High Octane Corrective Exercise and Performance Enhancement | www.RobertsonTrainingSystems.com

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Cyber Monday Sale

I didn't know this, but evidently, the Monday following Black Friday is called Cyber Monday. So for all the people who can't get their shopping fix over the weekend, they can always go online and pick up some product the next week!
With that being said, Eric, Bill and I decided it would be a good idea to offer up a quick sale on all of our products. Not only can you get 15% off everything in our store, but you ensure yourself that it will be on your doorstep before Christmas rolls around!

Here's all you have to do to get the discount:

1 - Pick out the product(s) that you want from our online store and add them to your shopping cart.

2 - Proceed to checkout.

3 - BEFORE YOU SUBMIT YOUR PAYMENT, input the coupon code "CYBER" in the box on the right-hand side of the screen and click on "Apply."

4 - Complete your order and get 15% off!
This offer will ONLY be available on Monday, December 1st.

Have a great day and enjoy Cyber Monday!

Stay strong


Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Old-School Article of the Week

Tired of having a weak deadlift? The following article should help - originally featured at Elite Fitness Systems.

Stay strong


Monday, November 24, 2008

Bench press introspection, Part II

Sorry for the delay in getting this up, but well, I've been freakin' swamped lately!

So without any further ado, here's what I'm going to do to bring my bench press up to par. Motivational picture of bench press beast Scott Lade included, too.

- I've had an on again/off again pec issue that is currently "on" again. The only thing that has provoked the issue in the past is unstable, open chain pressing exercises like blast strap push-ups. It's not the exercise, as much as my stabilization patterns on my right side. For now, they're out.

(And FWIW, check out a copy of Eric Cressey's Unstable Surface Training manual if you want to learn the proper application of these techniques.)

- Along these same lines, I'm going to bust out my trusty Starr Tool out and get to digging around on my pecs, specifically the clavicular portion. I know they're ratty, I just need to man up and get this done.

- As far as training goes, I'm going to do several things to not only get healthy but develop a base:

* First, I'm going to incorporate more movements for my diagonal pattern connecting my left hip and right shoulder. After some testing and evaluation, I have some weakness in my left glute and right lower trapezius. Essentially, years and years of throwing baseballs and spiking volleyballs off people's faces has shortened that fascial line. To open it up, I'm going to be incorporating some total body PNF drills, chop/lift variations and other exercises to open up this line.

* I plan on re-incorporating my DB fly EQI's post-workout. This really helped the first time around and I assume it will do the same again.

* With regards to actual bench training, I'm going to have two horizontal pressing days per week. One is going to be a bench day (duh), and another will incorporate a push-up variation as the primary movement. Both will be done for high reps initially to help re-develop the connective tissues. Once I get this base built back up, I'll incoporate either a speed day or lockout day, based upon my needs at that point in time. Push-ups will still be incorporated as a secondary exercise.

- Finally, I need to be consistent with some old-school static stretching for the pecs, lats, and posterior capsule. It's not hard and it doesn't take much time, I just need to remember to do it.

So there you have it, my initial game plan for training. I'm leery of setting a goal at this point in time with regards to weight, as it's dependent upon how I feel. Instead, my goal is to feel 100% by the time the new year rolls around and I'll set mini-goals from there.

One final thing, I'm going to purchase the new Elite Fitness bench manual as well. I figure if nothing else it will provide motivation and give me some new tips

Stay strong


Thursday, November 20, 2008

Old-School Article of the Week

Okay, okay, I lied - didn't get the bench press introspection done today, so it will have to wait. Hopefully tomorrow, as I'm getting programs done, creating powerpoint slides, and getting ready for the wedding of the century this weekend.

In the interim, here's this week's old-school article - enjoy!

Stay strong


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Bench press introspection, Part I

Yesterday was a weird one. Typically I train first thing in the morning, but I had an early client and thus found myself at the gym early. I proceeded to work until 6 pm, and then realized I needed to get my bench press session in for this week. Allow me to step back for a moment.

Let's be 100%, brutally honest here - I suck at bench pressing. Yes, I realize this is negative self-talk, a self-fulfilling prophecy, whatever. All I'm trying to do is call a spade a spade.

When I first started powerlifting I hit ~250 pounds for my first 3 or 4 meets at 181. I felt like I got stronger during my training cycles, but when it came time to hit a PR something was amiss. This changed prior to collegiate nationals, as I realized my set-up was absolutely atrocious. Once I learned to get tight, I immediately allowed my body to realize those strength gains in the form of a 36 pound PR.

Over the next couple of years, I really focused in on my bench press training. Obviously, moving up from the 181 to 198 pound weight class helped as my leverages improved. My bench slowly grew, and over the next 3 years I made some decent gains, taking my bench from 286 to 335 in competition.

