Posts in Training
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If there is one question that many of our members as well as coaches get asked more than any other question, it's this: What goes on at Ku Performance? Is Ku Performance like CrossFit?

We decided it was time to set the record straight and have our Founder and Director of Performance, Daniel Aipa, give his answer to this often asked question along with other mana'o (insights) around questions about the Ku Performance Method.

Q: So is Ku Performance like CrossFit?
A: No, CrossFit is a sport.  But we do implement basic functional movements like CrossFit.

Q: Okay, so how is it different from CrossFit?
We utilize methodologies of various training systems and work with each individual to help them find what works best for them.  Coming from a strength and conditioning background at the college level, we look at each individual as their own specific sport, assess, and plan accordingly.

Q: Does that mean everyone is doing their own personalized workout or is it a group fitness class?
A: It all depends.  In group fitness classes, everyone is doing the same workout that is scaled accordingly.  We are known for training in semi-private sessions with up to 2-5 people per session.  During the session we are able to individualize the workout depending on the person's fitness and strength level, goals, as well as variable factors going on outside of their training.

Q: Variable factors? What do you mean?
A: Unless they are professional and competitive athletes, training is a small piece of a person's life.  And we are aware of that.  The variable factors consists of nutrition, hydration, sleep, stress levels from the multitude of stressors in life, career, injury and health history, exercise experience, extracurricular physical activities, and much more.  An individual's training is highly effected from the outside variables.

Say a person trains 3 times a week for one hour.  That's three hours out of 168 hours in the week.  That leaves 165 hours of variables outside of the training session to negate or have an adverse effect on those 3 hours of training.  We make sure our members and coaches are aware of this concept we call - the Circle of Influence.

Q:  It looks like you do more resistance training, is there a cardio component?
A: Again, it's dependent on the individual's goal but we do have a heavier emphasis on anaerobic conditioning compared to cardio like low intensity steady state.  We train in a fast pace environment to make sure we get through the main session of work within 45-60 minutes because we have found that to give the best results.  We do have a conditioning component in our training but nothing that I'd considered to be in the typical "cardio" category.

Q: What are your thoughts on cardio? Since you don't implement much cardio in the training?
A: We've been told that our training feels like cardio sometimes because of the fast pace and low rest intervals during the training sessions during certain cycles.  I'm assuming the cardio you are talking about is the long duration of activity between 20-30 minutes.  If so, I'd rather have people get outside and go for a hike in the mountains, take a walk on the beach, or anything active outside of the gym.  We live in Hawaii! Get outside. Your mind, body, and soul will thank you.

Q: You do a lot of different exercises that look unconventional, is it better than just doing the basic fundamental movements?
A: No, but everything has it's place.  I don't think what we do is unconventional nor do we try to be unconventional.  But it is an area we find ourselves placed in because people don't really understand what we do.  We are neither here or there, so we must be way out there.  

Q: Okay, you say people don't really understand what you do.  So, what do you do?
A:  We take time to learn about our members, who we call 'Alapa (athlete in Hawaiian), and build a relationship with them so they know we are a team working together in order to achieve what they want.  We create a plan and environment according to their interests, training age, goals, personality, and other variables as mentioned before.  Lastly, we adapt along the way as we continue to learn more about the individual, see their potential, and continue guiding them along their journey.

Q: Is there a specific system you follow?
A: No. Even though it's been called the Ku Method or Ku Performance System, there is no specific system. Bruce Lee being a big influence on my approach in all of this, made me realize that systems do indeed create division amongst people and that's not what we are about.  We are not saying that our so-called system is the best or better than another system.  We do what we do.  There are specific principles that we follow but our overall take on training is that physical vigor and performance is a modality of self expression and we are here to guide you through that journey of expressing yourself - or what we term as, be Ku.

Q: Interesting. So what can people expect from Ku Performance at Hui Alapa Ku?
A: For physical training, you can expect to learn various movements using different implements and modalities of exercise.  As for your mind, you can expect to experience introspection and gain more self awareness of your body and personal language.  Lastly, our goal is to create an ever evolving environment that provides a personal experience for each member.

Our mission is to instill confidence into people's lives. It's to strengthen individually in order to strength the whole.

Ready to get your Ku on? Schedule your "No Worry Beef Curry Intro" today.

Why THE BIGGEST LOSER CHALLENGE at Work Sends the Wrong Idea.

First off, what is the BIGGEST LOSER CHALLENGE?  Many workplaces and corporate wellness programs throughout the BIGGEST LOSER CHALLENGE to motivate people to come together, lose weight, and improve your lifestyle.

It can be done as a team or individual, where the winner is the team or individual who loses the biggest percent of body weight.

While this may seem like a great idea, this usually leads to be unsuccessful in the long run.  It is important to know that not everyone at Work is prepared or in the right place to make the change.  

Also, when it becomes a competition, people tend to participate in drastic changes in their lifestyle behaviors in order to hit certain marks which arenʻt sustainable for after the challenge is over.

The majority who lose weight doing behavioral changes they canʻt sustain, will only end up gaining the weight back and then some.  Does that sounds familiar?

