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Here are Team elitefts' New Year's Resolutions for 2019 - Mon, 12/31/2018 - 13:23
New Year's resolutions have been around for thousands of years, which gave the elitefts staff plenty of time to share their opinions on the subject and a few goals of their own...
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Building on Strength: Year-end Review and 2019 Preview - Mon, 12/31/2018 - 12:00

“Year’s end is neither an end nor a beginning but a going on, with all the wisdom that experience can instill in us.” Hal Borland

As we reflect on the past year and look towards 2019, the truth of this quote hits home. Even as companies (and individuals) “close out” a year’s worth of business and prepare for new projects and campaigns, there is no end—missions and goals go on. How we embrace wisdom gained in moving forward depends on all of us.

StrongFirst had a great 2018 of experiences and growth as we pursue, promote, and practice strength in new markets and in wider audiences. Global growth and “the tentacles spreading” has continued worldwide along with the progression of the curriculum and certifications.


Unified Recertification and StrongFirst Elite

This year we launched two initiatives to recognize and reward achieving multiple designations: the unified recertification process and a StrongFirst Elite designation.

Unified recertification gives our instructors the opportunity to recertify multiple certifications at one time, for one price, at a wider number of events. SFG, SFG II, SFL, and SFB—in any combination—can be maintained more easily and at a lower cost. And, depending on logistics and equipment availability, unified recertification may be available at events like Plan Strong™, Strong Endurance™, Second Wind, and All-terrain Conditioning. See details here: Unified Recertification

Why unified recertification? Most importantly, it rewards instructors who broaden and deepen their understanding of strength principles and teaching skills by achieving multiple StrongFirst certifications. Our School of Strength’s branches are based on and around unified principles; our instructors are unified by our Code. Encouraging instructors to achieve all certifications is a logical step. Next, it facilitates keeping their status current. “Student of strength” means honing our skills. Being regularly tested against StrongFirst standards shows a commitment to practice and professionalism. Our students trust that what we teach is current and that our own technique passes muster. Staying current proves that we walk the talk.

What does this mean from a practical standpoint?

Unified recertification means that an SFG, working towards the SFL, can recertify SFG at the SFL (or SFB, etc.…) and it is all wrapped into the cost of the new certification. Or if you are at your two-year recertification time-frame for SFG II and SFL, you can now recertify them both at the same time for one cost.

This brings us to StrongFirst Elite. After achieving all four certifications, instructors earn the SF Elite designation, the highest achievable rank within our instructor community outside of leadership. As such, it is a qualifier for advancement to leadership. In addition, SF Elite extends your certification validity by 50%, requiring you to recertify every three years instead of only two. Unified recertification makes that easier.


Accredited Gyms

We have long fielded questions by potential students on “where can I find a gym” or “where can I learn?” And while we facilitate connecting students to instructors on our website, still others were looking not just for a person but to immerse themselves in a StrongFirst community, environment, and culture. Our Accredited Gym program helps students easily find “brick and mortar” locations and confidently trust they will learn undiluted StrongFirst principles. To be accredited, gyms must meet standards and requirements including:

  • Hold at least two different, and current, StrongFirst instructor credentials.
  • Ensure that more than 50% of the facility’s trainers be StrongFirst certified instructors in good standing.
  • Support the StrongFirst mission, embody the StrongFirst core values, and live by the StrongFirst Code.
  • Warrant that training sessions and classes advertised by the gym as taught according to StrongFirst’s methods (or reasonably interpreted to be so taught) must be led by instructors holding current and relevant StrongFirst certifications. This applies to group and individual programming according to Plan Strong™ and Strong Endurance™. For example, an instructor must hold a current SFG instructor credential to teach a kettlebell class featuring the anti-glycolytic method; or there must be an SFB instructor if the trainer is teaching a TSC pull-up class, etc.

Click here for more information: StrongFirst Accredited Gyms

Curriculum Updates

Our Curriculum Advisory Board has been working on curriculum refinements for all certifications. You will see newly updated manuals released in early 2019 reflecting the changes. For the SFB specifically, we have added two skill tests: pull-up and pistol. And we have added Master’s Standards for both SFB and SFL.

