WATCH: Table Talk — How Much of Your Workout Should Be Accessory Work?
WATCH: Table Talk — How Much of Your Workout Should Be Accessory Work?
There are quite a few things to take into account when it comes to accessory training. If you ask Dave Tate and Joe Sullivan, a few of these things include program design and competition distance (measured in time, not miles or kilometers), and more.
Bodybuilding for the Powerlifter: Why and How to Use the Maximal Effort Method
Bodybuilding for the Powerlifter: Why and How to Use the Maximal Effort ...
You're not a competitive powerlifter or bodybuilder. You want to move big weights in the gym, look good naked, and still have fun training and eating. You need the maximal effort method.
Can We Build Muscle After 50?
Can We Build Muscle After 50?
I asked my elitefts colleagues to do a study or if a study exists on whether or not we can build muscle and get stronger as seniors. Rather than wait for their responses, I decided to take matters into my own hands to address the topic myself, based on the individuals I've trained and observed.
Stay Focused and Watch Your Back
Stay Focused and Watch Your Back
If you think you're getting a solid upper back that'll improve your bench press, deadlifts, and squats by using hard, forceful rowing exercises and lat pulldowns, think again. When you realize that, you've figured out that you need to change the way you train. Not sure what you should do? Let me explain.
WATCH: Table Talk — Dave Tate and Joe Sullivan on Working Full-Time and Coaching
WATCH: Table Talk — Dave Tate and Joe Sullivan on Working Full-Time and ...
It doesn't matter if you're planning on coaching part-time or full-time; coaching is a job that requires time, passion, and a deep love of the sport — no matter the paygrade. If you're only in it for the glory or money, you're not going to last long.
Technically, You're Weak
Technically, You're Weak
Enough of the excuses. I'm sick of hearing them. You have the energy to roll on the floor for 45 minutes before you train, take 34 selfies, and tag the gang before you leave the gym, but you can’t spend an extra 30 minutes on your back?
5 Tips That Will Increase Any Lift
5 Tips That Will Increase Any Lift
It's inevitable that a lifter will hit a plateau at some point or another. It's frustrating, I know. Trust me, I've been there. But after 10 years of powerlifting and 14 years of strength training before that, I think I've unlocked some of the secrets to making gains. Here are five things that helped me increase my lifts.
WATCH: Table Talk — The Future of Powerlifting with Dave Tate and Joe Sullivan
WATCH: Table Talk — The Future of Powerlifting with Dave Tate and Joe Su...
Sure, you could just pull out some tarot cards or dust off your great-grandmother's crystal ball to predict what powerlifting's going to be like in 10 years. Better yet, you could listen to Dave Tate and Joe Sullivan's powerlifting predictions.
Powerlifting Meet Manual (with Formula for Selecting Attempts)
Powerlifting Meet Manual (with Formula for Selecting Attempts)
For those of you who’ve never done a meet, save this, and read it again before your first. And for those of you who just can't finesse attempt selection, here's a formula I developed to make attempt selection as close to fool-proof as it'll get.
Choking on My Face — The Final Installment
Choking on My Face — The Final Installment
After being officially diagnosed with sleep apnea, it was time for the CPAP machine to arrive. Let's just say I felt like a cross between a giddy kid on Christmas Eve and as reluctant as Darth Vader probably would've been in the bedroom. Little by little, I'm feeling better, thanks to the supportive gear for my lungs.
WATCH: Joe Sullivan Recounts His Viral Bar Bending Video
WATCH: Joe Sullivan Recounts His Viral Bar Bending Video
"If the bar ain't bending, then you're just pretending." What that saying doesn't account for is the danger of a bar bending over you mid-squat. Joe Sullivan's no pretender, and luckily he's here to tell the tale of surviving a bar-bending incident that could've been deadly.
In What We Lack
In What We Lack
We associate the word "heart" with an emotional response and driving purpose, when it is, in fact, the opposite. It's the act of leaving emotions and connections behind, if only for a short while.
