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Strength Programs Don't Work - Thu, 04/25/2019 - 10:24
Unless you just have some crazy genetics or happen to be the perfect person for a strength program, the majority of these programs are not a valid long-term plan. But don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater...
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MASS Appeal: How Fitness Professionals Can Separate Themselves - Thu, 04/25/2019 - 07:30

25 years ago one of my all-time favorite hip-hop songs, Mass Appeal, was released by one of my all-time favorite hip-hop groups, Gang Starr.

Annnnnd, in one of the oddest (or appropriate?) segues I’ve ever attempted, two-years ago one of my favorite research reviews, MASS (Monthly Application in Strength Sport),1 curated every month by Greg Nuckols, Eric Helms, and Mike Zourdos (coaches who actually lift things), came to fruition and saved me from a world of ineptitude.

I’m unabashed in advertising my disdain for reading research.

I hate it.

There are many things I’d rather do than sit down and read an entire research article. Watch NASCAR, stick my finger in an electrical socket, attempt to give my cat a bath, anything.

That’s not to insinuate I don’t feel it’s important or worth my time. A coach (or athlete) who knows and truly understands the latest research has a huge advantage over his or her’s peers and competitors.

I wholeheartedly feel that what separates the average/ho-hum trainers and coaches of the world from the excellent ones is biceps their insatiable desire to not suck and take more pride in their continuing education.

What’s more, as Greg (Nuckols) notes:

“Most people are still quite uninformed about the science behind hypertrophy, strength development, and body composition. We’d never argue that science is inherently better than in-the-trenches experience, but we think science and experience work together much better than having either in isolation.”

What’s more (even morer), trying to keep up with the research on your own is overwhelming.

There’s something in the ballpark of 50-60 journals which publish research that’s relevant to hypertrophy and strength on a regular basis.

Conservatively that’s 1000+ articles per month.

Going through all that and combing all the studies relevant to helping make people bigger, faster, and stronger is time & labor intensive, to say the least.

Personally, the only way you could get me to do that is this:


Which is why I can’t say enough great things about MASS.

It saves you a metric shit load of time2, and it makes you smarter.

2-Year Anniversary Sale

If you’re a coach, physique or strength athlete, or just someone who likes to nerd out and talk about actin/myosin chains at the dinner table this will be right up your alley.

Starting TODAY (Thursday, 4/25) is your chance to take advantage of some BIG markdowns on the service:

  • $21 monthly subscription (normally $29)
  • $209 yearly subscription (normally $299)
  • $699 lifetime subscription (normally $999)

This offer only lasts for a week (5/2).

What Else Subscribers Get
  • A new PDF issue of MASS every month.  Each  issue contains s7 articles and access  to 2 video presentations.
  • Mobile friendly versions of every article.
  • Access to online membership site with back issues.
  • 7 audio roundtable discussions with Greg, Eric, and Mike every month.
  • Access to the private Facebook Group.
  • Access to NSCA and NASM  CEUs
  • A movie quality Chewbacca mask

If you’re still on the fence you can check out the goods HERE for a free sample issue.

Otherwise you can just trust that I have smart friends and excellent taste in the resources I recommend to people and go HERE to subscribe.

The post MASS Appeal: How Fitness Professionals Can Separate Themselves appeared first on Tony Gentilcore.

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I haven’t spoken to my mom in 5 years - Wed, 04/24/2019 - 14:28

The older I get, the more I physically resemble my mother. I look in the mirror, and I see her face. This is complicated for me, because, by my own volition, I don’t have a relationship with her. From my youth I remember her show-stopping charisma—her penchant for adventure—intermingled with […]

The post I haven’t spoken to my mom in 5 years appeared first on Neghar Fonooni.

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Barbell Shrugged Podcast: Episode 388 - Wed, 04/24/2019 - 11:46

I have to admit: This was pretty cool.

A few weeks ago the guys who host the popular Barbell Shrugged Podcast – Anders Varner & Doug Larson – reached out because they were going to be in Boston and were wondering if I had interest coming onto the show?

  • Is water wet?
  • Is bacon delicious?
  • Is Bran Stark odd as fuck?1

Of course I’d want to come on.

