Change is in the wind

Just to keep you in the loop…there are going to be some major changes going on here over the next little while. Some of them will be superficial and appearance related and the more important ones will be content related.

If you are reading this and there is material that you are interested in be sure to pop a comment here and I will get onto it.

Amongst other things I’ve been going through the blog stats looking at what searches bring people to the site so I am going to try and ‘deal’ with those things first but I’d be interested in hearing what people find particularly interesting.

Also…if anyone out there is more ‘social media’ savvy than I am feel free to offer comments or suggestions as far as the best way to tie up the blog, bookface and tweeter as cleanly as possible?

I am also just as interested in things that you don’t like…be that constructive or non constructive criticism.

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The month that was

So I thought I better do a bit of a recap on the past month. In short it’s been great but plenty of room for improvement. I have been pressed for time and working hard but still manage to fit my training in….not as much BJJ as I’d like but enough of everything else to keep me happy. BJJ is the hardest to ‘fit in’ as I have to fit the class schedule and sometimes that just doesn’t work out for me….but am still trying to make it fit as best I can…as often as I can.

I am doing a lot more mountain bike riding and have been training in a a beautiful park gym by the sea….think pull up bars, monkey bars, dip bars, various incline sit up and push up stations, bars to inverted row on, step up platforms etc etc etc. Here’s a photo actually….

Image

I am happy with my fat loss….as in I am visibly and consistently getting leaner and my performance is improving. Going to spend the month of March just trying to be as consistent as work will allow and then test at the end of this month and set myself some new goals to go after.

So it took a while

This blog actually got sidelined but I’ve decided to revive it….not that anything actually dies on the interweb.

I am going to work my way back through this blog and tidy it up. What I mean by that is to spend a bit of time going back and writing what needs to be rewritten or updated and maybe remaking some of the videos. This blog was pretty much always written on the fly and the videos were the same…people asked questions and I made videos.

For those of you that don’t know…or are in the least bit interested I am back in Australia now…to be specific I am central western New South Wales…and it is bloody beautiful….more about that in later posts.

I am back training hard…in a new gym…I am back personal training…with new clients…and I am back training MMA…and loving it.

So in short I am going to get back to blogging if for no other reason than I used to love it and getting back ranting and raving I am sure will help control my blood pressure.

So you can looking forward to me rewriting history as well and documenting the present and predicting the future.

I think this article is worth a read – Conditioned to lose: Weight-room inconsistencies at fault for injuries

Conditioned to lose: Weight-room inconsistencies at fault for injuries

This article is about NFL but it may as well be about GAA, rugby, basketball and football.

