Can’t we all just get along?

The De-Evolution of Physical Culture

By Brian Johnston

It’s an undeniable fact that resistance trainees are in a world all their own, and to a certain extent, they can be classified as an underground cult of sorts. I am not referring to the average person who wants to reshape his or her body, or the injury rehab patient, but the hardcore trainee.

What dumbfounds me is the conflicting attitude among the different resistance trainees, and not only bodybuilders. Bodybuilders think that powerlifters are chunky individuals who can’t build a lean, conditioned physique. Powerlifters think that bodybuilders are weak and nothing but show and who can’t perform to powerlifting standards in the gym. Olympic lifters feel they are above the others because their competitive lifts require extreme athletic ability (a combination of speed, total body coordination, and power), and is accepted as an Olympic sport. I am not suggesting that all iron athletes are guilty of these stereotypical views. However, my experience tells me that a majority feel this way.

The odd thing is that all three types of training methods overlap. Show me a bodybuilder who has not, at one time or another, performed powerlifting style of training (heavy weight, low reps), or has thrown in some power cleans for upper back development. Also, just about every powerlifter or Olympic lifter has performed bodybuilding exercises (supplementary movements) in the off-season during the conditioning phase – these include dips, leg extensions, bent rows and leg curls to work any weak links that can affect the primary lifts.

These three groups obviously have more in common than they realize, yet each tries to segregate themselves from the others. To have Joe Average accept resistance training as a serious fitness alternative, we need to work together and promote resistance training as a whole. With a synergistic approach, we can become stronger threefold, rather than fighting each other in having the public adorn each other’s sport or activity.

One of the primary reasons why many prefer aerobic-based exercise, as opposed to anaerobic exercise, is that it is a social event. A group of people will get together, work toward a common goal (weight loss, muscle firming), and have fun. This often is not apparent where people work out with weights. Resistance trainees tend to ignore or avoid each other like the plague; particularly if others are equally strong, developed or if they are a different type of trainee, i.e., powerlifter vs. bodybuilder. This may be the result of competitiveness or ego. Some day we may regain the camaraderie that was so apparent in the 50’sand 60’s.

TAKU’s Note:
In 1995, Brian Johnston wrote a brief article for a newsletter (Strength & Size), about how the fitness world has lost its union, with bodybuilders in one corner, power lifters in another, Olympic lifters in another, and the average fitness buff yet in another. I felt it was worth repeating an excerpt from this article* since it is my opinion, that strength training is the cornerstone to a well rounded total fitness program. Being involved in healthy pursuits should be a chance for us to bond and enjoy the pursuit, rather than an excuse to talk trash about whose methods are the best.



*This article reprinted with permission of the I.A.R.T.

Strength Training and Fighters

By Jim Bryan

First some background on myself. Everyone that pursues an athletic career has particular sports that appeal to them. Mine were ones that involved strength and contact. As a youngster I loved Football, never heard of Rugby but I would have liked that too. I also loved to wrestle, never had any training (no programs existed)  I trained and competed in Olympic Lifting, Power Lifting, and Body Building. I also served as a judge and coach. In fighting I trained in Boxing, Kick Boxing, Muay Thai, Wing Chun, Karate, Kali, and JKD. I’ve also worked as a Coach, Corner man, Judge, and Ref. I also  worked as a Strength Coach for a couple of years and worked in several Health Clubs. By now most people also know that I was heavily influenced by Arthur Jones. He helped me get the job as Strength Coach. I was also learning to be a Highlands Game Judge but gave that up for lack of time.

So what? Well, this is not meant to make me appear to be a “Macho Man”. I’m not. My Wife says “I’m just a hard-headed Irish man” I am Irish American and proud of it! I cry easy and fight easy. This is just to let the reader know I have some experience…about 40 years of it. Experience is one of the qualities most lacking  among the Internet Soothsayers.

When I refer to fighters I’m primarily talking about athletic contests not bar room brawlers. A fighter’s life is taken up with skill training and conditioning. Not much time left over, much the same as with other sports. Fighters are some of the best-conditioned athletes out there. I happen to believe that Strength Training should be a part of that training. Two fighters of the same skill and condition…the stronger will usually win. Royce Gracie might appear to contradict that. He beat much larger fighters in NHB. BUT the other fighters were competing in a sport that they didn’t know much about! It took a while but they figured it out and Royce is smart to stay away now!

