Hammer and Stone Training

Doctor Stu McGill is a genius…and a friend. His clarity in training athletes has changed my entire approach to Performance. He “pounds,” and this might be funny in a moment, on twin concepts that make an athlete great:



Because of throwing and American football, I have always used the concept of “Bow and Arrow” to teach my athletes the importance of loading the muscles, the Pre-Stretch or Stretch-Reflex, that leads to elite performance. It is right in the discus, shot put, javelin, and tackling and blocking in American football.

In Bow and Arrow above, I link you to my free 97 page book on how I basically teach lifting. I also use the concept, to teach the important C position of the prestrike in all sports…including pitching and kicking.

And, wow, that is great.

Stu has prodded me to really push this beyond my simple insight. The Hammer idea is,well, using the Hammer. BAM!!! To jump high, you hammer the earth as hard as you can and Coach Isaac Newton takes over. Action…REACTION!

Training the Hammer is a lot like training the Bow from the Bow and Arrow example:

Basic skipping, bounding, and sprinting.

Hill Sprints and Stadium Steps

Rack Deadlifts

The Olympic Lifts

Medicine Ball Work (serious stuff, not what you usually see)

But, and this is the great insight of McGill, when you Hammer the ground, your body can’t sag off and floppity floopity. Your COLUMN, the area between your Knees and Neck (don’t call it core) must be STONE. If the energy wobbles off to your inner jell-o, you lose the pop, the spring, the hop.

I was so close in understanding this. I know with Quadrant II people, Collision Sports and Collision Occupations, we do to do some exterior callousing, what I call Armor Building. It has worked to get football players ready to play football and wrestlers to wrestle.

Stone is “like” Armor Building, but not.

I was close with Anaconda Strength, coaching the athlete up into understanding the need for internal pressure. Both Armor Building and Anaconda Strength are on the right track.

But, to take the Hammer and put your chin on the rim of the basketball hoop, you need to be Stone.

If you read the linked articles, you will find deadlifts, lockouts, Bear-Bear, and many other ideas for Stone work. Here are a few simple more:

Bear Hug Carries

Goblet Squats with Curls

Goblet Squats with Heartbeats

Double KB Cleans

The Litvinov Family

(I’m still amazed by the push back I get from some strength coaches against this. Of course, I don’t give my athletes drugs from a cook house kitchen either…so what do I know? This has been a Godsend to many units of the military…and it is great for STONE trainign)

The joy of a correctly executed KB Swing is that it is Hammer and Stone…very fast. The KB swing remains my go to for fat burning and building athletes.

I am experimenting with ways to teach this.

Mike Warren Brown and I did a simple idea today: Mixing Swings with either Farmer Walks (110 pounds per hand) or the Bear Hug Carry (80 pound bag). We did four loops. 50 Swings with the 24K followed by a carry. To rest between rounds, we did The Dragon (Thank you Stef Shelton for doing this for me in video!!)

Simple and sweet. Lots of Stone work, lots of swings, a good amount of flexibility and mobility.

Oh…I should have mentioned: I had one of my best two day Highland Games ever this weekend and my weaknesses showed up over time, heat, and Scotch. I need more Stone!

The Dragon


Pump x 3 (Cobra and Downward Dog)


One Proper Push Up

Six Point Rock

Bird Dog (LKD)

Six Point Zenith (Right Hand Up)

Bird Dog (RKD)

Six Point Zenith (Left Hand Up)

Three Point (LKD)

One Sided Bird Dog (LKD)

Half Kneeling Rainbow (LKD)

B Boy Push Up

Three Point (RKD)

One Sided Bird Dog (RKD)

Half Kneeling Rainbow (RKD)

B Boy Push Up

Pump x 3 (Cobra and Downward Dog)

Push Corrective

Hinge Corrective

Rotary Stability Corrective

Thoracic Mobility Corrective

before screen-shot-2016-09-12-at-10-39-10-pm close-up

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