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Chip Conrad: Bodytribe Strength Rituals

Piping up with a hot dvd review today, I’m here to tell you this in no uncertain terms: There’s no doubt if you enjoyed Dan John’s 3-part dvd set, Everything’s Over My Head, you’ll be crazy jazzed by Chip Conrad’s Strength Rituals dvd set ($45). This is a two-dvd set, running over three hours, filmed at Chip’s BodyTribe Fitness and at Midtown Strength in Sacramento, California, and shot in a forest, on a dock, at a warehouse location, on a rooftop and on a beach, and is amazingly athletic, completely accessible to all of us, and very sharp.

Bodytribe dvd

Providing license to move from traditional weighted sets and reps to playful creativity, Chip then helps us figure out how to get started in this currently abnormal, but growing form of training. They’re working very hard showing us passion for movement and exercise, and having a blast in the process. His is a new definition of fitness, and it’s so much more.

A few ideas, exceptionally well covered:

  • Program design basics
  • Movement basics
  • Sample workouts
  • Basic traditional and unusual exercises and variations of each
  • Mobility work
  • Rings
  • Ropes
  • Combinations
  • Sandbags
  • Kettlebells
  • Olympic lifting
  • Bodyweight exercises
  • Tire flipping and slamming
  • Sled pulling
  • Clubbells

All of these implements and styles were demonstrated, usually a number of times in various angles and speeds, and explained in Chip’s narrated overlay. I’ve never  seen such variety, nor such explanation, in another training dvd. Where else can you get a taste of it all? And yet, this is more than an appetizer; it’s the entire meal!

There’s a very nice demonstration and instruction of the bent press, including slow-motion action that’s really helpful. This is one many of us won’t see ourselves doing, but one we’ll enjoy a lot if we’re receptive enough to give it a try. And that’s true with much of the Rituals; it’s going to take an open mind if you’re an average gymrat. But gymrats are an exceptional bunch, as we all know, so go with your instincts and be bold. No doubt that’s one of the main points Chip hopes to make in his efforts: Be Bold.

[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8NVszdcmm0s]

(Much of this is shot from a distance; the dvd footage is mostly close-up).

In the kettlebell work, in addition to the more common moves, you’ll find lateral swings – NICE! – halo swings, band swings and, oh my, double-band swings, swing into lunge (triple wow)… really, some wild kettlebell work, so wild some of these may have been made up on the spot.

Chip also attends to Dan John’s 10 Commandments of Lifting, and in a tribute to him, the BodyTribe Dan John Workout boils down to the essentials, Commandment # 9: Put the bar on the ground and pick it up a bunch of different ways.

I got a kick out of watching Josh Vert in his training; everyone in the video was terrific, but I enjoyed some time talking with Josh at the IronOnline weekend at Dan’s in Utah in June (the first of four dvds will be released in a couple of weeks), and the personal angle made watching the dvd even more special.

The dvd ends with a section summarizing all that came before, and then slides in a very nice mobility section of warmups and winddowns that Chip made look easy but which are in fact very difficult to make so smooth. The practice is the point, and that’s where the relaxing and the releasing comes in.

If you’re traveling from San Francisco toward Tahoe, you’ll pass by Chip’s Sacramento gym. Carve out an afternoon to spend visiting! Your summer vacation will set you in motion with everything you need to train ingeniously through the winter.

A music guy at heart, whereas most dvd editors in our field (including me) give the production music short shrift, Chip did a remarkable job in the finale giving tribute to the artists and documenting the songs used as background to the workouts. I could live without a couple of the screamer songs, but that’s just my age sneaking out at you. The rest of the music was great fun and, Chip, you have my compliments for tracking down use of all that original music. I’m sure that added a month to your production time; hats off for going the extra mile for the sounds.

Throughout the dvd, the mix of exercise combinations will keep even the most flaky of trainees interested, and they and the dedicated will all become very strong and fit. Bring your most playful self and let ‘er rip. Great video, great narration. FABULOUS to watch, it’s everything but routine. Very motivational, both fists up!

Go order one now while there’s still summer left for you to get out and play with your toys.


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