Category: Strength Training

Tom’s Strength Tips!

 Tom Sheriff, Personal Fitness Trainer


  • Switching up your grip every so often is a great way to give your shoulders and elbows a rest to avoid overuse injuries during bench pressing.
  • The “Swiss bar” moves your hands to the neutral position which feels great on the shoulders and elbows while maintaining strength in the bench press movement. I recommend replacing all normal bench pressing with “Swiss bar” bench pressing for at least three weeks to maintain joint health.


  • Most people add weight to the back extension by holding a plate in front of their chest; while this is effective in adding resistance holding the weight there causes your shoulders to round forward, therefore reinforcing bad posture.
  • With a bar placed on your upper traps you are externally rotating your shoulders, opening and stretching the chest, and engaging your posterior chain more completely. Start with a PVC pipe and slowly add weight over 2-3 weeks.

If you have any questions on these movements or want more strength tips please contact Tom Sheriff at

Lose It! Weight Loss Challenge

Monday January 9th 
6:30 PM social
$50 Self-guided, $190 Semi-guided, $540 Evolve.
The New Year is just around the corner! Are you looking to create a new you? If you are looking to start your New Year with weight loss as your goal? Then come join fellow members at the Seattle Athletic Club in the 12 week weight loss competition.
Our kickoff social is Monday, January 9th at 6:30 pm. Come into the SAC conference room to meet the other participants, log your official first weigh-in, get assigned a trainer to assist you throughout the competition, and learn more about the next 12 weeks of your personal journey.With three possible levels of participation, this challenge is guaranteed to make you sweat whatever your fitness level may be. If you want to change your support level at any time, just let us know, as we can always bring as much support as you need!

Functional Fitness

Wednesdays | 6:00 pm (Ongoing),

  • Ready for a new and exciting approach to achieving your fitness goals?
  • Tired of the same old boring routines?

Functional Fitness is a total body strength and conditioning class designed to challenge you in new and exciting ways.

Plan on using a wide variety of exercise equipment such as battle ropes, kettle bells, jump ropes, TRX, agility ladders, and the sled. The goal of this class is to improve your cardiovascular fitness and leave no muscle unchallenged while making you feel stronger and more confident so that you can tackle any obstacles that life might throw at you.

  • Begin building endurance and full body control!
  • Enjoy a new and innovative approach to functional circuit training!
  • Improve core strength and stability!
  • Burn fat and increase lean body mass!
  • HAVE FUN!!

Meet at the south end of the SAC basketball court at 6:00 PM every Wednesday night!

  • $100/month or $30 Drop-In

For more information, please contact or to sign-up please, contact Personal Fitness Trainer, Will Paton at or 206-443-1111 ext 288

Worksite Warrior Recap All Star Directories vs Open Market

Every quarter we ask our corporate partners to submit teams into our Worksite Warrior program.  Each team of employees then bands together for a month, working as a collective at their work and the club to lose the largest percentage of weight.

This quarter, Open Market’s team won by losing 21.7 lbs while their competition, All Star Directories, lost 16.6 lbs over the holidays and four week program. Every person on Open Market’s team lost weight with the largest weight loss being ~ 10 lbs.  All Star Directories had 2/3 of their teammates lose weight with the largest weight loss being 7.5 lbs.

Congratulations on both teams’ success in both their weight loss and working together as a team to accomplish this feat. If your company would like to compete in our Worksite Warrior program please contact Fitness Director Jacob Galloway for more details.


For more information, please contact our Fitness Director, Jacob Galloway, at


Why things hurt?

Hello fellow SAC members,

Pain sucks. One morning you woke up with that knee pain, but you could not recall what you did to hurt it. Or did you really hurt it?

For this article, I attached a TED talk link by Dr. Lorimer Moseley, a physiotherapist and an authority in pain science research from Australia. In this video, Dr. Moseley explains how the brain and the pain works. It may not be what you think.

As part of my treatment, I always try to install some forms of education on the latest researches on injuries rehabilitation, performance enhancement and pain. I hope you find this video informative and don’t hesitate to email me if you have any questions after watching this.

Move better to feel better,

Dr. Michael Li, DACRB

Here is the YouTube video:

Dr. Li has been taking care of the SAC staff and members since 2010. You can find him at the lobby performing injury screen for members every 3rd Tuesday of the month. His practice, Mobility Plus Sports Rehab, is conveniently located about 10 minute walk from the SAC. You can find out more about him and his clinic. He can be reached at

Congrats to Kendra Kainz for 1st place finish in the 2015 NPC Washington Ironman Bodybuilding Championships!

