Dietrich Buchenholz aka DB Hammer

I’m sure some of you have read stuff by DB Hammer on either the Supertraining site or at elitefts, well he has his own site now and I have had a bit of a nose around. Some interesting stuff, one particular statement that caught my eye was

…How long can you up-hold peak sprint velocity before you begin to slow-down? Many sprint training “experts” will define this in seconds- 2 seconds, 3 seconds, 4 seconds- and they base their opinion strictly off of what they observe- no more, no less. Well, that’s all fine and dandy, but unless we all throw paper bags over our heads we are all still unique individuals(right?)! I have seen athletes maintain peak velocity for 9 seconds, or more, and others struggle to maintain speed for even a few seconds. And the only way to know for sure is to test it out.

This is taken from an article here in the articles section by Dietrich called Cornerstones which goes on to outline some of his methods.

I would be interested to hear comments/feedback on it.

The question is: How does he define peak velocity?

but unless we all throw paper bags over our heads we are all still unique individuals(right?)!

not really.


PEAK velocity for over 9 seconds? Sure, provided you’re slower than Molasses rolling uphill! If we’re talking about sprinters, “even a few seconds” is a very long time!
“Experts” basing their opinion on observation? What the hell else would you base it on?
Here’s a hint. When making observations, take off the paper bag.

Charlie the information on llama’s was good though dont you think.


Obviously this clown is talking about skydivers, cliff divers, downhill skiiers, lugers, skeleton, etc… :wink:

Not so fast there, my nefarious assistant! Obviously, you’re only “seeing” half the picture. They don’t maintain peak velocity, they keep getting faster- till they hit something!

I guess that’s where the paper bag over the head comes in handy.

You can save the other half of the bag for a friend!

Or you can give the other half to ato boldon and see if he runs faster.

Come on guys, it would be quite an improvement from his speedsuit.


thats not true, they will reach a terminal velocity wont they?

Ie when friction (due to to atmosphere) equals the force attributed by gravity

I think they’re just messing around. :slight_smile:

Hyphnz … im not sure about this guy hey… whats your opinion of his training methods ideas in general?

great question…pakewi?

I’ve actually been looking at his stuff now over the past little while and he reminds me much of Pavel T - great claims and some interesting concepts but little in the way of actual demonstratable results - (well yet anyway).

However I’m going to spend a little more time digesting his theories before I make up my mind.

well… I have been investigating Mr. Buchenholz’s materials,got in possession of His own Strength Training book,and been in touch with Him for a while via email. His writings contain a huge plethora of knowledge and apparently hard gained experience,which are actually interesting.

I would refrain from a quick drawn judgement of any of his assertions,particularly when taken out of context,although I surely cannot experiencially agree on ANY of His statements so far.
One thing I do not appreciate about His “System” is the -sometimes forced- adoption of a whole new vocabulary of terms, sometimes actually defining nothing new or different from well known and openly discussed -if not accepted- phenomena,which actually makes things more difficult rather than easier,thus moving the bar in the “wrong” direction.

In His book there are some subtle fine points which deserve attention and can provoke some fruitful thinking.
I personally do like His approach to defining the Sports actions from a force generation and application standpoint.
What I find extremely interesting are some directions of the general thought process which seem to head to points well present already in in Charlie’s approach,such as :

> restraining the % drop off of useful (training) performance to a
mere 6% most of the time, which actually allows for a restricted bracket
(100%-94%) of usable intensities,training performance wise.

> considering different % of Motor Units involvment in different exercises by
allocating different “Body weight Factors” to different movements,and on
the same line taking into consideration how amplitude and range of motion
critically influence the nature of the exercise.

> setting realistic and quite straightforward definitions of metabolic energy
pathways in their interplay with neural processes.

