Three Common Breath Training Mistakes


Over the last year, my clients started progressing through their programming and entering the training floor at much faster rate than they were before. This change occurred because I’ve focused on coaching the basics savagely well.

I’ve learned how to coach people out of compensating during basic breathing exercises, which has resulted in better outcomes.

From a training standpoint, you want to see these exercises as activities that give your client’s access to motions that are needed on the training floor. Like hinging through the hips vs low back, squatting without the heels coming off the ground, or rowing without the shoulders gliding forward.

If you go the extra mile and get detailed with your coaching, I promise you, your clients will have substantially more positive outcomes.

Let’s talk about the three most common mistakes and then let me show you how to coach people out of them.

Exhaling too Hard

My goal with most breathing exercises is get the air out of the lungs. Because if air goes out, I know I got the ribs to move. If you’re exhaling too hard, you will contract muscles like external obliques, you’ll block the diaphragm from fully ascending (state of exhalation), and you’ll trap air in at the lower portion of the lungs.

Never underestimate the power of getting all the air out 🙂

Belly Breathing

I’ve been speaking about not belly breathing for a couple of years now and I’ve never had anyone at the end of the presentation disagree with me. Mostly because once people are presented with information, belly breathing no longer makes sense to them.

I always start out with these questions:

Do you agree that breathing should be 360? That breathing should expands the lungs and rib cage 360 degrees?

and 100% of the time people will answer “Yes” to those questions, which I follow up with.

“Okay so we’re on the same page. Belly breathing doesn’t allow that to happen.” and I create a visual with my body to show them how belly breathing lacks the circumferential 360 degrees of expansion.

and usually that’s all it takes for people to leave belly breathing behind.

What I want:

What I don’t want:

During respiration, the ribcage and abdomen should expand a complete 360 degrees to achieve adequate intra-abdominal pressure. Belly breathing lacks this circumferential expansion which actually reduces intra-abdominal pressure.

If you want to coach someone how to breathing correctly, you must appreciate the rib cage and it’s resting state.

When you assess the rib cage, you can make some assumptions on what resting position their diaphragm is in. From the thousands of ribcages I’ve seen, people don’t struggle breathing in with their diaphragm, they actually struggle breathing out, letting their diaphragm to fully relax.

With most people, the diaphragm sits flat, in a position of inhalation.

Trying to achieve diaphragmatic breathing by cuing a belly breath would be like trying to open a an umbrella that is already open. An umbrella must be closed before in can be opened. In order for you to take a breath IN with your diaphragm, it needs to come from a state of being OUT (exhalation).

So stop coaching “billow the belly out”, “belly breathe”, or “let that hand on the belly expand” and start getting your clients breathing 360.


This is one a big one. I see people online doing “breathing exercises” but they’re letting their clients crunch too much.

When someone is in quadruped, I want this:

not this:

When you crunch and let your clients get all hunchy, you’re not achieving rib cage retraction, you’re getting sternal depression, and you’re overusing rectus.

If you’re chasing movement variability, you might not get the changes you want if you’re clients are rounding over.

With all that said, getting someone in a perfect quadruped position is a lot harder than most people think. If I have a pain-free client that just wants to lift, I will sometimes let that go and slowly coach them out of it every time they come in to train.

Detailed coaching doesn’t mean perfect, it means always improving 🙂

But if I have a post-rehab client that I’m trying to improve movement variability with, and I can’t get them doing this correctly, I will do other activities that will help them achieve what they want.

In the following video I’ll take you through how to coach clients out of three mistakes I just talked about and three activities to try with those people you just can’t get them into quadruped.

Something to think about:

Like I said in the video, maybe your clients are not ready for quadruped. Try the activities I went over to set them up for success.

But you also might want to consider that quadruped and reaching forward might not be a good position for them. They might have a wide infrasternal angle (ISA). They might need a forceful exhale vs a soft prolonged sigh. They might need arms pulling over head vs reaching in front of them.

I don’t see many wide ISA people, but I do see them. To learn what to do with these people, check out my article on it. If you’re checking this and you’re thinking a lot of people are wide, you’re probably not checking right at the xyphoid process. Make sure you’re on-top of it, not below it. I messed up a lot when I first started checking it.

