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Review: Basement Tapes Series for MMA Conditioning Strength and Hypertrophy "Laying the Foundation"

A veteran personal trainer with over twenty years experience, Kevin Kearns turned his attention to the mixed martial arts community when he was contracted to work with another Boston native, Kenny Florian, to improve his strength and conditioning for competition. In his Basement Tapes series, Kearns shares some of the workouts, techniques, and principles that he uses with many of his professional clients.

"Strength and Hypertrophy: Laying the Foundation" is the first DVD in the basement tape series. As the title suggests, the focus of the DVD is on developing a solid foundation of strength that is useful to the combat athlete. While marketed specifically towards the mixed martial artist, the material on here is generic enough to be useful for practitioners of any martial art.

What's Good

This is a very thorough DVD. Kevin shows a complete workout, beginning with a series of dynamic warm-ups that can be used as a prelude to any martial arts training session. He then goes into a short medicine ball circuit which he calls "the Core Killer". While part of the workout proper, the Core Killer can easily be a short workout on it's own, or a finisher on the end of another routine.

The Core Killer is followed by a series of exercises using a pair of four-pound sledgehammers; this circuit targets the shoulders, and is fantastic for martial artists who want to preserve their shoulders and wrists during training. Again, it could be it's own little routine, done as a warm up or cool down independently of the other exercises.

The next portion of the DVD is the workout itself, which consists of four exercises. It's a short routine, but it covers most major muscle groups.

Finally, there's a cool-down stretching routine. Kearns places a lot of emphasis on proper warm-ups and cool downs, pointing out that many martial artists are happy to train hard for hours, but aren't willing to take five minutes to preserve themselves afterwords.

Kearns provides detailed explanations of each exercise, along with demonstrations and a follow-along section, so that you can see what the workout looks like in real time.

There is a bonus sandbag circuit at the end of the DVD as well, that can work well as a substitute workout if you're bored of the baseline one.

What's Bad

The DVD does not use even the most basic advantages of DVD technology--watching it is essentially like watching a VHS tape. There is no menu, nor are there any chapters. You need to fast-forward or rewind the DVD to get to the information you want. Not a big deal on a first viewing, but if you want check up on something quickly, it's a pain in the neck.

The "follow along" parts of the DVD and the instructional parts are mixed together, which makes it hard to just follow along straight through, OR to just watch the instructional parts and not bother with the follow along.

What's Required

The workout on this DVD is fairly equipment intensive: ideally, you'd need a kettlebell, dumbbell, stability ball, medicine ball, and a pair of four-pound sledgehammers. And a sandbag if you want to try the bonus circuit. Some substitutions can be made, of course, but to do the routine as written, you'll need a fair amount of gear.

Overall, this DVD is a great resource for any martial artist, particularly those involved in combat sports. The routine presented is designed specifically for a martial audience, and helps to address both the physical needs and health concerns of the combat athlete. If you're looking for a new routine to spice up your workout, check out this DVD.


  • Katrina Knoxville MMA Sports Examiner 5 years ago

    Nice review! Love your honest product review in this article, and it still makes me want the DVD...and all that equipment too! ;-)

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