“Functional Training”

By Jim Bryan 10-12-11


Recently our area has been overtaken with the “Functional Training Craze.” CrossFit, Boot Camp Training, and Training with implements other than traditional weight training (free weights, and machines) can be a good thing but does come with a higher rate of injury due to the nature of this training. None of it is new and none of it is more “Scientific” than traditional Training. Basic Traditional Weight Training actually has more science backing it since it has been going on for years. The fact that you strengthen and condition your muscles makes you more functional than you were and no amount of flipping tires,  using kettle Bells, or beating tires with a sledge makes you more “Functional.” How you choose to train is up to you. Most methods work but some are safer than others. Being involved in “Jack of all trades, & master of none training” comes with a risk/reward disclaimer…..or should.


The statement that free weights make you more “Functional” than using machines is another buzzword/falsehood. Let’s face the facts: Trainers have to come up with something that sets them apart or makes them appear to be more informed/ scientific/ in the know. Truth is, its just smokescreen packaging. You can get a good workout using anything mentioned thus far. The smart thing would be to use the safer alternatives, with an occasional look at different methods.


The newer gyms are popular because of the group training but usually offer less equipment (chin up bars, tires, chains, TRX or rings, Sledge Hammers, and a few weight sets, being the staple) These gyms are easy to set up but do require a higher Certification fee for the instructor/trainer. Face it, they are money makers for the “Owners of the Brand.” These gyms can come and go quickly but in fairness I have seen some really good ones, and I do this type of training myself at times.  I was doing it years before it became a “Brand.” Having been involved in training for over 50 years I have seen many things come and go and come back again.

If you like that kind of training, go for it. It can be fun. It’s not better, just different. In order to be successful you have to enjoy what ever training you decide to do and be consistent with it. Bottom line:  Your training shouldn’t hurt you, and you should look forward to it, not be intimidated by it. Don’t fall for the hype. “A fool and his money are soon to part.”

It looks like fun and can be. Remember the “Aerobics Craze” of a few years ago? Remember how they had to come up with “Low Impact Aerobics?” Well folks, this newer version called “Functional Training” is high impact. Know that before you get involved and make the informed decisions to keep it safe for you.


I think I’ll start a new Fitness Trend. It’s going to consist of Mowing, raking, clipping, chopping, pulling, hauling, and digging. I’ll call it “Yard Fit.” I can get my yard done and make money too! Stay informed about training , and don’t fall for gimmicks.


 TAKU’ Note: Thanks to Jim Bryan for this weeks awesome article.


Well, I never thought I would ever say this but I have discovered the greatest workout ever created in the history of the world. That’s right, you will never need another workout program as long as you live. Read that last sentence again.

There is no sense beating around the bush, just read on and you will discover the “Holy Grail” of Weightlifting / Strength / Conditioning Training routines. This single program will deliver everything you could possibly want in one, complete program.

Yes I  mean it. This program will do it all:  Strength, Power, Hypertrophy, Sports Performance…You’ll even look great naked!

So (drum roll please) Let’s get to it.

Mon – Sat A.M.

Run 5 miles A.F.A.P. (As Fast As Possible). Your goal for this should be around 30 minutes or less. (I do it in 25 minutes)

Mon – Wed – Fri  P.M.

Bench press 5 x 6-10
Flat bench flyes 5 x 6-10
Incline bench press 6 x 6-10
Cable crossovers 6 x 10-12
Dips (body weight) 5 x failure
Dumbell pullovers 5 x 10-12.  

Wide-grip chins (to front) 6 x failure
T-bar rows 5 x 6-10
Seated pulley rows 6 x 6-10
One-arm dumbell rows 5 x 6-10
Straight-leg deadlifts 6 x 15

Squats 6 x 8-12
Leg press 6 x 8-12
Leg extensions 6 x 12-15
Leg curls 6 x 10-12
Barbell lunges 5 x 15

Standing calf raises 10 x 10
Seated calf raises 8 x 15
Oneplegged calf raises (holding dumbells) 6x12 

Wrist curls (forearms on knees) - 4 sets, 10 reps
Reverse barbell curls - 4 sets, 8 reps
Wright roller machine - to failure

½ hour of a variety of nonspecific abdominal exercises, done
virtually nonstop. 

Tue - Thu - Sat P.M.

Barbell curls 6 x 6-10
Seated dumbell curls 6 x 6-10
Dumbell concentration curls 6 x 6-10  

Close-grip bench presses 6 x 6-10
Pushdowns 6 x 6-10
French press (barbell) 6 x 6-10
One-arm triceps extensions (dumbell) 6 x 6-10 

Seated barbell presses 6 x 6-10
Lateral raises (standing) 6 x 6-10
Rear-delt lateral raises 5 x 6-10
Cable lateral raises 5 x 10-12

Calves , Forearms & Abs:
Same as Monday, Wednesday, Friday workout 

As you can see, this is a six days a week plan. Too much?
Can't handle it? I guess you are just not good enough yet.
Come back when you are not such a pansy.

