2013 Olympia Interview with Ben Tatar
By Anthony Alayon
Anthony Alayon: For those who do not know you that well, can you tell us who you are and how you have helped Critical Bench throughout the years?
Ben Tatar: I have been with Critical Bench since 1999 and have written hundreds of training articles and ebooks. I have interviewed hundreds of celebrities, UFC champions, pro athletes, world record holders, bodybuilders and iron greats. I’m also known for attending many conventions and reporting on events.
Anthony Alayon: Moving on to the Olympia. What makes the Olympia weekend great?
Ben Tatar: The Olympia is an amazing event. I will list 10 things that make the Olympia great:
1) The best of the best are always there, the best athletes, celebrities, bodybuilders, powerlifters and strongmen.
2) The Olympia is in Las Vegas. This gives the Olympia a real vacation and glamorous feel.
3) The Olympia Expo is in a big convention, so you have quality time to talk to the stars. I have had more conversations with people at the Olympia than any other event.
4) There is so much to do at the Olympia. There are thousands of people who share your interest, competitive events and entertaining attractions such as the Animal Cage.
5) You have all of Vegas to enjoy, so the opportunities for fun are endless.
6) You see old friends who you don’t get to see often. It’s like reuniting with a friend in a paradise-like setting.
7) You meet new friends in a great setting.
8) There are great restaurants, casinos and parties.
9) Champions are made.
10) There’s lots of great energy everywhere.
Anthony Alayon: How many people show up to this event?
Ben Tatar: There were approximately 40,000 for the Olympia Expo. Also, about 10,000 people show up for the Mr. Olympia competition. Another cool thing about the Olympia is that all the big names past, present and future are there.
Anthony Alayon: What were some of the athletic events that went on during Olympia weekend?
Ben Tatar: There is bodybuilding, powerlifting, bench pressing, arm wrestling, World’s Strongest Man, World’s Ultimate Athlete competition, cross fit, all types of model searches, mixed martial arts, boxing and even Sumo Wrestling.
Anthony Alayon: Did you compete in any of the events?
Ben Tatar: I competed in the World’s Ultimate Athlete competition. This is an event to crown the greatest athlete. Athletes perform events such as a fast ball baseball pitch, a three point shooting contest, throwing footballs through tires and a grueling physical obstacle course. The obstacle course includes carrying things like big logs over boxes, climbing over big walls and pulling sleds.
Anthony Alayon: What was your favorite part of the entire event and why?
Ben Tatar: My favorite moment of the event occurred when I picked up my Media Credential Pass at the Orleans Hotel. As soon as I picked my media credentials, I looked back at all the years I have been going to these events. I thought about the people I planned to see and remembered people who use to go to the events. It was a deep and intense moment for me. Then I walked into Meet the Olympians event, I saw the strongman in the Lobby and my dad with a media credential pass as well. My dad and I were celebrating. The energy around me felt intense. Every moment from these events that I have ever experienced entered my mind simultaneously! I screamed “Yeah, Westy,” even though he couldn’t hear me. I thought of everyone. I was like “Thank you God,” and then I patted myself on the back for my choices. Then I was like, “I’M HERE!” It was a powerful experience, and then I took that energy into a laser-like focus for an amazing weekend.
Anthony Alayon: Tell us a crazy or fun thing that you did during Olympia weekend?
Ben Tatar: I jumped off the tallest building in Las Vegas, the stratosphere. You can see my video below.
Ben Tatar: I’m giving the freak award to WSM all-star, Robert Oberst. He stands at nearly seven feet tall and weighs well over 400lbs. He has a bigger beard than Santa Claus, and he is awesome.
Anthony Alayon: Name us a bodybuilder from the 2013 Olympia who really impressed you and tell us why?
Ben Tatar: I always found Ben White impressive. He is not only an IFBB pro bodybuilding great, but he is also the strongest bodybuilding bench presser of all time.
Anthony Alayon: What are the costs of attending this event if someone wants to go?
Ben Tatar: The Olympia Expo only cost $25 per day. The cost of hotels vary wildly.
Anthony Alayon: Tell us who made history at this year’s Olympia weekend event.
Ben Tatar: Phil Heath won the Mr. Olympia competition. In the men’s 212lbs bodybuilding competition, James Flex Lewis emerged victorious. The physique professional winner was Mark Anthony Wingson. The Muscle and Fitness model search winner went to Sergi Constance. On the women’s side, Iris Kyle became Ms. Olympia. She also set a record for winning more Olympias than anyone in history. This includes surpassing Arnold. The woman physique winner was Dana Linn Bailey. My friend, Nicole Wilkins took the figure again. Adela Garcia won Fitness, and Ashley Kaltwasser won Bikini. In the America’s strongest man competition, Brian Shaw made history! Shaw has truly become a strongman champion icon winning these competitions repeatedly! Craig Tullier won the Olympia’s Arm Wrestling war.
The heavy weight, Tectar from Norway won the Arm Wrestling heavy weight championship. In Sumo Wrestling, Sumo Dan Kalbfleisch won the Gold. For powerlifting, Henry Thomason was the most impressive heavy weight powerlifter, totaling 2,298lbs. Al Caslow and Micah Marino dominated in the powerlifting 181lbs weight division. Al totaled 1,973lbs and Micah totaled 1,967lbs. April Shumaker prevailed victorious in the female powerlifting division, totaling 914lbs. The best bench presser for the big men was Matt Houser, benching 826lbs. Joe Mazza weighing 181lbs was the most impressive pound for pound bencher as he benched 617lbs. The best female deadlifter was Kristy Scott, as she deadlifted 523lbs. Damon Myers weighing 198lbs won for light lifters, deadlifting 766lbs. The man who deadlifted the most of anyone was heavy weight Brent Willis, deadlifting 881lbs. The Ultimate Athlete Champion was Mark Sayas. Mark was in 14th place after day one, and he made a huge comeback to win the World’s Ultimate Athlete competition. As you can tell, lots of people made history in different avenues of iron and athletic excellence during Olympia weekend.
Anthony Alayon: What made this year’s Olympia different from other Olympia’s?
