Friday, April 23, 2010

Geek Strength Golf Performance Training- PART 1

Geek Strength Fans,

I’d like to announce a sports specific training package that I’ve developed specifically to help golfers improve their game. This package is probably like none anywhere else in the country, because of multiple, unique converging elements that have come together to make this training truly one-of-a-kind. For golfers lucky enough to frequent the Brookhaven Country Club, or who live near the Farmers Branch/Addison, Texas area, this training will be your secret weapon for domination over your golf buddies (and rivals).

First off, why a golf-specific program? There is really one major reason, which is that my house is situated on the Brookhaven Golf Course in Farmers Branch, Texas. The Geek Forge garage gym opens to the rear of our house, and looks out onto one fairway of the 6530 yard Championship Course. I don’t play golf, but I picked a house on a golf-course because I didn’t want my garage gym to open into an alley or to face the street in front. I like to train with the garage door up, without being on display to my neighbors, but with a view nicer than a dingy alley to inspire me and my clients. As garage gyms go, the Geek Forge is truly an ideal setup. These houses were built in the 1960’s and much less expensive than many of the neighborhoods in the area that have alleys and tiny yards. Go figure.

Nearly every day, in all sorts of weather, golfers travel the fairway, and they can be observed from our kitchen window when we eat breakfast. We say hello when I am working in my garden, and they pass by when I am training in the Geek Forge. In any case, during the several years I have lived here and trained in my garage gym, I have noticed there are basically four types of golfers:

1.) Ones that ride in golf carts.
2.) Ones that walk, but have motorized remote control golf bags.
3.) Ones that walk, and push their golf bags like baby strollers.
4.) Ones that walk, and carry their golf bags slung over the shoulder.

Now I don’t need to tell you that those four groups on average also correspond to the fattest and leanest golfers. In fact, the golfers that carry their own clubs on their backs, often wear sunglasses and Foreign Legion-like visored caps (no shaded golf-cart to hide in), and their lean, fit physiques, bronzed from the sun, and quick, purposeful movement remind me of elite special forces soldiers. There is not a fat one among them.

This is in direct contrast (on average) to the ones who ride in electric golf carts…

Meanwhile, this entire time it never occurred to me just how much golfers could benefit from hard-core strength and conditioning methods. Not until I happened to see the cover of Vanity Fair magazine, with a shirtless Tiger Woods, shredded and holding a pair of dumbbells. Here Tiger is, in Vanity Fair, doing pull-ups. He’s training like an athlete, and he looks like one. Of course great strength and conditioning is going to help a golfer’s game! Just like any other sport!

However, what really got me inspired to design a program for golfers was the reaction to Tiger’s Vanity Fair photo shoot. Some folks claimed Tiger must be on steroids, human growth hormone, or testosterone, why?....

Because he looks good without his shirt on.

Yeah right! His physique is completely obtainable without such drugs as crutches. Knee-jerk claims that someone must use performance enhancing drugs because they look athletic just shows how far we have declined into a society of fat-ass and skinny-fat cry babies. It is pathetic. Tiger looks exactly like what every man can and should look like, naturally, without even touching a barbell. His physique can easily be obtained through body-weight exercises alone.

So, if you are a golfer who wants to improve your health, the first step is this: ditch the golf-cart and walk. Skip the fancy robotic club bag and just push it on wheels. Once that is no problem, carry the bag slung on your back. Too heavy? Play without some of your more specialized clubs, and add them back as you get stronger. You are building a more important component of your game. I like to call it your “weapons platform.”

Do this, and you will vastly improve your overall health and fitness. You may even look fairly decent when you strip off that Ralph Lauren golf shirt. Of course, check with your doctor golf buddy first, before engaging in this, or any other, exercise program.

If you want to go beyond health, and reinvent your physique, AND your game, then hold on to your clubs, and stay tuned for PART 2 of this series.

Best regards,
Jon Burroughs

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

12 Key Exercises to go from zero strength to Hero Strength (and beyond!)

At Geek Strength Labs, I use the following key exercises (each with several variations) to stimulate optimum neuro-muscular development in my clients:

Bench Press
Overhead Squat


Handstand pushup

In this short list, I have given you (no joke) the keys to the kingdom! Don’t wreck it!

These exercises rule my gym because they are total body, compound joint movements. They train the body to operate as a unified whole, rather than a disjointed awkward mess. Because so many muscles are used at once, hormonal release is triggered, which is how the body promotes systemic and cellular adaptation to stress. These exercises are so complete they can serve as the basis (and even entirety) of strength and hypertrophy movements from the weakest to strongest individuals on planet earth. My earnest desire is to train my clients in the safe and correct execution of these exercises, so they can continue to benefit from their use throughout the rest of their lives!

