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SUNY Cortland Personal Training Conference

On April 2nd in Sperry 105 SUNY Cortland will be hosting a personal training conference with the focus on helping individuals improve their health through behavioral change strategies. This conference has been approved for .6 CEU’s through the NSCA. The titles of the presentations are as follows:

·         Obesity: Beyond Eat Less, Move More – Dr. Spencer Nadolsky (M.D.)

·         The Art of Coaching- Tony Gentilcore (C.S.C.S)

·         Creating Environments for Sustainable Change- Mark Fisher (C.P.T)

·         Ideal strategies for caloric control: to count or not?- Cassandra Forsythe (PhD, R.D.)

·         Environmental triggers to eating behavior – John Brand (PhD)

Cassandra Forsythe (PhD): will discuss the behavioral science behind why people eat the way they do. Her discussion will include recommendations to help clients improve their eating habits

Tony Gentilcore (C.S.C.S): will provide practical coaching advice for students who will enter the personal training/ strength and conditioning profession.

John Brand (PhD): will discuss the environmental triggers that contribute to eating behavior. He will share research conducted at Cornell’s Food and Brand lab that will be applicable for personal trainer who wish to help their clients eat healthier.

Spencer Nadolsky (M.D.): will discuss the medical side of obesity and why current recommendations that personal trainers give their overweight clients may not be enough.

Mark Fisher (C.P.T): will discuss strategies his gym utilizes to help motivate and retain their clients at Mark Fisher Fitness in New York City.

Be sure to send your registration in early to make sure you get a spot and the early registration discount! (click me –>2016 personal training conference brochure)

Or Click on the link below for online registration!

If you’re not sold yet check out Mark Fishers video from last year!





SUNY Cortland Personal Training Conference

Hi all,

I  very excited to announce that Cortland’s third conference will take place on Saturday April 2nd. This years conference is going to focus heavily on how personal trainer can help their clients become healthier and happier people. We have an excellent line up of speakers who can cover a wide variety of topics that relate to health and wellness coaching. Our speakers include Spencer Nadolsky, Mark Fisher, Cassandra Foresythe, John Brand, and Tony Gentilcore. Each speaker will present on a unique topic. Attendees at this conference will receive .6 CEU’s from the National Strength and Conditioning Association!

Here is a quick overview of the speakers topics

Session Description


Cassandra Forsythe (PhD): Cassandra Forsythe will discuss the behavioral science behind why people eat the way they do. Her discussion will include recommendations to help clients improve their eating habits

Tony Gentilcore (C.S.C.S): Tony Gentilcore will provide practical coaching advice for students who will enter the personal training/ strength and conditioning profession.

John Brand (PhD): John Brand will discuss the environmental triggers that contribute to eating behavior. He will share research conducted at Cornell’s Food and Brand lab that will be applicable for personal trainer who wish to help their clients eat healthier.

Spencer Nadolsky (M.D.): Spencer Nadolsky will discuss the medial side of obesity and why current recommendations that personal trainers give their overweight clients may not be enough. He will also discuss how personal trainers and medical doctors can form professional relationships.

Mark Fisher (C.P.T): Mark Fisher will discuss strategies his gym utilizes to help motivate and retain their clients at Mark Fisher Fitness in New York City.


Please find the registration flyer in the link below

2016 personal training conference brochure

2nd Annual Strength and Conditioning/ Personal Training Symposium at SUNY Cortland

conference flyer

Above is the info for the conference this weekend. See you all there!

So you think you know how to measure and assess posture?

*notes: I don’t like the title ha, it sounds a bitty conceited but it did make you click and I figured it would be more interesting then “a thorough examination of the reliability of the visual assessment of the lumbar spine”. Anyways I think there is a valuable message here in examining the reliability of any practice you do as a trainer. Enjoy!


Posture; I haven’t talked about this subject in quite some time, frankly I’ve been spending more time focusing on learning more about strength training and programming. However, just because I haven’t really talked about it doesn’t mean I still haven’t been reading the research on it. In fact, Dr. Jonathan Fass and I are hopefully in the end phases of a research review on whether or not personal trainers should assess lumbar posture so it’s safe to say I’ve read a large percent of the relevant research on the subject.

