by Joe Mullings
As a trainer, I am always looking for new modalities and the opportunity to switch up the training regimen on my athletes. I am constantly looking for new ways to incorporate the principle of adaptation in the athletes training. So whether its conventional Olympic type lifts, plyometrics concepts, body weight exercises, dumbbell movements, I switch it up for the fighters. Real world strength though is developed, in my opinion, when you move really heavy stuff over distances… it’s that simple. When I think of the men I have known over the years who were really legitimately strong and never really spent time in a gym setting, most of them are farmers, laborers, cement guys, roofing guys… guys who moved really heavy stuff over distances… day after day.
Jiu Jitsu is about hips, legs and core. Developing those muscle groups and doing it using different types of exercises and cross training should be the focus of every Brazilian Jiu Jitsu athlete. There is also something mentally empowering about lifting heavy weight. The bounce of it off the floor, the shaking of the body to support it and the release of the weight belt after you set down or slam down the weight. I’m always on the lookout for equipment that went beyond Olympic bars, Olympic lifting and something that was challenging and entertaining to the athlete.
I ran across Hybrid Athletics (http://www.hybridathletics.net/) and was introduced to Rob Orlando who owns Hybrid Athletics. His approach, philosophy, and system of developing strength, speed, and power and thereby developing the ideal “Hybrid Athlete’ rang a bell with me. Rob is one of those CrossFit studs who blows out the true Crossfit competitions. He has created a “hybrid program” that uses CrossFit and Power Lifting/Strong Man movements to make a faster and more powerful endurance athlete.
Rob has developed equipment that speaks directly to the StrongMan competitions that you see on weekends; those competitions that METRX has brought to us over the years and these guys are insanely strong guys. But, Rob believes the Hybrid Athlete should be able to lift really heavy stuff (Yokes, Atlas Stones, Farmers Carry, etc) but also crank out 50 bodyweight chin-ups and run a 6 minute mile… a concept after my own heart.
I ordered some of the gear and put it to work, so here’s our opinion of the gear:
These rock! (Was that bad?) The stone molds we ordered are a bit pricey, but the quality and the ease of use made them well worth it. You can crank out a series of 8 stones that range from 12 inches (42 lbs) to the 18 inches (246 lbs) and develop some super work outs.
If you have never lifted an Atlas Stone… wow… full body workout! The cost of making these will run you about 15 sacks of the premix cement and take about 2 hours if you get a system down. They are a lot of fun to make and there is something incredibly visceral about picking up a rock to workout. Rob also provides some great instruction on how to make them. I stepped it up a notch and brought in a “career cement worker” who trains with us (he has a sick method for making stones that I will post soon).
This is a high quality piece of equipment, really beautifully finished, easy to operate, and has tons of exercises to incorporate in to your program. Depending how high of a rack you get, you can also use it for oversize bar chins, ring dips, overhead presses, inverted row/pullups, Atlas Stone bar toss, and whatever other evil comes to mind.
The Yoke goes together pretty easy and you can move it in and out of the training facility for those beautiful day workouts. The Yoke we ordered, the rack alone weighed something like 240 pounds… so it isn’t a “beginner piece of equipment.” You also better have a decent set of traps to rest it on… otherwise it will eat the heck out of your shoulders.
Farmers Carry Handles
Another piece of well finished equipment! Our only complaint is the original collars that came with it keep popping open. This gets really dangerous as the weights slide and its ends up looking like a bad carton as you see-saw when the weights flip off each side. Basically, the collars pop open and the weights run the risk of coming off the handles…..could be really dangerous. So a design change or upgrade of equipment needs to take place here; we simply swapped out the original collars for some we had lying around. However it’s fantastic for a grip, core, and cardio workout.
Hybrid also has a great looking StrongMan Log that we would love to get and evaluate as well. Maybe we can work a deal with Rob… and post a product review on that as well.
The above equipment is not inexpensive but it is worth every dollar spent. This stuff is well built and designed for building serious strength… it will get you moving really heavy stuff over a long distances…