Compound for Success

When training to enhance athletics, Compound movements should be your bread and butter. Training using almost exclusively compound movements saves time and guaranties maximum efficiency in your training. As a minimum standard be sure that you push and pull both vertically and horizontally and include some forms of squatting lunging and dead-lifting movements in your over all plan. Resisted and dynamic midsection work as well as neck and grip work are, an effective way to round out a well planned training program.

Here is a short list of movements you should include on a regular basis:

1. Horizontal press variations (Flat / Incline / Decline)

2. Horizontal Rows Variations (Overhand / Underhand / T-bar)

3. Vertical pulling variations (Chin-ups / Pull-ups / Pull-downs)

4. Vertical press variations (DB / BB / Military press / Press Behind neck)

5. Squat variations (Front / Back / Zercher)

6. Dead-lift variations (RDL / Stiff-legged / Standard)

7. Lunge variations (Forward / Lateral / Reverse)

8. Mid-section variations (Full contact twists / GHD / Knee raise)

9. Neck variations (Neck harness / Manual resistance / Neck-ups)

10. Grip variations (Farmers walks / Grippers / Timed Hangs)



Don’t Short Circuit Your Training

By Jim Bryan

One of the biggest problems I see is Over Thinking Things. Much of the time this leads to Analysis Paralysis. This  is where you spend more time thinking about doing something, than you actually spend doing it. How much does it matter about the speed of a rep? Does it matter more than actually going to the gym and  having a workout? How much does it matter what “Camp” your from? Is that more important then getting to the gym? About “Camps.” How important is it really to identify yourself as a “Volume Trainee,” a “Power Lifter,” an “Olympic Lifter,” A “HIT Trainee?”  Who are you training for? Yourself or the approval of someone else? Training isn’t really all that complicated. Some would have you think that it is, so they can sell you on Their Method. So much information and so little time. Might as well use that time by going to the gym.

When you go to most discussion boards you have the group looking for the One best way to train” and the one’s that just like to argue that Their way is the one true way.” Ever wonder if the same one’s that Know the One best Way” are just as confused as you? Many are and will argue for something else down the line. You also have the most Dogmatic types that will continue to argue long after their arguments are invalid. They are confused and need to be in the gym, instead of cruising the “Boards” so they can argue for their way, “The one best way.”

There is NO one best way! People have different goals. What works for you is what keeps you going to the gym and enjoying the trip there. Different ways of training have different levels of safety. Educate yourself, form an opinion and then follow through. The simplest way to Strength Train is to pick a group of exercises Starting with the legs and working to the upper body. Go up in weight when things get easy. Machines or Free Weights? What do you have? If you have both, try both. Try to be in and out within an hour.  Do you like “One set Training?” Then do it. Want to use “more than one set?” Then do that. Don’t fret and worry if someone is going to disapprove. It’s your workout! Go to the gym two or three days a week. You can add some cardio if you want. Cut down your rest periods and you may not need much cardio. Do it for yourself, because you want to.  Live long…… strong!

TAKU’s Note:

Thanks to Jim Bryan for sharing another one of his excellent articles with us this week.


In September I announced the arrival of a great new training tool from my friend coach Tom Kelso; a CD-ROM titled “100 of the best Strength Training Workouts”.

As I mentioned in my original announcement, the Data CD holds 40 x Total-Body, 30 x Upper-body and 30 x Lower-Body workouts that allow you to plug in any exercise based on your training facility.

Also included are an introductory text, workout catalog, workout descriptions, workout recording forms and a complete list of exercises are on file.

This is indeed an outstanding reference for the avid trainee, trainer or sport coach.

Well now Tom has made it even easier for you to get your hands on this great information. Visit his web-site, and you can purchase the CD, “100 of the best Strength Training Workouts”, as a download. No need to wait.

I highly recommend this training tool for trainers, athletes, coaches, and strength training enthusiasts of all levels.

Get yours now!



A cool new toy

I recently got my hands on the Perfect Pull-up. It is well made and solid in its design. I like the fact that it allows the user to not only do a variety of pull-ups and chin-ups but due to its clever design, it may also be positioned to allow a variety of reclined pulling exercises as well.

