Programming, Coaching, Atmosphere, and Truth!


            Right now at Mash Compound, we have an unbelievable atmosphere with PRs happening daily.  We also have a growing number of online teammates, and as time goes on the approach we take with these individuals continues to evolve.  A solid program is super important, but without ongoing coaching the program isn’t as affective.  Atmosphere is another thing that really helps get the athletes to another level.  Atmosphere can be formed in a garage by yourself if you are self-motivated individual.  Today I want to explain what a perfect situation looks like. 

            If you attend a Learn 2 Lift Seminar or an Attitude Nation Seminar, you will normally set Personal Records and leave on a natural “high”.  There are several reasons for the new PRs:  better technique, group competition, and excitement.  This past weekend I taught at the Attitude Nation Level II Camp.  Almost everyone there set a new PR, and sometimes huge PRs.  No doubt we teach a better more efficient technique, but Jon and I also bring a unique type of “energy” to the table.  A type of “energy that is contagious!  I coach several Mash Mafia Team Members online, and I have found that using skype, facetime, and video analysis increases my effectiveness three fold. 

            I believe that my programming is second to none, but making weekly changes based on the athlete’s technique, feedback, and results simply doubles the results.  I do the same thing with all of my athletes at the Mash Facility.  Whether it’s Jon North(Olympic Hopeful), Tommy Bohanon(NY Jets Fullback), or one of my Division I Athletes, I make weekly changes to their program to attack weaknesses.  That is where the magic happens! 

            Weekly I try to analyze mobility issues, strength ratios, and technique.  There are certain mobility issues that are common like Thoracic Spine, Ankles, and different regions of the hip.  These are areas that we target anyway, but some people need more focus than others.  Strength ratios are important due to injury prevention for example the hamstrings should be about 67% as strong as the quads.  With Jon, this ratio is way off.  If you are following our programming(if not, go to: to sign up for free), you will notice that Jon has a lot of hamstring work.  I am definitely trying to get him stronger, but more importantly, I want his body to last till 2020. 

            Technique issues are normally due to immobility and bad patterning.  If it is mobility, we will assign exercises both weighted and non-weighted to target the issue.  If it is bad patterning, then we will assign technique drills to target the problem. 

            Now you get an idea of what goes into developing the perfect program.  It is a whole lot more than some complex numbers on a computer screen.  The programming at now comes with video analysis and weekly feedback.  My goal is for our online clients to be just as much a part of the team as my guys on site.

            I will be teaching about programming, atmosphere, and targeting of weak spots at the “Learn 2 Lift” Seminars.  We have several scheduled this year including: Keystone CrossFit in Dunmore, PA, Underground Strength Gym in Manasquan, NJ, Camel City CrossFit in Winston-Salem, NC, CrossFit Soul in Miami, FL, CrossFit Broken Chains in Orlando, FL, and CrossFit Vengeance in Myrtle Beach, SC.  Go to to sign up!

            We have several more scheduled for later this year including: Rhode Island, Wilmington, NC, San Antonio, TX, Minneapolis, and several more are waiting to get scheduled.  We will now be scheduling for next year, so to get on the list, email me at  We are so excited to visit new places, meet new people, and to spread the Barbell Life around the world. 

Pulling Power

Pulling power is like the squat. You attack it if it is a weakness! I prefer that my athletes have the ability to perform a strict Clean Position Deadlift with at least 30% more than their max clean. If they can’t, we target the pull until it’s not a problem. We have Jon North working on his pulls right now for several reasons: improve pull acceleration and to stabilize his scapula region during the pull. Here are a few ways to improve the pull and stabilization:

1. Paused at Knee Deadlifts: Isometrics are great for stabilization and punching through a sticking point. You can pause on the way up, the way down, or both. I vary the times with my volume waves. We are going through a paused Deadlift cycle right now that you can sign up for free at in the Jon North v. Rookies box.

2. Banded Deadlifts: We normally use the bands from a deficit, and we use regular Deadlifts, RDLs, and Clean Pulls. These are great for compensatory acceleration. Below is a video of Jon North, and you will see him using bands:

3. Overload off Boxes: we do this to simply get the CNS use to heavy weight. I would keep the bar at or below the knee, and I would keep the reps at 3-5.

