Category Archives for "Free Workouts"

Getting Stronger with Little to No Equipment

It looks like we are going to be here for a while. By here I mean trapped in our homes.

A few days ago I published a program that would get you moving with little to no equipment. However, what if you want to get stronger? (Or at least keep your gains?) What if you want to prepare for your upcoming football season? The key is to focus on what you do have and forget about what you don’t have.

Here’s a simple strength program I designed that’s perfect for any athlete whether football player, weightlifter, powerlifter, or whatever.

Later, I share some other program resources – but let’s look at this first.

Three Day Rotation:

Day 1

1a. Unilateral Squat (pistol squat advanced, RLE split squats, or split squats): 5RM each leg, then -10% for 2 x 5 each leg
1b. Ice Skater Plyos (use KB if advanced): 3 x 6 each side (focus on distance and change of direction)

2a. Unilateral RDLs (off leg freely in extension or against the wall): 3 x 8 each leg (working to 9 RPE)
2b. Walking Lunges: 3 x 8 each leg (working to 9 RPE)

3a. Waterbury Crucifix: 3 x 8 each leg (working to 9 RPE)
3b. Carpet Slider Leg Curls: 3 x 10
3c. Backpack Zercher Squats: 3 x 10

Day 2

1a. Feet Elevated Push-ups (handstand push-ups if possible): 10RM (use weighted backpack for load), then -10% for 2 x 10
1b. Backpack Bentover Rows: 3 x 10 each arm (5 sec eccentric, explosive concentric, and 2 sec pause at full contraction)

2a. Pull-ups: 3 x submaximal
2b. Soup Can Cheerleaders: 3 x 10

3a. Dips: 3 x submaximal
3b. Rock Front Raises: 3 x 10
3c. Backpack Biceps Curl: 3 x 10

STRENGTH UNIVERSITY VIDEO CURRICULUM

THE PERFECT WAY TO GROW IN KNOWLEDGE DURING THIS TIME OF SOCIAL DISTANCING

It's finally here... Learn about technique, programming, assessment, and coaching from a master. For strength coaches and for athletes, these 53 videos (7 hours and 56 minutes of footage) will prepare you to understand the main lifts for maximum performance and safety. Get ready to learn...

Day 3 Social Distancing Contrast Training

Lower:

1a. Unilateral Squat (pistol squat advanced, RLE split squats, or split squats): take your 5RM and perform same load for 6 x 1 rep
1b. Prisoner Squat Jumps (add knee to chest if too easy): 6 x 3
1c. Weighted Back Pack Squat Jumps: 6 x 3
1d. Assisted Jumps: 6 x 3
3 minutes rest between sets

Upper:

1a. Feet Elevated Push-ups (handstand push-ups if possible): 6 x 3 reps of your 10RM from day two
1b. Explosive Plyo Push-ups: 6 x 3
1c. Half-Kneeling Weighted Rotational Punches (use backpack): 6 x 3 each arm

2. Unilateral Suitcase Carries or Holds: 4 x 30 sec each arm

Explanation and Options

Here are my suggestions. If you want to perform a three, four, five, or six day per week program, this simple program will work. You can simply rotate through the days, and then repeat. If you want, you can make some changes that will turn the plan into a undulated periodization plan. I will explain all of it as I go through each day. I will also give you ideas how to progress and regress each movement. Let’s take a look at day one.

Day 1 Breakdown

day one: superset one
1a. Unilateral Squat (pistol squat advanced, RLE split squats, or split squats): 5RM each leg, then -10% for 2 x 5 each leg
1b. Ice Skater Plyos (use KB if advanced): 3 x 6 each side (focus on distance and change of direction)

Unilateral squats are perfect for any level athlete. You simply pick the version that fits your ability. If you are a straight baller, go with pistol squats. Intermediate athletes can use rear leg elevated split squat, and then just about anyone can perform split squats. If split squats are too challenging for whatever reason, you can always revert back to bilateral squats.

To load the unilateral squats, you can use the following:

  • Gallon jugs: filled with water or sand (obviously pour out the water or sand to lower the load)
  • Backpack: filled with rocks or just about anything you can think of for a load. (Shout out to my cohost of Barbell Shrugged, Doug Larson, for this idea. Rocks are awesome for easy load variance)
  • Old pillow case: filled with rock, sand (make sure it’s secure to avoid a mess), etc
  • With pistol squats, you might find you don’t need a load, or you might choose to use tempo rather than an external load. Example: 5RM at 5-7 second eccentric, followed by down sets with a faster eccentric

This is a good time to use contrast training – whether you are a weightlifter, powerlifter, CrossFitter, or field athlete – to add in some plyometrics for speed and power development. It’s also a great time to move in planes you aren’t used to. Most weightlifters and powerlifters stay in the sagittal plane with flexion and extension. It’s a good time to give those movements a bit of a break while working in the frontal plane with some abduction and adduction along with some rotational movements. This will keep your body symmetrical, moving functionally, and feeling better for when this coronavirus is contained.

For all of these reasons, I paired ice skaters with the unilateral squat. Therefore, the unilateral squat is paired with a lateral unilateral plyometric. The key to the ice skaters is maximal distance along with a fast change of direction. The goal is to improve the athlete’s ability to absorb force, change direction, and produce force in the opposite direction. This movement is great for field athletes. To increase the load, you can use a kettlebell if you have one, or you can hold a book or rock. I teach my athletes to form a figure 8 pattern with the load, so the movement is more rhythmic in nature.

Before I get into explaining the rest of day one – I want to let you know about something special we’ve done. If the free program in this article fits your needs, then great – I’m glad I could help.

But I talk to many athletes who have worked very hard for their strength, and they don’t want to lose a single pound or kilo off their lifts. So I’ve worked hard to get creative… and I’ve come up with some next-level programs that can be done with little equipment or even no equipment.

These new programs – part of our Bronze Level membership – take the strategy and thought of this free program and ramp it up even further. This is the type of program I would recommend for my athletes if they didn’t have access to equipment.

Check them out:

MAXIMIZE YOUR STRENGTH...

EVEN WITHOUT EQUIPMENT

These new programs from Coach Travis Mash are designed to strategically and creatively make the best use of limited equipment (or even no equipment). These programs aren't just generic bodyweight exercises - these are programs specifically geared toward the strength needs of weightlifters, powerlifters, or field athletes.

day one: superset two
2a. Unilateral RDLs (off leg freely in extension or against the wall): 3 x 8 each leg (working to 9 RPE)
2b. Walking Lunges: 3 x 8 each leg (working to 9 RPE)

Unilateral RDLs are a great movement whether you are quarantined or not. I recommend starting this movement with the off leg either pressed against the wall or resting on a stool. The key is to perform the movement with a proper hinge, while keeping the spine as neutral (in extension) as possible. You can use the gallon jug or backpack ideas for loading this movement. This movement is paired with Cory Gregory’s favorite, walking lunges.

(From here on out in this program, you can assume external loads can be used in the form of a loaded backpack, gallon jug, canned goods, loaded pillowcase, book, stool, or get creative.)

day one: superset three
3a. Waterbury Crucifix: 3 x 8 each leg (working to 9 RPE)
3b. Carpet Slider Leg Curls: 3 x 10
3c. Backpack Zercher Squats: 3 x 10

My favorite posterior chain exercise is the Waterbury crucifix. To perform this movement, abduct your arms to where they form a 90-degree angle with the torso. With palms facing forward (supinated) and scapula completely retracted, take a slightly wider than shoulder width stance and knees slightly bent, and then perform a hinge much like a goodmorning. The goal is to keep the 90-degree angle with the arms and torso while maintaining a neutral spine. Your hands are going to want to drift toward the hips for a biomechanical advantage, so make sure to fight that urge. Your hamstrings along with your entire posterior chain are going to be in pain (in a good way) the next few days. It doesn’t take much more than a can of soup in each hand to load this exercise properly.

I talked about the carpet slider leg curls in my previous at home workout article. You can use furniture movers for carpet or wash rags for a smooth surface. While laying supine on the ground (on your back), place your heels on the furniture mover or rag, and then perform a complete leg curl while keeping your hips in extension the entire movement. The final movement in this giant set is a good ol’ fashioned Zercher squat. For any of you who don’t know, the Zercher squat is performed with the load held in the crook of your elbow.

Day 2 Breakdown

day two: superset one
1a. Feet Elevated Push-ups (handstand push-ups if possible): 10RM (use weighted backpack for load), then -10% for 2 x 10
1b. Backpack Bentover Rows: 3 x 10 each arm (5 sec eccentric, explosive concentric, and 2 sec pause at full contraction)

The push-up is one of the most underutilized exercises on earth. There are so many versions, and with any slight variation you have a new exercise. If you want to load this movement, you can simply elevate the legs until they’re at the handstand push-up range. Closegrip push-ups will engage the triceps more simply due to the increased range of motion, whereas wider push-ups will engage pectoralis muscles more due to performing the exercise in a more lengthened position. If you aren’t able to perform handstand push-ups, you can still work the pressing muscles by walking your feet closer to your hands while allowing your hips to go higher in the air. Now you will have a more vertical pressing motion without the extreme load of the handstand push-ups.

I love Doug’s idea of using a backpack for rows along with a plethora of other movements. You can perform backpack bentover rows bilaterally or unilaterally, and you can take advantage of multiple torso angles to attack the back from multiple positions. Tempo is a great way to add difficulty. I especially like pauses at full muscular contraction to counter the scapula winging that is present in most athletes from sitting on a computer too long everyday.

day two: superset two
2a. Pull-ups: 3 x submaximal
2b. Soup Can Cheerleaders: 3 x 10

Pull-ups are a necessity for athletic development in my book. There is normally somewhere around the house to perform pull-ups – like the eave of a home, a tree limb, or door paneling (my 5-year-old’s favorite). If you are a boss and can perform multiple sets of strict pull-ups for 10 or more repetitions, then I recommend either adding a tempo or potentially an external load.

Soup can cheerleaders sound like a soft exercise, but I promise the burn will bring the toughest of men to their knees. I will explain it, but I am also going to film this movement. With a can of soup in each hand:

  1. Perform a front raise (shoulder flexion) stopping with the arms create a 90-degree angle with the torso.
  2. Perform a rowing motion retracting the scapula and stopping when the lower arm forms a 90-degree angle with the upper arm with the humerus maintaining a 90-degree angle with the torso now to the side.
  3. Externally rotate the humerus while maintaining the 90-degree angle with the humerus and torso.
  4. Extend your arms overhead like a strict press.
  5. Reverse this entire process one section at a time.

This movement is great for shoulder development and stabilization. In this exercise you are using the deltoids, supporting rotator cuff muscles, and even some rhomboids. This one is great for maintaining healthy shoulders.

day two: superset three
3a. Dips: 3 x submaximal
3b. Rock Front Raises: 3 x 10
3c. Backpack Biceps Curl: 3 x 10

In this last giant set, I am having you get jacked. If you are going to be quarantined, you might as well come out of it looking like you’ve been in prison (jacked) versus looking like you were locked up in your kitchen (soft). Dips are one of my favorite accessory exercises if you have dip bars. One simple way is to get two barbells side by side on safety racks in a power rack. Of course if you are performing this workout, you probably don’t have two barbells. You can always substitute in bench dips or chair dips. However, with some wood and a bit of craftsmanship, you could probably make some dip bar.

The other movements require way less mental effort. I recommend a rock or a book for front raises. I have all of my athletes perform complete shoulder flexion to encourage proper movement in the shoulder joint. Lastly, if we are going to be locked down, we might as well do some curls, y’all. Will big biceps make you a better athlete? Probably not, but they look cool!

MAXIMIZE YOUR STRENGTH...

EVEN WITHOUT EQUIPMENT

These new programs from Coach Travis Mash are designed to strategically and creatively make the best use of limited equipment (or even no equipment). These programs aren't just generic bodyweight exercises - these are programs specifically geared toward the strength needs of weightlifters, powerlifters, or field athletes.

Day 3 Social Distancing Contrast Training Breakdown

day three: Lower
1a. Unilateral Squat (pistol squat advanced, RLE split squats, or split squats): take your 5RM and perform same load for 6 x 1 rep
1b. Prisoner Squat Jumps (add knee to chest if too easy): 6 x 3
1c. Weighted Back Pack Squat Jumps: 6 x 3
1d. Assisted Jumps: 6 x 3
3 minutes rest between sets

This day is designed to get you explosive and athletic. I took this right out of the French contrast blueprint. This day is designed to maximize power development not to be metabolic conditioning. By this, I mean I want 100% effort on each repetition along with complete recovery between sets (3-4 minutes).

Normally I perform a loaded movement first – like back squat, front squat, or trap bar deadlifts at around 75-80% load. Unilateral squats are by nature harder, so I am keeping the same load as on day one, which is normally 80%-ish for most people. However on this day, only one repetition is performed simply for potentiation’s sake. If the load is too exhausting, feel free to lower. The weight is meant to excite the nervous system and not to exhaust.

