Meet Report: A Squat Suit Depth Experiment at 365 Strong World Games
Meet Report: A Squat Suit Depth Experiment at 365 Strong World Games
My training was more organized than it was for the IPA meet. But I decided to experiment before this meet: I trained using my squat suit without the briefs. It actually improved my speed, depth, and how much weight I could handle.
Managing Meet Day Stress
Managing Meet Day Stress
You've spent months preparing and training, and you've made a significant financial investment in entry fees, lodging, food, and so on. All this of stress for just 9 lifts sucks up a lot of your energy. You can't afford to waste your energy, so manage it instead.
LISTEN: Table Talk Podcast Clip — The Glory Days
LISTEN: Table Talk Podcast Clip — The Glory Days
Talk about a blast to the past: Dave Tate, Jim Wendler, and Matt Rhodes relive the so-called glory days of training in the winter without heat and using knee wraps as wrist wraps. Best of all, it's all documented in an old video. There's no way to bury that evidence!
WATCH: Joe Sullivan Rants — Go to Therapy!
WATCH: Joe Sullivan Rants — Go to Therapy!
Joe Sullivan has some choice words for powerlifters who think that the weight room is their therapy. It's not. Go get help. See a therapist.
The Lift Starts Before You Touch the Bar
The Lift Starts Before You Touch the Bar
Listen: Technique is a major part of why all top lifters are top lifters. It is crucial to being a successful strength athlete. Technique before the lift is just as important as during the lift.
Stop Compensating Early
Stop Compensating Early
If you're new to powerlifting, you don't need gear. Seriously. Start training raw and see where it takes you. Oh, and if you're an athlete, I'd better not see you putting on lifting gear.
Improve Your 1RM Deadlift with These Variations
Improve Your 1RM Deadlift with These Variations
In the third and final part of the 1RM Lift Variation series, my powerlifting friends suggest their favorite movements for improving the deadlift through secondary movements, accessory work, and more.
LISTEN: Table Talk Podcast Clip — The Big Misconception About Chuck Vogelpohl
LISTEN: Table Talk Podcast Clip — The Big Misconception About Chuck Voge...
If you're emulating Chuck Vogelpohl by ramming your head into the bar and yelling like a wild person at meets, you're doing it wrong.
Introducing New elitefts Athlete Dan Dalenberg
Introducing New elitefts Athlete Dan Dalenberg
Dan Dalenberg found his way through life with the help of fellow powerlifters. As a Team elitefts athlete, he intends to give back to the community by passing on information he's learned from those who got him through his lowest points.
elitefts Classic: So You Think You Can Bench?
elitefts Classic: So You Think You Can Bench?
This is a series of videos Dave Tate asked us to republish due to the number of times he sends them out each week on his Instagram AMA and DMs.
When Honesty is the Only Policy
When Honesty is the Only Policy
Not unlike with your spouse or significant other, the relationship between training partners depends on many things, but at the central core to this relationship is the quality of one’s honesty with their training partner.
Add 100 Pounds To Your Squat — 5 Seminar Takeaways
Add 100 Pounds To Your Squat — 5 Seminar Takeaways
It took more than 20 years of surveys for us to define what is optimal. These are some of those key items and teaching points we've picked up from those surveys, such as training group size considerations and training the squat from the bottom up.
Meet Report: 5thSet at the Kern US Open
Meet Report: 5thSet at the Kern US Open
Now that I had the trip paid for thanks to a seminar event, I could focus on helping my lifters at the US Kern Open: the reason I’d flown all the way from the East Coast to begin with.
The Best Damn Specialty Bar on the Market
The Best Damn Specialty Bar on the Market
I can't get over how versatile the American Cambered Grip Bar is. You can use it forward and backward, giving you a total of 8 grip options. Flip it over, you've got a total of 16. I've found 250 options, and I'm sure there are more to find.
Powerlifting for the Bodybuilder — Are Deadlifts Overrated?
Powerlifting for the Bodybuilder — Are Deadlifts Overrated?
Part of my journey to getting that IFBB pro card includes getting more active in the online bodybuilding community... which also gets me into situations where I answer questions like this one: Are deadlifts overrated?
Gaining Strength in Your Twenties, Thirties, and Forties
Gaining Strength in Your Twenties, Thirties, and Forties
Why on earth do I keep hearing guys ask if they can still get stronger in their 40s or how they should be training in their 40s? You can get stronger at any age, and you do it by doing exactly the same stuff you always did!
