Strength Czar: An EliteFTS Roundtable Discussion
Strength Czar: An EliteFTS Roundtable Discussion
With James Smith, Mark McLaughlin, Tom Deebel, Jim Wendler, Travis Mash, Julia Ladewski, C. J. Murphy, Matt Brand, Nick Zostautas, Kevin Deweese, and Tim Kontos
How I Got Strong, How I Got Weak, and Where I Go from Here
How I Got Strong, How I Got Weak, and Where I Go from Here
When I first began powerlifting in 1993, I had about ten years of training and competing in bodybuilding under my belt. The first routine I followed when I made the switch to powerlifting was the one that Ed Coan had laid out in his training videos.
Teaching the Squat
Teaching the Squat
I have been going to Force Training Seminars, either to help Dave or to do them on my own, for almost 3 years and one of the hardest things to do is get someone to squat correctly.
How to Break PRs
How to Break PRs
What I intend to offer you is an example of what has helped me increase my own lifts.
Texas BBQ: Talking Shop with Mark Rippetoe
Texas BBQ: Talking Shop with Mark Rippetoe
The author of the book, Mark Rippetoe, owns and operates the Wichita Falls Athletic Club in Wichita Falls, Texas.
Marc Bartley’s Squat Routine
Marc Bartley’s Squat Routine
Squatting big in a meet is every powerlifter’s dream. For some, it can make or break the meet. The big squat sets the tone for the meet. This is truly the case for me. Therefore, my focus is always on the BIG SQUAT.
Sushi Improvements
Sushi Improvements
After competing in the Iron House Classic this past spring, I wanted to turn my attention to developing my raw strength. Based on some reading and videos I had seen, I made some unique adjustments to my dynamic effort bench training. These changes helped improve my raw (sushi) bench by 40 lbs in only 14 weeks.
The Rise of the Internet Icons
The Rise of the Internet Icons
[Billy Mimnaugh is known for speaking his mind, whether it’s about politics or powerlifting. If you are easily offended, read no further. Billy has a loud voice, and we want to give him the opportunity to speak. —Jim Wendler, EFS]
Putting Things into Perspective
Putting Things into Perspective
[Billy Mimnaugh is known for speaking his mind, whether it’s about politics or powerlifting. If you are easily offended, read no further. Billy has a loud voice, and we want to give him the opportunity to speak. —Jim Wendler, EFS]
Training the Deadlift
Training the Deadlift
The deadlift can be scary. It comes last in a meet and is the most stressful event on the various components that make the body a lifting machine. And well, it even has a scary name. On top of all of that, there are now a hundred and one ways to raise your one rep max on the deadlift. Rack pulls, stiff legs, speed pulls; sumo, conventional, modified; and high hips, low hips, leg drive, hip drive. It can get very, very confusing.
My To Do List
My To Do List
Sometimes I reflect back on my days (or is it daze?) in college when I could just wake up, go directly to the gym, and pump away.
Wanted: Hardcore Training Partners
Wanted: Hardcore Training Partners
I know this may seem a bit strange, but it crossed my mind the other day as I was showering that certain individuals in history would make great training partners. I quickly compiled a list of historical figures that met certain personal requirements for being a good workout comrade.
Somewhere Between Moscow and Columbus
Somewhere Between Moscow and Columbus
“People need to understand how to train themselves. When that happens and they finally figure it out, they no longer need to use someone else's program. That's the breakthrough factor.” –Dave Tate
Repetition Work (or How to Rip Off Joe DeFranco, Add a Twist, and Call It My Own)
Repetition Work (or How to Rip Off Joe DeFranco, Add a Twist, and Call I...
Last week, I wrote about dynamic bench work and how you shouldn’t just kick it to the curb. I listed several different dynamic cycles, and there are approximately 5,000 more that have been written about. The whole purpose of the article was to revive the dead and bloated dynamic bench press.
What Being Big Means to…
What Being Big Means to…
Since the “reactivation,” everyone seems to be interested in Dave Tate’s log. Why? Well because it’s Dave.
What Being Big Means To…. (Part Two)
What Being Big Means To…. (Part Two)
You see, I’ve been hounding Dave Tate about his reasons for being big. For him, it was all about being strong. So to get another perspective, I thought you would be a good person to hear from when it comes to gaining weight and getting bigger.
Cutting Weight
Cutting Weight
I think the best method for cutting weight for a 24-hour weigh-in is to get your weight down and back up as fast as possible. The less time your weight is down the less it will affect your performance.
Periodization for the Competitive Bench Presser
Periodization for the Competitive Bench Presser
I think you may find it interesting because I compare what we train with to NSCA methods and explain to the reader why so many NSCA studies are not completely accurate for use when designing a strength program.
