Matthew Willson Capstone

Powerlifting has taught me many things such as, patience, self discipline, mental and physical capability, and character development. Pushing yourself in the gym in a positive environment is great for physical and mental health. For my capstone I wanted to share the experience I have gotten from powerlifting with kids at SLA. Powerlifting Club takes place at the Philadelphia Sports Club on 18th St and Market St. I teach the members how to do weightlifting movements safely with proper form. Overall our goal is to increase our strength in the three powerlifting movements, the squat, bench press, and deadlift. Each member of the club has specific fitness goals so I shaped their training program around their goals. Powerlifting club has given me hands on experience with training people and helping people reach their fitness goals. I want to be a personal trainer or health coach in the future so this has benefited me greatly. After training the guys for three months, seeing their results in my own eyes has given me confidence to pursue my dream of being a personal trainer. I have created a model website for the personal training business I hope to own in the future.

My website:


  1. Klerck, Ray. "How to calculate your one rep max." – MH's body boffins show you how to find the max you can lift in one rep - Men's Health. N.p., 02 Mar. 2016. Web. 18 May 2017.

     This source provides information about your one rep max and percentages of your one rep max. When you know the percentages of your lifts it allows you to be very mathematical with your lifts and progression. Knowing what percentage of your max a lift is allows you to estimate how many reps you will get, this allows you to plan your training the most mathematically accurate way. Different percentages of your max are better for different goals. 90-100% is generally perfect for building strength. Around 80% is best for hypertrophy training. 70% and lower is best for endurance because you can move the weight for a lot of reps. I used this website to calculate percentages of the group members lifts.

  2. Personal. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 May 2017.

This source is one of my personal training mentors website. Dan Mietti is a personal trainer in Abington, PA. My brother I have worked out with dan for the past ten years. He did our offseason training for hockey when we were kids. Dan also runs different programs and events revolving around fitness like races and bootcamps. Dan has helped me get into fitness and has helped me pursue my goals to be a personal trainer. He has taught me valuable information about anatomy and muscles in the human body. I have used this information to help teach proper form and ensure the best results.

 3. Blaha, Jason. "Jason Blaha's Ice Cream Fitness 5x5 Novice Program." Muscle & Strength. N.p., 18 May 17. Web. 18 May 2017.  

This source provides information about beginner strength and muscle building program. The author Jason Blaha talks about different solutions for mechanical problems. This was helpful because he lists alternative exercises that hit the same muscle groups, but avoid mechanical problems and put less stress on joints. For instance some group members had problems with their knees when squatting. Blaha says to do box squats instead and this has worked for both Declan and Aaron’s squat. Blaha also provides information about the central nervous system and how it responds to lifting. This information is crucial for beginner lifters and I passed it on to the group members.

4. Stark, Matthew, Judith Lukaszuk, Aimee Prawitz, and Amanda Salacinski. "Protein timing and its effects on muscular hypertrophy and strength in individuals engaged in weight-training." Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition. BioMed Central, 2012. Web. 18 May 2017.

This source provides information about the anabolic period, protein timing, and the effects of food timing on muscle hypertrophy. This source is a review of a bunch of studies on the anabolic period and food timing. The anabolic period is the short period of time directly after your workout. Different studies say different times about the optimal time to eat your post workout meal. It is optimal to eat 30 grams of protein in the 30 minute period after you workout. It is also optimal to consume carbs in the 2 hour period after your workout to refill your depleted muscles with glycogen. This information was very helpful because I was able to teach the group members about nutrition and optimal timings to consume protein.

5. Bubbico, Aaron , and Len Kravits. "Muscle Hypertrophy: New Insights and Training Recommendations." Muscle Hypertrophy 2011. University of New Mexico, n.d. Web. 18 May 2017.