WATCH: Table Talk — Bicep Tendonitis with Dave Tate and Joe Sullivan
WATCH: Table Talk — Bicep Tendonitis with Dave Tate and Joe Sullivan
Disclaimer: Not all of us here at elitefts are doctors or physical therapists. Case in point: Joe Sullivan thinks the best way to deal with bicep tendonitis is to watch Dave Tate's Q&A because someone asks this question at least once a week.
What Makes a Good Coach?
What Makes a Good Coach?
One of Dave Tate's answers to an Instagram Q&A prompted me to think about what makes a good coach in more detail... and yeah, this kind of turned into a verbal Jerk-off of Dave. But I believe what he does for lifters is the pinnacle of coaching.
Powerlifting and Wrist Straps 101
Powerlifting and Wrist Straps 101
There is a tool for every job, and as there are many jobs for the powerlifter, there are many tools at their disposal. The key is to apply the proper tool to the proper job at the proper time. Let's focus on the tool known as the wrist strap.
The Most Important Principle for Strength
The Most Important Principle for Strength
With all of the information we have at our fingertips, it's easy to lose track of some of the basic principles of strength training. One that's easy to forget: Balance training and recovery as evenly as possible.
6 Lower Body Exercises to Back Up Your Bench
6 Lower Body Exercises to Back Up Your Bench
If you are a bench-only lifter, an older beat-up powerlifter, or just really need to get in some lower body training in, these six exercises will cover all three of those bases. These exercises are my workaround to hammer the lower and upper body while keeping a strong bench.
Where I’ve Been, Future Plans, and Why You Won’t Hear it From Me
Where I’ve Been, Future Plans, and Why You Won’t Hear it From Me
I bet you thought you'd seen the last of me and my logs. And... in a way, you might have. But at the very least, I wanted to update all of my readers and followers here on my life before I start a social media blackout so I can get back into training.
WATCH: Table Talk — Mental Health with Dave Tate and Joe Sullivan
WATCH: Table Talk — Mental Health with Dave Tate and Joe Sullivan
"Training is my therapy" should sideline a powerlifter from competitions. If training really is your therapy, you're going to get hurt. If that's the case, you need to see an actual therapist. Seriously.
WATCH: Why Do I Always Wear a Belt?
WATCH: Why Do I Always Wear a Belt?
This question makes me want to bite someone's head off. But then I remember it’s one of those questions that also requires me to take a step back and reflect on how I got to where I am today. That’s an extremely valid question and one I haven’t answered in many years.
Bodybuilding for the Powerlifter: Extra Workouts
Bodybuilding for the Powerlifter: Extra Workouts
I think most lifters have the “more is more” mentality, and if you’re in that group, I probably don’t have to convince you why extra workouts are beneficial. But if you’re not, you might be skeptical, and I understand that. Remember, they’re designed to improve recovery, not hamper it.
To Be or Not
To Be or Not
People keep asking me how long I intend to train at a high level and compete? My answer: As long as I can continue to improve and get my old ass to the platform, that is where I intend TO BE.
Learn to Train X: Drop Your Nuts to the Bar Deadlift Set-Up with Ted Toalston
Learn to Train X: Drop Your Nuts to the Bar Deadlift Set-Up with Ted Toa...
Don't want to see Ted drop his nuts on the bar? Then look away! Keep your eyes off the bar! Besides, that's exactly what Ted does when he sets up to do the deadlift: He doesn't look at the bar.
WATCH: Table Talk — Deloading with Dave Tate and Joe Sullivan
WATCH: Table Talk — Deloading with Dave Tate and Joe Sullivan
Even though you don't want to do it, you have to do it. And by "it," we mean "deload."
Live and Learn (and Pass On, Too)
Live and Learn (and Pass On, Too)
Live and learn from your failures and mistakes. Be willing to learn, and maybe more importantly, be willing to be wrong. Now go and pass that along.
Recovery for the Fat Boys
Recovery for the Fat Boys
Everyone wants to post up the coolest and latest recovery systems, like Salt Floats, Compression Boots, Prowlers, and Sled Drags, but as a big dude (or lady) are you considering walking?
Big Back, Big Bench
Big Back, Big Bench
While having a big back doesn't guarantee big bench PRs, the back and bench press go hand in hand. The back plays an enormous role in benching effectively — most lifters just don't know how to use their back in the lift!
