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Instructor Profiles

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Max Shank


Phone: 858 401 0831
Encinitas, CA
United States 92024
10 out of 10 (34 reviews)
Max's hard work and dedication to wellness has manifested into his position as Master RKC Instructor and owner of Ambition Athletics in Encintas, California.  Since starting out as a personal trainer, Max has switched his focus from basic strength training to a holistic approach of overall fitness and health. His passion is to help people rehabilitate injuries and fix their basic movement patterns. Max is a firm believer that everyone should be strong, capable, and confident to handle any situation regardless of age or gender. Apart from being very active in Martial Arts, Max competes in the Scottish Highland Games and recommends that adults spend more time in physical "play".
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10/10 A teacher who touches his students with greatness
By Frank Delventhal / Hamburg, Germany

I made my RKC Lv I and last weekend my RKC Lv II both with Max. He has an x-ray vision for movement and a deep understanding for the mechanics and how that is connected to strength training. He can improve anyone who listens. For my RKC 2 it he showed me my weakness, by letting me jerk with 4kg Kettlebells. 40kg no problem, that is more my kind "comfort zone" but then I would have never got to the point of the movement. His program designs are brilliant and can be integrated in ones own training as well as being used to improve your clients. He teaches not only the "how" of a movement but also the "why" of the movement. That comes a bit close to "freedom is the insight into necessity" for movement. The Dalailama is often quoted with words of wisdom with everyday life, when Max makes a point he can do that too with one sentence in regard to movement / strength training. So just the essence and no unnecessary stuffing of phrases to make it sound more "hip" or interesting. To make it short, if you have a chance to learn from or train with Max, do it. Invest in your own skills - a currency that will never loose its value.

10/10 Top Notch Instructor
By Rob Exline / Houston TX, USA

I have had the pleasure of working with Max as my Team Leader at RKC San Diego in August 2011, assisting RKC in Houston in 2013 and 2014, and as one of the Master Insructor's at my RKC II in 2013. Each time I have learned an enormous amount of information about movement and coaching. Max has a unique ability to find the simplest and most bang for your buck drill or correction to see immediate results in better movement. He is a very talented coach with a very bright future. I look forward to working with him again in any capacity.

He is not only knowledgeable but freaky strong whether it is moving his own body weight or moving an external load. It is fun to see the new unbelievable movements that he has been practicing. Max is an old time strength guy in a modern world.

10/10 Thorough and simple
By Russell Andrews / Cartersville, US

I attended a BW workshop lead by Max and the information he covered was detailed, yet simple. His presentation has a laid back kinda feel to it, and before you know it, you have pages of notes. He also is very hands on with his teaching style. We worked. His corrections and progressions were the simple application that made his style enjoyable for me.
I also was an recent participant at a RKC cert here in Ga. Max again was thorough and simple. He explained functional corrections, progressions, programming, and applications of movement training with ease and understanding. He allowed "Us" to digest the information before proceeding. Max is very knowledgeable and approachable as a leader and a master Instructor in the RKC.

10/10 Isometrics; Icing on the cake!
By Bobby Doss / Indianapolis, In., USA

Max is an excellent instructor! He takes the sometimes complex & elusive topic of "How To Get Really Strong Using Just Your Bodyweight" & presents it in an easy to understand way.
(Especially the progressions with the Isometric work!) I have seen immediate strength improvements in my weak areas & am now stronger overall with it! (Thank You Max!!)
I highly recommend anyone wanting to get stronger & more athletic seek Max out & learn from him!!

10/10 K.I.S.S.
By Zack Henderson / Charlotte, USA

Keeping It Simple & Strong.

This sums up my experience with Mr. Shank. Max was my team leader at the RKC. He provided a wealth of knowledge and advice to our team that kept us motivated, focused, and calm.

10/10 RKC Instructor to the Max
By Kelsey Reed / Annandale, USA

Max was my RKC instructor doing my RKC certification. His coaching was concise, simple and effective. I walked away learning just as much about coaching as I did about kettle bells. His knowledge and expertise was extensive and I truly enjoyed working with him. He instantly makes one feel very comfortable and at ease (despite the tense environment) and the certification was much less stressful thanks to him.

10/10 Strong, yet humble
By Dave Clancy / Columbus, United States

i have had the opportunity to work with Max on several occasions, assisting him at an RKC certification and participating in his bodyweight workshops. For someone with the strength and knowledge that Max has, he is unbelieveably humble.

