Guide to the RPE Scale

Have you ever woken up and noticed some days are harder than others? This is typical in life and in training. Even with the best science and coaching, some factors are difficult to predict. When it comes to training, here is where autoregulation comes in hand.

Autoregulation is a fancy term for adjusting your training based on some form of assessment of day to day fluctuations. The assessments can either be subjective or objective depending on the data collected. The objective data typically requires technology to obtain an accurate measurement on a consistent basis. Objective data can include hours of sleep, heart rate variability (HRV), resting heart rate, or even real-time data of velocity of movement during a workout. The subjective data is generally easier to obtain as these are based on questions that rely on self-interpretation. Subjective data can include self-ratings of sleep quality, mood evaluation, perceived difficulty of a task, or similar self-evaluation questions.

Enter the RPE scale

The Rating of Perceived Exertion, or RPE scale, is a subjective measure that I prefer to use with clients, allowing for a form of autoregulation to their training. Although historically there have been alterations of the RPE scale, I prefer the simplicity of the 1 through 10 variations. See the image below for further clarification.


Although the above chart applies to resistance training, a similar scale could be adapted for conditioning training. See below for an example.


Back to our talk on autoregulation, the RPE scale is only ONE data point, and the accuracy and effectiveness depend on how honest the individual is with their subjective assessment. It does take some time to really dial in your familiarity with the RPE scale and training. It will vary among individuals as some are naïve to how hard they can push their bodies, while others might be out of touch of what they can achieve that day and overshoot their training loads. I encourage you to track your loads, both objectively (sets, reps, and weight lifted) as well as subjectively using the RPE scale. With more data and practice using the RPE scale, the better you will become at selecting your training loads more accurately. This will better your chance for success while facing the day to day fluctuations that we all face.

Master your Sleep

“Ten days of six hours of sleep a night was all it took to become impaired in performance as going without sleep for twenty-four hours straight.” -Matthew Walker

We all know we should be sleeping at least 8 hours a night, but how many of us are getting that on a regular basis?

Sleep is vital to our health and improving your sleep hygiene can make a huge impact on your health and fitness goals.  Below is a quick guide on how you can improve aspects of your own sleep.  If you want to take a deep dive and learn more, I suggest reading Matthew Walker’s Why We Sleep.  Click HERE to check it out on Amazon.

Prioritize Duration -Make it a goal to get at least 7 hours of sleep per night, ideally 8-10 hours.

Environment is Key – Make your bedroom cool, dark, and quiet.

  • Purchase black out curtains to minimize light pollution from outside.
  • Cover up lights from all electronics, including your phone.
  • Better yet, wear an eye mask that blacks out all light.
  • Put your phone in airplane mode or enable a “Do not disturb” setting for nighttime to minimize disturbances.
  • Set your thermostat to 65-67 degrees to start (adjust as needed).  You can also crack open a window.
  • Use a fan for both climate control and for “white noise”. You can also get a sound machine to help create an ambiance environment and drown out potential disturbances.

Respect your Circadian Rhythm – Try to keep a bed-time routine that maximizes your sleep.

  • Keep a regular bedtime and wake time, even on the weekends.
    • Staying up and sleeping in on the weekends doesn’t “make up” sleep debt accrued throughout the week. Instead, it disrupts your circadian rhythm making it harder to wake up early Monday mornings.
  • Avoid screens and blue light exposure at least 1 hour prior to bedtime. Blue light exposure can alter the release of melatonin, an important chemical in the brain that assists with sleep.
    • If evening work is needed, wear blue-light blocking lenses to limit blue light exposure.
    • Check your phone for a “Blue-light filter” or “Night mode” and make sure that it is on.
    • Download f.lux for your computer to help filter out blue light.
  • Avoid eating at least 1 hour prior to bedtime.
    • Digesting food close to bedtime can also alter your ability to fall asleep.
  • Build your schedule so that it respects your chronotype
    • Are you a night owl or a morning lark? If possible, try to align your schedule to work best with your natural tendencies.

Be mindful of Caffeine and Alcohol Intake

  • Caffeine has an average half-life of 5-7 hours. This means by that time; your body has 50% of the caffeine still circulating in your bloodstream that you had initially consumed.
  • Sleep under the influence of alcohol has been shown to produce less REM sleep than normal sleep and therefore is not as restorative but rather sedative.

