Sunday, May 31, 2009

15 Things You Can Do This Week To Get Stronger!

In no particular order, here are some useful tips you can start implementing THIS WEEK to get stronger, put on muscle, and increase your conditioning.

1. Train your posterior chain. Squat variations, deadlift variations, heavy goodmornings, romanian deadlifts, glute ham raises, 45 degree hyperextensions, pull throughs, high rep band goodmornings, dumbbell swings, kettlebell swings, etc. Work your posterior chain HARD 1-3 times per week.

2. Master the pull up. Learn as many variations as you can and get really, really good at them. Do them weighted, do them unweighted, do high reps, do low reps. Just do them...and OFTEN!

3. Quit doing crunches and other boring ab work in favor of stuff like tire chops, sledgehammer swinging, single arm overhead work, barbell rollouts, band woodchoppers, and medicine ball throws.

4. Warm up! Before diving into your first exercise of the day, be sure to get in a good general warm up using calisthenics, band work, light barbell complexes, kettlebells, movement prep drills, and the like. Not only will you be better preparing yourself for the workout ahead, but you'll also increase work capacity and gpp.

5. Think outside the box. Throw in some "strongman" training in the way of sandbags, kegs, and various other odd objects for some sick strength and conditioning workouts. Mixed in with heavy barbell work and bodyweight calisthenics, you will have one kick ass training program.

6. Buy a pair of rings or get some tow straps. And use them for a variety of upperbody movements. Push ups, dips, recline rows, face pulls, and scarecrows should be a part of everyone's program and will help pack on some serious upperbody size.

7. Buy or make a sled and start dragging! For lower and upperbody gpp work, and even strength work, the sled is awesome tool. The lack of eccentric will negate any soreness (well, for the most part), allowing you to get in a ton of volume without loading your spine.

8. Train outdoors. At least once in awhile. Its good to break away from the "routine" and just focus on working hard while getting some fresh air. Take a dumbbell or sandbag outside or go to a playground and just kill it for 30-45 minutes.

9. Do Push ups. I know, too easy, right? Well first, do them CORRECTLY. Second, throw them in warm ups or do them with extra resistence via bands and chains (or a weighted vest). Third, there are a zillion variations - try em all! For upperbody and core strength, the push up reigns supreme!

10. Train your grip. I prefer doing this with stuff like towel chins, thick bar work, or sandbag training. This is a no brainer for combat athletes, but everyone should want a strong grip so that they can handle more weight in their pulling movements such as deadlifts and rows.

11. Keep your workouts under 45 minutes, sometimes much less. If you're TRULY working hard, I find it very difficult to believe that anyone needs to spend more than that (an hour TOPS depending on the type of training session) in the gym.

12. Read all of Louie Simmon's old articles. This stuff is a goldmine and everyone who has an interest in strength and conditioning should look at his work like its the bible.

13. Finish Strong. Add some sort of finisher to your workout. Whether it be a timed set of kettlebell snatches, sandbag loading for reps, or sled dragging for max distance in a set time, finishers are great tests of conditioning and mental toughness. I know, so not cool to talk about things like mental toughness (the nerds hate that), but it matters and it needs to trained!

14. Do some active restoration work. Play a game of basketball, hit up some gpp minute drills, do some light calisthenics...whatever you do, pick something to aid in recovery and conditioning. Throw in some foam rolling, activation work, and some stretching and you're golden.

15. Keep checking out my blog! Haha, ok, I know this is lame, but look forward to some of my workouts i'll be posting that you can use for yourself. Not to mention guest articles and blog posts. Thanks to everyone who checks this thing out everyday and the people who show their support in Twitter!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Getting Stronger With Kettlebells and Sandbags!

If you're a combat athlete, there are many ways to get stronger.

Using kettlebells and sandbags may seem too 'simplistic', but these tools have been used to make men into monsters for years.

Its hard work, yeah, but that's the price you pay if you want to improve - get stronger,put on muscle mass, and sky rocket your gpp.

Here's a quick session I just cranked out, using a 24kg kettlebell, and a 130lb sandbag.

warm up: kettlebell combat complex x 2 sets

I did the following 7 movement complex w/out putting the kettlebell down for 2 sets w/approx 1 minute between each set. Maybe not "typical" for a warm up, but it got the job done and was a great start to the session.

1. snatch x 5
2. clean and press x 5
3. squats x 10
4. reverse lunges x 10 (5 ea)
5. high pulls x 5
6. rows x 5
7. two handed swings x 10

Next, I went through a 4 movement sandbag complex for 3 sets, attempting to finish all the sets as quickly as possible. For total body strength and power endurance, sandbag complexes will bust you up. Perfect for grapplers!

1. clean and press x 6
2. shouldering x 6 (3 ea)
3. zercher squats x 6
4. bent over rows x 6

Lastly, I finished with some weighted pull up - strapping on a couple of heavy chains and performing a quick descending set of 5/4/3/2/1 and calling it a day.

This just goes to show that you don't need a lot of equipment or a lot of time to get strong (maybe in a different way than "gym" strength) and be in awesome shape for your sport.

More Busy Guy Training: Underground Style!

So as you know, I'm a big believer in short, intense workouts. I like getting the biggest bang for my buck, and taking no prisoners.

With 15-30 minute workouts, that's the only attitude you can have.

There is no wasted no movements, no wasted effort. And it gets RESULTS. If you're not getting stronger, in some way or another, then you're wasting your time.

Let's take a glimpse into Zach Even-Esh's Underground Gym - where he and a couple of Canadian Pro Strongman bust out a 15 minute training session.

Heavy dumbbell snatching, clean and pressing, along with a variety of weighted pull ups. Simple. To the point, and clearly very effective.

These guys are throwing around 150lb dumbbells like its their job. And cranking out weighted pull ups from all different angles, and they all weigh well over 200lb.

2, maybe 3 movements are all you need for an effective workout. Sometimes less, but rarely ever more. Lets take a look at some other short workout variations...

deadlifts, weighted dips, and recline rows

box squats, bent over rows, weighted push ups

sandbag shouldering, pull ups, sled dragging

sandbag clean and press, dumbbell rows, sledgehammer strikes on a tractor tire

These are just a few examples, but you can see how it doesn't take much to get in a great workout.

Fighters, in season athletes, and busy guys in general who want to kill it, should start looking into these short 15-30 minute sessions. Start charting your progress and see what's working for you, and what needs to cut out.

If you're ready to committ and pay the price, Zach's Real Man Muscle Building Course (Busy Guy Fitness) is a step in the right direction. Stop using the excuse of being busy, and start busting ass in the gym.

Welcome To The Gun Show - Building Massive Arms Quickly

Here's an article from Jim Smith aka Smitty on how to jack your arms up QUICK. Jim's new muscle building course,
Accelerated Muscular Development (AMD), has been touted as one of THE BEST training programs of its kind and is putting muscle on busy guys and athletes LIKE CRAZY. Check out this article and you can see why...

Welcome to The Gun Show! No, I do not mean the one where you see a lot of Battle Dress Uniform’s or old men with beards down to their chest, looking at a Luger that Rommel had strapped around his ankle. I mean The Gun Show were the armory consists of your GUNS! That’s right, your biceps and your triceps!

When you fist started to lift weights, chances are the first exercises you did where:

1. Barbell Curls
2. Barbell Triceps Extensions.

While these are fine exercises, there is much more to building huge guns. Read on and I will tell you how to turn your .22’s in to .50 caliber Desert Eagles.

1. Train Compound Movements: I don’t know if I can say anything else that hasn’t already been said about compound movements. They use a ton of muscle and they get you thick and strong. You train your legs and upper body with compound movements, so your arm training should be no different. Also, before we get on a roll here, remember that the triceps account for about 2/3 of all of your upper arm size, so prioritize accordingly. For the biceps I like to use chin ups. When you do curls (barbell or dumbbell) it is a single joint movement. We kick this up a notch when we do chins, especially close grip chins. Action is taking place at the elbow joint (elbow flexion) as well as the shoulder joint (shoulder flexion). Few biceps movements allow this to occur. Also, when doing chins you are using your body weight which is probably more than you could ever curl with a barbell or a dumbbell. Added to that, you can externally load the movement to increase it’s difficulty. For triceps, I have found that close grip 3 or 4 Board presses are excellent strength and mass builders. For big triceps just press and extended and do it heavy!

2. PUMP IT UP!: After you blast your biceps and triceps with heavy compound movements, get some blood pumping through the muscles with some basic single joint movement exercises. DB curls, DB hammer curls, Incline DB Curls, triceps push downs, DB extensions, single arm cable extensions etc., all work well to get blood rushing into your muscles. This helps with growth and recovery. By getting blood moving through the muscle you promote recovery via oxygen and nutrient rich blood, and you also promote growth via cross sectional increases to the muscle fibers. Think high rep stuff here.

3. Form is everything: Just like any other exercise, form is everything when doing Gun Show work. One of the reasons I like doing chins for the biceps is that it is impossible to cheat. You cannot hyperextend your back to get extra reps. It’s either you get it or you don’t. Either way, when doing bicep and tricep work, make sure to pinch your shoulders together and keep your wrists and elbows in-line. Do not cheat for the sake of handling more weight. Remember, you can’t get big Guns if you are injured.

