Early morning training coming soon. Times to be determined based on demand. Contact us if you're interested.
Announcing Fall 2018 Internship Opportunities
Join us for our second formal internship period of 2018.
Learn how we apply the fundamentals of strength & conditioning to our trainees. Gain some experience in small group barbell coaching. Get an insight into how our gym is run. Learn about how we coach the barbell lifts and how to apply ideas about physical preparation to real life humans.
There is no “life hack” to become good at coaching. You need time in the trenches to develop your eye and your communication skills. We can help you get started on the right foot. Pick up on some of our mistakes from a decade of coaching so that you make fewer of them yourself.
A successful intern candidate will be:
-of good character
-able to work respectfully with a diverse range of people. Members may include cops, social activists, hunters, and vegans.
-open minded, open eared, and open eyed. You will need to be “coachable” yourself if you want to get good at coaching others.
Interns will be introduced to general physical preparation, powerlifting, weightlifting (Olympic), grip strength training and a range of training methodologies as they are applied to a diverse group of trainees.
No experience or previous certification required. This is an unpaid internship: a chance to learn and an opportunity to serve our gym community.
For more information:
1.What is the address of the gym? Can I just drop by?
The gym is located in East Vancouver near Powell Street and Victoria Drive. We are a private facility and all visiting is done by appointment. This can be arranged by emailing terminalcitytraining(at)gmail.com
2. What should I bring to training?
A water bottle. Long socks or tights are helpful to protect the legs. Also, the gym is cold. The heater is terrible (and noisy) and the insulation is… not good. Not a problem in the warmer months when the gym becomes overly hot and the neighbourhood stinks.
Bring dry and clean non-outdoor shoes. Something like Chuck Taylors or Vans, which are flat and with a fairly firm midsole, can work well if you don’t have purpose-made lifting shoes. Runners are not good but bring them if that is all you have.
3. Do you offer boot camps?
We are focused on individualised development and do not run boot camp style training.
4.How does group training differ from private training?
The approach to training is the same whether training in a group or privately. All lifters follow individualized programs. Groups are kept small, typically with four members. This allows us to maintain quality and a technical focus.
5. Do I need to have experience or take private lessons before joining a group?
A good attitude is the only requirement.
6. Are you a powerlifting gym?
We do have members who compete in powerlifting but we have a broader focus than powerlifting. The classic barbell lifts and strength form the foundation of our training. Over the years we have also had members who compete in weightlifting, jiu-jitsu, ultra-running, football, hockey, roller-derby, and ultimate frisbee. Some of us “do not do sports.” Some of us climb or hunt in the mountains. We train a lot of librarians and prepare aspiring cops. The basic element that connects us all is the commitment to getting stronger and better. If raw-style powerlifting is of interest to you then by all means we can help.
Terminal City May Mash-Up Grip Contest Results
May 6, 2018. Vancouver, Canada.
Reverse Strongman Scoring. All results in pounds.
Three classes: Open Female, Open Male, Overall
Competitors given the option to weight in as all classes were open.
Nathan Wall 209.4 pounds age 32
Nick Ratcliffe 212.2 age 30
Al Heinemann 182.9 age 45
Tara Robertson no weight age 41
Laura De Pascale 135 age 24
Christina Matheson no weight age 39
Esme Matsuzaki 62.2 age 11
Nola Matsuzaki 48.9 age 7
2” FBBC Vertical Bar
1. Nathan Wall 190
2. Al Heinemann 170
3. Tara Robertson 150
4. Nick Ratcliffe 139.4
5. Laura De Pascale 125
6. Christina Matheson 100
7. Esme Matsuzaki 54
8. Nola Matsuzaki 27
World of Grip Half Penny
1.Al Heinemann 23.5
2 ½. Tara Robertson 22.5
2 ½. Nathan Wall 22.5
4. Nick Ratcliffe 17.1
5 ½. Christina Matheson 15
5 ½. Laura De Pascale 15
7. Esme Matsuzaki 10.6
8. Nola Matsuzaki 8.3
Judy Pinch (approx. 2 inch custom pinch block)
1 ½. Nathan Wall 70
1 ½. Al Heinemann 70
3 ½. Tara Robertson 60
3 ½. Nick Ratcliffe 60
5. Laura De Pascale 50
6. Christina Matheson 29.9
7. Esme Matsuzaki 17.8
8. Nola Matsuzaki no lift
Silver Bullet Hold (5 pounds)
1.Nick Ratcliffe CoC#2 20 sec.
