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Why Your Ankle Mobility Drills Aren’t Working

I can’t tell you how may times I’ve had clients or athletes come to me and say they have “stiff ankles.”

Many have been doing ankle mobility drills for months (if not YEARS) on end, and getting little to no results.

So what gives?

Here’s something to consider…

…what if your “ankle mobility” problem isn’t an isolated ankle issue at all?

What if the issue is much more global in nature, and therefore needs a big picture fix?

In this video, I’m going to detail a strategy that I’ve used with great success to loosen up a set of stiff ankles.

Let’s do this!

If you want a comprehensive program that addresses ankle mobility issues, here’s what I’d be thinking about:

  • Breathing exercises that drive air into the upper and lower back,
  • Lower body exercises that place the weight in front of the body,
  • Leg lowering drills, and maybe
  • Some isolated ankle mobility exercises.

I sincerely hope this helps you unlock those stiff ankles once and for all!

All the best,

The post Why Your Ankle Mobility Drills Aren’t Working appeared first on Robertson Training Systems.

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Level 1: How to talk to people so they’re more likely to change. Master this coaching skill to achieve better, lasting results. - Tue, 02/12/2019 - 22:01

To get great results with the people who turn to you for advice, it’s important to learn how to talk to them in a way that increases their likelihood of change. Master this and you’ll become a legit client (or patient) whisperer.

Here we’ll teach you Precision Nutrition’s method for doing just that, adapted from our newly updated Level 1 Certification program.


When first starting out with a client or patient, things can feel a little uncertain.

Especially if you’ve had this experience before:

Client shows up, you work hard on them, they disappear (no closer to their goals), you scramble to find another client, they begin, and the process repeats.

What’s gone wrong?

Well, it’s probably not your program.

It’s probably not that people are “lazy” or “unmotivated”.

Often, the problem is “coach talk”.

To achieve better, faster, lasting results — and a thriving coaching practice — you have to learn how to talk to people in ways that help them change.

(By the way, this applies whether you have paying clients/patients or not. When people come to you for advice, good “coach talk” is paramount.)

If you can’t do this now, it’s not your fault.

Almost nobody in health, fitness, and wellness learns this skill in school, or through certification programs. The people who are good at it are often either “naturals” or they develop the skill through trial and error over decades.

Don’t get discouraged.

There is a formula for success.

Learn and practice this formula, and you’ll start:

  • connecting better with clients and patients,
  • keeping those clients and patients longer, and
  • getting better results, reliably.
In this article, we’ll teach you the formula.

We’ll cover:

  • How to know which coaching style to use.
  • How you can be a more engaged and active listener.
  • How you can help people change by changing the way you talk to them.
  • How you can incorporate this in your coaching… starting today.
Of course, this article is just a start.
There’s so much more you can learn.

That’s why we’ve included an entire unit — 300 pages, 9 chapters, and 9 comprehensive video lectures — on these practical aspects of coaching in our newly updated Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification program.

(In case you’re wondering, the other 300 pages, 8 chapters, and 8 video lectures are devoted to the most up-to-date scientific findings in cell physiology, digestion, energy transfer, nutrient biochemistry, and more.)


If you want to learn, we’re here to teach.

If you feel excited and inspired by what you learn today, and you’d like to learn more about the program, please put your name on our Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification presale list below.

We’re excited and inspired too.

We recently updated the program with the latest research, and enhanced it with a new workbook/study guide, over 35 new client assessment forms and questionnaires, and 17 brand-new animated videos.

There’s a lot of awesome new stuff here that you can start using right away to help others eat, move, and live better. So make sure you stock up on reading glasses, coffee, and highlighters. This is a hefty learning experience.

The program opens up on Wednesday, April 3rd, 2019.

Since we only take a limited number of students, and the program sells out every time, we recommend adding your name to our presale list below. When you do, you get the chance to sign up 24 hours before everyone else. Even better, you’ll save up to 33% off the general price of the program.

Double win.

For now, onto the coaching techniques…

Avoiding Awfulness-Based Coaching

The health and fitness fields are full of scary-looking, arms-crossed disciplinarian-type coaches: men and women who look like they’re more ready to punch you in the face than pick you up when you’re down.

Their favorite phrase is “No excuses.”

These types of coaches aren’t really meanies.

They’re just trying to do the right thing. They genuinely want to help.

If you’re working in one of these fields yourself, maybe you’ve occasionally slipped into this mindset, or gotten it from someone else.

We call it Awfulness-Based Coaching.

Awfulness-Based Coaching is built on the idea that people are broken and have to be fixed.

That they’re lazy and weak. That they need a real ass-kicking to be motivated and strong.

This style of coaching focuses on what’s wrong with the person — and how to purge it.

It hunts down “flaws” and “failures”, and focuses on “fixing” them.

It views good nutrition, movement, and health habits as something people have to be shamed into. It tells people to get into the gym and work off sins. It tells people that they deserve to feel bad.

An awfulness-based coach is a drill sergeant and an unrelenting ass-kicker.

With all the yelling-in-the-face and booting-in-the-butt, folks don’t know which direction to run. They just know they need to get away.

Fear of an authority figure — or a constant obsession over fixing what’s broken — can motivate some people… but only briefly.

Extreme approaches and drill-sergeant-style coaching sometimes produces impressive results in the short term, but they almost never work over the long term.

As human beings, we resist being pressured into new decisions. We resist being told we suck, or are broken (no matter how nicely someone says it).

Coach Hardass may try to use coercion. But along the way, he or she will destroy the change process for the people turning to them for advice.

No evidence shows that feeling bad creates lasting behavior changes.

(And honestly… Awfulness-Based Coaching is exhausting. Coach Hardasses usually walk around frustrated and annoyed all the time, because almost no one is doing what they want.)

Embracing Awesomeness-Based Coaching

Awesomeness-Based Coaching, on the other hand, believes that people already have the skills and abilities to change.

That they’re already awesome in some areas of their lives.

That they can use this existing awesomeness to succeed.

This kind of coach helps people find what’s fun and joyful in their lives, and then do more of it. They view nutritious eating, movement, and health habits as a path to living life with purpose.

They talk to folks about getting outside to play. About using what they do well in other aspects of their lives to do well here. They talk about feeling good in their bodies and in their lifestyle, not ashamed or exhausted.

An awesomeness-based coach is a guide, not an authoritarian or expert.

When people are hesitant, the coach empowers by helping them find their superpowers and leveraging them to achieve health and fitness success.

You don’t want people scared of you. You don’t want them to feel like you’re constantly judging them unacceptable, inadequate, weak, or broken.

You want them to feel like you’re on their team.

You want them to feel like working with you is a celebration of health and fitness. You want them to feel stronger when they’re with you.

And the best place to start is with how you use language, ask questions, and provoke gentle self-discovery.

Unlike Awfulness-Based Coaching, Awesomeness-Based Coaching feels great.

It feels exciting. It feels inspiring. It feels energizing.

You are a team and you celebrate successes and joys together.

Even better, people get great results, and they stick with you. That feels great too.

If you want to be an effective coach, here’s how to start: Listen and learn.

As a coach, you want to help people:

  • become aware of what they are doing, thinking, and feeling,
  • examine and analyze their habits and behaviors,
  • explore what’s holding them back, and
  • try some new and better choices.

You also want to help them discover their own existing strengths, resources, abilities, and problem-solving talents, which they can then use to help and motivate themselves.

One of the simplest ways to do that is just asking the right kinds of questions.

Exploring questions:

Open-ended questions help people explore options, values, and possible outcomes, without judgment. They also help the coach learn more about what matters to the person.

  • “What things are most important to you? How does your exercise and eating fit into this?”
  • “What sorts of things would you like to accomplish in your life?”
  • “What would you like to see change?”
  • “If things were better with your eating/exercise, what would be different?”
  • “What have you already tried? What worked/didn’t work?”
Imagining questions:

Imagination (yes, just like in kindergarten) helps folks visualize a new way of living and acting.

