Archive for Motivation

Weightlifting is the Answer! Here is why…

Posted in Health, Performance with tags , , , , , , , , , , on February 9, 2013 by razorsedgeperformance
We have spoken a number of times on this page about why weightlifting exercises (SEE Snatch, Clean, and Jerks) are awesome for developing speed and power in athletes, and thus why they should be included in many training programs.
While that is still true, I am going to discuss why weightlifting is EVEN BETTER for recreational athletes, and for that matter strength and conditioning coaches!
Let me talk about the second group first, because that is my cohort. As strength and conditioning coaches we are usually a competitive bunch (most are former athletes) and so love to compete no matter how old or out of shape we get. Add to that thought the concept of the high power output that is present in these exercises and it makes for the perfect avenue to compete in that still stays true to what we preach all day in the weight room! Wait, there is a cherry on top…these lifts are highly technical, and require a lot of practice and some good coaching. So as strength coaches, we always want to be working on our craft to provide the best coaching to our athletes. The more you can practice the lifts on your own, the better you get at coaching them and picking them apart.
Now let’s get to the recreational lifter and with that the crossfit population. I will go on record and say there are some things I really enjoy about crossfit. People seem to love it and love getting to the gym. This is great for the health and fitness of overall communities and the individuals within them. It is a system that also works well to improve overall physical capacities and body composition. So why do people hate on it, especially in the health and fitness community? Probably because they break people…some of it is from the crazy amount of volume everyone is expected to do, and some of it is just from the fact few members get taught proper technique for the weightifting exercises (let alone basic barbell exercises!!)…
Here are a few reasons why they are actually amazing lifts for the recreational lifter, even though they seem too technical and only for the ‘elite’…
Mobility! Here is the world record holder in both lifts at 77kg class, Lu Xiaojun. I have a huge man-crush on him for his weightlifting abilities. Not only are we talking about crazy amounts of power to move the bar, but he is catching the weight in a full-depth overhead squat. Even go back and see his starting position; Weightlifting requires a high level of mobility in your hips and ankles, as well as shoulders and upper back. These are the kinds of things the office-warrior loses quickly as they age, so just working on getting to these positions is highly valuable. Posture is such a large emphasis for these lifts that these muscles will get a ton of attention, and have no choice but to get their act together!
Metabolic Demand! These lifts use the entire body. So when you do a set of 8 or 10 reps at a submaximal weight, you are burning a ton of fuel. No wonder all the elite lifters are shredded (save for superheavy’s)…
Even working with a dowel (wooden stick, step 1) to get the positions and transitions correct, will be a great workout for most people as the volume is typically high and the attention to detail as well.
Cool Factor! Because they are so technical, not a lot of people do them well…walking into a gym, taking over the platform, and rocking some double body weight clean and jerks will definitely get you some attention. You will make a lot of friends that day. A lot of people can squat, but throw the same weight overhead as fast as you can? My mind just got blown.
It is with all of these reasons that we have begun a weightlifting club out of FITS Toronto where we work with weekend warriors to master these lifts, and so far the response has been impressive. If you want to really kick your training into another gear, and find something that you can really pour your focus into…then start learning how to weightlift!! (Consult a professional!!)
BONUS: Here is me hitting some PR’s yesterday as I journey to a bodyweight snatch…join me!
DOUBLE BONUS: Here’s Kyle beating Cory‘s PRs

Progress Update

Posted in Health, Performance with tags , , , , on May 29, 2012 by razorsedgeperformance

So last time I posted, I mentioned that I was trying an aggressive approach to building up my squat to new strength levels.

The truth is, I am doing it because the squat is the ultimate foundation lift for all things strength and power. Being strong doesn’t guarantee you speed and power but you can’t expect those things if you are weak.

So i’ve just started my 4th week of Smolov Squat Program, an old russian formula for aggressively improving your strength. Week 1 was three days in a row, week 2 was another 3 days of squatting but with very little volume and high intensity. Think singles, triples, doubles, and a five rep set.  Each day I basically worked up to 1 working set. So it was about staying familiar with the squat and heavy weight, but giving the body a bit of a rest. I’ll talk some more about that in a bit.


