“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
Posted on: August 17, 2016.
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