As Seen On

Juniata Clinic Report

Hard to believe another year has gone by and the Annual Juniata Strength Clinic is in the books. It’s always great to see the other regulars. I have become extremely good friends with many of them and look forward to going every year.

Before I get going too far into this, I first want to thank Coach Doug Smith, the Juniata Strength Coach and organizer of the yearly clinic. This is the most cost-effective clinic I know of for the number of CEU’s that are available, and it is my pleasure to present or conduct a hands-on presentation each year.

Unfortunately, I was only able to attend on day of the clinic this year, as my fiancee got pretty darn sick on Friday night. I drove home to take care of her and missed Saturday’s agenda. However, I attended many presentations and hands-on sessions on Friday and I want to go over them here and share with you all some of the highlights the presenters shared.

If you were there, maybe you can post some of the highlights you thought were most impressive, or maybe let me know what I missed on Day 2, or just respond to my thoughts. Here we go…

A Review of Bioenergetics and their Application to Sport Performance

Willard Peveler, PhD.
Assistant Profesor of Exercise Physiology – Northern Kentucky University

This was an excellent presentation on energy pathways, metabolism, glycolosis, etc. Essentially, Dr Peveler blew me away with this presentation. Really opened my eyes to just how much I DON’T KNOW about this stuff and that I need to work on my knowledge base here.

Dr. Peveler spoke a lot about endurance, and I want to write him a note to get his thoughts on how to maximize strength endurance of the hands and whether he knows if any sort of foods are optimally converted to energy for the hands themselves.

Developing a Strong, Durable, and Resilient Baseball Player

Frank Velasquez Jr ATC, CSCS*R
Pittsburgh Pirates Strength and COnditioning Coordinator

No matter what clinic I go to, if there is a presentation on baseball, I ALWAYS try to attend. Frank had a good presentation and I took a lot of notes. Here are some of the highlights.

Don’t treat the rotator cuff, treat the scapula

This is one of the points that Frank focused on for a great deal of time in his presentation. What he was saying was that there is often a knee jerk reaction to do all sort of training for the rotator cuff, but neglect the muscles that support and control the scapula.

This is a great point, and it is something that Smitty and I have focused on since the very beginning of Diesel. We always retract prior to exercises such as rows, pull-ups, pull-downs, posterior flies, etc. We also have an exercise index stashed away on complete shoulder health that we are going to put out for the masses sometime before we retire.

Frank also spoke at length on the importance of correct posture. It’s not just something that grandma thinks we should do – it’s damn important for athletes. Think about it this way. You’re away for 16 hours and your asleep for 8 hours. If during 14 of thos 16 waking hours you are standing and sitting with crappy posture, do you really think a few minutes of a two-hour workout is going to negate all that time spent slouching and protracted? NO WAY! Posture is important not just so you don’t develop thos praying mantis shoulder blades, but also functionally as well. Poor posture results in poor performance of the shoulder, BOTTOM LINE.

Hustle is a talent. You can teach it and track it.

I thought this was an excellent point. While hustle is natural for some people and not others, it can be taught and reinforced until it is second nature. So if you have athletes who are constantly sluggish and never seem to have any bounce in their step, talk to them about hustle and how important it is, and then keep after them until it is second nature.

Hamstrings pull because they are weak.

Frank said that his ball players do some sort of hamstring exercise everyday, because hamstring pulls happen most often as a result of weakness, not lack of flexibility. He showed some of the exercises they do and they varied intensity from day to day. If you or someone on your squad is suffering from reoccurring muscle pulls, maybe it’s time to look at their strength levels and not so much their flexibility levels.

University of Virginia’s In-Season Training Program for Football

Brandon Houragian
University of Virgina – Strength and Conditioning Coordinator

Brandon had a great presentation. He wrapped everything up with a very cool video as well. During the course of his presentation he had some training clips, but he couldn’t figure out how to get them to play. He wasn’t too worried about it, so he just kept on plugging away, but at the end he really wanted to show his highlight reel, so I went up to help him and we were able to figure it out together.

Guys that don’t play go through a hardcore program.

The players who aren’t getting as much playing time go through a more challenging routine. They could very well be starters next year, so at Virginia they take advantage of the limited beating their bodies are taking during game time and work them harder in the gym.

Utilizing Complexes and Segments for Developing Stamina

Tony Decker
Temple University Strength and Conditioning Coordinator

Tony showed us many ways to incorporate barbell, dumbbell and odd object complexes into the athletic training program as we as how to implement this approach over the course of the year, but what I liked the most about Tony’s presentation was his focus on avoiding overtraining.

Tony reminded us that overtraining is a result of too much volume. He specifically pointed to the fact that many people when they feel worn out and overtrained try to reduce the weight and get the reps in when this can actually be counterproductive. Volume is key in fighting overtraining, so keep that in mind whether you are training athletes, clients, or just yourself. ANYBODY can get overtrained.

We’re not the ones in the pads.

Tony talked about the importance of listening to the athletes. Are they reporting reduced performance on the field after the workouts we’re putting them through. We’re not the ones wearing the gear and going through the plays, so we have to take their feedback into consideration. After all, the coach isn’t going to be happy with a bunch of overtrained players in-season.

Myofascial Release / Health is Just Skin Deep

Nancy Hawkins Riggs MS, CSCS
Be-Fitness Delaware

Nancy and her two colleagues introduced us to her version of myofascial release, called Mashing. These ladies promote soft tissue health by doing myofascial release on their clients in socked feet!

