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The Macebell or Gada is a classical training tool dating back centuries.  Its original use was in the wrestling for fighting cultures of ancient Persia and India.  My first experience using one was about 8 years ago when I attempted to incorporate it for shoulder development and conditioning. As a competitive powerlifter I quickly abandoned its use finding that combined with my powerlifting training it aggravated my wrist, elbows, and shoulders.However 2 years ago I decided to make another run at using the macebell again.  I had been making tremendous gains in shoulder health and mobility with my progression into Dynamic Neuromuscular Stabilization (DNS) and some associated kettlebell work.  I decided to try the swing again but focus on some refinement in the movement based on the DNS methodologies.  The goal was to simply realize some training efficiency as the swing was a very active warmup.  If I could accomplish my rehab, prehab, and warmup all at the same time I would have more time to focus on my actual training.With the new approach to the swing my shoulder pain that I had been experiencing daily for the last 8 years disappeared after the first 30 days.  This is pain that had kept me from sleeping, interfered with my training, and I was only able to manage in the short term with mobilizing and re-seating drills.  Gone!  I couldn’t believe the change.  Being surrounded by powerlifters and strongman I found several other test subjects similar to myself and quickly found that the same thing happened. That was when I decided to develop the tool into what we now are marketing to others as the ShouldeRök™.  For further details on the value of the ShouldeRök™ and its impact on eliminating issues caused by open chain barbell movements today done with an...

Last week I took a trip to visit my friend Mark Bell at his new facility.  We had a great time shooting interviews, podcast, and some great instructional pieces I did with some of his athletes.  I'm looking forward to these pieces coming available on the public domain for you to see in the coming weeks.On the last day before catching a flight out of town we decided to do a quick Q&A from the social media following and posted up request to questions just before the final workout of the visit.  Unfortunately there were so many questions that came in we were barely able to get to a fraction of them, but hope that you enjoy the ones we were able to get to.Additionally here is the workout video for last week which covers the time at SuperTraining.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aCosKMJ6Sa0...

This weekend I had the opportunity to spend a couple full days working with Ed Coan.  We had a great deal of success in working through some issues he has and establishing a path forward.  During the time we also had a lot of back and forth knowledge sharing.It was a tremendous honor for me to host Ed for the weekend at EPC in Portland and to have his trust for seeking me out.  At the end of the period we filmed an incredible interview covering a number of great topics that I think are worth the watch. Make sure to check out the ShouldeRök™ Ed mentioned and subscribe to our newsletter for weekly insights....

People often under value the role of a team in individual sports.  That statement is not an oxymoron as team and individual performance are not diametrically opposed.  While it is true that lifting can, and is, done by some individuals entirely by themselves there are substantially more strength athletes who gain from relying on their team.The role of a team in an individual sports such as powerlifting, olympic lifting and even to some degree bodybuilding is:Encouragement – That encouragement or support to dig deeper and push harder Reality Checks - Calling out your depth isn’t good or that you didn’t lock that out.  Or you just being flat out stupid with your training Remove Obstacles – Assisting lifters at meets, reminders to stay hydrated or just keeping the focus on a big training day. Physical Support – Spotting, loading, lifting off, or helping with gearWe are social beings and we simply perform better in supportive groups than when we do alone.  I am a big proponent of training in teams.  Even without a team physically present we can see people using social media to seek out and fill those same team roles noted above.It’s not just powerlifting or strength training that operates this way. Many ‘individual sports’ you see today require teams to succeed. Look closely and you will see them. MMA, NASCAR, Golf you name it and there will be at least a small team supporting them.Do you want to realize your peak potential? Then find a group of like-minded individuals that have those needed skills and create a team.  This is what we have done at Elite Performance Center building numerous world Champions and All-Time record holders and what you can see with my online team at EliteFTS....

In December of 2012 I tore my right adductor in a meet.  I had actually had some minor tearing early in the year and had been managing it to keep training but with a 782 competition squat it let go on me.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YoEJMEFJAYI After rehabbing the area I determined a need to reduce my injury risk.  With squatting wide and pulling sumo it simply puts a lot of strain on this area that is sometimes slow to recover.  It is also a faily common injury point with lifters.One of the ways I have reduced this risk is with ensuring proper recruitment patterns are firing before this heavy eccentric load.  This is done with a specific warmup routine and test-retest methodology before jumping under squats.  I reviewed this warmup routine on Breaking Muscle.That write up only covered that specific warmup and also skipped the hip-airplane that I often employ as part of it.In this video piece I go into depth on the hip-aiprlane that is used before I squat and pull but also passive compression and some targeted volume work.  The passive compression can make an instantaneous improvement if you have some issues in this area and also seems to improve recovery as well as reduce injury risk.  I employ passive compression in training on pretty much every heavy set for this reason.  A hammy band or a compression band work great.  In addition to the passive compression it’s great to work in some volume work to stimulate flushing of this low blood flow area.  An example of this is provided in the video as well.This is not the be all and end all of groin health, but just the methods I have employed with success.   It has allowed me to successfully move from that failed squat at the beginning to the standing...

