Archive for sports, strength training

Team FPTI Wins the Starting Strength Fall Classic in Long Island City!

by Meaghan posted October 29, 2015

BIG CONGRATS to Team FPTI for winning this past weekend’s Starting Strength Fall Classic in Long Island City, and to FPTI alum and FocusNYC trainer Luis Tejada for taking the Men’s Open title!



This just in: FPTI also came in SECOND in the nation, and Luis took 3rd place NATIONWIDE!

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All About The Deadlift

by Meaghan posted September 23, 2015

Today’s post comes from a very special guest contributor: FPTI Instructor and Focus Starting Strength Coach, Brent Carter.

OK. Let’s talk about the deadlift for a minute and get a few things straight. First, deadlifts are NOT bad for your back. Only BAD deadlifts are bad for your back. Good deadlifts are actually GOOD for your back. As we have discussed on this site several times, the muscles that comprise the “core” (as much as I hate that term) – including the abdominals, the internal and external obliques, and the spinal erectors – are best trained in the specific fashion for which they were designed to be used. And namely, due to their long, thin muscle bellies, these muscles are best equipped to resist movement rather than create it. Well, guess what: That is precisely how they are trained in all of the main barbell lifts (squat, bench press and deadlift), especially the deadlift.

Harris deadlift

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More Powerlifting PRs for the FPTI Team!

by Meaghan posted April 30, 2015

This past weekend, FPTI took another team out to South Brooklyn Weightlifting Club to compete in the Powerlifting Spring Classic… and returned with 2 gold medals and several PRs!

Moreover, FPTI alum and Focus trainer Louie Tejada lifted a combined total of over 1,300 lbs. and qualified to compete at the national level! Oh, and he also beat a former WORLD champion…

Louie wins gold!

That’s him (John) in the background. He had to settle for silver.

Louie and John were neck-and-neck until the last lift: The deadlift. John was up for his 3rd and final attempt just before Lou and we had all the math figured out: Even if John made his lift and Louie didn’t, Louie would still win the weight class. But at the last second, John changed his attempt so that if he made it, he’d still have a shot at gold.

John stepped up to the platform and approached the bar. He set up (sumo style!) and the crowd went silent. He attempted the pull…but the bar wouldn’t budge. Great effort though!

Louie stepped up next and pulled 529 lbs. off the floor like it was nothing!

He went upstairs for a drug test and walked away with a gold medal for the most total pounds lifted in his 185-lb. weight class, with the former World Champion just behind him in second place.

Louie’s final numbers were:

Squat: 357.5 lbs.
Bench: 314 lbs.
Deadlift: 529 lbs.


FPTI alum, instructor and Focus trainer Jen McCombs also won her weight class with a heck of a grind in both the squat AND deadlift!

She racked that 155 lbs. a little early but she got it!

Jen’s final qualifying numbers were:

Squat: 146 lbs.
Bench: 77.5 lbs.
Deadlift: 198 lbs.

That’s also after dieting crazy hard the last 6 weeks to make the weight class… Not easy!!


FPTI alum and Focus trainer Nick Law-Yue also did exceptionally well for his first meet.

Judges seemed to think he was just shy of depth on that 310-lb. squat… His 290 was unquestionably deep, though, and came up with ease!

Nick’s final qualifying numbers were:

Squat: 290 lbs.
Bench: 250 lbs.
Deadlift: 375 lbs.

Not too shabby at a body weight of 155!


Great job all around, team! Can’t wait for the next meet!!

In the meantime, we’ll catch you on Fridays at the FPTI Barbell Club and training on the Focus floor!

Lou and Jen

More PRs for the Focus Powerlifting Team!

by Meaghan posted November 4, 2014

Congrats to all the runners who competed in this weekend’s New York City Marathon!

While the FPTI Running Club didn’t send any competitors this year, our Barbell Club did send a small team to last weekend’s October Iron Fest Strength Meet at CrossFit Gantry in Long Island City. Big congrats to Brent Carter, Luis Tejada and Ryan O’Connell-Peller for their outstanding efforts! And thanks to all the FPTI faculty, students and alumni who came to cheer them on. It was great to have so many faces in the crowd for support!



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Effective Exercises: The Deadlift

by Meaghan posted March 11, 2014

The other day, one of my students asked me what my favorite exercise was. My response? The deadlift, hands down. (Not to be confused with the Romanian deadlift – or “RDL” – where the bar starts from a hang position and never touches the floor, and is predominantly a single-joint hip extension exercise rather than a multi-joint lift like the conventional deadlift).



