KMB: Raw Power Gym

By Monica Brant – August 1, 2022
Brian Fitzsimmons

During my 21st Arnold Sports Festival appearance earlier this year, I ran into a former friend, co-founder and gym owner, Seneca Sarnella. 

 As a two-time Texas’ Strongest Man champion and highly-decorated strength athlete, Seneca has experience with just about every type of training style one could be looking for. 

Years ago, he owned a gym in Lakeway, and we even held a Kick Mo’s Butt workout together. Upon seeing him, we determined it was time to update our KMB session since he is now co-owner of a new location called Raw Power Gym. (Raw Power is included in the same space as my KMB on Xceleration Sports Performance Lab, where I showcased a “sprint” session with coach and owner, Matthew Neel, last year.)

Combining all these talented coaches and opportunities for athletes of all ages, skills and levels of talent seems like a brilliant idea to me.

My GPS brought me straight to the easy-to-find facility in Spicewooods, right off highway 71. After a brief hello and final decision of what the session would consist of, I spent a few minutes getting my body ready with some easy warm-up functional movements. Then, we got down to business.

The goal for this session was to work through the correct form with both traditional squats and deadlifts. Both are old-school and can be extremely effective for strengthening the entire body. Plus, it has benefits such as dramatic increases in power, strength and size. Not to mention the confidence gained by utilizing compound movements that burn tons of calories and can help to get you shredded! Disclaimer: The shredded part does not happen in just one session, unfortunately. 

Since Seneca has unparalleled knowledge of strength training and holds two coaching world titles along with many national and state championships to his credit, I knew I was at the right place to have my form analyzed.

We started off with squats, and Seneca watched my first set without correcting anything. 

Now, I have lifted for over 20 years and worked with many coaches over the years, but somehow, I missed some important postural ideas. Some of the small changes after my first set of only the bar were the following:

  • Tucking my chin down for my neck to stay in proper line with my spine and keep traps out of the way.
  • Inhaling through my nose and exhaling through my mouth (which I usually do anyways — yay!) and holding my breath throughout the range of motion, releasing it at the top.
  • Elbows drop more forward to help contract the lats for a stronger and more neutral body.
  • Slightly contracting my upper body for more strength and trying to “bend the bar.”
  • Wider foot stance with toes angled out to allow the hips to open more naturally, thus allowing the body to drop lower altogether. 

After the bar set, we did a second set with the bar and new positions, which felt good and strong. Since I was able to handle all the cues well, we moved up to 95 pounds for five reps. And then, we rolled with 155 pounds for a single rep, and since I did not go low enough, we did a second single rep and Seneca approved on the second try. 

Moving on, we tackled deadlifts — one of my all-time favorite movements! To create power, Seneca advised me to “flex my armpits” and extend my arms straight while pushing the bar away from my body. We started with 65 pounds with three reps, and Seneca said we needed to add some pounds! A couple of other cues, toes are grabbing the floor and weight is in the middle of the foot.

 

We moved right up to 165 pounds for a single rep and it came up easily… so it was only natural to add more weight totaling 205 pounds for another single rep pull, and it was clean!!

Even though we knew the idea was to “Kick My Butt,” we felt it was important to end on a good note and not push my body beyond since I have not lifted heavy for quite some time. It was an excellent feeling to go big again (big for me), and I decided I really must start doing this more often. Thanks, Seneca!

Seneca has trained athletes of all ages, abilities and disciplines and understands how to bring out the best in anyone. Raw Power Gym offers group and private sessions for all. Check out the official website for more details: https://www.rawpowergym.com/.

Seneca and the Raw Power team are relentless about providing a safe, supportive and motivating training environment like no other in the Spicewood area. You should really go see them and be sure to tell them Mo sent ya!

 
 

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