We spend a multitude of hours inhabiting these temples we call gyms. Some enter the tireless pilgrimage of fitness as a pure act of catharsis to positively deal with the vicissitudes of modern living, others to improve strength and performance and some simply workout to look better naked. Whatever the reason that draws you on the path we all want to see tangible results for our hours of devoted servitude. In this article we are going to show you how to “bridge the void” between strength gained in the gym and its effective application in the real world.

Yes sadly not all gains made on the gym floor are immediately transferable out side of the hallowed iron walls. Although in the early days of training there certainly is an increased ability to handle everyday tasks “without undue fatigue” as I believe is the text book statement, this simply applies to general daily activates such as going up stairs or carrying shopping. However, just because you possess an earth moving dead lift dose not necessarily mean you will be able to pound for pound translate this into the real world, a sentiment that can be confirmed by any competent dead lifter who has tried to hoist up an unconscious person, probably half the weight that they would comfortably lift for reps in the gym and found themselves severely wanting. Similarly a 125kg bench press will not instantly grant the strength needed to easily fell a 125kg human juggernaut on the rugby field. However all is not lost as there is a way increase the transfer of your ill gotten gains out of the gym and the answer is “Combination Training”

Combination Training

I have personally utilised the multiple benefits of this type of training with Profession Ice Hockey Player Nicky Watt to increase his on ice speed and upper body strength and more recently it was applied to ex All Black and London Wasp Pro Rugby player Mark Robinson (pictured below). Granted this is by no means new information or even a principle rife with scientific rigger but it’s easily applicable, effective and enjoyable…almost!

This exercise modality is categorised by the pairing of a traditional gym exercise and a non-traditional modified strongman type movement e.g. a 6 rep squat with farmer’s walks. The theory is that by combining an exercise with a relatively fixed muscular recruitment pattern with that of a movement of a similar muscle group, with variable recruitment, the transfer of strength into the real world is enhanced. This is all well and good but how can this information aid you in your quest for physical improvement. Well at Embody Fitness we are always looking to provide exciting and challenging workouts to help you achieve incredible results so hear is one of my Combination routines for a favored muscle group “arms”. This program will not only aid aesthetic development but also real strength leaving you feeling like a competitor in world’s strongest man.

I am aware not all of you will have access to the equipment or the space that we are blessed with at Embody but the principle of the training method remains, which is simply the combination of a traditional exercise with a non-traditional movement. If you are intrigued and wish to try the Embody Fitness experience for yourself, contact us at info@embodyfitness.co.uk .

Combination Training for Bigger, Stronger Arms. 








Scott Curl






Seated Rope sled pull

22 meter pull





Lying DB extension






Thick Bar Narrow Bench press with chains





 Written By David Lewis May 2013