In the video below, Travis, 1 of the original Football players who began with us out of the garage is another example of what happens when you FOLLOW THROUGH!
Travis used to struggle on light trap bar deadlifts, I had to keep him lighter than 185 until we strengthened his back and legs. The other guys in the garage were HAMMERS, deadlifting 405 and 495 for sets of 3 – 6 reps.
Travis was off in the corner of the garage, staying the course, never giving up and always doing the work. He weighed around 150 or 160 when we began training him.
T Woods competing in first ever LIFT STRONG fundraiser! Circa 2007!
Travis stayed the course, he ate the way we recommended, he trained with us 3-4 x week AND at his high school. None of this “I’m too busy” or “I’m too tired” and his parents never said “Is it too much?”
When you’re in high school or college and living the lifestyle, you CAN run through a brick wall 50 times a day! MOST kids do NOT live the lifestyle, they don’t follow through on nutrition and in turn, they struggle.
You get what you EARN!
Here’s a Video of Travis his Senior Year in high school, the photo above was before his Sophomore year, you can see the tremendous transformation AND his levels of Strength.
– Travis is Benching 275 for reps
– Bodyweight Around 225 lbs (Approx 65 lbs gained in 3 years)
– Tire Flip 600 + lb Tire
– Explosive Bodyweight Training Demonstrating Relative Body Strength & Speed
– Full Range Pull Ups for reps
– 60 lb Triceps Roll Backs
Strong is STRONG. No such thing as weak AND fast.
I understand the common fads and gimmicks nowadays are convincing kids and parents in avoiding the HARD work and thinking one gets explosive and fast by avoiding hard and heavy training, it’s a FAD. A Gimmick.
Hard Work on the basics is the way.
** NOTE ** Our Members should have printed out the welcome packet, 2 copies; 1 for parents and 1 for the athlete.
Follow through on the Nutrition Guidelines.
Live The Lifestyle and stop lying to yourself; It’s too much for me to train here and at the high school.
Our best athletes ALWAYS did both, train at The Underground AND on their own / at high school.
You can have Excuses or you can have Results but you can NOT have Both.
Destroy those excuses and BUILD yourself into a CHAMPION.
ATTN Supportive Parents of Hard Working Athletes
Many of our HS athletes and parents come to us and tell us about Mandatory high school weight room
I LOVE seeing our athletes doing BOTH, train at The Underground AND at their High School Weight Room.
I hear about the need for camaraderie but the bottom line is, NOT every kid in the weight room is attacking their training. If you want MORE for your child AND your child wants to go above and beyond “normal” then you need to do what your competition is NOT doing.
Questions for Parents to Consider with Their Son in the High School Weight Room…..
– Is The Coach running the weight room an expert in Sports Performance?
– How many kids are in that weight room at once? 20, 30, 40 or more? How much attention is your child getting?
– Is the workout tailor designed for your child, or is EVERYONE doing the SAME thing?
– How is the atmosphere and environment? Is everyone truly working to their MAX capacity?
Are ALL the athletes working together and striving for excellence?
– Is there a different workout for beginners / intermediates / experienced lifters?
– Is the speed training specific to your child’s sport? Why are Baseball players running long distance? Why do Football Players “Max Out” every 4 – 6 weeks when technique is NOT perfect?
– Are injuries / muscular imbalances / weak areas addressed properly?
The Bottom Line, Your Child Needs and Expert. And, your child DESERVES an expert because they do NOT get to go back in time and do this over again.
Regret can be painful so start doing it right from the get go!
I say it all the time, and, as I type this, I am 1 hour away from Manasquan at a packed Tennis club.
I drive up here 3 x week, 1 hr each way, all Summer for my daughter.
There is an investment of time, money and energy.
Then, my daughter must forth the work.
These are full day camps, 6 hrs of training.
So when I tell parents and kids “what it takes”, I LIVE this.
I find a way.
I don’t seek out what is cheapest or most convenient.
I wanna see the athletes of The Underground crushing it!
You see, I just can’t relate to accepting average and losing.
It bothers me because ALL kids are capable of GREATNESS.
You must find a way, otherwise, you will find an excuse!
Make sure your ACTIONS match your words.
I hear it ALL the time from athletes, they TELL me how great they want to be but they have a laundry list of excuses. I am not sure where these acceptable excuses come from but it’s BS if you want my opinion 🙂
Be a worker.
