I Have The “Answers” To Everything In Life, Plus Impressive Hip Thrusts Inside…

July 19, 2013 by danny · Leave a Comment 

In the health and fitness industry, we often see all kinds of crazy claims.

  • I deadlift 8 days a week because they are the best back-builders known to man.  Vs… Deadlifts will destroy your lower back and nobody should deadlift.  Ever!
  • Vitamin D is crucial for optimal health, therefore I lay out  in the sun 3 hours a day every day of the week.  Vs… The sun causes skin cancer, therefore I put on SPF 300,000 when I walk to the mailbox ever morning.
  • The bench press makes my pecs HYOOGEMONGOUS, which is why I bench every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.  Vs… The bench press is a shoulder killer, don’t ever bench if you want to keep your shoulders healthy.
  • Fish oil cures any and all problems in life. Vs… Don’t even say the word fish oil out loud.  If you do, you’ll develop prostate cancer within 2 weeks.

Ok, so there might be some exaggerations in my examples, but you get the point.  If I look at all the information that I’ve heard over the years in this industry, NOTHING has stood the test of time, as far as “magic.”  Pretty much all answers in health and fitness (as well as in life), lie somewhere in the middle.  So don’t get too emotionally involved to one extreme or the other.  Because there is a study right around the corner that is going to make you modify your views one way or the other.  This new information/study might be coming in a week, or you might come across it five years down the road.

The key to getting the body you want, lies in this quote that you’ll see in the “Meet Danny” section of my website: “Those that are consistent, disciplined, and give everything they have, can bring their health, physique, and performance to a new level.” No magic.  Show up to the gym and work hard – consistently.  In the kitchen, eat plenty of protein and healthy fat, pound the veggies, eat some fruit, and adjust your carb intake according to your goals/results.  Simple in theory, hard in practice.  But the point is to not get too tied up with ONE system or the newest gadget/supplement/food that promises you that, “by taking 3 capsules of XYZ a day, you’ll look exactly like Jamie Eason in two weeks or less.”

Jamie's physique... built with consistency and effort, not some miracle pill.

Impressive Hip Thrusts

Last week Paityn and her mom, Joie, combined to hip thrust 510 pounds!  Studettes!  I thought you may be interested in seeing it in action, so here you go…

They were out of town this week, so I’m looking forward to Paityn going for 300 + when she returns next week!

Have a great weekend, and remember, the “answers” always lie someone in the middle…

More Personal Records… Bench Press and Hip Thrusts

June 27, 2013 by danny · Leave a Comment 

I just got done giving basketball lessons to one of the teams that I’m working with this summer, and I’m about to head up to MVP Training for a couple training sessions.  But I have a few minutes of spare time, so I thought I’d share a couple bad ass videos with you…

This first one is of Paityn hip thrusting some serious weight…

Want nice glutes?  Do you want to improve your performance on the field/court?  Wanna decrease your chances of knee/back injuries?  If you answered yes to any of the above, then get good at performing hip thrusts!

Paityn’s goal on that set was 5 reps.  She ended up getting 6.  Looks like she’ll be going heavier next week! :)

Video numero dos…

Last week I mentioned HERE, that Liz had a bench press PR (personal record) of 105 before leaving college for the summer.  Well, when she re-tested her bench with me a few weeks back, she set a new PR of 115.  And just last week re-broke it with a 120 pound max.

So, props to Paityn and Liz for their hard work!  Great work, ladies!!!

Well, this is the last weekend before 4th of July, and if you’re like most people, it may get a little ugly… pizza, beer, cake, snacks, etc.  If that is you, make sure you make this weekend a good one in prep for the 4th.

I’ll try to get on here next week for a blogpost, but if I just get too busy, everyone have a fun and safe 4th!

Bench Press PR and My Thoughts On The Bench Press…

June 11, 2013 by danny · Leave a Comment 

Liz, who plays basketball at Lehigh, set a bench press PR (Personal Record) of 105 pounds with her team when she tested before school ended back in May.  Well, it was time to retest last week.  And here’s how it went down…

New PR!  Nice job, Liz!  Her goals this summer include getting stronger/quicker/more explosive, as well as improving her ball handling and her ability to create space off the dribble.  Her hard work at both our strength training sessions and our skill work on the basketball court (as well as all the time she gets to the gym on her own working on her game) has her heading in the right direction!

