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  • Zsolt Derzsi 11:00 am on February 2, 2016 Permalink | Reply

    The Big Bell Theory: Plans for Pressing Bigger Kettlebells 

    By Zsolt Derzsi, SFG II, SFL

    With each year comes new opportunities and new plans. There is much we can accomplish within the length of one year. One of my students pressed the Beast after training for one year — and he started with 16kg. It’s an outstanding accomplishment, and I hope my article detailing his journey will help you to increase your strength and press the 48kg Beast.

    The Secrets to Pressing Bigger Kettlebells

    The journey from the beginning to a perfect military press with 48kg is a heavy and long one. Even if you are not chasing the Beast, you may still have a half-bodyweight press in your sites as you train to earn your SFG II Certification. I have earned the SFG II myself and have helped many students with their press. There are a few things you need to do before and during you press training:

    1. Get an SFG Trainer to Help You

    If you want to successfully complete a military press plan, the most important thing is to perform all presses with the best possible form. If you have the opportunity, get an SFG instructor to correct your technique. If you are an SFG instructor, then have another SFG instructor assist in your press plan, correct your faults, and give you advice.

    Get a bigger military press

    2. Do Not Hurry

    Although we follow the same program, my students need more time to complete their daily military press training than me. My students take about an hour, while I need only about twenty minutes to complete the same program. Building strength takes time, not just over the course of a year, but also within your sessions. You must feel you are ready to press all the repetitions of your next set. If you need more time, be patient. Don’t clean the bell, yet!

    3. Be Patient

    I will mention a few different press plans below. Don’t try to rush through them all. If you have completed one plan successfully, give yourself time before starting the next one. My experience is if you don’t rest between two press plans for one to two weeks, then you will have serious shoulder pain. During this time, you can do easy presses. Try 5 sets of 5 at 60-67% of your 1RM along with heavy and slow get-ups.

    4. Attain Your Perfect 1RM

    Before you choose your military press plan, you must press a perfect 1RM on both sides. You have to fulfill all SFG military press requirements!

    Technique Tips That Will Change Your Military Press

    As a current instructor, I was invited to assist at the SFG I Certification in Croatia by StrongFirst Team Leader Sasa Rajnovic. Being there as an assistant helped me to improve my press technique, as did the advice of Master SFG Fabio Zonin. My 1RM was 48kg, at that time. But only an hour after taking his advice, my press increased and 48kg became my 4RM. Here are some quick technique reminders for you:

    • Grip: Before you clean the bell, make sure your hand is positioned correctly on the kettlebell handle.
    • Arm Wrestling: If you have a straight wrist, the stronger one will win – either you or the bell. If you arm wrestle with the kettlebell, you will dominate and you will be the winner.
    • Perfect Timing: When you start the press, clench your free palm. This will activate the antagonist muscles in the pressing arm.
    • Precision: During the press, follow the bell with your eyes – but not with your head!

    Military Press Plans

    There are a number of proven StrongFirst military press plans in existence to take you from wherever you are to whatever your goal is. The best way to learn about these plans is through the Plan Strong Course. Below I will mention a few of them and who they are most appropriate for, as well as outline a couple that I have used in more detail.

    Pavel Plan Strong

    Pavel teaching at Plan Strong.

    From 16kg to 28kg: StrongFirst Military Press Plan 410A

    This plan is for you if you have acceptable press technique and a training 1RM of 24kg. A training max is the maximal weight you can lift at any time with perfect technique and no psyching up. You should be able to do a series of singles with this weight.

    From 28kg to 32kg: StrongFirst Military Press Plan 410B

    This plan is at a higher volume and using 80-85% of your 1RM. At this point you should be able to comfortably press your former training max five or six times.

    From 32kg to 40kg: Zsolt Derzsi Plan

    Pressing Bigger Kettlebells for Military PressNote: On days when the volume is 40 reps or higher, divide the work into two series with 15 minutes of non-related and non-conflicting exercises in between.

