Sunday, March 30, 2008

Around The World Drill

Last week I was speaking with Anthony Diluglio of Punch Gym before his video shoot for a new DVD. Anthony is going to be incorporating our sandbags into his new DVD. He was asking me about unusual drills that one could do with our bags and I was instantly reminded of one of my favorites...Around The World.

This drill is fantastic for true core development as well as shoulder and thoracic dynamic flexibility. A strong rotational drill that is highly applicable to anyone, but especially for baseball players, quarterbacks, field athletes, and combative athletes.

Crossfit Approved

I have to admit, I really did not realize how many people have been long interested in sandbag training only to be discouraged by the lack of quality information and equipment. Sure, it is not a secret that one can try to build their own sandbag, but by now I think it is obvious the desire to save a "few bucks" does not pay off in the long run.

I know, I know, sounds like a sales pitch, but I do not need to give you a sales pitch. In the last few years I have spoken to hundreds of coaches and trainers that have told me their excitement of our bags. Recently I became very excited by the fact our bags made the cover of the highly popular Performance Menu Magazine.

Greg Everett is a well accomplished athlete and coach as well as being a big contributor to the Crossfit community. He and I have been speaking about his excitement in having sandbag training available again.

Here are his words:

"We're a bunch of big mean people who like abusing heavy equipment -The Ultimate Sandbag is the only bag that holds up with our training.The straps are well placed and sturdy and the closure system keeps the contents in while still allowing easy access for quick weight changes. This is the only bag I sell and endorse."

If you want to see Greg using our sandbags for his athletes check out these videos:

Sandbag Half Moon

Zercher Full Clean

You can also view many of the training programs of Greg's implementing our sandbags at the Performance Menu just click here. We are very thankful to have coaches like Greg Everett supporting our program and mission of providing the highest quality training information and tools.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Real Core Training

Core training is definitely one of those concepts that drives a lot of attention. We could talk for hours on all the neuroscience information available along with the spinal stabilization research. However, if you are not coming off of direct spinal surgery you can perform true core training. My belief in working with thousands of people is that the core is really about preventing movement more than it is creating it. In fact, at a recent seminar I heard world renown strength coach, Mike Boyle, echo my same sentiment.

There are many ways to challenge the core with such concepts. However, you want to make sure to integrate the low back and hips if you are going to perform real core training. Just working the abdominal area makes for an incomplete program. Try these exercises depicted below and let me know how your "core" feels! Just one in a workout will give you a whole new respect for Sandbag Core Training!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

True Warrior Training

In the last few years there has been a renewed interest in "warrior" training. The idea of being as strong and athletic as one looks. The physique of ancient warriors was probably closer to our true ideal than what we see in popular exercise magazines today. Brad Pitt in the picture above in the movie Troy is one example and the more recent movie "300" has inspired many more. Below is a training program that will deliver the type of strength and physique of a warrior.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Making Hardcore Mainstream

A good coach can adapt any exercise to any fitness level. Here are some ideas on how to take our favorite drills and even allow a beginner to benefit.

Avoiding Boredom

All too many times people complain about becoming bored with their training. This often spawns looking for new ways of training. Heck, we have all been there. Currently I have a new client that was on the same program for 7 years!!! Ouch, if that doesn't serve as demotivation I don't know what does!

Doing something new for the sake of change isn't always the best method, but I am reminded of the fact that really anything works...for awhile. Sure, the most ill conceived training programs can make someone get past a plateau however, this doesn't mean in the long run they will remain helpful. In fact, remaining on a badly designed program will result in possibly worse stagnation and injury.

This doesn't mean that program have to be confusing an overwhelming. Often for clients that I design home programs for I will alternate three distinct training methods.

Density: Training for time
Ladders: A Series of ascending or descending repetitions
Power Circuits: A circuit based

If you use the list I posted prior about various pulling and pushing combinations you will notice that setting up a good fitness program won't be very difficult.

If we examine a three day a week program we can use a system of the following:

Day 1: Density Training
  • Select two exercises, 1 upper, 1 lower
  • Alternate between the two by performing sets of 5
  • Start by trying to perform as many sets as possible in a 10 minute period
  • Use a load typically you could achieve 10 repetitions
Day 2: Power Circuit

  • Select 3-5 drills that follow: 1 upper push, 1upper pull, 1 lower pull, 1 lower squat, 1 trunk
  • Set repetitions to no more than 12 per set
  • Your rest intervals between exercises should be no longer than 60 seconds
  • Perform 3-5 rounds
Day 3: Ladders

  • Select one conditioning based drill and follow ladder of 10/15/20/25
  • Select one strength drill and follow ladder of 2/3/4/5
  • Alternate the two resting 60 seconds after conditioning and up to 90 seconds on the strength
Use exercises that compliment each other and create a well-rounded program. Send me your ideas or questions at

Monday, March 3, 2008

Power Circuit Training

The Beginnings of Programming

It seems to be the major question that comes up over and over again, where do I begin? A program without any thought is just a bungle of exercises. This would not be much different than most aerobic classes, P.E. classes, or other very poorly organized fitness programs. The problem most people experience is an overwhelming amount of information. Tell me if this has ever sounded like you when a buddy asks about what type of training you are performing....

"Oh, right now I am on a Westside lower body max effort day, then I am going to do some kettlebell ladders, and then finish off with a Power Circuit."

Independently these are all sound training programs, however, all thrown together and they become a giant train wreck. The reason is that all of the programs above are well thought out training methods, but are programs in themselves because they have pros and cons. The cons have been minimized to make them effective training programs. However, if you start adding in additional work without consideration of how this may impact your recovery from training then you are just as loss as the individual that throws random exercises together.

So, where do you start? Of course a proper needs analysis should be done, however, let's not make this any more technical than we really have to. Remember we don't want to suffer paralysis by analysis. If we think about movement we have a few different options.

Lower Body Pulling:
Single Leg
Functional Leg Curls

Low Bar

Upper Body Horizontal Pressing:
Bench Press

Upper Body Horizontal Pulling:
Dumbbell Rows
Renegade Rows
Bodyweight Rows
Band Rows

Upper Body Vertical Pressing:
Military Press
Push Press
Push Jerk
Handstand push-ups

Upper Body Vertical Pulling:

Rotational Drills:
Full contact twists
Side Planks

Flexion Drills:
Leg Raises

Resisted Flexion:

This is just to mention a few of your hundreds of options especially as you begin to vary implements and other training tools.

Our very popular Power Circuits are a result of the above philosophy. Often we will select drills from the varying categories which provides body balance and promotes recovery.

For example:

Day 1
Lower Body Pulling
Upper Body Vertical Pressing
Lower Body Squatting Unilateral
Upper Body Vertical Pulling
Rotational Drill

People may have an arguement with making things so simple, but that is because such a philosophy empowers individuals to make their own training programs and takes away from their complicated sounding philosophies. Such a program that was rotated could provide any level of lifter with phenomenal results and it doesn't have to be complicated to be effective!