Posted by Tony Montgomery under General  Training  Video  on Jun 08 2016

Injuries are inevitable when you are pushing the limits and trying to be great. Its a double edge sword we want to do more and always push, but you definetly need to listen to your body and know when to back down and rest. Injuries occur a lot of the times when there is an imbalance or just bad movement patterns, other things can cause injuries but most injuries occur from those two things. In these 2 videos I go over some of the basics to fix the issues and prevent inuries.





The Alphacast Episode 12

Posted by Tony Montgomery under Weight Lifting  Diet  Training  Nutrition  on Jun 03 2016

You might begin to see a theme in a lot of my articles, the key to success is to do things in a way that is sustainable and will create longevity. There are a ton of really strong guys that show up and in a year you never here from them or we all know the people who dieted super hard but couldn’t sustain it and ended up gaining all the weight back and few more for good measure. Now I respect these people because they go hard and go all out but there has to be a smarter way to approach things so you can maintain what you’ve built. We’ve all been there to some extent, starting something new is always exciting and we always want to start things off right so we go into the gym and blast a body part because we feel good and training makes us feel good, but we push to hard to the point where we can’t even move for a few days because of DOMS. A classic case of going in to strong and without the idea of progression and after this destruction we are left with a decision to miss the next couple days or to keep pushing harder and harder next time, until 3 weeks down the road we are burnt out and decide to pursue yoga instead. This is a bit of a stretch i know but you get my picture and for a few of you this may have happened. The same thing goes for dieting, start to low on calories and to high on cardio that you just can’t sustain for more than a few weeks and when you plateau you have to add more work or less food. You can clearly see the dilemma here.



 

The way to avoid this problem with training and diet is to come in with a plan that you can build on week to week to get better. Lets cover training first, how you approach training should be on a week to week basis so that you can build each week. You can do this by adding weight, reps, or sets each week so you start off with an easy week to get back into things, followed by a slightly harder week by making the small proper adjustments. For example I started my offseason plan with higher volume, after a meet the volume was low and weight was heavy, so I just did the opposite when I came back to training but not at a crazy pace. I started slow with DB movements and keeping everything somewhat light and easy. The next week I introduced barbell movements and started with a lighter weight that I know I can add to for the next 3-4 weeks. It’s a slow building process as I am not concerned with anything but building a solid foundation and staying healthy. The bigger the foundation the better the peak and if you can repeat that process over the course of 5-10 years you will be an extremely strong person as long as you stay smart and healthy. This is done with smart exercise choices and listening to your body. I’m not saying don’t push things but it doesn’t have to be every session all out failure and fatigue. You want to look for clean and smooth reps, not grinders or missed reps. A huge reason for doing things in a slow and methodical approach is it allows you the opportunity to develop proper motor patterns and technique, the best way to do this is not by maxing out it’s by sticking with reps and sets in the 65-80% of your 1 rep max. 

 

Key takeaways here

  • Start off slow, lighter and easier workouts without pushing to failure
  • Build each week by adding weight or sets or reps not all at once though
  • Stick with building better movement patterns over lifting heavy weight

 

Nutrition is definitely the hardest of the two to be patient with, when you are at the gym easing into things you are still putting in work and training hard, with a slow and methodical start on nutrition, although it will yield huge dividends at the end, it is tremendously hard to wrap our heads around in the beginning because we want to lose weight and get lean now!! So the regular person starts with a ton of cardio and starts with an extreme diet like a no carb, paleo diet. This is a recipe for disaster because if you start out fast like this yes you will lose weight and fast but what happens when you stall? You have to do more extremes and more because you started at the high end already the only way to keep the train rolling is to do more and eat less. By a month into this approach you go binge crazy and quit everything all together. Taking things slow and get the most out of the least at the start, because once you hit a plateau you have to do more or eat less and if you already start with an extreme deficit you have to keep going and thats not sustainable nor is it healthy. Look into your current diet and if it is compete crap like you drink 6 sodas a day, cut them down to 3 week one, than 1 week 3 and finally eliminate them. Once you get that down you can go into a set diet with balanced macros, never eliminate any macro if you are a performance athlete, because you’ve already dropped the junk and the next step would be to get organized. For cardio same thing start with walking 10-20 minutes for 2-3x a week. Than week 2 you can add another day and so on and so forth. Its an easy thing to do it just takes a ton of patience which is hard to do because we want results and we want them now. Slow and steady progress will yield longer and more sustainable gains, in reality if you are losing weight at a rapid rate you are also losing muscle so look to shoot for a 1-2lbs a week depending on size of athlete.

