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Explode Your Deadlift

Six packs, big biceps, and big benches don’t impress me. I can walk into any gym and find plenty of guys pushing some serious weight with a big upper body. Not that I go into gyms looking for swole dudes benching, but you get my point.

What really impresses me is a thick, muscular posterior chain. I’m talking traps, rhomboids, lats, glutes, hamstrings and the like. This tells me they’ve put some serious time in the weight room and probably trained to have a big deadlift.

And you know how I feel about deadlifts.

explosive deadlifts
PhotoCredit: http://www.psdeluxe.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/animals_smile/little_creature_puts_a_smile.jpg

Anyways, this leads me to my latest article published on T-Nation, Explode Your Deadlift. I’ve built a solid deadlift of over 500lbs and this routine helped me get there. More than that, this is the exact plan I used with State Champion Power Lifter Raven Cepeda to pull 683lbs in his last meet.

A few things to keep in mind when reading the article

-A few things to consider with assistance work and exercise selection: Biomechanically lever arms and torso to limb lengths must be taken into account when selecting assistance exercises. Conventional deadlifts require a greater range of motion and begin the pull with greater hip flexion, creating a higher demand for lower back strength. In this case good mornings and reverse hypers would be a phenomenal exercise choice. Conversely, sumo deadlifters pull from a more upright posture and avoid higher lumbar loads that are associated with horizontally included postures. Front squats and squats from the pins are a great option to match the biomechanical needs of sumo deadlifts.

– Don’t try to match the box jump numbers in the program. The height isn’t important; rather, fully extending the hips and landing flush on the box.

This serves as a great template for intermediate and advanced lifters. Unless you’re fairly experienced in the lift it’s best to avoid a program this strenuous.

But enough of that, check it out and drop me some feedback!

<< Explode Your Deadlift >>

Strong. Shredded. Athletic.


Creatine: What’s the Deal?

Hey guys, i’ve got some exciting stuff today. I reached out to one of my idols in the Fitness industry Tony Gentilcore a few weeks ago to write a guest post. I anxiously waited around my email, checking constantly and drinking vodka to pass the time– okay, not really vodka– until I got a response. Tony was a very down-to earth dude and was thankful to have my contributions.
I was pretty jacked, I might have even peed a little. Okay, joking again, that’s weird.

Anyways, I’d really appreciate it if you would head over to his site and check out the post and drop me a comment.

Ready? See you there.

Creatine: What’s the Deal?

Creatine. We’ve all heard about it, but what’s the deal? I get boat-loads of questions regarding the safety and effectiveness of creatine.

Does it make me look better naked? What are these crazy ethyl-ester pills and shiny Pre-workout jugs promising a Skin Searing Pump?

With all the products and information it’s no wonder there are questions.  I’m going to dig in and tell you what creatine is, how to use it, and what to expect.


Creatine Monohydate
Creatine Monohydrate

What is it?

Creatine is a natural amino acid most commonly found in red meat,but also produced in the liver, kidneys, and pancreas. In the body creatine becomes a fuel source for short duration high-intensity activities such as weight training, sprinting and jumping where phosphocreatine is converted to ATP.

The amount of creatine consumed through the diet and produced naturally in the body are low; supplementation increases available levels.

Continue Here… Creatine: What’s the Deal?



Strong. Shredded. Athletic.




Train like an Athlete

It’s 9 pm on Tuesday night. Over the last 2 hours you’ve been sipping your glass on water, scanning curiously over the latest workouts on various exercise websites. Each workout is markedly different. Athlete, bodybuilder, powerlifter…huh?

One site caters to bodybuilders, one site markets to powerlifters, one site markets to those people just looking to “Lose 10 pounds Fast!”, and one site aiming to help athletes reach their next level of competition.
Which should you listen too? When in doubt, train like an athlete.


When an athlete trains, the focus is not on aesthetics, rather, on improving performance through increasing strength, speed, (or any other movement quality) and setting personal records (positive goal-setting).

So while maintaining a certain aesthetic look isn’t an athletes top priority, it’s often a nice by-product of training with a purpose.