Who is in Charge Here, Anyways?
Who is in Charge Here, Anyways?
Don't let your ego get the better of you. Think carefully about your choices — and if you're really the one making those decisions.
WATCH: Bench Pad Height
WATCH: Bench Pad Height
The phrase "when in doubt, test it out" applies to a lot of things, including bench pads that may or may not be at regulation height. Although technically, "when in doubt, throw it out" also works, except you're repurposing a yoga mat — not tossing a protein shake that might have been sitting in the back of your fridge for too long.
Solve the Progression Code with Axiomatic Strength Training
Solve the Progression Code with Axiomatic Strength Training
Once you learn how to activate muscles effectively, you'll always see some progress in your training. Start here with the basics of axiomatic conditions.
Improve Your 1RM Squat with These Variations
Improve Your 1RM Squat with These Variations
It is great to get advice from friends across the country and hear what works for them. It is my hope that after reading this, the reader will pick up something to help them perform a better more powerful squat.
WATCH: I am Joe Sullivan
WATCH: I am Joe Sullivan
Get to know elitefts athlete Joe Sullivan as he talks about how he got into powerlifting, his day-to-day routine, and his goals.
Choking on My Own Face — The Diagnosis
Choking on My Own Face — The Diagnosis
Because it’s a sleep study, and not, say a cat scan, I didn’t expect my doctor to get all solemn, take a deep breath, and ask me to “sit down” before delivering the news.
Don't Be a Christmas Tree Powerlifter
Don't Be a Christmas Tree Powerlifter
As you add ornament after ornament, string of lights after string of lights, and trinket after trinket, don't lose sight of the tree underneath.
WATCH: Dave Tate and Ed Coan Show the Women How to Deadlift at Omaha Barbell
WATCH: Dave Tate and Ed Coan Show the Women How to Deadlift at Omaha Bar...
When a lifter at Omaha Barbell struggles with her deadlift during a training session, Ed Coan offers her technical advice, and Dave tells her to "clear your fucking head."
Week 11 / day 3 - speed squats & deadlifting
Week 11 / day 3 - speed squats & deadlifting
Speed squats w/ Duplex bar vs. heavy band bar x 5 180 x 3 270 x 2 320 (~35%) x 2 x 8 2” deadlifts 320 x 2 410 x 1 500 x 1 560 x 1 610 x 1 655 x 0 Unilateral Reverse Hyper 100 x 15 x 4    
Build Bigger Legs and a Bigger Squat (with 6-Week Accessory Split)
Build Bigger Legs and a Bigger Squat (with 6-Week Accessory Split)
This isn't about any unusual angles, movements, or attachments. This is just a meat and potatoes approach to building bigger legs and a bigger squat. Try this out for 6-8 weeks and see how it works for you.
Bodybuilding for the Powerlifter: The Offseason (with Full Program)
Bodybuilding for the Powerlifter: The Offseason (with Full Program)
The bad news: You can’t go hard all the time. It’s the quickest way to burn out — to see your progress stall, to get injured, and to lose interest in your training. The good news: A bodybuilding-style approach to the offseason has a ton of benefits for the powerlifter.
2018 in Review
2018 in Review
2018, you were a great new chapter. You've put me in a good place with my training, my clients’ training, and the team’s training. 2019, see you soon.
Make it More Than Just a Warm-Up
Make it More Than Just a Warm-Up
When it came to warm-ups, I didn't always practice what I preached. As it turned out, warm-ups have done me a solid and increased my strength, endurance, and recovery. Plus, they're a great way to hone your techniques.
Bench training
Bench training
*shoulder warm up Bench - bar x 15 x 2 - 145 x 3 - 195 x 2 - 235 x 1 - 285 x 1 - 325 x 1 - 325 x 1 - voodoo flossed - 375 x 0 - catapult Db bench - 60 x 10 - 70 x 5 - 85 x 3 Db Lateral...
Meet Report: 1,200 Total at IPA Buckeye Brawl
Meet Report: 1,200 Total at IPA Buckeye Brawl
It was my first time representing Team elitefts at a meet. The support I got from them was unreal. Oh, and the team shirt was pretty cool, too.