  • “Imagine you can X (your goal). Describe your experience.”
  • “Imagine you are already doing more of X. What would that feel like?”
  • “Imagine that you have the body and health you desire. What did it take for you to achieve it?”
  • “If you weren’t constrained by reality — let’s imagine for a minute that absolutely anything is possible — what might you…?”
Solution-focused questions:

Solution-focused language emphasizes how people have already succeeded and helps them expand the awesome.

  • “In the past, when were you successful with this, even just a little bit?”
  • “How could we do more of that?”
  • “Where in your life have you been successful with something like this?”
  • “Did you learn any lessons that we can apply here?”
  • Where is the problem not happening? When are things even a little bit better?
Statements that sense into problems:

Non-confrontational, reflective observations and intuitions help folks explore a problem and feel understood, without fear of judgment.

  • “I get the sense that you may be struggling with…”
  • “It seems to me like you’re feeling…”
Statements that evoke speculation:

Open-ended, speculative statements get people thinking and responding to possible choices.

  • “I wonder what it would be like if you…”
  • “I wonder if we could try…”
  • “I’m curious about whether…”
Questions that evoke change talk:

With these kinds of questions, you get the person talking about change on their own terms.

  • “In what ways does this concern you?”
  • “If you decided to make a change, what makes you think you could do it?”
  • “How would you like things to be different?”
  • “How would things be better if you changed?”
  • “What concerns you now about your current exercise and eating patterns?”
Questions that assess readiness:

If a person isn’t ready, willing, and able to change, they won’t change — no matter how awesome you are as a coach. So, assess their readiness with these kinds of questions (and recognize that sometimes, they may not be ready… yet).

  • “If you decided to change, on a scale of 1-10, how confident are you that you could change, when 1 represents not at all confident and 10 equals extremely confident?”
  • “If you wanted to change, what would be the tiniest possible step toward that? The absolute smallest, easiest thing you could try?”
  • “Tell me what else is going on for you right now, in your life. What else do you have on your plate besides this? Let’s get a sense of what you’re working with.”
Questions that help plan next steps:

These are questions that have folks generate their own solutions as opposed to you telling them what to do next.

  • “So, given all this, what do you think you will do next?”
  • “What’s next for you?”
  • “If nothing changes, what do you see happening in five years?”
  • “If you decide to change, what will it be like?”
  • “How would you like things to be different?”
Careful advice-giving:

These are ways of giving advice without assuming you have permission (and without it feeling like you’re pushing an agenda).

  • “Would it be okay if I shared some of my experiences with you?”
  • “In my work with clients/patients, I’ve found that…”
Use the 80 / 20 rule.

Notice how we’ve given you over 25 ways to actively listen, and only 2 ways to talk about what you think.

You should try to spend about 80-90% of your time listening, understanding, observing and exploring, and only about 10-20% of your time guiding, directing, and offering information.

How might this look in a real situation? Scenario 1: Use a “change talk wedge”.

1. Validate and affirm the opposite of what they should be doing.

When someone is expressing ambivalence about change, you might start by reflecting on why they might NOT change. (Yeah, it sounds weird.)

You might say something like:

“Wow, it really sounds like you have a lot on your plate. I can see how it’s tough to schedule exercise time.”


“I know it can be hard to resist those homemade brownies. They’re so good.”

Note: Be sincere here. Genuinely empathize. Sarcasm usually backfires and creates hostility.

2. Then wait.

After validating and affirming the opposite, be quiet.

Don’t be afraid to open up the space and let them fall into it. No rush. Be patient, empathetic, and attentive.

Let the person speak first.

This will feel like forever, but might only be a couple of seconds.

3. Listen for “change talk”.

When folks do start talking, they’ll often start telling you why they should change their behaviors.


“Yeah, I know I do have a lot going on. But I really should do XYZ. I know I would feel better.”


“Honestly, I don’t think I really need three brownies. I’d probably be happy with just one.”

4. Drive the wedge into that “change talk” opening.

Once you hear them suggesting change on their own, you’re getting somewhere.

Using their language, reflect and imply (but don’t push) a next action. Focus on concrete to-dos.


“It sounds like maybe you think you’d feel better if you did XYZ?”


“It sounds like maybe 1 brownie would be enough for you?”

Position this in the form of a question. Look inquisitive.

You’re simply reciting what they just said, as if to make sure you heard them right.

5. Wait again.

Stay quiet.

Wait for the person to speak again.

Listen for further change talk.

6. Repeat as needed.

Keep wiggling the “change wedge” in farther and farther, slowly. Go at their speed.

And, once you feel like they’re ready for a next action, you can go there by asking them:

“So, given all this, what do you think you’ll do next?”

But not too fast. Let them arrive there at their own speed.

Scenario 2: Use “the continuum”.

You can use this after listening for change talk. But be sure you understand the situation first.

With this strategy, have people imagine a spectrum or continuum of behaviors from worse (i.e. eating fast food for every single meal) to better (i.e. replacing just one fast food meal today with good quality protein and vegetables).


1. Help them move a “notch”.

Highlight the benefits of doing so.


“OK, so it sounds like you want to do X (i.e. eat less fast food). But going all the way to Y (i.e. eating no fast food) feels like too much, which makes sense. What if you could just move a tiny, tiny bit towards Y instead of all the way? What could you do that would be X+1 (i.e. eating one non-fast food meal tomorrow)?”

Now, scale back as needed:


“X+2 (i.e. eating no fast food tomorrow) is awesome — we’ll get to that. But what about X+1 instead? That seems even more manageable.”

2. Follow up with a strategy for immediate execution.

Since X+1 will be something they proposed, you can validate that it’s a good idea. And then turn it into a next step.


“X+1 sounds like a great idea! How are you going to make that happen today? And how can I help?”

3. Once an action is assigned, book a follow-up.

Now that you’ve agreed on the action plan, make sure there’s some accountability built in.


“OK, text me tomorrow to tell me how you did with X+1. If you try another option, send me a photo! I’d love to see what you chose.”

Scenario 3: Ask “crazy questions”.

If a person is struggling with change, you can also ask a few questions they may not expect.

1. Listen, validate, affirm.

Preface with “I know this is wacky but…”


“It sounds like [reiterate what they just said about their understanding of what they’d like to change].

“OK, I’m going to ask you two crazy questions, and I know this is going to sound really weird, but just humor me…”

2. Ask your questions.

  • “What’s GOOD about X behavior [where X behavior is the problem behavior they want to change]? In other words, what purpose does it serve in your life? How does it help you?”
  • “What is BAD about changing? In other words, what would you lose or give up if you got rid of X?”

3. Normalize and empathize.

You can begin by normalizing and empathizing with the unwanted behavior first, using the seemingly weird technique of first arguing (slightly) in favor of not changing.


“Wow, yeah, it sounds like there’s lots going on there for you. I think we’d all want a few cookies in that situation!”

Not always, but the client’s natural response will often be the opposite.


“Yeah, but I really should find a better way to deal with this…”

Hey lookee here! They proposed change, not the coach!

4. Allow space/time to grieve the loss of the status quo.


“Well, tell you what. There’s no rush to do this. When you’re ready, why don’t you try…”

  • …moving one “notch” along the continuum?
  • …doing the behavior you proposed?
  • …thinking about how you could more effectively live the values you describe?

5. But don’t let them off the hook.

Follow up in a few days as needed.

Scenario 4: Have them propose their own solution.

1. Affirm, validate, “hear”, normalize.


“Yes, I hear you and understand what you’re thinking/feeling/experiencing, and it’s quite normal. Lots of people go through this.”

2. Ask leading, rhetorical questions.

This isn’t a dialogue invitation; it’s a “tell yourself what to do” question.


“It sounds like you already have a good sense of what some of the key issues are. Knowing this, if you were the coach, what would you recommend?”

In other words: How would you, the client/patient, solve your own problem?

3. Rank confidence.

After they’ve proposed a solution, have them rank their own confidence in doing the solution.


“That’s a great solution, I really like it. Just wondering… on a scale of 0 to 10, zero being ‘no way I can do that every day’, and 10 being ‘of course I can do that every day’, how confident do you feel about X?”