Adjust Your Pull-Up Technique for a Bigger Bench
Adjust Your Pull-Up Technique for a Bigger Bench
It is no secret among competitive bench pressers that big, strong lats make it easier to drive heavy weight off your chest.
The Art of Triples
The Art of Triples
Triples in the shirt is hands down the best exercise to increase your bench. What sucks is that they are hard as shit to master. They need to be completed on one breath. I don't know how many times I have told lifters to do this exercise. But what I usually hear from the lifter is, "why?" Because I said so, that is why!
So You Want to Gain Weight?
So You Want to Gain Weight?
We have to go way back to get some understanding on this one. Back in 2000, when we were skeletons and I was almost ripped, Adipose had just sold his gym and was going for his—literally—all for broke, make it or break it, in powerlifiting. Now, in order to complete his master plan, he had to dissolve all ties. I know this is silly, but this is how the man thinks.
35 Reasons to Love South Side Gym
35 Reasons to Love South Side Gym
Billy Mimnaugh wrote an article for elitefts™ about the South Side Gym in Stratford, Connecticut. Here's an update.
Fat Man Conditioning
Fat Man Conditioning
I’m a fat man at heart. I eat a lot. Five reps is “high-rep” work for me.
Deadlift with Style
Deadlift with Style
The deadlift has become very popular over the past few years. It’s a relatively easy exercise to understand.
A New Look at Three Days a Week
A New Look at Three Days a Week
I received a call two weeks ago from a friend of mine, and he had some good news for me. About five months ago, he and I were discussing a three-day split that would accommodate his needs and time schedule. He’s an ex-football player, and competes in the 242 lbs class. Like many of you, he’s tried the standard four-day split, but because of work commitments (60+ hours a week) and a long drive time to the gym, he has trouble getting to the gym all the time.
Starting Strength
Starting Strength
With new and stronger squat suits and bench shirts hitting the market, more attention has been given to training the lockout. It seems most experts believe that since the lifter is doing most of the work at the top, then range of motion should be trained the most. Although common sense tells us that the suits and shirts will get us out of the bottom of the lift, I have modified my belief somewhat.
Overcoming the Pressure of a Six-Pack: How I Gained 100 lbs in High School
Overcoming the Pressure of a Six-Pack: How I Gained 100 lbs in High School
As a personal trainer and strength coach, young athletes often ask me how to put on muscle and size. I guess they’re expecting some exotic dietary plan or an advanced supplement as the answer to all of their muscular hopes and dreams.
Understanding Supplemental Exercises: The Deadlift
Understanding Supplemental Exercises: The Deadlift
In our series, “Overcoming Lousy Leverages,” Eric Cressey and I covered all three power lifts and discussed how smart training can lead to bigger totals. In this series, we will discuss the biomechanics behind each lift as well as several strategies to destroy any sticking points you may have. We will examine:
Fun in the Weight Room
Fun in the Weight Room
Keeping your athletes motivated is one of the hardest things to do as a strength coach.
What Happens When Westside Doesn't Work
What Happens When Westside Doesn't Work
I received this article and immediately realized that Alan’s plight mirrors many other lifters.
The Arnold 2006 in Review
The Arnold 2006 in Review
I think everyone was holding their breath at this years WPO meet at the Arnold Classic.
Skepticism in Training
Skepticism in Training
I am a powerlifter. One of my great passions in life is spending time in the gym lifting heavy weights. To this day, I cannot think of anything more satisfying than setting a hard earned personal record. Well, let’s just say there are very few things that are more satisfying.
A Beginners Guide to elitefts™
A Beginners Guide to elitefts™
I’m going to do is make a list articles and other assorted products that will make things very, very easy for someone navigating this site and trying to learn.
Cycling for the Big Meet
Cycling for the Big Meet
Getting ready for a big meet is stressful. There are a lot of things to consider, especially when using equipment. I am not going to write out all of my workouts, but I am going to give you a few points that I have learned over the last 20 years, and hopefully you can avoid some of my mistakes. Then again we are a bunch of hard headed powerlifters so who knows. This is based on a 16 week program.
What I Learned From Lou
What I Learned From Lou
All you have to do is talk to any strength coach or trainer and in someway, they have been influenced by Lou.
Deadlifting with Chains
Deadlifting with Chains
Almost a year ago, Matt Bash and I put our collective heads together and were thinking of different ways to approach our weak point in the deadlift; the lockout.
The Right Piece for the Right Puzzle: Training High School Athletes with the Conjugate Method
The Right Piece for the Right Puzzle: Training High School Athletes with...
“There are a hundred ways to skin a cat, I am only good at one of them”, is something my grandfather used to say to me all the time.
