Friday Distractions

Friday Musings: Butt Jump Roping, Pet Peeves, Star Wars A Cappella, Mentoring, etc.

1. The other day I had programmed some low volume jump roping for one of the girls, Paula, at SAPT. Upon watching her first session, it was quite evident that she was no foreigner to jump roping, so Coach Kelsey looks over at her in passing and and says, "You know, you're pretty good at those." To which Paula responds, "Well, I can also jump rope on my butt. So, using my feet isn't really that big a deal."

Obviously Kelsey and I had to see this stunt for ourselves, and asked her to perform a few reps. Needless to say, she knocked it out of the park, and it was the first time anyone in SAPT ever did anything like this:

2. Chris Romanow once told me, in a joking-but-not-really-joking tone, that the majority of people's goals (moving better, looking better, athletic performance, fat loss, remaining injury free, ruling the world, etc) could be solved by a healthy, regular dose of goblet squats and spidermans.

And the more I coach people and do these things myself, I'm right there with him. My personal contribution to the list would be loaded carries and kettlebell swings.


Do those four movements, multiple times a week and you're set.

3. These need to be posted at every youth sporting event. *Everywhere. I slow clap those that created and posted this sign:

4. A few of my pet peeves, in no particular order:

1. Morning People. More specifically, morning people who insist on talking to you within one hour of your morning awakening.

The morning should be used for three to four things: Enjoying a quality cup of coffee, spending some time on reflection (on what, that is up to you), reading, and perhaps pooping if that's what schedule you're on. Notice that talking is not on the list. Just because you are a morning person doesn't mean that the person that happens to be in the same bedroom/house as you likes to discuss the world's problems first thing in the A.M.

The only exceptions to this rule are A) If you're my wife (I love you, babe), and B) If I wake up past 10AM. People have every right to talk to me if I ever get out of bed that late.

2. When you're (manually) doing dishes and the cup/glass isn't large enough for your hand to reach all the way to the bottom, so you end up standing there, pinching your knuckles and skin into the glass, trying to stretch out your fingers with the sponge to barely reach the bottom.

3. When you're wearing socks and you step in something wet.

4a. People who don't turn right on red. More specifically, when you're driving down a two-lane road, and the person in front of you changes lanes into the right lane before the turn you need to make, but of course the light turns red so they end up blocking you for the next two minutes. Stay in the other lane and be considerate, dang it.

4b. Drivers who don't use their turn signal. I swear you could cut me off in traffic, but if you're using your signal, hey, you're good in my book.

4c. Those who won't get out of the left lane. I don't think I need to explain this any further, do I?

5. Extroverts. Why do you people always need to be around me and talking to me?!? Can't a man get some alone time around here? AHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!

6. People who squeeze the toothpaste tube in the wrong spot. You know who you are.

7. Overhead kettlebell swings. Wow....just, wow.....please stop.

8. Cracking knuckles. Makes me want to crawl into the fetal position each time I hear it. Never done it, don't plan on it any time soon.

9. When you're at a restaurant, and you finally achieved the perfect water temperate by getting the ice:water ratio just right, and the waiter comes along out of the blue, merrily filling up your glass without asking, completely screwing up everything you've worked so hard for.

10. Country music. 'Nuff said there.

5. I have no idea who this guy is, but can you say awesome? Here he does a a Star Wars themed, four-part a cappella musical tribute set to a few cinematic themes by composer John Williams.

Corey - If you live in the area, I'll give you a free assessment and coaching session for putting this together. Our address is 3831 Pickett Road, Fairfax, Va.

6. Read this article by Jim Wendler:

Mentoring Wendler

Here's a quick preview:

Towards the end of my senior year, I finally asked Darren why he never spoke to me during my first year in the weight room. And it was this lesson that I have taken with me in all areas of my life. His answer:

"Because you hadn't earned it. I've written hundreds of programs and helped so many kids and teachers with their training – and almost all of them quit after the first week. I had to see if you were going to stick with it. I had to see if you were serious. I'm not going to waste my time or my energy."

We all have someone like Darren in our lives. Unfortunately, few people are receptive to it or exhibit the will, heart, and resolve to show them that they deserve their attention.

I know because I see it around me daily. I see kids and lifters that ask questions and think they want to be great and strong, but always fall short of the small amount of commitment it takes to prove themselves. Everyone wants a handout rather than earn it. - Jim Wendler

Such awesome words of truth spoken by Jim Wendler here. I'm not sure if it's just me but it seems that the most recent generation seems to feel, for some odd reason, that they're the center of the universe, and that nothing can ever be their fault. If they didn't accomplish something or if they messed something up, there's an obvious excuse, right?

On top of that, I seem to experience more and more conversations with individuals who do wayyy too much talking, and too little listening.Well spoken, Jim.

7. This article is very cool, and definitely worth scrolling through all the pictures.

21 Pictures That Will Restore Your Faith In Humanity

I first learned about "The Bystander Effect" in a sociology course in college, and Tony Gentilcore actually wrote a great, quick piece about it HERE. Learning about such incidents always make my heart drop a bit, and question the general tendency that humans learn toward at times.

Scrolling through the pictures in the linked article definitely helped temper the "cynicism" of humanity that occasionally shrouds my thought processes. Ah, there is hope in the world!

That's all for now, have a great weekend everyone.

*Except for the sporting events of my future kids. **They're obviously the exception and need to open up a big can of you-know-what on their opponents.

