Thursday, December 27, 2012

Changing of the Seasons

With winter break in full swing, many college athletes are either in the middle of their competitive season, or preparing for what is to come in the spring. Most of my current athletes are spring-season sports (such as baseball, tennis, etc.) and will be returning to school not only for classes, but preseason practices and training.

Typical response to first lift after winter break
I came across an interesting article on Sports Medicine Research regarding injury rates during practice for collegiate sports, comparing pre-season, in-season, and post-season, as well as when during the calendar year (fall sports versus winter and spring sports). You can find the information here, and I highly recommend it for all coaches working with college athletes or teams. There are two key points I want to highlight:

  • Pre-season injury rates were nearly three times as high as in-season. I can tell you from my experience, too many athletes skip their off-season work and expect pre-season to get them into shape and prepared. However, going from no activity to pre-season workload often results in overtraining, overuse injuries, or even a surprise cut from the roster. Work hard in the off-season so you'll be prepared for the grind of sport-specific work that comes in-season.
  • Fall sports have a much higher rate of injury than winter and spring sports (with the latter having the lowest incidence rate of the three). This coincides with my above point - off-season work is necessary to help reduce risk of injury during in-season training. Since this study focused exclusively on college sports, it makes sense that spring sports - teams that have an entire semester on campus to get work in before their season - would have the lowest injury rates. Granted, football plays a big role in this discrepancy, but I can't help but feel the insufficient pre-season time on campus plays a role.
As you prepare your athletes for the upcoming semester, recognize that some are likely to be green and unprepared for the rigors of training. Whether you want to pamper them or put them through hell week as a reminder to stay on top of things during break, that is for each coach to decide based on their philosophy and athletes. As I mentioned before, almost all of my athletes compete during the spring season, so I have had several weeks of off-season training with them. We concluded with several performance tests, not only to mark their improvements, but to hold them accountable for their work over break. This sense of accountability, to themselves, to their teammates, and their program, is far more motivational than any words I could speak. They busted their tails off, and I reminded them how easily it could all go away if they were to take this month off.

If you have any questions or comments, please don't hesitate to contact me.

All the best,

Drew Henley, CSCS, USAW, CES


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

HSP on

Well, it took a few months, but I finally had my first article run on Michael Boyle's If you are a fan of the HSP Facebook page (which you can like it at, and a member of,  you were able to see the article, and now I would like to share it with everyone: The Other Roles of Being a Strength & Conditioning Coach (from

Being a strength & conditioning coach in a team setting carries far more responsibility than simply writing workouts and teaching exercise technique. There are several ways you are called upon to help your athletes, coaches, and teams other than making them stronger, faster, and more powerful. For all of the importance put into certifications and advanced degrees, interpersonal skills are an indispensible trait in a successful coach. Below are ten of the different responsibilities I have taken on over the course of my career that have proven more useful than most of my training ability.

Counselor – Athletes have their ups and downs like the rest of us, the only difference is how much harder it is for them to handle them. They might be having relationship trouble, lost a loved one, struggling on the field, or any of a thousand other possibilities, and still be expected to perform. We all know the importance of a strong mentality to succeed in sports, and being rattled could cost these players playing time, a scholarship, or even their job. As strength & conditioning coaches, we see these athletes in a different atmosphere than their sport coaches or ATCs, and it is important to recognize when to pull an athlete aside and let them vent or do whatever they need to get their mind right.

Mentor – Most athletes I have worked with have been younger than me, but age seems to matter less than I originally thought. I have had athletes ten years older than me ask for my advice on matters far beyond my expertise, or change their habits due a conversation we had. For example, I had an athlete who was 8 years older than me ask if he should propose to his girlfriend (who I had met a few times). I'm not married, or even in a serious relationship for that matter, and here he is asking me about one of the biggest decisions of his life. (I used a trick I learned and said, “You know the answer I'm going to say and the answer you want to hear, so why are you asking?” He proposed, and they recently celebrated their two-year anniversary and the birth of their first child.)

Motivator – This is obvious in the weight room when an athlete is going through the motions, but also carries over to the field/court/etc. The head coach and assistants may be too busy with game responsibilities to light a fire under an athlete who is slacking.