Until next time 🙂





Social Media Post of the Week-The Phases of Breathing

For this week’s post I’m going to highlight one of my facebook post from 2013.  I’m going to show you the phases coaches go through when it comes to breathing. The first phase is called the “Belly Breathing Phase”.

It’s when the coach first gets into breathing, and they think that belly breathing is the way to go. Because the diaphragm is on top of the belly, so it makes sense to get people to belly breathe, right?

I clearly thought that’s how you got people to truly breathe through their diaphragm.

EVERYONE cues people to breathe through their belly…therapists, functional med docs, yoga and pilates instructors, massage therapists, and other coaches.

And that is because everyone only goes through the first phase of getting into breathing.

The first phase is when you realize breathing is pretty important. You start to appreciate how diaphragmatic breathing could help someone de-stress and move better, so you just start cuing belly breathing, because that’s what everyone else is doing.

If you stay on the first phase of learning about breathing, you don’t learn start digging deeper, you don’t look at the literature, you don’t take courses on it, and you just leave it at that.

It’s not until you get into the second phase that you realize, oh shit, breathing is more complicated than I thought. The body is more complicated than I once believed.

The second phase of breathing looks like this:


During respiration, the ribcage and abdomen should expand a complete 360 degrees to achieve adequate intra-abdominal pressure. Belly breathing lacks this circumferential expansion which actually reduces intra-abdominal pressure.

So when you’re doing activities like the ones bellow, notice how I don’t let my belly billow out as I breathe in. Think of keeping your front ribs down as you take a silent breath in. That will allow your ribcage to expand 360….which is the goal for a true diaphragmatic breath.

From my experience while assessing people, no one is struggling breathing IN with their diaphragm, they’re actually struggling breathing out, getting their diaphragm in a state of full exhalation.

Trying to achieve diaphragmatic breathing by cuing a belly breath would be like trying to open a an umbrella that is already open. An umbrella must be closed before in can be opened. In order for you to take a breath IN with your diaphragm, it needs to come from a state of being OUT (exhalation).

Practice the activities I shared above, and focus on getting a full exhalation.

For more information on how to assess what kind of breathing you should do with your clients check out my article on Assessing the Infrasternal Angle, and my Powerlifting Article.


Unconventional Powerlifting Preparation: Challenging the Old School Mentality

I’ve always been one that’s quick to adapt to ideas, concepts, and practices that produce better results than what I was previously attaining. Letting go and moving on to better methods helps my clients achieve better results.

This is why one of our core values for our gym, Enhancing Life, is Progressive.

We created an environment that encourages change and innovation. New information and updated ideas will always be applied to better serve the needs of our clients and staff.

I’m progressive AF. I’m like the Bernie Sanders of the fitness industry. Why else do you think I wear glasses?

I’m okay with admitting I was once wrong, leaving things behind, trying new things, and letting my clients know that sometimes we stop doing certain things to better service them.

For example, one day I learned that better pelvic positioning during lifting could be attained by tucking the hips compared to my previous cue, squeezing the glutes. That following week, I never cued it again and taught my clients the difference between tucking and squeezing.

This willingness to change requires keeping your ego in check, which unfortunately, many coaches struggle with.

I thought that everyone who was presented with new information would be willing to admit that they were wrong and adapt the new information to improve client’s results.

Change for people is hard. People get emotionally attached to certain mentalities, methods, exercises, and philosophies. Then when confronted with conflicting beliefs, dogmatism and defensiveness takeover, and no progress is made.

It was very early on in my career that I gravitated towards the post rehab population. When I first joined the industry, I had mentors with a powerlifting background. When I asked where I could learn more about programing for the general population (with the post rehab people in mind), I was told to read 5-3-1.

However, 5-3-1 wasn’t helping me get my deconditioned post-rehab client who had never lifted more than 20lbs in their life move better and gain confidence in the gym. What did though, was breathwork.

With the immediate results I saw, I became obsessed. I wanted to know every breathing and biomechanical thing I could get my hands on. I ended up getting my massage license, took several continuing education courses, practiced daily what I learned, and imposed my will on people.

The deeper I got into it, the more I realized that movement is not so simple.

My exercise selection was constantly evolving. Cues and activities were always getting left behind when I found something that expedited results.

