An Open Letter to EliteFTS

TAGS: Elitefts Legacy Log, Elitefts Info Pages

My name is Ron Connelly. I am not a professional powerlifter or super athlete. I’m just a guy who wants to get stronger and healthier. I’m the ‘average guy’ who lifts in his home gym and competes only with his own personal demons. I was never an athlete in school. In fact, I looked like a twelve year old girl my senior year. When I was nineteen I became heavily involved in the martial arts; found I was a natural and soon became one of the better fighters in the studio. However, there was a problem. At 5’7” I weighed only about 140 pounds. I found I could hit my opponent anytime I wanted, but lacking in strength and bodyweight, I didn’t do a whole lot of damage.

I toyed around with weight training but didn’t really know what I was doing. In 1997, I started working out with a friend of mine and during the next two years tried several different methods ranging from Bill Phillips bodybuilding methods to Paval’s 5x5 methods. Nothing seemed to work for me. I also found myself unable to squat due to knee pain. Then my partner chanced upon an article about Louie Simmons and Westside and through his research found Elitefts.com.

We decided to give the ‘Westside way’ a try, as nothing else seemed to work. I cannot begin to tell you how helpful Elite’s website was and still is. The majority of the other methods we tried required us to purchase a book or video in order to learn the concepts of that particular method. This wasn’t the case with Elite. Everything was on the website. The articles were great but the Q&A section … I have yet to find its equal. Everything you need to know, from starting out to achieving elite status, is right there; and if it isn’t, you can ask. We were able to develop our own program, learn not only what to do but more importantly why to do it, and had access to help if we needed it … All this from the Q&A.

Now we were ready to train, but I was still pretty skeptical about some of the ideas. I wasn’t a ‘powerlifter’ and had no desire to compete, so I wasn’t sure exactly how this method was going to work for me. We decided to follow the basic format of four days per week; two days of max effort and two days of dynamic effort. One of the first things I noticed was how well box squatting worked. Although I was extremely weak, there was no pain whatsoever. I also really enjoyed the many different options for max effort exercises. I tend to get bored easily and hate doing the same thing over and over. In no time at all, my partner and I were seeing results. We liked what we were doing so much we started purchasing videos to quench our growing thirst for knowledge. The more we learned, the stronger we got, which led us to wanting more.

To share with you what has happened over the past six years for me personally, I went from about 140 pounds to 200-give or take a few. I have read that some believe you need to be ‘chemically enhanced’ to make the Westside/Elite workouts effective. This is a load of crap. My partner and I are natural lifters. We don’t even eat as well or as much as we should and I still gained 60 pounds. Before starting this regimen, my back hurt all of the time. I was seeing chiropractors, receiving acupuncture and doing anything and everything to stop the pain. This has all gone away. I have developed a back and, as my workout partner and his wife say, I now have an ass. The results are evident in my lifts too. When I first started lifting I benched about 225 and never squatted or deadlifted…EVER. Now I bench 345, squat 500 and deadlift 505. Now by powerlifting standards this is not that great, but it is fantastic for what I do.

What is really cool about the Westside/Elite way is that it can be adapted to each person’s individual needs. I have had the opportunity to share the Westside/Elite philosophy and methods with other people - none of whom desired to be a powerlifter, but all of whom were able to use the ideas and techniques to improve fitness levels and strength. There are two particular people whose stories I would like to share. One is a seventeen year old high school basketball player who trained with me for a couple of years. His problem was, his skills were very good, but he was too skinny and was getting over-powered on the court by the bigger guys. He only lifted two times per week, yet in a short time gained 25 pounds and became quite powerful. We had to tweak the workouts for him but he still did the basic concepts and movements. The other was a woman in her 50’s whose only exercise was from regularly playing tennis. I began by explaining some basic Westside/Elite concepts, and then introduced her to the bands and the reverse hyper. The results were amazing. She went from not being able to do ten reps of band good mornings with the mini band, to doing twenty reps with two heavy (blue) bands! She told me her tennis game had improved from the strength gains she was making and how much better she felt. She liked what I shared with her so much; she wound up buying her own hyper and the entire set of bands.

It is easy to see that anyone can tailor these ideas and utilize the equipment for their own personal needs and goals. Speaking of equipment, all I can say is WOW. The first piece of equipment we bought was the reverse hyper. Since then we have purchased vests, books, videos, bars, rack, chest supported row, GHR and several other things. First off, the customer service is great. Dave and his staff answer questions and even take the time to ask how things are going. Second, the quality of the equipment is top notch! Every piece of exercise equipment we have purchased from Elite is so high in quality that it will outlive us. What blows my mind even more is the low price. I have got to share this story. My workout partner had a GHR that he had purchased from a local company. He paid about $650 for it so there was quite the hesitation to buy one from Elite. We read articles about how the pad should be positioned and why Elite’s is superior, but we had one and really couldn’t justify getting another. Finally, my partner decided to go ahead and make the purchase. At the time I think he paid just over $700, and I wish I had a picture of the difference, because no words can describe it. The closest I can come is to tell you to imagine going from a Yugo to a Lexus! The design, craftsmanship, the whole thing was so superior I couldn’t believe it.

Elitefts has really had an impact on my life and those around me. Although I am not an elite lifter, I still am treated with elite service and get all of the perks that the elite athlete gets. If you’re reading this and haven’t experienced what Eiltefts has to offer, or if you know someone looking for a place to learn the concepts of becoming stronger and healthier, I urge you to give them a chance. You don’t have to know anything about lifting; you only need the desire to learn and the willingness to improve yourself.

Ron Connelly CHA, OMC

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