Middleman – As mentioned in #2, we see athletes in a different setting than their other coaches and listen to both sides of any story brewing between players and staff. Hearing the message the coach wants the player to understand, and then being able to convey it to the athlete is a skill that comes with time. Likewise, every athlete has an aversion to the training room and fears being shut down, so it's important to make note of any little issues players mention and discuss them with the medical staff.

Buffer/Bouncer – Depending on the level, some fans will be determined to get the attention of your athletes. Be sure you do what you need to do to allow your athletes to remain focused on the task at hand. If that's getting to the locker room for an ice pack or finish their conditioning, it's ok to tell fans to wait until later for an autograph or picture.

Gopher Guy – This is more for your coaching staff and athletic trainers. In most settings, S&C coaches are the bottom rung on the Totem pole. As such, you can either alienate or endear yourself to your staff by doing any and everything needed to make their jobs easier. Working in pro baseball, once the first pitch was thrown my day was essentially done. If the coaching staff needed their jackets from the clubhouse and couldn't reach the clubhouse manager, I was making a mad dash down the foul line between innings. In college sports, with NCAA sanctions, coaches are limited in their interactions with athletes so they like to know how the effort when they aren't around. Even when I was working at the high school level (as an assistant basketball coach/head S&C coach), it was up to me to write up practice plans, round up players for film, and contact parents if something changed with a tournament schedule.

Comedian/Mood Breaker – Things get tense, and sometimes that can spiral into something terrible. Let's be honest, the head coach and athletes have far more riding on their shoulders (i.e. receive more criticism when things go bad) than the strength staff, so they can easily lose sight of the fact they are living the dream. They are athletes/coaches doing what they love, possibly getting an education or even paid to do it. Being able to lighten the mood is a huge help in breaking a slump.

Drill Sergeant – On the flip side, sometimes athletes need a swift kick to the backside if they aren't taking things seriously enough. This can fall under your duties to the head coach, as he or she may be too furious to deal with the frustration of lackadaisical players. It's important for athletes to have short memories when it comes to losing, but to not feel anything is a fast track to failure. Remind them why they are competing, take it seriously, or step aside because there are others out there who will gladly take their place.

Mediator – Athletes have egos, and sometimes egos clash. Having a cool head and a strong presence can help athletes see through their differences and remember they are teammates playing for the same cause. This isn't strictly for strength coaches, but I've had to handle it more than I ever expected.

Enforcer – This is another responsibility bestowed by the coaching/medical staff.  Curfew check? Sure, I'll go around the hotel at midnight to make sure grown men are behaving themselves. Someone needs to get treatment NOW? Ok, I'll slap the sandwich out of his hand and drag him by the ear to the training room (don't do that, it ends poorly). You get the picture, often times strength & conditioning coaches are the coaching staff muscle (rightfully so, I don't see many anorexic strength coaches) and get asked to use it occasionally.

As you can see, your responsibilities as a strength & conditioning coach reach far beyond the confines of the weight room. It can be daunting, but at the same time incredibly rewarding. Make sure you recognize the importance of connecting with your athletes and coaches as best you can to make these additional responsibilities as smooth as possible.

I would like to thank everyone who has visited the site, as last week we broke 10,000 views and continue to grow. Thank you for your support and I hope you have enjoyed the content. If there is ever anything I can do to help you or your program, please don't hesitate to contact me.

All the best,

Drew Henley, CSCS, USAW, CES

Friday, September 21, 2012

New Articles up on STACK

Sorry for the lack of posts this week everyone, I just accepted a new position and need to move across the country in three days, so things have been chaotic and likely will be for the next month or so.

Fortunately, I have two new articles up on STACK that I think you will enjoy, both on program design and getting freakin' huge and terrifyingly strong (both scientific terms, by the way). In addition, I mentioned it last week, but I have put together an ebook of motivational quotes across a handful of categories, available at Smashwords. It is completely free, downloadable in a wide variety of formats (depending on your ereader, or can be read as a PDF), there are no advertisements and I don't make anything money from it. Most of the words in it aren't mine, so why charge? I use quotes daily (which you know if you follow me on Twitter), and have had a lot of requests for my quotes list, so there it is. You can download it here, and again, it is completely free with no ads or need to sign up for a Henley Sports Performance email list or anything.