The unilateral squat is contrasted with prisoner squat jumps (bringing knees to chest while in the air for advanced). However, there are multiple plyometrics one could perform like:

  • Prisoner Squats
  • Russian Hops
  • Prisoner Squats w Knee to Chest
  • Ice Skaters
  • Broad Jumps
  • Unilateral Broad Jump

The unweighted jump is followed up with a loaded jump. Once again, you could perform a loaded jump with all the plyometric variations. I recommend keeping the same movements for 2-3 weeks, and then change them out to avoid accommodation. Assisted jumps are the favorite of my athletes. If you have a high enough half-rack, you can attach green jump stretch bands to the top to accentuate the assisted jumps. If you don’t have bands, then hook a belt to a door to unload the jump just a bit. The key is to increase the speed and height of the jump preparing the nervous system for increased potentials.

day three: Upper
1a. Feet Elevated Push-ups (handstand push-ups if possible): 6 x 3 reps of your 10RM from day two
1b. Explosive Plyo Push-ups: 6 x 3
1c. Half-Kneeling Weighted Rotational Punches (use backpack): 6 x 3 each arm

2. Unilateral Suitcase Carries or Holds: 4 x 30 sec each arm

For the upper body power development day, we are sticking with the same load as performed on day two, but we are only performing three repetitions. I want you to keep the same angle as day two as well. This movement is first contrasted with explosive plyometric push-ups. I want all-out maximal power and height with each repetition. This giant set is completed with a half kneeling rotational punch. I love this movement for encouraging proper movement in the hips while stabilizing the hips at the same time. Rotation is the most important plane of movement on earth when it comes to power development (just think about a punch, golf swing, or the swing of a baseball bat).

We are here for you during this Coronavirus crisis.

Let us help with customized programming and coaching when you have limited access to gym equipment.

If you are financially able to join our online team for customized programming at this time, we would appreciate your support.

If you are financially struggling during this time, we still want to help. Email us and we will try to help out in any way we can.

* Fully Customized Programming

* Unlimited Technique Analysis

* The Best Coaching in the World

By the way, there are plenty of upper body plyometrics to substitute in such as:

  • Crossover Books Push-Ups
  • Depth Push-Ups
  • Clap Push-Ups
  • Med Ball Punches or throws
Warm Up

Don’t forget a proper warm up should be performed each day before the main workout. I suggest doing some dynamic warm ups and movement preparation each and every day during this lockdown. Here is a suggestion for a simple but effective warm up:

  • Mountain Climbers: 60 seconds
  • Lunge in place: 10 per leg
  • Bodyweight Squats: 10 reps
  • Hamstring Sweeps: 10 per leg
  • Side Planks: 20-30 seconds per side
  • McGill Curl-ups: 4 reps of 15 second holds
  • Bird Dogs: 30-60 seconds per side
  • Foam Roll the entire Body
  • Bodyweight Unilateral RDLs with hip external rotation: 8 per side
  • Sled or Pillowcase forward drags: 30-60 seconds
  • Sled or Pillowcase backward drags: 30-60 seconds
Conditioning

As for conditioning, here are some ideas:

  • Mountain Climbers
  • Burpees
  • Jump Rope
  • Jumping Jacks
  • Scap Jacks
  • BW Lunges
  • Backpack Swings
  • Backpack Stair Climbing: for time
  • My favorite: strength movement, paired with conditioning movement, and paired with a mobility movement

Mash Meathead Metabolics (example):
1. Backpack Zercher Squats for 10-repetitions
2. Burpees for 10-repetitions
3. Grasshopper Dynamic Leg Stretch
10-15 minute AMRAP

Making the Best of It

I hope this helps. I know some of us are sweating it pretty badly because we love the gym. This plan should at least keep us from losing our gains, but some of you will actually improve quite a bit with this plan. Let’s take care of our bodies, get some rest, and be ready for when this thing is over. If you have any questions, email me at info@mashelite.com

I am praying for all of you. I know we are going through some tough times, but we will get through this. The question is:

Will we use this time to improve ourselves, or will we sit in front of Netflix and pout? Some of us will come out the other end better than ever. Who will you be?

STRENGTH UNIVERSITY VIDEO CURRICULUM

THE PERFECT WAY TO GROW IN KNOWLEDGE DURING THIS TIME OF SOCIAL DISTANCING

It's finally here... Learn about technique, programming, assessment, and coaching from a master. For strength coaches and for athletes, these 53 videos (7 hours and 56 minutes of footage) will prepare you to understand the main lifts for maximum performance and safety. Get ready to learn...

Getting Jacked and Healthy at Home

Writing this seems so surreal. I can’t believe that I am writing all of you under these uncertain circumstances. Yet here we are.

I wrote an article last week explaining COVID-19 in detail. While writing that article, I came to realize that unless something drastic changes, all of our lives will be altered forever. Now we can either sit around depressed and feeling sorry for ourselves… or we can adapt to our situation, make the best of it, and come out on the other end better than ever. Personally that’s the route I am taking.

Perspective

The first thing I did over the weekend when I started feeling scared and sorry for myself was think about all the things I am thankful for. God has been so incredibly good to me in this life.

For one thing I have a wife who I absolutely love with all my heart, and I thank God that I actually like being quarantined with her. She fascinates me with her artwork, and I bore her with physiology. At least she pretends to be excited. The one thing in life that keeps me motivated is her belief in me as a husband and father. She knows I will provide, and that keeps me on my toes. She deserves to be a real queen married to the king of some marvelous country. I might not be a king, but I want to be a pretty darn good consolation prize.

I have four children that amaze me every single day of my life. Bailey is 20 years old and growing up much faster than I would like. It’s outrageous watching her become a woman. Rock has athleticism at 5 years old that I didn’t have by twelve. His gymnastic skills and climbing ability is extraordinary, and yet he communicates like a child twice his age. Behr Bradley is so much like his dad that I feel like a part of me will live on forever in that young man. I think he is going to put my strength accomplishments to shame. He’s built like no other three-year-old that I have ever seen in my life. You would think he was crushing the weights already. Finally, there is my little flower, Magnolia. If you follow me on social media, you already know of my one-year-old princess. I can’t begin to tell you how her eyes pierce deep down into my very soul.

I have a best friend, Kevin “KJ’ Jones who has been my ride or die for 35 years. I can’t begin to express how this man has been my rock through so many ups and downs in my life. You see, we both grew up in the mountains of North Carolina with our single mothers. We have both gone on to live extraordinary lives. I am certain we were the only ones who believed in us from the very beginning. He has continued to inspire me in this wild ride of a life, and now we are leaning on each other as we strive to keep our businesses alive and our families taken care of.

I have an amazing team of athletes who most coaches can only dream about. I have Coach Crystal who keeps our team and my business organized and on track. I have a business partner, Chris Mason, who has been my training partner and fellow adventurer since Appalachian State University.

I have a career that takes me around the world teaching people about strength and fitness. I get to hang out with people like Anders Varner and Doug Larson, and I get to travel around the world filming the Barbell Shrugged Podcast. I mean, really I don’t have a lot to be sad about. I am living a life better than I could have ever dreamed about growing up.

Most importantly, I have a God who now I have more time to reflect upon, read about, and worship. It’s times like these that we will either turn to God, or forever abandon His arms. I have chosen to put all my faith and hope in the future in His hands:

Philippians 1:21-22
For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. But if I am to live on in the flesh, this will mean fruitful labor for me; and I do not know which to choose.

Technology

I advise all of you to first take a few minutes to think about all of the blessings in your life before sitting around and getting depressed about all the things you have no control over. Another thing I recommend is to stop thinking about the things you can’t do. Rather I suggest focusing on what you can do. Instead of thinking about why something won’t work now that most of us are in isolation, I suggest thinking about what needs to happen to make your idea come to life – and use the technology to do so.

I have been coaching my team via Zoom this week. I started looking into the whole thing, and then I had the idea I would coach all of my top athletes from around the world at the same time. Now I can coach Jordan Cantrell, Sandra and Louise from Denmark, Isaac from New Zealand, and the rest of my all-stars from around the world on a daily basis. This awful virus has actually brought my vast team together in a way like never before. I can video their lifts, analyze it with “Coach’s Eye” software, and explain the analysis in real time. This is almost better than in person.

We are here for you during this Coronavirus crisis.

Let us help with customized programming and coaching when you have limited access to gym equipment.

If you are financially able to join our online team for customized programming at this time, we would appreciate your support.

If you are financially struggling during this time, we still want to help. Email us and we will try to help out in any way we can.

* Fully Customized Programming

* Unlimited Technique Analysis

* The Best Coaching in the World

Improvement

After stumbling upon the Zoom win, I decided to think of all the things I want to work on while we are all on lockdown. I mean, what else are we going to do besides get more awesome, folks? I don’t know about you, but I plan on coming out on the other side of this thing better than before it struck our world.

Here are some things that I am currently working on:

  • Getting healthier than ever before
  • Bodyweight workouts to get ‘300’ jacked
  • Improve my cardiovascular system on my bike
  • Write every single day
  • Study anatomy and physiology every single day and write about it at least once per week
  • Improve my content
  • Spend more quality time with my beloved family
  • Take some time to think this life through in a way that I have been wanting to do for forever, but I haven’t had the time.

I want to use my plans to help all of you. I will be writing about my plans and progress every single week. I am going to start by sharing my ideas for workouts at home while you guys are stuck behind four walls with no gym to escape to. Let’s take a look at some options.

At Home Workouts

Limited or No Equipment Workout

Here’s a link to a Video of the Exercises: ==> Video of the Exercises for the Limited Equipment Program

Day 1
3-5 Sets:
1a. Kettlebell/DB/Plate Goblet Squat – 3 x 10
1b. Pushups – 3 x 10
1c. 50 Jump Ropes

3-5 Sets:
2a. Kettlebell/DB/Plate Hinges – 3 x 10
2b. Kettlebell/DB/Plate Lawn Mower Rows – 3 x 10 each arm
2c. Hurdle Side Steps – 3 x 10 (5 each way)

Day 2
3-5 Sets:
1a. Prisoner Squat Jumps – 3 x 5-10
1b. Explosive Pushups – 3 x 5-10
1c. Plank with Band Lat Rows – 3 x 10 each way, eccentric slower than concentric

3-5 Sets:
2a. Kettlebell/DB/Plate Lunges – 3 x 10 each leg
2b. Kettlebell/DB/Plate Strict Presses – 3 x 10
2c. Mountain Climbers – 3 x 20

Day 3
3-5 Sets:
1a. BB/DB/KB/Plate OH Squat – 3 x 10
1b. Plate/KB/DB Front Raises – 3 x 10
1c. KB/Plate/DB Swings – 3 x 10

3-5 Sets:
2a. Pushup with Feet Elevated – 3 x 10
2b. Pullups – 3 x submaximal reps
2c. Lunges – 3 x 10 each leg

Let’s take a look at all the options and ways to regress or progress:

  • Tempo: Tempo is a great way to alter the difficulty of any movement. I would advise that the eccentric (negative) contraction always exceed the duration of the concentric contraction (the up or shortening portion). This is a great tool if you don’t have any equipment. You could add a 5-second to 10-second eccentric and a 5-second to 10-second isometric (pause) contraction in the bottom on any squat, lunge, pushup, pull-up, etc.
  • Sets: I recommended 3-5 sets, but there is no reason to stick to those parameters if the workout is too easy. At the end of the day, it’s all about introducing a stimulus that causes an adaptive response by the body.
  • Repetitions: Add a rep or subtract a rep depending on the difficulty.
  • Time Component: If the workout is too easy, you can always add a time component. By that I mean time your workout, and then have a goal of beating that time in the next week. You could try to add difficulty and time to really challenge yourself.
  • Angle: If you change the angle of an exercise, you will alter the difficulty one way or the other. Let’s look at strict presses for example. If you don’t have a dumbbell, kettlebell, or a plate, you can turn the movement into a bodyweight movement by using handstand pushups. If completely vertical handstand pushups are too hard, walk your hands away from the wall to make them easier. The same goes for pushups, pull-ups, and horizontal rows.
  • Bodyweight Movements instead of Weights: I already explained substituting handstand pushups for strict presses. However, you could perform horizontal rows instead of kettlebell lawnmower rows. You just need a bar or ledge to row on and something to sit your legs on.
  • Household Items or Children as Weights: You can easily turn children, stools, canned goods, gallons of water, books, and filled boxes into external loads. Canned goods are great for shoulder lateral raises. Children are great for squats and rows. Stools are great for carries, and they’re great to elevate one’s feet during pushups.

If you have any questions about the movement, feel free to shoot me a message to info@mashelite.com.

Six-Week Weightlifting with Only Barbell and Squat Stand

This program is designed to be fun, get you stronger, and to slightly peak you in six weeks. I hope this virus situation is over by then. If not, I will write another one. I would like to get us all on the same page and possibly Zoom once per week or once per month (I need to think about the logistics) with Coach Crystal (Mash Elite National Coach), Jordan Cantrell (3 x Team USA World Team Member and USA Weightlifting Level 2 Coach), and/or me. I would like your feedback if you want to do this with us.

If you have any questions about the following movements, feel free to shoot me a message to info@mashelite.com.

