Speaking as a former fighter and current boxing coach, I can say without question that neck strength is imperative for anyone involved in a contact sport. Unfortunately, many athletes tend to ignore neck training until there’s a problem. That is a mistake. Rather than waiting to react to problem, it’s best to be proactive regarding neck development.
Long time readers of the site have surely heard me discuss neck training before. It’s something I take seriously and have written about in the past. More recently though, I demonstrated two neck bridging exercises to my Instagram page. Shortly after, my inbox was flooded with questions. With that in mind, I will use this entry to discuss those exercises, while also offering some additional options.
Neck Bridging Demonstrations
I grew up watching Mike Tyson perform a variety of neck bridging exercises (ex. see here). As an ambitious, young fighter, I naturally copied Tyson and began performing the same exercises. Over 25 years later, I’m still bridging, and my neck feels as healthy and strong as ever.
Two variations that I often include can be seen below.
I recently demonstrated one of my favorite power training complexes on Instagram. Following the post, I received numerous questions and comments about the pairing. With that in mind, I believe a brief follow up discussion is necessary. For those that missed the original post, I performed a one arm bench press followed immediately by medicine ball throws. This combination of a strength movement and explosive exercise is often referred to as complex training.
To begin, you can watch the previously referenced video below. I typically perform 3 to 5 reps with the one arm bench press, and proceed with 8 to 10 reps of medicine ball throws. There is little to no rest between the bench press and medicine ball throws. After benching, I basically just shake out the arms, take a deep breath, and proceed to the ball. Naturally, this combination is performed for both sides. I then rest briefly (ex. 2 minutes) and continue with another set. I perform 4 or 5 sets in total.
It’s been almost 10 years since I wrote about acquiring a large tractor tire for training. With that in mind, perhaps an updated entry will help the new readers of the site. After all, a large tire is one of the best training tools you’ll find. Tires are inexpensive (mine was free), effective, and extremely durable. I’ve had the same tire since 2008. It gets beaten every week and is still going strong. There’s no doubt it will outlive me. How many other inexpensive tools can you say that about?Finding a Tractor Tire
The easiest way to find a tire in your area is by doing a local search. For example, start with a google search of tractor tire suppliers or tractor tires near me. It shouldn’t be too difficult to find a supplier in your area. Once you’ve found one, call and ask if they have a scrap pile of used tires. Most large suppliers will have a scrap pile that needs to be disposed of or recycled. Such tires are typically given away for free as long as you have transportation to remove the tire.Transporting the Tire
The only cost I incurred when acquiring my tire was that of a rental truck. I rented a pickup truck from Home Depot for one hour. The tire company was then happy to load the tire onto the back of the truck for me. The...
The New Year is here which means millions of people around the world will embark on New Year’s resolutions. If you are one of those people, I wish you all the best. Personally, I’ve never been a fan of the practice however. Instead, I strive to wake up each day with the mindset that I will resolve to do better. January 1st is no different in that regard. One thing that I do at the beginning of the year though is to reflect on the past 365 days.Reflection
Rather than typing endlessly about resolutions vs. reflection, below is a brief video where I address the subject.
A post shared by Ross Enamait (@rosstraining) on Jan 1, 2018 at 3:26pm PSTSelf-Evaluation
By reflecting on the past year, you are essentially conducting a performance review of yourself. Doing so will allow you to identify areas where you can improve or should have done better. You don’t need to drive yourself crazy over whether you’ve reached your potential,...
I recently shared a brief video to Instagram about the humble beginnings of one of the best baseball players in the world (José Altuve). Following that post, I had several people ask where the video originated and whether there was additional footage. Fortunately, there is a full documentary that you can watch below. And in case you’re wondering, Altuve’s story is worth watching whether you’re a baseball fan or not.
José Altuve is the perfect example of an individual who continually defied the odds on his road to greatness. Anyone who’s ever been told that they couldn’t achieve something will surely enjoy witnessing his rise to the top. Plenty of experts wrote him off as a youngster, but he’s now a World Series champion and was recently named the American League’s Most Valuable Player.