New SFB Skill Tests
  • Pull-ups (x 5 for men) and Flexed-arm hang (x 45 seconds or 1 pull-up/chin-up for women), completed on the first day during registration.
  • Pistol on one leg (counterbalance optional), completed on day two, with the current OAPU/OAOLPU test.
Master’s Standards for the SFB
  • Men 50+: OAPU
  • Women 50+: 6-8” elevated OAPU
  • Men and Women 50+: Box pistol to below parallel
  • Men 50+: Pull-up x 1
  • Women 50+: Flexed-arm hang x 30 seconds (chin-up grip)
Master’s Standards for the SFL


StrongFirst Essential Kettlebell Exercises Online Course

We released our first online course, Essential Kettlebell Exercises, during the summer to make learning safe and effective technique more accessible to those unable to get to an SFG instructor or to an Accredited Gym. It offers detailed teaching, demonstrations, and talks by Lance Coffel, Brett Jones, Pavel Tsatsouline, and Fabio Zonin. In addition, each module comes with a downloadable manual including a program design section with suggested training plans. Be sure to revisit the course to see the new content.

Click here for more details: SF Essential Kettlebell Exercises

StrongFirst-Brett-Jones-Instructor Strength has a Greater Purpose

“It is not the honor that you take with you, but the heritage you leave behind.” Branch Rickey

Be a good ancestor was one of the lessons from the book Legacy and something I covered at this year’s Leadership meeting. I am honored to be a part of StrongFirst’s leadership—the heritage we are building drives me forward.

Over 16 years of teaching with Pavel, this community has played an integral part of my career and life as we pursue, promote, and practice strength. We see how our shared belief that strength has a greater purpose positively impacts our students’ lives every day, in ways that far surpass the gym floor. We do so with quiet professionalism, always remembering that we ourselves are students of strength. Pavel is intent on leaving a lasting mark on the world with our mission. It is an honor to be part of it.

Helping others is the epitome of strength’s greater purpose. Over the Black Friday weekend, the StrongFirst community participated in a fundraising effort for Dustin Rippetoe. One of our Team Leaders, Dustin is currently on dialysis and pursuing a kidney transplant. To help his family offset the medical costs, we will be working to organize two more fundraising opportunities in 2019. Join us in helping Dustin and his family.


Looking ahead at 2019, we are primed to capitalize on lessons learned and “tentacles spreading” to expose more people to our strength principles across all modalities so they too can live the benefits. Building more awareness of who we are, what we do, and why it matters will provide increasing opportunities for our instructors, gyms, and events worldwide. With several new books near completion, an expanded online offering, a continually improving website interface, updated curriculums, and new merchandise in the works, 2019 promises to be an exciting year.

We at StrongFirst wish you a strong 2019!
Where will your strength take you?

The post Building on Strength: Year-end Review and 2019 Preview appeared first on StrongFirst.

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Best Articles of 2018: Exercises You Should Be Doing - Mon, 12/31/2018 - 10:09

This is the last post of 2018.

2018 was splendid year, and I thank everyone for their continued support.

2019 is looking to be a busy year from a professional standpoint with several projects in the works in addition to my travel schedule.1 One of my main goals in 2019, however, is to get back on my writing (and reading) horse. I know the last two years have been a bit dearth (comparatively speaking) with the total number of posts and articles I’ve published. Who knew having a kid was so time consuming?

Nevertheless, my hope is that the upcoming year will be a fruitful one in terms of my writing prowess.

Stay tuned…..

Copyright: sirichai_123rf / 123RF Stock Photo

Best Articles of 2018: Exercises You Should Be Doing Anchored KB Row Transverse Landmine Snatch Bench Assisted ValSlide RDL w/ Reach Band Resisted KB Deadlift T-Spine Rotation w/ Lift Off

The post Best Articles of 2018: Exercises You Should Be Doing appeared first on Tony Gentilcore.

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In the Spirit of the New Year: I Quit - Mon, 12/31/2018 - 09:34
What is the last thing you quit to better yourself? Reflecting on this past year, 2018 has been a very interesting year for me all around, and I have grown a lot. In with new and out with the old, here's what I'm changing for 2019.
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The Best of 2018: Product Reviews - Mon, 12/31/2018 - 05:59

To wrap up my “Best of 2018″ series, I’ll highlight the top product reviews I did at this site in the last year. Here they are:

1. Complete Youth Training - This was Mike Boyle's great new resource for those who work with young athletes. He touched on everything from the problems with early specialization to age-specific training stages. It's a good investment for parents and coaches alike. I loved how his perspective as a parent coalesced with his commentary as a strength and conditioning coach and business owner.  Since it was the most popular product I reviewed this year, I reached out to Mike to see if he'd be up for running a quick promo sale for my readers, and he kindly agreed. From now through January 4, you can get $50 off on the resource. No coupon code is needed; just head HERE.

