Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Best Of Both Worlds: Josh Henkin's Synergy Training Program

If you can't tell already, I love using a variety of training "no rules" style, I don't get caught up in all of the hoopla (aka "bullsh#t) and dogma of alot of the different training styles out there. I just love to train hard using a variety of methods and implements.

Lucky for you and I, Josh Henkin - creator of the Ultimate Sandbag and owner of Sandbag Fitness Systems has created a dvd and manual combining two POWERFUL training tools: sandbags and kettlebells! There are over 40 DIFFERENT TRAINING ROUTINES, plus 3 insande result gaurenteed methods,the 10 BEST FOODS TO DROP BODY, and MORE! This DVD-Manual Combo is JAM PACKED with info - its crazy that Josh is practically giving it away for the price he is!

Click Here To Get The Synergy Training Program Today!

Motivation From 'Scrubs"

Say Word.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Density Sandbag Shouldering + Bodyweight/Kettlebell/Sled Circuit

owner of the Underground Strength Gym, Zach Even-Esh shouldering a heavy sandbag

The weather has cooled off a little around here, but it still makes for perfect training conditions and today I hauled my equipment to a local soccer field and crushed it with another grueling workout!

After a warm up with some calistheincs, I decided to hit up some density style sandbag shouldering - seeing how many times I could shoulder my 130lb sandbag in 10 minutes. Sandbag shouldering is a phenomenal full body movement that works everything from your finger tips to your calves! This is just one way to use density training - using just a single movement - but definately one of my favorite ways to train and measure progress - elegance in simplicity! If I beat my record for the amount of reps performed in the 10 minutes the next I try it - I got stronger. Period.

After I finished up with the density shouldering, I did the following circuit for 3 rounds - and it was a MOTHER!
1. weighted push ups x 15
2. pull ups (on soccer goal) x 10
3. kettlebell snatches x 15 (left & right)
4. sled drag x ~100'

While this workout lasted a little longer than some of the workouts in Zach Even Esh's
Real Man Muscle Building Course, you can clearly see that it doesn't take very much time to get alot accomplished. Do yourself a favor and check out Zach's course to help get you ripped and rugged, even if you "don't have the time".

The Single Best Tool For Speed, Agility & Conditioning?

If I had to pick just ONE tool or one "thing" in general to do for footspeed, agility, coordination, conditioning, quickness, and the "cool" factor (once you get good) it would have to be the JUMP ROPE. In my opinion, all of the form running drills, agility drills, & quickness drills don't hold a CANDLE to jumping rope - and if it were up to me, all young athletes would learn how to jump rope and jump rope well before ever screwing around with a bunch of fancy drills. If you're a combat athlete - whether it be a boxer, mma fighter, wrestler, etc or even someone just looking to shed some bodyfat for the summer - you can definately benefit from some serious rope work. Once you get the coordination down, using the rope for gpp and intense metabolic conditioning is hands down one of the best ways to get in "fighting shape". Mixed in with calisthenics such as squats, push ups, or more challenging variations such as jump squats, clapping push ups and burpees - you have a complete conditioning workout using little space and a piece of equipment that costs around $5.

Here's a video from Ross Enamait of, showing some various jump rope drills. And if there's any doubt of the jump ropes effectiveness - just take one look at Ross!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The F U Neutralizing Factor

No matter what your goals and aspirations, there are going to be haters - that's just the way it is. But here's a very motivating (some might call it controversial) post by the Underground Strength Coach himself, Zach Even-Esh, putting the haters to rest and calling on everyone else to step their games up.

The F U Neutralizing Factor

P.S. The blog that was posted on is run by Internet/Fitness Marketing Guru Chris McCombs. If you're reading this and maybe thinking that you would one day like to own your own fitness biz, be an independent personal trainer, or maybe put out fitness related information products, Chris's blog is JAM PACKED with tips, strategies, and pointers for people like you and me who want to do what we love and get PAID for it. Check it out here at

Monday, April 27, 2009

Sandbag Power Cleans + An Upperbody Assualt Using Just a Tire!

