The Sledgehammer Workout 7
By Bryan Elliott
I recently went Behind the Brand with the team from Athletic Recon, a performance apparel brand for the modern athlete.
They took me to school on fitness and how to train and shared some of their best biz tips and strategies. Their CEO, Ryan Heuser is the real deal and this isn’t his first rodeo.
He’s the former co-founder of Paul Frank and has 20 years experience in the apparel industry. This 40-something father of three competes in races and trains like an animal with his 20-something crew members. The AR brand definitely has a “for us, by us” feel and is tested and approved by athletes across many disciplines like crossfit, soccer, all types of running, road cycling and MTB to name a few.
After my intense workout I saw several parallels from training to how Ryan and team run their successful business. Here are my 10 ways to run your business like a fitness bootcamp to get it in shape:
Watch the full video episode of Behind the Brand with Athletic Recon below and read on! Don’t forget to leave a comment or Tweet me @BryanElliott to join the conversation.
1. Don’t give up so fast.
Pull-ups aren’t much fun when you’re not good at doing them. And you can’t fake it. You’re either prepared or not. Do you give up too fast when the going gets tough? Any biz, including your start up or mature company is going to hit the wall at times. As you weigh the risks and rewards there’s probably more upside to gutting it out and pushing through.
2. Learn to say no.
There’s two ways to look at this. One is cutting out what’s not good and the other is staying focused on what you do best. Cheat days aside, when you’re in a fitness routine you’ve got to say no to the danger zone foods that will cause you to take 2 steps back for every step forward. The experts will tell you it’s about eating and training in moderation.
Running a successful business is the same. You’ve got to say no to associating with potentially toxic people who can ruin your chances of success. I don’t care how good and pristine that apple is, if it sits next to a rotten one in the bin long enough it will rot just the same.
You may also have to say no to potentially profitable opportunities outside of your scope of work. If you’re trying to isolate and strengthen your abs, doing anything unrelated to ab work will delay or get you off track. Stay in your lane. Get great at what you do. Be the expert. Perfect the process. Rinse and repeat. Put money in the bank. Then think about growth in new, but related areas.
3. No pain, no gain.
Cliché but true. Training and eating right requires sacrifice. Any business, and anything that’s truly worthwhile is the same. That goes for nurturing quality relationships or running a marathon. Come to grips that you’re probably going to have difficult times and fail more than once. Decide ahead of time what you’re going to do when that happens. Remember, there is no shame in failure.
The best advice I ever got was from Seth Godin who reminded me, “Yoda was wrong when he said ‘Do or do not, there is no try.’ There IS a TRY!! Try is the opposite of hiding.” Seth went on to say that the phrase “Failure is not an option” is also inaccurate. In fact, failure is necessary to success. If you haven’t failed in some capacity, you’re either extremely lucky or you’re a liar.
Learn from the experience and try not to repeat it. The pain and mistakes are the tuition you pay to learn and progress. And most of the time it’s more about what you become in the process vs where you arrive.
4. Establish routines.
Athletic Recon taught me how training should be as routine as brushing my teeth. Is your business in need of new clients? Make Biz Dev a routine and spend 25-50% of your day on what matters most. Don’t get distracted by other busy work or jumping on Facebook or Instagram to see what your friends are doing. In fact, unless you use FB for serious marketing, I suggest deleting it from your phone so you’re not tempted to check it and your email every 5 minutes.
5. Be part of a community or create one.
Experts will tell you that most people who join a gym eventually quit if they go alone. When you’re part of a community you’re more likely to stay in the game because you’re accountable to your friends and you’re an important link in the chain. The crew at Athletic Recon trains together in their office at 4pm every day. They also invite their fans and the local community to join them for informative healthy eating and training workshops. Connecting people and providing value is a huge asset and powerful way to build trust.
6. Get the right gear.
We’ve all been here. You do a sport or activity and you’re not prepared with the right gear. It’s more difficult to do or worse, you get injured. Athletic Recon literally puts blood, sweat and tears into designing and developing the right gear for several types of training and active lifestyles. Get the right gear for your business as well. Invest your money where it counts and it could make all the difference. How does the fact that you MacGyver everything to save money reflect on your reputation and brand?