WATCH: Reverse Grip Bench Press 101
WATCH: Reverse Grip Bench Press 101
A lot of people use this bench press due to shoulder issues and its carryover to competition lift — and Janis Finkelman's numbers support that claim.
Meet Report: Pressing the Pieces Together
Meet Report: Pressing the Pieces Together
When a friend invited me to a bench press-only APF meet that also raised money for Autism and Autism Awareness, there was no way I could say no — even though I haven't competed in quite some time.
Introducing New elitefts Athlete Anne Sheehan
Introducing New elitefts Athlete Anne Sheehan
The newest Team elitefts athlete Anne Sheehan learned while she was getting sober that she needed someone else's help — and she did it. And that's exactly what her athlete logs will do: help other powerlifters in their journeys.
3 Don'ts for the Early Deadlifter
3 Don'ts for the Early Deadlifter
My son sent a text last week — just a video of him deadlifting in our garage gyms. We discussed one of the mistakes we discovered he was making at the start of the pull. It was our discussion that influenced this article.
The Death of the Powerlifting Crew
The Death of the Powerlifting Crew
Powerlifting is bigger and better than it was when I started in 2004. But there's is one major exception to the positives regarding the sport's growth: The death of the powerlifting crew.
Strength Programs Don't Work
Strength Programs Don't Work
Unless you just have some crazy genetics or happen to be the perfect person for a strength program, the majority of these programs are not a valid long-term plan. But don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater...
What I Think About the Lifting World
What I Think About the Lifting World
The lifting world is small — if I'm being generous, there are a couple hundred thousand of us. There are over 7 billion people on this planet. You are no one. How's that for some perspective? If you haven't noticed, I’m going to rant about the crap that annoys me.
When Did Everyone Become Allergic to the Eccentric?
When Did Everyone Become Allergic to the Eccentric?
Nobody wants to watch their favorite athletes practice what they do best. But if you want to be the Michael Jordan or Reggie Jackson of powerlifting, you've got to work on the eccentric.
Meet Report: Taking Third Place at APF Women’s Pro-Am
Meet Report: Taking Third Place at APF Women’s Pro-Am
I told Dave to listen carefully because this is the only time I’ll ever say it, but this was a pretty good meet. I'll take a 50 lb meet PR.
LISTEN: Table Talk Podcast Clip — Dave Tate's Strongest Bodyweight
LISTEN: Table Talk Podcast Clip — Dave Tate's Strongest Bodyweight
Keep in mind that Dave's bodyweight here was before Westside and was around the time when he tried out bodybuilding for a little bit... 'cause why not?
The Four Weeks Post-Meet
The Four Weeks Post-Meet
Look before you leap into training right back after your last meet because the next four to six weeks can (and will) set up your next cycle for success... or for failure. Take time to reflect on that. Success or failure... which one will you choose?
Turning Pro at the 2019 APF Women's Pro-Am
Turning Pro at the 2019 APF Women's Pro-Am
My goal for this meet was a 400-pound squat until Dave asked, “What’s the Pro total for your weight class?” In that moment, I knew that was no longer the goal — it became a Pro total.
Training and Competition
Training and Competition
It is crucial to delineate these training and competition as separate but mutually impactful things. I’d wager that the majority of lifters who had a bad meet were doing a whole bunch of competition in training, leading up to the actual competition.
Supplemental Training Mistakes and Essentials
Supplemental Training Mistakes and Essentials
I learned a large portion of my knowledge of supplemental training from many mistakes I made in the gym. I am hoping to help all of you readers avoid at least a few of the mistakes I made and get more out of your supplemental training.
Murphy's Law Reigns Supreme at Tennessee State Championships
Murphy's Law Reigns Supreme at Tennessee State Championships
Murphy's Law: Whatever can go wrong, will go wrong. That's pretty much a solid description for how the Tennessee State Championships went for me. But hey, good job to the victors. Now it's time to prepare for my next meet...
Going on the Record with ATWR Holder Heidi Howar
Going on the Record with ATWR Holder Heidi Howar
I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing and training with Heidi, and I can say with absolute certainty that she is the real deal, an ATWR-holding meathead who’s willing to do what it takes to become, and in her case, stay the best.
LISTEN: Table Talk Podcast Clip — The Worst Powerlifting Injury Dave Saw at a Meet
LISTEN: Table Talk Podcast Clip — The Worst Powerlifting Injury Dave Saw...
