Category Archives for "Motivation"

Control What You Control

As I am writing this, we are working on Day 63 of this coronavirus quarantine with no clear picture of (the new) normal in sight.

In those 63 days, we have celebrated Easter and Mother’s Day as a nation. I’ve had a birthday and my family has also suffered a deep loss as my mother passed away from COVID on April 29th. The year 2020 will most definitely be one we will never forget as proms, concerts, sporting events, graduations, and so much more have been postponed or cancelled. States have started slowly opening up – phase one in North Carolina officially started on May 8th. This article isn’t about what states should be doing, whether we should or should not wear masks, or if gyms should be open or not. There is no hidden agenda here or political stance. So, just keep reading…

What We Can Control

There are so many things outside of our control now. Let’s be honest, it’s always that way, even if we try to fool ourselves into believing we are in control. The one way you can get through this without losing your sanity is to focus on all the things you can control – and if you are a believer like me, give the rest to God.

  • Scheduling Time and Proper Planning
  • Nutrition
  • Sleep
  • Mental Health Practices
  • Exercise
  • Staying Engaged with Family and Friends

Scheduling Time and Proper Planning

Just remember the 6 P’s: Prior Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance

I wrote an article a few weeks back about bettering yourself during this quarantine. There are a lot of things I have been working on both personally and professionally. It has been interesting – with a learning curve to be sure. It’s hard to remember what day it is sometimes! It has only been the last two or three weeks that I have really been able to dial it in and become efficient with my time.

What I have found is I need to write it down and not put it on my calendar in my phone. I have a sheet of paper where I write down everything I want to accomplish that day in a numbered fashion. As I complete a task, I mark it off the list. I write everything down! This includes my personal time of reading and my training. In order for this to be successful, you have to prepare in advance. On Sunday, I sit down and look at what I have that needs to get done for the week. This includes programming due that week for athletes, coaching obligations, podcasting, checking emails, writing articles, etc.

I then look at what I would like to accomplish that week and put it on lighter days when I might not have certain commitments. This includes professional development like watching roundtables, reading articles, or doing continuing education courses. I also have to look at things like making a run to the store or post office, getting Morgan’s school assignments ready each week, and any other item that might come up.

Here is an example of a common weekday.

  1. Fasted cardio (I try to do this three to five times a week)
  2. Read for 20 minutes (something spiritual or uplifting and not related to my profession)
  3. Online athlete video analysis
  4. Check emails
  5. Write programs for ‘x’ number of clients that day (I try to string those out over a few days depending on how many I have to write that week)
  6. Zoom practice with team (Travis and I do MWF team practice)
  7. Finish article
  8. **Transcripts and VA (as I am going back to get a second degree this fall – more to come in another article)
  9. Strength training (I still have a meet in 17 weeks!)
  10. Shoot videos for Mash Elite Exercise Library
  11. Professional development for 30 minutes

Some of those items are recurring and others are obviously one or two times depending. I was finding if I didn’t write down at the beginning of the week what I needed to accomplish on a daily basis, I would get to Sunday and have to work all day finishing up programs. That’s no fun! Keeping a schedule and planning in advance has helped to keep my stress level down and made me a lot more productive. Try writing everything down, including your personal time, and see how it works for you!

THE SEMINAR SERIES TO RULE THEM ALL


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Nutrition

If there was any time you have control over what you put in your mouth, it is now. This is the time to start forming better habits. Everything has slowed down and people are spending a lot more time at home. This means you can cook more and be mindful of what you are eating. If for no other reason – nutrition has an impact on your immunity. What you put into your body matters.

Protein is important for healing and recovery. Fruits and vegetables are rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants with immunity boosting properties. Beta carotene is found in sweet potatoes, carrots, and green leafy vegetables. Vitamin C is found in red peppers, oranges, strawberries, mangoes, broccoli, and other fruits and vegetables. Vitamin E is found in spinach and broccoli as well as in nuts and seeds. Others to note are vitamin D (which is found in milk products and fortified cereals), and zinc 9which is found in nuts, pumpkins seeds, lentils, and beans). If you find you don’t eat a lot of these types of foods, you should seriously consider adding them to your meals. Or at the very least, start taking a good multivitamin and greens supplement.

Your body needs a minimum amount of calories for it to function with involuntary actions such as breathing, hormone production, etc. Add in any activity to include any type of movement and the body’s requirement increases. It is important for you to make sure you are getting enough calories every day. According to Scientific American, when you are sick, your body needs even more calories, saying “Fever is part of the immune system’s attempt to beat the bugs. It raises body temperature, which increases metabolism and results in more calories burned; for each degree of temperature rise, the energy demand increases further.” Staying hydrated by drinking water is also important and a natural way to boost immunity.