It inspired this blog I wrote: Strength in the Teenage Years: An Overlooked Long-Term Athletic Development Competitive Advantage.

2. The Culture Code - This new book from Dan Coyle was one of my favorite reads of the year. Dan's become a friend over the years, so I was able to get him to do an interview here at when the book was released: Coyle on Culture.

3. Bought In - Brett Bartholomew is an outstanding strength and conditioning coach who has taken a huge interest in the art of "getting through" to athletes. In this course, he outlines a lot of great strategies for building rapport with athletes. Brett authored a guest post for this site as well: 5 Quick Tips to Enhance Coach-Athlete Communication.

Also in 2018, I released a product of my own that was a long time in the making: Sturdy Shoulder Solutions. This resource includes close to seven hours of webinars and lab sections on everything upper extremity. 

We're back to the regular content this week. Thanks for all your support in 2018! We've got some great stuff planned for 2019.

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Control the Controllable and Handle the Rest

Weightlifting’s a tough sport. Not just physically, but also mentally demanding and exhausting—especially early on when you’re not only trying to get stronger and more mobile, but also trying to master some difficult motor skills. I probably don’t need to tell you any of this.   An important lesson you need to learn as early as possible is that there are things you can control and things you can’t. It’s critical to take an inventory periodically and sor
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The Medical Medium and his Celery Juice Cleanse - Sun, 12/30/2018 - 16:47

I live in LA, a city not known for its skepticism and critical thinking when it comes to health fads. And one of the biggest right now is the celery juice cleanse. Proponents state that stand-alone celery juice confers a myriad of health benefits and drinking it every morning has some mysterious cleansing powers different from that of any other green juice or vegetable.

And how do they know this?

The Medical Medium told them.

(If you don’t know who the Medical Medium is, all you really need to know about him can be found HERE.)

According to the Medical Medium—whose success a cynic might attribute to the fact that the privileged class in LA and New York City have entirely too much time on their hands—celery contains many different kinds of salt which have not yet been discovered by science. (The medical medium claims to get this knowledge in advance of medical science from spiritual visions.) These salts perform their (unidentified) magic best when they are consumed alone. (How does he know this? See answer above).

The premise of the Medical Medium is that you don’t need no stinkin’ degree to diagnose cancer, or anything else for that matter. The Medical Medium “sees” illness and can prescribe herbs, natural compounds and foods to combat just about any condition.

And people are eating this shit up.

So to all you people who follow the advice of the Medical Medium, I’d like you to imagine the following hypothetical situation:

I have a friend named Bruce who is an airplane pilot intuitive. He’s never had an aerospace education, never went to pilot school, never studied an instrument panel, and wouldn’t know a Delta Airbus 350 from a minivan. But Bruce has an extraordinary gift—he can mysteriously intuit exactly how to fly a plane safely. Seriously. He gets this knowledge from God who speaks to him in visions and dreams, and he believes that knowledge is unimpeachable and he can therefore navigate a flight and keep everyone safe.

Here’s the question:

Would you get on a flight with Bruce at the controls?

If your answer is “Hell no!” but you’re taking health advice from the Medical Medium, then you’re a hypocrite.

If your answer is “yes”, well, then at least you’re consistent.

But you’re an idiot.

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Surviving The Gym During January - Sun, 12/30/2018 - 11:20

We know it’s coming. It’s almost inevitable, you’re probably hearing rumblings of it now, and it’s only going to intensify.

People will complain about the gym being busier than usual in January.

I’ve never understood why people would complain about more people being in a gym. The main goal of the health and fitness industry is to get people to exercise, so if there are more people in the gym, that’s kind of a good thing, right? I mean, more people working out means less people subject to sedentary health issues, more money for gyms and personal trainers, which can help lead to expansions and more space, or more high quality equipment to get your swole on, and a generally better experience at the end of the day, right?

Some of these new members may even be long term members who become your best friends, or just the random person you give a chin nod to when you’re walking in opposite directions by the change room.

So yes, the gym will be a bit busier than usual, and hopefully the influx of people starting up or coming back sticks around for more people, or for a longer time for the people who are there, but in the mean time, you can adjust your workouts slightly to still get jacked and smash PRs, while also being a functioning member of society in general. And because I’m a giver, I’m going to show a few simple ways you can get the most from your workouts during this dark and grey month.


