Travis Holley


You see it all the time: a viral video of some absurdly "springy" human that takes off from the floor and somehow floats to the tip top of a stack of bumper plates precariously placed on a tall box. Kinda like this ridiculousness...

There's no doubt that this is an incredible feat. This daring effort surely captures or attention and admiration, but there should also be respect given to lower jumping efforts that accomplish large displacement.

Let me explain...

With massive box jumps like the one above, the effort is comprised of two Important parts:
1. Power production and explosiveness.
2. Mobility

As you can see from the video, there's a tremendous amount of explosive power production as he jumps, but equally impressive is the "catch" position. Pause the video at the moment that he makes initial contact with the top plate. What do you see?. I see one helluva deep squat! This position would not be possible without some serious mobility.

So again, nothing should be taken away from these types of efforts. All I'm saying is that it shouldn't always be about max height. And here's why...


1. the moving of something from its place or position.

I know it's not nearly as impressive, but watch my video below. I want you to compare the first two box jumps to the second two. What do you notice? HINT: Keep in mind that this entire blog is concerning the concept of displacement. You may also want to establish a focal point, I suggest my hips....they don't lie.

I hope that my hint made this fairly obvious, but if you missed it, the first two jumps had far less overall displacement than the last two jumps. Again, if you were watching my hips you would've seen that the last two efforts showed a much great elevation than my first two attempts. Therefore, it's safe to say that I created more power during those final jumps.

The end result is the same - you end up on top of the box. But now it should be clear that there are two different ways to train the same movement that elicit different responses. I don't think that one is better than the other.  You can perform jumps in a manner that delivers a cardio response, or jump (for displacement) to improve power and explosiveness. Either way, I think that consciously training both styles is important and should implemented in to your training routine.


Rather than leave you in total suspense, I'm going to just let you know that we are talking about band pull-aparts. There. Now you can rest easy and tune in.

It's very common for people who workout to neglect the posterior muscle groups - the ones that you can't see when admiring your sweet, sweet gainz in the mirror. This is unfortunate because the posterior chain is where we *should* be generating the majority of our power production from. Not just when we lift heavy shit in the gym, but when we take on everyday activities as well. So, let's just say those posterior muscles are important.

To compound the issue, most people greatly overdevelop their anterior muscles - namely the pecs and biceps - which cause some serious dysfunction if not attended to. Band pull-aparts are one of the most simplistic, user-friendly exercises that can be performed often to help turn the tides against anterior overdevelopment and build up that critical posterior.

Below is a quick video on HOW-TO properly perform band pull-aparts. Just like any other exercise out there, doing these with shit form will not produce results and can possibly lead to injury. So let's just agree to check this video out rather than assuming you know your shit based off the name of the exercise.

*NOTE: Let me apologize in advance for neglecting to shoot this video in landscape format. It's been a very long time since I've done a movement lecture/demo video using my phone and I totally spaced how ridiculous it looks when viewed in portrait. I'm sorry, and it won't happen again. Ha!

GunFighter3 - 2014

On Saturday, April 26th, the 3rd Annual GunFighter3 Reunion Workout took place at Travis County Strength.  I know that most of you have never heard of it or know anything about it, but let me just start by saying that this event is by far one of the most rewarding experiences I have the honor to be a part of each year. 

To keep this from becoming a freaking book, I'll give you the basic run-down:  Marines from all over the country come to reunite with the brothers they fought with in Fallujah in 2005 under the call-sign, "GunFighter3".

This reunion is so much more than a workout.  It's a way for the men of GF3 to continue to strengthen the bonds they established in the worst of scenarios back in 2005 and before.  The workout also serves as an educational and empowerment tool for some of the guys that have had to re-learn how to perform the tasks we take for granted - like walking, running, climbing stairs, picking objects up off the floor, etc.  These basic human skills have been re-learned, but some of the "auxiliary" tasks, like working out, have taken such a different twist that many of the Marines needed guidance on how to perform beneficial movements given their specific obstacles.

