Over the years, my approach to training has substantially evolved. I think that’s been an essential part of my success. In the early days I would just hammer my clients with heavier barbell and dumbbell exercises, without regard for much else.
I’ve spent 17 years experimenting with every training system imaginable, collecting data, and working with some of the best experts on the planet such as Dr. Stuart McGill, Dr. Craig Liebenson, and my Russian silver-medalist gymnastics coach. Here are just a few highlights of how I train myself and my clients these days.
My goal for any athlete or advanced client is to develop him to the point where all upper body training consists of rings exercises. I consider rings the ideal approach to upper body training for three reasons. First, the type of unstable and challenging contraction you get from the rings can’t be matched by a barbell or dumbbells. Second, the freedom that rings give your joints drastically improves mobility and strength through a full range of motion. Third, hanging from the rings frees up the compression down through your spinal column: that’s essential for nervous system recovery and performance.
Importantly, only buy wooden rings because you can grip them better than any other version. The best wooden rings for the money are made from Christian’s Fitness Factory. You can check out the rings at this link.
Body Weight Training
I’m convinced there are body weight exercises that can challenge the strongest and fittest athletes on the planet. During my recent Perform Better presentation in Rhode Island I had a guy attempt a body weight triceps exercise. He could bench press over 400 pounds but he couldn’t perform a single rep of the exercise!
At the other end of the spectrum, certain body weight exercises provide an effective progression toward the advanced rings exercises. Moving your body through space is more challenging to the nervous system than just lying on your back and pressing weights. Indeed, there’s a body weight exercise that’s formidable to any athlete when you’re looking to build his upper body, core or legs. However, body weight training alone isn’t enough and that’s why the next category is essential.
Full-Body Strength Lifts
No power and muscle-building program is complete without a heavy deadlift, squat or Olympic lift variation. There are three primary reasons. First, those strength exercises build your posterior chain muscles better than any body weight move. Second, the compression through your skeletal structure that you get from a heavy deadlift is crucial for building stronger bones. Third, pulling something heavy from the floor forces the nervous system to fire hundreds of muscles in sync, and that’s essential for boosting rate of force development: the key component of explosive power.
Cycling the loads of heavy lifts can make or break your progress. I use a specific loading system that cycles between four types of workouts. Olympic strength coach, Charles Staley, hired me in the spring to design a strength-building program for his first Master’s powerlifting meet. He won the event.
Of all the types of training you could do, explosive training can be the trickiest. That’s because the compressive forces from depth jumps, plyometrics, and the like are enormous. You must have a system of progressively building up your tissues to withstand the impact forces from explosive training.
Want to find out how to put the whole system together for you and your clients?
I’m now giving a two-day seminar, the Rings and Power Tour, across the globe. With the information you’ll learn in that seminar, your training, coaching, and business will reach the highest level possible.
The next Rings and Power seminar will be in San Diego on July 7-8. You can reserve your spot at that seminar, or any other location, by visiting this link.
And for a sample of what the Rings and Power tour is all about, check out the video below.