I hope this gives you some insight on how to train your arms for the Gun Show. Follow the sample below and watch your Guns become something that will make Dirty Harry’s Day.

Sample Vanity Work Day:
1. Chins: 5 sets of max reps (2 min rest)
2. Close Grip 3 Board Press: 5 x 5
3. DB Incline Curls: 3 x 12
4. Band Triceps Pushdown: 3 x 20

Jim Smith, CSCS is a highly sought after lecturer, author and renowned strength coach. Jim is an expert for Men’s Fitness and a member of the Elite Fitness Q/A staff. He speaks regularly at clinics, conferences and seminars about the Diesel Method. His distinctive and comprehensive training approach has helped athletes and fitness enthusiasts of all skill levels attain their goals and "Achieve Beyond Potential". Jim is an active student of strength athletics and is always seeking new ways to innovate and provide a unique perspective for gaining muscle, rehabbing injuries, improving performance and building better athletics.

Friday, May 29, 2009

A Fighter's Number One Priority

When preparing for a fight its important to remember your NUMBER ONE GOAL as a fighter...

And that is to take your current skill level and be able to best translate your abilities under the intense pressure of a FIGHT. The ABSOLUTE BEST WAY to do that is through actual sparring - hard sparring - with various scenarios, being put in awful positions and best simulating the type of PRESSURE you are going to feel during a fight. In other words, you gotta practice your sport and everything involved to the upmost degree, and become as efficient as possible in all facets of the game. This should all be a no brainer, but some people for lack of a better term, get it twisted.

So we now know that everything else (namely your strength and conditioning) is SECONDARY, but still largely important. It does not matter HOW MUCH you do, but rather its WHAT you do. Remember, you're already training takedowns,grappling, and striking maybe several hours per day - you don't have much left in your reserves! And while everyone freaks out about their conditioning before a fight, you should be getting MOST OF THAT from your actual fight training.

Leading up to a fight, your main goals are maintain your strength and power while getting in condition. Its important to remember the phrase "All Else Equal.." ...meaning, all else equal, the better technician will win, all else equal the better conditioned fighter will win, all else equal the stronger fighter will win, etc, etc. In other words, don't neglect one thing for the other.

Throw in some strength work - using a HEAVY sandbag, or some HEAVY dumbbells or barbells, or some WEIGHTED calisthenics.

Keep your lactic acid tolerance through the roof by mixing in some SHORT energy system finishers to your strength sessions.

2-3 strength & conditioning sessions are all a fighter needs.

And above all, your skill practices COME FIRST and FOREMOST. Get strong, get in condition, and never be the guy with less technical skill.

Quadzilla - Massive Muscle Building For Your Legs

Hey guys, here's another guest article from Jim Smith, who's brand new product, Accelerated Muscular Devlopment, was just launched on Memorial Day.

Massive Muscle Building For Your Legs
by Jim Smith
Accelerated Muscular Devlopment

You enter the gym, mind made up that you are going to have the training session of a lifetime. You have your camo Chuck’s on, your Affliction t-shirt two sizes too small, and your head phones blasting DMX. Then you see him. Standing over by the curl rack (squat rack); the inverted triangle of manhood, the one, the only, Captain Upper Body. Pecs pumped, shoulders rippling, back wide as the day is long. Then you look down to see two toothpicks known as legs poking out of the bottom of his shorts. “That just ain’t right”, you think to yourself and get to work.

Seriously, how many of us have seen the scenario go down at our training centers? More often than not right? What many people fail to realize is that the human body, just like trees, grow from the roots up (or legs up in our case). Many people neglect to train legs for various reasons, but the truth is this-you can tell who is serious and who is not in the gym by seeing if they are training legs. So get serious with these three tips and make like a tree and grow!

1. You gotta squat and deadlift:
Sorry, but you MUST squat and you must deadlift. No, leg press is not acceptable (unless you have an injury that prevents you from squatting and/or deadlifting). These two movements utilize a TON of muscle and really work your body from head to toe. Not to mention the insane amount of growth hormone they dump into your blood. Try any and all variations of these two lifts. Box squats, rack pulls, zercher squats, deficit deadlifts. The point is this-SQUAT AND DEADLIFT.

2. Overload to Overcome:
You cannot rep 185 for months on end and expect either your squat or deadlift to go up. It won’t happen. The human body is the most efficient machine at adapting the world has ever known. Coach Buddy Morris has said that it takes the body two-three weeks to adapt to a new training stimulus. With this knowledge plan your workouts wisely. By using progressive overload, you can disrupt this adaptation so that you continue to get stronger and build more muscle. Simply put, add 5-10 pounds to the weights you are using and try to set rep PR’s. Once progress stalls, drop the weights down a little bit and start the same process over again.

3. Single Leg Work:
Make sure to include single leg work into your routine. Not only does it stabilize the knee, it also activates the quads and helps to eliminate any imbalances you may have. Try lunges, step ups, split squats, anything that requires one of your legs to be the prime mover without the aid of the other leg. In addition, it requires tremendous core musculature recruitment to stabilize yourself when doing these lifts so you have the added benefit of getting in a good “core” workout as well.

If you are sleeping on your lower body training you need to wake up and get to work. As your lower body grows so to will the rest of your body. Leg training, the Kryptonite of Captain Upper Body-get on it NOW!

Sample Low body Workout:
1. Squat 5 x 5
2. Rack Pull work up to a 3 rep max
3. Romanian Deadlift: 3 x 8 @ 65% of DL max
4. DB Split Squat 3 x 10
5. Weighted Crunches 3 x 10

Act NOW and get this kick ass, a-z muscle builing course TODAY! CLICK HERE FOR AMD!

Jim Smith, CSCS is a highly sought after lecturer, author and renowned strength coach. Jim is an expert for Men’s Fitness and a member of the Elite Fitness Q/A staff. He speaks regularly at clinics, conferences and seminars about the Diesel Method. His distinctive and comprehensive training approach has helped athletes and fitness enthusiasts of all skill levels attain their goals and "Achieve Beyond Potential". Jim is an active student of strength athletics and is always seeking new ways to innovate and provide a unique perspective for gaining muscle, rehabbing injuries, improving performance and building better athletics.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

The Ultimate Home Gym: 10 MUST HAVE Pieces of Equipment

So you're sick of working out in a commercial gym, and you have space in your garage or basement for a your own "mini" hardcore training facility and a few hundred dollars to spare on training equipment. Lots of the training I prescribe can be done with single pieces of equipment, with most if it being very cheap if not 100% FREE! However, if you have some cash to spend on building an ultimate, kick butt iron dungeon of you're very own, you can still get great equipment without going completely "all out". Its just a matter of cutting out the crap you don't need, and starting off with the absolute BARE ESSENTIALS. The freedom of being able to train when you want, listen to whatever music you want to listen to, and not have a bunch of people practically breathing down your neck is PRICELESS and is well worth whatever you would spend.

Here is a list of the most basic pieces of equipment, and why you need them.

1) Olympic Barbell with at least 300lb of plates
From all of the various deadlift variations to olympic pulls to rows to overhead presses to various squats, lunges and goodmornings, the barbell with plenty if iron to spare is THE MOST necessary piece of equipment for any home gym.

2) Power Rack with a Chinning Bar and attachable Parallel Bars
Listen, lots of people will try and sell you on power racks that are over a grand, but i've had my power rack for almost 10 years and its gone through as much use and abuse as anything could possibly ever handle...and it cost $250. For heavy squats, rack deadlifts, goodmorning variations, zercher deadlifts, super heavy shrugs, benching, incline benching and the like, a power rack is A MUST HAVE. Most power racks already come with a chin up bar, and the attachable parallel bars that I have were like 30 bucks and are solid as hell. Dips and chins are THE upperbody movements, and should be included in everyone's training program.

3) Adjustable Dumbbells
Ok, I guess depending on your space, these COULD go before a barbell, but it really doesn't matter. Get a solid pair of adjustable dumbbells (you can get them welded if you need to) that are loadable to at least 100lb. For heavy overhead work, to various lunges and single leg work, heavy one arm and two arms rows, shrugs, snatches and swings, a good pair of adjustable dumbbells will add endless variety to your program.

4) Tow Straps or Gymnastic Rings
There are various "suspension" products out there from Rings to Elitefts' blast straps to the TRX to Jon Hinds' Jungle Gym - they're all good, but can run you $50-150. I personally just use my tow straps from my elitefts dragging sled for various recline rows, scarecrows, facepulls, push ups, dips, muscle ups, tricep extensions, and curls. For upperbody training, ring training (we'll just generalize it) is an awesome addition and will rock you unlike anything else. Get em, make em, whatever - just use 'em!

5) Sandbags
Go to your local Army-Navy Surplus store, pick up a duffell bag, then go to home depot and buy 2-3 50lb bags of sand, some contractor bags, and gorilla tape. Make 4-6 mini contractor sandbags - double or triple them up, and duct tape the hell out of them. Throw those guys into the duffell bag and duct tape the duffell bag shut. Bam! You're very own sandbag. Great for clean and presses, shouldering, squats, lunges, goodmornings, carries, loading drills and a whole bunch of other painful variations. They're super cheap and easy to make. Get one.

