Barbell Complex Madness: 3 New Fat Burning, Muscle Building Barbell Complexes

Barbell Complex Madness: 3 New Fat Burning, Muscle Building Barbell Complexes

If you keep up with my training on Instagram (#AlwaysOptimal), you’ve recently seen me experimenting with different training methods including emphasized eccentrics, constant tension sets, and a variety of barbell complex variations.  While each methodology encompasses its own unique set of benefits, today I’m excited to share with you 3 of my personal favorite barbell complex variations and outline how you can incorporate them into your individual training programs to use them most advantageously.  Barbell Complex Madness: 3 New Fat Burning, Muscle Building Barbell Complexes   Barbell Complex #1: Front Squat to Reverse Lunge Complex “Quad dominant” is a popular fitness industry buzz-phrase that, unfortunately, leads coaches to believe we should only strengthen the posterior chain (hamstrings, glutes, etc) and never directly train the quads.  I say malarky. Of course, strengthening the glutes, hamstrings, and entire posterior chain is important for a variety of reasons…but neglecting the quads is a surefire way to sabotage your strength and overall performance.  In fact, it wasn’t until I started making my quads a priority that my squat radically increased and I finally raw squatted 3x my bodyweight. Not to mention, strong quads improve a variety of athletic movements like, oh I don’t know…sprinting? Enter: The Front Squat to Reverse Lunge Complex The Front Squat to Reverse Lunge Complex is simultaneously one of the most brutal and effective drills for improving lower body strength and performance. Getting the best of both worlds in bi-lateral and uni-lateral training, this particular complex is one of my personal favorites for improving squat performance as it absolutely destroys your quads and glutes while forcing you to maintain an upright torso throughout the entire drill. Barbell Complex #2: Alternating Unilateral to Bilateral RDL Complex As if RDL’s...
The Feet Elevated Bench Press is Way Better Than the Floor Press (Here’s Why)

The Feet Elevated Bench Press is Way Better Than the Floor Press (Here’s Why)

The floor press is overrated. There. I said it. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a decent exercise and obviously has a time and place within a well designed program but most lifters (save for geared powerlifters and individuals with anterior shoulder pain) aren’t going to gain much from it. But What About All of the Floor Press Benefits? The floor press offers a variety of benefits including minimized leg drive and a major emphasis on improving raw upper body strength for the pecs, anterior deltoids, and triceps.  And while powerlifters have touted these benefits for years in its defense, the reality is these benefits are not exclusive to the floor press.  In fact, there’s another bench variation that encompasses all of the exact same benefits and probably has greater carryover to your bench press strength than the floor press. Enter: The Feet Elevated Bench Press Regularly utilized by bodybuilders and unfortunately mocked by powerlifters, I’ve become a huge fan of the feet elevated bench press and would argue that it’s more effective than the floor press. Why? Watch the short video below and I’ll let you in on a little secret…. Technique Points 1. Set up exactly as you would for a standard bench press but bend your knees and keep your feet flat on the bench right in front of your butt. 2. Lower the bar towards your chest and make sure to keep your shoulders down & away from your ears throughout the entire movement. Think about raising your chest to the bar to keep your shoulders in the safest position.  3. As soon as the bar touches your chest, press the bar back up at a slight backwards angle to the starting position.  Feet Elevated Bench Press...
Strength Training Program Design 101: Exercise Selection and Order

Strength Training Program Design 101: Exercise Selection and Order

There is no such thing as a single “best” exercise. There is no such thing as a single “best” training program. And there is no such thing as a single “best” set & repetition scheme. So what is there? A set of overarching principles that make up the sum and substance of every successful training program ever created. Recently I received an e-mail from an exercise physiology grad student, Laura, asking for me to explain my personal system for creating a safe and effective program. She told me: “My biggest flaw when it comes to understanding training or program design is the actual exercises to implement into a training regimen. I know that obviously it varies because programs are individual but do you have any suggested guidelines on exercises and placement of those exercises?  Every book I read says 8-10 exercises but never says which. Again, I know everything with programming is individual but this is the area that I struggle with the most.” Laura’s right.  To my knowledge there isn’t a single resource that explicitly outlines what exercises to use and how to structure them to create a safe and effective strength training program. So that’s what I’m going to do. In this article I’m going to outline the overarching principles you need to know, show you exactly which exercises to choose, and how to use these exercises as part of an evidence based approach to strength training program design. First things first. Let’s talk individual assessment. Individual Assessment “Assessment” means different things to different coaches. Some coaches think of it as the FMS or another movement-based evaluation. Some think of it...
The Bulgarian Split Squat: Fixing the 2 Most Common Mistakes…Fast!

The Bulgarian Split Squat: Fixing the 2 Most Common Mistakes…Fast!