This pandemic is affecting people in different ways. For some, life has slowed down and gotten better. For others, it has been destructive mentally and financially. Wherever you are on this spectrum, take time to give yourself grace on a daily basis. With or without a pandemic, moderation is your best bet at sustainability when it comes to your eating habits. Guilt has no place here if you don’t eat healthy 100% of the time. I just want you to be aware of the benefits of eating healthy and make decisions based on information. More times than not, make healthy choices.

Sleep

It was crazy how long it took me to get on a sleep schedule when this quarantine first started. When your daily routine gets distorted and obsolete, it takes some time to adjust. Sleep is important for so many reasons. Sleep can affect your overall quality of life!

This is the time when the body repairs, growth hormone is released, and the body is relaxed. The brain stays active while we sleep, so much so it is thought sleep plays a role in removing toxins from the brain that we build up while awake. According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, “Research shows that a chronic lack of sleep, or getting poor quality sleep, increases the risk of disorders including high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, depression, and obesity.” Needless to say, getting a good night’s sleep as often as possible is essential! Some strategies to providing an environment conducive to a good night’s sleep according to The Sleep Foundation are:

  • Have a sleep schedule seven days a week. Go to bed at the same time and wake up at the same time every day. This allows your body to regulate.
  • Have a bedtime ritual that helps you relax.
  • If you are a napper and find it hard to fall asleep at night, remove those naps for a week and see if it helps.
  • Exercise daily!
  • Take a look at the room you sleep in. Make sure the room is at a proper temperature and not too hot (ideally 60-67 degrees). Make sure the room is dark and distractions are minimal or not present.
  • Consider reading an actual book before bed rather than using electronics or watching TV. This has a calming effect and you might find it easier to fall asleep.
  • Avoid caffeine in the afternoons and heavy meals close to bedtime. I would also avoid drinking any fluids close to bedtime as it can disrupt sleep having to go to the bathroom.

This is not an end-all be-all list. I would just recommend if you have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, you might want to try to implement some or all of these strategies and see if it helps. As far how much uninterrupted sleep you should get a night, it varies. Studies show teens and children need more sleep than adults, and the average adult thrives best on seven to nine hours of uninterrupted sleep.

Mental Health

For the sake of this article, I’m not talking about clinical diagnoses or medication. That is way beyond my area of expertise. I am simply talking about strategies you can use on a daily basis to put you in a right frame of mind. There is so much going on right now and it is scary. Learning how to cope with the daily stresses of the unknown by using some simple tools can go a long way. I reached out to our good friend Gabriel Villarreal, a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC), and we had a great chat about some strategies. I told him what I have been doing each morning and he put a name to it. Here are the four things he gave me to do:

  • Practice mindfulness. This just means anything done in a particular way in the present moment, on purpose. This is something I have started doing each morning. I wake up, shower, come downstairs, and make a cup of coffee. As the weather is warming up, I take a book outside, set a timer for 20 minutes, and focus only on reading for that time. I am finishing up week two of this and it has been a game changer for my mental health. I look forward to it every morning. I just finished the first book, Shaken by Tim Tebow, and I highly recommend it. I started a new book this morning, F*ck Your Feelings by Ryan Munsey. I will let you know how it is when I finish. This 20 minutes in the morning will be filled with books for my own personal development. I have allotted time later in the day to work of professional development.
  • Focus only on what is three feet in front of you. Rock climbers do this. They call it “three-feet world.” While climbing, they don’t look at the big picture of getting to the top. Instead, they focus on the steps immediately in front of them. As they move forward, they shift focus onto the next obstacle as they make their way to the top. Morgan and I used to do this when Wayne would deploy. Instead of looking at the entire year and how long it was, we would break it up into segments. This could be holidays or special days coming up or trips we had planned. It helped, especially with a young child, to focus on something much closer, get through it, and then shift our focus to the next thing coming up. This is definitely helpful in times like this to not look so far ahead, but to focus on the more immediate.
  • Read the Serenity Prayer often, realizing we are not in control and being ok with it and finding peace.
    “God, grant me the serenity
    to accept the things I cannot change,
    the courage to change the things I can,
    and the wisdom to know the difference.
    Living one day at a time,
    enjoying one moment at a time;
    accepting hardship as a pathway to peace;
    taking, as Jesus did,
    this sinful world as it is,
    not as I would have it;
    trusting that You will make all things right
    if I surrender to Your will;
    so that I may be reasonably happy in this life
    and supremely happy with You forever in the next.”
  • Control your breathing. Mark Divine, creator of SealFit, sums it up nicely. “Awareness of our breath, and control of it, is the best tool to bring initial control over our mind. Breath control will bring a present moment awareness absent of fear or future unknowns. We are just present when we practice breath control, and our minds begin to focus and able to tap into greater energy.”