Accumulation Phase
Week 1

Day 1
Hang Clean – 5RM (7 RPE), then -10% for 5
Push Jerks – 5RM (7 RPE), then -10% for 5
Strict Press – 10 x 3 at 80%
Plate OH Carries or Holds – 3 x 25yd each arm or 3 x 10-15 sec holds

Day 2
Hang Snatch below Knee with 4-sec Eccentric – 5RM (7 RPE), then -10% for 2 x 5
Back Squat with 4-sec Eccentric and 2-sec Pause in Bottom – 5RM (7 RPE), then -10% for 2 x 5
Snatch Grip Deadlift with 5-sec Eccentric – 5RM (7 RPE), then -10% for 2 x 5
Wide Goodmorning, Stay at a 7-8 RPE – start with 25% of Squat for 3 x 8
Unilateral Farmer’s Walk -3 x 40yd each arm

Day 3
Sntach Grip Push Press – 5RM (7 RPE), then -10% for 2 x 5
Closegrip Bench Press – 5 x 10 at 60%
Bentover Rows – 5 x 10 at 60%
Plate Bottom Up Z Press – 3 x 10 each arm

Day 4
Back Squat – 63% x 10 x 10
Rear Leg Elevated Split Squats, Stay at a 7 RPE – 5 x 15 each leg
Unilateral RDLs – 3 x 10
Barbell Zercher Carries or Holds – 3 x 25yd or 3 x 10-15 sec holds

Week 2

Day 1
Hang Clean – 5RM (8 RPE), then -10% for 5
Push Jerks – 5RM (8 RPE), then -10% for 5
Strict Press – 10 x 4 at 80%
Plate OH Carries or Holds – 3 x 25yd each arm or 3 x 10-15 sec holds

Day 2
Hang Snatch below Knee with 4-sec Eccentric – 5RM (8 RPE), then -10% for 2 x 5
Back Squat with 4-sec eccentric and 2 sec pause in bottom – 5RM (8 RPE), then -10% for 2 x 5
Snatch Grip Deadlift with 5-sec Eccentric – 5RM (8 RPE), then -10% for 2 x 5
Wide Goodmorning, Stay at a 7-8 RPE – add 5-10 kilos to last week for 3 x 8
Unilateral Farmer’s Walk – 3 x 40yd each arm

Day 3
Sntach Grip Push Press – 5RM (8 RPE), then -10% for 2 x 5
Closegrip Bench Press – 5 x 10 at 63%
Bentover Rows – 5 x 10 at 63%
Plate Bottom Up Z Press – 3 x 10 each arm

Day 4
Back Squat – 65% for 10 x 10
Rear Leg Elevated Split Squats, Stay at a 7 RPE – 5 x 15 each leg
Unilateral RDLs – 3 x 10
Barbell Zercher Carries or Holds – 3 x 25yd or 3 x 10-15 sec holds

Strength Phase
Week 3

Day 1
Warm Up with Jerk Steps from Split – 35% x 3, 45% for 2 x 3
Clean & Jerks – (70% x 3, 75% x 2, 80% x 2) x 2 waves, then work up with singles but no more than 90%
Power Cleans – 70% for 3 x 3, then 3RM
Front Squat with 4-sec Eccentric and 2-sec Pause in Bottom – 5RM (8 RPE), then -10% for 2 x 5
Clean Pulls – Work to a heavy triple with perfect form

Day 2
Warm Up with OH Squat Variations: Heaving Snatch Balance & 1 OH Squat (Both Paused 3 sec in bottom) – Work up to 75% of snatch
Pull to Hip + NHNF Snatch – 60% for 3 x 2+2
Snatch – (70% x 3, 75% x 2, 80% x 2) x 2 waves, then work up with singles but no more than 90%
Power Snatch – 60% for 2 x 3, then work to a 3RM (9 RPE)
Snatch Pulls – Work to a heavy triple with perfect form
Superset:
1a. OH Plate Triceps Extension – 3 x 10 reps
1b. Strict Presses – 5RM (9 RPE), then -10% for 2 x 5
1c. Plate Front Raises – 3 x 12 reps

Day 3
Snatch Max Effort: Pull to Hips + Snatch + Hang Snatch – Max
Clean & Jerk Max Effort: Clean + Hang Clean + Jerk – Max
Front Squat with Belt – 1RM with 5 sec pause (7 RPE)
Bentover Rows – 5RM (9 RPE), then -10% for 2 x 5

Day 4
Back Squat with Belt:
Set 1 – (88% x 2), rest 2 minutes and then (73% x 6)
Set 2 (add 5 Kilos to each weight if possible) – (88% x 2), rest 2 minutes and then (73% x 6)
Set 3 (add 5 Kilos to each weight if possible) – (88% x 2), rest 2 minutes and then (73% x 6)
Superset:
1a. Push Presses – 5RM (9 RPE), then -10% for 2 x 5
1b. Muscle Snatches – 3 x 5, working toward a 9 RPE
Clean Grip Deadlift from 2″ Deficit, Paused at Mid Shin – 3RM (first 2 reps paused 3 sec) 9 RPE, then -10% for 2 x 3 not paused

Week 4

Day 1
Warm Up with Jerk Steps from Split – 35% x 3, 45% for 3 x 3
Clean & Jerks – (73% x 2, 78% x 2, 83% x 1) x 2 waves, then work up with singles but no more than 93%
Power Cleans – 70% for 3 x 3, then 3RM
Front Squat with 4-sec Eccentric and 2-sec Pause in Bottom – 5RM (9 RPE), then -10% for 2 x 5
Clean Pulls – Work to a heavy triple with perfect form

Day 2
Warm Up with OH Squat Variations: Heaving Snatch Balance & 1 OH Squat (Both Paused 3 sec in bottom) – Work up to 78% of snatch
Pull to Hip + NHNF Snatch – 63% for 3 x 2+2
Snatch – (73% x 2, 78% x 2, 83% x 1) x 2 waves, then work up with singles but no more than 93%
Power Snatch – 63% for 2 x 3, then work to a 3RM (9.5 RPE)
Snatch Pulls – Work to a heavy triple with perfect form
Superset:
1a. OH Plate Triceps Extension – 3 x 10 reps
1b. Strict Presses – 5RM (9 RPE), then -10% for 2 x 5
1c. Plate Front Raises – 3 x 12 reps

Day 3
Snatch Max Effort: Snatch to Hip + Snatch – Max
Clean & Jerk Max Effort: Clean + Front Squat + Jerk – Max
Front Squat with Belt – 1RM with 5 sec pause (8 RPE)
Bentover Rows – 5RM (9.5 RPE), then -10% for 2 x 5

Day 4
Back Squat with Belt:
Set 1 – (90% x 1), rest 2 minutes and then (75% x 5)
Set 2 (add 5 Kilos to each weight if possible) – (90% x 1), rest 2 minutes and then (75% x 5)
Set 3 (add 5 Kilos to each weight if possible) – (90% x 1), rest 2 minutes and then (75% x 5)
Superset:
1a. Push Presses – 5RM (9.5 RPE), then -10% for 2 x 5
1b. Muscle Snatches – 3 x 5, working toward a 9.5 RPE
Clean Grip Deadlift from 2″ Deficit, Paused at Mid Shin – 3RM (first 2 reps paused 3 sec) 9.5 RPE, then -10% for 2 x 3 not paused

Week 5

Day 1
Warm Up with Jerk Steps from Split – 35% x 3, 40% for 2 x 3
Clean & Jerks – (70% x 3, 75% x 2, 80% x 2) x 2 waves
Power Cleans – 75% for 3 x 3
Front Squat with 4-sec Eccentric and 2-sec Pause in Bottom – 90% of 5RM for 3 x 5
Clean Pulls – Work to a heavy triple with perfect form, stop one set early

Day 2
Warm Up with OH Squat Variations: Heaving Snatch Balance & 1 OH Squat (Both Paused 3 sec in bottom) – Work up to 80% of snatch
Pull to Hip + NHNF Snatch – 60% for 2 x 2+2
Snatch – (70% x 3, 75% x 2, 80% x 2) x 2 waves
Power Snatch – 65% for 3 x 3
Snatch Pulls – Work to a heavy triple with perfect form
Superset:
1a. OH Plate Triceps Extension – 3 x 10 reps
1b. Strict Presses – 3RM (9 RPE), then work to single max
1c. Plate Front Raises – 3 x 12 reps

Day 3
Snatch Max Effort: Snatch – 2RM
Clean & Jerk Max Effort: 2 Clean + 1 Jerk – Max
Front Squat with Belt – 1RM with 3 sec pause (9.5 RPE)
Bentover Rows – 90% of 5RM for 3 x 5

Day 4
Back Squat with Belt:
Set 1 – (93% x 1), rest 2 minutes and then (78% x 5)
Set 2 (add 5 Kilos to each weight if possible) – (93% x 1), rest 2 minutes and then (78% x 5)
Set 3 (add 5 Kilos to each weight if possible) – (93% x 1), rest 2 minutes and then (78% x 5)
Superset:
1a. Push Presses – 90% of 5RM for 3 x 5
1b. Muscle Snatches – 3 x 5, no more than 8 RPE
Clean Grip Deadlift (no deficit), Paused at Mid Shin – 3RM (first rep paused 2 sec) 9.5 RPE

Week 6

Day 1
Warm Up with Jerk Steps from Split – 35% x 3, 45% for 3 x 3
Clean & Jerks – (75% x 2, 80% x 1, 85% x 1) x 2 waves, then work up to a potential opener
Power Cleans – Max single, no misses
Front Squat with 4-sec Eccentric and 2-sec Pause in Bottom – 5RM (9.5 RPE), then -10% for 2 x 5

Day 2
Warm Up with OH Squat Variations: Heaving Snatch Balance & 1 OH Squat – Work up to 70% of snatch
Pull to Hip + NHNF Snatch – 65% for 3 x 1+1
Snatch – (75% x 3, 80% x 1, 85% x 1) x 2 waves, then work up to a potential opener
Power Snatch – Max single
Superset:
1a. OH Plate Triceps Extension – 3 x 10 reps
1b. Plate Front Raises – 3 x 12 reps

Day 3
Snatch Max Effort: Snatch – Max
Clean & Jerk Max Effort: Clean & Jerk – Max
Bentover Rows – 5RM

Day 4
Back Squat with Belt – 1RM
Push Presses – 3RM (9 RPE), then work to single max
Clean Grip Deadlift – 1RM (no deficit or pauses)

We are here for you during this Coronavirus crisis.

Let us help with customized programming and coaching when you have limited access to gym equipment.

If you are financially able to join our online team for customized programming at this time, we would appreciate your support.

If you are financially struggling during this time, we still want to help. Email us and we will try to help out in any way we can.

* Fully Customized Programming

* Unlimited Technique Analysis

* The Best Coaching in the World

Six-Week Powerlifting with Only Barbell, Squat Stand, and Bench

Here’s one for all you powerlifters.

If you have any questions about the following movements, feel free to shoot me a message to info@mashelite.com.

Accumulation Phase
Week 1

Day 1
Back Squat with 4-sec Eccentric and 2-sec Pause in Bottom – 5RM (7 RPE), then -10% for 2 x 5
Snatch Grip Deadlift with 5-sec Eccentric – 5RM (7 RPE), then -10% for 2 x 5
Wide Goodmorning, Stay at a 7-8 RPE – Start with 25% of squat for 3 x 8
BB Lunges – 3 x 10 reps each leg, working toward an 8 RPE

Day 2
Wide Grip Bench Press (Wider than Normal Comp Grip) – 10 x 3 at 80%
Incline DB or BB Presses – 10RM (9 RPE) and then -10% for 2 x 10
Pull-Ups – 4 x submaximal reps, switch grips each set (weakest to strongest)
Dips or Plate OH Triceps Extension – 4 x 10, working toward a 9 RPE

Day 3
Back Squat – 63% for 10 x 10
Slider Leg Curls – 4 x 10 reps

Day 4
Closer than Normal Bench Press – 63% for 10 x 10
BB Bentover Rows – 5 x 10 at 60%
DB or KB Upright Rows – 5 x 10
Barbell Zercher Carries or Holds – 3 x 25yd or 3 x 10-15 sec holds

Week 2

Day 1
Back Squat with 4-sec Eccentric and 2-sec Pause in Bottom – 5RM (8 RPE), then -10% for 2 x 5
Snatch Grip Deadlift with 5-sec Eccentric – 5RM (8 RPE), then -10% for 2 x 5
Wide Goodmorning, Stay at a 7-8 RPE – Add 5-10 kilos from last week’s weight for 3 x 8
BB Lunges – 3 x 10 reps each leg, working toward an 9 RPE

Day 2
Wide Grip Bench Press (Wider than Normal Comp Grip) – 10 x 4 at 80%
Incline DB or BB Presses – 10RM (9.5 RPE) and then -10% for 2 x 10
Pull-Ups – 4 x submaximal reps, switch grips each set (weakest to strongest)
Dips or Plate OH Triceps Extension – 4 x 10, working toward a 9.5 RPE

Day 3
Back Squat – 65% for 10 x 10
Slider Leg Curls – 4 x 10 reps

Day 4
Closer than Normal Bench Press – 65% for 10 x 10
BB Bentover Rows – 5 x 10 at 65%
DB or KB Upright Rows – 5 x 10
Barbell Zercher Carries or Holds – 3 x 25yd or 3 x 10-15 sec holds