Another beautiful day here in New England - summer definately came early! Of course, I love to take advantage of these days by training outdoors with just some basic equipment and fresh air.

After a warm up w/calisthenics, I ripped into a sandbag power clean and pull up super set for a total of 4 sets. The sandbag powerclean is awesome for the entire body, but epsecially the posterior chain, grip and upperback. Unlike a powerclean with a barbell, you have to WRESTLE the weight up - there is no easy portion to the lift. Here's a video from Zach Even-Esh, creator of the
The Underground Strength Manual with one of his athletes tearing into a heavy set.

After the powercleans and pull ups, I moved on to one of my favorite combos for the upperbody - reverse rope climbs supersetted with simulated rope climbs aka hand over hand pull ups. 3 sets of this and my forearms, biceps, triceps, lats and even my chest were FRIED.

Next I hit up some bearhug squats and goodmornings for a few sets...if you haven't tried these, they are a total different feel from a normal barbell squat. Make sure you squat DEEP!

Finally, to cap off the session I finished with 3 rounds of Joe Hashley's Chop Circuit using a tire and a tree. Sounds primal (well, it is!), but this smashed my grip, upperback, core, and had my heart jumping out of my chest! To see the article that I got this from, check it out here
Farm Boy Strength and for more of Joe's innovative training techniques, be sure to get his Bull Strength Training Manual

Until next time!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

A Brutal Kettlebell Complex

The following is a brutal kettlebell complex, brought to you by Mike Bergener. This sucker is 100 total reps without putting the kettlebell down - if you're strong and in SERIOUS condition, a 53lber will be all you need! In the past, I have done this for 3-5 sets as a stand alone session, but 1 set (2 if you're feelin' lucky!) will be plenty after a total body strength based session.

1. 2 Handed High Pulls x 20
2. High Pulls x 10 (left & right)
3. 2 Handed Swings x 20
4. Swings x 10 (left & right)
5. Snatches x 10 (left and right)

I am warning you - you're heart is going to be beating out of your chest and lactic acid will be surging from your fingertips down to your calves - but if you're looking for an intense metabolic conditioner if you're a combat athlete, or for a SERIOUS fat loss kettlebell drill if you're just a dude trying to look good for summer, then look no further!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Friday Total Body Smasher!

Dudes (and dudettes), there's nothing quite like a total body workout that leaves you drenched in sweat and swearing to the strength and conditioning gods :)! I love training hard, especially on a day like today where its 70 someodd degrees and not a cloud in the sky - you gotta appreciate the good things in life!

I went at it again today, this time using sandbags, bodyweight and finishing with some sled dragging - I love this Sh#t!

the warm up, per usual, for 2 sets
1. push ups x 15
2. recline rows x 15
3. squats x 20
4. reverse lunges x 20 (10 ea)

a1) sandbag shouldering 4x6 (3 each side)
a2) mixed grip pull ups 4xreps
***shouldering a sandbag is an intense total body movement - primary a lowerbody movement, but your uppperbody is working very hard isometrically to hold on to the sandbag. Follow those suckers up with pull ups and you have a great 1-2 punch!
b1) sandbag bent over rows 3x8
b2) blast strap push ups 3xreps
***with minimal rest between each superset, this combo is ridiculous for upperbody power and strength endurace.
c) sled dragging (HEAVY!) 3X100' (2 trips forward, 1 backward)
***I love spring and summer for this alone - not too much else will demolish the lowerbody in as athletic of fashion as sled dragging. Great for strength, lactic acid tolerance training, or recovery, sled dragging should be in EVERY athletes arsenal.

And now i'm about to enjoy the rest of this day, maybe hit up a light recovery session tomorrow and then kill it again on Sunday or Monday.

Sandbag Clean & Press Mania!

Cool vid of some of the athletes from Zach Even-Esh's Underground Gym in Edison New Jersey tearing it up with heavy sandbag clean and presses. The clean and press - with any piece of equipment - is an old standby for total body strength and power. With the sandbag you add an element of grip strength that you just can't get with any other piece of equipment.

