Jan 27, 2013

This past Saturday I attended my first powerlifting meet at the Ramada Plaza Hotel in Newark, NJ. I did not compete but I got a chance to watch my friend and fellow iron addict, Bryan Tompkins, pull 3 times his bodyweight in his first meet ever. Needless to say, I spent the better part of the day in a conference room with a bunch of super strong dudes lifting heavy weight. It was so intense I wanted to either lift something heavy myself or punch some one in the face. I couldn't decide.

Anyway, after filming a few mind-blowing lifts I interviewed Bryan and here is the interview and the highlights:

Franco: Tell us a little bit about yourself, your training philosophy, and where you train.

BT: I just want to start off by thanking you for coming out and supporting me during my first meet. My name is Bryan Tompkins, from East Orange NJ, and I'm a Strength Coach/Kettlebell Coach. I'm am also the co-owner of Full Metal Athletics.

I started training when I was a sophomore in high school with some of my friends and like a lot of people, had no real clue what I was doing. I thought squatting would stunt my growth and had no idea what a deadlift was.
Jan 23, 2013

I'm not really a fan of using support equipment during my training but there are 2 pieces I  recently added that have made a HUGE difference. They are a powerlifting belt and weightlifting shoes. I have great confidence that these 2 implements will help me improve my numbers and get stronger.

Now I'm not suggesting that they will help at all without a solid program, proper nutrition, and a crap ton of drive, but rather that they will enhance my efforts and possibly make my gains come a little faster than they already are.

Weightlifting Shoes

I chose to pick up the Wei Rui weightlifting shoes mostly because of the reviews but also because of the price for the quality. Before I get into the details let me break down why I even chose to buy a shoe I was only going to use for squatting.
Jan 21, 2013

In Part 1 we addressed the lower body and how we would attack its every aspect. In this article I hope to accomplish the same with the almighty upper body.

The upper body is divided into 2 main categories (as we all should know) of PUSH and PULL. We further break these down into subcategories:

  • Horizontal Push (all bench variations and pushups)
  • Vertical Push (all overhead press variations)
  • Horizontal Pull (all row variations)
  • Vertical Pull (all pullup/chinup variations)

Horizontal Push

Jan 14, 2013

Everyone should have a list of go-to exercises to choose from when trying to develop a strength and conditioning program. When I say list, what I really mean is a small pool of the biggest bang for your buck exercises you can just plug and play into your program.

As I love to keep things simple, here are the 4 main categories of movements:

  1. Lower Body Movements
  2. Upper Body Movements
  3. Core (I hate this word as it entails much more than just your midsection, but for argument's sake just think of this as anything that will enhance the connection between your upper and lower body)
  4. Explosive Movements

These basic categories will be broken down further into subcategories and the following will be a short series including the biggest bang for your buck exercises from each.

Lower Body Movements

Jan 7, 2013

Unfortunately I am writing this article out of pure personal experience. I recently was hit with some flu-like symptoms and have been out of commission for the last 3 days. I realize I won't be able to hit a good training session until I get better, so in this article I will outline my own plan of attack to get myself back to where I was before I got sick.

Where Have I Been?

For the last 12 weeks I've been hitting a variation of Jim Wendler's 5/3/1 program. In the program I was training 3 days per week hitting a full body routine all 3 days. This was going really well as I was hitting rep PRs in all of my lifts (squat, bench, deadlift, overhead press).

The workload was light and it wasn't until the end of my 2nd cycle and into my 3rd cycle that it started getting pretty heavy (for me at least). I was back squatting 3 days per week in conjunction with whatever else I had to do on those days. Granted I wasn't going for an all-out effort in the squat but one day per week, having a heavy barbell on your back that often starts to wear you down a bit.

Anywho, that's where I was. I was 12 weeks into a solid program and I was ready to readjust my numbers and continue. There were going to be a few tweaks though ...
Jan 3, 2013

Strength is the basis for all other facets in regards to training. The stronger you are, the better. But, what good is being strong if you can't produce that strength quickly?

This is where power training comes into play. The idea behind training for power is to teach your body to generate force quickly, making you more explosive. Being explosive is a MUST for athletes of any sport and can tremendously benefit the average gym-goer as well.

The initial thing that comes to mind when talking about power training and explosive exercise is Olympic lifting. If you've ever seen an O-lifter clean and jerk or snatch you know that they are some of the world's MOST EXPLOSIVE athletes. And don't get me wrong, Olympic lifting is a fantastic way to increase explosiveness and rate of force development, but it requires a lot of technique and hours upon hours of practice and critiquing. Those of us short on time or without a good coach to learn from may find tackling the O-lifts a bit of a hassle, not to mention those coaches who have large groups of athletes that all need individual attention. Trying to get a group of 10 HS athletes to clean properly is a daunting task.

Well never fear, medicine ball throws are here.

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Franco Crincoli
I am a personal trainer, strength coach, and all around iron addict, with a philosophy deeply rooted in old school methods. My training has been influenced by strongmen, powerlifters, Olympic lifters, gymnasts, and the Golden Era bodybuilders. I believe in reaping the greatest rewards the simplest (not easiest) way possible and having fun doing it.
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