Overall: when I had the chance to get a little bit deeper into CF’s approach to training and planning,and appreciate its -sometimes evident!- subtilities,my Programs reflected His influence right from the start of the successive season,always through a trial and error process,but with consistent success.
It has been a couple of years now that I try and investigate and implement some features of Dietrich Buchenholz’s approach,and I will continue following His unfolding knowledges and training experiences, but I still wasn’t able to properly manage a Program based on my comprehension of His System,or part of it, nor reap actual results,besides extremely precious knowledge hints .

But I may well be stucked at some obtuse “resistance stage”,and You know how Swimming is a weird scenario itself…

All joking (and the example) aside, this sounds interesting. Every “system” is successful only if it challenges the end-user to analyse his own reason for work selection, and its role in the overall program. Hammer’s work has done that for you.

(rant was once here)


To be honest I heven’t done a whole lot of reading on it but from I have seen it has some stuff I find intriguing. I have been using Isometrics a bit myself lately after reading CTs stuff but not to the extent Dietrich suggests.

The quote I put up may have been (prob was) out of context so I will post the article here).

Cornerstones of Champions

by Dietrich Buchenholz

As a lot of you already know, reflexive-firing isometrics(RFI) and oscillatory-isometrics(OI) are two very powerful training tools. Aside from RFI being a direct “neuro-rate” development method and OI being a direct “neuro-duration” development method, both of them can be qualified as “short range of movement reflexive firing methods that exploit the benefits of the reactive regime.” Both of them teach movement efficiency. Both of them yield a considerable rise in nervous sytem output (compared to their same-modality counterparts). And if it weren’t for the “neuro-magnitude” modality, you could basically connect the two directly as being a continuum- with load being the obvious difference between them.

Think of it this way; RFI and OI work feed into proficient development of the reactive(REA) method of work(not to be confused with the general categorization of “reactive contractions”). Moreover, REA work is a great “feeder” into reactive-acceleration(RA) work- such as auxometronics(AMT). And as many of you have already experienced, AMT can be quite a jolt to your sporting performance!

So let’s take a moment to examine these two “Cornerstone’s of Champions” a bit more- taking a closer look at what they are, what they do, and even discuss sub-methods for each.

Reflexive-Firing Isometrics

Reflexive-firing isometrics exploit the “plyometric effect” of movement proficiency- but so do a lot of methods! So, what really separates this method from others is it teaches your system how to rapidly “turn on” and “turn off” via highly concentrated bursts of neuro-electric activity and tension recruitment, alternated with a proficient release of tension as it relates to “neural energy sparing.” All of this traces back to intricate functions of the nervous system that make-up contraction rate(CR) ability(i.e. this aforementioned ‘rapid-fire’ cycle)- interval rate(IR) and transmission rate(TR). That is, not only is it important to recruit what is needed, when it is needed, but the conservation-of-energy effects of this method perpetuate a longer terminal capacity function to be realized(i.e. how long you can keep up intensity of effort before realizing a drop in function).

You really don’t have to look far to see all of this pan-out in the real-world, either. Take sprinting, for instance. How many times have you seen an athlete pull a muscle as he takes off in a sprint? Poor TR function (and/or poor neuro-dynamic patternization ability). How often have you seen an athlete pull a muscle in the middle of a sprint? More often than not, this is resultant from poor IR function (and/or poor neuro-dynamic patternization ability). In “The Sports Book: Best Training Ever!”, I more accurately describe these deficiencies- TRP and RFP. Meaning, it is the onset of tension and the control of this tension(OTC) that will allow you to possess the sought after combination of movement efficiency and movement proficiency. One without the other is like having cookies with no milk.

And in keeping with the same example; How long can you up-hold peak sprint velocity before you begin to slow-down? Many sprint training “experts” will define this in seconds- 2 seconds, 3 seconds, 4 seconds- and they base their opinion strictly off of what they observe- no more, no less. Well, that’s all fine and dandy, but unless we all throw paper bags over our heads we are all still unique individuals(right?)! I have seen athletes maintain peak velocity for 9 seconds, or more, and others struggle to maintain speed for even a few seconds. And the only way to know for sure is to test it out. And, remember, poor performance can just as much mean over-training as it does under-training, so you always have to associate the results as being relative to the athlete and relative to his training past and present. Instead of making the mistake of giving you a “cookie-cutter” guide to follow, let me do you one better. Bottom line is this- it’s all manipulative! Just as you can make an athlete stronger, you can raise a sprinters terminal capacity- how long he can maintain peak velocity. And you want to talk about putting theory into practice- try RFI work on for size!