It was during this time that I was playing around with a new bench shirt in training, and I really focused my efforts in on improving my lockout strength. In fact, with a shirt that I never actually used in a meet, I locked out 365 in the gym. A gym lift is a gym lift, though, and I really wasn't comfortable using a shirt that required a PR weight just to touch my chest! Regardless, I felt like I was on the right track.

Back to yesterday. I got a nice warm-up in, crank up some 2Pac and get to work. Unfortunately, things just aren't where they need to be and my session totall sucked. Granted, this could've been due to the fact that I worked 10 hours prior to training, but it shouldn't be this bad. I feel like my upper back strength is better than ever, but my bench just isn't going back up.

Tomorrow, I'm going to outline my plan to get my bench back up to a (somewhat) respectable level.

Stay strong


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Tuesday's Random Thoughts

Sorry everyone, but this is the best I can do today! When it's only halfway through Tuesday and it already feels like it should be Thursday, you know you're in for a long week!

- Bill and I had a kick-ass distance client in the past two days, and I'm hoping to do more of this in the future. It was essentially an "intensive" two-day session as she had an assessment and two training sessions all within about a 15 hour time frame. Needless to say, I think she's going to be very happy with the progress she gets going forward!

You can find out more by checking out the new I-FAST home at www.IndianapolisFitnessAndSportsTraining.com

- The big project I've been working on is kicking my ass. It's a legit 150 pages as of now, and I still have several chapters left. My goal is still to get it completed by the first of the year, but we'll have to wait and see on that.

- I'm also in the process of pulling together my Aussie seminar presentations. Needless to say, this is no small feat! 5-6 hours of lecture content in the form of Powerpoint slides take a little time ;)

- I'm prepping for the world's most grandiose wedding ever (I think) this weekend. I'm actually in the wedding, and we've got several couples staying at our house this weekend. In all honesty, I'm not sure who's more stressed - me and my wife, or the couple getting married! Regardless, it should be a great time and I'm really looking forward to catching up with some old friends.

I think that's it for today - hopefully I'll be refreshed and ready to go for tomorrow's blog. Have a great day everyone!

Stay strong

Monday, November 17, 2008

Interview Part I

Here's Part I of an interview I did with strength coach Kevin Neeld for his site.

MR Interview Part I

In this portion of the interview we discuss my background, how I've developed my training philosophy over the years, as well as continuing education.

Part II will be posted on Wedneday, so stay tuned and I'll try to post a link for that as well.

Stay strong

Friday, November 14, 2008

Q&A: Low back position and squatting

Hey Mike, after reading your article yesterday on T-Nation I had a question. My low back always rounds when I squat deep. How can I fix this?


You know this is a simple question, yet the answer is quite complex. Very simply, it's always going to depend upon the specific limitatations of that person. Here are just a few of the issues that could be hindering their performance:

- Short/stiff hamstrings
- Short/stiff gluteals
- Weak back extensors
- Stiffness imbalance between hips and back extensors
- Poor muscle coordination of the "core"
- Poor technique

Those are just a few of the reasons I can come up with off the top of my head. Generally, the people Bill or I evaluate who can't squat deep have one or more of these issues going on.

So since I can't evaluate you, what can I help you with? Quite often, we see a stiffness imbalance between the hips (glutes, hams, etc.) and the spinal erectors. When we examine the properties that constitute stiffness, one of the key attributes, quite simply, is cross sectional area! A bigger muscle will be stiffer than a smaller oner. So how do we fix this? Get the appropriate area stronger!

While I'm not a big fan of back hyperextensions, I think basic back extensions should be a part of your program if you have this issue. After all, Olympic lifters have included back extensions in their programs for years and they have arguable the best squat technique. Obviously this isn't the only contributing factor to their squatting prowress, but I think it plays a role. Low back strengthening/hypertrophy work, coupled with mobility work for the hips should take you a long way.

Bill and I actually have an entire piece in the works on this topic. Our goal would be to make it a manual/DVD combo. Hopefully once I-FAST settles down a bit we can pull it together. This would include assessment techniques, training strategies, the progressions we use with clients, etc.

In the interim, get that low back stronger and get your hips as mobile as possible. Good luck!

Stay strong

Thursday, November 13, 2008

New AND Old-School Article of the Week

In this week's installment of the Old-School Article of the week, we're featuring an oldie but a goodie.

If you can't break through your plateaus after reading this, you're screwed!

Nah, just kidding - but it should help quite a bit.

As well, I had a new article run at T-nation today. Here's the link:

In this article, I discuss ways to improve your low back health and strategies to keep you lifting heavy for a lifetime.

