How Dave Tate Is Setting 90-Pound PRs
As I waited for my flight home, I sat in the airport with my mind completely blown. I spoke to my wife to tell her about my amazing experience and she asked why I sounded so different. I didn’t think I was any different, but even my staff said they knew something had changed when I spoke with them earlier in the day. Now, a month removed from the certification, I know what it was. I finally had a system to test and fix all the physical issues I had ever seen, and man, it feels fucking amazing.
As I waited for my plane, my mind raced at all the issues I had seen over the years and how I could have possibly helped so many people with what I now knew. I needed a subject to test this new found knowledge on. Naturally, the person I know with more issues than anyone got my first text.
My text to Dave said, “I learned some life changing shit this weekend. I got certified in this technique that explains pretty much every lifting injury You and I have had. If you have time this week I’d like to try it with you and see what u think. I’m obviously just learning how to apply it all but I feel like if there would be someone good to try on, you are the person, as you have tried everything for your body to feel better. Let me know.”
I received back “sounds good to me — test tomorrow.”
The best part is that Dave didn’t even ask what it was or what I was going to do to him, he just said, let’s do it tomorrow. After a few texts back and forth, we set up a time on Wednesday for him to come by The Spot Athletics.
Dave was the perfect subject because he has used a lot of MAT (Muscle Activation Therapy), ART, and every other form of alternative treatment known to man. This gave me a great baseline for which to test my new found system up against. He has numerous issues from a replaced hip to torn muscles to a shoulder that needs replaced. All these issues have manifested in what can only be described as, “Dave’s seizure squat.”
For those that don’t know, Dave famously shakes uncontrollably any time around 600 or more pounds are on his back. He has done this for as long as I have known him. It’s scary to watch and even scarier if you are spotting him. I know every therapist in the world has tried to fix “the shake” by using their various methods, but no one has ever changed it. I have had a suspicion about why he shakes for a while but had no way to test my theory or to change what I thought the issue was. Until now, that is.
Wednesday came and Dave showed up for his first experience with what I now know to be the most amazing system for creating changes in the body that I have ever seen. He asked a few questions and I told him about the system that I got certified in. I told him it was created by a cool ass South African surfer dude named Douglas Heel. Douglas has a background in a lot of alternative medicine but basically what he did was take the good stuff, threw away the bullshit, simplified it, and put it into an amazing system. Every certification that I have seen, in the alphabet soup of systems, overcomplicates things with theory and under delivers with results. What I love about Douglas’s system is that he explains it in 5 seconds, “the body needs to breathe and move to be happy”, and it delivers the most amazing results I have ever seen. He has been perfecting the system for over 15 years and although it’s popular in Europe and Africa, not too many people are using it in the US.
Douglas explained his system to me using the same philosophy we use at The Spot Athletics. Our philosophy is that our coaches aren’t what make us great; it’s our clients. The coach is merely a guide for the clients successes. Now obviously the better the guide, the better the success. Ultimately though it’s the client who deserves all the credit, not the coach. I conveyed this to Dave by telling him that I was not going to “fix” his body, but merely guide it to do what it is naturally wants to do anyway: be fucking awesome.
I went on to tell him that we were going to do what I describe as “wake up drills.” The goal is to get the body to “wake up” and work properly so it can perform at it’s highest level. The cool part is that you can do most of the wake up drills on your own and they work pretty well. What I described to Dave was that doing them yourself is like having an alarm clock in the other room. Eventually you will wake up, but it takes a while. When I do the wake up drills on him, I can use a range from alarm clock in his bedroom to kicking him in the face to get him awake. I explained to Dave that just like me kicking him in the face to get him out of bed would be extremely effective, it would hurt quite a bit. I also explained that if I went easier on him, more of the alarm clock in his bedroom, I thought the results would be a little less, but so would any pain. Dave being Dave said “kick me in the fucking face then, I want results.”
What ensued was two hours of me working my ass off to get Dave’s body to wake up. Since I was using “kick you in the face” force and Dave’s body was basically in a coma, he said that it was by far and away the most painful thing he has ever experienced in his life. Understand that this was by Dave’s own choice. I have used these same wake up drills on 73-year-old clients, children, and women. Although it can be uncomfortable at times, it doesn’t need to be painful.
At the end of our experiment, Dave was beat the hell up, bruised in places, and said he was going to have to go home and take a nap cause he was exhausted from the pain. I asked him if he was planning on training that night and he said he had dynamic squats. He was also excited because, for the first time in a long time, he had hit a 10-pound PR in the squat just four days before I saw him. I told him to see how he felt when he trained that night and to call me and let me know.
Quite frankly I didn’t know what would happen from using this system with Dave. I just knew that when he came in I would rate him a 3 out of 10 as far as functioning the way he should. When he left, I felt I had gotten him to a 10 and wanted to see how his body functioned when it was fully awake. The problem was that I didn’t know if he would still be a 10 when he trained later that night. So I gave him some self wake up drills to do before training, just to make sure things were awake.
Dave called me about 9 PM that night and started with, “holy fucking shit.” Honestly I didn’t know if it was a bad or a good holy shit. He then followed it up by saying if he died on his way home he would die the happiest man on earth. He proceeded to tell me that he had done a 90-pound PR over his 10-pound PR from four days ago. I was really confused because a) that was impossible, and b) he had told me he had dynamic squats. I asked him to repeat what he said and instead he went on to tell me that with 700 pounds on his back he didn’t shake one bit. At this point I just thought he was fucking with me. So I asked what he really did. That is when he stated in no uncertain terms that he was 100% serious. So of coarse I asked for the video, because—although I trust Dave with my life—I couldn’t believe he didn’t shake with 700 pounds on his back.