Now, back to sports performance - here are the two newest articles I put up on STACK (with a third awaiting approval).

This article provides a 4 day/week training program that will build you up pretty quickly and help you break through any strength plateaus. Due to the word count limit, I couldn't expand too much on it, so if you have questions feel free to email me and I'll help you out.

This is another off-season program, only geared specifically to baseball players enjoying their time off (unless they're playing fall ball or in the bigs). Slightly different, less intensity and a little more volume and a total body training format. Again, if you need more clarification, feel free to contact me via email, call, Twitter, or text.

Check out the articles and programs, if you have any questions or comments, don't hesitate to contact me.

All the best,

Drew Henley, CSCS, USAW, CES

Friday, September 14, 2012

Weekly Workout Checklist - Are Your Workouts Complete?

Are you sure you have a well-rounded program? Most people don't, whether by avoiding legs, back, or bench (just kidding), and they never really think too much about it. Here is a simple checklist to make sure you're training is varied enough to allow progress.

As you can guess, many exercises can count towards multiple categories. For example, Chin Ups would get marks in vertical pull, double arm pull, core anti-movement, and bodyweight movement (depending on your definition or execution, you could make a case for them to be a loaded hold as well). The point of the checklist isn't to do an exercise dedicated to each category, but to make sure you're hitting the body in a variety of ways.

Unless you are on a bodybuilding type split, dedicating workouts to a single muscle or movement, it's unlikely you would need a full training week to fill each category, in fact, it's pretty easy to meet all of the requirements in a single workout in only a few lifts. However, if you like upper-lower or chest/tris/shoulders-back/bis-legs/core splits, this can help give you some new goals to shoot for. Make sure you're working in some single limb exercises for added stabilization. Yes, you will make it easier on the prime movers of an exercise (I've never met anyone who could dumbbell bench the same as their barbell bench, but some have been close), but that's not the goal. By incorporating the stabilizer muscles more, you can improve your strength numbers and reduce the likelihood of an injury.

I include ankle and hip mobility/AIS stretching because I think they are the two joints most in need of increased mobility. These are great to do as intraset rest work/active recovery.

The only downside to a checklist like this is everything is weighted equally. That will be addressed with another post, because it is important to include rep variations, heavy and light days, more pulling than pressing, etc. This chart is just a starting point to make sure you are hitting the core areas properly.

Also, if you missed the last post, I have put together a free ebook of inspirational quotes, available here. Please give it a look and if you like it, share it with anyone else who may enjoy it. Let me know any comments or questions you have. As always, if I can ever help you or your program in any way, please feel free to contact me.

All the best,

Drew Henley, CSCS, USAW, CES


Thursday, September 13, 2012

Inspirational Quotes - FREE EBook

As many of you are aware, I am a big fan of quotes and love having a quote board in my gym. If you follow me on Twitter, you know I try to put up a couple of my favorites each day. Well, today I did something better. I put together an entire ebook of over 200 quotes on success, motivation, effort, adversity, and mindset. The best part is the entire collection is completely free - no signing up for a newsletter, no advertisements in the pages, just download the document in whatever format works for your ereader (actually, you may need to create an account on smashwords, but that's free as well). It is compatible with iPad, Kindle, Nook, and can even be viewed as a PDF or webpage.

This was all possible thanks to the free services at and I owe them a lot of thanks for simplifying the process. This is a trial run before putting together an ebook of training ideas and programs, which I hope to finish by the end of the year. Again, if you enjoy motivational quotes, please visit Smashwords or click here to download your free copy. If you enjoy it, I ask that you please rate it on the site and share it with friends, family, or anyone you feel will appreciate it.

Thank you,

Drew Henley, CSCS, USAW


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Random Articles You Should Read

Unlike my typical Articles & Videos posts, which I try to focus on recent writings, today I want to share some of my favorite blog posts/articles/etc. I've come across. Most will be from T-Nation, so if you aren't following that site, you are missing on some great resources. Here they are in no particular order.