Ben Tatar: This year’s Olympia Expo was in the Northern Hall. That made this year’s Olympia the biggest one to date. There are always new faces, celebrities and champions. Therefore, for me, these events never get old, and I will keep returning.
as told to CriticalBench.com by Ben Tatar
Jake Prazak has bench pressed 909 at 220lbs and 920 at 242lbs. These are both world records. Let’s meet bench press world record holder Jake Prazak!
CB: Jake, tell us about yourself.
JP: I am 35 years old and live in the small town of Rock Falls, Ia. I am married to Jessica and have 4 kids. Hunting, fishing, lifting, and wrestling is how I spend most of my time. My family by far is the most important thing in my life.
CB: Jake, you benched 909 at 220lbs and 920lbs at 242lbs, both world records. What went through your mind after you achieved both of those lifts? How did you celebrate?
JP: They both felt amazing. In bench there are a lot of ups and downs. To finally get the records was a relief because I had been close so many times. We celebrated just like we do after any competition…with lots of beer to replace lost carbs and rehydrate.
CB: Tell us about your bench press routine!
JP: Monday- Shoulder preventative maintenance, close grip bench, accessory triceps
Tuesday- Shoulder preventative maintenance, Squat/Deadlift, leg accessory, bi’s, forearms
Wednesday- Shoulder preventative maintenance, Upper Back work and some more shoulders
Thursday- Shoulder preventative maintenance
Friday- Shoulder preventative maintenance, Bench, accessory chest
Sunday- Shoulder preventative maintenance, bodybuilder day (core, cardio elliptical sprints)
CB: Can you tell us a little more about what you do during shoulder preventative maintenance days and why they are important?
JP: I look at my body as a complex machine. If you don’t do any preventative maintenance (PM) on machines, especially the complex and most used parts, they will start to not work correctly and eventually break. That is how I look at my shoulders. Your shoulders take a beating daily, they need to be taken care of. For my PM for shoulders I do active stretching, light band work, and several different rotator cuff movements.
Bill Carpenter with Jake Prazak
CB: Jake, give us 10 keys to a scary strong bench press!
JP: 1-Training partners that are on the same page as you
2-Listen to your body. Your body will tell you when to deload, no program should.
3-Do not get into a comfort zone…handle weights that takes you out of that zone.
4-Analyze how each accessory exercise you do can help your bench
5-Don’t worry about anyone else’s numbers but your own.
6-Eliminate as many distractions as possible throughout each day.
7-Constantly work on improving your form, setup, and technique
8-Know how to supplement correctly.
9-Travel and do a training sessions with the best out there. This hands on knowledge is priceless.
10- HAVE FUN and be yourself.
11- SPEED, SPEED, SPEED
12. Orgasm often…best thing for your body by far.
CB: Thanks for the 2 bonus tips Thus far in your bench press journey, list for us a) your favorite moment b) a crazy moment and c) a moment that changed you the most
JP: a.) Watching any teammate hit their first multi-ply bench
b.) Watching bones break, quads detach, bicep tears… it’s so painful and crazy to see in person.
c.) Hearing my kid’s voice over everything else while laying on the platform.
CB: Where do you train? What is it like?
JP: I train at N.I.P. & Fitness Center. I own it with one other partner. It is a 5100 sq ft, brand new facility in Mason City, Ia. We have Powerlifting, Strongman, Dedicated Women’s circuit and lots of pin select and plate loaded equipment. We cater to everybody, no matter what your fitness goals are. www.northiafitness.com is our website. We have a forum and online supplement store. You may also find us on Facebook under N.I.P. & Fitness Center.
CB: That’s awesome. Everyone make sure to check out Jake’s gym. How did you get started in bench pressing? Did it ever occur to you that you would be a world record holder? That makes you one in 7 billion people. How does that feel?
JP: I started bench pressing in 5th grade and never quit. My first competition was when I was in 10th grade and I think I benched 185. I never in a million years believed I would hold any all time world records. It doesn’t even sink in until you say, “7 billion people” and then you start to look back and realize what you have achieved.
CB: What are your future goals?
JP: In the near future, I want to up the 242 record and within the next 2 years want to be the lightest ever to bench 1000.
CB: What are your 10 favorite exercises for a bigger bench press?
JP: 1-Splitting wood by hand
3-Close Grip Bench
4-Dumbbell military presses
5-Incline Straight Bar
9-Close grip bench with bands
10- 12 oz arm curls
CB: #1 and #10 are my favorite. How are you going to remember your bench press journey? How do you want to be remembered?
JP: I will remember all of the great friends I have met throughout the world. Powerlifters in general are the most down to earth, non self centered people I have ever met (for the most part)…until you disrespect them! That is what I will remember and love about the powerlifting community. I don’t really care how I am remembered, everyone else will decide that on their own.
CB: Well, Jake you’re so much stronger than the rest of the world. How do people usually respond when they discover that you can bench press over 900lbs?
JP: Most don’t believe it and most don’t understand multi-ply lifting.
CB: What was the best advice you ever received? What was the worst?
JP: Best: You have to live in your shirt. Worst: You train in your shirt way to much.
CB: I’m going to name a powerlifting topic. I want you let me know what comes to mind.
JP: Me in 11th grade. I thought I was big shit getting 225.
CB: 315lb. bench presser
JP: Believe me, I don’t mind taking plates off for you. I want you to be 405 lbs presser. I am just happy you are bench pressing and wanting to get better.
CB: 405 lb. bench presser
JP: Same as the 315 lb presser.
CB: 500 lb. bench presser
JP: Same as the 405 lb presser.
CB: 600 lb. bench presser
JP: Same as the 500 lb presser.
CB: 700 lb. bench presser
JP: Same as the 600 lb presser.
CB: Bencher who fears the shirt.
JP: You have to surround yourself with people who know how to use them…they will cure your fear.
CB: Bencher who disses the shirt.
JP: They have obviously tried it…they just can’t handle multi-ply benching. Do you want to say you bench 400 raw or 600 equipped? Human nature in all of us says we want to say 600 equipped. Sounds way cooler! Raw and equipped are two completely different sports. I got really bored with raw and became addicted to handling as much weight as possible. I have the utmost respect for anybody who competes and will never diss anybody.
CB: People who look up to you.
JP: Don’t be scared to talk to me and ask me any question. This is what I enjoy.
CB: Your fans.
JP: Thank You!
