Al Ciampa

profilephoto01-berto-ciampa.jpgAl began barbell training in his adolescent years over 30 years ago. He has competitively lifted in the sports of powerlifting and weightlifting, coached athletes in weightlifting meets, and co-owed and operated a fitness facility for several years. After serving as an Infantryman in the US Army, he earned his Masters degree in exercise science, and currently works in US Air Force health promotion as an Exercise Physiologist and Health Educator. His professional philosophy bridges the gap between rehabilitation and sports participation; and he has designed and conducted original curricula that teaches exercise leaders to properly instruct human movement and program design. His work with literally thousands of individuals and groups have taught him that simplicity reigns, and that less is more - to this end, his typical prescriptions consist of little more than calisthenic and kettlebell work, unless one is specifically training for an event.
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Harald Motz
In January 2016 I started my A(lactic) + A(erobic) journey under Al's guidance. After two six week swing protocols I increased my SSST from 181reps to 200 (+10,5%) without snatching and a 10min running test from 1950m to 2250m (+15,4%) without running. Good reasons to keep going.

After the swing protocols I did my first snatch protocol all with 32kg for six weeks. The Alactic protocols are a build up of fairly high volume with a moderate to heavy weight in the least stressful way by learning to interpret the signals of the body and mind as it manifests through the breath.

The rest periods are not fixed to a clock but guided by the subjective readiness after each short high power repeats. One has to literally get the feel of it by practice over periods of time. The volumes of snatches really opened up my chest, extended my T-spine and developed a proper lockout I formerly did not have although I did tons of get ups.

After the first snatch protocol mid 2016 Al encouraged me to introduce traditional steady state endurance training to build up an aerobic base.
Steady state endurance training? The "dishonour of aerobics"? at StrongFirst? is this man nuts?

20 - 8 years ago I enjoyed some running two to four times a week and from spring to autumn riding my racing bike frequently. But for the last six years I did strength training a bit with the bar and mostly kettlebells, no endurance work. It was not a complete new realm for me, but it was far away.

More than just sticking to the MAF number (180 - age) for heart rate intensity, Al instructed to keep relaxed rhythmical locomotion in sync with breathing steadily through the nose. Getting and developing a feel of it.

As I had good results with Al's guidance so far I simply trusted him and began running or concept2 rowing around 5 times a week for around 45 min, with some longer runs from time to time.

My heart rates I found most repeatable on a consistent basis on the rower are mostly around 125bpm, while running around 130bpm. 10-15bpm lower than my MAF. Recovery between the A+A snatch repeats got much better, also from session to session.

After half of a year doing this in addition to two more snatch protocols (where I transitioned from 32kg to 36kg over to 40kg) I "lost" 10kg of bodyweight (from 93kg-95kg to 83kg-85kg), and currently I am still at that weight.

Sure, I lost a bit of muscle, but more so fat. My body composition improved. I conserved a half bodyweight press (without pressing), and even got a bit stronger relatively on the zercher lift (2 times bodyweight to 2,12 times), bodyweight exercises such as freestanding handstand-pushups or ring muscle ups got easier and I got more reps with these.

Fast forward to September of 2018. I am really happy, that I am almost three years working on Al's A+A philosophy. At my first TSC in spring 2018 I pulled 2,5 times bodyweight, so my all-time best relative ratio stayed without touching the bar for half a year. 15 pullups without doing pullups, "only"109 reps with 24kg on the snatch but without getting into the red hr zone far from maxing out and breathing only through the nose.

Today the 40kg bell is a go to standard for my A+A snatching. The last 4 months I had some promising sessions with 44kg and 48kg for up to 100 total reps. For the last two years I snatched literally tons of weight and volume, and I am still amazed of how joint friendly these were. No injuries apart from some torn skin of the hands from time to time, which is part of the business.

I kept and will keep snatching and steady state endurance base work, and enjoy comparing my heart rates over the months as the same work has lower "training-stress" responses over the time.

With A+A I have all the programming I need for a lifetime without having a program, but a lot to ponder and to practice on.
I really appreciate Al's contrarian but down to earth and "just" reasonable and clear instructions without having a dogma. He guides but does not want to convince. This stuff works. Like a charm.

Al, thank you very much.

I’ve really enjoyed Al’s simple and straightforward advice on the forum and through email. His training philosophy is not as flashy or exciting as many other trainers, but rather it is blue collar and effective.

I recently completed one of his A+A snatch protocols and really enjoyed it. It’s a simple way to build strength, power, and endurance all while using just one heavy bell and one exercise.