Here’s the thing, I’m still noticing a lot of trainers talking about posture, specifically the alignment of the lumbar spine and its relationship to the pelvis (anterior pelvic tilt or posterior pelvic tilt). For simplicities sake let’s ignore the claims which include the alleged association between postural deviation and muscle imbalances and its association with pain and just focus on one question; as a personal trainer, do you really know how to assess lumbar posture? This means its accurate measurement and its change over time.

Let’s phrase this another way; your client wants to get stronger. You have a pretty good idea on how to measure a client’s strength. You might use the bench press or pull up for upper body strength or a leg press or squat for lower body strength. Now these are by no means gold standards for measuring strength but if a client can move more weight over time they have likely gotten stronger. So you have your assessment (leg press, squat, bench press, or whatever you decide to use) and you have your intervention which would be your training program. If your client gets stronger and they weren’t doing any training other than what you prescribed then your training program probably was the variable that changed their strength levels.

So you have your measure of strength which can be quantified by an actual number and your intervention which you predict will change the originally measured number. Now imagine how illogical it would be to say that you have a program that increases strength when you have no idea how to measure strength.

So before continuing to read ask yourself two questions (1) do you assess lumbar posture? And (2) do you know how lumbar posture is measured?

What is lumbar lordosis?

Lumbar lordosis refers to the anterior or inward curvature of the spine (Been).

How is lordosis measured and what is considered normal?

The problem with comparing data is that there are so many different ways people have measured lumbar lordosis. If you’re really interested check out this review by Vrtovec and colleagues. From what I’ve read, the Cobb method seems to be the standard. Cobbs method forms an angle by drawing a line at the superior endplate of L1 as well as a line at the superior endplate of the sacrum.

Cobb angle

So what’s normal?

This table comes from Roussouly, Gollogly, Berthonnaud, and Dimnet. They found that the average value for lordosis was 61.4 degrees with a range of 41.2 degrees to 81.9 degrees with the number of vertebrae contributing to the lordosis being between one and eight. They also identified four different classifications of lordosis.

Type 1 Type 2 Type 3 Type 4
Sacral slope Less than 35 degrees Less than 35 degrees Between 35 and 45 degrees Greater than 45 degrees
Lordosis range 41-64 degrees 44-58 degrees 43-76 degrees 61-82 degrees
Number of lordotic vertebrae 1.5-6 4-7.5 3-6.5 3.5-6
Prevalence 34 subjects 18 subjects 60 subjects 48 subjects

Type 3 is considered a well aligned spine but none of the individuals in this study, despite the wide range had back pain complaints.

Furthermore, Lin and colleagues also measured lumbar lordosis in a sample size of 149 subjects. The researchers discovered that the mean lordotic angle of this sample was 33.2 degrees. With one standard deviation, normal lordotic curve was 20-45 degrees. Lastly, Murrie and colleagues generated a modified Cobb angle by measuring the angle created from a line drawn between the L1/2 and L5/S1 disc spaces. The measured lordosis covered a wide range of 20 to 80 degrees.

I don’t remember the exact study but in the review section a researcher was quoted (okay I’m totally paraphrasing) as saying there is no point in defining normal spinal curvature due to large variations within the population.

Can it be accurately measured?

The answer is yes, lumbar lordosis can be accurately measured. Unfortunately just not by those still conducting visual assessments (which to my knowledge is the only way I’ve seen trainers do it). According to Vrtovec, Perus, and Likar examination of spinal curvature becomes more accurate when the evaluation is completely automated meaning relative to computerized evaluation, visual inspection is considered to be subjective, unreliable, and inconsistent (Vrtovec).