CB: A bencher comes up to you and says, “I haven’t gotten stronger in years. I need help! I feel like I have reached my potential and I’m just not into it.” What do you say to get them going again?
JP: I say get into it and stop feeling sorry for yourself. There many people who have it way worse than you. So be thankful you can even lift weights! Once they change their attitude I will help them as much as they need.
CB: What’s your nutrition plan?
JP: I have no nutrition plan. I try and eat as clean and healthy as possible. I try and stay anabolic 24/7. Everybody knows what they should and shouldn’t eat, I don’t need it on paper. I love burgers, brats, and beer!
CB: I’m going to list five aspects of powerlifting. Tell me which you think are most important: Diet, Genetics, Mind/Heart, Training Partners, Rest.
JP: Mind /Heart
CB: Jake, if you could be any kind of animal, what would you be?
JP: A dog…They are pretty intelligent and obviously for the other reason.
CB: What makes Jake different in the gym than everyone else?
JP: I am driven to be the best at what I do. I am not happy with 2nd.
CB: Jake, it has been great interviewing you today. You have really shocked the world with the numbers you have been putting up in the bench press. We wish you all the best with everything you do. In closing who do you want to thank?
JP: I want to thank my wife Jessica and my kids for the sacrifices they have put up with while allowing me to be selfish in accomplishing my goals in this obsession of mine! They are my biggest fans. My training partners deserve a lot of credit as well, without a dedicated team no records would have been broken. My sponsors Rudy Rosales with OVERKILL STRENGTH EQUIPMENT, American Muscle (http://americanmuscle.us/), Rhino Power Gear (https://www.rhinopowergear.com/), HAAS Chiropractic, Synergy Worldwide (http://us.synergyworldwide.com/). I am proud to represent these elite companies. I take who I represent very seriously. Finally, thank you CRITICAL BENCH for taking the time to get to know me!
In this interview, Critical Bench author, Jedd Johnson interviews Jerry Shreck, from Variety Trainer and originator of the Deceleration Training program.
1. Jerry, tell us a little about yourself and how you came to be a Strength Coach at a Division 1 University.
Well I graduated from East Stroudsburg University with a major in Movement and Exercise Science and a minor in Sports Medicine/Athletic Training. My first job was working at a pretty big high school that was serious about their sports; so serious that the town would all but shut down for Friday night football games.
What surprised me when I got there was they never had an athletic trainer or strength coach there before. I was their guy and I was able to accomplish some great things there.
Then an opportunity presented itself, one of those “being in the right place at the right time” situations. So I pursued it hard and landed a job working as an athletic trainer at a D-I University (Bucknell). To my surprise they had no full time strength coach. Just a guy who kind of worked with the football and wrestling programs.
To make a long story short; within a year, I was volunteering in the mornings 5 days a week to train 7 different sports teams. Within 2 years I was hired as Bucknell’s first full time strength coach and have been there ever since.
2. Jerry, what sports do you work with at the Division 1 Level?
I work with 27 varsity programs and one club varsity team (men’s rowing). I oversee 2 weight rooms and have one full time and one part time assistant. My full time assistant works directly with football in the stadium weight room. The other weight room houses M & W Basketball, M & W Lacrosse, M & W Soccer, Field Hockey, Volleyball, Women’s Rowing, Baseball, Softball, M & W Swimming & Diving, M & W Track & Field, Cross Country, M & W Tennis, M & W Water Polo, M & W Golf, Cheer Leading, and Wrestling.
I think I got them all and I oversee all of them. Injury prevention is my top priority with all of their training. They do keep me busy!
3. Jerry, I know a very serious injury that athletes experience in college athletics is ACL Tears. For those who might not know what is the ACL?
Well first, I would really like to point out that ACL tears occur at all levels of sport and it can be one of the worst injuries an athlete can suffer. The Anterior Cruciate Ligament or commonly known as the ACL is a major ligament that really helps to stabilize the knee. Without getting too technical, it attaches the femur bone (upper leg) to the tibia bone (lower leg/shin) and runs across and through the main joint of the knee. Its main purpose is to keep the tibia bone from moving forward.
4. What causes an ACL Injury? What types of movements in sports bring about these tears?
An ACL tear occurs when it is stretched beyond its tensile strength limit and it essentially gives until it snaps. It would be like stretching a rubber band until it breaks. This normally occurs either by a contact or non-contact injury. A contact injury would be from contact with someone or something violently. An example of this would be if a football lineman was involved in a pile up and another football player rolled up on or fell into his leg.
A non-contact tear occurs normally in stop-and-go sports, usually when changing direction or landing poorly form a jump but without touching anyone or thing. An example would be a soccer player sprinting down a field and was going to cut to the left. He/she would typically plant with the right foot and extend through the ankle, knee, and hip (triple extension) to push off towards the left.
What can happen when sprinting, if there is not good glute activation and the athlete is quad dominant, the tibia will be pulled forward and when the athlete tries to pivot it will result in an over stretching of the ACL – - “POP” – - – the ACL tears.
5. What does it mean if an athlete is Quad Dominant, and can this increase ACL injury risk?
I see quad dominant athletes more and more now days for reasons that I won’t go into right now. Basically, what this means is an athlete is relying on their quads as the main muscle groups of the lower body to decelerate and accelerate when doing athletic types of movement. This quad dominance can place the knees into improper positions that can predispose athletes potential for injuries.
Getting good activation of the gluteus muscles during deceleration and acceleration types of movements will not only assist the quads but also place the body into more proper biomechanical positions resulting not only in lower chances of injury but a more stable and explosive athlete.
6. Jerry, you have developed a program to prevent ACL tears. What is the program called, and what is the basis of the program?
It is called, Deceleration Training To Prevent ACL Tears. It is ten years in the making and has been tested and used on all levels of athletes for the past 8 years with outstanding results! It is basically a systematic progression of exercises and drills that re-train an athlete to use his/her glute muscles when moving in or out of any athletic movement.
Younger athletes today sit more than ever before in front of the TV, computer, texting on the phone, and/or playing video games. I believe this to be shortening their hip flexors and in return causing other problems. One major problem is the inability to fire up the glutes properly. This is one of the main reasons I believe we are seeing a rise in ACL tears each year in athletics.
