Travis Mash has spent decades studying the barbell. He is one of the few people — if not the only one — to bridge the worlds of powerlifting, Olympic weightlifting, and athletic strength and conditioning.
Travis was a World Champion in powerlifting. He competed in a world-class level in Olympic weightlifting. He has coached professional Olympic weightlifters alongside Don McCauley and Glenn Pendlay at Team MDUSA and now coaches the most successful weightlifting team in America.
He has coached 8-year-olds, high school athletes landing D-1 scholarships, NFL players, elite powerlifters, average Joes wanting to get in shape, Olympic hopefuls, and even middle-aged mothers who struggled to do a weightless squat.
We enjoyed recording this episode with our friend Dr. Andy Galpin at the 2017 IWF World Weightlifting Championships in Anaheim, CA.
Training Weightlifting Champions
Travis started his path as a weightlifter, he was also a World Champion in powerlifting, breaking the world records twice, with huge total numbers: 2410 lb. and 2414 lb. Nowadays, Travis coaches lots of weightlifters and this year (2017), he had the team with the most weightlifters in the world championships:
- Nathan Damron: 94 kg — Snatch: 160 kg; C&J: 200kg.
- Jordan Cantrell: 85 kg — Snatch: 155 kg ; C&J: 192 kg.
- Brian Reisenauer: 56 kg — Snatch: 114 kg ; C&J: 139 kg.
In this episode, we covered weightlifting drug testing, olympic rivalries (USA vs. Russia vs. China), American Youth World Champions: Harrison Maurus and CJ Cummings, Bulgarian Weightlifting training, self-love, and much more.
- Coaching top-level athletes — Listen first. When Travis starts working with experienced top-level athletes, he makes sure to first listen. He likes to hear from the athlete what’s going on, what’s his opinion on his training, etc. After getting feedback from the athlete, he does a muscular balance test, and compares weightliftings ratios: squat, snatch, clean and jerk, etc.
- Weightlifting ratios — Snatch should be 60% of back squat, C&J should be 70% of back squat, and deadlift and squat should be the same or close to one another as possible.
- If you want to learn a new topic, write a book about it! — When Travis is interested in a new topic, he makes himself write a book about it. That gets him motivated to conduct deep in research and learn a topic well.
- Bar speed —When you are training you should strive for fast bar speed. Don’t just stick to percentage work because it was programmed. Figure out if the bar is moving fast, even it doesn’t, you are better off working technique with lighter weights. Usually, bar speed should be between 0.5 m/s — 0.75 m/s. For speed work, 0.8 m/s is optimal.
- Use accessory work for muscle balance —Not all training approaches appreciate accessory work. Some favor higher repetition of competition movements. Travis finds accessory work useful because it helps create muscle balance, which leads to better lifting.
“The problem is, day-to-day your one rep max will vary either 18% up or 18% down. That’s a 36% curve.” — Travis Mash
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