Category Archives for "Powerlifting"

Hypertrophy Year Round

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here are some of the characteristics:

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

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

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

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

My latest E-Book “Mash Method” is live and it’s FREE! Check it out now at: https://www.mashelite.com/mashmethod
===================================
This book has several of the techniques that I used to set personal records and world records along with some of my latest techniques that I’m using to get my athletes and me hitting all-time numbers.
-wave training
-bands and chains contrasted with straight weight
-walk outs
-partials contrasted with full ROM
-Squats for vertical leap -Sled drags to set PR 40 yd dash times
And more!

https://www.mashelite.com/mashmethod

Adapting GPP to Strength Work by Crystal McCullough

Last Weekend to get our latest E-Book “Performance Zone” for only $19! Check it out now at:

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

Adapting GPP to Strength Work
by Crystal McCullough (Check her on Instagram @crystalmac_72)

Strength training is extremely important and has so many health benefits and very few, if any, risks (knuckleheads aside) for anyone of any age. Women, unfortunately, tend to shy away from strength training because they have believed the old wive’s tale that says women will get bulky if they lift weights. This is a misconception and flat out wrong. “Bulky” is a subjective term that can mean different things to different people. I would love to review a study that compares women in one camp (let’s call them Team Weak) vs. the women in another camp (let’s call them Team Strong) and their incidence of osteoporosis. For those of you that don’t know, osteoporosis is a debilitating disease where bones become so weak and brittle, you can break a bone by simply standing on it. Women, because of hormonal changes as we age, are more susceptible to this disease. Strength training has proven to reduce the risk of osteoporosis by strengthening bones and increasing bone density. Other health benefits of strength training is decreased body fat percentage and increased muscle mass. The more muscle mass you have, the better your metabolism is. So, why would we not want to get strong? I target women here because what man doesn’t want to get strong? Women are harder to convince.

August of 2015, I took over as affiliate owner, general manager, and head coach (yes, I wear many hats). One of my responsibilities is the programming, which I absolutely love to do. I came into a situation where the athletes were accustomed to one way of programming which was very traditional CrossFit. It was random and constantly varied. My way of thinking and many of my peers is that strength training should be planned out and you should know why you are programming what you are programming at any given time. The worst thing you can say to a member of your gym when they ask you a question about your programming is “I don’t know”. KNOW!! I have our strength planned out for several weeks in advance and work conditioning around that strength. I had a brief transition period because I was not ready for the programming to be placed in my lap at that time. So, I fell into the mold of random until I could get it together. After a few weeks, I was able to create a template that I felt would better our athletes and keep them coming back. Conditioning is still very much constantly varied from movements to time domains. The program still consists of traditional CrossFit style couplets and triplets in various time domains. I also like to put some non-traditional movements in to shake things up a bit and work on muscular imbalances. Strength is not random nor is it constantly varied. In the last few months, I have adopted the Squat Everyday approach and my members are seeing the benefit in it. I have also begun to add in underused movements such as barbell rows and dumbbell work.

Adapting my athletes to more strength work has not been much of an issue. It has actually been very smooth. I would like to credit my passion and belief in what I program and the backing I have from my other coaches. I will not say that the programming is flawless because there is always room for improvement. I am constantly learning and will adapt the programming accordingly. The worst thing we can do is come to a point when we feel there is nothing else for us to learn because we know everything. We are then no longer useful to our athletes.

Some key points:
1. Have a plan and a purpose for everything you do. Don’t make things up as you go. Take the time to sit down and create a template for programming. Map out your strength cycles and then build in your conditioning around it.
2. Don’t keep that plan from your athletes! Athletes want to know why they are doing what they are doing. It isn’t them questioning your programming, but instead, they are empowering themselves with an understanding of how and why they are training.
3. Have scheduled de-load days, and quite possibly weeks when you think it is necessary.
4. Be able to answer questions posed to you by members. Give your other coaches the same insight so they can answer those same questions.
5. Be passionate about it and believe in the programming you are creating. If you are passionate and believe in it, your athletes will be excited and buy in!
6. Educate your athletes, especially your female athletes, on those myths that make them shy away from strength training. Also, make sure they are fully aware of all the benefits strength training provides.

You don’t want to create a program that will eventually break your athletes due to the volume. The goal should be to better them and, at the same time, give them longevity and an injury free experience if at all possible. The foundation for this is smart programming and also teaching athletes to listen to their body as well as having a coach’s eye when we see an athlete struggling. And I will end with reiterating if you believe in it and are passionate about it, they will be too.

