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Chris Cathcart is a teen powerlifting competitor, Virtual Coaching client, and member/contributor at Kabuki Strength Lab. For every change you see in my body, my mind has gone through ten. When I began the journey that I am on in 2015, I was in one of the worst places I ever been. I was 330 pounds, thirteen years old and had just experienced loss for the first time. My first dog had died and I was trying to make sense of the world. I knew things and people died, I had seen things die, I had killed things before, I had never felt the ache of missing that comes with the loss of someone or something near to your heart.The first time I experienced loss it came with a warning. This will be you, and if you change nothing, that will be sooner than you can imagine. My first dog died of disease related to obesity, something that my entire family, human and pet alike was all too familiar with. This comes to my first point. Set Grand Goals. I didn’t know it at the time but I was setting for myself the ultimate Grand Goal. Become better. I didn’t know where to go from that goal, but I had a why and a what, so the how would only follow naturally.Starting out I tried walking once a day for a quarter mile, eating more fiber, and drinking water (like at all). This alone helped me lose 10 lbs due to the horrible condition my body was in. This brings me to my second point, which is that Grand Goals are important, but I think after you set them you should focus on One Degree of Change at a time. If I had set out for myself a workout regiment and...

Derrington Wright is a strength coach at Kabuki Strength and an elite powerlifter in the USAPL/IPF. He may be reached with comments and questions at [email protected] The Arnold Classic 2018 was the best performance of my lifting career. I ended with an 1829lbs (830kg) total in the 105kg division, I was ecstatic. I even ended up winning a big check for $800 for placing first, literally the peak of my powerlifting journey at the time. Fast forward to March 14th, I wake up, half asleep and I see an email that says, “notification of doping failure”.In short, it said that I tested positive for the SARM Ostarine and unless proven otherwise, that I could be banned for up to 4 years from competing or coaching at any USAPL meet. At this point, I think I’m dreaming so I fall back asleep for another few hours then I wake up again just to see that the email was all too real. I was in such shock and disbelief; I couldn’t imagine how or why my test could’ve come back positive. Confused as to what I should do next, I messaged a friend of mine that I thought would know more about how I should move forward dealing with this, mainly because she’s a stickler for the rules and the person I usually go to if I have any USAPL related questions. So, she told me to email the national office back and ask them what my options are. I know this seems like the obvious course of actions, but I was so in shock that it felt like I couldn’t think straight. In short, I was told that I had 3 options.Accept the ruling- Meaning I would not fight the ruling and be banned from the USAPL for four years. ...

Travis Jewett is a strength coach and chiropractor with a clinic in Cherokee, IA. He is a member of the MobilityWOD staff and teaches seminars and workshops around the world in strength training and human performance. He is also a member of the Kabuki Strength Advisory Board. He works with people of all ages to improve their quality of life through strength and movement. If you have not read the first part, click here to get caught up.Part two is going to start laying down a theoretical framework for why anything is effective at all when helping someone come back from an injury. If you are at all involved in the world of training and/or rehabilitation, you are well aware there are a million ways to spend your money on some kind of device or tool. You will also notice there are a million more ways to work on how you move and even more people you can make an appointment with to work you over and tell you all sorts of things about your current situation (only some of which is likely to be true).What are you supposed to do when you are met with all these options? If you are someone experiencing pain (and even worse if the pain is severe), you are desperately seeking the advice of anyone who can help you experience less pain. This appears to be a reasonable idea. We don’t like to experience pain. It isn’t fun. It can interfere greatly with your everyday life, activities, work, and relationships. Who you decide to seek advice from will also dramatically effect the outcome and your entire future predictions about similar situations and your ability to do or not do things the rest of your life. This is not hyperbole. My apologies if I am scaring...

Travis Jewett is a strength coach and chiropractor with a clinic in Cherokee, IA. He is a member of the MobilityWOD staff and teaches seminars and workshops around the world in strength training and human performance. He is also a member of the Kabuki Strength Advisory Board. He works with people of all ages to improve their quality of life through strength and movement. I recently saw an exchange on Twitter between two professionals in the rehabilitation world. The original tweet mentioned a patient who had started deadlifting because they had a herniated lumbar disc. The first response was from a different professional questioning this course of action. He said something along the lines of, “Hmmmm, was this when he was symptomatic or asymptomatic?” To put this in more context, the person who posted the original tweet is not the person who started the deadlift program. The original person thought it was great this patient had decided to take action into his own hands instead of falling victim to the system. The second person was questioning whether a person with a herniated disc should be deadlifting. I hope you are not confused, because we are going to dive deep into the rabbit hole.I am in the business of helping people who are currently experiencing pain or injury get back to doing the things they need to do and want to do. I have to be able and willing to listen to what a person is telling me and help them work through the possible reasons they have come into my clinic with their current issue. Periodically I get a person who comes to me simply because they want to know if there is anything they can be doing in their training or to take a look at how they move during...

