I was under the illusion that I was still strong.

I had fallen victim to the training I was implementing for a majority of my dedicated clients.  Focusing my time and energy on balance, conditioning and core strength led me down a path to weakness.

I’m not saying that having a strong, flat six pack is a bad goal or that standing on one leg while doing side raises is not beneficial.  It just should not have been the ONLY thing I was doing.

I had abandoned all the compound lifts that made me semi-beastly in my early to mid-twenties.  I wasn’t benching big weight, squats were done for reps (and sometimes using stability balls) and traditional deadlifts weren’t even on the menu.

Yeah, I know…simply pathetic for a veteran personal trainer and gym manager.

KB Press CW

This certainly led to me suffering an injury to my manhood (aka scrotum) that kept me from lifting heavy for a long time.  Let me explain.

After speaking with my friend and Criticalbench.com founder, Mike Westerdal, I had decided to begin preparing for a powerlifting competition.  During this time Mike was benching 600s and lifting small cars as a warm up so needless to say, I was quickly motivated to be strong again.  After a few years of not training intensely, I was trying out some sumo deadlifting.

At first, I was electrified since I hadn’t pushed super hard in a while and pulling the 300+ lbs. off the floor felt awesome.  And then it happened…just after I wrapped up for the day.  I felt some searing pain in my groin and after getting checked out, I found out from the Urologist that I had a vericocele.

A vericocele is basically a varicose vein in your balls.  I had severely irritated it with all of the pressure from lifting heavy, something I had not done in several years.  And I’m quite sure my sub-standard form and technique (super rusty) was to blame on top of an overall weakness in my body.

Not doing the traditional compound lifts had cost me BIG TIME.


Instead of pursuing a competition, I was back to light weight and functional exercise.  UGHHH-get me a barf bag.  I was so irritated at myself!!!

Luckily, over a period of years, I was able to recover enough to get back to training with the compound lifts I so badly missed.  I got all of my lifts back in the 300 lb. rep range and felt a flood of confidence along with some well-earned muscle gains.

I thought I was lifting smart for a period of years but all I was doing was maintaining muscle tone and deceiving myself.

Then I began working for Critical Bench in early 2013 and was now frequently around some muscle building monsters.  These relationships only helped strengthen my direction and now the deadlift is by far my favorite exercise in the gym.

The weight I strained my gonads with was now, “LIGHT WEIGHT BABY!”  I now spend most of my time benching, pulling plates and squatting anything and everything from barbells to DBs and even kettlebells!

Never sabotage your efforts in the gym with “fancy” exercises that don’t build real power in your body.  If you make STRENGTH your goal, you can’t lose.  The incredible side effect of intense training is a physique others will admire and bullet-proof muscles that are designed to perform, not just look good.

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