Search Your Soul and Ask Yourself ... Is My Program Making Me a Better Athlete?

"Well, that's an easy choice for us, Arcadian! Spartans never retreat! Spartans never surrender! Go spread the word. Let every Greek assembled know the truth of this. Let each among them search his own soul. And while you're at it, search your own."
                                                                                         - King Leonidas, 300

Searching My Soul ...

That is exactly what I was doing at 2AM last night.

I was questioning myself.

I was questioning my program.

I was questioning everything about Advanced Training.


I stupidly broke one of my own rules and read non-fiction right before bed. Unfortunately for me, that non-fiction was an article written by the legendary sports training expert Dr. Michael Yessis.

Yessis developed the Glute Ham Machine

In his article, Yessis poses the simple question, "Is your team strength training developing better athletes?"

After reading the question, I immediately jumped to my feet, pounded my chest, and confidently yelled "Hell Yeah!"

With my wife and my dog now wide awake, I decide to read on .... Big Mistake ...

This is not really my wife, my dog, or my bed ...

Yessis continues ... "I'm sure for the majority of coaches, the answer to the above question is "yes". (Or "Hell Yeah" in my case). This is the answer I receive most often, but close examination of specific programs appears to indicate otherwise. Most strength training programs do not focus on developing better athletes; they focus on handling more weight in specific strength exercises ...

Uh oh ... a main feature of Advanced Training is me helpings guys handle more weight in the gym 

Yessis continues to continue ... "For example, it is not uncommon to find many strength training rooms that have posters on the walls indicating how much weight each athlete is lifting in all the different exercises.

Uh oh ... I do that too ...

In fact, the image below is posted on our website for 118 of my Twitter Followers to see.

And with that, the soul search begins and my ability to sleep ends ...

Am I a fraud?

Am I claiming to enhance performance on the field, only to do the same garbage every other trainer in the world is doing?

The engineer in me decides to do what any engineer would do ...

Break the issue down to its simplest elements and tackle each of them one at a time ...

What Makes Someone An Athlete?

In my mind, there are 3 distinct features which make someone an athlete.

1. The ability to control their own body (unobstructed by the actions of others)

2. The ability to control their own body (after someone touches you)

3. The ability to react to the actions of your competitor.

If you are not proficient in all 3 of these, than you are not really an athlete.

For example, we all know people who are only proficient at #1 (really fast or really strong) and never really good at sports. These are the same people who could never read a pulling guard, hit a curveball, or make a jump shot as they are being fouled.

Is Advanced Training Enhancing All These 3 Features?

If the answer to the above question is "Yes", than I am making the guys I train better athletes.

If the answer is "No", I am a fraud.

Let's find out...

1. The ability to control their own body (unobstructed by the actions of others)

What do you need to work on to be able to control your own body?
  • Mobility  
  • Flexibility
  • Stabilization
  • Strength
  • Acceleration
  • Deceleration 

At Advanced Training, we address the first 4 items in every strength training session.

The last 2 are addressed at every agility / speed session. (It is not how fast you can run. It is how fast you can start and how fast you can stop.)

2. The ability to control their own body (after someone touches you)

In most REAL sports there is contact.

  • A football player gets hit as he runs across the field.
  • A hockey player gets checked as he skates across the ice.
  • A basketball player gets fouled as he drives the lane.

If your program does not address how athletes can respond to these hits, than the guys you train are missing out.

Does Advanced Training address this?


We utilize Chaos Training and Resistance Bands to simulate obstructions to the athlete during routine movements. They obstructions help close the gap between what happens in the gym and on the field.

The three movements below demonstrate just that.

The Ripper Chin-Up:

Anyone can do a chin-up... But can they do it with someone trying to rip them off the rack?

The Band Overhead Squat and Press:

As if squatting wasn't bad enough ... now try to do it with a band pulling you backwards.

The Chaos Overhead Lunge:

Do you think your traditional lunge is going to prepare you for getting hit in the hole like this will?

Think again ...

3. The ability to react to the actions of your competitor.

If you cannot react to the actions of your competitor, you cannot win.

  • A catcher needs to react to a guy stealing 2nd base
  • A defensive lineman needs to react to an offensive lineman's movement
  • A goalie needs to react to a puck screaming towards him
While many programs do not address this feature, Advanced Training absolutely does.
  • We perform sprints on motion (hand motion of a coach, get-off of another athlete, etc.)
  • We perform plyo's on abnormal cadences (odd numbers, girl's names)
  • We perform light Olympic Lifts on sound (claps, "Go", "Hit")
If you only perform sprints on a coach's whistle, good luck getting off the ball on game day.


The soul searching is done and I can now rest.

Advanced Training does develop better athletes!

If you are simply looking to get huge or lift huge weights or run the fastest 40 in the world, Advanced Training is not for you. (Although neither is Planet Fitness)

Will we make you bigger, stronger, and faster?

Absolutely ...

But never at the expense of becoming a better athlete.

Why We "Superset"with Mobility (Part II)

In Part 1 of Why We Superset with Mobility, I wrote about how we "superset" our primary movements with mobility and / or prehab drills.