Add to this the removable rotating handles and you have an innovative and useful device right in your own home. The rotating handles work separately from the bar, which allows you to toss them in your gym bag and play with the various pull-up options at your favorite gym as well.

Visit the Perfect pull-up web-site for some cool workout ideas. They also have video demos of the various exercises.

So if you are in the market for a home pull-up system, take a look at the perfect pull-up and see what you think. If the price is putting you off, then be sure to look around. I found mine for under $20.00 at a local drug store.



Rock Around the Clock – An OUTSTANDING Upper Body Workout

By now most of you know that I am a minimalist when it comes to my strength training program prescriptions. My goal is to find the least amount of volume that will trigger the maximum growth response. This must be determined on a case by case basis as no two individuals are exactly alike with respects to recovery ability, health, nutrition, injury status etc.

Some of the workouts I create appear quite simple on paper but as many have come to find out, looks can me deceiving. After all it is not the weight you lift but how you lift the weight which determines your ultimate outcome from any training program. When you give your all to a handful of sets you will quickly find that no more is needed.

Today I am going to outline a brief but challenging upper body workout. It is comprised of five pairs of opposing push-pull exercises. that’s ten total sets for your entire upper body. There is no direct arm work but believe me your arms will get plenty of stimulation from this program.

The exercises are as follows:

1. Upright Row – Dips
2. Low Cable Row – Decline Bench Press
3. Horizontal Row – Flat Bench Press
4. High Cable Row – Incline Bench Press
5. Chin-up – Standing Press

You may begin with any paring as long as you proceed from that point in the workout forward. There are two ways in which to begin this program. First; you can start with a paring that has movements that are challenging for you or which represent areas of your musculature that you feel need work*. Second; you may start with a different paring every workout. This will allow for longer periods of progression with less likelihood of adaptation plateaus (provided you are recovering fully).

The entire workout should take approximately 16 minutes to complete if you are working hard. This assumes that each set will take roughly 60 seconds to complete and that you will rest 90 seconds after each pairing. I suggest that you do all of your warm-up work before hand and then proceed through the bulk of the workout using maximum resistance for each movement pairing.

Choose a weight or resistance level that you feel would be challenging to perform 6 repetitions with. Then do your best to achieve 8-10 repetitions on each set. Do not terminate the set at an arbitrary number, continue until no further repetitions can be completed with perfect form. Besides the 90 seconds rest intervals between parings, strive to keep rest to a minimum and move quickly from one exercise in a pair to the next. Write down your start and finish times (excluding warm-ups) as well as the repetitions completed and the resistance levels used for each movement. When you can complete 10 reps or more with perfect form then bump up the resistance by 5%.

Give this “Around the Clock” workout a go and see if you aren’t getting everything you need for your upper body from this very brief but intense plan.



*If you do this I recommend that you still switch the order every 3-4 weeks or so to avoid adaptation plateaus.

Exercise of the Week: Towel Pull Ups

Here’s a great variation on a classic exercise. Pull ups are still one the best ways to develop overall back strength and definition. There’s lots of pull up variations, each working the body a little differently. Towel pull ups are fairly unique, though.

Here’s what they look like: (click for a larger view)


By gripping the towel during the exercise, you also develop outstanding forearm and grip strength, which can be a great asset for many sports, including wrestling and rock climbing, along with combat sports such as judo, jiu jitsu and others. Pull ups are also a great bicep conditioning tool. Just think, arms and back of STEEL!

To get started, try a simple pull up pyramid. Start with 1 pull up, then take a 15 second break. Grab the towel and try 2. Take another break. Continue adding a rep each time until you can’t go up in reps anymore. Take a 60 second break and work your way back down.

Trust me when I say your back, arms and shoulders will be on FIRE!