7. Let your actions do the talking
Ryan’s dad used to take him to the gym when he was a kid. His dad didn’t say much during these times but Ryan watched his example and figured out what to do. Are you spending more time on your press release than actually doing the work? How much time and money are you spending on printing t-shirts with your logo on them vs rolling up your sleeves and getting dirty?
8. Disrupt the status quo.
Ryan’s tip about staying in shape was mixing up his training schedule so his body has to keep up with him and progress doesn’t plateau. Maybe your business could benefit from thinking like this as well?
Do you have competitors that seem to imitate you quickly? Being unpredictable will throw them off the trail and you’ll keep the first-mover advantage. Do you work in a mature industry where everyone has done it the same way for 30 years? Maybe mixing things up is just what you need to break through…
9. Run the marathon not the sprint.
I love this metaphor because it forces me to think long-term. Whether that’s the small victories or set backs along the way, my perspective and strategy is focused forward. This is helpful in all aspects of running your biz, from hiring people to financial goals and everything in between.
10. Make time, not excuses.
We all have the same 24 hours in a day. “I don’t have time for that” is the worst offense. If it is worth doing or must be done, make the time. No excuses. Good luck!
Follow Bryan Elliott on Twitter: www.twitter.com/bryanelliott
I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. Fitness women struggling to do some basic exercises.
By fitness women, I mean women who compete in amateur and professional fitness contests. Usually these contests have a beauty round and a fitness round. The fitness round is typically a dance routine/gymnastics routine. They are usually highly trained athletes and can typically breeze through any body weight exercise that you put them through.
Unless you’re Monica Brant.
If you don’t know who Monica is, she’s worth checking out. She’s been on hundreds of fitness magazine covers, won fitness, bikini and figure pro contests and is a terrific ambassador for fitness. I’ve worked with Monica on and off since 2007 on various fitness related projects and was her business manager during that time.
BACK TO THE STRUGGLING WOMEN
As I watched these women laugh, ooh and ahh, strain and struggle through the 20+ new exercises that they were learning as part of a bootcamp that Monica did in Canada, I thought of you. “YOU would LOVE these exercises!”, I thought.
These exercises are perfect for bootcamp instructors, coaches, and personal trainers and they are taught, demonstrated and explained by Monica Brant herself! I don’t know of ANYONE who is better qualified than Monica to show off some killer leg and core exercises. I mean Monica has some of the best legs and glutes in the business bar none!
As I watched the 70 minute Monica Brant bootcamp leg and core video, I knew that this was something that you would be interested in since, like me, you’re always looking for new stuff to use. Here’s what’s on this never before seen footage.
- Body weight leg exercises with ballet, boxing, track, jiu jitsu and fitness influences. Monica is constantly taking new fitness classes from all around the world. She’s taken her favorite and demonstrates and explains them in this video.
- Full body exercises
- Ab and core exercises
One of the great things about this video is that you get to see the women who are attending the bootcamp perform the exercises for the first time.
This is awesome because it gives you an idea of what to expect when you have YOUR bootcampers do them. You’ll see how Monica coaches them to get the most out of the exercises. It’s like being right there while Monica coaches her clients.
I’ve been to a lot of Monica’s camps. I filmed them, taught bootcamp workouts to the attendees and just hung out. You can feel the excitement in the room when Monica takes charge. The temperature rises to about 105 degrees Farenheit. There are periods of of hushed silence and periods of extended laughter. It’s just an incredibly valuable experience due to all of the new material that she presents.
UPDATE – This footage was offered as a limited time bonus but the offer has since expired.
There’s lots of Summer left here in Texas and it’s a perfect time to kick back and relax under the sun.
For anyone who’s serious about getting in shape, staying in shape or taking it to the next level, 90 % of the time your thoughts are probably focused on results, staying motivated and trying new workouts. Whether you are a general fitness enthusiast, a football player, a golfer, a bootcamper or a weekend warrior – this you take your workouts seriously. Right?
If you have an athletic mindset, high expectations, and self respect then you do not want to be walking around with a soft, smooth and flabby body, and you are always looking for ways to challenge yourself in a fun, unique way.
TRY “TRIPLANAR MOVEMENT”
In the image above, you can get a good idea of what triplanar motion is all about.
This guy has no idea what direction he’s going to be pulled in next. It could be up, down, left, right, angles, twists, etc. This is what triplanar means. Do you currently train in an aggressive triplanar manner when you do:
- Barbell squats?