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Last Weekend to get our latest E-Book “Performance Zone” for only $19! Check it out now at:

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

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

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

==> www.mashelite.com/performancezone/

About the Author:

Crystal McCullough

40-year old Army wife and Mom to a genetic 13-year-old freak. Basketball player turned runner turned CrossFitter turned powerlifter. Crystal has podiumed over the years at 5k and 10k road races, local CrossFit competitions, and most recently competed at the Arnold 2016 XPC Powerlifting Finals as well as USAPL Raw Nationals 2016 in the Open division. Her best lifts are 145k squat, 81k bench, and 162k deadlift. She is an RN with a Masters degree in Nursing Education, a CrossFit affiliate owner, and a Mash Elite Performance nutrition coach (among other stuff). She is a member of the Mash Mafia Powerlifting team and is currently studying for her CSCS as she prepares to move to Winston Salem with her family in May to join the Mash Mafia crew on a full-time basis.

“CrossFitter Turned PowerLifter: Mentality Differences” by Crystal McCullough

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

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

CrossFitter Turned PowerLifter

“Mental toughness is a collection of attributes that allow a person to persevere through difficult circumstances (such as difficult training or difficult competitive situations in games) and emerge without losing confidence.”

I consider myself a multi-sport athlete. Yes, I am a Powerlifter, but I am still a CrossFitter. I am simply on an extended hiatus from CrossFit to pursue certain Powerlifting goals. My hope is to go back and forth between the two depending on the time of year and the season.

I am going to be honest with you from the get-go. I am a baby in the sport of Powerlifting. I do not pretend to be an expert or even know very much about this sport. I am in the process of absorbing as much knowledge as I can from the best in the sport so I myself can be successful as both coach and athlete. I want to just go ahead and put that out there.

I was initially introduced to Powerlifting in 2010 through a friend of mine that personal trained his athletes out of a CrossFit gym. He then held a meet in that same gym. It was the first time I had heard of a powerlifting meet. We were there, didn’t have anything better to do, so myself and a few other gym members decided to sign up. I had not trained at all for it, nor did I really know what I was doing. That day in May 2011, I benched 110, squatted 205, and deadlifted 275. I thought I was the shizz!! Little did I know how those numbers would change quite drastically over the next few years once I put some work into it. And, man, oh man, I’m not done yet!!

I had always enjoyed the Big 3 lifts from the time I was introduced to them, but didn’t think much about specializing in it. I just thought they were a part of the CrossFit regimen and methodology Kool-aid I was drinking. It has been said by many in both sports that CrossFit has opened up the world of Powerlifting to a very large population. This, in turn, has made powerlifting a more popular sport than previous years. I couldn’t agree more. Powerlifting meets are being held weekend after weekend in CrossFit gyms across the country. Each and every week, more and more people are being introduced to the sport of powerlifting. That being said, I know several powerlifting athletes who have supplemented with CrossFit-style workouts to break up the routine or try something new. It is a symbiotic relationship where both sports benefit from the other in relation to exposure. I believe this will continue as both sports grow.

There is a definite mentality difference between the two sports. Everything in the CrossFit community is for time. You are racing against yourself, the clock, each other….each day you walk in, you are competing in some way. There are no “sets” or focuses on small muscle groups in traditional CrossFit programming. I get looked at funny in the CrossFit gym I manage when I do barbell shrugs or hammer curls. My athletes don’t understand just yet the slowing down and focusing on specific small muscle groups. I am slowly but surely educating them on the importance of dumbbell work. They are already grasping the importance of squatting!! There is a benefit in both powerlifting and CrossFit where these types of movements can be of great value to both sports. When you are stronger, the lighter weights in conditioning workouts can be moved faster. I have had to transition my mentality from GO, GO, GO into longer resting sets and much less conditioning.

For me personally, it has taken time for me to appreciate the rest periods and focus in on the little things that had been neglected/ignored for quite some time. What led me to powerlifting in the first place was a shoulder ailment that would not go away. In all honesty, since focusing on powerlifting, the shoulder has healed and strengthened at the same time. I feel stronger and healthier now than I ever have! Definitely makes you trust the process and very appreciative of my coach forcing me to address the issue.

The one area I was NOT mentally prepared for by CrossFit was making weight and what athletes are willing to go through to get there. I had to make two drastic weight cuts in December 2015 and again March 2016. I went from 162 to 148 in a short period of time. The federation I competed in was a 24-hour weigh in. My attempt to cut weight was two-fold. First, if I could lift the same or better at a lower weight class, well, that would be awesome on all accounts. Second, I proved to myself I have the discipline to do it. There are no weight classes in CrossFit, so instead of focusing on the scale, I focus eating for performance and the weight I will perform my best at in both strength and gymnastics. There has had to be a mental switch on my part to cutting weight for the purposes of a weigh in with no intention of actually lifting at that weight. I have since switched federations to USAPL where I am comfortably in the 72k weight class with minimal to no cutting!

