In today’s blog I’d like to inform my readers as to exactly how I currently acquire knowledge pertaining to strength & conditioning. I probably spend 4-5 hours per day reading, watching, and listening to new fitness-related media. Some days when I’m researching it might be closer to 8 hours per day. Several days per week my entire waking hours will consist of fitness-related activities: writing, training others, training myself, reading, watching videos, etc. Obviously relevant fitness-related information is specific to each individual, as we all have our own interests. For example, a researcher may only rely on journals for information, whereas a powerlifter might only want to visit powerlifting websites for info. Personally, I am extremely interested in sport-specific training, bodybuilding, and powerlifting. I am mildly interested in nutrition and not very interested in endurance sports like running or triathalon training.
First I should mention that I do not like rehashers. If everything that comes out of your mouth or everything you write is exactly the same as Mike Boyle, Gray Cook, Mark Verstegen, Eric Cressey, Charles Poliquin, or Alwyn Cosgrove, then you’re a follower, not a leader. Way too many folks in this industry simply wait for their favorite guru idol to come out with a strong opinion and then rehash it. I prefer to not spend time on these folks’ sites.
In this industry the top thinkers tend to rise to the top. For cases in point, I believe the top four smartest folks in strength & conditioning are Eric Cressey, Christian Thibaudeau, Mike Boyle, and Kelly Baggett. I cannot begin to count the number of times I’ve read or heard something they said or wrote and was blown away by the logic behind their comments and the simplistic manner in which they express their thoughts. I may not always agree with these guys, but I always appreciate their brilliance and thought-processes. I look forward to the day when I will be mentioned in the same sentence as these top-minds in strength and conditioning.
Without further ado, here are the ways in which I learn:
In my opinion TMuscle is by far the greatest strength training website that ever existed. Over the past twelve years, the world’s best strength training authors have been T-Nation contributors. From past authors such as Ian King, Charlie Francis, Joe DeFranco, John Berardi, Paul Chek, Alwn Cosgrove, Jeremy Frisch, Charles Poliquin, Charles Staley, Tim Henriques, and Chad Waterbury to more recent authors such as Mike Boyle, Jim Wendler, Nick Tumminello, Eric Minor, Scott Abel, and Clay Hyght. Then there are the constants who have been writing for T-Nation for many years such as Christian Thibaudeau, Dan John, Eric Cressey, Mike Robertson, and Dave Tate. No other website even comes close to featuring this many talented writers. I can’t thank T-Nation enough for all the free learning they have provided me over the years!
As a matter of fact, if you were to spend an entire week reading every one of Christian Thibaudeau’s articles and Eric Cressey’s articles you’d probably be more knowledgeable than 99% of personal trainers and gym-rats! It’s unfortunate that the site has recently decided to reduce its number of weekly training and nutrition related articles to two per week instead of the four weekly articles they’ve always featured. Waking up to a new T-Nation article was a part of life for me!
Elitefts does a great job at putting out quality content over a broad range of topics in strength & conditioning. Although not quite at the level of quality-content as TMuscle, Elitefts posts many excellent articles and the absolute best in the industry regarding the sport of powerlifting. Any time you get to read articles written by Dave Tate, Jim Wendler, Louie Simmons, Martin Rooney, Alwyn Cosgrove, and James Smith you’re in for a treat.
StrengthCoach.Com belongs to Mike Boyle and is in my opinion the best site in the industry regarding sport-specific training. You will find weekly articles by actual strength coaches who are in the trenches with athletes week-in, week-out.
Higher-Faster-Sports.Com belongs to Kelly Baggett and contains a great number of free articles written by Kelly. In fact, just as in the case of Christian Thibaudeau and Eric Cressey, if you were to spend an entire week reading all of Kelly Baggett’s articles you’d certainly be a vertical jump and speed expert.
5. Honorable Mentions
Honorable mentions go to EliteTrack.Com (probably the best site in the industry regarding sprinting-related material; the site features blogs written by Mike Young, Vern Gambetta, and Carl Valle – three guys that know an awful lot about strength training as it relates to Track & Field, in addition to many journal articles pertaining to Track & Field), Wannabebig.Com (a strength training site that has featured many top-notch writers including Alan Aragon, Nick Tumminello, John Berardi, Eric Cressey, and Alwyn Cosgrove), ElevatingFitness.Com (a more recent site that features many blogs and articles written by many of today’s top experts in strength & conditioning), and SportsRehabExperts.Com (a site that I don’t belong to but have heard only good things as it contains articles and podcasts by many top physical therapists and corrective exercise specialists in the field).
1. The Fitcast
The Fitcast is hosted by Kevin Larabee, Jonathon Fass, and Leigh Peele. Often Tony Gentilcore will join in as well. I’ve really enjoyed what Jonathon Fass has to say about most topics, and Kevin Larabee is becoming very knowledgeable himself having surrounded himself with so many top thinkers in the field.
In the Trenches Fitness is hosted by Mike Robertson who does a hell of a job giving his fans free information month-in, month-out. I’ve really enjoyed the interviews he’s conducted and the interviewees he’s sought.
The Strength Coach podcast is hosted by Anthony Renna who interviews Mike Boyle, Alwyn Cosgrove, and Gray Cook nearly every episode. A strength coach is featured on nearly every episode as well, and the team at Perform Better often comes on for product or seminar updates.
I do not have a membership to Strength & Conditioning Webinars but I have heard great things about the site. It is hosted by Anthony Renna as well and features interviews with popular strength coaches.
I firmly believe that Tony Gentilcore is the most humorous individual in the fitness field and a guy whose personality really shines through in his blogs. Equally important is his vast amount of training knowledge. I highly recommend his blog!