George Tech Strength & Conditioning Summer 2007

Joe Hashley of posted this on his blog and made a few comments of some of the stuff he liked in the video, but to add to what he said, here's some of the things that I liked -

1. Good form/technique on all of the lifts shown! Whenever you see highlight vids of college athletes cleaning,squatting, or benching, their form is usuallyatrocious. Not only are these kids in the video crazy strong, but they are doing everything with pretty much textbook technique. Those 300+ lb power cleans and 400+ lb benches are LEGIT.

2. Its hard to gauge what exactly goes on in a college football strength program from just a short highlight clip, but you can tell that these guys have excellent bases and focus on the basics - cleans, squats, benches, hill sprints, etc. There's no fluff, no "functional exercise", just hard friggin work.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Kettlebell Thruster / Snatch Countdown!

Try this brutal superset using just a 53lb kettlebell for crazy muscular endurance and fortitude!

a1) single hand kettlebell thrusters x 10/9/8/7/6/5/4/3/2/1
a2) kettlebell snatches x 10/9/8/7/6/5/4/3/2/1

This can be done as a stand alone conditioning workout, or as a finisher after some strength work such as sub max effort deadlifts, weighted dips, and weighted pull ups.

I love countdowns using kettlebells and bodyweight movements! Another favorite is the squat jump/plyo push up countdown - you'll know you're in shape when you can get from 10 down to 1 without ANY breaks between each set and the best part is that you don't need any equipment!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Brutal Workout With Sandbags, Bodyweight and a Kettlebell!

After monday's session with the 110lb. bag, my upperback, hips and grip were shot to shit yesterday, but I was ready to go at it again today. I just love to train hard and use my body as an experiment, so today was no different.

After a good warm up with calisthenics and bands, I did the following for 3 rounds; with as little rest as possible between each rd. I used a 130lb. sandbag and a 53lb. kettlebell...

a1) sandbag powercleans x 5
a2) divebomber push ups x 10
a3) sandbag bentover rows x 10
a4) bear hug squats x 10
a5) kettlebell swings x 15 (left/right)

Onpaper, this looked kind of easy, but I was DEAD wrong - the powercleans alone wiped me out and the bear hug squats (even with just a 130lb!) are very tough on the entire lowerbody/hip complex and core. Until next time...

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Your Standards Determine Your Attitude

I was listening to a 2 year old podcast with Dr. Ken Leistner (if you don't know, you better ask somebody...Dr. Ken is an iron game legend who was written alot of great material over the years), and the interviewer brought up his 407x23 squat video from back in April of 2000. At the time of the famed 23 rep squat workout, Dr. Ken was 53 years old and weighed about 160lb - and according to every nerd and geek on the internet, there was NO WAY that squatting 407lb for 23 reps was possible under those circumstances. But Dr. Ken didn't understand what all the fuss was about - to him, this was something he's done hundreds of times before with even MORE weight (he used to weigh 230lb. at 5'6"), and has seen countless other individuals squat 400-500 or more pounds for 20-30 reps in his old gym in Long Island. You see, his standards and his training partners standards were so high, that to them this feat was no big deal - just another day in the office sort of speak.

The problem is that most people are so comfortable where they currently are, either in fitness, business, or relationships, that they can't stand to see other people succeed and do things deemed "impossible". They're comfortable and want to stay that way. You and me - we're different. I wan't more and i'm hungry to get it, and its absolutely VITAL to your success that you have this same mindset. Only until you really try do you see whats actually possible - belive that!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Sangbag Training - Day 1!

After taking a 3 day mini vacation from training, I was definately ready to tear into a workout today - especially because over the weekend I had made my first ever sandbag and was anxious to see what all of the hoopla was all about (just kiddin). The bag I made is 110lb - which, if you've never trained with a sandbag before (and as I quickly found out), will crush even the fittest/strongest dudes out there!