7. Jerry, is this something that just Football players would benefit from or can other athletes do it as well?
ALL athletes that are involved in any sport where sprinting, jumping, cutting and/or change of direction will benefit from this training system.
8. Jerry, is this the type of program that is only good for University-caliber students, or can other athletes use it as well?
I have used this will athletes at all levels from jr. high school to professional athletes. I once used this system with a U-10 soccer team (all under 10 years old). You only advance to the next phase after the athlete has mastered the current one. Obviously, the more mature and athletic the athlete is the quicker he/she would advance.
9. What kind of equipment, space, and time requirements are needed in order to implement your Deceleration Training Program?
Not much equipment is needed at all. A plyo box and some cones is it and if you were creative you would need no equipment.
Space will be determined by how many athletes are going to be trained at a time. Usually, an area of 30 yards would be sufficient. I do the majority of these drills on a basketball court with teams.
Time would be determined more on which phase you are on and the level of athlete learning the phase. Most drills are very short and would normally be done in the beginning of practice 15-30 minutes; twice a week would work on average.
10. Where can we find out more about your Deceleration Training Program?
Check out the full details about the training program here: http://criticalbench.com/goto/ACLtear
You’ll get to see even more details about the program itself, and even get to see me performing some of the drawers full speed.
How To Prevent an ACL Tear Video
Luke Alisson of CriticalBench.com Interviews Chris Barnard
LA: This is Luke Allison here with the CriticalBench.com weekly Muscle Building Expert Interview series. Today I’m here with Chris Barnard. Chris, how are you?
CB: Good, good, Luke. How you doing?
LA: Doing all right, man. I appreciate you joining us. We have a sort of special topic today that I know people are going to be interested in hearing about, Total Xplosive Training. Give us some background; talk a little bit about that.
CB: About the training itself or how it came about?
LA: Wherever you want to begin.
CB: All right. Well, basically, Total Xplosive Training was… Basically, I kind of just fell into it. I was training… I played football my whole life. I’ve played baseball my whole life, basketball, you know what I mean? Any sport out there, you name it, I kind of was trying to get my hand in anything growing up.
I really tailored-in in football and tried to pursue that after high school. I actually went to a junior college and ended up getting like basically a career-ending injury. I broke my shoulder in a game and I think I separated almost every tendon in the shoulder. And while rehabilitating, I really started to look into different types of training and how I could get my body back into peak shape and basically I wanted to take it to the next level. That’s every kids’ dream is to really use training, you know what I mean? Especially if you have the bad genetics, as they say, to make yourself something, get yourself to that NFL dream.
So, basically what I ended up doing was I started training with Elliott Hulse over here at Strength Camp, and I started doing a couple of different methods and reading online and figuring out all these things. And it wasn’t until I actually started to study it in school to where I started applying that knowledge into my training.
So, when I developed Total Xplosive Training, really what I was doing was I was preparing myself to play Division I football at the University of Miami. So, basically, I just took my workout, along with Elliott Hulse’s, you know, he’s got the meal plan and the Strongman… If you guys aren’t familiar with him, he does a lot of Strongman for football, and things like that. And I took my speed training and kind of just put it all in a pot and really tried to mix it up and make it work, basically for myself.
Well, what ended up happening was I got awesome results. I think I was like… After surgery I was probably like under 200 pounds. I was able to gain all my weight back, all my strength back. I got up to about 235-240 pounds and I was just pure muscle. My strength was through the roof. I was squatting extremely heavy. I mean, I was able to do like five plates for reps, you know what I mean? I was able to bench close to 400 pounds. And this was… We’re applying this to sport training. So, I know I’m not powerlifting numbers, but for sports training that’s pretty good. My 40 time was really reduced. I was able to run the 40 in a 4.58 and for 235 pounds, that’s pretty impressive. I could jump amazingly.
So, I mean, everything was just working for me. So, I though… In my head I was thinking, okay, this is just for me. So, when I was doing this, working alongside Elliott, he gave me the opportunity to work with some of his athletes. Well, my second guess was, okay, I’m just going to see what I can do with these athletes and get them the training that I was going through.
To my surprise, what ended up happening was, these kids who were kind of like weak and scrawny and didn’t really have a hope for getting to the next level, they all started becoming beasts in the gym.
That’s kind of when I just realized, wow, I’ve really got to start putting this stuff on paper and really got to start getting it out to some people. Because, I mean, it’s working really amazingly. Like, the proof is in the pudding, as they say.
So, basically with the training, we’ll talk a little background on that, what we do is we basically start them off by giving them some kind of heavy, like high intensity plyometrics, something to really get their motor system working. The whole thing about Total Xplosive Training, the whole science background, I don’t want to give you the whole textbook hoopla. But basically for people who want to know, we’re training the nervous system. We’re not just training your muscles; we’re training movements. As an athlete and as any person in power training or any kind of athletic performance, they need to tailor-in certain movements.
So, it’s not necessarily what the muscles is doing, how big it is, but it’s more or less what the muscle is doing for you on the field, on the court, you know, in the pool, whatever it might be that your sport is.
So, basically, like I said, that’s the plyometrics. We’re training certain movement patterns that you usually see in your natural sport. So, we can say, for instance, basketball, football, baseball, soccer, MMA, any of these sports, they’re obviously very different as far as the movements go, but then when you look at the underlying, the base features, a lot of it is still the same thing. For football, for basketball, for baseball, for MMA, you still need strong, powerful hits in anything you do. You still need a strong, powerful shoulder joint, everything you do.
So, what we do is we go ahead and we train that at the highest intensity it can go, which is power. It’s your force times your velocity. So, how strong it is times how fast you can move it.
So, we go ahead, like I said, we start off with a speed movement, like a plyometric or some kind of high velocity movement where we’re getting those base movements from each sport to really move, and then what we’re doing is we’re going to then in turn go ahead and train the strengths. So, we’re going to go ahead and move to strength movements where we’re really using some of that brute force to really move some heavy weight.
For instance, I think some of our workouts will consist of something, say like, a couple of different high intensity box jumps. And then, we’ll move into the gym and go ahead and train a couple different variations of the squat, deadlift, maybe some kind of bench press, really heavy.