And around 3 years ago I ran into a huge problem. It wasn’t a simple, “hey we don’t squeeze anymore, let’s tuck the hips like this” kind of fix.

It was a paradigm shift in how I train client.

I was starting to question conventional industry wisdom: “row twice as many times as you press” or “pinch the shoulder back and down”, and those damn band pull aparts.

All things I was doing for years.

I started questioning how powerlifters “fixed” problems they saw on the training floor, such as adding extension to someone rounding over during a lift.

Or does the person losing upper back position during a deadlift really need to hammer more lat pulldowns and band pull aparts?

Or does the lifter who can’t get their elbows down on their back squat really need to open up their chest and pull their shoulder blades back?

And what got the biggest backlash: Would a competitive lifter get weaker if they got away from their extension-based exercises and chased some movement variability?

I was repeatedly told that if a powerlifter chased variability, they’d lose what “made them great” at their sport.

This belief had beginner powerlifters do the opposite of what I was trying to do with them because they were told they’d lose strength if they got away from extension based exercises.

Finally, in 2017, I was able to put my unconventional methods to the test.

Tracy Jones, a world class powerlifter, was referred to me. She was barely able to walk without feeling discomfort, couldn’t sit in the car without feeling miserable, and didn’t have the mobility to squat below parallel without a massive weight shift and pain.

Limited variability isn’t a problem, until it’s a problem.

It’s a problem if it’s affecting your lifts. It’s a problem if you can’t hit certain depth in your squat. It’s a problem if your quality of life starts falling apart. It’s a problem if doctors are telling you that your done competing.

What “made her great” was about to finish her powerlifting career.

If you think you have the ability to take an athlete’s sagittal plane dominance away from them and make them weak, let me tell you, we’re not that good. No one is.

The 10-15 minutes a day Tracy spent chasing variability did not stop her from being an absolute monster on the training floor 4-5 times a week. What it did do was produce positive change in the way she moved, in a manner specifically targeted at her movement limitations.

The result? Hitting squat depth without pain, and staying in the game that she loves.

(These’s squats are about a year apart. On the first one Tracy has a pretty big shift as she tries to come up from the bottom. She was also not able to squat below parallel without a ton of pain. During the second video, she has less of a shift, comes up from the bottom without breaking down, and NO pain! )

Between Tracy Corey Hayes, and the other powerlifters I’ve worked with, I have yet to hear a single complaint about the better movement they’ve achieved.

So if you’re a powerlifter, train powerlifters, train the general population that lifts heavy, don’t be afraid to break away from extension-based exercises, don’t be afraid to do the opposite of what you’ve always done when it comes to “maintenance work”.

If you’re openminded in trying new things, let me get you started 😊

Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as giving you one list of exercises. Everyone is different. I can’t just throw a blanket warm-up and tell you that is THE warm-up that every lifter needs.

What I gave Tracy Jones was different than what I gave Corey Hayes.

But that doesn’t mean I can’t guide you to the right direction or work with you to find out exactly what you need.

Here’s what we need to do.


The body is great at giving you illusions and as a coach, you can’t trust your eyes. As a lifter, you can’t trust what you feel. Muscles that feel extremely tight, might be the complete opposite, and blindly stretching it because of the way it feels, might cause more harm than good.

An example of not trusting your eyes would be rounding over during a deadlift. It may look like you’re lacking extension, but that probably isn’t the case. Below is an easy explanation that I take my students through when we talk about when I’m teaching them not to get fixated on the visual assessment.

Because I can’t trust my eyes to guide my client’s correctives, I use assessments like the infrasternal angle (ISA) and obers test to help me decided what do with each client. These tests can tell me the position of the pelvis and rib cage may be in.

Looking at the ISA helps me determine what kind of exercise to choose for each person, what kind of arm position will achieve better movement results, what positions may better drive change, and what breathing style will best address movement limitations.

By being guided by the ISA, I always end up getting changes throughout the body, such as shoulder mobility.

Or hip mobility, decreased tightness or discomfort.

So what angle do you or your client have?

Is it wide?

If so, you would like to start your warm-up with these types of activities

But what if it’s narrow?

Then I’d start with these warmup activities.