Learning to utilize one or all of these tools on a daily basis will have a huge impact on your mental health as we all continue to find our way through this pandemic.

Exercise

Exercise has major benefits during a time like this (and all the time). For one, moderate intensity exercise has been associated with improved immune function. Exercise also plays a part of the reduction of stress and anxiety!

Unfortunately, gyms are still closed in a lot of areas. Don’t use that as an excuse not to get or stay active. For competitive athletes such as weightlifters and powerlifters, not having access to gym equipment will have negative effects on them in relation to their specific sport. Frequency of the competition movements is crucial to get better in their sport, but they can still find benefit in daily physical activity until they can return to the gym. We have created some programs through our bronze level for just this purpose. Here is what the American College of Sports Medicine recommends:

  • Two and a half to five hours a week of moderate intensity aerobic exercise.

    • Walk, run, bike, or row
    • Dance
    • Circuit training with bodyweight movements
    • Gardening or yard work
  • Two sessions per week minimum of resistance training.

    • For those with equipment, hit the weights!
    • Bands, backpacks, suitcases, and isometric holds are great when you have minimal equipment.

The way you can train in this moment might not be your ideal way to train, nor will it help you reach specific goals if you are a competitor. I know that is tough. Just realize there is still so much benefit to your physical and mental health when you move daily!

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.

Staying Engaged With Family and Friends

I definitely think this ties in closely with mental health as well. This holds especially true for people who live alone. While I love my family dearly and we have enjoyed having this time together, I get excited to interact with people outside of my nuclear family. I equate this to a new stay-at-home mom who craves adult conversation. We are social human beings and social distancing is the opposite of that. Zoom calls, FaceTime, etc are not the same as an in person interaction, but it can do a person good! I love coaching our athletes in person so much more, but there is something to be said seeing their faces three days a week even if it is through a computer screen!

What I want you to take away from this article is to focus on the things you can control. Believe me, I know it is easier said than done. This pandemic has affected people in different ways, some positive and some negative. There are those who have lost jobs, lost family members, and are having a rough time. I empathize with you, especially losing a family member. My hope is that if you will implement self care into your daily routine by using the strategies and activities discussed in this article, you will come out of this a healthier and more resilient you.

Author:
About Crystal: Crystal is Travis’ right hand person! She is a USA Weightlifting National Coach and holds her NSCA – Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist certification. She is an RN with a Masters degree in Nurse Education. She also holds multiple other certifications to include CFL2, USATF, Precision Nutrition, and Flex Diet. She is also an international elite ranked powerlifter.

Learning How to Learn – The Barbell Life 307

I write often on this site about training to make our bodies stronger and fitter.

But on this podcast, we talk about a subject I rarely speak on: training our minds.

I recently went back to school to get my PhD, and the amount of learning I had to take on was enough that I contemplated quitting on more than one occasion. But instead, I developed some strategies, read some material, and learned a lot about how to learn.

And of course everything I’m learning about the way the brain works is just going to help me refine the training of my athletes. Monitoring brain patterns during their training is something I’m eager to try out more and more soon.

Travis Mash's Masterpiece for Strength Training and Programming

The Mash System

World champion and world-class coach Travis Mash gives you every trick in his programming toolbox plus FIVE 12 week strength programs for weightlifting, powerlifting and athletic performance and more.

LISTEN IN TO TODAY’S PODCAST AS WE TALK ABOUT:

  • The most important thing to do in the morning to create the chemical balance your brain needs to learn
  • Using cinnamon as a “cheat” in a test?
  • The power of the Omegawave
  • Stress and the athlete
  • The subconscious mind and how sleep rewires our brains
  • and more…

Next Level Recovery with Cory G – The Barbell Life 306

It’s always a blast talking with Cory G.

I was so excited to talk with him at the recent Arnold Classic. Get this – he found out that he completely ruptured a rotator cuff muscle and needed surgery. But he worked hard on rehab and is now back lifting heavy again… after having a COMPLETE tear. That is unheard of.

