This past weekend I had the pleasure of heading to Long Island to Gaglione Strength and Conditioning for a seminar with some of my buddies. Road trip!!
The seminar was hosted by John Gaglione and Todd Bumgardner, to help promote their upcoming program going by the same name (Supreme Strength). I was really looking forward to meeting these two guys and getting tips and tricks from them, and then we arrived and found out there were more special guests. Mike Ranfone made the trip from Connecticut and, one of the most well-known names in strength and conditioning, Jim "Smitty" Smith was there too. Having those four coaches available to talk to was worth its weight in gold. They are the kinds of "celebrities" that we have in this crazy little world of Strength and Conditioning. The seminar started off with some really great tips on warm-ups, utilizing some techniques that I've never tried. We broke apart into groups and went over the 4 big lifts: squat, deadlift, bench and press. This was great, because I got to get some tips from the coaches at all 4 stations. Smitty managed to find me at each station and give me some really good information. I was most excited to have those guys watch me deadlift, I find their tips really useful. We ended the day with a Q&A session where they did a great job of answering every question asked of them.
When I read an article or attend a seminar, my goal is to take away one really good tip or trick. The tip I took this weekend was about bracing. I thought that I knew how to get tight for a lift, but I was wrong. Breathe in through the nose, fill up your low belly, push out through your obliques, squeeze your lats, "melt the bar with your hands". These all combined to help me feel tighter than ever before when performing a lift. These are cues that I am certainly going to bring back to my clients.
One of the things that made me feel really good after this seminar was the amount of information that they provided that I was already familiar with. They provided some tips and tricks that I use with clients already. They talked about some programming considerations that I already employ. There wasn't even any glaring deficiencies in my lifts that needed correcting. I left this seminar feeling pretty confident in the amount of knowledge that I already have (obviously I know that there is still SO much more to learn).
Post-seminar we went to eat at a pizza place around the corner (Italian food in Long Island? Who knew?) Getting to sit, eat and shoot the shit with these guys was awesome. It was really worthwhile to hang out with them and talk shop a little bit. The best part of the whole weekend, though, was Friday night. We arrived at Gags place just before 6 p.m. and walked into the end of a wrestling practice (his gym is part of a wrestling school). We walked in and Gags and Smitty were just hanging out. My buddy Dan has been to Gaglione's place for a seminar before, which allowed us to get invited in for a quick training session. Twenty minutes after getting out of the car, I was in a group training with Gags, Smitty and Brad Martin (another DieselCrew member). I got to roll out my upper back a little and do some t-spine extensions and then I was under the bar warming up with 135 for speed benches. No big deal, right? We got a few sets in, worked up to 155 or so, and then Smitty threw some bands on the bar. I'm not sure how many sets we did, but we worked around the group doing triples until Smitty said we were done.
We then moved on to some pullup ladders. We were lifting in the EliteFTS collegiate racks (love them) so we got to use the neutral grips (great for my elbow). There was 5 of us lifting together, so we went through one at a time. Single, double, triple...up to 5. Then we switched the stimulus. First up were regular pullups, then some L-sits, then some band resisted. Finishing up with a max-effort iso-hold against the bands. Smitty went and got the TRX out, and we did some rows and face pulls. Next up? Fat grip TRX face pulls. Then? Feet elevated Band resisted Fat Gripz TRX rows. No big deal.
The other group of guys that were training at the same time as us finished up almost simultaneously. Someone pulled out a KB and started a little pissing contest. Bottoms-up press with the heaviest KB was the Man Challenge of the night, and people started throwing their hats in the ring. Smitty, of course, won the challenge by doing a bottoms-up clean and press with the approximately 90 pound bell. Really really cool to see. We finished up and people started leaving and doing other stuff. Before I realized it, we were getting a private lesson from Smitty on the RKC swing. Ho. Lee. Shit. No big deal, right? Just some private coaching being handed to us by one of the most well-known and highly respected guys in the industry. That 90 minute training session was worth the entire trip by itself. Getting to share a barbell with guys like that is really an honor.
All in all, it was a great trip to Long Island. I learned some stuff and made some great connections in the industry. Attending seminars is something that I know that I need to do more of, but it's an expensive proposition for me. I'm going to continue taking the opportunity to get to every seminar that I can afford, in an effort to meet the right people and learn the right things.
Thanks for reading! Go lift some heavy shit!