Ultimate Athleticism | Strength, Flexibility & Health | MAX SHANK

Discover how easy it can be to build muscle, enhance your movement, and become the ultimate athlete–capable of anything, all in less time than you already spend at the gym.

Do you find yourself with too many goals and not enough time or energy to achieve them all?

Do you struggle to organize your training around your life to have everything you want?

Do you want it all? To be strong, lean, flexible, athletic, and ready for anything life can throw at you?

Of course you do. So did I.

The great news is you can become the Ultimate Athlete and HAVE IT ALL.

My name is Max Shank, and my job is to help people get better every day. But it took me years to earn this privilege.

When I started my journey I wasn't athletic at all.

In fact, when I was 18, I was unable to do a single pull-up or bench press 95 pounds--and worse, I couldn't even come close to touching my toes. Truth be told I was a rather pathetic excuse for a man; weak and riddled with sore, stiff, inflexible joints.

I knew that I needed to make a change, so I tried everything. Over the last 10 years I’ve tried tons of different training methodologies including, but not limited to, Crossfit, Kettlebells, Bodybuilding, and Powerlifting – without a single method getting me the results I truly wanted.

I am competitive and do not accept anything below excellence in my endeavors. My good friend Brian once said in reference to my competitiveness that, "Max would beat a six-year-old at tea parties."

Guilty as charged, but this unquenchable thirst to be the best at everything is what helped me find out what movements, philosophies, and training styles have the highest carryover to other activities–allowing me to finally have it all.

In the past 5 years I have excelled in competition at several very different sports, largely due to overall athleticism. From Muay Thai, and Jiu Jitsu to Highland Games World Championships, this has been a product of smart training and planning. This success has allowed me to travel the world to teach other coaches and athletes how to do the same.

The key is that I haven’t married myself to one training methodology or philosophy. It’s been a Bruce Lee experience.

“Absorb what is useful, discard what is useless, and add what is specifically your own.”


Bruce Lee is a major hero of mine.His mixture of martial and athletic prowess stretched over several disciplines, from boxing to Kung-Fu, adding any useful pieces and trimming away the rest. This process eventually laid out the foundation for his system, Jeet Kune Do. That’s really the process from which this book was created, it’s the Jeet Kune Do of Athletic Training. It’s not just about the main movements. It’s not about the exercises at all.It’s about changing the paradigm and using a new philosophy of strength and athleticism to guide us over the long term.

Pragmatism vs Dogma

Ask a powerlifter how to become a better athlete, and the answer will likely involve the Squat, Bench Press, and Deadlift.

Ask an Olympic weightlifter, and Clean-and-Jerk and Snatch are the obvious answers.

A triathlete will likely recommend running, biking, and swimming.

A gymnast will tell you gymnastics.

A kettlebell trainer will say that kettlebells are the answer.

The reason that some people do this is FEAR. They want to protect their interests as an Expert in their field and make their answer fit more questions. The truth is, all of the above methods have some value to them, but there is no ONE answer. We want to be more pragmatic about things and see all aspects of training and athleticism at face value.

Pragmatism: prag·mat·ic praɡˈmadik/

...dealing with things sensibly and realistically in a way that is based on practical rather than theoretical considerations.

Dogma: dog·ma·tism ˈdôɡməˌtizəm/

... the tendency to lay down principles as incontrovertibly true, without consideration of evidence or the opinions of others.

Fanatical Dogma is the enemy of progress and of results. Many people are clouded in their honest assessment of the value of certain exercises, programs, training modalities, and philosophies because there is an emotional attachment to doing it their way.

FUN Required

Hard work is great, but for most of us, it’s not sustainable. The majority of us have a fixed amount of willpower that we can use on different things and exercise shouldn’t be one of them. It’s hard enough to get a session in as it is–it’s much harder if it ain’t fun.

The movements, planning, and progressions in the book make training fun again. I firmly believe that if you have fun doing it, you will get more benefit from it, and you’ll continue to do it. One thing that all the greatest athletes in the world have in common is that they have been consistent over the long term–the way to be consistent is to keep things fun.


Whether you are a personal trainer, or someone who is simply looking to better yourself - you care about results. If you are a trainer your livelihood actually depends on it. The #1 reason why a person will stay with a trainer is that they continue to get results and avoid injury.

The main reason the average person stops working out? Injury.

This is why it is so important, regardless of the reason, that you have a way to guide your journey in health and fitness. I take a great deal of pride in finding what works the best and forgetting the rest. That’s what I want to always provide you with–my absolute best. I was very fortunate to find something I love at a very young age. This is what lets me dedicate the time to learn, evolve and get better every single day. It’s important to me to share this and help as many people as possible.