That basically is the foundation. Like I said, I don’t want to get into too much scientific, some kind of hoopla for you guys, but just to give you the general background of Total Xplosive Training. Does that help you out, Luke?
LA: Absolutely. I think that’s a good start. It sounds a lot like you’re training the power and the velocity like skill work. Usually the idea is do skill work first before you get tired, and then you can sort of move heavy things slowly after that. Is that right? You’ve sort of got your priority…
CB: Yeah. Well, basically what… I mean, a lot of scientific people believe in something called PAP, which is post-activation potentiation. What that is is basically say you lift something heavy and then you go ahead and… A lot of people call it complex training, too. You’re lifting something heavy, you’re creating a stimulus, you’re turning on your muscles, basically. And then, you want to go ahead and use the same muscles to go ahead and do like a powerful jump. Because, what they’re saying is it’s activating your muscles. Now, you can go ahead and do a more high velocity thing.
What I’ve done and what Total Xplosive Training is, basically just flip it. I want to get the most powerful movement that you can, you know, the velocity, in the very beginning while your muscles aren’t fatigued whatsoever. Because, basically what happens is, you have motor units connecting to each one of your muscles. You might have, depending on the size of the muscle, depends on the amount of motor units you have firing. Well, with this, we want to go ahead and activate the most amount of motor units we can. So then, you’re going to get the most out of each particular muscle.
In addition, we want to go ahead and make sure that we are firing efficiency, as we could say, is on point. So, basically, they call it rate coding. We want to make sure that each one of your…the signal being sent for the muscle to turn on is as fast as it possible can. So, that’s why I went ahead and I trained the velocity first.
So, what we do is we, you know what I mean… Like I said, your muscle isn’t going to be fatigued whatsoever. We’re getting down to the correct motor patterns of the muscle to where it’s firing immediately fast and you’re able to get the most power out of it at that point in time.
Then, like I said, as we go into the gym, the strength component is basically to supplement the power. Anything you do… I mean, you think about any sport, unless you’re talking powerlifting or Strongman or something of that nature, you’re not going to be lifting a maximum amount of weight and taking you five seconds or something. Everything is a quick, sudden burst.
So, the strength is there to compliment the power output. And obviously, if the strength is a component of power, if we increase the strength, we’re going to increase the power.
LA: It makes as lot of sense. I think people think of sports and they go, oh, speed is speed and you’re faster or you’re not, and that’s just not the case, is it? You can get faster and jump higher and do all of those things. I think you’re certainly an example of that.
CB: Right, exactly, exactly. Well, yeah, the thing is, like I said, when I got a handful of athletes, I, myself, actually was somebody who… There’s this aura going around that if you have bad genetics you can’t train speed. And I kind of just grew up with that. I saw in my head everybody said… I remember through school, the gym teacher would tell us that. So, I mean, either you’re born with speed or you’re not, and that seems to be the belief that everybody grows up with.
Well, me growing up with that, I wanted to figure something else out. Now, don’t get me wrong, genetics does play a role. I mean, if you look at kids on the playground, and you take two five-year-olds, one of them is going to be faster than the other. You’re going to look at it and say, okay, did one train harder than the other? No. I mean, there is genetics played in every aspect of our life. But, for us to say that genetics can’t be manipulated, or for us to say that training cannot improver your speed, I just… I think that’s a total false statement.
LA: So, you’re trying to give people hope, too. You’re not trying to put people in boxes and say you can’t do this and you can’t do that. Work hard, see what happens.
CB: Exactly. Because, like I said, I was once the underdog. I, myself… I mean, I’m not coming from reading this in a book and trying to tell somebody they can do this. I actually did it myself. Like I said, I had a career-ending injury. I went ahead and I came back and I got on the team for one of the most prestigious schools, you know, out there for college football, the University of Miami.
So, like I said, I took my 40 time from high school, when I was like 180-pounds, from probably like a 5 second 40, and I went ahead and I brought it down to a 4.58, which is pretty fast if you’re watching the combine these days. And that’s just through training speed and strength.
So, what I felt is…what I tell everybody is, there is numerous ways that you can manipulate, depending on what you want to do. And I think that, like you said, if I’m giving people hope, they’re able to understand it can be trained. It’s out there. It’s just what are you willing to do to get that?
LA: Right, and that’s also a matter of if you’re not satisfied with the information you’re getting from your high school program or your college program and you think about changing, look at what Elliott’s doing, look at what Chris is doing. This is serious stuff.
Talk about some of the equipment that you use. Get into some of that. Give people an idea of sort of what this might look like if they pick up the program.
CB: Okay. Well, basically anything that I have in the Total Xplosive Training you can acquire at any gym. I made it with the thought of thinking, okay, there’s going to be those high school athletes, there’s going to be those older guys who want to get back in athletic shape, because obviously everybody wants to look like an athlete. So, I said, you know, it’s nice to have a gym like Strength Camp where we have tires and all kinds of stones and stuff like that and pegs. But, the average, every-day guy isn’t going to have these kinds of things available to him.
So, what I said was, what I’m going to do is I’m going to create this to where wherever you are, I’m going to give it to you to where you can do it in a normal gym setting or you can do it in… Say you have a barbell and some weights in your back yard. You can take care of it the same way. You’ve just got to be a little bit creative.
The most things that I think that we have, you know, people come to me and say, oh, I don’t have boxes for box jumps. Well, I remember being in high school and jumping off of a trash can or jumping over stuff like that just to go ahead and… Because, I, myself couldn’t afford the boxes that they make just for jumping. But, people realize you don’t really need those kind of things.
CB: There you go, exactly. Well, I remember we started doing it off my own truck. So, I mean, people can’t really say too much about not having the right equipment. Like I said, as far as the weights go, a squat rack, a bench, anything with a barbell with some weights on it, is sufficient enough. I think I do have a couple of machines connected in with the training, but they’re nothing more than like a cable or something like that that you can find in your everyday gym.
LA: That’s good. I think that’s what people need to hear, because I think they sometimes get confused about well, if I’m going to be serious, then I have to have all this serious stuff. And that’s kind of not how it works. You have to work your way up to needing all of that. Right?
CB: Right. Exactly. I mean, people think that you need to jump into it and have the best things. And honestly, like we always say, I could give you the best workout in the world, but if you follow it 50%, you’re going to get 50% results. I could give you the worst workout in the world, and I you follow it 100%, you’re going to get great results.