And if you’re not sure, you can work with me online and I can customize your warm-up so you’re not doing a bunch of mobility activities that don’t produce results.

If you’re interested in checking your client’s ISA, check out Zac’s video that is attached below, and my article where I go into more detail on why I use it as an assessment tool.

Once you have your 1-2 activities to get your started, let’s dive into other common activities that you might be doing that could be substituted for something more effective.


A greater pull to push ratio was done to theoretically create a strong upper back, to “undo” all the benching in a program, and keep their shoulders healthy to stay in the game.

Sadly, this philosophy has a shaky foundation. Literally. Shoulder blades require a congruent foundation to sit upon to allow for effective movement. That foundation is the ribcage.

Look at the client’s ribcage as the door frame, and the door as the shoulder blades. For years I’d been trying to fix the door (shoulder blades), but this whole time the door frame (rib cage) was the one that needed work.

If a door frame is crooked, will you ever have a functioning door?


Same with the shoulder blades. If the shoulder blades don’t have a rib cage to sit on, you might see some movement limitations and restrictions: anterior humeral glide, keeping the back together during lifts, issues with shoulder blade retraction, winging, hunched over back, limited shoulder flexion…..the list can go on and on.

Shoulder blades can move on a fixed rib cage, but don’t forget that a rib cage can move on fixed shoulder blades.

When I began to appreciate this movement, I got away from band pull aparts and Y T Is. Instead, I programmed reaching activities like rockback breathing, arm bars, reaching squats and quadruped work into my group classes. Even with my rudimentary understanding, I immediately noticed client’s movement quality, especially around the shoulders, improve in ways I never thought possible. I was sold!

Having a healthy relationship between the ribcage and shoulder blades gives all the muscle in that region better leverage to work. Better leverage means better mobility, strength, work load distribution, and less discomfort.

Try doing activities that work on the position of the rib cage instead of hammering a bunch of isolated scap work.

Rockback Breathing

Supine Arm Bar

Sidelying Band Reach

Reaching Squat

Still can’t break that pulling addiction? Try one arm pulls while keeping the opposite arm reaching. This movement places the rib cage in a better position for the shoulder blade to glide smoothly along. Say goodbye to winging, shrugging, pinching, and other compensations you may have experienced in the past.

Supine Band PNF

Half Kneeling Band PNF

For a more in-depth article on why pulling wont undo your benching, check out Justin Moore’s article “Why We Must Reach” and follow him on social media!



Conventionally, stretching hip flexors was thought to improve hip extension, but muscle lengthening is near impossible.

Unfortunately, this stretch doesn’t take into account pelvic position. In the above stretch, the pelvis remains in a flexed position, which leaves the hip flexors in a shortened position. What ends up being stretched are the anterior ligaments in front of the hip. <- Not good.

What to do instead?

Drive hip extension by getting hamstrings to pull the pelvis into a position of extension, which will result in lengthening of the muscles that you’re trying to stretch.

Before I share with you what to do instead, let’s go over the next exercise you can leave behind because they’ll have the same substitutes, might as well kill two birds with one stone 😊


It’s not that these activities are causing you harm. It’s that your time is precious.

If you’re going to spend time doing any breathing/corrective/maintenance work at all, I’d rather you spend it on activities that may do a better job at making you move and perform better.

A lot of people do banded glute work because they’re trying to “activate” or “turn-on” their posterior chain. Even though getting the posterior chain to fire is important, you’re better off putting the pelvis in a better position that changes the length-tension relationship to those posterior chain muscles, allowing them to perform better.  Just because you feel a muscle burn, doesn’t mean you’re making a positive impact on how that muscle will perform in other movements.

So instead of stretching the shit out of your anterior hip ligaments, doing 15 different banded glute bridges and multi directional band walks, do activities that alter the position of the pelvis. These movements will put less strain on the hip flexors, and put the glutes in a better position for them to work during your training session.

Supine Hip Extension Drill

Half Kneeling Breathing

Toe Touch to Squat

And then you can add a little intensity to these new positions. I would focus on the sagittal plane with the next few exercises. Really making sure your hips are tucked with some hamstrings, working on trying to keep your rib cage on top of your pelvis vs arching your back.