My Thoughts On The Bench Press

I did a video on my thoughts on the bench press as it pertains to most dudes.

Squat rack? What's a squat rack?

Check it out HERE.  Now, get to squatting, deadlifting, and hip thrusting!

Alrighty then, until next time…


June 4, 2013 by danny · 2 Comments 

Sorry that it has been so long since my last blog post.  I’ve been spending a TON of time giving basketball lessons, training people, and changing poopy diapers.  I promise to be back on here again soon though!  As for today’s post…

Many people claim to be doing HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) as a part of their cardio program.  But in reality, few actually reach an intensity that I would TRULY consider HIGH intensity.  If you honestly go ALL OUT like you are sprinting away from a hungry bear, then after about 12-20 seconds you would need over a minute to recover (maybe considerably more than a minute).  If you do something like 20 seconds “on” followed by 20 seconds “off,” then you are not going as hard as possible during that 20 seconds… and/or not choosing an activity that makes you tired enough after 12-20 seconds (i.e. jumping jacks would be much easier than sprinting up a steep hill).

Quick Note: When I say “intensity” in this article, I’m talking about how fast you are going in regards to your max speed.  In other words, if you do 20 seconds on, and 20 seconds off, you may truly be going as fast as you can, but due to the fact that you’ll be under-recovered going into the next set, you won’t be able to maintain your max speed from set-to-set.

Now, I have no problem with interval training where you do something like 20 on/20 off or 30 on/60 off, but don’t confuse that with TRUE HIIT.  I’ll invent a new acronym right now (at least I’ve never heard it), M/HIIT… Medium/High Intensity Interval Training.  This is much higher intensity than steady state cardio (like jogging 5 miles or doing a 15 mile bike ride), but nowhere near MAX effort followed by a full (or near full) recovery.

Think about it this way, let’s say you were being timed in a 100 meter sprint three times, and here were the 2 scenarios…

#1) Sprint 100 meters, rest 30 seconds, sprint another 100 meters, rest 30 seconds, and finally sprint one more 100 meters vs…

#2) Sprint 100 meters, rest 120 seconds, sprint another 100 meters, rest 120 seconds, and finally sprint one more 100 meters.

Obviously your times would be much faster with the longer rest intervals.  This longer rest allows you to more fully recover, which allows you to run at an intensity closer to your max speed (like when running from that hungry bear).

Dr. Layne Norton and Dr. Jake Wilson talk about all the benefits of this truly HIIT in THIS PODCAST.

In short, HIIT (with the LOOOONG rest intervals) is a great way to hold onto muscle mass and strength/power gains while still getting your cardio in.

Just remember, you don’t rest a long(er) time just for the hell of it.  You do so because you need to in order to repeat that HIGH intensity for the next set.  Here’s an example of me doing plank-ups yesterday.  I did this for 20 seconds, and in actuality I slow down a little bit towards the end and probably should have only done sets of ~ 15 seconds if I wanted to prevent my intensity from dropping towards the end of the set.

So, my advice for the individual that is looking to maximize muscle mass/strength/power but doesn’t want to get “too out of shape,” perform true HIIT for the majority of your cardio sessions (and if this is your goal, you shouldn’t be performing much cardio in the first place… maybe once per week).

If you are a “general fitness enthusiast” just looking to “be in good shape” and lose a few pounds, go ahead and perform a mix of true HIIT AND “M/HIIT.”  And if you’re like me and can’t stand the long, slow stuff, never do it!  If you enjoy that, go ahead and mix a little of that in there as well.  You weirdo, you!  Just kiddin’… kind of.

The best activities for true HIIT include (but are not limited to)…

  • sprints
  • hill sprints
  • sled/prowler pushes or car pushes
  • battling ropes
  • plank-ups
  • hitting the heavy bag
  • heavy jump rope
  • bike sprints (up a hill or on a stationary bike with the resistance turned up pretty high)

Now of course, some of these may not be appropriate for you depending you strength level (and injury history, etc).