Stay strong


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Angry Biomechanist, Part II

In our second installemnt of the Angry Biomechanist, we're going to discusss the rotator cuff and why it's so important.
We hear all the time about how so-and-so has torn their rotator cuff, or that we need more rotator cuff strengthening in our programs. My goal for you here today is to see what exactly the rotator cuff does in real-life.
When we lift our arms overhead, we get movement from both the scapulae (shoulder blade) and the gleno-humeral (shoulder) joint. As the humerus rotates upwards, the scapulae also upwardly rotates to help you achieve full flexion or abduction of the shoulder.
The problem herein is when one of three things happens:
- You lack extensbility in the thoracic spine
- You fail to have good upward rotation of the scapulae
- Your rotator cuff is weak and fails to depress the humerus
In any case (and most definitely if ALL THREE are occuring), you get impingement of the rotator cuff tendons. Now keep in mind you ALWAYS have some impingement; you always have some friction. The issue is when you go from a normal amount of friction/compression to something greater due to mechanical dysfunction.
If you lack scapular upward rotation, I'd highly recommend checking out Bill Hartman and I's "Push-ups, Face Pulls and Shrugs" article featured previously at T-Nation. This, combined with the Inside-Out warm-up, should get your scapulae moving much more efficiently. And while I didn't discuss it in-depth in this blog post, addressing your T-spine is critical as well. If you lack T-spine extension, your scapulae will never get into the appropriate positions.
If you lack 'cuff strength, you could do a lot worse than checking out Eric Cressey's first feature article at T-Nation, "Cracking the Rotator Cuff Condundrum." I'm sure there are a few things he'd remove now (like the muscle snatch, as I recall) but it will get you started with some basic 'cuff exercises. I also wrote a piece that focuses on external rotation movements titled "Shoulder the Load."
Finally, I think we all agree that those who have stiff posterior shoulders and lack internal rotation ROM would benefit from some dedicated internal rotation work that focuses on the subscap, but that's a little off topic in regards to this post.
Remember, when looking to optimize upper extremity function you have to know how all the separate components work. Once you've isolated things out, though, the goal is to bring up the deficits and re-integrate them into functional, real-world movements. Good luck!
Stay strong

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Random blog updates

There have been some really great blog posts lately, so I wanted to link to them here in case you missed them.

- Nate Green discusses our training in his blog post below; check it out:


- In Eric's blog yesterday, he discusses how far the mainstream media is behind the current literature. It's almost like we know what we're talking about. Or something like that.


- Strength coach Mike Boyle discusses his views on pundits and criticism here:


These are just three of the blogs I follow, but I think you'll find them all interesting for different reasons. Enjoy!

Stay strong

BTW, we're updating the I-FAST site as we speak! Be sure to check it out at www.IndianapolisFitnessAndSportsTraining.com

Monday, November 10, 2008

Q&A from Friday's Post

This was originally posted as a comment but I figured I'd throw it in here...

Hi Mike. I currently have neck soreness and tightness all the time. It definitely affects my ROM, but some days are worse than others. What would you recommend?

Do you cover how to deal with this in "Inside Out"?

Thanks, Paul

Thanks for the question Paul! While we don't cover neck pain directly in Inside-Out, we cover a lot of fundamental relationships that could be producing your neck pain.

Now keep in mind there's a lot of speculation going on here, especially since I've never seen you or evaluated you in person. But here are some issues I typically see in people who have neck pain. Some, if not all, may apply to you.

- Terrible thoracic spine posture. Generally, these people have a wicked thoracic kyphosis, which forces the head/neck forward to balance the body's alignment. Obviously, anything that deviates from the norm is probably going to put undue stress on the body. Basically, your neck is forced to keep your head level and eyes up, which is very taxing on the posterior neck musculature.

- Poor alignment throughout the day. Quite simply, your body gets very "efficient" at sitting in a slouched or hunched over position. If you sit at a desk, clean up your posture throughout the day! We actually cover this in-depth in the "Behavior Modification" section of Inside-Out. For sleeping, an orthopedic pillow could make a big difference, too.

Again, this comes back to improving your t-spine alignment and getting your neck back in a neutral alignment.

- Downwardly rotated scapulae. Assuming your neck/thoracic spine are in good alignment, I often see excessive downard rotation of the scapulae in people with neck pain. The rhomboids and the levator scapulae work synergistically to promote downward rotation, and there seems to be a definite cause/effect between a tight levator scapulae, neck pain and even headaches.

In this case, definitely check out Bill and I's article featured previously at T-nation titled "Push-ups, Face Pulls and Shrugs." This will cover the training aspect w/regards to getting those scapular upward rotators stronger and lengthening the short/stiff levator scapulae. A good soft-tissue specialist could play an integral role as well.

Again, a lot of speculation without examining you in person but I'd take a closer look and see how much of this applies to you. Good luck Paul!

Stay strong


Friday, November 7, 2008

No more neck pain?

I was working with one of our new clients today, and he mentioned something that I felt the need to blog about. Let me back up for a moment, first.

