Training


Performing the Powerlifting Squat for Raw Lifters

I was browsing through some videos on YouTube and I came across some very important questions regarding squats. A lot of people are getting into powerlifting and training for maximal strength and one of the exercises that all powerlifting clubs and fitness fad programs tries to push is the back squat. This is why everybody is very obsessed with squatting. For all the powerlifters out there, the number one important exercise is the back squat because their entire meet begins with this exercise and they are able to use their gear to make the most of it.

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Choosing Exercises For Aggressive Progression

One of the biggest taboos in mainstream fitness and strength training is when a trainee wants to specialize on just one or two lifts. This is a huge deal on online forums and anyone who questions this is usually bullied and made to follow whatever program the forum elite are endorsing at the time. The good news is that strength specialization through prioritizing lifts is totally possible and should be advocated for. The bad news is that all the famous e-gurus and e-strength coaches that are pumping out routines and cookie cutters are being hypocritical about this topic. The bottom line is that it is crucial to prioritize the lifts in order to aggressively train them.

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How To Choose A Weight Training Routine

I originally started writing this little blog post as a status update for Facebook just to share observations about the happenings on various strength forums of the internet. However, while developing my points, I realized I want to provide some practical solutions regarding strength training. So, what I want to do with this article is put forth a way to go about selecting weight training programs and then provide some unconventional yet practical templates for those of you interested in getting strong.

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The Reality of Using Lifting Videos for Exercise Form Checks

Not many strength trainees have personal trainers or strength coaches to check up on them when they are lifting. I actually think that most people who do strength training have never had any formal help of any kind. Probably, if you did a survey or something, you'd find the number of trainees with this kind of luxury so small it is insignificant. This means that most trainees are on their own and get no advice whatsoever, or they get their advice from the internet. Most training advice on the internet seems to come back to exercise form. Everybody seems to be an expert on “form.” Also, there are a lot of technique experts. I doubt that most of these internet-experts even know what the word form means. And since the word form and technique are used interchangeably, they must not know what technique means either. It's not easy to explain, so I asked Eric how he would go about explaining it, and here is what he had to say:

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Exercise Selection and Workload

Practical training involves balancing exercises and how much of your workload is dedicated to training them. If you look at most of the powerlifting, strength training or other such routines floating around the web, you’re going to notice all of them focusing on the big compound movements, but then listing a ton of supplementary, assistance, or accessory lifts after them. Typically, you'll see someone recommending a few sets of heavy Bench Press followed by a total of 15-20 sets of other pressing work, pull-ups, rows, and other exercises for reps. You meet someone at the gym and you ask them what they’re training that day and they’ll tell you that they’re doing 2-3 sets of Squats followed by 10 sets of other leg exercises. Does this seem reasonable? I mean, if you’re doing 2-3 sets of Squats and then 10 sets of some other leg exercises that doesn’t make it a “squat” day, does it? The bulk of the workload is utilized on these supplementary exercises.

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Is Michael Phelps the Greatest Athlete Ever? How Do We Compare This to Lifting?

There is a lot of talk about Michael Phelps and his many, many medals. Is he the greatest Olympian ever? Well, it depends on your perspective. As has been said already a thousand times, a case can be made that he is the greatest Olympian ever. But what is true of athletics in general is true of the Olympics. In fact, the Olympics is a case study in athletes with a capital A.

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How To Use Speed Work For Maximal Strength Gains

I’m writing this article to shed some more light on Speed Work and to suggest some other ways it can be used in your training. Using Speed Work for Strength Training has become exceedingly popular. Strength & Conditioning Certifications list it as a mandatory part of Maximal Strength Training and almost all powerlifting programs have a whole day dedicated to "Speed Training".

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If you Don't Train to Failure, You'll Never Need a Spotter

Oh my, so very, very, wrong. And yet it is a commonly stated idea. If you never need a spotter then it is fair to say you never truly train for strength. Strength training involves lifting very heavy weights and sometimes weights that exceed those you've lifted before. This isn't rocket surgery. You want to get strong you have to venture into uncharted territory and you can never be sure.

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Are Weight Training Images 'Picture Perfect'? - Can You Really Use Them to Learn the Lifts?

A while back I made a post called Asinine Expectations. In one I said that it is a false assumption to expect your "form" to perfectly match someone else's form on a given complex movement. This is something I've come across with trainees again and again. They look at other people lifting, or worse, look at STILL IMAGES and think they are doing it wrong if they don't "match" when they do the exercise pictured.

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The Deadlift is not a Deadlift and Other Infectious Aphorisms

Popular strength coaches as well as bodybuilding coaches who talk about strength training are always inventing little aphorisms and catch phrases designed to get across some central philosophy or concept inherent to their way of viewing training for strength. Problem is with catch slogans and aphorisms, is that they are designed to sell a concept rather than to teach a concept. An aphorism is only as good as the qualifications you give it when you explain its underlying rationale. With most of these statements, it is the style that sells them, more than the content. One of our members called this type of thing a fallacy by slogan and this is an apt way to put it. A good aphorism is catchy like an infectious rash: Everybody spreads it around and it does more harm than good.

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Why Did I Lose So Much Strength After a Layoff from Training?

I Had a Layoff from Training and Dropped Some Reps off My Bench Press. Why Have I Lost So Much Strength?

This is a common complaint and it represents a typical misunderstanding of muscular strength. Let's say you are able to do 200 X 5 X 5 on your bench press. Something comes up and you are forced to layoff training for several weeks, maybe a month. During that time you are then "detraining."

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Difficulty Breathing During Front Squats

Here is a Simple Training Drill to Solve Breathing Problems During the Front Squat

You may have noticed that it can be difficult to get a good deep breath in between reps of the front squat. Not everybody has this problem to the same extent, but most everybody would have noticed that the front squat makes breathing a bit restricted. The position of the elbows, combined with the heavy load on the shoulders, restricts the chest. It is easy to simulate this effect right now as you read this: simply raise your arms up over your head and try to take a deep breath into your upper chest. You should notice that the chest wall is restricted and it is close to impossible to take a full breath this way.

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Want to Increase Strength without Adding Muscle?

Why? I've always wondered about this. Are you such an Adonis but at the same time so weak that you need to work your butt off so that you can become as strong as you look? Even pro bodybuilders are pretty darn strong compared to the average Joe. But let's just stick with the average Joe, not the pro. Let me ask again, why would you want to get strong without adding any muscle?

I wonder this because at least once a month I see a new article explaining how to do this. Why is this concept so popular? Is it because:

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