And at just 27 years old, he’s really just getting started.Big Dreams – The José Altuve Story
If you are unable to view the video above, please try this link.
“It’s hard to beat a person who never gives up.” – Babe Ruth
Following my last entry, I had several people ask to see additional exercises that can be performed with a suspension trainer. With that in mind, I put together a short clip showing some of my favorite movements. As you’ll see, I included a mix of push, pull, and core exercises. I also added a weighted vest, which isn’t necessary, but offers a convenient way to increase the difficulty of any bodyweight exercise.
Suspension Trainer Exercises
As you can see, you don’t need an elaborate gym to achieve a quality workout. My suspension trainer is nothing but a pair of cam buckle straps and playground ring handles. And while commercial options do exist (see here), it’s important to recognize that you can do quite well with an inexpensive pair like mine. I’ve used the same straps and handles for many years and they are still as good as new.
A post shared by Ross Enamait...
Earlier this week, I shared a short video of a homemade suspension trainer that I made many years ago. After posting the clip, I was surprised at how many comments and views it received. After all, my suspension trainer is an old piece of equipment that’s been featured on this site several times before.
For example, here’s the exact tool from a 2010 post.
The suspension trainer is nothing but an inexpensive pair of cam buckle straps and playground ring handles. It’s nothing fancy, but it is still going strong and gets the job done. And the fact that it can still attract some attention is refreshing in an industry that always seems to be pushing something new or different.
Same Sh*t, Different Decade
Although fitness trends seem to change faster than the seasons, my own approach to training has remained fairly constant over the years. Very little has changed. The suspension trainer serves as one of many examples. It worked for me 10+ years ago and continues to work for me today.
Following a recent hiatus from the blog, I’m happy to report that I am back in America and will return to updating the site again this week. I apologize for the recent inactivity but fortunately it was for good reason. Over the past few months, I’ve been busy in training camp preparing former Olympic gold medalist Katie Taylor for her first world title fight as a professional.
Thankfully, the hard work and sacrifice have proven worthwhile. Last week, Katie captured the WBA lightweight world championship with a dominant performance over two-time champion Anahi Esther Sánchez at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff. It was a tremendous night and exciting fight as evident in the highlight video below (also available here).
Katie Taylor World Title
Thanks to everyone for the kind words and support!
“Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.” – T.S. Eliot
Long time readers of the site know that I’m a fan of the sledgehammer. Swinging a sledge is undoubtedly one of my favorite power and conditioning exercises. It’s not something I keep to myself though. Every athlete I’ve ever trained has spent time swinging a sledgehammer. That’s how much I believe in the tool.
And although I’ve written about different facets of sledgehammer training before, there seems to be a new crop of readers here who aren’t familiar with my past work. With that in mind, it might be useful to revisit some topics that haven’t been discussed recently. To kick things off, I will start with a brief discussion about interval training with a sledgehammer.Sledgehammer Conditioning
It’s worth noting that the sledgehammer can be used to develop power just as it can be used to build endurance. If the focus is power, your rep range will naturally be lower. Fatigue isn’t part of the equation. Instead, you should strive to get the most out of each individual swing. In other words, you aren’t rushing to finish the set. You are putting as much power into each swing with no concern over time.
As your focus shifts towards conditioning, you will naturally swing the sledge for higher reps or longer intervals. I personally don’t get too carried away with lengthy rounds though. I prefer to keep the sledgehammer moving at a rapid pace. As for ideal work-to-rest ratios, one...
Over the years, I’ve often highlighted the importance of consistency. I never stray too far from the exercises that have benefited me the most. I’m not about to abandon a valuable movement just to say that I’ve included some variety. On the contrary, I enjoy a more subtle approach. I’d rather vary how I perform a useful exercise instead of constantly seeking out new movements.