The thing with TXT is, the workout I’m giving you is tailored in for you to get the most out of your athletic potential. So, if you go at this 100% and you have the right setup in the off season for your upcoming season, there’s no way you can lose with it. You’re definitely going to go ahead and increase your athletic performance.
Like I said, I’ve had a basketball player, I’ve had a baseball player, I’ve had a football player. I put them all to the test with it. I was nervous because I said, you know, everybody says one key doesn’t fit all locks. So, I said, okay, this is my training. It’s not going to fit everybody else. Let me go ahead and give it a shot.
It’s kind of like I had some lab rats. Well, each one, you know, the basketball player increased his vertical jump and was able to move quicker and more efficiently on the court. The baseball player went from not hitting one homerun to hitting…I think he hit seven that season. And then the football player was just completely just a beast and went ahead and made the University of South Florida team as a walk-on.
So, I mean, each and every player went ahead and improved their athletic performance, and it’s all from the base foundation of increasing your explosive power.
LA: And that’s exactly what people… I think when people are in the market, that’s what they want to hear, is this has worked. It’s something you thought about and then you did it and then it worked. It’s been in all of the different phases.
Give people an idea how long of a program it is, how many days a week. Go into a little bit of detail, if you can, on that.
SC: Yeah, sure. So, basically, Total Xplosive Training is a three-phase. It’s a base phase. And what we do there is the first month we go ahead and create a foundation. So, what we do is we make sure your hip joint is completely stable and able to go onto the next phase, which is developmental phase. And there, we start developing certain aspects of your game and we increase the intensity and drop the volume. And then, after developmental phase, we go into the peak phase, which is the third and final month. And what that does is basically we increase the intensity and we drop the volume and this is basically what it says. We’re going to be peaking. By now, your numbers are going to be extremely high. You’re going to be breaking all your one-rep max records, your personal records. You’re going to be protecting everything at this time and it’s going to be getting you ready for that season.
So, to sum it up, it’s three-phase, three-month. And each one conjugates with each other so you’re moving slowly into the next phase of being able to get the most out of your training.
As far as how many days per week, we go ahead and we train four days. There’s a lot of…how should I say it? People use these terms with each other, over-reaching and over-training. I think a lot of people get this mixed up with what they’re doing in their training and I believe that over-training, basically, if you’re recovering enough, there won’t be over-training. So, what we do is we give you complete recovery sessions, the complete nutrition to follow and exactly how much sleep you should be getting as well.
So, what we do is we train four days a week and it’s very intense. But, like I said, we do have the recovery and the nutrition included. And so, basically, with the four days you’re able to take off of each movement pattern or muscle being used so that you’re able to develop the next one. Kind of like what they call like a block periodization micro-cycle. So, you’re not using the same muscle each day, but you’re able to go ahead and improve on them throughout the week. If that makes sense.
LA: Oh, it makes sense to me. I’m just making sure that we cover it in enough detail for people that might not. Block periodization, I think that was what you described before, where you have the different sort of monthly blocks, which is just a group of training that’s similar, but that also builds on itself. Because, you’ll be going… You’re not trying to go like three months of distance in one month. You’re trying to go three months of distance in three months.
CB: Right. Well, there’s so many different, you know, after studying this, there’s so many different methods of periodization. I started looking at some of the ones, obviously the traditional western linear, where you’re continuously moving up. I looked at block periodization where you use certain effects, reciprocal effects, to go ahead and build on top of each other. And I’ve also…what I’ve adapted from Elliott Hulse is the Russian conjugate.
So, basically what I try to do is just basically mix these up to where I’m using each one, a particular little piece of my favorite part of each method and building it into its own training program.
So, like I said, it will move you through certain phases like say block periodization. But, at the same time, you are staying strong, you are staying fast, you know what I mean? Because it is three months.
People know, and athletes know, how important this off-season is to them. Like, your off-season is almost everything, because you want to come back that next season and you want to be that person. You want to be that athlete that just stuns everybody and says, you know, look what I did this off-season. I turned my life around, I turned my game around and I’m ready to go.
So, people know that the off-season is short, but they want to get the most out of it. And that’s exactly what Total Xplosive Training does.
LA: And that’s the key. I absolutely want to emphasize that, because the difference between an athlete and someone that’s just lifting is, an athlete has a sport, and that person has a very specific period of time where they can have an off-season and then they also have a specific period of time where they have to get back on the court or back on the field.
LA: It makes all the difference if you do the right thing.
You’ve mentioned MMA fighters, basketball players, football players, anyone else you have experience working with or who you think Total Xplosive Training would be appropriate for?
CB: Like I said, I’ve been… I hate to say this, but even before the whole football thing, I remember in high school I worked at World Gym and then after that I was a trainer at LA Fitness. I don’t like to bring those out, because I don’t like the fashion show gyms too much. I like kind of the hardcore stuff. But, I’ve been working with… You know, I’ve always been attracted to the athletes, because I, myself, have always been one. And I just was able to connect. I understand the intensity they want to go. Now, I’m not taking anything away from the average day lifters, because there are those guys out there who used to play the sport and realize that I’m not going to get anywhere unless I train like an athlete. That’s the beauty about TXT.
I apply TXT to the average-day guy. And what they do is they end up looking back like they used to look when they were playing football or they were playing basketball. You know, that look that they want to get when they’re 30 or so years old, and they realize wow, I can’t just lift, I’ve got to go back to training like an athlete. That’s how I’m going to look my best.
In addition to that, I’ve worked with, like I’ve said, I’ve worked with basketball players, I’ve worked with baseball, football, soccer, swimmers, actually. That was a new one for me. MMA was pretty cool because those are some of the most… I thought football was pretty intense, but MMA guys really love to push themselves. Let me think here, just an overall of sports. I worked with a boxer before, I think.
And the funny thing is, there really isn’t a sport that I’ve helped people out with… You know, I’m actually working with some people in rugby and lacrosse right now, too, as well. But, like I said, there’s not a sport that can’t benefit from it because there’s not a sport that doesn’t have an underlying movement that they can’t… Now, I understand that sport-specific training, meaning if you’re a quarterback, you’re obviously going to throw the ball. If you’re a pitcher you’re going to be practicing your pitching motion and your mechanics. That’s sport-specific training.
