Guest Post from Travis Mash
Travis Mash & I Will Be Crushing a USC Cert / Performance Seminar May 16-17, 2015
The last 6 weeks of my training have been the best 6 weeks of training in my life.
I have gotten stronger in weightlifting and powerlifting. I am in the best shape physically since I played football over 20 years ago. All of this while learning new tricks such as toes 2 bar and all types of gymnastics. Basically I am having fun again. Maybe we all need to just have fun.
The thing is I am only practicing Snatch and Clean & Jerk two times per week at most.
I am Back squatting once, and Front Squatting once per week.
I am only deadlifting once per week.
All of this and I am getting significantly stronger in each of these movements every week.
It is really making me rethink programming and training overall.
What I am doing is focusing on my weaknesses. My weaknesses are as follows:
• Overhead Pressing
• Overhead Stability in the Snatch
• All aspects of Overhead stability
• Bodyweight movements especially Ring Dips, Pull-ups, and Toes 2 Bars.
• Core Stabilization
Here are the things that I am doing to address each of these:
I am Overhead Pressing in one way or another 3-4 times per week.
I am performing strict presses, push presses, jerks, and high rep jerks.
At first I was really bad at all of these, but I am slowly getting it back.
I used to strict press 315lbs. However, after injuring my neck in 2007, my left arm has really held me back. I have let it hold me back, but not anymore.
Thanks to my man Zach Greenwald, I have learned a lot of addressing muscular imbalances, and I am addressing my issues.
My overhead stability in the Snatch has been terrible for the same reasons that my pressing was lacking. I have been performing Fat Bar Overhead Carries 1-2 times per week focusing on distance and weight.
I have also been performing Behind the Neck Snatch Push Presses to Overhead Squats at least 2 times per week with pauses in the bottom. Travis Cooper actually had me Snatch Push Pressing and Holding the weight 30 seconds. Now that was really tough, and it is a great way to get stable.
To address Overhead Stability in general I have been performing Unilateral DB and KB Carries. I purchased the Fat Grips that MDUSA sell to attach to my Dumbbells to increase the challenge. The Fat Grips change the game and force my hands to adapt to the bigger circumference. I also perform Unilateral KB and DB Overhead Squats. Once again, these are exercises that I learned from Zach, and they work really well.
I focus on Bodyweight Movements 3 times per week.
The ring dips and pull-ups have helped to increase my overhead stability as well as overall stability. The ring dips are a real challenge, but it feels great to get better at them. The toes 2 bars have been a blast learning. I actually strung my first ones together properly tonight, so I am on a massive high from it.
I joke with Will Hall and Paul Stewart about hating all the bodyweight stuff, but really I love it. It is just new things that I have never performed. This keeps the whole thing interesting. I never know what those two will get me to do.
My conditioning was non-existent when I started this quest. I puked from 5 Burpee Box Jumps. Now I am getting much better at them. It feels great to be getting in shape.
I have a newborn son, Rock Mash, and I want to have enough energy to play with him, as he gets older. That is a huge motivation for me in the Grid League. The conditioning makes it feel more like football, and I have missed that feeling.
My Core needed some work going into all of this. By core, I mean all the muscles that support the entire spine and pelvis. I do not do a bunch of sit-ups and call that core work. Actually I don’t do sit-ups at all.
I do a lot of Farmer’s Carry both bilaterally and unilaterally. Heavy carries are the best way to stabilize the core. I supplement my heavy carries with plank work. I am performing carries at least two times per week. My increased stability has helped all of my barbell movements immensely.
The key is to target the weaknesses of the body. I obviously don’t have to squat and pull a lot. Yet they are getting strong as well. I relate that to my overall core conditioning and improved stabilization. Basically when a weakness is addressed, everything improves.
Another big key to my overall improvement is that I am rarely missing any weights, and I am cutting things off at about 95%. For example yesterday’s 160k Clean was super easy. I was good for 165 or 170, but I decided to save it for other things that I need work on. The 160k was still the heaviest that I have gone, so the decision was a total win. It is when I try a weight 5 times that things start breaking down.
Yesterday while I was training with partners at the Mash Compound, I announced that I was in love with training again. I love all the people at our gym. We have gone through a rough year at the Compound. We lost our beloved Lisa G, and things just kind of unraveled. I am sure that I was the biggest cause. For a while I just didn’t love training especially at the Mash Compound. I still miss Lisa, but the love for the gym has returned. There are a lot of new faces, but they are all awesome.
It is a family once again! Like a Phoenix rising from the ashes, the rebirth of Mash has finally happened. Tonight we are all going to Chang Thai Friday Night to hang out, and I am excited for the first time in a long while. Basically I am saying that having fun, loving the people you are around, and a great environment are more important to training than a good program. I hope that you are all as blessed as I am with a great group to train with, and a facility that you love.
I am so blessed to have the opportunity to be an athlete again at 41 years old. Approaching training with a little more intelligence is really paying off. I hope that you guys will follow the journey, but more importantly I hope that you all start your own. The Barbell Life is all about sharing with others. I hope that I can help all of you reach your dreams.
Thoughts from Zach:
- Evolve your training as your body changes. Yes, as we age, things change, for the getter or worst is up to you. Training SMARTER is the key.
- Know your WHY & Have a Purpose behind training. This goes FAR deeper than merely chasing bigger numbers on the bar. You don't have to be a parent to have a bigger purpose.
- Be in shape. Travis mentioned getting sick from doing box jumps. Keep your heart pumping and I recommend playing. I play with my kids: Tennis, Swimming, Surfing, Biking and more. Go outside and play. Training is never limited to the gym alone.
- Don't discriminate against what makes you stronger and healthier. Travis was primarily a powerlifter / weightlifter. Now he is utilizing various methods to improve performance and he is also improving his health, THAT is the big picture we must all focus on, regardless of age.
- Bodyweight training is key, regardless of your level of strength under a barbell. It keeps you athletic and healthy and will humble you if you're fat. Bodyweight training will reveal the truth!