One exercise that I’ve often used to highlight my approach to variety are rollouts with an ab wheel. If you are familiar with my work, you have likely seen several rollout variations. Yet, after over 20 years of working with an ab wheel, I’m still uncovering different ways to perform the exercise. And while that might seem irrelevant to you, I believe there’s an important lesson to discuss. In short, it’s never too late to uncover new ways to improve.Rollouts for Time
There is no denying that rollouts rank at the top of my list for beneficial core training exercises. Rollouts have been invaluable to me over the years. I’m still discovering new ways to benefit from the movement however.
Most recently, I have begun working with rollout variations for timed rounds. One example can be seen below (pardon the loud music).
Long time readers of the site have likely seen me swinging a crazy looking weighted ball. It was almost 15 years ago when I first demonstrated my homemade tornado ball. In the time since, the same tornado ball has been featured briefly in numerous videos (ex. here). Most recently, I filmed a short clip of myself swinging the tornado ball over the weekend. As expected, a plethora of viewers commented by asking where I purchased the ball or how I made it.Tornado Ball Training
For starters, you can see the most recent video below. Notice how I work one side and then the other (similar to how one would swing a sledgehammer).
A post shared by Ross Enamait (@rosstraining) on Sep 2, 2017 at 10:43am PDTInstructions
While I’m sure there are commercial options available, my homemade version has lasted over 15 years. It also weighs over 25 pounds. Perhaps I’m wrong, but I’m guessing that most store-bought versions would be...
Last year, I wrote an entry that included some of my favorite power training exercises. As those who know me have come to expect, the movements were simple, yet effective. Anyone who has ever trained with me knows that I’m not a fan of complexity. My philosophy is rooted in consistency and hard work with the basics. Much of what I do now in my forties is no different from what I was doing in my twenties and thirties. When something works, I see no reason to reinvent the wheel.More Power
Over the past few weeks, my inbox has been flooded with questions about how to build punching power. I assume the recent spike in interest comes from the attention that the Mayweather vs. McGregor bout has generated. As a result, there seems to be a whole new crop of readers to my site as well as my boxing page.
To no surprise, many have landed here expecting a complex formula for power development. Complex programs seem to be more common than ever. Unfortunately, that’s not what you will find here. As a coach, I’m only concerned with what works. I don’t care if it’s new, old, simple, or complicated. If it works, we will use it. It just so happens that many of the best power training exercises are simple in nature.
A few examples can be seen below.
For those interested, there’s some new RossTraining and RossBoxing apparel available through the links below.
If there’s anything else you’d like to see in the apparel shop, feel free to comment below or shoot me a message at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for your support.
“Affirmation without discipline is the beginning of delusion.” – Jim Rohn
In a recent entry, I stated that it’s rare for me to not perform some type of exercise on any given day. Following that statement, I received several questions from people asking if or why I’m against complete rest. Many seem to believe that we all need at least one rest day per week to facilitate recovery. Personally, my own experience tells me otherwise. That doesn’t mean I’m opposed to complete rest however. I’ve simply found what works best for my body and encourage everyone else to do the same.Know Your Body
As a young athlete, I was always told to rest on Sunday. As a result, Sunday became my rest day for many years. I never questioned or second guessed the idea that we all need a rest day each week. It’s what everyone did. We’d rest on Sunday and be back in the gym on Monday.
Ironically though, Monday was never my best day of training. I always seemed a bit flat at the start of the week. Tuesday was almost always a better day for me. I felt better after a day of training than after a day of rest.
As time passed, I began to experiment with moving my rest day to another day in the week. It didn’t matter which day I rested though. The result was always the same. I never felt quite as sharp the next day. The only solution that worked...
Earlier this year, I shared a few tips about how to stay healthy and active as the years pass. To no surprise, I emphasized the importance of consistency. Consistent work and effort have always formed the backbone of my life. I’ve never been good at taking it easy. I’m an all or nothing person. If I’m working on something that matters to me, I don’t know how to give less than 100 percent. The question though is can you consistently give 100 percent without eventually running yourself into the ground?Struggling to Reduce Intensity
Most schools of thought encourage athletes to perform lighter sessions on occasion to facilitate recovery and prevent burnout. I too agree with this general premise. Constantly pushing yourself to the max each day with strenuous work is a recipe for failure. Such intensity cannot be sustained indefinitely. It’s only a matter of time before the body begins to suffer.