He explains things in an easy to follow manner, and doesn't get impatient when you "just don't get it." In fact, when you struggle, Max is at his best, looking for cues, stretches, movements that will help you perform your lifts.

I hope to have the chance to work with Max in the future.

10/10 Great Trainer, Better Person!
By Dwayne OConnor / Indianapolis formerly San Marcos

I have trained with NFL and NCAA Division 1 strength coaches in my younger days and never achieved the improvements I received from working out with Max. He helped me, through nutrition and strength training, to lose 70 pounds of fat while putting on 20-25 pounds of muscle. For the first time in my life, I had detail in my abs while never doing a sit-up or crunch. Max understands the human body, its movement and function. He knows how to motivate you, push you and achieve your best. After training with Max, I have been able to do feats of strength I could never do, even 20 years ago when in my athletic prime. More than his knowledge and motivation, Max is a great person. He's humble and unassuming. You will not find a better trainer on the planet! Do yourself a favor and contact Max today for a better tomorrow. Max, you are the best!

10/10 back from the dead
By Leo Gurnoe / Encinitas, California

After a life of surfing, beach volleyball, karate, squash, and racquetball I ruined my back and spent three weeks on the couch on pain killers and six weeks gimping around feeling I was all washed up. I went to two different chiropractors (one a bone cruncher and the other a physical therapist style tissue/massage guy), also a massage tech, and a acupuncturist.All to no avail. I was told I might not play squash again. On my first visit to Max I went through range of motion testing and was rated only one step above a cripple. I was expecting a typical grunt and groan workout program. Much to my suprise I have spent the last five weeks doing what Max calls myo~facial release. All the exercises are taken home for corresponding homework exercises. I am back playing high level squash and racquetball and am better than before my back injury, Max says I have a ways to go before I really feel the benefits of opening up my hips, shoulders, etc. I feel I owe Max credit for extending my sports career and tell everyone I meet my story.

10/10 Skater-aid
By BEN / Madison Wisconsin

Ten years of sprains, dislocations and broken bones had left my body in a pretty haggard state. I'd been to numerous doctors and sports medicine clinics in hopes of finding a way to lessen my day to day pain. None of them were able to do what Max helped me to do, train the pain away.
I was referred to Max after a long and particularly unsuccessful year of physical therapy for shoulder and knee injuries due to trauma from skateboarding.
Right away Max was able to identify the weaknesses in my movements (using the Functional Movement Screen) that were contributing to my chronic pain and stiffness. In two sessions he had me confidently pressing a weight over my head (more than I had lifted in a year) and squatting deep without pain in my knee.He puts a lot of emphasis on teaching perfect form which helped greatly. Max keeps training simple, efficient and above all effective. He has an eye for what will be beneficial nothing superficial.
I really liked how approachable he was as a trainer. He understood that I was skater desperately trying to get back to pursuing my passion and he tailored a program to get me thrashing again.

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Dragon Door Interviews Senior RKC, Max Shank

Aug 15, 2012 09:30 PM

Dragon Door: I've been told that you're only 25 years old. As much as you’ve bragged about “being lazy,” you've accomplished a lot in a short period of time! Can you tell me about your work ethic? Max Shank: I’ve had a job or multiple jobs since I was 12 and I haven’t had a week without a job since then. I am actually pretty lazy with my training, I’ll just lift something heavy and then rest for a while before doing it again. Dragon Door: When did you become interested in fitness?

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MaxShank article

The 80% Rule

Feb 28, 2012 05:30 PM

I feel fortunate to have gone through many different phases of training. Bodybuilding, Crossfit, HIT, running, kettlebells, etc., and each phase has taught me different things about training, good and bad. I currently have many students who take group classes at my facility so it was important to give them simple instructions to achieve their goals in the best way possible. I realized along the way in my own training that lifting as heavy as possible, while staying as...

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The Snatch: Not an "Advanced" Swing

Nov 25, 2010 11:29 AM

No matter what your goal, sport, or athletic ability is, you should be doing kettlebell swings.A quick rundown of what the swing does:It trains hip extension, which is t [...]

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High Tension Techniques for Max Strength

Aug 27, 2009 01:28 PM

Max Shank, RKC bottom up presses a 40kg kettlebell holding a gripper in the opposite hand. Every 4 years we sit and watch in astonishment at the feats of strength [...]

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