Saturday, July 4, 2009

28 Things I Like

Alright, here's a quick 28 really cool things that you can do for strength, conditioning, or overall athletic development. These are in no particular order and straight off the top of my head. Here we go

1. Sled dragging for time - 10, 15, 20 or even up to 40 minutes for strength, muscular endurance and overall gpp.

2. Timed sets with bands - goodmornings, leg curls, rows, face pulls, tricep extensions, pull throughs, pull aparts, curls. Try for sets of 2-5 minutes.

3. Litvi sprints. perform 8 crisp front squats, snatches, swings, or overhead squats and immediately sprint 40-60 yards. rest as needed and repeat for 3 sets. You can do this with a sled also.

4. Using a towel for all of your upperbody pulling work - rows, chins, shrugs and watch your grip strength go through the roof.

5. Complexes - use a barbell, dumbbells, kettlebell, sandbag, keg - whatever. for fatloss, condtioning and even hypertrophy, complexes are the ultimate bang for your buck.

6. Pendlay rows. Made popular by olympic weightlifting coach and monster, Glenn pendlay, you want to keep your back parallel to the floor and row explosively to your abdomen and return the bar to the ground each rep. Read why here

7. Heavy dumbbell snatches. I love these for explosive power and power endurance. Perhaps my best "indicator" lift when I want to find out how things are going with my training.

8. Blast strap upper back work. recline rows, face pulls and scarecrows should be done by everybody - weighted, unweighted, high reps, low reps - just do a lot of them!

9. Kroc Rows. Heavy high rep one arm dumbbell rows helped powerlifter Matt Kroczaleski bring his deadlift up to over 800lb once he started using over 200lb dumbbells for CRAZY high reps (30+). His pr is 300x12 (that's with one arm) I think, so get to work!

10. Rope climbing. For serious grip and pulling strength, rope pulling and recline rope pulling is a must have, especially for wrestlers and combat athletes.

11. Zercher squats, lunges and goodmornings. I like these with a barbell, sandbag or even a keg. For lowerbody strength, isometric upperbody strength and core strength zercher movements pack a serious punch.

12. Kenneth Jay's vo2 max snatch protocol. Snatch for 15 seconds, rest for 15 seconds, snatch with other hand for 15 seconds and repeat while trying to keep a 7-8 rep cadence.

13. Pull ups of all kinds with all different kinds of grips. Harry Selkow has some cool ideas related to pull up performance over at the elitefts q&a...check it out. Bottom line is that everyone should do a lot of pull ups.

14. Density Training ala Ethan Reeve...I love his 10 minute barbell combos (power clean-hang clean-power clean or power clean-hang clean-push jerk every 30 seconds for 10 minutes). Using the "reps on the minute" approach is a great way to pack in a ton of volume and keep your reps crisp.

15. Chaos shrugs courtesy of the Diesel Crew...loop an average band through your dumbbell or kettlebell handles and shrug away.

16. Weighted timed push ups ala Joe Defranco. Throw some chains over your back and get in as many reps as possible in 30 seconds. rest and repeat for 3 sets.

17. Timed sets with a kettlebell...swings, snatches, and recently Rob Pilger said that Louie Simmons reccomended timed single hand cleans for his fighters...generally, Louie Simmons is right about a lot of things.

18. Josh Henkin's Ultimate Fitness Challenge. This involves shouldering a heavy sandbag for 10 reps in 1 minute, resting for a minute, and then repeating for 2 more sets. Guys 180 or under have to use a 120lb sandbag, 180-220lb a 150lb bag, 220-270lb a 170lb bag, and for any monsters that are 270 and up - a 200lb bag.

19. Sled dragging for strength. Load up that sucker and do sets of 30 yards (backward and forward) with a lot of weight as a great finisher for a lower body session.

20. Thick bar rollout + cleans or clean and presses which I stole from Joe Hashey over @ Synergy Athletics. Serious core + upper body work. Make your own thick bar by just wrapping a towel around the bar. Do these heavy for sets of 5-8 or lighten up and go for time in the 2-5 min range.

21. Hill sprints. Very little if any technique is needed, and it only takes a few trips to get in a serious conditioning session.

22. Jumping rope. For coordination, foot speed, timing, rythym, and conditioning, jumping rope is tough to beat. Most people get frustrated because they suck at first, but its just like riding a bike...

23. Sandbag carries. Most people probably these off because they're so simple, but bear hug or get a heavy sandbag in the zercher position and just walk for time or distance and you will quickly realize a missing component in your strength and conditioning program.

24. Scap push ups, prone y's, t's,w's, wall slides, and some soft tissue work for healthy shoulders (in addition to deadlifting, rowing, face pulls, and the like). A lot of people write this stuff off as pussy prehab work - that is until they tear a labrum (as I have). Start doing this stuff frequently and make sure to pull A LOT.

25. Prehab circuits on "off" days - in addition to what I said above, putting that stuff along with some glute activation work, core stability stuff (I know), hip mobility work, etc together in a circuit is a good way to break a sweat and still feel like you're doing "something" without thrashing your body.

26. Thick bar curls, rows, pull ups, presses, and deadlifts. If you use nothing but a thick bar for everything for a little while, you would probably get seriously freaking strong. If you don't have a thick bar, make your own by wrapping a towel around your barbell.

27. Tabata front squats. Courtesy of Dan John, the 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off protocol of front squats is a brilliant idea for fat loss, conditioning, and mental toughness. You can "tabata" just about anything, but front squats work best. Strong guys, try these with 95-115lb, weak guys try ~65lb. Get 8-14 reps per 20 second set...that 10 second rest goes by QUICK.

28. Front squats in general... with a CLEAN grip. Besides the obvious of jacking up your legs, your upper back, core and everything in between will get crushed from front squats. Nobody does 'em because they hurt, but somewhere in Bulgaria there is a 165 pound guy front squatting 550 for a double.

So there's some food for thought...don't forget to check out my article 22 Mistakes That Fighters Make! Have a great weekeend!