Stuff to Read While You’re Pretending to Work: 1/17/20

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(Things I’ve appeared in, places I’m going, you know, important stuff)

1. (De)-Constructing the Deadlift & Squat – Stoneham, MA: Sunday, January 26, 2020

** EARLY BIRD rate ends this weekend (1/19/20).

I’m teaming up with Brad Cox of ACUMobility for this 6-hour workshop where we’ll discuss hip assessment and, you guessed it…

keto recipes deadlifts and squats.

What will be unique about this workshop is the two perspectives we’ll bring to the table; myself as a strength coach in addition to Brad’s background in sports medicine and orthopedics.

EARLY BIRD rate ends in two weeks.

2. (Even More) Complete Shoulder & Hip Blueprint – Athens, Greece: Saturday, Feb 29th & Sunday, March 1st, 2020

It’s official: This marks the sixth year in a row Dean Somerset and I are presenting together. We’re so excited to be coming to Athens to kickstart 2020.

3. Coaching Competency Workshop – London, UK: Sunday, March 8, 2020

4. Strategic Strength Workshop – Detroit, MI: April 5, 2020

This will be my first ever workshop in the region!

I’m expecting ticker tape parades.





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The first question to ask is “why do people start wearing a weight belt in the first place?” . My guess is most start because they see others using one in the gym and figure that’s just what the cool kids do. . There are, however, legitimate reasons to use one: . 1️⃣ Improved Performance – @gregnuckols wrote a thorough piece a few years ago on the efficacy of weight belts and one of the main points was that a bevy of research shows that wearing a weight belt can allow someone to lift anywhere from 5-15% more weight. . As Greg notes: Yes, there are instances of lifters NOT wearing a belt and still lifting an appreciable amount, but since you’re not them let’s just say that for 99 out of 100 people, wearing a belt will make them He-Man, sans bowl cut. . How? . Improved intra-abdominal pressure. . IAP helps to counter shear load on the spine; a sort of safety net if you will. . This is a good thing. . The drawbacks, though, is that IAP increases blood pressure, which can be detrimental for some. . 2️⃣ Wearing a belt = faster lifts. . 3️⃣ And lastly, a weight belt generally allows for more repetitions (in the ballpark of 1-3) to be performed at a given load. . In concert: more weight, performed faster, and for more reps = a nice recipe for added muscle and strength.. . Personally I don’t start using a belt until working with 85% (and up) of 1-rep max. . But this is just a general rule – kinda like wearing pants on Thursday – that can be a judgement call the day of. . Now, there’s also instances to NOT wear a weight belt. . ❌ For every set, of every exercise, on every day of training. Again, I tend to lean more on the side of saving the belt for high(er) intensity sets. . ❌ In the shower. . And that’s pretty much it. . That being said, I do find value in purposely going though blocks of training where you DO NOT use the belt. . If you swipe to the video you’ll see me pulling 540 x3 without one. . For the past 4 weeks I’ve made a concerted effort not to use a belt for all squat & DL sets. . Why? . Getting comfortable with being uncomfortable. Purposely making training harder – no belt, crappy bars, etc – will make the next phase “easier.” . I hope…😉

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The Body: A Guide for Occupants – Bill Bryson

I’m a huge Bill Bryson fan and his latest book, The Body: A Guide for Occupants, is BLOWING….MY….MIND. I mean, did you know that there’s more information stored & processed in a millimeter sized portion of your brain than the entirety of the history of the internet?


This is a fascinating look into  us.

The Buzz of Variability Training – Lee Taft

The fitness industry in enamored with bright, shiny, new things. We love making things harder and adding in new things for the sake of variability.

Lee reminds us that “variability” can come from simple tweaks…

…and are likely more beneficial, anyway.

15 Kettlebell Moves to Improve Your Grip Strength – Jay Polish

The limiting factor that prevents some people from being able to lift appreciable weight in the gym is their grip strength. Here are some simple ideas, using a kettlebell, that can help.


Did what you just read make your day? Ruin it? Either way, you should share it with your friends and/or comment below.

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Plus, get a copy of Tony’s Pick Things Up, a quick-tip guide to everything deadlift-related. See his butt? Yeah. It’s good. You should probably listen to him if you have any hope of getting a butt that good.

I don’t share email information. Ever. Because I’m not a jerk.

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