Monday, July 7, 2014

Build Strong, Powerful Legs!

If you're a martial artist or combat athlete you already know that the vast majority of your power comes from your legs and your hips. So, if your interested in being able to deliver more power in all of your moves (strikes, kicks, throws, etc...), then you need to put some serious effort into training your legs.

Now, I know a lot you guys out there think they may need a lot of equipment to properly work their legs: a squat rack, an Olympic Barbell, a Leg Press Machine, a leg extension machine, a leg curl machine, etc....

Well, I'm here to tell you that simply isn't true. You can build a pair of super powerful legs with just two exercises that require minimal equipment: the Pistol and the Swing.

Pistols and Heavy-Ass swings - 

The fact of the matter is, you don't really need a lot of bells and whistles to build a super strong, functional body. In my own home gym (which is really just half of a single-car garage) I have a minimum amount of equipment. I don't have room for a squat rack or an Oly bar. But, I make due with what I've got.

I focus most of my attention on training a few simple but powerful moves - moves that require little to no equipment. And when it comes to building strong, powerful legs nothing beats the Pistol and the T-Bar Swing.

Pistols - 

I've talked about the Pistol before in another article. It's an excellent lower body strength and balance builder and it is an essential part of Pavel Tsatsouline's Naked Warrior program.

To be sure, the Pistol is a difficult exercise to master. But, once you've got the form down, you have access to a drill that can build more strength and stability than any leg exercise I can think of (yes, even better than Squats and Deadlifts).

T-Bar Swings -

I've also talked about the Swing in a previous article. However, I've never talked about the power of T-Bar Swings.

Now, to perform a T-Bar Swing you first need to obtain a T-Bar. A T-Bar is simply a plate-loaded piece of equipment that has a "T" shaped handle you grasp to perform swings. The great thing about a T-Bar is it's a cheap piece of equipment you can make at home.

Cheap is the buzzword here. I'm not sure if you guys noticed or not but kettlebells aren't exactly inexpensive.  This is especially true when you start looking at the heavier bells. Most folks simply can't afford to continually buy new Kettlebells as their strength increases. This is unfortunate, since Kettlebells are an ideal tool for using with Swings and Swings are an amazing lift which are much more useful than simply being a "conditioning" or endurance exercise.

This is what makes a T-Bar so great: it's perfect for doing swings and it costs very little to construct. You simple spend a few bucks on some metal piping, load it up with the plates you already have lying around, and go to town doing your swings.

Check out the video below for more details on these two exercises:

Simple Pistols and Swings Workout(s) - 

At this point, some of you may need a little guidance on how to incorporate these drills into a decent training routine.

I don't want to limit you guys too much but I will offer some suggestions:

Bare Bones, Boring Training Session -
1) Pistols - 5-8 reps, 5-8 sets
2) Swings - 5-8 reps, 5-8 sets
This is a very simple, high volume training session. There's nothing flashy to special about it but it will get you results. 1-2 times a week of this type of training is more than enough if you are really working hard.

The Super-set - 
1) Pistols super-set with Swings - 5-10 reps each, 3-10 sets total
Another super simple, "no brainer" workout. This one is an easy way to finish a session quickly. Simply perform a set of your Pistols and rest about 30 seconds (or less) and then move straight into doing a set of Swings. Rest 1-2 minutes between each super-set. You can make this session even more difficult by jumping Rope or shadow boxing between each super-set.

"I Hate Myself" Circuit -
1) Pistols - 5-10 reps
2) Burpees - 10-20 reps
3) Swings - 5-10 reps
4) Mountain Climbers - 10-20 reps
5) Alternating Lunges (with or without added weight) - 10-20 reps
6) Jumping Jacks - 20 reps
This circuit has a strong conditioning component to it, I like to think of it as a Strength + Conditioning Circuit.   You can rest as much as 30 seconds between each exercise - but no more. Now, I insist on 2-3 minutes of rest between each circuit so you can ensure you're fresh each time. This is a great way to build multiple strength qualities alongside speed and endurance development.

Now, feel free to incorporate Pistols and heavy T-Bar Swings into your training in any manner that works for you. The above are just suggestions and are things I like to do. Use what works for you.

If you have a Pistol/Swing workout that you really enjoy please share it in the comments section.

Train Hard,
Josh Skinner

No comments:

Post a Comment