Sunday, December 28, 2008

Why This Works....

People often think the more outrageous the training method the more productive it must be. Unfortunately, this is what really has drawn people to using implements such as tires, sledgehammers, kettlebells, and yes sandbags. The truth of the matter is that this form of training has regained popularity because of one thing, it works! It isn't because of it being hardcore, but because it adheres to the training science that has been established for decades.
Recently I had an awesome opportunity to work with two local police departments and take them through my system of training. It was a inspiring and saddening at the same time. The hear that all these men displayed was a testament to their will to get the positions they were training to obtain. Yet, it was also very apparent that they weren't getting the training they really needed. After speaking with Chris who wanted his guys to experience this told me that they were hampered by red tape. However, Chris (who has trained with me several times and adheres to a strict balance of kettlebell and sandbag training) continued to dominate our circuits and outperformed those even half his age! The lessons we can take are the same as every day people could take home.
When you boil down training, these implements do a few important things:
1. Develop flexibility and strength in these different ranges of motion.
2. Teach whole body integration under unpredictable situations, real functional training.
3. Enhance anaerobic endurance which is more practical for sporting and real world scenarios.
4. Improves core strength, not just abdominal strength. True core strength will involve the glutes, low back, and other stabilizer muscles.
Don't believe me? Listen to what Chris has to say the power of sandbag and kettlebell training can be to enhance the fitness of those that need it the most. Oh, btw, you must realize these guys are just like you! Long days (sometimes 24hours up or more at a time), families, and limited time to get fit, but need it to survive!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Starting Again Right!

I hear it all the time, "I'll start right after Christmas", yep getting back on that training horse means not putting it off any longer. That doesn't mean having to join boring or intimidating health clubs. Rather, it means determining what is important to us and what gets our juices flowing. That is why I am going to start introducing two different workout regimes.

1. The Sandbag Fitness System Circuits are based around the power of training with very simple implements that can be used at home, a park, or even the most elite training centers. These circuits will cover my three favorite training implements and how to integrate them into result producing workouts.

2. My X-treme Circuits are more elaborate that will integrate a variety of training tools that continue our philosophy of movement, athleticism, and functional strength. Training needs to stay fun and exciting and these workouts do just that!

Check out this video to get a peak at these new X-treme Circuits

Monday, December 22, 2008

Another Gift

It is getting very close to the big holiday so only a couple of gifts left. Check out this next 48-hour sale offering our most versatile package, the Iron Fitness Package. Ironically named because you don't need any iron to get really fit, in fact, this package of both our medium and large sandbag with all the fillers will make you a piece of iron.

48-Hour Sale Link Here


I've been a subscriber to your newsletter for probably six months. I haven't bought any of your sandbags yet, but have used a friend's and I agree with you that they are a sensational tool for working out. Just brilliant.

I've gotta say, I love your style, your approach, your commitment, your explanations, your
routines - the whole shebang. It is no BS training at its finest.

I have just started using your workouts to train my clients (I do personal training part-time). They love it - blokes and chicks - and the results are fantastic.

So from me, a little old trainer in Canberra, Australia, thanks very much for everything. Please keep it up."-Phil Mayne

Don't Let the Holidays Slow You Down

It is very easy to let this crazy time of year throw you off both your training and nutrition. Let's face it, everyone is willing to give you a pass and most suspend both until after the holidays. This is a huge mistake as such layoffs make it not only hard to start back up, but not to lose much of the hard work we achieved in the previous year.

Of course brief periods of rest are not bad, however, they should be planned and not followed with complete negligence of our eating habits. This makes one feel horrible and lethargic. It is the mental side that starts to get worn down and feel flat out terrible. Plus, who wants to start the New Year feeling like they have to lose an extra 10-20 pounds when you were so close to achieving that body you wanted in the first place?

I see it all the time with my clients, keeping them motivated and focused is tough because those closest to them are sabotaging them left and right. I try to remind them of the year's worth of work they had put forth, the sweat, discomfort, and time they had committed. Guess what? If you have been working hard all year you will find this time of gluttony isn't as much fun as you once thought. Hopefully at this point you are addicted to feeling GOOD, and don't want that feeling of bloat, sluggishness, fatigue, aches/pains, and so forth. If we remember why we started exercising and taking care of ourselves, how could we ever go back?

For those that want to make sure I am practicing what I am preaching, check this workout from the past weekend. Some new cool toys and methods we are going to be sharing in the New Year are displayed. Keeping it fun and motivating is critical!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

DVD Bundle Sale

I am the first to admit that I suffer from training ADD. It seems that at my facility I have so many options sometimes I can't think about where I want to spend my time. Then I think about the fact that truly 80% of my results are going to come from 20% of the exercises. The truth is that it is the programs that make all the difference.

Yet, I love new drills as well! So, for the next Christmas gift I wanted to give you six months of training programs and over 100 exercises for under $100! That is four DVDs and my KNOCKOUT! e-book for under $100, that is over $100 savings.

Do you like kettlebells? We've got programs for you! Bodyweight training? Yep, you too! Sandbags, of course and best part combined with all these great training methods. So, make sure to check out this 48-hour sale now!

In Strength,Josh Henkin, CSCS

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Becoming Your Own Pro Athlete

A few days ago I posted how former New York Giants great running back, Tiki Barber, was a big supporter of implementing sandbags into his own training routine. So, tell help you out see what the potential of sandbag training really was, I made a short routine for anyone interested in football strength development. This surprisingly does not rely on bench press or back squats, yet, it may be one of the best ways to prepare the body for the demands of football. Heck, this routine would make anyone into a physical machine!!

Get Your TRX Today!

Don't Forget Our Holiday Special Going on NOW!!! Click Here

Monday, December 15, 2008

Tiki Barber Gets the Benefits of Sandbags

Tiki Barber was one of the great running backs for the New York Giants. Many argued that he retired before his time was really up, and in fact he may of! However, one thing Tiki Barber was definetely known for was being in fanastic shape and a extremely powerful runner. What made him so?

Well, Tiki has just come out with his book on his training methods called, "Pure Hard Workout". This is one of the few honest workout books that a professional athlete has ever put out. Tiki's workout involved a lot of heavier lifting with lower repetitions, he credits this with much of his strength and stopped his fumbling problems.

That wasn't it though, Tiki's workout also involved sled pulling, strongman implements, and yes, sandbags were an integral part of his program. Sandbags were so much a part of his program that they named his bag the "Tiki bag". In fact, Tiki states very well the benefits of sandbag training, even saying that it simply works muscles that dumbells, barbells, and machines just can't! Well said Tiki!

What are some of Tiki's favorite sandbag exercises? How about these....

Clean and Press
Bear Hugs
Various Presses
Front Raises
and many more!

If sandbag training is good enough for one of the NFL's best running backs then maybe you should see what it can do for your own fitness program.

