Sunday, June 8, 2008

A New Article and a New DVD!

Anatomy of a Throw

To make our athletes more explosive we must create an adaptation via their routine engagement of reactive, speed-strength similar sport specific movements or through their involvement in actual sporting events or practice. For our athletes to become faster and more explosive, general and general specific physiological qualities can be developed in the weight room through the incorporation of throws. As we know, one of the greatest benefits of throws is that there is no deceleration at the end range of movement which is typical of strength training movements. Therefore, true kinetic extension of the engaged segments can be achieved. Another benefit is that various implements and movement patterns can be utilized. We must also acknowledge that in training, these explosive throwing movements are patterned, efficiently executed, without the hindrance of accumulated physiological and CNS fatigue and with optimal breathing. This is not the case in sport. Therefore, their inclusion should be a compliment to their sport and routine sport practice sessions.

How to teach an explosive throw:

Level 1: Uninstructed

Verbally instruct the athlete or lifter to perform the movement in general terms. Have them execute the pattern. Notice the weaknesses, where the form breaks down or the kinetic alignment throughout the throw. Provide greater step-by-step instruction on each transition and segment of the movement with specific attention to the needs of each individual athlete. Remember, perfect practice makes perfect.

Level 2: Braced / Breathing

Now, have the athlete repeat the movement with the specific additional instructions of breathing execution and bracing of the torso to ensure force transfer, speed of movement and rigidity.

Level 3: Speed

With the torso now isometrically stabilized and intra-abdominal pressure engaged, the speed of movement can progressively increase. Note: As the speed increases so does the shadowing of the compensations or inefficiencies of the movement. Incorrect movements can become harder to identify so reinforcement of proper movement should continue, focusing on the basics.

Level 4: Leg Drive / Extension

As the speed increases, explosiveness can also improve with the instruction of driving through the legs (driving the ground away) and “reaching” at the end of the movement.

Level 5: Visual Target / Accuracy

We’ve established the force transfer, increased the speed and explosiveness, now we will improve the accuracy of the movement with a visual target. Introduction of cognitive (conscious intellectual activity - during the pattern will now bridge the mind/body interaction. This becomes essential as we are trying to increase the potential for sub-conscious movement on the field.

Level 6: Identify Weaknesses / Modify Training Protocol

After Level 5, we are now ready to record next step strategies for developing the general strength qualities that will enhance our athlete’s throwing performance. These are modifications and updates to their training protocol.

Throws will enhance starting and explosive strength. With the right means, we can also dynamically introduce these implements into a movement to elicit and enhance a reactive throwing expression.

Get creative and understand that without a strong core we cannot develop the torso strength and rigidity our athletes need to perform explosive, multi-joint, unanticipated movements.


Also, check out the new Combat Core DVD set!

Jim Smith, CSCS

Author Combat Core

Friday, June 6, 2008

Combat Core - DVD Release 6/9

Check out this amazing promo for the upcoming Combat Core DVD release on 6/9.

Jim Smith, CSCS
Author Combat Core

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Bracing and the Long Ball

The Long Ball and Bracing

The Benefits of Combat Core

I had one of my baseball players laying the smack down with a sledgehammer on a tractor tire last night.

He was setup in his stance and the movement engaged a rotation, high to low or what some call the "golf swing." Our goal was quality of movement so he targeted 6-8 swings, resetting with each swing.

I noticed as he was swinging his breathing patterns were random and his shirt was moving inward.

We talked at length about anticipating the pitch and timing it with his breathing. We also worked on bracing. Bracing involves forcing the abdominals outward with a powerful isometric contraction throughout the movement. Similar to the bracing drill I demonstrate in Combat Core.

There was a noticeable difference between the sound of the sledgehammer hitting the tire on the first set and the sound on the last sets.

He called me tonight and told me he had the best batting practice he's had all season just by focusing on anticipating, breathing and bracing.

If you've been using Combat Core in your training or with your athletes, send me an email of your progress!

Your strength coach,

Jim Smith, CSCS
Author Combat Core

Monday, April 28, 2008

Do Not Try This....Ever!

The Combat Core DVD Set is Coming!

The official release date is Memorial Day - May 26th!

What you will see in the DVD set are some of the most intense torso training exercises ever filmed! The DVD set is the perfect compliment to the best selling manual and will include over 140 exercises!

Want a sneak peak?

In the DVD, Mike Hanley introduced me to the Progressive Plank with Chains!