Here was the workout

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

a1) sandbag clean and press 3x5
a2) mixed grip pull ups 3xreps
***no rest from the clean and press to the pull ups, and minimal rest between sets
b1) parallel bar dips 3xreps
b2) sandbag bent over rows 3x10
***basically done without any rest periods, just blasted through all 3 sets without taking a break
c1) sandbag zercher squats 2x12
c2) sandbag bearhug goodmornings 2x10
***so I thought I'd be able to bang out sets of 20 on the zerchers no problem...boy was I mistaken!
d) kettlebell combat complex x 1 set
***one of my favorite finishers of all time, this complex always looks easy on paper, but just 1 set w/ a 53lb kb is enough to cap off a session.

I was finished in just under 30 minutes and was sweating bullets! With sandbags, there is no break, no easy part of a lift - every single movement involves the grip, back, and core to a huge degree. If you're a combat athlete, the sandbag is perhaps the perfect addition to your strength and conditioning program - the full body nature of all of the movements, not too mention the hand and finger strength that would be developed from sandbag training would be of immense value. Even if you're just a fitness or strength nut, sandbag training definately offers unique benefits that you otherwise would not get from barbells or dumbbells.

While I'm never going to say that any one implement is better than another, if you're looking for a change from a typical barbell/dumbbell routine (still the undisputed kings of the weightroom), give sandbags, kettlebells, and bodyweight training a serious try!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Iron Cross Banded Goodmornings

pretty cool movement, brought to you from Defranco's Gym (but thought of by the dudes over @ Diesel Crew), to activate & engage the posterior chain and upperback. Basically you're just combining a goodmorning with an isometric band pull apart hold...who wouldathunkit?

New Barbell Complex!

Check out this sucker for some power endurance! This is a little shorter and uses lower reps than most other complexes you'll see, but 3-5 rounds will put you into the ground! I had two of my clients this morning do 5 rounds and then they finished up with 3 sets of the dreaded plate push - a great way to start the day!

Ok, so here's the complex - be warned, it is BRUTAL, especially on the pulling muscles and GRIP!

After a good warm up...

a1) thrusters x 5
a2) burpee + power clean combo x 5 (do these WITH the push up!)
a3) bent over row x 5
a4) romanian deadlifts x 5

A good starting point for most males would be around 95lb, but once you get into the 135, 155lb+ range, now we're talkin'!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

(Can't Live Without) The Underground Strength Manual !

If you haven't already seen it on the sidebar over there ---->, I have a link to my "underground strength blog", which is basically a compilation alot of the material that Zach Even-Esh has put out over the last few years. Now, I don't just go around endorsing just anyone's stuff, but Zach's manual is a MUST HAVE for the people that are into hardcore fitness and old school style strength training. In fact, I would go ahead and put Zach as the LEADING authority on this style of training, and his articles and videos from years back are what have inspired me to do what I am doing today.

His methods, program design, and crazy enthusiasm for training are contagious and will have you making gains like NEVER before. I know that his manual is selling fast, so make sure you get your kit TODAY! The people that get what they want in this world are ACTION TAKERS, so don't delay and be ready to take your strength and conditioning to a whole new level!

Get Underground Strength Manual Now... Click Here!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Monday, April 13, 2009

Kegs, Sleds, & Bodyweight!

Here's a quick workout that I did today utilizing a variety of training tools...

warm up x 2 sets
1. push ups x 15
2. recline rows x 15
3. squats x 20
4. reverse lunges x 20 (10 ea)

a1) keg power cleans 3x10
a2) mixed grip pull ups 3xmax reps
b1) keg high pulls 2x10
b2) thick grip or rope recline rows 2xmax reps
c1) incline push ups (feet on upright keg) 2xmax reps
c2) keg bent over rows 2x15
d) backward sled drag 2x40 yards (heavy)
e) power wheel jacknives x 50 total reps
* if you don't have a powerwheel, just use a towel on a smooth surfaced floor like I do!

Pull, Pull, Pull!