How to Build Pure Strength - Bryan Krahn interview with Jim Wendler (I've recently become a big fan of his 5/3/1 method).

101 Tips for Being a Great General Manager - From Jeffrey Keller via Michael Boyle.
12 Thoughts for the Preseason - Great post by Alan Stein, though it may be a little early for preseason talk for basketball, still good for mindset.
40 Years of Insight, Part 1 - I have a coaching crush on Dan John. I think everything he writes is awesome and have yet to read an article of his without thinking of something new.
40 Years of Insight, Part 2 - With that said, I'll try to limit the number of his articles on this list. But honestly, go buy "Never Let Go" asap, it's the best training book I own. Everyone I've recommended it to has loved it as well. He should be paying me for this plug...
Don't Say Can't - Another post by Alan, only this is more of a selfish plug. I had the pleasure of meeting Alan at a conference about 4-5 years ago when I was still pretty new to the field, and we spent several hours discussing training techniques. I walked away with a mentor and he walked away with a new training idea - my 60,000 pounds in 60 minutes challenge - which became my first recognizable contribution to the field, and this is one of several articles he mentions it (thanks again Alan). If you're a basketball player or coach, make sure to check out for some of the best basketball related material available.
21 Best Fitness Business Tips - From Pat Rigsby via Mike Boyle.
In-Season Baseball Strength & Conditioning Part 1 and Part 2 - Cressey is an encyclopedia of strength and conditioning information, especially with baseball players.
Step-by-Step Approach to Coming Back From an Injury - Tim Henriques provides a good resource for coaches trying to help athletes with recovery, especially handling the mental side.
How Will You Use Neurodynamics - One of many great posts by affiliate and friend of the site, Dr. E. Honestly, I was going to list about six consecutive posts from Dr. E, but thought that could be overwhelming. So here are four.
9 Random Training Tips - Ben Bruno puts in more hours creating new exercises, writing up articles, and just being a weight room maniac than should be humanly possible.
4 Problems. 4 Solutions - Good article by Chad Howse that expands beyond the gym.
Who is Your Daddy and What Does he do? - It's an article all about Arnold, how can it NOT be on this list?
Work the Entire Back Side of the Body at Once - Here's that maniac part of Ben Bruno shines through.
The Secrets - Another great list article by Boyle.

As you can tell, I have a relatively small group of authors as my "go-to" people for articles, and I am sure I have missed, skipped, or forgot several others. This is simply meant to be a good list of articles I've read over the past year or so that stood out in my mind. Any others that you have and would care to share, please feel free to email or send them to me on Twitter.

All the Best,

Drew Henley, CSCS, USAW, CES

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Use Competitions to Drive Your Athletes

I was asked an excellent question last week - "How do you get lazy athletes to work hard during training?" What I usually rely on is his or her teammates to provide the motivation, and the best way I've found to do that is with competitions, especially during conditioning.  Here are a couple team-based competitions to put your athletes through if you're noticing a drop in effort.

Timed Sprints
You aren't timing their speed, but you give them a time limit. One good example is 30 yard (or 25, depending on the speed of your athletes) sprint they have 5 seconds to complete. After a short rest, 10-20 seconds, they sprint back, needing to beat the clock again. It's really easy and efficient to have the rest be either 10 or 15 seconds, so you can have a stopwatch handy and have them start on the :15 or :20 mark. Keep doing this until only one or a few are remaining, declare them the winners, and have the losers do the real conditioning. Oh yeah, that part isn't their actual conditioning, it's the work they need to do to get them out of it. Make sure to schedule this with something all the athletes know and hate so they'll put forth a good effort in the beginning. Whether you follow through with the planned conditioning after is up to you (and whether you're pleased with the effort you see in your athletes).