Copyright: dr911 / 123RF Stock Photo

Barbell Shrugged #388

Anders and Doug showed up at CORE, set up their mics and laptops, handed me a pair of headphones and this is the result…..

None of us have pants on.


It was a treat to be invited onto the show and I think it came out really well. The three of us talk about everything from my start in the fitness industry to my early years writing for T-Nation (and meeting all the O.G’s of the strength & conditioning community) to Cressey Sports Performance to discussing a smorgasbord of coaching topics: training baseball players, adjusting technique to fit one’s anatomy, why most people don’t need to stretch to increase ROM, and how to implement warm-ups  into programs.

You can listen to the show directly HERE.

If you’re an iTunes snob you can listen or download the episode HERE.

The post Barbell Shrugged Podcast: Episode 388 appeared first on Tony Gentilcore.

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Programming for Weightlifting | Exercise Selection & Sequencing - Wed, 04/24/2019 - 09:46

Max Aita continues his discussion of the process of organizing training for the Team Juggernaut Weightlifters. This is Part 2 in the series and focuses on how exercises are selected and sequenced based on a lifter’s needs.

The post Programming for Weightlifting | Exercise Selection & Sequencing appeared first on Juggernaut Training Systems.

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What I Think About the Lifting World - Wed, 04/24/2019 - 09:29
The lifting world is small — if I'm being generous, there are a couple hundred thousand of us. There are over 7 billion people on this planet. You are no one. How's that for some perspective? If you haven't noticed, I’m going to rant about the crap that annoys me.
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Get Trail Strong – Jon’s next article in Canadian Running magazine - Wed, 04/24/2019 - 09:17
Canadian Running magazine – Trail Special 2019

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Motivation is Bullshit - Wed, 04/24/2019 - 08:52
Motivation is good to get the ball rolling, but as soon as the terrain shifts to uphill, the motivation dies, and your ball comes to a screeching halt. Instead, you'll need to develop enough discipline to move forward on a daily basis.
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How to Kickstand RDL

I’m going to start today’s post by dropping a serious bit of truth on you:

Single-leg RDL’s are an awesome exercise – but they aren’t an easy exercise, and they’re definitely not suitable for beginners.

Much like the the forward lunge, you clients and athletes should have to earn the right to do this exercise.

If the traditional single-leg RDL is a little bit too advanced for now, you need to check out the kickstand RDL instead!

The kickstand RDL is awesome because:

  • It allows you to build strength in each leg independently of the other,
  • It teaches you to load the hips effectively, and
  • It doesn’t take a ton of weight to feel like you’re getting something out of the movement.

Here’s a quick demo of how to do it…

Now that you’ve watched the video, here are a few keys to getting the most out of this exercise:

  • Make sure the hips are squared to the front throughout. Often even if your client/athlete sets up correctly, they’ll have a tendency to spin and rotate once they start. Don’t let this happen!
  • Stay up on the back toes. Coming up on the back toes “pushes” you on the front leg, allowing you to load it better. Make sure they come up on the toes at the start, and stay on them throughout the course of the exercise.
  • Push the hips BACK. Just like in a traditional or single-leg RDL, make sure they’re pushing and load the hips, versus simply bending the knees.
  • Feel the whole foot and push. Again, just like a traditional RDL cue them to feel the whole foot while keeping the back flat, and when they run out of room, to simply PUSH to come back up to the starting position.

The kickstand RDL is an awesome way to build the single-leg RDL pattern, while giving you some extra stability and support.

If you’ve never tried this exercise before, give it a shot next time you’re in the gym. I think you’re going to love it!

All the best,

The post How to Kickstand RDL appeared first on Robertson Training Systems.

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Fix the Hips Shooting Up in the Snatch and Clean

We want to maintain a fairly constant back angle through the first pull, although we’ll nearly always see a slight change. It’s important to understand what actually constitutes the starting position because this is a common source of confusion and argument when suggestion the back angle shouldn’t change considerably—the starting position is the posture you’re in the moment the bar begins to separate from the floor. It’s not whatever low-hipped, shoulders-behi
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Why Health and Fitness Change is Hard. (Plus 4 Ways To Make It Easier.) - Tue, 04/23/2019 - 23:01

When it comes to health, fitness, and nutrition, why do so many people struggle? In this video, Dr. John Berardi explains the biggest challenges. He also shares what you can do to make things easier, for yourself or for clients and patients.

