Do This Before you Squat with a Barbell

Squatting is not easy.

There are people out there who will make you believe that you SHOULD be able to squat because humans are primal beings and we used to be monkeys and we evolved to squat ass to grass and you’re a monkey and monkey’s don’t wear deodorant or brush their teeth so neither should you.

My Great x 1000 Grandmother

My Great x 1000 Grandmother

But here’s the thing…

You probably haven’t spent the last 20 years of your life working on your squat.

You probably have spent the last 20 years doing things that make it very hard for you to squat.

Think about it. As soon as you started school you were made to sit at a desk for hours a day.

Screen Shot 2018-12-22 at 2.55.07 PM.png

And then you went to more school and sat some more.

And then you got a job and sat some more.

And all along the way you got further and further away from that stinky bad breathed monkey and became more like a stiff, weak, but sweet smelling ‘uman.

So there is an upside.

You smell good and brush your teeth but your squat is suffering.

So then you throw a bar on your back, start doing that program you found on, and in two weeks your biceps are the size of your head and you can’t get up out of your lazy boy because your back is lit up like Times Square.

Not fun.

Instead of getting right into barbell movements (especially if you are new to training and don’t have a coach) start with a Goblet Squat instead. It is capitalized because it is important.

Goblet Squats are an amazing exercise even for an advanced lifter.

I love them for a number of reasons.

  1. They force you to get into a solid and SAFE position.

  2. They strengthen your core muscles.

  3. They improve your mobility and get you STRONG.

  4. They are hard.

Here are a few Gold Medal cues to follow when you are goblet squatting.

  1. Eyes Forward. Chest Up

One thing we want to work on with the Goblet Squat is thoracic extension.

Thoracic extension is simply what girls do when they are showing off their breasteses.

Thoracic flexion is what you do when you are sitting on the computer typing like I am right now and round your shoulders and upper back forward.

We want to encourage thoracic extension when we train because in our day to day lives we are constantly in flexion. Driving. Sitting. Scrolling on Instagram. Having bad posture.

Being in flexion all the time is not good.

It can lead to all kinds of problems such as:


Neck pain.

Lower back pain.

Increased potential for injury.


We want to use the Goblet Squat (never going to not capitalize it) to strengthen our thoracic extension and improve our posture.

So remember:

Eyes Forward. Chest Up.

The next cue is one that is very simple to do but makes a big difference.

2. Keep the Weight Close to your body.

It’s called a Goblet Squat because it is how you would hold a Goblet if you were to hold a goblet like a really weird person. Everyone I know does not hold their goblet out away from their body. They keep it nice and close right under their chin so that they can take a sip at a moments notice.

Make sure that the weight stays close to your body.

Great, some may say perfect, technique.

Great, some may say perfect, technique.

When you keep the weight close to you you maintain a strong and stable centre of gravity. This means that you can use a heavier weight. This means that you can get stronger and more fit which is rad.

When you hold the weight out away from your body it turns the squat into some kind of weird isometric shoulder exercise which may be great but not for building a booty.

Make sure that your elbows are pointing down and are not touching your knees when you get to the bottom of your squat because that is cheating and everyone will notice and call you a cheater and not be friends with you.

3. Knees tracking over your toes.

The Goblet Squat is great because it is easy to ensure that we are in good solid positions. So when you are performing this movement make sure that your knees are tracking over your toes.

It is very common for peoples knees to cave in during a squat.

This is bad because it can destroy your knees rendering you useless in the coming apocalypse.

There can be a multitude of reasons for this including muscular weaknesses and muscular tightness BUT in my experience most people let their knees cave in because they just never tried to keep them out.

So next time you squat try to spread your groin apart as if you are….Just spread your groin apart and your knees will track over your toes.

This will keep your knees safe and allow you to lift til you die and get buried in a massive coffin cause you got ‘uge quads and a ‘uge butt from doing Goblet Squats.

4. Butt Squeezed at the top.

Squeeze your butt at the top of the lift.

Why? Cause I said so.

Also because it allows you to maintain a neutral spine, a strong core, and perform the lift in a safe and efficient manner.

So there you have it!

The four most effective cues for the Goblet Squat.

Goblet Squats are a great way to start squatting, learn the movement pattern, and get some great strength and body composition results without the fear of getting injured.

I use them with the most beginner clients I have as well as with the most advanced clients I have. The only differences are the weights and reps we are using.

