Making the Max Effort Easy
Making the Max Effort Easy
There are a ton of questions on how to work up to a 1RM on max effort day. While many lifters don’t use percentages, it certainly makes it easier on coaches and novices on how to pick attempts. Since many people who are new to doing these movements are not familiar with their maxes, use the following to help guide you.
15-Week Peak Program Using RPE
15-Week Peak Program Using RPE
RPE training is great at helping you learn about your body on a daily level and what you can and cannot handle. Plus, you don't have to worry about percentages, which is a bonus if you're a powerlifter who isn't all about doing extra math.
A Conjugate-Triphasic Program for a PR Squat
A Conjugate-Triphasic Program for a PR Squat
It's hard to argue that triphasic training produces results. But what happens when you combine triphasic and conjugate training methods? I decided to find out with an experiment and apply it to my squat. The result: I added more than 50 pounds to my squat in 4 months.
WATCH: Joe Sullivan's Knee Wrap Tutorial for Raw Lifters
WATCH: Joe Sullivan's Knee Wrap Tutorial for Raw Lifters
Wrapping someone else's knees might seem easy, but when it comes to being a self-wrapper, that's another story. Luckily Joe Sullivan's familiar with being a self-wrapper, so he'll show you the ropes — and how to better wrap your training partner's knees.
LISTEN: Table Talk Podcast Clip — Chuck Vogelpohl Made Dave Quit After 45 Sets
LISTEN: Table Talk Podcast Clip — Chuck Vogelpohl Made Dave Quit After 4...
There are two kinds of athletes: the ones that love to win and the ones that hate to lose. The athletes who hate losing are the ones you should be afraid of. Dave Tate learned that the hard way when challenging Chuck Vogelpohl at Westside.
Chad vs. The World: Widening My Tunnel Vision
Chad vs. The World: Widening My Tunnel Vision
It is tough to look back with a clear open mind to see from a different perspective. It is with a clear open mind that I was able to see I did it wrong — and it's not just in terms of my powerlifting career, but my life as whole.
The Best Laid Plans of Mice and Men
The Best Laid Plans of Mice and Men
I think that sometimes-spontaneous people, those that fly by the seat of their pants, are better off than those who plan everything. It is my considered opinion that those who can alter or adopt a new one in the face of adversity or changed circumstances are the ones who succeed in anything.
The Biggest Pitfalls of Powerlifting
The Biggest Pitfalls of Powerlifting
Think about all of the things you would never miss a training session for, and then think of all of the things you missed with your family due to those sessions. Those memories you missed out on are only a fraction of the pitfalls you'll face in powerlifting.
How to Get Through a Near Career-Ending Injury
How to Get Through a Near Career-Ending Injury
It's said a person is only one injury away from ending your sports career. When dealing with that kind of injury, we often neglect how it affects our minds, which are almost just as easy to break as our bodies.
Chad vs. The World: An Old Soul
Chad vs. The World: An Old Soul
I'm a little behind for writing about my thoughts on Westside Vs. The World, but I have a lot of thoughts to add. Better late than never, right? Maybe I'm too old for this social media stuff, but I'm not too old to write about my powerlifting exploits.
Deadlifts for Huge Lats
Deadlifts for Huge Lats
When performed properly, deadlifts can be a powerful exercise movement for strengthening your lats. Emphasis on "when performed properly."
4 Habits of an Intermediate Lifter
4 Habits of an Intermediate Lifter
How many of these things do you think about when you’re training? What could you be doing to make yourself and your training partners better?
A Rising Tide Lifts All Boats
A Rising Tide Lifts All Boats
The legendary Frantz Gym was the place where the top powerlifters trained, where the collective whole was greater than the sum of its parts. “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts” can often be tossed around, but that was a large part of the magic that was Frantz Gym.
WATCH: How Lily Starobin Started Training with Dave Tate
WATCH: How Lily Starobin Started Training with Dave Tate
After an ugly incident with a Smith Machine, Lily Starobin decided maybe she needed an actual powerlifting coach. She didn't anticipate, however, to find a coach in Dave Tate.
3 Quick Fixes for a Stronger Deadlift
3 Quick Fixes for a Stronger Deadlift
Quick fixes: They're usually bandages on a leaky pipe. But in some cases, a quick fix might be more like the duct tape that fixed the Apollo 13 module. These 3 technique fixes are like duct tape for your deadlift, so wrap up and strengthen that lift.
