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Cressey Sports Performance Business Building Mentorship: April 7, 2019 - Wed, 01/09/2019 - 18:47

We’re excited to announce that on Sunday, April 7, 2019, we’ll be hosting our third CSP Business-Building Mentorship, a day of learning with Pete Dupuis and me. For the first time, we'll offer this event at our Jupiter, FL facility. Pete and I have spent over 11 years crafting the operational systems and strategies that fuel CSP today, and we’re excited to pull back the curtain for fellow gym owners.

It is our intention to foster an environment conducive to learning and the exchanging of ideas, so we will be limiting participation to 30 individuals.

Here’s a look at our agenda for the day:

8:30am: Registration & Coffee

Morning Session – Lead Generation & Conversion

09:00am – 09:30am: Introduction: The Four Pillars of Fitness Business Success
09:30am – 10:30am: Lead Generation: Strategic Relationship Development, Identifying & Connecting with Opinion Leaders, Social Media Strategies
10:30am - 11:00am: Q&A
11:00am - 12:00pm: Lead Conversion: CSP Selling Strategy & Methodology
12:00pm - 01:00pm: Lunch (provided)

Afternoon Session – Business Operations & Long-Term Planning

01:00pm – 02:00pm: Operations: Accounting for Gym Owners – Guest Lecture from CSP’s CPA, Tom Petrocelli
02:00pm – 02:30pm: Operations: Internship Program Design & Execution
02:30pm – 03:00pm: Operations: Hiring Protocols, Staff Development & Continuing Ed.
03:00pm – 03:30pm: Long-Term Planning: Lease Negotiation Considerations
03:30pm – 04:30pm: Long-Term Planning: Strategic Brand Development, Evaluating Opportunities, SWOT Analysis
04:30pm – 06:00pm: Q&A

Cost: $799.99

Click here to register using our 100% secure server.

Please keep in mind that both previous offerings of this mentorship have sold out well in advance of the event date. With that in mind, if you're interested in attending, please be sure to register early!

Cressey Sports Performance - Florida
880 Jupiter Park Drive
Suite 7
Jupiter, FL 3358

If you have additional questions, please direct them to Looking forward to seeing you there!

PS - If you're looking for hotel information, we have preferred rates at the Comfort Inn and Suites Jupiter and the Fairfield Inn and Suites-West Palm Beach/Jupiter. If you mention the Cressey Sports Performance Corporate rate, you'll get a discounted rate. The hotels are less than 5 minutes from the facility. The contact information is below.

Comfort Inn and Suites-Jupiter
6752 West Indiantown Rd, Jupiter, FL 33458
(561) 745-7997

Fairfield Inn and Suites-West Palm Beach Jupiter
6748 West Indiantown Rd, Jupiter, FL 33458
(561) 748-5252

The Fairfield Inn on Indiantown Rd. in Jupiter, FL offers our clients a heavily discounted nightly rate. Just mention "Cressey" during the booking process in order to secure the discount. Their booking phone number is

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Using Fillers In Your Programs: Deadlifts - Wed, 01/09/2019 - 11:55

I had a gentleman come in for an assessment recently who, upon arriving, provided me with a laundry list of injuries and maladies that have hampered his ability to workout for quite some time.

The list he handed over would have prompted fist bumps from Tolstoy or Tolkien from its grandiosity in description and length.

Some were legitimate – an old athletic injury to his shoulder, along with some nagging low back pain.

Some were, shall we say, a bit of overkill – “my left Sternocleidomastoid gets a bit tweaky whenever I rotate my head more than 17.22 degrees. It’s even more profound when the Dew Point dips below a certain level. Or if I wear red on Thursday.”

Copyright: spotpoint74 / 123RF Stock Photo

The Power of Fillers

Okay, that last part did NOT happen. Rather, it was meant as an allegory of sorts, an attempt to showcase how some people can often fall into a trap of believing they’re broken and that the only way to “fix” themselves is to put under a microscope every tweak, niggle, and bump that rears its ugly head.

To be clear: It’s NOT my bag to discount people’s past or current injury history. I respect and take into account everything (injury history, goals, ability level, favorite Transformer1) and use that information to ascertain what will be the best, safest and  most efficient path to dieselfication possible.

That said, I often have to play “bad cop” and help people come to an understanding.

That they’re not broken, that they can train, and that they don’t have to spend 30 minutes foam rolling and activating their Superficial Dorsal Fascial Line.


The drawn-out, overly complicated warm-up is my worst nightmare as a coach.

Actually, back up.

Kipping pull-ups are my worst nightmare. With a close second being anytime someone asks me about keto. Oh, and mushrooms.2

Sometimes when I start working with a new client – especially one coming in with an extensive injury history – they’re often riddled with fear and trepidation with regards to training. They’ve been stymied by an endless array of setbacks (and overly cautious physical therapists3) and are reluctant to push past the “corrective exercise” rabbit hole.

Their warm-up often takes longer than it takes to complete the Boston Marathon, to the point where every inch of their body is meticulously foam rolled and every muscle is painstakingly activated.

Yes, it’s important to active “stuff.”

In fact, I’m often flummoxed some people still don’t understand the importance of taking themselves through a proper warm-up.  Getting the body and nervous system primed for physical activity is kind of a big deal, and I won’t belabor the point here.

You should be doing it.

Don’t get me wrong: the warm-up is a splendid opportunity to individualize someone’s program and to have him or her dedicate some additional TLC to areas of the body that need it.

To that end, however, I do feel – at times – people baby themselves to the extent the warm-up becomes the workout.

And this is why I love implementing fillers into my programs.

I love it, I love it, I LOVE it.


The idea is to address common “problem areas” by tossing in some low-grade activation/mobility drills during one’s rest intervals…as part of their training program.

The key point here is LOW-GRADE.

Filler exercises can be anything from glute activation and scapular upward rotation drills to, I don’t know, a particular stretch (hip flexors?) or naming all the members of Wu-Tang Clan. The premise is that they’re low-grade, low-demand, easy, and address something that won’t sacrifice performance on subsequent sets of iron work.