And speaking of unheard of, we also talked about how he’s using front squats to increase people’s deadlifts – and wild ways he’s using bands.

Even better – you’ll hear how Cory can recover from intense workouts… with still only needing five hours of sleep.

IT'S UNDENIABLE. SQUATTING EVERY DAY WORKS.

Get Travis Mash's Guide to
High Frequency Programming

If you want to get better at a movement... maybe you should do the movement more. High frequency will work like magic as long as you avoid certain pitfalls.

LISTEN IN TO TODAY’S PODCAST AS WE TALK ABOUT:

  • Rehabbing after a COMPLETE rupture of a rotator cuff muscle
  • How ab wheels help lifters in surprising ways
  • Measuring sleep quality – and manipulating hormones to maximize sleep quality
  • The Mash version of French contrast
  • Cory’s powerlifting team that front squats four days a week
  • and more…

Changes to Mash Mafia Training in Quarantine – The Barbell Life 305

COVID-19 has changed so much.

It’s changed the world. It’s changed healthcare, it’s changed the economy, and it’s changed societies. And while it’s very small compared to all that’s going on, our training has changed as well.

I’m working out in my driveway. The Mash Mafia is training on Zoom. And with changing competition schedules, we’re able to switch up our programming (and experiment with some new protocols).

Check out today’s podcast where we talk about all that’s gone down.

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

LISTEN IN TO TODAY’S PODCAST AS WE TALK ABOUT:

  • Coordinating training sessions virtually – and with differing equipment
  • The delays in competitions – and how the Mash Mafia is using that delay well
  • The “Mash” Contrast method
  • How Travis got out of a training rut
  • What NOT to do when the CNS is tanked…and what you should do
  • and more…

Coaches: Use Your Quarantine Time Wisely

Fun fact: the daily routine in our house hasn’t changed much the last four weeks other than we are training at home rather than the gym.

Lack of Control

As I sit here writing this article, my family and I are on day 29 of a quarantine – which was initially voluntary but then turned into a mandatory policy to stay at home. The world has stood still and life has slowed down for almost everyone. The end date is yet to be determined.

All eyes are on COVID-19 and how it is tearing through the world. There are amazing and brave people out there. One of our athletes, Courtney Haldeman, goes to work daily as an RN here in our city, just waiting for the fallout to happen. So far, they are not overrun so they have had a bit more time to prepare than some of the hot zones like New York. The bottom line is this: there are so many things going on with this virus that are out of our control. The virus doesn’t care if you are rich or poor, black or white, homeless or live in a fancy mansion, famous, an athlete, young or old, etc. We are all facing the same thing. Unfortunately, some have been hit harder than others financially, and it breaks my heart to see so many people struggling in this industry who were thriving just last month.

The fitness world has been hit hard by this pandemic. For anyone who works in a setting coaching athletes face to face, you have had to be quick on your feet, think outside the box, and learn to adapt to the new normal. For those of us who have an online presence, we have also had to think on our feet as some of our athletes lost access to gym equipment and some have been hit financially with job losses. There are definitely more things that are out of our control than are within our control.

What We Can Control

At this point, all we can do is focus on what we can control. Two of the things we as coaches can control are:

  • Our perspective and attitude
  • How we utilize our time daily
Keep Improving!

Professional development is so important to us as coaches. Many of us are consumed by our daily commitments to our athletes and/or to our gyms that we don’t have the time (or we don’t take the time) we would like to advance our own learning or to create content. This is a chink in a lot of coaches’ armor, and now is the time to change that. There are so many resources at the touch of a finger.

Now, there are two sides to this coin. There are the new coaches who need to be sponges and soak up as much information as possible. Then, there are the coaches with years and years of experience who can take this time to teach the new coaches. I personally fall in the middle – but more toward the former. I am knowledgeable and have experience under my belt, but I still have so much more to learn. The day a coach stops learning is the day the coach needs to stop coaching. The tool box can never be too big!

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...

Here are ways to advance yourself during this time:

  • Identify your strengths and weaknesses. Be honest with yourself.
  • Create content on subjects you identify as strengths. This will help you to enhance your own knowledge while helping younger coaches expand theirs.
  • Look for resources you can use to further your knowledge in areas that you identify as weaknesses. Even the most experienced of coaches have areas they can improve on.
  • Create a daily schedule for family, work, and professional development. This will look different for everyone based on family and work obligations. Put aside 30 minutes to an hour minimum daily to work on your professional development. This could include taking a course, reading a book, reviewing articles, or watching roundtable videos.

