their character. I have noticed that the guys that truly love it the most end up doing well in the industry. The posers don’t last very long. Chad Wesley Smith is a guy that I have wanted to meet for some time. Number one I like the way that he approached the strength game. He loves being strong at whatever he chooses! He has killed powerlifting, and now he has turned pro in strongman. The guy looks like the Kaz, and I believe that he can be just a good. He is also redefining the industry, and he is a big part of the new movement away from geared powerlifting. I believe that is exactly what the sport needed. His Juggernaut Method is taking the strength world by storm, and I would recommend anyone checking his website out. I will also say this that Zach Even-Esh is the nicest guy in the industry. If I had kids, and I lived near him, then they would train with him. You can see in his eyes that he loves what he does. Ox and I had the chance to talk to Bert Sorin, and he told us the whole story about how their family got into the game of strength. Basically they have loved it their whole lives, and they simply wanted to be a part of it. Their shop is a museum of strength equipment, old York DBs, original plates of the Culver City Barbell Club, and posters of all the legends. I was a kid in a candy store.

Now here is some of the knowledge that I learned this week in a nutshell. First, keep it simple! We all agree that there is more than one way to reach desired goals, but pick a plan that is simple to follow. Stick with the basic movements, and variations are fine like pauses, chains, and bands, but full range that matches the competition movements is best. Coach Kenn explained to us all that there are no protocols, and that the body will adapt and respond to whatever stimulus that it receives. The most important one that most of us agree on is that neural adaptation is the most important response, and one that has been left out of a lot of programs. My biggest advice is to always be in search of new and better ways, invest in your own brain, and never get caught up in cult like programs. I am just saying that we all should make sure that science is supporting what we are doing, and if someone that is successful is trying to tell you how they did it, well maybe you should listen. Chad Wesley Smith is preaching that sermon everyday my friends. Be on the lookout at for my interview from Chad Wesley Smith, we get into some controversial issues.

The trip back with Ox, my lovely wife, and me was awesome because we had a chance to go over what we learned. Now we have the exciting opportunity to share it with our MashElites, and my Weightlifting Talk listeners. I just love the way that our program grows day to day, month to month, and year to year. We have built a culture of guys and gals that are starved for information, and that makes for a breeding ground of awesomeness!

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