Critical Strength

The purpose of fitness training is to expand our capacity to move - develop the strength, mobility, adaptability and resilience that will carry over to, and improve, our primary activity or sport. To do this we need to train the whole body in an integrated, authentic way - learning our personal strengths and weaknesses as well as understanding the foundations of movement as a human. By developing our natural capacity through our full ranges of motion, we’ll ensure our strength will transfer into our sport and enhance our athletic capacity.

Simplicity is at the heart of this programme - training often takes on a fragmented and confusing nature, so one of the primary drives with Critical Strength is to lay out simple progressions of the key human movements, using minimal equipment and bare bones simplicity - these fundamentals will take you a long way, but once mastered provide the framework for a huge variety of progressions and possibilities which will come quickly and as most are simply extensions and adaptations of this framework.

The Critical Strength online course (and local workshops) are designed to address, from the core outwards, the foundational movements that form the basis of our more complex functions. It’s a framework that can be used as a stand alone system to improve functional strength, work towards specific moment goals such as a muscle up, or intelligently adapted to specifically address the critical movements that will determine your performance level in your sport.

Each level is designed to provide the foundations to the next level, which will then develop your functional strength to pave the way for the next. The tools learnt in level one for example set up the mobility and functional requirements for level 4, and also provide a set of tools that we can go back to during future levels to trouble shoot certain movements. Briefly each level will focus on the following:

Level 1 - CORE RESET
Self Activation to quickly restore muscle function and mobility.
Spinal Engine Reset to restore and integrate spinal function.
Restorative Breathing to improve O2 uptake, breathing mechanics and enhance mental function.

Learn the 3 big core exercise - the Hanging Leg Raise, 1 Arm Push Up and Get Up.
Develop the capacity to move freely under land and develop full body tensions (strength).
Learn Reverse Breathing to amplify power output and explosiveness.

Learn the proper mechanic of lower body push and pull movements.
Integrate Power Breathing techniques into the lifts for spine health and increased performance.
Develop Proper body position in landing drills in preparation for explosive jumping.

Develop upper body pushing and pulling mechanic that (if you’re so inclined) will lead to a muscle up.
Develop multi-planar whole body mechanics under load (The Bent Press).
Learn how to properly train and integrate the shoulder girdle for joint health and performance.

By design this system will work for almost everyone, and whilst many won’t achieve the end point during the workshops the advanced movements are mostly a combination and progression of the foundations, and are note qualitatively different, so progression are relatively straight t forward once the foundations are mastered.

The real intention behind the Critical Strength approach is to overcome the specific roadblocks to performance you experience in your sport - not only is this very individual in term son how your body functions but it’s also specific to the movements restricting or impairing your performance. These workshops will work through the initial stages of the Critical Strength process, to build an individual profile of each participant, and then break down a number of sports specific moves and develop a programme to build the movement and and strength required for each individual to excel in these technical movement skills.

Introductory Workshop

I’m running local workshops in Totnes and Exeter which will go through each level over a 2 hour duration.


Next Dates:

Totnes: TBA

Exeter: Monday 7:30pm
30th July & 13th August

Contact Joe for availability and details

Online Video Resource

This is currently a work in progress and will become available over the next few months, it’s a resource that will work as a stand alone programme or as a compliment to the live workshops.