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I recently had the opportunity to speak with Brett McKay of the Art Of Manliness.  If your not familiar with this site your missing a great thing.  This site is full of articles and podcast for ALL THINGS manly related with a lot of great info on important topics that have been lost in the last few generations.The breadth of topics is awesome and always engaging and interesting.  Primary categories include Dress & Grooming, Health & Sports, Manly Skills, Manly Skills, Money & Career, Relationship & Family, and a Man's life.  Don't take my word for it, just click on the link and scroll through a few articles and you will find something that catches your interest.  It is a great resource for all men and highly entertaining in a good way.Besides posting manly topics to help curtail the emasculation of men in todays society Brett is also a lifter as well.  So I couldn't turn away his request for an interview and podcast.  And as I expected it was a great time and I hope you enjoy it as well.  Now if only Brett and my other favorite author on Masculinity would have Squat off...

Article originally posted on EliteFTS.com The author is Brandon Senn who is a trainer and member of our Coaching Team at my gym Elite Performance Center.  I have worked with Brandon for a number of years and you may find him featured in some of my coaching videos as well.   Louie Simmons has been without a doubt one of the most iconic (and at times controversial) figures in the strength world over the last 20 years. Louie’s gym (Westside Barbell) has become what many people identify as the conjugate system. Westside may be synonyms with max effort, dynamic effort, repetition effort and a whole host of other special methods but is that what really makes up the conjugate system of training? Should the conjugate system and the conjugate method be used interchangeably and is Westside conjugate and Russian conjugate comparable? If you believe that the conjugate system was meant to revolve around accommodating resistance (bands/chains), a weekly micro cycle of max effort, dynamic effort, and the occasional repetition effort methods this is something you need to read. The Birth of The Russian Conjugate System The original conjugate system (referred to then as the coupled sequence system, CSS) was originally developed under the Dynamo umbrella of the Soviet Union in the late 60’s-early 70’s. From a macro view the CSS is a systematic development tool used to organize multi-year training. At that time for the Soviet Union that meant entering youth athletes into schools of physical preparation with the objective of identifying and developing those athletes who had potential through their careers to compete at national, and international levels. By taking a multi-year approach to training, these schools were able to thoroughly develop a general foundation of trainability general physical preparation (*spoiler alert* they didn’t sprint with a prowler until they puked to do this) and prime the adaptive response for future specific physical preparation (SPP) and intensive unidirectional loads.For youth athletes the physical preparation schools served as a...

 I have recently decided to exit my career of 18 years advancing from engineering to executive level leadership the last 8 years.  This move has been in the works a long time but its taken a lot of work to be prepared for the transition. It is a scary move leaving the comfort of a career I have excelled at and am known for my success. However I’ve reached a point in my life that I need to follow my passion and my dreams full time. I now have the opportunity to spend more time collaborating, learning, distilling, and sharing that knowledge.My goal is to add value while continuously improving my relationship with the Strength and Conditioning Community by providing proprietary tools and knowledge designed to optimize physical and psychological human potential.I am excited about that and making this change is worthy of an epic party to celebrate.Of course my idea of a party is different than what most people would imagine. So before engaging in beer, booze, and food I’m going to push myself to my physical and mental limits while attempting to set records.I’m going to be doing a 500lb squat for reps challenge. If I hit 19 reps in 60 seconds it will break the Guinness World record for best squat in a minute. If I hit 24 reps it beats an unlisted record form the 80’s when Tom Platz and Fred Hatfield went head to head for reps with 500lbs.This will be done walked out and with only knee sleeves and belt.Here is the link and embedded page for the live stream event!!! Please share this post around!May 6th @ 3:30 pm PST https://youtu.be/uONcEvbIwfI  https://youtu.be/uONcEvbIwfIIn the interim here is a video to get you pumped up about the event.https://youtu.be/yZIq1tFIKUg...

I had big goals going into the meet this last weekend. I was feeling really good for retaking the 220 squat record and making a run and bumping up the total record significantly. My weight was the lowest it had been in years going into the meet so I wasn’t worried about the weight cut and new I would be in better shape than I was used to.However I was also pumped about helping my partner at EPC pull off a 97 person meet in record time. I pride myself in well run meets and was also looking to step up the ‘stage presence’ for our lifters. The week was busy and stressful at work and I took all my deload days and then some working late at the gym prepping for the meet. Building a steel framed 16x14 platform, automating my monolift, setting up software to manage the timing.Thursday night I picked up Amit Sapir from the airport who had talked me into letting him do the meet despite not being fully prepped. I took Amit with me on Friday after weigh ins as I ran around town all day doing prep errands for the meet and listening to him say, “what are you doing! Your supposed to be relaxing!”.I ended up passing out on the carpet in my sons room that evening and then waking up later and staying up till past midnight finalizing the flights and meet, results sheet, and meet software. Then instead of sleeping in I was up early running to the meet to finalize a bunch of prep and help train the table help. I tried to get a nap on the floor of my office but didn’t fall asleep but after the rest was feeling refreshed. It wasn’t till warm-ups I realized just...

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...