Syatt Fitness: The Week In Review (10/4/2013)

by Jordan Syatt October 4, 2013

How did October sneak up on us so quickly!?

It feels like I only just began to settle into my final semester of University but – as it turns out – midterms are only one week away!

Even crazier than that, last night as I shamelessly watched several episodes of Hey Girl diligently studied for my upcoming exams, I came to the bizarre realization that I only have 2 months left in my college career….

In all seriousness, I’ve been looking forward to graduation since day one of my freshman year.

Granted, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my college experience and don’t regret it in the least, but I’ve always viewed my college education as more of a formality than anything else.

At this point in my life, I’m excited to continue building Syatt Fitness and return to coaching at Total Performance Sports in Boston.

Anywho, that’s enough about me; let’s move onto this installment of The Week In Review.

I hope you enjoy the articles and strength lessons herein, and have a wonderful weekend!

Never Minimal. Never Maximal. Always Optimal.


Articles By Jordan

A Practical Guide to Exercise Variation 

How to Fix Lower Back Pain

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Daily Strength Lesson’s

Monday’s Strength Lesson: The overarching societal goal for fitness should be “do whatever you enjoy and can maintain in the long-term.” Whether that includes running, P-90X, or CrossFit…who cares?

Too often coaches, trainers, and enthusiasts get caught up in their fitness elitism. We believe so passionately in our own methods that we may disregard other methods simply because they don’t jive with our personal goals/preferences/beliefs/etc.

My question is this: As long as people are moving (re: exercising), eating well, and enjoying whatever it is that they’re doing…why is it “wrong?”

It may not be the most effective…by our standards

It may not be the safest…by our standards

It may not be the most fun…by our standards

But if it’s getting people to exercise, live “healthier,” and enjoy the process then, honestly, I’m all for it.

Do whatever YOU love to do and can maintain in the long-term. As long as YOU find it enjoyable and are seeing meaningful/measurable results…have at it!


Tuesday’s Strength Lesson: If you want to make your Deadlift as safe and efficient as possible, you need to learn how to pull the slack out of the bar.

Pulling the slack out of the bar is one of the most difficult concepts for a lifter to understand. Fortunately, however, there are numerous ways to simplify the technique and reduce the learning curve.

One of my personal favorite cues for this is: “Pull your chest to the floor!”

By grabbing onto the bar and trying to “pull your chest to the floor” you’ll pull the slack out of the bar while simultaneously setting yourself up in proper DLing position.

For a thorough explanation of this concept, watch this brief video.


Wednesday’s Strength Lesson: Leg drive in the Bench Press is one of the most over-complicated, and subsequently misunderstood, concepts in all of strength training.
Perhaps the most common misconception regarding leg drive is that you simply need to drive through your heels as the bar touches your chest to – more or less – drive momentum into the bar to shoot it back up.


Leg drive entails *being as tight as humanly possible* throughout the ENTIRE lift. It isn’t a single push or drive at any point in time. Rather it’s the cumulative tightness of the lift that makes leg drive so effective.

To watch a brief instructional video outlining exactly how to use leg drive to improve Bench Press performance, click here.


Thursday’s Strength Lesson: Do your shoulders regularly pop out of position while Benching? If so, you might benefit from some direct rotator cuff work.

Generally speaking, I’m not a huge fan of direct rotator cuff drills (i.e. internal/external rotation variations). Not that they don’t have a time and a place within a well designed training program – rather, many coaches and therapists tend to use them as an all-encompassing answer to fix every kind of shoulder pain.

In that sense, rotator cuff drills are overused and overrated.

However, in some cases direct rotator cuff work can be extraordinarily beneficial. For example, many lifters eventually reach a point where they can’t Bench a certain weight without their shoulder(s) popping out of position. Despite all of their efforts, the ball just won’t stay put in the socket which seriously compromises performance and safety.

Here’s the fix: Try to add some side-lying external rotations, cable external rotations, and other variations of the sort into your LOWER BODY training days (2-3x/week). They shouldn’t be too strenuous – NEVER to failure – but should be enough “feel” it a bit. Generally 2-4 sets of 8-10 repetitions is sufficient.


Friday’s Strength Lesson:Go where you are celebrated – not tolerated. If they can’t see the real value of you, it’s time for a new start.

Recommended Reading

  1. October Research Roundup: Recovery Edition via Bret Contreras
  2. Coaching Cues to Improve Your S&C Programs via Eric Cressey
  3. How to Vary Your Lifts via Syatt Fitness
  4. Research on Coffee and CVD via Medical News Today
  5. Alcohol After Strength Training Boosts Testosterone Levels via Ergo Log
  6. Habit – The Real Key to Long-Term Weight Loss Success via Go Kaleo
  7. Basic Biomechanics: Terms & Definitions via Bret Contreras
  8. Upper Body Self Myofascial Release Precautions via Eric Cressey
  9. How to Fix Lower Back Pain via Syatt Fitness
  10. Worst. Study. Ever. Reported. via Forbes
  11. YOUR Problem with Sugar is THE Problem with Sugar via Joy Victoria
  12. Good Stress, Bad Stress: Find Your Sweet Spot via Precision Nutrition
  13. Categorizing Core Stability Exercises via Eric Cressey
  14. What’s Best? 3 or 6 Meals Per Day? via Brad Schoenfeld
  15. Stop Jerking Your Deadlift via Dean Somerset

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