Please join Seattle Athletic Club in congratulating Kendra Kainz for her 1st place finishes at the 2015 NPC Washington Ironman Bodybuilding, Fitness, Figure, Men’s & Women’s Physique and Bikini Championships! This competition is one of the top competitions in the northwest and is well attended with competitors both regionally and nationally. Kendra competed in Figure and took 1st place in the Masters 35 years and older, 1st place in the overall for Masters and 1st place in the open 5’6 height and above. Her 1st place finishes qualified her to compete at the national level for up to one year. Kendra trained hard for over six months dieting, lifting weights and posing. This is her first Figure Competition and she did an outstanding job! Congratulations, Kendra!


Kendra_IronmanBodybuilding_Image1 Kendra_IronmanBodybuilding_Image2

Inspirational Member of the Month – Jennifer Gallagher

Jennifer is one of those people that is an example how perseverance and determination can surmount any obstacle. As an athlete, runner with the SAC Run Club and regular participant in many of the club’s group exercise classes, Jennifer set a new goal for herself. She wanted to complete her first FULL marathon (26.2 miles) in October.

Before she had opportunity to begin her new journey, she unfortunately experienced a physical setback; incurring a lower leg stress fracture which confined her to a boot for many weeks. This only made her more determined to succeed. She followed all protocols to facilitate her healing and continued to find ways to keep exercising within her limitations. She worked with our instructors to help rehabilitate her back to her level of strength and endurance while maintaining a focus and positive outlook that is testament to Jennifer’s personality. She continued to work hard towards her goal, transitioning back to running. She took one day at a time, with fierce perseverance, grace and a competitive spirit that got her back to training.

And she came back with a vengeance! Once her training began, she became a stronger competitor, leader as well as a source of inspiration and encouragement for her teammates. She was consistent, precise, diligent and committed; qualities that enhanced her success. On October 11th 2015, Jennifer competed in the Goodlife Fitness Victoria, B. C. Marathon, her FIRST full marathon and did so with a phenomenal time! She not only qualified for the Boston Marathon, but placed 10th in her age division! We think she surpassed her goal!!

Congratulations Jennifer! Your perseverance is truly inspirational.




Worksite Warrior Recap – May 2015

Worksite Warrior is a team weight loss competition at the Seattle Athletic Club where local corporate teams of 6+ participants band together for 30 days using a team personal fitness trainer, the group exercise classes and the whole facility to see which team can lose the largest percentage of weight.


This quarter we had two teams Big Fish Game and Open Market participate in our Worksite Warrior competition. We are proud to announce that Open Market (trained by Shay Massey) won the competition losing 2.97% of their total team weight. Even though Open Market won the competition each team had some great individual results which you will see below:


1st Place Team Open Market:

  • 3 teammates were male and 3 teammates were female
  • 66% of them lost over 4.5 lbs in the 4 weeks
  • Their team lost a total of 37.1 lbs in the 4 weeks
  • The largest percentage of body weight lose by a team member was 6.04%
  • The average lost per person was 6.2 lbs


2nd Place Team Big Fish Games:

  • 1 teammate was male and 4 teammates were female
  • 80% of them lost over 3 lbs in the 4 weeks
  • Their team lost a total of 19.6 lbs in the 4 weeks
  • The largest percentage of body weight lose by a team member was 4.3%
  • The average lost per person was 3.9 lbs


If you think your company would be interested in participating in next quarter’s Worksite Warrior competition please contact Fitness Director Jacob Galloway.

Inspirational Member of the Month – Denise Kilgore!

Denise Kilgore has gone through a lot of changes in her life; if you saw her 5 months ago you may not actually recognize who she was. Starting before the New Year, Denise decided she needed to make a change, a change which came in the way of becoming a healthier person. She has always struggled with her weight, so much so that she couldn’t find many pictures to submit for this article because she hated being photographed. After hearing about the Club’s Evolve program, Denise decided she wanted to start the program right away. She started by working with Tom Sheriff three times a week, she did spin every day she could get into the club (which, yes it meant she came in before working out with Tom), she decided she would try a meal delivery option where you are delivered all the ingredients, a recipe and you cook your own fresh food.


Even though Denise works long days sitting at a computer, she told herself that she can still make it into the gym every day and cook her own meals. She has stuck with those things and made it a habit. I can tell you that every day around 6 am Denise will be in the club spinning and around 9 am three times a week she is in here doing her weights. As the week progressed we all saw Denise shrink down as her strength shot through the roof. Half way through her journey she even was able to take off her braces and smile at all she was accomplishing.


Denise has lost over 45 lbs and decreasing her body fat by over 15%. She has lost so much size that she has had to throw out all of her old jeans and shirts and is swimming in her workout clothes. Denise has dropped life changing inches from these main areas: Chest -3”, Waist –4.7”, Hip –6.3” and Thigh –5.1”.  All together Denise lost almost two feet of circumference from her body, she has regained a body weight she hasn’t had since her twenties and has exponentially increased her strength and stamina.


