Secrets of Strength


By Chris Carlsen

“If fitness was a seen as a school, the Secrets of Strength would be a mandatory class upon entry. Basically, if everyone took the Secrets of Strength class, they would set the foundation for unlocking their true potential.”

There is a level of preparation before embarking on a journey (task) of any kind. You want to make sure you have the right tools, people, and knowledge to make sure you’re successful along the way. Not only will you be successful, but when you hit a plateau, you will be well equipped mentally and physically to break thorough the plateau without any acts of attrition. When people get stuck, we have the tendency to either force, become impatient, or give up. The best way to overcome our self-limiting potential is to be highly skilled and knowledgeable. Fitness is no different.

The Secrets of Fitness is the first step in the ILP system, and as we know, the first step is the most important step. In this video, you will learn how to connect your body and fire your core like you never thought possible. We like to say that the body is one piece; you will understand and feel the unbelievable power you have. We teach you how to master your breath, fire your core, activate your glutes and bullet proof your knees, back, and shoulders. You will become strong and flexible and be equipped for your journey in fitness.

I always start out every new student with the Secrets of Strength session. This gives the student awareness and importance of technique. It gives them a simple understanding of how the body works as a unit and sets up a base of reference for future cues and analogy’s. Here, John is learning how to express his strength by driving his feet into the ground, squeezing his glutes, packing his scapula and breathing. When his joints are stacked appropriately, his body acts like a beam of support , able to endure external forces (compression). The harder I push on his arms (tension), the more tension his arms pits produce to counteract (bounces) and absorb the force, while the stacked body dissipates the load into the ground. The stacked body creates a rigid structure and efficient energy transfer. John does not push back at me; he trusts his strength and his body will absorb the energy. Failure to stack probably will create an energy leak, which will put undue stress on certain joints and he will lose his ability to express his full strength potential ( You  can feel the instability). A strong position is a healthy position (joint centration) and we can use our hands (perturbations) to sense a strong position before we load. Failure to stack on the lockout of lifts, will cause an energy leak and excessive force onto the lumbar spine, hip flexors, shoulders and/or neck. On a side note, I put my students in an unstacked position, letting them feel the difference in strength and how the body compensates.

Click here to get your free Secrets of Strength Video


This is basically a standing plank. Which is the first exercise I use to teach tension. The plank teaches you how to stack your joints, use your core as a transmitter of force and use the power of your breath as a driving force of core activation and bracing. The plank is the greatest reference exercise and will have a carryover to every lift. It will make you stronger. I break down the plank and demonstrate the Secrets of Strength in a twelve minute video. The good news is, the video is free when you subscribe to my blog. You will learn how to master the plank and take your workouts to the next level. You will also have a better understanding of my future blog post by watching the video. You will see how the plank pertains to every lift and have an easier time understanding the harder total-body-tension exercises, such as a turkish get-up.  Click here to get your free Secrets of Strength Video.