Want to get started? Right now is the perfect time as we have our Christmas sale going right now!!

Christmas Sale

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Lessons from Competition

Last weekend I put myself on the line, I entered California's Strongest Man Competition. Only six weeks ago I decided to enter wanting to have a measurable, meaningful goal. Since I do love the sport of strongman I thought nothing would be more ideal. However, there were many lessons that I learned along the way.

1. Even with competition one must learn to enjoy the process and the experience.

2. Focus on balanced training even if you have glaring weaknesses, even if you try to overfocus any program injuries are more than likely.

3. Work on weaknesses and strengths, as you will have to rely on both in competition.

4. Expect the unexpected and if you are well balanced you will be able to handle any challenges that are placed before you. Becoming a specialist does very little to create overall fitness.

5. Even if things don't go your way maintain focus. In sports they often say it is best to have short-term memory. Don't get overly high about success or low about failures.

To see how I learned some of these lessons the hard way check out my video from the competition.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

TRX and Sandbag Training

For quite some time I have been a big fan of suspension training. I truly believe that this will become a staple of all fitness programs in the next five years. It is a form of training that offers such variety, challenges, and options for all fitness levels.

One of the biggest promoters of suspension training are the guys from Fitness Anywhere that produce the TRX. This form of suspension training is the perfect compliment with sandbags as they offer a new training stimulus and can be done anywhere with bootcamps, athletes, or just in your own home. Here is a video from Fitness Anywhere combining these two great implements as well as one of my favorite circuits.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Better Nutrition for Optimal Gains

One thing I haven't spoken too much about is nutrition. It isn't because I don't believe in it, more so that I have a unique spin that many might find controversial. Having gone through several bouts of horrible illness due to digestive issues I am pretty strict about what I eat and how it impacts me. Poor digestion and nutrition not only lead to poor cosmetic changes, but health as well. It has been estimated that 70% of all diseases stem from a poor colon system!

So, while I was visiting family in Chicago I took an opportunity to take a sneak peek into how I view nutrition, health, and optimal performance.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

New DVD Next Week!

Next week I am going to release a new training program that will combine some of the most powerful training implements. Guess which ones? Check out these videos to take a guess. Synergy is going to be the most complete program with a training manual, follow along DVD, and nutritional concepts. See it soon!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Fitness for the Busy Professional

Living in the real world means facing real world obstacles such as commitments to things besides JUST your fitness. This means that the busy person has to be focused and optimize their training time with exercises that work! This past Thanksgiving I worked with my good friend Nick Radonijic who is just that type of person. Nick is a busy attorney that has to balance family, long work hours, and his passion for fitness. The day after Nick performed an Olympic weightlifting based routine he asked me to put him through one of my Power Circuits. Check out the work we did!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Still the Best Sandbags

  1. Make sure to check out the great review that Scott Bird gave us on:

Click on the Sandbag to Read

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Vacation Training

Once you get use to using certain pieces of equipment you begin to feel lost without them. Being back in my hometown I don't have access to all the great pieces of equipment I am use to having. However, it doesn't mean you can't have a great workout!! You can see a great workout I developed that can be done in any commercial gym. The only thing I brought was my handy Jungle Gym that is easy to transport and hide in your gym bag.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Basic But Not Simple

When I describe some of the fundamental exercises of sandbag training people start to fade out mentally. It always interests me that if I spoke about the details of deadlifting a barbell, snatching a kettlebell, people would listen intently with open ears. Same simplicity as far as the the exercises not appearing to be overly complicated, yet, it is the subtle details of these movements that make the effective as well as makes performing them safe.

Shouldering may look simple, but has far more complexity in the performance than some of its cousins, deadlifting or kettlebell snatching. Why? The most obvious is that the implement itself makes shouldering more complicated as both shape and weight shifts from right from the very gripping of the bag. Learning how to properly absorbe the weight lifted to the shoulder is another key element of performing the lift correctly.

To provide more detail I worked on a new video for getting the most out of shouldeirng:

In Strength,
Josh Henkin, CSCS

HUGE Thanksgiving Sale

This has been one heck of a year, for both good and bad reasons. It is often easy to get caught up in the bad, we all know how easy it can be to let the negatives to override any positives that happen in our lives. I am reminded of two great men that have very unique ways of living.

One is Thomas Edison, yep, the guy that invented the light bulb! What can we learn from him? After going through a thousand versions of his light bulb someone asked him what he learned from his failures? Thomas Edison replied he has no failures, but 1,000 ways not to build a light bulb.

Then there is Steven Covey, who once wrote in his book, "Seven Habits of Highly Effective People", we don't have control over bad things from happening to us, we only have control how we react to those challenges.

These two ideas give me great excitement to continue to build upon the successes we have experienced this year. The most important of them helping people get the most out of their lives because they feel the best them possible.

As a thank you to YOU, those that have allowed me to help you get more out of your fitness than you thought possible I am going to offer a killer sale. I don't think I'll do something like this anytime soon! You are going to get everything you need in this sale with both the best training products and training resources possible. If you were thinking about starting your sandbag program this is the time! In this sale you can save as much as $60, I don't mind though, I can't wait to hear how my program has helped you!

In Strength,
Josh Henkin, CSCS

Thursday, November 20, 2008

No Excuse Fitness

One of my biggest missions in the fitness industry is to help people realize that achieving great fitness levels doesn't have to be done in long or boring sessions. So many of us feel such negative emotions when the idea of exercise is mentioned. Most of this is due to the idea that we have to spend long hours in the gym, or that it is going to hurt, or most depressing, just be flat out boring!!!

When I met Megan she was actually working towards a fitness competition, talk about adhering to all those ideas we just talked about! Megan would spend hours in the gym, repeat the same programs trying to isolate all her "weak points", and it began to dominate her life. Some people would say that is just necessary to compete at a high level. While there may be some truth, the reality is that I have witnessed Megan become more fit and enjoy training since she has switched her mindset of training.

For those women that think that this training is too hardcore or manly, check out some of these great videos Megan did of her own workouts. It is true that these training sessions can deliver the results we promise. Even better though is they can all be scaled to any ability level. You don't have to be an advanced lifter to do well, while those that have more experience could make these very challening workouts.

Better Ways of Fat Loss

We are definitely hitting the time of year where let's face it, people let their lifestyles go. Holidays always signify a time where we give ourselves permission to eat poorly. I've never been against the idea of a treat, but people often let their programs fall completely apart. So, I asked my good friend and fat loss expert, Franz Snideman, to give us some insights to better fat loss programs so that you don't fall into the common holiday trap of gaining the weight you finally lost during the year!

Listen to Franz Snideman Interview Here

Friday, November 14, 2008

Silence The Critics Part I

Nothing I love more than people that sit back and tell you how to do things, yep, those same people who never get out and actually train. Those same people who hide behind keyboards and don't lift a single object. I love those people!!!