Denise finished second place in our Lose It! weight loss competition and should feel so proud. What I think is amazing about her is that before the competition was over she had already made up her mind that she would be continuing to train with Tom three times a week (she still has her goal of bench pressing a plate on each side of the barbell) because she sees the value in what she has earned and doesn’t want to slow down. The second thing that is amazing about what Denise did is that she didn’t look for a special diet, or try the newest fad in exercise or weight loss; she made up her mind to eat fresh foods, committed herself to getting in her cardio and weights every week and continued on with her life.


It has been a true pleasure to see her transformation unfold before my eyes; all of us at the SAC are excited to see just how far she pushes herself toward her goals.

Denise before
Denise before
Denise after

For more information on weight loss programs or to nominate a Member of the Month, contact SAC’s Fitness Director, at Jacob Galloway.


Most parents know that strength training is an essential component of maximizing their child’s athletic potential but many don’t know when to start said training. When asked this question I like to refer to the ACSM research article that states, “Generally speaking, if children are ready for participation in organized sports or activities — such as Little League baseball, soccer, or gymnastics — then they are ready for some type of strength training.” If you feel your child has the emotional maturity to take part in an organized sport then they are perfectly capable of taking up strength training with a qualified professional.

One concern many have is that strength training will negatively affect bone growth in youth athletes. This is a myth that is taking much too long to go away. There hasn’t been documentation of this actually occurring while there is in fact ample evidence to the contrary. Strength training has been shown to actually increase bone density, peak bone mass and bone strength.

Strength is the only physical attribute that has a direct impact on all other areas of athletic performance and has the highest potential for growth when compared to other qualities such as power and speed. In an article from the Mayo Clinic the author states that when done properly, strength training can:

  • Increase your child’s muscle strength and endurance
  • Help protect your child’s muscles and joints from sports-related injuries
  • Improve your child’s performance in nearly any sport, from dancing and figure skating to football and soccer
  • Develop proper techniques that your child can continue to use as he or she grows older
  • Strengthen your child’s bones

A properly designed program for a youth athlete must be created and executed by a qualified coach and of course I am partial to myself because of my education, credentials, and experience. Currently my youngest client is a 12 year old basketball/football player whose performance has skyrocketed since he started strength training. I have also worked with the Skyline High School Girls Basketball team, the Bellevue High School Track team, and many individual youth athletes from around the area competing in lacrosse, football, basketball, baseball, soccer, and even cheerleading.

I have seen over and over again what strength training can do for a young athlete and have come up with some guidelines that can serve any coach or parent working with young athletes.

General Guidelines for Strength Training Youth Athletes:

1. Master the basics while focusing on proper movement patterns. With young athletes it is best to first master general movement patterns and body weight exercises before moving on to more advanced strength training modalities. Great exercises include: jumping/landing, med-ball throwing, body weight squats, push-ups, pull-ups, and sled pushing/pulling.

2. Use proper loading parameters. Strength training doesn’t always mean loading up a squat bar and going as heavy as possible. As a general rule with young athletes it’s best to stick with body weight exercises or exercises with loads that allow the athlete to complete 8 to 20 repetitions each set. As the athlete advances the intensity of exercises can advance as well.

3. Teach proper force absorption. Learning how to properly land and decelerate will be invaluable in preventing future sports injuries for any athlete. Deceleration is also a crucial factor in agility performance.

4. Don’t specialize too early. Young athletes should build as broad an athletic base as possible in order to maximize athletic potential. Performing only exercises that seem “sport specific” is not an effective way to build an athletic base. While this might make for a good basketball or soccer player now, it will actually do them a disservice for their athletic future. Specializing early is also a great way to burn a kid out on a sport.

5. Make it fun! Strength training should be something that the kids look forward to and enjoy. This is an opportunity to set them up to not only maximize their athletic potential but also create life-long healthy habits. If your kid does not enjoy training they won’t reap maximum benefits and will likely discontinue training at the first opportunity they get.

I started seriously strength training for sports at 15 years old and I only wish I would have started sooner. At that time I started working with a strength coach named Mike Seilo, and I am not exaggerating when I say he changed trajectory of my athletic and eventually my professional career. Strength training with a qualified coach dramatically increased my athletic performance and without Mike I don’t think I would have gone on to compete in track and field at the collegiate level. Outside of improving my sport performance Mike influenced me to become strength coach and work with young athletes. Mike’s influence on me went way beyond sport performance and I can only hope to have the same influence on kids during my career.

Under the right supervision strength training can be a huge benefit to any young athlete. Not only will they improve athletically, they may learn some valuable lessons that serve them inside and outside of the gym as well as develop life-long personal relationships. If you have a child involved in athletics I highly recommend you find a qualified coach and get their strength training career underway.

If you have any questions regarding youth strength training please contact PFT Tom Sheriff CSCS (
206-443-1111 ext. 292.