4. Affirm and book follow up.

If they rank 8, 9, or 10 out of 10, tell them you think they’ve come up with a good solution and then ask them to check back in a few days to share their success.

If not, work on shrinking the next action to something they’re confident they can do every day for the next few days. The continuum exercise above is a good approach for this.

What to do next:
Some tips from Precision Nutrition

As you can see, in all of these scenarios, the coach’s job is not to play all-knowing expert. (This goes for anyone trying to help others — like friends and family — eat better, too.) Instead:

Awesomeness-based coaches are confident, supportive guides and change facilitators.

A good coach helps folks propose their own solutions — solutions that line up with their values, and that they genuinely believe they can do. Solutions they’re ready, willing, and able to commit to, today.

And this all begins with language.

1. Recognize where you need to grow.

Ask yourself how much time you actually spend…

  • actively listening to people (versus interrupting or waiting for them to finish so you can talk next)?
  • exploring their perspective and trying to understand their point of view (versus assuming you know what they need)?
  • asking them to generate their own potential solutions or next actions first (versus just giving them advice right away)?
  • asking them what they think they could realistically try (versus just giving them instructions to follow)?

How could you move one notch along the continuum toward client/patient-centered, awesomeness-based coaching?

What’s your “X+1”?

2. Practice using some of the questions and ideas in this article.

Now you have a few sentences and phrases that are proven to help you connect with folks and unlock their potential. Tuck them in your back pocket and start using them when new opportunities present themselves.

After each session, make notes on how it’s going:

  • What changes are you seeing in how they communicate with you?
  • What seemed to resonate most?
  • What really got them talking and opening up?
  • What do you want to talk about in your next session, and — most importantly — how?

By practicing and documenting results, over time you will develop the communication skills of a successful, thriving coach.

3. Observe a coach you respect.

Practicing on your own as often as you can is essential.

But just as with athletics, in order to be the best, you probably need a coach.

Working with an expert coach will fast-track your development. So ask to sit in on a couple sessions a month, and buy your mentor a coffee afterward so you can ask follow-up questions about how they communicate effectively with their clients or patients.

Ask them to share stories. Ask for advice on how to talk to a client or patient who’s struggling, but who you really want to help.

If you’re a coach, or you want to be…

Learning how to coach clients, patients, friends, or family members through healthy eating and lifestyle changes — including helping them with meal transformation — is both an art and a science.

If you’d like to learn more about both, consider the Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification. The next group kicks off shortly.

What’s it all about?

The Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification is the world’s most respected nutrition education program. It gives you the knowledge, systems, and tools you need to really understand how food influences a person’s health and fitness. Plus the ability to turn that knowledge into a thriving coaching practice.

Developed over 15 years, and proven with over 100,000 clients and patients, the Level 1 curriculum stands alone as the authority on the science of nutrition and the art of coaching.

Whether you’re already mid-career, or just starting out, the Level 1 Certification is your springboard to a deeper understanding of nutrition, the authority to coach it, and the ability to turn what you know into results.

[Of course, if you’re already a student or graduate of the Level 1 Certification, check out our Level 2 Certification Master Class. It’s an exclusive, year-long mentorship designed for elite professionals looking to master the art of coaching and be part of the top 1% of health and fitness coaches in the world.]

Interested? Add your name to the presale list. You’ll save up to 33% and secure your spot 24 hours before everyone else.

We’ll be opening up spots in our next Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification on Wednesday, April 3rd, 2019.

If you want to find out more, we’ve set up the following presale list, which gives you two advantages.

  • Pay less than everyone else. We like to reward people who are eager to boost their credentials and are ready to commit to getting the education they need. So we’re offering a discount of up to 33% off the general price when you sign up for the presale list.
  • Sign up 24 hours before the general public and increase your chances of getting a spot. We only open the certification program twice per year. Due to high demand, spots in the program are limited and have historically sold out in a matter of hours. But when you sign up for the presale list, we’ll give you the opportunity to register a full 24 hours before anyone else.

If you’re ready for a deeper understanding of nutrition, the authority to coach it, and the ability to turn what you know into results… this is your chance to see what the world’s top professional nutrition coaching system can do for you.

The post Level 1: How to talk to people so they’re more likely to change. Master this coaching skill to achieve better, lasting results. appeared first on Precision Nutrition.

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Introducing the Complete Trainers’ Toolbox - Tue, 02/12/2019 - 12:42

The email started with “so, I have this idea….”

And while no where was there any reference to writing our own Star Wars movie script, starting our own Laser Tag franchise, or, I don’t know, eating carrot cake, by the end of it, Dean Somerset had sold me on the idea of collaborating with a collection of other fitness professionals to curate a continuing education series called The Complete Trainers’ Toolbox.

Copyright: shaiith / 123RF Stock Photo

The Trainers Toolbox

To be honest it didn’t take much selling.

Dean had me at “I have this idea.”

Once I knew the premise – to create on online resource designed BY trainers for trainers to emulate having some of the brightest minds in the industry coaching you through your biggest hurdles so you can feel confident growing your business – I was in.

Nine coaches are involved in this project.


Hmmm, what other events or, dare I say, FELLOWSHIPS, have involved nine individuals?

Yeah that’s right.

You didn’t think I was not going to include a LoTR reference here did you?

I liken this resource to the Fellowship of the Ring; except instead of fighting Orcs, Balrogs, back-stabbing wizards, dragons, and all the other demons, ghosts, and what-have-you’s amidst the depths of Mordor….

….we’re fighting mediocrity.

We wanted to create a product – which we’re hoping becomes a recurring series – that helps separate health/fitness professionals from the masses by connecting them to some of the top minds in the industry.

Those trainers, strength coaches, physical therapists, (and a psychologist) who are in the trenches, every day, working with real people, getting real results, making it their mission to improve the industry, and, for what it’s worth, are all kicking ass and taking names.

So Who’s In the Fellowship and What Are They Talking About?

Tony Gentilcore (Aragorn) – Improving Overhead Mobility & How to Write Stellar Fitness Content

Dean Somerset – Programming 101: How to Design an Effective Workout.

Luke Worthington – Assessing For Excellence.

Dr. Lisa Lewis – Dealing With Negative Thinking (Your Clients and Your Own).

Sam Spinelli – All Things Squats, Knees, & Hips.

Dr. Sarah Duvall – Core and Pelvic Floor Lifting Considerations.

Meghan Callaway – The Ultimate Pull-Up Webinar.

Alex Kraszewski – Understanding Flexion & Extension Based Back Pain.

Kellie Davis – Finding Your Ideal Client.

And that’s not even all of it.

In fact, there’s 17 total hours of content when all is said and done. What’s more, all 17 hours have been approved for CEUs’ (1.7) via the NSCA.

I’m fully confident this is a resource that will help other fitness professionals hone their coaching skills, build better rapport with their clients, and maybe even most important of all…make more money.

And speaking of money, the cost of The Complete Trainers’ Toolbox is set at $100 OFF the regular price all this week. You have until this Sunday (2/17) to take advantage.

I’m really proud of this resource and I hope it helps you as much as I think it will.

—>  Click Me and Save $100. That Tickles

The post Introducing the Complete Trainers’ Toolbox appeared first on Tony Gentilcore.

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CSP Summer Training Strategies for College Baseball Players - Tue, 02/12/2019 - 11:51

I recently received an email from someone asking if I could delve into how we approach summer training with our college baseball players. It’s a pretty loaded question, as we have to consider a number of factors in making the recommendation:

Is it a position player or a pitcher?

Is the highest priority getting bigger, stronger, and faster? Or is it getting as much game experience as possible?

Is it a pitcher who needs to make a mechanical adjustment or learn a new pitch? A hitter who needs to rework his swing?

Does the player have an injury history?

What are the player’s plans after college? Is professional baseball a goal and/or legitimate possibility?

What are the player’s geographic and fiscal constraints?

To attempt to remedy this, we’ve got a few options we employ with respect to college baseball guys and training with Cressey Sports Performance. Whether you plan to train with us or not, it should help you work through some options for your short- and long-term development.