Option #1: Ditch Supersets and Circuits in Favour of Straight Sets

When the gym is busy, equipment is at a bit of a premium, and it can be tough to get a barbell to yourself, let alone a bar, bench, rings, plyo box, band, bosu, monolift, and 3 treamills to replicate the greatest treadmill dance music video ever made, AMRAP.


So instead of getting your conditioning with 15 exercises linked together, try doing some straight sets of a single exercise or using a single piece of equipment, then move on to another one once you’re finished with the first. If you want conditioning, you can easily swing a kettlebell, rock out Rocky style with a jump rope, hit up a spin bike, or just double the volume of the work you’re doing on each set and see if you can smell colours.


Option #2: Find Out When The Peak Hours At Your Gym Are And Avoid Them

If your gym is in a city centre, it’s likely the peak hours will revolve around a 9-5 work schedule, meaning it will be busy between 6-8am, and after 4pm until likely around 7, with the possibility of a busy lunch hour or two. This means if you can avoid those hours, you’ll likely have the place all to your self. If you’re in a suburban region, the hours may be a bit different, and if you work in a specialty facility, it may also be different, but these seem to be the most common peak hours.

If your schedule allows some flexibility to avoid these hours, try to do that. If you clock in and out at regular human hours and have to pick your poison of before or after work, there’s 2 big things to consider.

First, if you’re working out before work, the change room will actually be busier than the gym as people are getting ready to head in to work. This means changing into dress clothes, doing their hair/makeup/shaving/other, and essentially creating a premium for bench and sink space.

In the after-work crowd, fewer people are getting dolled up after their workouts, meaning the change room will be less crowded towards crunch time when everyone has to get out to get to work. What this means is if you have to get ready to head to work, show up a bit early and cut the workout a bit short to have a better chance of not being elbowed out of the change room space.

Option #3: Do More Body Weight or Non-machine based training

It’s tough to get in some squats when everyone’s lining up for curls, so maybe it could be worthwhile to sub out barbell squats for a couple weeks for some higher volume Goblet squats.


Maybe instead of endless sets of bench press, you sub in some band loaded pushups.


Do some single leg work, like split squats, lunges, or single leg deadlifts. You know you need to anyway, so now’s as good a time as any to get them in.


Option #4: Have a Plan A, and Also a Plan B

Having a plan is right up there with having shoes and doing a pre-game in terms of important stuff to consider when getting to the gym. The challenge comes down to looking at your workout, then looking at the gym and seeing everything you had schedule is currently being done by everyone else in the place, making you look like casual-confused guy strolling around and taking stock.

The good thing to consider is that if you have a plan B of your workout, you might be able to still salvage something. Everyone’s benching on a Monday? Cool. Maybe some benches are free over by the dumbbells and you can do a dumbbell press for a few sets until a bench press frees up. You want to push the sled but everyone’s on board the carry wagon, or just doing endless lunges? No prob, maybe hit up some step ups on a bench for a vertical sled push action. All the equipment is being used? Maybe just do calf raises, by which I mean do nothing at all like you usually do for calf training.

Maybe you walked in thinking it was squat day, but instead since every squat rack was full, bench is what’s for dinner. You’re in control, so having back up options can make a massive difference in getting the best quality workout available.

This is a good idea for beginners just showing up to the gym too. Make sure you have a plan of something to do that will help you reach your goals, and that you have a back up in case what you’re trying to do is somehow not easily available.


Option #5: Just Breathe

Come Valentine’s day, you’ll be back to your regularly scheduled grind-fest, so take a breath or two, relax, enjoy the time before the Christmas credit card statement comes in, and know that you’ll survive this very mild inconvenience to your very existence.

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The Best of 2018: Baseball Articles - Sun, 12/30/2018 - 09:30

With baseball athletes being the largest segment of the Cressey Sports Performance athletic clientele, it seems only fitting to devote a "Best of 2018" feature to the top baseball posts from last year. Check them out:

1. When Pitching Goes Poorly: 5 Strategies for Righting the Ship - Pitchers can struggle for many reasons beyond just mechanics. Here are five factors to take into account.

2. Is It Really Biceps "Tendonitis? - One of my biggest pet peeves is when all anterior shoulder pain is given a "blanket diagnosis" of biceps tendonitis. With that in mind, this webinar excerpt from my Sturdy Shoulder Solutions resource delves into the topic in greater detail.

3. How to Apply the Joint-by-Joint Approach to the Elbow - In this video blog, I discuss how we can apply the concept of regional interdependence to the elbow, particularly in the context of pitching injuries.

