13 Products for a Mashed-Up Meathead

TAGS: toast liniment, tommy kono waist band, metal elbow sleeves, rehband knee sleeves, neoprene shorts, american press bar, metal powerlifting shoe, Christmas gift ideas, Mashed Up Meathead Gym List, gym equipment, shoulder saver pad, train, ss yoke bar, belt, hard, straps, bands, powerlifting, dave tate


First, we need to define what a mashed up meathead is. This is any lifter who's been training hard for over two decades and has accumulated a lot of wear and tear on the joints. In other words, this person may or may not have had several surgeries throughout their training career, but there's no doubt that their joints are arthritic, they have bone spurs, lack of range of motion, and bone-on-bone contact around certain joints.

A lot of times with these people, because of the fact that there's so much arthritis and the joints are bone-on-bone, a lot of the typically recommended mobility-type work and stretching will not make them better. It will actually make them worse, creating more wear and tear, and more grinding of the bone against the bone. This will expedite the process of needing some type of joint replacement, resurfacing, or some other surgery in the future.

With that being stated, the simple way to say this is that a mashed up meathead is somebody that's been training hard for a very long time and is all fucked up. These lifters are also lifters who don't have any competitive aspirations in regards to any strength sports. Their time in the sports are over. They just want to train.

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They want to train hard, and not do any more damage than they've already done, but still be able to train with the intensity and the effort that they always have. I am a mashed up meathead. When I look through the elitefts products and the products that we provide on the site, there are several that stand in mind that, without the use of these products, I may not be able to train. I definitely would not be able to train the way that you see in my training log now.

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1. SS Yoke Bar

First on this list of products is the SS Yoke Bar. Because of my shoulder, I cannot grab a regular straight bar, meaning I cannot squat. I can't pull the squat bar on my back. Front squat harnesses have always just felt like shit. I haven't been able to do anything with any harness that's ever been manufactured that feels even halfway close to what a front squat would feel like.

I also can't do front squats because of the pressure that it puts onto the shoulder joint capsule. For heavy squat-like movements I'm limited to the SS Yoke Bar and the Spider Bar, which is essentially a yoke bar, or a yoke to put on a camber squat bar. By and large, the SS Yoke Bar is the go-to bar when it comes to squats.

Your shoulders are taken out of the movement because you're grabbing handles. The rest of the squat is basically all the same. The bar is in a higher position so you're not getting the stress on the cervical spine that you typically would with a high bar, or even a low bar position.

2. Shoulder Saver Pad

The next item on the list is the Shoulder Saver Pad. This pad was created out of necessity, because I cannot bench any barbell to my chest with a regular grip. We started with the Shoulder Saver Bar. I used that for a year and a half time period when we were developing the Shoulder Saver Pad to the specs and the feel that I was looking for.

The Shoulder Saver Pad snaps onto the bar and stops you before the bar hits your chest, similar to a board press. It has a curved structure, that way it doesn't have any likelihood of tipping or tilting, or even moving around if you ever throw it off base.

This pad allows me to do any type of barbell press, albeit incline, flat, reverse band press, slow press, incline press, smith machine press — it really doesn't matter. The pad has been a godsend for me.

3. American Press Bar

Another bar that's been extremely beneficial is the American Press Bar, which has multiple neutral grips. With a neutral grip in the right position—I can't do it with the furthest out position—I can touch my chest. I do use that bar for a lot of the press. I wouldn't put it up there and say it's a necessity as I would the Shoulder Saver Pad, but it definitely is a bar that's nice to have because of all the different options you have.

4. Neoprene Shorts

To the best of my knowledge these are essentially just diving shorts. I wear these every leg training session I do. If I happen to dead lift, I will wear them when I dead lift. You can think of it as being a knee sleeve, or an elbow sleeve on your hips.

I started wearing these before my hip replacement for the warmth and the comfort. They don't provide any stability, so forget about that. It's more just the warmth and comfort of the joint, which does make a difference.

5. Rehband Knee Sleeves

Next up, knee sleeves. I've gone through and tried every type of knee sleeve there is, and every type of knee sleeve that we sell. I'm not interested in knee sleeves that are going to give me a 60-pound carry-over, or 80-pound carry-over that I hear people can get out of some sleeves. I don't want to deal with that shit. I don't want to deal with having to get a lat pump to pull my knee sleeves on.

All I'm concerned about is keeping the joint warm, and what I've found works best, and is the most comfortable, and the easiest to use are the blue Rehband knee sleeves. When I use the knee sleeves, I do not use them on every set throughout the entire leg training session. I keep them pulled down around my calves until I get to my top one or two sets, or any working set that I think is going to be hard.

I also wear them about one size bigger than what most people would, so they do slip down on me a lot. The only thing I'm concerned about with this is, again, the warmth. I do not want the knee sleeve to provide any stability. I don't want anything to provide any stability at this point in my training except my tendons, muscles, and ligaments the way that they're supposed to.


I've tried other knee sleeves that are too tight. They give a little bit too much support. Some don't give enough support. It's just personal preference. Let's put it this way: if I don't have the blue Rehband knee sleeves, and I grab a pair of the Eleikos, or a pair of the Metals, it doesn't make that much difference to me, because I am not wearing these things so damned tight to try to get any type of carry-over.

