Six Athletes, Four Countries, Three Sports, Three World Championships
Standing in an empty garage, there were no walls, minimal insulation and 400 square feet available. There was a dream, a dream of developing this small piece of concrete into a mecca. A place that would be special, a place that would draw people in and spark a change in an industry. The barebones area was enough for a platform, a bench, a squat rack, and a few old dumbbells. That was the beginning, the beginning of Garage Strength. Today Garage Strength is quite different and I want to share that with you inside this blog that is a transcribed podcast that can be found here!
I just finished up one of the craziest mornings of programming work that I could ever have dreamed of. When I first started this business, I was 24 years old, I had no idea what I was getting into, I had no idea how to actually run a business. All I knew was I wanted to train elite athletes and try and develop Garage Strength into a company that could foster health and success in general fitness. My thought was to develop a strong rapport with general fitness clients and over time I would try and leverage my success into training elite athletes. My goal was that I could get high school athletes to accomplish serious things, move to the collegiate level and slowly trickle up to the post-collegiate/professional level in whatever sports it might be.
Basically my whole goal from day one was to work with people who wanted to be world champions and Olympic champions and world medalists and Olympic medalists. But to get there, I wanted to make as many state champions, as many All-Americans, as many NCAA champions as I could to get to that point.
That was all I had. I had a blueprint in my brain, an idea of where I wanted to be and a drive like no one else. That brings me to today, almost exactly 11 years since starting Garage Strength.
I just finished programming for Nick Gwiazdowski who is competing at the Wrestling World Championships in freestyle wrestling on September 20th and 21st, I just finished the peak program for Jordan Wissinger who is competing at the World Championships for Olympic weightlifting in Thailand, competing on September 20th and I just finished the programming for CiCi Onyikwere, Orazio Cremona, Sam Mattis, and Alex Rose, who are all competing at the World Championships for track and field in Doha, Qatar between September 28th and October 5th.
Check out Sam and Alex's BIG throws this year!
This feeling is incredible. It brings about a feeling of pride and emotion that fuels me toward continuing to enhance my strength training and throwing/weightlifting coaching ability.
Looking back over the past, it’s crazy to think about what roadblocks and issues I have conquered, with the help of dozens upon dozens of people, many of which aren't related to sports performance at all but are more related to running a business and having a family in a general fulfillment. It is delightful for me to take that step and look back. What I really wanted to go over was the difficulty in laying out programs for the four throwers, there are three discus throwers and a shot putter. And then comparing that with Jordan, who is a weightlifter and then compare that with Gwiz who is a freestyle wrestler.
Jumping right into Gwiz, he needs to have optimal metabolic endurance, while also having very good explosive power and strength because he will be wrestling guys that are 120 kilos. He will be wrestling monsters that wanna take his head off, but he needs to wrestle over a six-minute period and he has to wrestle at least four matches if he wants to win the world title. We've had to focus on developing his explosive power, we need to focus on developing his grip strength and be able to maintain his metabolic advantage because he typically wrestles with very strong endurance. While we're training him, we cannot hinder his technical progress on the mat because wrestling is such a technical sport.
Nick is an incredible wrestler because he's technically sound like a heavyweight, laying his peak is difficult. We need to make sure he feels strong, explosive, snappy AND strong with endurance. He needs to feel the tension in his muscles but not enough tension to make him feel slow or sluggish on the mat while he prepares technically. Working with Nick is all about communication, how does he feel on a daily basis and trust that he is going to push the weight room when he needs to and back off when he needs to as well.
In comparison, the throwers are also in a very technical sport that requires a ton of precision, strength, and speed. Orazio is a shot putter with a PR of 21.51, he must feel strong, snappy and explosive while being able to hit and hold technical positions in the circle.
Check out Orazio's 21.51!
We need to have a technical approach, but we also need to have an approach that is physically focused on optimizing his technical precision. We need to include technical movements to ensure he is in the right mindset and his technical mastery is being queued up inside his brain. It’s also important that he recognizes that is the most important aspect behind recruiting everything aggressively to be as explosive as possible when he competes in qualification on October 3rd in Doha and again October 5th in the final.
In comparison to the discus, the principle is very similar. Our discus throwers need to hit some decent lifts to stimulate the nervous system and to hold proper mobility. But the goal is that those movements trigger and ignite positional feelings in the circle. If our throwers are doing a snatch or if they're doing a squat or they're doing a bench press, they're hitting these positions in the circle and they're able to feel the speed and power that they're cultivating in the weight room in the circle. This will enable them to smash big throws that they will need to make it through qualification and into that world championship final.
The ultimate goal is that they're all in the world championship finals.
Finishing up with Jordan, we have a 14-hour flight to Tokyo where we stay for four days. After staying in Tokyo, we travel to Bangkok where worlds are taking place. While in Tokyo, he needs to hit some decent numbers to stimulate that technical feeling. The most contrarian point between Olympic lifting and throwing is that the lifter must have technical precision with heavyweights. As a coach, we can't back off the intensity too much because he needs are able to move heavy weights fast with technical precision. And that's the big goal behind what we're going to be doing while we're in Tokyo, just prior to leaving.
We leave Tuesday, September 17th for Thailand and Jordan needs to have good mobility within his movements. He will have a shakeout from the travel and then one decent lift to really try and stimulate the nervous system.
In one morning, I have written six peak programs for six athletes competing on the world championship level in three different sports representing four different countries.
This is something I'm incredibly proud of, but it's also challenging to the point where I need to really take a step back and think what are the qualities and characteristics that these athletes need to compete and perform optimally.
Whenever anyone is writing a strength training program, that needs to be the number one priority, “What am I writing this program for? What does that athlete need for them to be able to compete at their absolute best?”
Stay tuned as we update you along the journey of our athletes, how they compete and even how we travel and handle the various stressors of international competition.
Strength is simple at Garage Strength. Lack of accountability is the enemy and creating a clear plan is the key to your strength and fitness gains. It can be difficult to stay motivated on the path to success. Athletes like you will learn more than lifting weights with our team. Accountability, planning, and hard work are an integral part of the plans we develop. Pick up a custom program while the GOLD level is still available! https://www.garagestrength.com/