6) Kegs
Acquire empty keg. Fill with 70-150lb of water. Dirt cheap or free, so why not just have one? Great for a variety of movements, and a completely different feel from sandbags.

7) Kettlebells.
As much as I love kettlebell training, its towards the bottom of the list, because these suckers ARE expensive. However, once you have one, you'll have it for life, and can use it for a variety of movements. I reccomend most guys get a 24kg and use it primarily as a GPP tool, doing tons of high rep swings, snatches, clean and presses, and complexes with it. If money is no concern, then definately pick up a pair or get some heavier kettlebells as well.

8) Dragging Sled
You can buy one, or if you want, make one using a large tire, an eye hook and some tow straps. Sled dragging is a MUST HAVE for lowerbody leg strength, conditioning and mental toughness. Also great for upperbody work like rows, scarecrows, facepulls, and various presses/flyes.

9) Jump Stretch Bands
Besides adding them for accomodating resistence to your squats, deadlifts or bench presses, bands are a great way to get in extra workouts for upperbody, core and posterior chain. High rep band circuits for the upperbody are great as a warm up or as gpp work, and high rep band goodmornings along with pull throughs are an excellent way to bring up lowerback, glute and hamstring strength.

10) Heavy Chains
Again, great for accomodating resistence when added to various squats, deadlifts and presses, the chains also act as an easy way to add weight to various upperbody movements like dips, chins, push ups, recline rows and facepulls. Get 2-4 of these from elitefts (they weigh 20lb each) and you'll have a "weighted vest" that will last you for life.

Interview With Creator Of AMD!

Prior to the release of his new muscle building product, I was able to talk with my friend and strength coach Jim Smith.

1. Smitty, what’s this latest product you’ve been working on?

Jim: First off, let me say thank you for allowing me to talk to you and your readers.My new product is called Accelerated Muscular Development and as the name implies it is as muscle building program. But it is unlike any program on the net right now. It shows people not only why muscle is built but how muscle is built. Everyone will be in for a big surprise if they think it is a program with tons of volume. I actually shouldn’t say program, because it is much more than that. It is a complete system.

2. Complete system? Tell me more about that.

Jim: When I was formulating the AMD Accelerated Muscular Development system, I didn’t want it to be like everyone else’s program and be just a bunch of workouts. When you go through a product like that and finish the workouts, you’re stuck. You don’t know what to do next. You don’t know what exercises, what sets or what reps you should be doing according to your specific goals or individual needs. Also, you don’t gain the knowledge of how to design your own programs.

3. So how is AMD different?
Jim: First of all, everything in Accelerated Muscular Developmentis backed by science. Scientific studies that support why I set up the system the way I did. So, it is not my opinion, it is proven. And the results of the people in the AMD testimonials are proof positive as well.
Now, I call AMD a complete system because it not only teaches why you’re doing what you’re doing, but it also provides a step-by-step protocol of what you should do from the time you step into the gym or your garage or where ever you train, until you leave.
Most programs, like I said, give you your workouts with the sets and reps and that is it. What about the dynamic warm-up, what about the soft-tissue work, what about the activation exercises and what about the rehab component; they’re all missing. AMD covers all of these and shows you how to put it together in a simple, easy-to-modify template.

4. One of the biggest problems I see is that when some people buy a muscle building product they get real excited and go to the gym to get started. But they end up doing the exercises with horrible form.

Jim: Let me cut you off there. Not only did I provide you with the step-by-step sequential pictures that show you have to do the exercises in the AMD exercise index, I created a whole Youtube channel dedicated to the system. I am currently loading it up with all of the exercises in AMD and I will show you the right way to do each one. There is no more need to go and search Youtube to find how to do an exercise correctly (plus you have to be very careful what you find). Now you have a video library showing you the right way each exercise should be performed.
If you want to see more of Smitty’s new program, go to Accelerated Muscular Development the AMD site and check out this killer exclusive look at the site.

Dustin Lebel
Accelerated Muscular Development

Just go here....
Accelerated Muscular Development


PS: For an exclusive first look at AMD and the exercises in the program, check out this video

PPS: Get ready for this innovative new product Accelerated Muscular Development

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Underground Leg Training Secrets!

For strong, powerful legs there are multiple ways to train, but really it boils down to hard work. For a strong lower body and posterior chain, sandbag training can certainly help you reach your goals. For maximal strength, barbell squatting and deadlift are obvious choices, but for general strength and conditioning purposes, various sandbag squats, lunges and goodmornings will do the trick (and then some!).

So today I wanted to get in a great workout, and I decided to use a routine from Zach Even-Esh, owner of the Underground Strength Gymnasium and author of
The Underground Strength Manual and Real Man Muscle Building Course (Busy Guy Fitness). It was a pretty simple and one of those that looked easy on paper. Boy was I mistaken! After a warm up of push ups, reverse lunge + band pull aparts,and kettlebell swings, I hit up Zach's "easy" leg routine using my 130lb sandbag...

a1) sandbag zercher squats 3x5
a2) sandbag zercher goodmornings 3x5
b1) sandbag zercher reverse lunges 3x5 (each leg)
b2) sandbag power cleans 3x5

This turned out to be one TOUGH workout - not only on the lowerbody, but the core and upperbody as well from isometrically holding the bag.

After my leg workout, I wanted to get in some upperbody work, so I did some heavy single arm kettlebell overhead presses and some single arm kettlebell rows with extra resistence using a jump stretch band.

For more strength training secrets, you gotta check out Zach's training courses...

Underground Strength Manual

Real Man Muscle Building Course

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Back Off! Massive Muscle Building For Your Back!

Here's a guest article from Jim Smith aka Smitty about building a big, strong back using basic movements. Jim just put out his new training manual, Accelerated Muscular Development(AMD), where he fasts tracks you to packing on muscle and getting stronger like never before!

How To Build Muscle and Get a Big Back With This Effective Workout
by Jim Smith

Having a strong back is critical for success in athletics, in staying healthy during training and for overall well-being. With that said, what does it take to get a strong back? Read on and find out how to build a back side that will make everybody take notice.

1. Pull Ups and Chins Ups form the foundation:
Pull ups and chin ups are to your back as squatting is to your legs. You need to do them and do them often. Not only do they use a tremendous amount of muscle, but they also get you BRUTE STRONG. All the connective tissues of your shoulders and back get noticeably stronger when you perform these exercises. Many people get bogged down with trying to do max reps on pull ups and chin ups. If you have ever read the Encyclopedia of Bodybuilding, Arnold recommends that you pick a goal number of reps you want to achieve and do as many sets as it takes you to reach your goal number. I feel that this is one of the best ways to increase your pull up and chin up strength.

2. Go heavy on big lifts:
By this I mean go heavy on the deadlifts, the barbell shrugs, barbell rows, back extensions etc. All of these lifts require the back musculature to work overtime in a big way to engage and lockout the movement. You will be hard pressed to find a single exercise that does not require the back musculature to be engaged to some degree to help with the execution of the lift.

3. Balance you back budget:
Make sure you train your back with a sense of balance. Make sure to hit a horizontal row (seated rows, DB rows, barbell rows), a vertical pulling motion (shrugs, pull ups, chin ups), also make sure to get your external rotators with some band external rotation, DB external rotations, or cable external rotations. Lastly hit some retractions before or after your work out.

If you follow these three steps, in no time at all you will have a back that legends are made of. Imagine going to the beach and hitting a lat spread and making people wonder if a solar eclipse is occurring. Now tell me that doesn’t sound cool.

Sample Back Workout:

Warm Up:
A. Plate Halos 2 x 15
B. DB Retractions 2 x 20
C. Static Pec Stretch 3 x 10 s (each side)

Strength Training Workout:
1. Chins Ups: 10 x 3
2. Barbell Rows 5 x 8
3. DB Shrugs 3 x 10
4. Seated Low Row 3 x 12
5. Band External Rotations 2 x 20

Jim Smith, CSCS is a highly sought after lecturer, author and renowned strength coach. Jim is an expert for Men’s Fitness and a member of the Elite Fitness Q/A staff. He speaks regularly at clinics, conferences and seminars about the Diesel Method. His distinctive and comprehensive training approach has helped athletes and fitness enthusiasts of all skill levels attain their goals and "Achieve Beyond Potential". Jim is an active student of strength athletics and is always seeking new ways to innovate and provide a unique perspective for gaining muscle, rehabbing injuries, improving performance and building better athletics.

P.S. For a ton more info on getting stronger and gaining muscle from Jim, go here: Accelerated Muscular Development(AMD)

Find Out What Most Programs Are Missing!

If you remember, I told you that most muscle building products show you a bunch of exercises and give you a 12 week program AND THAT'S IT! They don't show you how to CREATE YOUR OWN STRENGTH ROUTINES, so you can learn and educate yourself on what it takes to add muscle and get stronger.

Accelerated Muscular Development(AMD), from Jim Smith, gives you the knowledge and structure about strength training, so that you can make informed decisions according to your own needs.

And he has had some amazing results. A busy Dad on the program added 9 lbs of muscle in only 8 weeks, while working, being active in the Army and taking care of a new infant at home.

Gone are the days where you have to spend endless hours of unproductive training just to see mediocre results.

Jim has setup the program where you can get in and out of the gym in 30 minutes or less.