2. Al Heinemann CoC#2 11 sec.
3. Nathan Wall CoC#2 2 sec.
4. Tara Robertson CoC#1 5 sec.
5. Laura De Pascale CoC#1 4 sec.
6. Christina Matheson Coc Sport 4 sec.
7 ½. Nola Matsuzaki no lift
7 ½. Esme Matsuzaki no lift
1. Tara Robertson
2. Laura De Pascale
3. Christina Matheson
4. Esme Matsuzaki
5. Nola Matsuzaki
1. Al Heinemann
2. Nathan Wall
3. Nick Ratcliffe
Overall Placing All Competitors
1. Al Heinemann 6.5 points
2. Nathan Wall 8
3. Nick Ratcliffe 12.5
4. Tara Robertson 13
5. Laura De Pascale 20.5
6. Christina Matheson 23.5
7. Esme Matsuzaki 28.5
8. Nola Matsuzaki 31.5
Thanks to all competitors, our two volunteer officials, and everyone else who helped out. Special thanks to Eric Roussin for his guidance from across the country.
Terminal City May Mash-Up Grip Competition
May 6, 2018. Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
Entry Fee: $0
Three classes: Open Female - Open Male - Open All Comers
2” Vertical Bar (FBBC)
Halfpenny (World Of Grip)
Judy Pinch - unique pinch block. Approximately 1.5 inches thick
Silver Bullet Hold
This will be our first grip contest. For more information or to register you can email Al at email@example.com
Jim Wendler makes some great points in his talk about the "chasm" between how training is portrayed on social media and how it is actually practiced by coaches in the field.
His points about the lack of athletic development that he finds in his high school and junior high football candidates apply very well to adult fitness and novice strength trainees who first walk into the gym for training.
For the most part these adults have spent countless hours and years sitting in front of computers, not developing themselves physically, and narrowing their parameters of athletic competence.
However inspired they might be by images of powerlifters, weightlifters, ultra-runners, or whatever, their own state of physical preparedness requires a much more simplified and generalized approach to training. What they need to do, first, is very different from what they find in Instagram or Youtube sub-cultures. They need to build a base of strength and movement before they specialize. They need to develop general competence.
And, if you are a coach or trainer, you may feel pressure to comply to the narratives of the social media-fuelled fitness subcultures. Let me warn you that it is not wise to steer your novice or general fitness-oriented lifters into training like powerlifters or whatever other speciality you identify with. Training them like they need to be trained is not the same as training them as they want to be trained or as you train yourself. A little self-awareness goes a long way.
Powerlifting is surging in popularity, and the sport holds an unprecedented appeal to female lifters. Laura, a longtime trainee at Terminal City, recently decided to enter her first competition. She registered for the British Columbia Powerlifting Association Winter Open but she was waitlisted due to the significant demand. We decided to prepare her as if she had a spot in the roster, and in case she did not get in we planned to hold an unofficial mini-meet so that all her training and practice could be topped off with more experience and, if her stars aligned, some personal records.
Laura's preparation went very well and, with the help of our interns and her gym-mates, we were able to get in some good technical practice using the commands and demands that she would face in the competitive context. Her taper went smoothly and was well-timed yet just a few days before the meet it was confirmed that she would not get a spot.
