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 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)).
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.
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.
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.
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.