Glute Ham Raise Hold

Glute Ham Raise

KB Front Squat

Assisted Step Up


If you’re wanting to take this to the next level and start working on all three planes, which would be great during the off-season, I’d read Pat Davidson’s article, and check out this podcast where he goes over what a powerlifter should to do during the off-season.

After going through everything I wrote out for you, you should have a pretty badass warm-up.

You’ll start with your two activties you picked after figuring out your ISA. Those breathing activities clients will usually do 3 sets of each with 3-5 breaths each time.

From there you’ll move on to what we call “movement prep”. These activties are usually 3-6 exercises all done 1-2 sets of each with 3-5 breaths/reps.

This should only take 15 minutes to complete. At first when you’re first getting started, it might take a little longer, but once you know the exercises, you can get through them pretty quickly 🙂

On your days off you could go through your whole warm-up or just the first two with your ISA measurement.


I hope all of this was helpful!

Until next time 🙂








Social Media Post of the Week- How to Change Your Body

This social post goes to my fitness industry friend, Cody Plofker.

Him and his awesome GF, Payal Patel own Adapt Performance and Rehab. 

His post gives you 5 things that you/your clients should do if they want to work hard AND stay healthy while doing it.

Training hard has been demonized in the past.

There’s nothing I hate more than seeing trainers lift zero weights with their clients and never challenging them.

As a coach you’ve gotta learn how to individually push people. Enough to make a change in their body. Enough to load their system. People are totally capable of training hard, they just have to earn it 🙂

The problem is, people want don’t want to train hard, or they don’t want to do whats necessary to stay healthy while training hard. How do you get people to buy in? Leave it in the comments bellow! I would love to share your ideas 🙂

Until next time 🙂


Social Media Post of the Week- Get F****ing Pissed

This week’s post has me fired up. By fired up, I mean pissed.

People like Dave Rascoe give me a lot of hope. He’s the kind of personal trainer that I’m trying to help create with this website.

It is very possible to respect someone’s medical letters behind their name while simultaneously demanding for their industry to be better.

This is exactly what Dave is doing. He’s not saying all doctors are bad. He’s saying that they’re not your person to help you live a healthy life. They’re your person if you cut your leg and get a nasty infection. They’re not your person to help you prevent from developing diabetes.

In 2012 I convinced my grandma to do the opposite of what her doctor was telling her to do. In 3-4 months her blood work came back with normal levels of LDL and cholesterol, ALT and AST levels were dropping (something doctors told her would never happen).

Her doctor wrote on her blood work “Keep staying away from fat and eating your whole grains!” congratulating her on her improvement.

No one else seemed bothered that she just did the opposite of what her doctor told her to do and got better. No one seemed pissed enough to bring this up to his attention. My grandma never brought it up to him, and she is still seeing him. Since she never had the support from the trusted guy in the white coat on her lifestyle changes, she went back to relying on them for information and stopped taking her health into her own hands.

When I see something being done that’s unfair, misleading, or harming others, I can’t help it but to take it personal and get mad about it.

This personality trait seems to annoy people, especially the ones close to me. When my grandma’s health started going downhill last year, the family felt bad for her and were sad. I got pissed at our medical system that mislead her into a path of countless medications masking her symptoms, misleading nutrition advice that probably caused her more harm than good, and her unwillingness to look at other options other than conventional medicine.

People are so passive that they would rather not deal with any confrontation, or hurt someone’s feelings, and just conform to our broken system.

My grandma’s story repeats it’s self over and over again.

I see it happening to my friends, clients, family members, and I’m fucking sick of it.

and I want you to be sick of it.

How many of you knew our public school teachers had been underpaid and unfairly treated until this year?

Because I had no idea! Enough people had to be informed, enough people had to call out the corruption, and enough people had to get pissed to make a change. It hasn’t fixed everything, but just wait until this November’s elections.

Like my favorite person said:

Change starts with educating the public on not relying on our medical system to take care of them. It starts with people being honest with our practitioners about them over-medicating. It starts with everyone understanding what it actually takes to be a healthy human.

That’s where the personal trainer/nutrition coach comes in.

Coaches can be the frontline to getting this sick world healthy.