I have found that more and more popularity my Sandbag Fitness Systems receives, the more attacks I get. You know what that means? It means we are getting to the industry! Here are some of my favorite attacks that people say, btw, these are all real!!!

**Josh really isn't strong, he is just trying to sell sandbags! Heck, he probably couldn't lift even a 200 pound sandbag!

Right off the bat this shows me a lot of ignorance. Anyone that knows me knows my love of strength. I've put myself out there almost more than any other fitness professional with videos of myself lifting hard and heavy. Nope, not my best student, or pros that I know, that is me right at the forefront of lifting right in front of everyone!

My love of sandbags only came from my lack of money years ago to have useful strongman equipment. Sandbags were the most versatile and accessible pieces of equipment. The only problem is they did keep breaking and falling apart, I won't say they were responsible for the end of my first marriage, but probably didn't help:)

However, as far as the question of me really lifting, this was a great video that my friend Troy Anderson put together after my last strongman contest. You will see me missing a 263 thick bar clean and jerk (very disappointing as I had done 273). You will see me performing a medley of a 225 sandbag, 250 each hand farmer's, and 190 keg. You will finally see me flipping a 750 pound tire that I just got edged out on!!! I am excited that in just a few weeks I will be going to San Diego to do another competition. Dan John's first rule of success? Show up!!!

***Man, he looks fat!

I always, always love this one!! No, I don't think I will get mistaken for a Calvin Kline fashion model any time soon, but really this is of no interest to me. Yet, we have a very bad misconception today.....women are fat if they can't fit into a size zero even if they have a six pack, guys are fat if we don't have tiny little waists! The truth of the matter is I have never met anyone of great strength that is not THICK in the torso.

Now, there is a difference between being fat and thick. Yes, some powerlifters and other strength athletes do get heavy to lift more, but this is different. I don't understand how if we train hard for our arms, our legs, our shoulders to grow, how we can expect our torso not to do the same? Yes, the trunk grows in muscle as well. If you remember the classic Greek statues, they weren't of v-shaped men, rather more square.

Who usually criticizes people for this? It is pretty amazing I often find it to be people that don't lift much at all? To be honest though, it is ok if you don't want this to happen to you, guess what, don't lift heavy!!! That is why I created this system of training, there are programs for any goal to achieve great things through the implementation of sandbags.

One can still benefit greatly from strengthening their torso as real core strength isn't about a six pack, it is about being functional!! Try this workout I posted to see how you can challenge strength, endurance, and fitness with such a great tool!

In Strength,
Josh Henkin, CSCS

ps-next week is the start of our new exciting program that will make you rethink how you train!!!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

This Ain't No Dumbbell

Sandbag training is definitely one of those perplexing concepts. Everyone seems to think it is so simple, but they keep screwing it up! In fact, one of my good friends asked me to show some things with the sandbags. You see, being a physical therapist her idea is that it is just like a dumbbell so once I show her a couple of exercises it would be no problem. This simply couldn't be further from the truth.

Yes, even though she believes in, dare I say, "functional training", the concepts behind sandbag training are quite different. Yeah, yeah, I have seen those nauseating videos of companies showing that you can curl with a sandbag. Really? That is why you want a sandbag, so you can do curls? Well, it got me thinking. Even though my system of sandbag training is unique, you could actually use it for many of the same exercises that you would with a dumbbell. In fact, it would add a new dimension to many of these classic drills.

Ok, I realize this isn't rocket science concept, but I want you to look outside of the box. Recently I have spent a lot more time looking at the great versatility of our small sandbags. Because of their dimension and ability to be really light or a decent load, you could perform a whole lot of cool drills that you would use with dumbbells. Yet, because of the instability of the sandbags, these drills all of a sudden become much more challenging.

In the video below I demonstrate one way you can make our small sandbags become more evil than any dumbbell exercise could ever dream of!

In Strength,
Josh Henkin, CSCS

p.s.-pretty soon I will be announcing a really cool new DVD that couldn't come at a more perfect time!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Harder Than Kettlebells

I never understood cynicism or close mindeness, both seem very deterimental to innovation and creativity. Sure, I do understand there is A LOT of hype, but sometimes the excitement is warranted. Yep, even I have been in the role of the cynic, but that ended up being about a tool that would become part of my everday arsenal and one of my favorite training tools...kettlebells.

It took me quite some time to decide to take a leap of faith and try something that seemed so unnecessary. Seriously, why did I need to use a kettlebell? It wasn't as though I didn't have access to enough dumbbells and barbells to make great gains. Ok, it wasn't any great insight that led me to jumping in feet first, rather, the insistence of strength coach John Davies. Yes, simply the recommendation of someone I respected, no sales pitch or ad copy. This was 2002, if I hadn't listened I may have been behind the industry and being like so many trying to fault with a training tool that has obviously revolutionalized the way so many people and coaches train.

Why this story? I feel as sandbags will take a similar path, I don't want to speak anything but the truth. They are the most demanding and result producing tool there is. They are completely unique in nature from the exercises to the feel. This may sound like hype and a commercial, but it is the very reason I began to implement them for myself and my clients.

I can talk about sandbags all I want, but let's face it, I will look bias. That is why I was really excited when Bill Fox contacted me. Bill is a gentleman that I have heard about for many years. In fact, he was one of the first people I read about implementing kettlebells before most of the big names were even known. No, Bill isn't a strength coach, he is an attorney that is serious about fitness. At 48 Bill appears more fit that most 21 year olds! He has tried it all and is very much the classic minimalist. Only using what works I was very excited when Bill wrote to me and told me about his experiences with sandbags. Can I even say he found them more challenging than kettlebells;

External Force - the sandbag revelation
I've always loved body weight training. Coming from 30 years of martial arts, body weight training will always be my roots. There will be lots of body weight training on this blog - mostly of the Steve Maxwell and Crossfit variety. It's just cool not using any equipment. Well, you need something to do pullups on, but you know, it's still cool.

But how simple is too simple?

My friend Pavel Tsatsouline has a great body weight book called "The Naked Warrior". Read it, (you might want to read everything else he's written too while you're at it), it's about way more then just body weight training, it's about how to get strong. But even in that book Pavel wisely recommends doing a heavy pull to keep the posterior chain strong. Kettlebells work great, as does a barbell. Pull something heavy off the ground to your shoulder, or overhead if you want, and the posterior chain gets worked. Look up Dan John's stuff. I was feeling the absence of this kind of work so I busted out the KBs a few nights ago. It worked and it felt great, but...

Is the sandbag the greatest implement going for simply getting strong? Who knows. Of course barbells can go way heavier, kettlebells are great for high rep work, and so on ad infinitum. I'm just saying I never feel as worked as I do after a sandbag session. I've neglected this tool, but a good friend of mine, a fellow desk jockey who now has forearms like a stevador, has been sharing his revalation with me. After today I think he migh be right. Look for more sandbag work going forward - much more.


