Category Archives for "Athletic Performance"

Hypertrophy Year Round

My latest E-Book “Mash Method” is live and it’s FREE! Check it out now at: https://www.mashelite.com/mashmethod
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Hypertrophy Year Round

Before we dive in, I want to clarify a few things about hypertrophy. Hypertrophy is the enlargement of tissue due to the increase in size of its cells. There use to be certain parameters around this training like: 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps or 45-60 seconds time under tension. Well that repetition range does cause hypertrophy, but so does almost all rep ranges. You can look at most powerlifters that perform 5 sets of 5 repetitions, and they are jacked as well.

However today we are mainly talking about the 8-12 repetition range. That repetition range still seems to be the most optimal range to elicit muscle growth. All of my athletes will go through these repetition ranges whether they are weightlifters, powerlifters, or field athletes.

A bigger muscle is a stronger and faster muscle. Hypertrophy is a very efficient way of making an athlete bigger, faster, and stronger. We have moments in the macrocycle that are totally focused on hypertrophy. Not only are there mesocycles dedicated to hypertrophy in our training, but also there are aspects of focused hypertrophy work throughout all of my athletes training.

What about the field athlete’s parent that says, “I don’t want my child to bulk up because it will make him slower?”

Number one that statement makes absolutely no sense. Did they ever watch Barry Sanders play football? He was jacked and back squatted north of 600 pounds. Have they ever watched a 100-meter sprint in the Olympics? Those guys are jacked, and they are the fastest men and women on planet earth.

Here’s a statement that I am most confident to make: “You can add as much muscle as you want. As long as the athlete remains mobile and their relative strength remains the same or improves, that athlete just got faster and stronger.” The moral of the story is get jacked as you want, but make sure to stay mobile and lean.

Most young athletes don’t have the ability to add massive amounts of muscle in the first place. By all means they need to add muscle. It’s always amazed me at the parents that made such irrational comments to me. Normally their child was 130 pounds soaking wet, and they were worried about them bulking up and getting slow. Kids like that need to do everything in their power to add some muscle just to have a chance to compete. So many times my heart is broken for young kids because I know that their parents will always be the roadblocks to their success.

Ok my rant is over, but I had to educate any of you up and coming athletic performance coaches. I also want to educate any athletes or parents that might be reading this as well. I want to leave you with this bit of information. I have been coaching athletes for over twenty years. I have worked with hundreds of D1 athletes, several professional athletes, three Olympians, and several Team USA weightlifters and powerlifters. Here is what I have found. The fastest athletes that I have ever worked with where the most muscular, had the best relative strength, and all of them were strong. Maybe this isn’t a published scientific study, but it is a pretty massive case study with real life athletes.

At Mash Elite we use dedicated hypertrophy work in three ways:

1. Non-Specific Hypertrophy- this is called our accumulation phase. This microcycle lasts anywhere from 2-4 total weeks. Normally this mesocycle takes place right after a meet and as far from the next big meet as possible. This phase is designed to give the joints a break, add some quality muscle, and to strengthen the body in areas that aren’t normally focused on. Here are a few of the characteristics:

• Unilateral work- most of my athletes focus on movements like squats, deadlifts, cleans and snatches. This is a good time to correct asymmetries with some unilateral lunges and presses.
• Repetition ranges between 3-12
• Sets between 3-10
• Lower reps are paired with higher sets and vice versa
• Very little if any competition lifts

2. Specific Hypertrophy- This phase comes right after the non-specific phases. This microcycle lasts anywhere from 4-6 total weeks. The focus is shifted back to the bigger multi-joint movements like squats and pulls. This is the phase designed to gain the most muscle hypertrophy. During this phase an athlete can expect big movements like back squats, presses, and pulls for lots of repetitions. We are chasing the pump for lack of better words. Here are a few of the characteristics:

• A focus on major compound movements like squats, deadlifts, rows, and presses.
• Repetition ranges between 3-12 with a focus between 8-12.
• Sets between 3-10
• 3-4 sets between 8-12 repetitions is the focus.
• Competition lifts are added back in with mainly complexes, eccentric loading, and a higher volume. The goal is to strengthen positions during this phase.

3. No Weaknesses Hypertrophy– this is where we focus on muscular imbalances with accessory work. This form of hypertrophy work is performed year round. We are normally targeting smaller muscle groups, so this type of training more easily recovered from. One of the biggest mistakes that people can make is eliminating accessory work the closer they get to the meet.