Performing 400m sprints or Tabata anything does not constitute as a filler, and defeats the point. We’re trying to turn stuff on and/or address common mobility/stability issues, not challenge Jason Bourne to a street fight.


All that said I wanted to share some insights on how I implement fillers into the programs I write, and in particular which ones I like to pair with certain exercises.

First up, deadlifts of course…;o)

Filler For Deadlifts

There are a lot of moving parts to the deadlift and to perform it in a safe manner requires “access” to a number of things:

  • Ample T-Spine extension
  • Ample hip flexion
  • Depending on the variation (I.e., sumo style) requisite adductor length
  • Scapular posterior tilt (hard to do if someone’s in excessive upper back kyphosis).
  • Lumbo-pelvic control/stability
  • The cheat code for unlimited lives in Contra (very important)4

If none of these things are in play or even minimally addressed many lifters are going to have a hard time staying healthy in the long run.

Alright, enough of my jibber-jabber. Lets get to the drills.

1) Split Stance Adductor Mobilization


Now, admittedly, if there was a Wikipedia page for “ordinary and unremarkable exercises,” this one would be right at the top. However, this has always been a staple filler exercise for me and one that I don’t forsee taking out of the rotation anytime soon.

What I like most about this exercise is that it targets the adductors in both hip flexion and extension. The key, though, is attention to detail with regards to anterior core engagement.

A common mistake I see people make is “falling” into their lower back when they walk their hands forward; it’s important to avoid this. Too, another common mistake is allowing the lower back to round as they sit back. The main objective should be to maintain as “neutral” of a spine as possible throughout the entirety of the set.

One other teeny-tiny thing to consider is scapular position. This drill can also be a nice opportunity to work on a bit of Serratus activation by actively “pushing” into the floor so that there’s a bit of protraction and the scapulae “set” or adhere to the ribcage.

Aim for 5-8 repetitions/leg during rest periods.

2) Monster Walks


All I can say about this exercise is that when it’s done properly it’s Glute O’clock.

In the video above I’m using Nick Tumminello’s NT Loop which I have found work really well for this drill.

FYI: I receive zero kickback from Nick – maybe a tickle fight? Fingers crossed – in recommending his band.

The idea here is to lock the ribs down and to keep the hips level so they’re not teeter-tottering back and forth during the set. Walk it back using the hips/glutes until the band is fully stretched and then control the return (again, making every effort not to let the hips teeter-totter).

I prefer to use anywhere from 5-8 repetitions here.

3) Bench T-Spine Mobilization


This is a money filler for those people stuck in flexion hell all day, in addition to those who have chronically tight/short lats.

Some key things to note:

  • Holding onto a stick (or anything similar) helps prevent the glenohumeral joint from going into internal rotation.
  • As you sit back towards your ankles, try to maintain a neutral back position throughout (keep those abs on, actively “pull” yourself back).
  • Perform a pseudo bicep curl at the bottom to help nudge you into a bit more thoracic extension.
  • Be careful not to induce excessive thoracic extension here. It’s easy to think the more ROM here the better, but that’s not necessarily the case.
4) Brettzel Mobilization w/ Exhale


Stolen straight from Gray Cook and Brett Jones this is easily one of my favorite fillers OVERALL, and not just for deadlifts. We’re locking down the lumbar spine by holding the bottom knee down (you can also place a foam roller here if you’re unable to get this low) in addition to adding a nice hip flexor stretch on the opposite side.

The goal, then, is to take in an inhale through nose and EXHALE (out the mouth) as you rotate and drive your top shoulder towards the floor.

Indeed, this is a fantastic drill to work on more thoracic extension, but again, be judicious with ROM here. More is not better. All I’ll say here is stay cognizant of your belly button (innie or outtie?) and where it’s pointing. As you extend back it should not point towards the ceiling. Instead, it should stay relatively motionless and pointing towards the wall your chest is facing.

As you exhale with each subsequent rep, you should notice you’re getting closer and closer to the floor.

3-5 repetitions per side should suffice.

And That’s That

There are a plethora of options here, but all I wanted to do was highlight a handful of my favorites. Choose ONE drill to perform during your rest periods. Also, depending on the total number of sets you have on the menu you could also alternate between 2-3 drills.

There’s no golden rule.

Hope this helped and gave you a few ideas to work with.

The post Using Fillers In Your Programs: Deadlifts appeared first on Tony Gentilcore.

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The Simplicity Project: Expanding to Two-A-Days for Strength and Size - Wed, 01/09/2019 - 11:52
The people have spoken, and I have answered. After receiving plenty of emails and comments about my last article, I decided to create and share a complete program based on The Simplicity Programming Project.
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An Epic Q&A with Dr. John Rusin and Dave Tate - Wed, 01/09/2019 - 11:44
Is Dave still following Dr. Rusin’s protocol? What are Dr. Rusin's top-two training takeaways working with Dave? In this Q&A, Dave Tate and Dr. John Rusin share their overall experiences from video series "Fixing Dave Tate" and "Breaking John Rusin," and more.
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Garrett’s A.I. Coaching Log #4 - Wed, 01/09/2019 - 09:22

Juggernaut A.I. Co-Creator and former IPF World Record Holder Garrett Blevins crushing heavy sets of 10 in the squat and updating you on his progress in the Juggernaut A.I. System.

The post Garrett’s A.I. Coaching Log #4 appeared first on Juggernaut Training Systems.

