Posted by Tony Montgomery under Diet  Nutrition  on Sep 28 2015

It seems like we’ve done this before but I just wanted to cover some of the ins and outs of why I do my weight gain phases the way I do. Not only do I do a cyclic approach by time duration, meaning I bulk for 3-4 months before I do a mini cut and I also do a cyclic approach for my training and non training days. This is where I rotate bet high carb low fat days and higher fat low carb days. I’ll briefly explain he benefits of both and how to affectively pull it off so you don’t become sloppy in the off season or bulking season. Here is an article of bulking up


So what is cyclic bulking and why is it so effective? Cyclic bulking is great to utilize if you have an extended off season where you are trying to gain weight but still maintain a healthy level of body fat and to help regulate hormones and insulin levels. We’ve all tried to put on weight, to get huge and if you’ve done it long enough you know there gets to a point where you start to get fatter and fatter. Instead of adding good quality size you get fluffier and you start to lose the ability to get a good pump and your energy levels start to decrease even though calories are high. This is a clear sign that you have become somewhat insulin resistant and instead of your body utilizing all these nutrients it will start to just store them as fat. So before this occurs, everybody is different so it will take some trial and error, you do a mini diet for 3-4 weeks that will allow you to drop some unwanted weight but most importantly it will help with your insulin sensitivity. The higher the sensitivity the more receptive your body will be to absorb and utilize your nutrients to help build muscle. Here is an article I wrote about mini diets:


Another great way to prolong the muscle gains is to do cyclic dieting or carb cycling. Where you have high carb low fat meals on training days and higher fat low carbs on non training days. This does the same thing to help keep insulin sensitivity high but it is done on a day to day basis instead of months at a time. This will allow you to prolong your bulk without having to do mini cuts as often. The key here is we are still trying to gain weight, so both days need to be in a calorie surplus. Even on your non training days you need to be eating above maintenance levels in order to continue growing. What i like to do is keep my low carb days right at or slightly above maintenance levels and have a pretty significant surplus on training days. During your higher carb days a strategy that will help is to have the majority of your carbs 2 meals before and 2 meals after your workout and to have a good peri workout drink during training that has a mix or simple carbs and whey protein to ensure recovery and growth.

Check out TM Nutrition Client Milton Dames, what a bad bulking diet looks like and what we were able to do through cyclic bulking. Both pics same weight!!

I hope this post and the post linked up will help you with your offseason and as always if you have any questions feel free to comment below or email me.

Posted by Tony Montgomery under General  Weight Lifting  on Sep 27 2015

Q: How and why did you get into weightlifting? What are your numbers?


A: I was fist introduced to weightlifting through crossfit. I had never heard of the movements snatch or clan and jerk before than. But fell in absolute love with it. My top numbers are a 308# snatch and a 390# clean and jerk.

Q: How was it training at the Olympic Training Center? What was the biggest take away from there?

A:Training and living at the olympic training center was an absolutely amazing experience. Being considered a top athlete and being treated like one is a once in a lifetime opportunity that I am lucky to have. Every day was hard work there but you are given the means to put that effort and focus so you can go in and day out with doing your job. I received some of the best coaching from zygmunt smalcerz and am fortunate enough to be able to share his knowledge.

Q: Where do you train at and what does your training week look like?

A: I train at multiple gyms in the bay area one being CSA in Dublin and my home gym at norcal crossfit. I train usually 6 days a week, twice a week over at CSA and the rest at norcal crossfit. 

Q: How do approach lifting and programming? Does it change much from offseason to meet prep, if so how?

A:I try to approach my lifting in a different way since I have left the training center to a more organic fashon. This meaning that i like to listen to what my body is telling me and then take the days focus to what weakness needs to be worked on for that day. This has proven to work well for me but i am going to switch back to what i was doing at the training center but add a little more powerlifting philosephy. My training doesnt change much preparing for a meet, i might taper a few days out but i like to remain as consistant as possible. There is no offseason.


Q: Best advice you can give to a lifter?

A: Best advice would be to keep lifting and keep fighting no matter how defeated you feel.

Q: What drives you to come to the gym day in and day out?

A: this answer changes all the time for me. It really depends on my mindset and my goals. As of lately my motivation has been displaced and i need to refocus and rediscover what keeps me coming in and what makes me go hard.

Q: Give you best advice on how to improve these:

A:The goal is consistancy so the more lifting you can do the better. Perfect practice makes perfect. 

Clean: Focus on strength positions such as front squat and pulls from ground

Jerk: understanding footwork and building consistancy 

Snatch: Do it over and over and over

Q: What do you have coming up and where can people find you/get ahold of you?