Strength Phase
Week 3

Day 1
Back Squat:
Set 1 – (88% x 2), rest 2 minutes and then (73% x 6)
Set 2 (add 5-10 Kilos to the 1 rep set if possible) – (88% x 2), rest 2 minutes and then (73% x 6)
Set 3 (add 5-10 Kilos to the 1 rep set if possible) – (88% x 2), rest 2 minutes and then (73% x 6)

Deadlifts (All Eccentrics Slower than Concentrics):
Set 1 – (88% x 1), rest 2 minutes and then (75% x 4)
Set 2 (add 5-10 Kilos to the 1 rep set if possible) – (88% x 1), rest 2 minutes and then (75% x 4)
Set 3 (add 5-10 Kilos to the 1 rep set if possible) – (88% x 1), rest 2 minutes and then (75% x 4)
Wide Goodmornings – 3 x 5, starting with 30% of back squat
Plate Rear Leg Elevated Split Squats – 4 x 5 each leg, working up to an 8 RPE

Day 2
Bench Press – 3RM (all reps paused 3 sec) (9 RPE), then -10% for 4 x 3 (no pauses, last set is 3+ with 1 rep in reserve)
Closegrip BB Floor Presses – 5RM (9 RPE), then -15% for 4 x 5 (last set is 5+ with 1 rep in reserve)
BB Bentover Rows Paused 2 sec on Sternum – 5RM, then -10% for 4 x 5
Plate or DB Power Cleans for External Rotation – 4 x 10

Day 3
Back Squat with Belt – 3RM (1st rep paused 3 sec) (9 RPE), then -10% for 4 x 3 (no pauses)
Clean Grip Deadlift from 2″ Deficit, Paused at Knee, Eccentric Slower than Concentric – 3RM (first 2 reps paused 3 sec) (9 RPE), then -10% for 2 x 3 (not paused)
Carpet Slider Leg Curls – 3 x 10 paused 2 sec at the top
Unilateral Farmer’s Walk or Hold with Barbell – 3 x 25 yd per arm or 10-15 sec hold per arm, working to a near maximum

Day 4
Bench Press:
Set 1 – (88% x 2), rest 2 minutes and then (70% x 6)
Set 2 (add 3-5 Kilos to heavy set only if possible) – (88% x 2), rest 2 minutes and then (70% x 6)
Set 3 (add 3-5 Kilos to heavy set only if possible) – (88% x 2), rest 2 minutes and then (70% x 6+ with one rep in reserve)
Barbell, Curl Bar, DBs, or Plates Skull Crushers (aka Nose Breakers) – 6 x 8
superset with:
Band Pushdowns or Plate OH Triceps Extension – 6 x 10
(rest 30 sec between sets)
BB Curls – 3 x 10

Week 4

Day 1
Back Squat:
Set 1 – (90% x 1), rest 2 minutes and then (75% x 5)
Set 2 (add 5-10 Kilos to the 1 rep set if possible) – (90% x 1), rest 2 minutes and then (75% x 5)
Set 3 (add 5-10 Kilos to the 1 rep set if possible) – (90% x 1), rest 2 minutes and then (75% x 5)

Deadlifts (All Eccentrics Slower than Concentrics):
Set 1 – (90% x 1), rest 2 minutes and then (78% x 4)
Set 2 (add 5-10 Kilos to the 1 rep set if possible) – (90% x 1), rest 2 minutes and then (78% x 4)
Set 3 (add 5-10 Kilos to the 1 rep set if possible) – (90% x 1), rest 2 minutes and then (78% x 4)
Wide Goodmornings – 3 x 5, just progress about 2-5 kilos from last week
Plate Rear Leg Elevated Split Squats – 4 x 5 each leg, working up to a 9 RPE

Day 2
Bench Press – 3RM (first rep paused 3 sec) (9.5 RPE), then -10% for 4 x 3 (no pauses, last set is 3+ with 1 rep in reserve)
Closegrip BB Floor Presses – 5RM (9.5 RPE), then -15% for 4 x 5 (last set is 5+ with 1 rep in reserve)
BB Bentover Rows Paused 2 sec on Sternum – 5RM, then -10% for 4 x 5
Plate or DB Power Cleans for External Rotation – 4 x 10

Day 3
Back Squat with Belt – 3RM (1st rep paused 3 sec) (9.5 RPE), then -10% for 4 x 3 (no pauses)
Clean Grip Deadlift from 2″ Deficit, Paused at Knee, Eccentric Slower than Concentric – 3RM (first 2 reps paused 3 sec) (9.5 RPE), then -10% for 2 x 3 (not paused)
Carpet Slider Leg Curls – 4 x 10 paused 2 sec at the top
Unilateral Farmer’s Walk or Hold with Barbell – 3 x 25 yd per arm or 10-15 sec hold per arm, trying to beat last week in load, time, or distance

Day 4
Bench Press:
Set 1 – (90% x 1), rest 2 minutes and then (75% x 5)
Set 2 (add 3-5 Kilos to heavy set only if possible) – (90% x 1), rest 2 minutes and then (75% x 5)
Set 3 (add 3-5 Kilos to heavy set only if possible) – (90% x 1), rest 2 minutes and then (75% x 5+ with one rep in reserve)
Barbell, Curl Bar, DBs, or Plates Skull Crushers (aka Nose Breakers) – 6 x 8
superset with:
Band Pushdowns or Plate OH Triceps Extension – 6 x 10
(rest 30 sec between sets)
BB Curls – 3 x 10

Week 5

Day 1
Back Squat:
Set 1 – (93% x 1), rest 2 minutes and then (78% x 5)
Set 2 (add 5-10 Kilos to the 1 rep set if possible) – (93% x 1), rest 2 minutes and then (78% x 5)
Set 3 (add 5-10 Kilos to the 1 rep set if possible) – (93% x 1), rest 2 minutes and then (78% x 5)

Deadlifts (All Eccentrics Slower than Concentrics):
Set 1 – (93% x 1), rest 2 minutes and then (80% x 3)
Set 2 (add 5-10 Kilos to the 1 rep set if possible) – (93% x 1), rest 2 minutes and then (80% x 3)
Set 3 (add 5-10 Kilos to the 1 rep set if possible) – (93% x 1), rest 2 minutes and then (80% x 3)
Wide Goodmornings – 3 x 5, same weight as last week
Plate Rear Leg Elevated Split Squats – 4 x 5 each leg, working up to a 7 RPE

Day 2
Bench Press – 1RM (paused 3 sec), then -15% for 3 x 3 (all paused 3 sec)
Closegrip BB Floor Presses – 5RM, then -15% for 2 x 5 (last set is 5+ with 1 rep in reserve)
BB Bentover Rows Paused 2 sec on Sternum – 5RM, then -15% for 5+ with 1 rep i reserve
Plate or DB Power Cleans for External Rotation – 4 x 10

Day 3
Back Squat with Belt – 90% of 3RM for 3 x 3 with no pauses
Clean Grip Deadlift Paused at Knee (No Deficit), Eccentric Slower than Concentric – 3RM (first rep paused 2 sec) (9.5 RPE)
Carpet Slider Leg Curls – 3 x 10 paused 2 sec at the top
Unilateral Farmer’s Walk or Hold with Barbell – 3 x 25 yd per arm or 10-15 sec hold per arm, submaximal effort for slight taper

Day 4
Bench Press:
Set 1 – (93% x 1), rest 2 minutes and then (78% x 5)
Set 2 (add 3-5 Kilos to heavy set only if possible) – (93% x 1), rest 2 minutes and then (78% x 5)
Set 3 (add 3-5 Kilos to heavy set only if possible) – (93% x 1), rest 2 minutes and then (78% x 5)
Barbell, Curl Bar, DBs, or Plates Skull Crushers (aka Nose Breakers) – 4 x 8
superset with:
Band Pushdowns or Plate OH Triceps Extension – 4 x 10
(rest 30 sec between sets)
BB Curls – 3 x 10

Week 6

Day 1
Back Squat – 1RM
Deadlifts – 1RM

Day 2
Bench Press – Work up to 3 singles, paused 3 sec with 2-3 minutes between sets
Closegrip BB Floor Presses – 90% of 5RM for 3 x 5
BB Bentover Rows Paused 2 sec on Sternum – 90% of 5RM for 3 x 5
Plate or DB Power Cleans for External Rotation – 3 x 10

Day 3
Back Squat with Belt – 20RM Challenge (who can perform a 20RM with the highest percentage of their max?)
Deadlift (Use Your Opposite Stance: Sumo vs. Conventional) – 1RM
Carpet Slider Leg Curls – 3 x 12 paused 2 sec at the top
Unilateral Farmer’s Walk or Hold with Barbell – 3 x 25 yd per arm or 10-15 sec hold per arm, working to a maximum

Day 4
Bench Press – 1RM
Barbell, Curl Bar, DBs, or Plates Skull Crushers (aka Nose Breakers) – 6 x 8
superset with:
Band Pushdowns or Plate OH Triceps Extension – 6 x 10
(rest 30 sec between sets)
BB Curls – 3 x 10

Other Measures

Well there you go. You have six weeks of programming to get you through this rough time. A few things that I would like to add are:

  • Get your sleep
  • Clean up your nutrition to maximize your immune system
  • I recommend Vitamin C and Vitamin D (especially since we are inside so much nowadays)
  • Focus on the things that you can do rather than the things that you can’t do
  • Reflect on the things that you are thankful for
  • Pray (or meditate if you’re not a believer)
  • Love on your family
  • Tell the important people in your life that you love and care for them

Love You Guys

I hope this whole thing is a lesson to all of us that the world is a small place. We are not so different. The people in China, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Colombia, Russia, Canada, Great Britain, Ireland, Thailand, Cuba, and all over the world are suffering. It’s not about the United States versus China or anywhere else in the world. It’s about loving each other and caring for each other, and that’s about it. If you think it’s about money and acquiring things, take a look at famous people who run their lives into the ground and/or commit suicide.

If you’re a Christian, I really don’t understand turning everything into the United States versus the world. I don’t remember God telling us anywhere in the Bible to have our identity in our country. Did I miss that passage? Yes, render to Caesar what is Caesar’s. Otherwise, love everyone like you love yourself. So much more will be accomplished, including glorifying God. This is just my take on it all.

I love all of you. I hope to communicate more with all of you. If you decide to perform one of these programs, I would like your feedback – Would you enjoy a ‘Zoom’ call with Coach Crystal (Mash Elite National Coach), Jordan Cantrell (3 x Team USA World Team Member and USA Weightlifting Level 2 Coach), and/or me?

If so, email us at info@mashelite.com and I will let you know what we decide.

We are here for you during this Coronavirus crisis.

Let us help with customized programming and coaching when you have limited access to gym equipment.

If you are financially able to join our online team for customized programming at this time, we would appreciate your support.

If you are financially struggling during this time, we still want to help. Email us and we will try to help out in any way we can.

* Fully Customized Programming

* Unlimited Technique Analysis

* The Best Coaching in the World

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.

GOALS and PRIORITIES

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.

View this post on Instagram

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.

SAMPLE WEEK

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

GOALS AND LEGACY

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.

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Top Movements for Strength and Conditioning

Lately, my greatest mission has been to improve the quality of strength and conditioning around our country. It seems my focus has been on high schools and middle schools, but really I aim to help all coaches. That’s right, my aim is to help you guys and gals.

There are times I post videos on Twitter mainly to shed light on the need for change. Yeah it might hurt some feelings, but a lot of you don’t even realize there’s a problem. No one really governs our industry, so there’s no reason any of you should know there are issues.

And that’s the problem! When sport coaches are hiring strength and conditioning professionals, there is an inherent challenge. How do these sport coaches know the first thing about strength and conditioning?

So instead of complaining, I decided to do something about it in the way of helping you all. My goal is to help you all through articles like this one and videos. That way I can at least do my part.

The Barbell

The first thing I want to talk about is exercise selection.

The good thing about the Internet is that people get introduced to our industry via videos thousands of times per day. The problem is that people are getting introduced to junk multiple times per day. How do new people to our industry know the difference between a good coach and a bad coach?

The Internet is also a temptation for money-hungry coaches to post videos that are more for show than for performance. When you see videos of lifts being performed with bosu balls, slide boards, or an excessive amounts of bands, you can rest assured that the video is for show only.

Look, there are only a few movements that are scientifically proven to improve performance. I have no problem adding in some new movements as long as the main movements that we know work are the core of what you are doing. If your Instagram Page is filled with bosu balls, bands attached to every limb on your body, and other circus tricks – I know right away you are simply trying to get followers and money.

Last week, someone asked the question, “Can you call yourself a strength and conditioning gym without owning one barbell?” You already know my answer was that you absolutely can not. It has nothing to do with the fact that I love the barbell movements. My answer has to do with science.

Science has proven that certain barbell movements directly affect athletic performance in the way of faster sprint times and vertical leap. There is no doubt the barbell can help improve those two markers. However, there is so much more the barbell helps to improve:

  • Power production
  • Force production
  • Force absorption
  • Hypertrophy
  • Kinesthetic awareness
  • Reduced injury rates
  • Work capacity
  • Absolute strength and muscle control
  • Rate of force development
  • Motor unit recruitment
  • Synchronization of motor units
  • Core stability as it relates to the body on the field of play (standing upright)
  • All qualities of strength with velocity based training

As you can see the barbell is irreplaceable.

