Blog

How History Was Used to Improve Our Programs

Written by: Kevin Cann Anders Ericcson was the researcher who came up with the idea of deliberate practice for skill development.  In his book he gave a quote tat stated, “Greatness is achieved by standing on the shoulders of giants.”  This was in relation to him saying that developing high level skill begins with seeing what the … Continue reading How History Was Used to Improve Our Programs

Training Frequency

Written by: Kevin Cann I have seen a lot of posts recently discussing training frequency.  I posted a video on the Precision Powerlifting YouTube page discussing what makes a quality coach.  I discussed the importance of formal education in this field and experience as an athlete. Of course, there are exceptions to the rule, but as I … Continue reading Training Frequency

How and When to Progress Training

Written by: Kevin Cann We all know that progressive overload is necessary to force adaptations.  However, this does not mean that every week we need to add something to training in order to drive progress.  I think in many cases that is nothing more than the coach becoming nervous about the lifter developing and rushing things a … Continue reading How and When to Progress Training

Knowledge vs Wisdom

Written by: Kevin Cann I am going to begin this article by telling a story that is titled “A Cup of Tea.”  An important man traveled far to seek out the guidance of a Zen master.  This Zen master was said to be the best of all of the Zen masters.  People would seek him out from far … Continue reading Knowledge vs Wisdom

You Can’t Do It All

Written by: Kevin Cann My daughter is a big fan of the Marvel movies.  We were watching the original Spiderman movies recently and in one of these moves, Spiderman is so stressed with work, school, and his duties as a superhero that he loses his powers. This made me think quite a bit about powerlifting.  The first … Continue reading You Can’t Do It All

Long Term Planning in Powerlifting

Written by: Kevin Cann This is a topic that I have gone back and forth a lot about over the years.  I started out with believing it was important, then it wasn’t, and now all of these years later we are back to understanding its importance. There is a difference between intellectual knowledge and experiential knowledge.  Intellectual … Continue reading Long Term Planning in Powerlifting

Values Cannot be Given, They Need to be Discovered

Written by: Kevin Cann This article will go along with the video that I posted on the Precision Powerlifting YouTube channel.  The video was titled “The Program is a Language to Communicate with the Lifter.”  I wanted to highlight one part of that video because I think that it is so important for coaches to understand. As … Continue reading Values Cannot be Given, They Need to be Discovered

Patience with Urgency

Written by: Kevin Cann John Wooden, the legendary UCLA basketball coach once said, “Be quick, but don’t hurry.”  This quote was to teach certain skills to his basketball players.  You need to be quick to beat your opponent, but the second you begin to hurry mistakes are made.  This applies to powerlifting also. Powerlifting is a sport where … Continue reading Patience with Urgency

Training is as Simple as Finding and Attacking Weaknesses

Written by: Kevin Cann As coaches I think we get stuck in our own heads sometimes about how to write the best program in the fucking world.  I know I can speak of my younger self in this regard.  Being so in tune to the program did eventually lead me to learn quite a bit about the … Continue reading Training is as Simple as Finding and Attacking Weaknesses

Why I Love Lifting Heavy

Written by: Kevin Cann Sports are a way for us to explore our inner makeup.  To see what drives us and understand ourselves better.  Sports then affords us the opportunity to work towards becoming the person that we want to become.  Everyone should participate in competitive sports in my opinion, but of course I am biased. These last … Continue reading Why I Love Lifting Heavy

Creating Stable Adaptations

Written by: Kevin Cann It gets easy to get caught up in the idea that pushing harder is always the right thing to do.  Even at times knowing better I will push things harder than I should.  Problem is, I am not 24 years old anymore. Our program uses submaximal reps to help stabilize adaptations.  I have found … Continue reading Creating Stable Adaptations

How Covid Changed Me as a Coach

Written by: Kevin Cann Before the pandemic of 2020 hit, I was doing most of my coaching in person.  I love the atmosphere of being in person.  The intensity of the environment, people yelling, and weights banging.  These sounds become my beating heart in a training environment.  I love sports, and even more, I love to fucking compete. As … Continue reading How Covid Changed Me as a Coach

