Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Breaking Tradition of MMA Training

I have found that most combative athletes fall into the trap of avoiding too much that doesn't fall into traditional means of training. This usually means anything that allows for high repetition bodyweight training is high on the list. Strength and power work that is commonly used in most other sports is oddly neglected by the combative world. This still may be a result of the fear that too much strength work will cause excessive tension.

Well, let's face it, all athletes need to spend time on maximal strength training, even combative athletes. The consideration has to be how much time and how it is integrated with other means. Now, I could be just reciting my own personal thoughts (although I have worked with many amateur fighters), but I found a very interesting on George St. Pierre's training.

Having watched many fights I think it may be hard to argue that George St. Pierre might be one of the most athletic fighters in UFC. His quickness, agility, power, and strength seem to be hard to match, especially shown his recent fight with Matt Serra. His trainer (I wish his name was mentioned) does a great job in this video in combining many different methods into a powerful routine. By incorporating aspects of maximal strength and power work you get a great effect than one by itself. Since both a neurally driven you can create more synergy between the two qualities. Check out the video.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Benefiting from Combative Training

Some time ago I posted some information about over the shoulder sandbag throws. This is a drill often implemented by fighters to develop explosive hip drive, but the necessary core strength to follow the movement into awkward positions. It is these "extreme" positions that the famous sports science coach, Dr. Michael Yessis, states these are the actions in which most injuries occur. That is why even those individuals that do not participate in fighting sports can benefit from such a movement. Yes, even the average fellow looking to feel better and perform at their best would find this drill build up an iron clad body.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Sandbag Overhead Squat

There are not too many exercises that can rival the benefits of overhead squats. From amazing shoulder and hip flexibility to stability in the trunk, shoulders, and lower body. Simply an amazing lift that everyone should implement. The sandbag offers a new dimension by adding instability to the object increasing the challenge of the lift. Here Megan performs overhead squats with our large Ultimate Sandbag weighing a little over 70 pounds.

Work Smarter Not Harder

An old saying that is very true. For those that want to add volume to their training for size or body composition, ladder training is ideal. When most people perform high repetition training their form becomes compromised. Ladders allow you the opportunity to build volume without such compensations. Check out the video below.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

"It Is Just A Walk!"

Recently I was very happy to be able to visit an old friend, Alwyn Cosgrove. Visiting friends that are in the industry always leads to fun times of "talking shop". Alwyn though is no typical trainer. Many may know him as one of the most sought after strength coaches and his terrific facility is a great demonstration that he not only can talk the science, but coach as well.

When I visited we of course got quickly on the topic of sandbags. Alwyn being a leader in the industry was given some popular "sandbags" but was quickly disappointed by their durability and the fact they simply didn't act like a sandbag. I have yet to see another bag that has our versatility and is still a sandbag. Remember if it doesn't move, it isn't a sandbag.

Of course I didn't hesitate to bring Alwyn some of our bags. Quickly we were devising of horrible ways of torturing people with the sandbags. Unfortunately for Alwyn's trainers they were the victim of our ideas. It is funny when you start brainstorming you remember great techniques and sometimes the simplest ideas that you had forgotten about.

That is when we decided to torture one of his best trainers, Craig. You have to understand Craig is no slouch! An accomplished powerlifter and author, Craig seemed up for our challenge. I could have devised many different ways to get across my ideas of sandbag training, but I reverted back to one of the most simplistic, but best ways to use sandbags...carrying!

Why carrying? Sandbag carrying was one of the most fundamental forms of training. It would improve:

Ligament and Tendon strength in the hips, ankles, and back
Core Training
Upper Back Strength
Mental Toughness

I have to admit, we did put Craig through hell, but he was up to the challenge. Craig walked for about 2 minutes straight with a 100 pound sandbag on the shoulder, bearhug, and zercher position wihtout putting the bag down!!

You can take the same challenge by putting this drill at the end of your training as a finisher. A great way to round out a program and perfect for team training. You can select time or distance as your marker. It is amazing how fatiguing and rewarding such as simple exercise can be.

A special thanks to Alwyn and his great staff for their support and willingness to be abused!

Be The Student

Last weekend I had the great opportunity to be the student to a great coach, Mike Burgener. For those of you that may be unfamiliar, Coach Burgener has coached numerous Olympic level weightlifters as well as putting forth together one of the best high school strength and conditioning programs available. Coach Burgener has been around the strength training community for more then forty years and has "been there, done that".

I can't emphasize enough the value of being a student. Many can get caught up in their own egos and experiences and forget that the way we grow and progress is by learning from those that have had more experience or other experiences. Everyone has great insights to share, whether they make you rethink your current ideas or show you a new way to see old concepts.

One of my own personal mentors, Dan John, often says that no one is an expert if they are under the age of 40. I believe there is some truth to that. When I think of my own growth I am amazed how much I have grown in three years. My hope is that in three more years I will have evolved my philosophy to an even greater level.

