1 Weird Deadlift Tip for Better Technique, Coaching and Teaching

Do you sometimes round your back when you deadlift?  This 1 weird deadlift teaching technique works like a charm if you’re having trouble getting a client to keep their back straight when it comes to the barbel deadlift.

If you’re  a beginner this technique might a bit difficult, but if you can master it you ‘ll be on your way to deadlifting without back pain.

If you’re a more advanced lifter, you probably already do this – but it matters more when you’re deadlifting 350lbs+

If you’ve watched as many deadlift video I have, you may have heard people say

“Stay tight.”


“Pull the slack of the bar first.”

This Deadift Technique video details how to do what I’m asking, without lifting the weight.  It’s a training and teaching tool helps improve motor patterns to prevent low back pain in the deadlift and of course, lift more weight.












How improve Wrist flexibility for Wrist Extension

I learned this really cool activation and strengthening technique for improving wrist mobility for overhead movments like a snatch or overhead press. Also if you’re trying to front squat or clean, this is quite effective.

It’s primarily designed to improve wrist extension. Think about being in a push up position and trying to have your wrist at 90 degrees. One of the members at my gym showed it to me and for those of you having problems with overhead movement, this is going to be great for helping promote long term permanent mobility.

Wrist Flexibility Exercise 1 of 5

Wrist Flexibility Exercise 1 of 5

1 – Step One

Start with your arm completely straight and your wrist flat. If you’re really stiff it might help to contract your triceps.

Wrist Flexibility Exercise 2 of 5

Wrist Flexibility Exercise 2 of 5

2 – Step Two

With your fingers and elbow straight, lift your hand as high as you can. Yes, that is my maximum wrist extension, it’s terrible.

Wrist Flexibility Exercise 3 of 5

Wrist Flexibility Exercise 3 of 5

3 – Step Three

As you push your hand into your maximum active wrist extension, ben fingers slightly. This will will give you some slack and allow for more extension in the wrist. Remember, wrist extension is the hand going upward with the palm down. I’m affirming this because due to my mild dyslexia I will frequently mix up flexion and extension.

Wrist Flexibility Exercise 4 of 5

Wrist Flexibility Exercise 4 of 5

Wrist Flexibility Exercise 5 of 5

Wrist Flexibility Exercise 5 of 5

4 – Step Four

While trying to keep that extra bit of wrist extension due to the fingers bent. I’ll call it maximum active wrist extension with fingers flexed. Try to straighten out the fingers while keeping the wrist position. You should feel the muscles of your forearm work as long as you try to keep the wrist position. It will almost feel like you’re trying to stick the middle finger at yourself, as the middle finger will be the one that activates the forearm muscle the most. Otherwise known as the extensor digitorum. Do this until all fingers straighten and then repeat the process for 5-10 reps.

Here’s a video of the wrist forearm exercise

This is an exercise you want to do throughout the day. If your wrist feel jammed or are simply just really tight you may want to do this banded wrist stretch before doing the exercise.

Share this with someone you know that might have some wrist tightness and weakness.


Top 8 Fitness Myths I Use to Believe

In case you’d like to listen to me read this to you, you can see watch or listen to the video version of this article, or scroll to the bottom for the embedded video.  The audio version will be available on my soundcloud soon.

Back when I was as green as I could be, I was at 24 hour Fitness University. My instructors were chiropractors by the names of Dr. Kirk Meyer, Chuck Fields and Nagoya. These instructors had such a huge impact on my fitness education. Essentially, everything I learned in that 5-day course in San Ramon back in 2001 was my first exposure to “technique and form”. I was highly impressionable. It was my mistake to think that everything they said was 100% true. Looking back, remembering the experience, there’s a good chance that I misinterpreted bits and pieces of what they said.

1. Benching elbows past 90 degrees

Keep in mind that I was coming from a background of almost zero formal education. I didn’t really play many sports, let alone, any high level of anything at this point in my life. All that I knew was what I read in muscle and fitness magazines – reading hydroxycut research articles that I thought to be facts. Really? Lee Priest in a lab coat? For those of you who don’t know, Lee Priest was a popular, Olympia underdog, very short bodybuilder with Popeye sized forearms.

Benching past 90 degrees or bringing the bar to your chest is perfectly safe, just as long as you have good technique..