The post Why Health and Fitness Change is Hard. (Plus 4 Ways To Make It Easier.) appeared first on Precision Nutrition.

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Elite Baseball Development Podcast with Bob Tewksbury - Tue, 04/23/2019 - 19:52

We’re excited to welcome retired MLB pitcher and current Chicago Cubs Mental Skills Coordinator Bob Tewksbury to the podcast. A special thanks to this show’s sponsor, Lumberlend. Head to and enter the coupon code CSP to get free shipping on your order of two or more bat mugs.   

Show Outline

  • What made Bob Tewksbury a successful MLB pitcher for 12 years.
  • What inspired Bob to pursue a career as a mental skills coach.
  • Why Bob returned to school after his playing days to obtain a Master’s Degree in sport psychology and counseling from Boston University rather than relying solely on his professional baseball experience to propel his career as mental skills coach.
  • How we can end the stigma around mental skills coaching and the idea that mental practice is only necessary when things are not going right.
  • How Bob established credibility as a mental skills coach and how parents and coaches can distinguish charlatans from reputable professionals in the industry of sports psychology.
  • How to overcome the reluctance players have towards discussing the vulnerable topics of mental skills.
  • What strategies Bob uses to open the conversation with players who need help.
  • Why self awareness is important for building a system to govern your mentality.
  • How developing mental skills with high school, college, and professional athletes is similar and different
  • How parents and coaches can learn to foster a positive environment, more effectively monitor each child’s psychological needs, and better develop the youth they influence.
  • Why it’s important to understand the difference between fantasizing and imagery and how grounded goals give visualization substance.

You can pick up Bob’s awesome book, 90 Percent Mental, here.

You can follow Bob on Twitter at @bob_tewsbury, and on Instagram at @btewksbury39.

Sponsor Reminder

This episode is brought to you by Lumberlend Co. If you’re looking for a unique gift for a baseball fan in your life, you’ll definitely want to check this out: they’ve hollowed out the bat barrel and created a cool drinking mug. You can customize these with colors, names, logos, and photographs. They’re also an officially licensed MLBPA product, so you can get your favorite teams and players incorporated into the designs. I’ve used these as gifts with great feedback, so I’m confident you’d experience the same. The crew at Lumberlend is offering free shipping on two or more bat mugs with the coupon code CSP at checkout. Just head to to design yours today.

Podcast Feedback

If you like what you hear, we’d be thrilled if you’d consider subscribing to the podcast and leaving us an iTunes review. You can do so HERE.

And, we welcome your suggestions for future guests and questions. Just email

Thank you for your continued support!

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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Sport Performance Pillars - Tue, 04/23/2019 - 14:06

What do athletes need to focus on to succeed? Understanding the movement and energetic demands of different sports and different players within those sports is critical to maximizing the effectiveness of their training.

Speed and Power qualities are likely the most important abilities for an athlete to develop for sporting success.

What is better for the athlete, front squats or back squats? Deadlifts or Olympic Lifts? Chad explains his process of exercise selection for Sport Performance

Develop the right energy systems in the most efficient ways to help your athletes improve their performance.

To conclude our Sport Performance Pillars series we talk about how to structure these different training modalities within a training week, mesocycle and annual plan.

The post Sport Performance Pillars appeared first on Juggernaut Training Systems.

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Chest, Shoulder, and Triceps Workout of the Day with 30-10-30 Cable Presses - Tue, 04/23/2019 - 11:24
There are only two sets here but with a significant emphasis on the eccentric on the first and last rep. Select a weight in which you can get 12-14 reps. Begin each set with a 30-second negative, followed by 10 normal tempo reps, finishing with a final 30-second negative.
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LISTEN: Beyond Sets and Reps Podcast #3 with Dr. Bryan Mann - Tue, 04/23/2019 - 10:48
Get to know Dr. Bryan Mann, from his humble beginnings to his current position at the University of Miami, and how he became one of the leading experts on Velocity Based Training.
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How I Became a World Record Holder - Tue, 04/23/2019 - 07:51

Training for a world record requires grit. Many may approach the challenge preparation by continually pushing for more “burn.” But there is another effective, sustainable, and arguably superior way. Training to avoid (or at least delay) the unfavourable internal conditions that lead to failure or reduced performance. And it doesn’t just work to break records.