Conditioned to lose: Weight-room inconsistencies at fault for injuries

Most NFL offseason conditioning programs started in earnest this week, not that Jay Cutler plans on attending Denver’s. Don’t think the offseason program means anything? Think again. A lot of the injuries that happen between August and January are attributed, rightly or wrongly, to the work, or lack thereof, being put in right now.
The funny thing is, not every strength coach seems to realize his primary job is injury prevention. The lack of research or science behind some of the conditioning programs in the NFL is startling. You would think if an owner is going to spend up to $127 million on his players, he would want to make sure his investment was being protected and not further beat down, as is still the case in some places.
I have seen the impact some NFL strength coaches have had. The results have been staggering, both positively and negatively. I was on a team whose strength coach was intent on the players doing power cleans, a lift in which the player propels the weight to his shoulders in an explosive manner from the floor. Of the six or seven linemen who worked out all offseason with him, three had back surgeries within four months of each other. Maybe it was simply a coincidence. I doubt it.
There is another well-known strength coach whose program is the same for every position on the team. Now the actual weights the players lift may be different, but the specific exercises that every player is asked to complete are identical, which makes absolutely no sense to me. How can he possibly think offensive linemen and cornerbacks are the same type of athletes and need the same workouts? That’s like training a bear and a cheetah to hunt the same way. They’re different animals.
Interior linemen and perimeter skill guys are barely even playing the same sport if you ask me. Offensive linemen need to focus on power, short-area quickness and lateral movement. Cover corners need to concentrate on speed, flexibility and fluidity in and out of their breaks.
The NFL is not like high school or even college, where the main focus is on the players making gains in both strength and speed as their younger bodies continue to mature and develop. Though that is certainly still a goal among some NFL players, it is not the primary one. NFL players already possess a certain level of strength and speed; otherwise they never would have made it onto a roster.
Instead, the most important thing an NFL strength and conditioning program can do is help the players make strides towards promoting their joint health, not breaking it down further. If players had the chance to choose between being a little bit stronger, a little bit faster or feeling a little bit healthier physically for a game, trust me, healthy would win every time. It is never a good feeling walking onto an NFL playing field when something is really bothering you physically. I can’t tell you how many times before a game I thought, If only this wasn’t bothering me so much …
I have always felt the best idea is to make the offseason program as player-friendly and adaptable as possible. That doesn’t mean coddle the players. It means work them hard but smart, and be willing to alter the program according to a specific player’s likes and dislikes. After all, they are paid professionals and they should know their body better than anyone. A player who is pleased with the program is more likely to not only attend the sessions himself but also tell all of the other players that they should fall in line. And the more guys there, the better, working together for team chemistry purposes.
What amazes me is that after all the research that has been done, there still seems to be little to no consensus as to the best way to train professional football players. Seemingly every strength coach has his own beliefs. Some coaches are huge proponents of the explosion garnered from the Olympic lifts, like cleans, jerks and snatches. Others continue to believe the crux of the program should revolve around the power lifts, like bench press, squat and dead lift. Still others adhere strictly to the high intensity mindset and have their players mainly work out using joint-friendly Hammer Strength machines.
The same holds true for the running component of offseason conditioning as well. Some focus mainly on speed work, while others place the major emphasis on conditioning. There are a few coaches who prefer working on agility exercises, while others believe mainly in position-specific drills. Still others prefer to mix and match all of the lifting and running philosophies, a hodge-podge of sorts.
Their work and results don’t go unnoticed. Just last offseason, Jacksonville coach Jack Del Rio fired his strength and conditioning coaches, Mark Asanovich and Les Ebert. He did so after a string of injuries, especially a heavy toll along the offensive line, helped doom the Jaguars ’08 season.
Key injuries can be devastating, especially in a salary cap era in which the depth on a team is usually comprised of young, inexpensive and inexperienced players who may not be ready to succeed week in and week out on Sundays.
Del Rio was unwavering when asked immediately after the season if decreasing injuries was the primary focus of the offseason program, saying, “That’s the goal,” he said. “Everybody that wants to be a Jaguar [in 2009] will be here. Anybody who wants to be a Jaguar will be working out with the team.” Not exactly a subtle hint about his feelings concerning participation in the voluntary offseason program, huh?
I realize that some might consider it unfair to pin certain circumstantial injuries on strength coaches, but that can be a reality in the cutthroat NFL. Though I agree it can be difficult to correlate a specific injury on a unique individual to a certain workout program, a trend of similar injuries or a boatload of injuries in general is problematic. That is why NFL strength and conditioning coaches would be wise to do whatever it takes to try to ensure their players are physically healthy and prepared for the rigors of the season ahead. If not, they might be the next to get fired.

I thought I better start answering some questions

Cal asked the following:

As a follow up to these 30/30 test scores, how would you interpret the following numbers?
173
161
148
138
140
142
Total=902

He’s a 26 year old former rugby player planning comeback. Honestly, haven’t done any ‘conditioning’ (ie anything but weights) since end of 2007 and is 1.80m, 105kg and is about 18-20% body fat.

The first thing I’d be doing is getting that first score up…as I’m sure you’ve picked up here if you’ve been reading the blog…I’m very much a power first and endurance after kind of guy…I think quality first and quantity second. Was that what you were looking for? The other thing is…I don’t tend to ‘train’ on the rower…just use it for testing.

Luke asked the following:

Hey Will. Fantastic blog. Hoping you could help me out with something I’ve seen a lot of conflicting information about.

How much interval training or other work capacity stuff is appropriate when trying to gain strength?
Test. That’s the key thing. If you are looking to get stronger and your not….then you may be doing too much interval training or work capacity stuff…either that or your strength program blows.

I’ve got zero interest in gaining mass for its own sake, but I’m very interested in getting stronger relative to my size. If that means getting a little bigger, then okay. My sport is soccer/basketball/lacrosse-style in that it requires quick bursts at high intensity interspersed with short recovery periods.
Sounds like a brilliant hybrid game.

How much can this capacity be trained while working on strength/speed/quickness, that is, very-high-intensity, long-recovery work?
Yes…that isn’t the answer you are looking for I know. This sort of thing really comes down to the individual…if you want to come to the gym and you have a spare €105 a month I’d be happy to help you.

Thanks

Pass the parcel

I got this email today:

You know what you shouldn’t try? Paired plate shifting on AstroTurf. My fucking elbows are torn up.

That’s why we do them on a mat…and do you know what…if you are willing to go crazy you can even do it as a threesome or a foursome…nothing like sharing the pain around.

8 laps one way and 8 laps the other way...3 sets...2 mins between sets

8 laps one way and 8 laps the other way...3 sets...2 mins between sets

Fitness Testing
The funniest bit of my day today was when we were laughing about our new fitness testing method and Jimmy who hadn’t been ‘tested’ want me to test him…I told him to got get my tape out of the drawer. He came back with this…

A little optimistic don't you think?

A little optimistic don't you think?


I meant my girth tape and he comes back with a 30 metre measuring tape…now Jimmy has a good set of guns on him but they aren’t even close to 30 metres in circumference.

They were all chasing Andy’s temporary record of 16 3/4 inches…

Unfortunately for everybody Logi came in and unsheathed his 17 3/4 inch pythons and ended all the arguments. So that’s it for testing from now on…every 6 weeks we’ll get out the tape measure and see who really is the fittest.

Session of the Day
A bunch of the gals that were in today all did this:

Bike – 5 mins
Row – 10x100m with 30 sec recovery
1A Leg Press – 5 reps
1B Lat Pulldowns – 5 reps
1C Push Ups
10 minute work block…as many laps as possible.
Row – 10x100m with 45 sec recovery
2A Step Ups – 5 each leg
2B DB Row – 5 each side
2C DB Shoulder Press – 5 each side
Row – 10x100m with 60 sec recovery

Just to put things in perspective

I got the following mail from Colm this evening and although it might not be of interest to everyone I know it will be of interest to everyone that trains with me. I’d be interested in know what the lads think?

Colm said
hi Will

heres the links to the aussie league

Sydney Morning Herald Article

League HQ Article

 

what you reckon?

This is the first article from the Sydney Morning Herald

CHRIS Beattie is on the wrong side of 30 and hasn’t played a game in Australia for two years but can now claim to be the strongest man in the NRL.
With the first match of the season just 43 days away, The Sun-Herald contacted all 16 clubs to determine the strongest, fastest and fittest men in the game.

Nine clubs tested the maximum bench press of their players during the pre-season, and veteran prop Beattie came out on top with a one-repetition lift of 180 kilograms.

The stunning effort puts him above Melbourne forward Antonio Kaufusi, Manly premier league forward Sione Finefeuiaki and Eels trio Fuifui Moimoi, Richard Fa’aoso and Weller Hauraki, who can all bench 170kg.

New Zealand Warriors back-rower Sonny Fai registered a bench press of 185kg but is yet to make his debut in the NRL.

Their numbers are impressive, but they are well short of the mark set last season by former Manly colossus Kylie Leuluai, who benched 220kg – and did three repetitions.

Former Queensland prop Beattie, who returns to the NRL with the Sydney Roosters after a two-year stint with French Super League team Catalans Dragons, credited “good habits” and an injury-free run for his superb physical condition.

“From a weights point of view, as an older player you just program yourself ,” he said.

“After you’ve been doing it for a number of years you reach a certain strength. I believe I have got stronger at the end of my career.”

The 31-year-old, when told his lift was the highest in the league, played down the result.

“We primed ourselves for that lift,” he said. “It’s not a weight I throw around every week.

“It’s only one lift – I’m sure there are a lot of guys who do more chin-ups or push-ups.

“I don’t get too carried away with that sort of stuff.”

While Beattie’s lift is the heaviest, Sea Eagles halfback Matt Orford is, pound for pound, the strongest man in the league. Aptly nicknamed Ox, Orford can bench 160kg – twice his body weight.

Rather than measuring a one-repetition maximum (1rm) lift, several clubs tested how many times a player could bench his body weight.

St George Illawarra’s 101kg back-rower Sam Isemonger can do it 25 times, ahead of Kangaroos centre Matt Cooper (21).

Utility Luke MacDougall has also impressed teammates since joining from South Sydney, particularly after squatting his body weight 85 times on a one-legged press machine.

Several Dragons have added size to their frames in the off-season while decreasing their skinfold readings, most notably outside back Josh Morris (6kg), Cooper (4.5kg) and former Shark Beau Scott (4kg).

At the Roosters, 85 per cent of the squad are benching more this season than at any other time of their career.

Craig Wing and Anthony Minichiello are pressing 145kg and 150kg respectively.

Former Dragons hooker George Ndaira can squat 250kg and has been clocked at under five seconds during 40-metre sprints on grass.

Halfback Josh Lewis, the quickest man at the club, completed 31 chin-ups at a recent session.

Emerging forward Frank-Paul Nuuausala has trimmed from 125kg to 108kg and Willie Brown is 110kg, a far cry from the 130kg he weighed a couple of years ago.

Penrith winger Luke Rooney has knuckled down in the pre-season in an attempt to return to representative football and strength and conditioning coach Carl Jennings has rated him the club’s “best all-round athlete”.

The former Kangaroo’s figures are impressive. He can bench his own weight of 100kg 15 times, squat three times his body weight 65 times and shoulder press half his weight an amazing 49 times.

In an endurance assessment – in which Jennings tested how far the Panthers can run in one minute – Rooney recorded the best distance of 440m.

Those figures are expected to improve when the Panthers complete a round of testing this weekend.

In all, the Panthers’ skinfold levels have come down 30 per cent as part of new coach Matt Elliott’s focus on fitness and mobility.

“We’re a lot leaner and people will recognise that when we start playing,” Jennings said. “There’s no point looking like Tarzan if you play like Jane.”

Manly have gone through protein supplements worth $12,500 in the past three months in an attempt to bulk up their squad. The investment has paid off, with the players adding an average of 2.5kg of muscle during that period.

Tongan powerhouse Finefeuiaki won the Sea Eagles “strongman” contest although he does weights only once a week.

The real surprise packet has been Chris Hicks. The underrated outside back can bench his bodyweight of 90kg 27 times. He holds the club record for backs, benching 110kg 18 times and still being able to post sub-five-second 40m times.

At only 80kg, pint-sized half Travis Burns also trains above his weight – squeezing out a 150kg press.

Parramatta strength and conditioning coach Hayden Knowles believes he has one of league’s strongest men in former Rooster Richard Fa’aoso.

The Tongan international is also just behind Eric Grothe in 40m sprint testing.

“He’s the most powerful thing I’ve come across … and the quickest I’ve seen in a big guy,” Knowles said.

Benji Marshall has posted promising results in a series of “related power” assessments. Wests Tigers’ Kiwi playmaker averaged a vertical jump of 49.67cm over five jumps, pipping John Morris.

In Canberra, the average player weight has increased to 98.9kg, with 3.5kg less fat.

Leading the way in the strength department is prop Jason Williams, who benches 160kg and is able to squat 180kg for three repetitions.

Raiders strength and conditioning coach Sean Edwards, who worked with Wallabies stars during his time in rugby, described Williams as one of the strongest athletes he’s seen.

Only Souths, Brisbane, Gold Coast and the Bulldogs – who have not yet completed strength and speed testing – did not provide results or player rankings, but Brisbane’s performance director Dean Benton said the premiers were physically a month ahead of where they were at this stage last season.

This is the second article from League HQ
The men of league aren’t robots, but they train like machines – with this youngster showing he has horsepower to spare, writes Adrian Proszenko.

When Tim Mannah runs out to make his NRL debut, opponents will have plenty of ammunition.

The Parramatta prop is a former milkman who is abstaining from sex until he gets married.

In rugby league, that combination is tantamount to putting a dartboard on your head and begging to be sledged. However, his opponents might not want to get too cheeky, as Mannah can claim to be one of the strongest men in rugby league.

With the first match of the season just 25 days away, The Sun-Herald contacted all 16 clubs to determine the strongest, fastest and fittest men in the game.

Most of the clubs tested the maximum bench press of their players during the pre-season, and Mannah shares top spot with a one-repetition lift of 180 kilograms.

The feat was equalled only by promising Penrith prop Sam McKendry and Bulldogs counterpart Sione “John” Kite.

The Eels copped a flogging on the field last year and they have been flogged mercilessly in pre-season to ensure it doesn’t happen again.

Under the watchful eye of new coach Daniel Anderson, the Eels have been pushed to their limits.

Mannah, who turns 21 today, has responded to the challenge.

“He’s a machine when it comes to throwing weights around, he’s training the house down,” said Parramatta strength and conditioning coach Hayden Knowles.

Mannah is fit, too. No one had ever cracked the 400-metre barrier since the club measured the distance a player could travel on their rowing machine in 60 seconds.

Mannah jumped on the ergometer and clocked 401m. Meanwhile, Bulldogs skipper Andrew Ryan also excelled with 380m.

To put the figures in perspective, rugby sensation Ratu Nasiganiyavi had Waratahs trainers in a lather when he pulled 713m in two minutes.

Australian Schoolboys star Mannah, a candidate for a front row spot after Junior Paulo suffered a pectoral injury, hopes the hard work translates into an NRL debut.

“With the new coach coming in, everyone’s on a level playing field and we’re all trying to impress,” Mannah said. “Ando [Anderson] has really pushed us. Compared to last year, we’re that much tougher. Physical preparation won’t be an issue this year, that won’t be an excuse.”

Eric Grothe jnr is also thriving under the new regime. The Eels winger generates the most power on a non-motorised treadmill, which simulates game-day exertions, and can complete 28 chin-ups.

Bulldogs tyro Ben Barba notched 30, followed by teammate Brett Kimmorley with 27. But the king of the “chins” is Wests Tigers winger Peni Tagive with 36. After a seven-minute break, the Fijian youngster can also manage 49 dips.

McKendry also boasts impressive figures. The 20-year-old deadlifts 230kg and back squats 220kg to go with his impressive bench press. He is one of several Panthers to impress strength and conditioning coach Carl Jennings. Another is diminutive half Jarrod Sammut, who has added 7kg of muscle to his frame during the off-season.

Trent Waterhouse is up 5kg and Frank Pritchard 4kg. The latter runs an average of 26km during a typical week of training, consisting of four field sessions, a kilometre more than the club average.

Hooker Paul Aiton is the big improver and is considered the club’s best athlete, pound for pound. Last year he was ranked 10th in that category.

“With Luke Priddis not being around, he’s decided ‘this is my year’,” Carl Jennings said.

“He’s been sensational.”

The Bulldogs have a new team and a new attitude in 2009 if training results are any indication.

Kiwi international Matt Utai completed a 5km bike ride in just seven minutes and 24 seconds. Kite lost 10kg while maintaining his strength, while Yileen Gordon has shed 8kg. Several players are benching more than 150kg.

At the Titans, former Australian prop Luke Bailey has added 6kg to his frame and Ben Jeffries 5kg. However, the Titans still have some of the leanest bodies, with dual international Mat Rogers (43ml of body fat) leading ahead of hooker Nathan Friend (44ml), William Zillman and Mark Minichiello (both 45).

The trend is the same at Manly, although not everyone has bulked up. Giant prop George Rose has lost 8kg, reducing skinfold readings at the same time. Jason King is considered the strongest man in the club, although his bench pressing pales in comparison to Kylie Leuluai. The former Sea Eagle used to bench 220kg – and regularly pushed out three repetitions.

Matt Orford, aptly nicknamed Ox, is rated the club’s strongest, pound for pound. The Sea Eagles were one of the first clubs to use GPS technology to track player exertions.

“The Ox runs and moves so hard that his change of direction comes up as a G-force,” said strength and conditioning coach Don Singe.

Testing results are generally a closely guarded secret among NRL clubs. While some were generous with the amount of information they provided, others were more cautious, fearing they could tip off rivals to their strengths and weaknesses. For instance, Singe revealed that hooker Matt Balin, a qualified personal trainer, is fittest man at Brookvale Oval, but did not want to reveal specifics.

“I’ll just say his [aerobic capacity] is well above a normal human being,” he said. “Instead of lungs, he has two hot-air balloons.”

One of the most revered – and feared – trainers in the NRL is Billy Johnstone. The intensity of his workouts are legendary and little has changed after returning to North Queensland, even if wet weather prevented him from completing his full raft of tests.

One man to impress the fitness guru is Australian halfback Johnathan Thurston, who has won a series of club challenges.

“He’s a freak, Johnny,” Johnstone said. “He had an operation and was away for two months. He came back and won everything.”

But an NRL off-season can’t be quantified simply by numbers, says Eels trainer Knowles. “The one thing which can’t be measured on any test is a massive adjustment in attitude from the boys. They look ready for a big year.”

My Impressions

I’m just going to go through the articles, pick out excerpts and tell you what I think:

Nine clubs tested the maximum bench press of their players during the pre-season, and veteran prop Beattie came out on top with a one-repetition lift of 180 kilograms.

I’ve benched more than that…so there’s no way that can be any good…in all seriousness…as I’ve said before…I think a 1.5 time bodyweight bench is a good athletic standard and I’d say that is probably what this was…probably a little more than that in fairness. I’d take a guess that as a prop in rugby league he’s most likely weighing in at 100-110kg.

The stunning effort puts him above Melbourne forward Antonio Kaufusi, Manly premier league forward Sione Finefeuiaki and Eels trio Fuifui Moimoi, Richard Fa’aoso and Weller Hauraki, who can all bench 170kg.

Here’s Jonny Molloy at 20 year old prop banging out 4 easy reps at 150kg in the middle of a training session…he’s also done 170kg in testing plenty of times now.

Sea Eagles halfback Matt Orford is, pound for pound, the strongest man in the league. Aptly nicknamed Ox, Orford can bench 160kg – twice his body weight.

This on the other hand is just all kinds of awesome.

Rather than measuring a one-repetition maximum (1rm) lift, several clubs tested how many times a player could bench his body weight. St George Illawarra’s 101kg back-rower Sam Isemonger can do it 25 times, ahead of Kangaroos centre Matt Cooper (21).

This is a test that we do as well. This is me at the end of a bench session doing 20 reps at 100kgs just for a laugh. I was weighing in at 110kgs at this time though.

Former Dragons hooker George Ndaira can squat 250kg and has been clocked at under five seconds during 40-metre sprints on grass.

Conor McPhillips is technically a borderline midget and there are videos up of him box squatting 200kg in the middle of a session. I’ve also seen 250kg done for more than a single rep in the gym.

The 40 metre on grass under 5 seconds is something that I want to see…I’d also want to see it timed with gates. I’m not saying it didn’t happen…just saying I’d love to see it.

Halfback Josh Lewis, the quickest man at the club, completed 31 chin-ups at a recent session.

 

This reinforces my point. The reason I think pull ups and chin ups are so important is that it tells you a lot about an athlete. If you can’t do a decent number of pull ups or chin ups it’s usually because you are too bloody fat. In shape…as seldom as that is…I’ve gotten 18 in testing…fat as a whale…as I am most of the time…I get about 8. Pull Ups and Chin Ups give you an indication of an athletes mastery of their body weight. Athletes with the best number of pull ups and chin ups will be your fastest and those with the worst scores will be your slowest generally. I also love to see the technique and form used for Josh Lewis’s 31 reps…was it like Traps here doing 24 reps…

…or was it like this…

Mannah is fit, too. No one had ever cracked the 400-metre barrier since the club measured the distance a player could travel on their rowing machine in 60 seconds. Mannah jumped on the ergometer and clocked 401m. Meanwhile, Bulldogs skipper Andrew Ryan also excelled with 380m. To put the figures in perspective, rugby sensation Ratu Nasiganiyavi had Waratahs trainers in a lather when he pulled 713m in two minutes.

I have a good few guys that I think would have a good crack at this…even having not trained on a rower for a couple of months I think I could throw down a comparable time. We might have to have a bit of a go at this in the next month or so an see how we get on. Fanj pulled 211m or 217m in a single 30 second effort a while back. He’s not a player that rows regularly at all either. I know for sure that Damian will want to have a crack at this test.

Now I am not having a go at the Rugby League guys because as I’ve said before I actually think that these guys on the whole a probably the best all round athletes on the planet. Combining power, strength, muscular endurance, speed and conditioning. I’ve argued their case before with US citizens who are so ignorant that they can’t comprehend any other country producing athletes comparable to their own. I’m just trying to provide some perspective. I can bench 180kg but if you gave me 10 minutes I probably still couldn’t run out of site. These guys manage to post great testing scores in ALL areas of strength and conditioning and post them all at the same time. That’s what is most impressive.