    For the test:

    1. Warm up in the manner to which you are accustomed
    2. Press 24kg x 3/3
    3. Press 28kg x 2/2
    4. Press 32kg x 1
    5. Press 36kg x 1
    6. Get-up 24kg 2/2
    7. Loaded clean 40kg
    8. Rest of 10 min
    9. Press 40kg with good spotting

    From 40kg to 44kg: StrongFirst Military Press Plan 499

    This is a hypertrophy- and strength-maintenance plan for a girevik with a 40kg military press 1RM. The 501G plan is recommended right after this one.

    From 40kg to 44kg: StrongFirst Military Press Plan 501G

    This plan is for a girevik with a 40kg military press 1RM.

    From 44kg to 48kg: StrongFirst Military Press Plan 611

    For the girevik with a 44kg military press 1RM who has successfully completed the 501G plan – and thrives on very high volume and intensity. There are two versions of this plan, A and B. Below is the version B plan that I myself followed.

    Lifting Bigger Kettlebells for Military PressPressing Bigger Kettlebells for Military PressZsolt Derzsi StrongFirstZsolt Derzsi graduated from Sport Secondary Grammar School (Dunajská Strada, Slovakia) in 2013. That same year he successfully completed the StrongFirst SFG Level I Certification in Hungary, at only the age of nineteen. He earned his SFL the following year, and then became an SFG II in 2015.

    The post The Big Bell Theory: Plans for Pressing Bigger Kettlebells appeared first on StrongFirst.

  • Fabio Zonin 11:00 am on January 26, 2016 Permalink | Reply  

    The 5TRM Back Squat Program 

    A few months ago, one of my students expressed the desire to include the barbell back squat in her strength training protocols. She had been doing double kettlebell front squats for some time and had become pretty strong at them, but had never worked seriously with the back squat.

    She was able to perform the back squat with good form at medium weights, but she never challenged herself with heavy weights. At the time she expressed her desire to do more back squats, she was strong enough and her groove good enough to bypass beginner programs, but her confidence with the lift wasn’t yet to the point that I would dare have her test a 1RM.

    So, I drafted a program based on her 5TRM. T stands for technical, and therefore, 5TRM refers to five reps performed with perfect technique, with the last one looking as good as the first, if not better.

    5TRM Back Squat ProgramWhy It May Be Inappropriate to Test for 1RM

    I am fond of programs based on percentages of 1RM, but I also realize there are cases in which it’s not safe to test for 1RM, even if the athlete is an intermediate or advanced lifter. Those cases include:

    • Athletes who are currently or have recently been recovering from an injury
    • Athletes switching to a different variation of the same lift (e.g. from conventional to sumo deadlift or vice versa)
    • Athletes who decide to vary some aspects of a lift such as the stance or the positioning of the bar (e.g. from high bar to low bar squat or vice versa)

    In all those cases, I wouldn’t dare to test a 1RM at the beginning of a program with a new lift, not at least until the athlete has acquired mastery in that lift.

    Using a 5TRM to Solve the 1RM Dilemma

    One solution to the problem of not being able to measure a 1RM is to build a program around a weight with which the lifter is able to perform a certain number of perfect reps, in this case the 5TRM.

    Since the athlete needs to build strength and at the same time automate a perfect groove, a fairly high volume is required. From now on, I will refer to the parameter volume with the acronym NL, which stands for number of lifts. The NL should be built only of high-quality reps. In order to do so, the lifter should perform a high number of sets, each one composed of a moderate number of reps, always performed far away from failure. This means performing in each set a number of reps that varies from one-third to two-thirds of the total reps that could be completed with a given weight.

    Performing a lot of sets also means repeating the set-up for the lift, which helps to make it perfect. A perfect set-up is the foundation for perfect reps.

    The 5TRM Back Squat Program

    So, for my student in question, I drafted a program inspired by Phase One of the StrongFirst Military Press Plan 410, one of the numerous cycling programs included in the Plan Strong Manual that has proven its effectiveness on countless athletes. If you want to improve your strength programming skills, I strongly suggest you attend a Plan Strong Seminar with Pavel. Not only will you learn the secrets of the most successful Soviet programming methodologies, but you will also receive a detailed manual that includes countless field-tested programs that are incredibly effective.

    The 5TRM Back Squat Program builds up the NL gradually, week by week, while the athlete always lifts the same weight, with the exception of a few heavy singles performed once a week. The program I drafted differs by NL and intensity from Plan 410, but the progression is very similar.

