Albert Coleman (albert @ phxstrength.com) became interested in strength exercise in high school to improve his performance as a baseball player. This interest became a passion when he went on to play Division 1 baseball and was at the mercy of ill-informed strength coaches. Needing to find a better way to keep him injury-free than what was being presented to him by the college strength and conditioning staff, he chanced upon the SuperSlow technical manual while combing the shelves of a Borders. A few years later in 1999, Al passed the test of the most stringent certification in the industry; the SuperSlow Exercise Specialist Certification Following, Al spent the next 10 years under the tutelage of Master Instructor Rob Serraino and honed his craft.
From 2010-2019, Al worked for RenEx/Overload Fitness where he served as Director of Education. During this time, he worked in close concert with Ken Hutchins, Josh Trentine and Gus Diamantopoulos in refining the RenEx Protocol. In 2019, Al moved back to Washington DC and began to work with Nicole Gustavson and her team. In reconnecting with Nicole, Al found both the ideal business and life companion.
A “Slow Show” of a story about how two people came together in business and in life, at just the right time.
In 2011, in preparation for the opening of what would be her first of two InForm Fitness Virginia studios, Nicole traveled the country visiting various veteran HIT strength studios to do research. While visiting Overload Fitness in Cleveland, OH, to discuss a possible business partnership with RenEx Exercise Equipment, she met and witnessed Al Coleman demonstrate a set of the Leg Press exercise to failure. Was it love at first sight? With Nicole witnessing someone physically pushing themselves with such intensity, and with Al suffering the immediate effects of such intensity, one could rest assured that it would take them both years to process this chance encounter. In fact, Mr. Coleman’s level of post-exercise delirium left his memory vague at best about what would turn out to be a pivotal moment in his life.
Fast forward 8 years, Al relocated back to the Washington DC area where he grew up, bringing his experience in training instructors, as well as developing and refining protocols to help another studio. Al reached out to Nicole on a whim, and the rest is history that’s still in the making. Nicole’s studios in Virginia provided a platform for Al to continue to develop and refine his ideas, which helped her business evolve.
On the personal side, Nicole and Al found in each other “their other half” as people say. After both having experienced the rougher side of life over the previous several years, the fortuitous partnership of Nicole and Al tells a love story of two people coming together to help one another during a time when the rest of the world is falling apart.
Seeing obvious shortcomings in the way that high intensity strength exercise has been taught, Nicole and Al set out on a new course to change the way exercise is taught and delivered to the exercising public, and hence Automated Muscle was born.
Al and Nicole run PHX Strength in Reston, Virginia. PHX Strength applies their very own Automated Muscle methodology in improving exercise performance for clients to achieve their optimal health and fitness.
In this episode, Al shares the PHX Strength story, the squeeze technique, thoughts on HIT principles, what he’s changed his mind about in HIT, and much more.
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- 02:22 – Personal life and business updates
- 05:18 – PHX Strength (business profile & methodology)
- 09:57 – Parable on self-awareness
- 12:08 – Rethinking HIT and the key things that really matter
- 23:58 – The “Squeeze Technique”
- 38:15 – Al’s upcoming book
Selected Links from the Episode
- Division 1 College Baseball
- Super Slow
- Super Slow: The Ultimate Exercise Protocol by Ken Hutchins
- Inform Fitness
- Nautilus Inc.
- MedX Machines
- Zen Buddhism
- Body by Science: A Research Based Program for Strength Training, Body building, and Complete Fitness in 12 Minutes a Week by John Little and Doug McGuff
- Ultimate Exercise
- Washington Redskins
- Hammer Strength Equipment
- 335 – Philip Sheperd and Andrei Yakovenko – Deep Fitness: The Mindful, Science-Based Strength Training Method to Transform Your Well-Being in just 30 Minutes a Week
- Deep Fitness: The Mindful, Science-Based Strength-Training Method to Transform Your Well-Being in Just 30 Minutes a Week by Philip Shepherd and Andrei Yakovenko
- Automated Muscle
- PHX Strength
- Rob Serraino
- Joshua Trentine
- Gus Diamantopoulos
- Ken Hutchins
- Nicole Gustavson
- Adam Zickerman | Podcasts
- James Fisher, PhD | Podcasts
- Dr. Stuart Phillips | Podcasts
- Dr. Doug McGuff | Podcasts
- Arthur Jones
- John Philbin
- Dan Riley
- Dr. Ellington Darden
- Mike Mentzer
Donnie Hunt says
Hey guys. Just listened to this a little bit ago on the way to work. I’m gonna back and listen to the part about “squeeze technique”. Much too think about in a brief amount of time for sure.
Al, I was very happy when I found out Lawrence had done a podcast with you. I have got great, great deal from your RenEx articles and comments, your comments on the old Dr. Darden website, the old Body By Science blog, your exercise videos, and there may have been other online sources that at the moment escape me.
The talk about enjoying baseball practice more than the games, awesome. The talk about the “robot chin ups”, I believe you said out of Ken’s book, awesome. Hearing about how your thinking has evolved and continues to evolve. That description of why you no longer advocate the squeeze technique still has my brain going. The new book sounds interesting indeed. Sounds like you have a great studio going and getting that the way you want it. Very happy that you have found your life partner, that is something that is very hard to articulate on how that makes one feel.
Great stuff guys.
Lawrence Neal says
Thank you Donnie!
John P Tatore says
Would be great to hear Al’s current beliefs on the “Thorough Inroad Technique (attempting to still contract for a s long as you can after moment has stopped)employed within the SuperSlow protocol.
Also how he feels about employing Timed Static Contractions (including w/Feedback Statics) since these were used a lot by RenX.
Lawrence Neal says
Thank you John. Al’s coming back on the show soon, so I’ll add these to the list to ask him!
Very interesting indeed ! Watched this on YouTube & Al has really refined his thinking so-to-speak on training/exercise & I’ve come to see as well that many HIT advocates were very steeped in a lot of their own dogma too .