Stability Training with Laird Hamilton

Exercise Less – Gain More (video)

Visit Laird’s Fitness Lifestyle site for Workouts – xptlife.com

Right now you can find Laird putting his body through the paces in his Malibu home gym or doing his infamous pool workouts. To watch Laird in action, you quickly understand that his fitness routine is never routine, and there is nothing he does which can be considered long-slow endurance training.  Everything about Laird’s workouts is fast, hard, and explosive.

It’s time to shorten up your workouts and start working harder
It should be intuitive to anyone who exercises regularly that extended sessions of low intensity endurance training is not going to help you develop speed, strength, or power, which are all necessary elements for peak performance.  If your goal is to reduce muscle mass, be skinny and able to grind away for hours on end, then a Laird type high-intensity explosive training program is probably not right for you. But if you want your body to be able to perform to its maximum potential anytime it needs to, then it’s time to shorten up your workouts and start working harder.

Condition your muscles to work in unison
The key to making your workouts work is compound movements. You will not see Laird (or Gabby) doing exercises that focus on isolating just one body part at a time. Unless you are actually trying to spend more time in the gym, why would you just exercise one muscle at a time? Plus if you are training to optimize sport performance you need to condition your muscles to work in unison. The activities we do in the real world involve multiple muscle groups working together to perform complex movements. Best of all, by doing compound movements which involve two or more muscle groups at a time, you can shorten your workouts by over 50%.

If you look at the way Laird and Gabby have set up their home gym, there are stability platforms and stability balls spread everywhere.  They both are always doing movements that engage core strength muscles when exercising their legs or upper body and frequently they work their whole body at the same time. A stability platform is a highly effective way to get more from even the most basic exercise, such as an arm curl. The act of balancing on a stability platform helps engage many additional muscles when doing even the most basic movements.

Always work multiple muscle groups at the same time
Remember, the more complex compound movements (like a lunge combined with an arm curl) are far more physically demanding than either movement done alone. Better yet, do multiple sets of compound movements, alternate between exercises such as squat presses and arm curl lunges, while working to failure every set and now you have a highly effective workout. The days of isolating one muscle at a time are over.  To make your workouts more time efficient and more effective always work multiple muscle groups at the same time.

You can’t just go through the motions and achieve strong gains
The other key to getting the most from your workouts is intensity. You can’t just go through the motions and achieve strong gains. You have to work hard. Sure, most any exercise is better than none, and low intensity exercise will help you maintain or at least slow down decay in muscle strength and atrophy. However, if you want to improve performance you have to push yourself. Each rep and every set should be high intensity work where you push close to your physical limits. The good thing is that this type of extreme training doesn’t take long. You simply can’t workout for hours at a time when you work yourself to “failure”. When you perform every movement until you simply can’t do one more rep, you are going to get fatigued far faster than with low intensity exercise, and your body will be better for it.

Get out of the gym and go do something fun
There are many sound exercise principles behind the science of compound movements, so try to incorporate this high intensity training technique into your fitness routine. Whether you’re training to be able to paddle into a monster wave or simply keep your body performing its best so you can tackle most any physical challenge, shorten up your workouts from time to time and exercise hard. After all, the goal is to get out of the gym and go do something fun.

 

Written by
John Wildman

Laird Hamilton
Laird Hamilton

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