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Pushing the Envelope

By July 24, 2011January 9th, 2014Training Philosophy

I want to applaud a few different coaches in the industry and toot my own horn while I’m at it. I liken the various coaches’ facilities to the Galapagos Islands. Most of us learned the same way. We grew up studying the bodybuilding mags, then powerlifting, then we learned how to train athletes. Eventually we opened up our own studios, gyms, and facilities and ran off in different directions. Some of us really branched off and broke away from the pack.

For example, John Broz started experimenting with ultra high frequency, but the volume and intensity is insane as well. He’s had tremendous results for his Olympic Weightlifting population of clients and it’s very interesting to take a look at what he’s doing. They say this can’t be done but he’s doing it. He has some of the strongest Oly lifters I’ve ever seen at his facility and their all using his methods.

Mike Boyle has really ran away with single leg training and taken it to a level that no other coach has done. His athletes are busting out RFESS’s, 1-Leg SLDL’s, and single leg squats like there’s no tomorrow, and they’re strength on these lifts is incredible. At MBSC many athletes are using 200+ lbs on RFESS’s and 1-Leg SLDL’s and are using considerable loading in the form of db’s and weighted vests with single leg squats.

Louie Simmons is big on intensity. His lifters max out every week on a bench variation and a squat or good morning variation. They do this year round. This isn’t supposed to be possible but they’re doing it, and many are boasting 2,000+ lb totals.

I have pushed the envelope with weighted bridging patterns and have seen tremendous success with building up glute mass and increasing speed. Before I came onto the scene I’d never seen anyone busting out barbell glute bridges or barbell hip thrusts (though they were probably being performed throughout the world but nobody took the time to take pictures, film videos or write about them). All of my clients can bridge and thrust more than they can squat. It isn’t uncommon to witness 400 lb hip thrusts and 500 lb bridges with my male clients.

The point is, if you train with Broz, you train 7 days per week and your Oly lifting proficiency will sky-rocket. If you train with Boyle, you are going to get very good at single leg exercises and your single leg strength, stability and sensorimotor/proprioception will dramatically improve. If you train with Simmons, you will become very conditioned with maximal loading on compound movements. If you train with me, you’ll be doing a lot of weighted bridges and your glutes will be rock-solid.

If it weren’t for various trainers, coaches, and therapists pushing the envelope in certain directions, we’d never learn how far we can go. We’d underestimate the boundaries. We wouldn’t reach our full potential.

So, how are you pushing the envelope?


  • Andy McCloy says:

    All of the guys u mentioned have inspired me in one way. I’ve been doing this 10yrs and soon I’ll be jumping into the world of blogging to share my experiences. I have a story to tell but without guys like u, Louie, Jamison, Smith, Boyle, I’d have way less to share! Thanks for all u do!

    Andy McCloy

  • Julian says:

    Really good article. totally agree with all that you said. even though I am just getting into this industry, I have learned a lot from all the gentleman that you mention besides you but I have learned a great amount from you. any advice for new comer. you can directly email me if you would like. thanks.

  • Ted says:

    I first learned training from a German bodybuilding book. So I thought at least. The book didn’t tell me about rhomboids, external rotators, different quadriceps or hamstrings muscles, the brachialis, etc.

    There is always something good in every evil. And after I had dislocated my shoulder and had two surgeries following that accident, I actually learned to learn about training. Without the accident, I wouldn’t have broadened my horizon. I was forced to learn pre-hab, re-hab and mobility exercises to heal my shoulder (my physiotherapists had limited knowledge themselves, weird I know).

    Now I feel a much more complete trainee with a broader understanding of all things training not just the fractions some lame-ass authors feed the masses. Obviously, no book can contain all the necessary information. But when the information is that limited, one may ask why the book, or dare I say piece of shit, was written in the first place. It’s about money, of course, but for me it’s all about responsibility.

    This means, when I train somebody and feel that there is a specific area where I am not a great help, I get help myself to solve that problem (try to form a team, five people know more than one). What I despise the most is “knows-it-alls” that put somebody else’s health at risk just because they don’t want to admit that they are human and simply do not have all the answers.
    Just browse youtube, there are many certified trainers that are unable to perform the most basic exercises properly, let alone teach them. They have not earned the right to teach, to train somebody else, in my opinion.

    I respect those trainers that walked the walk themselves and then started to talk the talk.

  • Shama says:

    Hey Bret, the beauty is that they are willing to change what didn’t work for them & replace it with something else. the progression in the thought process here is phenomenal. while some of us don’t have the access to research oriented set ups, the in the trench experience is often the only guiding factor. thanks to the internet, we have access to most of you elite people out there. god, learning was never so much fun. keep rocking brother.

  • Good stuff man!

    We need more people to ask better questions, then run their own experiment to see if it works or not. Be willing to fail forward as fast as possible.

    The only thing worth arguing about is experimental design.

    Most things we can find a way to informally test it. I love research, but it is at best a general guide.

    Ask questions, think logically, be willing to try things out. Find the courage to be wrong and potentially fail. Take massive action.

    A good friend of mine gave me some advice years ago that I love. I asked him what I should be looking for to get better. His answer
    “Look for weird people that get results.”

    They have the results, so it must be working! If they are weird, it is probably not what I am doing; so worth checking into.

    Keep up the great work. Keep asking questions. Keep getting better. By willing to be wrong, you will be right most of the time.

    Rock on
    Mike T Nelson PhD(c)

  • Hadley Allen says:

    Appreciate your not being afraid to speak candidly about those you admire and those you don’t.

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