How do you go about adding Strength Training? What method of the popular ones should you use?

Olympic Lifting

Can you get strong by Olympic Lifting? Why hell yes you can! Olympic Lifting is a highly developed skill, so you better be sure you get the proper coaching. If you already have the skill you can get very strong by doing it. Olympic Lifting does have a higher possibility of injury, even if you are skilled. It may not be the most time efficient way for a fighter to get his/her Strength Training. If you enjoy the movements and are aware of the danger, then use them.

Power Lifting

Power Lifting builds some s-t-r-o-n-g individuals. It also carries some danger.  Remember you are a fighter, so keep your priorities in order. Instead of going for singles use higher reps. Power Lifters usually use a time efficient method of training. Get the proper coaching, and learn the movements. Squats and Deadlifts are good exercises if you can safely do them.

Dino Training

When I was doing this type training it wasn’t called “Dino”… It was just called training. Times have changed, it is now a category by itself. Lifting odd objects can build great strength. You have got to be careful though. You can’t fight if you are hurt.  If you can figure a way out to include some “Dino” you may find more enjoyment to be had from your daily training grind.

Super Slow

Just because some one says that they know or can teach you Super Slow doesn’t make it so! Many out there claiming to be Super Slow Trainers are FOS. Check for a Certification!! It should be signed by Ken Hutchins. Make no mistake about it, Super Slow can make you strong,  it is time efficient, and safe. The main thing is…can you put up with the strict approach?

High Intensity Training (H.I.T.)

High Intensity Training is mainly a philosophy of training or a set of guidelines that are not written in stone. They evolve.  The best thing going for the fighter is H.I.T. is time efficient. I’m not going to address whether or not you should train to failure, make that decision on your own. Stick with mainly multi joint movements and some single joint.

Hard Gainer

To me this is like H.I.T. I like it. I like the Philosophy and the basic approach. I also like the emphasis on safety. Actually, for me this is more like “Old Style H.I.T.”


Combine some of the methods. Include what appeals to you. High Intensity Training can be combined easily. If you look at Arthur’s early info it would pass for more of a Hybrid as compared to what many people think  H.I.T. now is. I come from “Old Style H.I.T.” and am more accepting of other methods. Just don’t step on my toes or get in my face to get your point across. I’m happy to listen…I might learn something.

Combat Conditioning

If you’re a fighter you BETTER be doing it! Each fighting sport has it’s own accepted method of conditioning. It has to be done. I feel Strength Training should be added somehow. It would be nice if all the training  came from coaches working together to help the fighter.

Strong Man

This for sure will help you. Strong Men pick up and run with weights that Olympic Lifters and Power lifters just try to get off the ground. They also train with awkward implements like the Dino’s. It can be very dangerous and needs a good Coach. Remember, when you are hurt you can’t fight…Or train! Done right this can be great.


Personal Trainers may not be of much help to the fighter unless the Trainer has been a fighter. That way they understand what you go through. Many Personal Trainers are just not qualified even if they are certified. Most are going to try to treat you like a Body Builder. Try to find a Strength Coach.

Free weights or machines?

What do you have at your disposal? Use what you have! Remember you are trying to build strength not demonstrate it.


No getting around it Genetics have a bearing on your athletic ability. Don’t whine about poor genetics or use it as an excuse. You can always improve your strength to a level higher than what you started with. You’ll need discipline, determination, and consistency. You may find your genetics weren’t so bad after all. No excuses just solutions!

I feel that fighters are some of the hardest working athletes alive. Doesn’t matter… Boxers, MMA, Submission, Kick Boxers, Thai Boxers, Wrestlers. Do I think Pro Wrestlers are fighters? Some of them could do very well in MMA or Submission. Some couldn’t. I feel that they are athletes just the same but I don’t like it (Pro Wrestling) To me it has become a study in bad manners and attitude. The WWE “in your face” attitude pisses me off. It has produced many smart ass  “Wana bees”

The Best Method

Okay, what do I feel is the best way for a fighter to Strength Train? The best way is a method that is safe, doesn’t take much time and one that the fighter will actually do. It also needs to be progressive or it won’t work very long. The emphasis should be on building strength not on a pretty boy physique. Any of the methods will do it. Depending upon your goals and time, some methods may “fit” better. Whatever you choose it won’t hurt you to be STRONGER!