This is where I really feel fortunate to be a part of this.  My years of education and practical experiences working with a wide variety of people, and their obstacles, has allowed me to effectively give these men tools to take home with them.  These tools and ideas are so inherently powerful that just by performing basic routines, these once limited men may now be better able to strengthen their bodies and minds and surpass old limitations.

Now, I've always believed that there is no way to repay the men and women that fight for us and those that stand next to them in battle.  But I'd like to think that this is my way of giving something back to those that have given so much.  It's truly my honor to serve these Marines...these men.

If you'd like to hear a bit more about GF3, check out "Lead From The Front".  Otherwise, here's just a glimpse into what Saturday was all about....


He's Baaaaaack!


In this strength and conditioning business you develop relationships.  As a coach, you watch your clients put everything they've got in to the task you give them.  You watch them struggle, fight, sweat, bleed, cry.  You also have the privilege of watching them overcome, succeed, celebrate, focus, achieve, and re-focus on the next dragon to be slayed.  It should go without saying, but with all of this emotion and these powerful experiences, strong bonds are made between coach and athlete. 

This is especially the case for my relationship with my long-time personal training client, Mike.  Mike was my very first personal training client when I first moved to Austin and during that time we've made some massive changes in health, strength, mental toughness, etc.  It's truly been an absolute joy to train Mike over the last several years.

Mike would put everything he had in to our hour-long sessions.  He busted is ass as hard as any one in the gym and was positive - even when he was near his breaking point.  In fact, the only thing that halted our steady progression was a shoulder injury - the cause of which is still unknown.  

In any case, Mike took a step back from our training and began physical therapy for what they were calling a "misalignment of the shoulder".  With the PT taking priority, we decided to take some time off and get back to when we had the OK from the docs.  

Well, we all know that when you start sliding it can be hard to stop, right?  That's kind of what happened in Mike's case.  He had stepped out of our training routine and started slipping.  That is, until I touched base with him two weeks ago....

It's amazing what a simple "check in" can yield!  Mike received my text and responded back that just that week he had stopped by my old stomping grounds in an effort to find me so that we could start up again!  Needless to say, I was PUMPED!

So that's that.  We started back up again on Wednesday after a year hiatus!  Our first session was awesome.  It seemed as though we hadn't missed a day!  And just as I expected, Mike worked his ass off from start to finish.

 gotta say....It's good to have him back! 


On a final note - this should be more than just a story for you to read.  This should be a call to action to get back to doing the things that were producing results in your life....regardless of whether they were hard or not.  Do those things that required great things of you so as to challenge yourself and exceed expectations. 

Guilty, or just faking it?

This past weekend I was at a social event with a lot of people I didn't know.  As to be expected, there was a lot of small talk as newly introduced individuals mingle for the first time.  What I found interesting, though, was that as soon as I mentioned that I owned a gym and was a strength and conditioning coach - people lost their shit!

What I mean by that is that the tone of the conversation automatically shifted.  What was a casual conversation turned into what you might expect if you walked in on a parent disciplining a child.  I mean, they were practically beating themselves up for their lack of fitness.


Now, before I continue, this is by no means a bash session on these people or anyone else that doesn't see fitness as a priority in their life.  Really this is just a post posing a question to anyone and everyone:

"Are you really guilty, or are you just faking it?"

I ask this question because the situation I was in over the weekend is pretty common when I step foot into a new social circle.....and it just makes me wonder.

I guess this is where I stand:

If you truly feel guilty about how you've neglected your health and fitness, GREAT!  That's a fantastic start.  Often times, people must encounter tremendous pain before being driven enough to make a massive change.  If you're ready to make that change and work hard for it, I welcome you to come be a part of what we do at Travis County Strength.  You will evolve and transform.

BUT.....and this is a big one......if you merely speak about what you should do, what you used to be able to do, and what keeps you from doing what you "want" to do - then I would encourage you to simply stop pretending and own your beliefs.

To put it simply....If you're going to do something about it, do it!  If you're not, stop talking about it!

Either way, I wish you the best.  Our doors will always be open to those that are ready to work for their change.