Supreme Strength: An Interview with Todd Bumgardner

Posted: May 29, 2012 in Uncategorized

As someone who has followed the fitness industry for a few years, I can honestly say that I never really appreciated the work that went into putting out a product. Better yet, I had no appreciation for the work that goes into putting out a quality product. That all changed over the last few months as I have had the pleasure to watch two of my good friends Todd Bumgardner and John Gaglione release The Supreme Strength System.

Today, Todd has been nice enough to answer a few questions concerning not only the program, but also some general health and fitness questions as well.

1) Without giving too much away,  just tell us, in your own words,  a little about Supreme Strength and what people can expect from it.

TB: Supreme Strength is a comprehensive training system. It’s the culmination that everything John and I have done and learned since we started training. Of course, we don’t do the same things we did when we were 13, but that’s when I started training with a similar system. The final Supreme Strength product, however, is the best strength and power program I’ve ever done or trained anyone with.

 It includes three and four-day training programs–each fourteen weeks long. It comes with a power program, four mobility programs, a soft tissue maintenance guide, exercise modification guide, testing guide and three exercise indexes.
Honestly, it ended up being far more than we expected. We were really pleased with the outcome.
2) So now that you have told us a little about the program, let me ask you the important question. How has the response been from the public? What kind of feedback have you gotten so far?
TB: The response has been overwhelming. People all over the globe have invested in Supreme Strength–including people as far away as Australia. It’s really been a humbling experience. I’m just a guy from Central PA that teaches people to use their bodies and lift things. To think that John and I have had such an impact already is amazing.
3) From reading the program, the thing that jumped out to me was the depth you guys went into and explanation of literally everything. So basically my question is, Why include the Why?
TB: Great question. We’ve looked at a lot of the strength and conditioning products on the market and we found one resounding theme–not enough explanation! Personally, I hate it when I’m told to do something and I’m not given an explanation.
You know what I mean?
I hate seeing–bench on this day, squat on this day and do these reps. It’s all well and good, but I think it’s important for people to know why something is going to make them better. It’s much easier to relate to, as well as commit to, a program that you understand.
4) Some athletes or weekend warriors may read the program and be scared off by the fact that you guys have such a heavy power lifting influence and that it may not be for athletes. What do you have to say to that?
TB: I won’t deny the powerlifting influence. Coach Gaglione and I have each competed in powerlifting–he’s actually getting ready for a competition right now. We’ve each been using Westside Barbell inspired templates since we began lifting–for me, it’s been since I was thirteen years old.

People need to understand, though, that getting better as an athlete means getting stronger. Strength is the prerequisite of all other physical qualities–speed, power, agility and endurance. Everyone wants all of the other physical qualities–everyone wants to be fast or have great endurance–but skipping out on developing higher strength levels drastically limits a person’s ability to enhance other athletic qualities.
We stayed so heavy on the strength for a couple of reasons: it’s what we’re best at and it’s what people need. There are plenty of programs out there with a million and a half speed drills, but not enough focused on building strength. We saw a need and we wanted to deliver something great to meet that need.
5) I know we talk about this all the time. assessment of our clients. You aren’t the first person to put out an online program but since I know you strongly believe in the individual assessment, did you have any hesitation about putting out a product to the masses in which you wouldn’t get to do an assessment on each person?
TB: Wow, that’s an excellent question. I can think of at least fifteen times when I called you to ask how you would assess something, and it’s really shaped the way I assess people.

I’m a very big believer in individual assessments, and it was something that I had to let go of a bit when putting together Supreme Strength. However, we came up with several strategies to individualize the program.
First, there are three and four-day program options. Depending on scheduling and how someone prefers to train, they can pick from one of these programs. I’ve done the program each way and I saw great results each time.
Second, we came up with an exercise modification guide. It’s an amazing resource. It describes how to plug and pull exercises within the program to best fit an athlete’s fitness level and movement quality. It also outlines how to use exercises to work around injuries. This manual made me feel great about the program. If a movement isn’t going to fit for a coach or an athlete, they have a solid bank of other options.
Third, each phase of the program includes mobility fillers. These are mobilizations and active stretching exercises done between lifting sets. These are great for addressing predictable movement deficits and imbalances. Many of my assessments are designed to figure out what fillers I’ll need to use. Since we developed a great filler system for the program that addresses the big, predictable issues people have, I feel better about not personally assessing everyone that uses the program.
6) Many of my readers are fellow chiropractic school students who like me, take our lifting and workouts very seriously. Taking it one step further, you and I have discussed on multiple occasions the idea of a non traditional, multi-disciplinary setting in which we combine the strength and conditioning, manual therapy, and rehabilitation. In your eyes, as a strength and conditioning coach, what are you looking for in our side of things either when looking to refer out or possibly bringing someone in to work out of your gym?
TB: First and foremost, I want to work with a manual therapist that is a team player. Results and health supersede any individual ideology–so working with an ideologue that won’t break a given paradigm wouldn’t work for me. I like thinkers that match a tool to a person not try to use the same tool on everyone. It goes back to our discussions on individualizing programs based on assessments. I’m not a manual therapist, but I think treatment should be individualized as well.

Say you have two practitioners that each use the ART and Graston soft-tissue techniques. One applies the same technique every time, Graston then ART, no matter the person or the issue. The other practitioner, however, treats the whole person. Examines neuromuscular control, takes training and nutritional history and orders X-rays from a radiologist. After this work up, the practitioner decides that the patient needs stability training above all else. He starts the patient on a program and refers back to me.
So I guess what I’m saying is I would want to work with a guy or gal that has a system–not one that functions under strict paradigm–and likes being part of a team.
7) I have started getting some emails from students asking me for advice or guidance on how to get themselves out there and “build a brand” hahaha (Sorry, I still laugh when I say that). Since this is an area I have always come to you with questions, can you possibly shed some light on this subject?
TB: Wow, haha. I’m still not sure I’m the best guy to come to with this question. I’m still working on figuring this out.

The only thing I can comment on is putting out quality work and being a social human being.
Basically, don’t suck at what you do and be nice to other people and you usually make friends. These friends tell other people that you’re great and all of a sudden you are getting attention from people.
And never sell  yourself short. I took a shot in the dark and sent an article into T-Nation as a no name dude that only had one article published before. It worked out, now people actually recognize Beyond Strength Performance. It’s also why Supreme Strength will be successful.
A big thank you to Todd for taking the time for this interview. Just like I expected, very thought-provoking and helpful responses!
For more information about The Supreme Strength Program please click here
  1. Thanks for doing the interview, Justin! Great questions and I really appreciate your time!

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