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Hybrid Strength For the Everyman

Ben Johnson Hybrid Strength Transformation

My name is Ben Johnson. I am a 42-year old small business owner in Wisconsin. I have a wife, a teenage son, and two dogs. I also have a repaired congenital heart defect. I am about as far from a personal trainer, fitness model, or professional athlete as you can get. However, since mid-2020, I’ve been training virtually with Danny Kavadlo and have gotten in the best shape of my life. I am stronger, more muscular, and leaner than I was in my 20’s and 30’s, and I’m just getting started. In Danny’s new book, Hybrid Strength Training, he lays out the exact exercises, techniques, and mindset that he has trained with me over the past 18 months, and has also provided 3 detailed 6-week programs to get you in the best shape of YOUR life!

As a "middle-aged" guy, I hear a lot of reasons why certain types of training (or training at all) aren’t practical for the Average Joe. Yes, many books and plans are hyped in the fitness industry, but do they really work for the average, stressed-out individual with a full-time job, a family to care for, and other day-to-day responsibilities? Hybrid Strength Training does. Here are some things to keep in mind when doing this fantastic program.

Adjust When Needed

There are numerous methods of progression and regression available in Hybrid Strength Training. This allows for almost infinite adjustments to the exercises. If something is bothering you when working out or if you are feeling especially beat down, you can swap in a calisthenics substitute or adjust the resistance of a weight-bearing exercise without changing the goal of the program. Furthermore, the workouts are presented in a realistic and actionable way to allow for maximum effort, but also ample recovery time.
Ben Johnson Barbell Deadlift Outdoors

Get It In Where You Can Fit It In

One of the biggest challenges adults over 40 face when doing any kind of training program is setting aside dedicated time for your workouts. Ideally, I work out first thing in the morning. However, some days when I simply don’t have the time, I do what I can early in the day, and then fit in the rest of the workout throughout the day. It is not ideal, but it’s infinitely better than nothing at all. Hybrid training is perfect for this. With a mix of weight training and calisthenics, I simply do the equipment-dependent exercises when I’m home or have access to a gym, and fit in the calisthenics wherever and whenever I can. This includes pistol squats waiting in line at the store, pushups at my in-law’s house, and pull-ups on tree branches and scaffolding around town. Strange looks be damned!

Give It Time-Your Body Will Adapt

Physical advancement requires adaptation. That’s what strength training is—your body adapts to stress by getting stronger. Because of this, it’s not unusual to experience soreness on your muscles and connective tissues. Weighted calisthenics, especially, can be tough on your joints, which take longer to adapt than your muscles. This may offset progression. In fact, after a few months of intense pull-up training, I got moderate tendonitis in both elbows, and had to temporarily back off from pull-ups. (I still worked out; just not pull-ups) After my elbows felt better, I progressed a bit more slowly, with slightly longer rest periods between sets. I‘m pleased to report that I am now training in the Hybrid Strength style, and doing heavy weighted pull-ups weekly, as well as high reps of un-weighted pull-ups throughout the week with no issues at all.
Ben Johnson Pullups Outdoors

Own Every Phase of Training

It is important to keep in mind that while the programs are in 6-week segments, some people will find they need more time on a particular level. I would suggest not moving on to the next week of training until you own every exercise at the prescribed set/rep range for that week. What that means is that you should be able to perform every rep of every set of every exercise with perfect form before moving on. Don’t feel bad if you need to repeat the same level, week, or workout multiple times before you move on. This is not a competition with anyone but yourself.

Revitalize Yourself

As the owner of a dog walking/pet sitting company, one of my early concerns was that I’d be too burned out do the physical aspects of my job after performing intense workouts. But believe it or not, after the first few days, I found the opposite to be true! Clearly I was getting stronger, but in addition, I noticed a huge surge in my energy (not to mention improved sleep). Almost everything in my life—even walking strong pit bulls—became significantly easier.
BenJohnson and dog Outdoors

Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

My favorite aspect of the Hybrid Strength Training philosophy is that it doesn’t waste time on B.S. If you want to do an hour-long warm up for each exercise, enjoy Shake Weight/Bosu/Smith Machine Split Squats, or are planning "left calf day", then this programming is not for you. But if you want the highest return-on-time exercises to get results, I can’t recommend anything better. If I was 18 years old and had no job, I might be cool with doing 4-hour isolation workouts daily. However, as a dad and business owner, I need a training program that values my time and has helped me get in the best shape of my life.

What I Have Gained

In the 18 months since I started following Danny Kavadlo's Hybrid Strength Training protocol, I have made tremendous and obvious strides. My deadlift max and squat max have gone up dramatically, I can slay 10+ pull-ups at any time, and my weight has gone from a kind-of-in-shape 175 pounds to an almost shredded (I’m getting there) 160. Even more importantly, I can now tackle a ropes course with my 13-year-old son, carry Christmas decorations from the basement with ease, climb a tree with my nephew, and wrestle with my pit bulls without needing to recover. I cannot recommend this book, program, and methodology enough.

Now get training!
Hybrid Strength Training Book Cover

Ben Johnson is the owner of Kenosha Pet Sitter providing in-home pet sitting, dog walking, and dog training in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Ben lives in Kenosha with his wife, Amanda, his son, Max, and his 2 pit bulls. He is committed to fitness and pit bull rescue and advocacy.