This source provides information on muscle hypertrophy. This source highlights the difference between slow twitch and fast twitch muscle fibers. Muscle hypertrophy is the growth of muscle fibers. Muscle fibers grow when they are recruited and broken from resistance training. Different muscles have different proportions of fast twitch and slow twitch muscles. Fast twitch muscle fibers are engaged from explosive and heavy low rep sets while slow twitch muscle fibers are engaged from higher rep sets where the muscle is contracting over and over again. The chest is 60% fast twitch and 40% slow twitch. Therefore to achieve the most hypertrophy in the pectoral muscles you have to perform heavy low repetition sets. This source was very helpful because it shows scientific information about the most optimal way to build muscle.

6. Nation, Nate Miyaki T. "The Best Damn Cardio Article - Period." T NATION. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 May 2017.

This source provides information about cardio and it’s relation to building muscle. Cardio is not important for building muscle but can be very helpful with fat loss. Running is one of the best ways to burn calories, when trying to build muscle burning calories is not the goal. You want to be in a small caloric surplus when trying to gain weight. This source aslo explains how different types of cardio do different things. High intensity interval training is one of the best tools to shed fat, boost your metabolism, and increase testosterone. The site lists the different ways cardio and lifting affects the body like what increases cortisol, what increases testosterone, and what burns the most fat. This was very helpful for training the members that wanted to lose fat.

7. Burns, Steve P., PhD, and MIchael H. Thomas. "Increasing Lean Mass and Strength: A Comparison of High Frequency Strength Training to Lower Frequency Strength Training." US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health. N.p., 21 Apr. 2016. Web.

This source provides information about high frequency vs low frequency training. The studies show that low frequency is better for a beginner lifter. When starting a lifting program as a beginner your central nervous system and muscles are not used to high frequency training. It is proven that low frequency full body workouts are optimal for beginner lifters. High frequency training is optimal for an advanced lifter because their central nervous system and body can handle more work. A muscles ability to grow decreases as it grows. A muscle with a lot of muscle maturity takes more to break down than a beginner lifters muscle. Therefore a higher frequency training program is optimal for an advanced lifter because muscles need to be moreso broken down.

8. Mangan, P. D. "Science-Based Weight Training – The Mission." The Mission. The Mission, 23 Oct. 2016. Web. 18 May 2017.

This source provides information about the importance of strength training and it’s health benefits.. Mangan says, “Training for strength is the most important and effective exercise that you can do, and virtually everyone, from teenagers to the elderly, can and should engage in it regularly.” The article lists the health benefits of weight training for all ages. Such as, “maintains insulin sensitivity, prevents heart disease and cancer, and keeps older people from losing muscle mass (sarcopenia) and descending into frailty and dependence.” This information is helpful because I’m learning about the science and health benefits of weightlifting. I can use this information to educate my clients about weightlifting and encourage people to get into weightlifting.

9.  Eddy, Walter. "The Best Way To Train For Size." UW Staff Web Server. University of Washington , n.d. Web. 18 May 2017.

This source provides information about the different factors that play a role in muscle hypertrophy and how to use them to get the most size. Studies show that strength and muscle size will increase when training for either goal. Although strength training won't give you the best results for size it will increase your muscle size and vice versa. The source has different studies that show the optimal set and rep ranges for muscular growth, the optimal work speed for muscular growth, the importance of the eccentric part of a movement for muscle growth, and the best frequency for muscle growth. All of this information is helpful because I can educate others with it and apply it to my training programs.

10. Schoenfeld, Brad Schoenfeld PhD T, PhD. "The New Science of Time Under Tension." T NATION. T NATION, n.d. Web. 18 May 2017.

This source provides information on time under tension training. The studies in the article prove how crucial time under tension training is for muscular hypertrophy. Muscle fibers break down when training against resistance, the more time under tension the more the muscle fibers break down. Therefor having more time under tension when training against resistance will allow you to build the most muscle. This information is useful because I can apply it to the clients I train and make sure they are training for time under tension if their goal is to build muscle.