10 rounds w/ a 50lb bag of:

10x shoulder the bag from the floor alternating shoulders each rep
5x ass to heel squats with the bag on whatever shoulder it wound up on



10 turkish getups alternating sides each rep (untimed)

here's a clip from Josh Henkin with some of the movements, and check out Josh's site, he makes nice bags"

You can read more of Bill's blog at

I truly believe the results of thousands and the testimonials of such people speaks far more about a training system than anything marketing can do!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Beginning A Sandbag Program

I receive a lot of questions on how to start a sandbag training program. This video gives some insight into how to put together your first sandbag training routine.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Sandbag Seminar!!!

Finally the first ever High Octane Sandbag Seminar!!!

Click on our Seminars page for more information!

Sandbag Complexes

The versatility of sandbag continues to amaze even me! One of the best ways to implement sandbags is by using complexes. Just as outlined in my KNOCKOUT! e-book, complexes are a fantastic way to get strong, muscular balance, endurance, and dynamic flexibility. Because of the nature of sandbags they are easy to put into complexes that simply are not possible with any other implement.

In this installment I must say "GREAT JOB!" to Matt Johnson who put together this great video of sandbag complexes that he has put together. Again, I have to say that our sandbag are the most versatile and durable. While other people still try to make something to knock us off, it is because of people like Matt that demonstrate why no one can make a better sandbag!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Sandbag Versatility

What makes sandbags such an attractive training tool? Accomplishing a lot with mimimal equipment is one of the aspects that makes a lot of people use sandbags. From athletes to those interested in fitness, everyone has to be very particular with how they utilize their training time.

I have for the past few years been promoting Power Circuit Training as a great way to accomplish a lot of different fitness goals within a short amount of time. As we all know circuit training itself is not a new concept. However, placing a greater emphasis on quality of work, low repetition work, and movement is something very new. If you wish to read about this concept in detail click on the link below.

Power Circuit Training Article

Let's face it though, many of us like to see things in action. So I have one of my favorite Power Circuits in the video below.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Sandbag Swing Variations

It is not a secret that the classic swing exercise may be one of the most beneficial drills one can perform. The transfer the swing possess to both sports performance and fat loss is tremendous. Talk about an exercise that can do it all, the swing is often a underappreciated drill and thought of as "too simple." Nothing can be further from the truth as there are a lot of nuances to the swing. Once someone is proficient in the swing they can create complexity with some of my sandbag swing variations. These new variations create rotational forces through the body that make the classic swing even more powerful!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Crossfit Controversy

There are few training concepts that have been as polarizing as the whole Crossfit program. It seems people either absolutely hate it or love it and nothing in between. I have always been a big believer that if you want to know about something, go to the horses mouth.

One of the people that I have tremendous respect for is Greg Everett of Catalyst Athletics. Greg is one of the few coaches that can not only write tremendous programs, but is an excellent athlete as well. Greg was at the early stages of the Crossfit development and has seen the program change quite a bit over the years.

I sat Greg down to find out his thoughts on Crossfit, Olympic lifting, and many other training concepts. Greg is brutally honest and doesn't pull any punches. Check out this interview with Greg by clicking below...

Greg Everett Interview

Monday, October 27, 2008

Sandbags in Iraq!

I know, I know, talking about sandbag training in the desert does yield some good jokes! However, I did want to share with you a story that really makes everything that I have been working for worth while.

About two years ago I was asked to do a private seminar for a unit of Scottsdale SWAT. This was done on their own dime because they were interested in maximizing their performance and reducing injuries. Many people do not realize professions such as law enforcement and fire do have a very high incident of heart attacks and other related illnesses.

Yes, part of this has to do with the fact many in this field do not take their fitness seriously after they make it through the academies. Another problem arises with the fact these professionals have to go from zero to one hundred, without warm-up, preparation, so forth. This creates a high demand on the heart and is perceived by the body as a huge stress. Without proper training, this can be very detrimental to one's health. Using many of the programs that I have shared over the years can help tremendously because they are built on the very same principles that cause many of our finest to suffer.

However, I digress....during the seminar I got to have the wonderful opportuity to work with not just great professionals that lay their lives on the line for us, but people as well. One gentelman I remember well, Thad, was heading off to Iraq and asked a lot of questions about how to remain fit while he was serving. Just recently I received an email from Thad that really made me feel good! I wanted to share this all with you to show that my mission more than anything is to help you get the most positive things out of your training programs.

"Hello Josh,

I just wanted to drop you a quick note to let you know I finally made it safely to
Iraq. Things aren't too bad here, just hot and dusty. I hope things are good on your

The sandbag has been holding up well, I use it often. I also joined a crossfit club,
it is a close to functional training as I can get.

The gym here has a good set of kettle bells, attached is a photo of my attempt at a
Get Up, I know I should have my lead leg out further and a strong thrust with the
hips, but we will consider it a work in progress ;-)

I am trying to remember as much as I can from the day of training we did back in
May, when I get back next year I will be due for a refresher.

Take care,

Thad B."

Thank you Thad and people like yourself who place great sacrifices for all of us!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

2 Exercises=Rapid Fat Loss

People always try to justify their various fat loss methods. I mean really, who doesn't mind being a little leaner, especially with the tempting holidays around the corner. Unfortunately, people again feel overwhelmed with the many different options it is hard for many to follow a consistent fat loss program. A simple program though of two exercises followed twice a week complimenting other training workouts can greatly enhance fat loss in just 20 minutes. Of course there are some rules in getting the most out of the workouts. Below is one of my favorites!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Improving Senior Fitness

Many of you may not see the value in me writing about seniors' fitness, I know we have some great seniors that use our program, but don't make up the bulk of our readers. Yet, many of us have parents that are part of the "baby boom" generation. Since that group makes up a large percentage of our country I think there is a lot of value talking about their fitness.

Personally it saddens me to see my father at 65 basically debilitated. He can not sit in a car for more than 15 minutes without pain, he can't walk a mall, basically many of his quality of life activities are severely compromised. This is extremely sad considering I don't think of 65 as being very old.

In fact, I was very inspired today when a 70+ year old gentleman came into my facility to speak with me about sandbags. He had been training with kettlebells for some time and wanted to add sandbags into his routine. This gentleman was very inspirational to me as he told me how he has worked up to pressing the 16kg bell and has the goal of the 24kg bell. The work this gentleman really does make me believe the whole idea that age is largely a state of mind. However, there are definitely considerations to make when working with older populations.

Some may think kettlebells and sandbags are the worst thing that our senior population could be doing. Actually nothing could be further from the truth. The reason that situations like my father exist is because they do not keep their bodies flexibile, strong, and mobile. Many trainers and coaches simply put seniors on aerobic programs. In fact, one of the US top strength training researchers, Steven Fleck, recommends strength and power training. He has found that one of the biggest problems that seniors face is loss of fast-twitch muscle fibers. Strength and power suffer leading to far more problems than cardiovascular fitness.

