Power Product Review
Zach Even- Esh’s Underground Strength System
By Anthony Ricciuto
Now unless you have been living under a rock for the past decade I am sure all you hardcore power fans reading this have heard of Zach Even-Esh. Without a doubt one of the most knowledgeable strength coaches in the world, Zach has helped bring the past to the present. Yes if you are sick of lifting in wimpy commercial gyms and watching the latest spin class while trying to squat a PR then you are going to love anything written by my good friend Zach. The reason for this is that he is all about hardcore training, power training that is, and that is what he brings together on his numerous different websites and blogs that he writes for. Now today I wanted to do a review of Zach’s Underground Strength System. I know that anything related to power, speed, and strength is something you all are going to want to look into for sure. Now I have seen numerous different programs, and training systems and one thing that I will tell you is that Zach’s Underground Strength System is truly a piece of work.
Now if you are into hardcore training and who of us here isn’t if you are a die-hard Powerlifter, then you are going to simply love the valuable information enclosed in this program. One thing that I really like about Zach’s philosophy is how he brings the best training components of all different strength sports together to work in true synergy. Many of you do your squats, benches, and deadlifts but when is the last time you did some GPP work by slamming a sledgehammer into a tractor tire for 1 minute intervals? Yea exactly most of you don’t but the take-home point here is that Zach truly knows how to put the pieces of the strength puzzle together so that you can improve at any sport you train or compete for. In this strength system, there is so much to learn and even those of you who have been around the block in the power scene I am sure will also find it very refreshing not only he tell it like it is the reality on training but also the unique creativity behind his program design. So let me now talk about what his system is all about.
Old School Training for Massive Results!
Basically, with his Underground System, there are many different things included. The first gold mine of info that is part of the system is a book that Zach wrote called the Ultimate Underground training Manual which is over 300 pages of kick-ass power information. In this manual, he covers so many very valuable topics. He goes in-depth discussing sandbag training, bodyweight condition, power circuits, and much more. His knowledge of exercise variation is out of this word. He shows you not 3 but 16 variations of how to do pushups for the most results. His section on Farm Boy training is also one of the most interesting sections of the book. I am telling you this manual is out of this world and I know for sure you are going to love reading through every page. One section I like is how he teaches you how to properly design effective strength programs. This chapter in itself is worth the price of the system. He also discusses how to alter training loads to keep getting results and preventing plateaus. There is literally a ton of knowledge at your fingertips in this manual and what I like is that he covers many different topics that I have never read about before. I have read my share of strength books and magazines without a doubt and I can say with full confidence that Zach’s work is among the best. Now, this is not the only piece of this system there is much more. Before we take a look at what else is offered in the strength system let’s take a brief look at one of his workout programs designed specifically for Law Enforcement. The two exercises in the same segment are meant to be supersetted for the required number of sets and then you will continue on to the next sequence. You may think this is a simple workout but believe me, it is one kick-ass program. Give it a try to see exactly what I mean.
1A) thick bar Deadlift 5 x 3 – 6 reps
1B) feet elevated pushups 5 x max
2A) sandbag shouldering 4 x 10 reps
2B) lunge variations with sandbag 4 x 10 reps
3A) weighted pull-ups 4 x 3 – 6 reps
3B) kettlebell swings 4 x 10
4) 3 – 4 circuits of grip and core training
Zach also includes 3 other books that he has written. The first one that I want to talk about is his Stone Training Manual. Now you may think this is about Atlas Stone Training but it is not. This manual will teach you dozens upon dozens of different exercises you can do with all sizes of stones. One thing that I really love about Zach’s training methodology is that his workouts are super fun. I have been doing some of them lately and I can say that all the new exercises and power circuits not only kicked my ass badly but were some of the most exciting workouts I have done in a long time. You guys know how it is. After a couple of decades of going to the gym and doing another regular power squat workout, it can sometimes lose its luster when it is done week in and week out. Zach’s programs are truly a breath of fresh air when it comes to power training and I am sure you all would really love to try them out as well.
Another manual that comes with the system is his Underground Beast Strength book. This is a comprehensive 12-month program to help turn the weakest pencil neck geek into a raging animal. Zach covers an entire year of program design with numerous different workouts, focusing on every aspect of strength and speed to help make you a bigger, faster stronger Beast in a very short period of time. One thing I love how many of his programs do focus on plenty of kettlebell training. Thanks to Pavel this has been a fantastic old-world training method introduced even into powerlifting and you would just have to ask Donnie Thompson how he feels it has helped him to hit the highest total of all time.
The next manual included is his No Rules book. Here Zach breaks down the reality of what it takes to get strong. Those wimpy programs outlined in bodybuilding magazines are not going to get the job done that is for sure and we all know that. Zach brings the true reality of strength training into perspective and unloads numerous different programs in here as well. He focuses on using kettlebells, sled drags, rope training, sandbag lifts, and partner condition training. If you are into this underground way of training I know you are simply not going to be able to put this book down until it is finished. I know I didn’t. Plus all of his manuals not only give excellent exercise descriptions but color pictures as well to truly know what he is talking about. So no matter if you are a complete beginner to the strength scene or a veteran lifter with national titles under your belt, you will all be able to take advantage of what this kit has to offer.
Kettlebells and Sandbags For Muscular Growth!
Lastly, Zach has included some of the most intriguing and motivational audio interrogations with some of the biggest names in the industry. The first one he did which was close to an hour-long was with Jim “Smitty” Smith from the Diesel Crew. He covers a lot of really good information here on grip training, mental toughness, and full-body power workouts. We all know Jim is without a doubt one of the most hardcore coaches in the world and now he reveals many of his secrets in this interesting interview. Next, he does a really good interrogation with Matt Kroczaleski. Of course, all of you reading this know that Matt is one of the toughest lifters on the planet and his mind-boggling totals are a proven testament to this fact. Here Matt covers how he lays out program design for his RAW training. Very interesting stuff here for sure and it had my attention going wild the entire time. Matt is not one to make excuses and is known for still driving himself in the gym like an animal even when working 80 hour work weeks. Yea I would like to see any of today’s pro bodybuilders do that! This was super motivational and I know you will love this interview as much as I did. Lastly, Zach interviews Elliott Hulse a competitive strongman and former Division 1AA football MVP. He goes through his personal evolution of strength training and how he used to ruin people on the playing fields. He currently trains many world-class athletes and he covers many of his proven techniques that have been proven in the gym and on the field.
So as you can see Zach’s Underground Strength System is without a doubt in a class of its own. If you are as passionate about strength as I am then you will for sure want to get your hands on a copy of it. There is so much valuable information in these manuals and audio interrogations that it will take some time to digest it all. I had so much fun going through everything and even more doing some of the workouts outlined in the system. I know you will love this kit as much as I did. So if you are looking to spice up your training no matter if it is for Powerlifting or any other strength sport then I know for sure what you get in here will not only entertain you with all the interesting commentary but will educate you and give you an entirely new spin on training variations that the majority of you reading this have ignored. To find out more about this system you can go to one of many websites at www.undergroundstrengthmanual.com. Zach has many different sites and one that I recommend checking out is his blog. I go to it daily and it is not only interesting but very motivating. Check it out at www.zacheven-esh.com. Once you go I know you will be back over and over without a doubt!