Monday Bacon: R&R


First off, this is not new. It is not groundbreaking nor is it earth shattering. I did not wake up in the middle of the night to the Epiphany that will turn the strength world inside out (I actually woke up to the Bigg man’s snoring.) It is old news. One could even dare say it’s repetitive and redundant. But it’s still all over the interwebz with other ‘miracle’ coaches selling their snake oil. They have the answer to the age old question, ‘How do I get better at throwing/strongman/weightlifting/hula dance/fill in the blank ?????’

Or rather, should I squat a certain way to “mimic” the stance in a WOB? Should I sumo deadlift to “mimic” the stance of a lineman? And this question came up last week with some of our new Highland Games friends, why would holding our arms straight out in an air squat “prepare” us for holding the bar in a front squat? (By the way, I disagree on that one. If someone believes they’ll fall over because their arms aren’t thrown forward and up then they just need a better coach who can have enough foresight to ask them to pull their weight off their heels. This has worked for all shapes and sizes and weights. Add to the fact that when we front squat, our arms are not thrown up and forward. The bar rests on our Deltoids and does just fine with our elbows up.)

But the bigger picture here is that, if you wish to play and even excel in a sport, guess what? You’ve gotta practice it. It’s why the top players in sport train AND practice the mechanics of whatever you’re doing. There is no “WOB” squat. There is only a strong squat. Then we take our implement out in the field (or yard) and tear it up trying to perfect our TECHNIQUE for a  higher WOB. If you want to skip even ONE part of the dual, then your game day will suffer. True Story.

I know people who don’t like to practice. They like to do all their work in the gym. Because for them, it’s the easy part. In large part, it was me last year. Now, I whill say that while I practiced what I could, I didn’t have NEAR the understanding of what I’m trying to accomplish like I did this year and that has helped immensely. My body still isn’t doing exactly what I want, but at least I have a picture in mind. And I practice every day. Every. Day. Even to the point where my gym time is decreasing and will be even less in about a month as I prepare for the World Championships. BUT, it will still be there. Because I can’t do one and skip the other.

If I don’t squat or pull, I hurt. I don’t recover as well as I should after events. If I don’t press or go overhead in some way, my shoulders get tight and they hurt after throwing. Unacceptable. It is impossible for me to do one without the other. I know, I tried it this spring. I switched up my training enough that A) I hurt and B) my throwing suffered and 3. I gained weight. Not good.


The gym is for strong time. The field is for sport time. See how that works? It’s really not magic. If there’s an on-line (or otherwise) coach who tells you he/she has the perfect programming and technique tips to be a champion and his name isn’t Matt Vincent, don’t buy it. Cuz I’ve seen Matt Vincent’s training and throwing video’s and read his books. Guess what he does? He get’s strongest in the gym, and throws out in the field. See how that’s not magic? It’s just lots of hard work.

Hard work. Hmmmm, maybe that’s where the breakdown is. See, ONLY practicing or ONLY training is a little less work than doing both. Taking the time to do footwork drills (srsly, who likes footwork drills? They’re tedious and you like like a crazy person spinning down the track on one line until you get dizzy enough to look like a drunken crazy person. Or maybe that’s just me) is like cutting into real throwing or real training time. But ya know what, at some point in time the top throwers have done footwork drills. Cuz they had to. Maybe not anymore, but I don’t “practice” my squat anymore. I just do it. I’ve honed the technique enough to know when I need to adjust and just do it. But that took time. Time I was willing to spend which leads to another problem with noobs these days. But I do know people who only practice and it makes me want to drop kick them across the field when they complain that their throws aren’t getting any better immediately after bragging that they don’t go to the gym. Choose. Either be a strong thrower or STFU and deal with what you’ve prepared your body to do. Which is? Not much.

Anyhoo, back to the folks who have done this for a short time but they want to know right meow. How do I do this perfect RIGHT NOW without putting in too much time? And again we say, it takes time and strength and practice. Repetitive and redundant. Not sexy. Not magic. I won’t make a million selling the “get’cher WOB over 20′ by August” product. Damn. That really sucks cuz I was hoping to use that money in Scotland. Oh well, guess we do it the old fashioned way. We’ll earn it.

Repetitive and Redundant. Train. Practice. Fuel your body. When you have experts around, pick their brain as much as you can while remaining respectful that they also are competing. Then go home and train and practice some more. But stop looking for the carryover technique in the gym. The gym is there to make you strong. Strongest. Then you grab your implements and go practice to make your throwing further. Day after day, all season long. Boring eh? I hope my competition thinks so. Heeehee (But I know they don’t. Sad face.)

To give any less than your best is to sacrifice a gift.

Steve Prefontaine

Training Log







About tosabarbell

For training opportunities at tosabarbell, call or text Juli at 320-296-9313. e-mail to At tosabarbell, I build relationships cultivated in a strength and learning environment. There is no 12 week magic pill program to strength but rather a lifetime commitment to be the very best and most useful human you can be. tosabarbell is a private, home grown gym with three lifting platforms; squat rack; prowlers; throwing implements; bars, bumpers and everything else needed for an effective strength and conditioning program. Straightforward barbell programming including the Olympic lifts; sound (read: not fancy bullshit) diet advance for weight gain or loss; and strong coaching will ensure you will meet your goals such as becoming stronger, more explosive, and better conditioned. I have been coaching teams and athletes for over 30 years. I grew up participating in various sports at various levels but was always drawn to those that require strength training. I have multiple local, national, and world records in the sports of Weightlifting and Highland Games Heavy Events as well as a combined total of 5 World Championships. My 5 years of training and coaching under Mark Rippetoe provided a wide range of influence from some of the top strength & conditioning and throwing coaches in the country. I will strongly encourage tosabarbell athletes to compete (and prepare you to do so.) However, tosabarbell is also for those who wish to be stronger and go through life feeling better. Matt WanAt is a retired Professional Strongman who competed frequently with Strongman Champions League in Europe. He played a year of D1 football with Iowa before concentrating on his Chemical Engineering degree in Iowa City. He is a native of Wauwatosa and still remains a staunch supporter of Tosa East. This blog will be a mixture of strength notes, coaching and nutrition tips, personal shit; bacon delicacies, and a whole lot of fun.
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