3 Great Things About Running My Own Gym

July 27, 2015 by danny · Leave a Comment 

Starting up a business (in any field) can be very tough, time-consuming, and RISKY.  Many small businesses fail within the first couple years of their start-up.  The main reason being a lack of experience.  So there is definitely a ton to consider before starting up a business, and it’s not for everyone.  I could continue with some of what I’ve learned over the years about running a training facility/new business, and talk about all those risks as well as some of the stress that comes along with it.

But, I’m going to look at the positive today.

What I love About Having My Own Gym

1) Music

I get to pick the music I listen to when I workout.  I really like hip-hop.  I really like country.  At times I’m in the mood for some rock.  My lifting partner brings his I-Pod of songs that we put together and like to listen to when training.  At any given moment you may hear Run-DMC, Tom Petty, and Blake Shelton, to name a few.

In the video below you’ll see what I mean.  This was on a day when my training partner was out of town so I bounced around on Pandora between Eric Church, Jay-Z, Rolling Stones, and Beastie Boys radio.  Much better than getting stuck at a commercial gym running the same loop of the same old songs over and over and over and over and over…

2) Equipment

Before opening my facility, I thought about all the equipment that I would want to use in my own training.  As well as all the equipment that would put our members in the best position to reach their goals.  There is still some pieces of equipment I want to add, but I have a pretty kick-ass set-up… Glute-Ham Developer, Safety-Squat Bar, Football Bar, Suspension Trainers, a Rig, etc. etc.  It is great to have “variety with a purpose.”  In other words, I do NOT throw new equipment into the space just to have more “stuff.”  Every piece of equipment is there for a reason, and I get to be the mad-scientist making the choices!  Pretty sweet!

The video below shows the Pandora music example I listed above, as well as some of the “specialty equipment” (along with some of the “regular” training essentials) I’m using during one of my recent training sessions.

In the first exercise I’m using a Football Bar performing the bench press.  In video numero dos I’m using a Suspension Trainer while performing rows.  In the third video good old Dumbbells for hammer curls, and finally a Barbell with a Hampton Thick Pad while doing hip thrusts in last video.


I’ve watched, played and studied basketball all my life.  Obviously the ability to shoot, handle the ball, and shoot off the dribble are huge components in the game of basketball.  The skill-side anyway, as I could also mention athletic ability, toughness, size, “basketball-smarts,” strength, hustle, etc etc.  But on the skill-side, shooting and dribbling make up a good portion of the game.  The question is, what are the best drills/moves to help develop these skills?  Well, this is where I get to be the mad-scientist again.  I try to give the basketball players I work the best drills while teaching them a number of very effective moves that they can work on to help develop their game.  I don’t take this lightly, and I’m also trying to improve.  But yeah, it is pretty great to be able to give them my spin on this whole thing!  A few examples below…

Bonus - I get to play/dribble/shoot whenever I feel like it, rain, sleet, or snow…

These days I don’t play a whole lot of basketball.  But it is fun from time-to-time to work on my moves and get some shots up…

2014 Basketball and Training Videos

January 6, 2015 by danny · Leave a Comment 

I hope everyone had a great New Year’s.  I had a great time with family and friends and am ready to kick 2015 in the ass!  This is usually about the time when I say, “it has been awhile since my last blogpost, but I promise to update it more frequently going forward.”  But no.  I’m not gonna give you any false promises.  Between all the hours I spend training people in the weight room and giving basketball lessons and trying to keep up with 3-year old twins, no such promises will be made. But I did want to share with you some videos from the past year to officially close out 2014.  I FINALLY took a bunch of videos that I recorded over the course of the year and got them up onto my computer.  So, below you’ll see a bunch of what goes on inside our walls at MVP Training. These videos represent only a fraction of the time I spent working with people over the course of the year.  However, I plan on breaking out the video camera more this year and sharing them here on my blog, on facebook, youtube, and on twitter.  So if aren’t already a friend/follower/subscriber, just look up and to the right above “Recent Posts,” and let’s connect. Like I said, I know I won’t be posting as many blogposts/articles on here as I used to, but I plan on including more fitness and basketball videos, so be sure to check back for those. With that said, here we go…

The video below starts with the young guns and works up to the middle schoolers …

The Steph Curry Drill

July 30, 2014 by danny · Leave a Comment 

My favorite player in the NBA is Steph Curry.  Well, it’s close between him and D. Rose… but I haven’t seen Rose play in so long I can’t remember his game. :)  Hopefully that changes real soon!

