View Full Version : EliteFTS Seminar With Dave Tate (Boston 2006)

03-07-2006, 10:21 PM
OK, so I promised you guys a full report, and here it is.

First, a few things about Dave. Dave Tate is probably one of the coolest people I've ever met. Not only is he a wealth of training knowledge, he's also very friendly, and willing to help anyone who wants to listen. He's a great story-teller and an even better motivator and coach. He fixed my squat in about 5 minutes. He'll always give you an answer, and he gets right to the point. He's also a monster. His forearms are bigger than my calves. He also kept smacking his head on the bar everytime he got up from the bench, and the bar would bounce up off the hooks. Oh yeah, and the pin-pull article became a huge running gag throughout the weekend. He also LOVES the F word. Bottom line, everyone should get to one of these seminars. If you're in California, he'll be there in 2 weeks.

About the gym: Total Performance Sports (http://www.totalperformancesports.com) is a small combat/strongman/powerlifting gym in Everett Mass. CJ Murphy is cool as hell and strong as hell. Any lifters or fighters in the Boston area should pay a visit to this place. It's nothing fancy, but they have everything that you need to get strong.

The Seminar, Day 1:

The seminar opened with an explanation of the "Breakthrough Factor". The entire seminar was focused around this one main point. Routines and Programs are ok for beginners, but at some point, instinct will kick in and you should know what to do and when to do it when it comes to your own training. This isn't something that just happens. It takes years of effort and education. This is what separates the great lifters from everyone else.

Going Full Circle:
Everyone begins their training at the very bottom, with no knowledge of how to train or what kind of program to use. We just went in and did whatever we thought we should do. Whether it was 3 sets of 10 bench press and then curls and we just did that 5 days a week. We all did something. Then in our quest to get better, we started reading and learning. And eventually we figured out a better way to train. At some point, we come to a peak, where we've acquired so much knowledge, we can start quoting people (sound familiar) and we sound very scientific. At this point, there's a split. While a lot of people will stay at this point (sounding very smart) others will begin to just apply what they've learned. Eventually, those that have moved on, using their knowledge instead of just having it, will get back to that starting point. They'll just be doing whatever they feel like they should be doing, only now they have a wealth of knowledge that they can fall back on. This is going full circle. One major point here is that no matter what knowledge is gained or forgotten, the end result is the only thing that matters. If you got better, that's all that matters. (At this point, Dave went into a rant about Yodas and Gurus and how they like to use complex language and theories to confuse you. He also gav ean example of how you can use one concept and make it "The Answer". (Pin Pulls)).

Primary Aim:
There are 6 basic reasons that any of us does what we do (in training, life, whatever). These are certainty, uncertainty, significance, contribution, growth, and love. If you don't know the reason for what you're doing, you have to find it.

For Coaches/Trainers: It is important to find out what the reason is for your client. You must then get a history. Not just a health history, but find out what has worked in the past, and try to work with that, and improve it. The most important thing for a coach to do is to shut up and listen.

Program Design:
For coaches and trainers, you must know your abilities as a coach as well as your limitations. Stick to what you know. Bring in help from outside sources for things you don't know. Can you teach? Does your style of coaching work? If not, why not?

Know what equipment you have access to, and work with what you have. Make it work.

Genetic abilities are viewed as nothing more than an excuse. Determine what your physical limitations are. Correct them and improve them.

Perform a "needs analysis". What is your sport? What do you need in order to be competitive? Within your sport, what is your position (if applicable)? What is your injury status? How will you strengthen those areas, and how will you design the program to accomodate the injuries?

Perform an "Individual Analysis". Determine the factors that are important to your sport. Grade these factors on any scale you like (1-10 was used as the example). For each factor, ask the questions: What should it be? What is it? Does it need to be maintained? Does it need to be improved? Keep in mind that improvements are the primary goal of this analysis. The following factors were used: Strength, Endurance, Flexibility, Mobility, Agility, Speed, Skill, Nutritional. For example, say a Tight End should have a strength level at about 7 and it's 5. Well, he should focus on bringing up his strength. If you need benchmarks, think of a weightlifter. Strength would be a required 10, because it is a high priority. Then think of a Chess player. Strength would be a 1.

Performance Indicators:
This is the single most important part of the program. It's also the part that a lot of people miss. Performance indicators are used to track the goal. The more indicators you have, the better. These indicators should be tracked Monthly to determine what is working, and what is not. Find out what is working and keep it. Whatevre isn't working should be dropped. For powerlifting, performance indicators would be anything that builds a lift. These would be things like Good Mornings, and Board Presses.

