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...
Everything You Need to Know About the Reverse Crunch

Everything You Need to Know About the Reverse Crunch

During a seminar at which I was recently presenting, one of the attendees told me he hated the reverse crunch because “crunches aren’t functional.”  He went on to explain “reverse crunches are not only a waste of time but they are actually dangerous because they take you into lumbar flexion.”  Realizing there was a major disconnect regarding the true meaning of “functional training” along with the perceived dangers of lumbar flexion, I put the rest of my discussion on hold. First Things First: What is “Functional Training?” Most coaches agree the term “functional training” basically implies training to prepare for the activities and challenges you face on a daily basis while helping you achieve your individual goals. Some coaches think this requires training on unstable surfaces, like a bosu ball, as a means of improving balance. As I explained in my article, Why Functional Balance Training Isn’t So Functional, however, this type of “training” is more of a circus act than a valid or safe training practice. Other coaches think “functional training” solely consists of sports performance based exercise and, specifically, unilateral (single-arm/single-leg) drills as these tend to be more similar to our activities of daily living.  But I disagree. I disagree with the notion that “functional training” solely consists of one methodology or only targets a single outcome. For training to be considered “functional” it must help you achieve YOUR individual goals. This means effective “functional training” simply involves training in way that faciliates your continued progress. Whether you’re a bodybuilder looking to get bigger biceps, a powerlifter trying to build a stronger deadlift, a marathon runner hoping to improve your aerobic capacity, or a 60-year old woman trying to move and feel better…each method...
The Top 7 Best Books for Nutrition Coaches

The Top 7 Best Books for Nutrition Coaches

Any halfway decent fitness enthusiast can tell someone how to lose fat. It’s really not that hard. Calculate a moderate caloric deficit, outline sufficient protein intake, send your client these guidelines, and tell them “just hit these numbers and you’re good!“ Pretty simple. From here all you need to do is patiently wait and see how many people actually follow your guidelines long enough to get results. If you have a handful of 8-10 participants, odds are you’ll have at least 1-2 who are intrinsically motivated enough to stick to your plan no matter what. Then you can grab their before/after pictures, publish their “success story,” and explain to people how your “scientifically proven method” helped them shed X amount of pounds in 90-days. Congratulations. You’re a nutrition expert. If you want to be a great nutrition coach – a coach who can consistently inspire individuals to recognize their own ability to succeed – you need to do a hell of a lot more than just hand out calorie and protein guidelines.  You need to arm your clients with science-based knowledge in an easy to understand format. You need to teach your clients how to create sustainable habits. You need to show your clients tips and tricks that will help them succeed in the long-term. And, most importantly, you need to help your clients understand and believe that they are truly capable of achieving anything and everything they want.  To understand how to do this you need to get your hands on the absolute best books for nutrition coaches.  In an effort to help you weed through the B.S. and arm you with the most...
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...
The Top 8 Best Books for Strength and Conditioning Coaches

The Top 8 Best Books for Strength and Conditioning Coaches

Not a day goes by where I don’t get asked, “Jordan, what do you think are the best books for strength and conditioning coaches?“ After answering that exact same question for years on end, I figured I might as well compile a detailed list of my personal favorite best books for strength and conditioning coaches into one straightforward post.  Having put it off for the last few months, I finally got around to it and am excited to share with you the books that I consider to be absolutely essential reading for every strength coach worth their salt. In no particular order of importance… The Best Books for Strength and Conditioning Coaches   1. Facts and Fallacies of Fitness If you only get one book from this list…get Facts and Fallacies of Fitness by Mel Siff. An easy read for coaches and lifters of all levels, this book is one of my all-time personal favorites because it forces you to question everything you ever thought was true about training and nutrition. Dissecting hundreds of myths pertaining to every topic imaginable including biomechanics, strength, flexibility, cardiovascular exercise, and everything in between…Facts and Fallacies of Fitness is simultaneously one of the most entertaining and informative books I’ve ever read. Ready to be mind blown? Get Facts and Fallacies of Fitness. Grab Your Copy Here –> Facts and Fallacies of Fitness   2. Science and Practice of Strength Training This book changed my life. I vividly remember sitting in Louie Simmons’ office at Westside Barbell reading Science and Practice of Strength Training for the first time. I’ve read it a minimum of 10 times ever since. Unquestionably one of the most influential books I’ve...
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...