This year, Learn 2 Lift seminars are scheduled all over the US: Dunmore, PA, Jersey Shore, Miami, Charlotte, Winston-Salem, Orlando, Myrtle Beach, San Antonio, Rhode Island, Wilmington, NC and we are scheduling Minneapolis and as we speak.

For any questions regarding Learn 2 Lift Seminars or Online Coaching, go to:

Or if you are interested in hosting a Learn 2 Lift Seminar on the topics of Olympic Weightlifting, Powerlifting, or Athletic Performance, email me at:

The Perfect Day

The Perfect Day


            This past weekend, I was invited to speak at the Barbell Shrugged Workshop held during the Wodapalooza in Miami, FL.  The speakers were all amazing.  The guys of Barbell Shrugged had the great idea to rent an amazing mansion, so that all of us could spend the weekend together.  The whole weekend was one continuous brainstorming session.  I came away from there inspired and ready to attack life.  Zach Even-Esh, the owner of Underground Strength, has been a friend and colleague of mine since 2004.  Most of you know that Zach is probably the most motivating person on earth.  His talk was about running a successful facility, and although the whole talk was money, he made on point that will stick with me for life.

            Zach said to write down on a piece of paper the perfect day.  Once you have planned the perfect day, work towards making that a typical day in your life.  Light Bulb Moment!!!!  If a person is doing exactly what they want in life, they will work ten times harder at those things.  If there are things that you are doing just to make money, do what you have to do to eliminate those things.  I know as a man I feel responsible for supporting my family.  There was a time when I would get up at 4am train a client.  Then I would go to a job in a clinic from 8a to 5p.  Then I would drive to the gym and train clients from 5:30 to 9p, and afterwards I would train myself.  I was miserable!  Not only was I miserable, but I was performing at half speed.

            I remember when I quit my clinic job.  I was so scared!  My wife was braver than I was, but at the end of the day, it all worked out.  My life is now spent doing exactly what my heart feels called to do.  I train the best athletes in the world, travel the world teaching people about barbell movements and athletic performance, and write articles and blogs teaching all of you how to be more awesome.  To get to this point, I have made difficult and risky decisions, but nothing worth having is cheap.  Here is the thing though:


“If a person takes a risk to follow their dream, he or she will do whatever it takes to make things work.  Not only that, but when someone is following their heart, they will do whatever it takes with all the passion in the world.  If someone is passionate, they will work harder than anyone to become the best at the thing their heart is leading them to do!”


            That is the case with me.  No one has to make me read new books about periodization.  No one has to make me sit at the computer and write a new article.  No one has to make me go to the gym to coach all of my world class athletes.  I live to get out of bed and attack life.  I recommend writing down what you believe to be the perfect day.  Then take steps towards making that day a common reality.  By just making small steps towards obtaining that perfect situation, you will notice that you sleep better at night.

            The Attitude Nation is a family of Black Sheep!  We love our life or we change it!  That’s what we do!  I’m blessed to be a part of such a rebel group.  I’ve never fit in with the typical human.  I am not ok with being average.  I don’t even understand “average”.  I challenge to start taking steps to becoming extraordinary.  Start eliminating obstacles in your life tomorrow!  Salute!


            Check out my new website and sign up for the Jon North v. Rookies programming for free.  I not only give you the program, but I explain the “Whys” and the “Why nots”.  You can also check out my “Learn 2 Lift” Seminars.  I will be in Dunmore, PA Feb. 8th for a Level I, and then in Manasquan, NJ Feb. 9th for a Level II.  Then in March, I will be in Miami at CrossFit Soul for a two day camp March 22-23, and also I am doing a Learn 2 Lift Super Camp in Winston-Salem, NC at Camel City CrossFit March 15-16.  Go to, to sign up.


            If you are interested in hosting a seminar, email me at

Lift For Lisa G! And The Super Camp!