Mental toughness is required in both sports and I know without a doubt, the time I spent focusing solely on CrossFit helped prepare me for what I needed to succeed in Powerlifting. CrossFit requires a lot of skill in gymnastics movements and the Olympic lifts. There are a lot of days you leave the gym frustrated and disheartened. The key is to use those days to fuel yourself to keep pushing to get better. That is where being mentally tough breeds success. Powerlifting is strength only. Yes, there is technique that comes into play with the lifts just like everything else. Foot placement, bar placement, bracing yourself, depth, how you set up, etc. are extremely important and must be consistent with the lightest to heaviest of lifts. At the end of the day, the goal is to stay healthy, train smart, and be as strong as you possibly can be. This could apply to both sports. When I have a training day that I am required to lift at 90+%, I have to be mentally focused in order to be successful.

Whatever the sport you are competing in, mental focus and toughness are the only way you will succeed at a higher level. I will leave you with these pieces of advice:

1. Find a coach you trust and knows what they are doing!
2. Listen to that coach!
3. Work hard and put in the work required.
4. Realize you will have bad days and those are the days that just might be the best training days to train that mental toughness.
5. Celebrate small victories. A PR is a PR and new skills are always worth celebrating.
6. Go back to the basics and make your technique flawless.
7. Don’t talk smack or degrade others. Put your head down and let your numbers talk for you.

You could add so much more to this list, but bottom line, allow your sport to bring out the best in you!!

Good luck to you in whatever you are aiming for!!

Crystal is quickly becoming a world class powerlifter. She has squatted 325lb raw, benched 175lb, and deadlifted 370lb all at the age of 40-years-old. To find out more about her, check out her Instagram: @crystalmac_72

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

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

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

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

==> www.mashelite.com/performancezone/

Performance Zone: Great v. Good

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

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

Performance Zone: Great v. Good

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

==> www.mashelite.com/performancezone/

Mental Mistakes Made in Competition

Our latest book “Performance Zone” comes out this weekend. It’s all about taking the steps to getting in the zone or what we call enter the “flow state” at will. I pumped for this one.

You can check out all of our e-books at www.mashelite.com/ebooks/!

Mental Mistakes Made in Competition

The USAW Junior Nationals was a memorable competition. The venue was amazing, and the performances were equally amazing. I was more proud of my team than ever before. We have worked on the mentality of the sport for the last year, and it has really paid off. There were a lot less mental mistakes made. We used any small slip ups as opportunities to teach.

The psychology of the sport is one of those elements that can give you a big advantage over your competition. We are lucky to work with an expert, Nathan Hansen, but there are a lot of small things that you can do on your own that will pay off massively. There are a lot of mistakes that are made at each competition, and this one was no different.

I want to point out some of those mistakes, so that all of you can avoid or work towards avoiding those mistakes. At the end of the day we are all working towards making weightlifting better in the U.S., so I want to help all of you. This article applies to weightlifting and powerlifting. Here are some common mistakes and ways to change:

1. Getting jacked up way too early- at every competition I see young men and women pacing in the back rooms with scowls on their face. Their breathing is more rapid, and their heart rate is increased. People think that they are getting psyched, but all they are doing is getting worked up and tired.

So what’s the approach that works the best? The best approach is to stay calm and focused on the movement of each warm up. The best athletes will be totally relaxed until it’s time to go out on the platform. Instead of getting jacked out of your mind during warm ups, try using visualization to incorporate all of your senses allowing the body to take over.

2. Changing your approach for a PR or Record attempt- I watch many athletes take a certain approach to the bar on opening attempts, and then change everything for record attempts. This is a major mistake. An approach to the bar should be practiced and rehearsed. It should be the same each time. The goal is to let the body take over, so the mind won’t cause mistakes. The goal is to let the body take over like being on cruise control. The mind can be crippling. The athlete wants to channel all the senses of the body allowing their training to take over.

3. Over coaching in the back- this one is for the coaches out there. All major technique coaching should be complete by competition day. The athletes are already anxious, so each cue that you give them adds to that anxiety. The best coaches are there to keep that athletes calm. If a cue is needed, you will want to keep that cue simple like “chest up”, “finish”, or “accelerate”.

