I’ve coached powerlifting and WEIGHTLIFTING. I’ve competed at a high level in both sports, and I see the weaknesses in both sides.
In powerlifting I learned the importance of targeting your weaknesses. Louie Simmons, love him or hate him, is the guy that instilled this concept in my training. If you have weak hamstrings, target them. If you have a weak back, fix it! It’s amazing how many weightlifting coaches out there don’t seem to have a clue about this basic principle.
I could also sit here and tell you to look at the Russians or Chinese, but I am sick of weightlifting, powerlifting, and strength coaches playing that broken record. Sure, I’ve studied some research from both of those camps, and I’ve met athletes that were international stars from both of those countries. So what? Here in the United States, we have great sports science too, so let’s start thinking for ourselves. Let’s do our own research! We have young guys like Greg Nuckols, a 22-year-old brainiac, that are starting to form their own training ideas that are evidence-based. We should learn from guys like Lou and always try new, sometimes strange things. We have to constantly test and challenge our assumptions. You never know when you might find the next little trick that makes all the difference.
We have to constantly test and challenge our assumptions. You never know when you might find the next little trick that makes all the difference.
I want to see USA Weightlifting take that next step forward. So, it’s time to take our training to the next level. That’s why at Muscle Driver USA, we target the heck out of our weaknesses. Just ask Jared Fleming what it’s like to do a 2 hour back assistance workout three times per week. If you come to our training hall, you will find that hardly any two athletes will be performing the same workout. That’s how important the small stuff really is.
The other big lesson I’ve learned is obviously how to get really strong. If one of our athletes are struggling with leg strength or overhead stability, they immediately get put on a progressive strength program to overcome that limitation. I use a lot of the conjugate methods from Louie Simmons, and all the other great ideas that I picked up over the years. At Muscle Driver, we have several of our athletes on my squat program, and they are getting really strong. Lately, I have had several people ask me if my program is Russian, Bulgarian, Westside, or what. I reply, “Yes!”
Travis hitting a big, paused front squat of 451 pounds. Check out his Instagram feed here.
The truth is I use whatever has worked from 30 years under the bar, but I take science, evidence, and my years observation into full account. A lot of weightlifting coaches use simple squat workouts over and over without change. Look man, when it stops working, change it. Don’t be the definition of insanity! Think of all the different versions of squat like pauses, close stance, wide stance, front, Zercher, bands, chains, quarter, tempo, and pins, then go apply. I recommend staying as close to the original squat as possible for the most part, and then add in the variations as assistance.
Powerlifters could definitely learn a lot about training frequency and increased work capacity. Weightlifters have developed great squats with terrible technique by simply squatting a lot and often.
Another thing that I have noticed is that no one actually taught these guys how to squat or press. These coaches need to spend some quality time with guys like Chad Smith and Greg Nuckols, and learn the techniques to a big squat. If you don’t think that squatting is important, you might want to look at the squats of the Olympic Gold Medalists and greatest World Champions. Pyrros Dimas back squatted 330k/726lbs, and he was a three-time Gold Medalist in the Olympics. It ain’t no accident folks.
Instead of hating on one another, weightlifting coaches and powerlifting coaches should work together. The problem with the strength world is that it is full of egos. Powerlifters could definitely learn a lot about training frequency and increased work capacity. Weightlifters have developed great squats with terrible technique by simply squatting a lot and often. Most Powerlifters squat once per week but are confused when they hit a plateau. Once per week is totally fine at first, but then volume has to increase.
- Visit Travis at www.MashElite.com, and follow Mash Elite Performance on Instagram, Facebook, and Youtube
- Don’t miss Travis on Episode 141 and Episode 129 of Barbell Shrugged
- Coming Soon – Travis Mash’s “Learn to Lift” Seminar
im 53 ,i trained from 22 yrs old i weighed 48 kgs (106 lbs) ,im 53 these days and i weigh about 75 to 80 kgs (165 to 176 lbs)trained like a powerlifter to get there,actually been west australian powerlifting champ 4 times and aussies masters champ once.so for what its worth i read yr stuff and you are so spot on with yr explanation,pity so few listeen,im a huge westside fan and thats what got me into the winners circle,but i still try other stuff,anyway well done on your insights,for what it is worth my son went from 82 kgs to 115 kgs just following basic training along the lines of what you say,well done mate