Memory and Skill Acquisition

Written by: Kevin Cann When we are in the gym hitting repetitions, we are learning.  Since we are learning, our memory systems are involved in this process.  I believe we have 4 different memory systems, but today I am going to spend time discussing 2 of them. Coaches give lifters feedback on their lifts.  However, do lifters understand … Continue reading Memory and Skill Acquisition

How to Program Skill Learning

Written by: Kevin Cann Powerlifting is a skilled sport.  To be able to squat, bench press, and deadlift with maximal weights is a developed skill.  I think there is a major misconception on how we go about developing these skills. Malcom Gladwell made the “10,000 hour” rule a known concept.  Many coaches and athletes take this and think … Continue reading How to Program Skill Learning

How Meditation Makes You a Better Athlete

Written by: Kevin Cann I tell Precision Powerlifting Systems that they should be meditating a minimum of 10 minutes every single day.  I will admit that some do it and some do not do it.  That does not discourage me from telling them consistently how important that meditation is to their success as athletes as well as … Continue reading How Meditation Makes You a Better Athlete

Why Most of You are Doing Mindless Reps

Written by: Kevin Cann I think that most coaches will agree that repetitions in training should be focused and that mindless repetitions are not too beneficial beyond a certain point.  There is only so far that “checking a box” will get you. However, I do not believe that most understand what focused reps are.  When I ask … Continue reading Why Most of You are Doing Mindless Reps

Self-Reflection is the Key to Self-Awareness. Self-Awareness is the Key to High Performance

Written by: Kevin Cann One of the things that I have been focusing a lot on with the group is reflecting.  These reflections have really helped me understand who I am.  This is important for us finding a purpose (intent) to our coaching and training.  This purpose needs to mean something to the individual.  This will help them face … Continue reading Self-Reflection is the Key to Self-Awareness. Self-Awareness is the Key to High Performance

Attention is a Complex Skill

Written by: Kevin Cann We did our second skills class last night.  Skills class is a class that I run where we cover aspects of skill acquisition.  I think when most people hear the term skill they think of some specific sports aspect.  In powerlifting they may think about technique and/or the actual strength that the lifter displays. … Continue reading Attention is a Complex Skill

Silencing Your Inner Critic

Written by: Kevin Cann Powerlifting is viewed as an individual sport at the end of the day.  However, no one gets great alone.  We all need help along the way.  This can come from a coach, a mentor, or training partners.  Powerlifting in this sense can be a great community. Powerlifting is also a sport that we compete ourselves.  Yes, … Continue reading Silencing Your Inner Critic

Perhaps the Most Important Skill to Train

Written by: Kevin Cann When we all start off as coaches, we have this fascination with writing the perfect program.  This usually leads to us collecting more and more data, pumping out graphs, and explaining every mishap with the logic of these programs. Now, I collect data that I feel is important.  This just happens to be … Continue reading Perhaps the Most Important Skill to Train

My Personal and Coaching Philosophy

Written by: Kevin Cann The last year has been pretty rough for a lot of us.  I had a team of over 50 strong, 10 of which were qualified for USAPL Nationals.  We were cruising right along as a team.  Then the pandemic hit and I saw a large portion of my roster quit the sport of powerlifting … Continue reading My Personal and Coaching Philosophy

High Performance Cannot Be Found in a Spreadsheet

Written by: Kevin Cann Powerlifting seems to be in this fad of “evidence based” coaching and tracking every piece of data, to “individualize” the program for each lifter.  The internet eats this shit up too.  Why wouldn’t they?  It is much easier to just pay someone for a fancy program than it is to actually develop the skills … Continue reading High Performance Cannot Be Found in a Spreadsheet

Understanding Individualism in Movement

Written by: Kevin Cann If you are a coach, I am sure that you have heard this line before, “This is the technique that works for me.”  I have participated in high level athletics my entire life and never have I seen “athletes” so keen on telling the coach what to do.  In all of my other … Continue reading Understanding Individualism in Movement

Building Technique as an Emergent Property

Written by: Kevin Cann For some reason technique in the powerlifting world seems to be quite controversial.  I have never participated in a sport that technique was not emphasized.  Seems quite a few coaches believe that as long as you can lift by the rules that your technique is fine.  I could not disagree with this statement more. … Continue reading Building Technique as an Emergent Property

