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More Random Stuff

By July 15, 2010December 23rd, 2015Random Thoughts, Training Philosophy

People are really starting to love my random blogs. Many people email me and tell me that they keep the page minimized on their screen throughout the week so they can check out all the different links and thoughts that I post. In this week’s random blog you’ll learn how to detect bullshit, how to avoid making errors in reasoning, how to win internet arguments, how we learn, the secret to innovation, the three stages of truth, the 80/20 law, new exercises, and a bunch of great links to check out!

1. Baloney Detection Kit

In the Strength & Conditioning Field, we encounter a lot of BS! We need to know how to distinguish legitimate claims from baloney. Here’s a great video by Michael Shermer that describes his “Baloney Detection Kit” which was inspired by the brilliant scientist Carl Sagan.

Here are the ten questions to ask yourself when examining a claim:

1. How reliable is the source of the claim?

2. Does the source make similar claims?

3. Have the claims been verified by somebody else?

4. Does this fit with the way the world works?

5. Has anyone tried to disprove the claim?

6. Where does the preponderance of evidence point?

7. Is the claimant playing by the rules of science?

8. Is the claimant providing positive evidence?

9. Does the new theory account for as many phenomena as the old theory?

10. Are personal beliefs driving the claim?

2. Logical Fallacies

In Strength & Conditioning, we are constantly developing new and improved methods. If you stand on the cusp on innovation, then you’re going to have to convince people that your claims are valid. If you want to be a good arguer/debater, then you need to understand logical fallacies. A logical fallacy is simply an error in reasoning. You need to avoid them in your own logic and be able to spot them in other’s logic. Some of the more common logical fallacies include ad hominem, appeal to authority, bandwagon appeal, begging the question, card-stacking, confusing correlation with causation, non-sequitur, red herring, and straw man.

For more information on this kind of stuff, you can click here, here, here, here, and here.

3. How to Win Arguments

In Strength & Conditioning there exists a tremendous number of internet forums that debate fitness related information. If you want to win arguments on internet forums, then you have to learn the art of internet war. This is some funny stuff! Check it out  here and here.

4. Schema

While in college studying to be a teacher, I studied “learning theory” which incorporated different theories from badasses in the field of Education such as Jean Piaget, Lev Vygotsky, and Howard Gargner. We learned that individuals tend to learn new things by attaching new knowledge to prior knowledge and organizing the information into webs or frameworks of knowledge called “schema.” When people have a basic foundation of prior knowledge they can more readily understand, assimilate, and cement more advanced knowledge because they attach the new knowledge to existing schemata. This helps explain why some smart folks get so damn smart and why knowledge tends to snow-ball. In the field of Strength & Conditioning, guys like the late Mel Siff and William Kramer were/are known for possessing such great wealth of knowledge. Why is this important? Chances are you’ve attended a lecture or read an article that was way over your head and too advanced. You probably didn’t retain any of the knowledge because you didn’t attach it to prior knowledge. Most failed learning is simply due to an inadequate base of fundamental knowledge. All knowledge builds upon itself which is why it’s so important to take a broad array of courses and possess a vast understanding of different fields and topics. I thought of this when I was watching a Thomas Myer lecture on Fascia. Charlie Weingroff was in the room and I thought to myself, “I bet Charlie is grasping a lot more of this than I am since he has more prior knowledge onto which the new information could attach itself.” The take-home points for this topic are:

1. It takes time to get really smart

2. If you are trying to get someone to understand what you’re talking about, make it relevant for them by finding a way to relate to their prior knowledge

3. If you want to really understand how a certain coach, therapist, or expert thinks, try to understand how they organize information (schema) which profoundly impacts the way they think.

For example, I look at a barbell hip thrust as the best sprint-vector hip extension strength training exercise which can assist in increasing maximum speed. Some coaches look at it as a maximum glute activation exercise that trains the brain to fire the glutes. Some coaches look at it as an assistance exercise that can build the squat and deadlift but is less “integrative” than the primary lifts. We all organize information differently. Think of some of the various bright-minded folks in our industry – Boyle, Cook, Weingroff, and McGill. These guys all think similarly but quite different when you really learn the way they think. Figure out their schema to learn how they tick. For more information about schema you can click here.