Can you imagine if millions of pissed off people demanded a better system? Maybe the needle would start moving in the right direction. Maybe doctors would have to refer out before starting medications. Maybe doctors would get rewarded for getting patients better instead of profiting for keeping them sick.

If you’re sick of our medical system and you want to educate your clients on a world that hasn’t be introduced to them, I’d start with checking out my blog Functional Medicine 101 for the Personal Trainer. 

Your reach is bigger than you think 🙂



Social Media Post of The Week

This week goes to a man that every single fitness entrepreneur needs to follow.

Pat Rigsby. 

When it comes to building a successful business, following people like Pat will save you a lot of trouble and save you a lot of time. He has done it all. Whatever you’re struggling with in your business, Pat probably has a video, product, or seminar on how to do it.

He’s the real deal! The advice he gives trainers is pure gold. If you’re not following him, you’re missing out.

How’s the culture at your gym? What would you add to this list? Does everyone at your gym have the same vision and core values? Do you struggle getting people on the same page?

The students I work with are starting their leadership and business class mid june. The first thing we’re doing is developing their personal core values that they will now try to match with their future employer. It’s not fair for the employee and the employer to have a completely different core values and vision.

If you’re wanting to get everyone on the same page at your gym, do all the little things that seemed silly, but are actually EXTREMELY important, Pat has you covered on his Virtual Fitness Mastermind  ->

Every time I tell my story about how I got started in the industry, I have to thank Pat. At 19 I attended one of his seminars in Louisville. Where I chugged two glasses of wine to build up the courage to introduce myself to Mike Robertson. Mike had just done a presentation that completely changed the direction I was going with my career.

Mike was so nice he invited me to dinner with his group where I met the people that ended up being my biggest mentors in the industry.

and now, here I am, trying to make this industry better, raise the bar for the personal trainer, connect people to the best in fitness, and of course, rattle the cage 🙂


Increasing Buy-in with a Third Party

You know how your friends and family don’t listen to your advice? Sometimes clients can be the same way.

It can be tough to get clients to believe in concepts like getting more rest, getting better sleep, and working on their movement variability.

Especially when most gyms in town are encouraging the opposite and the mainstream media still glorifies training programs that are similar to the biggest loser.

When you seem to be promoting the opposite of what the rest of the world is saying, it can be a HUGE challenge to get your clients to buy into taking care of themselves.

A few years back I realized that it helped if the information was coming from a third party and not just coming from me. I started finding other experts in the field that were sharing the same beliefs I was trying to share.

Since they were skeptical in what I had to say, I found articles and videos that backed up what I was saying. That’s when I started getting people on board with all the unsexy work that comes with rest and recovery.

I’ve written a few articles you can share with your clients since they are geared towards the general population. All of these articles had to be less than 700 words so the chances of your clients reading them are greater than sending them a 6 page article with terminology they can’t understand.

The first one is about sleep and the importance of regulating your sleep and wake cycle. If you’re looking to achieve results that you’re able to sustain for a lifetime, you’ve got to work on your sleep! Getting a client to stop downplaying the benefits of better sleep quality is getting easier and easier with all the information coming out.

The second article I wrote are for those that keep clocking hours at the gym with little to no results because they’re not focusing enough on recovery.

The third one is about breathing being the secret to pain-free strength training. I wrote this because my target market are scare of lifting weights, have been hurt by personal trainers in the part, or are in some type of pain which makes them believe they’re not capable of getting stronger. Getting someone to buy into lifting weights is not dangerous can be a challenge but it’s my specialty 😉 If we share the same target market, this article is perfect for you!

The last one is about how to find the right gym and the right personal trainer. This one is good for clients to see because unfortunately, a degree or a certification tells you NOTHING about the person’s ability to coach your correctly.

I also put together a compilation of experts talking about recovery over at Darkside Strength. 

Each week I released a new video that I also sent to our clients! You’ll notice some of these experts repeat the same thing. Which hopefully makes your clients realize it might be important 😉

Here are a few of the videos on that blog:

Dave Rascoe talked about SLEEP! The hot topic in the industry.

