Akin’s Army of Strength: Physical and Mental Benefits of Strength Training

Akin Akman leading a class at the Propel Co:Labs Fitness Festival in Santa Monica, CA this year. (Photographer Jessica Nash)
Akin Akman leading a class at the Propel Co:Labs Fitness Festival in Santa Monica, CA in 2019 (Photographer Jessica Nash)
Aug 14 2019 by StrongPath

Celebrity Trainer Akin Akman Shares His Strength Training Techniques and Philosophy.

Akin Akman is a trainer and leader of Akin’s Army—a brigade of devoted clients he teaches his unique style of physical and mental training in New York City and online.  He combines physical strength training with mental endurance thanks to his own journey as an athlete and trainer. A tennis prodigy, at age seven Akman trained with  Nick Bolletieri himself at the infamous Bolletieri/IMG Sports Academy in Florida, where champions like Maria Sharapova honed their skills. That’s where he learned not only about physical stamina and performance, but sports psychology and what it takes to become the best version of yourself, which he now shares with his followers.

Strength Training and Confidence

A big part of that version is strength training. “Strength training is an important part of keeping active, it just makes you overall more healthy and balanced,” Akman told StrongPath. “Plus it gives you confidence. It affects the way you speak, enter a room, interview, the way you’re with your family and friends, it gives you more clarity to what you deem as important or valuable.”

Akman incorporates balance into his strength training routines with unilateral movements, one-legged squats, single-legged burpees, and single-legged deadlifts. He said his specific strength training technique helps build overall balance in the body, “moving bi-laterally is good, strength training in a specific and smart way pre-habs you so you don’t get injuries and rehabs you from past injuries. It just makes you overall more powerful, more balanced in a dynamic way and that affects your life as well.”

Propel Co:Labs Fitness Festival in New York in 2018 (photographer Stephanie Noritz)

Mental Conditioning and Strength Training

In addition to strength training, part of his methodology is mental conditioning. “That’s the more motivational side of why you’re doing what you’re doing, tackling your wins and losses each and every day.”

“I ask people what their goals and intentions are, what they’re building for,” he said. And often if they can’t imagine being able to do what he is showing them, he suggests they create a vision of what they can do and speaks to them to “get them out of their own way.”

He often coaches using the metaphor of climbing a mountain. “At the base of it you can’t really see where you’re going or what’s at the top, as you climb you gain the power of sight, as you approach the top, you just start to clear out your path and see where you’re going,” he said.

Beginning a Strength Training Regimen

A great metaphor for beginners. Akman suggests starting with a few key exercises before you can even see where you’re going, and then taking it to the next level. “Find something you love, something you want to do regularly, even if it’s taking a walk or doing push-ups at home. Then build on it.” He is a fan of the CrossFit technique of EMOM—every minute on the minute—do five push-ups on the minute, break till the top of the next minute and do five more, repeat for 10 minutes. Do the same for pull-ups or sit-ups.

Akman said, “No one is strong at first, it’s just about starting and seeing your own potential, not making it about what someone else can do, not making yourself feel less than. It’s about you, stay in your lane. The quicker you start the stronger you will become. Just start day by day, step by step, just like climbing that mountain. You will get the power of sight, building strength as you go.”

Propel Co:Labs Fitness Festival in New York in 2018 (photographer Stephanie Noritz)

Strength Training Keeps Us Young as we Age

He also thinks for older people it’s “super important to keep moving for health, wellness and brain activity,” Akman said. He has a lot of older people in his group classes who are quite strong, and some dealing with bone disease. Akman said the strength training and exercise has helped them stay active and out of a wheelchair. His mother who is 60 often participates in his classes. Akman made an agreement with his dad, who is 64, to start taking two to three classes a week, now he’s taking three or four a day. “It keeps you young.”

Between the classes he teaches, including as a Soul Cycle instructor, Akman reaches about 400 people daily. He has introduced an Instagram Live workout that is up on the app for 24 hours until the next one he does. Follow him on Instagram to see when it airs. Anyone can follow along for free.

Propel Co:Labs Fitness Festival in Santa Monica, CA in 2019 (Photographer Jessica Nash)

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