5. Inperts vs. Experts

In 1960, a cosmetic surgeon named Dr. Maxwell Maltz wrote a longtime best-selling self-help book entitled Psycho-Cybernetics. He pointed out that most of the world’s great discoveries have come from people outside of the field of discovery. In contrast to experts, he called these people “inperts” and explained how experts tend to think within the box, while inperts tend to think outside the box. In the field of Strength & Conditioning, we often look outside of our field for answers to various questions since we’re too busy training athletes to become an expert on certain topics. Often an outsider who has an extensive background in an area such as Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Mathematics, or even Dance or Physical Therapy can offer extremely valuable insight that has the potential to greatly impact the way you think and operate as a trainer. Don’t underestimate the value of these outsiders as they don’t think inside the box like most people in a given field.

6. The Three Stages of Truth

A German philosopher named Arthur Schopenhauer who lived from 1788 to 1860 stated that:

All truth passes through three stages. First it is ridiculed. Second it is violently opposed. Third it is accepted as being self-evident.

In Strength & Conditioning I remind myself often of this quote as new truths take time to seep in and gain acceptance.

7. Pareto’s Principle

The Pareto principle, which is also known as the 80/20 law, states that roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes.

In Strength & Conditioning this is important as most likely 80% of our gains in strength come from the big basics such as squats, deadlifts, bench press, bent over rows, military press, chin ups, and dips. I like to think that hip thrusts and walking lunges can be in that group as well but you get the point. In sports, 80% of our gains in speed come from sprints and basic plyos.

This is important for NCAA strength coaches as in-season rules permit 20-hours of athletic activity per week and off-season rules permit 8 hours of athletic activity per week. This doesn’t leave a lot of time for screwing around!

Still, we should keep striving to learn more even though the remaining 20% of things is very technical, exhausting, and convoluted. There is much we’ve figured out but so much we haven’t figured out. But this is necessary for advancement.

8. Insurance Policy

I always tell people to take a multivitamin/mineral as an insurance policy in case they’re not getting enough of a certain nutrient in their diet. Now that I know that roughly 1/6 of the world is deficient in Vitamin D, I’m relieved that I gave the advice I did regarding supplementation. Perhaps taking vitamins is a main reason why there aren’t even more Americans who are Vitamin D deficient.

9. Sleep

I’ve always been a shitty sleeper. I’ve literally struggled since puberty to go to sleep at a normal bedtime. My body tells me to be like a vampire. I’m also a very light sleeper and wake up from anything. If you’re anything like me then you must follow two basic rules which will change your life:

1. Get an industrial fan, point it straight up into the air, and turn it on at night for “white noise.” You won’t hear any dogs barking, horns honking, car alarms, doors closing, or birds chirping. It’s seriously a life-saver.

2. Put dark curtains over your existing curtains so absolutely no light enters your room. Seal out any light so that your room is literally pitch black. Another life-saver.

These two practices will greatly improve your quality and quantity of sleep.

10. The Barbell Glute Bridge is Huge for MMA

I keep meaning to write an article on strength training for MMA purposes but I never seem to get around to it. As many know, I’m really strong at barbell glute bridges. In fact, I can currently barbell glute bridge 545 lbs for 6 reps.

How does this help in MMA? I could go on for an hour about how glute strength and glute power will increase striking, clinching, take-down, submission, and take-down defense abilities, but one specific situation is worth mentioning; the full mount.

I’ve found that my glute bridging strength makes me very hard to hold down in a full-mount position. In other words, my glute bridging strength helps me escape full-mount positions quite easily. Since I’m able to thrust 545 lbs, a 225 lb opponent feels like cup-cakes.

Of course, there is much technique involved in BJJ so certainly it matters whether an opponent has his hooks in, whether he’s at your hips or sitting higher on your torso, and how tight he is gripping you with his thighs. However, this hip-bumping power can come in really handy in full-mount situations as you can buck so forcefully that they fall off balance which prevents them from landing serious blows and attempting submissions in addition to providing you with opportunities to sweep or escape. In fact, I developed a special method of full-mount escape where you literally launch the guy and escape out from in between his legs. In short, if you’re a fighter or a strength coach for MMA, the barbell glute bridge can be a life-saver.

Here’s a video of me tossing 225 lbs around like it’s cotton-candy.