- Bench Press?
- Sit Ups?
- Playing Golf?
- Playing Football?
- Using Suspension Trainers?
Answer – you do not use “aggressive” triplanar movement in any of the above on a consistent or thorough enough basis.
Golf, football and suspension trainers come close – the golf swing is not performed for enough volume nor is it done on both sides of the body. Depending on what position in football you’re playing, triplanar movement is limited. A receiver going up for the football and twisting back over the defensive back comes close. But he’s not doing this motion consistently on all sides of the body or with resistance.
Suspension trainers also come close. But same thing as above – the weight (your body weight) is usually centered and you’re working one side of the body as in a twisting side plank with leg lift. The body “knows” what’s coming. With the wake boarder above, you’re hitting the abs and core in a highly effective way but there is no resistance.
BRING IN THE SLEDGEHAMMER
This is where things get interesting. I’ve been training with a sledgehammer A LOT more recently. Sure, I still do my bodybuilding workouts, Nexersys, powerlifting and a little crossfit. But since I’ve added in the sledgehammer, I find that I’m more conditioned, leaner, balanced, and stronger. Why? Because of the sledgehammer.
Let me explain.
Training with a sledgehammer is no more dangerous than kettlebells, barbells or dumbbells. I’ve been using the sledgehammer in my fitness bootcamp since 2005 and in my personal training business. I’ve been creatively experimenting with it for over a year and I’m not talking about striking a tractor tire with it. In fact, that may be one of the most dangerous exercises that can be done with a sledgehammer due to the potential of hitting your foot or having the sledgehammer bounce off of the tire and hitting you in the face.
As mentioned, the sledgehammer is a powerful fat loss weapon due in part to the unusual “triplanar offcentered mass effect” which results in the most effective ab and core workout that I’ve ever tried and… I’m done in half the time. And it’s not just for abs/core. Training your whole body with the sledgehammer is a new and fun experience.
In the image above, the woman is lifting, twisting, lunging, and maybe even statically holding the barbell.
The problem, though, that makes this exercise “easier” and less effective is that the weight is balanced or centered. Now, imagine a sledgehammer weighing 12lbs, 20lbs or 35lbs. The weight is shifted constantly through the various motions which MAKES the body have to constantly adjust, compensate and fire different muscles in order to keep the weight up.
THE UNKNOWING IS THE DIFFERENCE
Remember our wake boarder? He’s bumping up and down, pulled left and right, twisting. BUT…other than “maybe” a little body weight, there’s no resistance. Not compared to holding a 20lb sledgehammer.
Not even close.
In the image above, the guy holding the kettlebell is keeping the weight centered. Sure the kettlebell is swinging around but because of the centered weight, there’s no “unknown”. The length of the sledgehammer handle makes this exercise much harder. Let’s say the kettlebell in the image above weighs 35lbs. Now get a sledgehammer that also weighs 35lbs. Which is going to be more challenging to take through this movement pattern? If you’re experienced with kettlebells, common sense will tell you that the sledgehammer is going to be much more challenging due to the extra distance of the off centered mass of the sledgehammer.
Every single time you wrap your hands around a barbell, dumbbell or kettlebell, your goal is to stimulate as much muscle growth as you possibly can. But there are limitations. There’s no triplanar movement with an off centered mass as in training with a sledgehammer.
Some may ask, “Why do I need to add a sledgehammer to my workout routine?” My answer would be “Why not?” If you know of a better way to train that will improve coordination, flexibility, agility, hand/eye coordination, burn fat and build muscle why would you ignore it?
Especially since most of you already have a sledgehammer in your garage or tool shed. If not, you probably know you can get one at the local hardware store, Lowes or Home Depot. Next time, I’ll have a quick sledgehammer routine that you can use at home or anywhere. Rest up! It’s going to burn and keep those muscles guessing.
I can guarantee you it will work your abs and core unlike anything you’ve ever tried. I performed this workout myself last week and I’m still amazed at how sore my abs got during the following days. What does this new soreness mean to a guy who’s used to training abs regularly? It means that I haven’t been training with a tool that has an off-centered mass and that works in an almost constant triplanar motion.
More next time.
I’ll see you at the lake!
