I am inspired to write this Blog greatly because of two men, both of whom I speak of often:
Jonny Hinds, Owner of The Monkey Bar Gym, who will also be presenting at The Underground Strength Gym in Edison in October (stay tuned for this announcement).
Rick Gonzales, my infamous college Gymnastics Coach.
These men have the seamless strength of Gorillas. They move their bodies through space and perform bodyweight strength exercises that are extremely challenging, yet they show such tight technique and high levels of skill, making it seem as if they are not even trying.
Kinda reminds me of the awe shocking strength of Gorillas, pulling themselves up and over obstacles such as 8' walls using one arm with ease and speed.
I still remember Rick demonstrating ring muscle ups, one after another, with ease, talking to the class as if it was as easy as brushing your teeth. He explained to us how it was a pure strength drill, as were the majority of gymnastics basics.
1) Focus on Strength as a Skill: And because the majority of gymnastics drills were based on strength, he had us train for strength using the various apparatuses in the gym: the high bars, rings, parallel bars, pommel horse, crash mats and of course, the wrestling mat. The volume was high and we often had to complete total reps rather than prescribed sets and reps.
Examples were 50 pull ups, 50 dips on parallel bars combined with walking back and forth on the parallel bars, 50 leg raises, 50 jumps on the crush mats, 50 shoot thrus on the pommel horse. It was BRUTAL but I got strong as hell AND explosive from all of this animal training.
2) Walk on Your Hands: I've seen Jonny Hinds walk around on his hands with ease, walking DOWN stairs on his hands as well. BOTH men always focused on developing strength, speed, power and athleticism through the various forms of bodyweight training. Jonny also recommended hand walking on monkey bars and rings for greater upper body strength.
3) Jump Training & Plyos for BOTH Upper AND Lower Body: Rick had us perform full body traveling plyo push ups down and across the wrestling mats. Jonny performs resisted jumps for lower body often. Both Coaches used jumps to teach the body speed and power from the legs and upper body. BUT.... this requires a great deal of strength before implementation. Go back to square one if need be and focus on strength as a skill.
Check out my warm up, guided by instinct, followed by a portion of my workout, influenced by men stronger than I am.
And Now, for Part I of the "Gorilla Strength" workout.... I've got LOTS of work to do before I can give myself props...
I LOVE training with bodyweight, trying to mimic the movements of animals. I also LOVE ripping into heavy iron using Old School Basic barbell lifts.
Here's my Question for You:
What type of training do you implement when "training like an animal?"
Drop a comment below, psyched to see you responses!
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The Convict Conditioning Workout
I love throwing stuff. Tires, sandbags, logs, med balls. To me, there’s nothing more “animal” then picking stuff up and throwing it around.
Looks like a fun workout. dips are probably my favorite exercise. I work them into every upper body workout. One thing I like is doing a circuit where I don’t leave the push-up position. I’ll do DB rows, 10 push-ups, 20 mountain climbers, 10 push-ups, 5 walkout (walk my hands as far in front of me as possible, hold, walk back and repeat), 10 push-ups, 10 single knee tucks, 10 push ups.
Paul Black says
I’ve got a rock I picked up in a beach in scotland, and a thick rope slung over a branch in the tree in the back garden. You can do all kinds of drills with them, zercher carry the stone up and down the slope, rope chin ups, clean and squat the stone, rope climbs, stone throws for explosive effort, get that beastly viking mentality.
I like to use logs of various sizes. One of the drills I do is to toss the log, do a bear crawl to the log. Use one arm to hold the logover my shoulder and along my back and try to crawl back (monkey walk). It may be odd, but it is definately tough. Repeat only use the other arm on the way back. Took a long time to get coordinated enough to do it.
hey zach, what are u tipping the scales at these days? those ring dips were impressive. i try to perform those on my blast straps and that exercise is intense!
i was first exposed to the underground when i read an article u wrote for EFS after you had won some powerlifting championship. I think it was at 165, but u look much bigger than that now…all muscle ofcourse.
keep rocking brohams
training like an animal is not abt which style u train, rather its abt how u approach ur training, how much u crave the intensity, how much u wanna feel the sweat.i’m a student of bodyweight training(once in a while i use weights),but that doesn’t mean u can’t become beast mode with other style.its not about the “which way” its abt the “how u walk that way”.its abt being underground, doing whats effective rather than whats the norm, doing the “un-norm”.Such beasts are not common, they exist in garages.they exist in very few places like the underground,MBG,strength camp,defranco’s.forgive me if i missed someone.brooks kubik coined the word “chrome n’ fern land”..everyone’s going there, training with their machines, as for us beasts… we rretreating into our houses to train the way we’r born to do…
I like loading up a sled with max weight and pulling like a bull competing at the fair, tree climbing like a monkey and boulder jumping like a mountain goat. I also like sprints through dense woods jumping over, ducking under, darting around. Some of my most memorable workouts have been solo out in the woods, lettin loose n tearin it up!
Trevor Smith says
I generally have two areas for “Animal Training”. One involves weighted movements, tearing up sandbags, throwing things, ripping tractor tires off the ground, pounding the sledge hammer, and going crazy with battle ropes. The other area is pure body weight. I love going to playgrounds and doing all sorts of crazy pulls, vaults, hand walking, and steep hill bear crawls. That movement is as natural and as bad ass as you can get. Of course mixing both groups is insanely effective. Bad Religion; can’t get much better than that!
Saša Habuzin says
Hi. Ppl before me pretty much said everything about it and I do all of that when I train outside. One thing I love to do is CLIMB TREES. I do not know if that is an exercise but I love to find a low hanging, branched out tree that is not to high and just climb around, over and in any possible direction I can think of. Bare feet are a must or vibram five fingers but those are hard to find in Croatia so I go primitive…:)
I like the warm up with the sledge. I put a 2.5 pipe around one of my handles to make the gripping more difficult. I also cut two sledges to have a 12 inch handle, and use both at the same time to warm up the shoulders and elbows. Made a huge difference in my olympic lifts.
Beastly training?! Stones! I go to an old rock quarry by our house and lift as many stones as I can. Even stacking and running sprints with them.
While hiking my boys will pick out my stones, and to not disappoint them I will lift the stone. No better motivation than living up to your child’s belief that you’re super human.
I second Noah about throwing stuff. Picking heavy stuff up and throwing it around is awesome.
I just try to be strong at all areas of physical fitness – the classics: Barbells, dumbbells. bodyweight training: dips, pull ups, push ups, lunges…handstands & handstand pushups are something I tried the other day and was humbled QUICKLY. odd objects: random rocks, tires, sandbags, cinderblocks, all of that.
Well rounded is where its at. Keep the vids and articles pumping my man. I love reading the daily emails.
Frank S says
To train like an ANIMAL, im all about body weight as well as whole body odd lifts. I do stuff like handstand pushups, wall walks, hanging leg lifts and medicine/basketball pushups. Also i do one hand and two hand tire throws, 250lb (maybe heavier, not sure) tire flips, farmer walks with a 100lb sandbag and sled drags. After a good workout i really feel like an ANIMAL after doing some of those things.
I like to do gorilla sessions. Think of what gorillas do in the wild, the type of strength they have. Gorillas are big pullers. They have a lot of pulling strength, both two handed and one handed. I’ll do things like dead hang with one arm from a towel or rope and attempt the first part of of single arm pull ups, single arm deadlift and standard deadlift, standing pull against a heavy band with one hand and sometimes just seeing how fast I can climb a tree. This comes in handy to supplement my training for strongman.