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IWF Rule Changes: Challenge Cards and Feet Touching the Barbell

The International Weightlifting Federation made some rulebook changes recently, and social media has been tittering with conversation about them. There were quite a few changes, but two specific ones caught my eye.   1) Lifters are no longer allowed to touch the barbell with their feet. If this happens on the competition platform, that attempt will automatically be red-lighted.   2) Lifters are now going to be given challenge cards when they compete. They can use these cards to ch
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How Irradiation Can Be Detrimental - Tue, 01/08/2019 - 15:00
Even though Instagram makes neural irradiation look cool, please take a moment to stop and ask yourself: What is it, and why are you doing it?
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You Own the Media - Tue, 01/08/2019 - 11:19
You can publish your own newspaper. You can record your own radio show. You can go live on camera any time you want. You don't just own the means of production — the distribution is FREE! As a gym owner, why aren't you using it?
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The JuggLife | 2019 Goal Setting - Tue, 01/08/2019 - 09:36

Chad and Max discuss their goals as coaches and businessmen for 2019 in the newest JuggLife. You can also find the JuggLife on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher and iHeartRadio.

This week’s episode is brought to you by Blinkist. Add knowledge to your day in simple 15 minute spurts with Blinkist at

The post The JuggLife | 2019 Goal Setting appeared first on Juggernaut Training Systems.

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Exercise of the Week: Half-Kneeling Cable Lift w/Flexion-Rotation Hold - Mon, 01/07/2019 - 19:30

The half-kneeling cable lift w/flexion-rotation hold is a new variation on an old drill, and we've been implementing it quite a bit with guys of late. It's a creation of CSP-FL co-founder and pitching coordinator Brian Kaplan.

Like all cable chops and lifts, we're training anti-rotation core stability. However, in this variation of the cable lift, the athlete drives thoracic (upper back) rotation and flexion, two crucial pieces of getting to an ideal ball release position during throwing, or completing a swing during hitting.

Simultaneously, the athlete should be actively pulling into the front hip (adduction and internal rotation) to simulate the same front hip force acceptance you get during the pitching delivery and hitting motion.

Of course, there are many functional performance benefits that extend far beyond the baseball world. This drill will benefit anyone who competes in extension-rotation sports, not to mention your casual weekend golfer. In short, it trains core stability and thoracic mobility, so it has almost universal application.

We'll usually program this for 6-8 reps per side. On each rep, we have a 2-3 second hold at the lockout position with a full exhale. You should really feel the core turn on - and in some cases, you'll even see athletes get a little cramp in the abs.

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WATCH: I am Dr. Tyrel Detweiler - Mon, 01/07/2019 - 15:23
Meet Dr. Tyrel Detweiler, a former college football player-turned-chiropractor who opened Hybrid Performance Group in Columbus, Ohio. Hybrid Performance Group is a multi-disciplinary clinic that offers chiropractic and physical therapies for athletes and active people.
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The Most Valuable Aspect of CrossFit Group Programming - Mon, 01/07/2019 - 14:34
While many coaches preach "do extra" before and after in order to perform arguably the most valuable aspect of group programming, your clients do not need to show up early for class or stay late to accomplish this.
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Glute Training For Athletes - Mon, 01/07/2019 - 11:50

If you’re a personal trainer or strength coach you likely work with clients and athletes who 1) have glutes1 and 2) are looking to up their glute game.

Today’s guest post by strength coach, Menachem Brodie, goes a bit further down the rabbit hole than just giving you a bunch of glute-centric exercises to consider. There are a plethora of factors to consider when trying to ascertain what exercise will be the best fit for any one individual’s derriere.

What’s more, simpler is often better…;o)

Copyright: dolgachov / 123RF Stock Photo

Glute Training For Athletes

What is it about glutes that has made them the “back to the future” of strength and performance training?

Was it Bret Contreras creating the Barbell Hip Thrust and spreading the Gospel of Glutes?

Was it the invention of Yoga Pants?

Or maybe it was Mike Jureller going on his “International Tour of CrossFit gyms” that made them popular… The world may never know.

What is undisputed, is that glutes (and mid & lower traps) are signs that someone is an athlete, or at least training like an athlete.

Today we’ll grab our Glute Dolorean’s and head back to the past, to help us understand why glutes are so important, why squats are not enough, and what you need to consider when programming glutes for your athletes and clients.

The glutes, all three of them: Glute medius, Glute minimus, and Glute maximus, need to be developed in proper proportion to allow the hip joint to sit more properly. As the glutes lose strength they tend, like every muscle, to lose their optimal resting length.

This in turn affects performance, and in the case of the hip joint, can lead to the head of the femur sitting at a poor angle in the acetabulum, which as I found out, over time can lend to bone growth in paces we don’t want it, leading to impingement, or other mechanical issues.

One such issue that can arise, is what has been called “gluteal amnesia,” which simply put is the glutes losing the ability to execute hip extension, leaving the hamstrings to do all the work and can cause the head of the femur to clunk around in the acetabulum like a drunkard in a demolition derby.

Putting Down a Great Base

In order for us to have the best chance of fully expressing our athleticism, we have to have a solid base.


Now while (especially) the average client, cyclists, and triathletes tend to think of “core” as being the base, this is not the full truth.

The base involves the Axial Skeleton (Spine & rib cage) + the Pelvis. This is of critical importance, as failure to stabilize these two together can sap power and strength. There are of course sports that are exceptions to this, such as rowing, but it’s this author’s opinion that this is why we tend to see disc injuries in that population.

Butt, developing your glutes REQUIRES that you have a stable and strong midsection: the rectus abdominus, internal and external obliques, the pelvic floor, and quadratus lumborum all work together to stabilize the pelvis from the top & middle. I won’t go into these items in this post, but you can read more and learn a few exercises to help address your midsection in this great post from Sarah Duvall, DPT.

You should also read Tony’s piece “Stack the rings for better Squat Performance” , and check out his friends’ Dr. Sarah Duvall, Kellie Hart, and Meghan Callaway’s stellar product Glutes, Core, and Pelvic Floor Online System.

Note From TG: It’s stellar!

It’s often necessary to break down movement(s) into their respective parts to make certain we’re getting motion from the right areas and that we’re using/engaging the areas we want to use/engage to perform exercises well, which is what we’ll dial in on next.