If you want to add them to your routine I would suggest doing the following as a part of your warmup.

Goblet Squats 3x10 (3 second pause at the bottom on each rep)

Russian KB Swings 3x15

Pushup 3x5 (3 seconds down + 3 seconds up)

Try this out and then get into your regularly scheduled programming!

Training Makes YOU Better

We all want to look good.

There is nothing wrong with that.

Ask most anyone and they will tell you they want to start working out or that they are planning on starting a diet or that they just joined that new gym down the road.

Their reason for the most part is that they want to look good.

There is nothing wrong with that.

For some reason there is the notion that if you want to look strong and healthy you are somehow a vain, horrible, selfish, terrible, no good person.

There is also the perception that if you workout or are interested in looking better you are a bodybuilder who likes to wear thongs, spray tan your whole body minus your face, and flex for a panel of old men who judge you on your ‘symmetry’ and ‘cornhole striations’.

2019 GOALS

2019 GOALS

Both of these perceptions are wrong.

Most of the people who I know who workout are kind, considerate, good people.

I also know people who workout who are total ding dong’s, but working out doesn’t instantly turn you into a d-bag juice head (you were born that way...I kid I kid).

In most cases doing some form of physical training it makes you feel better about yourself which spills over onto those who surround you. When you feel good you are more likely to help your friends, family, and coworkers feel good as well.

It’s science.

Seriously. When we workout we prompt our body to release the big three positive hormones that your body craves.

Dopamine - That feeling when you achieve a goal.

Seratonin - That rush when you receive public recognition for doing a good job.

Oxytocin - That sense of belonging when you hug a loved one.


Write down a personal fitness goal and achieve it? Mmmmmmm delicious Dopamine.

Have a coach praise you for your squat technique in front of all your friends? Gimme some of dat sweet sweet Seratonin.

Hug your workout buddy after particularly sick arm pump? Yeah pump that Oxytocin straight into my veins bro.

All these hormones make us feel G O O D and when you feel G O O D you are more willing to share the G O O D-ness with those around you.

You literally become a more G O O D-er person to be around simply by working out!

So you’re saying mo muscle = fewer problems?

So you’re saying mo muscle = fewer problems?

Now if you don’t workout and just let your stress and anxiety and anger eat away at you your body is not going to release those hormones and will instead fill your body with Cortisol.

Cortisol is generally known as a stress hormone and it is not bad like some will have you think. When you are in fight or flight mode this is thanks to cortisol. Cortisol wants you to survive. It keeps you on your toes. It heightens your state of alertness and prepares you to GET DA HECK OUTTA HURR. But too much cortisol is not a good deal.

Your heart rate increases, your immune system is weakened, and your muscular growth is slowed.

Cortisol helps us escape from danger. It stimulates us to move, to get out of the situation NOW!

It isn’t meant to be in our bodies all day erry day.

So if that danger is not real, and that stressful situation is simply where we work every day, all that cortisol can affect our health and mood in a serious way.

When your body is releasing Cortisol it is not releasing Oxytocin which helps us feel safe, relaxed, generous, and loving.

So if you aren’t doing any physical activity, or eating good foods that your body loves then you are going to be a biologically less fun person to be around. You will be less generous, in a bad mood, and you will want to punch everyone in the face all the time.

Me when I don’t workout. Also LeBron every time a call doesn’t go his way.

Me when I don’t workout. Also LeBron every time a call doesn’t go his way.


There you have it.

Training makes you a better person to be around.

Biologically more generous.

Biologically more friendly and open.

Biologically happier and more excited about life.

So before you start to get into training and getting stronger make sure that you take care of your preconceived notions about people who train and work to get stronger.

Think about it. Why would you commit to getting into better shape if you look down on people who do?

Why would you commit time to getting stronger and looking better  if you think that people who do are selfish and vain?

Why would you start eating healthy whole foods if you think that people who do are rigid and don’t have any fun?

Here’s the answer: You won’t.


Before you start working out you need to acknowledge that working out and eating healthy foods does not make you a selfish and vain person.

You need to acknowledge that working out and eating healthy makes you a stronger and more vibrant version of who you are.

It will give you more energy, make you feel better, and allow you to be fully present in all facets of your life.

So believe that working out or doing some type of physical activity is going to change your life for the better because it will!

If you want to learn more about how hormones affect ourselves and those around us check out Simon Sinek’s amazing book ‘Leaders Eat Last

Be a Robot

You Are a Robot.