But, besides that, each sport has their base movements to where they’re going to want to get the most explosive power and strength out of their body that they can. And by improving that, it’s going to improve every aspect of your game.
If I take a pitcher and he just throws all day long, he’s going to get his mechanics down. Now, say I take that same pitcher and go ahead and apply Total Xplosive Training to him and make him more powerful. Now you see his hip, now you see his rotational muscles, basically his obliques and transverse abdominis getting extremely strong. So now, he’s able to throw that ball a lot harder and a lot more powerful. That’s all it’s doing. It’s complimenting your sport-specific training to basically increase your overall athletic performance.
LA: The two things that I think of when you just said that was, the ability to decelerate, to slow down after you’ve sped up, and then it’s the ability to change direction. And those seem like the things that go, you know, everyone is interested…or should be interested in that if they’re interested in performance. Is that right?
CB: Right. And that’s the whole thing about explosive training. You want to be able to stop… It’s all body control. That’s what athletics are all about. I don’t tell somebody to be the biggest and the craziest looking athlete, but if their body is completely under control at all times, that’s how you train your body, your nervous system to move efficiently and to move as swiftly as possible.
So, I mean, the biggest athlete isn’t necessarily the strongest. So, what you’re doing here is you’re basically teaching an athlete to come to speed, you know, to get the maximum speed as quick as they can and to stop as quick as they can, or make that move as quick as they can.
Say somebody in basketball is crossing-over. Say a baseball player is hitting a fastball, or say an MMA fighter throwing a punch. It’s all moving as fast as you can. As you look, some of the most…the best players in each sport, in every sport there is, I guarantee you they’re usually the fastest or most powerful player. There’s something about them that’s more than the rest. Yeah, there’s technique, obviously involved. But, like I said, the best ones, the best of the best, they usually have, like you said, those two. And that equals they’re the most explosive.
LA: Absolutely. Make it simple. Don’t make it harder than it needs to be.
CB: Right. Exactly.
LA: Fair enough. Chris, if people are interested in getting the program or sort of getting some more information, give them an idea about where they can go and sort of what they can find.
CB: Yeah. Basically, I have it on the website, it’s at TotalXplosiveTraining.com. I believe that Mike here will have a link to it in on his thing that you guys could check it out. I urge people who are serious about their athletic performance to definitely give it a shot this off-season. It’s definitely something to look into. And like I said, I’m always available. I’m not somebody that’s trying to be one to make a quick dollar or anything like that. I really want to help people out.
So, even if… I want people to email me. I love working with people. I’m working with people all across the world right now. And I, myself, am also training, got some things in the woodworks to go ahead and do. So, I just want to create, as far as like a community, to basically help athletes out to get them to their goals. I think that would be pretty neat.
LA: Sounds great. Chris, I appreciate the time. Thank you again.
CB: Luke, thank you very much. I appreciate it.
LA: All right. Take care.
CB: Have a good one. Bye bye.
As Told To CriticalBench.com by Ben Tatar
Sarah has been a pro boxer, a pro female football player in the LFL, a NPC pro figure competitor, and is one of the most hybrid female athletes out there.
CB: Sarah, welcome to Critical Bench. It’s great to have an elite athlete who competes in so many different professional sports. First, tell us about yourself!
SGK: I am a free spirited, hard working young woman originally from New England, Massachusetts. I have my own personal training business serving Fort Lauderdale and Aventura Florida. I am also a fitness model and women’s NPC Figure competitor.
CB: Let’s start by talking about your journey as a boxer. List for us your favorite moment, funny moment, crazy moment, and a moment that changed you?
SGK: Wow…well, my favorite moment was when I won my fight hands down and also took home a belt! Everyone was nervous because they thought my opponent was going to be super tough. Halfway into the first round I knew I had the fight when I hit her with a couple jabs that sent her head back. It shook her confidence when she felt the power of my jab!! Wooohoo! I would say a moment that changed me was when I let some drama in my corner get to my head and affect me negatively in another fight I had. I realized how much of a mental sport boxing is.
CB: What was it about boxing that you loved so much?
SGK: I not only love the physical challenge of boxing but I love the technical aspect of the sport as well. I know it sounds crazy but when I get into it I kinda like getting hit. Of course not when I’m in a fight ’cause that equals points for them, but it doesn’t faze me! (laughs)
CB: Sarah, you are a warrior!! How did people respond when you told them you were boxing?
SGK: I think they were surprised because looking at me they were kinda like “Yeah, okay.” However, once they saw me in action it totally changed their opinions.
CB: Before you boxed, you were a ring card girl. You lived the model’s dream and the athletic dream. Did you like boxing more or being a ring card girl?
SGK: I love boxing WAY MORE than being a ring card girl. I have always been a tom boy, so kicking someones ass is way more fun for me than being sexy!
CB: Very cool. What did you think of being a ring card girl back when you were one?
SGK: It was fun! I was very young so it was quite an exciting experience for me.
CB: You are extraordinarily athletic and in amazing shape. You inspire lots of people. Tell us about your training routine.
SGK: My training routine varies depending on what stage of training I am in. If I’m getting ready for a show my training is usually a typical body building style and I’ll do 2 a days where I split cardio and my lifting. If I am in the off season I prefer to do more circuit, functional style training and I will box or do some MMA for fun.
CB: We also know you compete. How do you train for your shows and what is your diet like?
SGK: For my shows I usually do chest Monday, back Tuesday, legs Wednesday, just cardio on Thursday or arms and cardio, shoulders Friday, and legs again Saturday. It tends to go something like that. My diet also depends on how far out I am from my show. Typically it consists of lots of protein, green veggies, salads, eggs, and some complex carbs. When I am not getting ready for a show I try to stay along the same guide lines but I add more healthy fats in my diet and a little more variety. Also less measuring and being so strict on my portion sizes.
CB: On top of all these accomplishments, in 2009, you played for the LFL with the Miami Caliente. The LFL is professional football and it is played in lingerie for those who don’t know. Sarah, what were your thoughts when it came to playing in the LFL?
SGK: Well again I love sports and I am a huge football fan. I was super excited to get out there and take some broads out! (laughs) Football is an awesome sport!!