Check out this vid to see what most programs are missing

Get Accelerated Muscular Development Today!

50 Reps To Getting In Fight Shape

Hope everyone is recovery after the long weekend! Here's a FREE article I recently wrote for ezine articles that hasn't been published yet (you guys are the first to see it!). Enjoy...

When it comes to training for combat sports or getting in "fight shape" as we call it, there are many variables to take into consideration. You want to be super strong - no doubt about it - strength is the MOTHER of all skills. You also want to be in great condition, but for our purpose, there's no reason to be running for miles on end hanging out on an elliptical for hours a week. Even if you're just a dude looking to get in shape and be as strong as you look, these things still don't make any sense. You want to do activities that will turn your metabolism into a fat burning machine and preserve the precious muscle that you have, not waste it away with the likes of long, drawn out "cardio" sessions.Can you say boring and not to mention, unmanly? I mean, what guy wants to say he does the same thing as the cardio bunny 3 treadmills over as part of his training routine? Its time that men take a stand and actually start training like men! But that's a whole different topic for another article.

The problem with most fighters and gym rats alike, is that when it comes to their strength & conditioning program they are generally doing too much. Not necessarily too much volume, but just too much bull sh#t in general. Between what you see in various magazines and online, most people just want to "try it all" and never really FOCUS and get strong at a few basic movements. This, unfortunately, takes commitment and an iron will. You have to FORCE your body to change - whether it be to get stronger, put on muscle, or lose fat. You're body does not want to do these things and frankly its pretty comfortable where its at right now. But we're going to change, and we're going to change in a big way.

This sample routine is for the guy who's been "trying it all" and needs to get back to just working hard on a few basic things. This is such a simple concept, but very difficult to actually do. These sample programs will serve as both your strength AND conditioning sessions - no more long, boring cardio workouts. You will work VERY HARD on just a few movements and you WILL progress every single session. This gun to the head mentality is crucial to your success in all walks of life and you'll be very surprised what results this type of thinking can yield.

Ok, enough blabbering...on to the details of the program. This workout is originally inspired by guys like Dan John from his "one lift a day" concept and Charles Staley from his "escalating density" workouts, but this training is nothing new. We're taking it back to the old school and GRINDING away to get in fight shape in a very short amount of time.

After warming up on your own, maybe with calisthenics and band work, you're going to pick just ONE movement and perform 50 reps for time. If using a sandbag, pick a weight that's fairly challenging for 4-8 reps and stay in the 2-5 rep range for your sets.

But we're not going to be doing curls or dumbbell flies, here. I urge you to pick FULL BODY movements that require a TON of muscle mass. We're trying to IGNITE our metabolisms and blast our energy systems and a get a huge hormonal response in just a short amount of time. I love using heavy, awkward sandbags for type of training, but barbells, dumbbells and kettlebells are also great choices.

My favorite movements for the 50 rep drill are as follows:

1. Sandbag Clean and Press
*** Rip the bag from the floor and press that sucker overhead...use leg drive if needed (you will if you have a heavy enough bag). A Barbell, dumbells, kettlebells, or strongman log are fine substitutes here.

2. Sandbag Shouldering
*** Straddling the bag, explode and toss the bag onto one shoulder. Lower and repeat to the other side. Not much else can mimic the feel of these, so I reccomend making a bag!

3. Sandbag Power Cleans
*** Clean the bag from the floor and "catch" the bag in the rack position. Lower to the floor and repeat. These can be done fairly rapidly, so be push the pace! Barbell power cleans are ok, just watch for form breakdowns. Wake Forrest Strength Coach, Ethan Reeve, used to have his wrestlers perform 10 sets of 10 as a conditioning workout!

4. Sandbag Power Clean + Zercher Squat
*** After catching the bag in the "zercher" position, keep your elbows high and back flat while squatting deep. Stand up, and lower the bag to the ground. Repeat. A power clean & front squat would also work fine.

5. Sandbag Loading on to a 36+" platform
*** You can do these straight on or rotationally. Not much explanation here, just get the bag up to the platform any way you can, lower and repeat. If doing the rotational variation, repeat sides every rep.

7. HeavyOne Arm Dumbbell or Kettlebell Snatches
*** These are great and can be done pretty heavy. If using a dumbbell, 40-50% of your bodyweight would be pretty good for this, with a kettlebell you can do this for strength or use this as a short conditioning drill and get in 50 reps each side without putting the kettlebell down.

8. Barbell Deadlift Variation
*** I prefer something like SNATCH GRIP deadlifts here, but any variation will do. Use perfect form (not "competition" form, please) and get ready for some serious soreness for the next few days.

9. Barbell Squat Variation
*** Olympic back squats or Front Squats are good choices here. Pretend you're Eric Heiden (a speed skater famous for his insane high rep squatting) for a day and crush it! Not too much else will create the hormanal surge of high volume squatting

These workouts will take anywhere from 10-20 minutes and will leave you absolutely thrashed. Record your time and try to beat it the next time out. Its that simple, but when you're working against the clock you need that do or die mentality, much like in the ring or on the mat.

P.S. Smitty of the Diesel Crew put out his LONG AWAITED Muscle Building Course on Memorial Day, so be sure to check back here often for some exclusive FREE articles and videos because I'll be posting up a ton over the next few weeks. Smitty and his crew are the real deal and never fail to OVER DELIVER. Get your hands on it NOW Accelerated Muscular Development and thank me later when you've packed on a ton of muscle mass and shredded bodyfat faster than ever before.

Get Your Accelerated Muscular Development Course Here!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Bad Trainers Will Hurt You!

Whats Up Everybody,

Have you ever bought a muscle building product and gotten injured because you didn't know how to do the exercises in the program?

Have you ever felt confused when trying to follow a program you've found online and gotten discouraged that you weren't making any progress?

Everybody’s reason for working out is different. You might want confidence, you might want to lead a healthier, stronger life, you might want to get noticed and not always be the skinny kid in the room. Whatever the reason, you seek advice online from a “qualified” trainer.

Be Warned!

Most internet gurus and trainers will injure you. They demonstrate and teach bad form in their videos and probably have never really lifted heavy weights.

If you don't practice good form and you’ve never really been under the bar, how can teach it to others!

Jim Smith, a strength coach in the industry and a good friend of mine, just developed a new muscle building program called Accelerated Muscular Development (AMD).

AMD provides a step-by-step guide for a complete muscle building system. The system shows you how to:

- incorporate a dynamic warm-up prior to your workout
- activate muscles and improve mobility
- rehab injuries
- improve your movement


When Jim sent me his new Accelerated Muscular Development muscle building system, I realized it was very unique. He is passionate about teaching people the right way to train that he not only does he provide step-by-step visual exercise pics in the program but he also created a Youtube site dedicated to correct form for all of the exercises in the program.

Most muscle building products show you a bunch of exercises and give you a 12 week program – AND THAT'S IT! They don't show you how to CREATE YOUR OWN STRENGTH ROUTINES, so you can learn and educate yourself on how to add muscle and get stronger according to your needs.

PS: Get ready for this innovative new product Accelerated Muscular Development

Memorial Day Training

I hope everyone is enjoying the long weekend and spent alot of time with friends and family grillin' n chillin' - I know I did!

But today was back to business as usual - which means hard training and a few days of low carbin' to get back to neutral.

What was supposed to be a cool, rainy day ended up being hot and muggy - perfect for training, if you ask me! So off I went to a local playground that I found last week that is vacant most of the time and has a pretty dope set up for getting in a great workout...parallel dip bars, long parallel bars that are great for dips, handwalking, and recline rows, different height pull up bars (perfect for practicing muscle ups!), monkey bars, you name it. So I brought my sandbag, tow straps (I just use them as homemade blast straps), some heavy chains, and a pair of jump stretch bands.

Here's how it went...

warm up x 2 sets
1. push ups x 15
2. band rows x 20
3. squats x 20
4. reverse lunges x 20

a1) sandbag clean and press 4x5
a2) mixed grip pull ups 4 x reps
b1) parallel bar dips 3 x reps
b2) weighted recline rows 3 x reps
c) sandbag bear hug squats x max reps in 5 minutes
d1) band tricep extensions 2x20
d2) band curls 2x20

Not to mention the 300+ foot sandbag carry from my car to the playground and then back again!

So that's it from me...enjoy the rest of the day and I hope you got some good training in yourself!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Gain 31 Pounds Before Football Trainign Camp Part 3!

Alright folks, here's the third and last installment of Elliott Hulse's article on how to gain MASS for football. Even if you're not an athlete, these tips will definately guide you in the right direction to pack on muscle and get super strong and fast.

Gain 31 Pounds Before Football Training Camp - part 3

By Elliott Hulse, CSCS

Gridiron Strongman Program

This strength program is a combination of several styles and programs that I have discovered in my 10 years of experience. You will read about systems that I’ve learned from Joe DeFranco, Dave Tate and Louie Simmons . You will learn philosophies that I’ve adopted from BFS’s Greg Shepard, Mike Boyle and Paul Chek. I’ve learned a ton by training with Strongman Champion Tom Mitchell and watching videos from the Parisi School. I enjoy reading Ian King, Charles Poliquin, Dan John and Arizona States Joe Kenn. I’ve combined systems from Power lifting, Strongman, Olympic lifting, Track and Field and Bodybuilding. I can tell you that there are probably hundreds of more coaches, books and seminars that I've learned from and they have all contributed in some way to my design for this incredible football training system.