Option 1: The Collegiate Elite Baseball Development Program at Cressey Sports Performance – Massachusetts

This will be the third summer in which we run this all-encompassing program at our Hudson, MA location. It’s a perfect fit for pitchers who need to develop a new pitch and/or improve their physiques and athleticism. It’s a 10-week program where players have a predictable schedule conducive to development. The guys train six days per week with a combination of throwing and strength and conditioning work, and we utilize considerable technology (Rapsodo, high-speed cameras) and incorporate classroom education sessions covering everything from nutrition, to sports psychology, to pitch design, to game preparation. We’ve routinely had athletes gain over 20 pounds and add 6-8mph over the course of ten weeks as part of this program. For more information, click here or email

Option 2: The Collegiate League of the Palm Beaches (CLPB) or other nearby league –

The CLPB was co-founded by Cressey Sports Performance – Florida co-founder Brian Kaplan (“Kap”) when he saw a large gap in the college summer baseball market. All too often, players who really needed game experience would have to go to the middle of nowhere to get at-bats or innings, and those experiences would come on an unpredictable schedule and with lengthy road trips for away games. They’d often be miles from a good gym or even a solid restaurant, and host family situations were often not all that favorable.

To overcome these challenges, Kap and his team established a league in Palm Beach County, Florida, where teams had predictable schedules of 3x/week games. Most of the players train at CSP-FL 3x/week, have access to manual therapy, and receive nutritional direction. Plus, the host family and food options nearby are outstanding. It’s ideal for the athlete who wants to develop physically while still getting at-bats and/or innings on the mound – as well as some exposure in the process. And, it’s a good fit for players who feel like they’re a year away from being ready to play on the Cape. This league has seen plenty of players from SEC and ACC schools, and also has included some rising college freshmen. To learn more, check out

I should not that we have also regularly trained athletes participating in several leagues – the Futures League, New England Collegiate Baseball League, Park League, Yawkey League, and Cranberry League, and Central England Baseball Association – located in the greater Boston area. Effectively, we meet you “where you’re at.” You can email for more information on that.

Option 3: One-Time Consultations at CSP-MA or CSP-FL

We also see many players who come to one of our facilities for 2-3 day stints to get assessed and receive distance-based programs that they can utilize while playing in various college leagues in other parts of the country. This is particularly common for players in the prestigious Cape Cod Baseball League. Most of the teams are a 60-120 minute drive from CSP-MA, so players will come up in the morning or on an off-day. Over the years, we’ve seen a lot of big name eventual draft picks who have taken advantage of this proximity. Travis Shaw (Brewers) and Walker Buehler (Dodgers) are a few CSP Cape League visit alums, as examples.

As I noted, we also see a lot of one-time consultations in May and June at both our facilities for players before they head off to summer ball. Our goal with one-time consultations is to teach you as much as possible about your body in a short amount of time – and get you set up with safe, effective program you can execute from afar.

For FL, please email, and for MA, please email

Option 4: Just train.

Sometimes, a player’s workload during the season is high enough that the best move is simply to shut down baseball for the summer and instead focus on building the body. To that end, we often have athletes move to FL or MA just to train. On the pitching side, I think that any pitcher who tops 100 innings on the mound in the spring season ought to nix summer ball and instead use the summer to get the body right. And, of course, injured athletes may use the summer to get healthy and prepare for the fall.

For FL, please email, and for MA, please email

Of course, every situation is unique, so if you have questions about your specific case, feel free to email us and we’ll work through the decision with you.

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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Bodybuilding for the Powerlifter: Why and How to Use the Maximal Effort Method - Tue, 02/12/2019 - 09:45
You're not a competitive powerlifter or bodybuilder. You want to move big weights in the gym, look good naked, and still have fun training and eating. You need the maximal effort method.
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Garrett’s A.I. Training Log #9 - Tue, 02/12/2019 - 09:10

Garrett Blevins crushing sets of 8 in in his A.I. Training.

The post Garrett’s A.I. Training Log #9 appeared first on Juggernaut Training Systems.

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WATCH: I am Ashley Jones - Tue, 02/12/2019 - 08:21
elitefts columnist Ashley Jones is Australian by birth, a New Zealander by choice and marriage, but first and foremost, he's a strength and conditioning coach with 40 years of experience under his belt with plenty of passion and advice to spare to future coaches.
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7 Tips to Improve your Heavy Press (Learned from my Failure) - Tue, 02/12/2019 - 05:00

A press is like an iceberg—there’s a lot going on underneath the surface.

What can you learn from failure? A lot. Especially when it comes to dialing in a heavy press. Used wisely, failure helps you focus on improving your skill by looking at all the parts that feed success. One man shares seven pressing “problems” that kept him from pressing half-bodyweight and the programming tips, tools, and drills that earned him his SFG II.

“Don’t fear failure. Not failure, but low aim, is the crime. In great attempts, it is glorious even to fail.”

Bruce Lee

In February 2017, I was in final preparation for the Pacific Northwest SFG II certification. I was already hooked on the StrongFirst system, having passed both my SFG and SFL in 2015, and had been training the SFG II skills almost daily for about six months. All skills, both Level I and Level II, felt dialed in and ready to go.


The SFG II strength requirement was another story. Men must single-arm press the kettlebell closest to 1/2 bodyweight, and women, the kettlebell closest to 1/3 bodyweight. Given my 166lb weight at the time, the 36kg kettlebell was to become my new best friend.

I started my pressing program with a simple linear progression, working up from the 24kg with an increase in overall training volume (pressing 3x/week for 20-30 reps each side with progressively heavier weight). I used various Platemates (magnetic mini-weights that would “hang” onto the side of the kettlebell) to gradually increase the load so I could train heavier than the 32kg bell once I felt ready to do so.

Two months out, I could press 35.14kg (a 32kg kettlebell with a couple Platemates attached). I figured I was in the zone for the 36kg if I just kept at it a little longer.

If this were a Rocky movie, this would be the “overconfident” phase where the protagonist assumes it will all just work out somehow. The end of Act One.

Enter the Certification

Arriving in Portland the day before the certification, I hadn’t actually pressed the 36kg yet. My attempts in the weeks leading up to that day were unsuccessful. Somehow I was still confident it would “just happen” on the day. I was relying on adrenaline to get the remaining 0.86kg I needed.

First attempt on the right… barely moved. First attempt on the left… moved a little.

I’ve always needed a long warm up before pressing heavy, so I still thought I had a shot. Unfortunately, I didn’t. My second and third attempts on both arms came a little closer, but not close enough to bust through the sticking point.

I still had an entire weekend of practice and testing to come (not to mention a snatch test starting in about 10 minutes) so I decided at that point to conserve my energy. I was already obsessively running through what had gone wrong in my preparation.

This is the moment of reckoning that results in humility and self-reflection. The end of Act Two.

Seeking Expert Help

The week after the cert, I deloaded and decompressed—sort of. The only thing I could think about was this confounded press. I spent the entire week stewing, researching, and formulating a plan of attack for the next couple of months to get this thing done. After, I met with my coach, Master StrongFirst Instructor Andrea U-Shi Chang—owner of Kettlebility, a StrongFirst Accredited Gym in Seattle, Washington—to troubleshoot and formulate a better plan.


She had me press the 24kg, 28kg, and 32kg kettlebells, and then attempt the 36kg while she closely watched. Andrea zeroed in on three things.

I was rushing out of the clean and trying to blast the bell up too quickly. Why? Because I wasn’t comfortable holding such a heavy bell in the rack for any period of time. So I panicked to get that heavy thing up and off of my body—fast.

I also wasn’t cleaning to a great starting rack position—I was trying to counter-balance the heavy bell by flaring my elbow out to the side. I was wasting precious time getting into a good vertical elbow position before pressing.

And I was losing tension throughout the grind—especially becoming a “wet noodle” at my sticking point. I thought I was maintaining my cylinder from the clean to the rack to the press. But I wasn’t. Andrea saw it and called me on it.

Rather than simply identify faults, we designed a new plan for the next couple of months to address my heavy pressing issues.