225 lb Explosive Barbell Glute Bridge

11. Not Everyone is Built to Squat

I hear this comment all the time but no one ever talks about why some people aren’t built to full squat. When full squatting, your body forms what I like to call a lightning bolt (from the side view). Since the barbell needs to stay over your mid-feet, some individuals’ lighting bolts don’t look to good when they get to the bottom of a full squat. Depending on the lengths of their torsos, femurs, and tibias, some people may have much more forward lean at the bottom of a full squat than other people. It’s all about anthropometry!

12. Bench Rows are an Awesome Exercise for the Back

13. Band Seated Rows are a Great Exercise for the Back Too

14. Make Front Planks Harder By Performing the Long Lever Plank

15. I’m Still Trying to Get Up to a 600 lb Deadlift

On Monday I did a 545 lb sumo dead on my fifth set of deads (which followed five sets of squats). I think I’ll get 565 next week and then it will be a slow and steady climb. I can’t wait to get to 585 which is 6-plates on each side. A 12-plate deadlift earns you an irrevocable man-card for life.

16. Gymnastics Training Can Yield Some Pretty Good Results!

I stumbled across this T-Nation interview with Coach Sommer the other day:

T-Nation: That’s impressive. I’ve heard stories that these athletes can lift a surprising amount of weight in the deadlift and other lifts, even though they never train these lifts. Is that true? And if it is, how’s that possible?

Sommer: Gymnastics training does indeed build incredible strength. For example, I was not a particularly strong gymnast, yet I was able to do a double bodyweight deadlift and weighted chins with almost 50% extra bodyweight on my very first weight training attempts.

One of my student’s, JJ Gregory, far exceeded my own modest accomplishments. On his first day of high school weight lifting, JJ pulled a nearly triple bodyweight deadlift with 400 pounds at a bodyweight of 135 and about 5’3″ in height. On another day, he also did an easy weighted chin with 75 pounds, and certainly looked as though he could’ve done quite a bit more. We’ll never know for sure because the cheap belt I was using at the time snapped.

Why gymnastics training results in such high levels of strength is still unclear. My personal opinion is that the secret lies in the plyometric nature of the movements. In a way this reminds me of the results experienced by Adam Archuleta, with the exception that we’re using bodyweight variations combined with straight arm work to obtain our results.

17. Dave Tate on the Importance of Strength for Football

Here’s another great excerpt I came across this time from Dave Tate:

Dave Tate: To be strong you must have strength. Pretty simple concept, don’t you think? So did I, but then I started getting a lot of e-mails telling me strength isn’t important for sports. So I had to go back to the drawing board and rethink this one. After many hours of deep thought I still have to say: strength is very important! A quick football example and I’ll move on to how to develop strength.

I’ve been told there’s no need for a lineman to be able to squat over 350 pounds as he’ll never have to move more than that on the field. This may be true if he had to move the 250 pound guy one time and it didn’t matter how fast he moved him. We know in the game of football that the rate of force development is very important. You don’t want people being moved slowly. We know from Mel Siff’s writings that max force in the barbell squat can be measured at around 60%. At Westside we’ve found close to the same percentage to be true.

The other thing we know is the average play will last under ten seconds and there’ll be between three and ten plays per drive. Our lineman who squats the “recommended” 350 will now be able to create max force at 210 pounds and may or may not be conditioned to do this more than one time. Too bad the guy across from him weighs 350! Who will wear who down?

Now, if the lineman could squat 600 pounds he’d create max force at 360. Does he have to actually squat 600 pounds? No! But he better be able to create max force with 350 pounds for eight to ten sets of two to three reps (around ten seconds set length) with 45 to 60 seconds rest. If not, he’s at a disadvantage.

18. How to Train When You’re on Vacation

When I travel I always try to stick to the plan and train hard despite the fact that I may be on vacation. Usually I can find a good gym but sometimes it’s just not worth the hassle when you’re out of town. Sometimes it’s best to just do a simple workout in the hotel or house at which you’re staying. I used to get all creative and try to hit all the different movement patterns but now I just keep it simple.