The Death of Powerlifting
The Death of Powerlifting
What’s wrong with powerlifting? Not online coaching. Not Crossfitters doing meets. Not other lifters secretly being deep cover Nazi operatives. Not anything about other lifters, or coaches, at all. All that’s really wrong, from my perspective, is this...
Learn to Train X: Bench Press Warm-Up with Joe Sullivan
Learn to Train X: Bench Press Warm-Up with Joe Sullivan
You may start shaking, but don't worry. It’s just something that’s getting you ready to do what you went to the gym for — to press a bigger bench.
Abdominal Pressure — What You're Missing in Every Lift
Abdominal Pressure — What You're Missing in Every Lift
Are you making the most of your abdominal pressure during three big lifts: squats, bench press, and deadlift (or the clean and jerk if you compete in weightlifting or crossfit). Oh, the power of a breath.
Top-5 Monolift Commandments
Top-5 Monolift Commandments
Monolift commandments for those new to the monolift, monolift commandments to heed today as a way to avoid tragedy in the future, and monolift commandments to help get the most out of this amazing piece of powerlifting equipment.
WATCH: Should Beginners Train with Bands?
WATCH: Should Beginners Train with Bands?
Technically, it isn’t wrong.
7 Gifts for the Next Instafamous Powerlifter
7 Gifts for the Next Instafamous Powerlifter
Trust me, you will want me repping your brand while I’m crushing monster lifts all over the garage.
Choking on My Own Face
Choking on My Own Face
In recent months, my fiancée noticed long pauses between breaths while I’m asleep, followed by gasping for air. Not good. If it’s like everything else in my life, this major CPAP milestone should make for a good story. Plus, my readers really seem to enjoy it when I suffer.
Life in the Void
Life in the Void
It is nothing and everything all at once. It is something that comes on strong and pulls you in. It strips everything away, but if you stick with it and trust it, then it will give you more than you can imagine.
10 Christmas Gifts for the Bored Powerlifter
10 Christmas Gifts for the Bored Powerlifter
He squats, benches, and deadlifts week in and week out with no variation. Specialty bars? Ha! Accommodating resistance? Ha!
4 Accessories to Fix the Deadlift Lockout
4 Accessories to Fix the Deadlift Lockout
As I got stronger with pulling conventional, a funny thing happened. My weak point went from being off the floor (where it was when pulling sumo) to just below the knee. I had to go back to the drawing board and figure out what exercises would get me stronger.
10 Secrets to Stimulating a Stalled Squat
10 Secrets to Stimulating a Stalled Squat
As a former 150-pound marathon runner–turned–powerlifter, here's how I increased my squat 1RM from 500 pounds to 600 pounds in a single year.
Why Big Air Is the Key to a Bigger Total
Why Big Air Is the Key to a Bigger Total
Imagine that you are on a team at work in which each individual had his or her own unique duties and tasks. What happens if someone doesn’t show up to work?
5 Deadlift Cues with Ed Coan
5 Deadlift Cues with Ed Coan
"Pull your lats in" to "slow down" are two of five cues that can make an incredible difference in the execution and lockout of your deadlift.
WATCH: A Question from Donnie Thompson
WATCH: A Question from Donnie Thompson
Why were you such a dick to me in 1998 when I met you and Lou for breakfast for the first time? You hurt my feelings.
A Conversation with Me About Competing at 77
A Conversation with Me About Competing at 77
When I entered these very senior divisions, there was no bar, no standard, no records. Now there is.
The Powerlifting for Bodybuilding Christmas Gift Guide
The Powerlifting for Bodybuilding Christmas Gift Guide
All that matters is how you look, and if using equipment allows you to train heavier and harder, build more muscle, and ultimately look better, then you should use it! Here are my top-5 powerlifting Christmas gifts for bodybuilders.
Make America Squat Again
Make America Squat Again
I’d bet a Derek Lewis chin shot that the majority of lifters are out pulling their squats. Ugh, writing this is tough; this is the catalyst for the total not being shit anymore, either.

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