I really do not need to say anything else.
The plan speaks for itself.




P.S. APRIL FOOLS!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Better Organization = Better Results

When it comes to fitness and tracking your progress, it always helps to be organized.   If you take care to chart your progress and keep track of your results, you’ll likely see better long-term results.

Hybrid Fitness has been posting updates or “tweets”, as they’re called, on the social networking site Twitter for a while now.  It’s always interesting to see who you meet, what you learn and, perhaps most importantly, who wants to follow you.  One of the connections we made on Twitter is with a company called LobotoME, LLC.  Their website is www.lobotome.com.  They offer a bunch of great organizational tools, one of which is a simple, effective fitness tracking form they call “Fit ME”.  What I like about the FitMe is that they don’t overthink it.  Instead of putting in a bunch of columns, rows and categories for things you may or may not need, they keep it very basic and give you just what you need to keep yourself honest and stay on track with your diet and exercise.

Do yourself a favor and check them out.  They’ve got a bunch of other organizational tools you might find useful as well.  Things for home, office, travel, etc.

If any of our readers have a Twitter account, please feel free to follow our posts here.

Keep training hard.

Ring Training – Video

As a follow up to an earlier post about training with rings, here’s a video of Taku in action.

One of the benefits of ring training is that it requires a greatly increased amount of muscular control to stabilize the body, especially in the pressing ranges, resulting in a high degree of muscle fiber activation.  Another great benefit is that you can easily modify most of the exercises, simply by adjusting your body position. In many cases, you don’t even need to adjust the length of the rings.

For clarification on that, lets use the Ring Push Up as an example. The more horizontal your body is the harder it will be. The more vertical you stand, the easier it becomes, because you’re resisting against a lesser percentage of your body weight. The same is true for other pressing exercises, rows, curls, extensions, flys, etc.

Keep training hard!

The Hybrid Fitness Team

Exercise of the Week: Ring Training

Yes, I know that “Ring Training” isn’t exactly an exercise by itself. Instead, treat this as a “Modality of the Week”. If you get a chance to train on rings or something similar, don’t pass it up. Here’s why:

The other day we were doing some video capture for the web-site and blog. Jason tracked me down and said he wanted to do a series on Ring Training. (It’s basically bodyweight training on Olympic rings.) I said okay, let’s do it. Now as many of you probably know by now I am a strong proponent of changing up ones training on a regular basis. The truth is I incorporate body-weight work quite a bit into my training plan. I also regularly use a tool called the TRX designed by a company called Fitness anywhere. The TRX is a system of straps and handles which allows you to do a wide variety of exercises using your body weight in a less stable environment.

I figured that the Rings would be pretty similar to using the TRX, but I was dead wrong. Jason had a list of exercises for me to do so we set up the rings and just started banging them out. To my surprise the ring movements were quite a bit more challenging then I expected. We finished all of the movements on the list and I thought to myself this is going to take the place of my scheduled workout today. Although I only performed a few repetitions of each movement I felt like my entire body had worked multiple sets to failure. Well the next day we were off to Stockton to record some podcasts with Mike Suyematsu our director of Self-Defense and Personal Safety Training. As I sat in the car I became acutely aware of a deep soreness throughout my entire upper body especially in my chest, shoulders and abs. I stopped short of cursing Jason out, but realized how different and effective training with rings can be. We’ll post footage of the exercises on our website at www.hybridfitness.tv.

In the meantime, here are a few great ones to get started with. The cool thing is you can adjust any of these exercises to your strength level, simply by modifying your position relative to the ground. The more horizontal your body, the more challenging they’ll be. The more vertical, the easier they become.

Ring Pushups:
Here, Liam performs the ring pushup with his feet elevated, increasing the intensity of the exercise. These work the chest, shoulders and arms very effectively.

Ring Pushup (UP position)Ring Pushup (DOWN position)

Ring Rows:
Ring rows are deceivingly challenging back exercise. Be sure to bring your body all the way up to the rings. Pause briefly, then control your decent back to the start position.

Ring Row (DOWN position)Ring Row (UP position)

Ring “Tent” Pushup:
Tent pushups work the shoulders very effectively, especially since you’re forced to stabilize your body through the entore range of motion. You’ll need to set the rings low and possibly stand on a small surface (as shown). Think of these as an inverted shoulder press.

Ring “Tent” Pushup (DOWN position)Ring “Tent” Pushup (UP position)

Ring Hanging Knee Raise:
This is an outstanding abdominal exercise. Keep the knees bent and hamstrings contracted. This forces the quads to fully relax, making the abs the only major mover in this exercise. As you pull the knees up, try to roll the hips up, resulting in a maximal contraction. Come down slow and begin again.

Hanging Ab (DOWN position)Hanging Ab (UP position)

Pau for now.