JL – Zach, before we did this interview I heard of you running camps for athletes
all outdoors. How successful were they and what kind of training did you do with
ZE – Oh man, this was great fun! A few years back, the town I worked for had all
these summer sports camps, but none of them were for getting athlete educated
with the proper ways of training.
So I pitched the idea and they were concerned with how I could run a “strength,
power and speed camp” without a weight room. Problem was that once summer
started, Football started running the weight room, and the gym was being used by
So I told them not to worry, everything would be outdoors, and if it rained we
would train under the gazebo’s at the park with bodyweight and sandbags. No
I brought sleds and sandbags with me and the rest of the work was done with
bodyweight and partner bodyweight drills. The camps kicked ass and they were a
huge hit with all the athletes.
We always did a warm up with various movements and mobility drills and simple
calisthenics. From there we moved on to sled training. We did relay races at the
end of each sled workout and we really got the kids hyped on this. We would form
teams, let the kids come up with team names, then the races would be various
dragging movements and sometimes we would mix in sandbag exercises or
calisthenics at the end of the drags.
We did the same with the sandbag training. Every day we would review the basics,
perform strength work with them, then add one or two movements to learn and
practice. After sandbag training would be more relay races.
We also took trips to all the local playgrounds and every day created different
workouts with the different playgrounds. You’ll see this a lot in my Underground
Strength Kit. I have a boat load of training pics at various playgrounds because
so much of my own training plus the training of my clients is performed at
playgrounds and fields.
You can’t beat the versatility of having an outdoor gym ready for you which is
JL – That reminds me of the days of the OLD Muscle Beach in Venice, California! I
loved seeing all the training those guys did on the rings, parallel bars and all
the bodyweight partner movements! Did those guys influence you at all, Zach?
ZE – Heck yea, those guys motivated me and influenced me! The ladies trained
there as well! You can see from their photos how much they were having fun and
literally just loving life! Training out in the sunshine, the freedom to move
their body as they wanted and not be confined to a machine or gym rules, those
were THE days! That’s why it was called “The Golden Era”.
I am definitely a throw back to those days and I always felt I belonged on
Muscle Beach back then. I bring my own traveling rings with me though! I heard
they took the rings down from Venice Beach which is really too bad!
But, getting back to what we do, I was also influenced heavily from a college
Gymnastics instructor I had who was also a wrestler. His physique was awe
inspiring and his wrestling performance was like nothing I had ever seen!
It proved to me the importance of bodyweight and gymnastics training and the
only place I have access to equipment similar to gymnastics equipment is at the
I took it a step further and created a boat load of partner combative movements
that can be used anywhere and anytime. I use them when I run seminars at
wrestling clubs. I literally have no equipment at these clubs but the results
and the workouts these athletes experience is awesome!
The great benefit to the partner combative drills is that they force both
athletes to work but through different movements and requirements. One might be
training speed while the other is working static strength to hold a position and
so froth. These combative drills can also be applied with variations to
accommodate less experienced athletes and even non athletes.