Articles & Videos Author
by Joannes Marvin, SSC

Bro Science 102 – Center of Mass and Balance

Let’s continue our effort in learning proper bro-science! This particular one is important in ensuring the safety of our muscular gains endeavour because there’s nothing scarier than falling forward face first with a heavy bar on your back. Let’s talk about balance and stability.

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Talking About Physical Therapy With Dr. Nick D’Agostino

Dr. Nick D’Agostino is a Starting Strength Staff Coach and a Doctor in Physical Therapy. Coach Marvin had the pleasure of working with Dr. Nick for almost 2 years during his injury rehabilitation and then in a coach-lifter relationship.

During this time, Coach Marvin realised that Dr. Nick’s practices in physical therapy is something that is different from anything that he could find in Singapore.

Let’s listen to this conversation with Dr. Nick as he discusses his method of practice in physical therapy!

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Programming 101 – Loading Protocols

Getting to the end of your Starting Strength Novice Linear Progression and wondering how to adjust your programming to continue making progress? In this article, I will reveal the trade secrets that helped me become the strongest Indonesian Starting Strength Coach (SSC).

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The Second Rep – Tips for Your Deadlift

tting up for your first rep on the deadlift is pretty straightforward and has been discussed many times in the Starting Strength space. However, how do you ensure that the subsequent reps are set up properly?

Here are 2 cues from Coach Marvin to solve this issue.

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My Doctor Told Me to Never Lift Anything Heavy

When I was 15, I was diagnosed with imperfections of the lumbar spine, resulting in chronic back pain. For years, I blindly followed my doctor’s advice and avoided heavy lifting. But avoiding the issue won’t solve it – thankfully, I realised that the best cure for a weak back is to make it stronger.

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RPE – Rate of Perceived Exertion or Really Poor Excuses?

RPE is a polarising topic. Some lifters deem it unreliable or useless, because it relies on individual “feeling.” Others like it, because you can calibrate stress to ever-changing performance conditions.
So, is RPE as simple as using your “feeling” to determine intensity? Is it the answer to programming for fluctuations in human performance? Let’s dig in.

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FRAGILE! Handle With Care

Throughout my coaching career, some clients have been incredible teachers for me.
Here’s to the newbies who are terrified about beginning their training – this is how you can work effectively with your coach to achieve your goals.

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The Tortoise and the Hare and Its Application to Your Fitness Goal

As a coach, I regularly encounter clients who want to get strong fast, and achieve their physique, body weight and body fat percentage goals ASAP. While there’s nothing wrong with setting optimistic goals, they need a better perspective on time and feasibility.
I explain how, using lessons from the familiar childhood bedtime story, The Tortoise and The Hare.

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What I Learned From Constantly Failing My Diet

If you have been following Hygieia’s social media pages, you might remember me documenting my attempts to gain weight, but failing. I felt that something was off, but didn’t know what.
Only after consulting with an experienced dietician did I figure it out. I also realised that having the right professional in your corner makes a real difference. Here’s what I learned.

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How to Never Mentally Give up a Rep – Stop Being a Coward

The timer goes off – it’s time to go for your PR. Palms sweaty, knees weak, arms heavy. You’re nervous. You’ve never lifted this weight before. That last warm-up felt unusually heavy. And you start to doubt yourself: “If that last warm-up already felt so heavy, can I really lift the weight on the bar?”
Here are 5 ways to mentally prepare and push through a heavy lift.

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The Patient’s Dilemma

Ever been told by a doctor that you should avoid lifting weights, running, *insert physical activity here* because of your back, neck, shoulder or knee pain? At the same time, that same doctor recommends that you should strengthen the muscles around the structure that’s causing the pain as it’ll help stabilise the joint. So what should you do? You’re not alone in this dilemma – Coach Marvin had the same experience when he was diagnosed with a spine degenerative condition and was told to avoid his favourite sport. Here’s why the advice given by the doctor isn’t always sound.

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Survival Reaction in the Squat – The Chesty Edition

A heavy bar is loaded on your back. You start descending, bending your knees and hips so that your hip crease dips below the top of your patella. You try to get back up, but darn, it’s heavy! Here comes your natural instinct to survive – raising the chest up, in the hope that the bar will follow. Even worse, you might start looking up! Because you’ve got to look up to go up, right? Well, well. If this is you, please read this article to understand how your survival reaction is detrimental to the lift.