Res Non Verba.

Four Week Strength Cycle

This week I offer a simple strength cycle. Each week you will vary the reps striving to use the maximum possible weight and still complete the desired number of reps (with perfect form). If you can complete at least 90% of the reps then you are doing fine. Any time you can complete the desired reps of each set with perfect technique, then it is time to add a little more weight at the next workout.


  1. Trap Bar Dead-lift & Shrug*
  2. Front Squat
  3. Glute-Ham Raise**(see black & white image below)
  4. Chin-Up**
  5. Standing BB Press
  6. TRX Row / Recline Pull**
  7. Towel Bench Press
  8. Land-Mine Anti-rotation (see photo and video links at bottom)
  9. Plank w/ V-up + Static Hold**



Movement 1.) 3-4 sets x 5 reps rest 90-120 seconds

Movement 2 – 7.) 1-3 sets x 10 reps rest 60 seconds

Movement 8-9.) 60-90 seconds each


Movement 1.) 3-4 sets x 3 reps rest 90-120 seconds

Movement 2-7.) 1-3 sets x 5 reps rest 90 seconds

Movement 8-9.) 60-90 seconds each


Movement 1.) 3-4 sets x 5 reps rest 90-120 seconds

Movement 2-7.) 1-3 sets x 8 reps rest 60 seconds

Movement 8-9.) 60-90 seconds each


Movement 1.) 3-4 sets x 2 reps rest 90-120 seconds

Movement 2-7.) 1-3 sets x 3 reps rest 90 seconds

Movement 8-9.) 60-90 seconds each

*For those of you who enjoy using quick-lift movements, replace the Trap BarDL&S w / your favorite Barbell, Dumbbell or K-Bell Snatch or Clean variation.

**Add weight if needed. (I recommend using an X-vest or similar device)

The video links below will show how to execute the Ant-rotation exercise with the Landmine or with a regular barbell.



Sandbag Training 101 – by Josh Henkin

There is no question…sandbag training works! Having been used for centuries by the world’s best wrestlers and martial artists, there is no arguing sandbag training can make you as strong as you look! However, as sandbag training has begun a resurgence the misuse of sandbags have begun as well. One may wonder, is it possible not to use a sandbag correctly? Well, just ask yourself if you can use a dumbbell, barbell, kettlebell, or even your bodyweight incorrectly?

The first rule of thumb is that a good sandbag should have mobility. Too many people have tried to “out think” the sandbag and end up ruining the basis of sandbag training. Unlike most other training implements you aren’t going to progress by five pound increments. Manipulating many of the other training variables such as placement of load and speed of movement will serve as better training avenues for variety and progression.

I will cover how to choose when you use each of these methods and progressions, but first we must discuss the most fundamental of ideas, how where you hold the sandbag impacts your exercise selection.

Bear Hug:

This position is the starting place for the introduction of sandbag training. Keeping the sandbag very close to the body and clasping the arms around the sandbag decreases the leverage working against the body. This makes this holding position the easiest to balance and lift the greatest loads. The dimensions of the sandbag will additionally impact the level of difficulty of this style.




The Zercher position is the secondary position of loading. The Zercher is a more challenging loading position because there is increase leverage working against the trunk and the upper back. It is vital in using the Zercher that the elbows remain as high as possible. When the arms begin to drop under heavier loads it is a natural tendency to have the upper and lower back begin to round. Holding the sandbag lower also decreases stress on the stabilizing muscles.



Shouldering is the most familiar holding position in sandbag training. Shouldering is most notable because it appears the most unusual in strength training. Holding the bag in this position places the whole body under an uneven load. This is one of the most powerful aspects of sandbag training and even though your body may be in a balance position of a squat, the uneven load makes the body unbalanced. This is far more challenging to maintain posture and balance during all movement especially unilateral ones.



