Toughman 2011 (Part I)

18 Men Entered....

Only 13 finished....

Only 1 Could Win.....

The Events:

This year's competition was composed of the following four events:
  • 50 Yard Reverse Sliders
  • 100 Prowler Shuttle
  • 225lb Sled Race
  • Sandbags of Death

50 Yard Reverse Sliders:

Description: An athlete will place his feet on the sliders and use only his arms to push himself backwards 50 yards across the field.

What is a slider?

A slider is actually something people use to help them move furniture. By placing an item on these sliders, you can simply push it to where you want it rather than having to carry it.

In this event, the athlete starts with his feet on the goal line of a football field and had to push himself until his entire body crossed the 50-yard line.

100 Yard Prowler Shuttle

Description: An athlete will push a prowler (aka the predator) loaded with 90lbs exactly 25 yards. At the 25 yard mark, they will go to the other side of the prowler and push it back to the starting point. This sequence is repeated 2x giving a total of 100 yards of movement.

225lbs Sled Race

Description: This event has four separate steps, all of which involve moving a sled loaded with 225lbs.
  • Step 1: Use (2) 10' chains to pull the sled 20 yards. In this event, "pull" means to perform a backpedal while you are facing the sled, using the chains to move it.
  • Step 2: Turn around and use the (2) 10' chains to drag the sled another 20 yards toward a bucket that is 30 yards away. Once the chains reach the bucket, this step is over.  In this event, "drag" means to run forward while you are facing away from the sled. The chains can be held over your shoulder, at your sides, or anywhere else you think will actually help.
  • Step 3: Remove one of the chains from the sled and move it out of the path of the remainder of the drill.
  • Step 4: Sit on the bucket and pull the sled toward you using the remaining chain on the sled.

Sandbags of Death

Description: 5 Sandbags are placed on the 25 yard line of a football field. The athlete will have to pick-up each sandbag and run it to the goal line. After dropping off one bag, the athlete will have to return to the 25 yard line to pick up another bag. 

The bags do not all have the same weight. 

  • (2) are 40 lbs
  • (2) are 80 lbs
  • (1) is 120 lbs.

The athlete can choose the order in which they move the bags.

The Conclusion???

This is probably a good place to stop with this post. I don't want your brains to explode with too much information.

  • In Part II, I will show the video the Toughman Highlights.
  • In Part III, I will go over the results.

The Predator

I don't care who you are, or how good of shape you think you are in....

"The Predator" will get you....

While I am not actually talking about the "real" Predator, I am pretty sure even Arnold would bow down to what I am referring.

So what is "The Predator" of which I speak?

"The Predator" is actually another name for "The Prowler", which is  a tool we use during our Strongman training

I picked up the name after one of our guys (Joe Igneri), referred to it as such after one of our Prowler training sessions.

When he first said it, I thought he was delusional.

(This is not something that is uncommon after a Prowler training session. Most people can't walk, let alone think rationally.)

Right after he said it, I looked around at all of our athletes laying on the floor in exhaustion.

Some were vomiting.

Some couldn't breathe.

Some were crying for their mothers.

At that instant, I knew he wasn't delusional.

I knew he was brilliant!

This scene I was looking at would look no different than if the "real" Predator just rolled through.

I will hold off until another post to explain why I think the "Predator" / Prowler is so tough.

Until then, I am providing a video with a few clips of our last training session with "The Predator".


Jack Up Your Squat Max

At Advanced Training, the average athlete will add approximately 80lbs to their squat max in a 6 month period.

How is this possible?

While I don't want to give away all of our secrets in this post, I will share with you one movement that will definitely help your squat skyrocket.

Its called the Mixed Isometric Squat.

If was first seen in an article called The World Must Be Changing, where I was commenting on how shocked I was to see that a squat video had the most hits from our YouTube page.

What is a mixed isometric squat?

Its a squat where you pause for 3-5 seconds at 3 separate position in the movement:

  • 1/4 Squat (1/4 down)
  • 1/2 Squat (1/2 way down)
  • Full Squat (all the way down)

The video below shows Mike Morano performing this movement with 315lbs.
(Warning: This movement requires a great deal of training and attempting it with this heavy of a  load without supervision is highly discouraged)

So what makes this move so great?

1. It puts you in positions that help you work on "sticking points".                
2. It forces you to have more time under tension (TUT)
3. It allows you to focus more on the eccentric portion of the squat due to the increased TUT.

If you combine these three factors, it makes for a pretty sick lift and a sure fire way to increase your squat max.

30 Things I Learned Since I Was 30 (Part II)

This is Part II (numbers 16-30) of the 30 Things I Learned Since I Was Thirty.

16.  Pull-ups from the hang are overrated. They put too much stress on your shoulders. As long as you make a reasonable effort to get a full range of motion, I am not going to call you out.

17. If you are not in an actual weightlifting (Olympic) competition, there is no reason why you should load excessive amounts of weight on the bar. You should use these lifts as an opportunity to move lighter weight more explosively in an effort to get the full benefits of triple extension.

18. Regardless of the results you have helped an athlete achieve, they will still question your program. They either want more reps, more weight, or more days of training. For those of you who keeping pestering me about these things, please see point #1 from Part I of this post.

19. Demonstrating movements for athletes all day is pretty tiring. Try getting in a full workout after demonstrating mixed isometric squats 25 times in the same day.

20. Training like a maniac does not compensate for eating like a fat pig. This usually leads to overtraining, which in turn makes you even fatter. Its an endless cycle that leaves you fat and worn out.

21. Athletes hate dynamic stretching before practice. Who wouldn't prefer to lay on the ground and catch a quick nap before practice? (Even the consummate overachievers know static stretch = break time before practice.)

22. The best and the worst feeling in the world is having one of the athletes you train become better than you at something. As a coach, I feel completely fulfilled. As a competitor, I become insanely jealous and force myself to work harder to take back my throne.

23. A good training environment is better than a great program. (If someone was yelling at you like this, I am sure you would feel obligated to bang out a few more reps too!)

24. 95% of the people who saw the video of the Chaos Overhead Lunge thought I only had one weight on the barbell because I was not strong enough to lift two. (This is why I only train the other 5% of the population.)

25. Each athlete needs to be motivated differently. Some need to be challenged. Some need to be told they are the worst. Some need to be told they are the best. Some need to know the science behind everything. As a coach, its your job to find out how to motivate each of your athletes.

26. Finding a good rap song without explicit lyrics is very hard. It takes me hours to find songs that I can actually put on our YouTube videos.

27. There is no education like experience. 

28. Never hesitate to remove a "problem" person from your program. Its not worth ruining your training environment just so you can have a bigger client base. One guy who likes to talk about last night more than he likes to train can bring down even the best athletes.

29. Adding prehab drills between sets during lifting sessions not only prevents injury, it also prevents athletes from talking to each other and losing focus on their training.

30. Everything is a competition. If you don't agree, start reading another blog and be sure to renew your membership to Planet Fitness.