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Monday, February 21, 2011

Product Review: The Missing Links

Ross Enamait has been my go-to source for strength and conditioning knowledge for a long time. While I enjoy and use the material of many other coaches (Kevin Kearns, Pavel Tsatsouline, the Crossfit guys, Mark Verstegen, and others), I've always enjoyed Ross's ability to produce incredibly comprehensive, easily accessible material at prices that are unbelievably low in a day of over-hyped, over-priced "fitness" gimmicks. Combine all that with a very down-to-earth, simple presentation, and you've got some of the best material on the market for strength and conditioning.

If there was a downside to Ross's material, it was that between Infinite Intensity, Never Gymless, and Full Throttle Conditioning, Ross had produced enough material on physical fitness to keep someone busy for years, possibly a lifetime, without needing more material. Which on a certain level is fine, but it's always nice to see new material from an author that I like, and Ross is no exception.

Enter The Missing Links, a two-and-a-half hour 2-disc DVD set on training three of the most neglected areas of athletic development: the Hands, the Neck, and the Core.

Having recently gotten interested in developing my grip strength, I was especially excited for this DVD, and it did not disappoint. Ross covers a wide range of exercises for developing grip strength, neck strength, and core strength. Ross provides a demonstration and explanation for each exercise, and offers several progressions to help less experienced athletes learn to do these exercises, or to offer more advanced athletes a greater challenge. Along the way, he demonstrates a wide variety of homemade exercise tools that will have you prepping for a quick trip to your local hardware store before the DVD is over.

The DVD is broken into four sections: a short introduction, followed by a section on the core, grip, and neck. Each section is broken up into exercise descriptions, with a short introduction and summary bracketing the exercises. Ross wraps up the whole DVD with an overall summary, in which he reinforces the importance of developing these often neglected areas.

What this DVD does not contain is a single, clearly defined plan for developing any of the areas addressed. While Ross makes a number of suggestions about how to integrate these exercises into your training (I particularly like his ideas about "mini-workouts"), there is no "do this on day one, this on day two" kind of training plan outlined anywhere in the video. For reasonably experienced athletes or coaches, this won't pose a problem. Complete beginners to exercise would probably be better served with one of Ross's other products.

If you already have an exercise program, however, Ross's suggestions are very easy to integrate, and definitely worth it. Combat athletes, in particular, will get a lot out of this DVD, but the truth is, anyone who wants to be healthy will benefit from addressing these often neglected areas. Unlike some strongman grip training, the material Ross shows doesn't require you to completely alter your training...just spice it up a little bit.

Definitely worth checking out.

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