Control your Breathing – Nasal breathing has been shown superior to mouth breathing in helping you reach a calm and relaxed state (parasympathetic).

  • If you have difficulty breathing through your nose, try Breathe Right nasal strips or a anti-snore chin strap like this one HERE. You can also try mouth taping such as this HERE.
  • Try box breathing post-workout and/or close to bedtime as demonstrated HERE.
    • Box breathing can help take you from a sympathetic tone (fight or flight) to more of a parasympathetic tone (rest and digest).

Nap – Taking a nap during the day can be a great way to add to your total sleep duration.

  • Avoid napping after 3 pm to avoid disrupting your night-time sleep.
  • Limit naps to no more than 90 minutes.

*Note – If your bed partner is consistently complaining about you snoring at night, consider looking into a having a sleep study done.  I had this done and have been undergoing APAP sleep therapy for the past year now and it has made a huge difference in mine and my bed partner’s sleep quality.  My sleep has improved by 40x according to my results from my pre and post APAP therapy sleep data.  My Apnea-Hypopnea Index (AHI), or number of apnea occurrences of 10 sec or longer in an hour, went from 36 down to 0.9.

132lbs of Raw Power and can out bench your Dad, Mom, and probably the guy sitting next to you. “Bench Please”… Seriously though!

Interview with American Bench Press Record Holder Jennifer Weed Thompson

By Tasha Whelan and Dan Stephenson

Jenn Thompson

Congratulations to champion Bench presser Jennifer Thompson, who just competed in the USAPL Raw Nationals, rocked all three lifts and crushed every women in the Bench press….by a long shot. The Bench press monster talks with us about her experience at nationals, her training, inspirations and more.

T&D: First, how did you get involved in powerlifting? And how long have you been doing it?

Jennifer T: I have been powerlifting since my first competition in 1999. I know, it has been a while! I found powerlifting on my honeymoon in Venice Beach, California. We just happened to be walking by a competition on the beach, I talked with a few of the athletes and lifted in my first competition the following year.

T&D: You just competed in USA Powerlifting Nationals last weekend, how did it go for you? What numbers did you hit, and was it what you were hoping for?

Jennifer T: Actually, Raw Nationals was one of the toughest meets I have ever lifted in. My training was horrible and I was trying to stave off an injury. The week before, I missed a 300 squat (my best being 325) and a 315 deadlift (best is 445). So, going into the meet I had taken a week of rest and was just hoping to hit my openers of 276 squat and 356 deadlift. My bench was the only thing that went well. But, it goes to show you that mental toughness can take you high places. I ended up squatting 314, benching 313, and deadlifting 424. I just got into the zone and the pain was no longer an issue. The competitive adrenaline took over.

T&D: You broke the American record with your Bench press. That is AMAZING!!! How did that feel? Was that the heaviest bench you have lifted?

Jennifer T: It was awesome! I wasn’t sure it was there based on my second lift of 303. When I got the bar through the middle of the lift and it kept traveling I knew I had it. It was an “unofficial” world record since it was not an international competition. I had missed 315 at USA Powerlifting Bench Nationals four weeks before, so this really felt good.

T&D: What other records do you hold?

Jennifer T: I hold the IPF World Record Total in the 63 kg. weight class with 1071 lbs

T&D: I know all of your records had to feel amazing, but is there any one record that was the most memorable for you?

Jennifer T: It had to have been when I broke 300 lbs on the bench press. I had been after it for an entire year before I was able to hit it in competition. Plus, it was such an accomplishment for a female in general.

T&D: Was your training any different leading up to this meet in comparison to other competitions? (Did you have to cut weight, change diet, or make any big changes in training protocols).

Jennifer T: I tried a few new things in this training cycle that did not work at all. I usually only squat once a week, but had heard from several athletes that they squat at least twice, sometimes three times a week. With this being my weakest event, I thought if I added more squats into my workout I would get better at them. We also changed to a seven day lifting cycle instead of an eight day cycle. All these changes over trained me in a huge way. My numbers started to drop a few weeks out from Nationals. I started having trouble sleeping at night and would get really hot and then cold. Needless to say, I will be going back to my eight day training cycle with squats once a week and go back to working on them my way.