7 Supplemental Exercises to Build the Sumo Deadlift
7 Supplemental Exercises to Build the Sumo Deadlift
The more advanced you are, the longer the stretches between records become. If you're in that position (trust me, I've been there before), consider doing some supplemental exercises. The ones listed here will help boost your sumo deadlift.
WATCH: Ed Coan and Dave Tate Discuss Weak Point Training
WATCH: Ed Coan and Dave Tate Discuss Weak Point Training
Ed Coan and Dave Tate explain their rationales and favorite accessory movements and variation lifts for training weak points.
Instagramification
Instagramification
Try to keep an open mind when trying a new, proactive approach to anything, even if it doesn't quite feel right at first — whether it be your job, social media, or a new program. Just because it doesn't feel good right away doesn't mean it won't later on.
More Conjugate For A Little Old Man
More Conjugate For A Little Old Man
I recently turned 78, and that certainly hasn't stopped me from training. After the responses from last month's article, I decided to delve a bit deeper into my little old man conjugate training program. Enjoy!
12-Week Conjugate Deadlift Cycle for a Raw Lifter
12-Week Conjugate Deadlift Cycle for a Raw Lifter
Remember Cody, my client I talked about in my last article about benching? He absolutely destroyed at the Iron City Open and got a 10-pound deadlift PR total. The secret to his success? It's in this program... because it IS this program.
WATCH: Joe Sullivan Demonstrates Crocodile Breathing
WATCH: Joe Sullivan Demonstrates Crocodile Breathing
The cue "push into your belt" has lifters focusing on the front of their bodies. But this operates under the assumption that the torso will expand in 360 degrees, not just out toward the front. In order to have the best brace, we need to rework our understanding of doing so in the first place.
WATCH: I am Vincent Dizenzo
WATCH: I am Vincent Dizenzo
“To be able to give back is a much bigger legacy than anything you’ll leave on a platform.” elitefts coach Vincent Dizenzo finds his calling in helping others by passing on knowledge, especially when it comes to dieting and weight loss.
What A Powerlifter Can Learn From An IFBB Pro
What A Powerlifter Can Learn From An IFBB Pro
As strength athletes, we care only about lifting the weight from Point A to Point B, but from a bodybuilding perspective, that is dead wrong, but how does that translate to powerlifting? The idea is to challenge the muscle — not just focus on completing reps and sets.
How Many Times A Day Do You Train?
How Many Times A Day Do You Train?
One of the hardest things I've ever done was train less. But thanks to a little advice from Dave Tate, I started looking at training in a whole new light. Strength comes from so much more than lifting heavy weights in the gym.
Concepts of High-Level Strength and Conditioning Methods Applied to the Sport of Powerlifting
Concepts of High-Level Strength and Conditioning Methods Applied to the ...
Over the last few years, I've had more time to visit some major universities and professional teams and talk shop with some very good strength and conditioning coaches, and these are some of the trends we've noticed in the weight room and think powerlifters should start implementing.
Everything You Need to Know About The Max Effort Method
Everything You Need to Know About The Max Effort Method
As with anything in training, the answer always is “it depends.” With the max effort method, I can do one of these things for two hours just on advanced principles that deal with the max effort method, or I can do one very that's simple. I choose simple.
WATCH: Doctor Deadlift Teaches The Hook Grip
WATCH: Doctor Deadlift Teaches The Hook Grip
The doctor is in! Specifically, Doctor Deadlift (whose real name is Cailer Woolam) is here to teach you why you should switch over from your alternating grip to a hook grip and show you how it's done.
LISTEN: Table Talk Podcast #23 with Joe Sullivan and Janis Finkelman
LISTEN: Table Talk Podcast #23 with Joe Sullivan and Janis Finkelman
Joe and Janis are returning for another episode of Table Talk Podcast with host Dave Tate. Expect all sorts of thoughts, questions, and answers for all things powerlifting-related.
Meet Attempt Considerations For Every Situation
Meet Attempt Considerations For Every Situation
When it comes to selecting meet attempts, there are a lot of things to take into account. The big one is your goal, but the strategy for getting that goal varies depending on lots of factors. You wouldn't use the same process for selecting your opener and for winning — at least, I hope you don't.
Why You Should Pull the SSB Handles In While Squatting
Why You Should Pull the SSB Handles In While Squatting
The Safety Squat Bar is a great tool to help build strength in the upper back, but if you’re looking to get the full effect out of this bar, you should consider applying this subtle cue in order to load the erector muscles of the spine in their purest function.