Some people wake up thinking about how tired they are, some people wake up thinking about breakfast, I wake up thinking about DEADLIFTS. Yup, I friggin love em - pulls of all kinds are KING for total body strength and packing on muscle to your entire body, but especially the posterior chain and upperback. I think that for young athletes, and i've heard other guys like Zach Even-Esh and Dan John, say this as well, deadlifts and all of their variations are a better way to start training the lowerbody for young athletes than backsquats. I know, its total blasphemy, but watch a highschool or college kid do a shitty quarter squat with a ton of weight just to get his name on the schools record board and you'll know what I mean. With deadlifts, there's really no cheating - you either get the weight up or you don't!

While I love conventional pulling, there are many more variations that can be used to jack up your posterior chain, upperback, and grip!

lets look some of my favorite options:
conventional deadlifts
deadlifts standing on 2 or 3 45lb. plates
rack deadlifts
thick bar deadlifts (wrap a towel around the bar if you don't have a thick bar)
thick bar rack deadlifts
snatch grip deadlifts
snatch grip deadlifts standing on 2-3 45lb. plates
snatch grip rack deadlifts
romanian deadlifts

for even more variety, you can add chains to any of the above movements for some accomodating resistence.

For deadlifting, I generally like low reps (2-5) and higher sets (5-10), keeping my rest periods short and moving the weights fast, but every once in awhile I'll throw some higher reps into the mix (especially with the snatch grip variations) for conditioning and muscular endurance - usually as part of a circuit with an upperbody push and pull.

Barbell Leg Complex

High rep squatting and lunging is a surefire to pack on some lowerbody mass as well as cranking up your work capacity and lactic acid tolerance. Here's a lowerbody complex idea I got from Zach Even-Esh

1. squats x 10
2. reverse lunges x 10 (5 ea)
3. squats x 10
4. glute ham raises x 10

Its simple, but done for 2-3 sets at the end of a training session, it will absolutely TORCH you from your spinal erectors down to your calves! A 95-135lb. barbell for the squat/lunge series will be plenty for most beasts (the first time you try it - after that, don't be afraid to add some weight!) and bodyweight to bodyweight + 20-40lb. for the ghrs will have your heart feeling like its going to explode and your entire lowerbody on fire!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Today's Playground Workout!

With today being the first 60 degree day here in CT in over a week, i'm going to take full advantage and head out to the local playground. Just me, my kettlebell and some bands. These workouts are awesome, not just for peace of mind, but to drive your GPP and work capacity through the ROOF. With no distractions and just a few basic pieces of equipment (or none if you prefer), their is no time nor need to rest and alot can be accomplished in just 30-45 minutes (or less if you're really busy!).

Here's whats going to be on the agenda for today

warm up x 2 sets
1. push ups x 15
2. band rows x 25
3. squats x 20
4. reverse lunges x 20

Circuit A:
I'm going to run through this for a bunch of sets; in the 5-10 range and really try to rack up some volume.
a1) kb snatches x 10 (l/r)
a2) pull up variation x 5
a3) kb clean and presses x 10 (l/r)
a4) pull up variation x 5

Circuit B:
3 or 4 sets of this, done back to back without any rest should do the trick. The playground that I go to has these SUPER thick bars that are perfect for recline rows, so I need to take advantage!
b1) parallel bar dips or maybe iso dynamic push ups x max reps
b2) thick bar recline rows x max reps
b3) kb swings l/r/2h x 15/15/15

Circuit C:
2 sets-
the dreaded hanging ab series. not only does this crush the core, but also the grip and lats - and love anything that kills 2 birds (or more!) with one stone.
c1) windshield wipers x 6 (3 each side)
c2) leg raises x 6
c3) scissor kicks x 6 each side
c4) knee raises x 6

Circuit D:
2 sets -
a nice finisher with a pair of purple jump stretch bands
d1) high pulls x 20
d2) alternating rows x 20 (10 each)
d3) suplexes x 20
d4) snapdowns x 20

So its about T-3 hours and I can't friggin wait to get out there and just crush it!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Upperbody Extra Workout

While I typically do 3 or so full body training sessions per week, every once in awhile I'll have those days where I just NEED to train - but I don't want to kill it. Days like this are excellent to get in a lighter extra workout - maybe doing body calisthenics only, or some band work, or maybe do some complexes with a light kettlebell or barbell. The idea is to just break a sweat while slowly improving your work capacity. Be sure to leave something in the tank, and focus on perfect reps.

