Matt Gary Article Series

Powerlifting and Fitness Articles by Matt Gary, CSCS




Matt Gary 600 rawMatt Gary is 42 years old and has been a competitive, drug-free powerlifter for 20 years. His educational background includes a BS in Kinesiological Science from the University of Maryland. He is also a Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) via the National Strength & Conditioning Association.

Matt, along with his wife Suzanne "Sioux-z" Hartwig-Gary, own and operate Supreme Sports Performance & Training (SSPT). SSPT is Maryland's premier strength and conditioning facility catering to powerlifters, Olympic weightlifters, strongman competitors, and anyone who is serious about strength training. Matt's clients include high school and collegiate athletes, powerlifters from novice to elite, and the general population.

Matt is an active member of the USAPL where he serves as the Chairman of the Coaching Committee, a member of the Raw Committee, national referee, and coach. His coaching resume includes:

  • USAPL Coach of the Year - 2012
  • Head Coach USA Women’s Open World Team 2010 - 2012 IPF World Championships
  • Head Coach USA Men’s Team 2009 IWGA World Games
  • Head Coach Atlantic Region, Quest Invitational – 2009 & 2010 Arnold Sports Festival
  • Head Coach Midwest Region, Quest Invitational – 2008 Arnold Sports Festival
  • Head Coach USA Men’s Team 2008 NAPF North American Regionals
  • Assistant Coach USA Men's & Women's Teams 2012 - 2014 IPF Classics Powerlifting World Championships
  • Assistant Coach USA Men’s Open Team 2005 – 2008, 2010 IPF World Championships
  • Assistant Coach USA Men’s & Women’s Teams 2009 IPF Masters World Championships
  • Assistant Coach USA Women’s Team 2009 IWGA World Games
  • Assistant Coach USA Women’s Team 2008 NAPF North American Regionals
  • Assistant Coach USA Women’s Open Team 2003, 2005 – 2008 IPF World Championships
  • Personal coach for more than 50 powerlifters from novice to elite

Matt (pictured on right with a 600 lbs raw deadlift) has competed in three different weight divisions, from 198 to 242, and currently competes in the 231-pound (105kg) weight class. He is a 4-time Maryland state champion and won the 2004 USAPL American Open Powerlifting Championships. Matt's articles focus on various aspects of strength training and powerlifting. Comments, discussion, and questions about these articles or any other strength endeavor are always welcome and may be sent to

For additional information about SSPT, please visit or follow their videos at




SSPT Deadlift Training


Article by Matt Gary, CSCS

The squat is the king of all exercises but the deadlift is the purest test of total body strength.

Posted on 10/14/2014

Upholding the Standard - Part 2


Article by Matt Gary, CSCS

I measure individual powerlifting performances by the number of successful lifts, personal records (PR) achieved, and placing within a weight class and/or age group. I also grade novices or intermediates on technical improvements and becoming more acclimated to the competitive experience

Posted on 9/6/2013

Requisites for Success


Article by Matt Gary, CSCS

The past three months have been some of the most exhilarating of my entire life. In June 2012, I was as an assistant coach on the USA teams at the inaugural IPF Classics Powerlifting World Cup in Stockholm, Sweden

Posted on 8/27/2012

Upholding the Standard - Part 1


Article by Matt Gary, CSCS

Mike Tomlin is known for his no-nonsense, straightforward, and unwavering demeanor. He often preaches the Steelers’ mantra known as the “standard.” Coach Tomlin often refers to a standard of expectation and performance.

Posted on 3/23/2012

A Gym Rat’s Guide to the One-Rep Max


Article by Matt Gary, CSCS

Show me a person who doesn’t want to be strong and I’ll show you someone who doesn’t get off the couch very often. The ability to move heavy objects and perform physically demanding tasks is just plain cool. When you’re strong, you don’t have to

Posted on 9/19/2010

Maryland Sends Four Lifters to the 2010 Raw Unity Meet. January 30-31, 2010 in Tampa, Florida


Article by Matt Gary, CSCS

In today’s powerlifting landscape, the term “raw” has taken on divergent definitions within the various federations. However, I think most of us will agree that raw powerlifting primarily means competing without the use of squat/deadlifts suits, bench shirts, and knee wraps.

