How the strength world turns

I’ve been around gyms since 1993. I’ve been training people off and on since 1999. Before the days of social networking, e-books, garage gyms that charged 200 bucks a month for generalized programming and cheesy marketing.

There has been a LOT of changes in those years…

I remember distinctly watching Rychlak breaking the 1000 pound bench mark in 2004 at York, PA.

I remember watching him train at Bob Nagle’s gym above a machine shop in Reading, PA. One of the best training environments I ever was a part of.

I trained with a guy who could farmer’s walk 450 per hand but never competed.

I witnessed an old friend pull almost 800 pounds in his basement, with no YouTube video to prove it.

I trained with champion arm wrestlers and champion lifters and learned everything I could possibly learn from those guys. Long before the days of the internet connecting everybody with a stroke of a key.

When I first started Pavel’s Power to the People program (in 2000), nobody ever heard of a side press… when I got my first KB people laughed… now you see KB’s everywhere. They are a sport, they are in most gyms across this nation and they actually are the only weights some gyms have.

I was never an elite lifter, but I was a goddamn good athlete. I used my training to prepare for sports. It was a tool, not the sport itself to me. Strongman training was a byproduct of rugby training.

I preferred competing on the field rather than the platform. Carrying a ball or making a tackle was more of a rush to me than bench pressing 405. It still is… but this dog had his day and I loved every minute of that pain.

I got most of my training ideas from magazines. I couldn’t google anything, there wasn’t a Starting Strength book for me to look at, it was Arnold’s iconic book. It was training advice from Lee Haney.


Turn on your computer and type in strength training, powerlifting gyms, sports training, strongman or any keyword that leads you to a barbell and you are OVERWHELMED with info.

Its a good thing, and a bad thing…

There are those who are great coaches and some who are bad coaches making themselves look great by means of marketing. There are those who struggle to be great lifters and those who are genetic freaks who can touch a barbell and total 2000+.

I am just one tool to use to get stronger and bigger. There exist many. The only way to know which one is best for your goals is to research, learn, ask questions and experiment. I didn’t fall into what REALLY worked for me until my early to mid 30’s. After years of experimenting, failing, succeeding and trying; Jay found his groove.

Use the knowledge you have at your fingertips the best way possible. People like me didn’t have that growing up in gyms, we had to hunt for it the old-fashioned way.

This is the golden era of strength. Not with numbers, but with knowledge. Use it.


Check out the SECOND AND BRAND NEW Ashman Strength System e-book.

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To inquire about training, contact us for more information or to set up a call about remote coaching.

If you are local to Kansas City and wish to kickass at my gym, visit us at Kansas City Barbell for the ultimate training experience.


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