Guest Post From Underground Strength Coach, John Gaglione
WARNING: This post has adult language and some hard hitting truth. If you are sensitive, easily offended, etc this is not the read for you.
There is an epidemic going on in America. Strength coaches are turning into a bunch of WUSSIES! Coaches are becoming soft, weak, and simply have no integrity! This generation of the modern day strength coach is missing a very important component in their repertoire …STRENGTH!
Everyone is an expert, holds a world record, and trains the highest level athletes across the country especially if the coach is on the internet. This day and age it sometimes is hard to tell who is the real expert and who is full of sh!t.
Well I simply won’t tolerate it. We need to stand up for right is right! We are dealing with people’s bodies, their health, and their well being, so as coaches we simply can’t be f*cking around and give people bull sh!t answers.
Workouts now a days are looking more like physical therapy appointments than actual strength building sessions. Doing your prone Y raise before you bench press is great for stimulating your lower traps, but if you don’t know how to bench press correctly or have a solid program it is pretty useless.
And another thing keep in mind just because you are performing a power lift or an Olympic lift doesn’t mean you are working “strength.” Performing 30 reps of an exercise with sloppy form is a good way to get injured and a very inefficient way to build strength.
Let’s focus more on quality and a less on quantity.
Let’s actually use lifts for what they are designed to do. Powerlifts and Olympic lifts build strength and power with lower rep ranges with higher intensities. Let’s actually start lifting heavy and getting people stronger again instead of just talking about it.
Wouldn’t it be a novel idea to actually progressing the lifts in a sound manner and actually put weight on the bar every session you come in? Don’t be fancy or different for the sake of being fancy. Do things because they work and get results, period.
As a coach I feel you need to be constantly working on your weaknesses as well as your strengths. As strength coaches it is our duty to get under the bar and put ourselves through the same hardships that our athletes will go through.
I mean how can you honestly teach someone to be strong if you never got strong yourself? No you don’t need to bench press 1000 pounds to be a good strength coach, but you NEED to PRACTICE WHAT YOU PREACH!
If you are a Coach, Don’t:
- complain about not having enough time in the day to get training in
- make excuses about “not being built” for a certain lift so you don’t do it
- lie about having a catastrophic injury or disease say that’s why you are so weak or small
- blame your parents for bad genetics
- lie about what you actually lift
If you are a Coach, be:
- a role model for your athletes
- enter a competition from time to time
- honest with your athletes
- train to be the strongest version of yourself
- practice what you preach
I can’t tell you how many coaches I see write articles saying they hold “world” records in powerlifting and then I find out they have a 200 pound bench… We have 100 and 130 pound teenage athletes who can do that.
How about the guy telling how to eat who weighs 150 pounds soaking wet. How is he supposed to tell me how to gain muscle size when he has no size to begin with!
What happened to integrity?
What happened to just being honest?
Do these guys really believe what they are saying?
I will be the first to tell you I am NOT the strongest guy in the world. I am mediocre at best by powerlifting standards, but I can tell you one thing for sure. I work my f*cking ass off! Once I stopped wrestling I started competing in powerlifting as a 198 pound lifter. My most impressive lift as a teen was a 446 squat at 198 in just a belt. Now my best squat is 845 to date.
I have put nearly 400 pounds on my squat since being a teenager. I have ADDED more pounds on my squat than most “internet gurus” actually can lift! I have coached athletes starting from scratch and have helped them achieve, 400, 500, 600 and even one 700 pound raw squats so I think I am qualified to coach the squat and teach other coaches how to program a squat.
The crazy part is most of our gym is athletes and NOT powerlifters. I am obviously not Louie Simmons, but everything I write about I truly believe and use with my guys and I produce some pretty impressive results for the average joes and athlete alike.
I recently squatted 875 with reverse bands. Again this is nothing earth shattering in the powerlifting world, but for a strength coach I am pretty proud of that lift.
Let me tell you something… when you have close to 900 pounds on your back your set up needs to be pretty good. Not only that, but you need to have a nut sack to get under that kind of weight. You have a different appreciation for attention to detail and proper set up when you are handling nearly a grand loaded on your spine.
If you are off by a centimeter in your form a disaster could happen. So please if you squat 315 please don’t tell people you have a world record or are an expert in squatting. It confuses people and it just dishonest.
When listening to someone about lifting advice perhaps the best thing you can do is listen to someone who has really struggled with a particular lift and now is pretty good at it. I when I was a teenager I could never hit a 500 deadlift in competition. I always had a technical fault or the strength was not there that day. It was a mental block.
As I gained weight I was always good for anywhere between 500-550 but it really just depended on how I performed that day. What did I do? I sought out experts. I invested in coaches who were better than me: Louie Simmons, Mark Bell, Jesse Burdick and many others suggested I switched to a sumo stance.
Jesse Burdick started doing my programming. I started out barely pulling 400 pounds sumo and now I can pull 600. I worked my ass off just to get 600 so I can tell you a lot about training for the deadlift as well as technical advice because of how much I struggled with the lift. I still struggle with the lift and have things to fix, but it is worlds better than when I started.
And trust me, you have to be pretty strong everywhere to deadlift 600 pounds, especially if you “aren’t built for the lift.” Please don’t make that excuse. Just attack your weak areas and find a way to get it done!
So what’s the point of this post? Practice what you preach!
If you are weak and never ever helped anyone get strong please keep your mouth shut. If you are writing on the internet, be honest and have some integrity when you write. If you are going to give someone advice makes sure what you are saying is actually valid and not a bunch of bull shit. Lift like a man, become as strong as possible and then start to teach others. If you write a blog please have the balls to actually believe in what you write and put it into practice in your own training.
Have integrity and practice what you preach.
John Gaglione is an Underground strength Coach out of Long Island, New York. John trains a wide variety of athletes at his facility located in Farmingdale New York. He specializes in spitting out champion wrestlers and improving maximal strength for all athletes and “average joes”.
An avid strength athlete John also has a lot of “under the bar experience” and has competed in the sport of powerlifting for several years. If you would like to learn more about John you can reach him at email@example.com. Check out www.gaglionestrength.com for more information.