The Geology of Power
The Geology of Power
To this day, that month-long experience of a geology class at Yellowstone helped shape how I look at duration, time, patience, and longevity. That experience helped me apply the view of time to virtually all facets of life, including strength training.
WATCH: Why You Should Check Out Yessica Martinez's Training Log
WATCH: Why You Should Check Out Yessica Martinez's Training Log
Doing more gen pop or accessible workouts doesn't make someone any less strong. Just ask elitefts athlete Yessica Martinez. Or, better yet, read her training logs to see how doing yoga or some gen pop exercise could lead to some bigger numbers in the squat.
The Myths of Iron
The Myths of Iron
My niece and nephew recently took weightlifting classes, and I am baffled by what they are being taught. This information is not only wrong, but it puts them at greater risk of injury. Quality knowledge is easily accessible, so why are we stuck in this loop of bad information?
Make Box Squats Work for a Stronger Raw Squat
Make Box Squats Work for a Stronger Raw Squat
I found the most success when I box squatted, and I applied what I learned box squatting to my raw squat. On meet day, I felt the most dialed in, the most explosive, and the strongest that I ever have on a raw squat. Here's how.
Conjugate For A Little Old Man
Conjugate For A Little Old Man
People have asked me to write about how I train. I haven't done it because I figured you guys thought it'd be boring... until now. Here's a look at my training and the process behind it.
Powerlifting Takes More Than Just Brute Strength
Powerlifting Takes More Than Just Brute Strength
Powerlifting is so much more than physical strength. Yeah, that's part of it, but only a fraction of the big picture. Are you strong mentally? Are you strong intellectually? Are you strong emotionally? Let's find out.
LISTEN: Table Talk Podcast Clip — What Lift Are You Most Proud Of?
LISTEN: Table Talk Podcast Clip — What Lift Are You Most Proud Of?
While Dave's AWOL, Jim Wendler, Matt Rhodes, and Vincent Dizenzo fill in and answer questions. This question (what lifts are you most proud of?) sparks a conversation about coaching and fond memories this trio of friends shared and are now sharing with you.
Everything You’ll Ever Need to Know about Competing: The Beginner's Guide to Powerlifting
Everything You’ll Ever Need to Know about Competing: The Beginner's...
Looking at competing in a Powerlifting meet? This is all you need to know to get you on your way.
LISTEN: Table Talk Podcast Clip — Cailer Woolam on Gaining Weight and Going for WRs
LISTEN: Table Talk Podcast Clip — Cailer Woolam on Gaining Weight and Go...
Believe it or not, Cailer Woolam gets a lot of questions about why he's not gaining weight to break more records. But at age 24, he's got plenty of time and work ahead of him.
Motivation vs. Discipline
Motivation vs. Discipline
Whenever I ask for topics people want to learn about in my column, “how to stay motivated” is always at the top of the list. Motivation is in high demand: you see it all over Instagram in memes, pictures, and captions. Despite the high demand, it sure seems like it's in short supply....
5 Things Beginner and Intermediate Lifters Should Understand
5 Things Beginner and Intermediate Lifters Should Understand
Newer lifters seem to think that they can squat 1,200 pounds in less than a year of training. I hate to burst your bubbles, but that's not going to happen. It's a long game, and you need to understand that if you're going to survive in this sport.
Let's Get Awkward
Let's Get Awkward
Through the use of unconventional movements (or awkward movements), you can really force yourself to utilize better form and recruit numerous additional muscle fibers. Here are a handful of Big 3 variations you can try out.
Skip the Arch in Your Bench Press to Build More Absolute Strength
Skip the Arch in Your Bench Press to Build More Absolute Strength
In order to show real strength, arching isn’t the way to go. In order to build more strength for different sports, arching is pretty much a waste of time. But I'm not criticize arching. On the contrary, there are advantages to it if you are a competitive powerlifter.
Here's How You Can Land a Collegiate Scholarship for Powerlifting
Here's How You Can Land a Collegiate Scholarship for Powerlifting
Move over college football, college powerlifting is coming for you! OK, fine, powerlifting might not be as popular as college football, but it does provide prospective students with another way to knock down the full price of college tuition: scholarships.