The overhead position is the most challenging, yet very familiar to most lifters. Having the sandbag overhead places the greatest amount of leverage on the entire body especially the trunk. The sandbag being overhead is an unstable object that will move as you perform various movements. This makes the entire body unstable and all the small stabilizers must fire harder to maintain balance and stability.


Josh Henkin, CSCS has been a strength coach for the past fifteen years. Josh has spoken at numerous national conferences and written for over 20 fitness magazines. His Sandbag Fitness System is recognized as the most comprehensive sandbag training program.

J.C. Santana loves the “got snatch”

Hi Everyone:

Taku and I were hanging out with J.C. Santana for lunch today – burritos all around!

Anyhow, we gave him a Got Snatch shirt just to say thanks for all his support and efforts.  He proudly threw that bad boy on right there in the restaurant.  What can I say, the guy is a class act.

J.C. is doing some work with Technogym and the Kinesis line while he’s in town.  Just for the heck of it, do yourself a favor and give his site a visit here:


Separately, we played around with some cool equipment, captured some great video footage today and met with some legends in the fitness industry.  You’ll have to watch the vids to see what all we did, but suffice it to say we had a blast.

That’s all for now.  Keep training hard!


P.S.:  Want a “Got Snatch” shirt of your own?  Click the image on the right side nav bar or go here.

Kettlebell Juggling

Hey Everyone:

On Friday we participated in an afternoon kettlebell workshop with our resident kettlebell specialist, John Wild of Orange Kettlebell Club (  We covered a bunch of great material.

During one of our intermissions, John demonstrated a little kettlebell juggling.  This is just a sample of his skill.  John’s a great coach, a great athlete and we’re lucky to have him as part of the team.

Visit his site, drop him a line and check out his videos on YouTube.  In the meantime, keep training hard and enjoy this video.

Jason K.

Kettlebell Workshop

We’re heading to a kettlebell workshop today, coached by John Wild of Orange Kettlebell Club.  John is a good friend and an exceptional coach.  He recently launched his website and has established a great community of kettlebell (and non-kettlebell) followers.

Check out his site at  Feel free to drop him an email and be sure to tell him the Hybrid Fitness guys sent you.

Keep training hard and feel free to post any questions to the comments section. We’ll answer them right away.

O.S.W. vs H.I.T.

It is not unusual to find the strength training community divided when it comes to what style of training is best or how and when to employ the many training techniques and variables that are available. One of the most classic battles one finds is the one between the proponents of High Intensity Training or H.I.T. and those coaches and athletes who seem to prefer Olympic Style Weight Lifting or O.S.W. I personally have never really understood the almost religious fanaticism with which some may argue for or against their preferred approach to getting stronger.

For years I have been a fan of brief, intense and infrequent training. Having tried just about every one of the recognized (as well as the obscure) training programs that have come along in the last twenty years, I can honestly say that this is still true today. My goal has always been to find the precise amount of volume, frequency and intensity that will allow me to reach my goals with maximum efficiency and minimum down time. With years of trial and error, creative experimentation and hard work under my belt I have discovered a few combinations that seem to produce consistent results.

Now counter to the notion of this brief, intense, infrequent style of training, often referred to as H.I.T., I am also a fan of Olympic style weightlifting. For many this might seem odd. For some it may seem that the two styles are not compatible with one another. I assure you it is not odd, and they are very compatible. Olympic style weightlifting is very technical. The movements are often difficult to master and some of the positions may cause a great deal of discomfort in the early stages of learning. I guess that is one of the reasons I enjoy Olympic style weightlifting, the focus and attention to detail that is required to attain a sense of mastery is a lifetime journey. Almost anyone can learn to work hard on a basic movement such as a Lat Pull-down or a seated Row but to truly master the Snatch or Clean and Jerk requires far more patience and dedication. Now don’t get me wrong, I am all about hard work on the basics when it comes to efficient strength training. I am not one of those coaches who feels that Olympic style weightlifting is required for athletic success (unless of course you are an Olympic Weightlifter). But I do enjoy it and that is why I often include some Olympic style weightlifting movements in my personal training plan.