Here are other ideas:

Developing an effective wellness program takes the right understanding and having awareness of the workplace culture.  Rather than creating a big program that not everyone will be interested in participating in, you create smaller programs that create specific groups.  The main focus is the vision of overall health and wellness, and everyone is at different stages and experience in their fitness and health.

Remember, it's not much about just the challenge itself but also helping them make lifestyle behavioral changes in order for them to continue their journey of overall well being and fitness.  Too many programs offer only short term goals and rewards, it goes beyond the 4-6 week "Biggest Loser Challenge"

1. Obstacle Course Training

There are several obstacle course races that come to Hawaii such as the Spartan Race or Makahiki Run.  You can either train together at the park or gym or work as a team with a local training facility that'll be more than happy to support your mission towards health and wellbeing.

2. Recreational Sports

Maybe there is a group of people at work who participate in recreational sports that can inspire people to get more active.  Maybe you can start a recreational sports league depending on interests.  

3. Weekly Fitness Workshops

You can reach out to local fitness professionals who will give a workshop that anyone can participate in.  Bring in a yoga instructor, fitness coach, nutritionist, stress level management, meditation, or anyone else you feel will bring value to instill the importance of taking care of yourself and wellbeing.

4. Human Performance Seminar Overhaul

Find a local training facility who has the experience and knowledge to come in to do a full human performance overhaul in working with the whole organization.  They can work with individuals and teams to best guide them towards their goals by creating a plan that they can stick to and hold one another accountable.  

For Corporate Wellness, it's best to take a holistic approach to understand the workplace culture and learn about the interests people have.  It takes a team effort to achieve optimal results in helping each other feel their best.

At Ku Performance, we believe when people feel their best they perform at their best.  The type of performance will then transfer into the workplace to drive better results and performance for the company as a whole.




Our system of performance training has been developed from 10+ years of my coaching experience and continues to evolve as we learn more. 

The Ku Performance Hawaii (KPH) system allows for others to grasp the principles in order to improve their strength and fitness and optimize their performance.  The training methods at Ku Performance Hawaii can benefit anyone looking to lose fat, build lean muscle, enhance their conditioning, and overall feel stronger - feel Kū.

My goal is to share and teach you the Ku Performance System in hopes it will help you.  KPH takes a holistic approach to go beyond the physicality of training and also touch upon the mental as well as spiritual aspect of training to increase your confidence levels.

At KPH, we embrace the Hawaiian warrior culture.  Being Native Hawaiian and feeling a deep connection to my culture, I've always been drawn to the warrior culture of not just Hawaii but all warrior cultures.  The KPH system looks at each individual as a warrior, or Koa.

KPH defines a warrior as one willing to take responsibility (kuleana) for their actions, prepared to work hard (hana ka lima), and committed (onipa'a) in bettering themselves and their community, and have the courage (koa) to take on challenges they come across in life.  As a warrior, you strive to increase your Mana, your personal power, to build up your legacy.  Every training session you perform, helps your gain more Mana.

We use the KPH system to train the body to develop the vigor and mindset to overcome yourself, take on the challenges, and accomplish your performance goals.  

Our culture makes us different from other gyms and training systems.  We embrace PERFORMANCE, CULTURE, and COMMUNITY. Everything roots from those three components and we strongly protect them.

When looking at the KPH system for PERFORMANCE, we implement several themes:

  • Makaukau
  • Pahu
  • Kupa'a
  • Ulu
  • Mau
  • Ola

Staying true with our culture, we see each theme hold a deeper meaning than just the physical movement.  For instance, Ulu is categorized as our accessory lifts.  In performance, these exercises are used to improve your bigger lifts and build more lean muscle. As for in culture, Ulu means to grow, to protect, to be inspired, and the rising of the wind.

Another example is Ola.  In performance, this is our recovery/cool down component where you slow down your heart rate, perform light stretches, and begin the recovery process.  As for in culture, Ola means life, to heal, well-being, and alive.  At the end of training sessions we want you to feel alive, inspired, and accomplished.

Our bookend pieces, Makaukau and Ola stay constant.  Everything else in between depends on what sort of warrior we are training and what they are training for.

The KPH system can be incorporated with sports teams, organizations, corporate wellness programs, and individuals looking for a holistic approach that embraces the Hawaiian culture to improve their overall performance not only in the gym, but in life as well.

I'm excited to take the time to expand in more details each piece of the KU PERFORMANCE HAWAII system.

Train and Live Ku,

Coach Aipa

Caring for Hawaii Nurses and Healthcare Workers

A good amount of our members at Ku Performance work in the healthcare industry in Hawaii.  After working with many for close to a year, we learned a lot about the occupation and challenges they face to take care of themselves.  

Some of the challenges they face are long hours, stressful situations, lack of sleep, poor quality of nutrition, and lack of exercise.  Their commitment to their patients can have a downside to where they can push their own health to the side.

At Ku Performance we analyzed the common injuries amongst Healthcare workers and developed a plan to reduce their risk of injury and improve their strength and fitness to enhance overall performance.

