Blog

Solving Complex-Coordination Problems Such as Max Strength

Written by: Kevin Cann Developing the highest levels of strength possible is a complex-coordination problem that the coach and athlete must solve.  According to Frans Bosch, the strategy for this problem must be flexible and multi-purpose and that is only possible under two scenarios: It must satisfy the intent of the movement It must be suitable … Continue reading Solving Complex-Coordination Problems Such as Max Strength

High Performance Lies in right Intuition

Written by: Kevin Cann Coaching should focus on developing the intuition of each given lifter as this is where their own elite levels of performance lie.  At the top of the hierarchical skill acquisition pyramid is “unconscious competence.”  This is where the athlete is just flowing in their environment without thinking about anything.  This is typically referred to … Continue reading High Performance Lies in right Intuition

Performance Lies in the Subconscious, but so do Your Demons

Written by: Kevin Cann I have been experiencing something in training that is different from anything that I have experienced before.  The last two months, I have been on a tear with PRs.  One week after the next just hitting PR after PR.  Some of these have been smaller 5lb PRs, but a few, like yesterday’s 37lb PR, … Continue reading Performance Lies in the Subconscious, but so do Your Demons

Defining Success: My Personal Journey

Written by: Kevin Cann “Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacle which he has overcome.” -Booker T. Washington I don’t remember the picture at the top of this article.  I must have been under 5 years old in it.  I have always had … Continue reading Defining Success: My Personal Journey

Sports as an Arena to Discover Yourself

Written by: Kevin Cann I had a situation a couple of weeks ago that shattered who I thought I was as a person.  I have always held my ability to overcome adversity at my core.  It has been my greatest asset.  I had received a text message that brought to my attention that I have years of my … Continue reading Sports as an Arena to Discover Yourself

How Sports Allowed Me to Deal with Complex Trauma

Written by: Kevin Cann I was originally going to write about selecting appropriate volume, both exercises and number of sets and reps, but I feel that just gets lost in the noise of the internet.  People only want to read what matches their bias and argue about the things that don’t.  Not many are really trying to … Continue reading How Sports Allowed Me to Deal with Complex Trauma

What is a Constraints-Led Approach: Constraints-Led Conjugate

Written by: Kevin Cann The constraints-led approach (CLA) is a teaching/coaching methodology that utilizes task, environmental, and performer constraints to elicit self-organization in skill development.  This is viewed more as a “hands-off” approach to coaching where the coach creates an environment that offers learning for the performer instead of using a lot of verbal feedback. Typically, … Continue reading What is a Constraints-Led Approach: Constraints-Led Conjugate

Coaches Coach, Players Play

Written by: Kevin Cann I love sports, always have.  Being from Boston I am a huge New England Patriots fan and I have had the pleasure of getting to watch a 20-year dynasty up close and personal.  I read a book by Michael Lombardi titled “Gridiron Genius.”  This was a book that covered his experiences and knowledge from … Continue reading Coaches Coach, Players Play

My Rare Injury and Distribution of Forces and Learning from Experience

Written by: Kevin Cann Last week when I was benching, I felt a snap on the eccentric portion right on the inside of my elbow.  10 years earlier I had torn my bicep on that same side, and I knew I had just done the same thing, except to my triceps this time. This is a … Continue reading My Rare Injury and Distribution of Forces and Learning from Experience

When to Use the Submax Effort Method in a Conjugate Program

Written by: Kevin Cann A conjugate program is a thinking man’s game.  I think this fact deters many coaches and lifters from doing I, and in many cases is why certain people do not see success from running this type of program.  It doesn’t take too much knowledge or thought to write a top set followed by … Continue reading When to Use the Submax Effort Method in a Conjugate Program

Why We Bench in a Straight Line

Written by: Kevin Cann This is a hotly debated topic in the lifting world and I feel that it always has been.  Should you bench in a straight line, or should you push the bar back towards the rack?  However, you decide to do it, you need to be sure that your accessory work is building the … Continue reading Why We Bench in a Straight Line

Strategies to Increase Volume and GPP in a Conjugate Program

Written by; Kevin Cann The fun part about a conjugate program is there is no definitive one way to do it.  A conjugate program is one that combines the methods of strength training in a way that works for the individual.  This can take some time for everyone to learn about training and to also learn about … Continue reading Strategies to Increase Volume and GPP in a Conjugate Program

The Importance of Developing Special Strengths

Written By: Kevin Cann Coaches and lifters will argue these days that you just need to train the main movements to get stronger at the main movements.  There are some serious flaws with this thinking.  For one, straight weight acts a particular way. Peak contraction occurs where the leverages are weakest.  As leverages improve, deceleration occurs.  This is known … Continue reading The Importance of Developing Special Strengths

Misunderstanding Specificity and the Long Pause Bench Press

Written by: Kevin Cann Coming back from USAPL nationals and one of the biggest complaints I hear from lifters in the back is how long the pauses are on the bench press.  Sheiko analyzed this in Russia where pause length on the bench press would vary between .75 seconds to 2.5 seconds.  That is a big difference … Continue reading Misunderstanding Specificity and the Long Pause Bench Press

Force Time Curve: Max effort with Submax Weights and Determining Volumes

Written by: Kevin Cann We have all heard that we should move the weights with intent, but what does this mean and why do we want to do this?  Powerlifting is a sport where we lift the most weight for a single repetition in the squat, bench press, and deadlift.  We need to develop the qualities necessary … Continue reading Force Time Curve: Max effort with Submax Weights and Determining Volumes

Individualizing Conjugate Based Off of Training Age

Written by: Kevin Cann The Russian System is a long-term athletic development plan that grow with the athlete as they mature throughout their training career.  It starts from the ages of 6-9 where each child will do activities such as gymnastics.  At this stage the sport specific work makes up less than 5% of all total work.   … Continue reading Individualizing Conjugate Based Off of Training Age

7 Years: From Sheiko to Conjugate

Written by: Kevin Cann This marks my 7-year anniversary of coaching powerlifting.  Around this time in 2015 I took a job at a local gym with a strong reputation and culture for strongman and powerlifting.  I had no idea how to really get people strong until I started working here.  I also never realized how much detail goes … Continue reading 7 Years: From Sheiko to Conjugate

I Used to Say Westside Sucks Too

Written by: Kevin Cann I used to say that Westside sucks too.  Well, maybe not that Westside sucks, but that it wasn’t for raw powerlifters.  I would use the argument that the strength curve of a raw lift was different than that in equipment.  You know, because of course the squat is easier in the bottom of an … Continue reading I Used to Say Westside Sucks Too

Low vs High Bar Placement and Squat Efficiency

Written by; Kevin Cann I want to discuss bar placement on the squat in this quick article because it is not as simple as it may seem in an Instagram post.  The idea of putting the bar lower on our backs is to give the hips greater leverage and it also decreases the thoracic extensors moment … Continue reading Low vs High Bar Placement and Squat Efficiency

Why Bands and Chains are Necessary for Strength Development

Written by: Kevin Cann I have been seeing a lot of posts on social media that highlight the idea that you do not need bands or chains to get strong.  They will point to many people that do not use them that have elite totals in powerlifting as proof.  They will also argue that bands and chains … Continue reading Why Bands and Chains are Necessary for Strength Development

6 Weeks of a Westside Template Program

Written by: Kevin Cann About a month ago I decided to switch up my training a bit.  I was getting burnt-out coaching.  I do not think people realize how difficult this can be sometimes.  You shoulder the burdens of an entire team.  This can weigh heavily on you at times. My training had been going poorly for quite some … Continue reading 6 Weeks of a Westside Template Program

Coach People, Not Lifts

Written by: Kevin Cann This was an important realization for me, to coach the person and not the lifts.  At some point everyone will hit a period of stagnation.  This is inevitable.  The key to overcoming these periods of stagnation is in understanding the person.  Of course, identifying weaknesses and all that is important, but in my experiences, it … Continue reading Coach People, Not Lifts

Building Success on the Platform

Written by: Kevin Cann It has been a while since I wrote a blog post.  I have been building out Strength School, an online classroom where coaches, lifters, and trainers can learn the fundamentals of strength development.  If interested that can be found here. Meets are starting to come at us quickly here and I feel it … Continue reading Building Success on the Platform

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