1. Cleaning and Racking

As we say at StrongFirst, your press is only as good as your clean. In the SFG Level I manual, there’s an important line (they’re all important) that states that you need to tighten your whole body on impact from your feet to your quads, glutes, abs, and lats before “pushing yourself away” from the kettlebell.

To train this, we used heavy cleans and squats 2x/week with 40kg and 44kg (one to two bell sizes higher than my press bell target). One swing, then two cleans, and then three squats; repeated three times on each side. This is one of Andrea’s tried and true, go-to protocols along the path to a max press. Once I was comfortable holding the 44kg in the rack for 30 seconds, the 36kg felt like a paperweight (sort of).

StrongFirst-Press-Training-with-Squat 2. Foot Position

Wasting too much time adjusting my feet after the clean, I was unnecessarily increasing my time under tension with a heavy bell. I also wasn’t stacking my hip under the bell.

Instead of cleaning with my normal swing stance, we adjusted my foot position so I started in my press stance (much narrower)—I didn’t have to adjust my feet at all. Yes, it felt awkward at first. But I got used to it. We also drilled stacking my hip (a subtle but important weight shift) under the bell prior to pressing it.

3. Maintaining Tension

“You cannot shoot a cannon from a canoe.” I needed practice staying tight through my sticking point for as long as it would take. We added hard style planks prior to training sessions to dial-in the tension I’d need for pressing.

I also performed heavy one-arm swings, to help with anti-rotation and my vertical plank. I used swings for strength and power production, not for conditioning—five reps at the top of the minute for 30 minutes with 44kg 1-2x/week.

4. Pressing Groove

I wasn’t maintaining a vertical forearm and “rocket boosting” up from the elbow. So we added bottoms-up training with lighter bells (12kg-16kg) prior to each training session to reinforce the pressing groove with a vertical forearm. A “spice” rather than the “main dish,” it was a great way to start each session.

5. Sticking Point

To address getting through the sticking point, we added two things:

A) Push down partner drill with 12kg. This remains one of the most heinous things Andrea has ever had me do—another one of her battle-tested favorites. A partner stood over me on a stool while I pressed a light bell, keeping it from moving just prior to, at, and just after my sticking point—before letting the bell continue up to lockout. I did this 1x/week for three sets of two to three reps.

B) Stair-step drill with 24kg. No partner required, thankfully. Using a 24kg bell, I would press to various positions and hold for five seconds before stepping back down to the previous position, and then pressing up to the next step. I did this 1x/week, performing three sets of single reps on each side.

6. Bell Sizes

Jumps between bell sizes can be used to your advantage. Andrea had me put the Platemates back in the closet and instead do heavy negatives 1x/week (two to three reps/each) with a 40kg bell. Since I couldn’t yet cleanly push press the 40kg kettlebell, she actually had me push press it up with two hands.

For more information on why the jumps between bell sizes can work in your favor, read Pavel’s post. From a barbell perspective, you can read all about the pitfalls of “baby step” load progressions in Fabio & Pavel’s new ebook Reload.

7. Volume

“To press a lot, you must press a lot.” In addition to the accessory work listed above, we knew I needed to get under some heavy bells. We started with heavy, pause 1/2 getups—10 second pauses at the elbow, the hand, and the elbow again before switching hands—aiming to do as many as possible in 10 minutes with good form. I eventually built this up to 2x/week using a 44kg bell for six rounds on each side.

And in the six weeks leading up to my retest day, I did Soju and Tuba with a 32kg bell (a step/wave hybrid cycle), eventually building up to six sets of three reps prior to tapering and testing.

Andrea was my Apollo Creed (Rocky III). She was bringing me back to life from a stunning defeat. By this point I was eating and breathing the process.

Retest Day

It’s now June 2017 and I had been working the plan for a little over 12 weeks. I trusted the process and all the work I had put in. After a short taper of a couple of days, I felt ready to attempt the press again for the first time since February. 

When I setup to clean the bell this time, I didn’t fear the weight on my forearm or the sticking point. I knew I could do it. After my solid clean, zero footwork, and plugged tension, the bell shot up with very little slow down—and I screamed at the top of my lungs like a little kid (seriously).

Arms up in the center of the ring, crowd cheering, credits roll. Act Three over. Movie over. Rocky overcomes the odds.

StrongFirst-Mike-Torres-SFGII Fast Forward: A Pleasant Surprise

About six months later, in January 2018, I was coming off of eight weeks of Strong Endurance™ 044 (heavy snatches). I hadn’t pressed heavy since my retest preparation—I needed a mental break. I started SE-044 with a 28kg bell. On Pavel’s advice, I bumped it up to 32kg, doing five reps every 60 seconds instead of every 30 (I would eventually bump up to the 36kg).

One morning, after 120 snatches with 32kg, I stood over the 36kg kettlebell knowing I could press it easily, despite the total absence of pressing in my program. It had been a full six months since I had pressed heavy, but that bell went up easily on both sides. When I let Pavel know about this, he confirmed that there had been a number of military press PRs reported with this plan.

Looking back with what I know now, not making that original press was a gift, not a failure. If I’d made it, I could have stayed oblivious to all those leakages that kept me from getting truly stronger, rather than just lifting more. Strength really IS a skill. And since you can’t always see/feel what needs improving, even coaches need coaches.

Post-credits scene hinting at lots more to come. A sequel perhaps.

The post 7 Tips to Improve your Heavy Press (Learned from my Failure) appeared first on StrongFirst.

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The Complete Trainers Toolbox is Available Now! - Mon, 02/11/2019 - 20:47

I’m really excited to release a new product today, The Complete Trainers Toolbox, a collaborative project between myself as well as Tony Gentilcore, Dr. Lisa Lewis, Luke Worthington, Dr. Sam Spinelli, Kellie Davis, Dr. Sarah Ellis Duvall, Meghan Callaway, and Alex Kraszewski.


The basis for why we wanted to produce a product like this is pretty simple: most trainers have awesome skill-sets and knowledge, but may need some advice or help when it comes to specific situations.

Some of the common questions I get all the time from trainers are things like:

  • How do I program for that exercise, or for this specific situation?
  • What do I do if a deadlift bothers my clients back?
  • My client can’t squat without knee pain, what do I do?
  • How can I help my clients get their first pullup and then their 5th?
  • My post-natal client has some core and pelvic floor issues, how do I progress them into lifting?
  • How can I get better at assessments?
  • I have clients that always complain and never seem to be motivated to workout, how can I help them?
  • how can I get better at marketing my services to clients and finding better quality leads?
  • I want to get published in different magazines, so how can I get better at writing?

This series covers all of these bases, and more, in convenient home-study webinars. Think of it like a conference you can attend without having to take time off work, pay travel expenses, or make awkward small talk with people at social gatherings.

With 17 hours of digital video content, 9 presenters from 3 countries, including strength coaches, physical therapists, and a psychologist, we cover a ton of bases with expert insights to help give specific actionable information to help you make better choices for your clients and produce better results immediately.

The product is also approved for continuing education credits through the NSCA, which can also be used to petition for credit through other organizations you may be certified through.

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Coming February 2019

A post shared by Dean somerset (@dsomerset1) on Jan 12, 2019 at 6:02pm PST


From now until Sunday, February 17th 2019 at midnight, we’re launching the entire series for $100 off the regular price. You can get the entire series – all 17 hours of content, continuing education credits, and decades of accumulated knowledge – all for only $197 US.


Click HERE for more info and to get your copy today


The post The Complete Trainers Toolbox is Available Now! appeared first on

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In the Fast Lane – A Speed & Agility Roundtable - Mon, 02/11/2019 - 17:07

Having quick, agile athletes is vital to most sports, so it should be a focus for every strength and conditioning program. We asked a roundtable of experts how they satisfy the need for speed in their training.

When thinking about speed and agility, many people picture the highlight-reel moments—an Olympic sprinter blazing through a 100-meter dash, a wide receiver breaking away down the sideline, or a baseball player stealing second. What do those three scenarios have in common? The athletes are running in a straight line. However, as strength coaches know, speed and agility training is not so straightforward.