Two groups have proven to me that accessory work should be a focus at all times. Westside Barbell has preached this since I started in the sport of powerlifting. If performing dips or reverse hyperextensions were making an athlete stronger and better, why would you drop those exercises right before competing? We might drop the volume a bit to allow for super compensation, but we don’t drop accessory work.

The Chinese were the other group to prove the importance of accessory work. They are dominant in the sport of weightlifting right now. They appear to have no weaknesses. I had the chance to watch them firsthand in the training hall at Junior Worlds in Tbilisi, Georgia. They performed their snatches, clean & jerks, and squats, and then they crushed the accessory work. It looked like Arnold and Franco in the pump room at the Olympia in “Pumping Iron”.

Here are some of the characteristics:

• Single joint exercises like dips, pull-ups, plate lateral raises, reverse hyperextensions, etc.
• Bodyweight movements like lunges, handstand walks, and push-ups
• Carries for core stabilization (easy to recover from because to eccentric contractions)
• Sled pushes and pulls (easy to recover from because to eccentric contractions)
• 3-5 sets of 8-12 repetitions for concentric/eccentric exercises
• 3-4 sets of 30-60 seconds on the carries, pulls, and pushes

We focus on hypertrophy at Mash Elite. It seems like an obvious aspect of any strength program, but a lot of people neglect this area to their detriment. All of you watch Nathan Damron go through personal records like a knife through butter following his hypertrophy phases. It is Nathan’s focus on hypertrophy that has made him into the monster that he is along with his great genetics of course.

Next month we have two new books coming out that will go into detail about the Mash Hypertrophy Phases. One will detail Nathan’s “Train Stupid” program, and the other will take you much deeper into our hypertrophy programs. I am pumped for both of these.

In the meantime you can enjoy the latest e-book “The Mash Method” for FREE. This will also ensure that you are alerted to any of our book releases in the future. Here is some more information on “The Mash Method”:

My latest E-Book “Mash Method” is live and it’s FREE! Check it out now at: https://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!

https://www.mashelite.com/mashmethod

Key Accessory Movements for Athletic Performance

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

Key Accessory Movements for Athletic Performance

Training Athletes of all types is something that I have enjoyed for over twenty years. I have worked with professionals from the NFL, NBA, MMA, and multiple Rugby leagues. I have sent athletes to Division I in just about every sport there is soccer, swimming, football, softball, basketball, volleyball, wrestling, lacrosse, and baseball. Of course now I work with the finest weightlifters and powerlifters in the country.

Over the years my programming has evolved each and every year. I am constantly on the outlook for something better. I want to give my athletes any sort of edge that I can. Lately I have written several articles about athletic performance. If you have read them, you know that I like to prescribe basic movements that yield big results like:

• Variations of the Clean
• Variations of the Squat
• Variations of the Deadlift or Clean Pull
• Presses and Rows

Those movements are my core lifts that I am using to produce hypertrophy (muscle growth), strength, and power production. A typical couple of days might look something like this:

However if you stopped here, you would be missing a big chunk of the equation. Some people look at the accessory work as frivolous extra work that could possibly be skipped. That is a big mistake in my experience. We use accessory movements to do the following:

• Target Weaknesses and protect from sport
• Stabilize the ‘core’ properly
• Improve relative strength

Every athlete has individual weaknesses. Some weaknesses are genetic, and some are caused from our lifestyle and previous training modalities. Either way the goal has to be to encourage muscular balance. Is anyone out there actually balanced? I haven’t seen anyone, but some are closer than others. That’s the goal! I want my athletes as close as possible.

We use a 32-point test that lists the imbalance exactly, so we know where to target. The test also gives us exact percentages, so we can see the rate of improvement. We wrote an entire book about this process called “No Weaknesses” that comes with the test if you are interested.

No matter what test you use, the goal is to target those weaknesses during training. If the hamstrings are weak and the quads are tight, the solution is pretty simple: strengthen the hamstrings and stretch the quads. If external rotation is weaker than internal rotation, you should target external rotation. Targeting weaknesses will make the body overall stronger, more efficient with movement, and at less risk of injury.

An athletic performance coach should also consider the sport when it comes to accessory movements. I am not talking about being sport specific in nature. I think that’s a bad idea. Our jobs are to create better overall athletes. It’s the sport coaches that are responsible for taking that athletic ability and applying it to the specific sport.