In fact there are several variables that might confound your visual analysis including gluteal prominence and stomach size. In a presentation I did this summer on the subject I had three pictures, two of them were of me and one was of another person. In one of the pictures of me I padded my butt with a towel to make it look bigger. I asked the people in the audience to rate who had a larger lordosis. The padded picture of me was rated as having a greater lumbar lordosis than the non padded picture. For example in this study by Mosner and colleagues titled,a comparision of actual and apparent lumbar lordosis in black and white adult females, they found that gluteal prominence played a role in how investigators perceived the size of a persons lumbar lordosis.

The reliability of visual inspection doesn’t get better from there but I urge you to figure this out for yourself by reading this (if you need the pdfs I can get them for you just message me or email me

Here’s the bottom line, there are a wide variety of spinal curves that are all nonpathological and thus considered ‘normal’ although the fact that there are so many acceptable values makes the term normal basically useless. Next, research does not support the use of the visual assessment for posture. I’m going to list over 40 references below on lumbar lordosis, its measurement, association with pain, and muscle imbalances. If you’re a personal trainer and still evaluate spinal curvature I strongly urge (no insist) that you at least read some of these references from each category to evaluate your practice. I will be happy to supply pdfs if any readers want them.

Finally, don’t take this the wrong way. I am not saying lumbar posture is totally irrelevant. Some postures may be aesthetically unappealing to the person with said posture and some postures have been associated with pain (read Adams reference) although the evidence is not in favor of that claim. All I am saying here is that if you want to continue assessing lumbar posture please find a way to do it reliably.

Adams MA, Mannion AF, Dolan P. Personal risk factors for first time low back pain. Spine 24: 2497-2505, 1999.

Balague F, Mannion AF, Pellise F, and Cedraschi C. Non-specific low back pain. The Lancet 379: 482-491, 2012.

Battie MC, Bigos SJ, Fisher LD, Spengler DM, Hansson TH, Nachemson AL, Wortley MD. Anthropometric and clinical measures as predictors of back pain complaints in industry: A prospective study. J Spinal Disord 3: 195-204, 1990.

Been E and Kalichman L. Lumbar lordosis. Spine J 14: 87-97, 2014.

Britnell Sj, Cole JV, Isherwood L, Sran MM, Burgi S, Cardido G, and Watson L. Postural health in women: The role of physiotherapy. J Obstet Gynaecol Can 27: 493-510, 2005

Bryan JM, Mosner E, Shippee R, and Stull MA. Investigation of the validity of postural evaluation skills in assessing lumbar lordosis using photographs of clothed subjects. J Orthop Sports Phys Ther 12: 24-29, 1990.

Chaleat-Valayer E, Mac-Thiong JM, Paquet J, Berthonnaud E, Siani F, and Roussouly P. Sagittal spino-pelvic alignment in chronic low back pain. Eur Spine J 20: 634-640, 2011.

Christensen ST, Hartvigsen J. Spinal curves and health: A systematic critical review of the epidemiological literature dealing with associations between sagittal spinal curves and health. J Manipulative Physiol Ther 9: 690-714, 2008.

Christie HJ, Kumar S, Warren SA. Postural aberrations in low back pain. Arch Phys Med Rehabil 76: 218-224, 1995.

Clark M, Lucett S, and Sutton BG. NASM Essentials of Corrective Exercise Training. Philadelphia, PA: 2011.

Dagenais S, Caro J, Haldeman S. A systematic review of low back pain cost of illness studies in the United States and internationally. Spine J 8: 8-20, 2008.

Deyo RA, Mirza SK, and Martin BI. Back pain prevalence and visit rates: Estimates from U.S. national surveys, 2002. Spine 31: 2724-2727, 2006.

Dunk NM, Lalonde J, and Callaghan JP. Implications for the use of the postural analysis as a clinical diagnostic tool: Reliability of quantifying upright standing spinal postures from photographic images. J Manipulative Physol Ther 28: 386-392, 2005.

During J, Goudfrooij H, Keessen W, Beeker TW, and Crowe A. Towards standards for posture. Postural characteristics of the lower back system in normal and pathological conditions. Spine 10: 83-87, 1985.