Anyway, when I saw him play in the NCAA Tourney while at Davidson a number of years ago, I couldn’t believe how easily he could get his shot off both off the catch and off the dribble… especially off the dribble.

And then I lived in the Bay area for number of years, and he just so-happened to get drafted by the Golden State Warriors.  So I got to see the Steph Curry show first-hand.

As I elaborate in the video below, I’ve never seen ANYONE get the ball from the last dribble up into his shooting pocket and out of his hands as quickly as he does…

And then some of the players that train with me at my gym…

I can’t wait to see how much quicker with the ball the younger players in the above video get in the years to come.  Assuming they continue to work on it… and they better! :)

So there’s the Steph Curry drill for you hoopers out there.  Add it to the drills you perform to help you get your shot off quicker and with a more effective result.  Remember to work hard AND work smart (get a lot of reps in before shooting).

More Videos, Pictures, and Thoughts from Inside MVP Training…

April 7, 2014 by danny · 1 Comment 

Here’s another quick update from inside MVP Training

In case you missed my post on Facebook (add me on FB if we’re not already friends as I put a lot of training, nutrition, and basketball posts there, throughout the week), I filmed the new Move of the Month for March… “The Kevin Durant” …

Me hip thrusting 425 pounds…

345 pounds is still the female hip thrust record at my gym.  But there are some other females closing ground!  We’ll see what the numbers bring over the spring/summer.

This video is at my previous facility…

I love training people (and myself) at the new (not so-new anymore) facility.  But up until this past Saturday, I haven’t been able to enjoy one of the features that I’ve been really looking forward to using.  And that’s rolling up the BIG garage door to really open up the place.  It was great to finally do this!  You can see Drew off to the left (see the orange med ball?) getting ready to perform some explosive medicine ball “stomps.”

Hopefully the weather continues to cooperate so that the door will be open more and more…

MVP Training "opened up"

Finally, tonight is the finals of the NCAA tourney.  If Kentucky ends up winning it all, I don’t know if you’d call it the most impressive run in the history of the tournament.?.  Or the best run.  Or that they are the best team ever.  But they are on the most exciting run ever.  I can’t believe the finishes of their games!!!  Each one has been a thriller, and I’m not even a UK fan.  I can’t even imagine the roller coaster that Kentucky fans have been going through during these games!?!  I’m sure my boy Jeff Rinaldi has already suffered about 8 near heart attacks! Hopefully tonight’s game will be just as exciting!

BIG shot after BIG shot!

Who do you think is going to pull it out?


Basketball And Training Videos From Inside MVP Training…

February 4, 2014 by danny · Leave a Comment 

Hello all.  It has been awhile since I’ve given you a peek inside some of our training and basketball sessions at MVP Training.  So I thought it would be a good time to do so again…

First up, I recorded my second installment of “The Move of the Month.”  For January, I went with the reverse spin…

Next up is an athlete performing sumo deadlifts and another performing band resisted push-ups.

Ty’s push-ups are looking really good!  And Madison is new to deadlifting so I am happy with her form.  But as she gets more experienced I’ll continue to work on her form… she needs to get a little tighter in her set-up and stay tight throughout the entire set. But overall, nice work!

Next.  Box Squats and Push-Ups.

Ryan is in 7th grade and I recently allowed him to “graduate” to barbell box squats after he showed me consistent great form with his goblet squats.  He did a great job of nailing that set! And then we have Kaden in 5th grade performing push-ups.  We almost have him down to the floor doing full range of motion push-ups.  His form is good in the video but he is still extending his low back a bit much.  So I won’t have him going any lower ’til he masters that flaw.  But again, overall really good for a 5th grader!