2.) Knees going past toes or only going to 90 degrees.

This was something that was taught about lunges and leg press. I was never really taught how to squat. We were taught very simple rules for where your feet and knees should be. They touched on adduction, abduction, internal, external rotation, flexion, extension, eversion and inversion – but only really to memorize. Much of what all personal training certifications try to teach is a very abridged version of functional anatomy.

Saying that knees going past your toes or only squatting to 90 degrees of the knee is analogous to saying that basketball is very dangerous. It depends on the person.

3.) Fat makes you fat.

The problem without having some formal education in Science is that it causes many of us to make assumptions about things that appear obvious. “If you stop eating fat, you won’t get fat.” is an example of ‘almost sound logic’ depending on who you talk to. If we are to say that the truth about fat is that it indeed makes you fat then it makes sense that if you eat a bunch of low fat foods, you won’t get fat. I mean after all, Coca Cola has 0 grams of fat.

4.) Carbs make you fat.

When Atkins was all the rage, carbs became the new evil and everything was about ketosis. These days we say ketogenic. When you’re in ketosis, you’re burning a ton of fat. When it was first introduced, it was so radical. It’s the opposite of what we use to believe in. It came at a perfect time to get people to try it, and you know what happened? It actually worked – too bad that most of the rapid weight loss was due to water loss.

5.) Overhead presses cause shoulder impingement.

If you give a green personal trainer just enough information – but not all of it – you can encourage a lot of bad paradigms about exercise science. This is one of those rules that are similar to what I said about the bench press to 90 degrees only and knees going past the toes, it depends on the person.

6.) Shoulders are depressed.

I really use to advocate brining the shoulders back and down. I taught it to a point of over correction. There is such a thing as too much of a good thing and what makes this good thing bad is that constantly doing this during certain movements can encourage bad motor patterns that lead to shoulder problems.

7.) You should always squat to ATG or parallel.

When I first made a commitment to start posting on YouTube a little over a year ago, I want to make sure that I didn’t get called out on depth. Although hitting proper depth in a squat is important, how you get there is much more important. An example is that many of my female clients can’t squat ATG but they have to compromise their spine, collapse the arches in the feet and adduct the knees and over extend or posterior tilt the spine to get there. It’s okay to do it with no load or light loads for a few reps, but not for high volume or heavy weight.

8.) You can get shredded in 12 weeks.

Xenadrine and hydroxycut ads, as well as many others, made you believe that if you take their supplement, you could look like a stage competitor. I later learned, after watching bigger, faster stronger documentary, that a lot of it is smoke and mirrors; not to mention air brush, Photoshop and lighting. I’m not against accomplishing amazing results, but time frames to accomplish these goals are not always worth the sacrifice.

If you’re a barbell enthusiast like me, sign up for my deadlift  nerd newsletter.


Hatred magic card suicide black – The hater in you

They are not better than you. You are not better than them. This week is about YOU being better than last week.

We compete directly with one another in specific worlds: competitions like sports, job promotions and business. BUT, those things are insignificant in the big picture. I want you to take notice of the big picture.

I have this character flaw I’ll share with you.

One thing that I will occasionally do is I will tell myself how much better I am than another person. It’s a way to make myself feel good. In a way, it builds my confidence to put others down.

I’m better than this person because of {fill in the blank}.

It seems harmless, but this pathway of thought can often turn into resentment, jealousy and distrust. Not just negative emotions, but STRONG negative emotions. My argument for this is telling myself that I have a good bullshit meter. Instead of letting my emotions direct my thoughts, I decided to think for myself.

Somewhere in the middle of my thoughts, I asked myself a question: “Why do i feel this way?” It could’ve been a video, movie, TV show, article, etc. “Am I hating?” “Is this what it means to be a hater?


Let’s do a simple thought experiment:

I’m going to sound off a few names and I want you to take a mental note of either positive, neutral or negative.


Mike Chang
Six Pack Shortcuts

Jason Blaha
Juggernaut Fitness TV

Freelee The Banana Girl
Jonnie Candito
Mike O’ Hearn
Hillary Clinton
Justin Bieber
Peyton Manning
Arnold Schwarzenegger


Of the 10 answers given, how many of them were neutral? I’m curious. Just comment a number. Of the names listed, Hitler is certainly 99.99% negative, I’m pretty sure it’s 100% on my channel.


