the "New School" of Strength and Conditioning


Westside “Secrets” Videos on Youtube

Those who are familiar with Westside Barbell will appreciate this. I recently came across 3 Westside Barbell videos from the early 2000s. Deadlift Secrets, Bench Press Secrets, and Vogelphohl XXX. These 3 videos are available, in their entirety, on youtube.

From what I know of Westside their methods are always evolving, and I noticed some differences in what they were doing then vs. what I think they do today (as a complete outsider you don’t really know what goes on in that gym).

There’s some invaluable information on these videos. Just seeing the amount of lat work Vogelpohl performed before every workout made me realize how much I have to step it up.

So here you go, learn something.



How good is that intro music



Workouts vs. Programs

Anyone can put a hard workout together. Anyone. The real challenge lies in organizing a series of workouts to accomplish a goal. The latter is the most basic example of a program.

Right now “hard effort” workouts are the status quo. Meaning the general population judges how good a workout is by how exhausted, lifeless, and even nauseous they feel afterwards. But what if leaving yourself rolling in a puddle of sweat gasping for air post workout actually puts you in a less healthy, less fit place than you were in pre workout? What if puking after a training session is your body rejecting the training

There is a concept called training economy. This basically means doing just enough of what is necessary to reach the desired goal. Why? Because you only have so much time, so much energy, and so much capacity to recover from a training session. If you cant recover, then you’ll never express the results of your training, and all that hard work was literally for nothing.

Manti Te'o

Take a collegiate football player for example, in this case, a linebacker. The LB needs to be big, strong, andfast for several short, intense efforts. Would having this athlete go on a 3 mile run once a week be a good idea? Hell. No. First, a long play in football might last 7 seconds, training for endurance efforts longer than that is completely unnecessary. Second, a 3 mile run is going to take up time this athlete could spend sleeping (absolutely necessary for recovery), eating, studying, working, training more intelligently, or practicing his sport. Third, the 3 mile run is going train his body against the attributes he needs to be a good LB and give his body another stimulus to have to recover from, in addition to any other training or practices the athlete has.

“But Sam, I’m just trying to get in shape for summer.”

I know and I’m happy for you. This is just as important for the general fitness client. What if you did a string of hard effort, nausea inducing workouts, and got fatter? And what if your response to that was “I have to train harder,” and it was the poor programming that got you fatter for all your hard work in the first place? Not cool. That’s a waste of your energy, your time, your money, and who knows what else.. If your goal is just to lose the belly fat, a good program will get you there faster, and leave you feeling stronger and more energetic for life.

This is the difference between the Yard, and all the big gyms out there. We build programs around our clients’ needs. We will never stick you in a cookie cutter class because it’s trending and marketable. Whether you’re an athlete, military, or a soccer mom, we intelligently build efficient programs based on your goals.


Vincent Dizenzo Bench Clinic @theYard April 20th

swvustm1pj7ck5byc2muVincent Dizenzo will be putting on a Bench Clinic at the Yard on April 20th at 11am.

Space is limited, only 10 spots available, and almost half are already gone.
Keeping it limited to 10 people allows Vincent to work directly with everyone who attends.
Don’t miss this opportunity to learn from a REAL expert.

Click Add to Cart below to reserve your spot instantly.


$40/person. Pay online, or stop by the gym to pay in person. You have to pay full price to reserve your spot.

About Vincent

Vincent Dizenzo started his lifting career as a full meet powerlifter. Unfortunately, two ruptured lumbar discs left him unable to squat and deadlift competitively. So he turned to the only lift he had left — the bench press. This was actually the worst of his three lifts. Since then, he has tirelessly worked to become one of the best bench pressers in the world. He has been ranked a top ten bencher for over a decade. He has also competed in strongman.

Over his career, Vincent has competed as light as 210 pounds all the way up to 329 pounds. He has benched 600 pounds raw in multiple weight classes with a best of 605. He has also benched over 800 pounds equipped in multiple weight classes with a personal record of 830. Vincent even challenged himself to compete in four weight classes all within ten months. He competed at 329, 308, 275, and 242 pounds during that time. That’s an 87 pound drop all while putting up top ten lifts within each class.

Vincent has competed on many of the biggest stages in the lifting world. These contests include the Olympia, Arnold Classic, and Bench America. He has held many world records in multiple classes, including an all-time world record in the 275 pound weight class. However, he will tell you not all of his greatest accomplishments in lifting have come while under the bar. He spends countless hours coaching and training others. Vincent also takes great pride in being an active volunteer with Special Olympics Powerlifting.

~Bio from Just Big radio show

Letter to Parents of Athletes

Dear Parents of Middle School, High School, and College Athletes,

The fact that you are reading this shows you are invested in giving your child the best opportunity to succeed. Let me quickly just guarantee you that I do not intend to waste your time, or your investment. You are in the best possible place for you and your young athlete, and simply reading this letter can help to increase your child’s potential for success.

Briefly, about me: I graduated from Nyack College in 2008, and started working as a youth pastor at a church in Fairfield, CT. At the same time I was apprenticing under an expert coach at a local training center for elite athletes. Over the years, as I worked fitness and non fitness related jobs, I was building my dream with any extra time/resources at my disposal. Today, the Yard is the result of that process. A gym built on getting athletes results, while remaining free of the gimmicks and fads polluting the fitness industry.