A few variations:

  • Have a designated number of reps (let's say 8) they need to complete in the given time to be done, otherwise they have to do the full amount (let's say 12-15). Those who don't finish the first 8 in time don't sit out and run later, they keep running with their teammates, only with shorter rest periods. So in the above example, if an athlete is taking 7 seconds to complete the sprint, and need to go again on the :20 mark, they get 13 seconds of rest. Anyone who has done this before will know those extra two seconds mean a lifetime.
  • Split the team up into two groups, and for each round completed, the player gets a point for his/her team. So if there are two groups of five, they all make the first five rounds, the score is 25-25. It gets interesting when players start dropping off, whatever team has the highest score after the last man standing wins and is excused from conditioning. It can be really amazing to see one athlete left running by himself, trying to pull his teammates out of a deficit to help them avoid conditioning (essentially running it for them). It's rare to see (because usually the team with the most left at the end finish off the other, and most athletes get tired and pissed at their teammates for quitting early), but it can be a great team experience.

These can be as simple as Prowler sled relays or more complex involving a handful of exercises with each athlete having his or her own responsibility to the team. If you're looking to mix it up with a few exercises, and have them at your disposal, I've found these usually work pretty well.

  • Sled Drives
  • Hex Bar Deadlift
  • Goblet Squats
  • Push Ups
  • TRX Rows
  • Chin Ups
  • Box Jumps
  • Bear Crawl
  • Tire Flips
  • Farmers Walks
If you're athletes are lacking motivation or effort, appeal to their inner competitor to get things back up to par. It may not work all the time, but having half your teammates yelling and screaming for you to go harder usually works better than any coaching tool.

Let me know if you have any other combinations or useful tips you use with your athletes. If there's ever anything I can do to help out you or your program, please don't hesitate to contact me.

All the best,

Drew Henley, CSCS, USAW, CES

Monday, August 27, 2012

5 Ways to Improve Your Training Results

Sorry for the long hiatus. I have been working on a few other projects and focusing on my reading. I want to be certain that whatever content I put on the site is worth your time and not just...well, crap.

With that said, let's take a look at a few ways to bust through a plateau or achieve those goals you haven't quite reached yet.

1. Do Everything you D0n't Want to do - For most lifters, this means legs. Specifically, squats and deadlifts. Yes, they are hard (if you're doing them properly) and yes, I know your legs will be sore for a couple days, but there's a reason they are so difficult - they work! What is more difficult, a circuit of leg curls, leg extensions, , hip adduction/abduction, glute bridges, calf raises, planks, and back extensions, or heavy squats? Better yet, what's more effective? Don't kid yourself into thinking because you trained your legs on machines that you did a leg workout. Use the barbell, load it up with plates, pick it up off the floor, and stand up with it on your shoulders. Likewise, most exercises we avoid are ones we should be doing because they are holding us back. Look back on your workouts, whatever area you avoid or do easy, crank up the intensity and bring it up to par. Your body wants to keep some symmetry, so if your stuck in place with one muscle group, growth in the others will be limited.

2. Time is Your Most Precious Asset - Imagine you only have 20 minutes from when you enter the gym to when you leave, how are you going to spend it? Probably not with ten minutes with a treadmill "warm up" or mixing your workout drink...I hope. Treat your workouts with a sense of urgency, attack the weights with intensity and get your work done. Instead of pretending to warm up on a cardio machine, try a barbell complex or short total body circuit to get everything ready. Then, big weights and big lifts. Remember, intensity is more important than duration in training. Power, strength, and explosion happen fast, not gradually over hours. Think of it this way, who won the 100m dash in the Olympics? What about the 5000m? Exactly.

3. Don't Treat Ab Work as a Main Movement - I'm not going to say your abs get all the training they need from other lifts, but abs/core should be treated as auxiliary work. Use core work as active rest between sets of main lifts or as a circuit later in a workout, don't dedicate five sets strictly to abs and resting from abs. That's not how you get a six pack.

4. If you Haven't Done a Lift in the past Month, do it - This works off number 1, but also serves as a reminder to vary your workouts. You may have found a program that's great and gives you results, but don't get complacent - eventually your body will adapt. That doesn't mean scrap the whole thing every week, just try different grips, stances, or weights/reps/rest schemes. Instead of incline bench, try it with dumbbells, single arm DB bench, or replace deadlifts with sumo or wide grip. Small changes, continuing progress.