However some sports have specific natures that make them more prone for injuries in certain areas than other sports like:

• Football and concussions
• Soccer and ACL injuries
• Baseball and shoulder/elbow

We should definitely take those realities and do our best to help the athletes avoid injury. Obviously there is no program on earth that will guarantee no injuries on the field, but the goal is simply to minimize. It’s not always the best athlete that ends up in Division I. It’s often the athlete that survives sport without any major injury.

We also help our athletes stabilize the ‘core’ properly. Anyone who knows me realizes that I hate the word ‘core’. I mainly hate it because the word is used so incorrectly. No it’s not just the abdominals. It is all the muscles used to stabilize the entire spine and pelvis. I follow Dr. Stuart McGill’s protocols in this area. Check him out if you want to really help your athletes.

The number one way that we stabilize the core is with multiple variations of the carry. My goodness if you take one thing away from this article, it’s that you should be doing carries. We perform the following:

• One arm farmers walk
• Bilateral farmers walk
• Axle Bar Overhead Carries
• Zercher Carries
• Kettlebell Bottom Up Carries

These are just a few. We perform over twenty variations of the carry. Every athlete that trains with me will perform these variations. It’s my way of protecting their spines and pelvis, and carries are great for performance. I want you to think about it for just a second. If an athlete is more stable, they will produce more power. It’s that simple. If they are weak anywhere throughout the kinetic chain, power will be lost.

If you push the gas down on a car, it immediately accelerates forwards because the body of the car is strong. If the body of a car were made with weak material, it would crumble during acceleration. The human body is not different.

My weightlifters use carries to produce more power during the pull, and to also withstand the force of the catch position of the snatch, clean, and jerk. Weightlifters are constantly producing and absorbing force. It’s wise that they prepare for both with variations of the carry.

We use accessory movements to strengthen relative strength as well. Absolute strength in the squat is awesome, but if an athlete can’t move their own bodies, they are still going to be subpar athletes. We focus on:

• Variations of the Pull-up
• Variations of the pushup
• Variations of the Horizontal Row
• Dips
• Lunges
• Pistol Squats
• Handstand Walks
• Handstand Presses

Obviously the exercise needs to match the athlete. I can tell you one thing. If an athlete has optimal absolute strength like back squat 2.25 to 2.5 times body weight, cleans 1.5 times body weight, and can pull 2.5 times body weight, then it will be relative strength that indicates speed. It’s always the kids that can rep out pull-ups that’s going to be fast. That athlete can handle their own body weight, and that’s all that is being done with sprinting.

I hope this article helps all of you focus your training and accessory movements a little better. I hope that none of you ever take for granted one aspect of your programming. Your athletes are counting on you to help them reach their dreams. We owe it to them to do our best at all times.

March 17th and 18th Zach Even-Esh and I are putting on a dual certification. You can come learn from two strength coaches that have both sent multiple athletes to Division I. We do it each and every year, so I hope that all of you can come learn how to do the same. Find out more 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/

Performance Zone: Great v. Good

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Our latest E-Book “Performance Zone” has dropped! Check it out now at:

==> www.mashelite.com/performancezone/
====================================================

Performance Zone: Great v. Good

I have been around world-class athletes since I was 18-years-old. Playing football at Appalachian State University was the best thing that ever happened to me because I was exposed to truly great athletes. We had future NFL stars on our team. Our track team had Olympic hopefuls, and our wrestling team had Olympic hopefuls.

I was always drawn to these people. I wanted to know what made them tick. Sometimes they didn’t seem any better athletically than other athletes except on the field of play. All of the great excelled on the field of battle.

Matt Stevens played seven years in the NFL. He was a walk-on at Appalachian. He weighed 175lb entering college and ran a 4.6 40-yard dash. That’s not bad, but that’s not NFL size or speed. He left college weighing 215lb running a 4.4 40-yard dash. His play on the field was simply unbelievable leading the league in interceptions his last two years. How did he make such a transformation and succeed on the field so well?

Like most great athletes, he was able to enter into “the zone” or “flow state” more than others. He was able to do the following better than all the rest of us:

• Set clear and concise goals
• Totally prepare mentally and physically for the field
• Set goals that matched his skill set
• Embark in risks that required the flow state
• Avoided all outside distractions that might interfere

Most 18-year-olds playing sports in college are worrying too much about the parties and other distractions. Matt was worried about his goals. Yes his main goal was always the NFL, but he set small ones along the way that led him down the path like:

• Gain some muscle
• Perfect sprinting technique
• Get stronger in the weight room
• Master the Defensive Play Book
• And so on

These clear and concise goals led him down a path that ultimately led to the NFL. If he had only thought about the broad goal of getting drafted into the NFL, he would have never made it. He would have been like all the rest.