Intermediate Madness
Intermediate Madness
As I traverse the bumpy road that leads to elite level lifting, I’ve pondered what things can hasten the journey. Most trainees can rapidly progress from being a beginner to an intermediate level lifter, but many often plateau and never move out of the intermediate phase. This article is designed for the intermediate level lifter, to help them kick-start their process and get back on the road to elite lifting!
Choosing and Training Your Openers
Choosing and Training Your Openers
We get a lot of questions regarding how to choose openers for powerlifting meets and there are a lot of ways to look at this. Since most veteran powerlifters have their own way of doing things and will probably never read this article, we are not going to address them. What I am going to do is address the lifter that is entering the first powerlifting meet.
Frequent Pulling for Faster Progress: 12 Weeks to a Bigger Deadlift
Frequent Pulling for Faster Progress: 12 Weeks to a Bigger Deadlift
The deadlift is the bastard child of powerlifting; it doesn’t get much love. Maybe it’s the fact that the deadlift is less impacted by equipment than are the squat and bench press, so it may require less practice.
And You Thought You had it Tough
And You Thought You had it Tough
“Well, I stand up next to a mountain I chop it down with the edge of my hand.” –Jimi
Deload to Reload
Deload to Reload
I’ve wanted to write this article for awhile and there have been several questions on the Q/A that touched on this subject. For those not familiar with the term “deload” by basic definition of it is this: to take a break from extreme training.
Bigger and Better Benching
Bigger and Better Benching
A lot of my tips are just repeats from everyone else but I think they get overlooked while everyone is looking for the next gear craze or shortcut. Some are gear related and some are raw work.
The Triumvirate
The Triumvirate
The number 3 is held in reverence by many people. Of course, the title of this article is in reference to the Roman Empire and where would we be without them?
The Circa-Maximal Squat Phase
The Circa-Maximal Squat Phase
The circa max phase is a three week squat phase designed to peak you for your contest.
PR Rx: Todd Brock’s Bench Routine
PR Rx: Todd Brock’s Bench Routine
I have been training with Todd Brock for over 12 years now. I first met Todd during my 2 hour road trips to Westside Barbell.
Causal Friday
Causal Friday
How things have changed. Five years ago, all you ever read were articles on how to use your gear, how to use your bench shirt, squat suit, knee wraps, etc. Now people want articles on how to train without gear. Very strange.
How to Bench Like a Stripper
How to Bench Like a Stripper
Hot chick with no shirt = good
Top 3 Dynamic Squat and Dynamic Bench Cycles
Top 3 Dynamic Squat and Dynamic Bench Cycles
In the spirit of the 4th of July, we are going to focus on explosive (re: dynamic) training. So listed below are the top 3 cycles for the squat and bench.
Going Heavy
Going Heavy
For those that don’t know how I train or how I think – it all comes down to one thing; Going Heavy.
Step-Up, Set-Up, and Bench
Step-Up, Set-Up, and Bench
If you look at any of the biggest benchers out there, raw or equipped, two things that they all have in common (besides freakish strength) are solid bases from which to bench and great leg drive.
Accessory vs. Supplemental
Accessory vs. Supplemental
We get asked all the time what the difference between an accessory lift and a supplemental lift. After doing some research, I came up with the following ideas. I got these from “A System of Multi-Year Training in Weightlifting” by A.S. Medvedyev. To make things easier here are some basic definitions;
Matt Rhodes' 3-Day Westside Split
Matt Rhodes' 3-Day Westside Split
About a year and a half ago I was physically and mentally drained from powerlifting. I have to admit that I was actually thinking about training like a bodybuilder.
Devil’s Advocate: The Seven Seals
Devil’s Advocate: The Seven Seals
When training your lower back, think about it two ways; to strengthen your lower back and injury prevention. These don’t necessarily go hand in hand. Many people who have very strong backs injure themselves.
Matt Rhodes' Westside Template
Matt Rhodes' Westside Template
Matt is one of the least physically gifted lifters that I have ever seen.
The Devil’s Advocate: Random Thoughts
The Devil’s Advocate: Random Thoughts
The Monday after the 2005 Arnold Classic I had to attend a meeting about 45 minutes away and found myself driving the back roads of Ohio
Under The Bar: Planning a Powerlifting Meet
Under The Bar: Planning a Powerlifting Meet
There are several reasons why we have not run meets over the past few years and they are all time and business related.
Starting Over By Mike Miller (as told to Dave Tate)
Starting Over By Mike Miller (as told to Dave Tate)
I was watching our new bench video with Bill Crawford this weekend and I asked him what he thought. He said, “The video is great but your benching technique is horrible.”
A Day in the Life
A Day in the Life
The alarm goes off signaling for me to get my ass up and moving. Today is dynamic squat day and I have to be in the gym by 8:15 to begin the session by 8:30

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