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The History of Body Tempering

Body Tempering was developed by Donnie Thompson in August of 2014

Body Tempering started by coincidence possibly as late as 2006, and quickly caught on at the Compound. It has grown into a fundamental mobility tool used at the highest levels of professional and olympic sport. At its infancy, Donnie was hearing of great athletes (including local university athletes) having hernia surgeries which he believed were likely due to severe muscle adhesions. These events were occurring at levels that he believed could be reduced or prevented for most athletes. For elite powerlifters and heavier athletes, laying on foam rollers was simply insufficient. More volume and weight was needed to get the desired effects of improved mobility and increase tissue pliability. Donnie and other members of his gym at the time, The Compound, had been using heavier KettleBells and loaded PVC pipes to diffuse muscle groups like the abs and quads for years. These tools were very useful and worked well. Then one day, Levi the Fireman was lying on the floor rolling his abs with a KB. Donnie jokingly told him he would put 135 pounds of  steel on him to roll his stomach out (this apparatus was affectionately called the X-Wife and is a drop cut piece of solid steel, 5 inches in diameter and 24 inches long). It was called the X-wife because it’s cold, emotionless and no one wanted to mess with it. So with the X-Wife on Levi’s stomach, he commenced to rolling it over his entire upper body. The results were instant and more dramatic than expected. So Donnie went next, then Joe, Josh and everyone else training that day. The rest is history.


Innovation does not occur without experimentation. So, the next area of experimentation with the x-wife and body tempering was along the thoracic and lumbar spine. Then the backs of the legs over the hamstrings. The chest and shoulders followed soon after. Finally, the last area tested at the time was the calves. The sensation of rolling the calves was extreme, but it worked in increasing pliability, flexibility, and power. At that time, those who were body tempering all but stopped stretching prior to training. If they missed a day rolling out it was made up on days where training was not scheduled. It never got to be too much. They were all getting stronger and feeling better and increasing their numbers on their lifts with no notable injuries. In October of that year, two NFL Centers came down to the Compound gym to train under Donnie’s instruction. They took body tempering back to their team and personal training facilities and began rolling out before games on Sunday and afterwards to aide in recovery.


Body Tempering quickly became the fastest way to feel good again after training and to prepare for strength training. Trigger points (tender points within the muscle or “knots”) and muscle adhesions could not hold up to the method like they could with less aggressive methods such as foam rolling. Body Tempering has evolved and has now begun to peak world-wide interest. It is utilized by NFL Super Bowl Champions, NCAA Football Champions, NCAA basketball champions, world record setting powerlifters, and National Crossfit games qualifiers.  Body Tempering is actually an old strength method recycled, and a much more efficient process than other forms of tempering. Tempering has been used throughout history to train to be able to toughen their bodies to the demands of their sport and absorb blows without having as much damage or sensitivity. It is amazing that such a method was devised by a powerlifter in Columbia, SC instead of a professional or university lab.

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