It’s been a while since I did another video review so here goes:
Kelly McCann’s Crucible High Risk Environment Training, volume Three with John Garman and introduction by Kelly McCann
The video starts with a short introduction in which Kelly McCann introduces Mr. Garman. John then takes over and explains that the purpose of this video is conditioning for combatives. Not MMA or ring fighting, but physical training to survive deadly assaults. As a result, the exercises and training methods are different from training for the cage or ring. He also gives some advice about clothing, footwear and the equipment (kettlebels, barbel, medicine ball, heavy bag, etc.) they use as well as the different workout methods:
- Coach/team: This means you always have somebody to count your reps for you, encourage you, improve team morale and so on.
- Ipod on: You turn into yourself and shut out all distractions, using music to psyche you up.
- Solo: There’s nobody around, no music, nothing. This helps you build mental strength because there’s nothing but your own perseverance to make it a good work out.
The preliminaries out of the way, we get to the “Fundamental exercises”. Mr. Garman first gives you some safety tips about techniques and mindset. This primarily centers around the difference between conditioning for combatives and working out for health, fitness or fat-loss. He then moves on to explain the following exercises in detail:
- Pull up
- Plank and reverse plank
- Medicine ball throws
- Side slams
- Get up with kettlebell.
- Slosh Pipe
The next chapter covers strength training. John first explains his thoughts on using the 1-rep max as a baseline for strength training, reps and rest and how to integrate it with the other training. Then he moves on to show the following exercises:
- Front Squat, several variations
- Sumo squat deadlift
- Front squat push press
- One-legged step ups
Finally, there’s also a chapter on plyometric training. Mr. Garnam once again gives some excellent advice to get you started with this explosive kind of training in the safest way possible. The exercises he shows are:
- Wall Ball
- Depth jump
- Burpees and Clock push-up
- Hammer smashes
There is a smaller chapter on a concept called post-activation potentiation. He claims this is a relatively new concept in conditioning though I have to disagree with that statement. I learned that kind of training over 25 years ago as a young martial artist, so maybe there’s something to say for those funky conditioning drills the Chinese like to put you through. But I digress…
Boiling it down for you, this concept blends a highly specific type of strength training with actual technique training. The idea is that you improve performance by doing the one after the other. If you haven’t tried it before, I highly recommend it. Though you should have a solid base in both conditioning and good technique before trying it or it risks becoming counterproductive. John demonstrates it with these two techniques:
- Ax hand
- Slashing elbow
The last part of the video shows a series of stretches for the major muscle groups and joints. Nothing fancy, just basic stuff.
This is a really good video to get you started with conditioning for combatives as opposed to bodybuilding or any other goal. Mr. Garman explains everything clearly, he gives a lot of advice on technique, reps, time, etc. He also demonstrates and explains the basic mistakes you should avoid in the exercises. So if you’re new to this kind of conditioning training, this video is exactly what you need: good, solid basics. Because of the amount of detail John gives and the good camera work from the Paladin Press crew, you can easily learn all you need to know to perform the exercises correctly. All it takes is some attention to detail and paying heed to avoid the errors he clearly explains.
There is also more than enough material to last you a long time before you might need to look for more information. So in that regard, you get a really good deal for the price of the video.
Some small points of disagreement I should mention:
- Plyometrics is demonstrated on bare feet. I wouldn’t recommend that for safety reasons. Also, the guy who shows them lands real heavy which means his knees take a beating. I learned those jumps differently, with more fluidity in the movements, so I would urge caution on doing it as shown.
- The stretching is too basic with only minimal attention to detail. There are also some basic mistakes in the demonstration that could have been avoided.
These are really only minor points and they don’t detract from the overall value of this video. On the contrary, if you’re looking for some great information to get begin your conditioning training, then I highly recommend this one.
You can get it right here.