As a strength coach, one thing that I always try to make sure I do is to learn from the best.
That is why last month, I traveled (once again) up to New Jersey to learn from one of the guys who originally got me in this industry and I turn to frequently for information to help take my coaching, and my clients and athletes results up another notch.
Sure, I could join his Inner Circle (I did), and just read his blog posts (I have been for 3+ years now), and say that he has nothing more to offer or attending his seminar would have been a waste of money, but those would have just been excuses.
Instead I along with one of my coaches took the journey from Houston, TX all the way up to NJ to attend Jason’s Renegade Training Workshop.
I’ve been to other seminars, but each one is always different, so I didn’t quite no what to expect.
When we first rolled into Renegade Gym on Saturday morning, you could tell it was different than all the other training centers, gyms, warehouse gyms, etc. that are out there. This place didn’t just have everything you could ever want to get the best results in your training, but it absolutely reeked of hard work, effort, and mental toughness.
It had everything needed to make you better, including the best strength equipment available, ropes and rings hanging from holes in the ceiling, signs warning you that you better have come to work, and the walls were covered with sayings, banners, records, and old school hip-hop record sleeves. It had that essence that you were going to train harder and be better than everyone else, just from being in that facility.
After taking in the atmosphere, I looked around and saw that everyone was standing around trying to finish the last of their coffee, introducing themselves to each other, and looking like deer in headlights wondering just how much training and pain they were in store for.
Instead we got things kicked off with a brief introduction, some background on Jay and the Renegade programming, and things he never does when training himself and clients.
It was awesome seeing the reach that Jay and the Renegade lifestyle has, as there were people who made the trip from not just all over the United States, but even came in from Canada.
Then it was time to get warm and start moving…
The Renegade definition of warm-up was more in-depth than any other seminar I had ever attended. We spent upwards of 2-3 hours cranking out tons of stretches, mobility drills, and progressions that I had never experienced before.
We not only worked on basic mobility movements, but Jason explained with his fiancée Jen demonstrating, how to scale these exercises up and down based on where you or your clients/athletes are mobility wise.
We took short breaks to write stuff down and by the end of the mobility session, it looked like everyone had just spent an hour in a sauna with how sweaty we were.
It was by far the most warmed up I’ve ever been, and we took a quick break for lunch so we could get back, go over assessments for yourself and clients, and get to training.
After lunch, Jason had invited one of his good friends Keith Scott to come and speak for an hour about assessments and how to implement them into your own training and the training of your clients.
He did an excellent job and helped explain mobility issues and how to fix certain common issues so people can train healthier and stay injury free.
Now came the part everyone was waiting for…
It was time to train!
We got things kicked off with another brief warm-up that had everyone sweating, mobile, and ready to roll.
We started with some explosive med ball throws and 1-arm dumbbell snatches to get the body primed and ready to move some weights, then we went straight into overhead pressing technique.
We broke up into 3 groups and got to work. We wanted to work up to a heavy set of 3-5 using good form while allowing the legs to generate enough power to get the bar moving.
I finished off the lift with 225 and then it was time to bench.
Before everyone started benching, Jason and his brother Jared taught the proper bench technique including everything from how to set up, where the bar should touch the chest, the bar path during the entire press, and where your grip, arms, and elbows should be during the entire movement.
We then split back up into groups and got after it. We were instructed to work up to a heavy single.
After not benching for 3 months, just hammering overhead press, and push-up variations I was able to get 335 x 1. I probably had some more left in the tank, but made too big of a jump and failed at 365. Not as bad as I thought spending that much time away from the bar.
Chase Karnes, a strongman in my group who also hadn’t benched in 5-6 months crushed 365 and probably could have done more.
Here is a video of him destroying it-
It was getting late after everyone finished up benching, so we moved onto the bodyweight movements.
Jason showed us over 10 different push-up variations and how to apply them to our training. He even showed us different variations using blast straps/rings, and sliders.
Then we spent the last part of the evening working through 1-arm push-up progressions. This was awesome as it gave everyone a starting point and progressions to work towards performing a legit 1-arm push-up.
Watching one of the biggest guys there crank out 1 armed push-ups after learning the progressions was definitely a great way to end the training for the day.
Check out his video of him crushing them –
So after a great day of learning and training, everyone went back to the hotel to change, shower, and head up to a restaurant to get a well deserved dinner and a few drinks in.
A few of us stayed later than most including Jason and we sat around picking his brain on training, business, and just talking.
Sunday morning we arrived back at Renegade for a lower body session, and with how sore most people said they were from the day before, we knew it we were in for some fun.
After another brief warm-up including wall walks, and other bodyweight movements that typical warm-ups don’t include, we got things started by performing 3 different types of plyo jumps.
We spit into groups and spent time at each station performing box jumps, box squat jumps, and hurdle jumps, with Jason walking around correcting form and offering feed back (him and his staff did this the entire seminar which was definitely awesome).
Staying in our groups we then learned the technique for the barbell high-pull, when to use it, and why he prefers this movement over the conventional clean for most clients and athletes.
A few quick sets on that then we started squatting.
Jay went over again squat form and technique, explained why most people don’t have the mobility to squat wearing shoes like Vibrams or New Balance Minimus, and while walking around watching people squat, would point out why in a real life setting.
Working up to a heavy single, I went 455×1, which felt really good.
You can check out the video here –
Probably could have kept working up, but I was there more to learn and not max out, and everyone really wanted to get into deadlifts, assistance exercises, and some prowler fun.
We got started on deadlifts off platforms/mats (4-6”) and again Jay stopped everyone to explain why he recommends these and how they work just as well as conventional deadlifts, but are safer.
Again working up to a heavy single there was some serious weight being pulled and I ended up hitting 585 for a single. I was shocked that I pulled it since I haven’t done any type of deadlift other than Trapbar in over a year.
Again Chase smoked the deadlift and here is a video of him pulling 635 for 1 –
So now that the big lifts were over, it was time for some fun…
We took a quick break and then got right into a bodyweight assistance circuit to hit some weaknesses and get extra work in.
It consisted of 2” wall rope climbs, where your feet are pushed up on a box and you raise and lower yourself up and down the rope keeping your body entirely straight.
Rope climbs for max reps, then head straight over and perform 10 reps on each leg of single leg bench squats with Jason and his staff showing the proper way to perform these so you don’t risk injuring your knee. After the squats, you head straight to L-Sits for 30 seconds on dip bars.
Then after a brief rest you repeated all of the above for a total of 3 rounds.
This was not the finisher, but instead just a general assistance circuit. For most people there, it seemed like a finisher, but after catching our breath, Jason pulled out the prowlers and it was time to give it all you had left in the tank.
The finisher consisted of prowler pushes (1-trip), medball slams (10), and 1 arm KB Swings (10 each arm) – 4 rounds.
What a great way to finish. Everyone gave the last bit of strength and energy they had to push through it. The entire time Public Enemy was blasting on the speakers, and Jay and his staff was coaching and motivating everyone to finish.
Once everyone got their senses back and could walk again, Jason pulled us all together again to say a few last words and thank us all for coming.
Most people hung around for 10-20 minutes afterwards to talk with him and others and it was definitely a great experience and was worth every penny, the journey from Texas, and braving the bitter NJ cold.
I definitely plan on going back to the next one he offers and I know that after attending, every athlete and client I train, is going to get better results from that 2 day seminar as well.
Thanks again Jason for taking the time out of your schedule to put this on and look forward to the next one!
David Claiborne (DC)
PS. The next Renegade Strength & Conditioning Workshop, scheduled for February 25th & 26th at Renegade Gym in NJ is now sold out. Hope to see you at the next one!