It is not always so easy to be a student as you have to consider being open-minded, yet critical. While we visited Coach Burgener and Greg Everett we also attended a popular certification. I was eager to see what this certification had to offer, having high expectations I put my student hat on and was ready to see the potential of this program.

Unfortunately, it did not take long to find out that the program was not what we expected. It was not because there was not value in some of the concepts, rather the fact that when you questioned some of the teaching methods there was no substance behind the response. Very disappointing as this makes me doubt the confidence and validity of what is being taught.

There is a huge difference between being a student and taking in new ideas and blindly following a class. Such experience reinforce my goal of demonstrating an effective system of training, not just "cool" exercises to perform. Exercises without purpose tend to be pointless whether it is with a great implement like a sandbag, kettlebell, barbell, or bodyweight. My goal will be to help many of you see how you can apply CONCEPTS to many varying goals to achieve a variety of training goals. In fact, if you would like to ask me specific questions on why we recommend specific methods email me at Being a teacher can be almost as valuable as being the student!

Thank you to Coach Burgener and Greg Everett for a wonderful experience!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Sandbag Training on the Beach!

Recently I had a wonderful trip to Huntington Beach where I got to spend time with some great coaches and be a student. Of course a not so bad part of the trip was spending some nice relaxing time on the beautiful beach. I know this may shock most of you, but I am a little off, when I see a beach I get excited for many different reasons than most people. The average person would see the beach as a nice relaxing time where they can lay back and rejuvenate. Not me!

I see the beach as a place where we could work the heck out of ourselves. Sand training is nothing new. Many athletes have used barefoot sand training as a method for increasing their speed and endurance because of the increased work by the foot/ankle along with the lower leg. This instability can cause a major difference in your performance and challenge of an exercise. Beach training can be absolutely exhausting because of this instability and additional work being done by the body.

Don't believe me? Check out this workout I did while at the pier at Huntington Beach

Friday, April 4, 2008

Fat Loss Guru Endorses Sandbags!

Most people don't know that I have known Alwyn Cosgrove for close to eight years. It has been awesome to see Alwyn rise through the ranks of the industry and become a true "authority" in the field.

Many probably recognize Alwyn for his unbelievable "Afterburn " program and his success in the martial arts community. Well, turns out Mr. Cosgrove is starting to see the light when it comes to sandbags as well.

You can see what Alwyn thinks of my system of training, not only for martial artists, but those who want to get in the best shape of their life!

Here is an excerpt from his blog:

Alwyn's Blog Click Here

Alwyn is a smart guy and knows that the tool is only as good as the methods in which it is implemented. That is why my e-book "KNOCKOUT!" is for more than those that are just interested in martial arts. You can relate the training to anyone who is interested in serious fitness. Full of programs and new exercises this is an e-book that counts as a must have!

"I've known Josh for years and he was one of the first people I interviewed for Strength and Conditioning Interrogations. (And bear in mind that I get asked to endorse or contribute to about a dozen products a day and turn down nearly all of them). And you should also note that I've never endorsed a sandbag training program before. This one is different - it's a solid product - probably Josh's best work to date."-Alwyn Cosgrove

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

New Upgraded Filler Bags

I think people often forget that my motivation for the Ultimate Sandbag came from my personal desire to get stronger. I loved sandbags, yet found the same dilemmas as most of everyone else. My sandbags would break and make a mess.

Initially I was extremely excited about the sandbags I created. It had exceeded my expectations to the point where I have been able to develop a system of training with the sandbag at the core of the program. I wasn't the only one excited as well.

Over the past few years I have helped professional sports teams, college programs, elite government units, and professional fitness coaches and trainers integrate my sandbag into their fitness programs. However, there was one problem.

The filler bag concept I had created seemed like a winner. Easy to change weight and keep your facility clean. Yet, the filler bag had not quite measured up to my level of approval. In fact, I had at times thought about removing them from the market, when I expressed this thought I had many customers and clients that encouraged me to still promote them, but work on improving them. At first this seemed very challenging as modifications to the filler bags were going to cost a significant amount and would almost make them far more expensive and unrealistic.

Fortunately, we have found a way to not only greatly improve the filler bags, but keep the price the same as well!! Now we do have the Ultimate Sandbag as both the sandbag shell and filler bags are the most durable and versatile bags available. I am so confident about our bags we always supply a 100% guarantee if there is any permanent damage to the bags. I have a bunch of each in my own facility and use them everyday with my clients and bootcamps. Myself and my trainers love them more than ever and most of all I am so happy we are able to keep them very cost efficient.

Above you can see our new fillers with the additional stitching to reinforce the bags and make them incredibly strong. Please use common sense though and be aware of the surfaces and conditions in which you use the bag. While these are the most effective sandbags available they aren't indestructable. Use your head! If you want to jump on our new bags click on the link below. I am psyched!!!

Sandbag Shells and Fillers