He killed in the weight room and the speed sessions. He was totally in the moment during all of his training. One thing that really helped him was studying the playbook more than anyone else. If you want to slow things down on the field or in life, then master your craft. If you don’t have to think about what’s going on, your body can just take over reacting to every play.

Matt also set goals that matched his skill set. When he ran a 4.6 40-yard dash, he wasn’t trying to run a 4.3. He was just trying to run a little faster and a little more efficiently. The more concise of a goal that you can set will ultimately lead to success.

Matt put himself out there. His goals were always big enough that the risk warranted entering the flow state. If you are always conservative in your activities, the body has no reason to take over. You have to challenge yourself in life if you ever want to do great things or enter the performance zone. Always being conservative will ultimately lead to always being average.

Matt was able to avoid all distractions and outside interferences. He was able to be mentally and physically present during any chosen activity. There is no way to allow the body to take over if there are any distractions. If the mind is spinning thinking about random thoughts, the mind will take over and paralyze the activity.

Matt’s willingness and natural ability to realize these elements leading to the “flow state” is the way that he worked himself from a walk-on to a seven-year NFL Veteran with a super bowl ring. Since working with Nathan Hansen, now Mash Elite can give you those steps and the process required to enter “the Flow state” in our latest e-book “Performance Zone”.

As a coach my biggest desire is to give my athletes and readers all the tools necessary to succeed. This book will do just that. I hope all of you guys enjoy this book as much as I enjoyed writing it.

====================================================
Our latest E-Book “Performance Zone” has dropped! Check it out now at:

==> www.mashelite.com/performancezone/
====================================================
This book will help you discover all the steps necessary for “getting in the zone”, or what we call “entering the flow state”. This book will help you:

-Give you the history of flow or the zone
-Explain what is needed to get into flow or the zone
-Give you The Guide to Initiate Flow
1 Clear goals
2 Feedback
3 Skill ratio

This is definitely my favorite book to have written. I hope that all of you enjoy reading it!

==> www.mashelite.com/performancezone/

Mindset: A Paradigm Shift is Needed

Our latest E-Book “Performance Zone” has dropped! Check it out now at:

==> www.mashelite.com/performancezone/
====================================================

Mindset: A Paradigm Shift is Needed

I have coached thousands of athletes over the last twenty years. Dr. Andy Galpin even admitted that coaches like me are the ones doing the real case studies on real athletes. We get to analyze data on a daily basis from some of the best athletes on the planet down to just really good athletes.

Lately I have become more and more interested in mindset. Now I will preface this by saying that I am not a sports psychologist, but now we have our man Nathan Hansen on staff. Nathan received his first Masters in Behavioral Psychology and his second Masters in Clinical Counseling. He has opened my eyes to the endless possibilities with unlocking athlete’s hidden potential.

In my experience the first differentiator is of course genetics. There isn’t a lot that athletes can do about that. If you are 5’1” playing center in basketball, you aren’t going to a D1 college. I am sorry about that. We are all dealt different cards, and it is up to us to use those cards according to the genetic hand that we were dealt.

However this article is about another differentiator: an athlete’s paradigm or view of reality. This is where the rubber meets the road at the top end of the genetic curve. I have coached several amazing D1 and Olympic Hopeful athletes. I have often found that it isn’t the genetically most gifted that always make it to the top. Of course to get to the top genetics play a role, but it’s that athletes that truly believe that they can be the best that actually get there.

Let me settle one thing right now. Being cocky and arrogant isn’t the same thing as actually believing. A lot of times arrogance is just a mask for self-doubt and fear. I believe that this winning paradigm was formed at home and in the circle of friends that each athlete chose growing up. Of course some athletes are wired to be more naturally confident than others, but surroundings play a huge role in creating healthy paradigms.

Cade Carney is my freshman athlete at Wake Forest University. He started at running back as a true freshman. He went there with the intent that he was going to start and play well. He did just that. Here are some of the keys that I believe allowed him to do such an amazing job:

• His family openly discussed the moment of Cade entering college sports from an early age. They discussed what it would take to do well.
• Cade was prepared physically, mentally, and skill wise.
• Cade set clear goals from an early age conquering each of them.
• Cade chose his surroundings wisely.
• Proper mindset was established before day 1 of college.