In April 2017 I had a crazy idea. I was going to attempt to beat the Guinness World Record for ‘Heaviest Weight Lifted by Kettlebell Swing in One Hour’ by a woman.

I was organising a charity event to raise money for the MS Society, as my dad suffers severely from the illness, and thought a world record attempt would help with fundraising. After all, “strength has a greater purpose.”

The rules specified by Guinness were simple: only two-arm swings were acceptable, with hips and knees fully extended at lockout and arms at least parallel to the floor. On the downswing, the kettlebell “must go beyond the participant’s knees when they reach the squat position.” Clearly, their rules are different than at StrongFirst, but our standard-meeting swing would meet their requirements. The current female record stood at 20,816kg.

Since I used swings in many of my training sessions, I considered myself to be well-conditioned. While I knew it would be challenging, I felt confident that I could beat the current record. My belief was quickly tested when I began training.

Setting Goals and Making Decisions

My attempt would take place in July 2017; I had three months and many decisions to make. I decided to use the same size bell for the duration of the attempt. Swinging a 32kg bell was normal for me, but I figured my grip would fatigue after multiple sets. Instead, I opted for 24kg as this was my ‘comfortable’ bell.

I would aim for 1,000 hardstyle swings in the hour (24,000kg in total). I knew this would be a challenge but seemed achievable with consistent training. Swinging 20 reps each minute on the minute (EMOTM) for 50 of the minutes would get me 1,000 swings. Nearer the time I would decide how I was going to use the remaining 10 minutes’ rest.

I started by testing where I was at: I managed 15 swings with 24kg on the minute for 25 minutes (375 swings; 9,000kg). It was tough—much harder than I thought it would be, especially on my grip. By the end, I struggled to hold on to the kettlebell. It suddenly became apparent just how much practice I would have to do and how smartly I would need to train.


To succeed, I needed to focus on improving three areas: my endurance, my power, and my grip. After my baseline session, I also realised how much of a mental challenge this was going to be. So I decided to keep training simple and focussed on the goal.

Plan and Perform: Endurance and Power

I programmed three sessions per week, focussing on either endurance or power using Strong Endurance™ anti-glycolytic principles: “to train to avoid (or at least delay) the unfavourable internal conditions that lead to failure or reduced performance.”

The key point when following this type of training is it shouldn’t be strenuous. While that might sound counterintuitive, it is common throughout Russian programs (that have produced countless champions). Each rep should be a repeat of the first strong, powerful rep. If you are training and start to lose power or form, lose the ability to breathe normally and recover in rest periods, or start to feel “the burn,” you must stop. This is not negotiable.

Those signs indicate you are building up metabolic waste faster than you can deal with it. Anti-glycolytic principles suggest avoiding this as much as possible in order to target the oxidative system, which has far greater endurance than our short-term energy sources. My goal was to spend as much of the record attempt avoiding energy debt, so my power output didn’t drop.

I based my higher volume endurance sessions around using a lighter bell, either 18kg or 20kg, aiming for 15–20 reps EMOTM, starting with 25 minutes.

I also included some one-arm swings as part of my endurance training. Although I couldn’t use them during my record attempt, I knew they would strengthen my grip. I had originally included farmer’s walks in the program but soon found the one-arm swings were actually more useful.

For my power sessions, I used a heavier bell, either 28kg or 32kg. I aimed for 10–15 minutes to start with, capped at a maximum of 10 reps EMOTM.


To get the training adaptation I needed, I was sure to follow Strong Endurance™ principles during both endurance and power sessions. If I couldn’t perform reps following those guidelines, I stopped.

Assess and Adjust

By June, training had gone well: my baseline endurance improved and I started to use the 24kg for my endurance sessions. My fitness felt good and I wasn’t losing power despite the weight increase. However, I quickly became aware that I wasn’t going to be able to do 20 swings on the minute for a prolonged period with the 24kg. My grip still wasn’t strong enough to hold the kettlebell for that many reps over a longer period of time and I was beginning to struggle after around 20 minutes. My forearms began to burn—a big no-no.

