"Perfection is not when there is nothing left to add, it is when there is nothing left to take away" - Antoine de Saint Exupery
I truly believe that a major part of what makes Advanced Training special is not what we do, it is what we DON'T DO.
And I am not talking about hack things like using a Smith Machine, curling in a squat rack, or wearing a weight belt for every single lift.
I am talking about things that every college football player in the country inherently believes are the right things to do. The unfortunate part is that they believe they are doing the right things for all the wrong reasons.
Maybe it's their ego.
Maybe they have a bad coach.
Maybe they saw it in an inspirational YouTube Video.
Regardless, their beliefs are not based on any sound principles or scientific evidence.
If you want to end up burnt-out, small, or injured ... stay the course.
If you are tired of the continual struggle to make progress and feel great, then enjoy reading about ...
The 10 Things We Don't Do At Advanced Training
1. Use Big Weight on the Hang Clean (or any "Olympic" lift)
For some reason, college football players have it in their head that the hang clean is the defining characteristic of their manhood.
They believe the "power" they generate from the lift will directly carry over to the football field.
First off, it won't.
Very little of what you do in the gym directly carries over into the field (Sorry "Sports-Specific" Strength Coaches.)
And secondly, the instant they add too much weight, they stop generating any real power.
For that reason, any Olympic Lift we do is used with sub-maximal weight. Our goal is to generate maximal force with maximal acceleration (F = ma). Essentially, we are using the dynamic effort on all of our Olympic Lifts.
And for those of you physics nerds out there, you all know that Power = (force x distance) / time.
Therefore, more force equals more power.
2. Perform Cleans From the Floor
There are three reasons we don't clean from the floor.
1. It immediately makes athletes want to use big weights ... and I clearly don't like that.
2. It gives a longer range of motion to go from start to finish. While that doesn't stop acceleration, it doesn't promote it the same way a hang clean does.
3. It doesn't take advantage of the stretch-shortening cycle (SSC). If you don't know what SSC is click HERE.
3. Use Ladders Agility Drills
Using ladders for agility drills only makes you good at one thing ... using ladders for agility drills.
(This was well documented in a post read by 10's of people called "Bags Won't Make You Dance".)
True agility drills involve stopping, starting, and reacting to an unpredictable stimulus.
It does not involve choreographed dance moves over a few squares on the ground.
4. Perform 1-Rep Max on Bench or Squat
For powerlifters and weightlifters, this is a must.
It is a part of their sport and something they are forced to do in competition.
For college football players, the risk is not worth the reward.
At Advanced Training, we 5-rep max on bench press and never max on the Squat.
To be fair, we do a 1-rep max on the deadlift ... but only because we train using clusters sets ... and we only do that because I can't stand to watch a guy bounce a barbell off the floor into his next rep and act like it was a clean rep.
5. Fail on any rep
We always "leave 1 or 2 in the tank".
Not only do I want our guys to feel better leaving the gym than when they walked into it, I also want to train their nervous system to remember successful movement patterns.
If your last rep was a failed rep, that is what your nervous system remembers until you train again.
6. Perform "AB" work
We don't "do abs" at Advanced Training.
Not only does it not give you "abs", they also don't help your "core" do what is supposed to do ... stabilize and protect the spine.
Because of that, we only do "core" work at Advanced Training.
And by "core" work, I mean anti-rotational work with extreme bracing of the "abs", glutes, lats, and hamstrings.
An example our of core work can be seen in the video below.
7. Mixed Grip Deadlift
I will never deny that the mixed grip will add some weight to your deadlift.
For me though, I put a much greater emphasis on the grip strength that needs to be developed by college football players.
While you should never block or tackle with your hands ... it happens.
And I couldn't look myself in the mirror if I let a guy I trained let a RB slip through his fingers because he used a mixed grip on his deadlift.
8. Force a Parallel Squat
Forcing people with immobile hips and ankles to squat to parallel with a large load on their back is a recipe for disaster.
As a result, our guys are instructed to squat as deep as they can without losing the arch in their lower back.
It is for this very reason that we don't max-out on the back squat. Imagine the arguments guys were having on test day if they all weren't getting to the exact same depth.
9. Warm-Up Sets
We definitely warm-up at Advanced Training.
In fact, our 4-Minute Warm-Up video is only a few million hits away from going viral.
What we don't do is warm-up sets before we start pushing big loads on bench, squat and deadlift.
There is no barbell, 95, 135, 185 complex before the first real set starts.
If we are benching 275 x 5 for 2 sets that day, our first set of bench is 275. The only time we don't do that is if a guy is feeling banged up ... then we give him 1-2 sets of 2-3 reps to get the cobwebs out.
How can we lift heavy weights without a warm-up set and not get hurt?
Right after the warm-up, we usually start the lift with a dynamic movement and an extreme bracing exercise. In my mind, those things are our "warm-up" sets.
10. Full Range Of Motion Chin-Ups
At Advanced Training, I don't require a dead-hang and I don't require an athlete to get their chin over the bar.
This has actually proved to be more controversial than squatting to parallel (which I mentioned in Point #8).
I have two reasons for my leniency on this.
1. When guys train to get their chin over the bar (as opposed to their mouth), they usually shoot their neck out ... putting them in serious risk of an injury.
2. When guys go to a dead hang, they often free fall into the bottom position putting massive stress on their shoulders.
Again, the risk is not worth the reward.
Does this mean that we don't strive to get deeper on the descent and try to get our chest to the bar on the ascent? Absolutely not ...
It just means we accept partial ranges of motion as part of the journey to a full range of motion.
For those of you wondering why I do allowed mixed-grip chin-ups and not mixed-grip deads ... It's because the mixed-grip on the chin-up adds a little of bit of torque to the body forcing you to stabilize more during the movement.
BONUS: Sprint To Exhaustion
Our speed and agility sessions are usually very short.
They focus on acceleration, deceleration, and proper running mechanics.
We almost always stop right before people start to get tired.
We do this so our fatigue does not compromise our running mechanics ... making us run more inefficiently ... which makes us run slower and get tired more quickly.
Regardless, many a college athlete would rather run till he is exhausted to help "prepare" himself for a conditioning test which will probably make him slow and small.
To close up this post, I will leave you with a quote from the great Christian Thibaudeau of T-nation. It epitomizes most of principles behind the list of what we DON'T DO at Advanced Training
"Sadly, many stimulus addicts seem to think they get bonus points if they train more often, do longer workouts than everybody else, or hit the gym when they're feeling tired or fatigued from previous workouts. They spend a lot of time in the gym with no real results to show for it. They don't win the workouts - they lose them." - Christian Thibaudeau