Have you ever asked yourself why you like or dislike these people? What about hate? Hate is such a strong emotion, to spend your energy hating a person is intoxicating.


In my favorite card game, Magic the Gathering, there’s a card called Hatred.

Magic is basically like dungeons and dragons but on cards. You represent a wizard with spells trying to bring your opponent’s life total to zero by using creatures and spells. Each player starts with 20 life.

The card Hatred requires you to pay life to essentially do damage. So if you pay 19 life, you can do 19 damage. So if you can manage to get your opponent’s life total below yours, you can end the game with this one card. But, to use the card hatred, you have to sacrifice almost your entire being.

The analogy of the card game to life is so fitting because of the power of hatred – it’s basically the dark side of the force.

Negative emotions tell more about us than anything else. It’s not necessarily a character flaw, it’s simply a characteristic of ourselves that’s worth understanding. When dislike turns to hate, our limbic system (also known as the lizard brain) gets aroused – this is where fight or flight feelings come from.


When it comes to actions, EVERYONE responds differently. But, there is one thing that is certain – there is a part of you that feels like it’s in danger – there’s a threat close by.

Adrenaline starts to flow – and if you’re in a professional setting, it might be difficult to find an outlet. Because rarely are we really in any life or death circumstance day to day.

But, what if you could channel that emotion into a PR deadlift, squat or bench press? This is how seemingly heavy weights, like 90% + feel light on a particular set.


What if you could take the anger towards a drunk driver that caused the death of a loved one?

Candace Lightner lost her little 13 year old girl to a drunk driver. She founded the organization – Mothers Against Drunk Driving.


There are countless stories of people where horrible things have happened to them and their family but they managed to turn it into something that changes the world – positively impacting the lives of others.


So, the message today is to not be a troll – at least not the bad kind. Seek first to understand, gather your own information then form your opinion. If someone pisses you off, use that emotion to do something – create something positive for yourself and others.




Don’t Be a Person of Success

“Try not to become a man of success, but rather try to become a man of value.” – Albert Einstein

Click the video above to have the article read to you.

I’m always striving to make myself better. And for the most part, that’s much pretty everybody.

Our society is so enamored by success.

Respect, Money, Fame. Power.

There are varying levels of motivation but the hunger is there for everybody. We like winners. We like to know who’s the best. We like to know the score and what the rankings are.

It’s human nature to compare yourself

To strive to be like one of the best.

Your perception of what success is, is just that, it’s a point of view.

The view I’m going to take quote Albert Einstein:


I think it starts with becoming a person of value. While in the process of training and sticking to a diet, you are making yourself better. You are taking care of yourself and getting results.

The best results (IMO). The fastest results comes from adding value. Whatever your expertise, you can share your experience and help someone out.

It’s when we share and teach – we learn to collaborate.

It will exponentially help yourself.

Your understanding deepens when you teach. Those idea breakthroughs come about more frequent.

When I share, make videos and plan articles – I’m adding value, hoping to make a positive impact on you.

When you train with a workout partner, you’re adding value by just being there. You add energy to the environment that helps move the collective make progress faster.

You don’t have to be an expert to add value or teach.You can view it as sharing your experience. When you do this, you put yourself out there.

You make it so that you can reap the rewards of positive feedback.

But the opposite is also true, You make it so that you can be provided negative feedback or trolling.

It’s essentially the risk of failure.

Just like getting under the barbell. Just like when you make an attempt to lift 95% + of your 1 rep max, you’re increasing your chance for failure.

But it’s in these moments, that when we share and put ourselves out there we provide ourselves the necessary fertilizer accelerate our own growth.

A growth boost to make profound positive change in our lives.

Thanks for reading, listening or watching. If you liked this article be sure to share it.

pirformis table top stretch

Mobility and Stretching Photos for Clients

Foam Roll Calf

foam roll calf

Foam Roll TFL

tfl foam roll

Foam Rolling Inner thigh

Foam Roll Piriformis

foam roll pirformis


Calf Wall Stretch

wall calf stretch


Calf Stretch Lower calf soleus

calf stretch 2

Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch
aka couch stretch

kstar couch stretch








Inner thigh Straddle Stretch


Pirformis Stretch “Table Top Stretch”

pirformis table top stretch

Why do I suck so much? Self Worth in building a better self

If you miss this lift you’re a piece of shit. If you fail you are weak.