Week 3 is when the fun starts, because there is 4 squat workouts. Since I was coming off the Victoria Day weekend, that put me at Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday. So I didn’t get a full weekend off to rest up for Week 4. It’s the same protocol, same 4 workouts with the same rep scheme but with 20lbs added to each day. So in week 3 I lifted 235 day 1, 250 day 2, 270 day 3 and 285 day 4.

So far this week i’ve done 4×9 at 255, and 5×7 at 270. I get a rest day tomorrow (where i’ll focus on bringing my max bench up, which i hit a PR of 285 last week) and then the heavy days are Thursday and Friday.

Here are the videos from the last two workouts.




The key to bringing up a key lift, or really accomplishing anything related to your body is to do it often. Frequency is key. Adjust the volume and intensity when you need to in order to stay healthy, but you need to constantly remind your body of something if you want it to adapt. If you want to lose fat, do SOMETHING everyday…if you want to get huge, lift SOMETHING everyday. Even if it’s just pushups. If you want to improve a lift, practice it at every workout.

Hope this helps keep you going in the right direction for your current goals!


It’s About Getting Better!

Use the Buddy System

Posted in Performance with tags , , , , , , , on August 12, 2011 by razorsedgeperformance

This isn’t a new concept, but I still see lots of athletes training by themselves. There’s no way that having a good strong training partner won’t help you push harder. Eric Cressey recently put up a post illustrating how a good partner can be effective HERE . It wasn’t actually Eric’s post that reminded me about the importance of a training partner though, it was a couple other little fellows.

Notice how this guy doesn’t monkey around! While his partner just lies there, he tries to motivate him to get more work in!! Although, maybe he should’ve started with planks…

What else should you look for in a training partner? What are more benefits to having one?

Check Out the Training Partner Article Previously Posted.

It’s About Getting Better!

(And sometimes you need help along the way)

Achieving Your Best…At Anything!

Posted in Health, Performance with tags , , , , , on August 1, 2011 by razorsedgeperformance

I am proud to announce that I had the pleasure of reading the book of former Blue Jay Shawn Green two weeks ago. In fact, it was so good, that I also need to confess that I read it all within an afternoon/evening. I legitimately could not put it down. It’s called The Way of Baseball: Finding Stillness at 95 mph and it chronicles his time in the major leagues, and the secret to accomplishing the many amazing feats from his career. In case you don’t remember, Shawn Green was an absolute monster in the late ’90s and early 2000’s. Don’t believe me? Google him and check out his stats. Better yet, pick up his book and read all about ’em.

Why it was so powerful…

This book definitely transcends baseball, and can apply to anything you do in life. Shawn talks about how he overcame some conflict (for you this can be internal or external) by immersing himself in meditation. There were two really important aspects to take away from his meditation. First, his meditation involved hitting a baseball. This means you can literally meditate doing anything that makes you happy. For many this might involve working out. I’m not trying to press it or anything, i’m just sayin’. Secondly, he had a small history with eastern philosophies, but it didn’t seem to make a huge difference with the actual performance. So if you haven’t studied any, then don’t sweat it. The key is that it is flexible to your conflict, your favourite activities, and your experience level.

What is the key?

The key to achieving success through this practice is the concept of flow. Flow is about being in a state of total engagement in a task. If you’ve ever done something where you’ve ‘lost track of time’ then you have definitely been in a state of flow. In fact, flow is also characterized by low levels of stress, improved focus and attention to detail, and improved mood. For many athletes, training and playing their sport of choice will usually put them in flow, and that helps to perpetuate success. For others it can be writing, reading, or any number of hobbies. Since flow is such a powerful tool for building positive self-efficacy, it’s no wonder that meditating/entering flow through swing practice helped Shawn become one of the best hitters in the majors over a 6 or 7 year span.

What is the takeaway?