I’m on my to Wodapalooza in Miami, Fl. I’m so excited to meet new people, and teach a little Barbell Life. This time I have MashMafia Team Members Caleb Tilson, Rebekah Sarbone, and of course Mrs. Mash. I am meeting up with The Barbell Shrugged Podcast Crew and the Zach Even-Esh. It’s awesome being friends with the same people that you admire and respect in your industry. Weekends like this are so exciting to me. I’m excited to hang out and meet new people, but more importantly, I’m excited to learn new ideas and be inspired. As my friend, partner, and now athlete Jon North says, I’m building my “melting pot”.

March is going to be a huge month for the Mafia.

1. March 29-30th we are hosting a sanctioned Weightlifting and Powerlifting Meet. The meet is to benefit Lisa Gniewek. Lisa has trained under me since 2008, and she has evolved into a great weightlifter and Powerlifter. I’ve taught her to battle the bar, and now she is in a battle for her life. She has Stage IV Lung Cancer, and she needs an experimental treatment. The treatment is super expensive. She is a mother of two, wife, and a Registered Nurse. She has spent her whole life taking care of others. Now she needs our help! She’s our friend, and she needs help! Please help our friend and Slam Bars doing it. Go to: to sign up!

You can also donate here:

2. Learn 2 Lift Camel City Super Camp! Camel City CrossFit in Winston-Salem, NC is hosting a MashMafia Learn 2 Lift Super Camp March 15-16! We will be focusing on Weightlifting, Powerlifting, Sprinting Technique and Speed, and Functional Human Movement in regards to CrossFit Gymnastics! I’m bringing in William Bradley and Ryan Grady to help make this the best camp ever! Go to: to find out more and sign up!

We have several other Learn 2 Lifts coming up in Dunmore, Pa, Jersey Shore, Miami, Orlando, Myrtle Beach, Rhode Island, San Antonio, Albuquerque, and Wilmington, NC. We are working on the Minneapolis area as well. Go to: to sign up!

Email me at to schedule a Learn 2 Lift at your facility.

Up Your Squat


The Back Squat is the king of all leg strength. We all know that. The most popular question that I get is, “How do I get my squat up?” Right now the Back Squat is a huge part of Jon North’s training. We are hitting it from all angles: high reps, low reps, paused, chains, etc. We know that when his leg strength increases no one will be able to beat him. His movement patterns are perfect, and that’s what God gave him at birth. Leg strength on the other hand is something that I can give anyone that will put in the work. Here are a few of the simple things that I did to achieve an 805lb raw Back Squat.

1. Squat often- 5/3/1 is a great workout for beginners, but if someone wants to get really strong, then they have to get under the bar. Back Squat is an athletic movement pattern like shooting a basketball. The more that you perform the movement, the better you will become at that action. Your body will recruit more fibers in a more efficient manner when it becomes more familiar with the movement.
2. Paused Squats- I’ve watched Mash Mafia Member Greg Nuckols push his back squat from low 600s to 800lbs in less than two years. One constant to his program has been paused squats. Eze Onwurah went from being the weakest teammate to one of the strongest by completing a grueling Front Squat routine. He would pause the weight in the bottom between 3-7 seconds and hold it at the top between 9-15 seconds. He would work up heavy, and then perform down sets all with the prescribed pause times. Not only did his Front Squat increase, but his back squat, clean and snatch improved.
3. We are constantly testing the Back Squat with Rep Maxes. We test 10RMs, 8RMs, 5RMs, 3RMs, and of course 1RMs. We wave the RMs in a linear fashion. We squat 3-4 days per week, and we use Saturdays to alter the Back Squat in as many ways as possible. The RMs are huge indicators of the 1RM, but are better in the strength producing category. After we work up to RMs, we always do 2-4 drop sets depending on the block.
4. Accommodating Resistance and Overloading Principle- The biggest thing that I ever learned from Louie Simmons was the Accommodating Resistance Principle. Simply put, use chains or bands to add weight when you are at the strongest portion of the lift, and they also lighten the load when you are at your weakest. We all know that in the very bottom of the squat we are at our weakest position. That is why people squat high! With bands and chains, they accommodate that strength curve. They also help to overload the lifter. For example, one could have enough chains added to the bar that at the top the total is 50lbs over their max, and then at the bottom the weight is 100lbs less than their max.
5. The Conjugate Method- Basically change as much as you can as often as you can! We change things by alternating bars, bands, chains, weight releasers, specialty bars, pausing, pausing at different positions, total volume, rep schemes, and much more. The key is to keep the body guessing, so that it is in a constant state of adaptation.