    Here it is, and how it should be followed:

    • Practice your back squat three times a week.
    • Day one is comprised of a medium NL, day two a low NL, and day three a high NL.
    • You will practice mostly with 90% of your 5TRM.
    • On low NL days, you will also perform one or two singles with 105-110% of your 5TRM.

    Every week perform your NL according to the following table:

    5TRM Back Squat ProgramTo begin, you need to test your 5TRM. Again, T stands for technical, so I’m expecting you to test the weight with which you can perform five reps, each one with perfect technique. Please forget the idea of a 5RM performed in an all-out set where the technique falls down more and more at every rep.

    Next, calculate 90%, 105%, and 110% of your 5TRM and round up the results to the closest 2.5kg/5lbs. Now, you have your training weights.

    Break up your daily NL with 90% of your 5TRM in rep ladders of 2,3, and 5 reps. For instance, if your daily NL is 25, you will perform: 2,3,5,2,3,5,2,3. On low volume days, after every set of 5 reps with 90% of your 5TRM, perform a single with 105-110% of your 5TRM.

    5TRM Back Squat Program5TRM Back Squat ProgramNote:

    • Take long rest periods between sets, especially before the sets of 5.
    • The progression is flexible; if you feel you can’t add volume every week, stick to the same volume for two or three weeks before progressing.

    At week nine (or whenever you have reached the end of the progression), do the following:

    • Practice only twice, Tuesday and Friday.
    • On Tuesday, perform 3 sets of 3 reps with 90% of your 5TRM. Then two singles with 105% of your 5TRM.
    • On Friday, perform 3 sets of 3 with 90% of your 5TRM. Then two singles with 105% of your 5TRM and a single with 110% of your 5TRM. Rest for at least five minutes, and then test your 1RM.

    The Final Results and Further Application

    At the beginning of the program, my student weighed 48kg (@106lbs) and her 5TRM in the back squat was 70kg (@155lbs). So, she practiced with 62.5kg (@140lbs), 72.5kg (@160lbs), and 77.5kg (@170lbs). At the end of the program, she weighed 49kg and squatted 95kg (@210lbs) for 1RM. After testing her 1RM, she tested with her previous 5TRM and performed 11 perfect reps.

    Since then, I have tested the protocol on several other athletes, both male and female, and also with other lifts, and I have seen similar results: the 5TRM doubled or almost doubled after the eight-week progression.

    The program should work well for any form of squat or press, and also for pull-ups, provided that 90% of your 5TRM equals at least your bodyweight (unless you are willing to cut off one of your legs in order to follow the program). In order to apply this protocol to deadlifts, most people would need some downward adjustments of the NL.

    So, if you belong to the category of those who wish to become stronger in a lift, but do not feel it’s safe to test your 1RM, I invite you to give this simple program a shot. Please let me know your questions in the comments below, and if you try the program, let me know your results.

    Fabio Zonin StrongFirstFabio Zonin is a Master SFG, SFB, and SFL. He is a former powerlifter, natural bodybuilder, and owner of fitness centers. He was the first Italian to accomplish the Beast Tamer Challenge and has been a Master Teacher for FIF (Italian Federation of Fitness) for almost two decades (1994-2012). He is also the Ground Force Method National Director for Italy.

    He is the Former vice president of the AINBB (Italian Association of Natural Bodybuilding), and has trained many athletes at national and international level in natural bodybuilding, powerlifting and other sports.

    He has authored numerous articles for Italian popular magazines and websites dedicated to fitness, bodybuilding, and strength training, and has worked with to leading Italian companies in the field of sports equipment, body composition evaluation software, and nutritional supplements.

    The post The 5TRM Back Squat Program appeared first on StrongFirst.

  • Greg Woods 11:00 am on January 12, 2016 Permalink | Reply  

    Strength Is a Skill — Strength Is Liberating 

    By Greg Woods, SFG I

    When one of the athletes I’m training insists on using poor form to complete a movement, I ask him or her, “What are you practicing?”

    The excuses are plentiful:

    • “I’m not getting a hard enough workout if I practice double unders, so I switched to single unders.”
    • “I’m not good at fully extending my hips in the Olympic lifts, so I don’t.”
    • “But if I round just a little I can deadlift an extra ten pounds!”