Last weekend I took a trip to Las Vegas and worked with my friend Stan Efferding (Worlds Strongest Bodybuilder) and also Eric Spoto (worlds strongest raw bench presser).  I have been working with Eric Spoto on his rotator cuff surgery rehab plan over the last several months.  Eric has been working with his physical therapist on his rehab plan while I was guiding him on his training in the gym and other recuperative movements that fell within those parameters.   With Eric's progress he had reached a point that we could begin incorporating the ShouldeRok to deal with some of the root issues that could have led to his surgery to begin with.  It was time to build the platform for ongoing strength and shoulder health for his continued dominance in the bench press, prompting this trip.Upon learning that I was coming down I received a text from Stan asking if I could help him dial in some changes to his deadlift.  At least the text was sent to my phone, but I was confused as he was referencing the "mad scientist" for assistance.  Upon arriving at the Iron House gym Stan cleared up that he was indeed talking about me, as you will see in the following video.  Upon reflection the nickname is fitting given my tendency to tinker with and improve everything including my machining, 4 wheeling rigs, gym devices, and human movement.Don't worry the actual coaching videos will follow in coming weeks: "The Mad Scientist of Powerlifting"? Stan Efferding w/Chris Duffin...

Whiskey & Deadlifts (aka - Powerlifting: Experimentation and Logic behind Intra-Workout Alcohol Consumption) by powerlifter Chris DuffinAre you looking for an excuse to get drunk or abuse alcohol? If yes than go away! This is most definitely not an article for you.  Without a doubt the negative long term and short term effects of alcohol are very well documented. Particularly as an athlete, excess and even moderate alcohol use can have a detrimental effect on your powerlifting and strongman performance. From negative hormonal factors such as lowering testosterone, lowering HGH, lowering ADP generation, and increasing cortisol to dietary impacts of reducing protein syntheses, containing 7cal/g of energy, and interfering with absorption of other nutrients - all of these factors make it clear that alcohol is something to avoid as a strength athlete (or consume in very minimal quantities).  The short term depressant effect, slowing both cognitive ability as well as coordination, and reducing decision making abilities makes it hard to understand how there would be any value in alcohol at all – particularly when it comes to strength sports.Unfortunately for us, much of the research we have access to is incomplete. It looks at the short term and long term effects of alcohol on the body. There is plenty of positive research on minimal to moderate long-term alcohol use and the positive effects on cardiovascular health and free radical scavenging properties – This might be something for us to explore at another time.The exception and interesting thing to note is in the lack of research on the IMMEDIATE effects of low-dose alcohol consumption on the athlete.[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="686"] Why do the snatch balance when you can do the scotch balance?[/caption]The proposed hypothesis is that alcohol used in small and properly timed doses allows for harnessing some of the immediate psychoactive effects...

Cutting Weight - Powerlifting, Strongman, Olympic LiftingBoth powerlifting and strongman often offer 18-24hr weigh-ins prior to the start of the meet. This creates an opportunity for you to plan and manage your weight class with different objectives that cannot be realized when faced with a 2 hour weigh-in.You may wonder why an athlete would wait to the last minute to cut weight instead of having the discipline to slowly diet down to the desired weight class over weeks or in some case months. The answer is simple: Performance. Properly managing your weight ABOVE your weight class can actually improve your performance on meet day. In this short piece I’ll detail the approach I take with the lifters that I coach.In the slowly-dieting-down-to-a weight-class approach there are some negatives that come into play. Let’s take an athlete that’s 10-12lbs over their weight class. At two months out from competition this lifter will begin diet restrictions and slowly get down to their weight class for the meet. Unfortunately this will leave you training at a weight higher than you will be on meet day for majority of your training cycle. Of particular importance is the last 1-4 weeks when you’re finally getting close to your weight class. This is a time for 1) de-loading and 2) handling submaximal weights. These two factors combined give you a false sense of strength and don’t allow you to learn the impact of leverage changes due to weight loss. During the heavy training completed at one month out from competition you’re still quite a bit heavier than you will be on meet day. Additionally, in the last few weeks as you get close to the target weight, heavy lifts are reduced if not all together removed. You won’t get the chance to learn the balance and...

I recently had the pleasure of working with IFBB Pro Amit Sapir as he preps for an all-time world record squat at GPA worlds in a few weeks. Amit had some obstacles to overcome based on his body structure and his past experience as an Olympic lifter. His squat pattern combined with his body structure simply would not allow him to physically hit depth, even with his hamstrings sitting on his calves. I took him all the way down to a 10-inch box but, due to the extreme leg dive and his massive leg size and small knees, he was still squatting high.With only a few days to work together and the meet in only a few weeks, there was no chance of completely rebuilding his squat into a powerlifting squat. We simply couldn’t address every issue.This is the approach I used to improve his squats in just three training sessions over the course of three days. Day 1 Step 1: Assess I watched his current squat pattern from multiple angles, looking at the movement and watching to asses several specific aspects of his movement:What was tight and engaged, what was passive, and what was firing movement Breathing and core stabilization (also tested physically) Natural stance and breathing patterns (what position is he in when standing and breathing normally?) Restrictions due to mobility Stance, foot placement, bar placement, and basic movement patternStep 2: Test With the meet right around the corner I could only make changes that he could retain quickly without spending significant time to ingrain. We tested a number of different things to see what was manageable and to push him to experiment with entirely new patterns and see how he responded...