I had the opportunity to be around Cade and his family multiple times while he was growing up. I watched Cade have conversations with his father about playing D1 since he was in 7th Grade. It wasn’t that they just talked about it. It was the way that they talked about it. It was the language that they used. They talked in future tense not in hypotheticals. In their minds it was inevitable. They were just planning on where he would go, and how well he would do.

Being prepared physically, mentally, and skill wise allowed Cade to enter Wake Forest confident. If he had slacked off, doubt would have crept into the picture. Once doubt creeps in, it is very hard to get it out of your head. He was strong, confident, and prepared to play the game.

Cade set clear and concise goals from the time that I knew him. I had to work hard with most athletes on goal setting, but Cade was setting his own goals from an early age. I am not talking about goals like playing D1. Yes that was part of the process, but it was the smaller goals along the way that led him down the path like: perfecting sprint mechanics, proper squat technique, a 4.4 40-yard dash, etc.

Cade chose his surroundings wisely from an early age. This is an important one. If you want to derail any chances of success, hang out with the wrong people. People naturally love to drag successful people down to their level. It makes non-successful people feel better. Cade hung around positive people, and kept his eyes focused on the prize.

Cade and I talked about the proper mindset required for entering college. I am sure that he talked about this even more at home. We discussed rolling in day one with the goal of starting no matter who was chosen preseason on the depth chart. Most freshmen come into their first day a little intimidated for whatever reason. Maybe their coaches told them that redshirting was the best route. I don’t understand this mentality.

Once you tell an athlete that they will probably redshirt, that’s the mindset that they take on. They will start to accept that they aren’t going to play, and their performance will reflect that mindset. Maybe they will, but don’t just roll into day one accepting defeat. If you give it your all and still redshirt, that’s fine by all means. Then you go to work immediately determined to start the following year. I am just saying act as if you deserve to start from day one.

Your view of reality is nothing but a group of collected verbal baggage from your entire life. It’s up to you to keep the good baggage and dump the bad. It doesn’t matter if you dad told you that you can or can’t. It only matters what you believe. Start right now surrounding yourself with positive people. A paradigm is never truth. It is just a view of reality that can always be shifted up.

====================================================
Our latest E-Book “Performance Zone” has dropped! Check it out now at:

==> www.mashelite.com/performancezone/
====================================================
This book will help you discover all the steps necessary for “getting in the zone”, or what we call “entering the flow state”. This book will help you:

-Give you the history of flow or the zone
-Explain what is needed to get into flow or the zone
-Give you The Guide to Initiate Flow
1 Clear goals
2 Feedback
3 Skill ratio

This is definitely my favorite book to have written. I hope that all of you enjoy reading it!

==> www.mashelite.com/performancezone/

What is Flow?

My latest E-Book “Mash Method” is live and it’s FREE! Check it out now at: https://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!

https://www.mashelite.com/mashmethod

What is Flow?

We’ve all heard about getting in the zone. We’ve all watched our favorite athletes get into a zone like state where it appeared that they couldn’t make a mistake. When Tiger Woods was still killing it, we watched him play matches where he simply made the game of golf appear easy. We’ve watched Michael Jordan play in basketball games where he seemed to be going at a different speed than everyone else.

I remember watching Michael Jordan play against the Portland Trailblazers during the NBA Finals. He hit six three-pointers in the first half of play. After the sixth three-pointer, he shrugged his shoulders as to say that he didn’t even know what was happening. At that very moment, I became intrigued with the so-called zone. Just like Michael, I didn’t know how someone could get in a zone like that either. I wanted to find out.

Throughout my career in sports, I experienced the zone periodically in multiple sports. In one high school football game, I scored two touchdowns, made two interceptions, four receptions, 150-yards of offense, 10 tackles, and two fumble recoveries. In one basketball game, I scored 19 points in one half of play only missing two shots. At the WPO Powerlifting Championships in 2004, I went 9 for 10 only missing a world record fourth attempt that day. I had already broken the world record squat, bench, and total (broke the total twice). It appeared that I could lift whatever weight I attempted. The only miss that I had was another world record bench press taken on a 4th attempt that I actually completed, but the judges gave me two red lights for uneven extension.

