The belt squat machine, or as Louie Simmons of Westside Barbell has renamed it – “The Athletic Training Platform (A.T.P.),” might be the single best machine to keep elderly, injury-plagued humans able to strength train when all other strength training options seem to be off the table.
And the beautiful thing about the belt squat machine, or Athletic Training Platform, is that it is so damn useful that not only will the user be able to train, but they will likely become so rehabilitated and strengthened that they reach fitness and strength heights they’ve never been before.
When using the belt squat in it’s most original context, due to the placement of the belt around the waistline and the angle of the traction, one can load incredible weights onto the body while actually decompressing the spine rather than compressing it and resetting the pelvis into the most anatomically-sound position. THAT is truly outstanding.
Here are some videos of Louie Simmons and co. describing and displaying the versatility of the belt squat machine:
References for topics we discussed during our fitness sessions:
*** When spending some time in a Worker’s Compensation law office setting, it was alarming how the vast majority of worker’s comp cases are office workers – people who just sit at a desk all day and work with computers and/or paper. It might seem from face-value that the physically demanding labor-intensive outdoor jobs are obviously more dangerous than a “safe” indoor office job. But the ratios of work-related injuries that I saw told a very different story. From head and neck injuries, to shoulders, elbows, wrists and hands, and even lower back, hip, and leg injuries, the dangers of the office worker run the gamut and rank supreme. I wish I were being sarcastic, but it’s just true. Is it the individual who is drawn to a desk job? Is it the activity of the desk job itself? Is it the inactivity, the sedation of the desk job? Is it the lack of attention to keeping the body fit, even when work doesn’t seem to require it? Surely, a combination of these factors and probably many more are worked into the equation. But regardless of the reasons, it is important to know that working at a desk is very dangerous, and we must prepare the body and mind accordingly! ***
Today, in America, if one has any ailment beyond the common cold (and sometimes even with just the common cold), the status quo is to see a doctor or specialist of some kind to help get through the ailment as swiftly and painlessly as possible.
Discomfort of any kind is seen as completely unacceptable. The same seems true for confusion, uncertainty, curiosity, or bewilderment.
If one openly admits any of these states of being, the average audience will respond without any pause with some version of, “I know a guy,” “my friend saw this doctor and loved her, here is her info,” or simply, “have you seen a doctor?”
It is almost impossible to even imagine someone responding with, “Keep digging and searching, you’ll learn a lot from this. And the harder the answer is to find, the more you’ll learn about yourself and life, in general.”
What a powerful, empowering, and freedom-anchored approach and response to an issue!
What does one learn when seeing a doctor to “fix” a problem? Anything? The doctor is not there to teach about this problem and the array of context it came from. The doctor is typically not even there to cure and reverse the problem. Instead, the doctor’s main priorities are to treat/subdue the symptoms of the problem and to allow the patient to feel satisfied with having come to that doctor to remove their pain. Neither of those necessarily address the core cause of the problem.
See, pain is viewed as an evil thing in our society – a point of view that itself amplifies any level of said pain. Conversely, seeing pain as part of growth will automatically reduce the sensation of that pain, because pain is as much a product of perspective as it is a physical reality.
Unfortunately, we do not see pain as potential to grow, so removing pain, whatever the cost, is held in highest regard.
What if, instead of making pain the enemy, we made growth and learning the goal, a goal that might indeed be arrived at through a path of some struggling and pain? If we accept pain as a part of the growth process and just keep trudging on, are we not exercising the exact freedom that we worship in Western society?
“Freedom” is having the choice to be happy. Freedom is not the guarantee of happiness. Freedom puts each individual in the driver’s seat, rather than the passenger seat.
So, what does one get by simply following the status quo and visiting a doctor or specialized professional to answer their problem asap? Any knowledge? Any power? Any independence?
It appears not. It appears that an average doctor’s visit results in any number of prescribed medications (each with their own side-effect symptoms), a diagnosis that may or may not be true, and most definitely a surge of personal dependence on that doctor and that medical system.