Cycling and Sitting: The Bane of Gluteal Existence

When glutes are strong and full and the diaphragm, ribs, and pelvic floor all move properly for breathing, EVERYTHING works better: Squats are more full range, your back feels like a titanium beam, and jumping and sprinting tend to be out of this world (for a 6th grader).

Butt (<– haha, I see what you’re doing there Menachem) when one starts spending more time in a seated position where the glutes are partially stretched, but not used, and the diaphragm is out of alignment with the pelvic floor, these muscles tend to lose some of their abilities, as they are essentially being told to shut off in those static positions: We don’t need them to work because we are slouching and hanging off the ligaments/connective tissues instead.

Cyclists and triathletes also suffer this problem due to the inherent position of their sport.

You lose power potential in a muscle that cannot stretch, or is in a stretched position for so long. This is an issue many cyclists, triathletes AND our clients/ athletes face, due to the long periods of time that we spend sitting with our glutes in an elongated position, and “the rings” (pelvic floor + diaphragm) out of alignment.

Glutes Are a Keystone to Performance Oft Neglected

While the running joke is that “I got glutes cuz I squat a lot,” Squats actually are NOT enough to fully and properly develop the glutes. There is far more that goes into developing glutes than being able to perform the 30+ something squat variations.

I know what you’re thinking:


But this is important, as it relates to an oft-missed portion to training the glutes: PELVIC CONTROL.

Pelvic stabilization and control is extremely important if we are to get true hip extension, and not extension from places not intended to work “like that”, such as the lumbar spine.

If I had a dollar for every time I saw a trainer or coach working on “Hip extension” with a client/ athlete who was getting movement from the lumbar spine, I’d be a very rich person.

In order for us to build up the glutes properly, we have to begin by thinking about giving stabilization to the pelvis through teaching the hamstrings, internal obliques, the deep hip rotators (pelvic floor), rectus & transverse abdominus, and Quadratus lumborum to all fire in good sequence and with great strength.

This is a challenge for many, as we tend to perform our front planks by hanging off the hip flexors, we work our hamstrings by laying down on the machine, and often don’t include many anti-rotation exercises (although, you ARE reading Tony’s blog, so you’re officially “one of the smart ones” who does in fact train rotary stability).

Getting to Work

Glute work isn’t simply throwing a few exercises into your dynamic warmup and main routine, there is much more that needs to be done to maximize your athletes results.

We MUST think about the different positions the athlete will be required to perform in their sport:

  • Do they include deceleration and change of direction?
  • Is it a fixed motion similar to cycling or rowing, or is their sport more dynamic, such as basketball and rugby?
  • Is the athlete in anterior pelvic tilt for their sport, such as hockey, bowling, or cycling?

Each of these questions must be answered, as they help us understand the joint positioning of the hip….and as we all know:


If we’re actually to train the athlete and their glutes to perform in their sport, we MUST know how the muscles will be asked to work in the “real world”-  that of dynamic movement and uncertainty required by their sport.

This is one of the things many of us forget as we write programming: What positions are the joints going to be in, and due to these changes in joint position, how will the muscles ACTUALLY be responding/used for movement?

  • Stabilizer?
  • Prime mover?
  • Prime mover through full range of motion?
Next we need to answer:

What kind of lever arm should you use for the athlete when training the glutes?

Weighted at the lower leg? (Reverse Hypers)
Weighted at the shoulders? (Barbell good mornings)
Weighted at the hip? (Barbell Hip Thrust)


Weighted long fulcrum? (Deadlifts)

Weighted medium fulcrum? (Sumo Deadlifts)

Resistance bands at the knees?
Resistance bands at the shins?
Resistance bands at the feet?

Resistance band at the crotch? (Band Pull throughs)


Bodyweight weight-bearing? (Hip lifts)
Bodyweight non-weight-bearing? (Side lying straight leg lifts)

The answer to this can and should vary throughout the training year, but there should always be one or two lever arms which are staples to that athletes program, to help combat the movement deficiencies that their specific sport, AND POSITION in that sport, entail.

After all, you wouldn’t train a pitcher as you would train a shortstop.

Programming Glutes for Your Clients & Athletes

Every single warmup we do here at Human Vortex Training starts with some form of the hip series, depending on the athletes ability to recruit the glutes & stabilize their midsection. This doesn’t mean that these exercises are the only warmup, that would be poor planning. Rather, we should be looking to include at least 1-2 of these moves in our dynamic warm up to help the athlete/client connect with, and utilize their glutes.

Here are the foundational warm-up exercises which I’ve used a mix of over the years:

1) Side Lying Straight Leg Lift

1 @ 8-15 each


2) Hip Lifts

1 @ 15-30


3) Clamshell Variation

Side Lying Clamshells (beginners)

1 @ 8-15 each


Side Lying Half Clamshells (intermediate/advanced)

1 @ 8-15 each


4) Side Lying Straight Leg Adduction

1 @ 8-15 ea

5) Birddog Variation or Regression

1 @ 5-8 each

PLEASE Don’t butcher the Birddog exercise! Our affable, giant-triceped host, Tony Gentilcore, has a great video about this and how to better teach it here:


6) Single Leg Hips Lift

1 @ 8-15 each


7) Banded Lateral Walks


8) Banded Monster Walks Forward/ Backward


Along with 2-4 of the above exercises, we would get 1-2 breathing exercises, and 2-4 other dynamic warm-up exercises to prepare for that specific days session.

Burnout Session at the End of Your Lift for Glutes? No Problem!

At the end of a session is a great place to add in some more sport-related fatigued state specific glute training. These are usually done bodyweight only, as we’re looking to help improve the athletes resilience and strength-endurance in sport-specific positions, although it’s best to find what works for YOUR athlete….Some respond better, or actually need weighted or resisted variations.

Use your best judgement to find what’s best for your athlete at that time.