As the title of this series insinuates, our main purpose is to gain MASS. But, we would like that mass to be in the form of MUSCLE MASS and in order to do so we must adhere to the principles outlined below. Getting big and fat is not an option for football players, you need to be big and strong while maintaining a level of relative body strength and of course, blazing speed.

“The Mixed Tool Bag” Training System

Getting bigger, getting stronger and getting faster requires that an athlete performs exercises that are associated with each one of those goals. There are exercises and systems of training that will get you strong, but not necessarily bigger. In the same light, there are exercises and training systems that will get you bigger but in the processes an athlete may become slower. But imagine a system that allows an athlete to get bigger, stronger and faster at the same time!

A “concurrent” approach to training is one in which several strength qualities are trained with in the same micro-cycle or week. Basically, we will use training systems that will get us stronger such as power lifting; systems that will get us bigger such as bodybuilding; and systems that will get us faster, such as jump training all at the same time.

If you are a football coach or a strength coach that has been in this field for some considerable amount of time you will be familiar with the old linear form or periodization. Basically, with linear periodization there are phases of training periods divided throughout an annual plan. It may look something like this – Hypertrophy, Strength, Power and Transition phases. These phases are broken down into sub-phases and macro or micro cycles. Reps, sets, exercises and percentages are varied to help an athlete reach a peak level of performance at a particular time.

Although this system seems logical at first there are a few, HUGE drawbacks.
First, when you move from one phase to another in linear periodization you leave behind the strength quality that had been developed during the previous phase.

For example if have just spent the last 5 weeks developing maximal strength with my athletes and it is now time to move into a power / speed phase… with the traditional western linear form of periodization I will be spending the next 5 weeks on Power while leaving behind the maximal strength method. What happens to our maximal strength you ask? It’s capacity decreases. My athletes will get faster and more explosive but they will lose a huge chunk of the hard earned strength that was amassed in the prior phase.

With Concurrent periodization you train ALL strength qualities at the same time. This includes Hypertrophy (bodybuilding), Strength, Speed and Power all in the same program at the same time! I will also show you how to implement this program to receive the greatest results in the minimum time.

The next big problem with linear periodization is that it is based on percentages. So for example in the first phase you may be training with 65% of your one rep max on the bench press and in the second phase it may be 90%.

My first question is “how accurate can these percentages be?” And what about these so-called “maxes”? Lets say Joey Guns can bench press 300lbs and suppose he’s training with 75% – 225lbs. Yet, when he comes to my gym and sees all the HUGE records on the board and hears 50 cent or Avenge 7 Fold blasting on the stereo he gets super pumped up and presses 355lbs! So now what? In all probability his training with 225 for the past 8 weeks was a complete waste of time.

With my system athletes are will always be training very close to their one rep max. Every week we perform ALL OUT maximal effort exercises, not puny percentages based on a number that was established during last months test day, which also happened to be the same day that Joey Guns’ girlfriend dumped him.

Also, according to Vladimir Zatsiorsky in the text, Science and Practice of Strength Training, long breaks (from working at percentages close to your 1RM) can ruin physical fitness. Vladimir asks, "If a mountaineer wants to climb to the summit, will he climb halfway up then back down to go back up again?" These long breaks are detrimental because motor abilities are built and retained at different rates, which are fairly specific to each individual. Some may be lost very quickly while others will be held.

Finally, what about your multi-sport athlete? According to Dr. Greg Shepherd of Bigger, Faster, Stronger a periodization program done halfway properly can drive a coach nuts with its complexities. You’ve got 12 kids going out for basketball after the football season is over. Half of them will continue with a spring sport. The rest will join your lifting program with the other 24 kids that have been doing it for the last 8 weeks. In the summer you get 9 new kids come out for the football team and have to fit them into the lifting program with the other who have been lifting all spring. If this sounds like a nightmare to you, your right – it is!

Imagine a system that allows your athletes to transition from sport to sport and from in season to off seasons with incredible ease. Imagine your athletes could continually progress all year long and reach their fullest potential. Well that is exactly what I am going to show you how to do.

Tool #1 - Power lifting

With this method you will get Super Strong. When you lift heavy weights your nervous system and endocrine system are forced to adapt. First, the strain on the nervous system causes an increase in intermuscular and intra muscular coordination. It is this type of demand that causes your muscles to grow stronger. Also, whenever you strain with a heavy weight your endocrine system responds by increasing the release of anabolic hormones including testosterone and growth hormone. So basically you are causing your body to release its own form of Anabolic Steroids – naturally.
The one downside to using this method is that you can't train with weights above 90 percent RM for much longer than three to four weeks before the nervous system begins to become overwhelmed and weaken. When this happens your strength will begin to diminish.
The way to overcome this strength barrier is to change the exercises used for the max effort method every three weeks. This keeps the body fresh so the method can be used all-year round, in-season, off-season and rabbit season. Also, we have found that athletes enjoy the constant change of max effort exercises as they many become bored after a few weeks.

Tool #2 – Bodybuilding

Want to get HUGE? Do you want to gain a significant amount of muscle mass and strength? Then do what the biggest, most muscular, muscle mass monsters on earth do – Body build.
With this method we train all supplemental or auxiliary exercises meant to support your power lifting exercises. Generally, body builders use this method by training each muscle or exercise to its momentary failure (you cant move the weight any longer) with a lighter weight. When you train a muscle to failure the maximal number of motor units are recruited. This system of training is great for the development of muscle mass, which is why it's become so popular among the bodybuilding population.

The big drawback with this type of training, if done alone, is that it is done with sub-maximal weights and will fail to build your absolute strength. Just because a muscle is huge, doesn’t mean that it is strong. We have all seen the guy at the gym or have had the kid on our team that LOOKS like a monster but the moment you put a barbell on his back he looks like he’s going to have a seizure. Also, by training to failure on several sets you fatigue your nervous system to such a degree that it takes several days to recover and may hamper your strength gains.
In order to get the greatest benefit from this method without the drawbacks we will modify it slightly. Instead of performing every set to failure, we train with a weight until our form breaks down. So, if you are performing a set of biceps curls (ooh, did I say biceps curls in a football program?), for 4 sets of 12 and on the final set you begin to lose decent form on the 8th rep – simply stop. By training to failure on every set you'd be taking away from the general purpose of the movements, which is to increase work capacity and add to your overall strength not detract from it.

Tool #3 – Jump Training (Super Speed)

It is with this method that we take all that hard-earned muscle and turn them into weapons. This is when your arms actually become guns! Building strength is great and it is the foundation of improving all athletic capacity. Also, building size is not only great for knocking your opponents onto their heels the extra size will help you prevent injuries. But, none of this will get you a college scholarship, championship ring or professional contract if you’re SLOW and unauthentic.

I call this method Super Speed because we use several different modalities to build Strength-Speed and Speed Strength. Basically there are times when we move moderate weight as fast as possible and times when we simply move our bodyweight as fast as possible as in plyometrics.

The objective here is to recruit as many muscle fibers as possible in the shortest period of time. This improves an athlete’s ability to run faster, jump higher and change directions on a dime! Because of the enormous carryover of this method into sports performance a great deal of emphasis is put into this method, but it is often used improperly.

Please remember that although it would seem that the exercises used in this method alone would make you faster don’t forget that your expression of speed is determined by your foundation of strength. Many coaches make the mistake of over emphasizing this method without first building the proper relative body strength that most young athletes lack. This would be analogous to putting the cart before the horse or putting on your tie before your suit.

Putting it all together (Sample Program)

Monday – Power Lifting Upper

Power Lifting Upper: Barbell Bench Press, work up to a 3-5 rep max.

Body Building Upper: Incline DB Bench Press, perform 3-4 sets of 6-10 reps.
Body Building Pull: Chin Ups super set with Band Face Pulls, perform 3-4 super sets of 8-12 reps.

Traps / Neck: Barbell Shrugs – 4 sets of 10
Arms: Barbell Curls – 4 sets of 10
Tuesday – Super Speed (Low volume early in the off season to high volume close to the season)

Dynamic Warm Up
Vertical Jumps x 5 -10
Broad Jumps x 5 - 10
20 Yard Dash x 5 - 10
Wednesday – Power Lifting Lower

Power Lifting Lower: Back Squats, work up to a 3-5 rep max.
Quads / Unilateral: Dumbbell Step Ups, perform 3 sets of 8-12 reps.
Posterior Chain: Glute Ham Bench, perform 3-4 sets of 8-15 reps.
Abdominal Circuit –
V-ups x 10
Push Through x 10
Knee Push x 10
Bicycles x 10
Single leg pushes x 10
Straight Leg sit ups x 10
Thursday – Super Speed (Low volume to high volume)

Dynamic Warm Up
Box Jumps x 5 -10
Bounding for distance (20 yards) x 6
20 Yard Dash x 5 – 10
Friday – Bodybuilding

Body Building Upper: Barbell Band Push Ups, perform 3 sets of 8-12 reps
Body Building Pull: Lat Pull downs super set with Rear Delt Flys Perform 3-4 super sets of 8-12 reps.
Body Building Push: Standing Dumbbell Press, perform 3-4 sets of 8-15 reps:
Grip: Plate Pinches for time

Abdominal: Weighted Crunches 4 x 8-12
You may have noticed that there is nothing ‘cutting edge’ or unique about this program. But, if you read Part 1 and Part 2 of this series you’ll remember that it’s not built on special gadgets and secret systems. This program is built on ATTITUDE!