Here’s me trying to practice what I preach.  Trap Bar Deadlifts with Chains…

And finally, another basketball video of players from a wide range of ages (5th grade through 9th grade)…

So there you go, we’re building healthy, strong bodies in the weight room, and improving  games on the court.

Gotta love it!

Have a great week…

2013: The Year That Was …

December 30, 2013 by danny · 2 Comments 

Time for another year in review.  2013…

-I must admit, this year I slacked off a bit in regards to my blogging/articles.  Getting everything all set for the new gym location took up much of my time.  I’ll *try* to be a little more active with my writing this year.  But here’s a good video and article from the past year for you to check out…

Are You Still Doing 3 Sets of 10 Reps?

3 Ways To Create Space Off The Dribble

-My babies started talking like crazy.  Have continued to be very crazy.  Poopy diapers have not slowed down.  And their cuteness remains high…

Daxton & Capri having some fun

-A number of years back I set a goal of achieving 20 + chin-ups every year ’til I turn 50 years old.  I test myself every year before New Year’s.  I did this one a couple days ago, and here was the result…

-Derrick Rose hurt his knee again… season wasted for us Bulls fans.

-I took a bus into Milwaukee for a Cubs/Brewers game.  One of my favorite things about being back in the Midwest is heading to Cubs games with friends!

-I went to the “new” Soldier Field for the first time in my life (I was already living out in California when the stadium was built).  That was a great time and Da Bears won on a last second TD pass… Cutler to Bennett.   But I’m going to QUICKLY change the subject because I’m still sick with how the season ended yesterday!!!!!

-I went from giving quite a few basketball lessons in 2012, to the point where I’m FLOODED with lessons all day, every day.  It’s a lot of fun, and now that b-ball season is here, it has been great watching the news and/or reading the paper and/or seeing stats/articles/highlights with all these players that I’ve been working with.  Seeing them succeed makes my feel good.

-We had some really impressive numbers put up in the gym throughout the year.  For example, here’s Paityn Morris putting up 345 x 5 with hip thrusts…

-I started, “The Move of the Month” this past month.  So stay tuned for a new move every month going forward.  Up first, was the “Cross-over Step”

-And finally, this marks the year that I put together my new facility.  I’ve spent years and years thinking about exactly how I wanted to set up this place… from the training model (MVP Training), to the business model, to the equipment selection.  Anyway, I love the way it has turned out, and I will keep working my butt off to make it better each and every day.  Here’s a tour of the new space…

A good part of the reason it turned out so well, is due to the help that my Dad has given me in setting up the place.  Unfortunately my handy-man skills didn’t improve much this year, so my Dad’s help was HYOOGE!

I’m sure I could have included a lot more into 2013’s happenings, but that would turn out to be way too long.  So, I’ll leave it at what you see above.

I hope you all had a great 2013, and here’s to an awesome 2014! …

3 Ways To Create Space Off The Dribble

August 22, 2013 by danny · Leave a Comment 

I just had an article published on iHoops.com.  It’s a very important topic for those looking to get their own shot.  A lot of people can stand and shoot.  A number of people can finish with a monstrous dunk on the break.  But not enough people work on getting separation from their defender.  Add this tool and it will definitely take your game to the next level.

Read article here… 3 Ways To Create Space Off The Dribble

Steph creating space off the dribble.

3 Things I’m Liking Right Now – Fat Gripz, Hip Thrusts, Basketball Season is Here

October 30, 2012 by danny · Leave a Comment 

These past two weeks have been pretty crazy for me as my phone has been ringing off the hook… basketball tryouts are next week (and for some schools, tryouts are this week). Players and parents are looking to get in those last couple lessons in, in order to either knock off the rust (for the football players that just finished their season), or to make sure their game is feeling “tight” going into b-ball season. Anyway, I bring this up because this is the reason that I haven’t made a blog post for a couple weeks. Well, I’m back today, so let’s get to it…

3 Things I’m Liking Right Now

Fat Gripz - Fat gripz are a great tool to include in your lifting program. They help develop hand and forearm strength. And here is another benefit of Fat Gripz (directly from their website…); “When you first use Fat Gripz, you may notice that there’s less pressure on joints like your wrists, elbows and shoulders. By using a wider grip on the bar, you’re actually spreading the weight more evenly across your joints.” I picked up my Fat Gripz directly from their website. Look down and to the right of your computer screen and click on the banner for more info…
As much as I love Fat Gripz, for some exercises, the grip can REALLY becomes the limiting factor when using them (i.e. you have to lighten the load too much). When this is the case, we have two options:
1) Just use the bar/dumbbell like usual.
2) Use Lynx Grips to get the bar/dumbbell a little more thick, without “overdoing” it. You can find them HERE.