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Latihan Barbel adalah Obat yang Ampuh

“[S]aat ini tidak ada bukti yang pasti bahwa latihan kekuatan – atau program latihan dan diet lain – akan memperpanjang masa hidup secara signifikan. Tapi dengan bukti ilmiah yang banyak, walau memiliki kelemahan, secara kuat menunjukkan bahwa kita bisa mengubah arah penurunan.” [Bahasa Indonesia translation of Barbell Training is Big Medicine]

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How to Set Up Safely for the Barbell Lifts

Learning to squat, press, bench, and deadlift; there’s no lack of tutorials showing you how to do each one of those correctly and safely. However, safety is not only dictated by your form or whether or not you are choosing the correct weight on the first day, but also knowing how to set up your equipment correctly. Here are some guidelines for your reference.

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Kekuatan & Barbel – Fondasi Kebugaran

Jika saya mendapatkan satu dolar setiap kali seorang klien atau atlet bertanya mengapa mereka harus melakukan squat dan tidak bisakah mereka melakukan lunge saja, atau pertanyaan-pertanyaan serupa dengan variasi latihan berbeda, saya mungkin mendapatkan cukup uang untuk membuka gym yang telah idamkan. Jika saya menambahkannya sebanyak pertanyaan serupa di forum, saya bahkan mungkin bisa membayar sewanya. [Indonesian translation of Strength & Barbells by fellow Starting Strength Coach, Michael Wolf]

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How Strong is Strong Enough?

You’ve been training for a while, and you noticed how much you’ve progressed. Your numbers have indeed been going up, but are you strong enough? Before worrying about whether or not you’re strong enough, take a moment and think about why you started strength training in the first place.

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The Five-Second Rule

Have you heard of the five-second rule? Have you noticed yourself or seen anyone giving up on their lifts, although it looked relatively easy until they gave up?

If you are guilty of such a crime, don’t worry! You are not alone! The majority of the lifters belongs to Team “Let it go!”

Bro science tells us that there are only two kinds of lifters in this world – lifters that are strong and lifters who let it (the bar) go.

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Foolproof Back Tweak Fix

Earlier this month, I had a bad back tweak from squatting. It was terrible. I was limping for almost a week. At one point, it was so painful to wake up from bed; I was shaking for minutes whenever I stood up.
However, within 7 days, I resumed my normal daily activities. Here’s the details of how it happened, why it happened, and what I did to recover.

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Getting My Mom to Train

I love my parents, and I bet you do too. My goal is to increase their quality of life – to be physically independent and enjoy whatever they want to do for the rest of their lives, however long that may be.
Here’s my advice on how to convince your parents to start strength training.

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Consistency is Key

Oh boy, what a boring title! The content of this article could potentially be boring, as with the message that I’m trying to send across. What is said here is not a secret…

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My interest in fitness started when I was around 19 years old. Being overweight for most of my growing up years, I decided to do something about it. After months of not being able to achieve the desired results, I began poring through books and articles about training and nutrition. The more I read, the more interested I became in this field, and got better results when the the newly discovered knowledge was applied. After 1 year of persistence and hard work, I lost 24kg and felt fantastic. The sense of achievement motivated me to pursue a career in working with people to help them achieve their own fitness goals.

After achieving my weight loss goal, I tried a variety of training programs for a few years, looking for a new goal to train towards. After aimlessly moving around from program to program, I chanced upon a book called Starting Strength: Basic Barbell Training, written by renowned strength and conditioning expert, Mark Rippetoe. Little did I know that this book was about to change my life and coaching career.

At that point, I had experience training with barbells and was relatively familiar with it but never have I come across any material that gave such explicitly detailed explanations of how to perform the barbell lifts. I devoured the book and modified my lifting technique and program. In just a few months, I was pleasantly surprised by how much stronger he had become. I now had a new goal to work towards – getting strong.

With full confidence in the efficacy of the Starting Strength methodology, I began coaching my clients using this program and got them stronger than they ever thought was possible. The consistent success my clients achieved through the program cemented my confidence in Mark Rippetoe’s teachings. I then decided to pursue the credential of being a Starting Strength Coach and I’m currently the first and only certified coach in Singapore and South-East Asia

In my 9 years of experience, I have given talks and ran programs at numerous companies and worked with a diverse group clientele of all ages with a variety of goals. Today, I specialise in coaching people in their 40s, 50s and beyond because it brings me a great sense of satisfaction to be part of the process of improving this demographics’ health and quality of life by getting them stronger.