If I Could Do It All Over Again

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If I Could Do It All Over Again


I don’t like to sit around thinking about what I could’ve or should’ve done in my athletic career. I am totally content with the things that I have accomplished. I am also content with the amount of risks that I took. Basically if I wanted to accomplish a goal, I went right after it. I hope that all of you can say the same when the dust clears. The last thing that you ever want to say is “I should have or I could have”. Those phrases are hard to live with.

However today I am going to look back over my career, and give you all insight as to what I could have done better. I am going to do that for your benefit only. Hopefully it will help one of you, and therefore make some of my mistakes a positive. Let’s look at these one at a time:

1. I should have stuck to the basics longer. I love Louie Simmons, but my time would have been better spent focusing on the squat, bench, and deadlift. I wouldn’t have used bands or chains so often, and I wouldn’t have used specialty bars as much.

Neural adaptation is where the miracle happens. When you become more efficient at a movement, you will recruit the muscle fibers more efficiently as well. Think about it. When a youngster practices hitting a baseball every day over and over, they eventually hit the ball harder and farther. Did they get stronger? Probably not, they just got better at swinging the bat.

If bands and chains are used to often, they throw off the entire feel of a squat. Not to mention, they add a lot more risk to what should be a safe movement. Not to mention, a squat with bands simply isn’t the same as a regular back squat. It is really hard to determine the carry over. I still like to use bands and chains for fun, but sparingly.

2. I would have practiced the important movements often. Most of you know I have been squatting every day for a while now. The neural adaptation has been fascinating. Who would have thought that a 42-year-old former World Record Holder in the Squat could get better at squatting at such an advanced age?

When I competed, I normally squatted twice, benched twice, and deadlifted once or twice. A lot of those sessions were with bands, chains, and/or specialty bars. If I had it to do over, I would squat 5-7 times, bench press 3-5 times, and deadlift 3-4 times. My assistance would be very targeted to muscular imbalance. Otherwise I would stick with the main lifts and slight variations of each.

I would do the same thing if I were Olympic weightlifting. I would Snatch and Clean & Jerk 4-6 times each, squat 5-7 times, and pull heavy 2-3 times, and I would be specific with the assistance based on your own weaknesses. The key is practicing the movements that are a part of your sport. It just makes sense.

3. I would have focused on the sport only. I got to caught up in making a website, doing seminars, and building my popularity. This was great for my future as a coach, but definitely distracted be from the prize. I see this happen to a lot of athletes. The fame and popularity consumes them, and then their training begins to suffer. You window as a strength athlete is small. I suggest that you seize that opportunity and become the best athlete possible. Don’t worry so much about all the hype. If you become a World Champion or Olympian, you won’t have to worry about getting fans. They will just be there.

4. I would have balanced my life better. I was a very selfish athlete. I didn’t let a friendship interrupt my training at all. I skipped several funerals and weddings because I didn’t have time to mess with them. That’s crazy! A balanced life will lead to less stress. Less stress will actually help you recover, and will optimize your endocrine system. Enjoy life and the people around you and your training will improve.


5. I would have found a coach. I wrecked my body while trying to coach myself. Yes I was able to become the best powerlifter in the world. However, I believe that my career was cut way short from the abuse that I was putting on my body. I mainly needed a coach to say, “Enough for today, Go Home”. I am all about going heavy often, but it is very important to either auto-regulate or have a coach do it for you.

Without a doubt, my records would have been set much higher if I had just been a little smarter. I believe that I left 300-400 pounds on the table simply because I had no auto-regulation.

For the most part I am totally happy with my career as a strength athlete. I now enjoy a great career coaching some of the best athletes in the United States, and I owe it mainly to my time as a lifter. It is hard for a strength athlete to trust someone with their training that hasn’t been where they want to go.

This look back into my past isn’t me sitting around sad thinking about “what it”. I just did it so you all could learn and do better than me. I hope that it helps one or more of you. Now go out there and do it better!


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Thank You from all of us at Mash Elite Performance and Mash Mafia Weightlifting and Powerlifting!

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