There are many resources out there – some are good and some are not so good. Make sure what you choose is backed by science and is evidence based. Young coaches can often make the mistake of taking a seasoned coach’s opinion as science. The mistake comes from following blindly rather than doing their own research. When you read or watch something, don’t just take it at face value. Follow up with your own research and make your own conclusions based on your findings. Seasoned coaches, provide content to newer coaches that is backed by science and not just your opinion. Just because you teach something a certain way or include/exclude an exercise based on personal preference, does not mean that it is an absolute or the law. There is nothing wrong with sharing an opinion – just be sure to express that it is your preference or opinion rather than a “should” or “must.”

Stay Productive

I’m not exempt from my own advice! I have been working on my own professional development the last four weeks in quarantine. It was challenging to start, but creating a schedule and making lists has made it much more manageable to be productive each day. Here are some ways that I am working on myself as a coach:

  • Coaching athletes – Technology has been absolutely amazing with applications like Zoom. Here at Mash Elite, we have started doing Zoom training sessions with our onsite athletes. We have also opened it up to our online athletes, which is a newly added feature for them!
  • Analyzing athlete videos – Travis started doing more of this the last couple of weeks with a combination of Coach’s Eye and Bar Path. It has been amazing. I do video analysis for our online athletes as they post in our Facebook group, but recently, I have started taking videos from the side or asking online athletes to send me videos. Using the apps I just spoke of, I can analyze videos in new ways to show my athletes how they can improve their bar path. It also allows me to post the video on social media and teach other coaches. This helps others – but it also makes me a better coach as I articulate the lift.
  • Reading content on subject matters I have identified as weaknesses – I don’t want to just be a one trick pony. One of my weaknesses in particular is speed work. When this is all over, one of my goals is to be more knowledgeable in this area.
  • Staying in touch with my mentors – Talking shop via phone, Zoom, or Facetime is an awesome (and entertaining) way to increase your knowledge. Just recently, while writing new programs, Travis and I had a great conversation about the parameters to elicit hypertrophy with a no-equipment or minimal-equipment program.
  • Seeking out online continuing education courses – Because of social distancing, many platforms have moved to being online. For most courses, you can get the same educational experience as you can with a live course (minus the networking and practical portions if applicable).
  • Creating an exercise library – this will be of benefit to our athletes and other coaches to better teach movements.

Will you be productive every minute of every day? No. But I promise you this: the time you do spend on your professional development will make you a better coach – which will in turn make your athletes better.

Resources

Here are some resources I personally recommend that have been extremely helpful to me. They are all based on science and all coaches involved are very reputable.

  • Strength University – we recently launched an eight-unit online curriculum that covers all the areas we at Mash Elite Performance are known for. Travis covers assessments, mobility, movements, flaws, fixing flaws, and much more. I can promise you I am not just telling you this for a sale. I spent several days going through the entire curriculum creating print-outs for the course – and I learned so much in subjects I already thought I already knew well!
    You can go here to purchase: Strength University

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...

  • Stronger Experts – This is a panel of strength coaches with expertise in various areas. They are always creating amazing new content. There is a monthly or yearly subscription that gets you access to all of their content. I have yet to watch or read anything on Stronger Experts where I didn’t learn something!
    You can learn more here: Stronger Experts
  • Stronger by Science (MASS) – If you follow us at all, you have heard us talk about Greg Nuckols. He is a researcher and is extremely good at his job. He and his colleagues do the work for you. They do all the research on subject matters and put it together in very well written, easy to understand articles. There is a monthly or yearly subscription that gives you access to all of their content.
    You can learn more here: Stronger by Science
  • Two Brain Business – I am late to the party on this business as they have been working to make gyms successful for a while now. I found them in the midst of this pandemic, and they have done an amazing job of providing valuable information to the fitness industry on how to stay profitable through it.
    Check out their Instagram page: Two Brain Business

Of course there are other resources out there, but these are most definitely my top four. They are also four very different platforms providing you with access to videos, journals, and multiple experts in their field.

When you emerge from this quarantine, will you be carrying a larger tool box? I know I will!

Author:
About Crystal: Crystal is Travis’ right hand person! She is a USA Weightlifting National Coach and holds her NSCA – Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist certification. She is an RN with a Masters degree in Nurse Education. She also holds multiple other certifications to include CFL2, USATF, Precision Nutrition, and Flex Diet. She is also an international elite ranked powerlifter.

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.

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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?

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