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Posts Tagged ‘sandbag training’

Beginner Odd Object Training

Wednesday, August 14th, 2013

Odd Object Training – Intense & Fun Strength Training

Odd Object training, lifting things like atlas stones, kegs, and sandbags is a very rewarding form of training. You get strong in ways that barbells and dumbbells can not provide and it is fun to pick things up that 99% of the population will never do.

Recently, I wanted to start working some odd object training into the routine. Optimally, I would have wanted to lift some atlas stones. But since it had been over a year since I last trained them, I wanted to work Odd Object Training back in slowly.

Instead of jumping right into stones, I opted to do some sandbag lifting and keg lifting. Both of these implements are shaped very similar to stones, and allow you to get used to the body positions of stone lifting and to somewhat practice the stone lifting technique.

The day I did this was also my Overhead Pressing day so I still wanted to do some overhead work. Since I was working with 110-lb Sandbag and a 127-lb Keg, I was able to get plenty of overhead lifting volume in.

Sandbag Training

For the sandbag, I decided I would do full cleans and presses. This would allow my back to get accustomed once again to the round-back position of odd object training, without going as heavy as my lightest stone, 230-lbs.

To stay conservative, I started with just 3 repetitions in my first set, and then added 1 repetition each set. All the while, I was trying to move faster and faster with the clean and the press in order to get a bit of an increase cardiovascular demand.

In the video you will see that I put a Timer in, just to show how quickly or slowly I was moving through the repetitions. Since there was a clean to the shoulder on each repetition, much more muscle was involved than just performing one clean and going for repetitions afterwards.

Here’s the video so you can see how it went.

Keg Lifting

With the Keg I decided to move to just one clean and multiple presses during the set. The clean is much tougher with my Keg because it is only half full of scrap steel and it shifts around quite a bit. I didn’t want to push my luck on my wrist, so 1 clean per set was good enough.

I also tried to perform a Keg Snatch, lifting it from between the legs overhead in one movement. I didn’t quite get it but I did come close. I think next workout I will be able to perform the snatch.

Check out the video:

As you watch the videos, you will see that I definitely have gotten a bit rusty with my Odd Object training. When you don’t do it for a while, you forget the challenge of controlling these implements, especially during the flip-over/catching portion of the Keg and Sandbag clean. After a couple of sets, I was able to knock most of the rust off.

For those who are new to this kind of training, you will want to approach it somewhat how I did. Even after the ow volume of work that I did, I was still sore in the middle back the next day. This is most likely due to the fact that I have been using so many conventional training implements (barbells, dumbbells) that my back is not used to stabilizing against such a dynamic load.

But that is actually the whole idea with Odd Object Training. It makes your body work harder than with regular equipment, so it helps you develop even more as an athlete or strength enthusiast.

Naturally, when you first start out with Odd Object Training, you’ll want to start out light and gradually move up as you get used to the demands of the Odd Objects. A good starter weight for most gals is about 50-lbs and for guys, about 80-lbs. That kind of weight with these bulky implements with give you a good introduction.

If you are interested in learning more about Odd Object Training, make sure you sign up for my newsletter, because more information will be coming your way.

If you have any questions on Odd Object Training, be sure to leave them below.

All the best in your training.



Strongman Training for Football Players and MMA Fighters

Monday, November 7th, 2011

Hello DIESELS! Today I have an interview for you with Chris Miller from Maximum Fitness. Chris and I met through Nick Tumminello, and as I found out more about him, I realized he was doing a lot of similar training in his gym that I do in mine, especially Strongman Training, only he has been doing it with athletes and personal training clients, turning them into brutally strong, DIESEL-powered monsters. So I wanted to get some thoughts from him to see how he has been able to work Strongman Training into the routines with his clientele. I hope you enjoy it and if you have any questions, please a comment below.

Jedd: Please tell us a little about yourself – your athletic and training background and how you got involved with training athletes.

Chris: My name is Chris Miller, and I’ve been a certified Personal Trainer, and Strength/Conditioning coach for over 10 years in Columbia, Maryland. My company is called Maximum Fitness; which is located in Columbia, Maryland. My athletic background consists of playing Pop Warner football as a child, High school football, as well as college football. My training background consists of clients that are; little league football players, high school football players, basketball, lacrosse players, college football and soccer players, as well as MMA fighters, and boxers. I also do personal training and boot camps for the novice clientele to experienced clients.