CB: What was harder boxing or playing in the LFL and why?
SGK: I would say boxing was harder because football is a team sport and when you mess up hopefully your team has your back. Boxing is just you in that ring and your opponent. May the best man win!!
CB: Was playing in the LFL what you thought it would be?
SGK: I didn’t go in with a lot of expectations but the game of football itself was more complicated than I anticipated, so that was a challenge. You know, we didn’t grow up learning the game in elementary and high school so it was like a crash course on everything.
CB: Speaking of great football players, you also have videos of you training with NFL pro bowl living legend Brendon Ayanbadejo. How did you meet him, and what is it like training with an NFL living legend like Brendon?
SGK: I met Brendon probably 7 or 8 years ago when my best friend and I crashed her fiancées house where Brendon was sleeping. I woke him up and introduced myself and ever since then we’ve been friends!! (laughs) I truly enjoy training with Brendon. He inspires and motivates me!
CB: What has it been like being friends with Brendon?
SGK: Brendon has been a great friend to me. He is a real down to earth guy with a super positive attitude! I really appreciate and enjoy his friendship!
CB: Outside of Brendon, name us some athletes who inspire you.
SGK: Wow…that’s a tough one. I gain inspiration from other female athletes like Dara Torres, Mia Hamm, and Figure competitor Ava Cowan. I am all about woman being mentally and physically strong. Sports of all kinds build your confidence and mental strength. Girl power!!!
CB: What motivates Sarah to be a fitness bombshell?
SGK: I like challenges! I’ve seen what I can do with my body and it motivates me to keep pushing to be the best. I also hope to use it to grow my business as a personal trainer and as a model!
CB: What makes Sarah happy?
SGK: Doing what I love and having good friends and family in my life
CB: How do you want to be remembered?
SGK: As a determined, hard working, honest, caring, sexy beeatch!! (laughs)
CB: You will be remembered as all of those and more! You’re a hybrid, professional athlete superstar in so many sports as well. What is your advice for young girls who would one day like to be in the best shape possible?
SGK: Stay focused! Set goals for your self! Pick a sport and become the best you can at it!!
CB: What was it like for you to do a figure contest?
SGK: Well, I had done quite a bit of modeling and bikini contests when I was younger so when it came to getting on stage that was easy, but learning to pose for figure and compete against so many other great athletes has been new to me!
CB: What was it like competing in the NPC?
SGK: I have always wanted to compete in the NPC and I think its a super professional organization. Definitely more competition. You have to bring it!
CB: You did just that and always excelled. What has it been like being a personal trainer for you?
SGK: I think I have a gift for teaching and really I enjoy being able to inspire and potentially change someone’s life. Sometimes I feel like a psychiatrist, and that can be draining at times but like any business it has its ups and downs.
CB: Sarah, let’s hear your top 10 fitness tips.
1. Always incorporate squats and deadlifts in your leg routine.
2. Don’t just do low intensity cardio but incorporate intervals as well.
3. Switch up your routine every few weeks.
4. EAT! don’t be afraid to eat, thinking you will get fat. Make sure its real food, not processed and low in sugars.
5. Don’t stretch before you lift. Incorporate an active dynamic warmup that mimics the movements you are going to perform in your actual workout. Stretch after.
6. Consume your protein shake with fruit right after your workouts.
7. Give your self a rest day or two. You will come back stronger.
8. Don’t over train. You don’t need 3 or 4 hours in the gym a day. It’s counter productive to your muscular development.
9. Incorporate single leg training into your leg routines. It will improve your overall leg training and stability.
10. Strengthen your core by doing full body movements, not just crunches. It will make you stronger in all your movements.
CB: These are great tips. Everyone should print these 10 tips out and put them on their refrigerators. Sarah, It has been great talking to you, Sarah. In closing who would you like to thank?
SGK: I would like to say thank you to all the people who support me and encourage me in what I do. Thank you for following me on twitter, facebook, my website and YouTube channel! And thanks to my friends and coaches who believe in me! You can connect with me at these links:
Download the exclusive “audio interrogation” with Joel Marion and Craig Ballantyne and special guests John Romaniello by right clicking the link below and selecting “Save Target As”. You may also left click the link to stream the audio without downloading. 53-minutes of UNCUT rapid fat loss information, yours FREE!
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You may have heard the buzz about Lee Hayward and Vince Delmonte’s new 21 Day Fast Mass Building program.
They are claiming that you can gain 5…10..15….and yes even 20 pounds of muscle in just 21 days.
Sounds like a big claim doesn’t it?
Not only do they say you can gain this muscle weight but they also say it will be pure fat free muscle.
How you ask? Good question because I was wondering the same thing.
They are using something called the Anabolic Amplifier Effect.
Here to shed some more light on the topic fitness authority John Romaniello interviews Lee Hayward and Vince Del Monte on the secret technique behind their new 21 Day Fast Mass Building Program. This is the same technique that competitive bodybuilders have been using for decades to pack on lean muscular mass year after year.
http://www.21dayfastmuscle.com —- <<< Read more here
This killer strategy (The Anabolic Amplifier Effect) can pack on as much as 12 pounds of pure muscle in only 21 days. Even though this may sound “to good to be true”, it is not. It’s based on rock-solid science, 50+ years of real-world experience and Vince and Lee’s recent results. All revealed in this FREE MP3 audio! Listen in and then leave your questions and comments below…
Meet Rob Shaul
“Rob is a lifelong gym rat turned self-educated strength and conditioning coach. He is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Coach through the National Strength and Conditioning Association, and has attended seminars/certifications through CrossFit, Gym Jones, U.S. Weightlifting, and Athletes’ Performance. He started Mountain Athlete in Jackson in February, 2007, and founded Military Athlete in January, 2009. He is a 1990 graduate of the US Coast Guard Academy.”
Listen as strength coach Rob Shaul talks in detail with CriticalBench.com interviewer Luke Allison about his unique work training soldiers and mountain climbers. Rob’s philosophy reflects his diverse influences – everything from power lifting to Gym Jones. In this interview, he describes what an appropriate fitness test for military personnel might look like. The value of Crossfit and mental training is also addressed. Also, how does pre-deployment training for soldiers headed to Afghanistan and Iraq differ?