This week I want to shine the Spot-Light on an excellent Strength and conditioning resource,  Dave Durell’s High Intensity Nation.*

Dave is a fantastic coach, and author, with a great deal of experience working with both elite athletes, and every day fitness enthusiasts.

Dave has written some excellent books on strength training.

The first book is titled: High Intensity Muscle Building, and actually features two books in one (along with some great extras). The first of the two books outlines his safe, and simple yet highly productive, approach to training. My favorite part of this book is the fantastic section on goal setting, and creating commitment. The second book offers a straight forward approach to creating balanced nutritional plans for almost any goal.

Dave has recently released a new book titled Hyper Intensity Training” . Much like his first book, this one offers a lot of bang for your buck. Some of the awesome features include,  in depth explanations of these extremely effective, Ultra intensity techniques, along with audio programs, videos and a few other bonus items.

Dave’s approach to Strength Training offers a clear and proven path,  is time efficient,  extremely safe, and finally will help to stimulate maximum results in less time. I highly recommend that you explore Dave Durell’s High Intensity Nation and all that it has to offer.

P.S. if you decide to buy one (or both of his books) tell him TAKU sent you.



*TAKU’s NOTE: Check out Dave’s other great web-site High Intensity Muscle Building

How does fat leave the body?

 Q: How does fat leave the body?

A:  *Actually, your fat cells stay right where they are. What is happening is the contents of the fat cells are released, in the form of free fatty acids (ffas). These ffas are then converted and used for energy by your body.

The energy that goes into the biological system known as “the body” is measured in calories that are derived from macro-nutrients that make up food.  This “chemical” energy derived from food is then utilized to be transferred into other required forms of energy to accomplish physiological processes in the body, as well as produce body movement (mechanical energy) and give off “heat energy” as a by-product etc.

In other words, the energy that “goes out” from the body consists of calories that are expended due to 1) human metabolism (a sum of all of the chemical reactions that take place in the body) and 2) physical activity or human movement.

So think of your fat cells as balloons that inflate and deflate. Inflating when you eat too many calories and then the excess get stored. Deflating when you don’t have enough immediate calories available and the stored energy (in the form of ffas) get released.

*(Super simplified example)




This question came up recently on one of the forums I frequent. I thought it was a good one, so I decided to add my answer here.

The Four P’s

By Mark Asanovich

 THE 4-P’s








 The answer lies in two questions:

1. “Are the training protocols orthopedically-safe?”

2. “Are the training protocols physiologically-sound?”

  Obviously, it is the intent of any strength-training program

to ENHANCE the physical potentials of the lifter rather than ENDANGER the lifter.

In other words,use common sense. If an exercise or training technique looks dangerous — it probably is!    

  An orthopedically safe program has at its foundation the execution of properly performed repetitions. The emphasis should always be on HOW the repetition is lifted rather than HOW MUCH is lifted. Every effort should be made to minimize the biomechanical loading (bouncing, recoiling etc.) on muscles, joints and connective tissue, and to maximize muscular tension. Each repetition should be lifted under control in a deliberate fashion. Flex the muscle momentarily in the midrange of the exercise when the muscle is in its “fully contracted position”. Then lower the resistance slowly to the starting position. Obviously, this is the most difficult way to train; however it is also the most productive and prudent way to train.

A physiologically sound strength-training program is one that includes in its design the fundamental principles of training right, eating right, resting right and living right. As simple as it is to understand — it is anything but simple to do. To compromise anyone of these realities would likewise compromise results. There are no “secret”, “short-cut” and/or “simple” means to achieve maximum strength gains. Rather, there is no substitute for progressively highly intense exercise, a nutritious meal plan, ample rest/recovery, and a common sense approach to a consistent training routine.


 The physiological basis of strength training is the overload principle. This principle requires that a muscle be progressively overloaded beyond its current capabilities to stimulate a strength/growth response. Therefore, any progressive strength training protocol that has a systematic plan of overload (i.e. increasing resistance/repetitions) will produce results! Otherwise stated, despite what strength-training program is used, it is the INTENSE and INTELLIGENT application of the lifter’s EFFORT that is most responsible for their results — not the program. The bottom line is, and always will be, an issue of COMMITMENT and HARD WORK — not how many sets/reps were performed.

Maximal effort is required to develop maximal results. HARD WORK should not be confused with MORE WORK. Truth be told, it does not take a maximal amount of work and/or time to develop maximal results. It does require maximal effort and maximal perseverance. In other words, strength development is USE IT OR LOOSE IT — AND DON’T ABUSE IT! Train hard, chart your progression, allow ample time to rest/recovery between workouts and incorporate variety into your program to prevent overtraining and monotony.


As stated, all progressive strength training protocols are PRODUCTIVE – none more significant than the other; however, not all are equally PRACTICAL. Strength can be developed either by exposing the muscle to a lengthy “high volume” of exercise or by brief “high intensity” exercise. Both training protocols have their advantages and disadvantages. However, given the time constraints for most individuals, it is much more practical to decrease the volume of training in favor of increasing the intensity of training to get the same results in less time. In other words, the training goal should be to spend the minimal amount of time to derive themaximal amount of benefits.


Strength training is a means to an end — not an end in itself. It is not the goal to develop Olympic Weightlifters, Powerlifters or Bodybuilders. Rather, the goal of strength training is to develop maximal levels of muscular strength to maximize functional capacity.

The development of muscular strength is the general progression of increasing the muscle’s ability to produce force. In other words, strength is a non-specific adaptation developed in the weight room whereas skills are a specific adaptation developed through guided practice. As a result, strength is developed physically in the weight room, which by a separate process is developed mechanically outside the weight room. Simply stated, you build muscle in the weight room and movement outside the weight room.


As I recently stated, for me, the highlight of the Legends of Strength clinic was the presentation by Mark Asanovich. As I listened intently to his every word, I was struck with the thought that every strength coach and personal trainer, needs to hear these words. Not only do they need to hear them, but they need to understand and then apply them in the field. We would have far greater levels of success and far fewer silly injuries (not to mention far less time wasted) if more coaches and trainers adopted and implemented these excellent principals.

Every Gym Needs One!

I have written several articles about the importance of training the neck. After attending the Legends of Strength clinic last month in Ohio, I feel even more strongly that everyone should be training the neck. It is clear that it is equally beneficial for athletes and regular folks.

Rather than re-write a bunch of stuff, I am only going to compile some links to other great neck training info, as well as links to some neck training machines. If you are lucky enough to have access to one, USE IT! If not, then I suggest you read the articles here, and then bug your gym until they get one. Click on the link below, and then click on the article of the same name.

Article: Neck Priority

Neck Machines: My top 4 favorite Picks

1. Pendulum 5-Way Neck

2. Med-X 4-way Neck

3. Nautilus 2ST 4-Way Neck

4. Nautilus X-Pload 4-Way Neck



“The Legends of Strength” Follow up

First, for my regular visitors, let me apologize for not adding any updates in the last few weeks. I have been doing a bit of running around the country which included visits to Ohio, Washington D.C., New York, Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey.

I was in Ohio for one reason, The “Legends of Strength” clinic, organized, and hosted by Kim Wood. This event was awesome. It started on Friday night and Kim Wood spoke about the History of Strength Training in Football. Kim is a walking encyclopedia of both football and strength and conditioning knowledge and history. We all enjoyed the evening as Kim colorfully detailed the progression of strength training in Football from the early days up to the present.

Saturday morning started out with excellent presentations from two, top NFL strength coaches Dan Riley* and Mark Asanavich. Both of these gentleman were top notch, but I must say that for me, the highlight of the entire event was hearing Mark Asanavich give his clear and concise discussion of strength training which is Prudent, Productive, Practical and Purposeful. I highly recommend that if anyone ever finds that they have an opportunity to hear Mark speak, make sure you do not miss it.

Kim Woods son, John Wood gave brief talk on developing Functional Hand strength for sports. This is a subject that John knows a lot about, having closed the Iron Mind Captains of Crush # 3 gripper, when he was just 16 years old. Former Michigan Strength coach Mike Gittleson discussed techniques for developing the muscles of the head and neck in the safest and most efficient manner possible.

Not only was this a great event with awesome presenters, everyone there was someone worth getting to know. I met Tyler Hobson, who designs the Pendulum line of strength training equipment for Rodgers Athletics. Other notable folks in attendance were Ellington Darden, Jim Flanagan, Joe Cirullo, and Roger Schwab. Rock Oliver was there from the Unversity of Kentucky. Ben Oldham, the SEC Football Game Official and Rules Committee member. Kevin Tolbert former head S&C coach at Stanford, and now assistant Strength Coach with the San Francisco 49’ers. Also there were Ted Lambrinides from ASAP , and one of my favorite guys, strength coach Tom Kelso.

I can’t possibly remember everyone (there were probably close to 200 people there) but other cool folks in attendance were: Miami University Athletic Director Brad Bates. Mike Vorkapich from Michigan State. Aaron Hillmann from Michigan. Dave Andrews from the University of Cincinnati. Scott Savor-University of Tennessee, Biko and Denny Locascio from Sports and Field in Tampa. Baltimore Ravens Strength Staff Bob Rogucki and John Dunn. Former Buckeye National Champ Strength Coach Al Johnson, Smarter Team Training’s Rob Taylor came in from Maryland. Dir of Strength Training, Brent Rogers from the College of Mt. St. Joseph. Carlo Alvarez from Cincinnati St. Xavier High School. Ted Rath Asst from the Detroit Lions. Florida Asst Scott Holshopple. Scott Hayes from Fowlersville (Michigan) H.S. Football. Mike Shibinski, Cincinnati Elder High School’s new Defensive Back Coach.

All in all this was probably the best S&C clinic I have ever attended (and I have been to plenty). It is my understanding that Kim Wood plans on making this an annual event and I can only imagine that it will just keep getting better and better as the word spreads.

If there is another one next year, I will be there for sure.



TAKU’s NOTE: Just in case there are people out there who don’t know who Dan Riley is, here is some*Dan Riley info:

  • 27 years as strength and conditioning coach in the National Football League
  • Integral part of three Super Bowl Championships and four NFC Championships
  • 5 years as strength coach at Penn State and 4 years at the United State Military Academy at West Point
  • Author of four books on strength training