Just remember if you are performing HIIT you will NEED a good amount of rest between sets, otherwise it is NOT truly HIIT.  Both M/HIIT and HIIT can be incorporated into your plan if that fits your goals.  Just make sure that you know the difference.

Now go get lean for the summer! :)

And if you know someone that says, “I’m heading to the gym for a HIIT session,” make sure you forward this article to them so that they too know the difference.

Have you ever performed true HIIT training?  If so, you know that it ain’t for the faint of heart!

Video Of My Leg And Core Session From 04/28/13…

April 29, 2013 by danny · Leave a Comment 

It has been awhile since my last blog post, but I’m back.  From time-to-time I like to share what I have going on for my own personal workouts, as well as video of what my clients are doing.  Today, I’ll go over what my leg and core workout looked like yesterday.

First, what I did, and then I’ll provide some videos below..

A1) Safety Bar Squats – 4 x 3

A2) Fillers – soft tissue work (foam rolling/theracane/lacrosse ball) and extra mobility work

B1) 1-Leg RDLs – 3 x 8/leg

B2) Walking Lunges – 2 x 10/leg

C1) Suspension Trainer Fallouts – 2 x 10; Floor Crunches – 1 x 10-12 (slow and controlled)

C2) Hip Thrusts – 1 x AMRAP (As Many Reps As Possible) with 150 pounds


First, let’s go over the safety bar squats.  I absolutely love this bar!  If is way more comfortable than performing traditional front squats and my clients are loving it too.  I’m just getting used to it as I’ve only had the bar for about a week now.

As you can see, my dog, Scooby, is very loyal but not a good spotter.  I need more focus out of him.  Too much eye-wandering!  What if I would have gotten stuck in the bottom!?!  Time to have a good talk with him about this!

Next, 1-Leg RDLs…

I didn’t get the rest of the session on tape.  But I wanted to mention, this was my 3rd time doing this workout, and here are my numbers on my hip thrusts… week 1 = 27 reps, week 2 = 28 reps, and then yesterday, 30 reps. And my ass is soooo sore today! Ouch!

Back to the safety squat bar, here is young girl that I’m working with (8th grader) using them for safety bar box squats.

Talk about some multi-tasking!  One person performing squats, another side-lying clam raises, and the 3rd getting ready to start her cardio “finisher” with the battling ropes.  Good times!

I hope your training is going well and you’re setting yourself up nicely going into “beach season!” :)

Do What It Takes To Get It Done

April 11, 2013 by danny · Leave a Comment 

I received a new piece of equipment from the UPS guy yesterday… a trap bar (with the elevated handles, I already have one but that one doesn’t have the elevated handles).  It was delivered to my home and my wife’s car was in the shop so she had to take my car to work.  My next wave of training clients was approaching and I was in a tough spot.  The only way I could get the trap bar up to my gym was to carry it from my house to my gym.  Now, my gym is really close to my house, but not so much when you have to carry weights down the street… in the rain… with a cooler full of water bottles strapped around your neck.

But one of my evening clients had trap bar deadlifts in his new program, and I wasn’t going to let him down and not give him the program as I wrote it up.  So, I basically did a farmer’s walk in the pouring rain and got er done!  The looks I got from my neighbors, the cars driving by, and the business owners as I walked down the street carrying this in the rain were priceless!  I’m sure they thought, “what the heck is he doing walking in the rain, and what is that thing that he is carrying?!?  What a weirdo!”

I hadn’t even taken it out of the wrapping yet…

… which worked out well due to the fact that it was raining.

Now, I’m not saying what I did was superhuman by any means.  It just took a little strength along with some willpower.  But despite the elements, I got it done.

Moral of the story: sometimes you have to step up to get it done.

Been thinking about taking the leap and giving this whole weight lifting/working out thing a try?  Well, it’s time to get it done.

Been having a hard time getting up in the morning to train before work?  Go to bed a little earlier and get it done!

Been having a hard time finishing with your left hand (basketball – lay-ups, that is)?  Put your time in the gym and get it done!

Been meaning to get together with an old friend the last couple years but just haven’t found the time to make it happen?  Make it happen and get it done!