    Strength is not a democracy. You don’t get to bargain your way into health. In the pursuit of strength, you only have two options:

    1. Strength as a skill.
    2. Pain as a skill.

    If you practice badly, pain will find you. Not in pain yet? Keep doing what you’re doing badly. It’s not if, but when pain will happen. If you do things right, and patiently, you will get stronger. You will feel better and move well. And you won’t be in pain.

    There are no other options. I did it all wrong for just over three decades. But StrongFirst set me straight with one of their central tenets: strength is a skill.

    My Previous Reality: Training Always Hurts

    In eighth grade, I was nearing six feet tall and 190lbs, on my way to six and a half feet and 260 by the time I topped out in high school. But my mind did not fit my frame. I was quiet and shy, not at all aggressive. I like to read and take things apart. I wrote poetry, rode my bike, and generally kept to myself. But due to my size, I received a lot of pressure to play sports. Football, basketball, and track mainly. I had some fun with the people I met in these activities, but I was never exceptional. I was barely average.

    Greg Woods Strength Is a Skill

    I was told to look tough in my football uniform, but I obviously look terrified.

    It wasn’t that I didn’t want to be strong. I did. Everyone does, in some vague way. We want it, but we don’t plan for it — much less work for it. Despite my size, I did not pursue strength. Because the most enduring thing I got from all that training I’d done was one simple reality: it hurt. All of it.

    For thirty years, I can’t recall enjoying a single rep of resistance training. After high school sports, I tried many things. Nautilus machines in isolation. Every variation of elliptical. Heavy-and-hard free weights. Jogging.

    Everything hurt.

    Painful Training and the Precipice of Burnout

    As a former fat kid, I was never going to stop exercising entirely. But my usual pattern was to fall in love with some form of training that hurt less than usual, then do it until that training started to hurt too much, too. I biked like crazy until my back stayed sore all the time. I ran until my knees, feet, and hips were creaky, inflamed, and giving out on me.

    Then I fell in love with CrossFit, thinking I’d found the magic bullet in such varied training. And yet, despite my focus on doing things well and right, I always had this terrifying feeling I was right on the edge of a precipice.

    “No pain, no gain,” the “inspirational” memes and t-shirts say. And when I told people I hurt, the response was always something akin to, “You think it’s bad now — just wait until you’re forty!”

    I did not want to be the kind of person who gave up and started thinking like that. That determination drove me to leave my former career and become a trainer at age thirty. It was the best career move I’ve ever made. Yet four years in, I was on the verge of burning out. I haven’t told anybody this before, but the StrongFirst Level I was supposed to be my last certification.

    I was filled with self-doubt. Tired. Sick of pain and discomfort and all the little nagging aches that come with training regularly for years. I was debating going back to a day job. But I’d already paid for this StrongFirst thing in Atlanta. Might as well go.

    Strength is a skill

    Second from the right, at the StrongFirst Level I Certification.

    A Life-Changing Eye-Opener from StrongFirst

    I am not exceptional when it comes to CrossFit. But, for a CrossFitter, I like to think I am exceptional when it comes to attention to detail and form. So I may have been over-confident going into the SFG Level I. Get-ups in particular are one of my favorite movements. So when we started discussing those, I’m pretty sure I smirked. Until we started.

    I did a get-up and got back to the bottom to discover four or five faces looking down at me. Disapprovingly. Several of the nearby coaches had come over during the course of my first get-up to discuss how badly I’d performed the movement. My poor ego lay in tatters at their feet by the time they were done with me.

    StrongFirst Get-Up Greg Woods

    I thought I had a great get-up, until I learned how to do one right.

    That wasn’t the only blow to my ego that weekend. When they described the Beast Tamer Challenge with a line of candidates nearby, I looked at Jody Beasley and my thinking went something like, “He looks fit enough, but he’s also kind of a slim guy. I wonder if he’ll actually be able to… oh, wait, he’s done already.” He made it look easy. And just because I am bigger and have more hair didn’t mean a thing. That guy’s stronger than me.

    There is competitiveness with a StrongFirst mindset, but it’s within the shared boundaries of quality. This is what I’d been searching for: the challenge of precision. Not mere physicality. Strength as a skill.