Linear speed is undoubtedly important, but the ability to stop, start, and change direction is just as crucial, say the strength and conditioning coaches in our roundtable discussion (See “Our Panel” below). They don’t agree on everything, though. In fact, a few of them hold opposing views on the merit of equipment like ladders and dot mats.

Clearly, there is a lot to consider when putting together an effective speed and agility program for athletes. Here, five performance training experts give their varied takes.


Andre Bernardi, CSCS, USAW, PES, is the Head Strength and Conditioning Coach at North Greenville University. He is a certified specialist in speed and explosion through the National Association of Speed and Explosion and holds a sports conditioning specialty certification through the American Council of Exercise. Bernardi is also a certified specialist in sports nutrition through the International Sports Science Association.

Sean Edinger, MS, SCCC, USAW, is Assistant Athletics Director for Athletic Performance at Syracuse University, working specifically with the football team. He is responsible for conditioning players for new Head Football Coach Dino Babers’ up-tempo style of play. Prior to Syracuse, Edinger served as the Director of Strength and Conditioning at Bowling Green State University for two seasons.

Jeff Kipp, MS, CSCS, RSCC*D, is Head Strength and Conditioning Coach at Strake Jesuit College Preparatory in Houston. Before Strake Jesuit, he was an Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach for the University of Kansas and spent 10 years as a Strength and Conditioning Coach at the United States Air Force Academy. He presents often on speed development at conferences and has authored many books for the NSCA about the topic.

Adam Linens, MS, CSCS, ATC, PES, CES, is an Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach at the University of Oregon, working specifically with the men’s basketball team. Previously, he worked with the NBA’s Atlanta Hawks and Cleveland Cavaliers and the WNBA’s Atlanta Dream.

Josh Robertson, SCCC, is the Strength and Conditioning Coach at Conway (S.C.) High School. He was the Assistant Director of Speed, Strength, and Conditioning at Appalachian State University from 2006 to 2010 and served as Head Strength and Conditioning Coach at Wofford College from 2004 to 2006.

What’s your overall philosophy regarding speed and agility?

Jeff Kipp: Speed is important to almost every sport. For instance, I tell my soccer players, “How many balls are there on the field? Only one. So what’s everybody doing out there? They’re jostling for position, trying to get into an open spot on the field, or trying to stay with their man.” Being able to run fast and change directions efficiently is imperative to all of those activities.

When I’m putting together speed and agility programs, I incorporate exercises that will teach athletes how to load and control the body effectively, as well as generate force. However, I look at strength, speed, and agility equally, so I don’t focus all my effort on weightroom or acceleration work and then forget things like lateral movements. Programming this way makes for a balanced approach to all aspects of athletic performance.

Adam Linens: In my experience, all athletes want to do is go fast. But speed and agility training is not about how fast a player can accelerate, it’s about how fast they can stop and then reaccelerate multiple times. When NBA players get to the final years of their careers, they have no problems starting—they have problems stopping, landing, and changing direction. Those skills require the most eccentric strength, so I try to instill them early in my players’ careers.

That being said, much of what I teach is based on linear speed development. Although basketball athletes don’t need a ton of linear speed training—since they play a change-of-direction sport—good technique for linear speed will transfer to change-of-direction work and other movements.

Josh Robertson: When you focus on speed and agility, you get better athletes. Combine the correct weightlifting methods with the correct speed and agility rest periods and drill distances, and the result will be a great speed and agility training program.

Sean Edinger: First, there’s pure genetics—some kids are just fast. Then, there’s the ability to move efficiently and quickly stop, start, and change direction, which can level the playing field and raise up players who might not have as much God-given talent.

Andre Bernardi: We want our athletes to be able to put their feet on the ground and get from point A to point B faster than their opponents. Skill sets aside, if they do that enough times over the course of a game, they are likely to come out on top.

How do you improve speed and agility?

Edinger: Athletes, particularly when they first get on campus, need to get stronger in terms of horsepower. A lot of them have a limited amount of force they can produce, and I help them develop it in training.

The real trick when you’re talking about speed is getting athletes to engage their fast-twitch muscles: How quickly can they display force? To work on this, we do bounds, skips, box jumps, lateral jumps, and lateral movements and take-offs. We only do a few per set because I want maximum effort on each rep.

Spending too much time on plyometrics for speed work can be counterproductive, though. If you do plyometrics and athletes get tired, they’ll start spending a lot of time in contact with the ground, and you won’t get the benefits you want. A huge part of this is a lack of conditioning. If players are out of shape or think they’ll struggle to get through a workout, they’ll hold back.

As far as agility training, I don’t place a lot of stock in ladders, dot mats, and things of that nature because football players don’t use any of that footwork on the field. For example, remember when swing dancing was a big thing a few years ago? People looked like they could dance, but they just memorized the steps. It’s the same thing with ladder and dot drills. Athletes might look like they’re getting more agile, but they’re simply memorizing the footwork and executing it at a high rate of speed. There’s no momentum buildup, and they don’t have to stop and change direction.

Kipp: I have standard plyos that I use. I start with a snap-bound into base positions to teach athletes how to load the body. Then, I move into jumps where players drop into a position, hold it, and generate force. Over a longer period of time, such as an entire offseason, we’ll get into faster response exercises that incorporate the stretch-shortening cycle. This will include true plyometrics—multiple broad jumps, multiple squat jumps, and scissor jumps—that accentuate explosion.

Linens: I like to use ladders and hurdles to instill proper balance, body positioning, linear speed, and lateral quickness. We start with specific ladder drills to teach forward-to-backward change of direction, hip rotations, and pivoting. Then, I’ll get into more advanced drills with hurdles and cones. After that, we progress to reactionary training, where I use numbered cones, colored cones, or pointing in different directions to get athletes to react. During these sessions, I also like to use lateral resistors around their ankles to strengthen their hips.

Bernardi: We focus on the basics. We’ll warm up, and then we’ll do something I call “rapid response,” which is a quick-feet drill where players try to pick up and put down their feet as fast as possible. After that, I may do something like a mirror drill.

With agility, I’m pretty simple. I’m a big ladder and footwork guy. I stick to pro-agility drills, zigzag drills, and a lot of activities where athletes react off a partner. This really represents the demands of most sports because athletes constantly have to react quickly during competitions.

What role does technique have in speed and agility training?

Linens: Technique trumps everything. Some coaches overload athletes with repetitions or resistance when their movements aren’t correct to begin with. This only ingrains bad habits.

Instead, I’ll teach a drill and make sure athletes have good technique before moving forward. After they’ve gotten proficient in the drill, we’ll add some resistance. However, I don’t add so much resistance that it makes the movement look sloppy. My general rule is: The more sport-specific a drill, the lighter the resistance.

Edinger: It’s important to remember that less is more. If you can only get 10 technically perfect reps out of a player, then 10 is what you’re looking for. Don’t make him try to do 15 or 20. When you’re talking about movement and speed in particular, never train a player after his form starts to falter. As soon as there’s a breakdown in technical proficiency, you need to stop—cut the drill, change the drill, or stop the session.

Bernardi: Teach technique work—foot placement, knee drive, and arm swing—before you do anything else. Once that’s accomplished, you can instruct athletes to put their feet into the ground and increase stride length or stride rate to maximize speed development.

To instill these movements, we’ll do a lot of quick shuffles where athletes claw the ground with their feet. From there, we may progress to a bound and then to a sprint, all the while emphasizing foot contact.

One of my favorite drills to stress technique is a march progression with a sled. Players start off like they’re doing a wall drill and switch to a slow march to emphasize their knee coming up and the ball of their foot driving to the ground. They do that a couple of times, and then it goes into a fast march. The drill ends with athletes pushing a sled, which really highlights the knee drive.

How do you make speed and agility training sport specific?

Kipp: I’ve always thought that you don’t train speed and agility for the sport—you train athletes to become faster, more agile performers at their sport. There are going to be times in every sport when an athlete is out of position and needs to react. If you didn’t train them to be versatile with their body positions and able to move through a full range of motion, it will affect how well they can react.