Our facility is equipped with minimal equipment: barbells, kettlebells, suspension trainers, etc.  No bells and whistles are required to achieve great results.

Each session we cover improving movement patterns, building strength, and conditioning through cardiovascular work. Many exercise between 2-3 times per week, and each training session takes into account their work schedule and mental state.

 Over the course of time working with the healthcare workers, they've experienced a boost of energy, enhanced performance during work, and less aches and pain particularly in the lower back and knees while being on their feet all day.

We believe it is essential for our Hawaii Healthcare workers understand where their fitness and performance levels are at in order to be able no to only provide the best care for their patients but also the best care for themselves.

Plyometric Exercises for Volleyball

Volleyball in Hawaii is a big thing and anything you can do to improve your game will help you stand Ku on the court.  

A common mistake when performing plyometrics drills is when coaches or athletes turn them into a conditioning drill.  When that happens, it is no longer considered plyometrics.  When doing plyometric drills, you want to ensure that each set is just as good if not better as the set before. You want to make sure that each rep is just as good if not better as the rep before.  

What are Plyometrics?

According to Dr. Mel Siff in his book Supertraining, he states, "It consists of stimulating the muscles by means of a sudden stretch preceeding any voluntary effort"

For example: when you prepare to jump, you perform a quick downward movement which creates a stretch in your legs before you jump up.  

To go further into understanding, this takes into account the stretch shortening cycle  (SSC):  Using a jump again as an example, the muscles and tendons lengthen and stretch upon lower your body down before you jump (eccentric), this creates a  buildup of energy which is then released in a muscle shortening motion (concentric) that propels you up to jump.

The key component of plyometrics, is the amortization phase, which is the middle phase of SSC. The amortization phase happens between the eccentric and concentric portion of a movement.  The longer the phase is, the longer it takes to apply force into the surface which causes the movement to be slower.

Plyometrics are used to make the amortization phase shorter.  

With that in mind, it is essential for the coach or athlete to have the awareness to understand the importance of ensuring the drills are done properly and chase after performance not fatigue.

Plyometric Drills for Volleyball

The three main categories for plyometrics are: 

  • Jumps - landing on both feet but can have a take off with one or two feet
  • Hops - take off on one foot and land on the same foot.  Hops require more strength than jumps
  • Bounds - take off on one food and land on opposite foot.  Usually done for distance and can be one of the more challenging plyometrics.   


  1. Stand with arms out in front of you bent at a 90˚ with elbows facing forward and feet shoulder width apart
  2. Quickly drop into a squat position driving your arms behind you
  3. Hold the landing position keeping chest up and not allowing knees to collapse inwards
  4. Rise back up to the starting position

This exercise primes the athlete's body for jumping and activates the proper muscles for jumping.  When you drop into the squat position, both feet should be off the floor before you land.  This drill can also be used as part of the warm-up. Perform 2 sets of 5-10 reps.


  1. Standing on a low box with feet shoulder width apart and arms to your side
  2. Step off (DO NOT jump off) the box
  3. Land in a proper landing position with hips back and down, chest up, arms behind you as if you are ready to jump again
  4. Objective is to land softly, one of our cues being to "land like a ninja"
  5. Do not allow knees to collapse in

We emphasize proper landing mechanics because majority of injuries during volleyball occur while landing after a jump. A progression of this drill is STEP OFF HOP LANDING which emphasizes on stepping down and landing on one foot following the same landing mechanics.


  1. Stand with feet hip width apart
  2. On command perform vertical jumps by jumping as high as possible
  3. Keep your core tight and legs extended
  4. Once you land on the ground, immediately jump again

The purpose of this drill is to jump as high as possible after each contact with the ground.  During this drill you do not lower down into a squat position.  Start off with performing 2 sets of 6-10 repetitions with at least 30-45 seconds rest between sets.


  1. Stand with feet hip width apart
  2. Jump as high as possible to the side, extending arms above your head
  3. Land on both feet driving arms behind you 
  4. Upon landing immediately jump and extend your arms overhead back to the start position and stick the landing in the proper landing position
  5. Reset and perform again on command

Volleyball involves lateral movements especially for those playing up at the net. This drill also works on deceleration from jumping side to side. Do 2-3 sets of 4-6 repetitions per side. 


  1. Long split stance in an up position standing tall with elbows bent 90˚ at your side
  2. Drop in split squat position, drive elbows back, and immediately begin jump with both arms and hips
  3. Land in the split squat position, stabilize and show control, then reset for the following jumps for the prescribed repetitions
  4. Switch legs and repeat on the other side

During the movement, keep the back knee from hitting the ground and front knees behind the toes.  Throughout the drill, maintain a strong posture during the jump and landing with eye fixated ahead.  Do 2 sets of 5-8 reps per side.

Coaching Reminder

Do not turn plyometric drills into a conditioning drill.  The emphasis on plyometric drills is to maintain performance and be explosive.  As a coach, if you observe an athlete's performance diminish during the drill, let them rest a little longer or do fewer reps.  For plyometrics, quality over quantity.

Mahalo and A hui hou.