Welcome to The Gains Lab’s Competitor: the most comprehensive and rigorous training available for fitness athletes.  Competitor is for athletes whose goals include:

  • Competing at a high level, and contending for a podium spot in any competition
  • Pushing yourself to the limits of your potential as an athlete
  • Increasing your understanding of fitness, athletics and training

There are a few prerequisites.  The Competitor framework presumes familiarity with  the movements common to the sport.  You’ll also need 90-120 minutes per training day.   Splitting it into two sessions is fine.  (Time a little tighter?  Our Total Domination program is designed to maximize the value your training time if your schedule is a little tighter.  Check it out here.)



We’ve competed in the Regionals and Games.   We've thrown down in Miami, Texas, Pensacola, and many others.  And we've been part of hundreds of local events.  We know what it's like to arrange things around your training.  Food choices. Social life.  Finding a box with open gym hours before you make hotel reservations.  We get it.  We understand your commitment to your goals, and we’ll match it every step of the way.   

We also work with athletes and coaches from MLB, the NFL and MMA.   We incorporate lessons learned from these elite athletes, resulting in an innovative approach to functional fitness that you won’t find anywhere else.   Check out a sample training day from an actual Competitor program:

Actual training day from a  Competitor  program.

Actual training day from a Competitor program.


Strength training:  Strength training is part of every competition program.   We use a balanced, cyclical approach which relies on targeted intensity rather than endless volume.   Strength is a function of motor unit recruitment, which is governed by the size principle.  Most programs lack the intensity to recruit the highest-force-producing motor units, leaving strength gains on the table.   Instead, they over-stress medium-intensity motor units, producing some gains but also fatiguing the same motor units you’ll need for MetCons.

 Learning force production and  biomechanics from the pros.

 Learning force production and  biomechanics from the pros.

MetCons:  Competitor MetCons arise from combinations of exercises which are uncorrelated with each other.  This means that improving any individual component of a MetCon will have no impact on the others.   (Running with Clean and Jerks.  Deadlifts plus Ring Muscle Ups).   This ensures that actual fitness – capacity across broad time and modal domains – is being improved, not just a handful of related skills. 

Accessory work:   Weightlifting is a force problem.   The upward motion of the bar is a reaction to the force exerted against the ground.  The force is exerted by the extension of the hips and knees.    Effective accessory work (a) increases force production and (b) eliminates imbalances which decrease force production.   Verbal cues help with inexperienced athletes, but the root of technical problems is a physiological issue.   We correct these.  




Rate of Force Development:   The RFD measures how well athletes convert strength into power.  For example, increased RFD enables you to produce force in the short window when the bar is optimally positioned on a snatch or clean.  Power is the ability to optimize the relationship between force and velocity in muscle contractions.  Athletes deadlift more than they snatch because a deadlift has no significant velocity component.  The deadlift is a low power (but very high force) lift.  A snatch requires force and velocity, and demands much more power than a deadlift.   A higher RFD means more power, and we train it explicitly. 

Pure Capacity: In addition to increasing systemic parameters like stroke volume and red blood cell content, well-designed capacity work increases capillary density around working muscle cells. This enables quicker removal of waste products and higher sustained glycolytic output.   That’s huge in our sport!  The session pictured above uses short bursts to recruit a broader range of motor units and subjects them to high volumes of muscle contractions, increasing their oxidative capacity.  The bursts also depletes phosphocreatine without lowering pH, which increases the concentration of ADP and signals increased mitochondrial output.   Pure capacity is customized to each athlete, and happens every training day.

Stretch Shortening Cycle:   The SSC is the mechanism by which muscles and tendons capture and return energy from motion.  The running stride relies on it.  The SSC also shows up at the bottom of a clean (or wall ball, or thruster) as well as box jumps, toes to bar, and all over our sport.  Two reflexes control the SSC.  One increases muscle activation during the stretch, and the other reduces muscle activation when the load is too high to prevent injury.  This means the actual intensity of force production is the result of your voluntary efforts plus these reflexesWith training, muscles can “learn” to tolerate greater stretching, and capture more energy.   In short, enhancing the SSC makes athletes stronger and more efficient. 

Skills / Drills / Technique Work:  Every training session includes off-the-clock skills work.    Major leaguers take batting practice.   Basketball players shoot jumpers before practice.   Receivers run extra routes.   Professional athletes in other sports work on their skills off the clock, and so do we.


We're here throughout the program to answer questions, review videos and analyze results.   All of our athletes have unlimited access to the coaches. Need additional clarity?  We'll get on the phone with you.   This is what we do, because this is what you do.    Sign me up!