The Bulgarian Split Squat is simultaneously one of the best and worst drills ever created. It’s great because it’s arguably the single best exercise for improving single-leg strength and stability in addition to offering a variety of mobility, hypertrophy, balance, and proprioceptive benefits. It’s awful because it’ll gas you out just as fast as the prowler and give you the worst case of DOMS you could ever imagine.  For all of those reasons and more, I love the Bulgarian Split Squat and use it nearly all of my training cycles. Here’s a video of me doing 3 x 5 with 225lbs. A video posted by Jordan Syatt (@syattfitness) on Feb 15, 2015 at 1:01pm PST Unfortunately, many coaches and lifters royally screw it up. To end the confusion once and for all, below I’ve provided 2 videos outlining a couple ways most people screw up the Bulgarian Split Squat and exactly how you can correct it to make sure you get the most bang for you buck. And if you aren’t sure what the Bulgarian Split Squat is or how to perform it at all, you can watch my brief instructional video. The Bulgarian Split Squat: How to Fix the 2 Most Common Mistakes…FAST! Mistake #1: Pelvis Position Staying tall and upright is one of the most common cues coaches give their clients to improve technique in a variety of movements.  But for the Bulgarian Split, trying to stand completely straight up so your torso is perpendicular to the floor tends to do more harm than good.  Why? Without going into excruciating detail (watch the video for a better visual), when your rear foot is elevated and you try to stand completely...
4 of The Worst Deadlift Mistakes You Could Ever Make

4 of The Worst Deadlift Mistakes You Could Ever Make

Having pulled 4x my bodyweight (530lbs at BW of 132lbs) and coached numerous lifters to 2-3x bodyweight deadlifts, I like to think I know a little bit about deadlifting. And while deadlift articles are now unfortunately a dime a dozen, this is not your standard deadlift article. So rather than talk about why Deadlifting is awesome or tell you to maintain a neutral spine for 87,453rd time, I’m going to outline 4 deadlift mistakes you’ve probably never considered. Some of the most commonly overlooked deadlift mistakes I see made on a daily basis, each of the brief videos below will show you exactly what you’re doing wrong and, more importantly, precisely how to fix it. In no particular order of importance, here are 4 of The Worst Deadlift Mistakes You Could Ever Make.   Deadlift Mistake #1: Bouncing the Bar Off the Floor Remember, for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.  Specific to the deadlift, every time the bar hits the floor, the floor is returning the exact same amount of force directly into the bar.  So if you aren’t letting the bar come to a complete stop in between reps and are initiating the lift from a bounce, you’re essentially lifting less weight off the floor and missing numerous benefits. Your Takeaway: If you want to reap all the benefits of a full range of motion (ROM) deadlift, let the bar come to a complete stop in between repetitions. Notably, if you find you’re weakest off the floor and lockout is relatively easy, you need to let the bar come to a complete stop because bouncing the bar is never going to help you get...
3 Unusual Ways to Use the Foam Roller That Will Get You Offensively Strong

3 Unusual Ways to Use the Foam Roller That Will Get You Offensively Strong

With the countless benefits of foam rolling and other forms of manual therapy finally breaking into the mainstream, it’s almost impossible to find a gym that doesn’t have a handful of foam rollers lying around. And while understanding how to foam roll is an important skill for all coaches and lifters – I teach you how in my free step-by-step Guide to Warming Up – in this article I’m excited to show you 3 exercises using the foam roller that will get you offensively strong. SHELC On Foam Roller I’ve written about The Supine Hip Extension with Leg Curl (SHELC) before as it’s unquestionably one of my all-time favorite exercises for improving hamstring strength and function. With countless progressions, regressions, and variations to choose from it’s a highly versatile drill and, in my experience, has drastic carryover to deadlift performance. The great part about doing it on the foam roller (instead of a physio ball) is that it increases the range of motion and subsequent difficulty of the exercise. So if you’re at the point where SHELC’s on a physio ball are too easy, definitely give ’em a shot on the foam roller. And if they’re still too easy, try ’em out single-leg. For more technique and programming guidelines, you can watch my SHELC instructional video, HERE. Push-Up on Foam Roller Push-Ups are another versatile drill with countless variations to choose from and innumerable strength and performance benefits. What separates push-ups on a foam roller apart from most variations, however, is the slightly unstable surface can help to improve shoulder health and function via increased contributions from the rotator cuff and shoulder stabilizers. For added difficulty – and...
A Bigger Range of Motion Isn’t Always a Better Range of Motion

A Bigger Range of Motion Isn’t Always a Better Range of Motion

In the world of strength and conditioning, the term “range of motion” (ROM) is a catch all phrase brought up on a minute-by-minute basis. And while it’s an essential component to understand, many coaches get caught up in the idea that “bigger is better” and subsequently strive for a larger ROM on every single drill. But there’s a problem… A Bigger Range of Motion Isn’t Always Better To illustrate exactly why a bigger range of motion isn’t always better (and is often even dangerous), I recorded the brief video below. Your Take Away A bigger range of motion isn’t always better.  If you’re creating a bigger range through useless and possibly even dangerous movement, you’re simply wasting time and energy. So instead of blindly focusing on using a larger ROM, focus on using the right muscles to generate a sufficient training effect and whatever range that requires. Did You Find This Article Helpful? Easily share it with your friends and colleagues using the social media tab on your left (or the bottom of your screen if you’re using your phone).  And if you want to join my VIP newsletter and get exclusive content (including 4 world record training manuals) delivered directly to your inbox, just plug in your information below and I’ll send you an e-mail within 60-seconds. Never Minimal. Never Maximal. Always Optimal. -J World Record Strength! Sign Up & I’ll Send Your 4 FREE World Record Strength Training Manuals Directly to Your Inbox Name: Email: We respect your email privacy...
5 Training Strategies to Avoid Shoulder Pain