Dave answers this question barely even a second after hearing it aloud: "Marc Bartley." This one isn't for those with weak constitutions... or stomachs...
Powerlifting for the Bodybuilder — Huge Pecs
Powerlifting for the Bodybuilder — Huge Pecs
As the bodybuilder or raw powerlifter, you have to lift heavy-ass weights and build a big-ass chest. Unfortunately, that’s easier said than done! So here are some ideas (cues and a sample chest workout) to help you get started.
Unlocking Your Muscle Chain
Unlocking Your Muscle Chain
Muscle chains are like dominoes: It's enough for you to drop the first one, so the others fall from the power that is constantly transferred from one domino to another and then the weight takes over the job and pulls over the domino that falls and hit the next one into falling... and the next one... and the next one...
LISTEN: Table Talk Clip — Dave Tate's Worst Powerlifting Meet
LISTEN: Table Talk Clip — Dave Tate's Worst Powerlifting Meet
As the title states, Dave Tate talks about his worst meet. It happened not long after he'd joined Westside in the mid-1990s at the Junior Nationals in Aurora, Illinois...
WATCH: Why Geared Lifting?
WATCH: Why Geared Lifting?
I think a lot of people who’ve never used anything like these in training have a negative perception of people who use gear. It’s easy to think it’s cheating since you can lift a bunch more with gear or that it makes the lifts easier. But these are misconceptions, and they're gravely wrong.
Kill Your Heroes
Kill Your Heroes
My heroes were strength athletes I admired and wanted to be like. They give us a base for the kind of person we want to become. But as we grow up, we eventually realize that our heroes are no different than us. That moment is the time to kill the heroes and rise above them.
The Evidence Supporting Partial Rep Training for the Squat, Bench, and Deadlift
The Evidence Supporting Partial Rep Training for the Squat, Bench, and D...
While full range of motion reps may be more convenient for the more inexperienced lifter, partial range of movement reps may be a good tool for advanced lifters hitting a plateau. Partial reps can overcome the main limitations of full range of motion training.
Conventional or Sumo? Or Both?
Conventional or Sumo? Or Both?
I've noticed a lack of variety in how people deadlift — conventional or sumo — as well as the fact that they rarely change pulls. As someone who does both, I wondered why that was. I set out to solve that mystery with a survey and found some answers from a variety of respondents...
Improve Your 1RM Bench Press with These Variations
Improve Your 1RM Bench Press with These Variations
I wanted to know the best movement to improve a lifter's 1RM bench press, so I asked my powerlifting pals from all over the country for their two cents. I ended up with a lot of awesome movement suggestions, so hopefully one of these will work for you.
The '90s Called and It Wants Its Diet Back
The '90s Called and It Wants Its Diet Back
When I tried out the fast-food dirty diet in the 1990s, I fit in my Frantz canvas suit like 15 pounds of sausage in a five-pound casing, and worse yet, my deadlift went down. Don't make the mistake '90s lifters (myself included) made — learn from it. Eat cleaner to lift better.
44 Things to Pack for Your Next Meet
44 Things to Pack for Your Next Meet
Packing the basics is just half the battle. Meet sites can be cold, uncomfortable, and might be far from easy access to good food. All variables need to be taken into consideration while packing for meet day... and these 44 items will help you cover your bases.
How I Trained for a 600-Pound Bench
How I Trained for a 600-Pound Bench
I’d been using the same blueprint that goes to 500 to get me to 585, and that's where I went wrong. I had to analyze everything in order to customize a new plan to break that 600-pound barrier. This is how I did that.
The Beginner’s Guide to the Conjugate Sequence System
The Beginner’s Guide to the Conjugate Sequence System
It’s a system, not a program. It can be tailored to suit whatever your goals are: powerlifting, athletics, CrossFit, marathon running... You name it, and this system can’t be beaten. This article is meant to show beginner powerlifters how to set up their own conjugate-based program.
Training Our Thought Process
Training Our Thought Process
Just the other day, I was listening to a motivational speech that got me going. That speech made it clear to me that an evolution of the thought process and perception of what training should be is how lifters and strength athletes progress to the higher levels.
The Meet That Was Like a Family Reunion
The Meet That Was Like a Family Reunion
This was the first meet that I attended neither as participant, lifter, nor spectator; instead, I was a coach, cheerleader, and go-fer. At this meet, Flex Gym proved it is as much a family as any group I have ever seen. Everyone is there for everyone else.
