The 3 Biggest #Gainz (2016)

Every year after test week at Advanced Training, I post the Top 3 "Gainz" we had in each testing category.

  • Bench
  • Deadlift
  • Broad Jump
  • Pull-Ups

The measurements are taken after a 10-week training cycle, which includes conditioning, toughman training, and speed work. I mention this to highlight that our program is not solely focused on "Gainz" inside the gym. Rather, it focuses on total athletic performance and the gym work is simply a portion of it.

For those of you who have been following our training program, you know we have been experimenting with the Holy Grail of Strength.

In its simplest form, it includes squatting, benching, and deadlifting at every gym session. We use sub-maximal weights on each movement and limit our volume to 2 sets of 5. By using sub-maximal weights, we can repeat the same movements every day and use each sessions as "practice" to develop improved motor patterns and muscle recruitment. The goal is to essentially make perfect lifting technique a habit.

As can be seen below, the Holy Grail of Strength provided some insane results.

Having said that, this quest for developing the "perfect program" is not over and never will be.

As the great Tony Robbins said, "If you aren't progressing, you are dying"

With that, I am taking the month of August to experiment on myself and make some tweaks to the program which I will call the "Holier Grail of Strength".

Until then, take a look at the Top 3 "Gainz" in each testing area.

I believe the results speak for themselves.

BENCH PRESS: 3 Biggest Gains

  • Carroll:                      210 to 240 (30lb gain)
  • Minlionica:                260 to 285 (25lb gain)
  • Sarno:                        305 to 330 (25lb gain)

DEADLIFT: 3 Biggest Gains

  • Carroll:                   355 to 405   (50lb gain)
  • Sarno:                     455 to 500    (45 lb gain)
  • Minlionica:             305 to 350    (45 lb gain)

Pull-Ups: 3 Biggest Gains

  • Smith:                24 to 33       (9 rep gain)
  • Mock:                28 to 33     (5 rep gain)
  • Minlionica:        27 to 31     (4 rep gain)

Broad Jump: 3 Biggest Gains

  • Minlionica:        108.5" to 122.0"     (13.5" gain)
  • Smith:                124.0" to 127.5"   (3.5" gain)
  • Sarno:                110.5" to 114.0"   (3.5" gain)

Power Points: 3 Biggest Gains

  • Minlionica:                0.887 to 1.008 (.122 gain)
  • Smith:                        0.960 to 1.074 (.114 gain)
  • Carroll:                      0.795 to 0.897 (.103 gain)

To view everyone stats from 2016, click HERE.

To view the Top 20 All-Time, click HERE.

Toughman 2016

The 2016 Toughman had the same exact format from that of 2015.

It was one continuous event which included 5 separate stations.
  1. Bodyweight Sliders (15 Yards)
  2. 140lb Farmer's Walk (15 Yards)
  3. 170lb Prowler Shuttle (45 Yards)
  4. 140lb Sled Pull (15 yards)
  5. Bodyweight Sliders (15 Yards)

The 2016 Toughman Event
Each athlete would move from the right side of the event to the left, not taking any breaks between each station. The person with the shortest time wins.

There were only 2 differences from 2015.
  1. We added an extra 10lbs to both the farmer's walk and the prowler
  2. The ground was not nearly as wet as last year.

Despite the extra weight and friction, our guys still killed it.

Now for the results ...

Bronze Metal: Nick Carroll

In 2015, Nick competed in his first Toughman and finished dead last (taking 1 minute 46 seconds to complete the event).

In 2016, Nick trimmed 22 seconds off his time and finished in 1 minute 24 seconds.

This 22 second time reduction (despite the extra weight and friction) was the result of a lot of hard work.

If Nick continues on this course, I expect him to be a contender for next year's title.

His long arms and grip strength give him a definite edge in the sled pull.

His only "weakness" is his speed on the prowler, which I am certain he will fix.

He has become borderline obsessive in the gym.

The only thing that will hold him back is if he moves to Florida (don't do it man) or if he gives into his obsession and overtrains himself into injury (again ... don't do it man).

Silver Metal: Mario Mock

In 2014 Mario Mock finished 6th.

In 2015 Mario Mock took an early retirement and didn't compete. Apparently the stresses of being in a college fraternity were wearing him down. (note the sarcasm)

In 2016, Mario Mock pulled himself out of the frat house and back into the gym and took home a 2nd place finish (completing the event in 1 minute 21 seconds).

As Mock was moving through the event, I honestly thought he was going to win. He was moving through each event with ease and had the lowest time getting to each station.

Then came the sled pull ...

Mario Mock
Unlike Carroll, Mock has short arms and small hands.

This killed him during the sled pull and cost him from taking home the title.

He actually dropped the chain twice and got his finger caught in a link (which is pretty sad by the way).

Mock can't get longer arms or bigger hands ...

His only hope to win it next year is to train like our first place winner ...

Gold Metal: Ryan Smith

In 2013, Ryan Smith won the Toughman.

In 2014, Ryan Smith won the Toughman.

In 2015 Ryan Smith won the Toughman.

Guess what he did in 2016 ... he won the Toughman.

(Note: He is the only person to ever do this four years in a row.)

He completed the event in 1 minute 13 seconds (8 seconds faster than the next closest competitor).

What makes this impressive?

1. That is the same time he finished in last year (despite the extra weight and friction).

2. He did it at 5:15AM (45 minutes earlier than everyone else) because he works 3 jobs and had to start one of those 3 jobs at 6:00AM on the day of the competition.

I am going to double quote myself here ...

Quote #1:

"It is going to take someone with a great deal of talent and a great deal of drive to beat him in future events.

This is going to enrage a lot of people out there ... but face the facts.

When was the last time Ryan Smith missed a training session?

When was going to a party more important than getting better?

When was sleep more important to him than winning the Toughman?" - Coach Mahoney, 2014

Quote #2:

"This quote still holds true (referring to my quote in 2014) and probably will until Smith retires from Advanced Training.

I don't see too many guys willing to give up sleep and their social life to beat him." - Coach Mahoney, 2015

Like most times in my life, I was right.

And now Smith has placed himself into a well-deserved legendary status at Advanced Training

Well done Mr. Smith.

Honorable Mention: Joe O'Neill

Joe was the only high school senior who competed in the event.

I normally don't allow this, but I have a soft spot for the inside linebacker from St. Peter's high school. On my first day coaching Special Teams at the school, he botched a speed drill that I was demonstrating and I told him I would never forgive him for it.

Rather than sulk, he proceeded to make critical play after critical play on Special Teams and won me back over.

While I still haven't forgiven him for the speed drill (and I never will), I did allow him to train with our college guys over the summer.

Like Smith, Joe made it a priority to get to 100% of his training sessions.

He even rode his bike across Staten Island in a heat wave when he couldn't get a ride.

While our pre-testing ranking predicted he would come in 7th place, he actually finished in 5th.

I expect Joe to come back next summer and get himself  in a position to be in the top 3.

All The Results

To see all the stats, click HERE.

To see the video, click below. Special thanks to Joe Schillaci for doing such a great job of filming it. He even "watched film" of previous Toughman Competitions to get himself prepared.