    Suddenly, I was there. I was back. All the way back to when I first fell in love with lifting and also later, when I fell in love with coaching. I was falling in love with StrongFirst. By the time my Team Leader, Delaine Ross, started to tell everyone how finding StrongFirst was exactly like her discovering her field full of bee people (ask her sometime), I’d come to understand, too. This was my tribe. These were my people.

    All this time I’d been hurting from strength training wasn’t because I wasn’t physically capable. But I’d been treating strength all wrong. I’d treated it like a commodity, a product you purchased with pain. StrongFirst made me see it with new eyes. Strength as a skill. Something you practice deliberately and for your whole life, like art.

    StrongFirst Empowers on Many Levels

    Something else stuck with me that weekend, too. I had never in my life been among people who so strongly advocated for those in attendance to start their own businesses. One of my new friends from that weekend, Jason Borden, asked a question about pursuing his own thing and was all but shook by the shoulders with enthusiasm to go off and start his own business. And you know what? He did. PJ Olsen, another attendee that weekend, started pushing her business, Music City Kettlebell. It was all so cool to see.

    On the drive home at the end of the weekend, I couldn’t get the idea out of my head. I had to do my own thing. I’d been on the verge of departing the industry, and suddenly as a newly minted SFG, here I was thinking of taking a bigger dive into fitness than I ever had. And the reason why would become my own personal motto: strength is liberating. That also became the slogan of my new business, Structure Strength and Conditioning.

    The Real Strength of StrongFirst

    In the months since my initial StrongFirst experience, I have completely overhauled my training. I’m enjoying not just every workout, but every rep. My swings and snatches have tightened up. Pull-ups, a movement I used to make excuses over all the time (“I weigh about 235 — not really built for pull-ups”), have become a pleasure and have improved into a controlled, deliberate, and strong movement.


    Best of all, no more pain. I love it all.

    Unless you are practicing strength as a skill, then you’re actually practicing pain as a skill. It’s possible to get fit and be in pain, but gaining strength at the expense of quality and stability is exchanging one prison for another. Instead, your pursuit should be total perfection of movement.

    That SFG Level I Certification weekend made me strong. It taught me to move slowly, deliberately, and with purpose. Now, one of the first things I tell each new client is that strength is a skill. So treat it like any other skill: with patience and practice. Reaching your goals doesn’t have to hurt.

    Oh, and one more thing: a considerable portion of my training has now been focused on attaining the Beast Tamer. I’m comin’ for you, Jody.

    Greg Woods SFGGreg Woods is a strength and movement-focused personal trainer and endurance coach. He believes all humans should be knowledgeable about and train in as many modalities as they can, as evidenced by his many and varied certifications/certificates including: SFG, MovNat, Z-Health, CrossFit (with specialty courses in endurance and gymnastics), USAW, and NASM. His special interests include mobilization for heavy lifters, corrective exercise, neurological training, run form, and convincing people they can do more than they thought possible.

    After 2000+ hours coaching CrossFit, Greg has been broadening his horizons with ever more kettlebell training, gymnastics, and natural movement – specifically focusing on these principles in his own personal training company started in 2015: Structure Strength and Conditioning. In his spare time, Greg Woods writes fiction and loves to travel. He is based in Durham, NC.

    The post Strength Is a Skill — Strength Is Liberating appeared first on StrongFirst.

  • Dr. Michael Hartle 11:30 am on December 15, 2015 Permalink | Reply  

    300 Seconds: A Guide to Maximizing Your Rest Intervals 

    By Dr. Michael Hartle, Chief SFL and Master SFG

    300 seconds = 5 minutes. Why is this number and the resultant math to convert it to minutes important? This length of time, to those of you familiar with training with kettlebells and other metcon training methods, will seem like an eternity when told that is how long you should rest between sets when training for strength.

    But according to a 2009 study on rest intervals and strength training:

    [R]esting 3-5 minutes between sets produced greater increases in absolute strength, due to higher intensities and volumes of training. Similarly, higher levels of muscular power were demonstrated over multiple sets with 3 or 5 minutes versus 1 minute of rest between sets. Conversely, some experiments have demonstrated that when testing maximal strength, 1-minute rest intervals might be sufficient between repeated attempts; however, from a psychological and physiological standpoint, the inclusion of 3- to 5-minute rest intervals might be safer and more reliable.1

    My observations of and experimentation with hundreds of athletes and clients in addition to my own powerlifting training over the years support the above findings.