This presentation was the “Outside of the Box” presentation of the weekend. I am sure most of us have never heard of “Mashing” especially done with the feet. Regardless, when they asked for volunteers, my hand immediately shot up to get my left forearm worked on. It felt great to get worked on, although it is kind of hard to relax with all the people in the classroom watching you get your arm “mashed.”

The idea behind this and the application to a sports team, is that by working one another’s muscle and fascia with the feet reduces the stress put o the hands and more soft tissue work can be done. The ladies demonstrated several techniques, using the toes, side of the foot and even the heel to moderate the amount of pressure applied when mashing.

Balance – Proprioception Training for Performance, Injury Reduction & Lower Rehab

Lori Swaldi DPT, VCS; Tom Swaldi DPT, ATC, CSCS
Star Physical Therapy

Very good presentation. I enjoyed the review on the three balance systems.

Somatosensory System – Maintaining balance by the signals interpreted through the feet (or hands if you’re doing hand balancing)

Visual System – Maintaining balance by the signals received by the eyes and interpreted by the brain

Vestibular System – Maintaining balance by the signals received by the organs of the inner ear

Another cool point Lori brought up was Gaze Stability, which is the ability to maintain focus during movement. These points had my mind racing about how to train baseball and softball players, especially for tracking the ball into the strike zone, and also watching the ball into the glove when chasing down a fly ball.

Now it was time for the hands-on sessions. These are always a great time, because you get to interact with the speakers and often get to try new methods of training. I missed Mike Rankin’s Ring Training portion because I was setting up my hands-on so I missed my opportunity at trying a muscle-up on the rings, darnit.

The very first thing I did during the hands-on sessions was to go find Dick Hartsell. If you don’t know Dick Hartsell, he is the inventor of FlexBands and has built some of the strongest ankles in the world. He puts his ankles through a beating every year at Juniata. I’ve seen him jump straight up in the air, come crashing down on his ankle and say “Any questions on ankle stability?”

Ankle stability and being in a viral video are not why I wanted to talk to Dick. I wanted to touch base with him because I wanted to thank him for fixing my thumb. If you remember, about a year ago I was struggling with thumb pain. I had tried everything and could get no relief. I spoke to Dick at Juniata last year and showed me a compression method that within weeks had brought my thumb back to about 95%, and continuing to do it was a major reason why I broke the record in the Two Hands Pinch and I wanted him to know it.

Next, I went over to my buddy Dan Cenidoza’s hands-on presentation, Steel Bending and Other Feats of Strength. Dan is really dominating the strength feats these days and walked a bunch of the strength coaches through the process of bending nails, horse shoes, long steel bars as well as phone book tearing and other feats of strength.

He also let me try one of his sinister 60D nails that he found in his adventures that he rated near an IronMind Red Nail. I was able to DO it easily with my wraps, which are thick and hard. I also got it with no problem with his thin flimsy wraps. I tried my hand at a horse shoe (not sure what it was) and was able to straighten it pretty easily.

I bounced back and forth between Dan’s Hands-on and Todd Hamer’s Hands-on. Todd spoke with the coaches about using strongman training in the athletic program. Hamer is a good one to speak on this, because he competes in Strongman Competitions and does well.

At this point it was time for my Hands-on Presentation. The Strongest Strength Coach at Juniata!

I expected a ton of competitors, but unfortunately only 5 decided to go after the title: Jerry Shreck (Bucknell), Andrew Jakeyow, Rob Klancher, Tyler Harshbarger, and Dan Cenidoza (

There were three events: Keg Press Medley, Sandbag Hold for Time, and Keg Walk for Distance.

For the first time in my experience, all five events were finished in the exact same order every time. Here are the final standings.

1. Dan Cenidoza – 3 points
2. Andrew Jakeyow – 6 points
3. Jerry Shreck – 9 points
4. Tyler Harshbarger – 12 points
5. Rob Klancher – 15 points

These guys did a great job, and the Keg Walk was torture! Two minutes of walking with a keg between two lines – sick! But nobody complained. They just kept moving forward.

So, it’s another Juniata Clinic in the books. It was great to see everybody again and I got to network with some of my closest friends on an upcoming project.

While I am at it, I also want to thank Niki DeSantis for hooking me up with some killer phone books. Nice thick Virginia phone books are always a good tear. THANKS!

In closing, if you’re a strength coach in the state of PA or a nearby state, keep your eyes open for this clinic. It is always a good, affordable time where you learn a lot and meet other good strength coaches.

Until then, thanks and all the best in your training.


P.S. An Offensive Explosion is returning to the game of baseball. Here’s why = > Ultimate Forearm Training for Baseball


How to Bend Nails | How to Tear Cards | Feats of Grip Strength Explained | How to Build Your Own Equipment | How to Lift Atlas Stones | The Sh*t You’ve Never Seen | Sled Dragging for Athletes | The Road to the Record DVD

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3 Responses to “Juniata Clinic Report”

  1. Jerry Shreck Says:

    You could not be more right about this clinic. I can’t believe that a thousand people don’t show up for it, but I know every time a new coach or trainer shows up they keep coming back every year! I had a blast with your strongman competition and posted some video highlights of myself going through it over at my site. Check it out if you get a chance. It was great seeing you again buddy!

  2. brent Says:

    I’d be interested in the thumb compression tools you learned. any chance of a video in the future?


  3. Jim Smith Says:

    Sure Brent, I will put it up on The Grip Authority.

    It is also in the Baseball Manual I wrote.

    Jerry, you did awesome in the contest. You just got beat by experience (Dan) and a dark horse (Jakeyow).

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