Monthly Archives: September 2013

September 30th, 2013 Taper Time! Scuba Steve PRs Again!

Next 2 Weeks Taper Time

Wk 1

Snatch 80/1, 85/1, 90/1, 83/1,87/1,92/1,95,?
Clean & Jerk 85/1&1 x 2
Squat 1RM (if your front squat is less than 20k above your clean subtract 20%/3)
Pullups 3 sets of 10 ss GHRs/8×3 (skip if Crossfit)

Met Con
3 rounds for time of:

Run 400m
8 Bar Muscle-Ups
16 OHS 135/95#

Here is today’s workout! Taper time Baby! The wav loading on the Snatch is an awesome programming trick that my first Olympic Weightlifting Coach taught me! Notice the volume on the squats decrease while we anticipate increased intensity levels on the Olympic movements!

Here is MashMafia Member Scuba hitting a PR in the Clean of 141k/310lbs at a Bodyweight of 77k/85k! He’s only been training the Olympic lifts for 6 months!

Or email me:

Sunday September 29th, 5 Hints for Weightlifters, & 5 Hints for Sports Performance


Day Off

The next two weeks will be our major taper period, and we are expecting major PRs! This has been the best MashMafia training cycle of all-time with PRs falling weekly. Here are some keys for athletes and coaches that I learned during this cycle:

1. Take notes at each practice to see what individual members of the team need work on.

2. Don’t be afraid to individualize things! It’s the only way to assure that all team members are taken care of.

3. A program should be a living document that grows with the team. A good coach will be able to make weekly improvements.

4. Rookies need the full lifts to improve movement patterns!

5. Get your athlete stronger while improving their positions equals PRs!

With my MashMafia sport performance athletes I’ve noticed these five truths:

1. If I improve my athlete’s sprint mechanics and get them stronger, they get faster.

2. If I work with my Athletes on agility, and they get stronger, then they get more agile.

3. If I work with my athletes on vertical leap mechanics and Plyometrics, and they get stronger, then they jump higher.

4. Focus on what’s important everyday. That’s from Dan John!

5. Don’t neglect nutrition for your athletes!

Check out this video of MashMafia member Brealon Ashworth:

For more information on Learn 2 Lift Seminars, Training at Mash Elite, or any of our awesome products go to:

Or email me at:

Max Out Friday! And The Street School!


Snatch max focus on minimum
Clean & Jerk max focus on minimum
Jerks off Box or Snatch Balance work

20 min AMRAP:
5 Pull-ups,
10 Push-ups,
15 Squats.

I just got back from the Winston-Salem Street School. The school is for at risk Teenagers from inner-city Winston. It was such a blessing to talk to these young men and women. Here are the main points that I conveyed:

1. Find a passion!
2. Set focused goals
3. Don’t sway from your goals!
4. Stay away from distractions!
5. Live for something greater than yourself! Christ!

Thank God for my Life!

The William Bradley Story


This is from my friend William Bradley a 5’6″ 150lb Temple University! Get ready to be inspired!

William Bradley:

One of my earliest lessons that life/sports wasn’t fair, was when I got cut from my middle school football team when I was 13 years old. Not because I wasn’t good enough (practices showed that wasn’t true), but because the coaches thought I’d get hurt because of my size. I remember I thought it was the end of the world. I probably cried for 2 or 3 days straight. I couldn’t understand it. Truth be …told, I’ve NEVER not been above average from the first pickup football game I played in the backyard when I was 6 years old. I was the kid that the art teacher would get mad at, because all I would draw was football fields and use my Skittles as players drawing up plays…my friends used to get mad at me because all I wanted to do was throw the football…lol. Anyways, I think my mom called the coach and cussed him out or something because they let me back on the team. When I got an opportunity in the game, I broke out for a 60 or 70 yard TD run that got me the “Play of the Week” award you see in the picture. From that team I was one of 2 people Richard Koonce being the other, to start on Division-IA football team in college. I did that at 5’5 150 lbs. That experience at 13 years old is a big part of what created the work ethic that got me as far as I was able to get in football and the person I am today. From that point on I knew if I wanted to reach my goals, that it was going to be harder for me than the next person because I didn’t fit the ideal stereotype. That’s why my demeanor was always in a “He looks like he’s ready kill somebody.” or “Why don’t you ever smile?” or “Why are you so serious all the time?” or this is my favorite one…”He looks so scary.” mode. That’s why you rarely saw me in a college party, or social settings, and never saw me wasting my money in a club on alcohol. I’ve been in one club in my life, and I was so uncomfortable I was ready to leave within the first 5 minutes. That’s why they used to FORCE me to leave the football facility a lot at Temple. My man Christian Dunbar used to say “If you want to kill William Bradley, he’s the easiest man in America to find.” I had to be that way do the impossible. This is why I’m good at what I do. I am able to impart my work ethic and expectation for perfection upon my athletes, and mentor them on the pitfalls of the challenges ahead of them.