So I went back to the drawing board to test different rep ranges. 10 swings every 30 seconds worked best. This way I was still hitting 20 reps per minute, but the 15 seconds or so between sets was allowing my grip to recover. Mid-June, I performed 700 swings (16,800kg) in 35 minutes fairly easily following this structure.

My final training session before the record attempt lasted 50 minutes. I wanted to replicate the time I’d be swinging for but with reduced rep volume. I did a very easy 15 swings EMOTM using the 24kg bell and without ripping my hands (something I’d been very careful to avoid throughout training).

Mind Games

In terms of overcoming the mental challenge, every night before I went to sleep I spent 10 minutes visualising the last 10 minutes of the record attempt. How would I be feeling physically in those last 10 minutes? What would I be thinking? How painful could my hands be?

One big thing to take from this is: if you believe you can, then you can. In the times I felt like giving up, what kept me going most was the knowledge that I was able to even attempt something like this when many other people—like my dad—would give anything just to be able to walk. I was lucky enough to have a strong, healthy body. I was going to use it.

The Big Day

I was extremely nervous, but as we had already raised over £4,000 (approximately US$5,000) for the MS Society, I was determined to beat the record. I felt physically and mentally prepared and, in my mind, there was no way I was going to fail.


The first 45 minutes weren’t so bad and everything was going to plan. Then, with 15 minutes to go, my right hand tore badly—I still have the scar. That didn’t stop me and I kept going to the end. I now know the true definition of blood, sweat, and tears.

In total, I performed 1,012 swings in the hour, of which 989 were adjudged to meet Guinness standards. The bell I used was officially weighed at 24.1kg, giving me a total of 23,834.9kg. I had beaten the existing record by over 3,000kg!


There was nothing complicated about my program and I’m not special. The keys to my success were intelligent and sustainable programming, hard work, consistency, and the determination that comes from knowing “strength has a greater purpose.”

The post How I Became a World Record Holder appeared first on StrongFirst.

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Hips Shooting Up In The Snatch and Clean

We want to maintain a fairly constant back angle through the first pull, although we’ll nearly always see a slight change. The goal is to prevent an excessive and unwanted shift in position. The hips shooting up dramatically more than the shoulders and bar rise creates a two big potential problems: It tends to shift balance too far forward, and it tends to force an early second pull, which reduces bar speed and elevation and also disrupts balance. There are 2 basic reasons for this t
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6 Reasons Your Athletes Shouldn’t Deadlift – Phil Hueston - Mon, 04/22/2019 - 16:00

Deadlifts are the worst. Let’s face it, everyone hates them. They’re not fun. They’re not cool. They’re hard. Doing them is just a grind.

I think your athletes should skip the deadlifts. Find something better, easier and cooler to do in their place like some fancy, new piece of equipment or the sexy new exercise variation you just saw on Instagram.

Just don’t include the deadlift in your athlete’s training plans. Here’s the reasons why your athletes shouldn’t deadlift.

1. Everyone loves an anterior pelvic tilt – The glute and hamstring activation stimulated by the deadlift helps correct anterior pelvic tilt. But why would we want that? The resulting lumbar lordosis from an anterior pelvic tilt places your athlete at greater risk of low back strain or injury. Of course, anterior pelvic tilt also results in tight hip flexors and dominant quads. Those will help prevent the glutes from doing their job and allow your athlete to enjoy some knee pain and maybe even a serious knee injury.

2. Why prevent injuries? – While we’re on the subject of injuries, I think we can all agree that athletes love to spend time on the trainer’s table or the sidelines. And what athlete doesn’t love doctor visits, MRI’s, surgery and long stints in rehab?

Deadlifts strengthen the core. We know that. But they also assist in strengthening anti-rotation by activating the obligues, deep abdominal stabilizers and quadratus lumborum. Add to that the improved strength of the spinal erectors and multifidi that comes from the increased requirement for spinal stacking support and the deadlift has real potential to prevent back injuries.