I watched one coach actually giving multiple feedback while the athlete was warming up with the bar. That very athlete went on to bomb out. I wonder why? Coaches need to handle their athletes by keeping them relaxed. Sometime I will get my athletes laughing, just to keep them calm and present in the moment. I don’t want their minds wandering and thinking about future attempts or what others are doing. I want them present and focused on each and every warm up. That’s all.

4. Watching the performances of others- this is the worst mistake that an athlete can make. There is nothing that any athlete can do about what someone else is doing. It is up to the coaches to set them up to place as high as possible. Once again the athlete needs to focus on being completely present in the moment. You don’t want to let your mind get filled with outside thoughts.

5. Too psyched for an attempt- getting too psyched causes your heart rate to elevate and breathing to increase. This is an immediate loss of energy. Great athletes stay calm and focused. Of course you want to use the element of competition to bring out the best in your performance. It’s good to get excited, but you don’t want that excitement to take over. Keep that excitement in check by focusing on each and every attempt just like you focused on each and every warm up.

These five points are keys to success. The cream of the crop will rise by applying these points to their own competitions. I want strength sports in the United States to improve as a whole. Yeah I have a team that I love, but I love Team USA too. Team USA is the end goal for all of my athletes, so I want Team USA to be the best in the world. That will take all coaches coming together to work on this sport as a whole. I am definitely willing to be a part of this movement, and I hope all of you are as well.

See you guys and gals at the Arnold Classic this weekend. Please visit us at the Mash Elite Performance Booth in the Weightlifting section.

===================================
My latest E-Book “Mash Method” is live and it’s FREE! Check it out now at: https://www.mashelite.com/mashmethod
===================================
This book has several of the techniques that I used to set personal records and world records along with some of my latest techniques that I’m using to get my athletes and me hitting all-time numbers.
-wave training
-bands and chains contrasted with straight weight
-walk outs
-partials contrasted with full ROM
-Squats for vertical leap -Sled drags to set PR 40 yd dash times
And more!

https://www.mashelite.com/mashmethod

The Coaches that have Influenced me the Most and Why

My latest E-Book “Mash Method” is live and it’s FREE! Check it out now at: https://www.mashelite.com/mashmethod
===================================
This book has several of the techniques that I used to set personal records and world records along with some of my latest techniques that I’m using to get my athletes and me hitting all-time numbers.
-wave training
-bands and chains contrasted with straight weight
-walk outs
-partials contrasted with full ROM
-Squats for vertical leap -Sled drags to set PR 40 yd dash times
And more!

https://www.mashelite.com/mashmethod

The Coaches that have Influenced me the Most and Why

I have led a blessed life in the world of strength and conditioning. I have somehow managed to hang out and get to know some of the most influential coaches in the world. My athletic career opened the doors, but I think that my treatment of others nurtured those relationships. Here’s a quick tip before I get into the meet of this article. If you desire to learn or gain from another coach or athlete in the country, you should be willing to give as much as you get. If you focus on giving and helping others, you won’t have to worry about gaining from others. It will happen.

People often ask me who were my biggest influencers in the strength and conditioning world. If I list them all, this article would be a book. Really that’s a great idea for a book, but for today we will keep it simple. I am going to break it down into categories:

• Olympic weightlifting
• Powerlifting
• Athletic Performance

I am going to try and stick to one or two coaches per category if I can. I hope that all of you will learn a couple of things from each coach. More importantly I hope this encourages you to go out and form relationships of your own. You can read all the cool books that you want, but nothing replaces seeing it in person or talking to the author over drinks.

Personally I like focusing on the coaches that are actually producing athletes. There are a lot of self-proclaimed gurus on the Internet nowadays, but proof is in the production of fruit. You might have a PhD, but if you aren’t producing anything, then there is nothing to substantiate your claims. I am not totally sold on studies. Studies are a great first step to get me to try new things, but normally these studies are done on some random general people. I coach great athletes, so there are some pretty big differences.

Anyways, let’s get to it.

1. Olympic weightlifting– without a doubt I have been influenced more by Coach Don McCauley than any other coach. I first had the opportunity to work with him at MuscleDriver USA, and he totally took me under his wing. Yeah I had already produced some pretty big athletes, but Don has produced Olympians.

Too many of you coaches think that you are coach of the year because you have a few National competitors. That is a terrible mindset to take. You have so much to learn. I have tripled my knowledge of weightlifting, since meeting Don McCauley. Now I am blessed to work with him everyday at my own gym. He does a great job coaching our men and women. I have personally watched him coach people into major PRs on the same day as meeting them. I am not talking about new weightlifters. Anyone can pumped up a newbie and get them to PR. I am talking about seasoned veterans.

