All posts by Ryan saplan

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.

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.


5 Reasons to Sumo Deadlift Instead of ?

Why the SumoDeadlift

This is the first time sumo deadlifts actually felt right, much better than 7 months ago. Although the heaviest I lifted in this session was only 382lbs, it’s the first time I felt like I was using more of adductors and quads to break the weight off the ground vs my low back and glutes.

I’ve been dedicating 1 day a week to doing 3-4 sets of 5-8 reps.

1.) When you can’t squat heavy sumo deadlift

My squat sessions have been non existent because of my medial elbow pain. As a way to build and maintain my quad strength, front squats have been my replacement, but when you think about it, sumo deadlifts is a decent alternative to getting some heavy squat work in. Far from ideal, but it’s hell of a lot better than doing leg extensions and leg presses when your primary goal is to get good with the barbell.

2.) Work on deadlift muscles at a different angle

Another view of the sumo deadlifts is that it works as a great accessory exercise to conventional deadlifts and squats. Sumo deadlifts help strengthen your adductors but they also help promote a more “knees-out” position for squatting and conventional deadlifting. Of course in conventional deadlifts you don’t really push your knees out a ton, but you definitely use hip torque get those femurs to turn away from each other.

3.) Give your low back a break but still work improving your deadlift strength

If you’re a really good conventional deadlifter, sumo deadlifts is a great way to build your deadlift muscles without frying your lower back. One of the big advantages of a conventional deadlift is it allows you to get good acceleration with your low back and upper back muscles. Some people will disagree with this (probably richard hawthorn would), but when you’re back is sore or just not feeling up to snuff, pull sumo to still work on the posterior chain muscle group but with less dependency on the spinal erectors.

4.) Invest in something you might need down the road

I want to deadlift 700lbs at a bodyweight of 198lbs some time in my life. I may hit a plateau for a few years as Dan green did when he said he got stuck around 300kg (660lbs) doing conventional. So I figured why not invest some time now. I can’t really squat, so I’ll sumo deadlift instead.

5.) Sumo deadlift stance may be similar to your competition squat stance

As you can imagine, if you squat with a wide stance, there is much more carry-over from your squats to your deadlifts and your deadlifts to your squat because you’re training positions that are very similar to one another.

These are just my opinions and view points as of this moment. At anytime they could change as I learn and experience more things lifting this barbell. Do you agree or disagree? I’d like to hear your thoughts. Comment below on this post or on the related youtube channel.

Thanks for reading, remember to share this if you feel it will be useful to someone you know.



Strength vs Technique for Deadlifts

There’s training for technique and there’s training for strength. In the world of powerlifting, there is a lot of overlap and it’s pretty difficult to separate the two, but I will try to distinguish the two in this blog post. In a manner of speaking, technique is basically cheating. Not cheating in the LITERAL sense, but try to hang on while I try to explain. (the video below is this blog post in words, kinda)

Let’s talk about a domain where there are no competition rules like that of powerlifting.

Chopping the tree down with a butter knife would take a long time. An axe would be faster. A chain saw would be faster than that and a bulldozer would even faster. In a sense, you’re cheating your way to chopping the down the tree.

Chopping down the tree is very much like doing a heavy deadlift, squat or bench press. For the sake of discussion, we will focus on using an axe to deadlift. There is a specific way in which you can use the axe that will provide the most efficient movement pattern to get the deepest cut and strongest strike.

For the deadlift there is a specific pull position that allows for the most power and leverage.

When you’re trying to get the most out of something it is best to understand how you will approach the act.

Technique is all about trying to get the most out of your resources. Your specific leverages, strength and weaknesses are unique to me as they are to you. Understand these facts allow you to keep the bar path vertical and short.

This is optimum performance and optimum leverage a max lift.

Strength is the raw ability to move a lot of weight. In many people, a person’s strength will out weigh their technique

An example of this specific to me is my ability to power clean. With optimal technique using the hips I will have a very difficult time power cleaning 225lbs (102kg). However, if you allow me to use my deadlift strength from the ground, using more lower back and give me more time to accelerate, I can get one really ugly pull of that same weight. Eventually I will demonstrate this in a video.

Thanks for reading

strength vs technique photo blog post thumb

Deadlift Reflection on missing 600lbs

sorry for all the typos, sometimes when i write something it never gets published, so i’m posting in it’s full imperfection.

Elliot Hulse said in a recent video, “the stories we tell ourselves.”  And when I missed my first ever try at a 600lbs deadlift, I couldn’t help but feel disappointed, but NOT heartbroken.

I had it.

All I could think about was what went wrong.

The bar got away from me.

In technical barbell speak, the bar moved away from my body.  In truth it wasn’t that the bar move away from my body, the real truth is that it was the other way around.  My body moved away from the bar.

In a conventional deadlift, when technique break down, one of the most common errors is the hips rising too soon.  When the hips shoot up to fast in a heavy conventional deadlift the knees and shins will move away from the bar.  As Mark Rippetoe says, “Heavy weights want move in vertical lines.”  It’s possible to correct the bar path by pull the bar back in, but at near max weights, perfect form is the only way the lift would be completed.

“Once I grab the bar I’m not going to let it go.”

That was the thought running through my head.

As my left knee completely locked out I did everything I could to bring the bar back in, but it was too late. I lost most of my leg drive and I was running completely on back strength.  I felt some of my spinal erectors begin to stretch out as I lose some tightness and that’s when I let go.

If I had stronger lats and stronger lower back muscle I would’ve been able to pull the bar in to correct my bar path.

Building strength is a really great way to give yourself error room.

In barbell lifting, whatever you lack in technique you can make up in strength. This is probably why the Westside Barbell conjugate method works so well.  Variety builds strength.  So all I can really think about now is working on all the special exercises that would allow me to get stronger.  To fix my error by getting stronger.  I’ve always wanted that lower back hump that I’ve seen on impressive physiques.  It looks like their low back is rounding, but the reality is that their spinal erectors are just jacked like a bicep.

Another view on correcting my 600lbs deadlift is to bias my program by improving my technique.  Work on timing and technique.  Increasing strength is always a priority, but technique is essentially improving leverages by using timing.  Time the deadlift better.

It’s obvious that both strength and technique are important but which way should I bias my program?  More technique focused or more strength focused?  That’s my interpretation of what I heard Dave Tate say on a youtube video: Concurrent or conjugate

Concurrent style of training is training the main lift as in competition.  My limited exposure to powerlifting’s finest has me in the age where Dan Green is really popular.  Dan Green’s training philosophy if more of a concurrent style of training. Focus on doing the main lift and keep trying to get better at it, then use accessory work to build up that main lift.

Dave Tate comes from the school of Louie Simmons’s Westside Barbell.  The ever so popular conjugate method.  I think the one on forums I saw gain popularity was “WSFSB.” Which stands for Westside for Skinny Bastards. I believe it’s a version of conjugate method.

I personally prefer concurrent training.  Get better by practicing exactly what you’re going to do in competition.  The exact technique that will be used for a powerlifting meet.

Unfinished blog post to be finished upon request, msg me on

boss of bosses powerlifting,boss barbell powerlifting meet, boss barbell deadlift nerd