Otherwise, you will be average at best. Excuses help no one.
They do a LOT of things right. It’s a TEAM effort.
THAT is the 1 thing they have, a TEAM.
WHO is the Team?
There are MANY parts to that team, here are SOME of those parts:
– Supportive Parents, this is often the BIGGEST factor. The most successful athletes we see have very supportive parents who invest MUCH more than money in their kids. It’s TIME. LOTS of time & energy.
– Great Sport Coaches. Great athletes have GREAT skills.
– Supportive Social Circles. Is your team about winning or being average? Your “normal” might be very different than someone else’s normal if your team always has a losing record year after year.
– Consistency in training. The yo yo training effect comes from those who ONLY train when the extra work is consistent. Convenience and excellence are never found on the same road. Winning is HARD!
– Hard Work. This is so Basic but so many athletes and parents miss this. These same kids who avoid the work are quick to say “I got ripped off” or “The Coach doesn’t like me….”
Lorenzo Norman, State Champ & War at The Shore Champ
Do you have Questions?
Feel free to ask us easily and quickly via e mail, twitter, instagram, etc.
Above, Dick Hartzell stretching hamstrings with his Jump Stretch Bands.
ALL Athletes should get a heavy jump stretch band and perform 10-15 minutes of daily stretching. This is a BIG component of your training and many who complain of tight hips or lower back stiffness are the same athletes who do NOT stretch at home.
REMEMBER: You MUST be a self thinker and self doer. Do work on your OWN, that is the mark of a successful athlete and overall, a successful person.
4 Strategies to Stay Mobile During The School Year
By: Andrew Wary
Tight backs and hips, aching knees, these are things that should not plague the high school athlete, but they do. There are many things to blame such as sitting in school, busses to and from games/matches, playing video games etc. No matter the reason and or excuse there are some simple fixes that you can employ throughout the day to save yourselves from aches and tightness.
Posture is everything. Not only will it keep your body aligned properly, a good posture will exude confidence. Whether sitting or standing, your posture will aid you or destroy you. Here’s a checklist to keep yourself proper:
Hips positioned even from side to side
Stretching, to an extent, will help undo the havoc that being cramped in a desk, car, or chair all day causes. Yoga is tremendous for student athletes. Now I am not saying to go to a hot yoga studio with a bunch of 30 year old women, instead save your money and YouTube search hip opening yoga, it’s free and it’s like magic for your back and lower body. If you do not have confidence to perform yoga here is a list of stretches to focus on. Perform these 30 seconds at a time, 2-3 times a day:
Elevated Hamstring Stretch
Release techniques such as foam rolling should be used. Doing this will help to ensure less ‘tight’ muscles along with aiding warming up and recovering from intense workouts. Roller techniques should be taught by your coaches, and if they have not, make sure to ask and we will teach you!
Movement is obviously important to staying mobile. During off days from practice and training, you should still be moving. Moving doesn’t have to be anything crazy strenuous, simple things like walking outside, hiking, a bike ride, or a pickup game of football will suffice. Moving more when possible instead of sitting around will help with chronic mobility issues and general muscle tightness.
Student athletes must realize that in order to be the best, they have to do what it takes to be the best. This includes staying mobile and uninjured.
Take advantage of these 4 strategies to keep your body ready for anything during the school year.
For Supportive Parents of Serious Athletes in NJ, Sign Your Child Up For their Free Trial
The past few weeks have been an amazing run for many of the athletes we get to work with each of our Underground Strength Gym Locations (Middlesex / Manasquan / Scotch Plains).
It’s hard keeping up and finding the news from our athletes who live up in North NJ as I am down the shore and, some of our athletes are so humble, they NEVER say a word about their success.
There is NOTHING wrong with sharing your success with us. Remember, your success story inspires others to achieve and believe in their abilities as well.
I saw The GMC Wrestling Tournament was filled with 8 finalists who are active or recent members of The Underground Strength Gym.
Full GMC Story Here with Bryan McLaughlin winning his 3rd title + The OW Award.
Down the Shore, a GREAT Story on Mia Rankin HERE as she is “The Fastest Swimmer in The Shore Conference”.
Updates on our Success Stories have been going to our Success Page if you Allow us to share them.
Some of the common traits among our most successful athletes are:
– Great Sport Coaches who also Support The Underground.