Here are just a few of the amazing things that I have learned from him:

It’s all about timing. Most weightlifters want to focus on how high they pull the bar. Yes you have to peak the bar as high as possible, but here is the thing. Once the hips are open, you have done all that you can to peak the bar. Great lifters are the ones that waste no time at the top of the lift, but instead focus on getting under the bar and meeting it strongly.

Back foot down on the jerk– I have always been told to step through the jerk with the front foot. I never really understood how to do this until Don talked about getting the back foot down. The back foot will always touch down first in the jerk. If I focus on driving it straight down, that movement will propel into the right position under the bar driving the front foot out.

Focus on the Vertical Drive more than the split of a jerk– Most athletes want to sneak under the bar during the split jerk causing them to get driven to the ground. Don teaches the athlete to load the posterior chain by getting on the entire foot. Then he teaches them to focus on the vertical drive. The split will become a mostly involuntary motion that is perfected from all the hundreds of reps in practice. The goal is to catch the weight as high as possible in the strongest position as possible.

2. PowerliftingLouie Simmons has had the biggest influence on me. I don’t follow the conjugate system exactly like he prescribes, but I use several of his principles. Here’s a short list:

Attack Muscular Weaknesses with accessory movements– my e-book “No Weaknesses” was greatly inspired by Louie. I think that this is his biggest secret to producing so many champions. They will attack weaknesses for up to 70% of a workout, and they will do this right up to a meet. I totally agree with this approach.

Conjugate– I might not take it to such an extreme, but I use the conjugate system to keep the body from stagnating. For squats we use pauses, bands, chains, and sometimes-different bars. For the Olympic lifts we use pauses, blocks, hangs, and complexes.

Work Capacity– athletes that don’t focus on conditioning are really missing out on an aspect that could help them. We use low eccentric and low impact movements to increase to work capacity of our athletes. If you can perform more work than your competitors, then you will eventually win.

3. Athletic Performance– without a doubt Coach Joe Kenn is my go to guy in this arena. Coach Kenn is the Head Strength Coach for the Carolina Panthers, and he has been voted coach of the year two-time by the NSCA. He’s been a friend of mine since 2005, and he actually works out at the Mash Compound from time to time. We are lucky that he lives near us. Here’s what I have learned:

Keep the athletes moving– most strength and conditioning coaches are strapped for time. This includes me. Athletes have other places to be like practicing their sport, watching film, studying their plays, or in the classroom. However we still have to get a lot of work done with them: strength work, core work, mobility, injury prevention, stabilization, etc. The Tier System, Coach Kenn’s system, is a great way of balancing all of this in a short amount of time. Here’s an example:

1a Squats
1b Planks
1c Scap Retracts with Bands

The athletes use the two smaller movements as active recovery between sets.

Each Job is the best job in the world– This is a great mindset to take as a strength coach. If you are always thinking about how amazing another job is, you will never do well in the one that you are in. If you suck at your current job, you will never get that other job. He said that when he started taking this mindset, he never had to fill out another application. The jobs came to him.

Without brining the Juice knowledge is useless– he told me a long time ago that if you couldn’t get your athletes excited and bought in (bringing the juice), knowledge is rendered useless. If your athletes don’t approach the workout with excitement, then they are going to give a crappy effort. If they doubt you, then nothing is going to happen.

Please understand that this is just a shortened list. There are so many coaches and athletes that have influenced me. However, these three men have helped me the most, and the three of them continue helping me. I owe these three men so much. The least that I could do was acknowledge them.

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Guys and Gals if you want to learn all that it takes to build champion athletes, Zach Even-Esh and I are getting together for two dual certifications this year. Check them out at ⇒ Mash and Even-Esh Unite

March 17th and 18th at the Mash Compound in Clemmons, NC

June 10th and 11th at Underground Strength and Conditioning in Manasquan, NJ

Here’s what to expect:

• 1) Athlete Warm Ups & Assessments / Large Group Training
• 2) Bodyweight & Jump Training for Athletes (Sport + Strength Athletes)
• 3) Quick Lifts & Assistance Work for Sport & Strength Athletes (Barbell / Dumbbells)
• 4) Program Design for Athletes from Youth to D1 to Olympic Hopefuls
• 5. Snatch basics and teaching progressions
• 6. Clean basics and teaching progressions
• 7. Squat Programming and Tricks
• 8. Deadlift Programming and Tricks
• 9. Controlling and demanding the respect of groups
• 10. The business of Private Coaching

Extras-

• This will certify you as an official Underground Strength Coach
• This will certify you for the Mash Mafia Learn 2 Lift Cert

Find out more at:

www.MashElite.com/seminars/

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