“Achieving the extraordinary is not a linear process.” – Christopher Sommer
This is another jam-packed episode with Coach Chris Sommer (GymnasticBodies on Instagram/Facebook), the former US national team gymnastics coach and founder of GymnasticBodies. As a world-renowned Olympic coach, Sommer is known for building his students into some of the strongest, most powerful athletes in the world. While this is a stand-alone episode, you can (and should!) check out his last appearance, which is one of the most popular episodes ever on the podcast.
We cover a lot in this episode, including:
- What home equipment should someone invest in first (for $100 or less)?
- What are Coach Sommer’s thoughts on weighted stretches?
- What does lower-body GST look like for a 40-year old former athlete?
- The best distinction between “mobility” and “flexibility.”
- Exercise progressions for bar muscle-ups and most common mistakes in training for muscle-ups.
- Foam rolling or mobility tools: Do they have a place in GST? If so, favorite uses?
- How should taller people (say, over six feet tall) adjust GST?
- How should women adjust GST?
- And much, much more.
If you only have 5 minutes, here’s the equipment Coach Sommer recommends if you want to get started with Gymnastic Strength Training.
- Listen to it on iTunes.
- Stream by clicking here.
- Download as an MP3 by right-clicking here and choosing “save as.”
Want to hear another podcast on fitness and training from a world-class coach? — Listen to my conversation with Pavel Tsatsouline. In this episode, we discuss the science of strength and the art of physical performance (stream below or right-click here to download):
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QUESTION(S) OF THE DAY: What was your favorite quote or lesson from this episode? Please let me know in the comments.
Scroll below for links and show notes…
Selected Links from the Episode
- Connect with Christopher Sommer:
- GymnasticBodies landing page for Tim Ferriss Show listeners
- The Secrets of Gymnastic Strength Training (Coach Sommer’s last appearance on this show.)
- Gymnastic Strength Training Illustrated – Tim Ferriss & Christopher Sommer (Modern Frontier’s video demonstrations of exercises discussed during Coach Sommer’s last appearance.)
- Learn How to Use Gymnastics Rings – Iron Cross, GymnasticBodies
- Making a Dream Machine by Michael Traynor at GymnasticBodies
- Sever’s Disease
- Hollow Body Position demonstration (with dowel) by Andreas Lund Hessner
- Arch Body Position demonstration (with dowel) by Andreas Lund Hessner
- Karate chopping filmed by high-speed camera
- Mats Trane at Instagram (who began Gymnastic Strength Training at age 48)
- Stretch Straps
- Yoga Blocks
- Straddle Lifts (Pulse) by RoutineFit
- Hurdler Stretch by PeakEnergyPerformancePT
- The Benefits of Weighted Mobility by GymnasticBodies
- The Legend of Tarzan trailer
- Jefferson Curls: Weighted Mobility for the Posterior Chain by GymnasticBodies
- Weighted Pike Stretch by GymnasticBodies
- How To Do Bar Muscle Ups by Barbell Shrugged
- Seinfeld – Newman!
- Obliques: The Missing Link in Your Core by GymnasticBodies
- Mobility for Desk Workers: Table Rocks by GymnasticBodies
- Are YOU Training Shoulder Extension? by GymnasticBodies
- Russian Dips: Build Strength for Muscle-Ups by GymnasticBodies
- Foam Rollers
- A Patient’s Guide to Adult Kyphosis by University of Maryland Medical Center
- The Hunchback of Notre Dame (Lon Chaney, 1923)
- CrossFit Training
- What is a Straddle Planche? by GymnasticBodies
- Learn How to Increase Your Flexibility – Lat Flys by GymnasticBodies
- Coach Sommer talks me through a speedier recovery for an injury I recently sustained. [07:50]
- Coach Sommer explains contrast baths (and how Michael Jordan used them to score 40 points on an injured ankle). [14:14]
- Home equipment for getting started with Gymnastic Strength Training. [16:21]
- The importance of overcoming damage from “desk patrol” and increasing mobility before getting into advanced exercises (e.g., dislocates, flexion work, shoulder extensions). [17:53]
- Explaining the hollow body position vs. the arch body position and how the dowel comes into play. [20:34]
- What a high-speed karate chop in slow motion demonstrates about the purpose of the skeletal system. [25:08]
- Inspiration from a 53-year-old for people who feel like they’re too old to get in shape. [27:53]
- How Coach Sommer changed his mind about the efficacy of stretch straps and yoga blocks. [29:45]
- The consequences of immobility. [32:46]
- What’s the benefit of elevating the heel of the straight leg on a block when doing a hurdler stretch? [34:38]
- Why are weighted stretches crucial for Gymnastic Strength Training (especially in adults)? [35:46]
- Other exercises Coach Sommer finds particularly effective. [39:17]
- Mobility vs. flexibility. [43:44]
- What does lower body Gymnastic Strength Training look like (and why do people who consider themselves fit usually get injured)? [44:35]
- Recommendations for preventing common running injuries. [50:26]
- Why connective tissue (like the Achilles tendon) thrives on high-rep work. [56:24]
- Coach Sommer tells us about going from gymnastics to elite running in high school to chase a girl. [59:26]
- What are the prerequisites for a safe back tuck? [1:00:27]
- What are the prerequisites for a bar muscle-up? [1:01:39]
- The main strength and mobility issues for inactive adults. [1:02:57]
- Building strength with Russian Dips. [1:04:58]
- Foam rolling — yea or nay? [1:07:32]
- Pursuing health and pursuing performance are not diametrically opposed concepts. [1:08:38]
- How can you avoid getting a Kyphotic hump (aka hunchback)? [1:09:47]
- Does Gymnastic Strength Training differ for taller people? [1:11:21]
- Does Gymnastic Strength Training differ between men and women? [1:12:24]
- What is the most effective way to handle gymnastics coaches when they get cocky and condescending? [1:14:28]
- How can you keep morale high as a beginner? [1:15:15]
- Is a sudden leap in progress after seemingly endless stagnation in training common? [1:19:24]
- Coach Sommer’s email about dealing with the temporary frustration of not making progress. [1:22:59]
- Tim Grover
- Michael Jordan
- Ryan Bailey
- Mats Trane
- Douglas Wadle
- Rumen the Bulgarian
- Jerry Seinfeld
- Wayne Knight
- Allan Bower
The Tim Ferriss Show is one of the most popular podcasts in the world with more than 700 million downloads. It has been selected for "Best of Apple Podcasts" three times, it is often the #1 interview podcast across all of Apple Podcasts, and it's been ranked #1 out of 400,000+ podcasts on many occasions. To listen to any of the past episodes for free, check out this page.