Bondarchuk’s Principles III

Guest Martin Bingisser is back with us to share more of his insight into the training principles of the legendary Dr. Anatoliy Bondarchuk. This week, Martin demonstrates the use of more specific exercises that transfer into sports like MMA and football.

Keep It Simple: The Bondarchuk Way

This week’s episode of 8WeeksOut TV focuses on more specialized exercises that will help you maximize your performance…

Last week, special guest Martin Bingisser showed you some special rotational-type exercises that grew in specificity toward the actual hammer throw event.   These exercises also have an excellent carry-over into other rotational sports, such as baseball or golf.

The specific exercises you use might differ for your sport of interest, but the concepts of increasing exercise specificity for your event will remain the same.

You don’t need a million different movements and they don’t need to be complicated.  In fact, Bondarchuk himself has a pretty limited pool of exercises that he uses with his throwers.

As you move your way up the exercise classification system, the number of exercises you have to choose from actually decreases.  There is only so much variety that you can incorporate.

You can succeed by using the core exercises for your event in a way that allows you to get the most out of them; more complicated doesn’t always make an exercise more event-specific or better, for that matter.

Just look at the effectiveness of the simple plate twist is, for example: the more elements you add to the exercise—such  as balancing with a bosu ball—the further you take the exercise away from the hammer throw event.  The regular plate twist has a better carry-over for the event.

Rather than getting sidetracked by all the methods floating around the online fitness realm, Bondarchuk primarily sticks to what he knows works.

While Bondarchuck is inquisitive and is always trying to learn more, he seeks information from those he respects and from people who get the best results.  He’s not cruising YouTube for the next big training breakthrough. 

So once again, we see that the elite, the people at the top of their game, are keeping it simple.

One of Bondarchuk’s greatest contributions has been to keep immaculate records of thousands of athletes that he oversaw.  He collected data, analyzed for correlations, and pieced out what the best exercises actually are.

Consequently, his findings are grounded in fact and years of perfecting human performance rather than transient claims.

More Sport-Specific Exercises

So onto the specific exercises for other sports we promised

Each sport has its own exercises that are specific to it.  The first one we’ll start with is the Nieder Press, which is excellent for shot put as well as football.

The bench press is another exercise that transfers well into these events/sports.  However, when you’re benching , you’re usually holding the barbell a little bit lower than normal and pushing it straight out than the kind of movements required by shot put and football.  In this way, the Nieder Press is a little  more movement-specific.

For the Nieder Press, start by holding the barbell as you would when you’ve just finished a clean, then press out and up explosively.  There are many varieties of this press, such as coming out with a split leg stance, as you would with a clean and jerk.

For an elite thrower, the weight of the Nieder Press could be over 100 kilos (but bear in mind, a lot of these guys are also benching over 500 lbs).

That said, the weight of the press is not the important part.  What is essential is that you maintain explosiveness throughout the press, just as you would need explosiveness coming off the line in football or in throwing the shot put.  You need to be able to generate power more than strength.

Now let’s transition over into medicine ball exercises…

Some of these will be similar to what we talked about with Coach Kendal Yonomoto in previous episodes.  These are exercises that are great for building athletic ability, as Kendal focused on, but also for building specific strength for your event. 

These particular exercises have high specificity for MMA , baseball, and for throwing events.

Begin by holding the ball in your right hand with your left hand acting as the supporting hand on the side of the ball.  Take a step out with your left leg, turn your hips to the left, rotating them through as you press the med ball out.

It’s a simple movement but it’s explosive and fast. 

For MMA, use a smaller ball and execute the same exercise; the smaller ball will be more similar to your hand following through as a punch.

Though it’s not an extremely scientific gauge, you should be able to tell how good of a throw it is simply by watching the ball strike the wall and listening to the sound it makes.

An excellent exercise for hip extension—especially important for football-specific training and wrestling takedowns—involves using a sled.

The sled forces all of the inertia to be overcome at the beginning of the movement using proper hip extension and use of the arms.

Begin in a ¾ squat stance and explode the hips and arms out at the same time; the sled will lurch forward behind you.

This exercise is specific in that you’re using the same joint angle as a football player coming out of a stance or a wrestling going for a takedown.  It’s a more specific exercise than just a squat, for example.

Again, you don’t need super fancy equipment to perform these highly specific exercises.  Just a simple sled will do, and it will allow you to perform endless variations of the movement.

Coming Up Next

Next week, Martin is going to cover programming Bondarchuk-style.  This is what sets Bondarchuk apart from most other coaches and will allow you to tie together all that we’ve discussed so far.


About Martin Bingisser

bondarchuk-cleanMartin Bingisser is a tax attorney, track and field coach, and five-time Swiss national champion in the hammer throw. He has been training with Dr. Anatoliy Bondarchuk since 2005 and writes frequently about Bondarchuk and other training topics on his blog


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