Therefore, implementing slowly some of the fundamental movements in our sandbag program is ideal for seniors. Working both components in a functional manner that is easy to adjust to any ability level makes sandbag training again one of the most versatile training methods available.

If you click on the link below you will see how Giovanni Salazar of uses our Ultimate Sandbags with his 69 year old client. This simple cleaning movement is one of the most powerful one could use to improve the quality life of a senior.

69 year old man sandbag clean

The best part is that these drills are relatively easy to learn and safe. Hard to find excuses not to allow all people to enjoy the empowerment of being strong and poweful.

Anthony Diluglio Interview

Over six years ago now I began using kettlebells. In essence they were what I had always been looking for. They were simple, but very powerful, compact, but amazingly versatile. Kettlebell training completely changed the way I approached training and made training enjoyable again.

Such an experience motivated me to become certified in 2003. I always consider that the all-star class as it had people such as Franz Snideman, Ethan Reeve, Steve Cotter, Mike Burgener, Steve Rochet, Josh Everett, Jason C. Brown, and Anthony Diluglio. I learned a lot not only about kettlebells, but training as well from this amazing group.

So many of these great coaches have had a profound impact on the industry since that time. One in particular is making great strides in changing the way professional coaches train and the way the masses view physical training. Anthony Diluglio is leading a charge of bringing physical culture back to the mainstream and in this hour long interview we go over his awesome Art of Strength training methods and his really unique training tools.

Listen to Anthony's Interview Here

Monday, October 20, 2008

Interval BS?

Interval training is promoted as THE way to lose fat. Unfortunately interval training isn't as easy as it is promoted. Firstly, the work session of the interval must be intense, no, not sorta hard but at or near maximal effort. This is the main reason work intervals usually can't go longer than 60 seconds at very well trained individuals. Starting out most work intervals can be as short as 15 seconds because of the intense nature of this sort of training. Imagine trying to sprint a marathon, not going to happen!

Typically sprinting or cycling is promoted as they are forms of training that can be done at a high intensity with no rest during the work cycle. Unfortunately, this is very repetitive and joint stressful exercises. Many often end up with knee, back, and hip problems. This quickly discourages intense training. However, utilizing full body drills that can help flexibility and movement skills in an interval training circuit can actually ehnance these qualites.

The key with choosing the right exercises is not only that they are full body, but they are performed at high speeds too. This means you are not going to use heavy loads, but keep the focus on moving fluidly and quickly!

Below is one of my favorite interval cycles and you can find more of these on my new DVD: Click Here to find out more

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Bigger Sandbags or Better Sandbags?

For the past few months I spend almost half of my day answering questions on sandbag training. It is awesome to see the enthusiasm it has sparked, but it occurred to me that most of you never get to see my responses! So, I am going to post some of the best questions so that you can get the most out of your training too!

Q: "Josh, why don't you make bigger sandbags that go over 200 pounds rather than the small sandbags?"

A: The hardest part in espousing the benefits of sandbag training is that everyone wants to compare them with implements they are most familiar with. Often people want to compare sandbags to barbells, kettlebells, and so forth. The problem is that the type of training and their feel truly are unique.

Sandbag training has probably the richest history in physical training culture. Therefore, I am not going to even attempt to say that anything I do hasn't been done at one time or another. However, working with thousands of people I may have a unique spin.

Small sandbags are not simply for those that are new to sandbag training. I have mentioned in the past that small sandbags are ideal for movement based training or loaded mobility. The dimensions and loads can be extremely challenging by moving in unique patterns and motions. In fact, I first got the inspiration for this type of training from John Jesse's 1974 book, "The Encyclopedia of Wrestling Conditioning". Unfortunately I gave that book to my good friend Zach Even-esh (sorry Zach, should have kept it;).

In the book John Jesse speaks about the fact that sandbags were used for two different types of training. The smaller bags were used for rotational movements, moving in extreme ranges of motion, and grip training. This is the very same injury prevention that sports science expert, Dr. Michael Yessis promoted in "Secrets of Soviet Sports Training and Fitness". In fact, this concept inspired the whole functional training movement years ago, but was sorely misapplied.

The heavier bags, Jesse recommends, were for strengthening the hips and trunk for the demands of wrestling. We could infer that this very same idea would be very appropriate in prevention of many injuries as well as increasing performance. Since wrestlers are some of the best athletes in the world I would think of it as foolish to ignore such valuable advice.

To answer the original question though, 200 pound plus sandbags are very limited in their versatility. Yes, you could shoulder, possibly squat them, yet why not take some of the programs I have put on the site and try those and see how a 120 pound sandbag could demolish the best athlete. In fact, why not try some of the double sandbag combinations on here as well.

If you don't believe me definitely try some of the workouts in my new High Octance Sandbag DVD!

In Strength,
Josh Henkin, CSCS

See our Training DVDs here!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Sandbags on Fox News!

Somewhere deep down I believed that sandbags would be only for the limited few that wanted really to workout. No, not just get a little six pack, rather people that wanted to feel good and enjoyed the benefits of hard work. You can only imagine my surprise when our local Fox News affiliate contacted me about doing a segment on sandbag training.

It was great! At first the news anchor thought we were going to use those cheesy yoga like sandbags, but it didn't take long for her to become a believer. Click on the link below and check out the segment. Best of all, see how fast it takes her to get out of breathe! I think sandbags might be part of the new age of real, honest fitness.

Fox News Segment

Don't forget to check out the new High Octane Sandbag DVD! 2-DVD set with instruction and four killer follow along workouts.

Learn more about High Octane Sandbag Training: Click Here!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Getting the Most Out of Your Training

A few weeks ago kettlebell expert, Mike Mahler, asked me to join him in an online interview to discuss how to optimize training in this very busy world! Not only did we discuss the topics of fat loss and strength building, but performance for young and elite athletes as well. Check out the interview on the link below....

Mike Mahler and Josh Henkin interview

Make sure to sign-up for our new special reports and interviews at You will get the latest news and special deals on our DVDs and Ultimate Sandbags!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Dual Sandbag Lifting

The versatility of sandbag never ceases to amaze me. It is so easy to become limited by our experiences in strength training and think of sandbag training only in terms of other implements such as barbells, dumbbells, and kettlebells. The truth of the matter is that sandbags really are their own beast. So many of the drills are unique in not only in their performance, but feel as well.

One of the reasons I like sandbag training so much is that you can get amazing core training without really doing core work. Yes, this is a common idea nowadays, but most people still don't use implements like sandbags to accomplish this. Like Steve Maxwell said, "I can bring the most elite athlete to his knees in a few minutes of sandbag training."