Edinger: I don’t subscribe to a sport-specific training mindset. Rather, I slant things to be like the sport I’m training. The drills that we use with Syracuse football are very specific to the sport and specific to what my coaches want players at each position to do. There are certain steps and movements for each position, and it’s important that the athletes practice them over and over until they become second nature.

For example, since wide receivers run routes where they push a defender, stop, come back, and run a hitch, we have them do a drill where they work on stopping in three steps. Throughout the action, their shoulders must be over their knees, and their knees must be over their toes. This way, they get the correct portion of their cleats into the ground and remain balanced. This drill is included in all their individual agility sessions.

Linens: I take the sport, break it down into different movements, and then teach corresponding pieces of it through a drill. I’m not teaching basketball skills, but our speed and agility training can focus on footwork related to an open step or crossover step that will help players drive to the basket or shuffle on defense.

Robertson: When I train an athlete on speed or agility, that is the training—not sport-specific speed and agility exercises.

What role does strength training play in your speed and agility work?

Kipp: It takes strength to slow the body, stop the body, and then reaccelerate in any given direction. So the stronger athletes are, the more easily they can stop themselves and create force against the ground to accelerate.

Linens: Strength training enhances speed and agility, and speed and agility enhance strength training. If you think of different concentric and explosive speed movements, they all require triple extension. We focus on triple extension in a lot of the exercises that we do, such as squat variations, dumbbell variations, kettlebell swings, arm dumbbell snatches, and clean variations.

To enhance change of direction, we emphasize single-leg exercises in the weightroom. I try to get athletes comfortable with balancing, exploding, controlling, and decelerating on one leg. Some of our exercises include variations of step-ups and lunges, single-leg Romanian dead lifts, and rear-foot elevator squats, as well as dumbbell split jerks.

Bernardi: Any opportunity I get in the weightroom to have athletes drive their knees and cycle their feet is going to make them faster. So I like doing speed squats and different lunge variations where athletes are focusing on their knee drive. We also do a lot of step-ups to develop speed.

Robertson: Going down below parallel in the back squat is the foundation of how we move. When athletes can lift more than their bodyweight in the back squat with speed in the movement, their speed and agility will go through the roof.

What advice would you give strength coaches who are starting to build their speed and agility programs?

Robertson: Don’t try to do too much. In America, we think you can take a zebra and run him in a thoroughbred race. We believe training will improve him or running him into the ground will change something mentally to enhance his performance. But this approach is detrimental because it attempts to do too much.

Some strength coaches have what I call “a box of hammers.” They pull out a small hammer and beat on the athlete and tear him down. When that doesn’t work, they get a bigger hammer. The next thing you know, the athlete is broken. They might say the athlete wasn’t good to begin with, but I’d say they didn’t train him right.

Kipp: Create a road map. Have a plan for where you’re going and how you’re going to get there, but understand there are going to be bumps along the way. Also, keep your eyes and ears open for new ideas. When it comes to speed and agility training, every coach out there can benefit from listening to their peers.

This article brought to you by our partnership with Training & Conditioning Magazine.  For more great articles, visit their website.  

Pete Croatto is a freelance writer based in Ithaca, N.Y. He can be reached at:


If you’re looking for more information on speed training, the IYCA recently released a new course called Speed Testing Mastery.  This couse walks you through all the details of how to get athletes to run a faster 40- or 60-yard dash.  The course includes 10 instructional video modules and a detailed 8-week training program.  Also included is video analysis of 7 athletes that clearly show you exactly what to look for when coaching athletes.  Learn more about Speed Testing Mastery.

The post In the Fast Lane – A Speed & Agility Roundtable appeared first on IYCA - The International Youth Conditioning Association.

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Conan is Back

I was so pumped to get this new special edition comic book. They’ll be available at the Arnold Sports Festival or you can get yours now.
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Using Fillers In Your Programs: Bench Press - Mon, 02/11/2019 - 13:55

I already wrote similar posts covering how I implement fillers with deadlifts and squats, so it only makes sense to finally follow suit with something discussing the bench press.

Copyright: spotpoint74 / 123RF Stock Photo

Fillers For the Bench Press

As a quick refresher for those first tuning in: “Fillers” are low grade exercises that address a specific mobility or stability issue – lack of glute activation, tight hip flexors, poor scapular upward rotation, as examples – which are performed during rest periods of a main exercise.

Fillers could also be a simple stretch.

In short the idea is do something productive during your rest periods – other than stalk your ex on Instagram – that’s not going to affect or deter performance on subsequent sets of deadlifts, squats, bench presses, and the like.

Another way to look at it is this: I know it, you know it, your parent’s mailman’s second cousin’s godfather knows it, we all know it…

…you’re (probably) going to skip your warm-up.

Fillers are the compromise.

Instead of giving people a laundry list of warm-up drills they’re not going to do, I’ll sprinkle fillers in as PART OF THE PROGRAM.

(cue evil strength coach laugh here).


So in no particular order here’s a quick-n-dirty rundown of some of my go to fillers on bench day.

1. Rows

Okay, I’m cheating a little bit here.

I’m only speaking for myself, but I find rows are something most people can’t include enough of in a program. Many of us are so overdeveloped and/or tight in our anterior chain – namely pecs – that it’s not uncommon practice for me to pair a rowing variation with EVERY set (including warm-ups) of bench press to help offset the imbalance

I don’t care if it’s a DB row, Seated Cable Row, Chest Supported Row, Seal Row, TRX Row, Face Pulls, or Band Pull-Apart…I want some kind of row tethered to every set of the bench press.


And then I’ll include 1-2 more rowing variations later in the session too. The whole notion of a balanced approach to program design – where you attempt to include a 1:1 (press:row) ratio – while noble and good place to start, tends to be a bit underwhelming.

I’ll often say it’s more beneficial to UN-BALANCE someone’s program (to the tune of 2-3 rowing variations for every press) to to better “balance” them.”

So, as more of an umbrella theme to consider, just staying cognizant of rowing volume (and adding more of it into someone’s program) is going to be leaps and bounds more effective for long-term shoulder health and training domination than the litany of correctives that can be substituted in.

2. Band Posture Corrector

This is a drill I stole from my good friend and strength coach Jim “Smitty” Smith of Diesel Strength.


Sitting at a desk all day, every day, can be brutal.

The muscles on the back side (namely, rhomboids) get long and weak, while the muscles on the front (namely, pecs) get short and overactive.

A good bench press requires a fair amount of scapular retraction and depression to help protect the shoulder joint and to provide a more stable “surface” to press from.

This drill targets those muscles involved.

Simply grab a band, loop it around your shoulders, and “reverse” the posture.

I like to perform 10-20 reps with a 1-2 second hold on each rep.

3. Foam Roller Snow Angel

Likewise, the bench press also requires a decent amount of thoracic extension (which makes it easier to retract and depress your shoulder blades).

The Foam Roller Snow Angel allows for a few things to fall in place:

  • A nice pec stretch.
  • Nudges more thoracic extension (by lying on the foam roller).


I like 10-12 reps here.

4. Child’s Pose – off Med Ball


Pigging back off the above drill, this one also helps to improve thoracic extension in addition to strengthening the scapular stabilizers when you add a static hold at the top of each rep.

Adding the medicine ball into the mix along with flexed hips helps to keep the lumbar spine out of the equation.

I like 5, 5 seconds holds here.

