By June 23, 2006


Before I started my session with my trainer Yoda today, he talked about a Japanese training method called the “20×20.” No, this does not involve giant tentacles or robot monkeys. It involves doing 20 sets of the same exercise 20 times. You rest for 20 seconds between sets. The idea is to put your muscles into extreme fatigue. This results in an accelerated metabolic rate, and a natural production of human growth hormone. Yoda went on to tell me that the best exercise for the 20×20 were squats, since they use a ton of muscle fiber in the legs, ass, and core.

Yoda smiled at me and said, “but we can do that another day.” To which I smiled back, “why not do it today?” He made sure I was serious, and the next thing I knew I was doing 400 squats in the Freemotion machine.

“You’re going to be doing a lot of counting today,” I told him, as we started off the first set at 140 pounds. We peeled the weight down to 120, 100, 80 (one set at each weight). I did 9 sets at 60 and then rest at 40 pounds. 25,200 pounds in total. That’s hardly any weight at all per rep, but trust me, it was brutal. I was winded, sore, and completely soaked in sweat by my 400th squat. I thought we were done, but then we did a round of standing leg curls and then a round of seated calf raises. Then I high-step ran around for two laps in the yoga room, and kicked-my-ass ran for three laps. And then we did abs.

I was completely exhausted by the end of the session, but it was nice knowing that I impressed my trainer. As we moved around the gym, he called out “this guy just did 400 squats!” to other clients and trainers. One of my favorite things about Yoda — and this is why I dubbed him such — is that he’s always making me do crazy exercises that other people don’t do. I’m sure that if there was a way to levitate rocks or raise an X-Wing out of swamp, Yoda would have me do it.

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2 Comments on "20×20"

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  1. Bond says:

    If he ever asks you to go into a cave just remember this:

    “Your weapons, you will not need them…”

  2. Markie says:

    Nice routine, I have not heard of it, maybe I will add it to my routine next time I have a couple of days to recover.

    I got this routine from someone I share thoughts with occasionally on another list… It is pretty brutal at first, but gets easier over time…


    WARNING: These plyometrics are part of a VERY intense training program, and you CAN be injured if they are done incorrectly. DO NOT attempt any of these if you have any pre-existing joint or muscle injuries. Also, begin slowly and work up to where you can perform these explosively.

    These plyometrics are part of a powerlifting program specifically designed to help grappler become stronger, faster, and move explosively. Being the devious person I am, I use the program conversely for combating grapplers as the plyometrics work very well for Wing Chun. At this writing, besides myself, I have 5 other control people in various martial arts and powerlifting and ALL have benefited greatly.


    Horseback Plyo Jumps
    You assume a horseback stance and jump up BUT in the following manner:
    1) The upper body should be in your “fighting” stance and remain motionless througout the jumps.
    2) The execution of the jump is flat foot->ball of foot->toes and then reversed when landing. You should land in a controlled manner making as little sound as possible.
    3) When you land, you sit back into the horseback stance.
    4) Attempt to get at least 1/2″ higher with each set

    Horseback Plyo Speed Drill
    You assume a horseback stance and will stand and advance in the following manner:
    1) The upper body should be in your “fighting” stance and remain as rigid as possible while moving.
    2) You will advance 3 steps, rising from the horseback stance as you move and then settle back into the horseback stance. Move as quickly as possible.
    3) Hold stance for 5 seconds and then pivot to the left or right while maintaining the horseback stance. This counts as one rep.
    4) Repeat movement, but lead with the opposite leg that you started with.

    8-Point Horseback Plyo Speed Drill
    You need to watch the video on this for the explanation as it is difficult to perform.


    Trunk Plyo—With this movement you press upward with a majority of the pressing occurring with the arm that is extended upward. Keep the trunk tight and concentrate on flexing the serratus area during the 2-count. The legs should be splayed apart to simulate the grappler/wrestling response to the shoot.

    Triple Press Plyo—This is a speed press movement involving three points of contact. In a pushup position, press upward and pivot to the left or right and then work back making three points of contact. The arc of position shouldn’t be more than 10º. Movement in one complete direction is considered a single rep.

    Side-to-Side Press Plyo—This is a variant of the above but the objective is to move laterally as far as you can explode in each direction. Movement in one complete direction is considered a single rep.

    Sprawl Plyo Press—Again, watching the video will provide a better explanation, though I plan to write this out on a later date.


    Cable or Band Plyo Pulls:
    In this plyo, you assume a fighting stance but with an erect torso and stable lower body. Using either bands or an adjustable height cable machine, you set the height about level with the solar plexus. Starting with the right side, your stance will be left leg forward, and you will grasp left hand over right with the left facing away from the body and the right facing toward the body. Without pre-tension, you pull explosively toward the right side with the right arm, leading towards the rear with the elbow until peak contraction. If done correctly, you will feel torque pressure at the hip and a maximum flexion from the obliques upward through the length of the latissmus and other ancillary back muscles.

    Some key points: keep the lower body as stationary as possible while maintaining a vertical center of gravity plane from the inside center of the pelvis. For the left side, the right foot is leading and you pull with the left arm.

    The purpose of this plyo is to develop explosive speed once contact with the opponent has been made to throw the opponent off-balance, drive a knee into the torso, initiate a hip throw, or work around the opponent for a wrap. Other uses will vary based on one’s particular martial art style.