Similar to how RFI work is directly beneficial for a speed-seeking athlete and indirectly (supportive) beneficial for a strength-seeking athlete, OI is directly beneficial for a strength-seeking athlete and indirectly (supportive) beneficial for a speed-seeking athlete. Did I say all that correctly? Okay, good…now we can move on. Built on the same stone as RFI; OI work enhances onset of tension control(OTC), develops movement efficiency via the installment of energy conservation, yet still, it develops proficiency of neural output, magnitude of tension recruitment, and escalates force development. Quite a gift to come all in one package, wouldn’t you say? And just like RFI, it’s something that you shouldn’t use all the time but, when you do, let’s just say that you’re not going to turn down the results! It will make your movement more efficient; meaning, terminal capacity can be raised. However, with the applications presented in this article, the first thing you’ll notice is that you won’t have to “maintain the strain”- you’ll be able to blast through sticking points with a vengeance. This is because your system will learn when and how to “turn it on”- a little or a lot- in order to complete the lift with relative ease.

Release Methods

When “energy sparing” between contractions is sought out, this sub-method works wonders. It can be used with RFI and OI work, and it really taps into interval-rate and transmission-magnitude functions of the neuromuscular system. In order to accomplish this, it entails that a “peak relaxation” phase will lead into the “reflexive firing” phase of the movement. This will allow you to “rebound” out of the reactive contraction phase powerfully, yet, with little “voluntary” strain. Ever get startled bad enough while you were sleeping that it almost caused you to leap through the ceiling? Well then you know the powerful effects that can result in combining relaxation with reflexive-firing methodics! Think about it; When have you ever jumped that high before…let alone after someone just whispered your name! In sports/training, we are talking about the optimization of the ‘plyometric effect’ via static-spring mastery.

RFI-Release Samples

RFI-Release Stability Press: Lower yourself into mid-range push-up position on a mini-trampoline or a spring board. From there, you will essentially “run” in place with your hands, firing each hand into the tramp in rapid-fire sequence. Your goals is two-fold; don’t allow your torso to rise or fall during which time you will move your hands as quick as you can.
RFI-Release Squat Sprints: Same concept as above; squat down on a mini-trampoline into mid-range position with your heels high off the spring board. Then, without allowing your hips to rise or fall, quickly sprint in place, maintaining dynamic minimization of the plantar flexors.
RFI-Release Lateral Raise: Sit down on a bench, grasp a dumbell and raise it with your shoulder musculature so that your arm is in-line with your shoulders. From there, you will release the dumbell. After the release, quickly raise your hand before chasing the dumbell- this will further intensify the rapid-fire functions you seek. Catch the dumbell, allow a quick but effective transition, of which proper absorption will cause the dumbell to virtually spring back up to the start position on its own account(i.e. reflexive firing).
RFI-Release Lateral Barrier Jump: Set a barrier at about knee level. Stand on one side to start. Keep your hips the same distance from the ground as you jump over the barrier and back, repeating this right-left-right-left-etc sequence as rapidly as possible. As you get going, you will find that it is most efficient to position your hips over the barrier and let your feet do all the moving from side to side- that is desireable.
RFI-Release GHG: On a glute-ham machine, extend yourself so that your body is parallel to the ground. From this position, you will come up about 1/3 of the full range of motion for this movement, flex for an instant at that point, then drop down into reaction. That is, you want to see how quickly you can perform repetitions in this limited range, with movement efficiency being found when you relax your system during the drop and “fire” it in harmony during reaction. (note: proper reaction will spare voluntary effort on the positive stroke).

