Confessions of a Master StrongFirst Instructor
Jan 26, 2016
I have to confess that I made a big misjudgment in the past. I behaved as an ignorant and conceited person. And I made that big misjudgment towards the Original Strength System. Thanks to God I became aware of my mistakes, and I not only learned a great lesson in life, I now also have the opportunity to publicly atone for my guilt by telling you my story with Original Strength. Here it is.....
As a Master SFG, and a lifetime student of strength, in the past few years I often traveled to the US to teach at StrongFirst events, participate at meetings and attend courses and seminars. Throughout my time I have seen more and more people performing breathing drills, moving their heads in different directions, rolling, rocking and crawling before their practice. They were performing what I later discovered to be the OS resets. As a coach, student, and very curious person, I ended up asking these people what they were doing, and of course the answer was Original Strength! They all told me that it was the fastest & easiest movement restoring system ever, and that it was allowing them to get ready for any physical challenge within just a few minutes. Those statements enhanced my curiosity, but also made me incredulous, up to the point that I purchased the Original Strength book, so to understand the principles on which the system is based.
Once I read the book, everything made perfect sense to me, the importance of gaining reflexive strength, of breathing, engaging the vestibular and proprioceptive systems, crossing midline, and so on. I also remembered back in 2011, in Hungary, while we were teaching a RKC Certification, Original Strength Co-Founder, Geoff Neupert, challenged me with some crawling resets across the training facility.
I remembered how at that time I found it to be incredibly beneficial. Nevertheless I was still an unbeliever. In fact, I was even more skeptical than before. And it was simply because everything seemed to be too good to be true, but above all, the solution to my own and to most people's movement issues seemed to be too easy. And if it's so easy, how come that no one has ever thought about it before? So this is what I ended up doing: nothing. The book remained on my bookshelf for months, and I didn't even give a shot to the system. Bad decision!
In the following months, my life routine kept going on as usual, apart from a sensation of tightness in my left shoulder and my right hip, that was bothering me and gradually getting worse, no matter how much specific work I was doing every day. After some foam rolling and specific stretches, the tightness would disappear and allow me to lift, but the next day it would be back and knocking on my door. Day by day and week by week, the sensation of tightness turned into discomfort, and later on into pain. Foam rolling and specific stretches were becoming less and less effective, to the point that I found myself living in chronic pain. And I couldn't do all my lifts anymore. I never thought that one day I would be in pain up to the point to give up heavy lifting, but it happened. I love to lift heavy, I live to lift heavy, and by not being able to do it, I was becoming more and more frustrated!
Every time I was passing by my studio's bookshelf, my eye was dropping on the Original Strength book, and a voice inside of me would say "pick up that book and give a shot to that stuff, you idiot!". Nothing. At least not until I had a chat on Facebook with Geoff Neupert, and he invited me to attend the OS Foundation Level 1&2 workshops (now the Pressing RESET and Pro RESET Workshops) that were going to happen just a few months later. So I finally decided to attend and give it a chance. And I have to be very honest, I didn't make the decision because I suddenly became a believer, nor because I was in such pain, desperate and frustrated that I would have tried anything, but just because I trusted Geoff. He had been my teacher at my RKC Level 1 Certification back in 2009, I consider him one of my mentors, and I respect him and believe in his words. At the time he told me "You will have a blast!" and also "People are skeptical towards OS because it seems too easy to be real". That was all that I needed to hear.
So that summer I made a trip to the US just to attend the OS workshops. And trust me, Geoff is one of the few men on earth who can convince me to undertake such a trip for something towards which I am skeptical. On day one Geoff took me personally through the level 1 workshop. Since the goblet squat isn't challenging for me, we decided to use the pistol as the "test" exercise. Note that, due to an old ankle injury, I have never been able to perform a bodyweight pistol with my left side, and I needed to use a light counterweight. After the first two resets, I was able to perform a bodyweight pistol with my left side, for the first time in my life! And all this has happened without even moving my ankle!
My faith in OS was growing indeed, and I was more and more excited about it, but still my fear was about the following day. Would all the benefits that I was experimenting simply disappear, as it was true for when I was doing foam rolling and conventional stretches? The answer, of course, came the following morning. I attempted the exercise and with great surprise, I did it! Not only did OS work, but its benefits were permanent. In just one day I accomplished something that I have never been able to do before, no matter how hard I tried. And I could jump off my chair right here, right now, and do it again. OS works, really! Do I believe in the system now? Definitely! Does it still sound too easy to be true? Of course it does. But it works, and this is a fact!
Once I got back home, I passed my tests and became an OS coach. Since then I have been doing my OS resets every day, my shoulder and hip have been doing great, and I could start lifting heavy again. Within one year I did my all-time PRs in deadlift, back squat and one-arm kettlebell military press. I have been spreading the word about OS with my students and across my country. In 2015 I hosted the first OS workshop in Italy with Geoff, and there are two more already scheduled this year. I also spread the word in other Countries, including Brazil, and we are in the process of organizing an OS workshop there.
Of course introducing OS to my students and in my country (Italy) wasn't that easy, especially at the very beginning. Every time I talked about the system, guess what wall I was hitting? Everyone would say something like "it all makes lots of sense to me, but it's too easy to be true!". Geoff was right! But results speak for themselves, the system has gradually conquered the faith of everyone who has given it a shot. The OS resets is what my students, myself, and a growing number of people are doing on a daily basis, with great benefits in terms of health, performance, and joy of life.
Did I throw in the trash-can all joint mobility drills, regular stretches and other movement systems? Of course not, many of them have a great value that must be recognized. I still sometimes include them in my morning routine, especially when I need to laser-focus on a particular area that needs extra care. OS is the foundation, what I do every day and keeps me in a constant state of readiness, while the rest is accessory work, which I can include in my routine, in certain circumstances.
So if you are skeptical about OS, all you need to do is give it a shot. It will do for you as good as it did for me and countless other incredulous people!
Fabio Zonin is an Original Strength Instructor, Master SFG, SFB, and SFL. He is a former powerlifter, natural bodybuilder, and owner of fitness centers in Italy. He was the first Italian to accomplish the Beast Tamer Challenge and has been a Master Teacher for FIF (Italian Federation of Fitness) for almost two decades (1994-2012). He is also the Ground Force Method National Director for Italy.
He is the Former vice president of the AINBB (Italian Association of Natural Bodybuilding), and has trained many athletes at national and international level in natural bodybuilding, powerlifting and other sports.
He has authored numerous articles for Italian popular magazines and websites dedicated to fitness, bodybuilding, and strength training, and has worked with to leading Italian companies in the field of sports equipment, body composition evaluation software, and nutritional supplements.