Then our next question was how long can this last. He came to see me the following Wednesday and held about 75% of where we had gotten the previous week. The crazy thing was that he had set PR’s in lifts both of his heavy days before he came to see me and still held up that well.
He left at a 10 and I told him not to push too hard because he was doing things that he had not done in over 10 years. His shoulders, wrists, hips, knees and back were all feeling amazing. So he didn’t listen to me and decided to squat with heavy bands for the first time in years. This unraveled our work, took him back to his level 3 and put his body back into a coma. Normally I would have not liked this but it gave us a chance to really learn how to use the system better. We started using the number scale, which tells me how well he will perform and how likely he is to have an injury, to adjust his workouts. This has been invaluable with Dave and all my own clients as well. Now I give him limits for his training and when he is a 10, he can set 90-pound PRs and when he is an 8, he is only allowed to set 30-pound PRs. Obviously, that isn’t exactly how we use it, but it has proved to be helpful in knowing how hard he can push his training.
My next question was, “is this a freak thing with Dave?” Well, after working with the system for only a month we have two clients at The Spot Athletics who have cancelled surgeries. Not because we told them to, but because they are having zero pain. One was a shoulder issue and the other was a hip issue. The hip issue is a female physical therapist with a torn labrum. She has been doing her best to rehab her hip and so have we, but it has been so painful she had surgery scheduled in two months. She also loves to lift and hasn’t been able to squat in several months. After only 45 minutes of waking her body up, she got up and had no hip pain. I told her to see how it felt over the next few days. Two weeks later she squatted 235 pounds, an all time PR, with no hip pain. She texted me the next day and said, “Yep, no hip pain. Cancelled surgery.”
(Dave's "wake up" work from JL)
The one thing I can’t stop asking myself is, “why the hell did it take me this long to find this stuff?" I had never even heard of it until a friend of mine, who is one of the few experts using it in the US, told me about it six months ago. He had some crazy stories of how much impact he was having on people with it, and although I trusted him, I really couldn’t buy into it being as good as he said. I think that this is possibly why it hasn’t blown up is because it’s so fucking good at getting people results, it’s almost not believable. We are so used to feeling like shit in the US and having our therapy people want to see us three times a week, forever, that it’s hard to believe something could make you so drastically better with only one use. I actually couldn’t even get through Douglas Heel’s videos on his website because I couldn’t believe the things he was showing in the videos. Once I felt them myself, though, my mind was blown.
When my friend told me he was hosting this certification, I signed up because I trusted him, but really didn’t expect much. There is a Level 1 and a Level 2. I signed up to do both levels since I was traveling to do certification anyway. It was $950 for both levels and I figured that if it was half as good as my buddy said, that would be a steal. It ended up costing me a little more than that because I screwed up my flight home and was supposed to leave at 1:30 PM on Sunday. Well, the certification didn’t get over until 5:30 PM on Sunday. I checked on Friday what it would be to change my flight and it was $455, so I didn’t change my flight. I figured I wouldn’t miss much in a few hours on the second day of the certification. Well, by lunch on Saturday, day one of the certification, I got online and paid the $455 to change my flight. My mind was already so enthralled at what I was learning, I couldn’t miss one minute of this information.
Looking back at the impact I have been able to have on Dave and all our other clients at The Spot Athletics, I would easily pay $20,000 for this information. Really, if someone could guarantee the things I have seen happen with this, I would pay $50,000. It has been so powerful we have changed our warmups and how we have addressed common issues we see. The performance benefits for our clients have been priceless. In fact, I have had an issue for 10 years with my knee that I have spent many thousands of dollars to change with no avail. I spent 15 minutes using this system and fixed it.
I waited to write this article because I actually couldn’t believe the results that we were getting with Dave. Now, a month in and after repeating them with many people, I know it’s for real. I have written for elitefts.com since 2002, and would never want to tell readers something that I didn’t know for 100% certainty. When I left the certification I told Douglas that his system has had the biggest impact on my thought process about strength since finding Westside Barbell. Now, I will say it will undoubtably be a bigger impact on my coaching than I even received from Westside Barbell. Understand for those that don’t know me, I left a job at the University of Kentucky, moved to Columbus in a two-door Grand Am, lived on a couch and drove around escorts to be able to train at Westside Barbell.
After I saw the results with Dave, I called my friend to see if we could do a certification at The Spot Athletics for my staff. I pride myself on having one of the most educated staffs in the world and couldn’t wait to have them all learn this system. Luckily he is from Ohio and had a trip planned here already. So we set up a certification for my staff on July 30 and 31. Now, after many people asking, and after realizing that this is information everyone needs to have, we have opened it up to more than my staff. We have a few spots left and are bringing in the other expert to accommodate more people. I am not making any money off of this certification, neither is elitefts.com, but we are merely providing a platform for more people who want to be the best in their field to learn this amazing system. If you are interested in taking this certification on Saturday and Sunday July 30-31 then you can email The Spot Athletics at admin@TheSpotAthletics. If there are spots left we will give you the information to sign up.
I expect that everyone reading this will be super skeptical of what I have said, and I understand that because so was I. Whether you believe what I am saying about this or not, I don’t care. What I do care about is that one of my best friends has said 10,000 times he would never do another powerlifting meet because he is too beat up and physically unable. Now, after a month of helping him, he has actually talked to me about doing another meet. This is the greatest gift I could ever give him and fills me with so much joy I cannot describe. To be able to give someone who has helped and mentored me more than anyone such a priceless gift is something only few people in this world will understand. To me, if that is the only thing I ever accomplish with this system, it will still be the most valuable thing I’ve ever learned.