Sandbags work the core because you have an odd weight resting on the body in an awkward position. It takes a lot of work by all of the core (abs, low back, and hips) to keep the body in good postural alignment. That is why drills such as shoulder squats, shouldering, side to side press, half moon snatches, etc. are so awesome for training the core.

However, one thing that too many people don't think of is actually implementing two sandbags into exercises. This creates a far new and more challenging demand on the core because you will have resistance coming from different leverage points and positions.

Check out some of my favorite drills using two sandbags and see how incredibly challenging this type of training can be!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Complexes for Fat Loss

Complexes are nothing new, ok, what really is?! However, there are so many great training methods it is easy to forget about some and focus on others. One of the best things about talking to colleagues is that you are reminded of training methods that are really helpful, but have gotten away from for one reason or another.

Complexes definitely fit into that category. Anyone familiar with Olympic lifting should be very knowledgeable of complexes. Often used in the sport for build a base level of conditioning and muscular balance, complexes are often underutilized by most.

In my KNOCKOUT! e-book I go over a whole extensive chapter discussing the value of complexes and the fact that using sandbags may be a superior tool for complexes. You see, the limiting factor in most complexes is grip strength. Most people just simply tire out from holding onto the bar for extended period of time. Therefore, the larger muscle groups are left greatly undertrained. Because of the hundreds of exercises you can perform with sandbags you can avoid such issues by utilizing drills where the bag is placed on the body. Not only does this prevent such problems, but is amazing for core training.

Of course if you want to challenge your grip you can definitely perform complexes where you grab the bag. This is far more demanding for grip training and gives you a vice for hands. In fact, check out the great series that my colleague Mike Stehle of has created to torture his clients, simply outstanding!!

Get the killer e-book KNOCKOUT!!, not just for combative athletes!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Sandbags for Women

It doesn't seem to matter, EVERYONE thinks they are incredibly unique, why not? After all aren't we all very different? The truth of the matter we aren't all that unique, while some of us may have different training backgrounds, our bodies move and function in all the same ways. Such a belief of being "different" often comes when I work with my women clients.

There is no better comment that I get from women than when they tell me, "how do you know what women need, you aren't a woman!" While that may sound very rationale it actually is a very obsurd statement. Does a surgeon have to experience a heart attack to make them a better surgeon? Does a lawyer have to be sued to be better in their practice? Of course not, even more specifically, most strength coaches have never played the sport they coach professionally. Yet, they are able to provide great training programs because of experience and research.

The majority of my clients have always been women, maybe it is because women do not have the ego about strength that men often posses. Maybe it is because women don't have the experience at an early age lifting weights so they don't rely on their high school training to get them in shape. In any event, women often are more likely to be involved in personal training. The rules of training women? They are usually the same as men.

1. Practice multi-joint movements
2. Design rest intervals to match training goals
3. Keep training programs short, but focused
4. Repetitions should be varied not emphasizing high repetitions

Sandbags tend to be a great tool for women because it can be used in a circuit style training everything from head to toe. Training strength, flexibility, and the cardiovascular system. I asked my assistant Megan to put together the following video to show how women too can benefit from sandbags.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Lose 50 Pounds of Fat with Sandbags

The great thing about seeing sandbag training going mainstream is how much success others are having with the program. While I was at the Ryan Lee Bootcamp I was able to meet several professionals that I have spoken through only through email. BJ Gaddour was one of those coaches with some innovative ideas. BJ's new program ( is an innovative idea on how to optimize interval training, more specifically Tabata training.

Tabata is a 4-minute workout that was developed by a Japanese researcher with elite athletes. This scientist showed that 10 seconds of all out effort followed by a second interval of 20 seconds of rest done for 4-minutes could produce a better result that longer duration workouts. Of course though, this is not as easy as it sounds. This workout is absolutely brutal as 10 seconds of all out work done eight times is nothing to smile at.

However, BJ's system keeps you going and motivated. In fact, one of his clients lost 50 pounds using such a style of training, especially the sandbag. You can see it in action in the clip below.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Steve Maxwell Interview

Interviewing different professionals is not a new concept. I have known people that have done such things and made lots of money and interviewed I guess some interesting people. The problem is that very few people actually get the best coaches in the industry to reveal what they find works so well for their own clients!

Steve Maxwell is just such a coach. I have known Steve for several years even being an assistant of his at the RKC a few years ago. I have a tremendous amount of respect for Steve as he has been in the industry over thirty years! He has worked with thousands of people from those just starting a fitness program to world champion athletes.

Since then Steve has been forming his own unique system of training. Combining elements of joint mobility, kettlebells, and bodyweight exercises Steve has come up with not only one of the most complete systems I have seen, but one that is sure to keep people interested and challenged.

I got to interview Steve today and he shared with me some amazing information! Yes, I am going to steal some of his ideas for my own training. Some of them came at the perfect time just for my own training. Steve goes into great detail on training, anti-aging, and many of the fallacies of fitness. Also, hear how Steve found sandbags to be a HUGE hit with a special forces group, "even more popular than kettlebells!"

Listen to Steve Maxwell Interview

Visit Steve's Site

Monday, September 29, 2008

Mr. Low Bodyfat Interview

Recently I had the great opportunity to be interviewed by Muata Kamdibe asked to interview for his website. For may of you, you may remember speaking of Muata and his amazing 130 pound fat loss! What made it even better to me is he didn't accomplish this goal by performing a cheesy training program or "mystery" supplements. No! Muata worked with bodyweight exercises, kettlebells, and sandbags to make such an awesome change! He was strict about his eating habits and it all paid off!!

It was my pleasure to share some of my thoughts how sandbag training related to the great success Muata experienced. Click on the link below to read the entire interview.

Josh Henkin Interview on Mr. Low Body Fat

Friday, September 19, 2008

"Your The Sandbag Guy!"

"Sometimes Simple is Best"

The past few days I have spent far away from my studio in Arizona. I've been up in Connecticut at the Ryan Lee Bootcamp. A little more than three years ago is the time I really got the opportunity to introduce my Sandbag Fitness Systems to a large group. Ryan asked me to give a small presentation on the idea of sandbag training and implementation. Since then, things have exploded!

Fortunately and unfortunately people recognize me as "the sandbag guy". It is something that I love and hate to hear, ok, mostly love. In fact, I met a strength coach here that didn't even know that I owned my own training center. That is good in the way people have really taken to the idea of sandbag training, however, what I am promoting isn't sandbag training.

No, in fact, I am simply using sandbags as a vehicle to teach people that strength and athleticism are vital to the quality of life. One of my biggest inspirations and motivations for the sandbag training was what I witnessed daily working in gyms. PEOPLE ARE WEAK!!!! Yes, even many trainers and coaches are pathetically weak. I have met "world renown" coaches that can't even train themselves because of all their ailments and "issues".