My ultimate goal is to provide the absolute best information I can give and help you every step of the way in becoming the strongest and most capable version of yourself.

Real World Results

  • Holly Mersy

    Ladies, don’t be intimidated! Before I started working with Max I could not do a single pushup or pullup. I used to switch training methods on a monthly basis. Some of them delivered results and some didn’t, but I never stay interested in ANY of them over time. Since following Max’s instruction I have become very strong (10 chin ups, ½ bodyweight airborne lunges, etc), flexible, and much more confident! I have not even considered changing my training because there are so many variations and progressions to try and I have fun every time I learn something new or get an inch closer to the ground on my handstand pushups. Max has a gift of taking complicated movements and breaking them down into simple steps, so we can all benefit.

  • Adam Robinson

    As a father of 3 and business owner working over 60 hours per week, it's not easy to find the time to train. It's even harder to make progress, and on top of finding time I’ve had surgery on both of my shoulders. When I first started, I struggled to move my bodyweight around and could only Deadlift around 200lbs, but it was very difficulty. Following Max's coaching has allowed me, at 37 years old, to Press up to a handstand from an L-sit, Deadlift over 400lbs, and hold a full Front Lever with ease--all while improving my flexibility and reducing the pain I used to have in my back, neck, and shoulders. I can now keep up with my three kids, and my wife seems to like the extra muscle!
  • Moritz Rammensee

    After meeting Max for the first time at my RKC 2 Certification in September 2013 I wanted him as my coach. Living in Germany I had no other option than via Online Coaching. After some initial check-ups I received my plan which was built around the 4 Moves to Ultimate Athleticism. I started training in December 13 and had some great results in the past year (although being out of regular training due to a hip injury from April until Mid June!!)

    Bodyweight: 73kg -> 80kg (gained 7kgs of pure muscle!)
    Deadlift: 140kg -> 190kg
    Handstand Pushups: 5 Wall supported -> 10+ supported & 2 freestanding
    Airborne Lunge: not even close -> 24kg for 3reps
    Chin Up: 28kg -> 48kg
    Front Lever: none -> half tucked 5s and the best thing about it -> I never enjoyed and had so much fun in my workouts ever before.

    Once you understand the principles Max is talking about, you will discover a new way of training, which will give you the opportunity to workout more frequently, still recover fast and get amazing results in a very short amount of time (with no stress involved) I highly encourage everyone read this book and rethink some their current training. It is a must have for every Strength Coach, Personal Trainer or Fitness enthusiast who is interested in a smart, simple and highly effective way of training yourself and your clients.

    Thank you Max! You helped me to get better every day!

  • Robert Richmond

    I first met Max at 62. I was overweight, out of shape, and felt like I was holding on to life like a hub cap in the fast lane. After meeting with Max I was very impressed with his dedication. It was apparent that training was not just his job but rather his passion. I had been a competitive athlete when I was young, but serious injuries in my late 30's had limited my sports activity to golf (riding in a cart). Age seemed to be getting the upper hand. When I first came to Max it was out of desperation. I could barely walk without my knees and feet hurting. A top professional racquetball player I knew told me that Max had helped him through a major back injury and that he was now playing better than he had in years. Long story short, Max created a plan for me and it changed my life. We immediately started working on my flexibility and strength. I went from barely walking to feeling almost as athletic as I was in my 30's. I can now run again and my strength is probably greater than when I was young.

    Max has always had a great focus in all his endeavors and this book is just another great achievement in what I am sure will be many achievements in his lifetime.

    My thanks to Max, he has truly helped me change my life.

To become the Ultimate Athlete, you have to do things differently.

A gymnast trains 6 hours per day. Olympic Weightlifters train twice a day for 2-3 hours. All of the best athletes in the world treat training like a full time job. If you have the time to spend, you should follow their plans–because they work.

However, if you’re like me, and you don’t have (or want) to dedicate hours and hours per day on the same discipline, you need to put it together differently.

The Ultimate Goal is to do LESS, but be able to do MORE. This is exactly what helped me put this program together. The desire to be good at everything. It is impossible to consistently practice everything, so we must train smarter.

One simple example that I cover in the book is the HANDSTAND. If one can master strength in different types of handbalancing, they will also be able to press and lift heavy weights overhead. However, if one spends more time just working with weights, it will not carry over the other direction to handbalancing gymnastic strength. So focusing primarily on handstands will allow you to do both handstands AND press heavy weights overhead–thus more carryover, and better efficiency of time. It is through this principle of carryover that you can do LESS, but become an ULTIMATE ATHLETE and be able to do ANYTHING.