6. Metal Elbow Sleeves

I have found on this one the elbow sleeves that I like the best are the Metal elbow sleeves. I don't know if it's because of the length or the feel, but I like them better. Once again they're worn for the comfort, not for the stability, and not to be able to press more weight.

The other elbow sleeves that I've tried over the years all feel pretty good for about three or four months and then they start to break down. I usually wear elbow sleeves on a pressing day and keep them on the whole time. I don't pull them up and down. I typically will not use them at all for any type of bar work and rarely will use them for lat work unless I do feel that there's a little something going on with the bicep tendon.

7. Straps

For the straps, I really don't care what I use. We sell a large variety of straps. It's not like I'm going to be trying to pull 900 pounds or anything like that, so I just grab whatever is closet to me. One of the exercises that I really like to do that's super intense is high rep deadlifts with chains. If I'm going to do that, I'm not even going to bother with the straps, I'm going to use the hauling hooks, which is just a wrist strap with a hook on it. That way you don't need to worry about even holding it at all. It takes some getting used to, there's not doubt about that. But when you're trying to just go balls out and do as many reps as you possibly can, you can't beat them, because you're completely taking the grip out of it. If you're doing this for as many reps as you can, you're not doing it for grip strength.

8. Flat Shoes

Just wear a flat-soled shoe. I used to wear the Metal squat shoes, and I ended up giving them away to somebody, and then fell into a great deal on a pair of Jordan boxing shoes. I've been wearing those for the past three or four years. They're still holding up fine.

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I'm not really a shoe whore when it comes to training. I'm either going to wear the flat soled shoes, which is unlike any of the other days that I train, when I pretty much wear whatever I have on.

9. Bands

This includes both the floss bands, and the average bands, or strong bands depending on what I want to do. I will use the bands to do some reverse band work. Maybe the reverse band Yoke Bar squat, or a reverse band barbell bench with the Shoulder Saver Pad. I'm listing the bands here because I'm using them more for distraction work to open the joint.

We have articles and videos already on the site demonstrating and showing how to do a lot of these different movements. I just recently started playing around with the floss bands to see if they're really going to work any different than ice. The verdict's still out on that, but it's nice to have in the gym especially if you're just getting ready to train and something's kind of bothering you a little bit.

It's faster than ice. You just wrap it up, cut the circulation off to some degree, move the joint around, pull it off, and you're good to go. I also like the light bands for ankling, which I should do a lot more than I do, because keeping that ankle flexibility is extremely important. It's through your foot and through your ankle where you begin to absorb the shock of when you walk, or even when you're lifting in the gym.

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If you don't have added flexibility throughout the ankle and calf, that absorption of force, that shock, isn't going to be able to happen where it's supposed to happen, within the foot, the ankle, the calf, and that area. It's just going to radiate up into the hip, lower back, and in the spine.

This is not to say that your foot is doing all the absorption, or should do all the absorption. But when it does none of the absorption, you begin to see other issues pop up. Something very simple as ankling with bands can make such a tremendous difference.

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10. Hoodies and Hats

I've got a bald head and I sweat. One thing that I can't stand is sweat rolling down my face and running in my eyes, so I'm either going to wear a baseball hat, a winter hat, or a sweatshirt with the hood up just to keep the sweat from running down my fucking face and driving me crazy.

In that regards, it really doesn't matter what the hat is, what the hoodie is. As long as it absorbs the sweat, it's good with me.

11. Belt

I do not wear the belt for everything. I wear the belt any type of deadlift or squat, because that's just how I've been conditioned and trained to lift in those movements. The only other time that I'm going to wear a belt is if my back is feeling funky.

That could be for every exercise of the day or for small simple exercise lie a dumbbell row where my back is twisting a little bit, and I don't like the way it's feeling on my lower back.

12. Tommy Kono Waist Band

I don't use this for the reasons people think I do. People think I'm wearing it to try to lose inches off my waist, which is a bunch of bullshit. A product is not going to do that. I will wear this on exercises where my back is going to be vulnerable. Once again, the squat and the deadlift would be two examples of this.

I will put that on first, and then my shirt, hoodie, whatever else I have, then my belt over the top. This is another thing that I will not wear for the entire session. I only wear it for the warmth of the spine.

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13. Toast Liniment

I've been asking myself the same question since the first time I put on Icy Hot when I was in high school: does this shit work? I have no idea if this shit even does anything or not, but I like the feel of the Screaming Toast, because it's hot, so I will use that on my hip, the one that isn't replaced, but may soon to be replaced, on leg day.

I usually use it the most on my bicep tendon, and shoulders. That could be on pretty much every training day except leg day. In the summertime I'll switch it up. I'll use the elitefts Arctic Sports Balm, because I don't want that super heat type of feeling when the gym's already blistering hot to being with. Once again, I have no idea if this stuff even does anything, but it does help me feel better in my head and that's all that matters.

I'm sure I'm probably forgetting a few things. You can always check through my training log to see what products I'm using and what products I'm not. You can see what's going on. I don't list the things like the neoprene shorts, and knee sleeves, and shit like that in my log. I just assume that if it's a squat or leg day, those things are being utilized. Same thing with the elbow sleeves.

When I have a mashed up meathead come to visit or come in for a mentorship and wants to train, I usually stick something on them, because they're fucked up, too, and I don't want anybody to train with any type of unnecessary pain. If there's a way to take the edge off, they should — as long as they understand that taking the edge off does not mean that you can go heavier.


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