If you’re not able to do a standard pull up with the towel, you can still develop back, forearm and grip strength by working negatives. To do a negative, stand on a bench or stool and grab the towels. Slowly step off the bench while holding tightly on the towel. Lower yourself down as slowly as possible, so that your arms are fully extended…bend your knees if you have to. Quickly step back onto the bench and repeat for another repetition. Negatives can help you quickly develop the strength it takes to do regular pull ups.

As with any type of training or conditioning, you must have consistency to see results. If you stay diligent with this and other exercises, you will get stronger.

Give the towel pull ups a shot and let us know how you do.

Keep training hard!

Jason K.

Hybrid Fitness

3 Great Bodyweight Exercises Everyone Can Do

You see and read these types of articles and posts everywhere. “3 Secrets For The Best Body Ever” or “Top 5 Exercises to Make You a Better Athlete”. The truth is, some exercises are better than others, but to pick a few and say call them “the best” is pretty ridiculous.

The bottom line is, people tend to over think fitness. To get in shape doesn’t take the newest trend or some new product. It just takes diligence. In fact, most new products and exercises are just the basics, but repackaged to give you the appearance of something new.

Which leads me to my list of 3 great bodyweight exercises anyone can do anywhere. Notice I said “3 great bodyweight exercises” not “the 3 greatest”. What are they? Simple..and you’ve probably seen them many times over.

1.) Pushups

2. )Pullups

3.) Squats

What makes them so great is they take almost no equipment (except for a bar or stable structure to pull yourself up on) and can be done in virtually any space. Plus, each one has modifications so you can still get the benefit of training without risking injury or exacerbating an existing one.


Standard Pushup Medicine Ball Pushup Assisted Pushup

Pushups are excellent exercises for developing strength and endurance in the chest, arm and shoulders.

Here are three pushup examples showing progression and modification. The first is a standard pushup. To vary the intensity, speed up or slow down the movement. The second is a medicine ball stability pushup. The idea is to balance on the medicine ball during the “up phase” of the movement. It is considerably more difficult and requires more strength and control than a standard pushup. The third picture is a modification for someone who can’t do a regular pushup and wants to avoid using their knees. This is a sportband assisted pushup. The band reduces the effect of gravity on the body, allowing you to perform the movement with proper form. As you get stronger, the size of the band can be reduced, lessening the assistance it gives. Eventually, you’ll progress in strength so that no band is needed.


img_3873.jpg img_3874.jpg img_4340.jpg

Pullups are great for developing back and arm strength. All you need to perform them is a bar. Look around and you’ll find them almost anywhere…a park or playground for instance. Any jungle gym will likely have something suitable.

The first picture shows a standard pullup grip. The second picture shows a reverse grip, commonly referred to as a “chin up”. A reverse grip pullup is typically easier to perform because you have much more assistance from the biceps. The third picture is simply a towel slung over a bar. This is one progression you can make to really challenge the body. By gripping the towel with both hands and pulling yourself up, the exercise becomes much, much more challenging. Try it and you’ll see. In addition, you work the forearm flexors, which often give out in certain exercises long before the other muscles do. This is a great exercise for martial artists or any sport where a strong grip is essential.


Squats are an outstanding exercise overall. They incorporate many different muscles and muscle groups and, best of all, burn a lot of calories. There are so many squat variations, it would take me forever to detail them all. Visit for a better understanding of all the squat variations, including pictures.

Here are some squat examples:

Scrapper, bodyweight squat Bleacher squat

The first picture is of Wayne “Scrapper” Fisher performing a bodyweight squat. It’s very simple and, when done correctly, very effective at promoting strength, power and endurance in the entire lower extremity. The second picture is Liam “Taku” Bauer performing a bleacher squat. This move can be done a couple different ways. Regardless, it’s still a bodyweight exercise but you ultimately end up forcing one leg to do all of the work. In a nutshell, a simple variation makes the movement considerably more challenging and effective.

For anyone with knee and/or joint issues, simply limit the range of the exercise to something that doesn’t aggravate the issue. This is true for pushups, pullups and all other movements.

So keep these exercises in mind and remember, fitness doesn’t need to be fancy, but you do need to work. Visit our website for more information, programs, workouts and videos.