In Part 2, I am going to tell you the 5 reasons WHY we do it.

5 Reasons Why We "Superset" with Mobility

1. Guaranteed Adherence

The guys I train are animals. They train with me to get jacked up so they can either intimidate or dominate their opponents on the field.

I googled "football player intimidating" and McCombs picture came up ... SICK!!!

For the few that are no longer competitive on the field, their goal is to intimidate or dominate the next biggest guy at the club.

Same difference ...

Why Blanco and Morano do "Arms" on our rest days ...

The bottom line is, if I didn't force these guys to do mobility or prehab drills while they were standing in front of me, 95% of them wouldn't do it all.

By putting it into the program, I guarantee it gets done.

2. Guaranteed Attention

Most of my guys have the attention span of a squirrel.

While I cannot 100% confirm how strong a squirrel's attention span is, I can guarantee it's not strong enough to focus on retracting the shoulder blades before moving your arms on Y's, T's, and W's.

It is this type of attention that is needed to optimally address mobility or stability issues in the gym.

If I strategically place it into the program at 30 second intervals, I have a fighting chance of getting the guys to focus on doing it right.

If I dedicated an entire session to mobility, most guys would zone me out within 5 minutes and we would get nothing done.

3. Stops the Talking

When someone is about to set up for a max effort front squat, the last thing they need to hear about is how great "Breaking Bad" was last night.

They need 100% of their focus on their foot placement, their elbow positioning, how they will engage their lats, and how they will control their breathing.

Hearing about how Heisenberg outsmarts a Mexican drug cartel is only going to serve as a distraction.

By incorporating mobility drills in-between our sets, it stops our guys from having these very conversations.

They don't have time to talk about "The Cousins", because they are too busy executing a single leg squat and touch before and after they squat.

How Blanco and Morano leave the gym after "Arm Day"

4. Improves the Primary Lift - NOW!!!

Contrary to popular believe, most people do not struggle with their primary movements due to a lack of strength.

Rather, most of them fail due to a lack of mobility and / or stability.

Joe Sarno is an absolute beast, but he struggled with the basic body weight squat due to ankle mobility issues and a core that couldn't stabilize properly.

 (For the full story of how he dominated this problem, see Evolution of the Squat.)

By placing the mobility drills immediately before and after the primary lift, the athlete is better able to execute that movement during that training session.

Not tomorrow...

Not next week....

Right Now!!!

The same could be said of anti-rotation / stabilization exercises.

By supersetting a set of plank holds in-between a set of squats, you are prepping your body to properly brace when you have massive weight on your back.

Movement (A) - Plank Holds with a Row

Movement B - Back Squat

5. Build Aerobic Capacity

Did you ever see a guy perform one set of bench, sit down for about 10 minutes, then begin to prep for his next set.

Those guys have a few things in common.
  • Most of them are pretty big.
  • Most of them can move lots of weight.
  • Most of them are out of shape.
Note: If you are not pressing over 450lbs, you have no right to take 10 minutes between sets.

Most of the guys I train are football players.

They cannot afford to wait that long between sets, because they can't wait nearly that long in-between plays.

While I would never advocate turning your strength / power session into a conditioning session, I do believe that adding the mobility drills as a superset slightly bridges the gap between the gym and the field.

By having them constantly moving in the gym, they have a better chance of adapting to a no-huddle offense or a 13 play drive.

At the same time, they do it without the risk of losing power, as the mobility drills will not wear them out the same way true supersets, compound sets, or interval training will.


If you want to stay healthy, get lean, and keep making gains in the gym, I highly recommend you superset mobility drills into your program.

If anything, it will keep someone else from talking to you while you are trying to focus on getting better.

Why We "Superset" with Mobility (Part I)

Talk to any meat head in America and they will brag about how they "Superset"* nose breakers with tricep extensions.

While Advanced Training has its fair share of aspiring meat heads, we seldom perform supersets like your typical body builder, juicebag, (fill in the blank of any other name you would call a guy bigger than you at the gym ...)

In our humble world, we "superset" almost all of our movements with mobility or prehab drills.

Here is an actual example of a primary movement coupled with a mobility drill.

Movement (A) - Overhead Squat

Movement B - Wall Ankle Mobilization

As can clearly be seen, the first movement (overhead squat) is compound movement targeting the big muscle groups. The second movement (wall ankle mobilization) is an assistance movement targeting mobility in the ankles.

Now that you have seen an example of what we do, be sure to check out the next post where I talk about why we do it.

*Note: In the fitness world, many trainers would shun you if you used the term "Superset" improperly.
When a meerkat calls a compound set a superset...

A superset is when you move back and forth between exercises that target opposing primary muscle groups. A good example would be performing a preacher curl (for the biceps) and then performing a tricep extension (for the triceps - duh.) 

A compound set is when you move back and forth between exercises that target the same muscle groups. A good example of that would be what I mentioned at the beginning of this post, performing a nose breaker and then immediately moving to a tricep extension (both of which target the triceps).