Nowadays I make sure to bring a TRX system and some JC Bands and think of it as an opportunity to take a deload week. I’m still going to get a great metabolic workout and providing a training effect that will help maintain strength while sparing the joints as there’s no heavy loading. Let’s say I was out of town for a week. I might do 3 full body workouts on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday with paired supersets consisting of 2 circuits of:

A1: Bulgarian squat (rear foot on bed, chair, or couch) – 20 reps each leg
A2: Feet-elevated TRX inverted row – 10 reps
B1: Bottom-up single leg hip thrust (back on couch, heel on coffee table) – 12 reps each leg
B2: Feet-elevated push up – 30 reps
C1: Band lat pull – 20 reps
C2: Band press – 20 reps
D1: Band hip rotation – 12 reps
D2: Front plank – 60 seconds
D3: Side plank – 30 seconds each side

Another caveat to this workout is that it would allow me to eat like a horse while on vacation without putting on much extra pounds.

19. Is the Reverse Lunge Knee or Hip Dominant?

I consider squats, front squats, lunges, reverse lunges, walking lunges, step ups, Bulgarian squats, and single leg squats to be knee/quad dominant.

I consider deadlifts, sumo deadlifts, rack pulls, trap bar deadlifts, good mornings, single leg RDL’s, glute bridges, hip thrusts, back extensions, reverse hypers, glute ham raises, Russian leg curls, pull throughs, and slideboard leg curls to be hip dominant.

Here’s why:

The first reason is because I studied the muscle activation of every one of these lifts. However, let’s ignore that for now and focus on a different matter.

Most people nowadays know that they should try to include at least one knee dominant exercise and at least one hip dominant exercise in their workouts.
If reverse lunges were considered “hip dominant,” then someone could do a front squat and a reverse lunge and consider their workout “well rounded” when in actuality it wouldn’t be close. The person will have done a great job of hitting his quads, an okay job of hitting his glutes, and a crappy job of hitting his hamstrings.

In truth there’s a continuum within each category of knee dominant and hip dominant exercise. For example, a reverse lunge would be at the far end of the “hip dominant” side of the knee dominant spectrum whereas a trap bar deadlift would be at the far end of the “knee dominant” side of the hip dominant spectrum.

In my mind in order for a routine to be “balanced” one needs to perform an exercise that looks like a squat and one that looks like a deadlift or a bridge. This strategy will maximize athleticism in my opinion as it hits the different directional load vectors and adequately strengthens the muscles in a similar manner in which they’re used in sports.

In truth, I like a 1:2 knee dominant: hip dominant ratio in my workouts so I like to see a movement that looks like a squat (quads), a movement that looks like a deadlift (hamstrings), and a movement that looks like a bridge (glutes). So I like at least 3 lower body movements in all of my total body workouts (and all three stress the glutes in different ranges of hip flexion so it leads to a well-rounded glute strengthening protocol).
In fact, my “standard” lower body workout consists of full squats, deadlifts, and hip thrusts. I probably do this workout 50% of the time lately.

20. What is the best glute activation exercise and why?

You have to look at the EMG research (which has only been done comprehensively by yours truly). Four case studies show that barbell hip thrust/barbell glute bridge movements activate the most glute musculature out of all movement patterns that utilize the glutes. This is due to 1) the incredible stability created by sandwiching your hips in between secured feet and shoulders, 2) a preferential anteroposterior load vector for the glutes, and 3) bent knees which reduces hamstring contribution due to inferior length tension relationships which forces more contribution upon the glutes. Start with bodyweight, learn to move solely at the hips and prevent “false hip extension” at the lumbar spine and pelvis, and begin adding resistance gradually in the form of a dumbbell, sandbag, plate, and eventually a padded barbell. Still squat, still deadlift, still lunge, and try to abduct and externally rotate the hips as well, but loaded bridging movements are king in terms of glute activation.

21. Mathew Perryman on Speed Work

I thought this was a great quote that Matt put up the other day which echoed my thoughts on the matter.

If you’re doing “speed” work with the bar and missing the same weight on your ME day every week, you should probably have a really hard think about your training. There’s a reason beginners are advised to stick to basic progressive overload. Simple never stops working. Complication takes experience.

22. Sleep Deprivation Blows!

Here’s a quote from a Newsweek article on sleep deprivation:

Moreover, cognitive and mood problems may not be the only consequences of too little sleep. Researchers at the University of Chicago have shown that too little sleep changes the body’s secretion of some hormones. The changes promote appetite, reduce the sensation of feeling full after a meal, and alter the body’s response to sugar intake—changes that can promote weight gain and increase the risk of developing diabetes. Since then, multiple epidemiological studies have shown that people who chronically get too little sleep are at greater risk of being overweight and developing diabetes.


