Notes From the Field – Three Tricks That Have Transformed My Clients


Every so often I’m going to take the opportunity to talk about some of the stuff I’m doing with my clients that is providing ass-kicking results. I’m going to call it “Notes From the Field” as that’s truly what these articles are. They’re not designed to be some great scientific or theoretical discussion about the degrees of elbow flexion or the exact second to dose peri-workout nutrition.

All that stuff is well and good, but it rarely translates to the field.

The things I’m going to talk about are working. Sometimes they’re going to fly in the face of “conventional wisdom” or the latest, newest theory that all of the “experts” are doing. That’s fine. I know my clients are getting stronger, faster, setting records, and looking better than ever.

Here’s a sneak peak into what we’re doing.

1. Overhead work. Oh, shit! Right off the bat we’re getting into some controversy! Everywhere you go on the internet there’s a highly-regarded strength coach who is either a huge fan of overhead pressing or ranting angrily against it. Of course, the answer to “should you be doing overhead pressing?” lies within the answer to “what do you want to accomplish?”. There are plenty of situations where overhead pressing is not a good idea, in those cases… don’t do it. It’s not that complicated, people.

The vast majority of my clients do some sort of overhead pressing. It may be barbell, dumbbell, sandbags, kettlebells, or other implements. It may be one-handed or two-handed. It may be with strict form or as a push-press or jerk. Regardless, almost all of them at some point in time take an implement from the ground and put it over their head.

Let me tell you why.

First of all, if it’s taught right it teaches the athlete to not only press an object overhead but how to control the scapula (shoulder blade) and secure the shoulder joint. Since the shoulder is one of the most mobile and most injured joints in the body, I’d say that is important.

I also like overhead pressing because it teaches you to drive power through the whole body and to stabilize the entire body. If an athlete can’t keep their hips, abs, glutes, and lats tight (the “core”), then they aren’t going to be able to push anything heavy over their head.

Finally, because it’s damn cool. There’s just something primal and awesome about taking something heavy and driving it over your head. It teaches my clients how to truly conquer weight, which in turn makes them into animals in the gym and life. That, and it’s damn cool.

2. Loaded Carries. Kettlebells, barbells, sandbags, Bulgarian Bags, other clients, whatever. Pick it up and transport it somewhere. Use a Farmer’s Walk, Zercher grip, bear hug, clean grip, overhead carry (see #1), or mix it all up. Regardless, my clients are moving heavy stuff from one end of the gym to the other.

Loaded carrying provides a great conditioning tool. It forces you to move against a resistive load. It teaches you how to stabilize that load in space. It also forces you to learn how to function and breathe while under compressive stress. There’s not much more athletic than that. My athletes are getting bigger, leaner, more tenacious, and in better shape by carrying.

3. Sandbag Work. Everybody gets their turn on the sandbag. Whether they’re cleaning it, carrying it, loading it, pressing it, or anything else the unstable nature of the sandbag is cranking their “real world” strength and conditioning. Having to manipulate a heavy sandbag forces you to grip hard and focus on what you’re doing. You can’t half-ass a clean with a heavy sandbag; You’ve got to become a finisher.

That’s three things that I’m doing with my training clients that are getting monster results right now. This isn’t theory from the lab, it’s truth from the field.

Check out to learn more secrets to getting strong, fast, and lean today!

Comments on Notes From the Field – Three Tricks That Have Transformed My Clients Leave a Comment

June 7, 2012

Kathryn King @ 12:17 am #

There’s a serious delay between the original post and this response; but that’s only because there was a serious delay between the original post and my starting work with Isaac as my strength and conditioning coach 🙂

When I started working with Isaac, one of several challenges I was facing was a left shoulder that had twice been dislocated and left unstable. I can tell you that the work Isaac has had me do with overhead squats, sandbag work, ring dips and rows, cleans and jerks, etc., has made a world of difference in my upper body strength and stability. I don’t know that I’ve gotten any bigger from overhead work, but I know I’ve gotten tougher, more stable, and more athletic; and I know for sure that I’m more of a finisher than I was just six months ago.

So yeah, bring on the overhead work 🙂

June 11, 2012

Isaac @ 8:47 pm #

Damn straight, Kathryn! Your progress has been excellent!

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