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How to Incorporate Chaos Training

Incorporate Chaos Training

Both mobility and stability go hand-in-hand for all movement.

Unfortunately, most athletes typically don’t demonstrate both at the same time when you begin accessing them through conventional strength exercises or fundamental movement patterns. (See the CPPS Certification)

And here is the important part, different exercises require different functional mobility and stability to be able to perform them with (the athlete’s individual) optimal technique. This means that if an athlete can perform a good deadlift, it doesn’t mean they can perform a squat with good technique. Both of these barbell lifts are different and the athlete must address their position, range of motion, and control for both to be able to progressively load them.

Two ways to address stability is to perform slow negatives (taking 5-8 seconds to lower the weights) and incorporating super slow movements.

While slow negatives involves slowing the time under tension and tempo for the eccentric phase of a lift, super slow movements are where you slow down BOTH the eccentric and concentric phases of the lift.

For example, in last night’s workout we performed super slow push-ups where we took 10 seconds to lower down and 10 seconds to drive back to lockout.

If you’ve never performed super slow movements, trust me, they are brutal!

Here is a quick way to use super slow movements as a dropset after a main heavy lift:

1A) Barbell Bench Press, 4 sets x 8 reps
1B) Push-up (Super Slow), 4 sets x 1 rep (10 sec down / 10 sec up)

This will blow your chest and triceps up and develop some serious core and shoulder STABILITY!

For more advanced lifters, you can create this same type of bulletrpoof stability with chaos movements. (Reference: Chaos Manual, Smith)

As I wrote about in 2004, chaos training is one way to help bridge the gap between gym training and more controlled 3D real-world movements.

Chaos movements are great for loaded carries, pressing variations, squatting variations, and pulling variations. And, if you get creative, chaos exercises can also be introduced with isolation exercises.

Two examples of chaos training that we use to create muscular balance and shoulder stability are chaos bench and chaos rows. As with most chaos training, higher volumes should be incorporated to maximize the benefits and improve your work capacity.

Chaos Bench

Chaos Rows

A video posted by @smittydiesel on

How Do You Create a Chaos Exercise

If you’re trying to create a chaos movement, you simply:

– add a weight to a fixed barbell that is ‘suspended’ by elastic bands,

– you hang chains from a fixed barbell, or

– the barbell you use is NOT rigid, i.e., a bamboo bar (Westside) or a pvc pipe (for lighter loads)

As you head into your workouts this week, make sure you try some super slow movements and possibly some
chaos exercises if you have the tools and are ready for some advanced exercises!


By on May 9th, 2016


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