Monthly Archives: October 2013

Struggles and Scary Moments!


The strength sports, Weightlifting, Powerlifting, Strongman, Highland Games, and even Throwing, are filled with scary moments and struggles. I have competed in two of these primarily at a very high level, Weightlifting and Powerlifting. I have experienced and witnesses some major trials, and some very scary moments. With today being Halloween, I thought it appropriate to share some of these moments.

I spent most of my competitive career in the sport of powerlifting. My best lifts in competition were a 970lb Squat, 722lb Bench, and a 804lb Deadlift. At this level, it’s only a matter of time before things go wrong. My scariest moment happened at the 2004 WPO World Championships. I had 930lbs on my back in the Squat. On the way down, I felt a rip! I thought it was part of my singlet, but I was wrong! When I reached the bottom, and started the ascent, I realized that I had ripped my quadriceps. The scariest part was filling trapped with that massive amount of weight on my back. Thankfully the spotters were on their game, and they were able to help me. It only took seconds to get me up, but it felt like being buried alive for an eternity under a massive boulder.

One of the scariest moments that I witnessed was at the same event. Julie Scanlon, one of the strongest 165lb women of all-time, was competing. She was attempting 400+ lbs in the bench press, and I believe it was the heaviest bench ever at that Bodyweight. She actually finished the bench, and she received the rack command. Then lightning struck! A thunderous CRAACCKK was heard throughout the auditorium! It was Julie’s Ulna and Radius bones breaking in half at the wrist! My whole body cringed in nauseated disbelief at what I had just witnessed.

The strength sports that we all love so much are filled with moments like these. The road to success in any of these sports are paved with many injuries, trials, shortcomings, and hard work. We all seek to dominate sports that most don’t know about or understand! My road to winning the world championships was no different. I had injuries, close defeats, financial struggles, and shortcomings! These are the times that I remember the most. If it were easy, I wouldn’t have wanted it. We all love this sport for these reasons because we are willing to risk it all! We are willing to endure back pain! We are willing to overcome injuries and persevere! Heck we might die! We are Iron Warriors, and unless you’ve been there, you will never know what I’m talking about.

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10/30/13 Workout


Day 3
Clean Complex: Clean Pulls/2, Clean/1, Front Squat/2, & Jerk/1 max, then -10%
Front Squat Max 5 RM, then -10% then -30% for 2 sec pauses
Clean Pulls from Box 3×3 105%
Push Press 5RM , then -5% and -10%

For time:

50 Burpees
20 Front Squats @ 80%
50 Burpees

After today, things get a little better. Dig deep and don’t settle for less than last week. A lot of my met cons come from Outlaw Crossfit, so I just want to give the a shout out.

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Today’s Results!


Scuba and I are getting ready for the Attitude Nation Weightlifting Meet Nov. 10th. Both of us hope to qualify for the American Open. The last time I was there was 1999, so I really want to make it. 3 months ago, I was way above the total, but I had some major shoulder problems that held me back for two months. I’m close, but I need a lot of prayers. I want to do it to motivate the other 40+ year olds out there.

The gym as a whole rocked it today, so I’m on cloud nine right now!

Here was today’s workout for Scuba and me.
Day 2
P. Snatch HS
P. Clean HS
OH Squats max 3
Jerks Max 1
Bench 3x5reps start with 80%+10lbs
Bentover Rows 10RM then -5% and -10%

Here are my results.
P. Snatch 100/1
P. clean 135
OH Sq 107/3
Jerk 153/1, 158/mx2, 156/1, 162/1
Pull-ups & Rows

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Death Weightlifting Volume!


Day 2
OH Squats 3x5reps start with highest 5 reps completed last week.
Jerks Max 1, 83/2 x 2
Bench 3x5reps start with 80%+10lbs
Bentover Rows 10RM then -5% and -10%

Met Con
4 Rounds for Time:
Thrusters/10 115/85lbs
GHDs hold 10lb plate/10
Jump Rope Double Unders 25

Interesting how the high volume is affecting the MashMafia Athletes on an individual basis. All of them improved this week over last, but some improved more than others. This is where, as a coach, I decide a few things:

1. I make a few alterations to each person individually.

2. Encourage my athletes to push on, and I remind them that this phase is meant to beat them down.

3. I take notes on each athlete throughout the different phases, so that I can individualize their future programs even more.

We are all excited that this week is the worst of all. Next week we will keep the intensity high, but the volume will drop off. As my friend Coach Kenn would say “Deload to reload”! Next week the complexes will change to look more like the traditional lifts. By “more traditional”, I mean that there will be less pulls and squats. All in all, I would say that this cycle is starting out better than all my previous ones. Here are some things that I have noticed from all of the athletes:

1. All have PRed in the complexes.

2. All have increased total volume in the 5×5 squats.

Here is a video of Brealon killing a 103k/226lb Snatch Complex! Remember his max was 100k/220lbs before this training cycle:

These are my only two concerns right now. I know that soon they should start to breakdown, but if I have planned correctly, the volume will drop at that precise moment allowing the body to recover and get stronger. For anyone following this programming, here are a few keys to surviving this high volume phase:

1. Lots of Sleep 8-10 Hours!

2. Lots of Water to stay hydrated!

3. Up the calories, but focus on non-inflammatory foods!

4. Soft Tissue Work! A.R.T., Graston, Chiropractic, Massage, Lacrosse Balls, Voodoo Bands, PVC Pipes, Foam Rollers, Jump Stretch Band Work, Etc.