I became involved with training athletes from the passion I had for sports growing up, and as an adult currently. I looked back on how I trained and viewed the workouts I used in order for me to prepare myself for football; and realized it was a totally different way of life training in the 1980’s. After I graduated from college, I started coaching little league football and high school football. I would see how uneducated these athletes were, and how wrong their workouts were in the weight room. This encouraged me to branch out, and develop ways in which I thought would be more effective in training these athletes. The fitness industry is ever changing; so I researched different training methods and products and created my own system in working with athletes; as well as used pieces of other systems I would see during my research.

Jedd: Many members of the Diesel Universe either compete in strongman training or do strongman training on a regular basis. Do you have any experience with Strongman Training?

Chris: Yes, I have trained with various strongman techniques; but have never competed. I’ve always wanted to compete, but never took the plunge to pursue it. Working at a landscaping company throughout college; me and a few other guys use to perform lifts of logs, trees, cement bags, and rocks all the time. We thought we were the famous guys that competed on ESPN. LOL…

Jedd: Have you included Strongman Training or Odd Object Training into your athletic training protocols?

Chris: Yes indeed! Strongman training is a great way to turn any athlete into a powerful force. I’ve used everything from Keg throws and lifts, heavy cement bags and tires, as well as tractor-trailer rims; before all the common day objects became available to purchase.

Jedd: Since incorporating Strongman Training into your routines, what benefits have you seen?

Chris: I’ve noticed an increase in power, strength, range of motion; as well as muscular endurance.

Jedd: Which athletes do you incorporate Strongman Training with? Football Players? Baseball? Etc.

Chris: I incorporate Strongman Training with all of my athletes; from high school age, college as well as my MMA/Boxing clients.

Jedd: What lifts do you find to have the best carry-over to athletic performance?

Chris: Tire flips, Sled pulls, Sled push, heavy med ball throws, sledgehammer slams on tires.

Jedd: How do you include Strongman Lifts into the routines? Primary movements? Explosive Movements?

Chris: With my offensive/defensive line clients, I like to use explosive movements, since the average play in football is 3-4 seconds; I like to work on explosive movements that simulate coming off the ball in a violent, but controlled manner. The MMA fighters I train explosive and some primary movements; due to the nature of simulating the actual combative movements during competition. I’d say I combine the two on occasion, but mostly using the explosive method for stimulating the fast twitch muscles which are used very much in these sports.

Jedd: How do you go about monitoring your athletes’ performance when using Strongman lifts? Do you ever “dial back” the intensity of the strongman lifts?

Chris: I monitor my athletes by measuring his/her threshold and tracking results through reps and time. Measuring how effective their body reacts pre- and post-lift is key for me. I try to “Dial back”, the intensity a few days before games or matches, because I don’t want to over work a particular muscle group; causing fatigue and muscle tear-down before they compete. I try to keep the intensity at 70-80% 2 days before games, and 60-70% a week before my MMA clients compete.

Jedd: What is the number one Strongman Lift you suggest other strength coaches put into their programs, out of all of the possible choices?

Chris: I’m glad you asked this question, because I personally say, don’t prescribe an exercise to a client, that you wouldn’t do yourself. I suggest all strength coaches incorporate the Deadlift into their programs. Every athlete needs a strong back and core in order to compete week in and week out. There are many variations of the Deadlift; therefore you can reap benefits from many variations, as long as safety and form is monitored.

Jedd: Have you had athletes push back on you when you introduced Strongman Training?

Chris: I train a college Division I Lacrosse player and Division III football player currently; and I’ve been training these kids since I coached them in high school. When I introduced the heavy chains and sled pulls 3 years ago; they looked at me and thought I was crazy. They refused at first, because their college strength coaches were stuck on the basic barbells and dumbbells exercises. After a few days of training, and 3 years later; they can’t get enough of the Strongman exercises.

Jedd: What is one piece of advice you would give to other Strength Coaches about instituting Strongman Training into their routines?

Chris: Great question! I first would advise the coaches to research the routines and experiment amongst the staff, then introduce the routine to their athletes. I would also remind them of the safety issues concerning these routines.

Jedd: Thanks so much for your interview. Please feel free to tell us where we can learn more about your training.

Chris: Thank you sir; it was a pleasure having the privilege to participate in this awesome interview! The Diesel Crew is doing big things, and I appreciate the education, and information that is being delivered daily by you all!