We did well in making this a non-issue and proceeded with our mini-meet plan, which we were able to do two days after the official meet. One of our interns, Erin, had experience back-in-the-day as both a powerlifting competitor and an official. I served as another referee as did a rotating cast of gym-mates. Over the next two-and-a-half hours, with her gym-mates trading off between training and officiating, Laura was able to see success on all nine of her lifts, which was our goal for the meet. She lifted personal bests in her squat, bench and deadlift (185 pounds/105/190).
Thank you to all our team members including our interns Erin and Eric, our lifters, and of course Laura for having the guts to commit, prepare, and then see it through. Thanks also to Su for taking photos.
Question from Casey, strength coach:
What strategies do you use for novice lifters that struggle to get their depth in the back squat?
There is a minority of novice lifters who can hit depth nicely from day one. The rest have to work for it.
If a new trainee is not getting desired depth then I typically encourage consistency at whatever depth they can achieve and focus on pushing out the knees. Put the time in, get used to the positions, let the body adapt. This is primary.
It can also be useful to have them spend time doing kettlebell squats and goblet squats with lots of time spent in the bottom forcing out knees with elbows.
Squat stance width can be a useful variable. A width that allows them to squat deeper can later be adjusted to a more efficient stance as far as force production goes. Have the lifter play with stance and observe closely. Take notes for later sessions.
If the new lifter does not have good squat shoes then having them put some micro plates under their heels can help once they are comfortable and balanced with regular squatting in their regular shoes. Let them just get used to squatting first.
Have them do the Agile 8 or another appropriate hip mobility sequence during the warm-up every session. For better results encourage them to do this on their own time as well. Keep the sequence brief and simple so that they are more likely to actually do it when no one else is enforcing discipline.
Best thing of all though has just been to have them squat to their best depth consistently and usually it will come.
Starting to get into some heavier lifts now. My co-workers keep on saying I should be wearing a belt but I am not 100% sold on them. What are your thoughts?
I will try and sum up my thoughts on belts.
-There is no definitive answer on the efficacy of belt usage. Many good and great coaches and lifters are in favour and some are against. I take a middle road.
-First of all, the proper use of a belt is to help to teach and ensure that you are pressurizing and using your abs well. It should not be a psychological crutch or a way to feel safer in lifting heavier weights. It is not so much the belt that protects your body as it is your own air and abs.
-If you choose to use a belt it is usually best to use it on your heaviest warm-ups and working sets and go without your belt for most of your warm-ups.
-The belt tends to work best with squatting and overhead pressing. These are the best lifts for learning to use it.
-On the deadlift the belt is usually worn looser and higher and this can be confusing at first.
-If you choose to buy a belt look for a very stiff or at least moderately stiff model. Buy one that is uniformly wide front and back. Do not buy a belt that is wide at the back and narrow at the front. This defeats the purpose of the belt, which is to teach you to breathe and brace.
For more in-depth information on belts for the strength lifts, check out Rippetoe's Starting Strength. The above opinions are for squatting, pressing and the like. Belt choice would be different for snatch and clean & jerk.
I sometimes receive emails asking if I do "form checks" and the like from novice self-taught lifters. A great number of people have purchased Starting Strength or mined the depths of Youtube and have otherwise basically been on their own with their training. A nice, thoughtful, guy named Nick came to the gym a few months back and we spent an hour together going over fundamentals. He sent me a message which I share below. I should add it to my "Testimonials" but I see I haven't posted to this blog for about a year.
I wanted to thank you again, Al, for our session last night. You're a spectacular teacher. Having such a skilled set of eyes looking over my work was invaluable. I'm eager to go to the gym and practice the lessons I learned from you.
One of the big takeaways for me is the notion of tightening your whole body so no strength "leaks out." It made the movements feel so much better. That piece of advice alone was worth the price of admission because it has the potential to transform my practice.
Beyond that, all the tips, advice, and adjustments you provided felt great. Your voice will be in my mind during my next workouts.
Thanks for your time and attention, Al.