Mike T Nelson and Lance Goyke talked about AM walks

Justin Moore and Mike Baker talked about what kind of training they can do in the gym that will help improve their recovery

For the rest of the videos check out the whole blog on Darkside. You can individually send each video to your clients 🙂

What are a few things you struggle getting your clients to buy into? Have you thought of doing workshops at your gym with guest speakers? Do you have a facebook community group where you share tips and trusted resources? Let me know what you do! I’m always interested in what other trainers are doing.


Until next time 🙂


Social Media Post of the Week

The smartest meathead in the industry makes the Social Media Post of the Week once again 🙂

Last time I highlighted Pat, I talked about not getting emotionally attached to things that you’re doing because people like Pat will come around and make you feel really uncomfortable if you have an ego that prevents you from changing your ways.

With this facebook post, if your ego is too big to let go of ideas and exercises, I would probably leave my website, and you should not follow people like Pat and myself.

I personally hate band pull-aparts. Mostly because I spent a year trying to convince another trainer that it wasn’t the best shoulder health activity and that it didn’t undo the bench press.

So I will always hate on them, but like Pat mentioned in his post and in his comments. If you’re coaching it correctly and your goal is to get some upper back muscle development, then you’re “okay”.

But if your goal is to keep the shoulders healthy and increase movement variability, then you should think of furthering your knowledge on the relationship between the shoulders blades and the rib cage. ( watch video at the end)

Then powerlifting got brought up in Pat’s post where I gave my 2 cents.

Pull Aparts are praised in the powerlifting world.

Don’t they need to do a lot of pulling? Don’t they need a strong upper back? Don’t they need to undo the bench? Band Pull Aparts should be part of their warm-up, right? They are sagittal creatures and they WANT and NEED to be in extension, isn’t that correct? You can’t take the powerlifter’s extension away because they’ll get weaker, right? 


Content always matters. Why are they doing band pull aparts? to mimic the same position as the bench press? Shoulder back and down? Cool. Keep doing them.

To keep the shoulders healthy? Fix problems they’re having during their lifts? ehhh this is what I think ->

The body is great at giving you illusions. It may look like you struggle extending and keeping your upper back together, but it might be an issue with your rib cage position, not your lack of pulling exercises like band pull-aparts.

I might not be a powerlifter but I’ve worked with people like Tracy Jones who has had amazing success getting away from the conventional powerlifting mind and has gained an appreciation of respiration and thorax position.

Many coaches get fixated on the shoulder blades and getting them to move but they’re forgetting (or not aware of) that the position of the thorax has a HUGE influence on the shoulder blades ability to move. Here’s a quick video where I explain it 🙂

Hope this was helpful.

Let go of any ego you may have. Always be ready to be wrong.

Until next time 🙂





The Vertical Jump Flow Chart

The vertical jump is performance royalty.  It, along with the 40 yard sprint, is widely used as THE measure of athletic ability.  I was asked a great question the other day about what goes into a good vertical jump.  It led me to actually going through the layers of a good vertical jump step by step and I wanted to share.

Like any athletic performance, the vertical jump is impacted by many variables.  These variables go together like an assembly line in car making.  One variable leads to another and another and at the end of the line is a complete jump.

First, we must understand the vertical jump is executed with a time constraint.  One constraint is your ability to load and lever length.  The more you load and the longer your legs are, the more runway you have to produce force, power and speed.  Another constraint comes from competition.  The need to beat your opponent to the ball in basketball or get to the set in volleyball creates a time constraint.  So, the overall goal for a highlight reel vertical jump is to produce as much force as fast as you can within the time constraints.

Breaking down the vertical jump assembly line looks like this:


This is the most complicated stop on the assembly line.  It’s basically about being in a well aligned position to maximize force production.  We use intra abdominal pressure to do this.  Think of the core as having trampolines at the top, bottom and all sides.  These trampolines are made up of muscles and passive tissues.  To have all these trampolines work effectively, you need to be in a well aligned position, aka neutral.  If we are in that ideal position, each trampoline can maintain a relatively high level of stiffness.  This stiffness is greater intra abdominal pressure.  It allows us to have a stronger platform to push off.  If my platform is solid, my limbs can produce the force needed in the desired direction.  An inflated basketball is a great example of a internal pressure resulting in a better performance (a higher bounce).

