Category Archives for "Barbell Life"

Listener Questions Answered – The Barbell Life 273

I love these podcasts.

I love answering listener questions because that way I know I’m actually helping people – actually telling you all something that you want to know. These are always tons of fun for me. I hope you guys enjoy them as well.

And we’ve got another awesome one today for you…





Coach Travis Mash shows you how to simply and scientifically diagnose and fix your squat weaknesses. Squat Gainz also contains six supplementary squat-focused programs you can add to your current strength work to drive your squat through the roof.


  • When do you push through pain and when do you stop?
  • Breaking squat plateaus
  • Rotator cuff warmups
  • Getting strong in CrossFit
  • Mobility and tendon health
  • and more…

Remembering Coach Glenn Pendlay

This has been a tough week for the weightlifting world.

No, I take that back! It has been a rough week for the strength world. Coach Pendlay’s reach goes well beyond the weightlifting world.

I have been in the strength world for 35 years now, beginning with a barbell at 11 years old. I knew the name of “Pendlay” way before I met him in 2013. Coach Pendlay was a wealth of knowledge, and he shared that knowledge with the world in the form of podcasts, articles, and the infamous “Pendlay Forum.”

In 2013, I read that MuscleDriver USA was starting the first professional weightlifting team – and they’d be right down the road from me in Fort Mill, SC. That’s basically Charlotte, NC if you know the area. When I read about it, I had to see it with my own eyes. I was at a strength and conditioning clinic in Charlotte one weekend, and I decided on a whim simply to drive over to MDUSA HQ. It was Max Out Friday, and my world hasn’t been the same since then.

I had just started dabbling back into the world of weightlifting, with my main focus being strength and conditioning. My first two weightlifting athletes were Rebecca Gerdon and Matt Wininger – and coaching them had already ignited my love for the sport all over again. I personally competed in weightlifting from 1996 until 2000. I made a change to powerlifting mainly because I moved and couldn’t find a training location. I never got over my love for the sport, and Coach Pendlay (along with MDUSA) enabled me to finally turn my love into a career that had never before existed.

When I walked into their training hall, Coach Pendlay met me at the door. Luckily he knew me and allowed me to hang out and watch practice. It was such an amazing experience. My friend Sam had introduced me to the Cal Strength videos a few months prior to this visit, so it was quite surreal to have Jon North, Donny Shankle, and the rest of the crew right before my eyes. The original Cal Strength videos did an incredible job with character development. It was easy to see the personalities made those videos so good and not the editing.

Coach Pendlay was a character. He was this massive man with the thickest black beard that one could imagine. He was a weightlifting meathead with a brain. It was his brain that attracted me. It was his brain that drew me to MDUSA. I remember one random night when he called me out of the blue at 11pm. I looked at my wife and showed her who was calling. There was no doubt that I was going to take that call.

We talked for hours about his theory of increased frequency. He hypothesized that if athletes would train everyday and multiple times per day (4-6 times) for shorter periods (20-40 minutes) they would improve dramatically faster. He cited a research project he had been a part of with mice. During the research, they had two groups of mice performing work on a resisted wheel. Both groups performed the same amount of work with the same amount of resistance. However, one group performed the work everyday in short intervals – and the other group performed the work three days per week. The higher frequency group improved exponentially in regards to hypertrophy and absolute strength.

A few months after telling me all about this idea of his, I saw that he was trying out his idea on his weightlifting team. Later he told me the only athlete who improved was Mike Szela. However, they didn’t stick with the project long enough to really find out if it would work or not. I guess too many of the athletes complained, so they scrapped the idea. Something like that has to play out for a minimum of 12 or more weeks to allow for adaptation. We might never have a situation to even try out such an idea because you need a professional team to give the athletes the proper environment needed to allow for all-day training.

Coach Pendlay was a visionary like a lot of us. However, unlike a lot of us, he had the ability to make these visions come to fruition. Coach Pendlay had heard the same criticisms all American weightlifting coaches have heard for years – that American coaches and American lifters are subpar. He knew like the rest of us that America’s results on the international stage had nothing to do with the abilities of our coaches. Yet it had everything to do with these two things:

1. Getting more athletes to choose from, giving us a better pool.
2. Giving those athletes the tools necessary to succeed.

