Go Off the Script

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Go Off the Script


Too often athletes and coaches get caught up in a written program, and then common sense goes right out the door. I am going to give away a huge secret right now. The guys at the Mash Compound are getting strong because there are a bunch of strong men and women training in the same room. It’s not because there is a miracle program. They all have different programs based on their age, gender, and most importantly their training age, but at the end of the day we just go heavy and have a great time.

Now I am a believer in solid programming no doubt, but I also know that the body cycles. That means both men and women have endocrine systems that cycle. Whether you are a boy or a girl, sometimes there are better times hormonally than others to go hard in the gym. Once you have trained long enough to know your body, then it is time to “Go Off the Script”.

First I have to give total credit to Coach Joe Kenn, Head Strength & Conditioning Coach of the Carolina Panthers, for this phrase. He periodically builds in times for his athletes to go off the script of what he has programmed to test out their strength levels. Based on the endocrine system, this concept only makes sense.

This concept goes both ways. If your program has you programmed to hit 95% in the Back Squat on a day that you feel weak, I suggest working up to something that feels heavy for that day and calling it. Live to fight another day! However, if your program calls for 85% only you are feeling super jacked, I suggest testing things out a bit.


The main thing is to not have a bunch of misses. This is a mistake that I even see my own lifters make, and no matter all the excuses in the world the fact remains that a lot of misses teaches the body to miss. Personally I suggest a 90% make to 10% miss ratio bare minimum. Personally I like no misses, but that’s almost impossible in the environment that I have created. My bad!

I will say that I watched Pete Kelly, 1996 Olympian, in training, and he never missed. His technique and focus was the best in the business, and that made him one of the most efficient lifters in US history. He set records that stood for over a decade, and it wasn’t because he was so strong. There are hundreds of lifters that could out squat Pete, but Olympic weightlifting is the Snatch and Clean & Jerk. He focused on mastering those two lifts, and it worked out well.

This concept goes for powerlifting as well. My wife, Emily Drew, has gone off the script several times lately. She hit an all-time PR Bench of 175lb, while performing triples. She hit a lifetime PR Back Squat of 310lb, while performing 3-second pauses. She hit a lifetime Deadlift of 360lb during an EMOM session. This was all within a week, so I am guessing that her endocrine system was primed.

This is where a good coach can come in handy. I told her in all those instances to push it a little. Some athletes are great at auto-regulating, and some are just plain terrible at it. If we are not careful, we will lie to ourselves in a heartbeat. Everyday will turn into a max out session. Then the next thing that you know, you are missing all the time, and your body feels terrible.

A program is important, but I don’t recommend becoming blinded by the daily prescriptions. I used my programs as an outline, and then I used my body to decide the exact intensities for the day. Personally, I want to design a program totally based around the endocrine system. There are a couple of ways to do so, but I want to make it easy for the masses. I work with over 500 people online, so I want to develop something that is easy for all of them to follow. So standby hopefully by the end of this year, I will have something.

Junior Nationals are this weekend. The Arnold Classic is in a couple of weeks. My wife and a few of my athletes compete in powerlifting a few weeks after that, so it is game time for the Mash Compound. Get ready for massive numbers all around!


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