T&D: You have an incredible Bench press, far exceeded the majority or all women’s presses. How did you get such a high bench number?

Jennifer T: I really think it is because I have good upper body strength. When I was in high school, I took a class called Marine Fitness every quarter. It is similar to what Crossfit is to today. We did sit ups, pushups, pull ups, rope climbs, stairs, and weights. I believe three years of this helped me have the upper body strength to be good in bench. But, please know, I did not start off incredibly strong. I began with the dumbbells because the bar was a bit much. It was a slow process over the years, but I just kept getting stronger and stronger each month that went by. I think a lot my success relies in the fact that it is my favorite exercise. I think you try harder at the things you like.

T&D: Would you say the bench press is your favorite lift of the 3?

Jennifer T: Absolutely!! But I really like deadlifting as well. It is such an uncomplicated lift.

Jenn Thompson Deadlift

T&D: You have a youtube channel, can you tell us a little about what kind of content is on it and where people can follow you and your amazing work?

Jennifer T: I have two channels. 132 Pounds of Power is my personal channel that I post competition footage, PR’s and have a bench press 101 series (these are several years old).

I just started my Thompson’s Gym channel and had been talking with my training partners about making a video series for years. I just finally decided to jump in and do it. The series itself is a little all over the place, but the topics range from exercises we use with tutorials, protein snacks, how to find a dress that fits athletic women and then just some videos of us cutting up.

T&D: I saw that You, Kimberly Walford, Frances Manias and Bonica Lough have a camp coming up in January, Iron Sisters training camp. Would you mind telling us a little about the camp and if this will be a regularly on going thing for the three of you? Is there still spaces available if women are interested?

Jennifer T: Kimberly and I have been a part of the Ironsisters Training camp in Canada the last two summers. After this last one we decided we needed to take this to the States. Obviously, Kimberly is the best in the world at the deadlift and I have the bench press covered, but we needed someone for the squat. So why not the best female squatter in the World? So we got Bonica Lough to sign on.

It really is about giving women individual attention on how to have good form in the three disciplines and then helping them with accessory exercises to improve these lifts. But, it is also about creating a community. Frances Manias of Canada creates this for us. By the end of the weekend we all leave as friends and know that we will see each other again in the future. The weekend is also full of socials and surprise speakers, product give aways …. A whole lot of fun.

Since we have launched our first camp this January in Omaha, Nebraska (Bonica’s hometown) we have had many people approach us to hold them all around the States.  I see us adding more camps all year and hopefully we will continue to do this for a while. It is something I truly enjoy doing.

Currently, we have just a couple of spots left in the Omaha camp. We will be launching Barbell Brigade and Juggernaut camp in California soon. Marisa Inda will be joining us for these camps.  We will have our annual camp in Canada, but are working on camps in New Jersey, South Carolina and Iowa.

T&D: Where can we expect to see you in the future in terms of competitions and events?

Jennifer T: Kimberly, Bonica and I are heading to the Icelandic Games at the end of January, then you can see us at The Arnold Classic. Of course the biggest honor will be representing the US at the IPF World Championships this summer in Minsk, Belarus.

T&D: What are your next goals (numbers) to hit?

Jennifer T: I have been chasing after 315 this entire year! I hope to hit it in Iceland. But really I want to increase my squat, I believe that is where my weakness is and it needs to get better.

Jenn Thompson Squat

T&D: What is the thing you struggle with the most with training and/ or competing?

Jennifer T: I used to struggle with competing in the very beginning. I think with experience comes knowledge and obviously after 17 years, I have a lot of experience. I have been working with Paul Revelia of Pro Physique and my diet and has been awesome my last few cycles which has led to some great results.  So many of the meets use wilks for the overall lifter, so I want to be as light as I can without losing strength.  I will work my hardest at training. I just started a high reps cycle that usually puts on some good overall strength before I start a competition cycle. I need to stay injury free and be all right with getting rest.

T&D: Who inspires you?