Bodybuilding for the Powerlifter: The Hamstrings (with Sample Deadlift Routine)
Bodybuilding for the Powerlifter: The Hamstrings (with Sample Deadlift R...
In this "powerbuilding" article, we’re looking at hamstrings — a muscle group bodybuilders and strength athletes alike struggle to develop. If you’re naturally lower-body dominant, you don’t need to spend tons of time on 'em. But if you’ve got piglets instead of hammies, I don’t need to convince you to read on.
JP Carroll Takes Second Place at the 2019 XPCs
JP Carroll Takes Second Place at the 2019 XPCs
Before I get into my recap of the 2019 XPC World meet, I want to say, I took second place — even with my fifth 2,200-pound total and seventh 900-pound squat — for no other reason than I wasn't strong enough that day.
Bryan Doberdruk Returns to Full Power Pro at 2019 XPCs
Bryan Doberdruk Returns to Full Power Pro at 2019 XPCs
I moved back to northeastern Ohio and started training with a new group to prepare for the 2019 XPCs. For the last couple of years, I've only done the 21-Deadlift Salute. This year, though, I decided to come back and do the full meet, and here are the final results.
Jo Jordan Cuts Squat Suit to Lift 965 Pounds at 2019 XPCs
Jo Jordan Cuts Squat Suit to Lift 965 Pounds at 2019 XPCs
"It got to a point where I couldn't feel my legs... I got the up call, and nothing happened." Join Team elitefts athlete Jo Jordan as he receives his medal on-stage for the 2019 XPC Worlds competition. He recounts his lucky comeback in the squat event and shares a sneak peek at what happens behind the curtain...
WATCH: How to Properly Do a Bench Press Lift-Off
WATCH: How to Properly Do a Bench Press Lift-Off
Ideally, a good lifter should also be a good spotter. Unfortunately, that's not always the case. Dave Tate will walk you through how to do a bench press lift-off — the proper way. This means you're not putting your nuts in the lifter's face and aren't taking the majority of the lift.
Returning From Injury After a Layoff
Returning From Injury After a Layoff
Coming back after a layoff can be a chance to address imbalances, but it also presents the opportunity for new imbalances to develop. Common sense suggests that testing strength after a layoff isn't the best idea. But if you are going to do it, keep these things in mind.
WATCH: Table Talk — The Most Common Mistakes Novice Powerlifters Make
WATCH: Table Talk — The Most Common Mistakes Novice Powerlifters Make
Sage words Joe Sullivan recently read online: "Powerlifting is basically just keeping your abs and back tight and squeezing a bar and trying not to lose position." Joe notices his clients, both old and new, tend to struggle with at least one of these things. (And breathing. Definitely breathing.)
The Time In-Between Sets Matters
The Time In-Between Sets Matters
You see lost lifters jumping from one diet to another or from one program to the next, thinking they bought a long-lost ingredient to the stew that is strength and power. But the actual missing ingredients are right in front of them: consistency and an understanding of the basics.
Your First Meet Cycle — How to Lay the Program's Foundation
Your First Meet Cycle — How to Lay the Program's Foundation
Don't be the newbie lifter who falls into the tiger pit traps during your training cycle. That'll only hurt you in the long run — or at least in those first competitions. Don't be afraid to start training too light and save your attempts for the platform. Not enough advice? I've got six other tips, so read on...
I'm Sick — Should I Train or Stay Home?
I'm Sick — Should I Train or Stay Home?
Listen: I'm no doctor or rocket scientist, but even I have enough common sense to know that if you're feeling under the weather, you shouldn't be lifting. You should be resting at home. Yeah, you heard me: Go home and stay home. And stay out of your fancy little garage gym, too!
How to Tame the Meet Prep Beast
How to Tame the Meet Prep Beast
The meet prep beast is going to rear its ugly heads at you sometimes, and its mugs come in many forms: injuries, stress, or a lousy no-show training partner. When one of them tries to bite, it's best to have a flexible plan of action that helps you nimbly dodge from the monster's jaws.
LISTEN: Reactive Training Systems Podcast #80 with Dave Tate
LISTEN: Reactive Training Systems Podcast #80 with Dave Tate
In the 80th episode of the Reactive Training Systems podcast, host Mike Tuchscherer and Dave Tate talk about how to build and strengthen relationships in order to lay down the foundation for a strong business and a legacy in competitive powerlifting.

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