In any effective training program, you will use progressions of movement and progressive resistance to train your nervous system as well as your muscle. You will vary the speed, reps, sets and the implements. You will train bilaterally, and unilaterally. You will use fusions of these key movements to further refine your athleticism. Some examples are:

Muscle-up (pull-up + dip)
Thruster (front squat + push-press)
The Exercise (snatch + overhead squat)
Burpee (squat + pushup)

At Geek Strength Labs (a.k.a. the Geek Forge), we also use complexes (chained series), couplets, and triplets of these movements for total body metabolic (anaerobic and aerobic) conditioning, fat burning, and training the will.

If you know what these 12 key exercises are and know what it feels like to do them, you can literally become stronger by just thinking about them. If you perform these exercises systematically, using progressive resistance, you will get very strong in a very balanced, functional way. You will look strong, and you will be strong, with no weak links. Moreover, you will benefit from improved flexibility and mobility. Use these 12 exercises with correct technique, and the sky is the limit.

If you have not been using the 12 key exercises, or you have been inconsistent, or use them only on occasion, or with poor technique, then I have good news for you: No matter how terrible or terrific your physical condition is at present, you have not even begun to realize your latent physical potential! Without the keys, your potential remains locked away within your genes. Fortunately, I have given you the keys. Now you only need to use them properly to, quite literally, reinvent your physique.

Grip strength
You can’t lift what you can’t hold. In some circumstances, a weak grip could cost you your life. Deadlifts, pull-ups, chin-ups, snatches, and cleans all work the grip to a substantial level. Moreover, the total body strength effect of all 12 key exercises will increase your grip strength indirectly. Owing to its importance, I enhance grip development by regularly using thick-handled barbells and dumbbells, padded grips, revolving grips, thick ropes, sand-bags and other specialized tools. A disproportionately large area of the motor cortex is devoted to the hands, when compared to total body area. Training the hands improves usable strength throughout the body by enhancing the ability to recruit more motor neuron units. Simply stated, grip training improves your ability to hold on to unwieldy objects (or uncooperative adversaries), and develops your ability to channel the entire strength of your body through your hands. And yes, this training is important for both men and women.

Neck strength
Your neck (cervical spine) is a continuation of your lumbar and thoracic spine. As the link between your head and body, it must be strong. By performing the 12 key exercises, it will naturally become stronger as your entire body does. However, since so much rides on your neck, it just makes sense to devote some careful training to it. I safely train the neck using bridging, a head harness, and other tools. Bridging in particular promotes the health of the entire spine, as well as flexibility in the hips and shoulders.

Core strength
Your abdominal muscles and the other muscles of the torso will become highly developed merely by doing the 12 key exercises. However, I favor a few useful exercises to further train the abs, lower back, and hip flexors. I especially like torso training on the Glute Ham Developer, parallel bars, abdominal wheel, and pull-up bar.

I encourage my clients to acquire parallettes (portable parallel bars) and an abdominal wheel to use at home, in addition to a doorway pull-up bar. My aim is to maximize your results for the time spent training with me, and I encourage my clients to acquire a few inexpensive tools to use at home, so more training time with me in the gym can be devoted to the 12 key exercises.

The body is one piece
The body loves to be trained as a whole, rather than in parts. The movement patterns (i.e. engrams) developed by the 12 key exercises are primal, functional, and universally applicable. They are old school, as in prehistoric! At Geek Strength Labs, we use other total body moves favored by old-time strongmen (and possibly cavemen) to keep the body guessing like:

Turkish get-up
Side press
Continental cleans
Two hands anyhow
Farmers walk
Stone shouldering
Waiters walk
Club swings

We also use basic gymnastic movements like:

Hand-balancing progressions
Front lever
Back lever
L-sits, V-sits, Hanging Leg Raises, and more.

Rome wasn’t built in a day
No matter where you are at present, you can always move forward. There is no point wishing you started earlier, or telling yourself it’s too late. There is no point in feeling daunted by the remoteness of a possibility. If you want it, then earn it!

The name of the game is progression. We build gradually using focused movement progressions and progressive resistance. Step-by-step, persistent, focused, and determined application of the 12 key exercises will produce results. In time, the impossible becomes possible, and the possible, easy. The 12 key exercises are the keys to the kingdom, period.

Thomas Edison once said, “Invention is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration.”

I hope I’ve inspired you to reinvent your physique. Now you need to sweat!

If you live near Farmers Branch, Texas, and you want to develop strength fit for a hero, send me an email at If you live too far away to consider training with me, send me an email anyway. Either way, I’ll give you some suggestions for learning the 12 key movements. And don't forget to visit my website at

Best wishes,
Jon Burroughs