Jennifer T: So many people inspire me! My husband’s belief that I can do these amazing lifts and being a good role model for my kids inspires me. Seeing my high school kids start in my powerlifting club in August and make huge gains by our competition in November. Seeing these women come to our camps and make some minor adjustments to their form and then hit PR’s inspires me and reminds me of who I am and where I came from.

T&D: Any advice for other women who want to get to your level?

Jennifer T: Remember you have to put in the time and the work. Nothing comes fast, you have to be happy making small, consistent, improvements.

Try new things, always be willing to evolve, but be just as willing to discard something that doesn’t work for you.

T&D: Thanks you so much for you time. Congratulations again on an amazing accomplishment, American record and victory. We look forward to following you and watching you continue to succeed and reach your goals. You are a true inspiration!

Jennifer T: Thank you, I would like to thank the people that have helped me get to where I am. My husband, Donovan, training partners: Wheat, Sandbag, Angry Orange, Threads, Big Lanky, Sandbag and Lil Sis.

Thanks to my sponsors: SSP Nutrition, LVD Fitness,  and SBD

Social Media: Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest: jenthompson132

Facebook: 132 Pounds of Power




By: Tasha Whelan and Dan Stephenson

Ray Williams

Ray Williams was the first person to raw squat (knee sleeves and belt only) over 1000 pounds (1005 pounds in fact) in a sanctioned competition.  Not only did Ray put up a monster squat but he managed to put together a 530 pound bench and an 844 pound deadlift for a total of 2379 lbs.

First off, I would like to congratulate you on your recent achievement at this year’s USA Powerlifting Nationals in Atlanta GA.

  • T&D:  How did you get involved in powerlifting? And how long have you been doing it? 

Ray: I have been lifting since October 8 2012, and honestly I have always loved the weight room, but I got into the sport just due to the fact that I never stopped lifting after college and I figured that if I’m going to be big and strong I might as well put it to some good use.

  • T&D:  You just competed in USA Powerlifting Nationals last weekend, how did it go for you? What numbers did you hit, and was it what you were hoping for? 

Ray: I squatted 1,005, I bench 530, and I deadlifted 844.  Squat was exactly what Coach Gary and myself had planned, but the deadlift was actually through the roof.  I had attempted 855 a few times in training and always came just a little short so I figured why not and just went for 844 and I got it.

  • T&D: You broke the American record and an unofficial world record with your squat. That is AMAZING!!! How did that feel? Was that the heaviest squat you have lifted?  I believe I have seen a training video in which you squatted 1,000 pounds.

Ray: In training I have done 1,000 but that was in the gym.  I wanted to nail it on the platform and put that chapter behind me now I can focus on bigger numbers.  The feeling was unreal, because the atmosphere at this past meet was crazy I think it was just as impressive as the Arnold.  So the thrill of completing the lift and the energy of the crowd it was crazy!!

  • T&D:  How long does it take for you to recover after lifting this kind of weight?  What does your deload look like after a meet?

Ray:  Well it took about three days to totally get the soreness out and recovery like for example my first squat session this Monday will probably be 800 for 10 sets of 2 just to get back going.

  • T&D: Was your training any different leading up to this meet in comparison to other competitions? (Did you change your diet or make any big changes in training protocols).

Ray: I pretty much do everything the same no matter what because I don’t believe in switching things up.  If it’s not broke I will never change it, so far what I have been doing has been working.

  • T&D:  What lift do you enjoy training the most? 

Ray: I love to squat, but recently deadlift is becoming one of my favorites because I actually know how to do it now.  In the beginning I hated it because I was so terrible at it.

  • T&D: Your recent success has been noticed by various media outlets (ESPN,, Bleacher Report, etc.). How does it feel to see yourself on ESPN? 

Ray: I don’t look at it as me, I see IPF/USAPL getting massive amounts of attention.  I want powerlifting to make it to that Olympic stage, and I would love to represent my country as an Olympic athlete.

  • T&D: Where can we expect to see you in the future in terms of competitions and events?

Ray: As of right now I do not have anything scheduled, but the Arnold and Worlds are definitely locked in.

  • T&D: What are your next goals (numbers) to hit?

Ray: I’m in the process of seeing how training goes so that I can realistically set goals for my next meet.

  • T&D:  What is the thing you struggle with the most with training and/ or competing? 