23. What is a Motor Engram?

According to this article,

As it pertains to sports training, we attempt to create what’s called “Motor Engrams.” Motor engrams are specific pathways that the nervous system uses to minimize the work of the brain and spinal cord. As your body performs a certain movement or activity over and over, your body automatically creates one of these pathways, or engrams. Once an engram is created, your body will be able to perform that specific activity without nearly as much input from the brain. Your brain will tell your body to perform the movement and the engram will take over.

24. Mike Robertson on Bilateral vs. Unilateral Training

This was an awesome excerpt from Mike which echoes my beliefs on this topic.

To be blunt: Squats, deadlifts, power cleans and the like are your best option if you’re looking to get bigger, stronger, and more powerful. Can you improve strength, power or mass while training exclusively on one leg? To some extent, sure. But you’re not going to see the same kind of changes without some big, compound lifts in your programming. It really comes down to two key factors: Base of support, and the amount of stability you have.

25. Hardest Core Exercise Ever?

The Diesel Crew just put out this video and are saying it’s the hardest core exercise ever. I’ll have to give it a try; it looks tough! If prescribing this to others I’d make sure the athletes had great hamstring flexibility and core control to minimize chances of harming the low back.

26. Great Reads for the Week

The Nutritional Industry May be Skewed by Industry Dollars

Twice a Day Training by Charles Poliquin

Dumbbell Power Cleans are Dumb by Charles Poliquin

Functional Hypertrophy and Athletic Performance by Charles Poliquin

Appreciation for Good Tips by Charles Poliquin

First White Boy to Break 10-Seconds in the 100 Meter Sprint!

Turkish Get Ups by Mike Robertson

Very Inspiring Article from Eric Cressey Reflecting on the Past Three Years

Mobility and Stability by Kevin Neeld

Dr. Perry on the FMS

A Definition of Corrective Exercise by Carson Boddicker

Why Do We Cramp Up? A Study Abstract

So You Think You Can Bench by Dave Tate Part I, Part II, and Part III

53 Ways to Build Muscle and Gain Strength by Jason Ferrugia

Building Muscle Fast/Best Exercises by Jason Ferrugia

Study Shows that Plyos are Better Than Dynamic Concentric Only Weight Training in Improving Running Economy

A Closer Look at the Biomechanics of Strongman Events by Stuart McGill

Gray Cook Expanding on the Joint by Joint Approach Part I, Part II, and Part III

Addicted to Daily Squatting by Mathew Perryman

One of the Most Interesting Forum Threads I’ve Ever Read by Glen Pendlay on Weightlifting Protocols in Various Countries

Mike Robertson on Fitcast – Kevin and Jon Feel it’s One of the Best Episodes Ever!

Dan John Quotes by Tony Gentilcore

A Freakin’ Hilarious Random Blog by Tony Gentilcore

Rolling Article by Charlie Weingroff

Review of Fascial Manipulations Technique by Charlie Weingroff

That wraps it up for the week! I’ll be back tomorrow or Friday with a new blog that I did with Keats Snideman on assessments.


  • Bret…awesome work as always my friend. Great idea on how to organize a blog. You can really see that you out effort, inspiration and passion into putting this together.

  • PolyisTCOandbanned says:

    Lot of good stuff. I would almost like it more in separate posts. Feel like you would get more credit for all of it. and not as daunting for me. Like to sort of read a blog post and comment and be done with it (maybe watch comments).

    • Poly – I’ve thought about doing frequent blogs (2-3 per day) where it’s just a single topic.

      Many of these topics deserve their own “spotlight” and it would certainly be less “daunting” for readers.

      I often prefer short blogs myself.

      So although it would be wise to go this route, many times I’m busy and just jot something down and then once per week I sit down and crank it all out – I do this out of convenience.

      I think they’ll start getting much shorter even starting next week as I don’t think I can keep coming up with all these ideas and putting forth this much energy week in, week out.

  • Neal W. says:

    I doubt that’s the hardest ab exercise, but EMG will decide that, not me. You will probably find the hardest ab exercise in gymnastics.

    If I were you I would contact Coach Sommer about collaborating on some EMG research with his gymnasts. I believe you two live right next door to eachother. He is the boys head coach at Dessert Devils in Mesa, Arizona. Isn’t that about 15 minutes form Scottsdale?