One way to combine the more classic H.I.T. style of training with Olympic style weightlifting is as follows. Start with a basic O-lifting routine*. Practice this routine in a strict order of exercises as well as sets, reps and rest periods. For your H.I.T. training days create short routines which are made up of basic pushing, pulling and squatting movements along with some assistance exercises. Perform these in a classic High tension Low force manner with an emphasis on slow, controlled movement. Workout roughly every other day alternating one of these basic H.I.T. routines with the O-lifting routine. In this way you will perform both the O-lifting and H.I.T. routines three times every two weeks. Use the O-lifting days as more technique polishing and active recovery days. Still train hard and heavy however do not train to failure and strive to always leave a few reps in the tank. On the H.I.T. days perform single sets to failure of a handful of movements and strive to take each set to the limit. This can be an excellent way to combine these two styles of lifting, reaping the maximum benefit that each has to offer while maintaining a balance between stimulus and recovery.

If you have always been a practitioner of either one or the other of these two styles of lifting perhaps now is the time to try something new. If you have never tried O.S.W. then I recommend that you find a qualified coach for your initial instruction as this style of lifting is quite technical. If you have rarely if ever trained to momentary muscular failure then ease into it as the muscular soreness that is sometimes associated with this style of training can be quite intense. What ever style of lifting you use, be sure to have a spotter where applicable. Get strong in the gym, never get injured.

Give this H.I.T. / O.S.W. combination a try and I think you may find it to be a fun and effective way to reap the rewards that each of these styles of training has to offer.



Example O.S.W. / H.I.T. Hybrid:

For the O-lifts I tend to stick with each routine for 12 workouts which following the above described pattern sees me changing things up about every eight weeks or so. On the H.I.T. days I get a little more creative varying the order of the exercises, reps, and rest intervals as well as employing advanced overload techniques when my energy and recovery allow. Keep in mind that these routines are just a few examples of thousands that you could employ.

O.S.W. Workout 1: (*Courtesy of Jim Schmitz)

1. Hang Power Snatch 5 x 5
2. Hang Power Clean 5 x 5
3. Clean Deadlift & Shrug 5 x 5
4. Push Press 5 x 5
5. Front Squat 5 x 5
6. Over Head Squat 3 x 5
7. Bench Press 3 x 10-8-6

H.I.T. Workouts

Workout 1. (A.J. Classic)

1. Squat 1 x 20
2. Single Leg Calf Raise 1 x 20 (each leg)
3. Standing Shoulder Press 1 x 10
4. Chin-up (weighted) 1 x 10
5. Dip (weighted) 1 x 10
6. Barbell Curl 1 x 10
7. Straight-legged Deadlift 1 x 15

Workout 2.

1. Dumbbell Squat 1 x 8-12
2. Dumbbell Fly 1 x 8-12
3. Dumbbell Lunge (stepping back) 1 x 8-12
4. Seated Cable row 1 x 8-12
5. Dumbbell Alternating Upright row 1 x 8-12
6. Triceps Over head extension 1 x 8-12
7. Dumbbell Incline curl 1 x 8-12

Workout 3.

1. Back Squat 1 x 8-12
2. Barbell Bench Press 1 x 8-12
3. Barbell Lunge (stepping forward) 1 x 8-12
4. Wide Lat Pull-down (in front) 1 x 8-12
5. Dumbbell Seated Press 1 x 8-12
6. Cable Curl 1 x 8-12
7. Cable Triceps Push-down 1 x 8-12

Ross Enamait’s Got Snatch – So Should You

Meet Ross Enamait. We’ve recently added Ross training site to our blogroll. Ross is a phenomenal athlete, trainer and all-around good guy. Ross was kind enough to send us a pic of himself in action, sporting one of our Got Snatch? shirts.


If you’re looking for some great training articles and videos, check out what Ross has to offer. Additionally, his books and training tools are some of the best you’ll find anywhere. Do yourself a favor and check them out. You won’t be disappointed.

Of course, if you’re interested in picking up a Got Snatch shirt for yourself, send us an email at You can check them out in detail in the “Products” category on the right side navigation bar.

We’re working on some great additions to the blog and to the main site, so stay tuned…we’ll let you know when things are ready to go.

Take care and keep training hard.

Jason K.