No events as of the moment, possibly the american open in december but you can find me at norcal crossfits barbell club and my website at

Posted by Tony Montgomery under General  on Sep 25 2015

When it comes to lifting everyone is looking for the magic supplement, program, or drug to make them the best because they know thats what the top guys are doing and thats the only reason they are better. I to want to be the best but instead of thinking there is some magic trick to getting there I just decided to travel across the country from Florida to California to train with the best. I am more of a surround yourself with greatness and greatness will come to you kinda guys. So I knew it was imperative that I train with Dan Green and thats exactly what I did for 8 months, but when I felt like I needed more I moved again and started training with Jesse Burdock and Mark Bell. I knew that if I was able to get hands on experience with the best athletes and coaches around then i to would become one.

So my aha moment that has helped me become what I am today as a strength athlete and where I will go in the future is not a magic drug, or a special program it’s the accumulation of consistent hard work over time. TIME is it thats what separates the great one’s from the rest. It’s the amount of time they’ve put into their craft and not just time in the gym, but the time they’ve sacrificed outside of the gym as well. Becoming great is a full time job in any endeavor you partake in life and if you’re willing to commit the hours it takes in a day, a week, a month, year, and at the least a decade than you will reap the benefits. 


Everyone thinks Dan is a genetic freak and you may be right he has great genetics or maybe he just has the time put in and the sacrifices to do whatever it takes to realize his genetics. What I learned from Dan isn’t great technique or a perfect program, I learned just from watching him that he was willing to do whatever it took day in and day out to achieve greatness. A day in and day out approach for the last 10+ years is what makes him great. Most people can’t even be great for a week, let alone a month and damn sure not over a decade. Those are the people that will constantly seek out the short cut, the master program, the perfect drug stack, because they know once they can put all the magic tricks together that they will be great in no time. Which in lies the problem they want it now and when they don’t get it what do they do? They either quit or just spend years talking shit, if they trained, ate, and focused their energy on being great as much as they did trolling then maybe they might get somewhere.

The mindset I see and learned from the top guys are all the same and as I talk to them and get to know them I know they aren’t anything special genetically. They just have the desire and drive to do whatever it takes to get to where they want to go. I’ve heard people bitch about having to drive 30 minutes to the gym. I left everything to drive across the country to be at that gym that you won’t drive 30 minutes to. The time and effort that I am willing to dedicate and put into my craft is what will make me great. It won’t happen any time soon as I’ve only been doing this for 2 plus years but I know that and thats why I’ve set my philosophy and training up so that I can build and in time 5,6, 7 more years from now i will be the best and i will be at the top.

Posted by Tony Montgomery under Weight Lifting  Training  Video  on Sep 19 2015

This is an old article I wrote for were I go over complexes to help improve power output in athletes. This can also be used in other strength athletic training to improve power out put for strongman, highland games, etc... For those who don't know I used to own a gym in Florida where I trained a lot of high scholl and college athletes. Over this summer I had a few college kids down and a dozen high scholl athletes and by the end of the summer utilizing these complexes we had 2 kids jump over 40" in the vertical. Here is the article in full:

These complexes were used in the beginning of our off-season plan when we were focusing on strength and explosive power. We lifted four times a week with two upper body days and two lower body days. On our max effort lower body days, we worked up to heavy 1–3 reps in 90 percent of the athletes’ one rep max for that particular exercise. All the guys who were on this protocol were experienced lifters who could squat twice their body weight or more. This is a must. If your athlete can’t perform this feat, he should focus on increasing that. Do his plyometric training on another day.

The protocol that we used worked in three-week waves where we focused on our main lift. After completing the 1–3 rep lifts, the athletes waited 2–5 minutes before going into the plyometric protocol. This will vary with every athlete due to their strength levels and how fast they recover from the lift. Each athlete then performed 5–10 sets of 1–3 reps of plyometrics. We did a vertical jump the first week and a horizontal jump the second week. Then we went back to a vertical jump on the third week. On the fourth week, we deloaded and focused on deceleration drills off a 12-inch box.

In the next three-week cycle, we added more volume to the plyometrics. Remember to monitor your athletes’ central nervous system and recovery because not all athletes are created equal. For the first week of this cycle, we added in a depth jump into a vertical jump. We did this because the depth jumps are more taxing on the central nervous system than any other jump, so we wanted to do this in the first week following a deload. On the second week of the program, we went back to a horizontal plyometric, and on the third week, we incorporated a vertical jump. We then deloaded the same way as discussed earlier.

After this eight-week protocol, we moved our athletes to a three day a week training split to accommodate for the extra running that we were incorporating. We lifted three days a week, doing two upper and one lower body day and then we began a running phase where we were out running three days a week. On our lower body days, we took out our plyometrics and added them into our running days. We did a dynamic warm up and then started off with weighted acceleration drills. After five sets of ten-yard sprints, we went into our plyometric protocol of vertical plyometrics on one day and horizontal plyometrics on another. The third running day was sport specific so we didn’t incorporate plyometrics. We did this for three weeks and deloaded on the fourth.

After this 12-week cycle of intensive plyometrics, we tested our player’s verticals. We had two guys jump 40 inches and five other guys increased their verticals by at least two inches. Some even increased by four inches.

Try this protocol out with your athletes and see how the explosive power and speed increase. View the two 40-inch verticals. Remember, these are just high school kids.