So can you open a strength and conditioning facility without the barbell? Well yes, I can jump off a cliff if I want to… but it’s going to be a bad idea. I could use kettlebells, dumbbells, and sandbags – but that is still not optimal for my athletes to maximize their potential. If you’re training adults in general fitness, it would totally be fine to use these instruments as long as you are quantifying their improvement. If you want to train top athletes like I do, you are going to need to use the barbell.

The Big Five Movements

Now that I have cleared that up, what barbell movements are essential for strength and conditioning? I could give a long list and make an argument for each, but I am going to narrow it down to five.

I want to provide younger coaches a go-to list to master and implement. When you master the five movements, then you can slowly add in other movements if you deem that necessary.

However, if you master these five, you will have a top rate facility, and your athletes will benefit from these movements that will help them reach their goals.

The Squat

No doubt that the daddy of all lifts is the back squat. Research has proven that the squat can be directly attributed to increases in speed and vertical leap. Bryan Mann actually set out to prove that the clean was superior in these areas, but his research proved that the squat was dominant.

With the use of velocity based training, the back squat can be used to improve every quality of strength (absolute, accelerative, strength speed, speed strength, and starting strength). However, the goal for the first few years of training should be absolute strength. If you read Coach Mann’s articles and books, you will learn that absolute strength will directly improve all qualities of strength for the first couple of years. Once your max reaches two times your own body weight, you can start spending training blocks on qualities of speed that will be more specific to your sport.

The back squat will also strengthen the body in a way that will prepare athletes for battle. All you have to do is think about all the joints that are strengthened with the squat: ankles, knees, hips, and all intervertebral joints. Basically the squat helps to bulletproof the body. If you are a football player, strengthening the back to absorb the impact of collisions is a must. You are asking your athletes to get into small car wrecks each and every day. To prepare the body for that kind of trauma, you are going to need to put a load on the body forcing adaptation where you need it.

If you coach or you are a parent to a soccer player, you know all to well that knee injuries are everywhere in the sport – especially for female athletes due to their steeper Q-angles. I laugh when parents tell me that squats are dangerous, especially when their children play soccer. Parents put them in a sport that causes more knee injuries than any other sport on the planet, and they let them play year round without any strength training. It’s almost like they want to see them get injured.

Look, if you are a parent, you better have your soccer player squatting to strengthen their knees. I bet you don’t drive your car everyday year round without getting any maintenance performed on it. Why do you do that with your children? I once had a parent get mad at me because my battle rope was too heavy for their middle school daughter – making it dangerous for her. Yet the same parent had that same little girl playing year round soccer and sometimes for multiple teams at a time. Are you kidding me?

One thing to consider is maybe using front squats if you are in a busy high school. Front squats don’t require spotting since the athlete simply dumps it forward if they can’t complete the lift. This will take one worry away from the coach. And if you are coaching 30+ people at a time, you will appreciate one less worry. Front squats are superior for strengthening the back, and almost as good as the back squat for strengthening the quads. I’ll take it as a win when you eliminate spotting catastrophes.

I definitely want to mention variations because they can be very helpful regarding specificity. For example, squat jumps at around 40% and quarter squats have been shown to improve speed and vertical leap at a faster rate than full depth squats. However, these two movements work after an athlete has spent a couple of years maximizing absolute strength. I would recommend shooting for 2 or 2.5 times body weight in a full depth squat to maximize the results of these partial movements. One reason that these partial depth movements are so effective is that the angles of the joints are more specific to sprinting and jumping. Once again, specificity is king.

The Clean

Power production is maximized with this movement. Let’s take a look at the numbers in this figure courtesy of USAW:

Power Production

As you can see, the Olympic lift movements are five or more times the traditional power lifts. This quality makes adding at least one of the Olympic movements a necessity – not to mention the other factors that make the clean an incredible choice:

  • Force absorption. Personally this is my favorite quality of this movement, especially for my football players. When you catch a 300 pound clean over and over, this prepares the body for taking on 200-300 pound athletes on the field of play.
  • Kinesthetic awareness. This is learning to understand how your body moves through space. I coach some of the best weightlifters in the world, ranging in ages from 10 to 50. If you visit my gym on any given day, you will find them out back walking on their hands, performing back flips, and doing other crazy circus tricks. My point is they are all very aware of their bodies in space. When you are floating through space with 300 pounds and suddenly catching the weight on your chest or overhead, you learn to understand where your body is in space.
  • Mobility. Practicing the Olympic movements frequently will obviously contribute to improved mobility. If you know any weightlifters, then you know they are some of the most mobile athletes on the planet. The completion of the lifts requires ankle, hip, and thoracic spine mobility. When you perform these movements on a daily basis, the body adapts to required movement. Athletically optimal movement trumps strength. However when you pair movement and strength, you get a dominant athlete.

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The Push Press

This is where my opinion differs from a lot of traditional strength and conditioning coaches. Up until recently the bench press has been the king of the upper body movements for most strength and conditioning coaches. But when it comes to power production (the ability to move weight quickly through space), the push press is supreme to the bench press. However, there is something that makes it even more specific to sport.

The bench press is performed lying down on your back. Specificity wise, the only time that happens is when you get knocked down. The push press originates with massive knee and hip extension followed by an upper body push, which is similar to all athletic movements that involve the upper body: throwing a baseball, punching, throwing a football, or shot put. If you’re a football player either taking on a block or delivering a block, it’s a very similar movement. The funny thing is that I have always noticed an increase in an athlete’s bench press after an increase in their push press. I can’t explain this relationship, but I’ve witnessed the phenomenon time and time again.

When you top this movement off with the benefits to the core and the overhead stability, you have the perfect upper body movement. I want to be clear that I do not hate on the bench press. Heck, I was a world record holder in the bench press – and I love the pump we all get from a massive bench session. However when it comes to benefits to sport, the edge has to go to the push press.

The Deadlift

Dan John once said that the deadlift is the best movement for bulletproofing football players. I’d agree.

Have you ever seen a good deadlifter with a weak neck or weak back? I know I sure haven’t. The deadlift is excellent for developing the back – especially the spinal erectors, the hips (glutes and hamstrings), and the quads. The deadlift can directly be attributed to increases in speed and jumping, just like the squat – not to mention the angles of the hips and knees are more specific to sprinting and jumping.

The trap bar deadlift has been shown to be even more effective for improving sprint times and vertical leaps. The center of mass is in a more advantageous spot as well making the lift easier to teach and bit safer. Either trap bar or barbell deadlifts are both great movements for athletes regarding injury prevention and optimizing performance.

Along with the squat, the deadlift is the most functional movement on earth. Our life is spent picking things up and squatting down, so it’s safe to say that both the squat and the deadlift are great for improving overall wellbeing. A lot of people refuse to deadlift because they say the deadlift hurts too many people. Guys, if you are hurting people with the deadlift, you don’t know how to teach the movement. If you can’t deadlift, how in the world is a wrestler ever going to throw their opponent? If you focus on establishing a fairly neutral spine and you understand the hinge pattern, the deadlift is one of the safest movements on earth. It’s also a great movement for making sure you don’t get hurt playing other sports.

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Heavy Carries

Bringing up the rear are heavy carries. Too many people talk about building the core without having the first idea about what that phrase really means. The core is every muscle that supports the spine and pelvis. As an athlete you want to strengthen the core in a way that relates to sports, which means you want to strengthen the core in a vertical manner. That means you want the core strong while standing upright or running in an upright posture.

Newsflash: performing lots of crunches and sit-ups isn’t a great core workout. Performing sit-ups and crunches is a great way to teach the torso to be a flexed position, which is the last place most athletes want to be in. Heavy carries are the best way I know to build the core in a vertical manner.

We use the following versions of the carry:

  • Bilateral Farmer’s Walk
  • Unilateral Farmer’s Walk
  • Front Squat Rack Position Carries
  • Zercher Carries
  • Axle Bar Overhead Carries
  • Fat Grip Dumbbell Carries

You are strengthening the traps, pelvis, and grip with the farmer’s walk. Dr. Stuart McGill has some good research stating that farmer’s walk will improve speed, especially change of direction because the pelvis down to the foot gets strengthened so much with each step. The supporting leg will take on the entire load making that joint sturdy and able to absorb massive amounts of force. The front squat and Zercher carries shift even more of the load to the spinal erectors making these carries super specific to strength sports like weightlifting and powerlifting – not to mention football for absorbing those big hits. The overhead carries are excellent for overhead stability, making these carries awesome for baseball players.

Others

I have to give the following movements honorable mention as important movements to strength and conditioning:

  • Pullup
  • Dip
  • Pushup
  • Bentover Row
  • Reverse Hyper
  • Bench Press
  • Barbell Hyperextension
  • Goodmorning
  • RDL
  • Snatch
  • Overhead Squat
  • Lunge
  • Rear Leg Elevated Split Squat

A Sample Program

I also put together a nice little four day per week workout for you guys that could literally be used ongoing for your athletes. Let’s take a look at it, and then I will explain it a bit more in detail at the end.

Strength Block
Day 1 Week 1

Push Presses (If possible and if not strict presses) – 5 x 5 at 75%
Back Squat – 5 x 5 at 75%
Overhead Fat Grip Dumbbell Carries – 4 x 20 yd each arm, building to a 9 RPE Max

Optional Assistance Exercises
1a. DB Bench Press – 4 x 8, work up to an 8-9 RPE
1b. Pullups – 4 x submaximal reps (use weight if more than ten)
1c. Reverse Hypers – work to an 8 RPE, 4 x 40 sec

Day 2

Hang Clean – 3RM at 8 RPE, then -10% for 2 x 3
Deadlift (eccentric slower than concentric) – 5 x 5 at 75%
Bilateral Farmer’s Walk – 4 x 30 yd, building to a 9 RPE Max

Optional Assistance Exercises
1a. DB Lunges – 3 x 10 each leg, staying around a 8-9 RPE
1b. TRX Leg Curls – 3 x 10, staying around a 8-9 RPE
1c. DB Power Cleans (focus on external rotation) – 3 x 10, staying around a 8-9 RPE

Day 3

Push Presses – 5RM at 9 RPE, then -10% for 2 x 5 (last set is 5+ but no misses)
Back Squat with Belt – 5RM at 9 RPE, then -10% for 2 x 5 (last set is 5+ but no misses)
Zercher Carry – 3 x 40 yd, work to an 8 RPE

Optional Assistance Work
1a. Dips – 4 x submaximal reps (add weight if able to get 10)
1b. BB Rows – 4 x 10 reps, working up to a 9 RPE

Day 4

Clean from Blocks – 3RM at 8 RPE, then -10% for 2 x 3
Deadlift (eccentric slower than concentric) – 5RM at 9 RPE, then -10% for 2 x 5
Unilateral Farmer’s Walk – 4 x 20 yd each arm, building to a 9 RPE Max

Optional Assistance Exercises
1a. Unilateral RDLs – 3 x 8 each leg, building to an 8-9 RPE
1b. DB Bulgarian Split Squats – 3 x 8 each leg, building to an 8-9 RPE

Day 1 Week 2

Push Presses (If possible and if not strict presses) – 90% of Day 3’s 5RM for 5 x 5
Back Squat – 90% of Day 3’s 5RM for 5 x 5
Overhead Fat Grip DB Carries – 4 x 20 yd each arm. Stay with where you stopped in week 1

Optional Assistance Exercises
1a. DB Bench Press – 4 x 8, work to a 9 RPE
1b. Pullups – 4 x submaximal reps (use weight if more than ten)
1b. Reverse Hypers – 4 x 45 sec, work up to a 9 RPE

Day 2

Hang Clean – 3RM at 9 RPE, then -10% for 2 x 3
Deadlift (eccentric slower than concentric) – 90% of Day 4’s 5RM for 5 x 5
Bilateral Farmer;s Walk – 4 x 30 yd. Stay with where you stopped in week 1

Optional Assistance Exercises
1a. DB Lunges – 3 x 10 each leg, staying around a 8-9 RPE
1b. TRX Leg Curls – 3 x 10, staying around a 8-9 RPE
1c. DB Power Cleans (focus on external rotation) – 3 x 10, staying around a 8-9 RPE

Day 3

Push Presses – 5RM, then -10% at 2 x 5 (last set is 5+ but no misses)
Back Squat with Belt – 5RM, then -10% for 2 x 5 (last set is 5+ but no misses)
Zercher Carry – 4 x 40 yd, work up to a 9 RPE

Optional Assistance Work
1a. Dips – 4 x submaximal reps (add weight if able to get 10)
1b. BB Rows – 4 x 10 reps with the ending weight from week 1

Day 4

Clean from Blocks – 3RM at 9 RPE, then -10% for 2 x 3
Deadlift (eccentric slower than concentric) – 5RM at 9 RPE, then -10% for 2 x 5
Unilateral Farmer’s Walk – 4 x 20 yd each arm. Stay with where you stopped in week 1