A gross, warm, soft, bony, robot.

You need to keep this in mind as you train to become a more efficient and effective weightlifter.

Robots, for the most part, are created, programmed and built to perform a specific task.

Thinking about the last time he missed a jerk. Hint it was never. Cause he’s a frickin robot.

Thinking about the last time he missed a jerk. Hint it was never. Cause he’s a frickin robot.

So when you train for a specific task it should be robotic if you want to have the highest success rate.

You need to get to the point where you don’t have to think about what you are doing you just do it and you do it well. LIKE A FRICKIN ROBOT! YOU SEE WHAT I AM TRYING TO GET AT HERE?! YOU ARE TRAINING FOR A SPECIFIC TASK NOT FOR SOME ABSTRACT RHYTHMIC GYMNASTIC IMPROV COMEDY SHOW! SPONTANEITY IS NOT WANTED HERE!

This does not apply to all of your training. Some of your training should be free and open like a leaf blowing across a verdant meadow BUT if you are training to hit a big snatch or clean and jerk in competition than you should be training like a robot most of the time…robots don’t meander across verdant meadows. They smash things.

Anyways, let’s think about the thought process that goes into creating a robot (And while we are doing that let’s pretend that I know precisely what the thought process is for creating a robot).

Photo of me coaching at the American Open Weightlifting Series 1991

Photo of me coaching at the American Open Weightlifting Series 1991

The first thing is to understand and clarify exactly what you want the robot to do.

Do you want it to put a label on a jar as it passes by?

Do you want it to lift up a roll of toilet paper and deliver it to you on the throne?

Do you want it to locate victims trapped in rubble after an earthquake?

Once you have clarified the robots purpose you will have to break down that macro task into many many micro steps.

Using the Earthquake Rescue Robot 3000 example you will have to give it technology to seek out heat sources amongst a chaotic environment.

You will have to give it wheels, or treads, or crazy spider legs that allow it to navigate through the wreckage.

You will have to set up a live video feed so that rescue workers can see what it sees.

You will have to program it to do exactly what you want or else it won’t work.

In the same way you as a weightlifter are a robot.

Rather you are the team of engineers and the robot all mixed into one.

The programming you are following is the engineering side.

The way your body performs the lifts is the robotic side.

You can choose what type of movements your body has to preform and you choose the weights and the volume and intensity of your workload.

This will determine how you perform on the platform when it comes time for competition of whenever you decided to max out.

Don’t. Just don’t.

Don’t. Just don’t.

I read a good quote recently by the Greek Poet Archilochus: “We don’t rise to the level of our expectations, we fall to the level of our training.”

This is exactly right when it comes to weightlifting.

The way in which you have programmed yourself will be made evident on the competition stage

If you have programmed the robot to not finish its second pull and miss forward on heavy attempts than that is what the robot will do.

If you have programmed your robot to be aggressive and stick it’s jerks than that is what it will do.

If you have programmed your robot to not listen to its coach, go off its program and max out with terrible form every time it snatches then it is going to end up in the scrap heap, broken and alone.

Weightlifting is wonderful in this way. You have all the power when it comes to how good your technique is.

You have to make sure that each rep is as perfect as you can make it.

This does not mean that you have to be cautious and never have fun, but you need to realize that your movement patterns come first.

That is something that you as the engineer have absolute control over.

You control how much weight is on the bar.

You control how many reps you do with crappy form.

It is imperative that you view each rep as a building block or as new code being written. Every rep needs to be precise and you need to be focused from your first warm up to your final attempt.

This is the only way that you are going to go from a beginner to an intermediate and advanced lifter.


And remember that even though you are a robot you are a living breathing savage robot that only desires to destroy barbells and feast on the dead carcasses of bumper plates.

So get out there and be STRONG!

Cliches for Gains

The following is a transcript that was sent to me by an anonymous source who only said that he had this experience a few years back. I promised not to reveal his identity but his name rhymes with Stark Slovak. He promised that this was a true event. He sent it to me because he knew that if I shared it millions upon millions of people would be able to read it and grow stronger as a result of it. 

Read on if you dare...

LA, California 2013:

Two friends meet up at Chipotle to discuss how to get jacked and how to get girls to look at them. 

Guy 1: Hey bro did you read that article about this new fitness program that is revolutionizing working out and eliminating the obesity epidemic and making fat guys skinny and then making those skinny guy look like Kai Greene minus the octopus tentacle that he has growing from his cranium???!?!?!