    Rest intervals for strength training

    Rest intervals are key to building strength.

    Why Use 300 Seconds?

    As a powerlifter, resting for five minutes between my work sets was easy. Rack the bar, load the weight for the next set and/or check the collars for tightness, sit down, wipe my forehead, grab a sip of water, and set the timer for five minutes.

    The first two or three minutes were usually reserved for slowing down my breathing, talking shop with others around me, and just chilling. The last two minutes before moving into my next set were reserved for my mental state – making sure I was ready. You see, my goal when performing those work sets was not only to have quality reps, but also to achieve the quantity I had planned for that training session.

    For example, if my training plan called for 4 sets of 5 reps at 82.5% 1RM, then my goal was to get all 20 reps. Good quality – maintaining good form and technique throughout all the reps and never sacrificing my body – was a must. But so were the 20 reps.

    What helped me accomplish this were those 5 minutes – 300 seconds – between sets. This allowed most of the physiological changes that occurred during the previous set to return to normal. If I needed an extra minute or two, I took it. Again, my goal was 20 quality reps. All of them. As a result, these work sets alone might take me 20-25 minutes to complete.

    Knowing this time requirement for the training session, I made sure I had enough time scheduled to complete the work sets as well as the rest of the session. Plan for it ahead of time. That way you don’t rush through your training and potentially make costly mistakes with your body.

    SFL Cert StrongFirst

    Rest intervals are part of the technique you learn at the SFL Cert.

    Rest Intervals for Barbell Newcomers

    During the SFL Barbell Instructor Certification, we spend four hours on the programming lecture. During part of the lecture, I discuss the 300-second period. Most of the students at the SFL Cert come from a background of kettlebells, metcons, and strength endurance where rest periods of ten to thirty seconds are normal. The SFL and the training required to pass the associated strength and technique tests usually mark the first time they have seriously trained with the barbell.

    These students quickly realize that ten to thirty seconds of rest won’t cut it when training for strength and expecting results. So when I mention that it is best to take three to five minutes between sets to almost or completely recover and therefore make the most of the succeeding set, I get looks like I just told them I was from outer space.

    For some trainees, this time length seems like an eternity. They ask, “What am I going to do during that time?” or “Can I do some mobility exercises?” or “Starbucks, anyone?”

    While all good questions, any question regarding what to do during the rest period should receive the same answer: rest. And rest some more. Maybe go fill up your water bottle. You shouldn’t have to worry about a bathroom road trip as that should have been done prior to the work sets starting. In addition, unless you are using your cell phone calculator to add up the weights on the bar, turn off your cell and don’t use it, look at it, or even touch it during your training session.

    Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to complete all the reps of your work sets with quality – down to the last rep of the last set. As we say in our gym, “Last rep, best rep!”

    Dos and Don’ts of Your 300 Seconds


    1. Rest 180-300 seconds (3-5 minutes) between work sets when training for strength, regardless of the implement. I lean more toward the 300-second time span.
    2. Plan for a potentially longer training session in your personal schedule so you don’t have to rush through and get sloppy.
    3. Use a timer for your rest period. My OCD personality likes to know how much time is left. Plus, it keeps you on schedule.
    4. Tell your training buddies to leave you alone when it gets closer to your work set, i.e. the last 2 minutes of rest. This is your time to get in the zone and get mentally ready to properly attack the next set.
    5. Make sure you have good posture and your extremities are relaxed when sitting in your chair during the rest period.
    6. Make sure you have good spotters to help you during these work sets if needed and if the movement allows them – especially during the later work sets.
    7. These rest periods also apply to training with kettlebells, e.g. kettlebell military press, strongman work, etc.


    1. Don’t do the next set after 1:36 of rest because you feel ready. Trust me, take the 3-5 minutes. If your training plan calls for more than one work set, use the entire length of rest time.
    2. Don’t perform any calisthenics, weird 70s disco moves, mobility exercises, or any other movements except walking and loading the bar for the next set. Rest!
    4. Don’t give up on this longer rest period when training for strength. You will get used to it and appreciate it, especially when you see the results.