Listen, strength does matter, it isn't to say that one must lift 800 pounds, but you must be strong. Strength does solve a lot of problems, health and performance related. I see so many injuries with people because they lack strength to perform the daily activities that they require or want to be able to perform. Sandbags are the tool to help change all of that. They often bring out the primal side of people, the side that is tired of trying to train in the commercial gyms. Sandbags appeal to people that want to get down to the meat and potatoes of what works.

At the same time sandbags offer so much fun in their variety of drills as well as their ability to be taken outdoors. However, I probably don't have to convince you of this. I know sandbags to be soo effective because of the emails I receive from YOU all the time. People writing telling me how sandbags have completely changed how they feel physically and how they feel about themselves. How people feel that they can do anything because they have taken on the challenges that sandbags presents. Really sandbags are my way of helping people change their lives by making them strong and athletic, pure and simple.

Yet, people are still confused about where to start, how to begin. I am in the works of updating a lot of my material as so much has changed, however, a lot has stayed the same. Over three years ago I wrote my first manual Sandbag FUNdamentals and it still is one of the most helpful resources for people. It is simple, just like sandbags, it is teaching the important exercises and giving you routines to start benefiting from sandbags tomorrow. One of the most inexpensive resources available it truly is the blueprint to start your sandbag training.
I am also happy to announce that very shortly I will be releasing a new DVD updating our highly popular High Octane DVD. The difference? Well, I didn't have our Ultimate Sandbag in the original, this tells you how much I never really planned to be "the sandbag guy", but more importantly there are THREE follow along workouts that are combined with a resource of over 60 of the best sandbag drills. That is what I want to be about, giving those that give me their trust the best training information possible.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Jon Hind's Secrets to Success!

I was so happy when this past Monday I was able to get strength coach Jon Hinds for an hour interview on his training. You see, Jon has been doing the type of training that has recently become popular for over 25 years! His experience working with elite athletes is extensive, however, what may be the best story is how he got his 78 year old grandmother to do her first chin-up!!!

For those that are unfamiliar, Jon Hinds is the creator of successful exercise pieces such as the power push-up, power wheel, jungle gym, and many more of the best training tools available!

Now you can listen to my interview with Jon for free just by clicking on the link below...

Jon Hinds Interview Click Here

Make sure to visit Jon's excellent website below!

The Monkey Bar Gym

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

More Sandbags, Less Injuries?

Most people throw sandbags into the category of being "hardcore", such a term truly diminishes the value of such training tools. While sandbags can be one of the toughest and most challenging training tools, they are also incredibly helpful for injury prevention as well.

I have written extensively on their use for injury prevention and sporting performance (check out the articles section) so this is nothing new. However, an aspect that commonly gets overlooked is their ability to develop better movement skills in people.

Some time ago I posted a very innovative video of Scott Sonnon ( using our small sandbag for loaded mobility work (check out the video below). Coach Sonnon's use of the bag is a perfect example of how we can prevent injuries by getting better movement and neuromuscular control in some of the bodies toughest areas.

What I would like to introduce in the video below are some standard drills that hit those areas, the shoulders, thoracic spine, hips, and low back. Purely stretching does not do the job as these are complex joints that need to move, be reeducated, and get stronger. So, check out the first installment of my Enhanced Movement with Sandbags Series.

Scott Sonnon's Video (

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

New Innovations in Band Training

A few months ago I had a great interview with band expert, Dave Schmitz (if you missed it you can listen to it here). Since then I have received a lot of emails asking about the different methods of implementing bands in different ways. The options with sandbags and bands have almost endless options and variations and still allow you to train different strength qualities. Taking bands and sandbags to an outdoor bootcamp, or gym can provide you an incredible and unique training session.

Click Here to see our new bands and check out our videos implementing sandbags and bands.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Meltdown DVD Now Available

I am happy to announce we are now carrying Meltdown as part of our Sandbag Fitness System. I know this may seem odd that we would be promoting kettlebells, however, as I often tell people this is how my journey started. I started becoming interested in kettlebells about 2000. Then after investing in a few I was sold on how simple implements could bring about astounding results.

Since then kettlebells have made up a critical part of my clients' and my own training programs. How could you not when you have such a simple training tool that can be so versatile. This was much of my inspiration to bring back sandbag training.

Why make another kettlebell DVD though? My colleague and good friend, Troy Anderson and I wanted to do something different. We had seen a lot of the programs out there and while they were good, they usually rested upon one training method. We knew having worked with hundreds of people and leading numerous seminars that we could implement our own unique ideas on kettlebell training. This is what Meltdown represents!

Meltdown contains four follow along workouts that are all distinctly different in the methods and exercises used. There is also a detailed section about how to get the most out of y0ur classic kettlebell drills as well as examining the versatility and power of kettlebell training. The nice part is you can use these workouts as part of your existing program or as stand alone as well.

If you want to pick up your copy today just click on the link below, we GUARANTEE you won't be disappointed!

Meltdown DVD

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Bert Sorin Interview

For those that love strength and learning from some of the best strength athletes in the world, then I have a treat for you! Bert Sorin of joined me recently for an amazing hour long interview. For those that are unfamiliar with the Sorin name, Bert's father, Richard, was the first to become certified closing the Ironmind #3 gripper, along with being the inventor of the blob lift. Grip strength is not the only topic we covered.

What did the Russians really do for performance training.

When do you perform speed or maximal strength training.

How to monitor and determine when you are ready for training.

The big differences between a beginner/intermediate lifter versus an advanced athlete!

Click on the link below to listen to the interview!

Bert Sorin

• 4 time NCAA Div. 1 All American Track and Field with 35lb weight and hammer throw
• Currently World ranked Highland Games Athlete
* Active in Powerlifting and Grip Contests
• BA degree from University of South Carolina with Deans List honors
• 2000 and 2004 Olympic Trials athlete

Bert Sorin Interview Click Here

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Berardi Bashes Sandbags?

One thing that I have definitely learned over the years is the old saying, "it is a small world" is very true. Recently a good friend and colleague sent me this link from nutrition expert, John Berardi's site:

It first appears that John is very much in favor of using odd object training into one's program. I couldn't obviously couldn't agree more. In fact, it seems that John even enjoys some sandbag training (of course he could use a real sandbag!).

Then I am somewhat shocked by some of the following comments:

"So, the next logical question is this - "do you always do such weird workouts?"

The answer - absolutely not!

Every member of our group lifts weights - you know, squats, dead lifts, bench presses, and the rest of the usual suspects. For example, right now I'm actually following Eric Cressey's Maximum Strength Program.

In addition, every member of our group incorporates some form of more traditional conditioning exercise. For example, the girls mix it up with 45 min fasted walks on some mornings and interval sprints on other training mornings.

So, as you can see, this type of workout is IN ADDITION TO sound, periodized, mixed training. It's certainly not in place of it.