America is filled with amazing athletes. That is clear during every Olympics when we dominate the overall medal count. However, weightlifting was still in the shadows with only a small cult following. That’s not the way to win on the world level. The Cal Strength videos spearheaded mainly by the Godfather Dave Spitz helped to pull weightlifting out of the shadows and onto the YouTube screens of millions of people. Along with CrossFit, weightlifting was now a sport that millions recognized.

Once the people could see that weightlifting was a sport filled with beautiful movement requiring skillful gymnastic-like precision, there was only one piece of the equation missing that prevented the sport from exploding in America: money. Let’s face it. With sports like football, basketball, baseball, and even wrestling promising scholarships and future professional arenas, it’s hard to compete. Coach Pendlay’s vision of corporate sponsorship changed all of that.

MDUSA changed things forever. They paid athletes thousands of dollars per month, paid for travel, paid for competition expenses, provided chiropractors, and so much more. The exposure opened athletes up to personal sponsorships, online coaching, and other creative revenue streams. MDUSA was the first of its kind since York Barbell. The team gave the company a brand that enticed people to buy from MDUSA out of loyalty to the athletes. People felt they knew the team and they wanted to be a part of what was happening.

Personally I still feel this needs to go further for weightlifting in America to continue its climb in the international ranks. Coach Pendlay’s vision was dead on. Brad Hess, owner of MDUSA, took the risk – which I will admire for the rest of my life. However, his followthrough wasn’t the best. We needed better character development with more videos and live streaming to really bring the team to life. Dave at Cal Strength had the right idea with the YouTube videos, but for some reason MDUSA didn’t continue with the same vigor. The team helped to skyrocket MDUSA sales without even taking a wise approach. But two distinct bad decisions brought the empire to its knees.

Coach Pendlay had it right, man. We are a capitalist country. Therefore, it’s capitalism that will make or break our sport. MMA is huge because of corporate sponsors – just like football, baseball, boxing, and all the rest. A lot of coaches in USA Weightlifting look to our governing body, USA Weightlifting, to solve all of their problems. Look, Phil Andrews is amazing. We wanted a good leader, and we got a great one. Stipends are at an all-time high. Athlete support is at an all-time high. Phil did this during a time when most leaders would have hung their heads with the closing of the weightlifting program at the Olympic Training Center. Instead Phil has crushed it, and has our sport performing better than ever.

But it is my belief that our sport will be in need of something much more for this success to continue into 2024 and beyond. It is Coach Pendlay’s vision that will have to be implemented for this sport to take its next big step towards international dominance. Sorry to rant as this was meant to be a tribute to Coach Pendlay, but his vision runs hand in hand with what the sport needs.

Besides his vision of corporate sponsorship, it was his simplistic view of programming and coaching that influenced me the most. He was very Bulgarian-ish in his programming. He focused on the competition lifts of the snatch and clean and jerk along with front and back squats. He didn’t program a lot of accessory work, which is where we differ a bit. However, he believed in maximum effort work, which is where most great coaches agree. If you want to lift big weight, eventually you have to lift big weight.

In talking to the top coaches in America – Dave Spitz (coach of Wes Kitts), Josh Galloway (Kate Nye’s coach), and Dave Ester (Mattie Sasser’s coach) – we all agree that max effort has its place. There are a few coaches who take a bit of a different approach with success, but in my observation the coaches who at least have maximum effort scheduled once per week are noticing faster improvement than the others. Coach Pendlay spearheaded that approach.

He realized that Americans couldn’t perform an identical Bulgarian program because 1) they’re not on drugs and 2) they don’t have the base that Bulgarians had from starting at younger ages. It was with Coach Pendlay that Max Out Friday was born. I use this concept in my programming to this very day. Fridays we are going to go heavy – either with a 1RM snatch or clean and jerk, a complex version of the two lifts, or a repetition maximum of the two competition lifts.

Coach Pendlay also taught me to keep notes on all of my athletes with a notebook. This system allowed him to individualize the programs of each athlete for competition preparation, peaking, and tapering. He also took notes on warm ups, attempt selection, and the flow of warm ups. It seems simple, but the majority of coaches don’t do it. Some might take the notes, but they don’t have the skill of implementation.

