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    Tuesday, October 8, 2019

    Smark Healthy: Stronger Senyorito

    When Jake de Leon has a PWR Homecoming opponent of a caliber he's never faced before in TJ Perkins, isn't it only right to take his preparation to the next level? That's exactly what The Senyorito did. Enter Gab Palanca, the man behind strongerwithgab.


    As a personal trainer with five years of experience in the fitness industry, Gab is primarily a powerlifter who has also tried out bodybuilding and Olympic weightlifting.

    He trained under Robert Gayanes of the Gayanes Gorillas Powerlifting Team and competed for Ateneo, where he first met JDL years ago. After graduating, he worked for a major worldwide fitness chain as a manager, then as an assistant fitness director. It was there that he learned some very valuable lessons: clients who want quality training do not always have the budget or the time for it, and quality trainers are not always readily available.

    It was this realization that led him to the decision to be a freelance trainer and help raise the bar on the personal training experience, aiming to make it accessible, truly personal, high-quality, and results-oriented.

    The team-up

    As mentioned earlier, the two had already met years prior in a basketball PE class. The connection was reestablished when the Senyorito's girlfriend, a close friend of Gab's, contacted him to see if he could get JDL ready for his big match against TJP. 

    The road map to success

    First, Gab assessed where JDL was at with regards to his overall fitness level. As he was already undertaking a change in nutrition before they started working together, Gab focused more on the training aspect. He was pleased to find that The Senyorito had some hypertrophy foundation already in place; what was needed was to match JDL's strength levels with his overall look. Form must be followed with function, after all.

    This resulted in a program with a simple linear progressive model for the major lifts, with bodybuilding movements thrown in as well. With the shoulder impingement he got from his WWE tryouts, Gab made considerations to pressing movements to not only avoid irritating it, but to strengthen the shoulder as well.

    Factors that were considered when making this program were individualization based on work capacity, exercise tolerance (from the shoulder injury), mobility, and range of motion (JDL’s wingspan is taller than he is). Undulating principles (wherein the volume and intensity of the workout varied per session) were also added as a means to gauge JDL's muscle endurance, absolute strength, and expression of power through the Big Five (squat, deadlift, press, bench press, and row). Hypertrophy work was sprinkled in around each of these major lifts with smaller muscle groups in focus. To develop mobility and rehab work, Gab used yoga, self-release techniques, bandwork, and range of motion drills.

    With the eventual increase in intensity, it was also important for JDL how to properly execute the said exercises. More and more heavy days meant that the form should be polished, lest they go run a higher risk of injury.

    Some exercises, like the squat and the deadlift, actually make full use of the body instead of simply just the back or the legs. This meant that the proper bracing technique was essential. This also included various other important steps to promote a safe lifting experience, such as keeping a neutral spine, and tucking in his shoulders to protect them. Strongerwithgab aimed not just for a stronger Senyorito, but a safer one as well.

    And the results are definitely showing: Jake De Leon has looked a lot leaner than he has before. According to Gab, there's more density in JDL's body, plus it's a lot firmer as well with all the work the muscles have been enduring. The shoulders are healthier, being able to endure heavier press loads. Overall, he's shown an increase in strength and explosiveness, and Gab was very much pleased with how some of that innate potential has already come to light.

    Beyond #PWRHomecoming

    Of course, the top priority right now is to get JDL battle-ready for TJP come October 12. That has always been the top goal. But with how much the Senyorito has been progressing, it can't be helped for Gab to wonder what a full macrocycle of training would have done. They had to compress what they can into a six-week time frame. An ideal program is a four- to six-week block of accumulation and hypertrophy, with another eight weeks for strength training. There's also the matter of nutrition, which he was not able to dial in with his client. Knowing JDL, it wouldn't be much of an issue since he takes only sporadic cheat meals.

    (seriously, Ken Warren?)

    Addressing the local scene

    Seeing at how he was able to reap results with Jake de Leon, it's not a bad idea then for wrestlers in the local scene to employ the services of a certified coach. They can help you establish goals, realize your strengths and weaknesses, and develop a sound plan of action. There's merit in programs that are designed to get you progressing, instead of wondering what the workout of the day will be.

    Most notably, a good coach will help in minimizing the risk of injuries and setbacks. They can tell when you're having an off day at the gym (which will happen every now and then), and how to still make the most out of it. A wrestler's body already receives enough punishment as it is—lift hard, but lift safe and smart. Longevity is the key.


    Watch as Jake De Leon stakes his claim as the sole beacon of Philippine Wrestling as he squares off against former WWE Cruiserweight champion, The Fil-Am Flash, TJ Perkins at PWR Special: Homecoming. The show is set for this coming Saturday, October 12, 2019, at the ABS CBN Vertis Tent. Tickets are still available at Ticket2me here, or contact any member of the PWR roster.

    To learn more of #strongerwithgab and what his coaching can do for your fitness journey, you may contact Gab Palanca at his Facebook page here.
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    Item Reviewed: Smark Healthy: Stronger Senyorito Rating: 5 Reviewed By: George Carlos Pastor
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