The Workout Program That Works Wonders

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard from someone that they tried such-and-such workout program and got great results.

The program works wonders, bro! I doubled my pull-up reps…increased my deadlift by 20%…shaved a minute off my mile…moved up to a heavier kettlebell…twice.

Of course, I’m very happy to hear this no matter who it’s coming from or what the context is. And it’s usually even better when I hear that before using said program, they had been struggling for a long time to succeed.

I’d been stuck at a plateau for months…failed over and over again…been trying my WHOLE life to do this…

It’s always special when you overcome something that you’ve been struggling with for a long time. But I wanted to clarify a little something today. So, listen very carefully.
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3 Rampant Clubbell Training Mistakes To Avoid

Some Lessons I’ve Learned About Clubbell Training From a Few of my Client’s Most Common Mistakes

Every once in a blue moon, I’d get a call from someone who was looking for some clubbell instruction. These were almost always health and fitness professionals who were planning to attend a CST, TACFIT, or clubbell training seminar. So they’d usually drive a few to several hours to meet me at a local park or training studio here in small-town New Hampshire, and we’d swing some clubs for an hour or three – often grabbing lunch afterward. And I’ve loved every minute of it because clubbell training is really fun. Not to mention working with driven people who are planning to get certified in this discipline. You know, real go-getters.

Now, at one of these more recent sessions, it dawned on me that almost everyone I’ve ever coached in clubbell training has made the same three mistakes, which led to them contacting me for help. And so, I thought I’d share them with you so that hopefully you can avoid making them yourself.
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Are you missing any of these 15 critical fitness secrets?

back squat

It seems that everyone wants to know the secret to this or the secret to that. So, I thought I’d give you 15 insider tips to elite fitness in one handy-dandy list.

Note: speaking from personal experience, just ONE of these fitness secrets could save you years of frustration.
Continue reading Are you missing any of these 15 critical fitness secrets?

He Wrote Me a Check for $500 and Told Me to Cash it if He Didn’t Lose Weight

Awhile back, a good friend of mine called me out of the blue to ask for a favor. Let’s call him “Karl.”

He said, “Hey John, what’s your mailing address? I want to send you a check for $500.”

I said, “That would be fine, Karl, but to what do I owe this sudden display of generosity?”

Karl replied, “no, no, silly. I don’t want you to cash it! Just hold onto it for awhile for me, will ya?”

You see, Karl was having a little bit of trouble sticking to a goal he had set for himself, and he needed a little incentive to motivate him and get his butt into action. It turns out he had been trying to lose some weight for several months, and he wasn’t exactly sticking with it – at all, actually.

His weight had crept up the past few years for a variety of reasons. The two biggies were that he had been eating out at restaurants a lot more than he should have been, and he had been really slacking on his exercise plan, too – among other things. He couldn’t believe what a fatso he had become over the past couple of years (his words, not mine – no judgment bro!).

So, he wrote me a check for $500 and told me to cash it if he didn’t get his weight below 200 pounds in the next 90 days. I can’t remember exactly where he started from, but I think he was about 230 pounds to begin with. And so, he needed to lose about 10 pounds per month, which is certainly a feasible, albeit challenging goal. In other words, he would have to really work for his success. No time to dawdle. And so, he got to work – sending me an update on his progress once in awhile.

Now, I wanted to share this with you because I wanted to illustrate a powerful strategy for motivating yourself to do something difficult. You see, Karl needed to do something that would get him out of his comfort zone, totally go against his natural inclinations, and would challenge him on many levels. Basically, he made himself an offer he couldn’t refuse. More specifically, he gave himself an ultimatum that would require his compliance, or else he would have to face some unpleasant consequences (i.e., losing $500).
Continue reading He Wrote Me a Check for $500 and Told Me to Cash it if He Didn’t Lose Weight

How to Approach Pull-up Training When You’re Injured

pull-ups_male_pain

Another common question I get on pull-up training is whether it’s safe to train them if you have an injury or a past injury. It seems that someone is always wondering if their “old shoulder injury” will prevent them from doing pull-ups, or if that little ache in their elbow that flares up once in awhile means they should avoid pull-up training altogether.

So, this Q+A article will seek to answer the following questions…

  • Can I do pull-ups or chin-ups if I am injured or was injured, and if so, what’s the best way to go about it?
  • If I have a past injury that still bothers me from time-to-time, how do I know if it’s safe to train with pull-ups?
  • If I have a pre-existing condition and/or pain when exercising, how should I approach pull-up training?

Let’s get real for a minute here. Nobody, and I mean nobody starts an exercise program with a clean slate. We all have postural/structural issues to deal with, to one degree or another, whether known or unknown to us. Give me a few minutes, and I’ll find a whole bunch of issues and limitations in any one of my client’s body’s. We all have a lifetime of physical baggage. And I’m no different either – there are many issues I have to keep an extra-close eye on when I’m training. That’s just the nature of life. So, it’s not so much a question of IF you have a pre-existing condition that may or may not contraindicate exercise. It’s a question of “how bad is it?”

Fortunately, it’s not that hard to figure out if pull-up training would be safe or not.
Continue reading How to Approach Pull-up Training When You’re Injured

3 Advanced Strategies to Break a Pull-up Training Plateau (Q+A)

I can’t tell you how many people I’ve run into over the years – either at the gym or online – who have hit a pull-up training plateau. They may come from all different backgrounds and from all walks of life, but they all share a similar story. Their pull-up progress is stuck. And a lot of these people have been stuck at a pull-up plateau for years. 

Here’s a message I got recently from a fellow named, Bob…

QUESTION: ”I’m 55, exercise 5 days a week and can do 10 pull ups…but I’ve hit a plateau. How do I get over the hump as I’d like to be able to do 25 pull ups and break my current gym record?” – Bob B.

Well, that's one way to do it...partner-assisted pull-ups.

Well, that’s one way to do it…partner-assisted pull-ups.

ANSWER: Like Bob, many people get stuck in their pull-up training at some point. Maybe they can do 15 pull-ups, and have been able to for years, but they just can’t-for-the-life-of-them do 16. Obviously, that can be pretty frustrating. And so, today, I’m going to present three advanced strategies to break through a pull-up training plateau. But first, let’s get a couple of things out of the way so that we’re crystal clear.

Firstly, if you are at an advanced level, then pull-up progress generally comes very slowly. A beginner might notice a measurable increase in strength (and even reps) within a few days of good training, and certainly within a few weeks. And if you are a beginner, and aren’t getting measurable results from week to week, then something is probably wrong.

On the other hand, an advanced trainee might train for several weeks or even months before adding another single repetition to their max. To put it simply, it’s generally a lot easier to get from 3 to 4 reps than it is to get from 23 to 24 reps. So, the better you get, the harder it gets.

And this makes sense, too. I mean, elite powerlifters might spend several months trying to add a few pounds to their max squat, deadlift, or bench press. Whereas a beginner may double their max in a matter of months or even much sooner. And so, if you’re an elite pull-up trainee already, then don’t expect to be making fast gains from week to week. And fair warning that the better you get at them, the harder it will get to improve and the slower your results will come.

Also, and this is important, being elite at pull-ups can mean different things for different people because it is a bodyweight exercise and we all have different bodies. Likewise, we all have our strengths and weaknesses, and some people just aren’t cut out for high-rep pull-up performance for the same reason why some people make it into the Olympics and others don’t. So, a set of 30 pull-ups may be considered elite for one person, whereas a set of 15 reps might be elite for another. It just depends on what your peak potential is in this given exercise.
Continue reading 3 Advanced Strategies to Break a Pull-up Training Plateau (Q+A)

Old Guys Can Do Pull-ups, Too!

Now, you already know that women CAN do pull-ups, right? Ok, good. But did you also know that a lot of older men can perform very impressive feats of pull-up strength, too? It’s true. More seasoned trainees (aka old dudes), can get really good at pull-ups – assuming they train properly. And hey, no offense intended by the phrase “old guys.” If I’m lucky enough, I’ll get to be one someday, and I hope I can keep exercising like some of these dudes can.

Below, you’ll find some men who may be old in years, but are young at heart, and are in better shape than most men half their age. In fact, all of these men would put the average guy to shame with these feats of strength.

Here are 10 Old Dudes Who Rock At Pull-ups and Chin-ups

This 84 year old man does an incredible 18 chin-ups. Most men in their prime couldn’t even come close to that performance.

This 68-year old does 8 pull-ups with excellent technique.
Continue reading Old Guys Can Do Pull-ups, Too!

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