As a strength and conditioning professional, I find that the mental aspect of success in sport or life in general are extremely understated. For some people. this casual meditation and flow may come naturally and help lead to magnificent accomplishments. For others, it takes a little bit of focus to practice these same concepts but with appropriate attention to detail. Also, working out can definitely be a meditation-like behaviour for many people trying to get away from something else in their life. Not only that, but if you are trying to get bigger, stronger, faster, or leaner, then losing yourself into the moment of training can be just as important as the exercises you do.

Do me a favour and read the book. Once you’ve finished, sit down and think about the things in your life that put you in flow!


It’s About Getting Better!

Awesome Results From…

Posted in Health, Performance with tags , , , , , on February 10, 2011 by razorsedgeperformance

Awesome efforts. I’ll repeat that. Awesome results come from awesome efforts. We here at REP love to talk about awesomeness because when you see some it really makes it all worthwhile. Unfortunately, there are a lot of people who wish for awesome results but just aren’t ready to put the effort in to make it happen. You would be surprised how often I get a client who asks me “what is the minimum amount of work I have to do to accomplish this goal?” Unfortunately, with that mindset you’ve already ensured you won’t make it there. I’ve never understood why people imagine they can get amazing things out of a workout program without putting much in. Sorry to say that this formula isn’t balanced.

Now, we will be the first to tell you that excessive volume will keep you from optimal results. Instead, I’m talking about intensity. Do you need to workout for an hour or two hours a day? Maybe not. But trying to only workout 2-3 days a week won’t cut it either. If you only worked out 15 minutes a day, 7 days a week, but they were AWESOME EFFORT workouts, you’d be blown away with AWESOME RESULTS. If you are only coming in twice a week and plodding through a 2-hour workout, I wouldn’t call that awesome.

Take 3-4 weeks and dedicate yourself to AWESOME EFFORTS. You’ll be surprised what you get out of it.
“The best program is the one you’re doing” – A wise person once said.

It’s About Getting Better!

Team Up for Better Results!

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on August 10, 2010 by razorsedgeperformance

Whether you’re new to the gym or are a long time weekend warrior, getting a great training partner can be the missing link between success and failure when it comes to your goals. Here are 5 reasons why a well selected training partner can be beneficial. Although it’s best to choose a partner near your own abilities, any partner is usually better than none.

#1 Accountability – Having a training partner will help keep you accountable and vice versa. There are always days when you want to lower the weight, skip a set, or skip the gym altogether. A training partner who will keep you going to the gym when your mood is off will help you in the long run. They’ll make sure you finish every rep and every set. This doesn’t have to stop in the gym, they can keep you from going for fast food or ice cream when you leave the gym too!

#2 Perfection – A knowledgeable training partner can watch you on every rep of every set making sure you’re paying attention to all the details of form. As great as it would be to have a personal trainer for every session, sometimes life and finances get in the way. Becoming educated on training form and technique will help reduce injuries and make you more efficient at your lifts.

#3 Motivation – Sometimes keeping up motivation and intensity for an entire workout can be difficult alone. Just like a good hardcore playlist, a training partner can help push you and pick you up when you’re in a rut. If you’re the type of person who feels self conscious in the gym, having a partner motivating will help you forget about all the other people in the gym.

#4 Sharing is Caring – When it comes to working out and achieve your newly set goals, there are often little tricks that can help you stay on track or put you over the top. A partner who is going through the same things is a good source to trade secrets and tips to help achieve your goals. This could be training tools, programs, techniques or even recipes and food ideas. Adding more tools to your box will make you more efficient and prepared.

#5 Friendship – With an increased focus on social networking and email, face to face contact is becoming a rare commodity. Training with someone 3 to 5 times per week guarantees a lot of face time with that person. This may not be what you would call socializing, but it does build powerful relationships. Going through some of the struggles associated with training will truly develop a bond between you and your training partner. Even without meaning to, chatting between sets will end up revealing many personal things only someone close could know. This could easily be #1 on the list, since long lasting relationships are very important for health and well being.

Although other factors seem like more of an immediate necessity to tackle your fitness goals, don’t underestimate the power of the training partner. Many superheroes need sidekicks and even if they didn’t, it would make crime fighting more interesting anyhow. Get out your phone and start looking for a sidekick.

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