5. Bicep Curls


The fuck outta here.1

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

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Peaking for Sport - Mon, 02/11/2019 - 10:11
If speed is what we’re going after, then why do the weights on both our heavy and light days continue to climb, and bar speed continues to fall? As we get deeper into the competitive season and continue to put more tonnage on the athletes, we are burning the candle at both ends.
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Can We Build Muscle After 50? - Mon, 02/11/2019 - 08:35
I asked my elitefts colleagues to do a study or if a study exists on whether or not we can build muscle and get stronger as seniors. Rather than wait for their responses, I decided to take matters into my own hands to address the topic myself, based on the individuals I've trained and observed.
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Pushing The Knees Out In The Snatch and Clean

In the starting position and first pull of the snatch and clean, we want to push the knees out inside the arms. This serves 3 important purposes:   First, it opens the hips to allow freer movement of the pelvis so the lower back can be arched properly. Just like in a squat, the legs need to be oriented in a way that prevents the femurs from running into the pelvis and limiting hip flexion.   Second, pushing the knees out shortens the fore-aft length of the legs by bringing the knee
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‘What should I eat?!’ Our 3-step guide for choosing the best foods for your body. [Infographic] - Sun, 02/10/2019 - 22:01

This easy-to-use visual guide shows you how to make healthier nutrition choices, and determine the best foods for your body, goals, and taste buds. In fact, our simple three-step process helps you create a customized healthy-eating menu in just a matter of minutes. And the best part: Nothing’s off limits.


“What foods should I eat?”

It’s a question we hear often. Sometimes in desperation.

Not because of the easy choices—spinach, duh!—but because of the not-so-obvious ones that cause confusion.

Foods that have been demonized then celebrated. Or celebrated then demonized. Or that come in so many forms it feels impossible to know the best choice.

Over and over, we’re asked:

  • Are potatoes good or bad?
  • What about eggs?
  • Can I eat pasta?
  • Is cheese okay?
  • Do I have to live without bacon? (We told you about the desperation.)

To add to the confusion, it’s not always obvious how to classify a food. Is it mostly protein? A carbohydrate? A fat? Many people know to eat a mix of these macronutrients, yet aren’t sure how that looks in “real food”. The result: more questions.

That’s why we created this handy, visual food guide. It’s designed to help you make healthier choices, no matter your knowledge of nutrition.

But don’t expect a list of “approved” and “off-limits” foods. Instead, we like to think of foods on a spectrum from “eat more” to “eat some” to “eat less”.

This approach promotes one of the most crucial philosophies that runs through our nutrition coaching method: Progress, not perfection.

Use our continuums to make choices that are “just a little bit better,” whether you’re eating at home, dining out with friends, or dealing with banquet buffets on a work trip.

Plus, learn how to:

  • Incorporate a mix of proteins, vegetables, carbohydrates, and fat.
  • Strategically improve your food choices—based on where you are right now—to feel, move, and look better.
  • Customize your intake for your individual lifestyle and (of course) taste buds.

As a bonus, we’ve even provided you space to create your own personal continuum. That way, you can build a delicious menu of healthy foods that are right for you—no questions asked.

Download this infographic for your tablet or printer and use the step-by-step process to decide which foods are right for you (or your clients). 

Download the tablet or printer version of this infographic to discover your own personal “eat more,” “eat some,” and “eat less” foods (or, if you’re a coach, to help your clients).



This continuum of foods is broadly applicable to eating styles throughout the world, offering a framework for personalizing food choices to fit individual needs, preferences, and goals.

Each individual’s food list will depend on their:

  • eating style (e.g. keto, plant-based, Mediterranean, etc.),
  • activity level and type (e.g. professional triathlete, weekend warrior, desk worker, etc.),
  • goals (e.g. improve relationship with food, gain muscle, lose fat, promote health),
  • and more.

These helpful lists often evolve over time, as we all grow and change.


Precision Nutrition’s nutrition experts collaborated to categorize foods along the continuum, allowing for multiple perspectives, debate, and decision making.

We considered:

  • Health/nutrition data
  • Recommended daily intake
  • Reward and palatability value
  • Nutrient density (macronutrients, micronutrients, phytonutrients, zoonutrients)
  • Level of processing

The goal here was not a “perfect, undebatable” list, but rather a practical, effective tool to help people progress toward health goals.

Exceptions are everywhere

A food that’s “eat less” for one person may be “eat more” for another. Some examples:

  • For a plant-based eater who struggles to get enough protein to meet their needs, protein powder may go from “eat some” to “eat more”.
  • For someone who already eats 2-3 servings of fatty fish per week, fish /algae oil may move to “eat less”. Conversely, someone who rarely eats fatty fish might benefit from categorizing fish /algae oil as “eat more”.
  • Sugary drinks are typically categorized as “eat less”. But endurance athletes may consider them an “eat some” item during training, and possibly even “eat more” during competition. Similarly, for individuals who struggle to gain lean mass, it may be beneficial to place a sugary protein + carbohydrate drink in the “eat some” category for consumption during exercise.
  • For someone who values environmental sustainability above all else, your personal spectrum will again look different (such as putting meat, water-hungry nuts like almonds, and other resource-intensive foods in the “eat some” or “eat less” categories).

Ultimately, context matters. The continuum is meant to be broadly applicable to most people. And yet it can never be fully accurate for any single individual. This is why we’ve provided you the tools and guidelines to make your own spectrums and lists.

Click here to read about the creation of the food continuum.

If you’re a coach, or you want to be…

Learning how to coach clients, patients, friends, or family members through healthy eating and lifestyle changes—such as helping them make better food choices that match their personal preferences—is both an art and a science.

If you’d like to learn more about both, consider the Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification. The next group kicks off shortly.

What’s it all about?

The Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification is the world’s most respected nutrition education program. It gives you the knowledge, systems, and tools you need to really understand how food influences a person’s health and fitness. Plus the ability to turn that knowledge into a thriving coaching practice.

Developed over 15 years, and proven with over 100,000 clients and patients, the Level 1 curriculum stands alone as the authority on the science of nutrition and the art of coaching.

Whether you’re already mid-career, or just starting out, the Level 1 Certification is your springboard to a deeper understanding of nutrition, the authority to coach it, and the ability to turn what you know into results.

[Of course, if you’re already a student or graduate of the Level 1 Certification, check out our Level 2 Certification Master Class. It’s an exclusive, year-long mentorship designed for elite professionals looking to master the art of coaching and be part of the top 1% of health and fitness coaches in the world.]

Interested? Add your name to the presale list. You’ll save up to 33% and secure your spot 24 hours before everyone else.

We’ll be opening up spots in our next Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification on Wednesday, April 3rd, 2019.

If you want to find out more, we’ve set up the following presale list, which gives you two advantages.

  • Pay less than everyone else. We like to reward people who are eager to boost their credentials and are ready to commit to getting the education they need. So we’re offering a discount of up to 33% off the general price when you sign up for the presale list.
  • Sign up 24 hours before the general public and increase your chances of getting a spot. We only open the certification program twice per year. Due to high demand, spots in the program are limited and have historically sold out in a matter of hours. But when you sign up for the presale list, we’ll give you the opportunity to register a full 24 hours before anyone else.

If you’re ready for a deeper understanding of nutrition, the authority to coach it, and the ability to turn what you know into results… this is your chance to see what the world’s top professional nutrition coaching system can do for you.

The post ‘What should I eat?!’ Our 3-step guide for choosing the best foods for your body. [Infographic] appeared first on Precision Nutrition.

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Skip’s Guide to the Best Burgers in Columbus, Ohio - Sun, 02/10/2019 - 01:28
You're heading to Columbus, Ohio for the Arnold in a couple of weeks. We know. If you care more about eating really good food and not as much about the crowd and being seen, here are my top-3 burger recommendations based on my foodie research.
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Weightlifting Cues and What They Mean | Snatch - Sat, 02/09/2019 - 21:12

The Snatch is an intricate mixture of strength, speed, power and coordination. Giving the athlete too much too think about during the lift can derail their performance. Here are some of our favorite cues to improve technique and maximize performance in the snatch.

The post Weightlifting Cues and What They Mean | Snatch appeared first on Juggernaut Training Systems.

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Goals and Performance: Concepts and Application - Sat, 02/09/2019 - 01:22
The housewife, the architect, and the fighter all live according to a long-term goal-oriented life-project. What is the difference? Who will choose to be the master of their fate and the captain of their soul?
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WATCH: Table Talk — Dave Tate and Joe Sullivan on Working Full-Time and Coaching - Sat, 02/09/2019 - 01:05
It doesn't matter if you're planning on coaching part-time or full-time; coaching is a job that requires time, passion, and a deep love of the sport — no matter the paygrade. If you're only in it for the glory or money, you're not going to last long.
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