Executive Attention Network, Focus, and Triggers

Written by: Kevin Cann I have posted YouTube videos of the emotions of fear and frustration.  Experts are still trying to figure out what emotions actually are and there is quite a bit of disagreement here.  Emotions, for the purpose of our discussion, are nothing more than a certain release of neurochemistry.  How we act when this neurochemistry … Continue reading Executive Attention Network, Focus, and Triggers

Why Slow Incremental Progress is Important: A Neurochemistry Approach

Written by: Kevin Cann A coach I follow had asked this question on his Instagram, “Is it ever warranted to hold back an athlete’s rate of progress?”  This is a great question, and one that I have wrestled with over the years.   When I started with Sheiko, he literally told me what to put on the … Continue reading Why Slow Incremental Progress is Important: A Neurochemistry Approach

Initial Conditions, Movement Variability, and Skill Acquisition

Written by: Kevin Cann The human is a complex system.  I think this idea most accept, but most have a hard time understanding what this means.  In order to make sense of things we like to reduce the complexity down to a sum of its parts, and perhaps disregard some more complex nuances. How coaches view developing … Continue reading Initial Conditions, Movement Variability, and Skill Acquisition

Everything Works: You Just Need to Ask the Right Questions

Written by: Kevin Cann There was a post written yesterday by a relatively popular coach on Instagram that demonized bands and chains.  He then followed this up with a TikTok video of him making fun of what seems to be Westside max effort variations. This is sadly the age we live in.  I am all for having … Continue reading Everything Works: You Just Need to Ask the Right Questions

Deconstructing the Volume Paradigm

Written by: Kevin Cann Powerlifting is filled with high frequency and high volume programs these days.  I think this stems to Dietmar Wolf and Boris Sheiko gaining popularity in America around the same time that raw powerlifting was starting to really blow up.  Mike Zourdos’ dissertation on daily undulated periodization also occurred around this time as well.  Making … Continue reading Deconstructing the Volume Paradigm

Programming/Constructing Practice in Powerlifting

Written by: Kevin Cann In any sport, when the coach drafts up a plan for practice, that plan usually includes drills to work on specific skills as well as specific strategies to execute during games.  Powerlifting containing lifts that are typically used to enhance strength in athletes tends to have a different viewpoint in constructing a … Continue reading Programming/Constructing Practice in Powerlifting

Naïve vs Purposeful Practice and Priorities

Written by: Kevin Cann I had one of those “aha moments” yesterday while I was training.  I have been reading quite a bit on deliberate practice, attempting to find a means to squeeze every bit of potential out of each lifter I coach.  This planted the seed for this thinking. I had decided to perform some comp … Continue reading Naïve vs Purposeful Practice and Priorities

Noise and Variability of Movement

Written by: Kevin Cann The acquisition of high level skill has always been something that has interested me.  This is probably why hearing Sheiko speak made me want him to coach me and why I lean towards using a Dynamic Systems Theory approach to training and developing the skill of strength. Daniel Wolpert believes that the … Continue reading Noise and Variability of Movement

Understanding Dynamic Correspondence

Written by: Kevin Cann A popular lifter/coach made an arbitrary list of exercises and gave each exercise a rating.  I understand what he was trying to do, and it is really not a bad idea.  Every coach has their own lists of exercises that they prefer.  I could not disagree more with the ratings of a lot of … Continue reading Understanding Dynamic Correspondence

Periodization of Max Effort Work

Written by: Kevin Cann People have a giant misunderstanding about what we do at Precision Powerlifting Systems.  I was mentioned on a podcast where the host said that “Kevin is just going through his Westside phase.”  He said it saying that every coach has gone through that phase. Ironically, he was having this conversation with a 24 … Continue reading Periodization of Max Effort Work

Knees Caving in is Weak ADDuctors, It is Not Using Them More, or Weak Abductors, Knees Forward Also Makes No Sense

Written by: Kevin Cann I have this conversation a few times now in the last couple of weeks.  There seems to be some misunderstanding in regard to the execution of the squat and how to involve the most muscle mass. There seems to be this trend to drive the knees forward and not out to initiate … Continue reading Knees Caving in is Weak ADDuctors, It is Not Using Them More, or Weak Abductors, Knees Forward Also Makes No Sense

