Yas Parr

#06 Yas Parr – THE UNKNOWN STRENGTH PODCAST

Macgregor McNair Podcast 0 Comments

Mac: Alright, thanks very much for joining us again on the Unknown Strength podcast. This is episode number 6. I have with me a very special guest Mr. Yas Parr, who is a strength and conditioning coach, both online and in person. Yas is an author as well as a Poliquin group education instructor and a heavy hitter over there in the fight scene long beach. So Yas how are you doing?
Yas: I am doing good mate. Thank you and thanks a lot for asking me to come on.
Mac: My pleasure mate, absolute pleasure. Where are you exactly right now?
Yas: I am in Long Beach. I am from England, I’ve been in LA for ten years now.
Mac: Oh fantastic. Ten years is long enough to know you like the place huh?
Yas: Yeah and I think my accent has become a lot Americanized now, coz people can understand me.
Mac: It’s morphing across.
Yas: [Laughter] Yeah like a hybrid thing.
Mac: Yeah. Being Americanized mate you’ve got to watch it.
Yas: I know, I am scared.
Mac: [Laughter] So mate before we get into the thick of things, I just wanted to point out to everyone that you and I actually have a past employer in common –Mr. Jeremy Meyer, over RAW personal training in Hong Kong.
Yas: Right, yeah.
Mac: Yeah, I worked for Jeremy and trained under him, he was actually my coach for a while before he offered me a job working with him over there in Hong Kong in about 2010, 2011. He was the guy who set me on my path down the Poliquin education route. He was an awesome mentor for me at the time. So how was your time over there working with Jeremy at Raw. Was it the job that took you over there?
Yas: Yeah, it was actually. I knew Jeremy already. I did level 3 PICP with him, 2009 or 2010 and I had a lot of good jobs since and I was in a position in LA where I didn’t really have much work on and I wasn’t really earning much money. And I knew Jeremy was looking for somebody so I contacted him and just asked if he was interested and he was good enough to let me go over for a while and do some training. The good thing about being a strength coach and knowing how to train athletes is that if you ever get some struggle for work then you can always go to the personal training and I was lucky off that Jeremy let me go over there for a little bit and he looked after me really well. I loved it over there. I would actually like to go back to Hong Kong and actually appreciate the place coz I kind of had to treat it like I was just working away so I spent most of the time I’ve been working or stuck in the apartment where I know it’s a great place, I would like to actually sample it for exactly what it is. Everyone goes about how good Hong Kong is.
Mac: Yeah, it’s great. It’s absolutely fantastic. It’s its own little world over there man.
Yas: Yeah, yeah, yeah. I like about it, I’ve been in the US for obviously quite a while and I’d forgotten how to enjoy myself because in the US everybody’s always looking at the future, always planning, always stressing they don’t really have much time off and then I went to Hong Kong and there’s obviously a big Australian influence, there is more of an American influence than what there was traditionally, but it’s still big British influence over everybody there is they enjoy their life as much as possible. They go out every night to eat, everyone drinks so kind of got me got me back to my old routine of being English, where you enjoy yourself exactly in the present and don’t stress too much about the future which was a good thing.
Mac: Yeah, absolutely. That’s great. So would you tell a bit about yourself, where did you grow up? And what was your background like?
Yas: I am from Manchester in England. I started travelling a lot though from being about sixteen and I was always into training. I always thought that I knew, why you do, you read magazines and stuff and go to the gym and get told what to do by other people so I always thought I knew what I was doing. And obviously once you start doing courses you realize you don’t know anything.
Mac: Yeah. [laughter] Yas: I was- what age was I- I was living in the Canary islands and I was offered a job in a gym and even though I thought only about training I had no qualifications, so I went back to England to start doing courses. This was – now it would be- twenty one years ago I did my first certification, yeah. So that’s how it started and then obviously once you start then you realize, I still don’t know anything now , you realize you don’t know anything and you have to keep- I see some people and they just happy to get certified and some money wears personally and I know a lot other people including yourself, soon as I started learning stuff then I wanted to know more and I wanted to become as good as a coach.
Mac: Yeah. Becomes an addition I reckon.
Yas: Yeah definitely. Especially because you end up getting frustrated because you realize you don’t know anything so you end up- personally I ended up getting frustrated and I wanted to know more and more and more, so that’s what led me. So now I’ve got a degree in strength and conditioning and somewhere between forty and fifty certifications so I just keep going, trying to get better and better.
Mac: Lifelong learner, man I love that.
Yas: Huh, I try. Obviously I know what it’s like, you know what it’s like in another twenty years, I am still not going to know as much as I’d like to know.
Mac: Yeah, that’s right. Science has a nasty habit of moving on from us.
Yas: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Exactly man.
Mac: Yeah. So what about your attraction to the martial arts and the combat sports, tell us a little bit about that.
Yas: like any typical guy, especially coz I come from a poor area, that everyone is into fighting. I was always into boxing and stuff, and then when I was young –I mean I am old now- late 80’s early 90’s, I was in Manchester and I was doing Thai Boxing first in the late 80’s when master Toddy and then with his brother Misaim and then after that I started travelling, I travelled for a long time , and then –when did I meet- I met my Mrs (wife) in the Olympic training center in Colorado Springs, where I done, I decided to get on a degree. I was on a degree in Wales , strength and conditioning and I flew over to Colorado Springs to do a course of USA weightlifting, sports performance college course. She was there, she was a real high level boxer so that moved on from there. That got me even more into looking at how fighters train, how they should train, how I could influence things. Well the funny thing is , when I met her, I shown her an assignment that I’d just done for university on a program for training fighters. So obviously everything fell into place and then it just moved on from there.
Mac: That’s awesome. And what about with the Poliquin group, you’re now instructor there, how did that come to be?
Yas: Oh, yeah. That’s a really good opportunity for me. I love working for them, what it is is, before I went working for Jeremy I contacted Caroleen Jones (Poliquin Group owner) because of a book I’m writing- asking if it was okay if I could some Poliquin stuff there as long as I referenced them. I think they just used the people, just taking things for granted and using their information - you know without giving them credit - so she was quite pleased that I asked her, she said let me get back to you, and she got back to me and was good about it. From then we kept in touch and then when I was leaving Hong Kong, she invited me over to see the facility in Rhode Island and then invited me to work for them. Which obviously is a really good opportunity, one I love the job, and two I love travel. Again it all falls into place.
Mac: It’s a win-win right?
Yas: Yeah, exactly mate, exactly.
Mac: So how much time do you spend on the road these days, teaching with the Poliquin group?
Yas: I was away for most of the time, but I haven’t worked for a while. I guess since coz they took on some people in different countries, now regional coaches so obviously that they don’t need to spend money on somebody like me flying around, they can – say somebody lives in Wales, coz there this guy in Wales, a good guy called Gavin (Attore), then they can hold the courses at his gym and they don’t have to pay for him to fly anywhere, don’t have to pay for their hotel, so it works out good for them.
Mac: Smart.
Yas: Yeah, still good for me. It just pushes me to do extra stuff in my own time you know.
Mac: Yeah absolutely. So this book you mentioned, what can you tell us about that?
Yas: Oh, you know, I contacted my lecturer- my old professor- about doing a little bit of a reference a foreword for it, and he messaged me saying “Oh well done, I know how much hard work it is, how much work it takes”, and I’m thinking, it’s not that bad - I’ve done about 50,000 words and I was cruising and now I am like- I don’t even know if I want to write another one, it’s so much work. I am lucky to actually- I was actually approached by the publisher to see if I wanted to write it, it’s called strength and conditioning for Combat Sports. There are books on training fighters, but all the ones I’ve seen , it’s not the same as what I’ve written. Maybe people might not like it, but it is different to anything else I’ve seen, I’ve covered a lot of stuff, not just training; but like altitude training, supplements, stuff like, using devices like occlusion cuffs, all different things that are not in other books you know.
Mac: Right, so I mean, you’ve covered a lot of ground there, what else sets the book apart?
Yas: I think, one of the main things is from my experience people who are involved in the fighting sports and combat sports, traditionally they are obsessed of aerobic exercise and you have people at the other end of the scale - strength coaches - who are ‘aerobic phobic’, so what I’ve done is, I’ve gone into it and I’m on the middle ground. I ‘ve explained that you should aerobic training and how to do it, and also at what point you’ve done enough and then you can move on to the actual becoming powerful, becoming stronger, faster and being able to display those values for longer.
Mac: Of course, and we’ve had lots of questions. For me personally being a Poliquin guy, and I suppose you would have synthesized a lot of the Poliquin group stuff into your book, but I get asked a fair bit from people who don’t know what the Poliquin group is all about, what sets the Poliquin group apart from everyone else in the strength education field?
Yas: What I like about it is- the people who actually write the course material and the people who teach it. They’re not just good at what they do, they’re not just smart guys but they actually train high level athletes, so obviously I am not speaking for all certifications but if you look at most of other organizations from my experience you tend to have really smart people writing the material who never actually in the trenches, they don’t actually train people.
Mac: Right.
Yas: Yes, so they just really- they are lot smarter than me, but the tend to be people who just know a lot of theory stuff and don’t actually work with people going to the Olympics or people fighting for a world title.
Mac: Yeah, they are kind of stuck with the white lab coat on and they are not really in the trenches doing the hard work.
Yas: Yeah, exactly. And another thing I like about the Poliquin group certifications is, you can do level 1 level 2 and you do get assessed for after that, from level 3 onwards you have to actually to show that you have put the training into practice so I think, there’s different levels so, say level 3 you’ve got to have trained national champions
Mac: National champion, yeah.
Yas: Yeah, so obviously when I did level 3, I trained- the champions I trained were a hockey team and then obviously there is level 4 and there is level 5, level 5 is obviously the big one where you’ve got to train people who’ve won like world championships, medal at the Olympics, so that’s what I think sets it apart in a big way is the fact that it’s not just - you don’t really have to be a really clever guy who goes and reads a lot of stuff and does a test. You have to actually put stuff into practice and show that you can actually get results using the information.
Mac: Absolutely. I mean you know, speaking from my own experience, that was definitely one of the most attractive things to that education pathway, I mean you got to earn that thing, you want to go all the way to the end , you’ve got to prove that you are a top level coach.
Yas: Yeah, exactly man. And that’s what I think- that’s one reason why I did the course for USA weightlifting, it was quite straightforward and it wasn’t’ too difficult to do, but I’d found that the NSCA’s course that CSCS certification is all theory stuff, I was told that- what a lot of people at the US has started doing was courses of USA weightlifting because you have a lot of physiotherapists like people taking the NSCA’s exam and passing it, and there was people who never ever had even lift a weight.
Mac: Yeah right.
Yas: Yeah, so obviously the Poliquin group stands there. PICP certification stands out big time. As you said you have to actually earn it.
Mac: Yeah. That’s one of things about all courses that I try and look for, before I take them on. Mainly the courses that force you to publish some work like we’ve got the ASCA certification here in Australia, where level 2 you’ve got to actually publish a work to a peer reviewed of your journal. You’ve got things like the Poliquin group where you have to actually verify that you’ve actually coached an athlete to such a high level. And also there’s a couple of other courses here in Australia which kind of performance based, so you would have to actually meet certain strength standards or go through a body re-composition and achieve certain levels of success in that. When it comes to education I think that is something that I really value, the need to actually prove yourself.
Yas: Yeah, yeah. Exactly. Because obviously a lot of the time the smartest guy in the room is not the guy who can actually do anything.
Mac: Yeah, it’s so true. Theory is just theory, it means nothing if it’s not applied.
Yas: Exactly man.
Mac: Yeah, so let’s change gears for a second mate. You mentioned your wife Liz earlier, she has quite illustrious fighting career, what can you tell us about her journey and some of the experience you shared in her career?
Yas: Oh, she’s unbelievable. She’s – I don’t think she likes me saying it, but she’s a monster. She’s a genetic freak, so she can do, basically she can do whatever she wants. She could take anything up and be good at it. I met her in-like I said earlier- in Colorado Springs and the whole of the US women’s boxing team were there, training for the Pan-Am games, and they invited me to spar- it’s all nice to me, because I was an English guy you know, they invited me to spar, to watch them spar, and I was watching them. It was all very good, because every one of them was number one in the US at their weight. And then I watched Liz and then I all of a sudden see this big Amazonian beating in the shit out of everybody and she didn’t- the others all looked like girls who were good at boxing, whereas when I had seen this one, obviously who I know very well now,-Liz- when I had seen her then she just, everything was just as good as a good guy. The way she moved, then the way she could box, it was just totally a different level. Obviously that struck me straight away, and I went back to Wales and I didn’t think I‘d hear from anybody again, then all of the sudden we were in touch. I moved over and she had- what she was doing, she was always, her whole career she was training to go to the Olympics, and it was the 2008 Olympics she was waiting for, and then it came out that they weren’t going to have women’s boxing in it.
Mac: They pulled women’s boxing from the Olympics?
Yas: Well it was never in, and it was supposed to be for that Olympics, and then at the last minute they said ‘No we are not going to put it in’,
Mac: Oh wow.
Yas: Yes, so she decided that she couldn’t wait another four years, for the 2012, so she turned pro. She had her first pro fight. I was due to fly over that day; I actually rearranged my flight, coz I didn’t want to distract her, at landed a few days later. That turned out to be her only pro fight, because her amateur record was so good and then when people look her up and they saw that, now she was pro , she was training with Freddy Roach so, she ended up retiring because she couldn’t get any more fights. As an amateur she won the US nationals four years in a row-
Mac: Wow.
Yas: And people always say, plenty of people who are big time boxing people, like boxing journalists who know more than anybody else I’ve met, they always say that she is the best female boxer that they’ve ever seen’ but obviously she had no control over what was happening in the Olympics. Well the mad things was when the 2012 Olympics came around in London, the person who was in charge of sports in the UK was a woman, and she said we were going to have women’s boxing in, in the Olympics. Because it should be, because otherwise it’s sexist and she couldn’t- USA boxing even though she had only one pro fight, they wouldn’t let her go back to amateur because it’s not down to the Olympic committee it’s down to the governing body of the sport-
Mac: Oh really?
Yas: Yeah, so that was it, and then she was so pissed off that she even stopped training for a long time. She just started again recently, just to see what kind of fitness she can get up to and then see if there’s anything she wants to do, but obviously nothing planned.
Mac: Yeah, are you going to start working on trying to convince her to come back to her pro career?
Yas: I’d like to, but she’s the most stubborn person in the world, so [Laughter] if I told her that I want her to box, then there’s no more conversation about it for at least another year. So I’ve learned the hard way. So I just let her go with it, and see what’s she wants to do.
Mac: Well that’s great. That’s a role of a supportive husband mate.
Yas: [Laughter] Yeah, I learned, it didn’t take me long...
Mac: Fantastic mate. So why don’t we get into the thick of things and let’s try and get inside your head a little bit. We’re going to touch on, a little bit later on this show some of the negative stuff that’s happening in the field today, why don’t you share with us some of the really effective trends you’ve seen in strength training for fight athletes per specifically over the last couple of decades, and who in the strength training community is doing that stuff really well?
Yas: Traditionally from what I’ve seen, so many fighters even at a higher level, they learn that you shouldn’t lift weights, they make you slow, there are old school trainers, say they see it as body building- so you’re going to be bigger and slower. So one thing that I’ve seen, a turnaround- which is obviously excellent because becoming more powerful, becoming more stronger and faster can never have a negative effect on your sport.
Mac: No, strength is never a weakness right?
Yas: Exactly, man. And if you can train to display that strength quickly, then you’re lauguing you know. If you can become stronger and faster and fight like that for longer, then even if- I am not saying a low quality fighter would suddenly be a good fighter, but no matter level you are at, you will be better. Someone who is not very good becomes more powerful and fitter, they will become better, and even you can get the best fighter in the world if you can make him stronger and faster and able to display those qualities for longer, even someone like Floyd Mayweather then they would be improved. There’s no getting around it you know. The good thing is that , it would’ve have started to see good strength and conditioning coaches working with fighters now, but obviously with what I’ve seen is geographical. I see, in the UK I see a lot of good people working with boxers, doing really good stuff. Obviously in Ireland as well, Australia big time and a lot of the Eastern European fighters train well, but I think that’s just because of their upbringing and their background coz traditionally they train better than us.
Mac: Yeah.
Yas: MMA, the best training I see is Canadian strength and conditioning coaches-
Mac: Really, why is that?
Yas: I am not sure. I just know that there’s really good strength and conditioning coaches in Canada are even some Canadians that have moved to the US, like Stephane (Cazeault) who used to work for the Poliquin group is actually based in California, who working with MMA fighters. You would think where I am , in LA , which is in a way, it’s like the center of the universe traditionally for boxing there’s so much talent here, but it’s so old school, mainly, obviously there’s a lot of blacks, lot of Mexicans, and it’s so old school, they are the ones that are producing the good fighters but they just don’t want to do stuff- they see people flipping a tire and they just think is ‘That’s not right, that’s just going to hurt somebody’. So and MMA as well, MMA is southern California it’s unbelievable, but from what I’ve seen there’s really elite strength and conditioning coaches in the US ,but they just turn to not working fighters but they tend to work in American football or hockey as in ice hockey. But I’ve got- I’ve got conversation with a guy in Arizona next week, a guy called Dean Bassano, he’s a sports scientist he’s working with a lot of MMA fighters, and he just seems to be really good and on the ball. Seems to be a really smart guy, so it’s going to be interesting to see what he’s got to say.
Mac: Fantastic, so geographically speaking, you're saying there’s a little bit of a dead zone happening in LA when it comes to elite strength and conditioning. You’ve got the Canadian guys like Stephane Cazeault coming on to the staes bringing a really heavy influence with him, where else – where are the coaches that are doing at well other than that?
Yas: Well, the US, for me tends to be quite- obviously not in strength and conditioning general but as far as strength and conditioning for combat sports tends to be a long way behind. Britain seems to be doing it well with boxers, there’s lot of good-. There’s no way on this Earth- Britain always has fighters that are world champions-
Mac: Of course.
Yas: But there’s no way that we should have more than America when it comes to belt holders but- we’ve got so many more fighters at the moment, British fighters that actually are world champions, and the US has got a lot less. So in my opinion, The British are not better boxers but it’s just that they’re training better.
Mac: Right.
Yas: And the stuff that they are doing is like elite level athletes, whereas the stuff that most of the American fighters are doing is what you would have seen many, many years ago. Yeah, obviously there are people in Ireland doing it, people in Ireland are doing really good stuff for fighters. People like John Connor, Ioin Lacy, and Australia, I see some really, I see videos of fighters training in Australia. They’re turning them into machines as well. The reason why there’s a dead zone here- I mean not the reason why, but the reason why I have to do online stuff is because , if you were thinking it would be easy for me, but it’s difficult then that’s why I have to do the online stuff so I get to work with fighters. Most of my clients that I work with are now online and they are in different areas, in different countries. So, hopefully at some point the Americans have to start doing getting up-to-date with, I mean it’s ridiculous that. I’ve seen the odd one doing stuff like cross fit, but obviously that’s not the same. I’m not going to go into cross fit, but you know what I’m saying.
Mac: Yeah we can leave that one alone.
Yas: [Laughter] Exactly.
Mac: But I was going to touch more on the resistance that you seem to be getting in LA for high level strength coaches. What do you think it’s going to take for the real elite in strength and conditioning coaching to kind of breakthrough that resistance, that old school mentality, particularly in LA?
Yas: I don’t know man. I need to be set up with enough business online so that I can open something small and not have to rely on the business on that, so if I can start to get the odd fire in, obviously, usually you open a business and you need it to be successful just to survive. Whereas I’d like to be doing enough online stuff so I could open something small and it doesn’t matter if it’s quiet, as long as I can start training the odd good fighter. If I could start getting really good results, which is what I would be, then hopefully it would be like a snow ball effect. I don’t get why they don’t look at what other countries are doing, and see if the training that their fighters are doing and put two and two together and realized ‘maybe that’s the reason why these guys are machines’ you know.
Mac: Yeah.
Yas: So, I don’t know, it’s just difficult to say at the moment so old school. Me going around shouting my mouth off all the time is not going to change anything. So I just have to wait and hopefully be they get on the same page as everybody else.
Mac: Yeah, so I would love to see you kind of build off the success of your online stuff and kind of let that be reflected in a facility that you open up. I mean kind of you’d hope to see a bit of ‘if you build they come’ kind of thing?
Yas: Yeah. Exactly, and hopefully my book will have an influence on that as well.
Mac: Absolutely man. And we’ll be plugging the shit out of that when that comes out.
Yas: Nice one man, I appreciate it.
Mac: No worries man. So let’s expand on that stuff a little bit, you are talking about guys that you say to be doing things really well in different parts of the world, places that aren’t doing it so well. Tell us about-specifically- some of the methodologies and modalities that your seeing done well for strength and conditioning in the fight game. Tell us specifically what you are impressed by.
Yas: I am seeing, when I look at British fighters like say obviously you see the odd thing that you wouldn’t do. But I see a lot of things that I would do, and that is impressive, so say if you look at somebody like Anthony Joshua or Kel Brooke you’re seeing proper strength and conditioning coaches training them, they’re training them to be strong but there also training them to be powerful. Because if you become strong you’d become better at everything but for a fighter maybe not so much for a grappler but for any kind of fighter like MMA fighter that needs to stand up to strike, to boxer or Thai boxer then you don’t just have to be able to be strong, you have to be able to display that strength quickly otherwise, doesn’t matter if you can squat 500 pounds or let’s say whatever that is in kilos, 220-230KG, if it takes you a long time to just show your strength then you’ll never-as far as fighting goes- you are never going to have that much time. Do you know what I mean?
Mac: Yeah, I do yeah.
Yas: I am seeing strength coaches, making and training these guys, making them, so they’re lifting heavy weights so they are becoming strong but then I’m also seeing videos seeing what they’re putting out there that actually becoming explosive. So training in to display the strength quickly, whatever that’s using, measuring tools like, what’s the Australian one, is it GymAware?
Mac: Yes, but we’ve also got measuring units like the Tendo, which is a great one.
Yas: Yeah, exactly and then is there the , Canadian guys do the push-band, yeah so I mean I am seeing the guys in Britain and Ireland and Australia they’re doing that kind of stuff, they’ve making people stronger than they’re training them to increase rate of force development so they can actually display that strength quickly. If you need to be explosive then that’s what you have to train. I just don’t see that in the US, now and again I see the odd thing where they are doing modified strong man training which is obviously good, but they’re just not doing it how I would do it, you know, it’s just seen videos of someone pushing a prowler or pulling a sled and they’re just throw it into a program, without knowing exactly how it should be programed.
Mac: Well let’s dive a little bit deeper into that, tell us a bit about some of your favorite methods of transferring qualities like relative strength into power and rate force development, things like that, what actually works for you?
Yas: I like to make people strong so obviously I do the big lifts and then I also, to be honest, if I am just training somebody and they’ve not got fight lined up, a fight day, then first I want to- what I want to do first is structural balances, I’ll work on any imbalances and then make them strong from there. Usually I would use undulating periodization, but when they have a fight then I want to making them faster as well, so what I like to do then, say we have a twelve week camp, I like to do a cross between undulating periodization and conjugate, so I feel I like to do upper leg split four days a week and the first two days I’ll have them have lifting the heavy and then the next two I ‘ll have them doing a lot of really dynamic stuff. And I like to measure bar speed, make sure that we are on track, make sure that, like I said there’s no point being strong, well I mean being strong is better than not being strong, but I also like to train people so that they can actually display that strength as quickly as possible. So that’s where the dynamic stuff comes in, and measuring. Coz if you are measuring you track if the trainee is in track while also you can see if they’re tired and if they are overtrained you know.
Mac: Well it’s more information isn’t it?
Yas: Yeah, exactly. So you gotta track, if you track what’s going on man, it just opens up everything for you and you can tell if the program is working or not.
Mac: Yeah, for sure. That’s one of my favorite sayings in this game. ‘What you can measure you can master’.
Yas: Right exactly. And I always, I did an article for Hykso, Hykso punch trackers, what I always say with them is ‘if you’re not tracking you are just slacking’ coz you just don’t know what’s going on you know.
Mac: [Laughter] I love it. That’s great man. So we’ve got you taking someone through a structural balance kind of phase, a GPP structural balance kind of thing, you’re working it through some undulating periodization building strength and then you are using a modified conjugate or concurrent method to display strength. What about actual loading parameters, set and rep schemes things like that during the conjugate or concurrent phase, what actual methods are you using say for example lower body, rate force development?
Yas: I will have them doing a lot of fast stuff. It might be higher reps, it might be barbell complexes, med ball stuff, everything alive be explosive are just the 1010 tempo. Yeah so, I want to make them strong but-well once the fight gets close, once they know about the fight day, if we’ve got like a few months to play with, then I’ll want to-I don’t just want them to be strong, I need them to be powerful. That’s how I do that, but I need to track stuff and make sure that they are not moving those weights even though are more lighter and they doing more reps and is faster, I like to make sure that they are not moving in too slow.
Mac: Yeah of course, absolutely.
Yas: So Yeah, I look at bar speed. I don’t know if you want me to speak about that or not but I look at bar speed and make sure that- as well as getting stronger- that they are actually starting to lift heavier weights at the bar speed that I want too.
Mac: Sure absolutely. I can vouch for all of those methods. Undulating periodization’s one of the key things I took away from all my time with the Poliquin group, especially the way Jess Band has been teaching it recently, he’s just got that touch-the putting together set and reps schemes and presenting the reps in different ways to really push the nervous system and get the best out of your athlete.
Yas: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Mac: It’s fantastic. Another thing I wanted to comment on; later on in this we are going to start address some of the negative things we’re seeing in the game, but when it comes to developing lower body rate force development and power explosiveness, one of the go to see- we see a lot of coaches jump on it- is plyometric stuff, things like box jumps. One of the things these guys don’t realize, they haven’t really delved into the science behind things is, you can actually do more harm than good with just repeated box jumps and things like that. Things that aren’t a true plyometric, explosive contraction, which end up creating incorrect firing patterns, incorrect motor skills and things like that. Is this something you’re seeing as well?
Yas: Yeah. I love plyometric but as you know most people do plyometric and they’re not actually strong enough to do them. So box jumps as well, I see people do box jumps, then they land on- their idea is as long as they land on the box then that’s good- but if you land on the box and you look like shit with your back, bend like a boomerang then that’s not the idea. And I see a lot of people as well, they’re doing box jumps and then they jump off between every rep not realizing that the actual jumping off is a depth landing, is actually more strenuous than the jump.
Mac: That’s right, it’s another motor skill. [Laughter] Yas: Exactly. And they just don’t get it you know.
Mac: Yeah.
Yas: So Yeah, I see a lot of that.
Mac: There’s things like that, you’ve got to be so careful with the way you load people and you want to be careful not to do more harm than good.
Yas: Yeah, definitely man.
Mac: Let’s keep going with that, this is great stuff mate. I’d really like to know, what are some of your most valuable insights that you’ve learned through your exposure to different coaches and mentors and different methodologies and modalities, what are some of the most valuable things you’ve discovered in your career?
Yas: Obviously I’ve got a big influence from Poliquin group, well specifically Charles (Poliquin) who’s started the company. His influence is why I do a lot, but I like to learn from many people as possible because if even if you like 99% of what they say, there’s always something that doesn’t really make sense. Charles has had a big influence on what I do, but also my professor from university, guy called Ian Jeffrey is very knowledgeable guy, he’s actually one of the top guys for speed training. He writes the NSCA section on speed training, speed and agility. So I actually learned a lot from that guy, he’s really good. He taught me a lot about being explosive from rate of force development and lot of stuff to do with changing direction. When he teaches speed and agility he doesn’t do the typical stuff that people do, speed ladders and all stuff that doesn’t transfer to the sport he teaches real stuff that makes you faster. That guy is probably the biggest influence on what I do and I am grateful to that guy as well, he’s really humble.
Mac: That’s great man. So when it comes to speed and agility training, moving on from rate of force development- actual agility training you see these guys all the time on those ladders, and I am with you man, I just cannot justify that being beneficial to their athletic development, especially for fight athletes. Tell me some of the stuff you’ve seen work, specifically for agility training and speed.
Yas: Obviously the weight training has a big part, but then I’ve done a lot of stuff where it’s just body weight, changing direction and reaction stuff. When I first came over and I was training my Mrs (wife), what I do sometimes is I’ve be stood opposite and I drop a tennis ball, and she’d have to run once it bounce once roll and catch it, when I first started doing it, she was strong but she just looked at me as if I was an idiot saying ‘How am I supposed to do that?’ and then in no time she could do it for fun , just coz she was that quicker doing those first few meters , you know.
Mac: Yeah, that’s fantastic.
Yas: Yeah, just little things like that. The guys it was talking about, he’s got books, he’s got one called the game speed, which I think he’s got American football players on the front and the guy knows so much about speed and agility and it’s just stuff that’s not mickey mouse stuff, it’s stuff that if you do if you’re athletes then they are going to get faster and more agile.
Mac: I am sorry mate, what’s this guy’s name again? I forgot.
Yas: Ian Jeffrey. He is a Welsh guy.
Mac: Yeah.
Yas: I remember- it was funny coz- one time I was on a Poliquin course. I think it was actually level 3, PICP and John Conner was talking about it and he was talking about how he was- had some seminar- and there was a guy there talking who trained like – I think he trained Real Madrid and Barcelona- he was talking about changing direction in football, and what didn’t make sense, what the guy was saying didn’t make sense and then he said then the next guy come in, and it was Ian Jeffrey, who said the total opposite to what the other guy was saying and it made so much sense to him. So it was good that Poliquin instructors knew about him as well and obviously was really pleased- because he’s humble- when I’d told him that he’d been referenced when I was on a course at Poliquin group.
Mac: Fantastic. So we have a first for the Unknown Strength podcast, couple of months ago, Yas you opened it up to everyone in your social media networks to throw out any questions, they might like you to answer in this show. We’ve chosen a handful of the juiciest questions in there to get stuck into, so why don’t we get started with a question from Wayne, who is a strength and conditioning coach in the UK, the question is, what level of fitness aerobically should an MMA fighter or boxer be at before you start SPP intervals etc.? I think we can safely assume that he’s talking about specific physical preparedness, when he says SPP.
Yas: Yeah, definitely. Ok. Like I was saying before you have most of the people working in combat sports, they are for me they do too much aerobic stuff, so they will- you have a fight and you’ll go and do 15 miles, 20 miles every day, which you don’t need to do. And then you have the opposite end of the scale, where people say ‘You don’t need to do any aerobic stuff, you can just do intervals’
Mac: Aerobic phobic.
Yas: Exactly, the aerobic phobic. [Laughter] So what I do is if you want to condition the aerobic system, you can’t really do anaerobic stuff, otherwise your results will be compromised, so I get people to start doing long steady pace runs. They can’t do anything but running is probably the best in a way- because it’s ground based but also you can really control the speed. If you want to work out certain heart rate in a certain zone, if you’ve gone above it, it’s easy to slow down if you running, and it’s easy to speed up if you are running. So that’s one of the things about running that makes it easy. So I use, traditionally people use the 220 formula, which is 220 minus your age. Which is really not very good, it’s too high to build an aerobic base. The number 220 comes from, they took the heart of a stress fetus one time and it was 220, so then they say take your age away from 220, then that’s- I can’t remember what they said- did they say that’s your maximum heart rate that you should be working out.
Mac: Wow.
Yas: Yeah. I’ve done that stuff for a long time. I mean it’s not very good, so I don’t do it. So 220 minus your age is traditionally what we do, but that’s not good for building and aerobic basis.
Mac: Too hard.
Yas: Yeah, it’s been shown to cause muscle imbalances and also gait problems and Repetitive strain injuries as well. So I did some look into it, and I’ve come across a formula by a guy called Dr. Phil Maffetone-
Mac: I was just going to say, Dr. Phil, 180 minus your age.
Yas: Yep, that’s excellent man. 180 minus your age, and if you do 180 minus your age, then that’s where you should be working if you’ve had no problems. So if you’ve been consistently training four times a week for over two years, and your performance has got better then that’s where you should be working at. So say if you’re 30, so you would knock 30 off 180, so then the heart rate where you should be working though is no higher than 150 but no lower than 140-
Mac: Right, so 10 BPM buffer.
Yas: Yeah, exactly. If you go over, then it’s starts becoming too anaerobic to what we’re looking for. It’s kind of difficult because if you are not used to doing aerobics training, if you trying run and keep your heart rate that low, you find yourself having to walk. And that’s not a problem with the system, it’s because you are so, -you’re aerobic condition is so bad that you heart rate jumps up as soon as you start moving. I find that when I – I tell people say if you are going to run four miles, I’ll keep the heart rate at a certain level , then I find that it can take up to an hour to do a four mile run.
Mac: Just because of all the walking right?
Yas: Yeah, coz they have to keep slowing down. They are kind of running like an old person doing a marathon. I did it with my- my wife recently started doing some aerobic stuff, she’s 32. What I did with this, we knocked 32 off 180 which is 148, and then we knocked another five off because she’s not been training and she’s got a few niggle injuries, so we knocked in another five off. So then the heart where she needs to work at is between 133 and 143. I don’t like people measuring all the time, because then it becomes too obsessive, you don’t want to be doing that every day, so what I do with my wife- what I do with other people as well- is I recommend doing it every couple of weeks. When you’re actually training you can run as far as you wanted, if you want to run ten miles or fifteen miles you can as long as you’re keeping your heart rate in that zone. But what I’m testing, I get them to run four miles and what is that the more aerobically conditioned you get, the faster you can run at that heart rate. I get into run four miles when testing, and we tested time of each mile, and every time you test-if the training is going well, as it should be- then you’ll see that the time per mile getting a little bit quicker but also the time difference between the fourth mile and the first mile gets smaller.
Mac: Right. More consistent.
Yas: Yeah, exactly. So it comes down. Normally, if the time gets greater then it’s because of fatigue so the less fatigued you are the more you can run at the same pace and keep your heart rate in the same zone. I just get a quick drink of water. Sorry.
Mac: Sure no problem. That’s one of the beautiful things about Maffetone system, is that you keep consistently working at that designated heart rate zone, you’re inevitably going to get quicker and quicker and quicker as you get better and better conditioned. So you’ll be moving faster at the same heart rate. That’s the system right?
Yas: Yep, exactly. What I like to do, is I have it different for each kind of combat sport. Because the more contact you have with your opponent when you are competing, the more aerobic the sport is, so I’ve worked out some numbers. I might change them in the future, but it’s what I like at the moment, and I like- I think the aerobic conditioning is good, when they’re able to run a mile in less than eight minutes, which obviously is not that fast- but it’s less than eight minutes while the heart rate is that low.
Mac: Yeah, got it.
Yas: Yeah, they could go running faster and well the heart rate would go up, I want them to keep the heart rate down and I want them to run a mile in under eight minutes but I also want the gap between the fourth and the first mile to get to a certain level. The numbers I worked out, and I actually like them, is I like it to be fifteen seconds or less for a boxer, between the first mile and the fourth mile.
Mac: That’s interesting.
Yas: Yes, for a boxer I’ve got fifteen, for a Thai boxer, fourteen, for MMA thirteen, and for Jujitsu twelve.
Mac: Excellent, so how have you worked that out, is it just because Muay Thai and MMA and judo are more anaerobic based sports than boxing, that they’ve got a shorter spread between first and fourth mile times.
Yas: I would tell, because the more contact there is between fighters are opponents, the more aerobic the sport is. There is more contact between a Thai boxers than a boxer because of the clinch.
Mac: Because of the clinch, of course.
Yas: Yeah. And then at the other end of the scale you have the grapplers and they have a lot of contact, and then in between you have the MMA; a combination of striking and grappling,
Mac: Okay.
Yas: So that’s how I worked out , like I said these are numbers that I’ve come up with, I like them, I might change them a little bit in the future, but at the moment, I think they’re good.
Mac: That’s fantastic. Anyone who has been in the ring, or the cage or even on the mats, when you are physically carrying the weight of your opponent in that contact, like you are talking about in the clinch, that really takes it out of you, So I reckon it’s a pretty smart system to kind of build that into the spread between the first and fourth mile. I think that’s pretty clever.
Yas: Thanks man.
Mac: No worries.
Yas: Yeah, I try. [Laughter] I am not that clever, I just try hard.
Mac: It’s good man, it’s good, it’s working for you. Let’s keep going with this, this is fun. We’ve got a good one here from Sean, who is an amateur boxer in Long Beach, who I’d assume you know pretty well.
Yas: Yeah, I know him.
Mac: You know him? How can you tell a fighter he’s at their peak, so you don’t end up overtraining?
Yas: Right okay. So, If you training someone properly, if you are on a good program, then you’re going to take him on the board of all the training anyway. So a week to two weeks before competing they will see him as all they getting all the training. He will be tired, slow, feel weak, but obviously that’s where the taper comes in.
Mac: Yeah.
Yas: There’s an all-time fatigue mass fitness, and that’s exactly where you see it there. Once you cut back you will see if the training is being good, which hopefully it is, then once you start tapering then you will see the benefits of everything that you’ve done.
Mac: Yep, you start to see the compensation and the super compensation.
Yas: Yeah, exactly. What I do is I, first before I am going hell-for-leather trying to make them more powerful, before I am doing that I need to make sure the aerobic- as we’ve just been talking about- make sure their aerobic conditioning is good. The way I look at it is, if the aerobic conditioning is exactly how I want it, if I’ve document it, all the training programs and I can show that they are getting stronger. If I am using velocity based training ,so I am measuring bar speed, then if I can see the bars going up, with I should say maybe not the bar speed’s going up, but the weights at that bar speed that I want them to be working at is going up. Also another thing that I do, and this tells me exactly where they are at, if they can run eight hundred meters- obviously on a flat surface- like on a run track, if they can run eight hundred meters in less than two and a half minutes then if everything else is good, then I know that they are a machine.
Mac: Yep.
Yas: Obviously eight hundred meters, two and a half minutes is not fast for an elite level 800 meter runner, but for somebody else it is fast. So if they’re aerobic fitness has gone up, if they’ve gone stronger and faster, and then they can run 800 meters in under two and a half minutes, then I know that they are at their peak.
Mac: Yeah, of course. And you’d never expect to see elite 800 meters times in your fighters who have got so many different modalities and different energy systems that they need to be efficient in. You can guess , you are going to see a compromise in all of these different qualities, but you would want to see the standards of all of these come up, is that right?
Yas: Exactly man, exactly, I think elite level 800 meter runners, I think they run it well under two minutes, so like you said, If you look at say someone who does the decathlon, then there are certain things that they are not very good at, because if they try and get really good at those, real fast at those, then everything else is going to come down-
Mac: Going to suffer, yeah.
Yas: yes, so that’s the way I do it, and it works well so far it’s worked in a way that the person has been the best that they’ve ever been, so unless something comes up to change my mind then it’ seems like a really good way of knowing that someone’s at their peak.
Mac: Sure. And something always comes up and changes your mind,
Yas: Oh yeah.
Mac: -and the plan has to change. Nothing ever goes to plan right?
Yas: Yeah, exactly man.
Mac: Tell me, what are some of the main signs that you’ve seen to indicate that one of your fighters is over training.
Yas: Just the usual stuff, like problems sleeping, weak, slow or even if-something that the guy in Wales, my lecturer taught me- sometimes if you see them do a short sprint you can tell just by the sound of the feet on the floor, you can say if you sound heavy, you know that they are not at their optimal, if you are used to him going fast than it’s like boom, boom, boom, boom, boom’ and then all of a sudden they sound like an elephant then, you know there’s a problem. In that situation they just need to rest. Whether that is a de-load weak on the training or whether they just need to go home and take it easy and then make sure they have a really good night sleep, and then you reassess the next day- obviously it depends on the individual. If someone’s over trained you can see a big, big drop in performance, even in just everyday things.
Mac: For sure. What are some of the best restorative measures you can take?, things like active recovery-you said like rest is a big thing- but I mean actually trying to actively use restorative methods, what are some of the things you’ve seen work?
Yas: Oh, there’s quite a lot. Some of the soft tissue stuff, ART’s, post massage, Graston technique, I also like things like floatation tanks-
Mac: Beautiful.
Yas: Yeah, I’ve actually wrote a section on regeneration and repairing in my book, and I’ve put stuff in there like Cryotherapy. Cryotherapy is good but it’s more convenient than icing the whole body. I think Cryotherapy is good but it doesn’t work any better than typical old school icing.
Mac: Jumping in an ice bath.
Yas: Yeah, exactly.
Mac: I bet all your fighters love you when you make them do that.
Yas: [Laughter] Yeah. I’ll say that.
Mac: You mentioned float tanks, that’s something that my wife and I have taken too, the last couple of years, it’s a great thing. But we’ve sent a few people down there, a couple of their athletes to jump in and have a go at the float tank. One thing I’ve noticed is that it can be really, really effective for some people but for other people just the sheer act of lying there in complete darkness and silence, having to try and switch of your mind- that is a real challenge for some people- have you had that same experience?
Yas: Yeah, actually I’ve had that experience myself in Hong Kong, but the floatation tank was different, it wasn’t pitch black and, I felt like I was lying on my bed bored. So I could see a little bit, with floatation tanks you are supposed to have all your senses taken away and then if you fall asleep you get into such a deep sleep, that you get a lot of sleep in a short space of time. I had the same kind of experience, in the one in Hong Kong where it was- I had ear plugs in, I could still hear a little bit, I could see and I was- after ten minutes- a bit stressed and was looking at the time, can’t wait to get out.
Mac: Yeah.
Yas: So I can see how other people would be like that too.
Mac: I mean unless you use Joe Rogan’s method, and get baked on medical grade Marijuana before you jump in [Laughter] Yas: [Laughter], Well there’s a lot of that in Long Beach.
Mac: Indeed, I bet. So let’s move on from that, we’ve got another really good one here, which I’ve made reference to a couple of times through this interview, and that’s a question from Brett, who I assume is an MMA fighter from LA.
Yas: Right.
Mac: He’s question is, what things do you see people doing with fighters that are totally useless or even have a negative effect on a performance?
Yas: [Laughter] This one’s going to take a long time.
Mac: Alright man let’s do it.
Yas: [Laughter] Let me see. Ok. I am going to say some things but I can’t say any are worse than the others because they’re all pretty bad.
Mac: Alright, so no specific order?
Yas: Okay. Altitude training masks, Shadow boxing with dumbbells, punching with resistance bands, striking in water,
Mac: Under water, like Mohammed Ali?
Yas: Yeah, I always hope that that was just a photograph, and coz if it wasn’t and if he was actually training like that, then it’s more a case of he was good in spite of that rather than had that helped him be good.
Mac: I agree, yes.
Yas: Speed ladders, oh, this is a big one, I see people, -what’s his name, he’s fighting Canelo, Chavez, like months ago wearing a sauna suit in the gym, like he’s going to get lean, so people use sonar suits and sweat cream when they’re not getting on the scales. For some reason they think it makes you lean and obviously it doesn’t, it just makes you sweat and then
Mac: It’s just fluid.
Yas: Yeah, unless you’re sweating it all out and then you are not going to drink any water and you are going to get on the scales, then you are going to be lighter, then unless you are doing that, then it’s just useless because if you just sweating then you are just going to rehydrate and be exactly the same.
Mac: Yeah.
Yas: Yeah, so that’s one of the things that's bad. Oh obviously another thing that I’ve seen, and I’ve seen some good trainers doing it, but obviously they’re not strength and conditioning coaches. When you see fighters hitting the mitts, and they’ve got a resistance band tied to the waist.
Mac: Awesome, love it.
Yas: [Laughter]. Yeah, that’s one of the really bad things as well, but personally probably not as bad as using dumbbells or punching with bands but I still don’t see the benefit of it.
Mac: Totally different motor skills involved there.
Yas: Exactly, so should we expand on those a little bit?
Mac: Mate let’s do it, I think you started off with training altitude masks, what is the deal?
Yas: Oh fucking hell, [Laughter] you’re mad. You know what, you could put a plastic bag over your head, tie a knot in it, and then-
Mac: Poke a few holes?
Yas: Yeah make a hole in it, and if an altitude training masks works, then this would work, the smaller the hole the higher the altitude. That’s how bad altitude training mess up, they don’t stimulate altitude whatsoever, the only thing they do is make it hard to breathe.
Mac: Yes.
Yas: What does it do? If you go altitude, the saturation levels of the oxygen in the air is different, whereas when you wear a training mask, it stops you from getting air in, but also it stops you from getting air out. So it becomes a vicious cycle, because the air that’s trapped inside you, and you finding it too hard to get it out, so that you can’t get new air in, so you can get oxygen into the parts of the body that need it, obviously if you’re training that’s your muscles, so I don’t know, I just hate those altitude training masks. I am really surprised that people still buy them.
Mac: Yeah, it is surprising, how much it’s taken on. At the end of day, it does more harm than good and it just seems like a really cheap trick by these companies that are making a lot of money off it.
Yas: Yeah, it probably costs about 2-3$ to make, in the US and they sell them for 80$, they’re extortionate for just a piece of crap,
Mac: [Laughter] Yas: And then obviously it makes things worse when- recently Anthony Joshua did a video of him wearing one, so he’s obviously picking up a decent pay check advertising it. But I’d be very surprised if he actually used it in his training.
Mac: Yeah, let’s hope so.
Yas: Yeah, I can say that, but in the same video, I did see him shadow boxing with dumbbells so I can’t say for definite.
Mac: Right, okay. Let’s give it the benefit him of the doubt.
Yas: Let’s just say he’s been paid five million for doing an advert with it on.
Mac: Well you could probably forgive him for that, but it just goes to show the power of marketing man.
Yas: Exactly, and It’d be easy for me to say, no you can’t do that, but I’m not the one turning down millions.
Mac: Yeah, it’s a tough life at the top.
Yas: [Laughter], Right man what’s next?
Mac: Next was punching with dumbbells or bands I believe?
Yas: Yeah, dumbbells are what I see all the time. It’s really bad. The weird thing about it is, if punching with a resistance worked then dumbbells still wouldn’t work because the resistance is down because of gravity, it’s not against your punch. Unless you’re doing an uppercut then you’re displaying force horizontally and the resistance is vertical, so it just seems really weird to me. Let me see, if you look at anybody shadow boxing with dumbbells their punches are slow, so if you train slow, you become slow.
Mac: Yeah.
Yas: So, I am all for doing resistance training in the gym, and becoming stronger and faster , but once you start doing stuff like that, it’s simulation. So if you are doing a simulation with the resistance and it affects technique, then it’s not even- you’re not even getting anything positive out of it, you are getting something negative from it.
Mac: Right.
Yas: It’s making your punches slower, different muscle recruitment, so you actually use different muscles, the recruitment pattern is different and also the center of gravity, because if you are shadow boxing with five pound dumbbells you’ve got ten pound on the front, so you have no choice but to lean back a little bit. You see, a pregnant woman she’s got a ten pound baby, in there, she’s got back problems because she’s leaning back so much, so there’s no. You have to lean backwards, there’s no avoiding it, if you’ve got an extra ten pounds on the front. Another thing as well, is once you throw the punch with a dumbbell, the further it gets away from the body the more torque there’s on the shoulder so it’s kind of like the actual weight is going up as well.
Mac: Meaning you need to use more shoulder stability more the rotator cuff muscles just to decelerate that external load, yeah?
Yas: Yeah, but also it just goes against the total opposite of throwing an unloaded punch, and also the center of rotation changes because you’ve got the dumbbells, so if you throw a hook, your body-especially your head- goes off a lot more than what it would than if you didn’t have a dumbbell in your hand. If you look at, remember the kids spinning tops where you press them down and then they spin, if you remember those-if you look at those- if it just goes off a little bit, rotation isn’t efficient anymore and everything just goes down entirely.
Mac: It wobbles out of control. Yeah.
Yas: Yes, so if your head goes off more than half head width, then the whole axis of rotation changes and gets messed up, it becomes inefficient. That happens with dumbbells obviously when you are throwing straight punches you’re leaning back and then if you throw any kind of punch at an angle then you changing the axis of rotation so that messes that up as well.
Mac: So you are completely changing the mechanics of a punch, right? You are essentially learning a totally different skill, which is actually taking away from your efficiency in throwing an unloaded punch. Is that right?
Yas: Exactly man, you’re teaching your body to throw a punch badly, in a different way to what you would do if you were normally throwing a punch. Everything from the speed to the posture.
Mac: Yeah, and it’s surprising, again like you were saying with Mohammed Ali, you’d be hoping that those photos of him under water, were just for a photo shoot, but I mean you’ve got the likes of Mayweather who over the years- I think there’s several times, at several different points in his career- I’ve seen photos of him training with dumbbells in his hands, throwing dumbbell punches.
Yas: Yeah, I used to, sorry go on-
Mac: No I was just going to say, I think Floyd Mayweather is a pretty good example of being great in spite of shitty training methods.
Yas: Exactly man. People see him and they’ll be like , if he does it, they’ll think that’s one of the things that’s made him good, but like you say it’s one of the shitty training methods, like he also goes to run at two in the morning and stuff as well, that’s bad, but. The guy is right up there, and he probably does a little bit of stuff that makes him worse, but the level that he is at is so high, that it’s not going to affect him a great deal.
Mac: Right.
Yas: But he’s still, you could still train him better. You could still have him doing better stuff that’s not going to have a negative effect and even improve him.
Mac: Yeah, good luck to any good strength coaches getting into Mayweather’s camp.
Yas: Yeah, exactly. [Laughter] Mac: So what about punching with external resistance, like with bands and elastic things?
Yas: Yeah, I see that a lot as well. The problem with that is- if you throw-this is the same with the dumbbells as well- people think that it makes them faster so with bands or with the dumbbells once they put them down, they’ve got no resistance and the think their hands are really fast but if you were to measure that-using some sensors- you would see that you actually are slower afterwards. Well, okay, let’s get on to the bands, a normal punch is explosive unloaded movements so it’s about generating as much force as possible in the shortest possible time, and then once you’re fully extending the external rotators of the shoulder-as you mentioned just now- they fire and acts as brakes to stop the hand coming out of the socket. With a band, if there’s already tension on the band then you are already starting with resistance, even if there’s no tension then that’s the only time that is anything similar to an unloaded punch. But as your arm extends stands with a band, the resistance gets greater, which just goes against everything and then the external rotators- as we mentioned: the brakes of the shoulder- they don’t have to switch on.
Mac: They don’t have to do anything right?
Yas: Yeah, I see most people doing it, and they can’t even fully extend because obviously the band doesn’t allow them but even if they do, the brain still knows-the body- still knows that the external rotators don’t have to switch on, so in a way they’re de-training the punch.
Mac: Yeah right. It’s kind of creating a deficiency, where there wasn’t one before.
Yas: Yeah, yeah.
Mac: And there’s this also concept, which Jess Bander touched on in my PICP level 4 course, when he was talking about accommodating resistance, things like using bands with barbell work was-specifically with bands- the hyper gravity effect, meaning that because this elastic force is destabilizing you and pulling you down towards the Earth or in whichever line of pull for that matter, it’s forcing all of your stabilizing musculature to fire in very unorthodox ways just to stabilize you through that movement pattern. And I think when you’re punching with resistance bands, let’s say the band’s tied to a post that’s running horizontally, so horizontal line of force, even though the external rotators don’t have to fire to decelerate the punch , everything back there is firing in all kinds of different weird sequences just to stabilize your arm through that movement pattern. And again that’s creating another level of motor skill which has very little transfer into the sport.
Yas: Yeah, exactly, that’s an excellent point mate. There’s all kinds of things firing in patterns that you shouldn’t be just because you’re throwing that punch without band.
Mac: Which you know again can do more harm than good.
Yas: Yeah, exactly man, you hit the nail on the head.
Mac: Spot on. So now what else have we got on, we’ve got under water which we touched on, do you want to expand on that at all?
Yas: Yeah, that’s another weird thing again. It’s weird to me because I understand about training but its probably difficult for people who don’t know as much about training to understand the concept. If you are punching in resistance that is-they don’t understand that it’s going to affect performance in a negative away, because punching or kicking in water is nothing like being on land. Once –I can’t remember what the exact number was- but once I think water is 800 times denser than air, if I remember rightly,
Mac: Right.
Yas: Once the water is up to your chest, your body weight is almost non-existent so it’s kind of a really weird situation. It’ll be kind of like shadow boxing or striking in glue, but being in space. So gravity is taken out of the equation but then it’s like you are stuck in treacle. It’s a really weird situation but that can only have a negative effect on what you’re doing, it can’t improve it. Some of this stuff, is just a waste of time, while there are things that we are talking about at the moment, where they are not only are they a waste of time- like the altitude mask is a waste of time- but they have a negative effect on training. Oh can we just quickly go back to the altitude masks for a second?
Mac: Sure, sure.
Yas: I know a lot of people would point out that, and there are studies that have shown why it doesn’t simulate altitude, that it does improve the respiratory muscles and the way they function. That’s they’re making them stronger, and more resistant to endurance. But if that’s the goal, there are better products out there, that don’t interfere with training. Because altitude masks interferes with training. There are product called POWERbreathe and there are also similar ones, different makes, I know Dr. Michael Yesis sells his own, I think. What it is, is a thing that you put into your mouth and it gives you resistance inhaling and exhaling, but see the thing is you can just do-I think their typical protocol is like 30 breaths and it’s just something you can do while you are relaxing watching TV, so it trains the respiratory muscles in a better way and also doesn’t have a negative effect on whether you train in[inaudible 01:19:46] training or whether it’s strength and conditioning it doesn’t have negative effect on any of that stuff like the altitude mask does.
Mac: Right so does this unit restrict your air on the way out of your lungs or just on the way in? How does it work?
Yas: Oh, both. So it’s- imagine- I mean obviously it’s not the same but say if he was breathing, I don’t think it will like that , but I was going to say, if you breathe in through and out through the straw, but it’s not like that, it just makes it harder to breathe so you have to work harder. Doesn’t restrict- it doesn’t cut off the amount of air that’s coming in, it just makes it so you actually have to actually put the effort in. And also say if your say- resistance training your legs, you are doing the same kind of thing but for breathing.
Mac: Okay, excellent. So it’s actually building the strength of everything working around the lungs?
Yas: Yeah, and I wouldn’t advise people to go and buy something like that, but I mean they have been shown to have a positive impact and if you are going to argue that the altitude training mask does that, then you need to go and buy something that’s better and those products are better.
Mac: Okay, excellent. What about agility ladders? We touched on it earlier, but…
Yas: Ooh, [Laughter] Right. Oh yeah, speed ladders. I see a lot of people using speed and agility ladders. Obviously you’ve probably seen the videos that fly around as well, the little guy on the beach with the MC hammer pants on with his feet going so fast that you can’t even hardly see them moving. Speed ladders, they don’t transfer to anything,-anything apart from doing speed ladders. So if you do speed ladders and you keep doing them, you are going to get better at them, but you are going to be- you’re mistaken if you think they’re going to transfer to a sport, especially a combat sport. It’s a predetermined foot plan, if you’re a fighter and you’re- the patterns that your feet take, depend on whether you’re attacking or whether you are being defensive. If you’re being defensive then it’s dictated by what’s coming your way. So nothing’s ever predetermined. The speed ladders and tiny fast, predetermined foot patterns, but also there’s no-the ground force is minimal, minimal ground reaction force. I always say to people- people might have heard me say it, it’s like a joke, I always say ‘well if speed ladders make somebody a better athlete then can you imagine what those dance games at the arcades would do?’
Mac: Yeah right. [Laughter] Yas: If a speed ladder makes you faster and more agile, if you go on one of those dance Machines and you get good at that, you are going to be like Olympic gold medalist, you’re going to be like the best guy.
Mac: You’re going pro.
Yas: [Laughter] Exactly.
Mac: It’s so funny man, when it comes to the speed ladders, the last time I saw someone do anything like dancing around on a speed ladder was when Cody Garbrandt was clowning Dominick Cruz in their title fight. Remember that?
Yas: Right, yeah, yeah, yeah. [Laughter] Mac: I am not a big fan of them either, I just cannot see how they transfer, and like you said reaction time is taken out of the equation because it’s a predetermined pattern that these people are running.
Yas: Yeah, and these little tiny steps- and usually when people are doing them as well, they can’t help but look down at the floor as well.
Mac: Yeah right.
Yas: There is no sport that has anything like that.
Mac: And yet it’s so popular in things like NFL and college Football.
Yas: Oh yeah. A guy, who I assume he’s good, he trains a lot of pro football players in the US and I’ve seen him giving a lot of speed ladders. Or that’s his thing, what can you say? [Laughter] Mac: To each his own then, huh?
Yas: Exactly man. Exactly.
Mac: Alright. We’ve got another couple of questions from the audience here. These next two questions are both from David, who is a strength and conditioning coach in Florida. The question is, it’s bit of an open ended one actually, I like this one. ‘A pro fighter has six weeks pre competition, muscle balance is fair and can train three times a week, what do you do?’
Yas: Okay, so. Obviously I train everybody different depending on how long they’ve got, how many times in the week they can train stuff like that so, for me six weeks isn’t long enough to do any kind of block. So I’ll try and do more of a conjugate system but it’s only three times a week so I would do full body-
Mac: -Fully body every session?
Yas: Yes, so say if it’s Monday, Wednesday, Friday, if they need to improve everything, so they were like body comp, strength, speed, fitness then I would do something like on a Monday, let me say first as well that, I would make sure that every time they’re moving the resistance, every time it’s a concentric contraction, it would be as fast as possible no matter what the rep range is.
Mac: Right.
Yas: But on a Monday I would do like ten to twelve in the workout. Ten to twelve reps. On Wednesday I would do six to eight, and on a Friday, if it’s Monday Wednesday, Friday, I would do a conditioning workout, but rather than it be like what you see. I see that a lot of people advertising their fight and conditioning classes and all that-and it’s just a circuit class- what I would do would be a lot of stuff, like barbell complexes, explosive med ball stuff, modified strong man training, so that way I am changing body comp and doing functional strength and then I am also making them stronger and leaner and work on their endurance by doing the conditioning day. So that’s like, it’s an undulating program but the way this, instead of being changing month to month, I should say program to program, it’s changing workout to workout.
Mac: Like a weekly undulating model.
Yas: Yeah, coz they’re only training for six weeks so I need to try, I mean it’s not ideal but you could still get pretty good results if you try and hit everything as , get as much stuff done as possible in that short time.
Mac: Yeah.
Yas: For somebody who was in the same position, but they were more focused on getting stronger but also needed to improve fitness, get leaner and stuff as well, but I would maybe do the opposite way, and I would have, so six to eight reps on a Monday, on a Wednesday, for strength maybe five times five or even 5-3-1, if they had more experience of the big lifts, and then the final- the third day- would be the same as in the other workout, where it’s all modified strong man stuff, explosive med ball stuff that kind of thing.
Mac: Yeah, makes sense. It’s an effective way when you are honing in on different strength qualities, in different modalities in separate sessions. That’s how I’ve found the best results. When you are trying to hit a few different things at the same time, if you are splitting them into a focussed sessions-is to focus on one thing per session- that’s where we’ve seen the best bank for buck. Rather than trying to hit everything all the time, in every session.
Yas: Right.
Mac: When you really split things up and focus and make sure there’s enough ,rest and recovery, active recovery and things like that, to make sure that they’re actually developing the skills, strength qualities, and energy systems that you are trying to target in each session.
Yas: Yeah, yeah definitely. I have done the way that you said, where you’re trying to hit a few things in one session. I have done that before for people who could only train twice a week and obviously it’s not ideal but neither is training twice a week.
Mac: Yeah.
Yas: So you have to do the best with what you’ve got.
Mac: Yeah absolutely. And it’s really hard sometimes with training splits and trying to get everything in there, there’s always a compromise, right?
Yas: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Mac: It just becomes really difficult to spread it over and especially with this question specifically when you’ve only got six weeks. You are up against a brick wall from the word go.
Yas: Yeah. Exactly, just like I said there’s only so much you can do, so you’ve got to try and workout how you can get the most bang for your buck in that short space of time.
Mac: Yeah, terrific. All right, last question from David in Florida; this is a good one; ‘What are your top three observations or experiences in strength and conditioning that combat athletes often lack?’
Yas: Right. Okay. Let me see, I’ll say the main thing is strength. So many don’t train, so many old school trainers, think that if they lift a weight they’re doing bodybuilding. Which obviously then causes them to be weak. Strength is the main thing, besides that, say number two is you have-from what I’ve seen-you have the people who don’t train, and then you have the people who do train but do normal bodybuilding type stuff, they go to the local gym. They’re training for a fight and they might do like chest and triceps day, back and biceps day and it’s all like hypertrophy rep ranges. So that’s the other problem is I see that, I see people who do want to train but they just don’t have the knowledge and they train in a way that is going to, it’s going to make them bigger and more muscular and look better but, it’s not going to have a good effect on performance.
Mac: Right.
Yas: But then also you’ve got the other people who, like what I mentioned just now, you just see so many people who do- well they call fight and conditioning, boxing conditioning, MMA conditioning, and it’s just a circuit class. Whereas I mean, it’s not ideal and it’s not that good, but out of the three, that’s probably the best, coz at least they’re doing something, they’re doing something that really is not going to really have a negative effect. It’s just not that beneficial.
Mac: Yeah, yeah.
Yas: And okay. Number 3; I would say muscle imbalances.
Mac: Ooh good one, tell me more.
Yas: Yeah. [Laughter] So, from my observation and my experience is that the imbalances between different fighting arts is very different. Boxers-I love boxing, boxing is my favorite sport- and my wife’s a boxer and I love boxing so I am not talking shit about boxers all the time- but boxers tend to be the worst for weakness and imbalances. This is western boxers not Thai boxers.
Mac: Right.
Yas: They don’t train, and the skinny fat, or they do train and they tend to be- upper body is the developed but lower body, a lot of them have the idea that they don’t need the legs they’re standing on. Whereas you yourself know that you need your legs to be able to produce power.
Mac: Absolutely.
Yas: But, yeah they seem to think that they don’t really need the legs and that all the power is going to come from the upper body. Also a lot of boxers they have lower back pain because they don’t train the upper body and their hip musculature doesn’t work properly, then they end up try generate all the power from the lumbar spine-
Mac: Lower back.
Yas: -Yes-. So many boxers have low back pain. Another thing is typical as well, boxers- obviously like a lot of people- weak external rotators and mid traps and rhomboids as well, does not developed at all.
Mac: Yeah.
Yas: Let me see, so I’d say Jujitsu is a, they have typical imbalances for an athlete so, same as the boxer in the way of external rotators , mid traps and rhomboids for the upper body, weak posterior chain.
Mac: Yeah.
Yas: But Grapplers they have a lot of other things going for them, they tend to-just because of the sport-they tend to have decent strength levels, the grip’s better, their muscular endurance is better, their aerobically better because you have no choice.
Mac: Yeah, that’s right.
Yas: I’d say the least imbalance is what you see in Thai boxers.
Mac: Right, now why is that?
Yas: I think because there’s so much posterior chain involved in just doing the sport.
Mac: Right, all the kickings specifically yeah?
Yas: Yes. I mean they spend a lot of time on the balls of the feet, if you look at experienced Thai boxers, even if they’re skinny they still have big calves in relation to the rest of them. Their hamstrings and glutes they get used for everything , whether it’s acting as brakes if they do a roundhouse or even for a knee, or teep, or from kick- whatever you want to call that- is , it really does work the hamstrings glutes, lower back, obviously the lower back gets worked a lot with the clinch. The main problem with Thai boxers is, they tend to, I mean if I am training one, -even though they have good posterior chain- I still want to train it, because I want it to be even better. But the main problem with Thai boxers is the imbalance between the upper body and the lower body.
Mac: Right.
Yas: Yeah, because the lower body of a Thai boxer is strong and developed whereas their upper body, it’s alright but it’s just not the same level as their lower body. And also they do have the same imbalance in the upper body, is a boxer who trains is that they’ve got weak external rotators and also the mid-traps and rhomboids as well, so the muscles between the shoulder blades.
Mac: It’s typical of most muay thai fighters, the real power house is downstairs, in those kicks, the punches generally speaking can be used mainly to set up the big kicks, so it’s not a lot of attention, in relation to the lower body, put into developing that strength in the upper body.
Yas: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Exactly man. I just noticed that my wife was giving me the looks while I was talking about boxing. [Laughter] Mac: We are not talking about you Liz. [Laughter] That’s great man. Anything else you want to touch on from those questions from the audience, coz there were some really good stuff in there. I think we are going to have to consider doing this again mate.
Yas: Yeah, man. Anytime we just get some more questions together and we’ll go all over stuff, because obviously there’s a lot of stuff we can talk about.
Mac: For sure.
Yas: I am just thinking of the questions, now is there anything that you would like me to expand on? Anything you can remember?
Mac: Okay , so David from Florida’s first question, the six week prep for a competition training three times a week, that’s fine and well, we’ve addressed some of the complications there, with such a short span of time, only three sessions a week etc. Tell me a perfect world scenario, for a fighter who shows up to your dream new facility to work with you one on one, you’ve got full availability of their training schedule, you can do whatever you want with them.
Yas: Excellent.
Mac: And they’re generally quite structurally sound, tell me perfect world scenario, what does their training look like?
Yas: Right okay. I am going to assume, that their aerobic conditioning is excellent.
Mac: Okay.
Yas: Typically fighters have good aerobic conditioning because they’ve been doing too much aerobic stuff anyway, but then you have the guys who have a bit more knowledge on training and they read about intervals so they substitute it with intervals, which obviously is a whole different ball game. So I would assume that their aerobic conditioning is excellent and then we can start on the real training which is making them more powerful and being able to display that power for longer. So what I would do is, four day, upper/lower split, Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, I would look at the individual and see if they’re better doing- I need to do a little bit of work with them and see- if they’re better training the legs on a Monday or on a Tuesday.
Mac: Right.
Yas: So some people after the weekend, if you put them on doing legs on a Monday, they can’t train as well, because their nervous system is kind of asleep. And they can train legs better on a Tuesday, whereas other people, myself included, if I am going to train like that, I need to train legs on a Monday because already on a Tuesday, I am already a little bit more tired.
Mac: Right.
Yas: So I need to work out the- I would do a full day, upper lower split, but I need to work out in which order they are going to do lower and upper.
Mac: Okay.
Yas: As far as the rep range goes, on the first two days I would do- I’d write the program- so say I’d gotten for twelve weeks, I would do an undulating program , so say if they are training- if I decide that the right strength quality is relative strength so then say in the first four weeks we might do six to eight reps, this is for the Monday and Tuesday, upper and lower, and then on the second four week block I would do an intensification phase and do two to three, and the third four week block-which would be the last one – I would go backward to five to seven, but on the second two workouts of each week, it would be more dynamic stuff. Probably early on it would be a lot of stuff like, Kettlebell swings, modified strongman training, and then as we get closer later in the camp, then it would be a lot more stuff like Russian step ups, really dynamic stuff- really explosive- maybe contrast training and what else I would do is for the taper, I would have them sort to do the last heavy day, five days before they compete so-
Mac: -Five days out, last heavy day.
Yas: Yeah, so say if they’re fighting on a Saturday, and so on a Monday would be the last heavy day. What I would have to do-because they can’t do an upper lower and they haven’t trained since Friday- then I would take, I would take exercises from the upper body workout and lower body workout and do them both in one workout. So that would be the last heavy day. And then the day before after they’d made weight, I would do some of the dynamic stuff. I would some ballistic stuff, like maybe, but this is like 24 hours before they compete, so maybe some squat jumps and something for upper body, whether that’s inclined press or a back exercise, but it would be like, let me see- maybe five sets of forty percent 1RM with three minutes rest, it would just be very easy and fast. Coz tests have shown that there’s a delayed response that improves explosive performance but after 24 hours the benefits are lost, so if you were to do it 48 hours before competing then you wouldn’t see any benefits from it.
Mac: And that’s not the first time I’ve heard that, like you want to be producing really fast contractions, really close to competition. But I wasn’t aware of the study showing that 24 hours out was optimal.
Yas: Yeah.
Mac: That’s really interesting, that could change the way a lot of coaches do things, if that catches on.
Yas: Yeah, it’s real. It’s really good and like you say it makes sense. I can’t remember of the top of my head who did the study, but I have written about it in the book that I have written. I have put a lot of different studies in there and that is one of them.
Mac: That’s fantastic. That’s pretty comprehensive man, there’s a lot of good stuff there.
Yas: Thanks man.
Mac: You’ve got twelve weeks of undulating periodization on the Monday and Tuesday, upper lower splits ranging from six to eight reps, in the first accumulation, and down to two to three reps in the first phase of intensification , then down to five to seven reps in the second round of accumulation, while on the Thursday and Friday, you’re smashing more dynamic ballistic exercises, like Kettlebell swings, grinding out some modified strongman training, Russian step ups, dynamic work contrast stuff. Kind of filling out that complete picture of strength qualities and energy systems development over the full twelve week block. I think that’s fantastic mate.
Yas: Cheers mate, appreciate it.
Mac: That’s great stuff. I think there’s something in there for everyone. [Laughter] Yas: I try.
Mac: It’s good man. So before we wrap this up, this maybe a little bit in depth for yourself to answer but one thing my co-host Brenton McKiterick likes to do, is really try to get inside the head space and the mentality of the personality we’re interviewing here. And one of his questions he likes answered is “What is a concept philosophy or idea that you once firmly held but you’ve since superseded, or moved on from?”
Yas: Right. Let me see. I used to be a believer from-because I’ve been taught by guys that knew a lot more than me- that you didn’t need to do the aerobic stuff. So it was all, you need to be strong and then as far as conditioning goes intervals. The thing that made me think about it first, was actually I did a course where they were testing me on a treadmill and I was really fit at the time but from doing intervals. They had me running slow and I felt like I was dying, I was the same as what somebody else who just does aerobic stuff would be if they had to run fast and that was the first thing that made me think about it, so then obviously I had to do lot more research. When you actually do something yourself then you understand it more and you- as you know- you can kind of take what works from somethings and get rid of what doesn’t. So for me strength coaches say you don’t need aerobic stuff, don’t tend to do anything their self where you need to be aerobically fit.
Mac: Right, okay.
Yas: So that just, they’re talking about in theory- but most of them could probably go and try do something and then see how much they’re dying and then they would get it.
Mac: Yeah, it’s a very different experience when you are going through it yourself rather than getting it out of a text book somewhere.
Yas: Yeah, yeah, yeah, exactly. Exactly man.
Mac: That’s good, kind of incorporating lot more aerobic work, seeing aerobic as not a curse, not something that’s going to take you further away from athletic development.
Yas: Yeah, well there’s benefits through aerobic training that you don’t get doing anything else, but the good thing about aerobic conditioning is once it’s there, then it only needs maintenance, which is very little, and you don’t need to do anything ridiculous to maintain it. So once you are at a good level of aerobic conditioning, you can go running on a Sunday morning- for as many miles you want to do- nice and steady and that’s you’re covered. Then you can work on. Yeah, so the adaptations that come from aerobic training are different in the way that your heart adapts it more differently. The left ventricle has to become bigger to hold a larger amount of blood-
Mac: Yes.
Yas: -And then when you do the anaerobic training, there’s hypotrophy but it’s more to do with the thickness and the strength of the heart, so if you combine them together then you get, the fact that more blood is there and available, combined with the heart being stronger and being able to pump it more forcefully to where it’s needed. If you only train one of those, then you’re lacking in the other one, so for highly conditioned fighter, then you do need both.
Mac: Wow, that’s great insight. I don’t know if you’re a fan of Joe Jamison’s work, all his work with ultimate MMA conditioning and the BioForce HRV stuff, but he talks in a lot of detail. A lot of the stuff is way over my head, but as you’re talking about the specific adaptations of the heart to aerobic conditioning, things like left ventricle size and like the heart’s ability to pump that muscle more readily to the extremities, it’s really interesting stuff man.
Yas: Yeah, I haven’t had too much to do with his stuff, but I know that, as far as energy systems training goes, then he’s no doubt the top guy.
Mac: He’s the guy.
Yas: Yeah, he’s the one, if you want to know about that stuff then you need to follow Joel Jamison, buy his book or do a course of him or whatever but I won’t even pretend to know the same as what he knows on energy systems though.
Mac: Yeah, he’s really set himself apart from the rest of the pack, especially when it comes to conditioning stuff.
Yas: Yeah.
Mac: Now, another one of Brenton’s questions, the bonus questions. Name an inspiring figure, who, why, how did you arrive at this? And what have you learn from him or her? Now you’ve already mentioned Charles Poliquin- ,
Yas: Yeah.
Mac: -so let’s try and look outside of the Poliquin realm.
Yas: Okay. I am going to say two people, the first one, just quickly- and I don’t really do any of his stuff- but I don’t know how well he’s known these days, especially in strength in conditioning but Paul Chek, for the simple fact of –I meet so many high level strength coaches who are right up their own ass- and then when I met Paul Chek, he was humble and one of things that he said to me was that “I would be happy to learn of somebody’s dog if it can teach me something”. And also the guy that I mentioned before –Ian Jeffrey- is the speed and agility guy. That guy is so humble and I did my degree with him, and if I mentioned anything-maybe he thought “what’s this clown talking about?”- but he never acted like that. If I mentioned anything that he didn’t know, he was interested and he wanted to know more about it.
Mac: Yeah.
Yas: Not only is the guy one of the smartest people there is, but he’s also really humble and he’s also open to learning from you.
Mac: Yeah, right. So humility’s a massive thing in this game isn’t it?
Yas: Oh, yeah. We all know stuff, but we also have to be open to learning stuff that shows that we already think we know is wrong, and a good person for that- a humble guy- is Andre Benoit.
Mac: Yeah, of course.
Yas: He’s a great guy, and obviously good at what he does, but he’s a humble guy as well and he’s interested in learning new stuff. Usually people when they are working at that level then they don’t want to listen to what anyone else has to say, or anyone else’s views, where he’s another guy that if you say something he hasn’t heard before, he’s interested in knowing more about it. So I do like that.
Mac: Yeah, fantastic. Well Andre was my instructor for PICP level 1 and 2.
Yas: Oh nice.
Mac: He was as you say very humble but he was probably the best instructor that I’ve worked under at the Poliquin group, just in terms of the right info, the right delivery at the right time. I learnt so much from that guy, it was incredible.
Yas: Yeah, yeah, yeah, definitely. And he is one of those people as well, that doesn’t try and talk down to people.
Mac: Yeah, absolutely. Great.
Yas: That’s always a big factor, coz I hate, because obviously I still go on courses myself, and I hate it when you’re going a course and the instructor- doesn’t matter who is in the audience- they try and talk down to people, and assumes that everybody else knows nothing, and I hate that.
Mac: Yeah. Whereas the actual fact is that there’s probably a lot of coaches in that room that know a lot more than the person presenting it.
Yas: Yeah, and you’ll find that that happens a majority of the time.
Mac: Yeah, I’ve seen it myself, it’s pretty awkward when that’s exposed though, right?
Yas: [Laughter] Yeah, definitely.
Mac: That’s fantastic mate. Why don’t we start to wrap it up, we need to know more about your book, where everyone can get their hands on it, when it’s coming out? That kind of thing, and I suppose any other books or resources -other than your own obviously- that our listeners can dive into to learn more about the kinds of stuff we’ve been talking about today.
Yas: My book is hopefully coming out over the summer. I actually finished writing it last year, but I had to redo a lot of diagrams and stuff, because they weren’t good enough. And also I’ve been taking a lot of extra photographs and I’m taking, I am actually finishing up, I’ve been trying not to loose sense of it for a long time, and it’s actually taking up more time than the actual writing, so I am actually should finish the last few photographs and then labeling them all tomorrow, then it should be done. Then it’s just however fast the publisher can get it into print, basically. As long as there’s not too much work, I think there was before, last year when I finished writing it, I think they were a bit pissed off because I give them lot of work to do, and now I’ve done it, I’ve made some corrections and done it as though I’m actually handing it in a university, as if though it’s a massive-
Mac: [Laughter] Yas: Yeah, so there shouldn’t be that much of work for them to do now.
Mac: Right.
Yas: That hopefully-It should be available on Amazon-, I’ll be pissed off if it’s not, but we’ll see.
Mac: Sure, well-
Yas: And I, sorry go on-
Mac: I was going to say, I mean regardless of whether it’s picked up by amazon or not, we’ll plug it to our network so as soon as you’ve got a release date, or a pre-release, anything we’ll be plugging it.
Yas: Nice one mate, I think you’ll like it. No matter how smart you are- there are millions of people who are smarter than me- there should still be stuff in there that you will benefit from and will be new to you.
Mac: Absolutely, a guy like you doesn’t get to where he’s at without learning a thing or two. [Laughter] Yas: [Laughter] I am trying all the time man, coz memory’s not too good.
Mac: Oh mate. No but that’s brilliant stuff mate, I’ve had an absolutely awesome time here man, geeking out, talking shop, it’s been fantastic brother. Thank you so much for joining us on the show.
Yas: No problem man. It’s been a pleasure. Do you want me to come up with a couple of books that I would recommend for other people?
Mac: Sure, sorry, I totally skipped over that bit.
Yas: Right, just give me one second, I just need to grab one.
Mac: Sure.
Yas: Okay mate, I am just going to say three I think-one is-wouldn’t be for everybody coz it’s a difficult one to read-obviously you’ll know it-“Super Training”.
Mac: Beautiful, yes. Love it.
Yas: Okay Super Training and then was it “Zatskiorsky” book called?
Mac: Scientific Principles? Or-
Yas: Yeah, “Scientific Principles”.
Mac: Yeah, Zatsiorsky?
Yas: Yes it’s by Zatsiorsky and Kraemer is it?
Mac: Yep, I’m pretty sure it’s the one, and I’m just bringing it up.
Yas: Yeah, the brown one, with the blonde girl on the front.
Mac: Right, don’t confuse Verkhoshansky with Zatsiorsky though.
Yas: What’s that sorry?
Mac: I said don’t confuse Verkhoshansky with Zatsiorsky, I do that all the time.
Yas: Oh yeah, no no no. Verkhoshansky with Mel Siff is the author of “Super Training”.
Mac: Super Training that’s right.
Yas: Yeah, so Zac- I can’t even say his name at the moment, mouth so dry- is it the- the one that you mentioned- that’s got the blonde girl on the cover?
Mac: Yeah.
Yas: Right.
Mac: We’ve also got “Special Strength Training” by Verkhoshansky.
Yas: Right that’s good, I’ve got that book as well, that’s really good.
Mac: Yep, I’ve got them all on e-book unfortunately, I love having a hard copy of these text books in my hand, but e-book has to do for now.
Yas: Yeah, I understand, there so much stuff on Kindle and stuff but- which is perfect for travelling- but if I am not travelling I don’t really look at it. So that’s why I need the actual hard books. The last one I am going to recommend which is really good is –I don’t if you’ve already got it or already if you’ve seen it- “Facts and Fallacies of Fitness”.
Mac: No I don’t know it.
Yas: Oh, that’s excellent mate. It’s by Mel Siff.
Mac: Oh it’s by Mel Siff, excellent. I am surprised I haven’t seen that one around.
Yas: Yeah, it’s not one that you see everywhere, it’s like the title suggests, Facts and Fallacies of Fitness, so it goes through a lot of stuff about what’s actually real and what’s load of crap, what’s just bullshit, and it’s a really really good book because for one; it stops you going around talking about stuff that you think you know that might be completely untrue.
Mac: Okay that’s excellent. Alright well there is three really good resources, four including your own book, that everyone can go at and jump on.
Yas: Nice.
Mac: Now mate, later on this month, I’ll be in LA myself for the IBJJF world championships. I am not competing myself obviously but…
Yas: [Laughter] Mac: But there’s a few guys from our gym that are competing. One of our athletes are Unknown Strength sponsored athletes-Cooper Burnham- he’s competing.
Yas: Excellent.
Mac: It’s going to be a huge huge comp for young Cooper and we’re going to be right there beside him supporting him all the way. So why don’t you and I try and tee up a time to get together while I am over there?
Yas: Yeah, definitely coz that is in Long Beach as well, isn’t it?
Mac: It is, it is. It’s at the Pyramid.
Yas: Excellent, so I am -excuse me-I am in Long Beach, yeah let’s do that. Also I’ll take you to the local park so you can do dips with the Crips.
Mac: Oh, fantastic.
[Laughter] Mac: Till the bloods show up. [Laughter] Yas: Oh this is a Crip area I think.
Mac: Fantastic. Yeah, well it’s a side of LA we’re yet to see, I am looking forward to it brother.
Yas: Alright mate, it’s been great talking to you.
Mac: Fantastic. Thank you very much and see you real soon.
Yas: Alright Mac, thanks again for the invite and I’ll see you soon.

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