Sometimes we have to take a look in the mirror and say to ourselves: “No more excuses, time to (wo)man up and GET IT DONE!

Hear what I’m saying! :)

Training and Nutrition Content From Around The ‘Net…

April 3, 2013 by danny · Leave a Comment 

I hope everyone is having a great week!  I’m looking forward to the Final 4 this weekend and I’m pumped that the Cubs started the season off with a victory!

If you have a few moments, I have some great reading content for you.  First up…

Roundtable Interview: 3 people you should listen to, Part I

This is a great, common-sense article on nutrition.  And Brian St. Pierre is one of the “people you should listen to” in this article.  If you’ve been reading DannyMcLarty.com for sometime now, you know that I’m a huge fan of BSP.  His part alone is worth the price of admission.  Well, it’s free, so it’s a pretty good price either way. :) Anyway, give it a read.

The Doctors Talk Cardio

This is a podcast where Dr. Layne Norton and Dr. Jake Wilson talk all things cardio.  Very interesting!  Long story short – steady-state low(er) intensity cardio (like jogging) breaks down muscle tissue more than high intensity cardio (All OUT sprinting/bike sprints, etc).  And lower intensity cardio has an “interference effect” while high intensity cardio does not (interference effect in this case means that it is harder to add muscle while performing lower intensity cardio).  Plus, as we all know, it is MUCH more time-efficient!   Check out the podcast… a lot of great thoughts!

And here is a video of Paityn performing box squats at MVP Training the other day.  Box squats are awesome.  AND, they are great to use as a progression en route to back squats (with no box beneath your butt).

If you’re looking to improve your squat, or to simply start adding squats, check out this article that I wrote just over a year ago…

First Time Front Squatters and Squat Progressions

Make sure to pass these articles around to your friends on facebook/twitter/e-mail, etc, as they can definitely help out the majority of fitness enthusiasts out there.

See you soon…

Hopefully This Will Happen…

March 8, 2013 by danny · 4 Comments 

Hopefully this will happen…

The weather will warm up and melt the snow REAL SOON HERE!  I don’t want to see another snowflake until December (of 2021)!

Hopefully this will happen…

March Madness will be as exciting as ever with a bunch of buzzer beaters and upsets!  Out of all the tournaments/playoffs in any sport, I like nothing more than March Madness.  It’s simply the best!

Hopefully this will happen…

This off-season, basketball players will take my advice and put in more work on their skills, and spend less time playing games… less AAU games, less tournaments, less pick-up games; less showcases, less league games, etc etc.  Now, I’m not against any of those options, I’m just against the “more is better” mindset.  If you are to play 12 games in a week, and only get in a few minutes of skill work (working on your off-hand, your mid-range game, your jump shot, etc), then the balance is way out of whack. I’d LOVE to see a decrease in the amount of summer league games, and a huge increase in the amount of skill work for b-ballers!

Hopefully this will happen…

This summer people won’t be so scared of the sun.  The more is better mindset that I mentioned above is one problem.  But the “less is better” mindset can be equally as troubling!  Sun is good for us in the right doses.  Yeah, laying out at the beach from 10-4 every day is probably not the best idea.  But neither is putting on sunblock just to walk to the mailbox to pick up the newspaper.  Once again, find a balance.

Hopefully this will happen…

I’ll get to use our hot tub!  We’ve been in our new house for going on 5 months and I haven’t hopped in there once yet.  Time for me to find some relaxation time.  ’Nuf said.

Hopefully this will happen…

My first (green) beer on St. Paddy’s will taste as good as I’m envisioning.  I haven’t had a drop of alcohol since the Superbowl (February 3rd) and I’m looking forward to that first GULP next weekend.

Hopefully this will happen…

Everyone reading this will TRULY make a conscious effort to sit less.  It’s hard to make your body feel better and reduce those small aches and pains (that often turn into bigger problems down the line) when you’re on your ass the majority of the day.  FIND A WAY TO MOVE MORE!  Me included!