1) Back on Bench Single Leg Hip lifts (Rotary Stability)  (Sprinters, Track and Field, Triathletes)


2) 45 Degree, Duck footed Glute Back Extensions  (Cyclists, Triathletes, Hockey)


3) Frog Hip Lifts (Weighted or Unweighted)  (BJJ, Hockey)


But It’s Not All Strengthening

As we all know, simply making a muscle stronger and better able to work in chorus with other muscles, doesn’t make it a rock star. We still need to ensure it’s able to work through it’s full intended range of motion, as well as to rest at its ideal resting length.

For this, we can do a few different exercises:

1) Brettzel


2) Half-Pigeon Stretch 3) Dynamic LAX Ball Glute Release with Mid-Trap Activation


I like all of these as they also help the athlete learn where the rest of his or her body is & what it’s doing as they get into the proper positions… a big win for Proprioception!

Give these a shot, and let the glute gains begin!

About the Author

Menachem Brodie, NSCA-CSCS, PCES, is a leading Strength Coach for Cyclists & Triathletes. In the health, fitness, & wellness fields for nearly 20 years, he has worked with professional & amature atheltes from around the world. He has authored 2 courses: Strength Training for Cycling Success and Strength Training for Triathlon Success, and has presented internationally on Strength Training for Endurance Athletes, including at the 2018 USA Cycling Coaching Summit.

The post Glute Training For Athletes appeared first on Tony Gentilcore.

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How to Eat Right and Exercise When You Absolutely Hate to Eat Right and Exercise - Mon, 01/07/2019 - 09:33
I totally get it.

I have days and even weeks where eating vegetables and limiting sweets is more of a challenge than they should be. I have periods of the year where working out is the last thing I want to do, and often gets pushed to the side in favour of other pursuits, such as work, changing lightbulbs, steam cleaning my carpet, or standing in line for a back alley dental appointment.

I have a lot of clients who feel the same way. Some actively avoid eating vegetables in favour of literally eating anything else. Some feel their workouts are a low point of their week in spite of the sparkling conversationalist and witty raconteur they spend an hour or two with each week in yours truly.


Sometimes it can simply be a matter of framing. Instead of saying “I hate vegetables,” enthusiastically screaming inside your own head that “I FUCKING LOVE VEGETABLES!!” can make a massive difference in how you approach them. Maybe look at cooking them differently or having them prepared somewhere new. My wife and I love watching Parts Unknown with Anthony Bourdain because the focus is on people, cultures, communities and cuisine. It’s amazing how many different ways there are to cook something like a potato, and how much variation rice can have from one region of the world to another. So instead of only steaming broccolli, throw in some eggplant, bake some butternut squash, slap together a Greek salad, or get wild with asparagus.

Did that work for you? Cool.

Oh, it didn’t? You actually still hate vegetables? Well, I feel your pain. If given the choice between a pack of cookies or a salad, I’m going to crush those golden discs of deliciousness 9 times out of 10 over a bowl of my foods food.

That being said, there are a lot of other things that I hate but will still do:

  • paying taxes
  • shovelling snow
  • emptying the dishwasher
  • picking up my dogs’ poop when they go for a walk
  • wearing pants

These things are all terrible and uncomfortable at the best of times, but they still get done. In Ray Dalio’s book Principles, he talks about cause and effect relationships, but specifically first, second and third order effects from our decisions and actions.

The first order effect of paying taxes is I have less money at the moment. The second order effects are I don’t get charged additional interest on missed payments, and the third order is I don’t get collection letters or an affected credit score as a result of missing for a long time.

If I don’t empty the dishwasher, I have fewer clean dishes to make and eat food from later, which will likely make my wife mad, and no one likes when their spouse is angry.

And pants just suck, but being cold sucks a lot more.

So for exercise, I totally get why someone may not enjoy it. You sometimes hurt or have some discomfort from the work, you sweat and likely smell kinda bad during the activity, and then you get DOMS following the workout for a few days. Those are some strong first order effects that makes Netflix and Chill sound way more appealing.

However on the second order benefits, they’re a bit less immediately tangible, such as improved health variables, better body composition, and energy to do other things you may enjoy, such as Netflix and Chill, but with more energy and fitness.

It’s like saving for your retirement when you’re 20, versus wishing you’d saved for your retirement when you’re 60. Sure, a 401k or RRSP sound boring as hell compared to bottle service at the club or a vacation overseas for a month, but like Jay Z said”You know what’s more important than throwin money away at the strip club? Credit.”

There’s a highly scientific term that describes long term planning for benefit down the road versus chasing instant gratification.

dan John had a great concept in a presentation I saw him give in Norway a few years ago where he implored his athletes and clients to “eat like an adult,” by which he meant to prepare food and eat foods that would give second and third order benefits versus just chasing the first order taste satiating benefits.

Now the great thing about eating is that we have multiple chances each day to do it. You could choose to eat more vegetables in one meal, spread them out throughout the day, or whatever you like. You’re not required to eat any specific way or on any specific schedule, but it may help to simply plan things out for a couple of days ahead of time so you’re not scrambling to find something at lunch on Wednesday and only having some form of street meat or pizza available within a 5 block radius. Being hangry tends to lead to poor choices when it comes to food intake.

As for exercise, while you may not quite feel like you’re in the mix of Eric Prydz music video “Call on Me” (Google that for a blast from the past), the idea of better health and function 30-40 years from now may be too obtuse of a concept to justify, especially if you hate every first order benefit.

For this, I try to get clients to think of a performance goal they’d like to train towards, a goal activity they’d like to accomplish, or even just include the odd game or challenge within the mix that doesn’t feel like an “exercise,” but may feel more like playing or just having fun. this can work really well with people who aren’t super analytical and need a specific linear justification for every exercise, and can accept that sometimes things should be done because they’re fun, and the pursuit of fun is reason enough to do it.

Or, when in doubt, exercise like an adult.

Make it a part of your work week, scheduled out like your meeting with Gladys from HR or like how you’re (supposed to) brush your teeth every day. Do you ever get excited to brush? Probably not, unless you’re some extreme weirdo, but who am I to judge with my non-pants lovin ass?