Today I did 100 push ups and 50 pull ups, broken up into 10 supersets, doing a different variation every set.

It looked like this:

Set 1:
total body explosive push ups (entire body comes off the ground) x 10
sternum chins x 5

set 2:
clapping push ups x 10
L-Pull ups x 5

set 3:
Iso Dynamic Push Ups (15 sec hold + 10 explosive reps) x 10
Judo Pull Ups x 5

set 4:
Divebomber push ups x 10
mixed grip pull ups (1) x 5

set 5:
contralateral push ups x 10
mixed grip pull ups (2) x 5

set 6:
side to side push ups x 10
towel chins x 5

set 7:
spiderman push ups x 10
wide grip pull ups x 5

set 8:
Incline Push Ups x 10
close grip chins x 5

set 9:
close grip push ups x 10
regular chin ups x 5

set 10:
regular push ups x 10
regular pull ups x 5

I finished with some various leg and knee raises from paralle bars and hanging from a pull up bar.

I didn't rush anything and pretty much coaxed through this and was still done in about 15 minutes - so no excuses for not having time to train! Until next time...

Motivation From The Underground Strength Gym

Here's a 9 1/2 minute montage from Zach Even-Esh's Underground Gym in Edison New Jersey. Zach trains various combat athletes, football players, and just people who like to TRAIN HARD and started his business from scratch ~4 years ago. Check out the vid!...

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Dumbbell Leg Crank

Short and sweet today, but try this complex with a pair of dumbbells (or kettlebells if you got 'em) to blast your quads, hams and glutes to whole new level of pain and discomfort. You can do this bad boy with a lighter pair of dumbbells and keep the rep range a little higher or go a bit heavier and maybe try 6's or 8's.

Here it is
1. Reverse Lunges x 15 each side (dumbbells held by sides)
2. Squats x 20 (dumbbells held in racked position)
3. 2H Dumbbell Swings x 15
4. Romanian Deadlifts x 20

This can be done for maybe 1 set as a finisher to a training session or maybe 2-3 sets as part of a complete workout.

Monday, April 6, 2009

You Don't Have To Be "Advanced"

To Train HARD. Today, I had one of my one on one clients go through the following. She has been a client of mine for just a week, and had been inactive for YEARS before hiring me to train her. Sometimes I'm sure people read this blog and think that my methods are maybe too advanced for them, or they'll wait until they "get into shape" before hiring me. The bottom line is that the people who TAKE ACTION will be SHOCKED at their results and how quickly and easily they can use my "advanced methods".

Here was my clients EXACT session, today which took just under 30 minutes.

warm up x 3 sets
1. push ups (on knees) x 10
2. Recline Rows x 10
3. Squats x 15
4. Reverse Lunges x 8 each leg

a1) one arm dumbbell clean and press 3x8
a2) one arm dumbbell row 3x8

b1) barbell rollouts 2x10
b2) lying leg raises 2x10

Once I teach a client basic squatting form along with how to maintain a neutral spine while performing pulls and rows, movements like clean and presses become a piece of cake - anyone can do them! Too many people are missing out on GREAT total body movements like the dumbbell clean and press because they fear that they are not advanced enough or that they look stupid or that the trainer at the gym told them to just do "cardio" and arm work 3 days a week, etc, etc. If you're relatively new to all of this, find out what REAL fitness is all about and start incorporating some different movements into your own training and be amazed at the results and how FUN training can be.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

25 Minute Thrasher

Another great workout today - total time training was just 25 minutes!