The reason that I am telling all of you this information is not to brag, but to explain how I felt during these moments. Each time it was like time slowed down around me. I could see and react to almost everything that was happening. All of my senses were extremely heightened. I was 100% engaged in the activity that I was competing in, and all previous distractions were eliminated.

So what does this mean for you? Thanks to our friend Nathan Hansen, we can now give you the steps to entering the zone whenever you want. So who is Nathan Hansen? Nathan received his first Masters in Behavioral Psychology and his second Masters in Clinical Counseling. Now he works with some high-powered athletes on numerous sports psychology elements.

He works with our own Rebecca Gerdon for one. My interests were peaked when I watched her performance at the 2016 American Open. She went 9 for 9, and her demeanor was totally different. She looked more confident and focused than ever before. Her performance prompted me to search out and get to know Nathan.

The clinical term for getting in the zone is “Flow State”. Turns out that psychologists have been working on the Flow State since 1871 when the pioneer of the Flow State, Albert Heim, fell 60 feet down the side of a mountain. He only sustained minor injuries during this fall, which is a fall that could have easily killed him. During the fall, he remembered his senses being heightened, time seeming to stand still, and all of this allowing him to pick a safe path during the fall down the mountain.

After Heim survived, he was so intrigued that he started looking up other near death survivors. He found that all of them had similar stories. At that point, the Flow State was born. Many psychologists have taken up where Heim left off, and today there is actually a road map to enter the Flow State upon command.

Finding your Flow will take lots of practice on your end. Nathan and I have co-authored a book that we are releasing next month that will map out the steps necessary for reaching Flow. I am going to give you the watered down version to get you thinking about it, but you are all going to love the book. I can say that I enjoyed writing this book more than any other because it was such groundbreaking material.

Here’s path to reaching the “Flow State”:

1. The task has to warrant Flow. That means that there has to be enough risk to trigger Flow. There has to be the right environment with limited distractions. You have to learn to be fully present in the moment. Nathan provides some great ways to practice being fully present. You can start now by turning off the cell phone, clearing your mind of the argument you’re having with your boyfriend/girlfriend, and putting all focus on the task at hand.

2. Clear Goals- this is an important one. If your only goal is to play in the NFL or make an Olympic team, those goals are way to broad to trigger Flow. For Flow to take place, the goal has to be measureable. As a matter of fact the goal has to measurable for the day.

Instead of focusing on lifting a certain amount of weight during a practice, it is much easier to get into the Flow State if your focus is on the movement itself. If you focus on the movement, you can be fully engaged in each lift from the moment you pick up an empty bar to the moment you have a max attempt on the bar. Focusing completely on the movement of a lift will eventually help you enter the Flow state when it counts. It’s all about the practice when it comes to eventually letting the body take over.

3. Immediate Feedback- if something goes wrong, it’s important to know at what stage it went wrong. Then it’s important to know why it went wrong. If you are focusing on the movement, there should be standard steps to each movement. Those steps should be the same no matter if it’s a warm up or if it’s a new personal record. Immediately when a lift is complete, your goal is immediate feedback. If there was a breakdown, at what stage was the breakdown? What caused the breakdown: thinking about past or future performances, worrying about someone else’s performance, not present in the moment, etc?

Whatever the activity, you are now turning it into a process instead of a series of emotional decisions. The key is to teach the body to fully take over. This process takes time and practice, but with this book that Nathan has written, we can now give you the exact process. I hope that this article has given you some tangibles to work on for now. I can’t wait to drop the book next month.

I have to say that I am most excited about this book because it completes our library of books that all athletes need:

“No Weaknesses”– muscular balance, recovery, and injury prevention

“Mash Blueprint for Programming”– ways to program for yourself no matter what your barbell interests are, and how to continue progressing for life

“Eat and Lift What You Want”– explains how to create the perfect nutrition program for you.

Now we have “Performance Zone” coming in March- all about entering the Flow State on a regular basis.

Of course we have all the other programming books, but I am very excited to have such a complete source of information. I always talk about becoming a master of the mundane. Now I we are supplying the tools for you guys to become one. Thanks for reading guys!

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Check out my latest FREE E-Book “The Mash Method” and keep in formed when my new book “Performance Zone” drops:

My latest E-Book “Mash Method” is live and it’s FREE! Check it out now at: https://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!

https://www.mashelite.com/mashmethod

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: https://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!

https://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/

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