Interview with Max Shank

Max Shank Rough Strength InterviewAZ: Hey, Max! Tell Rough Strength readers about yourself.

MS: Hi Alex! I own a gym called Ambition Athletics, and I travel around the world as a Master RKC instructor. I enjoy Muay Thai and Jiu Jitsu as well as highland games and Ping-Pong.

AZ: How did you get started with strength training? How long have you been doing it?

MS: I got my start when I finished playing soccer around 19 years old. At the time, I couldn’t touch my toes or do even one pull-up. I have been training now for around 6 years.

AZ: Describe your training style.

MS: My training style has developed over the years but now it is basically gymnastics for the upper body and olympic lifts and deadlifting for the lower body. Mix in some single leg training and movement work and I am good to go.

AZ: What are your current training goals?

MS: Well with the new year getting started, I am looking at some breakdancing moves, especially the flare. I compete in highland games so I would like to throw a PR in every event. 20 freestanding handstand pushups is a leftover goal from 2013 (currently at 15)

AZ: How do you manage to combine a lot of different training implements and still setting PRs? How do you approach programming? How often? How much?

MS: As you know, I follow the 80% rule which makes everything better. I don’t consider the implement, but the movement. As long as the movements paired together don’t affect each other negatively I can work them concurrently.

AZ: What is your favorite training tool, and why?

MS: My bodyweight.

AZ: What is your latest discovery in strength training?

MS: Thoracic Bridges: They have helped tons of people get instant benefits.

AZ: What is the most important benefit of strength training, in your opinion?

MS: Health, Confidence, and Happiness.

AZ: What is your favorite PR? I like the video of you pressing two 48 kg kettlebells. The first time I saw it, I was literally blown away.

MS: That was a great one! I think my first gainer (single leg backflip) was pretty awesome.

AZ: What are your thoughts on nutrition?

MS: Eat high quality food 80-90% of the time and don’t stress out over it. Don’t eat constantly just because you have access to it.

AZ: Some words of wisdom and advice for Rough Strength readers.

MS: It’s counterintuitive, but don’t push so hard, make your strength training more like practicing free throws. Easier is better.

AZ: Where can people find more information about you?

Or you can visit my gym at

That’s it. I hope you found out something new from this interview. Thanks to Max for providing the answers. And as always, thanks for reading.

Play rough!

Alex Zinchenko

Every time you don’t like and share this article, you upset a kitten somewhere.

Do you have any thoughts? Let’s chat in comments.

If you want to receive more posts like this right to your e-mail, subscribe to the awesome newsletter here:

And don’t forget about RSS FeedFacebook page and Twitter.

Rough Strength Files: 42 Ideas on Low-Tech Strength TrainingRough Strength Files Book

What if you could gain impressive strength, build serious muscle, and get ripped with no gym memberships or fancy exercise machines? What if you could do it with anything you have at hand?

The Rough Strength Files will share with you 42 useful ideas on getting more with less in regards to strength training, nutrition, and mindset. This book is an organized treasure chest densely packed with knowledge and practical advice on how to make everything work even if you have nothing.

Click here for more information

Rough Strength Online CoachingThe Shortcut to Your Goals

Are you tired of lack of results? Strength training seems like the rocket science to you? Do you want to get strong, build muscle, lose fat, and get awesome finally? Let the professional do all the dirty work for you.

Click here for more information

Rough Strength music recommendation:

2 thoughts on “Interview with Max Shank

  1. har0dim

    Hey Alex, I like your blog. I started training bodyweight calisthenics this year and I really like it.

    I am trying to mix in training some breakdance moves into my schedule (e.g. air swipe & 1990 to begin), without affecting my strength training & gains. Do you have any thoughts on how best to structure the training? Like alternate days, 3 days dynamic strength work + 3 days breaking (with some static strength work at the end of the session)?

    So much gold on your blog, keep it up :)

    1. Alex Zinchenko Post author

      Hey, har0dim,

      Thanks for kind words.

      It depends on your recovery ability. I would start with 2 days of strength training and 2 days of breakdancing per week. If you see that you recover easily and getting stronger every session, feel free to try any 2+3 or 3+3. However, be aware that it can be too much.

      Anyway, I have no experience in breakdancing, so I’m making just an educated guess.

      – Alex


If you don't leave a comment, hair will grow on your palms