Based on my experiences with him, I would definitely recommend Al for physical training/general health especially for those concerned with staying strong, healthy, and durable.

Timothy Friel
Al's expertise and knowledge are second to none. I've been working with Al for some time now and he has opened my eyes to new ways to train that are purely productive. I have completed several of Al's protocols and come out stronger both physically and mentally each and every time. Al is always available for guidance and motivation. Being in the tactical field Al's training methods have kept me strong and injury free allowing me to perform day in and day out.

I've been around the iron game a bit. Once you get to a certain point gains come tough. You can take several paths at this point. Beat yourself up thinking only more hard work will get you over the hump. You can take the easy way out and use unnatural substances. Or, you can hire Al.

Al's methods will appear different because they are. He will help you find just the right amount of work and rest you need to reach your potential. Doesn't matter really what goals you have in mind. Become stronger, reduce body fat percentage, increase endurance, or just general health and wellness to help you lead the life you want. Al has a system that will allow you to reach your goals. Just add your hard work in just the right amount. The surprising thing is you will find yourself with more time on your hands because you aren't spending hours in the gym. Who couldn't use more time in todays world?

I participated in a couple of Al's experimental training protocols about two and half years ago, and to say that I was impressed with the results is an understatement. I've since used his methods to train for everything from a half-marathon OCR, to military service, to fatherhood, and have seen excellent results in regard to both strength, endurance, and what I would consider durability. It seems like it wasn't so long ago that I couldn't snatch 32kg at all, but I am currently using 32K snatches as the workhorse for my training (for reference, I'm 5'10"&160 lbs). His methods will work as long as you do, and his approach to training and life is such that putting in the work is often pleasant.
Between the protocols, emails, and forum posts, it's safe to say that I've learned quite a bit from Al. That being said, I am even more impressed by Al's "white belt" mentality. He operates under the assumption that he always has more to learn, and if I had to guess, I would say it's that humility that's allowed him to acquire the extensive base of knowledge that he has.

Alan ingarfield
I started to work with Al 6 months ago. I’m 55 years old and am stronger now than at any point in my life and I have Al Ciampa to thank for that! The program is relatively simple, however, it is also highly effective! I am now snatching with the 36kg KB , single hand swings with the 40kg and the 48kg for 2 handed swings now feels pretty light...I am doing sets in the range of 30-40 and reps of 1-5 often just on the minute, pulse is recovering very quickly between sets and I attribute that to the incredible conditioning from these sessions as well as the low level aerobic work that I do daily (swim, bike, rowing, running and Rucking)..As an older guy I am not interested in what a 20 something trainer has to say as they will probably (definitely) change their outlook on training numerous times before they reach my age ! I wanted someone I could genuinely respect to help me with a plan and Al is that man, I only wish I had met him years ago!

Al took me from out of shape middle aged guy to being in triathlon (long course) shape! Along the way he taught me how to design my own training, how to shift focus based on what’s lacking and where I was in the season, together with a lot of general philosophy on training and life!
Al’s no-nonsense style is refreshing in a world where people try to impress trainees by confusing them. He adapts to what you need at each point along the route to your goal, from very detailed custom “do this” programs to taking on a mentor role and helping you find your own way, all while being genuinely interested in what you have to say! He’s patient when you need someone to listen, and pushes you at the right moment.
Although my goals were clear and specific I learned a lot around how to train for different goals, and a whole bag of strategies and how to use them (like kettlebells, there is a clear WTH effect to Al’s teaching, goals change and you keep finding back something in Al’s teachings that will get you there again!)

In short, if you need a coach, teacher, mentor, and someone to kick your ass when you need it, go with Al!

The Nail
Al has a knack for leading horses to water while making the horse think it was his own genius idea. He is a gifted mentor with expertise in fitness, nutrition, stress management, and behavior. As expected, his focus on health, fitness, and stress management got me in the best shape of my life. What I did not expect was the knock-on effect of giving me the confidence to go after bigger challenges outside of the gym.

Al knows all the pieces of the puzzle, and which pieces to focus on first. You will never attain maximum performance if any aspect of your health is lagging. His innovative use of the question & answer method teases out details you would not of found on your own.

I was impressed by the beautiful simplicity of Al's training methods. Do not make the mistake of thinking that makes them ineffective; they hit like a sledgehammer to the chest! Al's training is old school cool: practice a few effective moves (a lot) and repeat until strong.

His stress management and mindset tools are life changing. They will improve your training. However, you maybe surprised at how much they improve your life.

Hiring Al is the best money I have ever spent.


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City: Abilene
Zip code: 79606
State: TX
Country: United States

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