Optional Assistance Exercises
1a. Unilateral RDLs – 3 x 8 each leg. Stay where you stopped in week 1
1b. DB Bulgarian Split Squats – 3 x 8 each leg. Stay where you stopped in week 1

Day 1 Week 3

Push Presses (If possible and if not strict presses) – 90% of Day 3’s 5RM for 3 x 5
Back Squat – 90% of Day 3’s 5RM for 3 x 5
Overhead Fat Grip DB Carries – 3 x 20 yd each arm. Stay with where you stopped in week 1

Optional Assistance Exercises
1a. DB Bench Press – 3 x 8
1b. Pullups – 3 x submaximal reps (use weight if more than ten)
1c. Reverse Hypers – 3 x 35 sec

Day 2

Hang Clean – 90% of 3RM for 3 x 3
Deadlift (eccentric Slower than concentric) – 90% of Day 4’s 5RM for 3 x 5
Bilateral Farmer’s Walk – 3 x 30 yd each arm. Stay with where you stopped in week 1

Optional Assistance Exercises
1a. DB Lunges – 3 x 10ea leg, staying around a 8-9 RPE
1b. TRX Leg Curls – 3 x 10, staying around a 8-9 RPE
1c. DB Power Cleans (focus on external rotation) – 3 x 10, staying around a 8-9 RPE

Day 3

Push Presses – 5RM
Back Squat with Belt – 5RM
Zercher Carry – 3 x 40 yd

Optional Assistance Work
1a. Dips – 3 x submaximal reps (add weight if able to get 10)
1b. BB Rows – 3 x 10 reps with the ending weight from week 1

Day 4

Clean from Blocks – 3RM
Deadlift (eccentric slower than concentric) – 5RM
Unilateral Farmer’s Walk – 3 x 20 yd each arm. Stay with where you stopped in week 1

Optional Assistance Exercises
1a. Unilateral RDLs – 3 x 8 each leg, 10% less than where you stopped in week 1
1b. DB Bulgarian Split Squats – 3x 8 each leg, 10% less than where you stopped in week 1

Day 1 Week 4

Push Presses (If possible and if not strict presses) – 90% of Day 3’s 5RM for 5 x 5
Back Squat – 90% of Day 3’s 5RM for 5 x 5
Overhead Fat Grip DB Carries – Maximum weight for 20 yd each arm, and then subtract 10% for 2 x 20yd each arm

Optional Assistance Exercises
1a. DB Bench Press – 4 x 6, work to 9 RPE
1b. Pullups – 3 x 10
1b. Reverse Hypers – 4 x 50 sec

Day 2

Hang Clean – 1RM, then -20% for 3 x 3
Deadlift (eccentric Slower than concentric) – 90% of Day 4’s 5RM for 5 x 5
Bilateral Farmer’s Walk – Maximum weight for 30 yd, then subtract 10% for 2 x 30 yd

Optional Assistance Exercises
1a. DB Lunges – 3 x 10 each leg, staying around a 8-9 RPE
1b. TRX Leg Curls – 3 x 10, staying around a 8-9 RPE
1c. DB Power Cleans (focus on external rotation) – 3 x 10, staying around a 8-9 RPE

Day 3

Push Presses – 3RM, then -15% for 2 x 3 (last set is 3+)
Back Squat with Belt – 3RM, then -15% for 2 x 3 (last set is 3+)
Zercher Carry – 3 x 40 yd

Optional Assistance Work
1a. Dips – 4 x submaximal reps (add weight if able to get 10)
1b. BB Rows – 10RM, and then -10% for 3 x 10

Day 4

Clean from Blocks – 1RM, then -20% for 3 x 3
Deadlift (eccentric slower than concentric) – 3RM, then -10% for 2 x 3
Unilateral Farmer’s Walk – Maximum weight for 20 yd each arm, then subtract 10% for 2 x 20 yd each arm

Optional Assistance Exercises
1a. Unilateral RDLs – 3 x 8 each leg, building to a 9-10 RPE
1b. DB Bulgarian Split Squats – 3 x 8 each leg, building to a 9-10 RPE

This workout is designed to go on and on in a very simple way. If you notice, I am not recommending a lot of percentage work because I realize a lot of you are coaching high school athletes. If you’ve ever watched high school boys and girls trying to figure out their percentages for the day, then you know that will eat up too much of the limited time you have with them. It’s so much easier to explain the RPE system, and then tell them to work up to a 5 rep maximum.

On day one we are starting with 75% for 5 x 5 to get things kicked off. After that, it depends on you Day 3 rep maximum. That way you are taking into account increases in strength for volume. Remember, especially with high school kids, they get stronger sometimes week to week and definitely month to month.

We are including a type of carry every training day because they cause almost no muscle damage, meaning they are easy to recover from. I’ve also programmed to progressively overload the carries in a strategic way. This is important because athletes will go through the motions on carries unless you either turn them into a competition or present a simple way to progress them.

The assistance work is simply a suggestion and is definitely optional and interchangeable. I would recommend you leave in pull-ups and dips as upper body accessory work because both movements are so good for relative strength and upper body development.

In case you don’t know what the PRE Scale is, I will explain it simply. Basically it goes like this:

  • 10 RPE is an all out maximum for the prescribed repetition maximum
  • 9 RPE is stopping one set before maximum
  • 8 RPE is stopping two sets or a couple of reps before maximum
  • 7 RPE is stopping 3 sets or three reps before maximum
  • etc etc etc

On the strength work (squats, push presses, and pulls) we are not taking it to a complete 1RM simply for safety reasons. However, 3RMs can get dangerous if athletes take it right to the edge. I recommend stopping before a potential miss just to keep things progressing without over reaching too much with your athletes. With the Olympic lifts, we are taking it to a 1 RM because technique is just as important as the amount. Testing with repetition maximums can turn into some ugly reps very quickly. Even with singles I recommend stopping before the reps slow down or get ugly.

I hope that this article sheds some light on what a solid strength and conditioning program should look like. I will add that sprints, jumps, and change of direction have to be a part of a solid program. I was simply pointing out the weight room portion. One thing to consider might be pairing jumps and sometimes sprints with squats or cleans. We all have to consider time so complex training might be a solution.

Improving the Crucial Third Pull

All too often in the strength world we beat a dead horse by talking about the first and second pull of the snatch and clean.

Both of those aspects are important, but I believe the third pull (the pull under the bar) is just as important. Heck – if you are a weightlifter, I’d say the third pull is the most important aspect of the pull. As my father-in-law Rick Taylor always says, “it’s where the rubber meets the road.”

The first and second pull involve a great deal of technique, but the upward pulls are natural to all humans. It’s a natural movement to extend at the hips, knees, and ankles because we do it all the time when we jump and run. However, reversing the motion to rip under a heavy barbell isn’t natural at all. I can’t think of a single example where we produce maximal vertical power, and then immediately change directions underneath. The pattern isn’t natural – and then when you throw in the fact you’re catching a heavy piece of steel either near your throat or over your head, you have a recipe for a very difficult athletic movement.

In this article, I’ll explain the third pull, list some cues and drills for a better third pull, and then provide you with a workout program for even more improvement of the third pull.

PULL MOVEMENT AND TRANSITION

The transition is referring to the transition from the second pull (the most powerful aspect of the pull where the hips and knees extend together at the top of the pull) to the third pull (the ripping underneath of a barbell). There are a lot of opinions about what the transition should look like. I believe mine to be the one most supported by science along with my own research coaching my athletes and watching Hookgrip’s slow motion videos on Youtube.

There are two main goals for the transition:

  • Pull the bar as high as possible
  • Spend as little time at the top as possible

Pulling the bar as high as possible is something most of us understand, and most of us do a pretty good job of this task. However, most of us spend way too much time at the top of the pull. We’ve been taught to do so many extra things while in extension that we waste our golden opportunity to get around the bar. Let’s look a bit deeper.

The goal of the second pull is to remain flat-footed for as long as possible to guarantee maximal force is delivered into the ground. Most athletes will perform the snatch and clean pull with their feet at about hip width. Normally this is where most athletes produce the most power. However, it depends on the anatomy of the hip and the anthropometrics of the individual. I’d also like to point out that relaxed arms with elbows turned out are optimal for the velocity of the barbell leaving one’s hip. If your arms are tensed, you could slow down the trajectory of the barbell. If your elbows are pointed backward, you will run the risk of the barbell drifting in front of the body, increasing the demands of the body to perform the lift.

Once an athlete’s hips and knees extend, the trajectory of the barbell is determined. There is nothing else any of us can do to peak the barbell any higher. Some might ask about extension at the ankles (better known as plantar flexion) – I am not going to turn this into another catapult vs. triple extension (I don’t consider myself either) article. You can check out these articles to find out my thoughts on that topic: HOW SHOULD THE FEET MOVE IN THE OLYMPIC LIFTS or TRIPLE JOINT EXTENSION OR CATAPULT

To make a long story short, personally I believe the amount of plantar flexion is an individual thing. I believe it has a lot to do with where the gastrocnemius originates and inserts. The gastrocnemius is a biarticular muscle – meaning it crosses at two joints (the knee and ankle), and originates at the posterior surface of the femoral condyles – the two knobs at the base of the femur. The tendons of the gastrocnemius and soleus unite to form the Achilles tendon which inserts at the calcaneus or heel. When the knee extends during a vertical leap or at the top of a pull in the snatch or clean, mechanical power is transferred down the gastrocnemius into the insertion at the calcaneus, which causes an unconscious effort of plantar flexion. The degree of plantar flexion would depend on the insertion point of the Achilles tendon on the calcaneus.

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Here’s my point. Every athlete is going to extend his or her hips and knees in one powerful motion. No one is going to purposely slow down as to avoid plantar flexion, and no one is going to perform a calf raise either. Just like jumping, every athlete is going to extend as powerfully as possible, and their degree of plantar flexion will be based upon their own body’s anatomy.

Once the extension takes place, it’s time for the athlete to rip under the bar. The timing between the up and down portions of the pull is a big determining factor of whether an athlete will be good or great. I suggest all of you keep this in mind when practicing the lifts.

At the top of the second pull, the body will extend vertically, and then slightly back. Once the body is slightly back, the path to ripping under the barbell is now a clear one. If an athlete finishes completely vertical, the barbell is somewhat an obstacle for the movement under the bar. Once again, the exact placement of the body at the top of the lift is a debatable subject. I recommend going to Hookgrip’s Youtube page and looking at the first 10-20 videos of the best weightlifters in the world. You will see most lifters finish back rather than vertical. It’s more of a follow-through than anything, and it is something most weightlifters will do naturally.

Once the athlete reaches the top of the pull, they will use the traps and arms to rip under the barbell. You may notice I use the word rip rather than pull. I want to be clear that the third pull is a conscious effort. Most weightlifters will simply fall under the barbell, which is a much slower movement. Learning to actively rip under the barbell is another deciding factor of a good athlete versus becoming a great one.

As the athlete begins the move under the barbell, he or she will lift their knees and jump their feet out to about shoulder-width. Once again, just like the origin of the feet, the degree to which an athlete will jump their feet will ultimately be determined by his or her hip anatomy and anthropometrics. I suggest the athlete should play around with their catch stance and find out where his or her feet need to be to catch the barbell in a stable position, while maintaining a vertical torso, in as low a position as possible, with his or her hips in between the ankles.

I recommend moving the feet for two main reasons:

  1. You can pull under the bar a bit faster with the feet slightly off the ground because there is no resistance for the downward motion of the body.
  2. The feet move from the best power producing position into the most optimal catch position.

Some people are able to keep the feet in the same spot, and that’s fine. However, I am writing this article to the majority. I simply like to make note of the aspects that I consider absolutes (which aren’t many), and the ones that may vary from individual to individual. Everything I am writing in this article is a safe place to begin teaching your athletes. When the athlete starts to advance, the art of coaching comes into play.

The final role of the third pull is the catch of the barbell. We talk a lot about anticipating the catch at Mash Elite. Whether it’s the snatch or clean, the goal needs to be meeting the barbell in a strong position as soon as possible. If the athlete waits until they feel the tension of the barbell, it’s too late to stiffen the torso. He or she will want to prepare their body before the barbell gets there. One thing I would like to add about the catch of the snatch is that we tell our athletes to reach up through the shoulders. This simply means to actively reach up starting with the shoulders. Too many athletes simply catch the snatch with their arms – causing either the arms to bend or a complete miss.

Cues to help overcome deficiencies

At this point we have described the third pull. We’ve mentioned the proper execution of the third pull, and we’ve mentioned a few things that can go wrong. In this section we are going to talk more in depth about the possible flaws, and we will describe some of the verbal cues for fixing those flaws.

FLAWS AT THE TRANSITION

1. Arms bent and shrugging up
We cause this movement flaw in the way we teach the movement to beginners. Too many coaches teach the athletes to shrug up and bring the elbows as high as possible, so the first thing is to stop teaching that. A few great cues which work for the entire pull – including the transition:

  • Shoulders down: Pushing one’s shoulders down will tend to relax the arms.
  • Arms long: The simple reminder that the arms should be long like cables is a great cue.
  • Elbows out: This will help disengage the biceps, which is a big culprit for elbow flexion/bending.