What is Athleticism?

“The ability to move uninhibited in any range of motion with strength, speed, and coordination along with the ability to seamlessly adapt to any situation.”


Excelling at a wide variety of activities requires a strong foundation in basic human patterns. Before you are a fighter or basketball player, you are a human. Using principles that emphasize and refine overall athleticism at a human level, you are able to jump into any sport or activity, and with the smallest amount of practice, dominate. This is what it means to be an Ultimate Athlete.

So what’s in this book anyway?

The key to strength, flexibility, and health over the long term. A philosophy that can be applied to any training methods.

  • How a few simple movements will give you a grip that could crush a potato and help keep your elbows healthy
  • The simple key to gaining the endurance you need for YOUR sport
  • The easiest way to cut through all the programming confusion and set up your workouts for ultimate efficiency and success
  • How to convince your nervous system it’s safe to give you up to 50% more strength instantly!
  • The fastest way to improve your posture and flexibility
  • The two muscle groups you need to be focusing on to unlock all of your athletic potential

But Ultimate Athleticism is MUCH more than 'just a book" ...

  • Ultimate Athleticism eBook: ($197 Value)
    • 200 Pages of no-fluff brand new material to turn you into an awe-inspiring force to be reckoned with.
  • Ultimate Athleticism Video Library: ($297 Value)
    • Learn to do the movements properly and laser in on several details that will ensure you gain the most benefit and have the most success with your training.
    • Over 30 videos!
  • Ultimate Athleticism Program Design Guide: ($97 Value)
    • Several programs ranging in difficulty from absolute never-touched-a-weight beginner to advanced and training 4+ days per week.
  • Ultimate Athleticism Workout Creator: ($147 Value)
    • Create and modify an unlimited number of workouts!
      This may be the coolest part. I’ve put together an easy-to-use workout creator using the Ultimate Athleticism methodology so you will have the ability to put together a lifetime of workouts for yourself.
  • Lifetime Access to Ultimate Athleticism Member Area: ($297 value)
    • 12 Monthly Training Programs
    • Tips from Max - articles and videos to help your become the Ultimate Athlete
    • Member-only discounts for events and products

The last time I taught a workshop with this information, people paid $2,100 for 3 days. That was several years of experience and over one hundred new pages of content ago.If you want to work with me in-person, I charge over $200/hour, IF I’m accepting new clients. I also select a limited number of online training clients, who pay $600 for a my 12 week training program.I promise I’m not trying to boost my own ego. I worked extremely hard on this project to give everyone a chance to benefit from this new style of training. The key to being not just strong, but athletic . . . SO DON’T MISS OUT!

Check out what the leading Experts have to say...

  • "Great job Max!"

    "Max, I enjoyed your Ultimate Athleticism book. It is straightforward, effective, and will be beneficial to many aspiring athletes. It's nice to see a program that isn't focused on a single quality or tool. Your approach is clearly balanced and the results that you've obtained are obvious. In a world of talkers, it is always refreshing to find someone who walks the walk and practices what they preach. Great job!"
    Ross Enamait
    Author, Former Amateur Boxer
  • "...most innovative S&C coaches I've encountered!"

    "Max is one of the most innovative S&C coaches I've encountered in a long time. I've used a number of his approaches to improve my Masters BJJ training. I highly recommend his work."
    Robb Wolf
    New York Times Bestselling author of the Paleo Diet Solution, Former CA powerlifting champion
  • "Max Shank hits the Nail on the Head - HARD!"

    "Cut away all of the nonsensical, wasted movements and time in the gym with this Training Essentials Book, Ultimate Athleticism. This paradigm of training draws parallels to the tenets espoused by the late, great Bruce Lee , "Absorb what is useful, discard what is useless." Economy of motion, movement and time are tantamount is designing a training regiment that works for you and your student base. This book is an easy read with plenty of pictures depicting the movements and a succinct manner of how to achieve the Pyramid of Athleticism. Whether you are a highly skilled athlete or trainer, or a beginner to the world of fitness - Get This Book! There is incredibly valuable information for anyone and everyone who wants to be able to move well and move with purpose in this Manual to Moving with Strength!"
    Phil Ross
    Master RKC, 8th Degree Black Belt, 40 years martial arts and fitness experience Owner/Operator of American Eagle MMA & Kettlebells
  • "...will cultivate the strength and skill your searching for."