Ray: Sitting still, I love to be in the venue and talk to people.  As a lifter at some point in time you have to get off your feet and rest.  That is the part I struggle with the most.

  • T&D:  Who inspires you?

Ray: Too many people to name, but the two people that inspire me to be great the most are my two sons.  Tae’Sean and Daniel, as a proud father when those to look at me they see Superman and my oldest son Tae actually wants me to come and be his show and tell at school once football season is over.  So my boys are the pride and joy of my life.

  • T&D: How can people find and follow you on social media?

Ray: My Facebook Pages profile is Ray Williams Powerlifting, My actual Facebook page is Ray Orlando Williams, my IG profile is optimusprime_334, and my twitter is Coach_Williams1

  • T&D: Any tips or words of advice for other lifters who want to get to your level of competition? 

Ray: Find what works for you. It’s super easy to see a guy crushing big numbers and want to follow a program, but if that program is not for you then what?  So if you are a young lifter find a mentor who can guide you through as much as possible then once you outgrow his/her teachings then you find your own way.

Ray, Thanks again for taking time out of your day to talk with us. It is so inspiring and motivating to watch you compete and see you continue to progress and succeed. We wish you the best of luck in your future competition and endeavors, and look forward to seeing you on the platform!





Heavy Hitters Representing in Everett

The Heavy Hitters Powerlifting group were well represented Saturday January 14th at the UPSA Push Pull event held at EGO Strength and Performance in Everett, WA.  Including Tasha and myself, there were 13 lifters from our group in this competition and nearly half of them were first time competitors.  From a coaching perspective, this was a blast to be a part of so many lifters’ first experience with powerlifting.  From an athlete perspective, this was more of a “fun-meet” being that the we were there to coach and support our team and enjoy competing next to them.

Overall, this was an awesome meet!  It was well organized and ran like a well oiled machine.  The guys up at EGO are great and have an awesome environment to lift and compete in.  As a pleasant bonus, the meet also had an amazing videographer/photographer, Bridget Raftery, capture the event and put together lifter videos for a very affordable cost.

As a team, our athletes did very well for themselves.  Everyone from our group put up a total (nobody bombed out) and many set PR’s.  Many even won or placed in their weight class.

Great job team: Deb Booth, Lauren Elkin, Janet Yeilding, Chris Leiter, Beth Zborowski, Erica Shepard, Amy Jenks, Kevin Bereta, Lisa Dimak, Morgan Smith, and Steadman Mathis III.  Way to represent and congrats on all of your hard work.  Also a huge thanks for all that came out to support and for all of those that were involved in putting this meet together.

Check out some of the photos and videos from the meet below:

USPA Medals
Photo credit: Bridget Raftery

Best Lifter Trophy
Photo Credit: Bridget Raftery

Morgan Award
Photo Credit: Bridget Raftery

Deb Award
Photo Credit: Bridget Raftery

Tasha Award Ceremony
Photo Credit: Bridget Raftery

Heavy Hitters Group Photo EGO PP
Photo Credit: Victoria Lynn Heft

Boosting the Bench Press

There are a number of things that can be holding you back from a big bench press.  In order to get your bench press moving in the right direction, here is a brief checklist of what your training should address:

  1. Practice proper technique.

There is a difference between training movements and training muscles.  When focusing on increasing your bench press, you need to practice the technique and aim to perfect the movement.  It pays to be as efficient as possible with your technique.  This means finding an efficient bar path, minimizing excess range of motion, and creating a stable environment to transfer force.  If you are utilizing the bench press to train the chest, you won’t make it very far in pressing big weights.  The technique used to “target” a muscle is going to much less efficient at moving heavier weights.  There are other exercises that can be better utilized for targeting certain muscle groups such as your pecs.

  1. Follow a properly planned program

If you are not following program of some sort, you are doing yourself a disservice.  There is so much information on training that is easily available these days, there is no excuse to not have a plan for each workout.  Progress takes patience.  You will not progress very much if you are testing your max every week.  It takes time to fine tune technique, build up strength, and adapt to the stresses of training.

  1. Increase muscle mass

There is merit to focusing some of your training to targeting muscles.  An increase in muscle size will almost undoubtedly increases that muscle’s potential for greater strength.  The larger the cross-sectional area of a muscle, the more contractile units it exhibits, therefore increasing its potential to produce more force when trained properly.  Therefore, do not completely neglect training bicep curls and chest flies.  Keep the primary focus of your training on strength but add-in some bodybuilding style lifts and sets to supplement your strength gains.  Personally, I prefer to end my strength workouts with a good muscle pump.

If you would like to learn from one of the best benchers in the world and you are in the greater Seattle area, be sure to make it out to EGO Strength and Performance in Everett, WA this Saturday October 10th to meet Adrian Larsen.  Adrian has held the world record for his amazing 585lb bench press at a bodyweight of only 220lbs.  He has an incredible story to tell as he has overcome much adversity in his life to achieve this goal.

Check out for more information.


Coachable Cueing

“Knees out!”

“Tuck the elbows!”

“Get tight!”


“Chest up!”

“Bend the bar”


A cue is defined as a signal for action.  In coaching, a cue is a simple reminder to perform an action that was previously discussed between a coach and athlete.  All of the above cues can work great, but they can also work horribly.  The difference in whether or not a cue is good or bad is the athlete’s understanding or interpretation of what that cue is telling him/her to do.

If a coach has not made sure that his/her athlete has a mutual understanding of what the intention is behind the cue that is being used, it is essentially useless.  For example, the “knees out!” cue for the squat; the athlete may interpret this cue literally as pushing his/her knees out as far as possible.  The coach may have intended this to be a reminder to apply torque through the hips by externally rotating the hip while rooting the feet to the floor.  The simple interpretation by the athlete can lead to a lack of tension/activation of the hips and rolling the pressure onto the outsides of the feet all while trying to move the knees out as he/she was told.

Another example would be to “bend the bar” during the bench press.  The goal of this cue should be to create torque and to engage the lats during the bench press.  The literal interpretation that the athlete may have of “bending the bar” may be limited to turning the wrist as if to snap a twig.  Obviously the latter is going to be much less useful when it comes to pressing heavier weights and will most likely become a limiting factor in getting stronger.

More to that, to an untrained coach’s eye, this may LOOK the same as if the athlete was accomplishing what the coach has intended although the outcome is very different.  This is the coach’s fault.  The coach should have either A) explained the cue and the expectation more clearly or B) chosen another verbal cue that makes sense to the athlete.

What I have found to work best when coaching others is to first explain the key principles that you are trying to achieve through a certain technique.  For the powerlifts, this usually starts with cueing the trunk and proximal joints (shoulders, hips) into position and explain their role throughout the movement.  Following that the distal segments (feet, hands) are addressed, and finally the action(s) that drives the movement.  Generally speaking, if you focus on the proximal and then the distal, the elbows and knees will often “fall into place” and will not require additional coaching or cueing.

With this method, I try to use as few cue’s as possible to achieve what I am asking of my athletes.  The less cues that a coach uses, the less clutter in the athletes’ mind.  It amazes me when I go to a powerlifting meet and you can hear some coaches yelling ten different things to their athletes and then expect them to remember it all and perform at their best.

Coaching is an art and not every athlete learns the same way.  There will be people that are very literal and will try to do exactly as they are told through cueing.  It is important that they, the athletes, understand and interpret the coaches’ cues correctly in order for the cue to be effective.  Instead of using generic cues that may or may not be effective, coaches should develop and refine a coaching language of their own that coincides with their teachings techniques and find a way to adapt and apply it to every athlete they work with.


2015 Emerald Cup “Double Viking”

Heavy Hitters

May 9th 2015 Marks the first meet for the Heavy Hitters Power lifting team. It was a great meet filled with friends, family, adrenaline, first timers and Personal Bests.

Recap of Hardcore Power lifting meet for the Heavy Hitters Team:

Katelynn “Kansas” Travers, this was her first Powerlifting meet. Last year she was successful in her first figure competition at a local show, taking 4th place. This girl dabbles in it all. Well rounded and hard working. Katelynn put up a 300lb Deadlift, big weight but sadly got red lighted for a bit of a hitch. You bet we were all proud of her for getting that weight off the floor. She ended with a successful 285# deadlift, 215# Squat, and a 125#Bench. Not bad for her first time on the offical platform. Well done Kansas Kate!!!