Like him or not, Coach Pendlay changed the face of weightlifting in America forever. He impacted an industry like most of us can only dream about. Where most of us simply have dreams, ideas, and hopes, this man was able to bring those things to life. He had the gift to make people understand his vision. That’s a gift that makes the difference in him and so many other coaches. He got MDUSA to buy into his vision. He convinced a corporate giant to put their money on the line. He convinced a generation of people that the sport of weightlifting is more than some cult sport. He convinced a generation of people that the barbell is a beautiful thing. He convinced me that this sport can be so much more than it already is.

Coach Pendlay, thanks for daring to dream – and thanks for having the courage to bring that dream to life. Personally I want to thank you for inspiring me to follow my passion. You were my example, sir. You loved the sport of weightlifting and you created a successful life around that love. You did this during a time where most people thought you were crazy – and then those same people hated you because you proved them wrong. I pray that your life will remind us all about what’s really important.

Get Jacked in a Hurry

I was telling my father-in-law yesterday that I have written over one thousand articles since 2002.

I have always taken the outlook if I give as much as possible to all of you, the rest would take care of itself. For 17 years, I have been writing articles, making videos, and producing podcasts, so I could teach all of you the best ways to get strong and in shape. From 2002 until now, things have changed so much – and that change is what I am writing about today.


We are a busy society. The Internet has given us access to our businesses and customers we didn’t have before. We can always be posting, writing, or making videos, so now we are all busier than ever before. We want to train, and we want to get in better shape. However, the fact of the matter is time is limited.

This has been my reality since 2016. I have a growing family, a thriving business, and athletes who are competing all over the world on a monthly basis. I still desire to be strong and in shape, but I care more about my family, athletes, and customers than I care about my own fitness and strength. Are those bad priorities? That’s open for debate, but the fact is that’s the way it is. I am going to spend time with my family. I am going to communicate with my online team and ebook customers. I am going to focus on my in-house athletes.

However, I have found a way to get in shape without spending countless hours in the gym. As I write this, it sounds like an infomercial, but the difference is I am not selling anything. This is 100% for your benefit.

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From @coachtravismash : Great day training at @snapfitnesshr with @emilydrewmash with my new workout plan. Today’s workout: . -Standing Presses 5×3 working up to a 3RM at 9RPE . 1a. Deadlift 6-4-2 working up to 200kg/440lb x 2 (video shown) 1b. Split Stance Jammer Punches 3 x 5ea 1c. Battle Ropes with Squats 3 x 30 sec . 2a. DB Triceps Extensions 4 x 6 2b. Push downs 4 x 10 2c. Preacher Curls 3a. Step-Squat-Lunge mobility 3 x 8ea 3b. Battle Rope 3 x 30 sec . The goals of my workouts are as follows: -Time efficient 60-75 minutes -Strength is still a priority -Movement is a massive component -Bodybuilding to get jacked . These workouts are perfect for people in a hurry, master athletes, and pretty much everyone. . Now my question is: “Would you guys and gals want me to publish these workouts on here daily?” . If so, let me know what questions you have and what you’d like. 👀 the clothing from my favorite companies: wrist wraps and belt from @harbingerfitness @strongerexperts t-shirt #jamaica and my Pan Am Games @usa_weightlifting hat and shoes. . . . @intekstrength #intekstrength @athleteps @harbingerfitness #harbingerfitness @tfox66 #nikeweightlifting #athleteps @mg12power #mg12thepowerofmagnesium #wodfitters @wodfitters @strongerexperts #strongerexperts @leanfitnesssystems #LEANFit @shruggedcollective @andersvarner @usaweightlifting #usaw

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First let’s talk about the goals of the program, which happen to be my goals at this stage of life. Here’s what I am trying to do:

  • Get stronger – This will always be a priority because I love being strong.
  • Get fit – By ‘fit’ I mean more work capacity and better cardiovascular health.
  • Mobility is a key – At this stage of my life I want to be able to move and play sports with my children. I have a 19-year-old, 4-year-old, 2-year-old, and a 6-month-old. My 19-year-old is in college, but the other children are wild and crazy. They want to play sports, run around, and have fun.
  • Leave each workout feeling and moving better – I don’t like the word ‘feel’ because it is so subjective, but really I want my body to experience less inflammation and joint pain. With proper movement patterns and a solid warm up, this is definitely an achievable goal.
  • Get jacked – I have always loved bodybuilding. Yes, even at 46 years old I love chasing the pump. I might be known as a strength athlete and strength coach, but I am definitely a fan of bodybuilding. My desire for the iron was 100% inspired by Arnold, Ferrigno, and Colombu.

