Monday, September 28, 2009
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Monday, September 21, 2009
For the past four years I have been trying my very best to teach people the benefits of sandbag training. No, not just they are hard, but the science that really does exist behind this form of training.
Every time I run a workshop or certification the light bulb goes off! It is as though once people see and feel the power of the type of training we are talking about, sandbags quickly become a staple of their training programs.
Here is what one attendee thought of my recent L.I.F.T. certification:
"The L.I.F.T. seminar is easily the best I've attended. I'm an aspiring personal trainer, with some experiance from lots of different things, Kettlebells, sledgehammers, bodyweight and so on. I'm a huge fan of functional training, and that's what I like about Josh's methods. It's not overly complicated, it is highly effective and usefull, and it is actually fun. Also I like the emphasize on the corrective and rehabilitating aspect. Even though that is not the main purpose of the training, it is a very nice b-effect. I have several bio-mechanical issues I've been struggling with for years, and several of them improved heavily during the seminar, leaving me better not worse after workout. There's no doubt in my mind that couch Henkin is on to something really great here. And yes, you can build some serious strength with this;) This is going to be a major staple in my regime, both for myself and clients." Henrik Eberhardt, Norway.
I am happy to announce that we have a one day workshop in Irvine, California coming up October 17th for a crazy low price.
Thursday, September 17, 2009
Sunday, September 13, 2009
Now till the end of the month the Warrior Challenge is going to reward one winner with a prize valued over $200s! That's right, one winner can take home a FREE Burly or Advanced Package, let me explain how and why!
For the last few years I have had to listen how sandbags are great for conditioning, but if you want to get really strong you have to use barbells and dumbbells. People quickly forget load is load and a shifting load is far more difficult than a stable one. That is why those that have worked with our Burly and Advanced Packages write in on how challenging these sandbag are in every respect.
I didn't want to try to convince people though, I simply think having people experience this type of training is the best solution. Why the Warrior Challenge? It is no secret that complexes and flow exercises have become very popular for their ability to train a lot of fitness qualities at once. Well, I wanted a drill that could strengthen the ENTIRE body in a way that was impossible with any other training implements. The Warrior Challenge encompasses the best of sandbag training, shoulder, shoulder squat, shoulder to shoulder press. These drills entail explosiveness, head to toe strength, core power, and endurance.
The challenge? Perform 30 total repetitions of the entire complex; shoulder, shoulder squat to shoulder to shoulder press. Dump down the bag and repeat, this is one repetition. The challenge is to use either our Burly or Advanced sandbag package and perform this drill in as little time as possible. No easy task to say the least and really makes you feel like you can conquer any challenge, exactly why I named it the Warrior Challenge.
How do you win? A person needs to sends us a video with the weight of the bag and them performing the Warrior Challenge. The person with the best relative score (that is the weight of the sandbag compared to their bodyweight) and time you can win your choice of either a Burly or Advanced Package.
For those that want to take the challenge, but don't have our Burly or Advanced yet, I have decided to put them on special until the end of the month. Not only is there a discount, but if you pick up a Burly or Advanced during this time you will receive two FREE workouts with our heavy duty sandbags. Below is the Warrior Challenge in action and beneath is the very special discounts! Don't miss out on becoming your own fitness warrior.
Burly Black-Save $30!!: $178.99
Thursday, September 10, 2009
For example, swimming 2000 meters is hard for me, however, does it mean I should be trying to accomplish it? Does it have any relevance to my fitness goals? Performing ten minutes of kettlebell snatches is tough, again, does it have any meaning to my goal? People often mix up very specific training for general fitness. In the two examples I just gave both would be useful, but to two completely different types of athletes. Improving in both of these fitness tests would require very specific training and if getting better at them had meaning to your fitness goals then spending considerable time training for them would be worthwhile.
However, what I often see is the random testing of ones self to these relatively meaningless tests. A test is only good if it provides feedback upon a desired outcome that has meaning. That leads me to my other two favorite statements, “improves coordination” and “builds lots of power”. Again, two of the most vague statements that one could possibly say.
Let’s take a look at “improving coordination”. My favorite definition of coordination is, “the harmonious functioning of parts for effective results.” In strength training terms we have two slightly more scientific definitions of muscle coordination, intermuscular and intramuscular coordination. Intermuscular coordination refers to the ability of the muscles to work together to perform a task efficiently while intramuscular coordination has more to do with maximal motor unit recruitment, rate coding is optimized (firing rates of motor units), and syncrohonization, activation of motor units in a synchronized manner. Ok, I am not saying all this to be a jerk, however, I do find it important to realize that we use terms commonly without much meaning behind them.
Most times people refer to coordination to my first definition, basically, they learn how to move better. In this respect, coordination is very important, however, many coaches are prescribing programs that do very little for coordination. Why? Many programs fall into the trap of being very redundant, same patterns, same speeds, same ranges of motion.
Let’s look at some classic patterns. Here is a program commonly prescribed for upper body strength:
Military Press x 5
Chin-ups x 5
Bench Press x 5
A quick look at this type of routine and you may find nothing really that wrong with it. I hate to say wrong, but more lacking imagination and training a lot of fitness qualities we need. During our L.I.F.T. certification in Sweden we talked extensively why it was important to build complexity and to analyze many needs into a routine. Let’s look at the same routine with three different L.I.F.T. types of programs.
Workout Option A
Sandbag Shoulder to Shoulder Press x 5
Body Row with Hands Pronated x 12
Band Horizontal Presses x 30 seconds
Workout Option B
Eccentric Pull-ups x 3
Suspended Pike to Push-up x 10
Sandbag Clean and Push Press x 15
Workout Option C
Single Arm Suspended Push-ups with Arm Extension x 5 each side
Single Arm Band Row with Pause for 2 seconds x 10 each arm
Sandbag Around the Worlds x 30 seconds each side
You can see how quickly we add some much needed sophistication to a relatively simple concept. We have not taken away from the general idea of an overhead, horizontal, and upper body pull. Instead we have changed a few important variables.
Not every repetition and set scheme is the same. Since the body needs to be challenged with some higher strength intensities, moderate, and endurance, we have organized the exercises to reflect this. The first exercise in the series is designed to provide the higher intensity levels and will be performed when the body is more fresh. The intermediate schemes are in between, and endurance is laid at the end of the routine when fatigue is at the highest.
We have shown many different patterns in which to stay true to the idea of overhead, horizontal, and upper body pull. This goes very well with the Pavel Tsastouline idea of “same, but different”. Changing the rep/set schemes, implements, and patterns allows us to train these natural patterns of movements in a way which our body’s “encyclopedia of movement” grows.
Speeds and ranges of motion have been manipulated to stimulate other fitness qualities and coordination patterns. Simply changing speed or the range of motion can often provide a completely new stimulus to the body. Plus, we have added in the much neglected part of isometric training with some of these movements.
A workout like this can be easily modified to any fitness level simply by adjusting patterns or levels of progression. This means we can make some of these “corrective” in nature or even high level of performance.
Hopefully you can see now that most of the routines and programs that we are following are not building us long-term success. They are sacrificing some immediate specialization for the sake of long-term progress and results. Don’t be fooled into performing a routine just because someone said it was “hard” or “tough” make sure that the programs you are following are matching the goals YOU have set forth.
Next week I will share some videos demonstrating these concepts in further detail and releasing a NEW sandbag challenge!
In Strength, Josh Henkin, CSCS