Unfortunately, recognizing the importance of lighter work isn’t the same as applying it. Speaking for myself, I’ve always struggled to include lighter days. My temperament is one that always wants to do more. There is no sense of accomplishment when I am intentionally working with less intensity than I can apply.Pushing Yourself With Lighter Work
The compromise that I’ve learned to make with myself is to perform lighter work that remains challenging. In other words, the work remains difficult, but there’s no risk of beating my body down....
In my last entry, I highlighted the potential of resourcefulness. As seen before, one man created a gym on a beach with nothing but old scrap materials. Today, we will look at something similar in terms of resources, but unique in terms of purpose. The men seen below aren’t training casually for fitness. Instead, they are Fijian rugby players preparing to compete with what many would consider primitive equipment and facilities.Hard Work is Free
Don’t be fooled by the lack of technology however. These athletes understand that hard work is free and available to everyone. The price tag on a flashy piece of equipment has no bearing on how hard an athlete will work with it. Intangible qualities such as effort, desire, and determination are up to the individual, not the equipment manufacturer.
And it’s those intangible qualities that matter more than anything. An athlete who is willing to give everything he has will never be limited by what some perceive as a lack of equipment. Instead, a dedicated athlete will find ways to work with whatever is available to him. Necessity is the mother of resourcefulness. The Fijian rugby players above offer perhaps the perfect example. Their national team captured a gold medal in the 2016 Rio Olympics.Final Thoughts
In summary, I’m not suggesting that everyone abandons their gym memberships to train like the Fijian rugby team. The real message that I hope...
Throughout this blog’s history, I’ve shared several homemade exercise ideas, but nothing compares to what’s showcased in the video below. Take a look at what Alcindo Soares has done on a beach in Santa Maria, Cape Verde. There’s really no words to describe the level of awesomeness. Alcindo’s homemade gym is honestly one of the best things I’ve ever seen.
Between his creativity and willingness to share his work with the community, Alcindo Soares is truly an inspirational figure. His story a perfect example that it doesn’t always take a financial investment to better the lives of others around you. Plenty can be accomplished through hard work, dedication, and resourcefulness.
Naturally, the same can be said of physical fitness. Plenty can be accomplished with little or nothing. Elaborate facilities are not required. If you are creative and willing to work, you’ll always find a way to get things done. Look no further than the video above for all the proof you’ll ever need.
“Creativity is putting your imagination to work, and it’s produced the most extraordinary results in human culture.” – Ken Robinson
Over the years, I’ve used this blog to emphasize the importance of hand-eye coordination. As I’ve said before, there’s much more to athletic development than simply building strength or endurance. It’s equally important for an athlete to possess the coordination and skill necessary to apply their strength and endurance.
On a similar note, it is also important for athletes to maintain coordination when fatigued. Doing so is a skill that must be developed and practiced. For example, it’s one thing for a boxer to perform well in the first round, but how does he perform ten rounds into the fight? Does his technique break down, or can he mask fatigue by giving his opponent the impression that he’s still fresh? Often times it’s a champion’s ability to perform well when fatigued that separates him from the contenders.Fatigued Practice
As for learning how to perform when fatigued, there’s obviously times when an athlete must push through exhaustion while practicing his sport. Speaking as a boxing coach, it’s almost guaranteed that a fighter will deal with some fatigue when sparring. Naturally, we don’t always want to be practicing skills when fatigued however. Doing so too often can lead to bad habits.
Fortunately, there are other options available. For instance, we can pre-fatigue the muscles with an exercise such as pushups before performing a coordinated action such as juggling. One such example can be seen below. Notice that the juggling...