Meet my New Friend and Fellow Strength Coach Nico Amp

Today, I was lucky enough to interview my new friend and fellow strength coach out of Japan, Nico Amp. Nico has worked in different gyms in France and in Japan before launching NicoDojo, a successful personal training business in Tokyo. So far, he has trained 200 people from the general population to top athletes and logged more than 6,000 hours of training sessions. His experience in sports and training will make you the best athlete to be the best in your sport.

Nico please tell our readers about yourself and how you got into the strength and conditioning industry.

First of all, I would like to thank you for this interview Joe. As a former baseball player, I found out that training in the gym was the best way to improve my baseball skills, so I became a gym addict. Unfortunately, my training routine looked more like a bodybuilding routine and I found out the hard way that it was the worst thing to do for an athlete. I played college baseball here in Japan and we had a great strength coach and I got more interested in strength and conditioning.

I worked almost 3 years in a Japanese company knowing I would not do that for the rest of my life so I started studying and trying new things in the gym. I quit my boring job to work in a gym specializing in athletes and learned a lot there. I worked for another gym and launched Nico Dojo, my personal training business in 2005. I mostly train amateur athletes and former athletes. I try to stay away from the general population unless they really want to put effort into their training. I also do group training conditioning sessions using a sled, a prowler, and different odd objects.

I know you are a big proponent of using odd objects. What are your favorite training implements and what is the best way you have found to train with them?
I love odd objects! In a high tech country like Japan where gyms look like hospitals, using odd objects brings variety into my programs. Using odd object are a great way to get stronger quickly because the center of gravity is constantly changing and is going to train your core tremendously.

Sandbags are my favorite tool because with such a simple object, you can work on so many things: core strength, grip, hips, balance, and mental toughness. It is also a great conditioning tool as well and they are cheap to make!

How do you utilize bodyweight exercises in your programming for different athletes?
It depends on the level of the athlete. With young and skinny athletes, I found out it was a great way to build a foundation. With strong or more advanced athletes, we use bodyweight exercises as finishers or as supplemental exercises. I like suspension training because it’s just a great way to add variety in bodyweight exercises.

Can you provide our readers with a sample workout you use for your high school baseball players?
In Japan, high school baseball players are very skinny!!! And they practice and run like crazy 5 to 6 hours, sometimes 7 days a week. So you want to be sure you don’t over train them in the gym.  I used to train this 2nd year high school infielder with this very simple split.

Tuesday: lower body + grip

Friday: upper body

Only 2 days a week but this was to prevent him from over training. We worked on his weakness which was the posterior chain and the upper body. We did very basic movements like squat, deadlift, and lots of pushups and pulling variations. So in more details it looked like that:

Tuesday:
1) Lower body movement (squat or deadlift): 3 to 5 sets.

2) Backward lunges with front foot elevated: 3 sets of 8 to 12 resps

3) Kettle bell swings or cable pull throw: 3 sets of 15~20.

4) Sled work: backward of frontward sled dragging.

5) Sled pull with the thick rope. 3 to 5 sets

6) Ab work.

Friday:

1)Pushups on the squat rack- for a certain number a repetitions, no matter how many sets.

2) Pull-ups-for a certain number of repetitions, no matter how many sets.

3A) Band pull apart -between 20 to 40 seconds, 3 to 5 sets

3B) Front plate raises – between 20 to 40 seconds, 3 to 5 sets

4)Triceps work-3 X max reps

5)Rotator cuff work

6)Ab work.

Thanks for the great interview Nico, please tell our readers where they can find out more information about you and your training system.
Check my website at www.nicodojo.com. Once again, thank you for this interview Joe.

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