This is the motivation some of us lifters use to determine our self worth when it comes to our sport/fitness endeavor. Sometimes we are conscious of it and most of the time I believe it is unconscious.

For people trying to lose weight and get lean, a common motivator is the thought, “I feel feel fat.” Some of the leanest and ripped people think like this.

“Why do I suck so much.”

Dissatisfaction with vanity, dissatisfaction with physical capabilities are all forms of negative motivation. A powerful motivator. Disgust is a powerful motivator.

Over the years I’ve experienced lots of different emotions. Ups and downs are part of life. Same goes for how we look, how fit we are and how strong we are. When you are young, you have the grit, speed, wit and energy to really prove these thoughts wrong.

Some of us suffer more than others to get there. There are people out there that put themselves in the pain cave and find a way to relish in the suffer fest. Crossfit does come to mind. Though it is this suffering where we find ourselves reborn. To survive the ordeal, the training session, the wod, the powerlifting meet… etc…

In powerlifting it’s really about moving more weight. Going for a new personal record to Squat, Bench and Deadlift a heavy weight for more reps.

In the pursuit of six pack abs, shaping a better looking physique hours are spent in the gym doing cardio doing lots of reps.

For what reason do some of us do these things? To not feel fat? To prove to ourselves we don’t suck? We can either run towards something positive or we can run away from something negative. The dog chasing you that’s about to bite your ass, and you run like hell from it. Then there is the big, bright positive goal or dream. The motivation of pain chasing you or affecting you or the motivation of pleasure pulling you forward.

Quite often we will run faster and harder from pain and disgust than we will ever run towards being better.

It’s so easy to criticize and say to someone,
“you’re lean enough.”
“you’re strong enough.”
“you have enough money”

The challenge lies in being able to balance it for you. The magic in being human is that it’s your choice how you will write your rules for what you want.


Ryan’s Deadlift Seminar for Training Staff and Glute Anatomy Review

Apologies for any typos, this is a draft of the final article but is also an outline 

Deadlift Variations to be discussed

1.) Conventional Deadlift & Pause Deadlift

2.) Romanian Deadlift

3.) Stiff legged Deadlift

4.) Sumo Deadlift

5.) Deficit Deadlift

6.) Snatch Grip Deadlift

7.) Clean Grip Deadlift

8.) Block pulls and Rack pulls

“Deadlifting wrong is like driving on the highway on 2nd gear. You might get from point A to point B, but you’ll do it at cost that is often not worth the amount damage it would do to the engine.”

The most important thing

It’s important that you prioritize the spine. It’s quite common that our clients have very tight hamstrings that prevent them from reach the bar in the ideal position without rounding the lower back. Under most circumstances it’s best that a client squat down to the bar to position for a deadlift then tighten into their hamstrings. The purpose of all of this is to maintain neutral spine.

Context for Deadlift talk

Competition Deadlift for Powerlifting & Crossfit

Training specificity is paramount. Why are you teaching the deadlift for what purpose? In powerlifting you’re trying to maximize all avenues of leverage to lift the most amount of weight following the rules of the sport. The judge will say “platform ready.” You attempt your lift. You cannot use the top of your thighs to help the weight up. This is known as hitching.

In crossfit there are powerlifting type like ladders but hitching is allowed. It’s part of the sport.

In crossfit and work capacity type events, reps is the goal in the shortest period of time. As in powerlifting you’re trying to be efficient, but instead of a single repetition, you’re doing over multiple reps.

As you know I’m not a crossfit expert, but in multiple rep (especially high reps) there are 2 things I think about when it comes to using all the rules to your advantage. Bouncing the weight off the ground (touch & go) and rounding the the upper back. The rounding of the upper back “rule” works in powerlifting also. It helps reduce range of motion. Getting a rebound from a touch and go bounce along with a rounded upper back will allow for the shortest distance of travel possible.

Sports are about pushing human limits, sports have their risks. I’m not debating weather this is safe. I’m simply talking about how to use the rules of the sport to your advantage.

Deadlifting for your clients

Conventional Deadlift and RDL are the 2 movements that are most useful for clients in our gym. For those interested in olympic lifting, doing a clean grip style deadlift will also be useful.