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

Max Rounds in 10 Minutes:
a1) snatch grip deadlifts x 8
a2) parallel bar dips x 8
a3) chins x 8

Max Rounds in 5 Minutes (aka "the gun show")
b1) barbell shrugs x 15
b2) thick bar curls x 8

c) Kettlebell Swings (w/53lber) x 100 total reps (non stop)

Density training, where you try to get maximal sets with a set weight and set reps using 2 or more movements, is a great way to get in a good amout of volume and to jack up your power endurance and work capacity. My favorites usually involve some sort of upperbody push, upperbody pull, and a lowerbody movement such as a squat or deadlift variation or even a dumbbell or kettlebell snath or swing. The shrug/curl combo is one of my personal favorites for upperbody lactic acid tolerane and crazy grip strength/endurance - try with barbells, dumbbells, bands, towels, etc in various set/rep combinations at the end of a training session.

Friday, April 3, 2009

30 Minutes To Strength!

Just so people don't get it twisted, while I love training with different odd objects such as kegs and kettlebells, for pure strength and power nothing beats getting strong at the basic barbell movements - various squats, deadlifts, presses and rows. While the body only knows tension and doesn't care if its in the form of a sandbag, barbell or human being, barbell training is still the ultimate measureable form of progress. As mentioned in this blog, no barbell - no problem, however, if you train at a gym or have the space and money for an olympic barbell set and some squat racks for your home - HAVE AT IT.

Here's EXACTLY what I did for a workout today, hitting my entire body and various energy systems in just about 30 minutes total time - from my first push up in the warm up til my last face pull of the day.

warm up x 2 sets
1. push ups x 15
2. recline rows x 15
3. squats x 20
4. reverse lunges x 20 (10 ea)

a) box squats 8x2 w/30 seconds rest
***sub max effort training for the lowerbody with box squats, zercher squats and various deadlift variations is a great way to not only get CRAZY STRONG, but to increase power endurance. By using a fairly heavy weight and keeping my rest periods super short, i'm driving my GPP through the roof while making sure that every rep is FAST and smooth.

b1) weighted blast strap push ups 3x6-8
b2) towel barbell rows 3x10-12
*** an upperbody superset that will thrash you from your finger tips down to your spinal erectors. I love all kinds of push up and dip variations along with various barbell, dumbbell, and recline rows. Not to mention PULL UPS - there are a zillion variations - try all of them!

c1) glute ham raises 3x20
c2) band face pulls 3x20
***I felt like getting in some volume here for my posterior chain and upperback, but the end of the session is a great time to also get in some kettlebell or barbell complexes, unilateral leg work, core work, or whatever else you feel like working on - just keep it short and sweet.

And thats all she wrote - a No B.S. 30 minute solution to strength gains!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

I Don't Need No Stinkin Gym - Part 2

"You will never reach your potential if you stay in the cozy confines of your gym." - Dan John

Anybody who reads stuff by Dan John and Zach Even-Esh knows that they've been touting the benefits of training outdoors for years - there's just something about taking some basic, primitive equipment (or no equipment) and heading out to a field or park and just working hard for 45 minutes. Even Arnold used to take a barbell set out to the woods and do endless sets of squats.

So despite yesterday being a rather dreary and gloomy day, I headed out to a local playground with my 53lb. kettlebell and some jump stretch bands and had at it for about 40 minutes. I ended up doing a total body warm up with the bands and then endless sets of various swings, snatches, clean and presses, different pull up variations, push up variations, recline rows, single leg squats off a bench, and some windshield wipers/hanging ab work off the monkey bars. There wasn't any thinking, or really much if any time off between sets - just hard work while breathing in some fresh air.

So take the advice of Arnold, Dan John, Zach Even-Esh, and yours truly and train outdoors. Take maybe a heavy dumbbell, or a sandbag, or maybe even a kettlebell or a barbell loaded with your bodyweight - whatever. Just get out of the confines of your commercial or home gym and explore what REAL training is all about.

Here's possibly the greatest MMA fighter of all time, Fedor Emelienenko getting down with some outdoors training.