Alright, I’m glad I was able to get all of that off my chest.  I feel better now! :)

Have a great, safe, productive weekend…

Q and A: “Is Circuit Training The Best Way To Get In Shape?” Part II

February 20, 2013 by danny · 3 Comments 

In case you missed my take on circuit training for athletes, check out this blogpost that I wrote up yesterday.  Today, I’ll attempt to answer the same question… “Is circuit training the best way to get in shape?”  But this time, I’ll gear my thoughts more towards the “general fitness” individual (rather than athletes).

My short answer is, surprise, surprise…. IT DEPENDS.  Ha, what’s new!  Let me explain with a few different scenarios…

The below scenarios are me assuming that the person is looking to lose weight as opposed to someone with increased strength (i.e. powerlifter) or adding mass (i.e. bodybuilder or just some dude looking to, “get buff”), as their main goal.  I should also note that I’ll be speaking more to the weight lifting side of circuit training.  Circuit training when performing cardio is perfectly fine, and encouraged.  This is what we do at the “bootcamp” that I run.  That would entail something like using battling ropes, the slide board, the heavy jump rope, and hitting the heavy bag in circuit fashion.  Now, onto circuit training for the weight lifting portion of your program.

Scenario #1: “The Newbie”

I’m not a big fan of lifting in a circuit fashion (this can also be called “Metabolic Resistance Training” – aka “MRT“) for people that are new to lifting weights… even if fat loss is their main goal.  While MRT is a great way to train to help with fat loss, I don’t think it’s a good option here.  First of all, it takes awhile to learn proper form on lifts like push-ups, deadlifts, and squats (to name a few).  If you are doing this in circuit fashion where you are going from exercise to exercise to exercise with very little rest, you are either going to a) increase the amount of time it takes to learn proper lifting technique because it’s harder to learn a new skill in a fatigued state, and/or b) hurt yourself.  Obviously, the last thing you want.

Another problem here, is that newer lifters are usually weaker.  With that said, imagine already using relatively light weight (again, because of weakness), and then making the person very tired with MRT… the weight is going to be decreased even more.  Do you think doing one arm dumbbell rows (for example) with those 3-pounders is really going to do anything to help change your physique?!?  Hell no!

Just say no.

Scenario #2: Transitioning to “Intermediate” Status

After you have put some time in with the iron and your form has greatly improved (i.e. lifting with proper technique becomes second nature – like when you set up to deadlift you subconsciously brace your core, get your lats tight, “puff” your chest, etc. etc.), and you are lifting significantly heavier weights, MRT can be a great option.  This is actually the route I often go with my “fat loss” clients once I think they’ve “earned the right” to do so.

But don’t get it twisted, we still move some weight when lifting MRT style.  And quite often, I have the client start the session with a low rep, heavier compound movement (i.e. 3 sets of 5 reps for box squats or 2 sets of 6 reps for RDLs) or two before moving onto the MRT style of training .

Scenario #3: The “Cardio Queen”

Sometimes us trainers have people that come to us looking to lose weight that really actually enjoy performing cardio.  I know, crazy!  And no matter how hard I try, I can’t get her (or sometimes, him) off the treadmill or elliptical.  Not that I’m anti-cardio, it’s just that sometimes too much emphasis is put on cardio and not enough on weight training.  Anyway, if I have a client that is going to be lifting with me 2-3 times per week, but is ALSO going to be performing cardio on his/her own 3-4 times per week, I’m not going to make our lifting session circuit style.  I’ll write up the program with a little more rest involved between sets and spend a little more time lifting in the low(er) rep ranges (~8 reps and below).

Cardio only glutes vs Cardio AND Weight Lifting Glutes

Scenario #4: People that Run a Business & Have Kids & Spend Their “Down Time” Rescuing Baby Seals

My feeling is that if it is important enough, you WILL find a time to include exercise in your busy life.  But, I also know that no matter how hard I try, getting some people to do more than the 2 times they come into see me each week is unrealistic.  Hey, at least they are finding time to get in two workouts per week.  I mean, I’ve trained people that work over 60 hours per week and literally fly across the world for a business trip, only to land and come straight in to see me for our workout.  And then they shower up and head straight back to the airport for another 12 hour flight to China (or however long that flight is).

So, if we only have 120 minutes to train all week, I’m going to make sure that MRT is a big part of their program – assuming the person is past the newbie stage that I talked about above.