The Villain Bar
The Villain Bar
If you're a Marvel fan, you might know that Ant-Man and The Wasp produced an evil offspring, Red Queen. Likewise, elitefts' heroic Rackable Cambered and SS Yoke bars came together and created the nefarious Spider Bar. What makes this bar so villainous? Read on if you dare...
Add 10 Pounds to Your Bench With This 15-Week Conjugate Cycle
Add 10 Pounds to Your Bench With This 15-Week Conjugate Cycle
When a Union Fitness client approached me for training, I was foaming at the mouth. He had experience in powerlifting and wanted a conjugate training approach. With this program, he added 10 pounds to his bench! You might as well give it a try.
Now THAT'S What I Call Impressive!
Now THAT'S What I Call Impressive!
Not everyone is as lucky as me when it comes to seeing some of the most amazing moments in powerlifting. Since that's the case, I'm sharing memories from the archives starring Chuck Vogelpohl, George Halbert, Steve Goggins, Travis Rogers, and Oleksandr Kutcher.
The Allure of Powerlifting
The Allure of Powerlifting
What is it about powerlifting that draws people to it like a magnet? Is it the parts of us that start as iron ore and are melted down into knurled steel through training? Is it a religion we worship? What power does powerlifting have over us?
Meet Report: 2019 USPA Nationals with Dan Dalenberg
Meet Report: 2019 USPA Nationals with Dan Dalenberg
2018 was not a good year for my powerlifting career. 2019 has been better. My training's gotten better, I've gotten better at caring for myself, and I competed better. I want to do better next time around, though....
A Hypertrophy Method for Strength Athletes
A Hypertrophy Method for Strength Athletes
The thing to keep in mind as you read the remainder of this program is that I’m describing a method of training — not a set-in-stone program. It’s up to you to apply the method to your particular context: your body, your goals, and your life situation.
Meet Report: Making a Comeback at APF Nationals After a Painful Injury
Meet Report: Making a Comeback at APF Nationals After a Painful Injury
Two years ago, I injured myself at a meet. The pain was so bad I nearly pulled out of the meet. After talking with some experts, I decided to hop into the APF Nationals without a weight cut and with a quick prep. Let's just say it's good to be back.
20-Week Raw Dog Yoke Program Cycle
20-Week Raw Dog Yoke Program Cycle
To call this program hard is an understatement. The volume is high, the work is heavy, and you'll want to quit. But I can promise you, your back will never be thicker and your PRs will become something of the past.
You Might Be a Serious Powerlifter If...
You Might Be a Serious Powerlifter If...
This life we live is comprised of sheep, and it is also comprised of shepherds. Followers or leaders. The flock goes where it is directed. Shepherds set the course for the journey. Are you part of the flock? Or are you a shepherd? Are you a serious powerlifter or not?
WATCH: Chris Janek — A Lifter With a Lot of Heart
WATCH: Chris Janek — A Lifter With a Lot of Heart
During SSTSS 2019, Chris Janek sat down and briefed us on his childhood, previous jobs, geared and raw lifting, and the effects of having four open-heart surgeries. Now, he's on a heart transplant waiting list and doing as much as he can without overdoing it.
Top Three: A Hierarchy for Sustainable Success
Top Three: A Hierarchy for Sustainable Success
For some, training is just a hobby; but for others, training is much more than that. It's what keeps me going, and it's very close to the top of my list of priorities. But sometimes, we need to remember those other priorities, too. Here's a reminder of what they are.
New Tattoo Do's and Don'ts for the Powerlifter
New Tattoo Do's and Don'ts for the Powerlifter
Getting a new tattoo doesn’t mean you have to throw the bar down and not step foot in a gym for two months. What it does mean is that you need to ensure you don’t do anything reckless for the first couple of months.
The Westside Barbell I Remember
The Westside Barbell I Remember
With the recent release of Westside vs The World, I've been getting more questions about my time at Westside Barbell. Rather than devote all of my time to answer DMs about that, I will answer those questions right here.
2 FREE Ways to Increase Your Total
2 FREE Ways to Increase Your Total
Hard work pays off — not snake oil sales and get-rich-quick schemes. That doesn't mean you can't get stronger quickly. It just means you'll have to put in a little extra work, like bumping up a weight class.
The Lost Art of Smelling Salts
The Lost Art of Smelling Salts
No, that white powder I sniff before lifting is not cocaine — it's smelling salts! If you're curious about smelling salts, you're in the right place because back in my day, we would've never wasted the greatness of smelling salts...

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