If I am not in an ideal position, some of those trampolines are going to have more slack and therefore be less stiff.  A less stiff trampoline equals more dampening and less force production being applied to the jump.  A flat basketball doesn’t have the internal stiffness to maintain its shape and produce a high bounce.  The flat ball dampens the forces once it hits the ground and barely bounces.



Force production is KING.  I would write that statement 100 more times if it wouldn’t make you close out of this article.  Newton’s laws clearly state the importance of force.  It drives all movement.  Newton’s 1st law states…

“An object will remain in its current state of movement unless force is applied to it.”

This means if I want to get my body off the ground for a 40” vertical, I need to apply force, and lots of it.

Time constraints place a deadline on our body to produce as much force as possible in a limited amount of time.  This deadline makes rate of force development (RFD) extremely important.  The faster I can produce force, the more force I will produce in a given time.  The more force I can produce, the more explosive the movement.



Newton’s 2nd law tells us:

“Acceleration of an object is directly proportional to the amount of force applied to it.”

So the more force I can produce in the given time, the greater my acceleration will be.  I have looked through hundreds of athletes’ jumps and found every time that force production is directly responsible for the magnitude of acceleration.  In the graph, you can see data from four different athletes performing a jump.  It clearly shows the more force you produce in your jump, the faster you accelerate.



Peak velocity at take-off of your jump has been connected to vertical jump performance in multiple research articles.  However, if you understand the relationships between the variables in a jump, you don’t need a research article to tell you that.  The faster I am going at take off, the longer it will take gravity to slow me down and bring me back to Earth.  Gravity acts on us in a constant manner so it will always slow us down at the same rate.  With gravity being fixed, it only makes sense that a faster speed would then take longer to slow down.

This stop on the assembly line is a direct cause of the magnitude of acceleration in your jump.  The faster I accelerate, the faster speed I will work up to.  Logical, right?

Also, if I can learn to push all the way through my jump, I will accelerate for longer.  Athletes who don’t get hip extension in their jumps, therefore not pushing all the way through it, shorten their runway.  A shorter runway leaves less room to build up speed.  So it makes sense that a longer runway combined with a high magnitude of acceleration will ultimately result in a high peak velocity at take off.  As we already mentioned, a high peak velocity at take off equals a high vertical jump.

This assembly line is meant to demonstrate how the previous variable sets up the next variable.  I can’t have blistering acceleration without explosive force production.   I won’t achieve a high peak velocity without blistering acceleration and doing that through a full range of motion.  Now that we know the variables and their relationship with each other, the question becomes


How do I train these variables?

Training force production for a 40 inch vertical is a careful balance of getting stronger (increasing force production) and maintaining RFD and movement speed.  These qualities can work in opposition of each other if we are skewed too far in either direction.  If I only do fast work then my total force production may go down and if I only lift heavy then I will ultimately lose my speed capabilities and RFD.  This becomes a dance of building force production without losing speed and building speed without losing force production.

For trained athletes, lifting in the 70 to 90% of 1RM range is enough of a load to increase force production but not too heavy that you slow down too much.  A training block may look something like this:

In this mock program, the heavy lifting is the priority.  The small dose of explosive jumping maintains the ability to move with speed and accelerate all the way through a movement.  The heavy sled sprints are meant to be VERY heavy and address the RFD and alactic power components that go into a vertical.  This programming ensures force production goes up while maintaining RFD and speed.  This is key for moving into a power building block after this force production training block.

If you are interested in mastering the vertical and reaching new heights with your programming (did you catch that pun???), you must check out the Force and Power seminar. This seminar will completely revolutionize your athletes programming AND it will save you a year of frustration by learning from all our mistakes.



To learn more from Ty, follow him on facebook and check out his website!




Social Media Post of the Week

This week social post goes to Kyle Dobbs! 

When things in your business (or life) don’t go your way do you look at yourself? or do you blame others?

If you’re a leader, blaming others when things are failing will just end up hurting you in the long run.

When looking for a leader (employer) find someone who is good at taking ownership for all the bad things that happen to their business.

Two books that have helped me:

Leaders Eat Last by Simon Sinek 

Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink ( A good friend of mine thought I needed to do a better job at taking ownership to the shit that was happening to me so he gifted me this book. Even though I only read half of this book, it completely changed me. Can’t wait to read the rest of it haha)


Until next time 🙂