 

Key takeaways here

  • Don’t go into a strict diet right away if you are not use to it, slow cut the junk out week to week until gone
  • Do the least amount at the beginning so you can make adjustments when a plateau hits
  • Look to lose bet 1-2lbs a week depending on the size of the athlete
  • Start slow with cardio a little will do a lot if you don’t do anything



 

The giant takeaway here is to slowly build into things and have a long term view of the process. Key word here is the process, not the end goal, you must learn to enjoy the process of building. You don’t want to get to down and you don’t want to get to high just know that throughout the journey there will be a lot of bumps in the road and a lot of victories. Take it day by day and week by week and try to get a tiny bit better every time. Keep in mind the guys and ladies you look up to have been training and eating right for decades so don’t expect their great results after a 3 month training/diet plan.

Posted by Tony Montgomery under General  Weight Lifting  Training  on May 10 2016

DOWN!!! The only sound you hear after you've finished your last deadlift on the platform. You either just finished with a great day or you are scratching your head trying to figure out what went wrong. One way or the other this is the time that we as lifters are our most introspective. We sit and ponder how to get better and ways to improve on our performance never really taking a second to just relax and appreciate the effort you just put in for that one day on the platform. As a true competitior its hard not to just go straight into thoughts of improvement, we just don't have time to waste on enjoying the momemt. So with great zeal and desire we hit the gym with no time to rest. The next step you take will determine how your next meet will go because its not so much what you do during meet prep that will determine the outcome but what you do in the offseason that will determine how your meet prep goes and thus how your day on the platform will go. So take your time to put in the detail of your off season plan because far to often I see lifters say things like I am just having fun for now and will start getting serious in a couple of weeks. Meanwhile the great ones are already in the gym with a specific agenda and a plan on what to do next. They know how they want to train, what their diet looks like and what they want to do at their next meet. Keep these things in mind as you set up your off season plan.

The set up is very simple, at the end of your meet I am sure you have a general idea of when you want to compete next. The stronger you are the more rest and work you need to put in before your next meet, the newer and weaker you are can compete a little more often to get a good feel for meets and how to set yourself up to perform at a high level with practice. Once you have a general date picked out than you want to map out what kind of blocks or phases you want to run and for how long you want to run it for. Leading into a meet as the weights get heavier you should get a feel for what you need to work on and it will become more evident on meet day. Also leading up to a meet you will be at a higher intensity and lower volume to prepare for the meet.  These things are very important before moving onto the actual planning and exercise selection moving forward.
1. When is your next meet?
2. What are your weaknesses?
3. How do you want to set up your training blocks/phases?

Look if your answer to number 2 is everything than sure work everything because it makes no difference because you are to lazy to take the time to pinpoint your weaknesses and build them up so you will inevitably fail and not improve. Why you ask? Its simple because you just can't fix everything in one training cycle and everything can't be weak or else you would crumble under the bar when you go to lift. 

So now that you have made a decision on those 3 things it's time to set up your plan moving forward. After a meet prep your work capacity has pretty much gone to crap and you need to develop some weak areas. Two ways to improve on those two things is volume, supersets, and hiit cardio. You need to really take these next 4-6 weeks to get back in shape and healthy again. So going into a volume block designed to build up your work capacity is a great idea. A few ideas to consider during this phase is to try to make the heavier compound movments harder by doing pre exhaust sets. An example of this would be doing 3 sets of 15 leg curls and leg extensions superset and than go into some squat movements. I prefer to go away from the competition lifts slighlty and also different stances and or grips. So for my squat days I like to do high bar close stance, belt squats, front squats, and leg presses. This takes the bar off my back and allows me to develop my weaker muscles which for me are my quads. i do the same thing with bench and pulls. I bench with a wide grip so I do a lot of close grip work, floor presses, DB's and Inclines. Pulls I go to conventional pulls and a lot of SLDL and RDL's. These moves I haven't touched in probably 8-10 weeks so the new variations themselves will creat a training stimulus and the fact that they are weaker for me I don't have to go as heavy to get the same type of growth which will allow my joints time to recover. I will do this phase with a lot of BB style movements and rep/set schemes. 

After these 4-6 weeks I will do another 4-6 weeks with the same emphasis but switch up the exercises slightly, for me just by switching up the movemtns I will get huge benefits but I give each movement careful consideration on how it will help bring up my main lifts and I also use these movments the whole time because I need to give them time to work and grow. I am not a fan of switching exercises every week or two because to me if you picked this exercise because its a weakness of yours than hammer it away by hitting it for weeks on end. 

After 8-12 weeks of volume work I will go into a 4-6 week strength phase were the exercises get a little more specific and I lower the volume slightly and raise the intensity. the reason behind this is to make sure all your volume work is paying off. It is hard to see if you brough up a weak area with volume, you have to handle some heavier weights to see if things have change. Same thing goes with any type of imbalance as well you put in the work to fix it but you have to eventually test it to make sure it is getting better. During this strength phase I will drop the hiit cardio and just focus on restorative cardio like a bike or walking that way my fitness doesn't completely plummet.