Here is the setup:

Have the lifter or athlete setup in a plank. Once stabilized, start adding chains (or sandbags) across their back. We used a total of 6 chains in all! Once all the chains are loaded the timer begins. Every 10 seconds take 1 chain off. Continue on until all the chains are removed. The total time will be 1 minute plus the loading time. Each chain weighed 20 lbs, which means at the highest weight, Mike had 120 lbs of chains on his back! Talk about muscular endurance.

Check out how it all started...

Jim Smith, CSCS
Author, Combat Core

Monday, April 21, 2008

Athletic Performance from a Different Angle

Athletic Performance from a Different Angle

Hey guys, this weekend I had a chance to sit down with my longtime colleague, John Alvino. John is a strength and conditioning specialist and an advisor for Men’s Fitness. I know firsthand that John gets amazing results with the athletes he trains. He is well known in the industry for getting his athletes completely ripped, and stronger than ever. I asked John to tell me a little bit about his fat loss protocol for athletes. Here’s what he had to say:

John, thanks for taking the time to answer my questions about fat loss and athletic performance. This is a topic I rarely address with our newsletter because we are typically so focused on building strength, power, agility, flexibility, etc…

Tell me, why is it important for athletes to maintain a lean physique and how can they do it without affecting their performance?

Most athletes want to become leaner to improve their sports performance. Unfortunately, most of the fat loss methods out there actually act as an enemy to athleticism. A typical fat loss program involves eating low calories, which significantly hampers the athlete’s ability to recover. Athletes tend to experience a decrease in performance as well as a lack of energy when they employ these fat loss protocols for too long.

For your body to function optimally, you must take in an adequate amount of nutrients in order to aid in recovery, prevent injury, and keep your immune system healthy. Fat loss training methods tend to completely ignore this fact about the human body. Thus, most fat loss programs end up making you weaker, slower, and less explosive. Moreover, typical fat loss methods actually encourage the fast twitch muscle fibers to take on characteristics of slower twitch fibers (for those of you who don’t know, it is your fast twitch fibers that provide you with explosive strength and quickness). These are very serious consequences to a high level athlete. Fortunately, there is a better way.

My fat loss approach actually encourages more athleticism, more power, and more explosiveness, as well as a higher level of anabolic hormones (testosterone and growth hormone). My athletes find that as they get leaner, their conditioning for their sport actually improves, as does their energy levels. They feel lighter on their feet, yet stronger and even more explosive than they were before. That’s because my program is specifically designed to burn fat while encouraging dexterity, speed, and a maximum maintenance of lean muscle.

I usually have only 12 weeks to train an athlete prior to their returning to camp for pre-season. Although their primary goal is to get stronger and faster, I also like to get them as lean as possible. In the 12 weeks they work with me, it is quite typical that my athletes lose 20 lbs of body fat, and yet they make great gains in their strength, power and conditioning. My athletes excel in the strength and conditioning tests upon returning to camp: exercises such as vertical jump, 40 yard dash, 225-lb for reps on the bench press, power cleans, squats, etc.

Here are a few keys to successful fat loss for an athlete:

Do not lose more 2 lbs per week.

Doing so can result in water loss, lean muscle loss, and rapid glycogen depletion. This is turn causes weakness, loss of endurance, fatigue, reduced mental focus, and increases the athlete’s susceptibility to injury.

Don’t cut carbs too low.

Carbohydrates are an athlete’s primary source of energy. It is essential not to restrict carbohydrates too much for too long. This will directly decrease power output and performance in general.

Emphasize cardiovascular activities that engage fast twitch fibers.

By doing so, you ensure that you will not lose power or lean muscle mass as a result of your cardio training. Also, by training this way, you will actually be better prepared for the rigorous requirements of the training regimen of your particular sport, as well as the demands of the sport itself.

Avoid working out exclusively in the high rep range.

High reps are a common prescription in any fat loss program. The athlete’s perception is usually that a high rep workout is a better and more thorough workout. They sweat more and the workout often feels more taxing; thus, they mistakenly feel that this means they are burning more fat. There is a big price to pay for this misconception.

The truth is that the high rep protocol is yet another reason performance can decrease. The weight that is used is just too light to adequately engage the neuromuscular system. This, in conjunction with the high volume of these workouts, this protocol often contributes to muscle wasting, and causes the athlete to become slower and weaker.