So is it possible to accomplish all of these goals in less than 75 minutes? Absolutely, if you have a focused plan, keep the head phones on, and quit the chitchat. Here are a few keys that are important for this to work:

  • a warm up that includes a lighter version of the strength focus on the day (ex. the bar only or 60kg/132lb) – pinpointing the joints that are trouble areas and pinpointing the joints required to perform the tasks at hand
  • a simple periodized approach to the strength movement on the day
  • a circuit-style approach for accessory work
  • a plan that includes bodybuilding movements, joint mobility work designed to improve movement deficiencies, and exercises designed to spark the heart rate
  • targeted strength movements that are also a part of the circuits for efficiency’s sake

Short on time in the gym? Here's the blueprint you need to follow.

Get Travis Mash's Guide to Building Your Own Program

If your schedule is packed but you still want to smash weight, if you want a reliable method to break through plateaus, if you want to build a strength program that works for YOU, grab the Blueprint.


Day 1

Back Squat: 5 x 5 (75% minimum, working toward 5RM at 9 RPE)

Met Con 1
Hang Snatch: 3 x 5 at around 7 RPE
Leg Press: 3 x 10
Farmers Walk: 3 x 25 yards
Barbell Hip Thrusts (with strap around knees): 3 x 12

Met Con 2
Rower: 4 x 250m
Russian Baby Makers: 4 x 10
Lunge: 4 x 50-100m

Day 2

Bench Press: 5 x 5 (75% minimum, working toward 5RM at 9 RPE)

Circuit 1
Clean and Push Press: 5 x 1 + 5 at 70%
Barbell Bentover Row: 5 x 10 (65% minimum)
Weighted Pushups: 5 x 10

Circuit 2
Double Unders: 3 x 25 – 50
Spider Man Walks: 3 x 10 per leg
Weighted Dips: 3 x 10

Day 3

Deadlift (eccentric slower than concentric): 5 x 3 (83% minimum, working toward 3RM at 9 RPE)

Met Con
OH Squat: 4 x 5 (around 7 RPE)
Pullups Strict: 4 x submaximal reps (use weight if more than 10 per set)
TRX Leg Curl: 4 x 10

Circuit 2
Reverse Hypers: 3 x 45 sec
Step-Squat-Lunge (Hip Mobility): 3 x 10 per leg
Prowler Push: 3 x 25 yards (heavy)

Day 4

Clean and Jerk: 5 x 2 (start at 70% and work up to 8 RPE)

Circuit 1
Bench Press: 4 x 10 (start at 65% – work up if too easy)
Horizontal Bodyweight Rows: 4 x submaximal reps (2-sec pause at top of contraction)
Axle Bar Biceps Curls: 4 x 10

Circuit 2
Kettlebell Potato Squats: 4 x 6 (with three deep breaths in the bottom of squat)
Sled Drag Forward: 4 x 40 yards
Heavy Med Ball Throws for Height: 4 x 8
Sled Drag Backward: 4 x 40 yards

Day 5

Front Squat: 5 x 3 ( at minimum of 83% – with last set being 3+ leaving one in the tank)

Circuit 1
Kettlebell Goblet Squat on Belt Squat: 4 x 10
Hyperextensions with Bands:4 x 10
Barbell Lunges:4 x 10 each leg

Circuit 2
Side Lunges: 4 x 8 each side
One-arm Overhead Dumbbell Squats: 4 x 5 each arm
Dumbbell Power Cleans: 4 x 10
Steep Inclined Treadmill: 4 x 60 seconds


This workout shows you the way I would use this style of training to emphasize the movements I love – the snatch, clean and jerk, squat, bench, and deadlift. You can also see the way I am targeting optimal movement for my hips. As far as mobility, my hips are my only trouble spot.

Of course you can change the workout around to fit your own goals. For example, you can totally focus on the squat, bench press, deadlift, and strict press. This would allow for more frequency in those movements. Therefore you could achieve better neural efficiency in the movements that are more important to you as an individual.

There are a few more keys to living a healthy and strong life that I am applying to my life. I am trying to be active everyday with a minimum being to take a 10-minute walk. I am at the beach with my family right now. My wife Emily Drew and I totally took advantage of the public park yesterday. My workout was filled with dips, pushups, pull-ups, squats, rows, and explosive step-ups. We followed up this workout with a swim in the ocean.

It’s funny to see me transitioning to the stage of my life. I was consumed with a desire to lift the heaviest weights on the planet, which was all I cared about. It’s exciting to be entering this new world of fitness. Recently I have watched so many of my powerlifting and strongman friends die in their pursuit to be the strongest men on earth. I have four babies I want to watch grow up, and hopefully I will get to see them become parents. I want to be the most jacked grandfather on the planet – which will require me to live long enough for that to take place.

I will never be an aerobic fitness bunny hopping around in my tight outfit encouraging people to jump around with me, but I can get in better shape. I can encourage others to do the same. When I think about it, it’s a bit more fulfilling to inspire others to live longer and more healthy lives versus inspiring them to lift the most weight on the planet. With a little thought into the program, we can have both. Let’s lift some heavy weights and get fit. Coach Dan John has been preaching this for years. I want to see my athletes living long lives – heck, Morgan McCullough is my godson. I sure don’t want to see him dying early.

Yes, I want to pass the torch of strength to my children and my athletes. However, I want to pass the torch of health and fitness as well to my children and my incredible athletes. It seems way more fulfilling to coach balance rather than coaching absolute strength. As this workout evolves, I will pass it on to all of you more and more.

Here's the key to unlocking even more gains in 2019...

Become a member of the Mash Mafia.

* Fully Customized Programming

* Unlimited Technique Analysis

* The Best Coaching in the World

Female Strength Training with Emily Pappas – The Barbell Life 271

If there’s one population that needs strength training – it’s women.

Specifically older women and young female athletes.

But guess what? Those are the exact populations that don’t want to strength train.

Well – we want to change that. And so does Emily Pappas.

Emily is a strength coach – and she exclusively coaches females. So she joins us on the podcast today to talk about confronting all the myths that surround females and strength training – and of course we talk a lot about her protocols and how she goes about uniquely addressing the needs of female athletes.


Principles and Real-Life Case Studies on How a Master Programmer Customizes a Program to the Individual

Peek inside Travis's brain... and learn how to individualize your own programs to fit an athlete's strengths, weaknesses, age, gender, sport demands, and unique response to training.


  • Why coaches need to understand the psychological differences between men and women
  • Is it really all about hormones?
  • Preventing concussions in women (without neck hypertrophy)
  • How to coach someone from novice up to proficiency
  • So you want to have females strength training… now HOW do you do that?
  • and more…

Martin Rooney on Training for Warriors and Being Strong as You Age – The Barbell Life 269

Martin Rooney has been in the coaching game for a long time.

He is a master of preparing athletes for the NFL combine, but he’s also well-known for being the creator of Training for Warriors.

Coach Rooney is an expert at getting people strong and fast – but doing it in a way that prepares them for life. This is particularly important as we get older. You can’t train the same way at 50 and at 25 – and life’s demands aren’t the same for you at 50 and at 25.


This five-part clinic series stands above all others as the most comprehensive event for coaches and athletes alike. Level up your knowledge of technique, programming, business, and coaching.


  • What can you expect at 35 years old
  • His opinions on metcons and kettlebell training
  • It’s not about your workout, it’s about…
  • Getting stronger in your 50s
  • Dangers of the deadlift
  • and more…

Christian Thibaudeau on the Industry, Coaching, and Dopamine – The Barbell Life 267

It was such an honor to talk on today’s podcast with Christian Thibaudeau.

I tell the story of being a young man at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado – the early days of Testosterone Nation Magazine. I kept hearing people talk about Christian again and again.

And for good reason.

Coach Thibaudeau joins us today to talk about the realities of the strength business and how everything has changed with social media. But he also tells us about what makes a truly great coach.

A World Class Coach's Guide to Building Muscle

Hypertrophy for Strength, Performance, and Aesthetics.

World champion and world-class coach Travis Mash has combined the latest research with his decades of practical experience to bring you an amazing resource on muscle hypertrophy.


  • Canadian steroid controversies giving Christian an opportunity
  • Gaining the credibility to work with high level athletes
  • Crying in the backroom and adrenal responses
  • Dopamine, kids, and fast food relationships
  • God and the meathead paradise
  • and more…
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