I believe that Nick Tumminello’s Youtube videos are second to none in the fitness field. You can really tell how much a guy knows by the way he speaks and moves in his exercise videos, and Nick really knows his stuff. Nick doesn’t shy away from controversial topics and always provides high-quality content. Nick and I speak on the phone from time to time and I can extremely honored to have him as a friend.
Many people in the fitness field have never heard of Matt Perryman. This is unfortunate because he’s extremely intelligent. I absolutely love his blogs and have many similar interests. I believe that if Matt were a little more “politically correct,” and had a little more drive he could be one of the most popular coaches/writers in the field but I’m pretty sure this doesn’t matter to Matt. At any rate, you should definitely read his blogs.
I believe that Patrick Ward is one of the most well-researched guys in the field of sport-specific training and corrective exercise. He lives close by and I’ve visited him on several occasions. I’m proud to call him a friend. His blogs are always top-quality. I look forward to reading anything Patrick writes.
I believe that Mark Young is another extremely bright individual who virtually flies under most people’s radars. Mark is very knowledgeable about bodybuilding, sport-specific training, and corrective exercise. I’ve spoken to Mark over the telephone and correspond with him often via email. He’s another guy who I am proud to call a friend. His blogs are always high-quality and informative.
Joe Bonyai recently began blogging and so far I’m very impressed. His video clips are amazing and his form is so technical one can’t help but wonder if he’s human or a robot. He is very knowledgeable about sport-specific training.
Mike Robertson is always putting out great stuff, whether in article, manual, podcast, dvd, or blog format. He’s one of the guys who first started bridging the gap between physical therapy and strength training. Many thanks Mike!
8. Eric Cressey
As previously mentioned, Eric is a bit of a genius. I am often mesmerized at his presentations and articles. In addition, he may be the second funniest guy in strength & conditioning next to his partner Tony.
I just started reading Charlie Weingroff’s blog and it is top-notch. Charlie is a renown strength coach, physical therapist, and powerlifter. I’ve met Charlie before and he is a very humble, talented guy. I would do just about anything to be able to hook a cable up from his brain to my brain and upload everything he knows about physical therapy, assessment, and fundamental movement patterns.
10. Jason Ferruggia
I like Jason’s no B.S. attitude toward strength training. I enjoy reading from guys who I can tell really bust their butts in the gym. You can tell in an author’s writing whether he actually trains hard or not and I can definitely tell that Jason lifts like an animal. He’s a great source of information for general hypertrophy and strength training.
11. Kevin Neeld
Kevin Neeld is an extremely intelligent individual. I really wish that Kevin put out more articles and blogs. I also wish that Kevin didn’t focus solely on hockey as he’s got too much knowledge to share with the rest of us and therefore should refrain from “pigeon-holing” himself into one category. From the few articles I’ve seen from Kevin he is without a doubt in the upper echelon of writers in terms of Kinesiology knowledge.
I believe that Robbie does a really good job on his blog. Although he’s fairly young, he’s very knowledgeable. I especially like his interviews. Great job Robbie!
Tim does a really good job of linking up high-quality Youtube videos in his blogs that pertain to strength training for Track & Field. I really enjoy his site.
Men’s Health is an excellent magazine that features excerpts and articles from most of today’s top strength coaches.
Although many individuals in the strength & conditioning industry would laugh at me for reading Muscular Development every month, I look at it as my “secret weapon.” First, the magazine contains numerous scientists and journal research abstracts. Second, I love bodybuilding and enjoy reading about how the top pros including Jay Cutler, Branch Warren, Victor Martinez, and Kai Greene actually train. Each month I’m like a fat kid who’s been given a piece of cake when my Muscular Development Magazine arrives.
I will only put one name down for seminars because no other company even comes close to putting on high-quality seminars as Perform Better. To get a chance to see Juan Carlos Santana, Martin Rooney, Mike Boyle, Alwyn Cosgrove, Todd Durkin, Vern Gambetta, Gray Cook, Mark Verstegen, Stuart McGill, and Robert Dos Remedios speak at the same venue is mind-boggling! These seminars are the absolute greatest networking events as well.
1. Facebook – I love Facebook for networking purposes. Each day I run through the newsfeeds and am left with around a dozen great blogs, articles, and videos.
2. Twitter – I love being on Twitter for the same reason I love Facebook; each day I am provided some great, free material to read pertaining to strength & conditioning.
3. Youtube – Thank God for Youtube as it has allowed fitness writers to film video clips to embed into their articles and blogs for detailed demonstrations.
4. Textbooks/Books/eBooks/Manuals – I always try to read a couple of books at a time. For instance, right now I’m reading Trailguide to the Body and Biomechanics and Motor Control of Human Movement.
5. Journals – I am very lucky to be able to access full text journal articles; a privilege that I take advantage of quite often when researching a particular topic.
6. DVD’s – In the past year I purchased Mike Boyle’s Functional Strength Coach 3.0 and Eric Cressey, Mike Robertson, and Bill Hartmann’s Assess & Correct. Both were outstanding. I enjoy watching training videos of top bodybuilders and powerlifters as well.
7. Conversations – As I mentioned earlier, I am lucky to have a few colleagues in the industry who I chat with from time to time. This is an amazing privilege that will only expand as I meet more like-minded folks and do more networking.
8. Training – This should go without saying, but unless you train hard yourself and train plenty of other folks in the form of personal training or being a strength coach, you’ll have a very difficult time maximizing your learning, incorporating the knowledge you’ve learned from others, and/or improving upon existing methods.
That about wraps things up for this blog. I hope you enjoyed learning about how I learn! Furthermore, I hope to spark some individuals to broaden their horizons and start learning from some of the same folks who continue to educate me on strength & conditioning topics.