4. How to Win 99% of High School Baseball Games - I've haven't coached a high school baseball game in my life. I know a lot about adaptation to training in youth athletes, though, and that puts me in a unique position to comment on how to win high school baseball games.

5. Why Injuries are Highest Early in the Baseball Season (Video) - Major League Baseball Injuries are highest during Spring Training and early in the regular season. Surely, some of this has to do with the fact that some players had lingering issues from the previous season that never went away - but it definitely goes further than this.

We've got one last "Best of 2018" list running tomorrow, so stay tuned for the closer!

Sign-up Today for our FREE Baseball Newsletter and Receive Instant Access to a 47-minute Presentation from Eric Cressey on Individualizing the Management of Overhead Athletes!

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Evolutionary Radio Episode #225 with Dave Tate - Sun, 12/30/2018 - 01:29
How is powerlifting doing as a sport compared to bodybuilding, which is kind of dying? Is it growing? What drugs are powerlifters using these days? How much do you think genetics play a role? At what age does a person’s strength usually peak and start dropping?
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WATCH: How to Make Your Own Belt Squat - Sun, 12/30/2018 - 01:05
For only $200, you, too, can make your own belt squat. It's easy, efficient, and affordable. A win-win purchase.
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Alyssa Ritchey Training Adjustments - Sat, 12/29/2018 - 10:26

Leading up to Alyssa Ritchey’s massive 185kg total at 49kg bodyweight at the American Open Finals, she and coach Max Aita made some significant adjustments to her training. Find out what those changes were and why they were made.

The post Alyssa Ritchey Training Adjustments appeared first on Juggernaut Training Systems.

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The Best of 2018: Strength and Conditioning Features - Sat, 12/29/2018 - 07:15

I really enjoying creating features with multiple installments because it really allows me to dig deep into a topic that interests both me and my readers. It’s like writing a short book, with each post being a different chapter. That said, here were a few of my favorite features from 2018 at

1. Random Thoughts on Sports Performance Training

This is definitely my longest standing active series, and while I don't update it every month, it'll always include some gems.

Installment 30
Installment 31 

2. Random Thoughts on Long-Term Fitness Industry Success

This series touches more on the business aspect of fitness.

Installment 9
Installment 10

Installment 11

3. Performance Programming Principles

I made it a goal to write more about program design this year, as I think it's a big hole in the market.  These were a few steps in that direction:

Installment 2
Installment 3

The Best of 2018 series is almost complete, but stayed tuned for a few more highlights!

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WATCH: 8x8 Shoulders and Triceps - Sat, 12/29/2018 - 01:06
This part of my 8x8 program will give you shoulders like boulders. We're keeping it honest with 56 total sets, 7 exercises, and 8 sets with 30 seconds of rest.
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WATCH: Has Powerlifting Become Soft? - Sat, 12/29/2018 - 01:00
It's easy to sit around and pound your chest and call other people wimps while bragging about how strong you are... but if you ask Dave Tate, the people who do that are the real wimps.
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WATCH: I am Joe Sullivan - Fri, 12/28/2018 - 08:16
Get to know elitefts athlete Joe Sullivan as he talks about how he got into powerlifting, his day-to-day routine, and his goals.
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Get Bigger, Stronger, and Leaner with 1 Move - Fri, 12/28/2018 - 08:14
All you need is one technique: one-motion log press. That's it. No more, no less. Just that. One. Singular. Technique.
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The Best of 2018: Guest Posts - Fri, 12/28/2018 - 07:35

 I've already highlighted the top articles and videos I put out at in 2018, so now it's time for the top guest posts of the year. Here goes…

1. The Issue With Most Powerlifting-Specific Programs - Former Cressey Sports Performance intern Jamie Smith shares some insights to help you plug up the holes in traditional powerlifting programs.

2. Going Out With a Bang: Creating and Implementing Workout Finishers - CSP-FL coach Jason Jabour delivered some great insights on how to cap off a great training session with an appropriate finisher.

3. 7 In-Season Training Strategies to Maintain Strength - CSP-MA Director of Performance John O'Neil covers some strategies for maintaining strength during the competitive season.

4. The Truth About Dodgeball and Tag - Lee Taft is a tremendous coach on the speed and agility front, and in today's post, he touches on a controversial topic: the elimination of dodgeball and tag from youth physical developmental programs.

5. What Research Can Tell Us About "Super Champion" Athletes - Tennis training expert Matt Kuzdub delves into commonalities of success among the most high achieving athletes - and how they differentiate themselves from those who don't quite "make it."

I'll be back soon with the top strength and conditioning features from 2018.

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