Guy 2: Whoa! That sounds too good to be true and I would be down to try it but I am actually kind of into the whole octopus tentacle attached to my head thing. I’m currently following his new 20 second program to grow a tentacle on my head in 7 seconds or less.

Guy 1: Yeah I understand. Well have you heard about this sick new supplement that will shred your fat in such a way that only your stomach gets shredded and gives you so much energy to do the things that you like to do like watch Netflix and scroll on Instagram and also allows you to communicate with dogs?!?!?!

Guy 2: What about cats?

Guy 1: No. But still...

Guy 2: True that is asking a bit much. That also sounds too good to be true! 

All of a sudden there is a flash of light and smoke and Arnold Schwarzenegger is standing before the two fellas. 

Arnold: Eyaygh! That is because it IS too good to be true!

Guy 1 and Guy 2: Arnold?!

Arnold: Eyaygh! Yes you idiots!

Guy 1 and Guy 2: (Stunned silence)

Arnold: I am here to tell you that all these supplements and all this new and improved workout mumbo-jumbo is getting you nowhere! 

Guy 1: So then what should we do Mr. Arnold? We are just your humble servants wanting to get jacked.

Arnold Eyaygh! What do you think?

Guy 2: Lift heavy things?

Guy 1: Eat more protein?

Arnold: Eyaygh!

Guy 2: Eat vegetables?

Guy 1: Drink water and get lots of sleep? 

Arnold: Eyaygh! YES! It’s simple. If it jiggles it’s fat.

Guy 1: OK....?

Arnold: Milk is for babies. When you grow up you have to drink beer!

Guy 2: (mouthing “milk is for babies” while furiously taking notes on a scrap piece of paper)

Arnold: Eyaygh! The best activities for your health are pumping and humping

Guy 2: (serious look on his face while saying “pumping...humping” under his breath)

Arnold: The cock isn’t a muscle so it doesn’t grow in relation to the shoulders or the pectorals. You can’t make it bigger through exercise, that’s for sure.

Guy 1: Seriously?

Guy 2: (Still furiously taking notes) What else?!

Arnold: Having chicks around is the kind of thing that breaks up the intense training. It gives you relief, and then afterward you go back to the serious stuff. 

Guy 1: So what you’re saying is that we should just focus on the basics and not get caught up in all the marketing hype that surrounds the fitness industry?

Guy 2: (Turning to look at Guy 1) That’s what you got from this? 

Arnold: SILENCE! I do the same exercises I did 50 years ago and they still work. I eat the same food I ate 50 years ago and it still works.

Guy 1: But...but...that’s so boring...

Arnold: Hasta la vista, baby! 

And with that Arnold disappeared before their very eyes. 

The guy never forgot their meeting with Arnold and decided right then and there to stick with the cliches; to stick to the things that worked. Cliches like eating vegetables, training with intensity, and cutting out tasty soda pop. 

They threw away their shiny supplements and stopped hopping from program to program hoping to find the miracle cure for their lack of ambition. They realized that it was not the program that they followed that mattered but simply how consistent they were. 

They now knew that cliches and principles of training were there for a reason. Because they worked. 

They began squatting and deadlifting and running and jumping and doing pull-ups and curls and getting jacked and tanned. 

They realized that this was the best way to train. They realized that training wasn’t a way to simply look good and impress others, but a way to grow stronger and to help others grow stronger in turn. 

They knew that they way they trained was the way that they lived their life. They loved being disciplined and pushing themselves to the limit. They realized that it was not the destination that was important, but the journey. They realized that this was all very cliche but they didn’t give a shit. 

They realized that the fitness industry was rigged against them. It was an evil machine that allowed men and women juiced to the gills to pretend that taking BCAA’s allowed them to weigh 275lbs at 2% BF and that if you just follow their program you can add 12” to your biceps in 20 minutes or less. 

Then they realized that Arnold was pretty much the first dude to set this evil machine in motion...what the heck bro? But they quickly decided to forgive him because I mean have you seen Conan The Barbarian?!?! 

They were thankful for the lessons that Arnold had bestowed upon them and they vowed to train in a way that would make him proud. 

The fellas never saw Arnold again but if they sat in a quiet gym late at night they could still hear his voice whispering in the creak of the Lat Pulldown machine... "...the cock isn’t a muscle...milk is for babies... who is your daddy and what does he do?”