Did you know that an athlete’s maximum speed and strength potential is determined by the training that occurs during their teen years? This means that an athlete’s maximum running speed, or vertical jump height in their 20’s, is limited or increased by their strength training regimen in high school! (See: Long Term Athletic Development by Istvan Balyi, Ph. D.). You would think the implications of athletic development at the high school level would be reason enough for all high schools to hire expert Strength Coaches, but this is not the case.

I have worked with numerous high school and college athletes and have been amazed at what these athletes get away with in their strength programming. I have had college football players in my gym that can’t squat. Which means they never learned how to properly load the hips and hamstrings (which is also why there are so many torn ACL’s). I have seen far too many athletes that have not learned proper mechanics and therefore can not maintain an athletic position. This is unacceptable and sets these athletes up for injury.

The four most common sports injuries are concussions, torn ACL, shoulder separations, and ankle sprains. All four of these, in most cases, can be prevented by a comprehensive and well implemented strength and conditioning program. At the Yard we employ a concept referred to as Pre-Hab, or what I like to call, injury proofing. In short, through a system of restoring proper function to joints and tissues, and strengthening the weak muscles which cause imbalances that lead to injuries, we can greatly decrease the potential for injury. Far too many young athletes are getting injured because their bodies are not prepared for sport. By ensuring an athlete’s body is conditioned for sport, we can greatly reduce the chance of injury.

An athlete’s character is as important us as physical preparation. There are three values at the Yard, that are “caught rather than taught.” Respect. Integrity. Perseverance. Athletes who train here receive the utmost respect for their efforts, they learn to respect hard work, coaches, teachers, and any other athletes working to better themselves. Integrity is about being true to yourself and letting your actions speak for you even when no one else is looking. Integrity often plays out at the Yard in this way: When an exercise is performed poorly you’ll hear an athlete say, “Integrity Rep!” and they will do it again, the right way, on their own! An athlete with superior training gains superior results. Athletes have to keep up with homework, practice schedules, and game schedules, on top of a rigorous strength training program. When their efforts pay dividends “on the field,” they learn the value of perseverance. Being true to the “Yard code” develops not only great athletes, but great teammates, classmates, sportsmen, and business men/women.

We do not waste any space inside the facility with equipment that does not benefit athletes. Likewise, we do not waste any time with filler exercises or “fad” training methods. The training that occurs here is based on expertise that has proven itself time and time again.

This is a different kind of gym. When you join the Yard, you’re not buying a t-shirt or a bumper sticker, you’re making a commitment. This commitment is taken as seriously by the coaches as it is by the athletes. You’re joining a family where coaches care about you and your success, and will build training programs to meet your needs. You’re joining a group of athletes committed to becoming the best. You’re joining a gym you’re expected to show up to on your “off days,” to get some extra work in under the guidance of expert coaches. You’re expected to show up early for group sessions. You’re expected to work hard, in and out of the gym. When you join up, we take care of you. Athletes get to participate in unlimited group sessions for the first month, to get them up to speed and make sure they are getting the most opportunity to succeed without wasting any time.

If you want to give your young athlete the greatest opportunity for success, please contact us at the Yard, and let’s get started.

Thank you for taking the time to read this letter, and I wish you and your child success in life, sport, education and business.


Samuel Joy, CSCS
The Yard Strength & Conditioning
(203) 450-4716

Group athlete training is available at the Yard at 3, 4, and 5pm, Monday through Friday and at 8, 9, and 10 am on Saturday.
Athletes join either a M,W,F group or a T,Th, Sat, group in one of the specified time slots.
New athletes can attend unlimited group sessions for the first month.


the Strength Crew

yardcrewDON’T JOIN THIS GROUP. Many have started, few have stayed. Why? Because not everybody has “IT.”

This is a group of lifters pursuing one goal: to get stronger. They want it. They show up early for it. And they chase hard after it every session. Some of these guys have been around since the Yard was a literal backyard. Some joined up in the basement. Others joined in at the Bruce Ave location. Like I said before, many have started, few have stayed. We’re always looking for new guys to get after it with us, but it’s a rare breed that commits and sticks with it year round.

The Strength Crew currently meets 3x/week, and the guys are in for their extra work whenever they can get it in. The Crew squats on tuesday, benches on wednesday, pulls on friday, and usually DE bench on Saturday.

This group is different. The expectations are different.
Contact Us, if interested.

ManStrength Crew, For the older Gents

4x6manstrengthThis is another 2x a week group program that includes open gym for any extra workouts you might want to squeeze in. This program was designed for the older guys looking to get back in shape, keep up with their kids, get rid of joint pain, increase bone density, and can be taken to as advanced a level as you’d like.

Here you can get fit like a man, show those young punks who’s boss, and not have to waste your time in a fru-fru gym. The age specification is more of a suggestion, and the training is guided more by fitness level, than by age. This program can be as easy, or as challenging, as you’re ready for.

Contact Us, to get joined up with a group that matches your goals, or to get a new group going!

Tactical Strength Crew

4x6 tactical2x a week group training program for law enforcement and firefighters. Circuit training has become a very popular means to condition the bodies that protect, serve, and rescue. BUT circuit training leaves some gaping holes in worst case scenario physical preparation. This is NOT a striking, self-defense, or combat class. This IS a physical preparation program built to turn you into a ready-for-anything, tactical athlete.

This program is designed to restore functional mobility, get you BRUTALLY strong, develop anaerobic AND aerobic stamina without leaving you too beat up and sore to do your job. Just because a training program is hard, doesn’t mean it works.

This program also includes open gym, so you can come back to theYard on your “off days” for extra work.

Contact Us, and start getting results, without getting beat down, now!
Discounted rates for local PD, FD, EMT