Thanks John – awesome information!

Just so you guys know, Alvino is not the typical “bodybuilding” trainer. All of his fat loss techniques have been refined and perfected on the top level athletes he has trained for the last 7 years.

Check out his program here – Click Here

The Diesel Crew

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Combat Core - Sandbag Loaders

Combat Core - Sandbag Loaders

Exercise: Sandbag Loaders

Hanging from a pull-up bar the lifter will load a sandbag or medicine ball to a partner or onto a platform. This compound torso building exercise ties in the upper back and lats with the abdominals and hip flexors.

- compound movement incorporating many muscle groups
- support grip strength endurance
- a variety of trunk postures can be executed, not just linear flexion / extension movements
- controlling the extension (eccentric) phase of the movement creates a balance of the musculature surrounding the hip

Increase difficulty by increasing the weight in the sandbag, increasing the required loading height or by decreasing the rigidity of the implement (i.e. slosh ball or water keg).

Check out the most valuable abdominal training resource ever created - Click Here

Jim Smith, CSCS
Author Combat Core

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Combat Core - Reactive Rows

Exercise: Reactive Rows


- improved transverse deceleration of the torso
- improved anti-rotation / bracing of the torso
- improved thoracic mobility
- improved upper body reactivity
- improved grip strength


- Increase weight of DB
- Remove stability points (hand and knee on bench) and perform free standing

You've never seen this level of strength before - don't miss out - Click Here

Jim Smith, CSCS
Author Combat Core

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Dynamic Planks

The Next Level of Core Training - Dynamic Planks

When you think about the most basic abdominal exercise, the first one that pops into your head is probably planks.

Planks are where a person lays out into a push-up position but instead of being on their outstretched hands, they rest on their forearms. In this position, the athlete or lifter will remain for a specific length of time. If the time exceeds one and a half minutes that is considered pretty good.

The benefits of planks include rehabilitating a back injury, glute activation, developing proficiency for bracing the torso with intra-abdominal pressure and an isometric contraction of the abdominals and developing muscular endurance of the muscles that stabilize, support and engage movements of the torso.

But in accordance with the Principle of Overload and the Laws of Chaos, there is a progression for all resistance training means. Progression of an exercise will increase the difficulty, which increases the demand and work capacity of the lifter and in turn, provides more adaptation and benefits.

So what is the next training progression for planks? Here are some of the most common modifications :

  • Raising one foot off the ground (ensure the lifter doesn’t shift to the side to compensate by forcibly firing the glutes and bracing harder
  • Add a weighted vest or back pack
Further unique adaptations can be obtained if we are relentless in our pursuit of our ultimate goal – real world strength. It is this real world strength that is developed not only with fixed, patterned strength training movements, but with random, rapidly adjusted reactive means. This is truer to real life and everyday movements.

Here is the modification that will produce the results we want. The lifter will setup in a conventional plank but with their feet on an elevated box and their forearms on a mini-trampoline.

This is a plank x 10!

This variation is much more difficult to stabilize because as the lifter adjusts, so does the base of support (the trampoline) they are resting on! We can of course increase the difficulty by externally loading the lifter or having them lift one leg, but we want to make this exercise really difficult. By having the lifter raise up onto their hands, more vibration can be achieved.

Now hit a plyometric push-up with the goal of restabilizing and restoring a static posture as quickly as possible. This creates a full body tremor that improves the integrity of the elbows, shoulders and hips.

Now, let's perform a one arm plank on this setup. This requires a greater glute and opposite oblique contraction to counterbalance the movement. The goal is to minimize the hips shifting and remain rigid. This movement can be held for time and increased in difficulty by a partner-assisted agitation.

For a more advanced movement a plyometric push-up can once again be engaged, but this time we will land on one arm.

Not only does this have amazing implications in a rehabilitative setting, but decelerative properties for the torso, back and shoulders as well. Sports that require ballistic upper body expressions (which is essentially all sports) or sports with high incidences of shoulder or hip injuries can benefit from this vibrational environment. The more vibration we can introduce, the more rapid the contractions, primary and antagonistic, of the engaged muscular and the greater stability of the kinetic chain. This creates a balance and teaches the athlete how to stabilize in opposition to random stimuli.

Check out

Jim Smith, CSCS
Author, Combat Core

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Combat Core is LIVE!