If you’ve decided that football is the world to you and you’ve forgone all other “filler sports” during your off-season, you will concentrate single mindedly on getting massive, strong and super fast.

Next year you will be older, perhaps in a bigger program and twice the athlete you were last season. You need to get bigger, you need to get stronger and you need to get faster, and I just showed you how.

By: Elliott Hulse, CSCS
Gridiron Strongman Program

About the Author

Learn about the "Top 10 Gym Exercises For Explosive Speed" in the free report from Elliott Hulse at Gridiron Strongman Program Elliott is a Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist who trains football players to get bigger, stronger and faster at his gym in St. Petersburg, Florida. His Football Strength System has helped hundreds of football players, coaches and parents prepare for game winning football seasons. For more information on the Football Strength Systems that will help you gain serious mass, strength and speed visit his Gridiron Strongman Program.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Top 5 Keg Movements For Crushing Strength!

Here's an article I just wrote for about building "Crushing" Strength for combat sports. Isometric strength is rarely trained, mainly because its just not that "sexy", but here are a few ways to kill two birds with one stone.

The single most missing component from most grapplers training programs are movements that help build isometric strength and endurance. Some might call this crushing strength, or bear hug strength, but whatever you want to call it, there is such a thing and if you've ever wrestled somebody with this then you know that its very real. Most training programs focus on just concentric and eccentric movements - the raising and lowering of weights. But in combat sports, not only do we need to be able to deliever force and absorb force, but we also need crazy amounts of isometric strength to wear opponents down in the clinch, or crush them on the ground. Typical movements in the weight room alone will not do the trick, and this is where various odd objects can come into place.

One of my favorite odd objects to use is a water filled keg. The water sloshing around inside makes every movement extremely unstable, forcing you to literally wrestle the keg into position. A simple clean and press that might be easy with a barbell is now a complete CHORE with a keg. And because of the circumerence of the keg, they are perfect tools for building that "crushing" strength through a variety of movements.These can be done as standalone workouts, incorporated with over keg movements and calisthenics or as a finisher to your normal strength sessions. Either way, this is extremely tough training that will tax your body from head to toe, and build strength in a way unlike you ever have before.

My my top 5 movements for crushing strength all involve using a simple bear hug grip and should be done with a moderately heavy keg. A 100lb waterfilled keg is a nice ballpark figure to go by.

1. Bear Hug Shouldering. This is the toughest of the bunch and may require some practice, but with a bear hug grip you are going to explode and throw the keg to one shoulder, maintaining your grip. Lower under control and repeat to the opposite side.

2. Bear Hug Rotations aka "Moving Men". I got this one from Joe Hashley, Creator of The Bull Strength Manual and its awesome! Using the same bear grip and fairly wide stance, rotate to one side while pivoting your feet and dropping to about a half lunge position and repeat to the other side.

3. Bear Hug Cleans. Explode with the keg from a low position (just above the ground) to a fully hip extended position and lower back under control

4. Bear Hug Squats. Simple - just keep a flat back and squat DEEP. Medium to high reps work great here.

5. Bear Hug Carries. Bear hug that sucker and carry it for either time or distance. Make a set distance of maybe 100-200 total yards or carry for max distance in 5-10 minutes.

So there you have it, 5 awesome movements using just a keg to building crushing strength to dominate your opponents!

For a ton more info like this, Joe has an awesome training manual out thats loaded with all sorts of crazy training methods. Check it out here Bull Strength Training Manual

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Upperbody "Chunking" (For Busy Guys!)

Waaay too many people think that you need to spend 2 hours a day in the gym to get results. Waaay too many people think that you need a full dynamic warm up before you even just wipe your ass. Waaay too many people obscess over ever little detail of their precious "routines" without leaving an inch left for any FUN.

The fact is that you can get in great workouts in sometimes just 10 or 15 minutes, and if you're a Busy Guy knowing this is super important and vital for you to continue to make progress. One thing that guys like Zach Even-Esh have talked about is something called "chunking", which is basically a time management principle used for business but also works AWESOME when it comes to training. By spreading out some short, mini workouts through out the week or even the day, you can get in alot of training in without having to worry about dedicating a full hour or more to the gym.

Recently i've been KILLING it with the sandbag training on alternate days, but these sessions are super short - around 15 minutes or so. I hit up some full body movements like power cleans, clean and presses, shouldering, or whatever else and call it a day. These, I guess you can say, are my "main" training sessions for the week. However, on alternating days i've been tearing it up with some bodyweight training. I just jump right in and start alternating sets of various kinds of pull ups, push ups, recline rows, handstand push ups, blast strap tricep and bicep work - just working non stop, not worry about sets and reps, just as long as I keep moving. These workouts take 5,10 or 15 minutes and I just feel so GOOD afterwards and am able to attack the rest of my day - which is usually training people, writing articles, reading, training martial arts, and hanging out with my girlfriend.

Zach goes into this in great detail in his Real Man Muscle Building Course and gives you tons of different routines that will put on muscle and strip off bodyfat FASTER than those lame 2 hour marathon sessions. But, these workouts are NOT a quick fix, and require a ton of intensity and a "gun to the head" mentality.

So, go ahead, piss off all of those people you know who slave away in the gym. Take action NOW, and tell Zach I sent ya!

The ULTIMATE Ass Kicking 15 Minute Workout Training Course EVER Made!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Gain 31 Pounds Before Football Training Camp Part 2

I posted Part of 1 of this installment last week where Elliott talks about the mindset needed to succeed, so here's Part 2 where he gets into the nitty gritty of just how you should be eating to pack on size like never before!

By: Elliott Hulse, CSCS
Gridiron Strongman Program

“Eat Iron & Lift Food”

On this program you’ve got to eat. If you are skinny and weak, you need to eat a ton of food. And don’t just tell me that you “eat a lot”, I get this answer from a lot of kids and when I take one look at what they really consume it turns out to be nothing more than a few slices of Elio’s Pizza and some cereal all day long. If you plan on skipping this section because you think:

you already eat enough and eat well
you don’t have time to eat…
Pack it up right now and just forget the whole thing, because you are fooling yourself and you will never reach your potential no matter what program you use. You’ve got to eat more food, plain and simple.

Even you fat kids. You’re not only eating crappy food, you too are not eating enough or as frequently as you need to. An example of a typical fat kids diet would look like this:

Breakfast: Cheerios & Skim Milk

Lunch: Taco Bell’s Grande Cheesy Chalupa (hold the sour cream)

Snack: A Lean Hot Pocket & Diet Soda

Dinner: Spaghetti O’s with Hot Dog Pieces, Purple Kool Aid & Cookies

From the meal plan above it would seem like this kid would be skinny because he barely eats all day, but the truth is that he is fat - because he his malnourished. I don’t have time now to go into the reasons why eating too few empty calories per day makes you fat, but trust me… if this kid ate even 2,000 more calories per day, on my program he would not only get build massive muscles he will lose fat. When you eat more food your body also responds by releasing greater amounts of growth hormone and testosterone, yet another form of natural steroids.

Chances are that you or your athletes are either skinny and weak or plain old fat. And that’s why I thought it was important to write this section. Also, many athletes today are severely injury prone. This has to do with the fact that their bones, joints, tendons, ligaments and muscles are literally made up of Twizzlers and Coca Cola.

You become what you eat. Every cell in your body has to me made of something, right? Well every 30-90 days billions of cells are replaced with new ones and they are made up of the foods that you have been eating. So if you’ve been eating chips and soda then guess what your ACL is made of. Look at it this way, if you lifting weights and expect to get stronger, and the building blocks for that muscle is garbage food, how strong can you expect to become?

Eat more, and eat higher quality foods. In fact, just eat food! This may sound strange but most of what you eat is not even considered food. What the heck is a Hot Pocket anyway, and if you tell me meat and bread then I urge you to read the labels. This is NOT food. In my opinion if it wasn’t here 10,000 years ago then it isn’t food. Chicken, rice, spinach all comes from the earth. Even hamburgers, peanut butter and milk can all be traced back to something that was here 10,000 years ago.

Also, don’t be fooled by the term all-natural. Monkey balls and dog feces are all-natural but I wouldn’t eat them if I wanted to get stronger.

“OK Elliott, so what the heck should I do?”

Here is a sort list of my favorite nutrition principles as they relate to getting jacked and strong for football.

#1 Eat Like A Man

Dr. Weston A Price was a dentist in the late 1930’s who has documented the most comprehensive study ever, of the primitive man and his diet / lifestyle in his groundbreaking book Nutrition & Physical Degeneration. In this documentary he recounts the nutrition and lifestyle habits of several “uncivilized” tribes in order to uncover the means for their extraordinary strength and health. Among the 14 different tribes he observed were:

The North American Indians

The Native American’s lived for thousands of years completely isolated from “The White Man”. These folks have adapted to their given environments and have learned how to live WITH the land, not just on it.

