Featured Fitness Content: Volume 46

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View the last edition of ‘Featured Fitness Content’ here.

Personal Training, Coaching, and Strength & Conditioning

138 | Dane Miller | Country Boys Can Survive Hosted by Zach Even Esh

Everything You Need To Know To Write Incredible Programs By Nancy Newell

Assess And Correct Leg Dominance  By Jennifer Pilotti via Breaking Muscle

Should Your Personal Trainer Be Licensed? By Jeremy Lau via Halevy Life


Weight Loss, Nutrition, and General Health

Himalayan Salt Lamps: Benefits and Myths By Helen West via Healthline

If it Fits With Your Micros: The Overlooked Key to Sports Performance By Zach Long

Restore Your Breathing and Improve Your Conditioning – Part 2 By Jim Smith


Strength Training, Powerlifting, and Bodybuilding

5 Advanced Squat Variations You Haven’t Tried By Meghan Callaway via Girls Gone Strong

Will Cardio Give Your Weight Training An Advantage?  By Dean Somerset

The Best Exercises You’re Not Doing for Shoulders – Cross Cable Flyes with “Y” Press  By Jim Smith


Motivation, Business, and Success

Freedom, fairness and equality By Seth Godin

The Salt Shaker Theory: 3 Principles of Effective Management By Mark Fisher via Business for Unicorns

 How to Set Boundaries with Clients By Michael Keeler via Business for Unicorns


Physical Therapy, Alignment, and Injury Prevention

How to Fix Rounded Shoulders  By Annette Verpillot via Strength Sensei

The Science Behind Cryotherapy, Ice Baths, Fat-Loss and Recovery  By Kevin Masson via John Rusin



The No Barbell Experiment On Squat And Deadlift And Hip Thrust Strength: The Results  By Bret Contreras


Ruthless Performance Coaches’ Content

Lecture Takeaways: Ruthless Performance Methods & Practices for Peak Athletic Function By John Matulevich


Lecture Takeaways: Ruthless Performance Methods & Practices for Peak Athletic Function

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Its easy to imagine how a lecture scheduled for 30 minutes, on a topic as encompassing as optimizing performance, could end up being an hour and 6-minute open-ended discussion. This is precisely what happened this past week at Bloomsburg University during our guest presentation on how Ruthless Performance trains individuals to achieve high performance.

The content of this lecture ranged from specific exercises to an exploration of the Central Nervous System; similarly, questions ranged from the efficacy of BCAA’s to proper running gait—all of which led to an extremely informative and productive talk, filled with content and subsequent questions.

Below is a summary of some of the most important takeaways from this lecture. Remember, human performance is a broad topic, but the information below meets some objective criteria for significance within the theories and practices we endorse at Ruthless Performance.


First, a Definition of Terms

Because there is not one set definition of ‘high performance’ across sports and fitness endeavors, let’s assume the definition is as follows: high performance is the ability to perform within the top 10% of your own ability within any fitness doctrine.

For a 5K runner, this means being able to run a 5K within a margin of 10% of your best time at your current state of training. Similarly, for a weightlifter, this means being able to Clean & Jerk or Snatch within 10% of your current capacity for a 1RM. This is not to dismiss linear periodization (though Ruthless Performance typically does shy away from this style) nor is this a sleight on tapering for a significant bout or competition.

During a high-mileage segment of a marathon runner’s training regimen, she may be outside of this 10% margin from a previous race or time. The 10% margin of performance as defined here is referring to a precise training state. In the case of the marathon runner, her ability to complete a half-marathon trial within 10% of her previous season’s high-mileage training cycle is what we are referring to. The closer the training variables are, the more applicable this rule becomes.


The Motivational Training Montage is Just the Icing on the Cake

The significance of training to perform is predicated on fundamental health and wellness practices. A 6-hour a day training program would get world-class athletes no where were it not for a broad base of fundamental behaviors.Basics of Health & Function

These behaviors are known universally at some intuitive level, but not always acted upon. What could be viewed as boring and frivolous can make the difference between 6 more weeks of training and 6 weeks of sitting out with the flu while your competition trains because you didn’t get a flu vaccination from your primary care provider.

A similar situation could be ignoring the necessity for injury care work and corrective exercise during the early onset stages of shoulder pain or movement dysfunction as presented in a movement screen. The examples here are limitless, suffice it to say that all of the traditional variables of wellness like sleep quality, nutrition, lifestyle stress, and on, are all predecessors to your ability to train and compete within our newly defined parameters of ‘high performance’.


More to Come…

This just grazes the surface of the lecture but provides valuable insights into some fundamentals of high performance. First, high performance must be defined; when a term is open-ended, its implications are only speculative and unattainable. Second, high performance is the sum of the boring but necessary components of life that makes an athlete healthy enough to train and compete within their specific doctrine.

As we continue to review the Ruthless Performance Methods & Practices for Peak Athletic Function lecture, we’ll cover nutrition for high performance, ‘anti-specificity training’, universally essential exercises, and the role of the central nervous system in high performance.

Have a question on this topic or want to train with Ruthless Performance? Contact us via email at info@RuthlessPerformance.com, RuthlessPerformance.com/contact, and be sure to follow us on social media at @RuthlessPerform on Twitter and Instagram.

Why Ruthless Performance Doesn’t Emphasize Energy System Training for Our Swimmers

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Outside of a handful of technological advances in competition suits and some isolated factions of coaches and athletes, the sport of swimming is largely stuck in a late 90’s – early 2000’s mentality; which is a generous approximation on my part, as the sport of swimming in the 90’s-00’s wasn’t all that much better from the handful of decades preceding it. This old school training mindset included a great emphasis on high yardage in the pool, followed by a big taper leading up to important and championship swim meets.


The high yardage/ big taper approach certainly has its applications, but much like how swimmers took the alleged 10,000+ kCal ‘Phelps Diet’ leading up to the 2008 Olympics as an excuse to overconsume and under-nourish with empty-nutrient and calorie-rich foods, braggadocios swim coaches have hijacked the good intent of high-yardage programs, and now misinformed coaches are globally vying for title of who can put their athletes through the most pain.


Since the semi-archaic idea of mega-yardage programs still have some merit, I’d like to focus dryland training, the dated and frequently perpetuated fallacies surrounding this, as well as what Ruthless Performance does with our swimmers and what other high-level programs are engaged in from a strength training perspective.


This well-known Ruthless Performance philosophy regarding dryland training for swimmers leads many concerned parents and swim coaches to ask the Ruthless Performance staff about our programs. Since swimming requires so much cardio, shouldn’t that be a main part of dryland training?


Simply put, no. But here’s the longer answer…


In the past, dryland training has mirrored pool-based training very closely. This would include ideas like distance running and other high intensity-based conditioning routines (and if you’re lucky, some lackadaisically performed, poorly designed rotator cuff band complexes). Not only is this additional energy system training unnecessary (during the in-season), but it can also be burdensome, ineffective, and at worst, harmful to performance.


One of the main reasons we don’t program a large amount of energy system training in our swimmers’ training programs is because of the sheer volume of energy system work that swimmers get while in the pool. Most swimmers can get through a large part of the warm-up without realizing that they are engaging in conditioning already. Add the various work sets done through a workout, and then repeated on a nearly daily basis, and you have a recipe for fantastic cardiopulmonary function and sport-specific energy-system development.

The problem is that coaches too frequently confuse the cardiovascular demands of the sport of swimming with the cardiovascular demands of swim practice.

Running is one such frequently assigned dryland activity for swimmers, used as a means of developing cardiovascular function. This is in part, due to the perception that swimming is a sport which requires a lot of cardio—which it does. The problem is that coaches too frequently confuse the cardiovascular demands of the sport of swimming with the cardiovascular demands of swim practice.


Adding more conditioning work on top of what is done in practice is simply providing an athletes cardiovascular system with diminishing marginal returns on ability to practice; this is largely ineffective because of how quickly the cardiovascular system responds and adapts to training stimuli. A few weeks of pre-season practice and a base level of cardiovascular function is restored to the point where an athlete can successfully compete at meets and return to more rigorous in-season training. Since most events are over in less than two minutes, this style of dryland training can become redundant and inefficient.


Adding running or various other conditioning modalities on top of traditional in-pool training can yield greater performance; just not as great as swimming performance could be if we focused on some other modalities and training tools. This is a conversation for another day entirely, but all of the strength-based training that we have our swimmers perform help in a variety of ways. Our strength training does, in fact, enhance energy system capacities, specifically the phosphocreatine (quick anaerobic energy system pathway). This is the system which leads to faster starts, quick turns, breakouts, and even negative splits in distance events.


All this to say that strength training with minimal traditional cardiovascular input is the primary way we train our athletes and for good reason. Rather than simply packing on additional volume of similar work, we are building up muscles which help prevent overuse injuries, minimizing the impact of training stressors, improve reaction time, coordination, catch in the water and so on. This allows athletes the opportunity to train more optimally in the pool, which is the primary vessel for developing skill-specific capacities in swimmers.


Featured Fitness Content: Volume 37

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View the previous edition of Featured Fitness Content here.

Personal Training, Coaching, and Strength & Conditioning

The Most Versatile Training Tool of All Time: Hills for Strength, Speed, and Endurance Via Just Fly Sports

5 Essential Athletic Assessment Skills By Joel Smith

My new favourite exercise: Half-Kneeling band Pallof press By Elsbeth Vaino

Fix Your Push Ups and Planks with the Foam Roller By Joel Seedman


Weight Loss, Nutrition, and General Health

Move of the Week: Resting Metabolic Rate By Jeremy Lau via HalevyLife

The surprising truth about sugar. By Krista Scott-Dixon and Brian St. Pierre via Precision Nutrition

How to solve the two biggest health and fitness problems most women face. By Krista Scott-Dixon via Precision Nutrition

7 Ways Fitness Professionals Can Help Their Clients Improve Their Body Image By Jessi Kneeland via Girls Gone Strong


Strength Training, Powerlifting, and Bodybuilding

The Hybrid Deadlift Stance By Eric Maroscher via EliteFTS


Motivation, Business, and Success

Opinion: Amazon Buying Wholefoods Won’t Make You Healthier By Jeremy Lau via HalevyLife

Gym Owner Musings – Installment #5 By Pete Dupuis

Taxes, Fees & Expenses Not Included – Budgeting For Gym Ownership By Pete Dupuis


Physical Therapy, Alignment, and Injury Prevention

Best Lat Stretch Ever! By Diesel Strength

Why Stretching Something That Hurts Isn’t Always The Answer By Nikki Naab-Levy via Girls Gone Strong

Featured Fitness Content: Volume 36

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**Editor’s Note: Since The Fitness Resource merged with Ruthless Performance, we will be continuing TFR’s ‘Featured Fitness Content’ on our site. Be sure to subscribe to get the best content in health, fitness, and human performance delivered to your inbox every week.**

Personal Training, Coaching, and Strength & Conditioning

Considerations for Masters Lifters Via Juggernaut Training Systems

The Fallacies That Dominate Youth Athletic Training  Via Breaking Muscle

Do You Know What Your Core Really Is And What It Does? Via Breaking Muscle

The “Crowd” Wants Sets & Reps But Coaching MUST Go BEYOND Sets & Reps By Zach Even Esh

Fastpitch Friday Ep.28 Strategies to Avoid Low Back Pain for the Trap Bar Deadlift By Nancy Newell


Weight Loss, Nutrition, and General Health

Why Liver Is a Nutrient-Dense Superfood By Alexandra Rowles via Authority Nutrition

10 Health Benefits of Tart Cherry Juice By Alina Petre via Authority Nutrition


Strength Training, Powerlifting, and Bodybuilding

[VIDEO] Maximizing the Deadlift Warm-Up By Dr. Quinn Henoch via Juggernaut Training Systems

Step Up Your Glute Game With This Goblet Variation By Meghan Callaway

Busting the High Bar vs. Low Bar Squat Myth By John Rusin

Train Harder & Recover Faster with Concentric Only Training By Justin Ochoa via Dean Somerset

Strength Training Methods for Distance Runners via HMMR Media

This Is The Single Responsibility of Your Core Muscles By Harold Gibbons


Motivation, Business, and Success

The Biggest Problem For Personal Trainers By Michael Keeler via Business for Unicorns

45 Lessons I’ve Learned Along The Way… By Pat Rigsby

MF’s 15 Business Principles By Mark Fisher via Business for Unicorns

5 Ways To Consistently Finish Anything You Start By Denise Damijo via Addicted 2 Success


Physical Therapy, Alignment, and Injury Prevention

Improving Shoulder Motion: Lat Inhibition By Dr. Quinn Henoch via Juggernaut Training Systems

Cossack Squats: Breaking Out of the Sagittal Plane By Dean Somerset



Low-carbing for endurance: the oxygen problem By Kamal Patel via Examine

Does diet soda cause strokes and dementia? By Kamal Patel via Examine


Ruthless Performance Coaches’ Content

Managing Post-Workout Hunger By Jesse Rodriguez


How Vitamins Effect Sports Performance

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By Jesse Rodriguez

An apple a day keeps the doctor away right? Not quite since dietary guidelines recommended us to consume ~3-5 servings of fruits and vegetables a day. Vegetables, specifically, are overlooked but they shouldn’t as they are superfoods. Mom was right when nagging us about eating our veggies at the dinner table.

Vitamins are our main focus here and how it can help performance. There are two types of vitamins:

  • Water soluble – Vitamins B and C
  • Fat soluble – Vitamin A, D, E, and K
*Vitamins A, C, and E have antioxidant effects

The difference between the two are the elements of metabolism. Some water-soluble vitamins require digestion while some don’t, however, they are all absorbed in the small intestine then transported through the blood to their target areas. Similarly, some fat-soluble vitamins require digestion while some don’t. In order to get absorbed, it must be incorporated into a micelle with the help of bile. The micelle then gets absorbed into the intestinal cells by passive diffusion in the small intestine. Those with diseases or complications may have trouble absorbing vitamins or producing the necessary enzymes for metabolism.

Vitamins help performance in many ways such as serving as antioxidants to reduce inflammation or working with minerals such as calcium to promote bone strength. Furthermore, some fruits can serve as a pre-workout packed with carbohydrates with a low glycemic index providing a steady dose of carbs throughout the workout. Additionally, fruits contain fructose, a simple sugar, that is digested quickly aiding in glycogen replenishment. Because vitamins have various benefits, I will cover only a handful of fruits and vegetables that can help your health and performance.

  • Fish, Beef, Yogurt, Milk, Chicken – Vitamin B12
    • Helps formation of red blood cells
    • Maintain brain function
    • Create and breakdown protein and fat
  • Pears – Vitamins C, K, B3, B6, B9
    • Increase energy levels
    • Aids in digestion
    • Decrease blood pressure
  • Cucumbers – Vitamins C, K, B1, B7
    • Aids in protection of brain
    • Increase digestive health
    • Decreases stress
    • Freshens your breath!
  • Milk, Eggs, – Vitamin D
    • Increase bone strength
    • May increase musculoskeletal health
    • May improve muscle efficiency
  • Oranges, Carrots, Milk – Vitamin A
    • Aid in vision and cellular differentiation
    • Promotes eye health
    • Antioxidant effects helping in muscle recovery

To summarize, vitamins are imperative to our health and can aid in performance. Add a banana or apple to your mid-day snack. You can also try things like carrots with hummus, celery sticks with peanut butter or steamed broccoli with your dinner. Eating your servings of fruits and vegetables doesn’t have be boring so mix it in with your daily foods. Eating a balanced diet includes all food groups containing vitamins which are important for different functions in the body


Jesse Rodriguez is a nutritional science major with an emphasis in sports nutrition. Jesse swam for the El Salvador national team and competed at the international level. Jesse is currently working towards a CSCS and registered dietitian license. He currently works at UCLA as a sports nutrition intern assisting both dietitians with meal plans, body composition, and education materials. Jesse is a member of the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics and Collegiate & Professional Sports Dietitians Association.

Strength Training Considerations for Youth Swimmers

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Strength Training is an emerging field in the sport of swimming. As more and more coaches, parents, and athletes begin to understand the extent to which a strength training program can help drop swim times and reduce injury, the more I’m approached by a growing and widening audience about, not only the Ruthless Athletic‘s Dryland Training for Swimmers Program, but also, general tips for using land-based techniques to get better in the pool.

As this audience widens, the frequency of parents approaching me to develop programs for their age-group swimmers increases as well. There’s a great deal of misinformation in the mainstream media about various forms of strength training for swimmers in general, but even moreso for youth athletes and youth or age-group swimmers.

The information herein are some quick tips and answers to some very frequently asked questions which I receive from both parents, coaches, athletic administrators, and even these young athletes themselves.

Strength Training is NOT Detrimental to Youth Athletes

The idea that strength training is detrimental to prepubescent and pubescent athletes transcends the sport of swimming. Parents, coaches, and entire athletic staffs may fall prey to this line of thinking.

As mentioned in this fantastic piece by Mike Robertson: “the stresses in sport far exceed what happens in the weight room!” Mike goes on to say “For example, in strength training a good measure of strength would be if you could squat or deadlift 2x your body weight. In other words if you weighed 175, if you could squat and/or deadlift 350, you’d be considered strong…

…And then follows with some information that most people intuitively understand, but seem to ignore with regards to strength training…

However, the forces that you see in everyday events like running (4-6x body weight) and jumping (6-10x body weight) far exceed anything done in the weight room.

Speed and Agility Drills are Overlooked for Swimmers

Injuries in the pool are actually rather rare. Swimmers may develop chronic, or overuse injuries from their time in the pool, but the likelihood of sports injuries increases as an under-prepared swimmer finds themselves in a precarious position on land.

Often times, swimmers may find themselves in a pick-up game of football, volleyball, or some other higher-impact land sport where an injury could occur. Because these swimmers are so unprepared for this medium (court, field, track, etc.) they run a higher risk of injury than their friends who may participate in some of the various land-based sports.

While preparing for these kind of extenuating circumstances may seem like overkill, the number of coaches who’ve showed up to practice to then be faced with an injured star swimmer from similar circumstances to the aforementioned example is astronomical.

The Goal of Strength Training is Not the Goal of Swimming Practice

Swimming coaches tend to have misconceptions about the goals of strength training; a problem propagated extensively within the field. Coaches tend to want land-based exercise to replicate what is done in the pool, however, while the goals of both are the betterment of the athlete, the applications are entirely different.

Because pool workouts develop skill work and energy system development, coaches mistakenly believe strength training should be done in a similar way, usually with little rest, high heart rates, and in a manner which replicates the actions of sport; this view is plainly wrong.

Land work should help restore optimal function to the various joints and postures which the swimming strokes can hinder. By spending hours in the pool completing high yardage training, then coupling this with ‘sport specific work’ (such as swim cable trainers), you are effectively exacerbating shoulder and hip ailments common to overuse injuries.

To have the most effective ‘sport specific’ strength training, a program should consist of various counter measures. This ensures a neutral posture onto which the swimming coaches can pack on yardage and intensity. Doing so in addition to more of the same exercises on land will definitively lead to pain, burnout, and injury.


Consider the above when trying to formulate a program for your youth athletes. Remember, Ruthless Athletics does offer coaching services to individual athletes, as well as, entire sports teams. For more information on these services, swim team consulting, details on any of the various other services provided, or to simply ask a general question, feel free to reach out at RuthlessAthletics@gmail.com.


Swimming Science Podcast: Strength Training for Elite Swimmers

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Early last month, I was featured on the Swimming Science Podcast. The topic of discussion was strength training for elite swimmers. While the podcast only scratched the surface of the intricacies associated with exercise programming for high-level athletes, this post is filled with some thought-provoking content.

Within the podcast, Dr. Gary John Mullen and I discuss CrossFit for swimmers, the application of strength training for non-elite athletes, dryland program fundamentals, and more.

Click here to visit the Swimming Science website and listen to the podcast.

To explore more of my publications, visit the Featured Publications tab on this site.