Check it out here:

Author, Combat Core

Saturday, March 15, 2008


Combat Core

It is true that Combat Core contains a bunch of torso training exercises that incorporate every non-conventional implement known to man:

- Tractor tires

- sledgehammers

- kettlebells

- thick ropes

- sandbags

...just to name a few...

But what if you don't have ANY OF THOSE THINGS?

No problem!

There are a ton of BODYWEIGHT ONLY exercises that make up the rest of your new arsenal of abdominal training exercises.

Do you want an exclusive look at the bonuses?

How about this!

- Interview

- $1 Trial Membership

- The Deadlift 101 Video

- The Deadlift 101 Manual

- The Underground Combat Files

- The S&C Interrogation Files

- Lifetime Updates

Or how about the DELUXE PACKAGE?

- Interview

- $1 Trial Membership

- The Deadlift 101 Video

- The Deadlift 101 Manual

- The Underground Combat Files

- The S&C Interrogation Files

- The Complete Abdominal Index

- Advanced Kettlebell Training

- Sledgehammer Essentials

- The Summer Shredder Program

- The MMA Power Program

* Lifetime Updates


That doesn't include the most innovative strength manual to come out in 2008 - Combat Core.

Get Read for Monday!

Your strength coach,


Friday, March 14, 2008

100's of Exercises!

Combat Core

The emails are flooding in! Everyone can't wait until Monday!

Did I mention that one of the bonuses comes from bodybuilder and strength coach John Alvino. The Complete Abdominal Exercise Index is incredible!

Combat Core and The Complete Abdominal Exercise Index will give you hundreds of torso training exercises.

You'll never get bored again!

How about this question that came in:

"Is Combat Core beneficial for powerlifters, I mean, I don't exactly have ripped abs?"

Of course! The whole purpose of Combat Core is to show the exercises that develop true core strength. Powerlifters (and any athlete for that matter) require insane abdominal strength to move tons of weight.

But remember, if you aren't an athlete, just someone who wants to train to get stronger, get more intense or get better, Combat Core is perfect for you too!

Do you have kettlebells? There are kettlebell exercises!

Do you have thick rope? There are thick rope exercises!

Do you have kegs? There are keg exercises!

Do you have tractor tires? There are tire exercises!

Do you like to train with non-conventional means?

You better go to

on 3/17!

Your strength coach,


Thursday, March 13, 2008

Your Exclusive First Look at Combat Core!

Check out Rob Pilger laying the smackdown in this exclusive video demonstrating just a few exercises contained in Combat Core!

Whether you are a person who wants to be strong, fit and injury free or you are an elite athlete - Combat Core can help you reach your goals!

Author, Combat Core

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Combat Core is for EVERYONE!

Combat Core

Combat core is not only for athletes, it is for EVERYONE!

People who value fitness and spend time in a gym or outside working out know the importance of engaging in compound, ground-based movements.

But, it is these exercises that cause us the most problems. Falling forward in the squat, hitching a deadlift or getting pasted with a bench press.

Once technique is developed, the problem becomes a strength issue. Nine times out of ten, it is a weakness of the abdominals and surrounding musculature.

It you have a strong core, you will have the bracing proficiency needed to execute these compound means.

Do you spend a massive amount of time hitting crunches or do you save abdominal training until the end of your workout and end up just doing a couple sets?

Why waste your time?

If you do the right exercises, with the right amount of intensity, you will get a huge carryover to your other strength training endeavors.


You'll be less likely to get injured!


Release Date: 3/17

I am releasing the book with a 3 day sale. It is going to be huge!

Stay tuned for tomorrow for your exclusive first look at Combat Core.

Your strength coach,


Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Combat Core Strength Release Date Annnounced!

Combat Core

Hey Everyone,

I can't wait for the release of my new book Combat Core.

Release Date: 3/17

I am releasing the book with a 3 day sale. It is going to be huge.

I appreciate all the support and emails asking about the book and what's it all about.

I have been working day and night trying to get the book together along with all of the bonuses. The basic package will have 6 bonuses and there will be an opportunity to add on 4 more bonuses - the whole thing is massive.

So what is Combat Core?

Combat Core dispels all of the myths and fallacies flooding the internet about abdominal strength. Why waste your time with endless sets of crunches and sit-ups? Your goal should be to build and development functional core strength for your specific goals. If you want to get better at squats, you need core strength. If you are an athlete and want to improve performance, you need serious core strength. That is why I created Combat Core.

Stay tuned - more information leading up to the release date.