These are just a few considerations to planning out a long and successful off season to keep building up a bigger and bigger foundation so when its time to peak for meet you have a higher ceiling to reach.

Posted by Tony Montgomery under General  Training  on Mar 17 2016


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

I got started in powerlifting in 1996. My first passion was to always play basketball. This particular year I was not playing basketball. I chose to take some weight lifting classes. During these classes I realized I had a decent bench. I also met a guy named Jauquin Diaz Delon. He was into powerlifting and often came into our class to volunteer his time and help everyone lift. I worked closely with him for roughly 6 months. He helped tweak my bench form and show me how to start programming for a competition. He helped me get signed up and helped me through my first powerlifting competition. I had a blast lifting against other people. Knowing the hard work I was putting in was paying off. Right then I was hooked in lifting, I was more hooked on seeing the progress I would make training. 

My best bench in competition is 585lbs raw while weighing 220lbs with a same day weigh in. 

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

I currently train out of Nautilus Plus in Oregon City. I also work closely with Inner Beast Crossfit. However, I do go and train at gyms from all over. I spend time at EGO gym in Seattle, Gstandard in Tacoma and the Lab in Portland. 

Right now my current training per week looks like this. 

Saturday – Heavy bench / Light bench alternating each week 

                Followed by dead pin presses, front raises, and a tricep circuit. 

MondayTuesday – OFF
Wednesday- Bench acc work 

                Incline spoto presses, Shoulders, Flies, Volume rear delts and triceps

Thursday- Back work 

                Straight arm pull downs, Lat pulls, Seated wide grip rows, Kroc rows and Pull ups

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

My approach to lifting has always been well thought out. I enjoy thinking about what will get me to my goals the quickest way. I obviously take lifting very serious but I like a relaxed joking environment during training times. There is a time and a place to put the joking aside and lift. But once the lift is over it is about having fun. My programming does not change too much from off-season to meet prep. Although, when I am 16 weeks away or more from my next competition I am less worried about everything being low rep work. I will try and incorporate a lot of higher volume type training in. I also stay away from cardio due to the fact I am doing a fair amount of volume. Now when I get closer to a competition I reduce the reps drastically. I also begin doing cardio.  Since I am no longer doing high volume training I will kick up about 30 minutes of cardio each day. In addition, I am very consistent with other things in life such as dieting/eating, sleep and enough heavy training sessions. 

Q: Best advice you can give to a lifter?

My best advice to any lifter no matter what the circumstances are is too pick a goal and slowly chip away at it. Nothing in powerlifting comes fast. Understand that the top lifters in the world have been doing what they do for many many years. Find supportive and loyal training partners and most of all have fun. If you do not enjoy what you are doing it becomes work. Lifting is supposed to be fun. Yes, at times it will be work. But make it fun so you enjoy the process. 

 

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

What drives me each day to train is the fact I have pride in what I do. If I am going to do something I am going to do it all the way. Also I have two kids that look at what I do and will someday likely carry on the traits I show to them. I want them to see me as someone that doesn’t use excuses, someone that never quits and finally someone that works his ass off to accomplish the task at hand. My entire life I have been told in one way or another “You cant do something” Well guess what I have yet come across something I cant do.

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

 

Triceps/Lockout: 

I really use a lot of dead pin presses. This really focuses on speed off of the chest which in return has a faster lockout. In addition to dead pin presses I utilize Tricep hammer presses, Close grip bench pressing and Skull crushers to work my triceps. 

 

Speed off your Chest: 

To incorporate speed off of the chest the dead pin presses is the trick. I also include lifts like the spoto press (stopping the bar at a dead stop a few inches from your chest) and Eccentric pressing. 

 

Non Bench Accessory: 

I spend an insane amount of time focusing on my back and rear delts. I have found that seated wide grip rows along with kroc rows have helped my back grow tremendously. 

 

Q: What is the biggest mistake you see lifters make these days?

The biggest mistake I see lifters make these days would be two things. First I see a lot of people worry about sponsorships. Don’t worry about that stuff let that all fall in to place. My advice every time someone asks me what to do to get sponsored. I tell them to wait until they are contacted about being sponsored. Until then it is out of your hands. The second thing I see is people comparing them selves to other lifters. You are you focus only on your lifts. Its ok to know what other people are lifting but you can control your powerlifting total by the amount of work you put into the gym. 

 

Q: Why do you put out videos and other information?

More than anything I enjoy helping people. Truly one of the biggest accomplishments I have had in lifting is getting messages or meeting people and they say I saw this video or read an article and you helped me. That in its self makes me feel good. I enjoy helping people and find great pleasure in watching them PR. Also I want people to know that if you have a disability or are embarrassed about certain things it is ok to go out and do what you enjoy. We only live once and make it a good one. 

 

Q: Who is your favorite powerlifter and why?