**That's a joke***.


Friday Distractions 4/20/12: Instant Strength via Bracing, To Foam Roll or Not to Foam Roll, etc.

1. First, I'd like to thank all those that emailed me (per my call for aid last Friday) to give me some suggestions for blog material. Given that I've been experiencing plenty of writer's block lately, it was much needed, and I thank you for taking the time to write with your suggestions! (you can thank the "suggestion box" for my post on Wednesday re: what you should eat/drink after your workouts.) For those of you who didn't write me with suggestions of material you want to see here on SAPTstrength....there will be pain....oh, there will be pain.....

2. Here is a fantastic video by Bill Hartman on the "right" way to breathe before a heavy set of squats or deadlifts to effectively brace your midsection and provide plenty of stability for your precious lumbar spine. Although he gives the demo with respect to wearing a belt, you can certainly use this technique even if you don't use a belt.

Although Bill doesn't necessarily showcase it in the video above, he is one smart dude. He's forgotten more things than I have learned, and he's one of those guys that I really wish would put more content out on the internet for us mere mortals/peons to learn from. I've seen a few of his presentations, which basically knocked my socks off.

In fact, I'd argue that one of the toughest (yet vitally important) things, for me personally, is to coach people on bracing correctly during a heavy lift. It's just very difficult to teach someone to do it properly and to get them to do it every time. Bracing properly basically ranks just below ingesting water and food within the hierarchy of needs of human survival. Maybe a slight exaggeration, but I often find that once someone learns to adequately brace, all of a sudden they find that their back stops hurting during squats and deadlifts, and they're able to move heavier and heavier weight in an effective and safe manner.

Hint: If your chest and shoulders are elevating as you brace, you have some work to do.

3. Over the past month or so a blog post (actually written a few years ago) titled "Get off the Foam Roller" began to spread through the fitness industry like wildfire. Mike Boyle then wrote a rebuttal to the article on (a paid subscription website), but then released it for free on his blog.

Anywho, while you will still find me on the foam roller for the time being, here are two sides of the debate in case you're interested (the first two links are "against" the foam roller and the last link is the argument "for" the foam roller:

Get Off the Foam Roller - Mike T Nelson Stop Foam Rolling Your IT Band - Greg Lehman Is Foam Rolling Bad for You? - Michael Boyle

5. THIS was kinda funny. I'm sure a lot of you can relate to at least a few of the images representing moments in your life where it's an "Ahhh crap" moment. #16 and #18 were probably the funniest for me. (The link takes you to "The 21 Absolute Worst Things in the World" picture-based article.)

That's it for now....hope everyone has an awesome weekend.

Friday Musings 4/13/12: Powerlifting Meet, Baseball, Sheep Shipping, and Something You Can Help Me With

1. I'm really excited to head down to Richmond tomorrow morning to support Coach Ryan, as well as student-athlete Carson, in their powerlifting meet tomorrow as they throw some heavy things around. Ryan wrote a brief write-up on his meet prep, along with including a video of his opening attempts, HERE if you're interested. We're also really pumped to support Carson, who, as a HIGH SCHOOLER no less, has been training his butt off and will boldly be stepping out on to the platform for his first powerlifting meet ever. Carson trains more intensely than just about anyone I know, and I have no doubt he's going to do well.

There are also two other things that make me excited about my trip to Richmond. The first is that I'll have a chance to hang out with my older brother and his fiancee, to catch up and all that good stuff. With regards to the second reason I'm excited about my trip to Richmond....well, something that not many of you may know is that I have a little side business in the sheep shipping market. It will be interesting to see if I can gather any new customers (needing sheep for pets, bodyguards for the house, or training for the sheep fight club) during my stay outside my usual sheep-shipping  grounds of Northern Va.

2. This past Tuesday, Kelsey and I had the privilege of getting to watch a lot of our high school athletes battle it out in a baseball game (Yorktown vs. Washington-Lee). The one frustrating component of working as a strength coach is the fact that you have to work evenings, which is the very same time that most of the (high school) games take place, so it's always tough to find a game one of our athletes are playing in that we can actually attend.

Last night, we were able to see a ton of SAPT athletes get after it:

  • Red Dowdell (home run)
  • CJ Herold (home run)
  • David Palmer
  • Bennett Nagurka
  • Daniel Whitaker (3 for 3 and a two-run triple)
  • Graeme Fineman (pitching as a freshman on Varsity)
  • Lucas Dolan
  • Andrew Long (pitching as a sophomore on Varsity)
  • Justin Snow (two hits and four RBI)
  • Seth Whitmore (doubled)
  • Luke Fichter (two hits)

Needless to say, it was awesome to see the guys "in their element" outside the walls of the weight room, getting after it on the field. We look forward to similar/related opportunities in the future!

3. We recently started a newsletter for all our "in-network" SAPT people, and we're working on making it so that any of you reading can sign up for it on the website (I know I know, we're behind the ball a bit), so stay tuned! With this we're hoping to provide training tips, news updates, and content that we don't post on the blog.

4. Lastly, I've been experiencing a bit more "writer's block" than usual lately.

Normally, even though I definitely don't consider myself a "writer" per se, when I open my laptop to write, ideas flow to me fairly seamlessly (at least that's what I like to tell myself). Lately though, I've been in a rut where I just can't seem to get my thoughts together and/or choose a topic that I'm satisfied with.

As such, if any of you would like to see any particular topics covered here on the blog, please let me know!

Feel free to drop something in the comments section, or email me ( with, really, anything.....that may interest you to see discussed on here.