Strength Basics

Getting stronger, fitter, and healthier by sticking to the basics. It's not rocket science, it's doing the simple stuff the right way. Strength-Basics updates every Monday, plus extra posts during the week.

About the Author

Who writes this?

My name is Peter Dell'Orto. I am an Certified Personal Trainer through the NSCA (National Strength and Conditioning Association).

I am a strength training enthusiast and amateur MMA fighter.

I'm a certified CPT through the NSCA and I work at a gym as a personal trainer. My own interests are in athletic strength and conditioning and in helping out beginners learning to lift. I write this blog to help see what I know (if I can't explain it, I don't really understand it) and to pass on good information about training. I hope to contribute to drowning out the bad information that's so common.

Still, I'm at best a thoughtful amateur. Please keep that in mind when you read this material - it's not meant to be strength training advice, personal training, or taken as a prescription for exercise. Nothing in this blog is intended as professional advice. Follow any advice here at your own risk. You should talk to your doctor AND a qualified strength coach in person before you start training.

I write this blog for fun, to ensure I keep myself abreast of current developments in the world of strength and conditioning training, and above all, to educate people. Strength training is made out to be more difficult and more complex than it really is. My goal is to demystify it and make it accessible. Knowledge is power, and strength is power. Stick to the basics and you'll get that power.

How did you get into weight training?

It's hard to believe it to look at me now, or to watch me compete, but I wasn't very athletic. As a kid I enjoyed kickball, wiffle ball, baseball, sledding, running, biking, fishing, and other activites. But as I got older I lost out to the more athletic kids and it spiraled down from there.

By Junior High I was the last kid picked for a team.

I got about 0 pushups on the fitness test.

I couldn't do a pullup, and the climbing rope was out of the question.

I did karate at a storefront dojo, but somehow it never translated into actual toughness or fitness. I was skinny-fat and got by on my brains because I certainly didn't have any muscle.

Fast-forward to today. I can knock out pushups until I'm bored and I've got my pullups into the double-digits even for difficult variations. I'm lean and fit and I look like the athlete I've become. But I didn't get here easily. It took hard work and many, many detours into poor programs, bad training, miserable diets, and bad habits. I've learned a lot over the years, and I'm doing my level best to pass them along to you so you don't have to make the mistakes I did.

In short, I started out weak and unfit and overweight, and changed all three of those adjectives into more positive ones. You can do it too.

Where are you located?

I live and train in Northern New Jersey.

What do you train?

I train Bando, and compete in amateur submission grappling, out of Advanced Fighting Systems in Mahwah NJ under Phil Dunlap.

I formally trained for strength and conditioning under John Impallomeni and then Mike Guandango at DeFranco's Training Systems in Wyckoff NJ.

Why did I go to a coach if I'm a trainer myself? Because everyone can benefit from a different perspective, and everyone can benefit from an objective viewpoint. I can train myself, but I get optimal results when I let someone else observe me, coach me, and program training for me. This lets me concentrate on doing the work, and lets me save my brain power for helping my own clients reach their goals. Your doctor goes to a doctor, doesn't he or she? Smart trainers go to other trainers, in my opinion.

Do you train people?

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