My favorite Powerlifter has to be Mike Mcdonald. I was fortunate enough to break his All Time world record bench. He held the record for nearly 30 years. I have never met Mike but he made me push myself harder than I thought I could ever push myself. I appreciate him setting the bar so high. 

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

I plan on competing at the end of 2016 in the 220lbs weight class. My goal is to take back my all time world record. 

People can find me at larsenpress.com on IG and Twitter at larsenpress Facebook and youtube – Adrian Larsen

Posted by Tony Montgomery under Weight Lifting  Training  on Jan 07 2016

No matter how strong you are or how long you’ve been lifting there will come a time where you hit a plateau and the PR’s quit coming. It’s at this time you have two choices, one crawl up in a little ball, cry and quit lifting all together or you take the time to find your weaknesses and build on them. The problem is figuring it out and having the wherewithal to stay the course and do the work. In a society of instant gratification I know the idea of putting in work is a farce but bare with me here. 

 

Its not an earth shattering revelation to know in order to improve you have to build up your weaknesses, but the way its gone about is sometimes wrong. There are a few steps you can take to eliminate them. First you have to diagnose where the weakness is. Secondly you have to find the exercises to build them up. Lastly you need to know how you should incorporate these exercises into your program.


First things first although a miss in training is not ideal it will provide you with some great feedback as to what may be the weakest link. When I say a miss I mean a miss within the 1-3 rep range, misses outside of that range may be from fatigue or loss of tightness than an actual muscular weakness. The importance of recording your working sets comes into play here,yes your videos can be used for more than just social media. Going over your sets and your missed reps is a good way to figure out whats going wrong. It will allow you to critique and analyze you set up to your movement patterns and to where the actual breakdown occurs. What I like to do when i am breaking down my clients videos, is i first look at the set up, have to make sure thats good or else the lift may be doomed from the start. Secondly I look from feet to waist whether it be bench, squat or deadlift and make sure things are were they are suppose to be. Finally from the waist up I’ll go over the rest. After you do this you should be able to pinpoint where the weakness is and start to hammer it away. If you can’t figure it out still try using a different angle or hire a coach who’s been doing it a while and a real coach not someone who just reads research papers and trains in his moms basement.

 

Now I can’t go over every scenario if X happens do Y but here is a quick run down of things to look for during the big three lifts.

 

Squats

  • Feet, rotating in and out or forwards and backwards
  • Knees, are they tracking right or caving in
  • Upper back, does it round or over arched
  • Breathing and Bracing
  • Does ass shoot up

 

Bench

  • Legs, tight and are they being used
  • Elbows, to tucked or flared to much
  • Stabilization in the movement
  • Breathing and bracing

 

Deadlifts

  • Feet, where the pressure is going
  • Upper back, rounding or over arching
  • Knees caving in
  • Neutral Spine
  • Breathing and Bracing
  • Does ass shoot up


Once you have determined what the underlying cause is behind your weak ass lifts and you’ve come to the realization that excuses won’t fix it, then its time to get to work. A few things to consider in the scope of picking exercises to fix your weaknesses, one don’t just follow what the masses say, meaning if you have a weak lockout don’t just go immediately to board presses. Remember your muscles are weak not your movement, so find exercises that will build on that specific muscle group. Two if you find a good exercise don’t just do it once and think that you fixed everything. I see a lot of people say “I have weak hips so I did block pulls today to work it.” and instead of them doing that every week to build up their weakness they do something different. Don’t be afraid to do the same exercises each week if they work and how do you know they work if you don’t give them time to. Building up a weakness takes time it won’t be fixed in one session so be patient.

 

Building up a weak area takes time, lots and lots of time. To build up a muscle, you have to first increase the size of it. The best way to increase the size of a muscle you have to train it in the higher rep ranges with sub maximal weights, think like a bodybuilder. A bigger muscle will eventually become a stronger muscle because you’ve increased the muscle size you’ll be able to recruit more muscle fibers when it comes time to contract it. Now that you know how to build up a weak muscle you need to know where to put it into your plan. Always keep in mind when building up a weakness you DO NOT want to neglect what you’re already strong at. So keep your strong complex lifts first and second. Your exercises after the first two should all be dedicated to building with hypertrophy work. Here is an example of a squat workout just so you can get a visual of how things should be laid out.

 

Main Squat Movement- 3-5 rep range for 3-5 sets

Secondary Squat Movement- 4-6 rep range for 3-4 sets

Weak Body Part Accessory- 8-12 reps for 4-5 sets

Weak Body Part Accessory- 12-20 reps for 4-5 sets

Weak Body Part Accessory- 8-12 reps for 3 sets

 

Keep in mind these accessories are geared towards building up your squats, Your bench and deadlifts will look similar but make sure they are specific to your main exercise. If you can’t get it all in during your split maybe think of adding in anther day specifically for accessories.


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