Thursday, July 30, 2009

Tire Flipping

One of my bootcamp clients sent me this cartoon, because the tire flip is one of the exercises we perform:

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Who Are The Strongest Guys In Ontario?

I recently had the pleasure of attending the annual Ontario's Strongest Man competition, which was held in Kitchener this year. It was particularly enjoyable because a couple of my friends and team-mates were competing in it, and had qualified for the finals!

Eric and Drew are strength athletes. They have been training and competing in this grueling sport for several years, showing consistent improvement. Their hard work paid off, as demonstrated by their awesome performance... check out the video.

Ontario's Strongest Man 2009 from Josh Hewett on Vimeo.

One of these guys actually got started in strength training about 4 years agos as client of mine . He was a skinny 16 year old and literally transformed himself over a couple of years of serious training, following the Barbarian Strength System (will be online to check out soon, at

I also used to compete seriously in strength athletics, and I although I still do enter a couple of local contests each year, watching this event made we want to get more involved in the sport.

It's important to recognize that the same qualities that lead to success in a strength sport like this, are also necessary for success in any fitness or performance goal.

These qualities include discipline, consistency, hard work, positive attitude, and direction. You need to have a clear goal, develop a solid plan to achieve it, believe you will achieve it, then passionately pursue it.

Wishing you continued success in your own fitness and performance goals!

Keep training,


Monday, July 27, 2009

The Power of Bodyweight Training

Every activity we do, exercise related or not, centers around using and controlling our own bodyweight in order to perform specific tasks. This may or may not involve the use of an implement.

This is also true when it comes to strength and conditioning. I'm sure you've seen people training in different ways using weights, machines, stability balls, medicine balls, etc. But how often do you see someone training using only bodyweight resistance? With the exception of push ups, chin ups, maybe dips, and ab exercises, you don’t see it very often.

Many people have this idea that if they aren’t holding a weight, or using a stability ball when training then it isn't a productive workout. Ironically, some of the most productive strength training exercises are bodyweight movements but with some form of added external resistance.

However, "internal loading" (true bodyweight training) should actually precede external loading. In other words, we MUST be able to handle our own bodyweight before adding any outside resistance. This depends on the ability of the individual to control their own body during basic movements.

Bodyweight training will develop greater muscular stability, especially at the joints. Since bodyweight training involves major muscle groups in an integrated fashion it allows you to train multiple muscles in each exercise movement, which is how the body really operates in our environment. This makes it a truly functional method of training.

In a future issue I will be sending you some more bodyweight training info as well as a video of a full bodyweight workout that you can do at home!

But for now, check out this inspirational video of some incredible athletes performing some pretty amazing bodyweight exercises. These guys train mostly on overhead bars, and call themselves the "Bar-Barians"... Enjoy!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Stay Fit Minute #13- Atlas Stones

In an effort to introduce some unique exercises to my clients and viewers, I will be demonstrating some different training implements in upcoming sessions. In this episode I am demonstrating the Atlas Stone lift.

This is a great exercise that you may be familiar with from watching strongman competitions, but it has applications for other sports and general strength and conditioning as well.

Before the “Atlas stone” lift, you need to fill your belly with air. This must be done intentionally. You need to to take big air, then force it into your stomach by flexing your abs outward. This will stabilize your core and protect the lower back, which is essential while performing this movement.

Enjoy the video!


Stay Fit Minute #12- High Pull & Power Clean

The high pull and the power clean are great exercises for developing explosiveness and power, qualities which are essential in most sports. These exercises also strengthen your posterior chain.

Watch this short video demonstrating some of the key points of these movements.

Note: the power clean differs from the full clean (or "Squat Clean") in that your hips don’t come lower than parallel with this movement. This means you need to pull the bar higher & accelerate as much as you can.

There are several exercise progressions that I recommend in order to progress up to these exercises, but they are not covered in this video. You can contact me for more information on these movements.

The basic steps involved with the Power Clean:

*Jump. Catch the bar in the rack position.

*Stomp. Your body coordinates stomping with racking. The harder you stomp, the faster you’ll rack. Stomp your feet back into your footprints.