Deadlifts improve glute strength, leading directly to improved knee stability and fewer injuries in that joint. But they also reduce the likelihood of injuries in the shoulder girdle as a result of the high degree of shoulder traction needed to manage the weight. The increased grip strength and activation of the thoracic spine also aids in the improvement of shoulder health and injury prevention. Why would we want any of this?

3. Who needs a foundation for other lifts and movements? – Skip the deadlift and move directly to snatches and power cleans. No hinge improvement necessary. The athlete will figure it out on their own eventually.

Conversely, if you teach proper hinge technique and improve pull strength from the floor, when your athlete does move to Olympic lifts, he or she will make everyone else feel bad about their anemic training weights and spastic looking lift technique. And we don’t want to make anyone feel bad, now do we? Trigger alert!

4. We don’t need a true measure of total body strength – We can just guesstimate how strong your athletes are overall. After all, nothing shows off total body strength like a single leg dumbbell curl, right?

5. We don’t want athletic skills to improve too rapidly – After all, rapid gains in vertical leap, broad jumps, acceleration or deceleration/direction change just make it look like your athlete is either showing off or cheating.

While we’re on the subject, I think your athletes can live without large-scale improvements in sports skills like throwing, shooting, tackling and checking, too.

6. We don’t need any one exercise to own the title “best and most versatile exercise” – I mean seriously, do your athletes really need one exercise that trains just about every joint and every major muscle group?

Deadlifts are highly effective at improving posterior chain strength and activation. Not only would this level up your athlete’s deceleration and acceleration skills, it would help them rehab and correct a whole collection of imbalances, kinetic chain dysfunctions and deficiencies.

Since they have lower compressive stress on the knees than squats and no negative impact on other joints when done correctly, you’d be much better off choosing the cooler looking exercises instead. After all, your athletes need to post all their training on “the ‘gram,” don’t they?

Your athletes certainly don’t need an exercise that can be adapted to virtually any body type and adjusted in intensity and volume to meet a variety of training goals.

So it should be clear by now that your athletes really don’t need to deadlift. Besides, we’ve all heard that deadlifts are dangerous, yada, yada.

You may also have noticed that I’ve been arguing that your athletes don’t need to and shouldn’t deadlift. Because despite my arguments about your athletes and deadlifts, my athletes will continue to do them. They’ll also continue to outperform athletes who don’t, as well as stay healthier than those who don’t.

If you heed my really terrible advice in this piece, my athletes will have less to worry about if they ever meet your athletes in competition. Let’s hope, for the sake of your athletes, that you ignore my advice and let your athletes deadlift. Frequently.

Keep the faith and keep after it!

Bio: Coach Phil Hueston is not just another pretty trainer. With over 18 years of in-the-trenches experience with athletes ages 6 to 60, he brings a unique skill-set to the improvement of his athletes. The author of the Amazon best-seller “Alchemy; Where the Art and Science Collide in Youth Fitness,” his client list includes professional athletes, collegiate athletes as well as thousands of youth athletes. Phil has been the co-owner of All-Star Sports Academy in Toms River, NJ, one of the largest and most successful youth and family fitness centers in New Jersey since 2008. He was named “Coach of the Year” by the IYCA for 2012-2013.  A contributor to and coach to other coaches, Phil provides unique insights and ideas that can help other coaches accelerate their clients’ progress and performance. Phil is married to the woman responsible for his entry into the fitness profession, MaryJo. Between them they have 2 grown children, Nate and Andrew, and 99 problems.  Phil’s personal website is, and he can be contacted at


The IYCA High School Strength & Conditioning Specialist is the only certification created specifically for coaches training high school athletes.  The course includes several hours of video instruction and two textbooks with contributions from some of the top strength and conditioning coaches in America.  Click on the image below to learn more about how to become a certified high school strength & conditioning coach.

The post 6 Reasons Your Athletes Shouldn’t Deadlift – Phil Hueston appeared first on IYCA - The International Youth Conditioning Association.

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Jon Quoted in the April issue of Muscle & Fitness - Mon, 04/22/2019 - 13:49
Muscle & Fitness April 2019

Check out the April issue of @muscleandfitness for Jon’s next Q&A, this time on whether collegiate athletes need to perform back squats or not. In news stands now!

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