2. Slow around the bar at the top
When athletes are too concerned with pulling the bar high, they can sometimes spend too much time at the top doing extra things to peak the bar. I already explained the trajectory of the barbell is decided the moment the hips and knees extend. Anything extra is effort and time that could be spent getting under the barbell. Let’s look at a few cues which encourage speed around the bar:

  • Open the hips and sit: The second the athlete opens their hips it’s time to rip under.
  • Eyes straight ahead: A lot of lifters have a bad habit of whipping the head back – which not only delays the downward motion, but will also kick the barbell in front of the body.
  • Shrug down: This lets them know the shrug motion is for beginning the downward motion.

SLOW PULLING UNDER THE BARBELL

Once the transition is over, it’s time to rip under the barbell. The faster one can rip under to meet the barbell will ultimately lead to the biggest weights one can lift. There are a few differences for the clean versus the snatch when it comes to the third pull.

The biggest mistake a lifter can make in the clean is letting go of the hook too soon. In a perfect world, you won’t have to let go at all. We have two massive cleaners on our team: Nathan Damron and Morgan McCullough. Nathan has cleaned 220kg/484lb and Morgan has cleaned 190kg/418lb at 15 years old. Both young men keep their hookgrip the entire time. If you can hold the hookgrip the entire time, then you can continue to pull under the bar right up until the moment you meet the bar. If you have to catch the barbell with only two or three fingers on it, then you have had to quit pulling at some point to release your grip. Obviously some people can do really well releasing the hookgrip, but the longer you can pull under the bar will result in a more efficient clean.

In the snatch, almost all athletes can hold the hook the entire time – with some releasing it at the last second for a more comfortable position overhead. It’s imperative that one rips under a snatch catching it at its highest point. If you watch the greatest snatchers in the world, you will see their arms act like whips snapping around, under, and up on the barbell.

Here are some flaws that cause lifters to be slow under the barbell:

1. Slow arms

Like I said above, most athletes pull with all their might during the first and second pulls, and then they simply fall under the weight in either the snatch or clean. When an athlete doesn’t actively pull under the barbell, I totally understand why they are trying to pull the bar so high. Here are some verbal cues we use to get our athletes to pull under more quickly:

  • Rip down and punch up: Using the cue rip helps the athlete understand their job is to actively pull with all their might as they perform the movement under the barbell. The cue punch is one I actually stole from Coach Joe Kenn, Carolina Panthers Head Strength and Conditioning Coach – it works amazingly well to relay to the athlete they need to actively reach up aggressively to receive the barbell, whether we are talking about the snatch or clean.
  • Active arms: Even though I prefer rip down and punch up, a few athletes respond better to a simple active arms. As long as they understand they need to pull under the bar right up until they receive it, I am good with whatever cue works.

2. Feet slowing the pull under the bar

I am not a huge proponent of either moving the feet or not. However, I believe most people pull better with their feet a bit closer and receive the bar in a better position with their feet a bit wider. Another thing I have noticed is most athletes are slower under the bar when they don’t move their feet. I use the word most because some athletes are very fast around and under the bar without moving their feet. It just depends on if they can relax their legs while pulling under the bar. If they can’t, the legs become an antagonist. Simply put, the legs will push up while you are trying to rip under. If you lift your knees to jump your feet out, there will be a moment in space when your feet are off the ground. This allows the arms to rip under the bar without any type of resistance. Here are a few cues:

  • Lift the knees: This one is my favorite because it teaches people to move their feet properly. Too many athletes will donkey-kick, causing the athlete to catch the barbell on his or her toes.
  • Jump the whole feet out: This one teaches the athlete to move their feet out as a whole, getting both feet entirely down when receiving the bar. Catching the barbell with both feet entirely down on the platform is crucial for the receiving position.

DRILLS

So far we’ve talked about the movement, and we’ve given you some cues that might help. Now we are going to talk about some drills we use that seem to help, and then I am going to give you a four-week workout that might help you or your athlete. If a drill can help solve a movement problem, that’s the way to go. Verbal cues work, but sometimes it takes a long time for your athlete to understand and coordinate with their actual full speed movement.

I am going to give you several drills, and I will explain how each of them helps out. I am not going to split them up into transition and speed underneath because most of them overlap. Here goes:

NO HOOK AND NO FEET – This is when an athlete performs the movement without a hookgrip and without moving their feet. I love this drill because it mimics the entire movement, while perfecting timing and speed under the bar. With no hookgrip, an athlete can’t over-emphasize the pull at the top or the bar will come out of their grip. This teaches the athlete to open up at the hips and then immediately rip underneath the bar. The athlete learns to keep the bar close, to open and rip, and to rely on the speed underneath the bar.

HIGH BLOCKS WITH BAR AT POWER POSITION – The bar will be placed on blocks with the bar starting at hip height while in the power position or knees bent four to six inches and a vertical torso. This teaches the athlete to rely on timing at the top, opening the hips and sitting, and speed under the bar. They don’t have the first pull to build momentum so the height of the bar will peak earlier than normal. You have to rip underneath!

HIGH HANGS – You can perform high hangs one of two ways. You can either perform them with a countermovement – which will provide a bit more height to the barbell, or you can perform them starting from the power position paused two to five seconds – to eliminate any stretch reflex or aid from the oscillation of the barbell. Either method will help the athlete understand the importance of the timing at the top and the importance of the rip underneath.

TALL SNATCHES AND CLEANS – I love this drill because it leaves the athlete with only the shrug and rip underneath the bar. The movement begins on the balls of an athlete’s feet with their arms long, elbows turned out, and traps suppressed downward. The athlete will then simultaneously shrug downward and move his or her feet by lifting their knees. I like this one for teaching the athlete to properly use their traps.

HEAVING SNATCH BALANCE – I like this movement for two main reasons. It teaches the athlete to be active with their arms while punching up and receiving the barbell, and also creates stability and confidence in the bottom portion of the snatch. It’s much easier to be confident in the catch of a clean versus catching a very heavy metal object above one’s head.

SNATCH AND CLEAN DECONSTRUCTION – I learned this one from Coach Chris Wilkes. It’s simply breaking down the different aspects of the lift into a series of movements and performing them separately, and then performing the full movement at the end by putting them all back together. I’ve seen this work some miracles for athletes. You will see how I use this method in my workout I have put together for all of you.

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This brings me to the finale of this article. I have now explained the transition and third pull of the snatch and clean. I have given you examples of the different common flaws some athletes demonstrate. I have explained some of the cues I use to correct these flaws. I just rolled out several of the drills we use to overcome movement flaws. Now it’s time to put them all together in a program to defeat the flaws of the transition and third pull.

Let’s take a look, and I will explain at the end!

MASH ELITE THIRD PULL PROGRAM

WEEK ONE

Day 1
Snatch (from high block, bar in the power position): 3RM (8 RPE), then -10% for 2 x 3
Clean (from high block, bar in the power position): 3RM (8 RPE), then -10% for 2 x 3
Clean Pulls: 4 x 3 (start at 90%, work up heavy)

Day 2
Snatch (no hook and no feet): 65% 2 x 3, then 3RM (8 RPE)
Jerk (2 sec pause in catch): 70% x 2, 75% x 2, 80% x 1, 73% x 2, 78% x 1, 83% x 1
Back Squat: 75% for 5 x 5

Upper Muscular Imbalance
1a. DB Tricep Extensions: 3 x 10 reps
1b. Rows (seated, T-Bar, or DB): 3 x 10 reps
1c. Plate Front Raises: 3 x 12 reps

Day 3: Snatch Deconstruction Day
Heaving Snatch Balance (pause in the bottom for 3 sec): 3RM (8 RPE), then -10% for 2 x 3
Tall Snatch (pause in the bottom for 3 sec): 3RM (8 RPE)
High Hang Snatch: 2RM (8 RPE)
Snatch: 70% x 2, 75% x 2, 80% x 1, 73% x 2, 78% x 1, 83% x 1
Reverse Hypers or Band Pull-Throughs: 3 x 40 seconds

Day 4
Clean (no hook and no feet): 65% 2 x 3, then 3RM (8 RPE)
Front Squats (with 50lb of chains): 3RM (first rep paused 5 sec, 8 RPE), then -10% for 2 x 3 (no pause):
Unilateral Farmer’s Walk: 4 x 25 yards (each hand)

Day 5: Max Effort
Snatch Pull + High Hang Snatch: 2 + 2RM, then -10% for 2 + 2
Clean Pull + High Hang Clean + Jerk: 2 + 2 + 1RM, then -10% for 2 + 2 + 1
Snatch Pulls: 4 x 3 (start at 90%, work up heavy)

Day 6
Tall Clean: 3RM (8 RPE)
High Hang Clean: 2RM (8 RPE)
Clean and Jerk: 70% x 2, 75% x 2, 80% x 1, 73% x 2, 78% x 1, 83% x 1
Back Squats: 5RM, then -10% for 2 x 5
Hyper Extensions (with barbell): 3 x 10

WEEK 2

Day 1
Snatch (from high block, bar in the power position): 3RM (9 RPE), then -10% for 2 x 3
Clean (from high blocks, bar in the power position): 3RM (9 RPE), then -10% for 2 x 3
Clean Pulls: 4 x 3 (start at 93%, work up heavy)

Day 2
Snatch (no hook and no feet): 68% for 2 x 3, then 3RM (9 RPE)
Jerk (2 sec pause in catch): 73% x 2, 78% x 2, 83% x 1, 75% x 2, 80% x 1, 85% x 1
Back Squat: 90% of Saturday’s squat for 5 x 5

Upper Muscular Imbalance
1a. DB Tricep Extensions: 3 x 10 reps
1b. Rows (seated, T-Bar, or DB): 3 x 10 reps
1c. Plate Front Raises: 3 x 12 reps

Day 3: Snatch Deconstruction Day
Heaving Snatch Balance: (pause in the bottom for 3 sec) 3RM (8 RPE), then -10% for 2 x 3
Tall Snatch (pause in the bottom for 3 sec): 3RM (8 RPE)
High Hang Snatch: 2RM (8 RPE)
Snatch: 73% x 2, 78% x 2, 83% x 1, 75% x 2, 80% x 1, 85% x 1
Reverse Hypers or Band Pull-Throughs: 3 x 45 seconds

Day 4
Clean (no hook and no feet): 68% for 2 x 3, then 3RM (8 RPE)
Front Squats (with 50lb of chains): 3RM (first rep paused 5 sec, 9 RPE), then -10% for 2 x 3 (no pausing)
Unilateral Farmer’s Walk: 4 x 25 yards (each hand)

Day 5
Snatch Pull + High Hang Snatch: 2 + 2RM, then -10% for 2 + 2
Clean Pull + High Hang Clean + Jerk: 2 + 2 + 1RM, then -10% for 2 + 2 + 1
Snatch Pulls: 4 x 3 (start at 93%, work up heavy)

Day 6
Tall Clean: 3RM (8 RPE)
High Hang Clean: 2RM (8 RPE)
Clean and Jerk: 73% x 2, 78% x 2, 83% x 1, 75% x 2, 80% x 1, 85% x 1
Back Squats: 5RM, then -10% for 2 x 5
Hyper Extensions (with barbell): 4 x 10

WEEK 3

Day 1
Snatch (from high block, bar in the power position): 90% of 3RM for 3 x 3
Clean (from high blocks, bar in the power position): 90% of 3RM for 3 x 3
Clean Pulls: 95% for 3 x 3

Day 2
Snatch (no hook and no feet): 65% for 3 x 3
Jerk (2 sec pause in catch): 68% x 2, 73% x 2, 78% x 1, 70% x 2, 75% x 1, 80% x 1
Back Squat: 90% of Saturday’s squat for 3 x 5

Upper Muscular Imbalance
1a. DB Tricep Extensions: 3 x 10 reps
1b. Rows (seated, T-Bar, or DB): 3 x 10 reps
1c. Plate Front Raises: 3 x 12 reps

Day 3: Snatch Deconstruction Day
Heaving Snatch Balance (pause in the bottom for 3 sec): 3RM (8 RPE)
Tall Snatch (pause in the bottom for 3 sec): 3RM (8 RPE)
High Hang Snatch: 2RM (7 RPE)
Snatch: 68% x 2, 73% x 2, 78% x 1, 70% x 2, 75% x 1, 80% x 1
Reverse Hypers or Band Pull-Throughs: 3 x 35 seconds

Day 4
Clean (no hook and no feet): 65% for 3 x 3
Front Squats (with 50lb of chains): 90% of 3RM for 3 x 3 (no pausing)
Unilateral Farmer’s Walk: 3 x 25 yards (each hand)

Day 5
Snatch Pull + High Hang Snatch: 2 + 2RM
Clean Pull + High Hang Clean + Jerk: 2 + 2 + 1RM
Snatch Pulls: 95% for 3 x 3

Day 6
Tall Clean: 3RM (8 RPE)
High Hang Clean: 2RM (7 RPE)
Clean and Jerk: 68% x 2, 73% x 2, 78% x 1, 70% x 2, 75% x 1, 80% x 1
Back Squats: 5RM
Hyper Extensions (with barbell): 3 x 8