OI-Release Samples

OI-Release Pectorals: Lay down on a bench with dumbells in each hand, likened to “pec fly” position. Then as your arms are relatively parallel to the ground(or as high as you need based on your joint mobility) you will achieve basic OI principles: peak voluntary/isometric contraction(flex “stronger” than the weight demands), peak relaxation(relieve as much tension as possible…this will cause your feet/knees to fly up into the air), followed by a rapid, efficient reactive sequence(absorb, stabilize, rebound)- at which time your feet strike down to the floor. Each repetition will follow this exact sequence of events.
OI-Release Elbow Extensions: With a neutral(palms facing) grip as you lay on your back in triceps extension position(upper arms perpindicular to floor, lower arms parallel to floor), you will achieve peak tension, peak relaxation, and efficient reaction for each rep induced. Range of motion should be only 1/4-1/3 of the total triceps extension range of movement.
OI-Release RBR: On a reverse back raise(RBR), you will flex the weight up to parallel position. Then, achieve as much tension as you can, voluntarily, followed by a rapid release of as much tension as you can, which leads into the efficient reactive phase. If done properly, the only effort you should feel like you are expending is during the voluntary contraction phase- the rest should come almost automatically(i.e. efficiently) if done properly.
OI-Release GHG: In parallel position on a glute-ham machine, perform the same sequence as noted in the RFI version except that you will contract much longer and stronger during the initial isometric phase for each repetition. The release during the fall will remain the same, as will the reactive sequence at the bottom. Again, movement range is only about 1/3 of normal(full range).
OI-Release Split-Squat: Standing with a barbell on your shoulders, in split-squat stance(one leg in front of the other on the same plane), you will lower yourself so that you have a good stretch on your front hip and rear knee extensors and toe flexors. From that position, flex as strong as possible- beyond the requirement of the load. After that has been completed, release all tension(free fall), then react out to the start position.

Manual Methods

In sacrificing transmission-magnitude a little bit, and in flushing interval-rate down the toilet, so to speak, you can drive-home transmission-rate ability as it relates to OTC with this sub-method, all in a way that will make other training methods that much better! Even though, neither, manual RFI or manual OI work are devastatingly effective by themselves, they were designed specifically to make other training methods more effective- so they really don’t need to be a great singular method. For instance, on the “neuro-rate” side of the coin we may alternate manual RFI work with, say, RA work in order to increase the athletes stability and muscle-stiffness so that his neuro-pattern development at the transition phase of the RA work will increase. Most of the time there are only two ways that we do this: 5 seconds of manual RFI followed immediately with 3-5 reps of RA work in the same set; or 5 seconds of manual RFI alternated with 5 seconds of RA for a total set duration of 30-40 seconds. The former combination is if the RA loading is of neuro-magnitude parameters and the latter combination is used when the RA loading is of neuro-rate paramters(note: the manual RFI loading is always neuro-rate). Likewise, we may do 5 seconds of OI work followed by 5 seconds of ISO work(and repeat this cycle as we please per set, 0-4 times), on the neuro-duration side of the coin, if we want to fine-tune our static-spring effect as it relates to strength development and/or peak force development(note: we may even use it as a distant build-up to sky-rocket power or speed development, too- it all depends on the athletes needs).