They ate meat, meat and meat with some meat on the side. Every part of the animal was eaten. Of greatest importance were the organs of the animals that they ate. These wise people knew that it was in the organs that all of the potent nutrition resided… not in the lean meat. In fact if the meat wasn’t fatty enough it was fed to the dogs!

Think about that the next time some puppet tells you to eat only lean meats and chicken breast and fish.

I make this point only to bring to your attention the blatend disconnect between what is commonly called ‘good nutrition’ and what man is meant to thrive on. When choosing foods, always make choices that most closely resemble what primitive man would eat (and I don’t mean Fruity Pebbles).

#2 High Octane Fuel

The quality of what you eat is just as important and how much you eat.

Remember, ‘You Are What You Eat’… from the moment that you put something into your mouth your body begins using it to create new cells somewhere in your system. Are you going to be made of Cheese-Its and Pop-Rocks or are you going to be made of a robust free-range, organic turkey and unprocessed milk?

The Choice is ALWAYS yours! Here is a short list of pointers to consider with regards to food quality:

1. Eat Whole Food - the soil that organic food is grown in is much more nutritious than that of conventionally raised crops. If the nutrients aren’t in the soil, they can’t get into the plant. If the nutrients are not present in the plants, they will not be present in you when you eat it… its as simple as that.

2. Avoid Processed Food - I am appalled at what people think is food these days! Just look at some of the garbage that we are feeding our children… what this heck is hotdog anyway? Nothing on the labels of any of these foods even resembles a food. I guarantee that over half of the “stuff” on the ingredient labels, you can’t even pronounce! It looks more like a label for nail polish remover than a food. If you can’t pronounce it, don’t eat it!

#3 The Mighty Calorie

The calorie has gotten such a bad reputation lately, and it’s a shame. “Low Calorie” this… “Low Calorie” that… “Cut Calories”… blah, blah, blah! But in my program, the Mighty Calorie has made a comeback! We eat tons of this stuff and it makes my football players super strong, jacked and fast. In fact with my incredible “High Calorie Breakthrough” kids gain as much as 10 pounds in the first 2 weeks at my gym. (while at the same time improving relative body strength)

The Groundbreaking, Earth Shattering, Never-Has-Been-Seen-Before, Super Brand New formula that I use to calculate calories for my athletes!

Total Daily Calories for getting jacked for football:

Bodyweight X 20 (18 if you’re a little chubby) =
Total Daily Calories
(Total Calories / number of meals per day or 6) = Calories Per Meal
Next, we need to calculate your nutrient breakdown. This mass building diet will consist of 30% protein, 40% carbs and 30% fat.

First, we calculate your total amount of protein in calories. Simply multiply 2,430 (total calorie intake) by .30 (30%). This gives us 729 total daily calories of protein. Next we need to determine how many grams of protein these 729 calories should contain. Since protein is 4 calories per gram, we just divide 729 by 4. This gives us 182g. Now we know we need to eat 182 grams of protein each day. To find out how much we eat at each meal, just divide that by the number of meals or 6. This gives us 30 grams. So, to get 30% of my total calories from protein, I have to eat about 30g at each meal.

To get the total calories for fats and carbs we follow the formulas below:


Total daily carb intake in calories: (2,430 x .40) = 972 calories
Total daily carb intake in grams: (972 / 4) = 243 grams
Amount of carbs needed at each meal: (243 / 6) = 41 grams

Total daily fat intake in calories: (2,430 x .30) = 729 calories
Total daily fat intake in grams: ( 729 / 9) = 81 grams
Amount of fat needed at each meal: (81 / 6) = 14 grams
So, at each meal we will eat roughly 30g protein, 41g carbs and 14g of fat. Remember this is just an overview to help you understand how to spread your calories through the day. Also, I provide actual meal plan breakdowns that you can follow to the letter without all of the mind-boggling calculations in my Football Strength System.

Stay tuned for part 3 of this series: Lift, Jump, Drag and Win!

Elliott Hulse, CSCS
Author, Gridiron Strongman Program

About the Author

Learn about the "Top 10 Gym Exercises For Explosive Speed" in the free report from Elliott Hulse at Gridiron Strongman Program Elliott is a Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist who trains football players to get bigger, stronger and faster at his gym in St. Petersburg, Florida. His Football Strength System has helped hundreds of football players, coaches and parents prepare for game winning football seasons. For more information on the Football Strength Systems that will help you gain serious mass, strength and speed visit Gridiron Strongman Program

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Training On The Cheap

Here are two pretty awesome videos showing how you don't need fancy equipment nor do you need to shell out alot of dough to get some great training in.

The first video is from Joe Hashley of Synergy-Athletics and creator of The Bull Strength Training Manual. He's showing an awesome core circuit using just an old car tire. I mentioned this a few weeks back, but here's Joe putting it into action.

And second, here's Matt Wichilinski of The Strength Shop showing how to save a boatload of cashola and make your very own bulgarian training bag. These bags are awesome for devloping core and rotational strength, grip strength, and not to mention ridiculous work capacity. The only problem is that they're super expensive! But in this vid, Matt breaks it down step by step on how to make one yourself. Also, be sure to check out Matt's website here The Strength Shop

12 Minute / 1 Movement Workout!

A Short but pretty grueling workout yesterday, I did what I could despite an aggrivated left knee.

warm up
1. push ups 3x15
2. pull ups 3x8
3. squats 2x20
4. reverse lunges 2x20

a) sandbag power cleans (w/130lb bag) x 50 reps for time. This took just over 12 minutes, but I was toast afterwards! One of my all time favorite workouts is picking just one big movement and working against the clock. Other great choices would be sandbag shouldering, dumbbell snatches, sandbag clean and presses, front squats, etc. It forces you to work HARD while using your entire body - no wasted movement or effort.

You might have noticed that i've been training almost exclusively with Sandbags, Kettlebells, and bodyweight calisthenics. For those wondering, NO, I have not "given up" training with barbells and dumbbells - these tools still reign KING when it comes to strength development. However, I'm loving the change of pace and challenging myself in new ways. Not to mention that its summer, and there is nothing better than training outdoors! Come fall/winter, I'll be sure to be attacking the iron again, but for the time being I am having just too much fun!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Minimalist Strength Training For MMA Fighters!

Hey all, here's an article I just wrote for, detailing a basic 2 day training split for busy MMA Fighters. I just started writing articles last week, and currently have 7 published and 6 more pending (including this one). Here's the link so that you can read all of the articles that have been published My Ezine Article Page

And here's the article that I just wrote. Enjoy!

Minimalist Strength Training For MMA Fighters
by Dustin Lebel

While there are literally tons of intricate routines specifically for "MMA Fighters" out these days, many of them trying to mimic the sport specific movements and components of the actual event, few are actually written by people who are around real fighters on a daily basis or who have actually trained and fought themselves. Strength training and conditioning are meant to increase an athletes GENERAL capacities, and any training outside of that realm is just plain nonsense. As an MMA fighter, your objectives are to pracitce your sport and its components - boxing,muay thai,brazilian jiu jitsu,wrestling, judo, etc and to get really, really good at them. That alone will leave very little in the way of recovery time to do much else, therefore when doing our strength and conditioning work, your number one goal is to MAXIMIZE your time. Get strong, train various energy systems, and watch it translate on the mat or in the ring. If you do this WHILE concurrently practicing your sport, you will see vast improvements and be on your way to dominating your opponents.

But before we do anything, its important to understand what your needs really are as a fighter when it comes to strength and conditioning. Too many athletes are focused on the WRONG things and wonder why they are always tired, run down, and generally not seeing their hardwork in the weight room translate into the gym.

1) You need to be "generally" strong all over your entire body. While improving your squat or deadlift can certainly help you, all too often I see athletes focus all of their attention on just getting bigger numbers in the weight room and it hurts their performance BIG TIME.

2) You need to be able to handle your own bodyweight. I'm talking various push up variations (from the standard push up done CORRECTLY to more advanced variations, to handstand push ups, to recline rows, to being able knock out a ton of PULL UPS!

3) You need to train the body as one unit, and not as a bunch of seperate bodyparts. Upper - Lower splits are fine, but for most MMA athletes I like to see them using total body sessions.

4) Get in and get out! If you are training striking and grappling for a total of 2-3 hours every day, then there is no need to be spending hours in the weight room! 30-40 minutes tops, and in some cases, as little as 15 minutes will be PLENTY to get in a great session.

For this program, you are going to NEED just 2 pieces of equipment, but if you have access to more then feel free to substitute anything else in. First, I reccomend making a sandbag anywhere from 50-70% of your own bodyweight. If you already have alot of experience in the weight room, lean towards 60-70%, if you're new to all of this, go with a bag around 40-50% of your weight. Next, all you'll need is a pull up bar. Just these 2 things alone, along with your own bodyweight, is plenty to keep you improving for a long time. This is just a 2 day program, leaving plenty of time to get better at punching people and wrapping them up like a python on the ground.

day 1:

warm up: 3 sets done in a circuit
push ups x 10
squats x 15
sprawls x 10
reverse lunges x 10 (5 each side)
mountain climbers x 10 (5 each side

a1) sandbag clean and press 4x3-5
***clean the bag to the "rack" position on your shoulders and power it overhead. lower to the ground and repeat.

a2) mixed grip pull ups 4 x reps (stop 1-2 short of failure)
***use a different grip each set (overhand, underhand, towel, wide, close, etc)

b1) advanced push up variation (divebomber push ups, incline push ups, etc) 3x reps
***pick one TOUGH push up variation and stop 1-2 reps short of failure

b2) bent over sandbag rows 3x6-10
***just like a regular barbell row, maintain a flat back and explosively row into your abdomen.

c) sandbag bear hug squats x 20 total reps (try to do so in as few sets as possible)
***bear hug your sandbag and sit back just like a regular squat. Be sure to squat deep and maintain a flat back. Don't let that chest cave!

day 2:
warm up: 3 sets done in a circuit
robot push ups (from plank position to push up position back to plank ) x 10
squats x 15
sprawls x 10
lateral lunges x 10 (5 each side)
groiners (bringing feet to outside of hands) x 10 (5 each side)

a1) sandbag shouldering 4x4-8 (2-4 each side)
*** rip the sandbag from the floor to one shoulder. lower to ground and repeat for other side.

a2) handstand push ups 4x reps
*** Kick your feet up onto a wall and use your arms to lower your self to the ground and back up. If you cant do a full handstand push up, just hold the static position for time.

a3) mixed grip pull ups 4 x reps
***like on day 1, try to use a different grip on each set. don't get comfortable!

b1) sandbag bear hug reverse lunges 2x8-10 (4-5 each side)
*** bear hug the bag and perform reverse lunges in alternating fashion.

b2) sandbag bear hug goodmornings 2x8-10
***just like a regular goodmorning or romanian deadlift, bear hug the bag and push your butt back keeping your knees slightly bent and weight on your heels.

c) Carry for distance.
***Bear hug your sandbag and carry that sucker for distance. Try and cover at least 200'.

Gain 31 Pounds Before Football Training Camp Part 1!

Happy Monday everyone...hope you either trained hard or at least relaxed a little bit to get ready for another 5 day grind :) Here's a guest article from Pro Strongman and Strength Camp CEO Elliott Hulse, the first of 3 installments on how to gain a ton of MASS before Football Training camp. Check it out and tell me what you think!

Gain 31 Pounds Before Football Training Camp - part 1

By: Elliott Hulse, CSCS
Gridiron Strongman Program

Football season has just ended and you’ve quickly realized that your only half the man you were in August. Losing 10 –20 pounds durring the football season is typical for most high school and small college athletes. But your not typical.
You’re done licking your wounds and are ready to get back in the weigth room and being construction on the machine that will lead you to victory next season. You’ve decided that football is the world to you and you’ve forgone all other “filler sports” durring your off-season. You will concentrate single mindedly on getting massive, strong and super fast.

Next year you will be older, perhaps in a bigger program and twice the athlete you were last season. You need to get bigger, you need to get stronger and you need to get faster… I am going to show you how.

This article is part 1 in my Gain 31 Pounds Before Football Training Camp series.
Who is this series written for?1. High School and College football players who need to get massive and strong for next season. If you are skinny and weak and would like to “strap up” and play nose guard next year, this series is for you.
If you are a “Neion Deion” wanna-be and would rather stay skinny and avoid tackling your opponents so that you look good with all those wrist bands around your puny arms…. This series is NOT for you.2. Athletes looking to play at the “Next Level”. If you are a high school football player going to college or a JUCO player moving up to D1, this series will be your guide to your “Next Level” success.
The athletes at the “Next Level” are bigger than you meaner than you and faster than you. Let this series be your sling-shot aginst goliath.3. Football Coaches and parents who don’t know what the heck to do with the skinny, weak little punks. You’ve tried sending them to the YMCA only to find that your membeship dues have only given them a lesson on how to spot breast implants and tip over vending machines.

You need a system and you need some guidance on how to squeeze every bit of potential out of your ‘Little Tigers’. You can print this series, roll it up and use it as a “whacking paddle” when your athletes give you less than 100%.
Let’s rock! - Part 1 - Stinkin’ Attitude
(This article is part 1 of the series. I begin, not with training protocol or meal plans, because it is my firm conviction that if you don’t have the right attitude and mind –set nothing else matters.)

Attitude is the driving force behind this program. The techniques contained in it come from a variety of sources but the only source that really matters is the one beating in your OWN chest. No one can give this to you – YOU must seek and use it on your own. I’ve trained several athletes who are physically gifted but never amount to very much because of a lack-luster attitude. I have also worked with athletes who were not super strong or fast by nature but excelled in their sports due to a championship attitude.

Now, when I speak of attitude it is not in the same manner that your parents, teachers, church leaders or mentors may be referring to - this generally conjures up ideas of a “nice-young man” with his hair neatly combed to the side sitting upright in a church pew. When I speak about attitude I am referring to the rebel that spits in the face of convention because he’d rather die than to be average… he despises the mediocrity that he sees around him and is willing to stand out (if he must) to make sure that his life is different.

Most people you know are sheep and they are just following all of the other sheep off of the cliff. They may look OK right now or even for a few years… perhaps well into adulthood, but they are going to fall and fall hard because most people follow each other rather than following their hearts.
Most people are cowards. Notice that I didn’t say scared – everyone is scared at one time or another, but cowards run away from their fears – this is not for you, you do what your heart tells you to do NO MATTER WHAT or how crazy it may seem to others.
There is another word that I would like you to remember and it is the foundation on which your attitude stands, the word is…

Again I warn you that I don’t mean this word in the conventional sense – such as making sure you take the trash out on time or being a snitch when your see some one cheating on a test. When I use the word responsibility I am speaking about holding yourself 100% responsible for all of the results in your life.
We live in a time when everyone is looking to blame someone or something else… either your too black or your too white, too fast or too slow, your too short or too tall, your can blame your genetics, you can blame your parents, teachers, coaches, you can blame God. Just watch the TV, fat people blame the fast food restaurants for their fatness, smokers blame the cigarette companies for their smoking, and people blame their kids and boss for their depression or even their so-called chemical imbalance.

I accept none of this. I believe that everything that happens to you – good or bad is a result of some choice that you have made in the past. Sure, freak things happen like accidents but then too you have a choice about how you are going to react to it – you can fold up and get depressed, start drinking or doing drugs or you can “MAN UP” and turn your tragedy into triumph. Join a wheelchair basketball or better yet doge ball team! Just get up – its your choice – its your responsibility.
You want to be stronger, you want to win more games, you want your team to respect your wishes to “not party” during the in-season. What ever it is that you want you can get – if and only if you take FULL responsibility for the results or your reaction to it. “Within a desire is the seed for its creation” YOU create your life.

Choose to be a victor not a victim. And notice when those options are being presented. Most people are not willing to take responsibility for themselves because of one simple and very sneaky behavior – LAZIENESS. Most people are down right lazy and in various forms. They would much rather be victims of their circumstances rather than taking the time to look at what they have done to create their situation or how they can change their behaviors to create a better future.
A beast in the weight room

I sum it up with on phrase – “Turn off your brain.” I learned this trick when my college buddies used to come and train with me and my brother in our basement during the summers. One day we were performing back squats for reps… and I told everyone that I had an idea “Lets continue to perform reps beyond what we were used to 8-12 and see how many we can do and the way we are going to make this happen is by reminding the guy performing the set to turn off his brain when he got tired.
The results were amazing! What would normally be a 15 rep set turned into a 25-30 rep set!!! Why did this happen? Because when you remind yourself to Turn your brain off – you destroy 2 things, first is the ego, this little voice that tells you what you should or shouldn’t do or the remnants of your mommy’s voice saying “my poor baby is going to get hurt, come here let me kiss you.” The next is inhibition…. This again is a little voice that warns you ‘that you are getting out of your comfort zone’ and that it may be scary out there. This voice is not you friend. He aims to keep you mediocre, normal and sane.

Remember this “The Same old thing equals the same old thing” - you’ve got to get uncomfortable if you want to be the best! Discomfort will become your friend because it is a reminder that you are getting better. And something new is on its way. You’ve got to break a few eggs to make an omelet.

Shut Your Brain Off whenever you hear a voice tell you that “you cant” or “that’s too dangerous” or “you’re not smart enough or good enough” in any fashion. Sure, your body can get tired but a heart full of intensity of purpose never grows tired!!!
Scream & shout when you train! I do, that why I train in a warehouse hidden deep in the Florida swamps. When we train we make so much noise that alligators run scared!!! Why do you think Bruce Lee made all of those wild Kung Fu noises when he was kicking some poor guys butt?

Don’t be afraid to make noise – literally and figuratively. Shut your brain off and do what needs to be done. Notice when the ego or mommas voice gets in your way, shut them out... fast. (sorry mom) Know exactly what you want, keep your thoughts focused on it and be thankful for it as if it were already at hand.

Elliott Hulse, CSCSAuthor, Football Strength Program

About the Author
Elliott is a Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist who trains football players to get bigger, stronger and faster at his gym in St. Petersburg, Florida. His Football Strength System has helped hundreds of football players, coaches and parents prepare for game winning football seasons. For more information on the Football Strength Systems that will help you gain serious mass, strength and speed visit Gridiron Strongman Program