Tricking helps (a lot) with strength

January 23, 2014 Training

Tricking helps with strength training WAY more than strength training helps with tricking.  Here are some observations I’ve made over the years which backs this up,

Tricking carry over for better strength

First, I noticed that during times when I wasn’t strength training, months without deadlifting or squatting for example, if I was tricking hard and went back to test my lifts, they were just fine.  Right near my usual maxes.  In fact, in the video below, this was the second time I had deadlifted in 2 months and I set a PR.

I did this because the 2 months preceding this lifting session I was killing it on the rings and tricking.  Carry over, big time carry over.  Fast forward a year later, I take a No Season.  No deadlifting or squatting for two months, no rings or tricking. I test my deadlift max after not having deadlifted for 2 months.  My max dropped 10%.  That. Is. Huge. To put some numbers on that percentage I was deadlifting about 550 lbs for my max on average before I took the 2 month sabbatical, and upon returning after several deadlifting sessions I couldn’t pull even 500 lbs which I had owned for years with regular maintenance.  Tricking trains your explosive capacities better than any plyometric drill out there.  That explosive capacity is pure gold for strength training.

Tricking technicality for better strength

I’m still a little elitist about being a trickster when it comes to the technicals of lifting.  I understand the deadlift and squat have technical components, yet I still can’t help myself from laughing and feeling superior when people get chocked up over their form for these lifts to the point of paralyzation.  As a trickster, I’ve been training things that are infinitely more technical then picking up a bar with weights off the ground.

I mean, what’s more technical, a flashkick fulltwist or a deadlift?  A jacknife or a barbell squat?  I mean, come on. When you go back to the basics of strength training, improving and adapting the technicals is a breeze after you’ve been steeped in some really convoluted acrobatic movements.  So yeah, training the technicals of tricking better prepares you for the technicals of lifting.  Because you’re going from level 10 to level 2 in terms of pattern complication.  And the humongous kinesthetic awareness and coordination boost you get from tricking technicals is mega helpful when you take it to strength training.  Suddenly you’re aware of “everything” during all exercises, your feet, ankles, shoulders, entire body position… You’re just more aware of what’s going on during even the simplest of exercise technique, and this is a big deal.

Tricking detail for better strength training

On the same thread as tricking technicality for better strength boosting your strength technique confidence and acquisition, there is also a special detail oriented nature that is developed through tricking that makes for better strength training.  Example: on a b-twist your toes point this way, you use this momentum, you start to dip here, you swing your arms this way, you focus your gaze here, etc.  You pay attention to all these details to make the b-twist “happen” the way you want.  Similarly, when we strength train, we may gloss over the details that can make a movement effective or not.  Example: on a tricep cable pulldown, where do your feet point?  How far do you need to be from the cable attachment?  Where is your gaze?  Elbows? How’s posture?  Bend in knees?  Pace?   Etc.  These details can matter.  Us tricksters are familiar with respecting them.  So for your strength training, consider respecting even the simplest exercises, machines and isolation work, with the same respect you pay to your tricking movements.

Tricking workout pace for better strength

Imagine if you strength trained like you tricked.  You do something that’s near your max and you rest, and you do it over and over again.  In short, you’re gonna get stronger if you do something like 70% of your max a few reps, with lots of sets and lots of rest between those sets, doing every single rep the absolute BEST you possibly can over the course of an hour, than you will if you just do 2 sets of 10 with 70% of your max in 8 minutes including rest.

That very long, extended time to work on something focusing on proficiency and beauty with bountiful rest periods is how a typical tricking session is characterized.  You do a few tricks and you rest a few minutes, you do a few tricks and you rest a few minutes.  You don’t just go go go go go, you take your time.   This is also how Olympic lifters do it too.  Pretty much.  And they are the strongest mutha-fuckers on this planet.  Taking your time and putting in quality and quantity over that time is what’s going to get you stronger, and I know no better analogy for that then the typical tricking session.

Tricking setbacks for increased resilience

I know a lot of tricksters who are retarded when it comes to recovering from, and managing injuries.  But honestly, I know more lifters who are more retarded than those tricksters, they’re simply less adept at injury management.  As both a trickster and a lifter, I’ve hurt myself 20x more tricking than I have lifting.  Tricking is a much more dangerous activity.  I think the reason I’ve not hurt myself even a fraction as much lifting as I have tricking is for this main reason: I learned how to recover and manage injuries like a pro through tricking, and it taught me how to listen to signals from my body more acutely.  And that gave me an edge in my lifting.

Tricking developmental carryover for mega pretzel

Mega pretzel isn’t an ordinary pretzel, but that’s the way we like it.  That’s what we want.   In tricking, you get developmental carryover that will really mega your lifting.  Quite like said pretzel.  You see, tricking is a kingly mobility developer, and in moderate amounts builds the connective tissues up substantially.  This helps increase the safety of your strength efforts.

Tricking demands warm up mastery

Warming up for lifting is so much easier than warming up for tricking.  Tricking for a bigger, older guy like me, requires a really, damn good, detailed warm up.  It’s its own art.  My warming up skills for all kinds of training have appreciated since I mastered warming up through tricking.  This, also, has saved me from lifting injuries and set backs.

Tricking as incredible active recovery

Tricksters take it for granted, but as both a trickster and lifter I find that tricking the day after lifting is incredible as a means of active recovery for lifting. I feel there is some significant function related to priming your nervous system for tricking, and actually doing some tricks that traditional “active recovery work” doesn’t offer.  So if you want to check this out for yourself, warm up enough to trick, and trick for just 5-10 minutes on the days you plan to take off.  Or just fit in a tricking session! Your lifts will thank you.

Tricking will save the training world

Based on these observations, and the enthusiasm of others, including the pet monkey I do not yet own and probably never will, I’m convinced that tricking is a valuable foundation for people looking to start a new training life into old age.  Let’s say you start tricking in your teens, and in your late twenties you decide to transition into building a better looking body, or to just get strong.  Or you just want to “work out” for fun at that point: I think tricking is a fantastic foundation for these future pursuits based on these things I talked about just now.  Tricking is also a fantastic compliment to these pursuits in combination.  Tricking will save the training world.

  • Young ones: start tricking, get into it!
  • Old ones: you’re not too old to learn a few tricks, use tricking to stay young!

4 comments

  1. Great stuff! I’m blazing through your articles and I’m learning so much. Thanks!

  2. jan says:

    It’d be interesting to get your take on the usage of assistance isolation strength exercises as a whole, for the chemically unassisted athlete.

    Side note: I use a select few isolation exercises myself, but I rarely focus on them. For me and the clients I train, it’s more a way of adding extra volume to wanted areas, without stressing the CNS too much. I rarely ever do or assign people to upper/lower body splits though, especially beginners. I’ve read a good chunk of books about programming, but I can’t see a use for upper/lower body splits, outside assisted bodybuilding, training around injuries, or rehabilitating an injury.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Three random products!