Natasha Hanganu, a fun energetic blonde to watch. This was Natasha second time in a power lifting meet. She has made great progress over the last year increasing her total. She is fun to watch and brings some good energy to the team. She successfully squatted #205, Bench pressed 135#, and pulled a 250# Deadlift. She has much more in her and we are excited to see her strive and more meets. Great work Natasha!

Tasha “the Wolf” Whelan, the loud, cheerful, grunter of the bunch showed us what hard work can really do. Tasha has also made some amazing progress since the IPL Powerlifting World Championships back in November.  Tasha ended up breaking 2 federation records with her 285# squat, and a heavy 375# deadlift. Winning both events and taking a second place in the bench press with a 175# lift, failing at 190# bench. Don’t worry Wolf, we know you hit that next time. Keep up the hard work kid, it’s paying off.

Tasha Prize SquatTasha Interview


Moving on to the Heavy Hitting Fellas of the team.

Young Zach “powerhouse” Barrons brings some good competition. This kid is just fun to watch. Standing 6 ft 4 inclines tall, this lanky buff kid knows how to pull some heavy weight off the floor. Successfully lifting 565# as a second attempt, and battle for first place with a pull of 585#, it was close, but took second in this lift. Before this, Zach squatted 420# and benching 320#. Long and lean, this 23 year old is a crazy fun Heavy Hitter who is just beginning and has so far to go.

Battle for first in the Deadlift with the Powerhouse Barrons, was other team-mate Stead Mathis 11. This was the lift to watch. Neck and neck, Zach and Steadman go lifting 545’s as openers, both nailing the lift, second lifts both going for 565 and both got them. Final attempt the two of the battle it out for 585# pull, taking it with a big ‘ol grin on his face was the man, Steadman successfully locking out the weight. Making this lift look easy Steadman took the win. Steadman has competed in two additional meets along side team-mates Dan Stephenson and Tasha Whelan. Steadman is a rising powerlifter who knows how to get the work done. Taking first place in the last 2 meets he competed in and first at the Double Vikings meet with his 585# Deadlift, a PR of 450# squat and a 350# Bench. Not bad, not bad at all Steadman.

Dan Stephenson, on the rise to big meets and big lifts, this guy is one to keep your eyes on. Taking second overall in this weight class, but winning the squat event with a beautiful, easy looking 480#, 500lbs right around the corner. Dan is a beast, an animal….a….. DANimal. He was on fire. Nailed a 30lb PR on Deadlift with a big 555 pull. Made it look like cake. Benching a 340# bench. Dan’s on his way to a big total and easily qualying for nationals and Worlds again. Dan was a big success and an awesome coach for the team. Can’t wait to see you again on the platform Danimal.

Cory “Princess” Payne, this guy is pretty 😉 I mean making all the lifts look pretty. Great technique and skill, he made this lifts look effortless. Cory squatted a big 485# smoothly, defintly left some in the tank, he is well over a 500lb squatter, we look forward to seeing that Princess. Bench is next, not one of Cory’s favorites but again he makes it look pretty. Ending with a 260# bench and pulling a 560# deadlift. Cory you made the team look good. Strong and clean lifting.

The Heavy Hitters have just begun. Keep up with us and check back in to find out what we’re up to.

The Heavy Hitters Powerlifting team had a strong showing at the 2015 Emerald Cup Expo and’s “Double Viking” meet.

Programming for Maximum Strength Seminar

Happy Memorial Day!

This weekend I was fortunate enough to present to a group of peers and fitness enthusiasts.  I presented on program design for maximal strength gains.  For those of you that attended this morning, as promised below are a copy of the presentation slides:

Programming Presentation 2015

For those of you reading that were unable to attend the seminar live, I will be uploading a video recording of the presentation here later this week.  Check back in and let me know what you think when you get a chance.  I would love to hear some feedback!

To go along with the presentation, I have put together a 3-week strength template for those interested in trying it out.  You can download it from the following link:

Three Week Strength Template

Stay strong!  Remember to thank someone who has sacrificed and served for our freedom this weekend.