Programming Guidelines:
Before adding anything to a program, the following questions must be asked: Is it necessary? Is it sufficient? Is it appropriate? Is it effective? Is it challenging? Is it safe?

Program the weaknesses first.

The Golden Rule: 20% of the training will yield 80% of the results. The 20% is the Max effort and Dynamic effort. Everyone can do the 20%. It's those people who do the rest that will come out on top.

From here, Dave basically just went through the Westside template and the Conjugate sequence. He gave a bunch of sample waves and different methods of ME, DE and RE. Most of this stuff has been covered repeatedly on his site, and there isn't much more that I can add right now. If anyone has questions about it, I'll try to break it down.

There was a Q&A session following the presentation. A few things I took away from this:
Olympic lifts should only be used as supplemental lifts on Dynamic days (Unless you are an Olympic lifter).
For an ME exercise, Incline Bench press is good, Decline benchpress is bad. THis is because of the increased stress on the pecs during a decline which causes an increase in the risk of injury.
For ME, GoodMornings should be trained in triples or 5s and never singles, unless you are doing suspended GMs, then singles should be used.
If you have rotator cuff issues, forget about overhead lifts.
Pin Pulls are great for pec development.

After the Q/A, Dave just told some stories. One was about Chuck Vogelpohl and his first 1000lb squat at the 2001 IPA Nationals. 2 weeks before the meet, Chuck rolled his car and messed up his leg. He was still determined to do the meet, even though he was obviously hurt. 3 days before the meet, he rolled the rental car, and messed up his other leg. He could barely walk. He insisted that he could do the meet. On meet day, Dave was the head judge. He saw that Chuck's opener was 900lbs. Chuck's previous max was 860. He got killed by 900. On his 2nd attempt, Chuck tried 950 and smoked it. FOr the 3rd, he went 1000 and again, he smoked it. The point? It's all in your head, and Chuck V is a freak.

This was about it for day 1. As long as this post is, I really tried to compress it. We were in that room for a good 9 hours. Hopefully you guys can get something out of this. I know I sure did. Tomorrow I'll post up Day 2 and some more comments.

03-07-2006, 10:27 PM
Well done!

03-07-2006, 10:48 PM
Do they ever come to Canada?

03-08-2006, 12:07 AM
Sweeeeeet. Looking forward to Day 2 Sparknotes.

03-08-2006, 03:28 AM
Do they ever come to Canada?

Im wondering that as well

03-08-2006, 03:29 AM
great info btw drew

03-08-2006, 05:24 AM
Wow! Dave Tate AND TPS in one weekend! That sounds like a GREAT time!

Where is that "pin pull" article? I'm pretty curious now...

03-08-2006, 09:38 AM
Thanks fellas. I don't know if they go to Canada. Best way to find out is to post a question on their Q&A or call them. The site is www.elitefts.com

Sensei, here's the article: http://www.elitefts.com/documents/magic_pin_pull.htm

ArchAngel, Chuck is a nut. That's why. lol

03-08-2006, 10:11 AM
Day 2 was where I really learned some great info. Dave not only showed us how to box squat correctly, but he showed us how to teach and coach the squat. This alone was invaluable.

The first step in teaching/learning the box squat is to find a box height that works. Keep in mind that some people will need to start high because of balance, strength and flexibility limitations. So start off with a box that you would guess is parallel and work up or down as necessary. What you are looking for is the person sitting back to the box, without falling onto it. This should be done with nothing on the back before anything else. They should cross their arms in front of the chest (like a front squat) to help keep balance.

For a beginner, once the box height is determined, use a broomstick across the back to give them the feel of the bar without using weight. For a lifter who has squatted before, it's ok to start with a bar. Have them perform several sets using the broomstick or bar.

At this point, you should be watching the lower body only. Always start from the bottom and work up. Make sure that the feet and ankles aren't rolling, make sure the knees are flared and forced out. If they are having trouble flaring the knees, have them point their toes out slightly.

Once the foot and knee position are corrected, watch the hips. Every squat should begin with the hips pushed back. When the squat begins, it should be nothing more than forcing the hips back back back. The hips will make the knees bend, not the other way around.

Once the lower body mechanics are correct, move onto the upper body. Bar path is what you are looking at here. The bar should move in a straight lie from the bottom to the top. If it isn't, find out why. This could be anything from a lower back or abdominal weakness, to the lifter leaning forward too much or not enough. If they are weak, strengthen them. If they are leaning forward, find a verbal cue that will get them into postition (for me it was "arch back" and "good morning").