Posted on 1/6/2010

Training Specificity for Powerlifters


Article by Matt Gary, CSCS

Navigating the tortuous road to athletic achievement requires a comprehensive roadmap. Motivated trainees are constantly searching for the latest protocol that will transport their performance to the next level.

Posted on 1/3/2010

A Powerlifter's Guide to Attempt Selection


Article by Matt Gary, CSCS

“Winning isn’t everything; it’s the only thing.” - This famous quote epitomizes the competitive spirit that permeates sports in our society. While this attitude is entirely appropriate in many sports arenas, it doesn’t make much sense in powerlifting.

Posted on 5/11/2009

Periodization and the Annual Training Plan - Part One


Article by Matt Gary, CSCS

Serious and quantifiable improvement, in any quest, necessitates specific goals and objectives with imposed deadlines. If you merely want to get stronger this year, then visit your local gym and start working out. But, if you wanted to squat 500 pounds by June 1, then clearly defined and methodical training is essential.

Posted on 4/11/2008

2008 Arnold Sports Festival Wrap-up


Article by Matt Gary, CSCS

The Arnold Sports Festival celebrated its 20th year of excellence in showcasing a variety of sports performance. The festival is held annually in Columbus, Ohio on the first weekend in March. This year’s celebration was held Friday, February 29 through Sunday, March 2, and hosted 39 events including 14 Olympic sports. USA Powerlifting joined the festival this year and put on a tremendous display of competitive powerlifting that included lifters from the United States, Canada, Europe, and Japan.

Posted on 3/19/2008

Discipline and Regret


Article by Matt Gary, CSCS

In 1983, my sixth grade geography teacher was Spero Tshontikidis. In addition to teaching, Mr. Tshontikidis was a competitive powerlifter in the ADFPA. He brought powerlifting to our school and convinced the principal to allow him to start a powerlifting team. The first day he mentioned it to the class I thought powerlifting sounded cool and decided to give it a try. After all, what eleven-year-old boy doesn't want to grow up to be big and strong?

Posted on 2/4/2008

The Pull-Up


Article by Matt Gary, CSCS

If the squat is the king of all exercises, then the pull-up should be acknowledged with the same royalty. Simply stated, the pull-up is the squat for the upper body. The pull-up is an upper body compound pulling exercise where the body is suspended by straightened, fully extended arms, then pulled up until the elbows are bent and the head is higher than the hands or bar from which you are pulling.

Posted on 1/7/2008

Rage Against the Machines


Article by Matt Gary, CSCS

There is no easy way out when it comes to getting stronger. Gaining strength requires hard work and takes time. Novices can make strength gains and hit personal bests in every workout. More experienced trainees cannot make similar gains. Just because training with machines may save time, do not be the fool that strolls down that path. Machines make good coat racks.

Posted on 12/17/2007

Matt Gary Article Series


Powerlifting and Fitness Articles by Matt Gary, CSCS


Posted on 9/18/2007

A Powerlifter's Guide to Making Weight


Article by Matt Gary, CSCS

The reality of competing in powerlifting is,that at some point in time, we all have to make weight. Making weight can make or break your lifting performance. For optimal performance a lifter should be at the very top of their respective weight division. If you compete at the lower end of a weight class, you are usually at a disadvantage compared to your heavier competitors.

Posted on 9/14/2007

Powerlifting Toward Wellness


Article by Matt Gary, CSCS

Current statistics report approximately 70% of all deaths in the United States are caused by cardiovascular disease and cancer. A sustained wellness program of compound exercises, combined with appropriate eating habits, can help prevent death from these causes.

Posted on 8/26/2007

Top 10 Mistakes Novice Lifters Make

Article by Matt Gary, CSCS

Here’s a list of the top 10 mistakes novice lifters make. I’ve also included suggestions or solutions for how to rectify these mistakes and prevent them from happening again.

Posted on 3/6/2007


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