5. If You're in a rut, try this - Classic 5x5 workout, with some additional tweaks. 5 main exercises, each for 5x5, with the first three sets acting as warm-up/acclimation sets, and the last two as your true working sets. For the rest period during the first three sets, there will be auxiliary work to be done as active rest. Set 1 will be 50% of your working weight (not your 5RM, but the weight you will use in set 4), set 2 is 70%, set 3 is 85%, with the final two as working sets. 

So if you're going to use 200 pounds for your working set in power cleans, set 1 is 100, set 2 - 140, set 3 - 170, set 4 - 200, set 5 - 200+. Simple enough? If it's easier to round the weights, that's not a problem (185 is a lot quicker to load onto a bar than 180). Here's how the workout will look

  • Hang Clean - 5x5 (Hip Flexor Stretch - 30 seconds after each of the first three sets)
  • Squat - 5x5 (Push Ups - x10-20)
  • Wide Grip Deadlift - 5x5 (DB Rows - x8)
  • Single Arm DB Military Press - 5x5 (Single Leg RDL - x8 with light weight)
  • Pull Ups - 5x5 (Planks - 30-60 seconds)

Other exercises can be substituted, but keep the general outline - Olympic/power movement, squat variation, deadlift variation, press, pull. No machines for main lifts (unless you're unable to perform heavier than body weight pull ups for five).

Good luck, if you have any questions you can reach me on Twitter, Facebook, email, or on my cell.

All the best,

Drew Henley, CSCS, USAW, CES

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Athlete's Shopping List

Very few things can impact training results as much as nutrition. The old adage “get out what you put in” is right on the money, yet too many athletes overlook this area. Rather than build a well-rounded diet, athletes are looking for the shortcut to gains, aka supplements. Sports and nutritional supplements are a multibillion-dollar industry, but the benefits are misunderstood. This is going to sound crazy, but supplements are supposed to be used to supplement a base diet. I know, hard to believe.

If you’re a high school or college athlete currently in your offseason and busting your butt in the weight room, make sure you’re putting in the proper fuel for your body to recover. The following items should be on every athlete’s shopping list and staples in their diet. At the bottom, I include five supplements that are worth the investment, but should be used to complement your diet.

Make this your main beverage, and no, the water in soda, beer, etc. doesn’t count.
Easy to grill or cook inside if you don’t have access to one and there are a million different ways to change the taste.
Canned tuna
Find a protein supplement that can beat 32 grams of protein with 0g carbs.
If you’re one of the unfortunate souls who can’t eat eggs without vomiting (like myself), it’s hard to find a protein source to replace a few eggs.
Frozen vegetables
This is laziness/efficiency at its best – the little microwave steamer bags of veggies are great and easy to cook; there’s no reason you can’t have a big helping of veggies at every meal with them.
Depending on your budget, you can grill a nice sirloin, get some top round and slice it up for fajitas, or use a crock-pot with a lower quality cut. Almost as many possibilities as chicken.
If you need an energy drink, go with the original. In addition to caffeine, coffee has a laundry list of benefits including antioxidants and even reducing risks for certain types of cancer.
Loaded with Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids, salmon packs a lot more than just protein.
85-90% Lean Ground Beef
Less ideal than chicken or fish, but again, budget constraints happen. Go with the leanest you can find of fresh ground beef for burgers, pasta sauce, chili, etc.
Try to get as many colors as possible – blue, red, yellow, orange, purple – because each has its own benefits.
Greek or normal, yogurt is a good source of protein, calcium, and probiotics to help with digestive health.
Peanut Butter
If you’re looking to gain mass, peanut butter is your best friend. Cheap and loaded with protein and healthy fats, it also makes up half of the greatest workout meal ever (PB&J).
Multigrain Bread
For any carb source, look for multigrain, whole grain, or preferably fiber-enriched.
Great breakfast with low glycemic index carbs, not to mention it’s cheap and easy.
Ground Turkey
This one is just for variety. Usually leaner than ground beef (and also more expensive), it’s a nice alternative to have, especially if you’re sensitive to red meat.

