Heavy Dead-lifts & Some “Fall-back” Sunday Reads


It was a very busy October at Iron Body Studios so I’ve been behind in my blogging over the past few weeks.  I have one in progress that I hope to post next week.  After I returned from assisting at the StrongFirst Level II in Philadelphia, PA where I attempted the Iron Maiden Challenge (read more about it in my post Achieve Your True Strength Potential), it’s been non-stop at Iron Body Studios with a few personal commitments thrown in.  In conjunction with BSMPG (The Boston Sports Medicine and Performance Group), at Iron Body Studios, we most recently we hosted Charlie Weingroff, DPT and his Training Still = Rehab (T=R2) seminar along with the filming of his next DVD series.


I first learned of Charlie Weingroff three years ago after Eric purchased his Training = Rehab DVD series and spent a whole weekend watching it.  I met Charlie in person the following year at the BSMPG Summer Seminar and I immediately connected with him.  Not only is he “real” and down to earth, but also he is brilliant and always strives to do better and be better.  He is constantly learning, researching and educating himself; AND he practices what he preaches, which I have huge respect for.  The aspect of practicing what you preach helps one to better apply all that you learn because you have the ability to have experiences that your clients may have.  Therefore, it makes you a better instructor, teacher, or coach because you can better identify with your clients and subsequently help them more intuitively and more successfully because you have been there yourself.

T=R2_4picsCharlie’s T=R2 seminar wrapped up on Sunday afternoon with some hands-on practical learning of crawling, rolling patterns, pressing and dead-lifts.  He also touched upon the kettlebell swing, but it was the dead-lift segment that inspired me to dead-lift double beasts (double 48kg kettlebells, total 212lbs) on Monday morning.  I always train either double bell dead-lifts or single-leg dead-lifts in my training sessions, but the most that I have dead-lifted with kettlebells was 3 sets of 3 reps with double 44kgs (~194lbs).  WHICH, with that set and rep count, I should be able to double bell dead-lift double beast bells no problem.  However, kettlebell dead-lifts can more challenging than barbell dead-lifts because of the weight distribution.  Each side of your body has to work separately in order to control the weight each arm is holding, whereas with a barbell, the weight is evenly distributed throughout the bar.   However, the benefit to dead-lifting double kettlebells is that you can really wedge yourself over the bells and train your grip strength.

Based upon Charlie’s talk, my focus was on my head position and maintaining a “packed neck”; which means, don’t hyper-extend your neck (cervical spine) and don’t lead your lift with your neck and don’t flex your neck (cervical spine) and cram your chin into your collarbone, which sometimes I have the tendency to do.  Let your hips lead the movement and your head stays in the same place throughout the whole movement.  A good cue that Charlie used was “look nowhere”.  The second rep of the set from the side view of the video below best captures the “packed neck” concept.

I still have a little practice to do letting this come more intuitively, but weighing in at around 117lbs it’s been incredibly rewarding to lift 212lbs, which is almost double my bodyweight, for multiple reps.

Since we opened up Iron Body Studios in our new facility this past July 2013, each month keeps getting better and better.  It was unbelievable to me that we had the opportunity to host Charlie Weingroff and the filming of his Training Still=Rehab DVD series last weekend.  One week later it’s still a bit unbelievable that we were in a position to host such an event.  When I left my consulting job in 2008 my main goal was to transition to a profession that I truly enjoyed doing every day and at the time it was a far off dream that I would have my very own facility and be hosting someone as well respected and well-known as Charlie Weingroff.  Which leads me into the first post I have listed below as some “Fall-back” Sunday reads, “Re-Inventing Your Exit” by Steve “Coach Fury” Holiner

“Re-Inventing Your Exit” by Steve “Coach Fury” Holiner

My friend and StrongFirst colleague Steve Holiner writes about his journey of taking the leap to leave his former profession as an Executive Producer for visual effects to live and breathe his passion as a strength coach.  He lists 10 tips to re-invent your exit, all of which are awesome, but numbers 6 and 9 are my favorites because there aren’t enough people who truly practice what they preach in this industry, nor are there enough people in this world that have the balls (or lady balls) to follow their passion.  This post resonates very powerfully with me because I took the leap to leave a very well paying consulting job to work as a personal trainer/instructor/coach and eventually open Iron Body Studios. (You can read more about this in my post “The Leap From IT Consultant to Personal Trainer” It was a huge risk, but a calculated one.  I was miserable at my desk job so it was definitely worth it.  I left and I never looked back. I work harder than I ever have before in my life, but I love what I do and I do what I love and it’s worth working 24/7 and the blood, sweat, and tears it took to open our facility.  I am grateful to Coach Fury for writing this post because I hope it helps the next person be just as courageous as he was to make a change to live and breathe his passion.  Read his post HERE.

Lucky Dad, by Ric Garcia

This post is a must read for all parents, but especially parents with daughters.  I am honored to be mentioned in this beautifully written and heart-felt post by Ric Garcia.  He writes about how he is grateful that his daughters are surrounded by female role models who represent strength, confidence, and grace and are beyond succumbing to the societal pressures for women to look like Disney princesses or air-brushed stick figure models.  Read his post HERE.

Just Stop – And 8 Other Things Your Trainer Wishes to Tell You, By Becca Borawski

As a personal trainer, instructor and coach, this post made me laugh out loud.  If you are trainer I’m sure it will make you laugh out loud as well and if you are a client, you may even be able to identify with some of these excuses and scenarios and I’m sure it will make you laugh out loud too.  Now go sand your calluses and eat your broccoli ;)… Read her post HERE.

Also, remember to turn your clocks back one hour tonight before you go to sleep for Daylight Savings “Fall-back”.  Enjoy the extra hour of sleep, remember to eat something hearty and nutrient dense, and dead-lift something heavy!

2013 Fall Back

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