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Effective Exercise Alternatives for the Core

by Meaghan posted July 28, 2013

I’ve written before (HERE) about how and why I’m not a fan of a commonly used exercise by personal trainers: The lunge with rotation (usually accompanied by a medicine ball or ViPR). Simply put, most people don’t have the correct amounts of mobility and stability in the correct areas to really do it correctly, and wind up rotating from the wrong areas – namely, the knees and the lumbar spine. Watch here:

Did you notice what happened when she added the trunk rotation versus when just the arms moved? Watch again and look at the woman’s knee…

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Functional Stability Training

by Meaghan posted July 1, 2013

What do trainers, athletes, fitness enthusiasts and average Joes in the gym all have in common? Among other things, they all have ankles, knees, hips and a lumbar spine that need a certain amount of stability for optimal performance. After all, you can only get so strong, so powerful or so ripped before getting injured if you don’t have good functional stability – and Eric Cressey’s new DVD entitled Functional Stability Training for the Lower Body shows you how to get it.

As most of you know by now, I’m a pretty big fan of Eric Cressey’s work. This product is packed with both informative lectures that are easy to understand, as well as practical application via exercise demonstrations. Along with Mike Reinold, Eric takes you through a series of modules that address all of the following and more:

  • Influence of the lumbopelvic region on the lower body kinetic chain
  • Why you still need to be focused on strength AND functional training
  • How to disassociate the hip and lumbar spine
  • Quick tips for assessing posture and alignment in 3D
  • How alignment influences movement patterns
  • How to enhance the reliability and validity of your assessments
  • Appreciate muscles’ roles in the etiology of acute and chronic injuries
  • Learn training techniques to improve tissue length, quality and strength in functional contexts
  • Understand why hip internal rotation is important
  • The influence of the foot and ankle on the lower extremity
  • Impact of mobility issues on lower extremity kinematics and performance
  • Why, how and when to integrate neuromuscular control drills into your rehab and training programs
  • Learn the phases of proper neuromuscular control development
  • Understand several progressions designed to maximize neuromuscular control
  • Learn dozens of exercises and where they fit on the progression-regression continuum

As most of you also know, I’m also a big fan of deadlifts. Coincidentally, so is Eric. Here’s a brief clip from the DVD discussing the bilateral deficit in the deadlift:



If you like what you see, you can pick up your copy of Functional Stability Training for the Lower Body HERE.

CrossFit: The Good With the Bad

by Meaghan posted March 19, 2013

I’m probably going to get a lot of sh*t for this, but I took a CrossFit class for the first time over the weekend.


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Complete Spinal Health and Core Training

by Meaghan posted March 13, 2013

I think anyone in this industry who knows me also knows I’m a little opinionated when it comes to core training… Research aside (and there’s a lot of it), a simple consideration of kinesiology tells us that certain joints were meant to move – the hips and thoracic spine, for example – while others were meant to NOT move – like the lumbar spine. This simple joint-by-joint analysis should, for the most part, dictate how we train.

Of course, there are always structural abnormalities, postural deviations, conditions, etc. that may warrant a different approach, and this is precisely why assessments are so important. I’ve always admired Tony Gentilcore for constantly acknowledging these things, and I admire him even more now for making his recent core training seminar available:

Together with Dean Somerset, Jeff Cubos and Rick Kaselj, Tony discusses how he assesses his athletes to determine things like whether or not back pain (or the potential for back pain) is flexion- or extension-based, the role of posture and breathing, the importance of hip mobility and glute strength in the prevention and treatment of low back pain, and where foam rolling/massage and core stability fit in. BUT, he does so without losing focus of the goal: PERFORMANCE.

As trainers, we don’t treat pain, and most of our clients don’t want to spend money doing just “corrective exercise.” They want to train. We just have to understand what movements and loading patterns are likely to cause pain and what interventions are likely to help prevent or improve symptoms.

I don’t want to give away too much, so check out this video for a little more about Tony Gentilcore and Spinal Health and Core Training:


If you like what you see so far, the full seminar is available HERE.

NYC is Still Running

by Meaghan posted October 31, 2012

Well, here we are in the calm after the storm. It’s still pretty dark and wet downtown…but New York survived Hurricane Sandy – barely.

And that’s the subway UPTOWN…yikes.

Traffic on the street is a bit rough today, but subways north of 42nd Street will apparently be up and running tomorrow and power restored within four days. Fortunately, I didn’t lose power and neither did Focus. And unlike in Hurricane Irene, at least I didn’t lock myself out of my apartment this time…

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