*Elbows High. Even in this video demonstration the elbows are too low during the pull. Also be sure to rack the bar by throwing your elbows as high as possible in front of you so the bar is supported on your upper chest / shoulders.

You will benefit from incorporating these exercises into your program. In future issues I will discuss program design and how to construct a solid training routine.

Stay strong!


Monday, July 20, 2009

Interview With Coach Joe Hashey

Joe Hashey, CSCS, is an accomplished strength and conditioning coach and a published author of several articles. He is the owner of I'm pleased to have this opportunity to interview him so that I can share his knowledge with my readers!

JOSH: Joe, can you tell us a little about yourself and Synergy Athletics?

JOE: My name is Joe Hashey, and I’m a training addict. Sounds like a self help group! Here’s the deal, I went to Colgate University to play football and I got injured – four knee surgeries – and then I got fat and lazy for about half a year. I knew it was time to turn it around so I jumped into the gym, cut down from my playing weight of 310 to 250, and increased all my lifts!

I spent most of my time buried in strength training books, despite being a Political Science major, and eventually earning my Master’s in education. After college I started teaching high school and coaching football and baseball. I figured it was time to spread some of the things I learned, so I studied and earned my CSCS. Shortly after the certification, I opened a garage gym for athletes – Synergy Athletics.

I will summarize Synergy Athletics briefly. We bring it every day. If the athlete can’t bring the hard work, then I ask them to leave. Fortunately, this method has helped breed some intense and successful athletes!

Oh, and I don’t want to sound like a jerk – it doesn’t really matter how MUCH the person can lift when they first come, it matters HOW they lift. Is it with intensity? Do they listen to instructions? Do they use proper form?

JOSH: If can you summarize it, how would you describe your training philosophy in general?

JOE: I would call it a strongman/powerlifting hybrid style. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy Olympic lifts myself, but the time I spend with each athlete is so limited compared to the big picture – school, homework, social, training, more social, etc. Their gains would be very limited if I spent 3-4 weeks instructing oly lifts.

So I turned towards strongman and powerlifting. You can still achieve significant rate of force development using dynamic effort movements – throwing, jumping, DE (Dynamic Effort) primary lifts.

JOSH: Sounds excellent... we use a similar system of training at Team Barbarian Strength Athletics.You are known for your use of odd implements to develop ‘real world’ strength for athletes.If you had to choose, what would you say are your favorite 2 or 3 “unconventional” exercises?

JOE: I love odd objects. They add extra aspects of strength while helping people achieve a "blue collar" attitude.

  1. Anything with a thick rope. Grip is often overlooked in sports. A thick rope will expose that weakness in a hurry! Climbing pull ups, thick rope battling, heavy sled rows, and climbers are all great choices.
  2. Sandbag Hand Grenades. This is an exercise from the Bull Strength Manual. It is competitive and fun as well. The athletes stand facing sideways with a bench between them. One of them has a heavy sandbag at their feet. That athlete must pick up the bag and throw it over the bench (leg, core, rotational, grip, and back strength). The other athlete has 3 seconds to throw it back or he/she “blows up.” We go for a time limit or until there is a winner.

Sounds like fun, as well as incredibly tough! What are the most common mistakes you see people make when they begin a strength training program?

JOE: The biggest mistake is no direction. How much volume, what’s your split, do you have a restoration plan, which exercises are you going to test? These questions need to be answered!

The second biggest mistake is being a sissy.

Haha, I'd have to agree on that point. Thanks for your time, Joe! Is there anything else you would like to add? Also, if anyone wants to learn more about your training, where can they look?

Always a pleasure Josh. I would appreciate it if people would go check out my strength training blog over at . Right now I am offering 4 free newsletter bonuses and about to send out the 5 Ways To Increase your Squat bonus article after the next 8 people join the list! Get on board and participate in our community!

Thanks for the read guys, and thanks for having me on Josh.

Stay Fit Minute #11- Squat Variations

The squat is the King of all lifts. Here are 3 variations you can include in your lower body program.
Let me know what you think.