The post How to Eat Right and Exercise When You Absolutely Hate to Eat Right and Exercise appeared first on

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Keep Elevating The Bar In The Snatch Turnover

Bar speed in the snatch peaks a little prior to the final extension in the pull. At a given speed, the heavier the bar is, the sooner it will stop moving up under its momentum and begin falling. The pull with the arms against the bar after the final extension primarily moves the body down under the bar, but that same force also helps preserve the bar’s existing momentum, maximizing its ultimate height and delaying its descent. The goal is for the bar to continue moving up during as m
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Have You Tried the 1-leg Dumbbell Pullover? - Sun, 01/06/2019 - 09:17

The 1-leg dumbbell pullover is a nice variation on a classic. It’ll add a rotary stability challenge to what is normally considered an upper body and anterior core drill. I’m using this variation a bit more this time of year (with throwing volume and intensity ramping up), as you can get a good training effect with less external loading.

We'll usually program this for 3-4 sets of 4-5 reps per side. It pairs well with exercises that aren't concrete push or pull exercises: Turkish Get-ups, kettlebell windmills, and bottoms-up kettlebell carries. I even like pairing it up with TRX Ys, as it's effectively the opposite pattern. Enjoy!

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How to Boost Your Athletic Power with Kettlebells…and a PUSH Band - Sun, 01/06/2019 - 09:04

Knowing StrongFirst hardstyle principles and intentionally accelerating a kettlebell will undoubtedly produce more power during any lift. But having a tool that gives you real-time feedback could be the missing link between ‘just’ feeling your power and actually measuring it. Enter the PUSH Band 2.0. Athletes and coaches can use it to determine the most appropriate training weights, measure progress, and fine-tune efforts to produce maximal long-term results. Want to jump higher? Strike harder? Throw farther? Pairing the best kettlebell exercises for power and the PUSH Band may be the most effective way to do it.


I purchased my first set of kettlebells in 2004, after my first ever Scottish Highland Games competition, as a way to practice throwing without access to traditional implements. Instead of learning the kettlebell lifts first, I actually tried throwing bells to simulate the Weight for Distance and Weight Over Bar events. It was a crazy idea, but it kind of worked.

Soon after I began learning the basic kettlebell lifts, I found that the offset handle just made sense to me as a thrower.


After years of plyometric jump training, sprints, Olympic lifting, and some specific velocity device training with traditional barbell lifts, I began practicing the kettlebell lifts with the intention of producing maximal power. As fellow Highland Games athlete and strength coach Dan John had suggested, I would pretend like I was throwing the bell without letting go, or imagine jumping with my heels on the ground, all while projecting effort and force into the bell. While this part of my journey had value, I knew I was missing something.

It wasn’t until 2011 that I realized the value of having a good kettlebell coach and technique cues to follow. The light bulb turned on, and I began to understand the true potential of kettlebells. After purchasing a few bells and following a solid program, I was throwing pain-free with more “pop” in my throws which resulted in more consistency and personal bests in many events. This difference in my throws on the Highland Games field resulted in my best season as a heavyweight professional athlete. Another dimension of training came alive as I had discovered a bridge between the dynamic technical aspects of the Highland Games and the gym.

In April 2018, hot off the heels of a 2017 National Championship win and 3 World Records, I found a new technology to propel my training: the PUSH Band 2.0. This small, wearable Bluetooth device allowed me to measure velocity in multiple planes of motion, not just on a particular repetition, but in changes across repetitions, sets, and training sessions. The kettlebell became my power training tool of choice.

Learning to accelerate or throw an object is an under-appreciated and often poorly trained athletic characteristic. Plus, having a newfound purpose in your training creates the fun and excitement that is sometimes needed to reach the next level. Measuring velocity and power production, if used correctly, is a true game-changer with accurate and easy-to-use technology.

Creating a Powerful Athlete

The term “power” gets thrown around quite a bit in the strength training world. So, let’s start with the literal definitions of this term:

  • Power (Watts) = Force (Weight) x Velocity (Speed).
  • Power = Work / Time

In essence, power is what you get when you multiply a certain amount of weight by a certain amount of speed. It’s also how much work you can do in a given amount of time. In weight training, you are either trying to move a constant weight faster or get the same work done in less time. Both result in greater power production—and hardstyle kettlebell training is an excellent way to get you there. Next, I’ll explain why, suggest the best kettlebell exercises for power, and tell you how to get started.

Why Hardstyle Kettlebell Techniques for Power Training?
  • Hardstyle ballistics are all about power and technique in every rep, with clean, crisp, biomechanically sound movement patterns.
  • Unilateral loading options—an uneven load elicits a new neurological/physiological pattern with emphasis on the core stabilizers. It is especially valuable for throwers but essential for everyone.
  • Dissuades “pattern overload” of traditional exercises and provides a more forgiving implement compared to the barbell.
  • Allows for a true ballistic training response that mimics a jump much better than a barbell.
  • Lighter weight allows you to find the sweet spot of power training by taking the brakes off your movement, unlike the barbell snatch for example.
  • Convenient to use almost anywhere. They can even be thrown/dropped with minimal risk of damage outside (use the neighbor’s yard, though).
  • Refreshing both mentally and physically for beginners and advanced athletes.
The Best Kettlebell Exercises for Power

I based the following list on personal experience and what I feel allows people to fully “take the brakes off” and express their power without fear, over-thinking things, or having too many technical difficulties with the process.


Swings are a horizontal hip hinge translation which has been shown to have a higher correlation with maximal and explosive power (Lake and Lauder 2012), particularly when the quick application of force is the aim. (Lake and Laudner 2012; Marker 2016) The kettlebell swing (and snatch) provides unique training opportunities that require rapidly cycling between muscle contraction and relaxation and emphasize posterior chain strength and power development. (McGill and Marshall 2012; Zebis et al. 2013)

Start with basic hardstyle dead-start swings, focusing on power. Then move onto sets of continuous swings.