I’ll be at Wodapalooza in Miami this weekend, so come out and meet me. I will be giving a seminar on Power movements, tricks, and how to implement. I have a new website where you can sign up and receive the programming that I am using for Jon North and the rest of the team. I will be explaining differences, exercises, and why!

I have several “Learn 2 Lift” Seminars planned this year, so get over to to sign up. Or email me at if you are interested in hosting one!

Open Doors The Story

Opening Doors, Making a difference, Changing the World

When Travis and I began to talk about starting a non-profit, we wanted to make sure that whatever we decided to do would actually make a difference. We don’t want to just have some fun and hang out with teenagers. We want to develop world changers out of teens who may not even currently believe in themselves at all.

This is why Open Doors Christian Coaching will be partnering with Mash Elite Performance. Each athlete that comes to Mash Elite has every opportunity to become great. There is no doubt about that. The coaches are dedicated to the betterment of each athlete. And as a result each athlete learns a ton and grows leaps and bounds.

Each young person who comes to Open Doors will receive the same treatment as the other athletes receive from Mash Elite. We will provide different avenues of strength training including weightlifting, powerlifting, Crossfit, and athletic performance. Through these forms of training they will learn a multitude of lessons. And they will learn to develop strong character traits as well.

Take for example, one of our athletes, Landon Harris. He tried out to play basketball at High Point University but didn’t make the cut. He came to Mash Elite Performance and trained hard for a year with Travis but ended up not getting a tryout. He had every opportunity to just give up, but instead he worked even harder for another year with Travis. Travis helped Landon put together a highlight reel and even got a meeting with the head coach to talk about how far Landon had come. As a result of the great perseverance of Landon and the dedication of the MEP staff, Landon ended up making the team and playing two years.

Open Doors Christian Coaching will provide the same dedication to our young people. We want to hone in on the different lessons of while finding enjoyable ways for young people to grow and become strong. We won’t only coach physical strength. We will also offer and coach ways to become more healthy through nutrition. We will set them up for success by teaching them how to dream big, set goals, and then take steps toward achieving those dreams. As a result, these young people will learn character traits like perseverance as well as others, which will help them in all areas of life.

Each young person impacted by Open Doors will walk way knowing they are strong enough, physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually to be to the fullest potential the person they were created to be.

To partner with us financially, go to:

Or email me at:

Jon North v. Rookies Programming!

I will send each week’s program every Sunday to all the people subscribed to my newsletter, so if you are interested, go to and sign up. The sign up is on my homepage. I will contrast Jon’s program with the other team member’s program. Everyone will have their own individual program, and each week I will explain the differences.

Go to to sign up!

Here are a few of Jon’s latest Vlogs:

Here’s a Team Video:

Lisa G One Year Update

     Many of you know my friend Lisa G who is battling Stage IV Lung Cancer.  Last weekend was her one year anniversary with her battle.  She is my friend!  The world should know her story!  She is a 40 year old mother of two that refuses to quit Slamming Bars!  I am posting her post.  To help Lisa in her battle go to:

Guys please help my friend!

Lisa G:


     On Jan 12 th it will be my 1 yr anniversary as a cancer survivor. As I look back I remember thinking “Am I going to make it to at least 1 year?” Then I thought “Nope, I’m making it way more than that.” So here we are… the first year of many to come.      Over the past year I have been given alot of advice and thoughts about how people think I feel and should act.. Some good and some not so good. Some of the information that always struck me as bothersome was that of “Oh what terrible time you are having or I hope next year is better than this year”. I don’t see it that way.      Oh there are days that are worse than others, but the whole time I think…”At least I am still alive and want to fight”. In addition, I think this has been one of the best years I have had.      Except for the week I was diagnosed I have had a pretty good time. First, my relationship with God has grown tremendously and continues on a great journey. In addition,  I couldn’t have done that without my MASH family, my husband and daughters.       Speaking of my daughters, those two little buggers have taught me allot about life and God. Things they talked with me about shocked me. I knew they were smart but goodness …they are a little smarter than I knew. They both did well in school. Nicole graduated Davie High with honors and in the top of her class. I was able to throw her fun graduation party. She earned scholarships and a place at South Carolina University. Which she is doing very well by the way. Erin also finshed 8th grade in the top of her class and is a freshman at Davie High and doing exceptionally well. They both have very nice boyfriends which make them and me laugh a lot.     I have been able to spend more time with my daughters this year due to the fact that I am not working. Both Nicole, Erin and I have spent time away on mini vacations that were alot of fun. I was able to attend all of their soccer games. I cheered them on like no one else, or embarrassed them lol. I also got to hang out with my husband more without worrying about what was going on at work.      I work out 5 days a week. Which is both good for my figure and keeps me healthy to fight this nasty mess. I have medaled in 2 weightlifting events. I reached a goal of snatching 110 lbs and cleaning and jerking 150 lbs over my head. Not many 43 year old moms can do that. While at the gym I have gotten to know a group of ladies that have supported me and listened to me cry and laugh no matter what. They have become my best friends and I can count on them for anything.      I also got to realize how great Davie County and the people who live here are. My gym held a fundraiser for me and I couldn’t believe the amount of people who came out to help myself and my family. I still shed tears of joy when I think about that day.       This past year I was able to go on a radio talk show to share my story. Which I agreed to do so that I may give hope and inspiration to anyone who is battling any kind of difficulty in their life. I was also able to stand up in church and give my testimony why my God is first and I am second. again, in hopes that my story and attitude will help others.      I was also able to increase my volunteer time at church within our soup kitchen ministry. Which I must say is a great ministry to be involved with. This year our team was able to organize a 5K to help raise money  for the soup kitchen to feed the hungry in Davie and Forsyth counties. Our thoughts were ” Maybe we will have 100 runners” honey…we were able to get almost 700 runners!!! How crazy and great was that! God had his hand in that. That was such a fun event I can’t wait to do it again.      I was able to spend a week long cruise with my husband, my best friend and a few of my neighbors. How much more fun could that be?! We had a blast and I can’t wait to do it again.      I also have the best oncologist. No matter when I go for an appointment he always has some new information for me about a med, treatment or a new step in the plan to help me beat this. He is also open to any suggetions that I may have for my care.       I could go on and on about all the stuff I did this past year but it would take many more pages and I have already probably bored you already :).      So even though I have had bad days and shed alot of tears. All my good days outweigh the bad thanks to my God , my husband, my  daughters, my family and friends. I am looking forward to what God has in store for me.      So Bring It…because I am ready!!! Love you all, Lisa

How to Make a Champion

​At the Mash Mafia Compound we are a group that is used to being extraordinary. As we speak, we have “The Champ” Jon North, one of the best Olympic weightlifters in the nation, Tommy Bohanon, NY Jets Fullback, Greg Nuckols, World Record holding powerlifter, and about forty Division I Athletes. We have several Nationally ranked weightlifters and powerlifters, and the one thing in common is that they all want to get better. My goal is writing my blog is to educate people. Today I want to tell you some of the things that we are doing to make sure that the environment at the Mash Mafia Compound is favorable.

1. An environment of constant learning! The coaches and I at Mash are constantly in the pursuit of something better. I refuse to be the coach that thinks he knows everything. There are a lot of those out there, and I believe it is a product of laziness. Coaches get to the point that they don’t want to do the research or attend new seminars. Not us! We just purchased the speed system from Joe Defranco. He has obviously done a great job with a lot of the top NFL football players, so I am going to learn about it. I’ll match it to our existing program, and provide something better for my current and future athletes. Athletes put their trust in me, and I am going to do everything in my power to give them results. My weightlifters know that I am constantly researching for ways to improve them. Anyone is a fool to not look at what the Chinese are doing.

2. Monitor the Culture! When I first started, I would take anyone. Let’s face it, I had to pay the bills. Now I am up front with all of my new athletes. If you are not trying to be the best that you can be, then Mash isn’t the place for you. I should have started my program like this. If an athlete is becoming a cancer, I will kick them out. My people work too hard for me to allow someone to ruin their atmosphere. I will work with people, and I will give them chances. When I determine that it is just not in them, I will ask them to leave. It’s hard because I love my athletes, but it is for the greater good. Our culture is one of greatness, and it always will be.