Travis Mash and Angela Dell’Aglio Stoner always urge me to tell my story because I don’t talk about it much, so I figured I’d oblige this one time

Company: William Bradley Sports Performance
Youtube Channel:
Fan Page on Facebook: William Bradley Sports Performance

MashMafia Programming, Squat Study, & Bible Study at Mash


I have decided to post our MashMafia Team Programming. You will see that there will be a Met Con posted most days. That is for my competitive crossfitters that I program for. They will normally cut out the assistance work before hitting the met con. We are now in a taper cycle peaking for the NC State Weightlifting Championships October 19th. We are also hosting a meet October 20th for the people that didn’t get in (if you are interested, email me at or go to and sign up in the store section). It was so exciting for me to see a NC Meet fill up. Crossfit is doing so much for the sport that I love, and I am personally very thankful for the sport of Crossfit. In following the program realize that all of my athletes have variations of this plan based on what’s good for them. This is just the generic plan. If you want a personalized plan, email me at or go to

I’m also excited to announce a study on “The Squat” that I am doing in conjunction with Winston-Salem State University. Dr. McKenzie, Exercise Science Professor, is helping me. Right now we are narrowing the components that we will be measuring. As soon as we narrow those down, I will announce exactly what we will measure, and the amount of people that we will be testing. Personally I want to look at muscle fiber recruitment at several angles and using different verbal cues. I will be videoing all squats using Dartfish software for biomechanical feedback. Eventually I want to study the Snatch, Clean & Jerk, Squat, Bench, and Deadlift. I know that there has been numerous studies in the past, but I want to do my own. Otherwise I am just using other people’s research, and I want to have my own. The goal is to write a research based book for beginners that will give a safe and easy to follow program.

I’m the most excited to announce a new bible study at Mash Elite Performance that will take place every Monday at 10a starting this Monday. We will be studying the book “12 Ordinary Men” by John MacArthur. Everyone is welcome!

Today is a day off, but we will still do some drills, mobility and recovery work

Thursday September 26th, 2013
Angel Drops
Hit & Catch Cleans

If you have any questions, email me at

or if you are interested in a Learn 2 Lift” Seminar or any of our products go to:

Last Week’s Controversy

Last week I wrote an article for Juggernaut Training Systems entitled, “The Truth About Experts II”. In it I made a lot of generalizations about Mark Rippetoe, and even though I don’t agree with his teaching method, I still went too far. I’m a Christian and last week that article didn’t represent a follower of Christ. I wrote the article out of emotion, and frankly I didn’t make my argument as solid as I could have if I had stuck to the facts. I focused more on Coach Rippetoe, and for that I am truly sorry. I’m sure that he is a great person, and he didn’t deserve the personal attack. In the future I would love the opportunity to debate the squat with Coach Rippetoe at a neutral event, and I will forever refrain from personal attacks on anyone. Coaches in this industry are passionate! I am one of those coaches, and last week’s article was an example of writing with more emotion than intellect. Once again I am sorry for my personal attacks on Coach Rippetoe, and I will assure you all that I will never use such writing techniques again.

Greg Nuckols wrote a follow up article that explained both sides really well. I have included his article below:

From the outset, I want to give you guys full disclosure: Travis is my friend and the guy who got me into the sport of powerlifting, and I am a coach at Mash Elite Performance. That colors my opinions and perceptions of these issues. If, after the reception of this article’s progenitor (, you want to tune me out already, I wouldn’t entirely blame you. However, I don’t think that would be wise.
You see, I’m the guy who typically runs and grabs a bag of popcorn when I see a conflict brewing on the internet. However, this time I feel like I have to intervene as the cool voice of reason because the issue at stake is very near and dear to me: squatting. And when I see people squabbling about the squat when, in reality, they agree on 99% of the issues and they’re just talking past each other, I feel like I have to step in.

