The Short-Seated Pulldown

The short-seated pulldown progressions are some of our favorite exercises for training the lats, respiration, and a host of other good things.

In this progression, we will take you step-by-step through the exercises that we use with our clients and athletes. From bilateral progressions, to unilateral progressions, to variations where we’re in the bottom of a deep squat, we think this is a series of exercises that you’ll love using.

Please note: The short-seated alternating thoracic abduction technique is from the PRI Integration for Fitness and Movement course. Used with permission from the Postural Restoration Institute®© 2016,

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A Novel Idea for Building Community

A Novel Idea for Building Community

Earlier this fall, I decided to start a Book Club for our clients. I reckoned it would be a great way to get some of our quieter, more cerebral clients to engage within our community. For our inaugural run, I selected “I Thought It Was Just Me”, by New York Times bestselling author Brené Brown. According to the marketing gurus at Amazon, “the book offers a liberating study on the importance of our imperfections—both to our relationships and to our own sense of self.” I wrote chapter discussion guides and we met weekly at a nearby restaurant; bonding discussions, personal insight, and merry times were had by all.

Wish you had an easy way to roll out something similar? Fear not, my IFASTU compadres, your book club fairy has arrived.

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Rethinking the Hamstrings: Their dynamic function during movement

Rethinking the Hamstrings

Part 1: Anatomical considerations

Hamstring function has been studied in depth for many years yet they remain one of the most injured muscle groups in sport. One of the keys to understanding hamstring function lies in the specific structure of the hamstring muscles themselves. Form truly follows function in this case. In part 1 of this series, you’ll gain a foundational understanding of the hamstring anatomy and architecture that underlies hamstring function. This is essential understanding leading into how the hamstrings function during performance and how best to train the hamstrings for resiliency and recovery from injury.

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Multi-Directional Speed: Get faster results by fitting your programming to your client

Multi-Directional Speed

This month begins a series on speed, starting with the components of speed programming. This presentation lays out the model I use to navigate my way through speed programming to ensure absolute transfer to sport. By manipulating factors such as predictability and urgency, you can place your athletes right where their skill level puts them and learn how to progress them through to complete competency of a skill.

Get ready to learn

  • the precautions I’ve taken to minimize wasted time with my athletes
  • when to add competition to your speed programming
  • how to control predictability and variability in your speed drills for the best outcome
  • mock progression of honing the skill of the hip turn
  • why does complexity matter in speed training

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Ice Hockey Conditioning: Why you should be testing anaerobic threshold, how to do it, and how to train it

Ice Hockey Conditioning

Sports conditioning is a topic that people constantly get wrong. It’s easy to do: at the surface, things seem clear, but the details and interplay with the entire body tend to get overlooked.

Hockey is different than other team sports in that it is more glycolytic. Proper shift duration and conditioning is of utmost importance if you want to be faster than the other team in the 3rd period.

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Mistakes I've Made: Training adaptations edition

Mistakes I’ve Made

Editor’s note: this video dovetails nicely with a recent video from Brandon called Acute Responses to Exercise.

I’ve made more than my share of mistakes over the years, especially when it comes to program design.

When it comes to training adaptations, I think there are 3 big areas where you need to dial in and stay focused. You can absolutely have “the best of both worlds,” but a big part of this is layering and implementing things in the correct fashion.

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Acute Responses to Exercise: What happens to the body when you work out

Acute Responses to Exercise

If you’re going to get the desired training effect with your clients you have to know how the body reacts to training.

In this video we go through the physiologic changes occurring before, during, and after, a training session. Understanding how the systems in the body react acutely to training and work together will help to make your training more targeted, allowing for bigger better training effects in a shorter period of time.

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Case Study: What becoming a father has taught me about being a better coach

Case Study

As some of you already know, I recently became a father. Here are three lessons that I’ve been ruminating on for the last few days, taught to me by our infant son.

We’ll talk about things like

  • How strength and conditioning is like poker, or raising a child, but not chess
  • How having a baby relates to setting goals for your clients
  • How feeling incompetent can make you more empathetic

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Why Your Foam Roller is Nearly Useless

These foam rollers…

They’re pretty good, don’t get me wrong. They definitely has their uses. I just don’t want people to overrely on them.

We’ve all had a client whose straight leg raise is limited or can’t squat correctly, but what causes it? Maybe its soft tissue, maybe it’s the nervous system? Once you’ve figured out the cause, you can start to fix it.

In this video, we talk about what might cause mobility problems, what you can do to start fixing them, and the science behind it all.

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Attract New Leads, Build Community, and Transform Clients: How? Run a challenge!

Attract New Leads, Build Community, and Transform Clients

One of the most rewarding parts of being at IFAST is getting to work with interns and see the incredible and diverse directions their careers take them.

Years ago, Sean Griffin was one such intern. Today, Sean is the owner of Chicago Primal Gym and helps facilitate Run a Challenge, a platform for gyms to attract new clients and motivate existing ones. IFAST has successfully implemented two of these challenges.

With January right around the corner, this might be the perfect resource to kick your 2017 off with success and prosperity.

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Don't Die While Unracking the Bar: Basic safety tips that everyone ignores

Don’t Die While Unracking the Bar

So many clients think that squats are just about squatting.

But squats are also about the set up, body awareness, stability, and safety.

In this video, Jae reminds us to have an attention to detail, discussing

  • How we teach clients to unrack and rack their bars
  • How to avoid injuries
  • Teaching clients the mindset of “It’s not over until it’s over.”
Jump Higher by Improving Power Output: What is your athlete missing?

Jump Higher by Improving Power Output

What does your athlete need?

This month, Ty talks about power and directly applies some of these concepts to a new IFAST athlete. Watch to find out

  • When is it appropriate to add weight to an exercise to improve technique?
  • Ty’s top alternating thorax power exercise
  • What makes an athlete a gorilla vs. a kangaroo?
  • Example programming for a “gorilla” athlete
  • What does a graphical representation of fast and slow reps look like?
  • The autoregulation benefits of velocity-based training
  • How to focus on the most important training quality for a client instead of chasing multiple qualities and getting nowhere
  • What percentages of one rep max to use if you don’t have any way to measure bar velocity

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The Chop Pattern: A system to make your programming more effective

The Chop Pattern

Have you heard of PNF (Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation) stretching?

Well, PNF is much more than just stretching. It’s actually an entire system that even has a movement component. A major piece is the Chop Pattern, which takes advantage of the normal spiral and diagonal relationships in the trunk and extremities to support the development of more complex movements.

This video will provide a brief introduction of the PNF diagonal patterns, thorax relationships, and numerous examples of exercises and activities to make your exercise selection and programming more effective.