My company is called Maximum Fitness, and we are located in Columbia, Maryland. Website and contact information is below.

Maximum Fitness
Email: [email protected]

Chris thanks so much for the interview. DIESELS, Strongman Training is an excellent way to take your athletic training to the next level of Strength and Power. If you want to include this type of training in your programs in order to start reaping the benefits that Chris Miller is seeing with his athletes, pick up our Intro to Strongman DVD, so you can see how to perform the lifts properly and keep your athletes injury free while also becoming brutally strong!

All the best in your training,


Pick up Introduction to Strongman Training TODAY by clicking the image below.

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Powerful Lower Body Domination for Explosive Athletes

Tuesday, September 7th, 2010

Powerful Lower Body Domination for Explosive Athletes

by Jim Smith, CSCS

As we transition from the foundation (strength / hypertrophy) block of their strength training, the MMA fighters move into their explosive phase.  In the previous video we were allowing them to get acclimated to absorbing the impact from jump training, drilling proper landing mechanics and preparing them for the full execution of more complex plyometric exercises.

As proficiency their increased, you will now see much more complex exercises.  And the end of the phase, even depth jumps are performed after a strength movement, i.e. complex training promoting post-activation potentiation.

* SPECIAL NOTE – explosive training should be done early in the workout and after a very thorough and complete warm-up.

Complex Jump Training (end of block)

Athlete 1:

Exercise 1:  Sandbag Zercher Squats

Loading anterior (with additional chains) to promote proper squat mechanics, overload the spinal erectors and force powerful torso bracing

Exercise 2:  Depth Jump into Deep Squat Landing

Promotes explosive lower body power, reactiveness, deceleration and proper landing mechanics.

Exercise 3:  Band Sprints

Promotes stride frequency, arm swing and leg drive

Athlete 2:

Exercise 1:  Sandbag Zercher Squats

Loading anterior (with additional chains) to promote proper squat mechanics, overload the spinal erectors and force powerful torso bracing

Exercise 2:  Depth Jump into Split Squat Landing

Promotes explosive lower body power, reactiveness, deceleration, balance, kinesthetic awareness and ankle/knee/hip stability and proper landing mechanics.

Exercise 3:  Band Sprints

Promotes stride frequency, arm swing and leg drive






Hindu Push-ups, Mace Swings and Sandbag Get-ups OH MY!

Sunday, June 6th, 2010

Non-Conventional Strength Training for Real Results

When you look around during your typical day what do you see?  You probably see a lot of people who look like they’ve never worked out a day in their life.  Let’s take it one step further.  When you go to the gym, what do you see?  I would bet you even see people in the gym who look like they never worked out, OR you see the same people you’ve seen for the last several years, doing the same exercises they always do.

And you know what?  They still look the same as they always do.  How can this be?  They are always in the gym, yet they never change?

Well, they’re not doing something right.

Bad Nutrition?  Definitely

Wrong Exercises?  Probably

Wrong Intensity?  Probably

Too Much Volume?  Maybe

Something is not right.  Maybe they’re allergic to exercise?  That must be it.

Something has to change.

If you are stuck in a rut with your workout and you’re looking for some new exercises and some new challenges, try out some of the following movements.

Hindu Push-ups

Incredible movement for the shoulders and hips and is great to hit for high volumes for conditioning.  It can be done on an elevated surface to help perform the movement through a full range of motion (ROM).   The movement can also be overloaded with chains, a weight vest or elastic bands.  It is a very popular movement with old school grapplers and fighters.  I actually use it a lot in warm-up because of the benefits of the shoulders and hips.

Mace Swings

This movement can be performed using a mace or a clubbell.  I love the movement because it fries the grip and opens up the upper back and shoulders.  If you don’t have any of these special implements, we’ve actually used and ez-curl bar as a substitute.  Mace swings should be done for high repetitions or for a specific length of time.

Sandbag Get-ups

This movement is brutal.  It taxes the entire body and forces it to act as a single unit.  Because the entire body is working, it becomes very metabolic, very quick.  If you don’t have a sandbag, a dumbbell or kettlebell, held at arms length, can be substituted.  As you drive upward on the outstretched arm, tension on the bent leg allows the straight leg to swing through into a lunge position.  From there, the lifter braces hard and drives to a standing position.  This movement is amazing for conditioning and great for fighters for bracing while fatigued.

Try any or all of these movements during your next training session.  They can work as the supplemental exercises or you can throw them in at the end for conditioning.

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