Friday, December 16, 2011

Sandbag Training......are you serious???

Yes, very serious!!! Sandbag training is EFFECTIVE! But not as effective as the movement science behind it. Without a doubt, the modern pioneer of effective Sandbag training is Strength coach Josh Henkin. Nobody has done more to advance this obscure tool than Josh and when Josh speaks, I listen.

The following is a testimonial I have for Josh and his Sandbag Certification.

I have had the honor and privilege of knowing Josh Henkin for the last 14 years. Josh and I met in Arizona at a gym in the 90’s and it was clear to see at that time that Josh was determined to teach and train people with the best strength and conditioning methods available. I credit Josh for exposing me to  Kettlebells and of course Sandbags. Personally and professionally I owe a lot to Josh because I know of very few people in the fitness industry who continue to grow, learn, share, teach, coach, encourage and empower people like he does. I can count on one hand the number of people who are as educated and experienced as Josh. He has literally taken every certification out there and continues to learn from the brightest and the best. What he has done to contribute to the evolution of strength methods is powerful and his development of his LIFT certification program is the pinnacle of his career in my opinion.

I had the privilege of taking Josh’s Sandbag L.I.F.T certification earlier this year in Los Angeles and to say I was impressed is an understatement. This two day course was packed with hands on training, practical programming and direct Q and A with Josh throughout the entire weekend. Let me highlight why I think this course should be taken by any serious student of strength and conditioning.

1)      This course is QUALITY BASED with movement excellence as the goal.  Improvements in total body integration along with enhanced body awareness are the first things I noticed after day one. Josh has an amazing ability to dissect movement down to its most basic and fundamental patterns and then immediately and harmoniously teach you how to integrate all of the body. He then seamlessly progresses into more COMPLEX PATTERNS.

2)      It’s not about lifting HEAVIER all the time. Josh explained how easy it is to fall into this trap. Just get stronger and all your problems will be solved. NOT TRUE! Josh made it very clear why just putting more weight on the bar will not necessarily make you a better athlete.  It may make you stronger at that one lift but it won’t guarantee you better athletic success. The body must simultaneously get better at various patterns of movement along with improvements in coordination, power production, agility and MOBILITY!

3)      The importance of training in all planes of motion, ESPECIALLY in ROTATION!  Training in all three dimensions simultaneously is essential and is easy achieved with Sandbags.  But don’t be fooled. It’s not the typical rotational nonsense we see in the functional training movement.  Josh’s rotational progressions are the real deal and should and must be taken seriously. I was HUMBLED when I couldn’t successfully complete even some of the basic sandbag rotational movements.

4)      The PROGRESSIONS are safe, fun and more importantly effective. Josh takes all body positions, grip possibilities,  foot stances and gives you clear instruction on how  and why to progress. I was almost overwhelmed with the depth of detail that Josh goes into covering the different body positions alone.

5)      His new Sandbags are so fun to use with all of the new grips possibilities. The new bags are much more durable than any sandbag I have ever used. The POTENTIAL and infinite amount of drills, exercises and patterns is really, REALLY COOL! 

6)      This is a HANDS ON COURSE!! BIG TIME!! There is no sitting around and only discussing theory. You get your hands on these SANDBAGS from the first 10 minutes of the course.  What I love about his course is that Josh always emphasized POSTURE and BODY POSITIONS over muscles. Huge emphasis on proper DIAPHRAGMATIC FUNCTION AND BREATH! The emphasis on MASTERY is what makes Josh an AMAZING COACH. The certification was full of excellent coaches with lots of experience. We were all humbled with even the slightest change of body position or foot position.  The CREATIVITY that Josh has infused into his LIFT system is incredible. Honestly, I am JEALOUS that I didn’t think of some of these possibilities on my own.

7)      Josh emphasizes what is going on INSIDE your body (the intention you have while performing the movements) rather than focusing solely on the EXTERNAL.  This is MINDFUL practice, purposeful practice!!!! Of course you feel like you are working but that is a bi-product of focusing on the proper intentions.

8)      The section on Assessment was very cool.  What I liked about it was that Josh taught you how to assess various movements and muscle activation patterns such as PRONE HIP EXTENSION and then taught us how to find the correct Sandbag movement to improve our glute function and hip mobility. Every single person improved their Hip function immediately with the Sandbag movements, specifically the BEAR HUG SQUAT.

9)      Josh taught us how to successfully combine the TRX and the Kettlebell with Sandbags. As a Senior RKC Kettlebell Instructor in the RKC system, I can confidently say that the SANDBAG methods Josh has come up with are an excellent compliment to the RKC Kettlebell methods and system.

10)   The PRORGRAM DESIGN  section was worth the price of admission alone. On day two we had to demonstrate to Josh our knowledge of the sandbag exercises by designing a program for a very specific type of athlete. This was fun yet challenging because it forced us to really think through the essentials of intelligent programing and implementation.

11)   Another BONUS was that Josh gave every student a copy of his HIGH OCTANE Sandbag DVD covering many of the essential and foundational sandbag movements.

Overall I couldn’t have been happier with the LIFT certification. It opened my eyes to a new tool which I now love and to programming progressions which are pure genius!  I HIGHLY RECOMMEND that you take the LIFT certification and continue to grow, evolve and improve your health, body function and intelligence. Congratulations Josh, this course is the GOLD STANDARD in Sandbag Training.

Friday, December 02, 2011

Hardstyle goes to South America!!!!

Very excited to have taught along side of Yoana Teran the first ever Hardstyle Kettlebell Certification in South America. Last weekend on November 26, 2011 (and also my Birthday), we taught an HKC in Caracas, Venezuela.  I am still so excited and jazzed from the experience. All of the students were eager to learn, professional, focused and enthusiastic. There will be great things to come out of  Venezuela and I forsee an explosion of Hardstyle Kettlebell methods all over Venezuela and the rest of Central and South America. 

In fact let's go ahead and include the great country of MEXICO in that line up as well. We will be heading to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico in March of 2012 to teach the first ever HKC in Mexico!! Exicting times for Dragon Door, the RKC School of Strength and Revolution Fitness!! We have much to be thankful for!!

We want to thank our host HKC Monica Sancio for helping us bring this incredible HKC certificaiton to Venezuela. We also want to thank our sponsors Gatorade as well as HKC Eduardo Gonzalez for all of his help and support during the weekend.  More pics and Venezuela updates to come!!!!