Posted by Tony Montgomery under Weight Lifting  Training  on Sep 17 2015

Peaking for a meet is not a magical answer to increase your total by 100lbs but if done properly it can help with a 3-5% increase which can be the difference between 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place. So properly peaking for a meet can be crucial for success but it won’t make you a world record holder. With that being said keep training hard throughout and push heavy weight leading into a meet, its better to be strong, instead of being “peaked” by dropping heavy weights off to soon. This is both a neurological adaptation and physical as long as your technique is good, if you have bad technique and grind out reps recovery will be harder and you will need more time.


Onto what you guys came for peaking for a meet!! Now this may change if you use the conjugate method but if prepping for a meet I am a firm believer in doing competition lifts first so to get technically proficient at the lifts and to increase sport specific strength for the lifts since we have to perform them on meet day. Football players don’t play basketball all week then go play on Sundays, they practice their sport at a high level of mastery. Thats my quick rant on how you should train leading up to the meet, keep it simple and do the lifts.


Throughout the course of a meet prep, if done correctly we build up a lot of volume and accumulate a ton of fatigue. Muscle fatigue and central nervous fatigue, this is what we want. This accumulation of fatigue and volume should increase on a week to week basis in a somewhat linear fashion. For example if at 10 weeks out you hit a bunch of sets at 6 reps with a moderate weight around 65-75% of your 1rm and leaving a few reps in the tank. The next week at 9 weeks out you have two choices to increase work load, you can either up the weight and do the same amount of reps and sets or you can keep weight the same and do a few more reps or sets the main thing is we want to increase the weekly load and since you are prepping for a meet where the emphasis is on performing a 1 rep max than I would choose to increase the weight throughout the prep and not the reps and sets.


Strength can be acquired through many different ways and styles but the bread and butter of strength gains should be done in the 3-5 rep range and with specific or very slight variations of the competition movements. With this in mind doing a 4-6 week strength phase before a 4-5 week peak phases is ideal for going into a meet. This will vary on the ability and level of the lifter. A beginner lifter can spend more time in the strength phase, while an advanced lifter will need more time in the peaking phase. Not only is that a consideration but the size of the lifter and the amount of weight being lifted plays a role. If you are a bigger stronger lifter you will need even more time to recover so you may have a 8-10 peak phase of lower reps and emphasis on recovery in between workouts, where as if you are a smaller lifter but still strong you may not need to rest as much just due to the shear load difference. Now for me I am a firm believer in not missing reps in training and not chasing lifts, so throw out what you want to hit and always listen to your body and get the prescribed reps and sets for the day. Meaning don’t set a number in your head and think that no matter what I will hit that today, strength and technique are not built through missed lifts, but rather through good quality reps.


So after your strength phase is complete you’ve accumulated quite a bit of fatigue through training and now its time to dump that fatigue so your body starts to recover and you’ll be at your best come meet time. This does not mean take days off or not to train as heavy it just means to drop the volume and to solely focus on sports specificity, the squat, bench, and deadlift. To peak for a meet look to do sets in the 1-3 rep range but mostly doubles and triples. A good way to look at it is say your last week of the strength phase you did 6 sets of 4 at 85% of your 1rm. Starting your peak phase week 1 you will look to drop the volume by 1/3 so you’ll do 4 sets of 3 at 87-90% depending on how you feel that day. Peaking for a meet is a feeling out process day to day and week to week so thats why its extremely important not to chase numbers. We don’t want any misses in training especially during the peak. So week 1 is 4 sets of 3 at 87-90%, week 2 would look like 2-3 sets of 2 reps at 90-93% rep range and also at this point we start to drop almost all high rep accessory work and just stick to compound movements that mimic the competition lifts as close as possible. So if you’re doing 2 sets of pause bench, then your secondary movement should also be 2 sets of 2 reps with say close grip bench or wide grip bench depending on your weaknesses and your comp grip. Week 3 will be your your absolute least amount of volume so it will look like 1 top set of a single at 95-97%. Week 4 you deload and will be ready to go when you step on the platform. 


A few things to consider when peaking for a meet. If you are cutting weight fatigue may accumulate faster so you may have to drop accessory work further out and really focus on rest. If you are training at a high frequency say 5-6 times a week you don't necessarily want to drop the frequency but rather just the volume and accessories as the meet comes closer. If you train at a high frequency don't take the week off of the meet, if you do you will be flat and lethargic, rather still get the 3 lifts in 2-3x that week depending on the lifter at 50-60% for a few sets and reps. Think of this week as active recovery and fine tuning your technique. Trust me if you train 5-6 times per week taking off 2-3 days before the meet is like a months worth of rest. Peaking is a combonation of reducing fatigue, increasing intensity, but still keeping fitness as high as possible, so take a look at how your training is set up and plan accordingly so you can come in and dominate on meet day. Please remember that this is a brief template of a peak and my principles behind it but it will differ from person to person so don’t be afraid to experiment with different ways to peak and find what works best for you.

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