MANY Coaches actually threaten the athletes NOT to train with us or outside of the school and in turn hinder the athlete’s success.
It is VERY likely we’ve e mailed your Coach, Parent Booster Club and Athletic Director offering our help and simply introducing ourselves. Response rate is about 1 in 30 or 40 coaches will reply to an e mail.
– Very supportive Parents!
I often tell parents I am learning what to do from supportive parents and even what NOT to do according to our parents who don’t fully support their child.
Does your child train year round or only in the off season?
Do you seek convenience over excellence or do you understand that convenience and excellence are never found on the same street?
Does your child eat healthy or do you allow excess junk food?
Do you read our e mails / print out our nutrition guidelines / follow through on our tips or are you “too busy”?
Do you allow your child’s sport coach to threaten you out of training with us or do you stand up for what is best for your child?
– Be Humble & Coachable
Our most successful athletes are humble and coachable.
When we challenge them, they accept it, own it and take action.
They don’t brag, loud mouth or act high and mighty.
The athlete who can’t handle feedback and gets emotional every time you challenge them and coach them to be better will hit a wall.
In high school, you CAN achieve above average success merely through natural talent. But, to get to the top level you need to put in the work, not just in the gym but ALL areas of life.
We don’t want to work with a GREAT athlete who doesn’t want to be Great in school, social circles and life in general. If you’re capable of doing better, we WILL let you know and we WILL Coach you to that level and beyond!
Ultimately, The KIDS Do the Work.
We do NOT take credit for your child’s success.
We do however, love seeing your child succeeding and want to share these inspirational stories.
Ultimately, we are facilitators of the overall process. There are MANY pieces to the puzzle of success.
We’re excited to share MORE Success Stories with you!
3 TIPS For NJ Athletes Who Want MORE Success In Sports AND Life
The past few years have been the most confusing times for parents seeking to help their kids achieve greater success in sports. There are literally millions upon millions of articles, videos and other content pieces on the internet delivering information on how to train for sports.
The main issue is that very few of these informational pieces are tested or proven to be effective and more importantly, safe. There is little to no filter to determine what gets shared on the internet or not. Before you know it, you are overwhelmed with information and get trapped in fads and gimmicks vs results.
To help your child achieve more success in sports, I’m going to share with you 3 critical tips that will not only help your child achieve greater success in sports, but also in life. Time is of the essence and if you waste time on ineffective, unsafe training methods, your child never gets this time back.
Tip # 1: Be Consistent All Year. Both Off Season AND In Season.
This seems so basic yet it is actually rarely put to use. The athletes who train year round, consistently are those who achieve more success and have less injuries that sideline them during the season.
Look at D1 sports. The athletes train ALL year. They don’t Stop Strength & Performance training in season or Only train the 3 months pre season.
Success Takes NO Vacations. You Must Decide as a Parent if you want your child to be GREAT or just to be part of the team. BIGGER Success requires Greater work ethic and dedication.
Throughout the years I have noticed a BIG decline in consistency for in season strength & conditioning with athletes.
Parents get caught up in over doing the skill work and what ends up happening is the athlete increases his risk for the following:
Overuse injuries. Too much repetition of movement without the required tendon / ligament and muscular strength to handle the repetitive forces increases injuries.
Psychological Burn Out. When an athlete gets no rest or break from skill work not only do they get physically run down and eventually injured, they also get mentally burnt out. The mental burn out leads to doubt, lack of confidence, lack of enthusiasm for training and lack of passion for the sport altogether.
Strength & performance training is best performed year round, having different programs for the off season and in season.
An in season program can be as short as 1 – 2 sessions a week and lasting less than 30 minutes at a clip. Once a week training = 100% more than ZERO training.
If you stop training in season, you can’t expect to improve, let alone maintain strength and power output in your sport. After 2 weeks of skipped performance training, the gains built up in the off season will begin to decline.
The most important time to continue strength & performance work is IN season because the athlete is already performing 6 days a week of skill and competition training. As an athlete and parent, this is a BIG opportunity to get ahead of your competition because the majority of athletes / coaches completely stop in season training and double up on skill work, which is the exact opposite of what successful athletes do.
Commitment to a year round performance program not only develops a more “bulletproof” body against injuries but it also teaches the athlete the commitment required to succeed in life. When the going gets tough and times are busy, you learn how to commit to your training program and you rise above those who quit during tough times or busy times. This is a Lifestyle choice.
An effective strength and performance program will build the mind just as much as it builds the body. A strong mind is the ticket to success in sports and life!
Tip # 2: Get Stronger. Parents and athletes have been tricked into thinking strength is a bad thing. You hear the fallacy of “strength will slow you down”, “strength will add bulk”, “strength training will hurt you”.
Strength Is NEVER A Weakness
If it was so easy to get strong and bulky you would see countless high school athletes 200 + lbs with lean muscle. But, this is simply NOT the case. Success takes Work both in the gym and at home from nutrition to sleep to overall lifestyle.
Injuries comes from being weak and inadequately prepared. Anything done incorrectly (Sports Skills, Strength Work, Speed Work, etc) will hurt you, slow you down and impede your performance.
When strength training is properly performed, the athlete becomes:
– Faster & More Explosive
– Less likely to get injured
– Develops greater speed and power
– Increases confidence and mental toughness
Why do we see 3 – 4 times as many athletic injuries among high school athletes than we did 10 years ago?
The big issue is because they have not developed the strength to tolerate the overuse of skill work.
When you’re body is weak, it will find a way to stop your training if you refuse to slow down. Injuries are mother nature’s way of sending the body messages that something is NOT right.
Through the past few years I have seen countless varsity athletes come to The Underground Strength Gym unable to perform 1 good bodyweight squat, 1 pull up and 10 push ups. We see weak muscles, tight muscles and poor movement patterns.
Things MUST change if you want to Succeed. Calisthenics and proper mechanics are a must if you want to excel in your chosen sports.
No amount of speed & agility work will fix these weak muscles. The development of speed comes from developing greater strength and learning how to move better.
Looking at the opposite end of the spectrum, if your child is among a group of athletes all with a high level of skill, he will hit a wall eventually if he does not get stronger.
To separate himself from the pack, he must develop greater strength which will carry over to better skill and technique in their sport.
Tip # 3. Live The Lifestyle, 365.
At The Underground Strength Gym we teach our athletes what we call “Live The Code 365.” The foundation is built upon honesty, integrity, commitment and work ethic.
This means that every day they are improving and striving for excellence in all areas of your life, every day. Every day, you must improve in at least one area of your life, be it academics, nutrition, sleep, your training, the people you hang out with and even the way you think, the books you read and the movies you watch.
At the end of each day, the athlete should be honest with himself and be able to truly know if he has improved in at least one area in life. Success in sports and life go hand in hand.
To achieve greater success you need to work smarter, not just harder. Achieving goals requires consistency and work ethic. A strong mind will teach you to overcome obstacles and to rebound from setbacks rather than being stuck in a rut.
The most powerful lesson learned through a safe and effective strength & performance program is the ability to overcome the challenges in training, all of which require a strong mind.
Don’t get caught up in the fads or the gimmicks. Don’t get overwhelmed and confused with the countless information pieces you see everywhere. It is the commitment and consistency to a safe and effective program that will help your child take his / her success in sports and life to the next level.
Zach Even – Esh is The Founder of The Underground Strength Gym in NJ with Locations in Manasquan, Scotch Plains & Middlesex.
Zach has consulted and trained athletes from the youth level to the Olympic level using his results proven Strength & Performance methods. To help your child achieve more success, take action Today & sign up for a FREE Trial.
Mark Schleiffer of East Brunswick (Princeton Commit) texted me yesterday after getting his 100th win!
Mark has been an all state wrestler throughout high school and has committed to wrestle at Princeton with his brother, Jon who was a 4 x All State Wrestler and a state champion his Senior Year.
I always tell parents and athletes, SUCCESS LEAVES CLUES.
What can we learn from Mark?
Here’s a List of common practices and traits I picked up on as soon as he sent me a text message.
– Mark trains year round with us. He never pulls the “I’m too busy” line during the in season.
– His grades are EXCELLENT. He has been accepted to Princeton University. He achieves Excellence in ALL areas of his life, NOT just wrestling.
– Mark does NOT live close to any of our locations and he STILL trains with us 2 x week In Season! I know kids who live IN town who don’t show up in season. Mark drives 45-60 minutes each way to train.
– Mark improves his skill training year round by training at CJA Wrestling Club w/ Gene Lezark. He has been going to CJA for MANY years, since middle school. He doesn’t bounce around to 5 different coaches. There is MUCH to be said about sticking to 1 system and LOYALTY.
– Mark is TOUGH. He is Disciplined. I never feel that the Coaches are more motivated than Mark is. This is MORE than motivation. This is called DISCIPLINE. Motivation fades, Discipline is the Strength to do what you must do, not just what you feel like doing.
Above: Ray Jaz / NYU Wrestling, Bryan McLaughin / Woodbridge Wrestling (Drexel Commit) / John Poznaski / Colonia Wrestling
The Importance of Strength Training for In-Season Athletes
Many athletes and their parents are quite often worried about too much stress on the body during their sports season. They are right to be concerned, but they are mistaken to completely ditch their strength and conditioning program.
When an athlete is trained properly, he / she CAN handle in season strength training. In fact, this athlete will THRIVE and make progress while the competition begins to regress as the season continues.
But, an athlete who eats poorly, is inconsistent with strength & conditioning and has a “good enough” attitude towards training will never succeed at the highest levels.
And who wants to be good enough, right?
Being Stronger, Faster, More Confident & Less Susceptible to Injury is always a BIG advantage for athletes!
A properly designed and implemented strength and conditioning program during the IN Season is key for an athlete’s performance and health throughout the year, ESPECIALLY during the times they are in season.
Here are 4 Crucial Reasons Athletes Should Continue Strength & Conditioning In Season If They Want to Win More:
1) GET STRONGER WHILE THE COMPETITION GETS WEAKER
The Strength base is the foundation for an athletes sports performance: Speed, Explosive Power, Confidence……
Who wants to be weaker than the competition? NO Strength Work in season = Getting Weaker.
When you do not strength train for 2 – 3 weeks, the athlete will begin the process of losing strength, losing flexibility, endurance, confidence and sometimes athleticism & coordination is lost as well (depending on their sport).
Using proper in season strength training with short workouts, 1-2 times a week (some of our highly motivated athletes train more) during the season, depending on the sport being played, will help build upon the athlete’s off season Improvements and can even increase them farther.
An athlete should always be looking to increase their performance in season.
After all, The Season is what you’ve trained so hard for all through your off season.
In College, ALL athletes train year round. College athletes & coaches KNOW that this is crucial for having the physical and mental edge over the competition. But, for high school athletes, too often their parents pull them from in season training and tell us later, this was a big mistake they wish they never made.
Some of our athletes only train once a week for 25 minutes on average.
More is not better. Better is better when it comes to training athletes.
2) MINIMIZE / REDUCE INJURIES
Reducing your chances of injury is something all athletes are paying attention to.
Parents as well. The injury rate of athletes has increased dramatically through the years due to too much sports skill practice and not enough joint / muscular strength.
Almost all sports will cause muscular imbalances that can lead to injuries. Through receiving proper coaching, an athlete can improve their imbalances which improves sports performance. By improving your muscular imbalances you will reduce the risk of injury. 3) IMPROVE RECOVERY
Training in season will improve the recovery of the athlete.
Athletes are bound to get sore and beat up during their seasons. The best medicine for an achy body and muscles is movement to bring blood flow and range of motion. A proper workout will help ease this soreness, and keep the athlete ready to perform.
The goal of our in season strength program at The Underground Strength Gym is to improve your sport workouts / practices, NOT to take away from your sports performance.
Our motto is you’re done before you’re done.
Training optimally in season, NOT maximally. This type of smarter training improves your recovery and improves your performance.
4) BOOST CONFIDENCE
One of the biggest benefits of strength training is not the physical, but the mental strength you will develop and build upon.
In Season Strength Training creates a sense of confidence and mental toughness within the athlete that is above and beyond the competition who is not strength training in season. Training in-season will keep this mental edge and a dramatic leg up on the competition.
As you can see, in season strength training has powerful benefits when properly implemented.
Here is something to remember while wondering if you should come in and train…
“Doing a short 25 – 45 minute in season workout is 100% more than doing nothing to get better.”
If you want to be GREAT….
If you want to Win More…..
If you want the opportunity to achieve your best, then there truly is NO option.
Find the time to train in season while the competition finds excuses.
Parents – Sign Your Child Up for A FREE Trial & Athlete Assessment HERE