    • I could certainly justify this exercise as being one of “the hardest” ab exercises as it’s possible to load it up heavy.
      As a tall guy with big legs some of the stuff gymnasts do are literally impossible for me, however for some of the gymnasts the moves they’re doing might be “easy” to them. They might find the Diesel Crew’s exercise to be extremely challenging as they could probably use some considerable weight. So it’s all relative. However, I see your point.

      As for Coach Sommer, I’d love to get in contact with him. You’re correct, Mesa is very close to Scottsdale. A need to look him up. Thanks for the post!

      • PolyisTCOandbanned says:

        I’ve been joking around with him over at (he comments there sometimes.) I gave Rick there the idea of your muscleup video, which intrigued them all. sorry, I didn’t credit you. I’m such a forum slut. And a troll. 🙂

      • Neal W. says:

        I didn’t mean to imply the exercise was weak or anything, it’s most certainly brutal, since, as you said, you can put up a lot of weight. Plus, I’ve done situps off the back of the GHR like that before and they definitely hurt! But the thing is, you can weight gymnastics exercises too. For example, if I’m doing a front lever I could add ankle weights. Just a few pounds of ankle weights would considerably intensify the exercise. Anyways, that the hardest ab exercise will come from gymnastics is only my hypothesis, and I would bow down if your EMG results proved me wrong. 🙂

        • Good point Neal. And I’m not sure if EMG can always tell the complete story with the various core exercises. For example, in Low Back Disorders McGill talks about the fact that there isn’t a true “rotary” muscle and that rotation or anti-rotation is shared by a lot of different muscles. So you’d have to test a lot of different muscles to get an accurate picture of what’s going on in various core exercises, as some do a good job of isolating a particular muscle or even a few muscles, while others activate a bunch of them at various amounts. I’d love to do a big study on core exercises with an EMG instrument that measured a ton of muscles at a time. They have 16 channel EMG instruments that let you measure 16 muscles at a time but they are sooooo expensive! Maybe one day…

  • Neal W. says:

    Also, Coach Sommer has a seminar in September. I would love to read one of your lengthy write-ups about the experience, and being as open minded of a person as you are I’m sure you would have a blast. Unfortunately, I’m too poor at the moment to attend. 🙁

  • James says:

    Information overload…brain shutting down…yet desire to lift increasing.

  • MissMoxx says:

    What James said!!!!

    You are like the highly productive, highly functional person with ADD; that has somehow managed to use it in a positive way!
    Like Einstein! 😉

    (Do you have ADD/ADHD? You MUST, otherwise I would NEVER be able to follow such lengthy posts. I suspect your brain has the same Ping Pong match of thoughts going on that mine does. I LOVE it!)

    The Cupcake thing was hands-down, my favorite part!

    • Foxy Moxxy, as you may know there are many forms of ADHD and I definitely have a form of it. I’m able to concentrate very well in certain circumstances but in other situations I go stir-crazy. And yes, my brain has ping-pong matches as well. Thanks!

  • Niel says:

    The massive shotgun of links at the end almost made me pass out.

    Love #19 and the spectrum idea. That’s an amazing way of putting it.

  • Daniel says:

    Just read the Poliquin article on dumbell power clean where he also says doing power cleans with kettlebells is stupid.

    Does that mean that the kettlebell lifts like cleans and snatches are bad for the shoulders too?

    • Daniel, some of the Kettlebell folks are incredibly brilliant and cognizant of safety. They have developed protocols and methods that allow for maximum movement efficiency and joint stress reduction. Most kettlebellers will admit that kettlebells work great for power up to a point, at which they become more suited for work capacity and “power conditioning.” So kettlebells can be great tools for a variety of circumstances.

      However, for a strong, powerful athlete, the barbell reigns supreme in terms of power production and joint safety assuming large loads are being lifted.

      One arm KB snatches are very, very safe and effective. KB cleans can be problematic if going really heavy for the reasons Charles listed. It becomes a bigger deal as you get stronger and start using bigger, heavier kettlebells.

      I prefer KB swings and snatches over cleans.

      • Daniel says:

        That makes sense, kettlebells are for power conditioning. In that sense they may be saver than doing high repitition olympic lifts with a barbell? But when going heavy, the barbell is saver.