Kabuki Strength provides education and coaching services to athletes of all experience levels around the world. [frmmodal-content modal_title="Fill out this form, then click 'submit' to schedule a call!" label='We would love to talk to you! Click here to schedule a FREE strategy call with one of our coaches'][formidable id=39][/frmmodal-content] A contralateral pattern involves an action and/or movement of opposite sides of the body working together. That might seem confusing but its simpler than it seems. An easy way to understand contralateral patterns is to standup and walk 5-10 steps (walking is a contralateral pattern). Now walk another 5-10 steps but move your right arm forward as your right leg moves forward (and your left arm forward as your left leg moves forward). Feels weird doesn’t it? When we walk or run the leg that propels us forward is matched by an opposing swing of your arms (or opposite slight rotation of the thoracic spine).Other common contralateral patterns in sport include throwing and swinging.Learning and improving trunk stability in contralateral patterns is crucial for maximizing energy transfer and your ability to express force.Below are three videos in order of difficulty to help you improve your contralateral trunk stability. To do all of these drills properly avoid relying on spinal extension to support your position and maximize your IAP.  Contralateral Shoulderok  Contralateral Deadbug  Contralateral Rolling Even if you aren't involved in a sport that involves contralateral patterns its still a good idea to add these drills periodically to your program. Strength athletes performing drills that challenge rotation is a great way to improve trunk strength and reduce the likelihood of overuse injuries.Kabuki Strength is an organization devoted to optimizing human potential via innovative equipment, world-class coaching services, evidence-based education, and by giving back to our community. We would love to talk to you! [frmmodal-content modal_title="Fill out this form, then click...

Travis Jewett is a strength coach and chiropractor with a clinic in Cherokee, IA. He is a member of the MobilityWOD staff and teaches seminars and workshops around the world in strength training and human performance. He is also a member of the Kabuki Strength Advisory Board. He works with people of all ages to improve their quality of life through strength and movement. How specific do you need to be when training for a powerlifting meet? I really want you to stop and think about this question. You may have heard a lot of people who are popular in the world of powerlifting describe how important it is to be as specific as possible when training for the sport. You have to use a straight bar all the time to create the specific stress needed to drive adaptation. Many of the people I hear talk in these kinds of absolutes also complain about their elbow or shoulder or adductor or some other body part hurting going into a meet. What is really paramount in training is the application and management of stress. I am going to argue the specificity of the implement used is not as important as people think.I hate to break it to you, but powerlifting is a fairly non-athletic endeavor. Louie Simmons used to say it was the sport for the rest of us. This means most people fall into the trap of exclusively training in a sagittal plane with a barbell and never really deviate. What ends up happening over time is you develop training related aches, pains, and injuries due to excessive training in certain planes and patterns. You can look at acute and chronic workload articles (some have been written on this site) and loading different force vectors (again, this has been written before...

Kyle Young is a strength athlete, clinician, and coach at Kabuki Strength. To learn more about Kyle, you can read his bio here. To work with Kyle and our coaching staff, please head over to our coaching page and signup for a free strategy call with a coach, or signup for coaching directly.Listen up--if you have never been in a powerlifting meet but want to, or if you are about to compete in your first--if you have competed, give this top 10 a quick read and see if passing it along can help someone you know.I have competed in a lot of meets over the last 8 years, in a lot of different federations- raw, single ply, and mulit ply. From local to national and, world level meets across the country. Over this time, I have helped, handled, and coached some amazing athletes along with many entry level lifters. Beyond all of this I have dedicated hours upon hours spotting, loading, and running the platform.Why do I bring all this up? I have had the opportunity over the years to gain 3 unique prospectives to provide the advice below. I wish someone would have bestowed some of this info upon me before any of my first meets.As a coach, athlete and spotter/ loader I have seen a lot of cool things and many things that could of went better for the lifter. Now remember before we proceed to the cool stuff. This is not all you should know before showing up. No, I will not give you all of my secretes you have to pay for that!!! However, I have gained a lot of free knowledge over the years and love to give back, so I hope this helps. Please know the rules, lifting commands and if your equipment is...