See, because we do not learn from the doctor, we simply become a slave to the doctor’s all-knowing expertise. When one medication fails, we trust that doctor to replace it with another one or simply add another one on. Is anyone ever told that the goal is to eventually never need that doctor or any medication ever again – to regain full independence?
No, because that wouldn’t be in the best interest of the medical business. Instead of grateful and happy patients, the medical system prefers dependent patients. This is perfectly understandable from a profit-aimed point of view.
How about, as Mark Twain (and many others) dubbed – take note of the direction of the majority and head the opposite way.
How about struggling, searching, learning, toiling with the symptoms and the reality of the situation and seeing where we end up.
I personally know from much experience that it would have been far more fulfilling to have struggled to the depths of my soul to earn a “C” grade on a test than to have stolen the answer key and received a carefully orchestrated “A-” through no real effort of my own. Actually, to be honest, I assume it’d be more fulfilling to earn the “C,” as to know that it would bring more fulfillment would mean I actually did that (I always chose the answer-key path).
To get to 70-80% of optimal health through struggle, relentless self-experimentation, confusion, and bewilderment will be infinitely more satisfying and fulfilling, and thereby healthier in the long run, than reaching 95% symptom-free living while having no clue why or how the x-number of medications do what they do and how long it’ll last. Right?
Often times, the doctor is just an answer key to a problem that when embraced and pursued relentlessly and independently would have been one of the most fruitful journeys in one’s life.
Kaut stuff 3 6/5/17
I am currently in the midst of a a friendly bet with two of my homies. I am attempting to cut weight down to 155# (20 lbs total) and hold that weight before my friend cuts to 195# (20 lbs total) and holds that weight.
Today is 7/18/17….. yesterday 7/17/17 I reached 150lbs bodyweight. A week or two ago, I had reached 155# and thought I had won. But then I looked at the initial photo at it said 170#. So, just in case, I dropped 5 more lbs. photos to come….
Cal Poly State University San Luis Obispo, BA in Communication Studies (2009)
Writing and Personal Training / Coaching Experience
- MESSFIT – 1/2012- present.
- Fitness writer for Demand Studios: Pen Name: Ryan Mess. 9/2013-present?
- Instagram: @rybernkaut
- Twitter: @rybernkaut
- YouTube: rybernkaut
- Website: messfit.com
- Director of Training at CrossFit Huntington Beach 08/2010 – 10/01/2011.
- Level 1 Accredited and Certified, Westside Barbell Powerlifting Certified.
- Long Beach State Rugby Strength and Conditioning Coach. 2010
- Cotton On – USA Warehouse worker – Lead replenishment and distributions. (2009).
- On Board Entertainment: Nike+ Human Race Annual 10K and Charity Event. Position: Marketing Intern. (Summer 2008)
- Promoted the Nike+ Human Race as part of the ESPYS, X-Games, OK GO promotional video, and Long Beach AVP with an intern team in Human Race sprinter track singlets.
- Supervised and coordinated events in the VIP runner section of the event.
Activities and Awards
- California’s Strongest Man 2012 2nd place 200lb weight class.(2012)
- California State Powerlifting Championships USPA 3rd place 198lb class.(2012)
- Beach Cities Strongest Man 2012 4th place Heavyweight division (at 180lbs bwt). (2012)
- Southern California Griffins All-Stars Rugby 7s team captain (2009)
- USA Rugby 7s top 50 Prospects. (2009)
- Cal Poly San Luis Obispo Rugby Team (2006-2009)
- Captain (2008-2009)
- Disciplinary Committee (2008-2009)
- Belmont Shore Tigers 7’s Rugby (2007-2010)
National Champions 2009, #2 in the Nation in 2008, #2 in the Nation 2010.
High School – Long Beach Wilson High School 2001/2 – 2004/5
- Varsity Baseball (2003-2005)(1st Team All Moore League 2005)
- NHS/CSF (2004-2005)
- Distinguished Scholars (2001-2005)
- First Team All Moore League Baseball (2005)
Dr. Yessis translated some of the most important Soviet training systems into English. Here is his website.