  1. Fann AV. The prevalence of postural asymmetry in people with and without chronic low back pain. Arch Phys Med Rehabil 83: 1736-1738.
  2. Fedorak C, Ashworth N, Marshall J, and Paull H. Reliability of the visual assessment of cervical and lumbar lordosis: How good are we? Spine 28: 1857-1859, 2003.
  3. Hansson T, Bigos S, Beecher P, and Wortley M. The lumbar lordosis in acute and chronic low-back pain. Spine 10: 154-155, 1985.
  4. Hayden JA, van Tulder MW, Malmivaara AV and Koes BW. Meta-Analysis: Exercise therapy for nonspecific low back pain. Ann Intern Med 142: 765-775, 2005.
  5. Heino JG, Godges JJ, and Carter CL. Relationship between hip extension range of motion and postural alignment. JOSPT 12: 243-247, 1990.
  6. Herrington L. Assessment of the degree of pelvic tilt within a normal asymptomatic population. Man Ther 16: 646-648, 2011.
  7. Kendall FP, McCreary EK, Provance P. Muscle Testing and Function. 4th ed. Baltimore, Md: Lippincot Williams & Wilkins; 1993.
  8. Kim HJ, Chung S, Kim S, Shin H, Lee J, Kim S, and Song MY. Influences of trunk muscles on lumbar lordosis and sacral angle. Eur Spine J 15: 409-414, 2006.
  9. Kritz MF and Cronin J. Static posture assessment screen of athletes: Benefits and considerations. Strength Cond J 30: 18-27, 2008.
  10. Lederman E. The fall of the postural-structural-biomechanical model in manual and physical therapies: Exemplified by lower back pain. J Bodyw Mov Ther 15: 131-138, 2011.
  11. Levine D, Walker JR, and Tillman LJ. The effect of abdominal muscle strengthening on pelvic tilt and lumbar lordosis. Physiother. Theory Pract. 13: 217-226, 1997.
  12. Li Y, McClure PW, and Pratt N. The effect of hamstring muscle stretching on standing posture and on lumbar and hip motions during forward bending. Phys Ther 76: 836-845, 1996.
  13. Lin RM, Jou IM, Yu CY. Lumbar lordosis: Normal adults. J Formos Med Assoc 91: 329-333, 1992.
  14. Melzack R, Katz J. Pain. WIREs Cogn Sci 4: 1–15, 2013.
  15. Moreside JM and McGill SM. Quantifying normal 3D hip ROM in healthy young adults males with clinical and laboratory tools: Hip mobility restrictions appear to be plane-specific. Clin Biomech 26: 824-829, 2011.
  16. Mosner EA, Bryan JM, Stull MA, and Shippee R. A comparison of actual and apparent lumbar lordosis in black and white adult females. Spine. 14: 310-314, 1989
  17. Murrie VL, Dixon AK, Hollingworth W, Wilson, Doyle TA. Lumber lordosis: Study of patients with and without low back pain. Clin Anata 16: 144-147, 2003.
  18. Norton BJ, Sahrmann SA, and Van Dillen LR. Differences in measurements of lumbar curvature related to gender and low back pain. J Ortho Sports Phys Ther 34: 524-534, 2004.
  19. Nourbakhsh MR and Arabloo AM. Relationship between mechanical factors and incidence of low back pain. J Orthop Sports Phys Ther 9: 447-460, 2002.
  20. Nourbakhsh MR, Arabloo AM, and Salavati M. The relationship between pelvic cross syndrome and chronic low back pain. J Back Musculoskelet Rehabil 19: 119-128, 2006.
  21. Pope MH, Bevins T, Wilder DG, and Frymoyer JW. The relationship between anthropometric, postural, muscular, and mobility characteristics of males ages 18-55. Spine. 10: 644-648, 1985.
  22. Rinkus KM, and Knaub MA. Clinical and diagnostic evaluation of low back pain. Seminars in Spine Surgery 20: 93-101, 2008.
  23. Ronai P and Sorace P. Chronic nonspecific low back pain and exercise. Strength Cond J 35: 29-32, 2013.
  24. Roussouly P, Gollogly S, Berthonnaud E, Dimnet J. Classification of the normal variation in the sagittal alignment of the human lumbar spine and pelvis in the standing position. Spine 30 346-353, 2005.
  25. Scannell JP,and McGill SM. Lumbar posture-should it, and can it, be modified? A study of passive tissue stiffness and lumbar position during activities of daily living. Phys Ther 83: 907-917, 2003.
  26. Toppenberg RM and Bullock MI. The interrelation of spinal curves, pelvic tilt and muscle lengths in adolescent females. Aust J Physiother. 32: 6-12, 1986.
  27. Tuzun C, Yorulmaz I, Cindas A, and Vantan S. Low back pain and posture. Clin Rheumatol 18: 308-312, 1999.
  28. Vrtovec T, Perus F, and Likar B. A review of methods for quantitative evaluation of spinal curvature. Eur Spine J 18: 593-607, 2009.
  29. Walker ML, Rothstein JM, Finucane SD and Lamb RL. Relationship between lumbar lordosis, pelvic tilt, and abdominal muscle performance. Phys Ther 67: 512-516, 1987.
  30. Weppler CH and Magnusson SP. Increasing muscle extensibility: A matter of increasing length or modifying sensation. Phys Ther. 90: 438-449, 2010.
  31. Youdas JM, Garrett TR, Harmsen S, Suman VJ, Carey JR. Lumbar lordosis and pelvic inclination of asymptomatic adults. Phys Ther 76: 1066-1081, 1996.
  32. Youdas JM, Garrett TR, Egan KS, Therneau TM. Lumbar lordosis and pelvic inclination in adults with chronic low back pain. Phys Ther 80: 261-275, 2000.