  • Ronald Berkamp says:


    I may have to stop reading your blog simply to retain more time to read the stacks of books I have on my shelves. 🙂

    I was already reading a lot of supplementary material online, but your extensive list of links makes me feel like a lightweight!

    • I used to think I was “big time” because I just read T-Nation and Elitefts each week. Now I’m reading everything. I feel like blogs and articles by the fitness experts are very important, as are books and journals. But the blogs and articles are more fun!

  • Kevin Carr says:

    Great Post Brett! Your blog has really become my favorite thing to read on the net. There’s great variety and I can always expect to find enough info to keep me thinking and learning for days. Keep up the great work!

  • Thank you very much Kevin! Glad you like it. I’ll definitely keep it up.

  • Brian Morgan says:

    As far as gymnastics and strength, I think there are two big considerations – one the tremendous explosive/ballistic nature of some of the movements (involving total body coordination) and two, the tremendous stabilizer strength – rings, handstands, pommel horse, etc. I believe there is a study that shows that girls who participated in sprint/explosive type sports while growing up have an easier time recruiting fast twitch muscle fibers than women in their 20’s who didn’t participate in these sports. I had a college instructor who was a gymnast turned champion powerlifter and it probably didn’t hurt that she had that gymnastics base.

  • Great Blog Bret..totally random (like the title says!) but all really interesting and compelling information! I’m excited for our joint blog coming up!

  • thencks its wonrerful articals to read for the wikend

  • Bryce says:

    Hi Professor Contreras (joking, hardly joking), I was reading the short pdf on stretching and it seems like the conclusion is that a lot of what we take for granted in stretching and myofascial release might not have any scientific grounding. Am I right that it calls in to question myofascial release with foam rollers, proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation, graston. That seems like a lot to run down. I’ll have to read the article they’re commenting on.

    • Hey Bryce, all it did for me was lend more credibility to my suspicion that stretching with simultaneous muscle activation (either through PNF techniques, weight training, yoga, etc.) is the ultimate way to gain flexibility. I don’t believe it “called it” SMR, PNF, or Graston; I think it actually supported PNF, and it mainly suggested that there is a myriad of useful stretching techniques that could be used for a variety of situations. I think you should read it again as I understood it much better the second time around.

  • Adam says:


    Really enjoy your youtube videos and your blogs … I would like to see you doing some Jumpin (Plometrics), Military or pushing Movements, Trigger point therapy , foam roll , your soft tissue routine , and your mobility dynamic warmup … I think Defrancos and Smitty got a video coming out soon on the entire warm up routine …. The proper warmup is addicting ! Also I would like to see that full mount escape using a game opponent going 100% … With your Glute power that would be interesting … These are just some suggestion and ideas maybe .LOL Much props on all your hard work and info bro !! I’ll be lookin out player !! You the Man !!

  • Smitty says:

    Just a point of clarification. This is “one” of the hardest core exercises. The post details a series I am going to be constantly adding to. It will show some of the hardest core exercises we use with our athletes.

    There is not one best core exercise.

    Hope this helps,


  • PolyisTCOandbanned says:

    Paul Hamm is back in training making a comeback try for 2012. (2004 Oly gym AA champion.) I read some of his interviews and saw a workout video of his. Kind of a lot of comments that made me of insights from the strenghospher: Lyle (where I’m banned) or Cressey/Boyle, which I’ve recently read.

    -was able to rapidly get back to top form technically, actually faster this time then in 2008 comeback attempt. Just working out after hours from his dayjob, he had relearned his skills and actually learned a couple new ones. Was considering doing Nationals this summer, with really only a couple months full time training…but he tweaked his shoulder. his body, being able to handle the load of daily training is much more his issue than his competitive ability. It’s almost like injury avoidance has to be his priority. (More around strength training type injuries than around catastrophic crashes…which could happen also of course.)

    -totally enjoys the amateur athlete lifestyle. He was working 10 hours a day as a bond trader. He prefers living at home, going into the gym and then having a bunch of free time afterwards.

    -hard to walk away from the athletic dreams

    -needs a coach to push him. He knows a lot what to do and got back into world class form, with evening workouts. But he values having the mental energy of someone setting a training plan and being in it to optimize his performance.

    -access to medical is a key training issue (why he may train at USOTC, despite the distance from home.)

  • PolyisTCOandbanned says:

    I have a post with some urls, please let through…

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