    "Simplicity is your friend. And so is Max Shank. What Max has put together in Ultimate Athleticism is nothing short of wonderful. I have a saying, the problem isn't your conditioning, the problem is you can't even begin to think about your conditioning. Take your time, work through this program and let its simplicity and beauty work for you. I have no doubt that ultimate athleticism will cultivate the strength and skill your searching for.
    Jason C. Brown, CSCS
    Creator of Kettlebell Athletics
  • "Max is a rare individual in the health and fitness world"

    "I just finished reading Max Shank’s new book Ultimate Athleticism and I am incredibly impressed! Max is a rare individual in the health and fitness world; he is both an articulate writer as well as an incredible athlete, and it is this unique blend that makes his book such a powerful addition to your training library. Max has done a masterful job answering the most common question that every fitness professional encounters with clients which is, “How can I get maximal improvement with the limited time I have available?” Following Max’s advice and programs in this book virtually guarantees improvement in every facet of your body and athleticism in minimum time. I highly recommend it and encourage you to absorb not only it’s basic message, but also the spirit of play and ongoing improvement that Max so powerfully encourages and exemplifies."
    Dr. Eric Cobb
    Founder, Z-Health Performance
  • "Ah, if only I knew what Max knows when I was his age 8-10 years ago!!!!!!"

    "I really have lots of positive things to say after finishing reading Max Shank's Ultimate Athleticism. First off, as he approached me to preview his book, I agreed as I told him he always appears to train and conduct himself above board. I was not disappointed in this book. This book is a very interesting departure from others designed for the general population in as much as it is definitely for the advanced intermediate and above, and it espouses a level of programming reminiscing of true physical education. I enjoyed reading this book, and it really fills an interesting niche in our learning landscape."
    Dr. Charlie Weingroff, DPT, ATC, CSCS
    Former Head Strength & Conditioning Coach, Philadelphia 76ers, NBA
    Former Lead Physical Therapist, United States marine Corps Special Operations Command
  • "I love books that make me pop off the chair..."

    "I love books that make me pop off the chair, go into my backyard and hang from the rings. Hey, I like Shakespeare and Cervantes, too, but you never see me on the stage or tilting a windmill after a few chapters. Max Shank's "Ultimate Athleticism" has me working on my handstand, attempting to force my hips up on the levers and reconsidering one legged movements. I am a fan of minimalism as a starting line for thinking; Max runs with this in training by suggesting the mastering of four movements: L-Press to Handstand, Deadlift, Front Lever, Airborne Lunge. This book is amazing as he walks us through why he picked these movements and then, more important, the progressions necessary for achieving these movements. I can't recommend this book enough, but be prepared to explore movement again."
    Dan John
    Internationally recognized author and presenter, 2-time Highland Games Masters Champion
  • "Max might be a total beast in the gym!"

    "The first time I heard about Max Shank was when I saw a video clip of him busting out single leg RDLs with 315 lbs like it was nothing. Naturally, I wanted to know more about the way he trained. Max adheres to a very intriguing and effective system of training, and I believe that numerous lifters will appreciate his training methods for building functional strength and athleticism. Ultimate Athleticism is Max's magnum opus, and he spent many hours putting the product together. If you are interested in improving your functional capacity, then I highly recommend this product . As a side benefit, by purchasing this product, you are supporting a guy who has tremendous integrity and passion for the field of strength & conditioning. Max might be a total beast in the gym, but he's an all-around great guy in general."
    Bret Contreras, CSCS, MA
    Internationally recognized Author and Presenter, Cofounder of Get Glutes

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Will I need a ton of equipment?
    NO! In fact, a barbell, parallettes, and rings will be all you ever need. Even if you had to purchase all of these yourself you could spend under $300 for a lifetime of quality training equipment.
  • What if I’m a girl?
    What if the oceans were ice cream? These movements are possible for both girls and guys alike. Ladies will have an advantage in the lower body and flexibility aspects, and men will have the advantage in the upper body movements. There is a great symmetry between flexibility and strength that yields unique benefits for guys and girls.
  • I’m a total beginner can I handle this?
    ABSOLUTELY. This book outlines every step along the way from barely being able to hold a pushup position to pressing up into a handstand. It’s all about steady and healthy progress.
  • Will I gain muscle?
    Yes, definitely. Not only will you build muscle, but it won’t be that puffy muscle–it will be highly functional muscle built from increasing the density of the myofibrils. This is one of the major keys to having a high pound-for-pound strength.
  • Will I get ripped?
    Getting ripped is largely due to how dialed in you have your nutrition, training, and stress levels. If you stick with the program, eat healthy, and get plenty of sleep you are going to be a shredded beast.
  • Do you really eat as much ice cream as they say?
    Yes I do, probably more. It’s all about balance. #icecreamabs

Better Every Day,Max Shank

Creator of Ultimate Athleticism