Top 5 Mobility Movements People Should be Performing Before Their Workout


The following is guest post from Nancy Newell. I’ve known Nancy for a couple years now and have been impressed with her work ethic, desire to learn, and network with smart people in the fitness industry. She’ll be making an impact soon enough. Oh and she’s really strong too!

nancy deadlift


Mobility and stability go hand in hand. Mobility is the ability to produce a desired movement where as stability is the ability to resist an undesired movement. Together they play crucial role in a successful strength-training program. So called corrective drills have been touted as having the ability to help alter posture along with improving range of motion. Here are some things you should consider and questions you should ask yourself when implementing mobility exercises prior to your training program.

(1) At what point is ‘bad’ posture detrimental? I’m guessing it’s different for different people because different people have different movement capabilities. For example, McGill did one study where he measured hip extension range of motion and some people had 16 degrees and some people had negative hip extension range of motion! So if a person with 16 degrees of hip extension ROM was lordotic and had an ATP they could probably still lock out their deadlift without stressing their lumbar spine but if someone had 3 degrees if hip extension ROM and were also lordotic and in ATP they might stress their lumbar to lock out. Make sense? you have to look at movement capabilities even before posture.

(2) Can a few gym movements really change posture? I would say the literature doesn’t really support that. McGill again, actually did have one where he did stretching and strengthening for people with hypo and hyper lordosis and turns out they did change their posture but that was a small sample size. Other reviews would say it isn’t that easy. Since posture is based on habits and what we do all day 10 minutes of correctives probably wouldn’t undo it, kind of like saying you can eat like shit but if you exercise for 30 minutes it will undo it.

(3) What is the main determinant in “good” or “bad”? Posture according to Muscles Testing and Function with Posture and Pain. In summary Kendall states “The position of the pelvis is the key to good or faulty postural alignment. The muscles that maintain good alignment of the pelvis both anteropsoteriorly and laterally, are the upmost importance to maintain good overall alignment. An Imbalance between muscles that oppose each other in the standing position changes the alignment of the pelvis, and adversely affects the posture of the body parts both above and below”

(4) As stated above cultural patterns of 21st century aide in accumulating stress to the structures of the human body by repetitive specialized activities such as ones day job. Correction of certain conditions requires good body mechanics, range of joint motion must be adequate but not excessive. Kendell states “ the more flexibility, the less stability; the mores stability, the less flexibility” So should the goal  be to achieve a happy medium? Ensuring we achieve stability at joints that are unstable and achieve an adequate range of motion at joints that are lacking adequate range of motion?