That's right, unlike many "industry wierdos" we don't get seduced by one type of training and vehemently extol its virtues until the end of time. To this end, we don't do ONLY "Sandbag Training," "Body Part Split Training," "Whole Body Training," "Functional Training," "Heavy Duty Training," "Cross-Fit," or any other style of training.

Instead, we figure out what's fun and what works...and then we use it. Novel idea, eh? And to this end, about 80% of our workouts are more traditional."

I have great respect for Mr. Berardi, but these comments strike me funny. No, it isn't because I sell sandbags, but because at my very core I believe these "weird" workouts can often enhance strength more than "traditional" workouts. In fact, the very implication of "traditional" is strange to me as the invention of the barbell is only a about 100 years old. Yet, physical training goes back thousands of years. What did we all do before the barbell and bench?!

I have a lot of anecdotal evidence as well. When I was training for my first strongman competition I didn't perform much deadlifting. Tire flipping and stones covered that pretty well. Within three weeks I put 35 pounds on my deadlift! Not only that, but I was much thicker and dense.

Yet, why do such professionals have such reservations? The truth of the matter is it comes down to a few factors.

1. They don't use these implements and tools in an organized fashion like they would most gym exercises. It seems when it comes to training with odd objects, using well thought out programming goes out the window. Instead it becomes a "play day" which is fine, but don't expect great results.

2. They don't go heavy enough. I am so sick and tired of seeing on television athletes flipping 200 pound tires. Guess what, you still need load!! No disrespect to Mr. Berardi, but our women that average 140 pounds often flip 400 pound tires. Does this mean you need to handle maximal loads to get a good result? Of course not, however, you need to utilize a load and use it in the same manner and respect you would give a barbell.

3. Be more creative in the programming. We get so stuck on weights that we forget there are numerous ways to measure progress.

A. Take a load and try to perform as many repetitions in 30 seconds, i.e. tire flip, log press, sandbag shouldering, etc.
B. Use a scale of perceived rate of exertion.
C. Perform ladders.
D. Utilize density training.

As you can see numerous methods exist and this is a short list. You can't possibly judge odd objects if you don't use them in a well thought manner. If I applied the same style of implementation that most people use with odd objects to barbells, I would have a pretty crappy result as well.

The take home point? Using odd objects can make you strong, there is a whole history of wrestlers, fighters, strongmen, and so forth that have gotten very strong from using these methods. However, as with all results the programs have to be constructed well, throwing these objects out in front lawn and performing random work does not constitute a good program.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

What is Sport-Specific

I often receive emails about designing sport-specific programs especially with sandbags. Many coaches are embracing the idea as sandbags are as close as one can train dealing with a live opponent. That makes sports such as American football, basketball, wrestling, mma, martial arts, hockey, and many others perfect for utilizing sandbags. However, we need to examine what we truly mean by sport-specific training.

To perform true sport-specific work we need to look at the demands of the sport, but the individual as well. Some texts suggest an athlete should not participate in sport-specific programs until a five year base has been used. This may surprise many that make youngsters participate in "sport-specific" programs. Base qualities need to be developed as this will make more sense as we delve into more particulars.

The challenge of sport-specific training is that it has to be very carefully chosen and the amount has to be well applied depending upon the time of year. SPP (specialized physical preparation) and GPP (generalized physical preparation) are often thought to be mutually exclusive. The truth of the matter is they both co-exist throughout the training year. The difference can exist in how much of one or another are used. In the early off-season, more GPP methods should be emphasized to counterbalance the overuse injuries and movements that the particular sport creates. As the off-season progresses into other parts of the year then more specialized techniques should be the primary objective.

Here is the kicker though, rarely do coaches and trainers have athletes throughout such prolonged periods of time in perfect situations. Having worked with professional athletes and spoken with many coaches that work with this group as well, I can tell you the text book version is not reality. One has to be critical enough to determine the best methods to help the athlete get back into optimal training shape. This may mean improving one's body composition and strength-endurance, it may mean improving their dynamic flexibility in specific patterns, it may require raising maximal strength and adding functional muscle mass. Heck, at times it may seem like all of these are needed!!

Sport-specific programs can do their best by realizing that they are not always so specific. The original concept is far more complicated than most give it credit. Analyzing exact movement angles to determine when certain forces are applied is beyond the scope of many training regime's. The truth of the matter, it may not be all that essential anyways when we look at the life of a modern athlete that includes not living at sports training dorms year round.

Don't worry, all is not lost! There are some ideas that I have put together that can help athletes apply some of our concepts and get the most out of their training.

1. Learning explosive drills such as shouldering, snatching, and push jerks are terrific in learning hip power for running, jumping, skating, etc.

2. Overhead work should be an emphasis (contrary to what some coaches say) as often weaknesses throughout the body can be found when one is not able to stabilize weight overhead. In addition, putting one's hands overhead is a pretty fundamental movement pattern.

3. Utilize shoulder lunging, step-ups, and other drills to counterbalance leg differences and instabilities.

4. Rotational drills such as the Around the World, shoveling, and others are more beneficial than drills such as Russian twists as it teaches integration of the hip and torso to produce and resist rotation.

5. Zercher squats and their variations are strong ways in improving dynamic flexibility and core strength.

6. Get-ups may be one of the best dynamic hip drills around!

7. The Jungle Gym hip raise might be the single best way to remove overactive hip flexors and allow and athlete to utilize their hamstrings.

8. Isometric upper body strength from drills like hand walking are amazing for shoulder stabilization, trunk training, and pushing strength. Use bands or the Jungle Gym to make it more challenging.

9. Sandbag complexes may be the single most demanding means in losing fat and gaining functional muscle mass.

10. Be creative and go through any movement pattern possible. People forget the great part of sandbags is their versatility. You can do anything with a barbell, dumbbell, or kettlebell with a sandbag, except it is just more challenging.

See how much better of an athlete you can create or be by applying these easy to follow guidelines!

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Starting Up Again

Whether you have taken some time off of training or have never trained before, it can be confusing to determine where to start. You may also find that you are working with people in this very situation and feel frustrated that you can not have them do the "hardcore" exercises that you wish. This doesn't mean that you start doing a 12-week "corrective" program.

Rather, there are many ways to progress into a specific exercises. The chin-up is a great example. While many like to use bands to help progress through chin-ups, the truth of the matter is that bands provide the wrong strength curve. Therefore, people really don't progress as quickly. Using suspension training with the Jungle Gym we can create a series of progressions that are more specific to chin-up training.

That is why I created the L.I.F.T. System (loaded integrated functional training). The concept was developed after examining what my clients spend most of their time training with and how we got them to certain goals. In this week's video I go through an introduction of the L.I.F.T. program and how to get started. It is amazing that these three pieces of equipmet really can replace a whole gym and are fun to train with!

You can also read my article on the L.I.F.T. System at the link below:

Intro to the L.I.F.T. articles