5. Active Recovery! Light Sled Pulling, empty bar complexes, body weight squats, etc.

I’m excited about a bust November for “Learn 2 Lift” Seminars. I have a seminar Nov. 9th in Wilkesboro, NC at CrossFit Wilkesboro,
and one in Long Island Nov. 23rd at Gaglione Strength. We are also finalizing dates for CrossFits and Gyms in: New Jersey, Richmond, Miami, and Pennsylvania, so stay tuned for updates.

To learn more about programming and performance of the five Barbell movements (Snatch, Clean & Jerk, Squat, Bench, and Deadlift), check out one of our “Learn 2 Lift” Seminars. For more information, go to:

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Trav’s Results! And MashMafia Insight!


Snatch 120/1, 125/m, 123/m
C&J 135/1&1, 145/1&m
Squats 225/3
Snatch Pulls 131/3,141/3,151/3

I know this doesn’t match my posted workout, but I’m doing a short taper for the Attitude Nation Holiday Open Nov. 10th. I was pleased with the MashMafia’s Results as a team. Everyone PRed on the Snatch Complex, and they were able to progress in their 5×5 squats. Absolutely everyone PRed, so I’m very pleased.

Here is Brealon PRing again:

12 Ordinary Men! Crazy Volume! Video


Friday I had the honor of doing the Pre-Game Speech for the Davie County High School Varsity Football Team. I coach or have worked with a majority of the Team. Needless to say, I take this honor very seriously. This is a young team with two MashElite Freshmen and two MashElite Sophomores in the starting lineup. This team has had a lot of ups and downs this year. My talk centered on the 12 Disciples of Christ. Here were my points:

-They were 12 very ordinary men that did extraordinary things! They changed the world! They spread the Gospel!

-Christ taught them all(especially Peter) through their successes and their failures.

-When they started serving a higher cause than their own pride, they became unstoppable.

-They learned to serve one another first, and to put their own desires last!

-In the end they put their love of Christ before all!

I’m very proud of my young athletes that are stepping up and starting! Here are some of the key points of their programming that causes them to be so far ahead of their classmates:

-Mobility Work during every dynamic warm up! If an athlete can’t move, they can’t play!

-Speed Work centered around Contrast Training!

-All my athletes do forms of the Olympic lifts(Snatch and Clean & Jerk)! This enhances mobility, power, speed, explosiveness, strength, and Kinesthetic Awareness!

-We get strong! Squats, Bench, Deadlifts, and Presses to build the engine bigger and stronger!

-Teach them to be Master’s of the Mundane! Nutrition, stretching, soft tissue work, and all the other little things are the difference!

Last week was the first week of high volume for my Weightlifters and Powerlifters! Our goal is to push the body further than ever. Then strategically backing the volume down to allow for compensation. Our focus right now is on Squatting, Complexes, and Stabilizing the Overhead Positions. Here are some of the highlights of Hell Week 1:

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Saturday October 26th! Last Day of Hell Week 1!

Day 6
Squats max 5, then -5% and -10%
Incline Bench max 5 then -5% and -10%
Deadlift 1RM deficit pull on 2″ Blocks, 80%/3×2
Snatch Grip Push Press 3x5reps

It was interesting to see how my athletes were all affected so differently from the increase in volume. I saw some set PRs, while others were 20k off. My two overachievers of the week were: Brealon with a huge 110k Snatch PR and Camilla Nolen, one of my online MashMafia Members, hit a 120# Snatch(5lb PR)!

Next week will be the highest volume of the entire 12 week cycle, so buckle up! Survive next week, and you’re in the clear!

Drew also did well with the volume! She hit 202lbsx4, and her previous best with this weight was 2! Check out her PR Front Squat:

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My Max Out Friday! And Pre-Game Speech to Davie County High School!


Snatch 120k/1
C&J 143k/1&1
Squats 205k/5
Incline Bench 225/5,240/5

Today I had the honor of giving the Pre-Game Speech to the Davie County High School Varsity Football Team! I train most of the team, and have worked with most all of them. I had a great time telling them how Jesus took 12 Ordinary Men, and shaped them into 12 Extraordinary Disciples that changed the world.

Here are the points I made:

-Learn from mistakes as well as successes!

-Love your Brothers so much that you lose your own life for them!

-Learn from your coaches and leaders!

-Do all things for the a Glory of Christ!

-Never Ever Quit!

Attitude Nation and MashMafia Salute!