The snatch couples the horizontal translation of force from the hips with a vertical redirection of force which lends itself better for vertical jumping and quick drive upward in any sport or activity. Single arm is great for these. Use lighter weights and start moving well before adding speed and “overspeed” reps. (Advanced note: the bell does not have to lock out completely overhead to get optimal power production. “Throw the bell into your crotch” is a great cue that works wonders. Move the bell with those hips!)

Push Presses

This is a classic barbell lift. Kettlebells impose unique challenges and benefits. Be sure to start light, maintain good tension and bell position in the dip, and drive hard with the legs before punching the bells up for an explosive finish. Single arm push presses first, then work into doubles if you have very good overhead shoulder mobility.

Viking Push Press

Start with the top-down approach: let the bells drop, dip quickly, and then drive them up as fast as possible. Focus on keeping an upright posture and drive up with the legs first before punching through the finish with the triceps.

Spiked Swing/Banded Swing

Here we add a light to moderate band or a trusted friend to add resistance to the top of the lift while speeding up the lowering portion eccentric of the movement for some added neurological drive, resulting in more “pop” in the next rep.

Speed Snatches

These are quite challenging and take practice. Think of this as a top-down lift where you accelerate the bell down fast, then drive up as fast as possible before resting briefly at the top again. Double bells are not recommended for this lift since the amount of force coming down, and overall risk outweighs the reward at this point.

Optimal Velocity-Based Training (The Goldilocks Zone)

True velocity and power training live on the “Speed/Strength” end of the velocity zones continuum, which is right around 30-40% of your bodyweight for kettlebell training. We don’t want, or need, to ever attempt a 1RM on kettlebell ballistics, so we should use this scale as a guide to finding the “Goldilocks” zone, or sweet spot, for optimal power development:

Training-Velocity-ZonesImage from

Over complicating this is unnecessary.

Knowing the characteristics of this spectrum is valuable to match speed with goals. To maximize power production, it is useful instantaneously measure power output. The PUSH Band delivers real-time data to help keep us in the Goldilocks zone. Not too fast, not too slow, not too heavy… just right for the power equation.

Start Power Training: Finding your Goldilocks Weight Beginners
  1. Begin with the swing. An average guy can start with a very lightweight swing (say 16-20kg for most men, women 12-14kg). Most people will find the Goldilocks zone right around 30% of their body weight. Do up to 10 swings, then rest 2-5 minutes. Go up a bell size (2-4kg) until a drop-off occurs in power production (over 5% drop-off over 2-3 repetitions). You will then have a nice peak curve. The Goldilocks zone for most men will be right around 24kg for two-hand swings. Women, usually 14-16kg.
Advanced Athletes/SFGs
  1. Snatch. Test the same protocol but use a lighter weight—somewhere around 12kg for men and 8kg for women to start.
  2. Push press. Using a near snatch weight. Note that the Viking push press requires a snatch before the first press. This snatch acts as a limiter to keep you from going too heavy. Can’t snatch it? Then you aren’t ready to press it ballistically. This will take trial and error, so use the PUSH Band to guide your assessment.

So, experiment and ease into the following training.

How Many Reps?

Once you have your Goldilocks weight, you can start your velocity-based training (VBT) training in sets of 8-10 reps.

Too few reps and many will not find their rhythm with the movements. We want to work some volume into the routine, but with too many reps you will fatigue, and speed/power will drop off.

So, with the PUSH Band, a good rule of thumb would be to stop the set once the velocity numbers drop off by about 10%. Be patient—it can take up to 10 reps to get the hang of this.

How Many Sets and Exercises?

A good starting point for those new to VBT would be 2-3 sets to establish competency and then build into more volume from there on out.

This could be done 2x week in addition to strength-based programming. This is taxing on the central nervous system, so make sure to use it as a supplement to your main training… the spice to your main course.

Beginners—start with 2-4 weeks of dead-start swings or standard hardstyle swings to learn and hone your technique, and to get familiar with the PUSH device.

2-4 Weeks Intermediate Guidelines (add another set after 3rd set, after week 2):



4-6 Weeks Advanced Guidelines (add a 4th set after week 2, 5th set after week 3, then take a week off before repeating):


Here is an example of swinging a kettlebell with different styles and intentions while using the PUSH Band 2.0 to illustrate how the speed of a swing can vary:

A Real-World Application of Power

The High Striker: An Old School, All-American Test of Power

Imagine going to the county fair and playing the old-fashioned “High Striker” game where you hit a sensor with a hammer to hopefully ring the bell at the top of a board if you have the power to do so.


People love to play this game because they instantaneously get to see the result of their efforts. I mean that’s what people want to see, right? But, this is also a test of power as you are combining a considerable amount of weight with, what one hopes is, at least an equal amount of velocity. In this situation, the hammer is not so heavy as to reduce velocity, but not so light that force production is compromised. In a sense the PUSH Band allows us to return to the carnival games of our youth and play the High Striker game again. Only now the kettlebell is the hammer, we apply the force through effort, the PUSH Band is the game, and the data provided by the technology allows us to keep our eyes on the prize.

I have found that the PUSH Band also has some unique self-limiting properties which help keep people swinging well in order to produce the greatest velocity and power readings. Poor form only leads to poor numbers, much like in jumping, sprinting, or throwing techniques. You have to be smooth and rhythmic. Anyone who uses kettlebells soon figures this out, even with very little coaching. Remember this saying: “Slow is smooth, smooth is fast.”


Hopefully, you now have a better idea on how to implement VBT into your programming, and a clearer understanding of the value of power training with kettlebells.

Ultimately, it’s not how hard we can push ourselves, the number of exercises, or how complex we make our training—it’s the simplicity, planning, and application that will keep us safe and get the greatest long-term results.

Once you apply the principles, you can branch out and try other patterns, get more aggressive with the movements, and add volume if you choose. The purpose and principles never change.