First, let’s size up the participants:

Mark Rippoetoe:
– Has coached approximately a bajillion noob lifters from baby weak to marginally strong
– Not world-class, but a decent lifter in his own right
– Authored perhaps the most thorough (readable) discussion of squatting mechanics known to man
– Focused primarily on powerlifting

Travis Mash
– Multi-time world champion powerlifter with absurdly big squats raw and in gear
– Nasty habit of churning out college athletes and solid strength athletes
– Dual foci (plural of focus, fyi) on powerlifting and Olympic weightlifting

The backgrounds, foci, and programming of these two men have a lot to do with the type of advice they give. Allow me to elaborate:

Rip’s athletes are typically rote beginners to start with, and Starting Strength can basically be boiled down to: thou shalt squat all the time. The squat CAN turn into a very knee-dominant lift, and one set of five deadlifts and a few sets of power cleans aren’t going to balance anterior and posterior development of thigh musculature (and thus anterior and posterior pull on the knee) when you’re squatting improperly. Who squats improperly? Approximately 100% of rote beginners. Who does Rip coach and write for? Yep, those same rote beginners.

How do beginners screw up the squat? Well, for the most part, they are already quite quad dominant, so their inclination is to keep a vertical torso and push their knees straight forward; this is not to be confused with a vertical torso-ed weightlifting squat with the femurs externally rotated and abducted to maintain hip torque. We’re talking about the noob, patella-shredding, bar-pad-wearing, padded-glove-sporting, on-the-toes disgusting quad-dominant squat. In this context, the “hip drive” cue, as explained in the video Travis linked, sort of makes sense. (This is NOT a discussion of the squat as explained in SS, as Rip’s various “hip drive” videos are the source of this controversy, NOT the book).

Oftentimes, when you’re dealing with new lifters who lack proprioceptive awareness, it’s helpful to give cues to OVER correct problems. When they try to put their body in the cued position, what actually happens is they meet you in the middle and the result is something not-so-awful that you can work with. This same principle works great if someone has a noticeably dominant leg and shifts a lot of their weight in the bottom of a squat. When you tell them to shift ALL their weight to the weak leg, the end result is usually a fairly balanced distribution of weight. When dealing with patella-shredding noob squatters, a cue to overcorrect that problem makes sense. When they get in the position shown in the “hip drive” videos, it teaches them to engage their posterior chain on the squat for the first time, which is a necessary awareness to develop for someone running a program like Starting Strength. Based on how Rip actually squats and how he describes the squat in his book, I’m going to give him the benefit of the doubt and assume it’s a teaching tool and not his intended end-game for squatting.

Travis, on the other hand, incorporates a lot of weightlifting into his programming. The form he teaches is based on Glenn Pendlay’s recommendations. The most important point of that form for this discussion: the positioning when the bar is at the knee is VERY posterior chain dominant – vertical tibia, butt back, body over the bar. In that position, all the tension is on the hamstrings, and the glutes are cued every rep for making bar contact.

It doesn’t take very long for Mash athletes to learn to use their posterior chains. Until they’re proficient at hip contact and their positioning for the catch, they do approximately a bajillion reps of the oly lifts from knee height, learning to engage their hamstrings and glutes through a range of motion that approximates the mid-range of a squat quite well. That proprioceptive awareness carries over into their squat positioning, so most athletes at Mash Elite can squat proficiently high bar or low bar within a couple weeks of starting at the gym.

Travis’s background as a world champion powerlifter has a lot to do with his insistence (which I think he’s right for, personally) on cuing the chest and shoulders to rise before the hips. When you’re squatting 970, an extra degree of forward torso lean is, at worst lethal, and at best means you’ll find a few vertebrae lodged in your colon. At Mash Elite, though we don’t squat like Travis in his prime, 4 and 5 wheel squats are the norms, not the exceptions. If you had to err on a squat with that much weight, which makes more sense: raising your butt too fast and the bar crushing you forward, or raising your shoulders too fast and turning the lift slightly more knee-dominant?

However, we’re talking about a completely different crop of lifters than Rip coaches and makes videos for. If you’re a 14 year old noob and you raise your butt too fast and get too far forward with 65 pounds on the bar, you get a boo boo on your noggin and your mommy kisses it to make it better. When you make the same mistake with 650…. I doubt any elite lifters watch the “hip drive” videos and think, “Oh, what do you know? I’ve been doing it wrong this whole time.”

So, there you have it. For the first time I’m making an attempt to throw water on a fire instead of gasoline. Hopefully this discussion gives you guys a better appreciation of both points of view, and decreases my odds of getting another arson conviction (kidding, the judge dismissed the case). The take home messages:
1. If you’re a noob, learn to use your hamstrings and butt when you squat. They’re strong muscles, they’ll help you move more weight, it’ll help keep your knees safe, and fewer of the babes on the treadmills will judge you.
2. If you’re a more experienced lifter, seek out sources of information aimed at people with a few years under the bar. Don’t concern yourselves about advice aimed at beginners.
3. Calm down with the hating. Or, if you choose not to, at least make it entertaining for people like me. Trolling is an art. If you do it poorly, I may have to swoop in as the killjoy voice of reason again. You’ve been warned.