Friday, March 2, 2012

What's a joint like you doin' in a person like this?

If it’s important, do it every day.  If it’s not important, don’t do it at all.”
– Coach Dan Gable

More often than not, when people ask me “what should I be adding to my routine?” I tell them to stop adding and start subtracting.  If you can get rid of all but a few key moves (swings and getups come to mind), why add more?  I think most people reading this blog would probably agree that doing more with less kicks more ass than vice versa.

As always though, there’s an exception.  And it’s not a “move” per se, but an element of training that people ignore: Joint training.

Why joint training?  Simple: You’re only as strong as your weakest point, and since joints are complex, moving parts, for most people they’re susceptible to aches, pains, and injuries.  When I discovered kettlebells in 2008, I also discovered joint mobility and flexibility a la Pavel’s masterworks Super Joints and Relax Into Stretch.  I immediately started adding them to my daily diet of activities, and to great success.  I have a lot better flexibility and mobility than the average muscle head, and that coupled with smart training is what I credit my relative lack of injuries to over the years.  Not surprisingly, the times when I’ve gotten lazy and stopped practicing joint training and flexibility have been the times when I’ve dealt with more aches, pains, immobility and stiffness. 

I’m not one to toot my own horn, but…TOOT TOOT!  My flexibility and mobility is often the envy of friends, fellow trainers and RKCs.  I’ve heard more than a few times “I think a lot of your mobility is genetic.”  There may be some truth to this, just like there may be some truth to the claim “I think a lot of your strength is just genetic.”  It’s mostly a cop-out.  I’m not flexible when I don’t practice, just like I’m not strong when I don’t practice.  If you care about your strength, you practice it.  If you care about improving strength for your whole life, you might want to consider training your joints.

The good news is that you don’t need to add much or devote much time to it.  My whole daily routine looks like this:
·         Super Joints moves
·         The Trifecta (from Convict Conditioning 2)
·         Rolling, rocking, and crawling drills from Becoming Bulletproof

This takes me all of about 17 minutes.  You don’t even have to do it all at once – some days I’ll split it up if I’m short on time.  But I believe in it, and I think a lot of people would be better off if they stopped viewing it as some “sissy” thing and started taking it seriously.  I consistently hit PRs in my training, so joint training and flexibility work obviously hasn’t gotten in the way. 

As I said before, I’m a bigger fan of subtraction than addition, but there are always exceptions.  IF you add just one thing to your physical training, I recommend it be the Trifecta from Convict Conditioning 2.  The Trifecta consists of three calisthenics holds: A bridge hold, a L-sit, and a twist hold.  Check out the video for a tongue-in-cheek demo.

 For a lot of people, lack of joint/flexibility training leads to knots, nodules, and other unfun crap to build up in your muscles.  I had a super tight lower back that a very good chiropractor and massage therapist couldn’t fix, and the Trifecta made short work of it.  I have had no back issues to speak of for weeks, and fixing it up didn’t cost me a damn thing, save for the cost of the book!  Click here to buy ConvictConditioning 2 and start becoming a better man or woman.

All this reading has probably made you hungry.  Or maybe it didn’t.  Either way, check out this video on how to make a meal in 10 minutes or less.  If you can do the same thing, send a video my way!  I wanna see it.

Until next time, lift heavy and eat hearty!



  1. Dude, this ROCKS!!!!!!!!!! Love the TRIFECTA!!! Been doing it myself as well!!! Although I am about 5% as flexible as you!!! ;-)

  2. Thank you, Franz! I am also in love with the Trifecta - so much so that I don't know what I did without it! As for your flexibility, keep working at it! You'll get it :-)