    Be patient my barbell student! And have a strong day!

    1. de Salles, Paul. “Rest Interval between sets in strength training.” Sports Med 39.9 (2009): 765-77

    Michael Hartle StrongFirstDr. Michael Hartle is not only a chiropractic physician, but he is also a board-certified Clinical Nutritionist (DACBN), a Certified Chiropractic Sports Physician (CCSP), a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS), a Master SFG Instructor with StrongFirst, and an Active Release Technique (ART) provider since 1995.   

    Raised in the frozen tundra known as Minnesota, he once lived in Hawai’i while his father was stationed at Pearl Harbor during Vietnam. He has been practicing in Fort Wayne, Indiana for the last seventeen years.

    A nationally-ranked powerlifter, who has won several national titles with USA Powerlifting, Dr. Michael is also the Chairman of the Sports Medicine Committee of USA Powerlifting (USAPL). He was the Head Coach of the USAPL World Bench Press Team for eight years, winning the 2004 World Championship Team Title. His best competition lifts are 705lb squat, 535lb bench press, and 635lb deadlift with a best combined total of the three lifts of 1,840lbs in the 275lb weight class.   

    For the last seven years, he has been playing semi-pro football, defensive tackle, and loving it! His football team, the Adams County Patriots, won the National AA Semi-Pro Football Championship in 2008! He treats, trains and advises to all kinds of patients, from babies to the elderly, from youth athletes to NCAA student-athletes to professional athletes. He also coaches junior high football and track and field, volunteering his time for the last twelve years. He has three sons who keep him busy with their personal endeavors, including hockey, baseball, football, lacrosse, track and field, and of course, academics. 

    The post 300 Seconds: A Guide to Maximizing Your Rest Intervals appeared first on StrongFirst.

  • Jim Wendler 12:00 pm on November 3, 2015 Permalink | Reply  

    5 Ways to Increase Your Press 

                5 Ways to Increase Your Press Ever since I started pressing, I have been obsessed with making it better. Partly because I was so weak at it for so long (which meant that it had no place to go but up) and because it is simply a cool exercise […]
  • Jim Wendler 2:46 pm on October 1, 2015 Permalink | Reply  

    Set Goals and Challenge Yourself Physically 

    The key to any challenge is that performance is the main goal, not aesthetics. I always focus on performance. I believe that when one has a concrete training goal – for example, “press 300 pounds, box jump 45″, and run a 6:30 mile” – training becomes more focused and goals become real. Immeasurable or non-specific [...]
  • Jim Wendler 6:00 pm on September 30, 2015 Permalink | Reply  

    Bench Press – Get Set 

    Of the major lifts, the bench press and the press are always the last to mature. A lifter can enjoy five or more years of steady gains in the squat, power clean, and deadlift but still suffer numerous setbacks, plateaus, and frustration in the pressing game. This is the natural order of the lifting world, [...]
  • Jim Wendler 10:00 am on September 30, 2015 Permalink | Reply  

    Power Cleans and 5/3/1 

    First of all, power cleans aren’t that hard to learn. It seems like everyone believes they’re as complicated and  difficult to do as organic chemistry. If that were the case, people    who stock shelves at Home Depot and Lowe’s would be the most    amazing athletes ever. Picking something up and racking it across the shoulders is a [...]
  • Jim Wendler 11:00 am on September 28, 2015 Permalink | Reply  

    Bench Press Q/A 

    Question: I have a bad shoulder. How can I work around or through this? Answer: This is something most veteran lifters have gone through. Rest is the obvious answer (as is an MRI and a good doctor, and I’ll assume these steps have already been taken). Here are a few more tips: Start squatting with [...]
  • Jim Wendler 1:20 pm on September 21, 2015 Permalink | Reply  

    Instinctive Training 

      In theory, I think it does hold water. But in practice, for most people it’s probably counterproductive. Now this doesn’t mean you can’t adjust your training day to day a little bit — to account for feeling better (going for more reps on a final set or Joker sets) or feeling worse (just doing [...]
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