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By Marty Gallagher
No one has ever been able to figure out a way to successfully conduct a hardcore progressive resistance class in a large group setting. Effective resistance training, hardcore resistance training produces measurable, quantifiable improvements in physique and performance. Hardcore progressive resistance experts use free-weights, barbells and dumbbells, to near exclusion.
Free-weights, used with great expertise, dig the deepest possible muscular inroad. Barbells and dumbbells are the progressive resistance gold standard tools and hardcore training methodology is the gold standard resistance protocol.
Nothing about hardcore training lends itself to being done in a large group setting. To practice high-level hardcore resistance training requires a barbell, plates, dumbbells, lots of accessory equipment, a flat bench, a bench that inclines, squat racks or a safety power rack, a chin bar, all of which creates clutter and requires floor space. And this assumes that the trainee knows how to make expert use of free-weights—which is highly unlikely.
Barbell training, done right, is best done in small groups of usually no more than four trainees. The small group clusters around the barbell (or dumbbells) and each athlete in turn performs the chosen exercise, round-robin style. The CrossCore® enables the user to obtain free-weight results from a portable training device. The compactness of the CrossCore® allows the trainee to conduct a serious strength-training workout within four square feet of space and without needing any other progressive resistance accessories or devices.
The results obtained from the highly unstable CrossCore® exceed results obtained from progressive resistance machines that mimic free-weight exercises. Progressive resistance machines lack instability, due to their frozen "groove." Instability is a plus for building strength and muscle. Because machines lack the 3rd dimension of tension, the need to control side-to-side movement, the unstable free-weights and the equally unstable CrossCore® are physiologically superior to a machine that mimics free-weight exercise.
CrossCore® HardCore Roots
Over the past four years, the CrossCore® tool and the HardCore strength training methodology has been vetted by world champion strength athletes and active duty Tier I spec ops fighters. The HardCore method was born in the Spec Op community and was developed and tested on the strongest of athletes and fittest of soldiers. Strategies were devised that enabled us to tax these super athletes and super soldiers up to, and then past their awesome capacities. While working with the spec ops community, it became apparent that no-compromise resistance training could be taught to large groups of people.
Strength Training 101
How would a CrossCore® HardCore strength training class look and feel? Here is a sample scenario…
The CrossCore® HardCore "Strength Training class" was held in a racquetball court that management had converted into an all-purpose fitness room: the entire back wall was taken up with a recently installed climbing wall. The room was used for indoor volleyball and yoga classes. Along both long walls ran room-length chinning bars that created anchor-points for CrossCore® devices.
The class was packed with people of all types and descriptions including out-of-shape beginners and elite athletes. This mix of levels was possible because the exercises and techniques used were identical for everyone. The difference was in the "payload," the amount of resistance and tension required to tax the CrossCore® user.
A far heavier payload is needed to maximally tax an elite athlete then say a beginner performing the identical exercise in the identical way. The beginner might use 1/10th the payload of the advanced athlete—but both can work up to 100% of their respective capacities and both can trigger the adaptive response.
The CrossCore® units hung from the chin bars that lined each wall. Strength training class participants had signed up for a ten-week course and this was week three. The instructor entered the room and got everyone’s attention. He gathered them into a circle to explain what was about to happen. The participants would be put through a "whole body" strength-training program consisting of nine exercises that worked (virtually) every muscle of the human body.
These exercises would be performed in a purposefully specific order using highly specific techniques. Participants met once a week and were expected to perform the same program 2-3 times per week on their own. Sessions could be done at home if the attendee owned a CrossCore®, or here at the club as there were always a dozen CrossCore® units left hanging and available in this room.
The instructor called his senior student up front to demo the first exercise, the "slumping chest press." The technique was explained in detail as each aspect of the exercise was demonstrated and described in depth and detail. The participants then returned to their stations. Each began to perform the CrossCore® chest press; the instructor again repeated the step-by-step verbal instruction and talked everyone through the eight-rep set. As he talked, he walked along and made posture or footing corrections on an individual basis.
As the set proceeded, grunts of exertion broke out around the room at around rep five. As they finished rep seven, he said, "Remember! The ideal final rep is the barely completed rep! Equalling and exceeding our limits and capacities are where the big gains are; past our current limit is where the muscle and strength is hiding!"
At any point during the chest press set, the payload could be modified with a slight shift in the feet. This characteristic is unique to the CrossCore® and separates and differentiates it from all other progressive resistance tools: the CrossCore® trainee has the unique ability to alter a payload during each rep of a set. The CrossCore® user can make instantaneous increases or decreases in the payload as each rep is occurring. This is unprecedented.
As a coach he guided Team USA to the IPF world team title in 1991 and coached Black’s gym to five national powerlifting team titles. He was mentored by the 1st world powerlifting champion Hugh "Huge" Cassidy and Gallagher in turn mentored hall-of-fame powerlifting world dominator "Captain" Kirk Karwoski. Gallagher competition coached Ed "King" Coan, the world’s greatest powerlifter, along with iron immortals Doug Furnas, Lamar Gant and Mark Chaillet. Marty works with the military elite spec ops fighters (in this country and abroad) along with governmental special units within various agencies.
As a writer Gallagher is widely read and considered one of the finest writers operating within the health, nutrition, bodybuilding, strength and athletic training genre. He has had over 1,000 articles published since 1978, including 232 weekly ‘ask the expert’ fitness columns for the WashingtonPost.com and 89 articles published during a ten year relationship with Muscle & Fitness and Flex magazine. Gallagher’s biographic on Ed Coan was called, "the greatest powerlifting book ever written," by the late Joe Weider. Rock star Henry Rollins called the Coan book, "Awesome!" Dr. Jeff Everson described Gallagher’s Magnus opus, The Purposeful Primitive" A literary masterpiece." Gallagher lives in rural Pennsylvania.