WEEK 4

Day 1
Snatch (from high block, bar in the power position): 3RM
Clean (from high blocks, bar in the power position): 3RM
Clean Pulls: 3 x 3 (start at 95%, work up heavy)

Day 2
Snatch (no hook and no feet): 2RM
Jerk (2 sec pause in catch): 70% x 2, 75% x 2, 80% x 1, 83% x 1, 85% 3 x 1
Back Squat: 90% of Saturday’s squat for 5 x 5

Upper Muscular Imbalance
1a. DB Tricep Extensions: 3 x 10 reps
1b. Rows (seated, T-Bar, or DB): 3 x 10 reps
1c. Plate Front Raises: 3 x 12 reps

Day 3: Snatch Deconstruction Day
Heaving Snatch Balance (pause in the bottom for 3 sec): 3RM (9 RPE), then -10% for 2 x 3
Tall Snatch (pause in the bottom for 3 sec): 3RM (9 RPE)
High Hang Snatch: 2RM (9 RPE)
Snatch: 70% x 2, 75% x 2, 80% x 1, 83% x 1, 85% 3 x 1
Reverse Hypers or Band Pull-Throughs: 3 x 50 sec

Day 4
Clean (no hook and no feet): 2RM
Front Squats (with 50lb of chains): 3RM (first rep paused 3 sec, 9 RPE), then -10% for 3 (no pausing)
Unilateral Farmer’s Walk: 3 x 30yd (each hand)

Day 5
Snatch Pull + High Hang Snatch: 1 + 1 Max
Clean Pull + High Hang Clean + Jerk: 1 + 1 + 1 Max
Snatch Pulls: 3 x 3 (start at 95%, work up heavy)

Day 6
Tall Clean: 3RM (9 RPE)
High Hang Clean: 2RM (9 RPE)
Clean and Jerk: 70% x 2, 75% x 2, 80% x 1, 83% x 1, 85% 3 x 1
Back Squats: 3RM, then -10% for 3 x 3
Hyper Extensions (with barbell): 4 x 5

I have used a lot of rep maxes in this program because I am assuming the athlete isn’t proficient in the third pull. Therefore typical percentages won’t apply. If you aren’t familiar with RPE, check out this article: VELOCITY AND THE RPE SCALE

I wanted to make this program as easy to follow as possible. I used percentages on movements I am assuming the athlete will be semi-proficient at – like the full snatch, the clean, and the jerk. I didn’t want to leave out squats, pulls, or accessory movements, so I put them in the program as well. I couldn’t do as much accessory work as normal because of the increase in volume with the competition lifts. Normally I perform a lot of pressing, push pressing, and even deadlifts, but I figure fatigue would take away from the potential improvement in movement.

I hope all of you enjoyed this article. This program could be used for more than one block, since it is written with rep maxes. When the athlete improves at the third pull and transition, they will inevitably use more weight. Therefore the workout will naturally increase in overall volume requiring the body to adapt and change. Let me know in the comment section if you have any questions or concerns. Let me know on here or message me on any one of my social media platforms with your thoughts and improvements. Now go and get better at the third pull!

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Where Coaches Get in Trouble

Ever since I posted the video on Twitter of the young athlete performing a clean with terrible technique, I feel that most of my attention has been drawn to the high school strength coaching world.

But this article is about all coaches in the strength world: high school, collegiate, CrossFit, weightlifting, powerlifting, etc.

I want to teach these coaches how to stay off the CCR… the crappy coaching radar.

A lot of coaches possess all the skills necessary to stay off of the CCR, but they swerve out of their lanes. Suddenly they are directly in the bullseye of the CCR.

Here’s how to stay out of CCR trouble.

1. DON’T TEACH WHAT YOU DON’T KNOW

Look, no one loves Olympic weightlifting more than me. But just because you go to a Saturday clinic and someone tells you that Olympic weightlifting is a great way to get athletes ready for their sport doesn’t mean that you start teaching the snatch and clean and jerk come Monday. You have to know how to teach the lifts. Personally I think teaching the snatch and clean and jerk isn’t that hard, but that’s because I have years and years of experience.

Teaching the lifts

If you are really good at teaching the squat, press, and deadlift, I suggest sticking to those movements. Most athletes are so raw that anything will prove to be monumental in their development. Whatever you teach, you need to be 100% proficient in teaching that movement.

Athletes will benefit in a big way from squats, benches, and deadlifts with a few simple plyometrics and accessory movements thrown in. However, poorly taught cleans and snatches will not only yield poor results, but now you have put your athletes in danger. I’m sure that’s the opposite plan that most coaches intended, but those are the results nonetheless. I suggest getting really good at two to three movements first, and then slowly add one or two movements to your toolbox each year.

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2. ADDING POINTLESS ACTIVITIES TO A WORKOUT JUST TO MAKE IT “HARDER”

You see this all the time. Old school coaches love to teach athletes how to work hard, and I agree that good old-fashioned hard work is something everyone needs to learn. But whatever you do, it needs to be done safely.

Some coaches see a program with 5 x 5 at 75% on the back squat. Then they think if 5 x 5 at 75% is good, then 10 x 5 must be better. You know… because if our rival high school is doing 5 x 5, then we will work harder than them with 10 x 5. Sounds awesome! Right?

Wrong! Now you’ve placed the volume into a dangerous level.

A good place for coaches to reference regarding volume is Prilepin’s Chart:

As long as you stick to these parameters, you will be pretty safe. Based on this chart, 50 repetitions at 75% intensity would obviously be more than double the maximum suggested volume. This chart was produced back in 1974 after looking through the numbers of hundreds of top-level athletes in the old Soviet Union. It has stood the test of time, so you can trust it as a great foundation.

3. FAILING TO EXPLAIN THE WHY

Coaches really need to be able to answer the why to whatever you are prescribing. This one rule will keep you out of trouble. If you don’t know the why to your program and every exercise prescribed within the program, stop reading this and go figure that out. If I can’t explain why a movement is in a program, I drop it.

If you find yourself getting mad or offended when athletes ask you questions about your program, that’s probably a sign you are feeling insecure about your program. If this is you, change things right now. You should invite kids to ask. There is no better time to explain the benefits, connect with your athletes, and to get the buy-in that we are all looking for.

Connecting with your athletes and getting buy-in is more important than your program itself. If you can connect with your athletes, you can create real change within their lives. If an athlete believes that something will work, it will work. If they don’t, it won’t. That’s just a fact.

One last point about this issue is that within time constraints placed on you in the school system, none of us have time for an exercise that is of no value. This is another reason to know your why for each and every exercise.

4. PRESCRIBING WORKOUTS THAT DON’T FIT THE CLASS SIZE OR AVAILABLE EQUIPMENT

Before you design any workout, you need to ask yourself a few basic questions:

  • How many people will I be coaching per class?
  • What equipment do I have readily available?
  • How much time do I have per class?
  • What is the main goal I am hoping to accomplish?

A version of Coach Joe Kenn’s Tier System would work nicely here. For example you could front squat, box jump, and plank for the first set of exercises. Then you could finish up with lunges, lateral step-ups, and a carry for the next set and be done. This would take forty to fifty minutes at the most.

What happens if a few people aren’t ready for the front squat? That’s easy. You group those folks together, and they’re doing kettlebell goblet squats, box jumps, and a plank. You have to know your area and your athletes.

5. WRITING A PROGRAM ON THE BOARD AND THINKING THAT IS COACHING

This is my biggest pet peeve and the number one mistake I hope to change. We’ve all seen a high school coach write a workout of the day on the board, explain it a bit, and then walk out of the room until the end of class.

If this is you, you need to change things right now. You are putting your students at risk. You are putting their very lives at risk. You and the school need to be held liable.

Do I sound upset? If so, well… I am. I have children, and I want them to be as safe as possible when they are away from me. I need to be able to trust the adults that are supposedly teaching them at school. If you don’t want to do the job, then don’t. You should quit if you don’t want to do it. If you are in a public school just collecting a check, you need to reevaluate your priorities. You might not like your students, but they are someone’s children.

Real coaching means you are coaching every repetition of every set. Don’t tell me your athletes lift perfectly. I have the best weightlifters in the country, and they still need direction each and every day. Don’t tell me that your 16-year-old boy is performing a clean perfectly on every repetition. Heck – when they perform a repetition perfectly, that’s the perfect time to coach them. That’s when you tell them to remember exactly what they just did, so they can repeat it.

If you want your athletes to improve and more importantly to be safe, you have to be present. I’m not just talking about being in the room. I’ve watched coaches prop their feet up on a desk and read a magazine. I am talking about being attentive to what’s going on.

6. CHASING NUMBERS AT ALL COSTS

This is one of the most common mistakes. Coaches get so caught up in big numbers that they let movement go right out the door. You will see bench presses bouncing off the chest, high squats, and crazy cleans like I posted a few days ago. Why? For what? Just so the coach can tell their friends and athletic directors that their guys are getting strong. It’s crap, man! Learn to coach so you can actually get someone strong in a way that will translate to them being a better athlete. The best way to do that is focus on perfect movement.

If I take a guy with less than perfect movement and improve his movement significantly, I have made him a better athlete whether I got them stronger or not. On the other hand, if their squat goes up while movement quality goes down – congratulations, you just created a worse athlete. This is why I am excited about creating some basic standards for movements and teaching these standards to coaches all over the country. I want to emphasize functional movement patterns over increases in strength. Sound crazy coming from a strength guy? It shouldn’t because a functional movement will always be the strongest movement.

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7. GETTING TOO COMPLICATED

Keep it simple! There is no reason to get fancy, guys. If you’re getting results from basic movements and programming, then keep it basic. Here’s another rule that will never steer you wrong: Get the most out of the least!

If you are getting results from a basic barbell squat, there is no reason to add bands or chains. If linear periodization is getting the job done, then don’t worry about conjugate. Keep it simple and get the most out of the least.

This is a lesson I learned a few years ago. I swear there is a paradigm shift that all strength coaches go through. We start out keeping it simple, focusing on good movement, and getting a bit stronger. Then we start reading all these fancy books and articles. The next thing you know our programs look like something you might find on an engineer’s desk at N.A.S.A.

Then someone (such as Coach Kenn or Coach Dan John) reminds us to slow our rolls and keep it simple. Then we start simplifying things, and we realize that results come much quicker with a simpler approach. This goes for all levels – not just high school.

The simplest workout I ever wrote brought the most gains. I wrote a basic four-days-per-week workout with high frequency and high intensity for Cade Carney to get ready for his freshman year at Wake Forest University.

Here’s an example of what it looked like:

Day 1

Back Squat (with belt) – 1RM (paused 2 sec), then -15% for 2 x 3 (not paused)
superset with 36″ Box Depth Jumps and Touch for Height – 3 x 5
Clean EMOMs – Start at 70% for 8 x 1 rep, working up heavy
Bench Press – 1RM (paused 2 sec), then -15% for 2 x 3 not paused (last set is 3+)
Dips – 3 x submaximal reps
superset with KB Bat Wing Rows – 4 x 8

Day 2

Front Squat (with belt) – 1RM (paused 7 sec at a 8 RPE)
Complex: High Hang Clean + Low Hang Clean – 1RM (8 RPE)
Push Presses – 1RM, then -15% for 2 x 3 (last set is 3+)
Glute Ham Raises (eccentric slower than concentric) – 4 x 6 weighted
KB Staggered (one OH and one to the side) Carries – 4 x 20 yd each way

Day 3

OH Squat – 1RM (2 sec pause in bottom), then -15% for 3
Complex: Clean Pull + Clean – 1RM
Bench Press (pause all reps, add mini bands) – 8 x 3, start at 40% + bands, working up heavy but no misses
Deadlift Max Effort – 1RM from 4″ deficit
Chest to Bar Pullups – 3 x submaximal reps
superset with KB Swings – 3 x 12 reps

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) – 2RM
Hang Snatch – 3RM
Strict Presses – 1RM, then -15% for 3

See how simple it was? We used lots of repetition maximums because he was fresh out of football season. We agreed to stop one or two sets before potential failure unless I gave him the green light.

This simple program worked like a charm. His squat went up by over 70 pounds, bench press by over 50 pounds, and clean by over 70 pounds. Sounds crazy I know, but he was weak when he first started after a long season of football. His team actually won the state playoffs, so he was really beat down. Needless to say, he made a huge impact at Wake Forest to the point that all of his coaches have been by our gym to check us out. As a strength coach, there is no bigger compliment than to send a guy or gal to college only to have their new strength coach commend your work.

MY COMMITMENT

I am committed to making the weight room in high schools all across America a safer and more productive place for student athletes. You might think that I am crazy, but there is an army of us preparing for this battle. It’s not just me. I am developing a database of folks who want to help out. I just spent an hour talking with Coach Sean Waxman last night, and he’s fired up as well. If you get the two of us loudmouths together, things will change just to shut us up.

STRENGTH UNIVERSITY VIDEO CURRICULUM

THE PERFECT WAY TO GROW IN KNOWLEDGE DURING THIS TIME OF SOCIAL DISTANCING

It's finally here... Learn about technique, programming, assessment, and coaching from a master. For strength coaches and for athletes, these 53 videos (7 hours and 56 minutes of footage) will prepare you to understand the main lifts for maximum performance and safety. Get ready to learn...

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