(For Proof, just Check out “The Body” edition of ESPN the Magazine.)

Here are 5 fantastic reasons why you should begin training like an athlete when you are due for an exercise program change.

1.) Improved athletic Performance.

I know that everyone reading this likes seeing weights go up. Building ansolute strength is awesome and improves nearly all other trainable qualities.

But why not add some power into the mix?

Olympic lifts, sprints, medicine ball throws, and jumps are all great ways to incorporate power training directly into your program. Everyone can benefit from having some more POP.

If playing your sport or activity entails any of the following actions, incorporating explosive based exercises will improve your performance.

Explosive Movements: sprinting, swinging,  jumping, cutting, juking, bounding,  spinning, diving,  hopping, kicking, pushing, punching, throwing, hitting, slapping.

This includes most sports under the sun, and most of these movements are a blast to perform. Baseball, basketball, football, soccer, lacrosse, diving, hockey, martial arts, wrestling, track & field, weight lifting, hockey and even polo all uses these explosive movements.

In addition, research continues to build that fast twitch muscle fibers will transition to more slow twitch (less explosive) with aging if they are not trained in an explosive manor  (Sayers 62-67.) This is a contributing factor in sarcopenia (muscle loss), and a higher incidence of falls…Yikes!

It’s perfectly normal to focus on spending the majority of your time more jacked, but take 3-4 months every year and dedicate some time to athletic development, its fun and vital for longevity.

Don’t wait until you have grey pubes, you’ll thank me later!

2.) You become versatile

Sure, it’s a blast being able to rip 500 lb deadlifts, but not to the detriment of being able to sprint, jump, or having decent mobility.

What do you think of when you think of the best athletes? I think of athletes that can sprint, turn on a dime, be explosive, and maneuver their bodies in unfathomable ways.

As a Packers fan it pains me to say this, but I think of Adrian Peterson. Whether AP is cutting, juking, sprinting, or running over you his varied skill set makes him impossible to stop.

Now, without saying that you will have the same skill set as Adrian Peterson, you should notice a drastic performance increase  in your flag football league  play  while also reducing your risk of injury. Bring on the braggin’ rights!


3.) Improved Conditioning

I must admit, I have a strong distaste for conditioning work.

But, Knowing that it’s a necessary evil, I’ve found ways to make it both fun and achievable.


Like training for strength, fat loss, or muscle gain you must plan it out. Having a game plan and well planned routine leads to better results every time.

“The best workout routine is the one you will follow.”

Plain and simple, if you don’t write things down you won’t do them. Start planning out conditioning work as you would any other workout program. Mix in high intensity, low volume programs and low intensity, higher volume programs. Be creative with sprints, back pedals, shuffles, and other dynamic drills to provide a well rounded training stimulus.

It’s almost too easy. Program your conditioning work just like your strength training routines and see your results skyrocket.

4.) Super-Compensation

Most of us get stuck in a rut, constantly training for the same variable. Whether you’re training to carry atlas stones, pick up barbells, look good naked, or run triathlons, super-compensation will apply to you.

What is Supercompensation? Essentially, supercompensation is an improved work capacity following a training period.

So, if you’ve been lifting heavy, heavy, heavy for months maybe it’s time to take  a few weeks off.

De-load the body from your current training stimulus and incorporate more explosive movements, single leg movements, and conditioning for a short period. When you return to your primary training style you’ll have a well rounded movement foundation, better movement patterns, and be fresher.

You may have a temporary decrease in strength, but that is short-lived. With improved mobility, stability, and conditioning you will be crankin’ big weights in no time.

5.) fewer Imbalance Injuries

Most trainees get stuck in the rut of training the same way…. over, and over again. This often leads to overuse injuries. Incorporating more three dimensional movement, such as lateral lunges and rotational throws, will activate poorly activated muscle groups and improve movement quality.

Less aches and pains, feeling refreshed, and more enjoyment with training?

Hell yeah, I’m in!

