When I got the sales pitch for professional strongman Adam Glass and kettlebell expert Brad Nelson’s Grip and Rip 2.1 DVD, there were really only a couple of things that caught my eye. Grip and Rip is the introduction to the Gym Movement protocol developed by Frankie Faires. Frankie is a martial artist who developed the program to treat his own pain issues after several very expensive surgeons and pain specialists had given up on him.
I read the ad copy with skepticism, which is what I would advise anyone to do when they’re being sold to. This felt a little different to me, and I’m no stranger to trying out new fitness stuff.
Among the usual promises about fat loss and muscle-building, the most jarring part of the ad copy to me was the statement that Adam and Brad’s goal with the product was that I would never need to rely on a personal trainer again. This is a very different train of thought than that of most trainers.
The bulk of the fitness industry’s money comes from the perceived chasm of information between the trainer and the client. Sometimes the client may know only slightly less than the trainer. Sometimes the trainer may possess a wealth of strength and fitness knowledge, but be a horrible instructor, or be unable to apply the knowledge they have to get the promised results for themselves.
I have had trainers that were wonderful and trainers that were frauds, including one kettlebell fat loss expert who was at least 40 pounds overweight. I went to each of them at different times for one reason only: I thought they knew something I didn’t because they were professionals and I was not.
I now believe that letting someone else decide what is best for your body is a losing game. I say this as someone who attended the actual Grip and Rip workshop where the DVD was filmed.
Here are some of the talking points from Grip and Rip:
There can’t be a one-size-fits-all approach to fitness because everyone is different
Physiology is messy and what produces great results for one client might damage another
Adaptation does not have to be forced
Adaptation in fact cannot be stopped
Each person, through Range of Motion testing (called biofeedback testing) can determine what exercises or movements will provide the greatest benefit at any time
The movements that will provide the greatest results are not always the same, which is why following someone’s program to the letter cannot help you indefinitely
How biofeedback testing works
Let’s say that you are in the gym today. You want to know whether you should do squats or deadlifts, but don’t know how to decide. Testing provides a way to know. According to Grip and Rip (and my own experiments in the months since the workshop), here is how you could run a little experiment to determine which lift you would choose.
1. Do a baseline toe touch. This is not a stretch. Lean forward at the waist with your fingers dangling towards your feet. Stop whenever you feel tension anywhere in your body. The point you stop at is the point at which going farther would mean you were stretching.
2. Do 3-4 squats without weight. This is called testing the squat pattern. Repeat the toe touch test. If you now have greater range of motion–meaning your toe touch test has deepened–the squat is good for you right now. It would be beneficial to do it. If you lost range of motion, that movement should not be performed during that workout.
3. Do 3-4 deadlifts without weight, just testing the deadlift pattern. Repeat the range of motion test. Did it result in better range motion than the squat? If so, deadlifts would be more beneficial that day than squatting.
This is just a quick example. Adam and Brad provide an exhaustive amount of movement variations that can be tested, and the tests can also be applied to determining how much weight should be used, how many reps should be performed, and everything else you would need for a workout. This is how a trainee could become their own trainer. There is no more guessing what are the best exercises–and no more being told when to start and stop–the only task is to determine which are the best exercises right now, according to the biofeedback tests.
My favorite thing about this, other than the fact that I no longer pay trainers, is that I am making progress in many areas all at once. When I do what tests well, my other lifts improve. My quality of movement improves. I have less pain. I have no injured myself in the weight room in a year.
Now, this is certainly not going to be the last fitness product. In fact, I’m sure that approximately a zillion products have come out since I attended the workshop in February of 2010. But if someone is willing to run their own experiments and try Gym Movement, it could definitely be the last fitness product they would ever need to buy.