5 Training Strategies to Avoid Shoulder Pain

Today I’m excited to share an extraordinary guest post written by none other than Eric Cressey, world renowned strength coach, powerlifter, and the creator of one of my all-time favorite training programs, The High Performance Handbook. Enjoy! -J I’ve often been called “The Shoulder Guy” because I write about it so much, but the truth is, I learned about shoulders because mine are a disaster. My shoulder MRI features a rotator cuff tear, labral fraying, and a cartilage defect. Sounds brutal, right? Well, it might surprise you that I’ve bench pressed over 400 pounds, regularly deadlift over 600lbs, and can throw with my professional baseball guys whenever I want. You see, if you teach a shoulder to move well – establishing mobility and stability in the right places – you can “get away” with having a lot of accumulated wear and tear at this important joint. With that in mind, I thought I’d use today’s guest post to offer you some training technique advice and programming strategies to bulletproof your shoulders. Include a wide variety of pressing movements. Everybody loves the bench press – and that’s completely fine; it’s one of the best “bang for your buck” exercises you can do.  Unfortunately, when your upper back is always pinned to a bench, your shoulder blades can’t rotate freely – so they may lose the ability to get to positions you need to safely train pain-free. With that in mind, it’s important to complement your bench press variations with other movements where the shoulder blade can move freely. All push-up variations are great choices, but you might also like to...
2 Common Bench Press Mistakes (And How to Fix Them!)

2 Common Bench Press Mistakes (And How to Fix Them!)

This isn’t your normal bench press article. I’m not going to post a picture of a half nekked, freshly spray tanned male model bench pressing an obnoxiously large set of foam weights to grab your attention.  And I’m also not going to tell you correcting these 2 common bench press mistakes will instantly add 50lbs to your bench press. So why should you read this article? 1. Odds are you’re making at least one, if not both, of these bench press mistakes 2. Correcting these bench press mistakes will not only help you get stronger but will also keep your shoulders safer and healthier in the long-run. 3. Understanding these bench press mistakes (and how to fix them) will make you a better coach. Sound good to you? Sweet, let’s talk bench press. 2 Common Bench Press Mistakes (And How to Fix Them!) Just in case you chose to skim or skip the video entirely, below I’ve outlined a summary of both common bench press mistakes.  Bench Press Mistake #1 Protracting the Scapulae (Shoulder Blades) By protracting the shoulder blades (i.e. allowing your scapulae to drift apart as you press the bar upwards as shown in the picture above) you increase the lifts range of motion (ROM) and your risk of shoulder pain or injury.  In other words, protracting your shoulders is a big bench press no-no.  Instead, what you want to do is keep your shoulder blades retracted (i.e. pinched towards one another) throughout the entire ROM.  While you don’t need to pinch them together as hard as possible, maintaining your scapulae in a retracted position holds numerous benefits: 1) It reduces the lifts ROM, essentially minimizing the total amount...
Master the Deadlift with 4 Video Deadlift Tutorials and An Entire Manual…FREE!

Master the Deadlift with 4 Video Deadlift Tutorials and An Entire Manual…FREE!

Learn How to Master the Deadlift For FREE! From World Record Powerlifter, Jordan Syatt, In His Brand New Resource The Deadlift Bible     Hey there!   As a world record powerlifter and 4x bodyweight deadlifter, I get a lot of questions pertaining to the deadlift.    And considering I’ve spent the vast majority of my life training, coaching, competing, and helping others get stronger…I decided to write The Deadlift Bible to answer the most commonly misunderstood components of Deadlifting. Q: Have you ever wondered how to find the best deadlift technique for you?   Q: Are you tired of playing guessing games and ready to learn the right way to train and progress the deadlift?   Q: Are you ready to learn the truth about deadlifting and how to get as strong as humanly possible?   If you answered “yes” to just one of these questions then YOU are the exact person for whom I wrote my brand new and FREE training manual: The Deadlift Bible – The World’s Best Deadlift Manual for a Stronger, Safer, & Explosive Deadlift.   Inside I outline everything you need to know to master the deadlift. The Deadlift Bible Includes > 4 video tutorials demonstrating perfect technique for my top 4 deadlift variations   > Explicit programming instructions outlining exactly how to progress from beginner to advanced variations   > Unbiased overviews of my top 4 deadlift variations including the pro’s and con’s of each as well as how to incorporate them into your training program   > My personal favorite deadlift coaching cues that I’ve used with extraordinary success with both myself and my clients   The Deadlift Bible BONUS CHAPTERS Include > An in-depth video tutorial teaching you exactly...