Hip Thrusts - I don’t want to spend too much time on this one, as Bret Contreras is the “Glute Guy” and has done a great job of educating the masses. But briefly, man does this exercise work… when you REALLY learn how to use and activate the glutes. Last year was the year that I spent time “playing around” with the hip thrust. I was just getting used to it, and having some clients incorporating them into their programs. But no that I’ve gotten good at these, my glutes have have NEVER felt anything like it!

Hip Thrusts

When I finish a high(er) rep set of hip thrusts, I want to cry becomes my glutes are burning so much! If you still haven’t tried these yet, or are just getting used to them, make them a staple in your program. Be patient with your progressions, and stay with it. Eventually you will get your glutes firing on all cylinders, and start to REALLY reap the benefits of hip thrusts.
Bret contributed to an article I did awhile back and in it, he talks about the importance of learning how to activate the glutes. Check it out HERE.

Basketball Season Is Here - As I mentioned above, I’ve been very busy giving basketball lessons. And I’m happy with the progress of many of these players this off-season. I’ve seen great improvements in their dribbling and shooting skills. For example, check out Jacob at one of our recent lessons taking it to the rack with a nice move in the open court and finishing with his left-hand!
Last year at this time I had only been back in Illinois for a few months, so I was only working with a few players. But now, it’s a different story! I think I worked with about 30 youngsters this off-season, and I can’t wait to hit the road and watch as many of them in action as possible. It’s going to be fun!

Not bad for a 3rd Grader!

Everyone have a safe and healthy week.  I’ll talk to you soon…

Brilliant at the Basics (Dribbling Skills) – Episode II

June 14, 2012 by danny · Leave a Comment 

In case you missed “Episode I,” CLICK HERE.  I’ll include the “introductory video” again today… to get you up to speed…

When it comes to dribbling skills, things are no different than with a quality strength training program.  That is, you must first build a foundation (get brilliant at the basics), before you can even think about getting “all fancy.”  It’s about working toward making progressions from week-to-week (again, just like you should be aiming to do when in the weight room).

There you have it, handles 101.  Ok young ballers, go get it!

On a side note.  I’ll be at Wrigley for Friday’s Cubs/Red Sox game!  I can’t wait!  I haven’t been to Wrigley for years and this will be my first time back at my favorite place on Earth since moving back to Illinois.  And to make it even better, one of my best friends, McKenna, is driving in from Omaha to go to the game with me.  He’s a long time Red Sox fan and this will be his first time at Wrigley.  I’m interested to see how he thinks Wrigley Field compares to Fenway Park (or is it Pok?)

Anyway, good times are ahead, and to keep with the theme of brilliant at the basics, we’ll definitely keep it simple by starting off with an Old Style and a Chicago Style Hot Dog.

I'm gonna tear this up on Friday (minus the mustard)!

But not to worry y’all… I’ll get right back on my usual clean eating/living the next day.  It’s about finding that balance… and an Old Style with a dog definitely fits in the plan from time to time!

Have a great rest of your week and a great weekend my friends.  I know I will! :)

Off-Season Training for Basketball

June 4, 2012 by danny · Leave a Comment 

I put up a similar blogpost a few weeks back.  But in case you missed it, here it the “article version.”  Powerbasketball.com published THIS ARTICLE that I wrote.  The majority of the information comes in the video, so make sure to check that out.  Remember, at this time of the year (late spring/early summer), skill development is HUGE!

Now, this boy has some skills!

I’m about to put up a couple blogposts per week with the following theme: Be Brilliant at the Basics.  I’ll elaborate soon.  So be sure to check back to find out what I’m talking about.

See you then!