Manual-RFI Samples

Manual-RFI Internal Rotation: lay back on a bench with your arm abducted 90 degrees, elbow flexed at about 90 degrees and with your arm extrernally rotated about 90 degrees(i.e. forearm and upper arm parallel with ground). Strive to maintain stability in this position as a partner/coach quickly throws your arm down from the wrist as rapidly as you can rebound your fist back up.
Manaul-RFI External Rotation: sitting upright on a bench, abduct your arm 90 degrees, and flex your elbow 90 degrees so that your upper and lower arm are parallel or the floor with your elbow pointing out towards your side and your forearm directed in front of you. Try to allow as little arm movement as possible as your partner/coach throws your arm down towards the floor, with the force being applied near your wrist.
Manual-RFI Bench Press: holding roughly 36-37%AW1RM of your bench press in CJC position in the bench press, try and stabilize the bar as your partner/coach rapidly throws the bar towards your chest. Again, your goal is to not let the bar move. But, since bar movement is inevitable, you will try and spend as much of the set duration at the start position as your coach/partner tries to force you to spend as much of the set duration out of this position. Consider it a contest between you and your partner/coach; the less time you spend out of your start position, the more bragging rights you have left when the set is over- not to mention that your training effects will be that much better.
Manual-RFI GHG: position yourself in a glute-ham machine so that you are virtually parallel to the ground. Then perform this exercise one of two ways, depending upon if you need more knee flexion or trunk extension development: (1) with slight flexion in your knees and with your partner applying force to your tail-bone, directed straight towards the ground, you will try and minimize knee extension movement as your partner/coach tries to maximize knee extension movement via applied force. However, these pulses of force should be performed as rapid as possible(i.e. it’s not a push versus pull match but, rather, a task of trying to get as many reps as possible in a set time frame). (2) force is applied at your upper back so that the greatest training effect will occur with your spinal erector and hip extensor muscles. Redundantly speaking, try and minimize movement as your partner tries to rapidly throw your torso down, in powerful bursts of applied force.
Manual-RFI Abs: in HF Abdominals position, torso parallel to floor, you will stay as rigid as possible as your partner/coach applies rapid pulses of force to your sternum(or off-set version, etc). Again, quality is assessed by quantity- generally the more reps the better.

Manual-OI Samples

Manual-OI Biceps: laying back on an incline bench, and elbows and shoulders flexed in a way that sets your forearm parallel to the ground, and as you hold appropriated-weight(AW) that signifies neuro-duration work(generally 63%AW1RM or greater), you will try to not let your hands move as manual force is applied to your forearms (close to your wrists) or on your hands themselves. Again, if you try and dis-allow movement then you will most likely achieve as many reps as appropriate, which will lead to you performing the skill execution correctly.
Manual-OI Squats: in deep squat position you will have a partner throw you down from the hips(if hip and knee development is sought out) or from the bar(if upper back, lower back and abdominal development are sought out).
Manual-OI Abs: similar to the RFI version, except that this time around you use greater appropriated weight(AW) for neuro-duration development.
Manual-OI RBR: in parallel reverse back raise position, have secondary force applied so that you have to brace your hips into extension. The less movement you allow with the greatest applied force, the better.
Manual-OI Bench: set the weight in the neuro-duration modality, then fight agains the force pulses applied by your partner/coach so that movement is minimized as much as realistically possible.

Final Notes

Even though all four methods develop static-spring functionality, they do so from intricately different “angles”. For instance, the choice between manual versus release integration rests on the need for TRP development of OTC(i.e. how much energy sparing development is necessary or appropriate for a particular athlete and particular point in time). All four generally develop RFP(even though RFP is inherently greater with neuro-rate methodics than neuro-duration methodics). Another consideration for inclusion is based on how the work is integrated/structured in a workout(i.e. manual used independantly or as a compound hybrid set). Which reminds me, RFI work is set up based on reps achieved per unit time- “failure” is not a major factor. OI work, however, requires that an “initial” set be determined from momentary fatigue/“failure” with a given weight within a desired time bracket. These principles result in RFI maintaining reps with a drop in time for AREG and OI maintaining reps with a drop in weight for AREG. Not only are these “cornerstones” essentially important for any athlete to integrate into his routine at critical stages within his training plan, but the coach can use these powerful tools as “diagnostic” tests as well(i.e. locate intricate neuro-dynamics profiles in order to determine what to train/develop next). Performance enhancement, injury prevention, and means for locating neuro-dynamic deficiencies…what more could you possibly wish for?

I agree with Pakewi that I get a bit lost on some of his terms. I am also sceptical (whether stated or implied) when someone claims to have a top secret program that will revolutionise the way people train, they may be right, but my antennae automatically goes off :slight_smile: