Best Gyms in the US: D1 Sports Training

While on my mission to find the best gyms, strength coaches, and athletes to feature on JoeToPro, I visited Savannah, Georgia.  There, I got  to spend a couple of weeks training at a facility called D1 (  Sporting several locations in the South East, D1 is a true sports performance gym.   The Savannah location is co-owned by Tim Tebow and Herschel Walker.  They have trained tons of professional athletes in the NFL, NBA, MLB, and pro fight game.  Some of my favorites include Chipper Jones, Peyton Manning, Vernon Davis, and Jermain Taylor.  These guys know how to train.  Seriously.

I got  to spend some 1 on 1 sessions with D1 coach, Derek Smith.  He’s a former two sport collegiate athlete with a BS in Exercise Science, a CSCS, and USAW certifications.  This guy kicked my ass.  Then he showed me some new dynamic warm-up movements, fitness assessment tests for athletes, and ran me through a couple of workouts for explosive power.

I asked Derek to sum up his training philosophy in a few words, and to explain how functional training at D1 is different from the “buns and guns” workouts seen in many big box gyms around the country.  He said:

“What  I do is use science to make my athletes better and not just commonly used exercises and drills.  For example, I train a lot of basketball players.  The bench press is the standard exercise put in almost every workout program, but the only time I have seen that movement during a basketball game is when an athlete is on the ground hurt.  So I look for different drills to use.  Not being afraid to question conventional wisdom and trying to always find new ways to improve athlete performance is what I strive to do every workout.”

So, a big thanks to Derek, and the rest of the staff at D1 Savannah.  This was an awesome experience, and it will definitely make me a better coach and athlete.  I Plan to implement a few of the things I learned from Derek into my regular training, so look for some new exercise demos. to feature the unique and effective moves I learned at D1.

**Next UP**- Next week, I’ll be in North Carolina, visiting with an elite Marine Corps. wrestler and Olympic hopeful who is ranked within the top 5 in the world.  Don’t miss it as I talk training and mental toughness with one of the toughest dudes on the planet.

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