Derrington Wright is a strength coach at Kabuki Strength and an elite powerlifter in the USAPL/IPF. He may be reached with comments and questions at [email protected] Staying in the same vein of my last article I’ll be giving you some tips on things you could be doing to make your setup in the squat more efficient.There is a lack of attention that is paid to how people bring the bar out of the rack. I am no exception to that and I used to be the same way.My squat form has always been decent, but I’ve never paid a lot of attention to my squat-unrack. Then I came across the quote, “If it starts badly it’s probably going to end worse”. Then it clicked; if my setup is bad my squat is likely going to be bad too (or at least not as strong and efficient as it could be). I knew the importance of breathing, bracing, foot placement etc. during the actual movement, but when it came to unracking the bar, my only thought was to get the bar out of the rack without dying. Hopefully, I can save some of you from making the same mistakes I have.Below I’m going to note a few things that I don’t think lifters focus enough on when unracking the bar: 1. Making sure the bar is set over mid foot- When people have their feet too far back, their weight tends to shift forward and over their toes. Conversely, when their feet are too far forward their weight tends to shift towards their heels. Both of these things, while seemingly subtle, and may not make you fall on your face when unracking or fall back onto the ground, will lead to unnecessary energy leakage as you are trying to stabilize yourself afterward. 2. Setting...

Brady Cable is a Coach and Operations Manager at Kabuki Strength. His personal best deadlift is 765lbs in the 93 kilo weight class. And yes, pulled with a hook grip. If you are interested in working with our coaches, please visit our coaching site. Grip in the deadlift is an issue that not everyone has a problem with. Something that those who do struggle with grip loss know it to be all too frustrating. Someone once said to me “if you haven’t had a grip problem, you might just not be strong enough to have a grip problem yet”. People who often use straps for much of their training find their grip might become the limiting factor in their competition deadlift over other parts of their body. One of the most disappointing things in powerlifting is locking out a big PR deadlift, especially on the platform, and then dropping it near or at lockout. Knowing your body had all the strength required to lift the weight, but your hands did not. Between this and a growing fear or possibly awareness of the possibility of bicep tears, using a double overhand hook grip is something that’s becoming increasingly popular within the sport. I don’t think hook grip is the only solution to grip problems, or even a solution at all for some people. This article will be a comprehensive guide to learning and working up to using hook grip but will also be riddled with general grip advice that will be applicable to any style and may just make you a better at the deadlift.I’ve had quite a few clients and acquaintances approach me about the grip in their deadlift in the last few years and I generally see at least one of three things that can be improved regardless of using...

Ben Pollack is one of this generation’s greatest lifters and geniuses, a physical culture expert, world record holder and US Open powerlifting champion. Know as “PhDeadlift” on social media, Ben is currently wrapping up his PhD and is one of the most educated and insightful competitors to grace the platform. Check out his site at phdeadlift.com.Confession time: I’m a preworkout junkie.  The adrenaline rush from lifting alone is great, but combine that with a boatload of caffeine and every other stimulant under the sun, and even light training days can feel more exciting.  Plus, all that extra energy obviously has a performance-enhancing effect, as well.Or does it?In reality, as fun and useful as stimulants can be for lifting, they can be really detrimental, too — especially if you tend to rely on them too much, or find that you can’t lift well without them.  The problem is compounded by most of the preworkout products on the market, which are loaded not only with caffeine, but also with a bunch of other new-wave stimulating compounds that can enhance both the benefits and drawbacks of more common pick-me-ups like caffeine.Dave Tate has explained why preworkouts don’t work for him, and I strongly suggest you take a look at his thoughts on the matter.  Chris Duffin and Chad Wesley Smith agree.  And I also suggest that, if you’re using lots of stimulants, that you pay careful attention to a few particular areas of your training: Regulating EffortOne of the most important parts of making long-term progress involves learning to regulate your effort when you train.  On some days, or at certain times during a training cycle, you’ll want to push yourself close to your limits, in order to create the necessary stimulus to build strength and muscle.  At other times, you’ll want to train less intensely...