I know there are many more potential scenarios, but as you can see with the four scenarios that I provided, there are really no cut and dry answers.  ”IT DEPENDS” is almost always the right answer until you dig a little deeper.  Whether you are an athlete or a weekend warrior, I hope my thoughts on conditioning, circuit training, and lifting weights over these last two blogposts have helped you out.

I’m thinking that my next blogpost will be on my client that lost 10 pounds during her 30-days of “perfection” and how she did it.  We’ll see.  Check back soon to find out…

Q and A: “Is Circuit Training The Best Way To Get In Shape?”

February 19, 2013 by danny · 2 Comments 

I received a question from one of my facebook friends the other day asking, “Is circuit training the best way to get in shape?” Of course, like all things training/nutrition related, I had to ask him to get a little more specific to be able to better help him out. The gist of what he was looking for was to find out if to “get in shape” is circuit training best when weight training and when performing cardio?  Still pretty vague because there are so many factors that come into play.  But here is what my answer was…

“Depends on the goals, the training history of the individual, etc.  I know that is vague. But the answer is almost always, “it depends.” If it is an athlete, in GENERAL, I don’t think it is the best way. For example, the best way to get in shape for basketball is to play basketball (the SAID principle – Specific Adaptation to Imposed Demands). And in the weight room, athletes should use weights to get stronger, which requires a bit of rest between sets, as opposed to a fast paced circuit.”

So, I thought I’d use the rest of this blogpost to delve a little deeper into my thoughts…

-For sports, as mentioned above, you must play the sport to get in great shape for your sport.  You can do all the sprints, stadium stairs, 400 meter runs, swimming, etc. etc., but if you just stepped onto the basketball court (or soccer field, or football field, or wrestling mat, etc etc) for the first time in weeks/months, and tried to play 35 minutes of real game action, all I can say is, GOOD LUCK!

Now, with the above said, I’m NOT saying that you can’t do any conditioning type work other than JUST playing the sport.  What I AM saying, is that you must follow that S.A.I.D. principle that I mentioned above and play the sport to get in great shape for your sport.  Outside of directly playing your sport, once again the conditioning plan depends on the needs of the sport and position of said sport.  But in general, you can include things like… .

…HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) where you go ALL OUT for a short period of time and then rest. Work to rest ratios can vary, but here are some examples – 20 seconds “on” (all out) followed by 40 seconds “off” (rest) x 10-15 sets.  This can be sprints, hill sprints, bike sprints, etc.  You CAN do CIRCUIT TRAINING (i.e. 20 seconds of jump rope, then rest 40 seconds followed by 20 seconds of battling ropes, then rest 40 seconds.  Followed by 20 seconds of jump squats, rest 40 seconds, etc. etc.).

So circuit training can be a part of the overall plan.  But in my opinion should not make up the majority of the conditioning plan (once again, because of the S.A.I.D. principle).

…Tempo Running – run at about 75% max for 75-100 yards and rest 45-60 seconds between reps.  Here is what a tempo run should feel like… Fast enough to get the heart going, and slow enough to not hit the lactate system and interfere with power development.  For most sports, to bring up your aerobic system you don’t want to go out and run a long distance (i.e. a 5-mile run or whatever).  Yes, this will benefit your aerobic system, but will not help (and can actually interfere) with power development (i.e. running faster, jumping higher).  Tempo runs are a great way “around” this… you can still bring up your aerobic system without losing out on the potential power gains you get in the weight room.

So, for sport, play the sport and if you still feel the need to add in some extra conditioning, keep HIIT and tempo training in mind.  As far as how often you should be adding in conditioning work, that’s impossible for me to say without knowing the situation.  I will say this however, I believe that far too many people start worrying about conditioning too soon in the off-season.  For more of what I am talking about, check out this youtube video I did on this subject as it relates to basketball players…

Changing Gears To The Person With Fat Loss As Their Main Goal…

I’ll stop here for now, and touch on circuit training for the non-athlete tomorrow.  See you then…

Are you a coach or an athlete?  If so, share this to help make sure you and others are optimizing your potential and preparing for greatness…