From here, make sure the head is in a correct position. The head should be looking straight ahead or slightly up. Not way up (like me). Once these things are all addressed, continue to watch the entire motion. Watch for anything that breaks down. If it looks good, add some weight. Keep adding weight until the form starts to break down, then correct the form. Use verbal cues that the lifter will understand. If you're not dealing with a powerlifter, they may not understand if you tell them to "arch back".

During this period, Dave was using volunteers. The first guy to go was a powerlifter. He was also stubborn. He was also a disaster. Dave had a field day with this guy. But after about 10 minutes and a LOT of sets at 135, he got him fixed. He then used a combat fighter and showed him right away how to squat. This guy adapted in no time.

So then it was my turn. The first thing Dave said to me as I approached the monolift was "dude, if you suck I'm gonna friggin kill you". No pressure. After a couple of warmups with the bar, he looks at me and says "What the f*** are you looking at up there?" This had me about laughing my ass off. But it got me to bring my head down. He stuck a space heater in front of the monolift and told me to focus on it. That if I looked anywhere else he was going to knock me out. No problem, until I looked up again. "DUDE, WHAT THE F***!?" OK, I got it. The next thing he made me do was flare my knees out. My foot position was good, and all I needed was that one instruction and I had it down. Next was getting me to sit back. I thought I was sitting back! He had me sit back so far that I felt like I would fall. But after a few sets, I had it down. I then performed a few sets with his verbal coaching of "Heater! Hips!" Because I needed to remember to keep my focus, and push my hips back. The last thing he told me to do was arch the bar back slightly, like the top of a good morning. He said my forward lean was good, but just a little too extreme, so I had to back it off a bit. Done. I'm so glad I didn't suck. He also told me my conditioning sucks and I should buy a sled. To which I replied, I have one. And he said, "well, use it more."

One other important thing he brought up was that I'm an extremely aggressive person when I get under the bar. He kept doing things to get me to loosen up "Dude, it's only 135, you're treating it like it's 500". He used me to illustrate how to work with a person's personality instead of trying to force it to change.

After this, he showed a newbie personal trainer how to teach a beginner how to squat. It was pretty cool. He gave her confidence in her abilities where she previously had none. And it only took 10 minutes.

After the squat instruction, we moved right on to benchpress. The basic message here was "It's a benchpress, get on the bench and benchpress!" Basically, don't worry about the mechanics so much. Keep it simple. A few rules to follow:
Stay tight (duh!), keep your wrists under the bar. Keep your wrists and elbows in line throughout the press. Keep the shoulders locked in by pulling the bar out of the hooks, not pressing it out.

He then demonstrated the Westside benching technique and the Metal Militia benching technique. He also made it a point of saying that if you're not benching 500, don't worry too much about how you're benching, just get stronger. Also, if you want to learn Metal Militia, you have to be taught, in person. It's not something that can be learned by watching a DVD. (Mike Miller will be giving a MM seminar at TPS in April if anyone is interested).

From here, he just went through some further instruction on suplemental exercises such as the GM, upper back GM, GHR, Rev Hyper, Pullthrough, Dimel Dead, JM press, and a few others. These are things I can't really explain. I will say the GHR is one that you should see performed to learn how to do it correctly.

Anyway, that's about all. There is plenty more to talk about, but I'm sure that will all come out of me eventually. This seminar kicked my ass and was worth every penny. I came out of it armed with the ability to not only improve my own training, but to help other people with theirs, and that's what it's really all about. Paying it back. One of the things I said to Dave after thanking him for giving the seminar was that I always try to pay it back. He said "Pay me back with a big lift".

Maki Riddington
03-08-2006, 10:26 AM
Very cool stuff Drew. Thanks for sharing. I really wish these guys would visit Canada, especially the west coast.

03-08-2006, 11:05 AM
Happy to share Maki. The best part was that this was Dave's first seminar in a few years. So we got a lot of extra stuff that probably won't be included in later seminars.

Hey, give them a call. Maybe if you can get a facility and enough interest you can get him to come up there.

03-08-2006, 11:45 AM
Great post Drew. Thanks for taking the time to put this up here.

03-10-2006, 06:55 AM
Many thanks for sharing your experiences bro. I really enjoyed reading that and took some good info from it. Thanks again.

03-10-2006, 08:01 PM
Cool Drew, guess I better go do some pin pulls.LOL j/k