The whole "joint-by-joint" approach seems to take a beating from time to time. I discussed this to some extent in my "Mobility-Stability" continuum article on T-Nation; it's not perfect, but you can take those basic concepts and build upon them to have a pretty darn good idea of how the body functions, and how to improve your training.

Back to my client. We were taking him through his warm-up, and he remarked how little his neck had bothered him since we started his training 3 weeks ago. This is no small feat, considering he sits at a desk anywhere from 8-16 hours per day, 5 or more days per week! You read that right - he works 16 hour shifts all next week!

The recipe for him was simple, though. He didn't have a neck problem as much as he had issues surrounding his shoulders and thoracic spine. He was assessed by Bill and his routine has included foam rolling, static stretching, mobility drills as we discussed in Inside-Out, and a comprehensive training program geared towards improving his upper extremity alignment.

The result? Virtually no neck pain, and his shoulder (which was also an issue) is coming around too. Not bad for three weeks work.

The bottom line in this industry is results. But, that's a blog for another day! ;)

Stay strong


Thursday, November 6, 2008

Old-School Article of the Week

Today's edition is an article I wrote for T-Nation several years ago titled Single-Leg Supplements. In it, I discuss all kinds of single-leg exericses and their variations. Enjoy!

Stay strong

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

A Kick Ass Monday

How often can you say that? ;)

In all seriousness, yesterday was a great day. We had our typical morning guys and gals in, who are all getting bigger, stronger, and leaning out.

In the late morning, Dan "The Doctor" New came in and had a great workout. I'm sure he's disappointed with his last fight, but I would NOT want to be the next guy that gets in the ring/cage with him. He's had 4 or 5 weeks of really solid training and looks stronger and faster than I can ever remember.

With Dan, Jim and Deb came in and absolutely killed their latest fat loss workout. I don't know where Bill came up with their workout, but it looked straight evil!

In the afternoon I got a bunch of writing done - the obvious blog updates, along with a solid hour of work on my next project. I'm doing my best to just keep chipping away at it, but I really think it has the potential to be something special.

In the evening we had our night crew in. My buddy Justin (who I blogged about yesterday), not only looks leaner and more athletic, but I can't describe how much better he's moving. It really doesn't even look like the same person.

Heather (the bride to be) is still killing her workouts and is now only 2.5 weeks out from d-day. Should anyone remind her that the guy she's going to marry is a total clown? Just kidding buddy!

And finally, Walter is making huge strides. Decreases in pain, more efficient movement, and a much better overall posture and alignment. Most importantly, he's starting to look and move like an athlete. Very cool indeed.

So yesterday kicked ass, but here's a few more updates in the interim:

- New article up at Figure Athlete today. I don't typically do the "body part" type article, but when you're writing on assignment you'll take whatever your editor gives you!

- I never thought I would enjoy the whole social networking style site, but I really enjoy Facebook. I love how easy it is to keep in touch with friends, family, and professional colleagues alike. If you haven't already, send me a friend request!

- Last but not least, go out and VOTE TODAY!

Stay strong

Monday, November 3, 2008

Random updates

It's been a while since I gave a random posting, so here goes!

- My good friend and I-FAST trainee Justin Ware is doing big things. He's really buckled down since August and is moving and feeling better than I can ever remember. He can deadlift from the floor pain-free and while maintaining a neutral spine. This boy has some of the stiffest hips I've ever seen, so that's no small feat. And his chronic shoulder pain is clearing up as his upper back and serratus are really coming around.

This past week, we got him started on the Warp Speed Diet, and I paired it with programming to help him lose body fat while continuing to improve his movement and alignment. I got a text from Justin this morning that he's already down 9 pounds. Stay tuned for the end result.

- Since I haven't been keeping up the training log, I figured I would post some updates here. My training is going quite well, and the body is feeling good. I'm pretty sore today from Saturday's workout; I pulled a PR reverse band deadlift of 675 pounds, so I'm feeling pretty good about that. It wasn't pretty, but then again, most PR's aren't. I have no clue what that translates to in the real world, so I'm thinking about throwing on a cheater suit sometime soon to see where I'm at. I need to get to work on my hamstrings via some glute-ham raises first, though.

- While I just updated the website a little over a year ago, we're going to do it again as I'm still not really happy with the layout. I've hired on a kick-ass designer, and I think the new look and feel is going to be really sexy. I'm hoping to have this up by the first of the year.

- Dave Tate mentioned on his Facebook page that he's going to be offering a one-day business seminar in Ohio on December 13th. If you are in business, you should attend. I think this is going to be a great event.

- I have some really good interviews coming in, so be on the lookout for some kick-ass newsletters in the near future. If you need to sign-up, just go to my home page at www.RobertsonTrainingSystems.com.

I think that's it for today. Have a great Monday and train hard!

Stay strong