Wrap Up

Training like an athlete provides the necessary variety to improve your overall physique, health, and athletic performance. Incorporate a variety of explosive, single leg, and multi-directional movements to spark your training up a notch.

This is my encouragement to you. If you’re searching for a fresh, positive view on your approach to training, remember to train like an athlete.


Sayers, SP. “High velocity power training in older adults..”Current Aging Science Journal. 1.1 62-67. Print. <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20021374>.

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/mharrsch/8330173857/”>mharrsch</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/”>cc</a>

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/xoque/4247473538/”>xoque</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/”>cc</a>

Activity Specific Warm Ups

Today I had my first officially published article through ACE Fitness, one of the most well respected fitness organizations around. BOOOOOOOOOOOYAHHH! So first, thanks for reading and your support of my blog, as feedback I receive is vital to improving myself as a trainer and writer.

But Anyways, this is an article I put quite a bit of effort into researching, writing, editing, and developing as I see it as a very under-utilized and lack luster piece of most programs.

Activity specific warm ups are important!  They safely prepare the body for activity, rev up the nervous system, and get you mentally in-tune to destroy your next training session. Whether you’re an elite athlete or someone just starting a fitness routine having a planned warm up is vital to having your best quality workout and staying injury free. Without further ado check out the link below and please let me know what you think.

Thanks for your support!


Specific Forms of Muscular Strength in Athletes- Explosive Strength

Different physical activities require different physiological capabilities. When looking from a sports performance aspect, the body will react positively to any new stimulus in the initial stages.

However, for future advances in strength and performance, adaption becomes much more specialized to the unique physiological demands of the sport. Depending upon the sport and level of mastery the need for specific forms of muscular strength becomes more apparent as the level of competition increases.

For example, as a high school football player a defensive tackle (A) has a full back squat max of 450 lbs, very respectable regardless of size.

This back squat represents maximum strength, or the athletes’ ability to exert maximal isometric muscular force without a time limit. This same athlete does a phenomenal job and is invited to an All Star game with other skilled High School athletes. When lining up and going head to head with another player, the same athlete faces an opponent (B) with a 400 maximum squat, but is much quicker at the snap of the ball. Although athlete A may display a greater maximum strength, as the level of competition increases so does the need for explosive strength, the ability to produce maximal force in a minimal time as displayed by player B.

Explosive strength is the ability to produce maximal force in minimal time. It is very important for the development of power.

Power (P) =Force (F) x Velocity (V)

Well, okay, I don’t play Football, so why do I care about explosive strength and power?

Explosive strength and power are very important to athletes who need to develop force in a short amount of time. This includes activities such as sprinting, cutting, juking, hitting, throwing, swinging, kicking, evading, hoping, and diving. Even at the end of a race a marathon runner sprints to the finish line and can greatly benefit from power training.

Explosive/power training allows for better recruitment of type II fast-twitch muscle fibers, which are built for high force activities, muscular hypertrophy, and allow better recruitment and control of muscles. Explosive training that activates type II muscle fibers is very beneficial for aging populations and the battle against sarcopenia (muscle loss).

How Can I incorporate explosive strength training/power training into my workouts?

Ideally, power training should be performed either before a strength session or as its own session completely. The biggest thing I preach to my athletes and clients is to lift everything explosively because if you are not generating the most muscular force and speed on a movement, you are not training that quality to its full extent. Warming up with the 45lb bar on your bench press? Cool, still perform each rep as if it were a max-out attempt.

Great tools to incorporate into your training after a warm up would be medicine ball throws, body weight plyometrics (jump variations, plyo push ups), Olympic lifts (find a qualified coach such as yours truly), and/or dynamic effort training days (power/strength movements w/20-60% 1RM) with maximal speed.

Training explosive strength is vitally important for athletes, but all populations can benefit. Whether you are trying to dunk a basketball, play a professional sport, or prevent muscle loss with aging, explosive strength training/power training should play a vital role in your fitness regimen.


Verkhoshansky, Yuri, and Mel Siff. SuperTraining. 6. Rome: Verkhoshansky, 2009. 19,107. Print.

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