With all these points to consider here are several drills that you can start doing in your warm up today.

The following exercise over time with proper body mechanics during daily life will aide in achieving an increase of ROM by moving joints through a proper range of motion and adding stability to structures of the body for protection against injury.

  • The Dead-bug

Stability: Anterior core, lumbar

Mobility: shoulder, hip

  • T-Spine Extension and Rotation.

Stability: Scapula, lumbar spine

Mobility: Thoracic Spine

  • Bird Dog’s

Stability: Anterior, lateral, rotary core

Mobility: Hip, shoulder

  • Glute Bridge Iso holds

Stability: Core, knee

Mobility: Ankle, hip,



  • Yoga Push-ups

Stability: Scapula, core

Mobility: Ankle, shoulder, hip


  1. You have to look at movement capabilities before posture.
  2. Look at daily living habits and how you can correct “bad” body biomechanics during every day life activities
  3. If you don’t move your joints through an adequate ROM over time you will lose your ROM and it will adversely affect the body parts above and below that joint.
  4. Achieve stability at joints that are unstable, and increase ROM at joints that lack ROM

2015 Strength and Conditioning Symposium

Hi all,

More details to be coming every week but here is the registration sheet for the 2015 Strength and Conditioning/ Personal Training Symposium! Once you sign up I will personally email you with all of the directions on how to get to Cortland and will keep you updated as the event gets closer. As of now we are trying to move location (still on campus) but to a place closer to a gym for hands on activities.

Speakers will include

Tony Gentilcore

Joy Victoria

Mark Fisher

Nick Tumminello

A hands on session will also be conducted by John Gaglione

flyer and registration  –> all the details as well as the registration sheet can be found here

Also if you’re wondering why you should go, check out some awesome clips from last years seminar

Important considerations for tracking training volume


Volume is a vital factor in training success. Plain and simple if you want to get bigger and stronger you have to do more work. In my last few months of training I’ve been tracking my volume (frequency x reps x sets) for each day and exercise. I’ve seen some pretty great results, hitting a 560 deadlift and a 275 bench press (I really struggle with bench, it’s an accomplishment).


*for the sake of this article strength will be mentioned but we will focus mainly on muscle growth. High training intensities need to be utilized for muscle strength whereas variable training intensities can be used for hypertrophy. *

Here’s what you do when you track your volume: (more…)

A simple approach to programming and progression (template attached)

This text corresponds with the attached excel sheet. The purpose of this is to make programming a resistance training routine easy for trainers and for people looking to put a program together for themselves.

Whenever considering how to create and progress a program the main variables that need to be considered are exercise selection, training volume, and exercise intensity. There are of course more (bar speed, rest periods,…) but these are the main variables that are of concern.

On the first page these three variables have been covered. There are different rep and set loading protocols with examples of progressions for each. This increases the training volume.

For example, if you or a client were squatting 135 pounds for 3 sets of 12 a progression would be 3 sets of 15 with the same weight.

Listed also are movement categories. Exercise variety is important so if you do a traditional back squat for 4 weeks, on the 5th training week swap it out for a box squat. This example has been given on sheet two.

Sheet three is an example of an intermediate program where intensity is modified on the second training phase (+5-10 pounds) and then the reps increase on the third training phase. Hopefully this provides an easy to follow outline for people looking to put together training programs.

It is useful to block out training phases (3-6 weeks) and then pick a variable to change (exercise selection, intensity, or volume) with each training cycle.

programming made simple


Seven upper body finishing exercises


A ‘finisher’ is a nice way to conclude a training session. You can organize a finisher to accumulate a little bit more training volume which will help increase muscle size or you could use a finisher as a conditioning tool which will aid in fat loss. Finishers should be grueling, they’re mentally tough just as much as they are physically tough. Here are seven upper body finishers that you can incorporate into your training programs today.

TRX row complex

For the TRX row complex you need a chin up bar to set the TRX up on. You will do 15 rows, on the 15th row begin a 30 second static hold. Repeat this three times with one minute rest in between sets. Static hold time will decrease from 30 seconds on the first round to 20 seconds on the second round to 15 seconds on the last round.

  • Set 1: 15 rows, 30 second hold, 60 seconds rest
  • Set 2: 15 rows, 20 second hold, 60 seconds rest
  • Set 3: 15 rows, 15 second hold


TRX curl complex

Treat this complex is a similar way to the previous one. You will be following the same plan of 15 reps with 30, 20, and 15 second static holds. However, for this exercise you will be doing a curl rather than a row.

  • Set 1: 15 curls, 30 second hold, 60 seconds rest
  • Set 2: 15 curls, 20 second hold, 60 seconds rest
  • Set 3: 15 curls, 15 second hold


TRX bear hug complex

This is the last of the TRX exercises. For this exercise you will start in a row position then rapidly cross your hands like you’re grabbing someone to tackle them. Do 15 reps then proceed with the same static hold routine.

  • Set 1: 15 hugs, 30 second hold, 60 seconds rest
  • Set 2: 15 hugs, 20 second hold, 60 seconds rest
  • Set 3: 15 hugs, 15 second hold

bear hug

Spider man pushup with medicine ball toss

For this exercise you need two medicine balls separated by about twenty feet. Start with 10 rapid medicine ball tosses to the wall followed by spiderman walking pushups to the next medicine ball. Complete 10 more tosses. This is one round. Rest 30-60 seconds and repeat two more times.

Three point pushups

Three point pushups are a great upper body finisher that I borrowed from strength coach Nick Tumminello. Put your feet up on a bench and do pushups until failure. Next, go into a regular pushup position and do pushups to failure. Finally put your hands on a bench and do pushups until failure. This can be a stand alone finisher or you can do it for 2-3 sets.

3pt 3 3pt 2 3pt1


20’s are a great way to accumulate some extra volume. Pick a difficult exercise like the overhead press, squat, or bench press and couple it with an exercise that is less demanding but still works the same muscles. For example. Lateral raises, lunges, or pushups. In this example we will use a kettlebell overhead press. Pick a weight you can do around 12-15 times and rep it out (maximum number of possible reps). Subtract the number you get from 20 and do that number for the less challenging exercise, in this case lateral raises. An example of three sets would look like this

  • Set 1: 16 overhead presses 4 lateral raises, rest two minutes
  • Set 2: 12 overhead presses 8 lateral raises, rest two minutes
  • Set 3: 9 overhead presses, 11 lateral raises

overhead press lateral raise

Back complex

Strength coach James Smith introduced this to me this summer. You’ll need two pairs of weights, a heavy pair for rows and a lighter pair for reverse flys. For the first set do 30 rows and 15 reverse flys. You may not be able to do 30 or 15 repetitions in a row and that’s okay. You’re allowed to rest on intervals of 5 for 5 seconds. So if you get to rep 20 and are fatigued put the weight down and rest for 5 seconds. The first round is actually the easiest round. For the second round you do 40 rows and 20 reverse flys and for the third round do 50 rows and 25 reverse flys. Rest for 2-4 minutes in between sets.

row reverse fly


Try incorporating one or two of these finishers every week at the end of an upper body training day to add some variety and extra training volume.

Charity deadlift meet in 1 month and Strength and Conditioning/Personal Training Symposium!

Hi all,


The charity deadlift even for Golisanos Childrens Hospital is less than a month away so be sure to get your registrations in so I can plan the order for the lifters. Also please share this with friends!



Also, .5 CEU’s have been approved for the Strength and Conditioning/Personal Training Symposium at Cortland which will be held on March 28th. Speakers include Tony Gentilcore, Nick Tumminello, Cassandra Forsythe, and Mark Fisher. We have a massive range of topics from building a fitness business to training around lower body injuries. John Gaglione will also be hosting a hands on deadlifting session.  Registration info and scheduling information is below

2015 strength and conditioning & personal training symposium

symposium details