But right now I’m in the gym,
I’m sitting here in my home gym, sweating, burning calories. I just had another kick ass workout with “the ultimate conditioning tool”, The Sledgehammer.
My sledgehammer weighs only 8lbs but it has done a number on me for the last 20 minutes. Here is “The Sledgehammer Workout” #6:
As I explain the exercises, imagine everyone in your bootcamp with a sledgehammer. Surely they have one in their garage or shed. If not, consider asking them to get one. Either way, someday they’ll need one and if you choose to start using sledgehammers in your bootcamp, you’re in for a killer surprise.
Sledgehammer Warm Up:
- Torso Twists x 10
- Biceps Curls Right/Left x 10
- Alternate Triceps Extensions Right/Left x 10
- Alternate Lateral Raises Right/Left x 10
- Shovel Right/Left x 10
- One Legged Forward Reach (Hamstrings) Right/Left x 10
- Squats (with Sledgehammer across upper back) Right/Left x 10
Sledgehammer Workout #6
7 exercises, 30 seconds each, 5 seconds transition time, no rest until 3 rounds have been completed. I used a Muscle Driver USA programmable interval wall timer ( love it). You can find free apps for your smart phone that have programmable timers. I have a paid app called ” Seconds Pro”.
- Forward/Backward Russian Jumps x 30 seconds. Set the sledgehammer on the ground horizontally in front of you. Begin the 30 seconds by performing russian jumps forward (over the handle) and backward (over the handle). Maintain the russian jump position.
- Adductor Wide Squat x 30 seconds. With the handle in front of you vertically, sledgehammer head on the ground, hold the handle with both hands, feet WIDE, squat down deep until you feel a stretch in your inner thighs and stand back up. Squeeze the glutes. Continue for 30 seconds
- Push Up Variation #2 x 30 seconds R/L. See image below. By the 3rd round, my shoulders and chest were on fire so I had to put my knees on the ground after about 10 reps. Do what you have to do.
- Back Squat and Press With A Twist x 30 seconds R/L. Place the sledgehammer across your back and squat down. On the way up press the sledgehammer overhead and slightly twist away from the head of the sledgehammer. Due to the gravitational pull, you’ll feel this in your core.
- Alternate Upright Rows x 30 seconds R/L. You can do this with one or two hands depending on your capabilities. I used one hand. In a standing position, start with the handle horizontally down in front of you. Lift the handle to the chin or slightly higher and lower. Works shoulders and traps. You’ll appreciate the brief rest on this one.
- Biceps Curl x 30 seconds R/L. From a standing position, perform a biceps curl with the head of the sledgehammer. Hold the elbow slightly out in front of you for an extra bit of intensity. Lower slowly. Use the other hand to hold the bottom part of the handle steady. Squeeze the handle with both hands as you’re doing this.
- Reverse Sledgehammer Lunge x 30 seconds. Similar position as the Adductor Squat above except do alternate reverse lunges making sure to keep the torso high and to get a good stretch.
Do 3 rounds non-stop. This is the beginner level! Intermediates go 45 seconds, Advanced go 60 seconds and start adding in advanced exercises like Sledgehammer Burpees, Sledgehammer Mountain Climbers and more.
I burned 220 calories in 20 minutes in the beginner level and my heart rate stayed between 111-133 most of the time (Fat Burning). I’ve completed 12 new sledgehammer workouts that I’m adding to The Sledgehammer Workout and I know you’re going to love them if you’re looking for something new. You can currently get The Sledgehammer Workout here – it has a ton of stuff in it already to keep you busy.
P.S. I was fortunate enough to receive a prototype of The Spyder 360 yesterday. These bad boys are light, portable and are like push ups handles with rollers on the bottom. You can work your core unlike anything I’ve ever tried. They’re EXTREMELY sturdy. You can do multiple exercises, attach your feet and do some crazy stuff. These are perfect for bootcamps! My friend, Jonathan C Smith is an industrial designer and created these. He sent me his last pair, his very own pair. He recently took this pair to The Arnold Classic in Columbus, Ohio where he had a booth. Tons of bodybuilders, fitness enthusiasts tried out this very pair. I’m going to do an unboxing and review of the prototypes in the next post on this blog. Stay tuned. In the meantime, check out his kickstarter campaign here. You’ll see images, videos, details and scenes from The Arnold Classic!