Frequency of Max Effort Lifts

Written by: Kevin Cann The max effort method is the best method to build absolute strength.  This is undeniable due to the specificity of heavy singles for the sport of powerlifting.  The max effort method builds the inter and intra muscular coordination, technical efficiency at heavy weights, and psychological strength.  It teaches lifters how to compete. The Bulgarian … Continue reading Frequency of Max Effort Lifts

My Love Hate Relationship with Hypertrophy

Written by: Kevin Cann I have been a very vocal proponent of direct hypertrophy work in powerlifting.  I think my argument against it gets misunderstood.  I never said that hypertrophy is not important, it most definitely is.  However, hypertrophy is built over a large number of rep ranges, but strength is more directed and developed with higher loads … Continue reading My Love Hate Relationship with Hypertrophy

Understanding Physics to Individualize Training

Written by: Kevin Cann We seem to be in a fad of “evidence based” coaching right now.  I also see a lot of coaches touting that they follow general principles in their programs, but when you see their programs there is a definite misunderstanding of those general principles of strength training. Training needs to be individualized … Continue reading Understanding Physics to Individualize Training

PPS Programs vs Westside Conjugate vs DUP

Written by: Kevin Cann I saw a video last week where a coach was taking questions from followers.  One of these followers asked about a conjugate program for raw lifting.  The coach then said it was not a program that is useful for raw lifting and only one high level lifter uses it. This statement is incredibly … Continue reading PPS Programs vs Westside Conjugate vs DUP

You Need to Train Harder Not More

Written by: Kevin Cann This is a message that I am really trying to send to Precision Powerlifting Systems right now.  We all can train harder than what we have been.  There is a current trend in powerlifting that seems to tell us that we need more. We need more frequency, more comp lifts, and more volume.  This … Continue reading You Need to Train Harder Not More

Is individualized Training Overrated?

Written by: Kevin Cann Ever since I got into the field of strength and conditioning around 2005, I have been told that profiling athletes or giving assessments on clients is the way to go.  This has evolved into every little variable in training needing to be profiled and then individualized into a training program for the … Continue reading Is individualized Training Overrated?

Determining Volumes and Intensities

Written by: Kevin Cann This is often the most difficult question for a coach to answer.  I have literally tried everything from high frequency, to higher frequency, to all singles, in search of the perfect volumes and intensities of training.  I am sure many reading this have experienced the exact same thing. I think as a coach, … Continue reading Determining Volumes and Intensities

Clearing Up My Thoughts on Auto-Regulation

Written by: Kevin Cann I made a post last night explaining the reasons why I do not use auto-regulation to dictate day to day training loads.  I titled it “Why I am not a fan of auto-regulation.”  Perhaps this title was a bit misleading?  I am not sure. I went on to explain my thoughts and reasoning for … Continue reading Clearing Up My Thoughts on Auto-Regulation

Russian vs American Training Systems

Written by: Kevin Cann There are many different methods to get strong.  Most lifters and coaches are aware of a few different models.  Block periodization is probably the most popular.  This is when the coach prescribes each block to focus on one particular aspect of development while maintaining the others. An example would be a hypertrophy block followed … Continue reading Russian vs American Training Systems

Sitting Back in the Squat

Written by: Kevin Cann I see this statement a lot on the interwebs, “Technique is not a one size fits all approach.  You should lift how you are comfortable and strongest.”  There are some truths to that statement, but it is taken much too far from the majority of the population spewing it. It seems to mostly … Continue reading Sitting Back in the Squat

My Love Hate Relationship with Periodization

Written by: Kevin Cann I have always been skeptical.  My whole life.  I wish smartphones and Google existed when I was kid so that I could have called bullshit on a few of my teachers at the time.  This attitude has led me to be wrong probably more often than I have been right.  However, it has taught me … Continue reading My Love Hate Relationship with Periodization

Learning to Hunt

Written by: Kevin Cann I have been involved in competitive sports for 32 years now.  There has been a value system that has been embedded in me from all of these experiences.  I have learned that we can only control what we can control, and this is our attitude and our efforts.  Whether we were successful or unsuccessful … Continue reading Learning to Hunt