Now when I first read about the NSD Powerballs and their promises of everything from joint rehab to building powerful hands and wrist I was a little skeptical. I mean really? As a Professional Armwrestler I found it hard to believe that I was going to feel anything more then a little Sunday afternoon forearm pump, but like many non-mainstream sports athletes I'm game to give almost anything a try if it means sports improvement. So I bought a couple NSD Powerballs and here are my reviews.
I started out with the 250Hz Powerball with the speed counter. The 250Hz is a plastic lightweight gyro that is easy to start with the starter cord or thumb start (once I saw a "how to" video on YouTube). Happy to say the forearm pump was fast and my hands & wrists got a really good workout after just a couple sets. The speed meter (to measure your rpm) attached on top made the workout a lot of fun because I kept on trying to top my high RPM score (some addiction there lol). The 250 Hz is the kind of powerball you can use a lot and almost everyday as it gives you the perfect low impact workout. At $40 it's a bargain for the kind of workout you'll get again and again.
Next up is the 350Hz lightweight metal powerball, aka "The Raptor". The raptor shows up in a beautiful protective case, extra parts, and some fun goodies. The Raptor reminds me of the movie Jurassic Park when the old guy says "nothing but the best" because it's amazing. Gold plated, computer balanced so it runs smooth and is the fastest Gyro on the planet. (The world record is 20,090 rpms by Akis Kritsinelis). Even with my years of hand and wrist training just hitting 15k was a mega workout, burning up my forearms in minutes. At $190 the Raptor is a little pricey so it may not be your first NSD choice but after trying some of the other products you'll be putting the Raptor on your Christmas list.
The premise of the book is simple - Martin set out out on a world-wide trek to investigate and document the strength and conditioning practices of the most influential martial arts that are used in MMA. He travelled to the birthplaces of these martial arts and trained his ass off with their elite practitioners. Great idea, huh?
The fight-styles that Martin focuses on in the book are BJJ, Muay Thai, Wrestling, Boxing, Kickboxing, Judo, Sambo and Karate. It's easy to see the logic behind these choices - the first four are obvious--techniques from these disciplines make up the majority of the MMA technical syllabus. And the later four have been used successfully by a number of MMA champions.
With this book Martin set himself a number of goals ...
Now rather than go into a detailed account of the structure and content of Ultimate Warrior Workouts, I'll take a look at my four favorite features of the book - the Warrior Challenges, style-specific exercises, exercise variations and partner drills.
Each challenge 'favors' a particular martial art. Taken as a whole, the full set of Warrior Challenges provide a simple and effective way to pinpoint the 'gaps' in a MMA fighter's strength and conditioning. For example, I'm into Muay Thai, so it's no surprise that I scored very highly on one of the challenges geared towards muay thai conditioning (a speed kicking drill). However, when it came to a more BJJ-oriented challenge, I scored MUCH lower. No prizes for guessing what I'll be emphasizing in my training over the next few months, eh?
I actually think portraying strength and fitness benchmarks as 'Warrior Challenges' was a stroke of genius. A fighter is a highly competitive animal. By issuing a 'Warriors Challenge', Martin Rooney is basically waving a red flag at a bull. Challenges motivate fighters! So bringing measurable and graduated strength and fitness challenges into the gym is a great strategy to keep fighters motivated and hungry for training :)
Indeed, a key lesson we can learn from this book - and Martin's whole approach to training - is to be willing and open to learn from others. Fighters must be willing to learn from other fighters, other styles, and other training methods. Does that mean boxers should implement every exercise a kickboxer uses? Or a BJJ fighter should utilize every training tool a muay thai fighter uses? No. But we should be open to learn from others, and be prepared to adopt and adapt any relevant concepts, strategies, tools or exercises that can potentially enhance our own training.