The approach of what a deadlift should be viewed as is follows: picking something off the ground with a flat back (or neutral spine). This is is by far the most useful thing you can teach a client when teaching the deadlift. Can you touch the ground without compromising spinal position?

Glute Aesthetics from Deadlifting

Who doesn’t want a nice butt? Based on the way the gluteus maximus muscle fibers run, deadlifts are the best way to build the “shelf” of the glutes. Others might disagree, but that’s my opinion. This is all deadlifts. Sure squats work also, so that’s why do both. Some clients will progress better with one movement better than the other. Progression is important because muscle size is related to how much you can lift. For the purposes of this conversation usually means 3 rep max or a 5 reps max. A 1 rep max is great, but most people are not skilled enough to do a 1 RM safely.
10/2/14 Update:
There is more to this article..but I wanted to post it sooner. It will be updated at a later date after I give my talk.



Solutions for Low Bar Squats and Elbow Pain [Part 1]

In this video I review some solutions to reduce my elbow pain during squats.

If barbell squats weren’t hard enough, the last thing you want to encounter is upper body problems for primarily a lower body movement. Lateral elbow pain and medial elbow pain are common issues that occur when trying to make gains in the gym.

In the past, my elbows have bothered me before when doing squats, but after time off, foam rolling and voodoo flossing it’s gone away. Now that I’m much stronger, elbow pain has reared its ugly head once again, but this time it’s worse.

Medial elbow pain or inner elbow pain is sometimes difficult pain to describe (at least the type I have). It happens mostly on my left arm and it’s not a type of pain that you can grind through.  Fortunately, my front squats have gotten much better because of it. So at least there is a silver lining to this injury.

I’ve come across some explanations about medial elbow pain as a form of tendinosis, which is slightly different than tendinitis.

I’ve searched far and wide on youtube for solutions to this problem. Paul Carter of Lift Run Bang has a popular youtube video that talks about fixing your low bar back squat, although it’s helped, it hasn’t quite solved my problem completely.

I bought a program called Fix My Elbow pain by Rick Kaselj, although the program has helped me make some progress it still wasn’t enough to fix everything. So I’ve decided to make my own video series on this specific topic.mes squatting heavy with elbow pain.

If this blog post helped you, be sure to share it!  Also check out the next blog post on Elbow pain and squats.




Front Squats: A Break Through Thought for staying UPRIGHT longer

the video above is a video version of this blog post

How to Front Rack Better for Front Squat Beginners

This journey with the barbell has been one of the best experiences of my life. With fitness and performance is was about marathon running and cycling, but now it’s all about the barbell.

The barbell will beat you up and will tell you’re a piece of ****. It’s a truth teller. You either conquer it or it conquers you. This inanimate object I’m falling in love with is the barbell.

Front squats. Mutha F’ing front squats. I hate. I hate them less now because I’ve had an incredible break through that has allowed me to front squat better. This is specific to the front rack, olympic style front squat.

*The break through tip*

As you begin to lower the bar you thrust your elbows up high and hard as you descend.

The common cue is “elbows up!” But when you’re inflexible and have poor mobility (AKA the broken leopard), the phrase ‘elbows up’ has very little meaning and is hard to comprehend. It’s really hard to do when you’ve had very little experience in the position.

However, if your front rack sucks as much as mine does there is one way you can use the ‘elbows up’ cue. Keep your elbows in the same as you begin the decent. It may sound simple and may sound obvious, but if you have the same problem i have; if you try to keep your elbows in the same position as you lower your body will stay up right a split second longer.

I don’t typically like squatting heavy in front of a mirror, but on occasion my circumstances in my gym don’t allow me to flip the rack around. Elbow pain has made it so I can’t back squat, and for whatever reason front squats is an alternative.

While facing the mirror I tried focusing on keeping my elbows in the same relative point in the mirror. It feels kinda feels like you’re flexing your lats forward, shoving the bar into your throat with medium force and using the initiation of the decent allow your elbows move up slightly. Because of the short abrupt decent, the bar decreases its pressure against your shoulders allow you to inch your elbows up a millimeters. If anything, it keeps them upright for a split second longer.

Because of this I can confidently front squat 270lbs now. I hope it helps you on your strength journey.