3. Teach the Small Things! We do more than program and coach workouts. We strive to teach all of our athletes about nutrition, recovery, goal setting, soft tissue, stretching, and more. We explain that true champions will become “Masters of the Mundane”. Greg Olsen for the Carolina Panthers is one of the best. While visiting my friend Coach Joe Kenn (, the Head Strength Coach of the Panthers, I had the chance to meet Greg. He spends hours on his own with mobility, massage, Active Release, acupuncture, and more trying to ensure that his body is battle ready. I encourage all of my athletes to do the same.

4. Provide the Small Things: We provide monthly workshops for free on nutrition, recovery, and goal setting, Then we provide tools like: Dr. Gray(A.R.T., Graston, Rock Tape, Chiropractic, K-Laser, Acupuncture, and more), blood tests that will determine vitamin and mineral deficiencies, Functional Movement Screens, mobility/stability plans specific to the athlete, and workouts specific to the strengths and weaknesses of the athlete. We are determined to give our athletes everything that they need to succeed. Now I am in the process of acquiring housing and part-time employment for my weightlifters that are relocating to North Carolina to be a part of our team. I want to provide the best environment possible for all of my athletes.

​These are the things that makes the Mash Compound so successful. If you are a coach, then try to do the same. If you are an athlete, look for this type of environment in choosing a facility. Now is the time that I want to announce the new Mash website:

There is a whole new look, and a lot more to offer. I will be providing the programming that I am using for Jon North, and the programming that I am using for the rest of the team. Each member will have uniquenesses to their program that I will be explaining weekly. The programming along with the explanations and findings will be mailed out weekly to the people signed up for my newsletter. That will start today! If you are not a member of my newsletter, go to: and their is a spot on the homepage to sign up. I will send the programming out tonight, and I will send it out again on Tuesday to give everyone a chance to get signed up. It’s Free!!!

Here is Friday’s Max Out Friday Video! Unbelievable results so far:

This year, Learn 2 Lift seminars are scheduled all over the US: Dunmore, PA, Jersey Shore, Miami, Charlotte, Winston-Salem, Orlando, Myrtle Beach, Albuquerque, San Antonio, Rhode Island, Wilmington, NC and we are scheduling Minneapolis and as we speak.

For any questions regarding Learn 2 Lift Seminars or Online Coaching, go to:

Or if you are interested in hosting a Learn 2 Lift Seminar on the topics of Olympic Weightlifting, Powerlifting, or Athletic Performance, email me at:

Jon North v. Rookies 1/11/14

Back Squat 3 RM, then -10%/5 and -20%/3 with 2 sec pauses
Fat Bar Bench 5RM, then -10%/5 and -20%/5 w 3 sec pauses or Millitary Press Fat Bar 5RM, then -5 & -10%
DL 3RM from 2″ deficit
Push Press 5RM, then -5&-10%
Dips 10 reps x 3

Jon North:

Back Squats 3RM then -5% and -10% for 3
Jerk Dip Squats 105-110%/3×3
GHRs 8 reps x 3
Klokov Presses 5RM, then -5% and -10%
Dips 10 reps x 3

Wow, best Max Out Friday of all-time! Literally 100’s of PRs! I’m not even joking! Probably a combination of atmosphere, programming, and simply a room full of champions! Highlights:

330lb Snatch
400+ Clean
900lb Squat

Jon is coming back way ahead of schedule! I believe the overall strength training is paying huge dividends. Jon North is getting jacked folks! We have several top names joining us soon. Just unbelievable!

Video coming soon!

Next year, Learn 2 Lift seminars are scheduled all over the US: Dunmore, PA, Jersey Shore, Miami, Charlotte, Winston-Salem, Orlando, Myrtle Beach, Albuquerque, San Antonio, Rhode Island, Wilmington, NC and we are scheduling Minneapolis and as we speak.

For any questions regarding Learn 2 Lift Seminars or Online Coaching, go to:

Or if you are interested in hosting a Learn 2 Lift Seminar on the topics of Olympic Weightlifting, Powerlifting, or Athletic Performance, email me at: