Who’s Stronger: Weightlifters or Powerlifters? (with Travis Mash)

Today we’re talking to coach Travis Mash. In some circles, Travis is best known as a champion, world record-breaking powerlifter, and his career in that sport is legendary. But fewer people know that Travis’ first strength love was weightlifting, a sport he spends most of his time coaching these days. Travis joins us to talk about training athletes based on scientific principles, starting a collegiate weightlifting program, and his passion for strength research. We also discuss the Super Total — which involves testing athletes across both weightlifting and powerlifting events — and much, much more.

Before we get into that, I want to give a quick shoutout to today’s episode sponsor, Athletic Greens. I first tried Athletic Greens back in 2012. It was already a massively popular daily supplement, and since then, they’ve undergone dozens of formulation tweaks, each an improvement on the last. It’s the rare all-in-one greens supplement that’s NSF-certified — a must for competitive athletes — and also tastes delicious (I’m probably a bit biased because I love the subtle notes of pineapple and vanilla). Interested in trying it? Visit Athletic Greens to get a free gift with your purchase. 

Travis Mash BarBend Podcast

Learn more about our sponsor and try Athletic Greens for yourself! (We may receive commissions on items purchased through links on this page.)

On this episode of The BarBend Podcast, host David Thomas Tao talks to Travis Mash about:

  • Travis’ unique career and exposure to strength in multiple disciplines (02:24)
  • Moving cross-country on a whim in order to train in weightlifting (04:45)
  • Why Travis loves the Super Total (08:30)
  • Athleticism versus strength (09:00)
  • Travis’ coaching style and system for weightlifting (16:15)
  • Collegiate weightlifting programs in the United States (20:00)
  • The data and programming design behind Travis’ coaching (27:20)
  • Why the “optimal” squat program is a misdirection (31:00)

Relevant links and further reading:



Travis MashTravis Mash

If you’re not athletic, you’re not going to do well, and if you’re weak as wider, you’re not going to do well. I don’t believe, needs to call someone a strength athlete. If you’re a power lifter who can’t walk and chew gum, I don’t call you a strength athlete. You’re not an athlete, you’re strong. It’s a same thing.


If you’re super athletic, but you’re not strong in the weightlifting world. You’re not a strength athlete, you’re an athlete.

David TaoDavid Tao

Welcome to the “BarBend Podcast,” where we talk to the smartest athletes, coaches, and minds from around the world of strength. I’m your host, David Thomas Tao, and this podcast is presented by barbend.com.


Today I’m talking to coach Travis Mash. In some circles, Travis is best known as a Champion World Record-breaking power lifter. His career in that sport is legendary, but fewer people know that Travis’ first drink love was weightlifting, a sport he spends most of his time coaching these days.


Travis joins us to talk about training athletes based on scientific principles, starting a collegiate weightlifting program, and his passion for strength research. We also discussed the Super Total, which involves testing athletes across both weightlifting and powerlifting events, and much, much more.


Before we get to that, I want to give a quick shout out to today’s episode sponsor, Athletic Greens. I first tried Athletic Greens back in 2012. It was already a massively popular daily supplement. Since then, they’ve undergone dozens of formulation tweaks each an improvement on the last.


It’s the rare all-in-one green supplement that’s NSF certified, a must for competitive athletes, and also tastes delicious. I’m probably a bit biased because I love the subtle notes of pineapple and vanilla. Interested in trying it? Visit athleticgreens.com/barbend, to get a free gift with your purchase.


Travis Mash, thanks so much for joining us. I’m a little bummed we couldn’t do this in person because you’re always a lot of fun to hang out with in person at, whether it’s at USA weightlifting event or other things around the country. I hope we can see each other soon.


I have to ask for those who might not be familiar with your career, there’s a lot, give us the Cliff’s notes version of your introduction to strength and how your career’s evolved as a coach and athlete.

Travis MashTravis Mash

Luckily, when I was younger at 11 is when I started working out and it really kept me on the straight and narrow. I have a brother who didn’t do so well who went down a really bad path. Luckily for me, it kept me focused. It kept me believing that there’s something better down the road. I started training at 11.


In high school there, we had what we call power lifting in my little county. I’m from the mountains of North Carolina, way back in the mountains. We did clean and jerk, squat bench and dead lift. It was four lifts.

David TaoDavid Tao

It’s like an early version of the Super Total.

Travis MashTravis Mash

It was. I’ve always enjoyed the Super Total. I believe that to be the true test of who’s a true strength athlete. That’s just an opinion, of course.


Then I went to college at Appalachian State University where…this is the early ’90s. I played football there and our swift coach, Mike Kent, was a way ahead of his time, I believe. They taught us a lot of the Olympic lifts there.


We snatched, clean and jerked. Of course, we squatted. The only thing he really didn’t care about technique was bench. He eventually told me, he’s like, “Look, we only bench for your guys’ confidence,” he said. He didn’t believe that bench press I don’t believe either has a whole lot to do with football.


After that, when I was about to graduate, he told me, he said, “Obviously, you’re not going to go to the NFL. But…” When I say obviously, I’m a 5’7″, white guy. That’s average. I won’t go into the NFL, but he said, “But you’re really good at the strength movements,” and I had all the records at the time for the clean and jerk.


We didn’t keep the snatch as a record, but we did the clean and jerk. He said, “You should really look into doing weightlifting.” He started telling me about Colorado Springs, the Olympic training center. Then right about that time, we had Lynn Jones. I don’t know if you know who that is, but he’s a super big character in the weightlifting world.


He used to be one of the main people at USA weightlifting. He gave me my…I took the level one way back in 1995 or ’96. It’s a long time ago.


I took that course. On a whim, I decided to move to Colorado Springs. I knew that West Barnett, the two-time Olympian taught weightlifting at the world gym there. I literally packed everything in a car, drove across country. It was 23 hours.


I drove straight to the gym and not even looking for a place to live. Look, so lucky man. I’m just thinking about how luck that was. Walk in. I was like, “Is West Barnett here?” They’re like, “Sure.” They showed me there’s a ringed off section — this gym is still the best gym I’ve ever seen — for weightlifting, and he was there.


I said, “Look, man, I just drove 23 hours. Would you teach me?” He said, “Yes.” Then the rest is history. I started weightlifting, did well enough to be invited to the training center about a year later.


My dad got sick…almost done. Cliff notes, I’m almost done with this. My dad got sick, so I moved back home to North Carolina. At the time there wasn’t a lot of weightlifting, there was no CrossFit. It wasn’t like there was bumpers on every corner, so I started powerlifting.


You can powerlift anywhere. Looking back, that was probably a blessing because even though I was pretty good at weightlifting, I was obviously better at powerlifting. I ended up winning the world championships.


It was the WPO was the big thing back then. It’s where Ed Coan, all the big dogs, Steve Goggins, all these guys were. I won that three times, broke the all-time total world record twice. It was Ed Coan’s, and his stood forever. People thought it was untouchable. I broke that, then MuscleDriver…almost finished with my story.

David TaoDavid Tao

All good. This is what we asked. We’re looking for the story.

Travis MashTravis Mash

Good. MuscleDriver moves into town, I’d already at this time started working with athletes and I started messing with weightlifting again, coaching-wise. MuscleDriver moves in my backyard and I’m fascinated that this thing in my life that I didn’t get to finish, it had moved to me.


I drove on a whim down to…I’m a guy who acts on impulse, which is good and bad, so I drive down there to Charlotte. It was Fort Mills actually, same thing. Half of MuscleDriver was Charlotte. It was around the border. I drove there, luckily Glenn Pendlay was there and Donnie Shankle, Jon North and I walked in.


Luckily, this is another lucky thing, that Glenn Pendlay knew who I was and the rest is history. Here I am coaching weightlifting and it was really my love from the very beginning. I love powerlifting too, but the movement of weightlifting fascinates me. It really has more of my fascination than powerlifting. Here we are, 2018 [indecipherable 07:36] later, I’m in weightlifting.

David TaoDavid Tao

It’s so interesting to me that it was really an issue of equipment availability. In the ’90s, that changed your trajectory. We take it for granted now. I first found weightlifting, I think it was around 2008-2009, and you’re right. CrossFit gyms weren’t on every corner.


You wanted to lift, you’d mostly have to go to a Globo gym and use iron plates. That’s fine. You can do a lot of great training with that, but the availability of the equipment, it influenced how a lot of people trained to which strength sport they went to.


It’s very rare to talk to someone from that era who had an introduction so early on to both sports. I do have to bring this up, you’re a big proponent of the Super Total, something we talked about. That’s where you’re competing in all three of the powerlifting movements and both the snatch and the clean and jerk.


It’s something that you’ve become synonymous with. A lot of your athletes have competed in it, you’ve held competitions at matched elite performance. Talk a little bit about the Super Total if you don’t mind, about your pros to training for it, about why you encourage athletes to pursue that, and why you think it truly is the best test of strength overall.

Travis MashTravis Mash

If you look at powerlifting, you will find some very strong guys who have not one athletic bone in their body. However, on the weightlifting side, you will find people that are incredibly athletic who can do really well, but are really weak as water.


I shouldn’t say weak as water. Like Tom Summa, he’s probably the best weightlifter I’ve ever coached. Pure weightlifter, his movement, he’s fearless, he’s fast, but he is not strong. If he went to the powerlifting world, he would be last place, but in weightlifting, he’s top.


The Super Total is a place where you can’t hide. If you’re not athletic, you’re not going to do well. If you’re weak as water, you’re not going to do well. I don’t believe…When you call someone a strength athlete, if you’re a powerlifter who can’t walk and chew gum, I don’t call you a strength athlete. You’re not an athlete, you’re strong.


Same thing if you’re super athletic but you’re not strong in the weightlifting world, you’re not a strength athlete. You’re an athlete.


It’s a place where those two come together. You got a guy like Nathan Damron who used to be with me. He did the Super Total on a whim and did great except bench press. He’s definitely weak in the bench press, but he dead lifted. This was when he was still a junior athlete. He squatted 665. This is about 300 and something kilos. He dead lifted 275 kilos like 605. That’s like 125, 275 pounds. [laughs]


Of course, he snatch and clean and jerk at the time. He’s a true strength athlete. Nathan is going to be strong no matter what he does, no matter what sport he does. He’s going to be strong, so is Dylan Cooper, who I coached. That guy, if he worked at it, I feel like he might be the better Super Total even than Nathan because he’s all-around very strong.

David TaoDavid Tao

We’ll get back to the conversation in just a moment. First, a quick shout out to our episode sponsors Athletic Greens. Athletic Greens is the daily all-in-one supplement with vitamins, minerals, probiotics, adaptations, and more to help your body perform at the highest level.


It mixes easily, tastes delicious, and is a personal favorite way for me to start the day. Yes, I actually am a repeat customer. Visit athleticgreens.com/barbend today to check it out. Now, let’s get back to the conversation.


Who do you think could be the best Super Total athlete you’ve ever worked with? It’s obviously something we’re like very few people are spending a large portion of their strength careers training for the Super Total. It’s something I know you’ve been trying to change, encourage more people to go toward. It’s a pretty cool thing objectively.


Who do you think someone you’ve worked with and you’re like, “Hey, if they train for it, they’d be the best Super Total athlete”?

Travis MashTravis Mash

Tommy Boyan who was a fullback in the NFL, if he did this totally believable because he is…He would train with Jon North in weightlifting, and that’s when he was a fullback for the Jets. He would go toe to toe, snatch and clean and jerk then, of course, squats dead lifting. It was not even close. I would say, he would be.


On the girl’s side, Sarah Johnson, who is doing Super Total, who is incredible, great. She’s like a world-class powerlifter and darns near that in weightlifting. She might be, unless I’m forgetting someone, I would say she would…


Hunter Elam could be, but she’s yet to mess around in that world, but she probably could be because she’s very strong. Morgan McCullough, that dude, he’s like Nathan because of bench press. That would hurt him pretty badly. He deadlifts over 600 pounds. He squats over 600 pounds, at 17 years old. He might end up being that.


Those would be the ones I would mention right off-kilter.

David TaoDavid Tao

If you could take any athlete from the strength world. CrossFit, weightlifting, powerlifting, Strongman, arm wrestling. You name it, you can take any athlete and you could just work with them for a few years on building up to a Super Total. Who would it be? I don’t care what strength sports it’s from. It could be not even directly a strength sport.

Travis MashTravis Mash

Are we talking drug tested and non-drug tested.

David TaoDavid Tao

That’s a great question. Let’s go drug tested.

Travis MashTravis Mash

Of all the people I’ve met. Let me think about that. That is a great question, man. Definitely, if I could train, Tommy would be one…Are you talking about strength sports or any sport?

David TaoDavid Tao

Just strength sports.

Travis MashTravis Mash

That’s a tough one.

David TaoDavid Tao

What about any sport? Let’s open that up.

Travis MashTravis Mash

I coached a guy named Kate Carney who played for years for Wake Forest, who is an incredible strength athlete. The way he moves. He could easily snatch and clean and jerk, but he’s incredibly strong and explosive, powerful. He ran a 4×4, 40-yard dash for anyone who knows.


He had a 40-inch vertical leap. He is cleaned well over 400 pounds. He does moves well. He would be, if he wanted to, he ends up. I think he wins.

David TaoDavid Tao

It’s a lot of the prototypical elite running back is the skills that you’re looking for here.

Travis MashTravis Mash

Running back or linebacker. I would say those would be the two…An athletic linebacker. I don’t know, name your athletic guy who can move…Those linebackers can move the running backs nowadays.


Either one of those two positions would be the one that I’d be looking for, or a smaller DB who’s smaller, who is strong and athletic, but that would be the ones.

David TaoDavid Tao

Football’s got to stop sucking up all the really good athletes. Travis, that’s the problem.

Travis MashTravis Mash

We got to get better at recruiting those short guys. I hear that a lot. Football gets our athletes or export athletes, but, man, how many of those athletes are like…What does the average weightlifter, 5’7″ probably? I’m just throwing it out there.


In America, we got to get better at recruiting. We’ve made giant strides and that Phil has done a great job of taking us X, but we still have a long ways to go if we want to be what I would consider a great sport.


This squad — we’re still in it since of COVID — has been huge for the sport of weightlifting and going from people laughing at us to we’re at least one of the top three teams in the world.

David TaoDavid Tao

You’re talking about Phil Anders, obviously, who we’ve had on the podcast, the former CEO of USA Weightlifting. It’s been pretty interesting to see the growth of that sport, not only in the US, but also the performance difference at the highest level of international competition.


If membership grows 10 acts in USA weightlifting, which it has in the past decade or so, that’s great. You also want to see those results on the international stage, which we’ve…

Travis MashTravis Mash


David TaoDavid Tao

…as well. Let’s talk about you as a weightlifting coach, which is primarily what you’re known for now of the seven different roles. I’m sure you have to juggle each and every day.


How many athletes do you have? Tell us a little bit about what is the Travis Mash’s approach to coaching not only individual weightlifters but that team.

Travis MashTravis Mash

Right now, I have the team at Lenoir-Rhyne University, is my primary team. As far as elite athletes outside of that, I still have Hunter Elam, I have Jordan Cantrell and I have two girls in [indecipherable 16:55] both very good. I have a few others, but those are the ones I’m known for.


Those are my focus, and I coach some people online as well, as up and coming. Another Nathan who is up and coming, who could be good, but we’ll see. That’s the main people I coached.


My goal is to take the team at Lenoir-Rhyne and establish a winning program. The problem with the collegiate programs up until now is, you send someone to whatever school and then they get worse than when you sent them.


That was a big…a bunch of coaches would get together and we discussed that. I don’t want to send them to…I’m not going to name any names, because I don’t want them to go there and then fizzle out.


We started this program at Lenoir-Rhyne but then there’s more. My ultimate goal is to have five full scholarship for boys, five full scholarships for girls, and establish something where a parent can see that there’s something in it for the kids more than just going to a weightlifting event. That would be my goal. That would be my legacy and that would be the last thing I do in weightlifting.


I would say sometime after this next Olympics will be, I won’t ever leave the sport but what I’ll do is transition to more of…I’m working towards a PhD right now. My goal is to be a professor. Then work on research as it relates to, well strength in general, but weightlifting, strength. That would be my next step in life.

David TaoDavid Tao

Do you have a thesis topic for your PhD yet?

Travis MashTravis Mash

Yeah, it’s easy. I’m going to use resistance training is going to be…We’re trying to narrow that down, but it’ll be something along that. I have a four-year-old, a six-year-old boy and I have a two-year-old girl, and my four-year-old and six-year-old are doing this and then they’re four and six but they move really well.


They move better than I do. My four-year-old might very well be a mutant so strong like he’s not normal as a four-year. I was watching him. They’re doing wrestling right now too. You go there, and as a parent you’re like, you think your kids are going to be good at it, but you don’t know until they do it.


Wednesday was their first time actually wrestling. As I was nervous, I was like, “Man, I hope they don’t get thrown around.” They did not get thrown around. It was what I thought. It was really cool to see them handle people so easily.

David TaoDavid Tao

They did the throwing around.

Travis MashTravis Mash

They did. It was like, “Oh, so proud.” I was sitting beside a dad, who is the dad of the kid getting thrown and I was trying not to react, I was keeping my mouth. [laughs] I was so proud. Obviously you can tell, but as far as you said earlier about me as a coach, my biggest approach nowadays is trying to get to a point to where, when I turn the program over somebody is it.


It’s a very data driven program. It’s special, does a great job. I try to take I’m working on this data set right now that change the game, It will definitely prove it improve your decision making process about when to hold back, when to go push it and mainly we’re trying to do is, you want to push them to adapt, but you don’t want to push them past to really getting hurt.


I’m building a cool set of data points that it’s going to give me, give other coaches too some good ideas on decision-making on a day-to-day basis.


That’s where I become now as a coach. I feel like a more data-driven assessing the athletes. Trying to make as few as subjective decisions as possible. Yet we all know that still no matter what you do, the art of coaching is going to come into play.

David TaoDavid Tao

It’s blending that art with the science. I’m curious, running a university weightlifting program. It’s something that, it’s not like it hasn’t existed before in the United States. There are some examples of universities that have done that, scholarship athletes in weightlifting. It is a thing. It’s not brand new.


It’s still pretty rare when you compare it to other sports. You know what I mean? It’s not nearly as prevalent as basketball, swimming, track, things like that. Was this a weightlifting program that you helped establish at the university?

Travis MashTravis Mash

I knew a professor here, who’s not my professor, but Dr. Koch. It’s funny, we graduated Appalachian around the same time, Appalachian State University. I didn’t know this, but we took our level one together, under Lynn Jones, remember I said that earlier. Then fast-forward several years. I took my level two several years ago under him.


He taught me my level two. We became friends. Then one day at a meet…I’d mentioned to him, I wanted to establish a really solid University program. He come up to me, and he said, “Are you serious about wanting to do that?” I said, “Yeah, I’m dead serious.” He’s like, “If I get you an appointment with our athletic director, will you come and present?” I said, “Of course.”


Within a couple of weeks he’d set me up an appointment. I presented to our athletic director Kim Pate here. This is the AD and Brock. They told me that literally they did it out of respect for Dr. Koch. Then when I presented after it was over, they knew it was a unanimous decision is yes. The question would be how to do it.


Anyway, from ground, it was my idea. I established it. They backed us really well. We do have scholarships. I don’t think anyone has a full scholarship yet in America. My goal would be to get to that point, room and board, everything, books, everything is paid is my goal.


It’s got to give these kids a reason. Then the reason I even start talking about that, then you can use it for recruiting. We got to be able to go to these kids that maybe are not weightlifters. Maybe they’re athletic 5’6″ football player who’s incredible but yet he’s 5’6″ and no one’s given him a shot. How about coming to do weightlifting? We just need to find more of those athletes.

David TaoDavid Tao

How many athletes are currently in the program there?

Travis MashTravis Mash

We’re at 17, like right out of the gate. We won the national championship, the boys did.

David TaoDavid Tao


Travis MashTravis Mash

Thank you. In a very first year, inaugural, which was my goal. Now we’re looking to do that. The goal next year is men and women and co-ed. For some of the recruits that we’re getting, I’ll say we’re well on our way, but we’ll see next year.

David TaoDavid Tao

You primarily recruiting athletes who are weightlifters in high school and you’re basically trying to convince them to come to the University, be students there and also be on the team?

Travis MashTravis Mash

I’m looking for, yes, a current way that those who are doing are good, but I’m also looking for track and field primarily throwers, or sprinters, muscle again, gymnastics, of course, or any of those explosive…If you’re running back right now, and you’re listening, and you’re not getting a scholarship, give me a shout if you’re really fast and strong.


I have one right now who took a chance on giving a scholarship. His name is Tank and [laughs] name. Yeah, he really is a tank. It was a risk. When he first got here, I was worried because he never claimed he had done some hang cleans. He just ended up competing at the university nationals and did really well.


He snatched 115 and clean and jerk 150. He’d never performed the movements at all in his life, so I’m happy.

David TaoDavid Tao

How long did you take him from never having snatch or clean and jerk to those numbers? How long was it?

Travis MashTravis Mash

September to the beginning of March.

David TaoDavid Tao

[laughs] He clearly had some base of strength to be able to hit those numbers, but it’s pretty incredible.

Travis MashTravis Mash

His pull, believe it or not, if you looked at his pull, his mechanics, you would think he’s Ilya. He reminds me a lot of Nathan Damron in his pull. What he doesn’t have is that natural instinct to pull under like a thrower just goes one direction. They don’t go one direction to change. He’s getting used to that, but he’s improved the time.


I have videos before and after. I was really scared for men. I was like, man, I made a bad decision here. Then now I’m super proud of him. Strength-wise, he will be stronger than Nat. He’ll squat more than anybody have ever had. He’s already squatted 280 kilos. He’s 18.

David TaoDavid Tao

That’s one of the benefits of youth. It’s wasted on the young and that you have that confidence. I was talking to Cheryl Hayworth recently, who won an Olympic bronze medal at age 17. She said the reason she did so well, at that Olympic games, one of the reasons was because she was too young to realize she shouldn’t do that well.

Travis MashTravis Mash


David TaoDavid Tao

That youthful confidence. That’s a heck of a thing.

Travis MashTravis Mash

Your cortex is not fully developed, especially in men even more so. There’s still several years away from having that part of their brain that makes them doubt or fear or any of those things. Yeah.

David TaoDavid Tao

Take this from a guy working on his PhD, folks. Young man, if you’re listening to this and you’re a young man, and you’re late teens and early 20s. Sorry, but your brains got a little ways to go there. We can talk about all sorts of stereotypes about dumb decisions that young men like. There’s a bit of a biological basis for how your brain changes at that age.

Travis MashTravis Mash

100 percent. I’m so glad I waited to get married until I was older because if I’d been married before 30, it would have not turned out well. I was crazy.

David TaoDavid Tao

We’re going to have to record a separate podcast on life advice from Travis Mash. Just looking back has nothing to do with weightlifting. It’s like…

Travis MashTravis Mash

Tell you what not to do.

David TaoDavid Tao

Yeah, if a guy tries to sell you a dog, here’s what you do.


It’s going to be that sort of stuff. You’re very data-oriented in your training, but what program — obviously, it’s individualized, some for the athletes — generally look like for the weightlifting athletes at the University as far as number of sessions per week, things like that?

Travis MashTravis Mash

I’m all about trying to give the smallest dosage possible to get a stimulus to get and to create adaptation. Right now, there’s no one going more than six times a week and we’re not doing two days yet, because everyone is still improving. Too many people make that move to go into two a days when there’s no point.


Because here’s the problem, all of a sudden, if you up your volume to this X amount and you’re doing now these 11 sessions a week or 12 sessions a week, you can’t go backwards on that. You can only go forward. I’m trying to get an adaptation from the smallest dosage possible. No one has thought out.


The second they do, when their data says, “Hey, they’re not improving.” Then by all means, we’ll go two days every day. I’m going to do that when it says, not because so-and-so is doing it. It makes no sense.


If you look at like Wes Kitts, he is 30. [laughs] He’s got 30 years of volume accumulated. My guys are…The oldest one is 20…There’s one guy on my team, 21. And so, they just don’t have that volume accumulated yet.


I’m delving out, going to jump up until I have to. However, I do believe there will come a time, I hope. I have things I’m looking when it comes to Morgan McCullough or Ryan Grimsland. I do believe they’re going to make a good run at the Olympics. I do have it mapped out to where I believe based on their data that they will start two days.


By the time they’re rolling into those last couple of years before 2024, I think they’ll be at two days. If they’re improving on six or seven days, I’m not going to do it.

David TaoDavid Tao

One thing I’ve noticed about your athletes and it makes sense, given your focus on athletes who are just strong. You want them to move well. You’d also like them to be strong. Most of the athletes that I see that work with you, they can squat, basically a tractor trailer pretty much. There are a lot of very strong legs in the Mash circle of athletes.


Are you doing any particular squat programs that you’re putting folks on? Is there any type of…I always like to ask this of coaches, what’s your favorite squat program? Do you have one? Or is the secret to provide that stimulus at the minimum level frequently overtime?

Travis MashTravis Mash

Here’s what I would do if I was anyone out there. If you could find the time to do a force-velocity profile, I believe you can find out is my athlete strong and slow, or fast and weak, or are they perfect. Based on that profile, that will tell me what I should do. If someone is on the…


Here’s a powerlifter. We have Jesse Grinder. He already he had squatted 300 kilos and he’s 17 years old. He is absolute tank. He has benched 210 kilos at 17 years old. What I did with him is, we literally go two days because he’s doing squats only twice a week because he’s super strong but he wasn’t moving quickly.


One day is speed and one day is a max effort or traditional volume-type program. When we switched to that, his numbers skyrocket. We were doing squatting three or four times a week early on and seeing some progress. When I did a force-velocity profile and we switched it to only two days, one day speed, one day to [indecipherable 31:23] , he’s skyrocketing.


You really do need to look at your athletes and figure out…Even with squatting, just squatting, you need to figure out why is their squat weak? Are they slow? Are they a fast and weak? Figure it out and then give them only the doses they need.


If someone is super-fast but super weak. Like I had a guy. There’s a guy on our team, Riley Breske. That dude, he could squat. He was really fast, but it was not good at those absolute strength numbers.


When it got over 90 percent, things dropped drastically. Instead of a nice linear drop-off, it dropped like a cliff. What we did, we went five frequency. More of a squat everyday-type program. Then his squat skyrocketed. I don’t believe that there is one program.


People make that mistake as a matter of fact. I don’t want to name any names. You have X program and they do that program all the time. Yeah, it’s going to work for some people and some people not because it’s going to fit X number of people. They fit in that archetype.


You do need to personalize things. Our program is so much harder, but it’s so much better. Right now, if you looked at our teams, the sheets I have. I’d do it on Google sheets, but I have the main one and then everyone gets their own tab as I personalize it based on them.


Some people squat twice, some people three, some people four, based on that force-velocity profile. Of course, based on what I see.

David TaoDavid Tao

Again, that’s blending the art and the science of coaching together. It’s a marriage, whether you like it or not at that point.

Travis MashTravis Mash


David TaoDavid Tao

Travis, thank you so much for joining us. Where’s the best place for people to keep up to date with what you’re doing with your athletes? Pretty soon with the research that you’re diving into?

Travis MashTravis Mash

Obviously mashelite.com. You can go to Instagram, Mash Elite Performance. Also, if you want to seek out LRU weightlifting. That’s Lenoir-Rhyne University that’s our Instagram for weightlifting. DM me there if you want to maybe try for the team or if you know someone who does do that.


Or if you want to help, if you want to partner with this by all means. That’s my main goal is to help me build this program that would be something good for US weightlifting for a long time after I’m gone. That’s what I want to do.