This tool can be applied to a barbell or other implements with relative ease, so the potential is nearly endless. Regular real-time, high-quality coaching, video analysis, and a velocity-based training device like the PUSH Band are the future for measurable and consistent data to plan your training and get game-changing results.

If you aren’t assessing, you’re guessing. It’s as simple as that. This technology allows us to gain more insight into optimal training programs for all populations.

VBT is the real deal and the PUSH Band is a great product that allows you to train like an adult, but play like a kid on the High Striker game, all in the same session.

Why the PUSH Band is a Game-Changer
  • Accuracy and reliability in measuring speed & power. Train with PUSH
  • Instantaneous feedback for both the athlete and coach that is accurate and easy to follow.
  • Another variable to support training auto-regulation. How is the athlete responding in real time? Is the athlete over-trained? Unfocused? Having an off day? When an athlete is not able to produce the same or increased power reading week to week, or set to set, the coach or athlete can change the training programs, adjust a variable, or discontinue a set in real-time based on PUSH data. (Fisher, 2016)
  • Long-term tracking—numbers don’t lie.
  • Provides another dimension for training focus. Is the athlete really giving their best? Can the coach cue them to produce more power?
  • Safe and reliable for predicting 1 RM. (Ruf, Chery, & Taylor, 2018; Jidovtseff et al., 2011)

*Special thanks to Ross Dexter, MS, ATC, CSCS, SFG as a contributor/chief editor for this article and to Aaron Tandem, SFG, FMS, OTC, Pn for his editing expertise.


I purchased the PUSH Band 2.0 (PUSH) in April 2018 and tested it on several barbell, kettlebell, and bodyweight movements with the various attachments provided. The technology and design of the PUSH provide consistent readings and ease of use that allow for effective implementation in one’s own training or with clients and athletes. Personally, the PUSH contributed to my World Record in the Highland Games’ Weight Over Bar event, along with several other personal records on the field and during training over the last six months, including a 36+ inch vertical jump and 407lb front squat at 215lbs. Much of this success I attribute to using the PUSH in my own training to provide instant feedback and precision tracking.

Specifically, I focused on using the device to monitor bar speed on my front squats and power cleans (usually 60%-80% of 1 RM), in addition to using a version of the program listed above along with various plyometric jumps and hill sprints for specific power training days. I adjusted my daily training in real-time using the device to “auto-regulate” the sessions based on the speed of the bar or implement. The technology also gave me new motivation to move the bar faster instead of just getting the reps in for the day as prescribed.

Velocity-based training (VBT) devices are commonly used to measure barbell speed during training. This technology has been widely utilized in strength and conditioning for over a decade. However, the technology has evolved to allow for more dynamic ranges of motion and has been adapted for use with less conventional training implements including kettlebells. Using this data we can measure an athlete’s readiness to train, find optimal training zones to elicit various performance outcomes, and provide accurate long-term data, potentially adding another game-changing metric to training programs for all populations. Traditionally, VBT devices attach directly to a barbell with a stringed tether measuring the vertical speed of the bar. The PUSH Band 2.0 allows the user to track velocity in all planes of motion using accelerometer and gyroscope technologies similar to those found in smartphones.

DISCLAIMER: I have no financial ties with PUSH Band nor am I supported by them in any way. This is an unsolicited summary of my experience with the PUSH Band 2.0. These protocols are for advanced kettlebell users whose technique is proficient, and ideally, have watchful coaching eyes from an SFG or skilled strength coach.

  1. Lake, J. P., & Lauder, M. A. (2012). Kettlebell swing training improves maximal and explosive strength. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, 26(8), 2228-2233.
  2. Lake, J. P., & Lauder, M. A. (2012). Mechanical demands of kettlebell swing exercise. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, 26(12), 3209-3216.
  3. Marker, C. (2016) How to Get the Benefit of Depth Jumps Without Jumping. Accessed December 9, 2012.
  4. McGill, S. M., & Marshall, L. W. (2012). Kettlebell swing, snatch, and bottoms-up carry: back and hip muscle activation, motion, and low back loads. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, 26(1), 16-27.
  5. Zebis, M. K., Skotte, J., Andersen, C. H., Mortensen, P., Petersen, H. H., Viskær, T. C., … & Andersen, L. L. (2013). Kettlebell swing targets semitendinosus and supine leg curl targets biceps femoris: an EMG study with rehabilitation implications. Br J Sports Med, 47(18), 1192-1198.
  6. Run, L., Chery, C., & Taylor, K.L. (2018). Validity and reliability of the load-velocity relationship to predict the one-repetition maximum in deadlift. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 32(3):681-689.
  7. Jidovtseff, B., Harris, N. K., Crielaard, J.M., & Cronin, J. B. (2011). Using the load-velocity relationship for 1RM prediction. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 25(1): 267-270.
  8. Fisher, D. L. (2016). Velocity-based training as a method of auto-regulation in collegiate athletes. (Unpublished Masters Thesis). Western Washington University, Bellingham, Washington, USA.


The post How to Boost Your Athletic Power with Kettlebells…and a PUSH Band appeared first on StrongFirst.

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An Alternative Use of Basketballs and Volleyballs for Exercise - Sun, 01/06/2019 - 01:21
The cool thing about this setup is we had a high possibility of creating new benchmarks and brand-new levels of mastery, which were more valuable than throwing a ball in a hoop or hitting a ball over a net (two activities by which these students have experienced failure through participation).
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Grow BIG Quads Without Lower Back Pain - Sun, 01/06/2019 - 01:00
Due to a few low back tweaks, while squatting 700 pounds in my early 30s, I've had to completely revamp the way I train legs. This article lays out the foundation in which I continue to stimulate quad development in the absence of big pounds.
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Ed Corney: A Life Well Spent - Sat, 01/05/2019 - 01:44
Whenever one of the greats of bodybuilding or powerlifting passes away, it's a good time to pause and reflect on the present and learn from the past. With the recent death of Ed Corney in mind, let's take time to do just that.
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