T Nation

Coach Sommer's Website


Just a heads up to those interested in gymnastic strength training- Coach Sommer has started posting his gymnastic WODs on his website.


Unfortunately (or not if you have his book) I can't understand the acronyms or progressions, but for those with some gymnastic experience (or his book!) this looks to be shaping up as a good resource.


motherfucker stop sharing this shit :slight_smile:

...supposed to be my secret weapon.


Xen Nova, share your training plan.
Come on, bitch :smiley:


pretty much same as your's :slightly_smiling:

been doing a lot of ringwork lately though


my review of his book from another site:



Hey Xen,

Thanks a lot for the good review on the other site.

I just have a couple questions:

  1. You mentioned that weighted skills (ie bench press, etc.) do not translate into the bodyweight realm, but bodyweight skills do translate into the weights realm. What is the rationale for that?

  2. I'm interested in the leg work. What kind of leg work does coach Sommer recommend? Gymnasts are typically known for their upper body strength, not lower body strength. I'm curious as to what kind of lower body work he prescribes.

  3. You wrote: "He really prefers using a steady state type of approach to training so on a perceived effort scale of 1-3, stay at a 2 for 8-12 weeks... often times we neurologically learn shit but on a curve that doesn't solidify the gains, so if you start jumping through progressions too soon you quickly peak and then don't progress any farther. Basically slower is better. Breaking it down to my dumbass level, the strength is in your cns which can rev up for short periods but the gains aren't "muscle" yet, when you rebuild stronger muscle tissue at that strength level then it's "permanent" and not just a short term CNS gain... which physiologically makes no sense, but i can make it work in my head :-p"

This part both interests and confuses me (yeah. I'm weird like that). Could you clarify that a bit?

  1. Is this a book, or an ebook?


As i posted here:

"I bought the book and DVDs. The book is great, the DVDs horrible and not worth the extra money. There is just the movement demonstrated - which the pictures in the book adequately show. Also the navigation on the DVDs is very cumbersome and appears to have been made on a Mac with some cheap video editing program.

So - just buy the book."


Actually seeing it with others and experiencing it with myself. You can quite naturally make strength improvements that will translate to both realms, but overall bodyweight movements that depend on difficult leverages often engage more muscle groups than a weighted lift. For instance the bench press is a braced movement, but a planche pushup is like performing the bench press without a bench, so your entire body has to be tight to do so. Concept I think Pavel calls irradiation.

mostly just pistols and bodyweight GHR. A lot of their work outside of that is dynamic oriented stuff. Keep in mind they want to keep their legs as lean as possible. So any added muscle is NOT a benefit but rather will negate their skillset.
that said if you can perform 1/2 those skills and still have a 500lb squat with great leg development you'll be stronger imo because it will be like performing the same movement with more weight.

Fuck that is confusing. um... it's like Sheiko training, you stay at around 70-80% to get in more volume and teach yourself to "learn" the movement. You stay away from failure so you're not in danger of learning incorrectly which may stop you from future progressions and allows you to train more often.

Book and DVD's. I just got the book.


Thanks Nova.


welcome bitch :slightly_smiling:


Just to clear up the last bit of confusion, you said that it's better to progress slower, so that the gains are solidified by muscle, instead of being purely neurological. I thought the idea behind gymnastics was to build as much strength as possible, while building as little muscle as possible.

Besides that, thanks for explaining the level 2 on the 3-point effort scale. It makes sense now :slight_smile:


I'd just like to point out that in that review Xen linked to above he has attached a shitload of nice vids. Check it out if you haven't already. A lot of them remind me of exercises I used to see pole vaulters do at track practice, although that was on a pullup bar and I bet that using rings work you WAY harder. Great stuff.

How much of the book is devoted to exercises that use rings? I'm interested in bodyweight stuff, but don't have a spot for rings right now and am a little apprehensive about them due to some shoulder issues.



Did you make your own parallete bars or buy them?


Almost all ringwork in the book is stuff you progress to. Trust me, you will have to work up to that level.


i made two, one with thicker handles so i could work on grip strength. don't recommend it right away, not useful for skill training... nice for variety though.


Just curious, I have no illusions of me using rings or paralletes right away, this stuff is freaking hard without them!

I wonder when his other books are coming out?


He has a new book coming out?
Does anyone know what it will be about?


Interesting you say that- I have been posting on Coach Sommer's website a bit, and I have been advised to get the rings with the book. Not being a gymnast by any stretch, I was thinking I would be alright with my chin and dip station to begin with- do yo u agree?

As for the other book they don't seem to be on the way any time soon, although Coach Sommer seems to know exactly whats going in each of them.


With all due respect to him, Sommer is probably trying to make little more money. Unless you are a freak or have been training awhile, I think you'll be good for now.


He has a couple he talks about in this book.

One is a handtand specific book, one will be called Liquid Steel (which I think is a BADASS concept to think about, especially in regards to grappling, kind of like Bruce Lee's "be like water", but I digress), which will be about flexibility/mobility training. Another book will be about dynamic gymnastic exercises.