Again, these are to be used in conjunction with a well-rounded diet, not in place of.

Whey Protein Powder
Use it pre workout if you don’t have anything else, post workout to get fuel to the muscles immediately, right after you wake up to refill after the eight hour fast called sleeping, or right before bed to help with recovery and mass building. Take a lot of protein is the point.
I used to be very skeptical of creatine, but it has passed the test of time and is considered one of the safest supplements available. As a pre workout booster, it’s fantastic.
I have used magnesium for about ten years now and know when I have been skipping it. I take one capsule before bed and feel that I get better rest and recover quicker from workouts. I don’t have much research on the matter, but it has worked for me and it’s pretty cheap.
Fish/Flaxseed Oil
Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for countless functions in the body and far too many people aren’t getting enough.
With the stress of training (and athletes’ aversion to complete nutrition), it’s easy to be deficient in one or more areas. A multivitamin can help make sure your body is getting the micronutrients it needs to function properly.

This list isn’t comprehensive, but it’s a good place for young athletes to start. Most people already know all of this – “Yeah, I need more protein” “I probably need to eat more veggies” – but few will act on it. Here’s your resource, use the shopping list to fill your refrigerator and freezer and let your body recover from the training sessions. If you average an hour of training a day, what are you doing the other 23 to make gains? Eat healthy, feel healthy, get stronger, and perform better.

As always, if I can ever help you or your program, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

All the best,

Drew Henley, CSCS, USAW, CES

Thursday, June 28, 2012


A couple new developments with HSP this week. First, I have joined STACK Media as an online contributor, and my first article went up yesterday. You can find it here, or for my running list of articles, visit my profile page. If you like the article, please share it with anyone else you know who may enjoy it.

Second, I have finally put together a Facebook page at the urging of several people much smarter than me about social media. You can find it at and all likes are appreciated. I'll be sharing links and other material there that I won't put up here or on Twitter.

I appreciate all your support and if there are any topics you would like to see here, please feel free to contact me at any time. Unless I am without internet, I make it point to respond within 72 hours to every message I receive (yes, I picked that up from Alan Stein, who gets a few more emails than I do and manages to do it).

All the best,

Drew Henley, CSCS, USAW, CES

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Step Back to Move Forward: Looking at Jim Wendler’s 5/3/1 Method

I was planning to write a long post, detailing the 5/3/1 method and then sharing my view on it, but I realized I kept referring to the same source. This article on T-Nation is an excellent piece on Jim Wendler and the 5/3/1 program. It’s an older article, but I have read it quite a few times and stumbled across it again the other day. I strongly urge you to read it, especially if you are looking to add raw strength to your powerlifts. 5/3/1 is a perfect example of the difference between simplicity and ease. Put another way, the 5/3/1 method is simple, but far from easy.

One of the key concepts of 5/3/1 is to calculate your weights off your 90% 1RM rather than using the actual 1RM. This demonstrates an excellent point of training – sometimes, you need to step back to move forward. Egos can get in the way of results; be honest with your abilities and allow them to progress. Strength training is not a wonder pill (those are illegal most of the time) with immediate results, especially if you’re an experienced lifter. It takes time to allow incremental gains to build into significant results. Too often, we’re focused on the quick fix for immediate gain to add 50 pounds to a lift in a month or make other drastic changes in a relatively short time. The truth is, outside of individuals new to training, rapid gains are hard to come by. Think of building a skyscraper – one I-beam may not be much, but look at what time and effort can produce using these relatively small pieces.

Injuries and over-training occur when you try to do too much in too short a time. Focus on longer term goals of at least six months, or preferably a year, and realize that it’s better to make steady progress than monumental gains followed by an injury.
If you’re an aspiring powerlifter, or just looking for pure strength in the powerlifts, than I suggest taking a look at 5/3/1 and giving it a try. Its simplicity makes it an easy program to implement and follow, while requiring very little equipment (if you’re in a facility with limited choices). Step back, analyze what you can actually do, then move forward with consistent gains.

If you are looking for more information on 5/3/1, you can purchase Wendler’s ebook here

All the best,

Drew Henley, CSCS, USAW, CES