THE FOOLPROOF WAY TO PREVENT TRAINING INJURIES

Train cool, not like a fool.

What do fractions and fitness have in common?

Answer: With fractions what you do to the top (numerator) you have to do to the bottom (Denominator). Similarly, with training the attention dedicated to the upper body should also be applied to the lower half, and what you do to your front you should do in equal measure to the back.

Thus today’s post will cover some key preventative measures to reduce the likelihood of sustaining a major training related injury. (To keep things sweet and simple this article will mainly focus on upper body injuries, commonly associated with the shoulders. Lower body issues will be elaborated upon more thoroughly in future).

1) Make structural integrity a training priority

Note: This step alone will increase the longevity of your training years and if implemented early will save you a great deal of pain down the road.

When it comes to training the vast majority of typical bodybuilding and strength-training routines overlook (or worse, downright ignore) the critical importance of maintaining structural integrity and harmony between muscle groups throughout the body.

What is structural integrity?

Simply put, it’s the strength balance between the anterior (front chain) and posterior (back chain) muscles.

To avoid needles injuries, muscle imbalances and problems with posture, it’s imperative that there isn’t a significant variance in strength level between the muscle groups of the front and the back.

Muscle imbalances are incredibly common among seasoned lifters and gym rats alike, often the result of too much chest and arm (front work) focus and not enough back, rear delts and rotator cuff attention.

Over time, this unbalanced, one sided training approach will inevitably lead to an imbalance and is the big reason why many shoulder injuries, rotator cuff tears and strains are so prevalent amongst lifters.

What winds up happening is the chest and front delts end up becoming significantly stronger than the muscles of the back and in effect overpower them. This creates a muscle imbalance, and is the primary reason that the hunched shoulder look is prevalent.

Overtime due to lack of stimulation the muscles of the rear delts and rotator cuff weaken further and SLAP, BANG… Injuries, in the form of a rotator cuff tear or shoulder impingement etc.

On the contrary, don’t think this is merely relegated to those of us who regularly engage in the practice of blessing iron. Oh no.

It pertains greatly to everybody, whether you train or not. Due to the fact that as human beings the vast majority of the activities we engage in happen directly in front of us. (Don’t get it? hold your horses and all will be revealed).

See, think about this, you look down at your phone, computers. You pick up your knife and fork to shove grub down the ole pie hole, pick up a book or magazine to read etc. You get the general idea. All these activities take place in front of your torso.

If you’re like the majority of people they’re usually looking down at their phones, laptops etc. for extended periods of time, ultimately resulting in posture issues (the dreaded hunched shoulders) down the road, and potential shoulder/rotator cuff injuries aforementioned earlier.

So how’d you avoid this unpleasantness?

How do you best avoid this scenario and greatly reduce the likelihood of experiencing such an injury? (definitely not fun).

Great questions, that brings us to point numero deux.

2) Include a posterior chain exercise in every workout

I’ve adopted the practice of making the first exercise of every upper body workout a pulling motion to effectively target the back, which as I’ve mentioned before is often neglected at least in comparison to the more favorable “show muscles” of the front.

I routinely begin each session with 2-3 sets of face-pulls as a preventative measure.

So, taking into consideration everything mentioned earlier in this post, the following simple exercise list will give you an idea of some of the counter measures you can take to combat “deltoid destruction” and “back blowout.”

Exercises to throw into your training mix:

  • Face pulls
  • Rear delt flyes w/ dumbells or on pec dec machine
  • Pull up/chin up variations
  • Any bent over rowing motion
  • Deadlifts/ Back bridges/ hyper-extensions 

Include the following pulling movements in your training to ensure you hit the muscles of the posterior chain. These’ll act as a counter balance to all the pressing/pushing motions and work you do to your front.

In my opinion, the pulling to pushing ratio of movements in your routine should be about 70/30. (Obviously favouring pulling motions).

Remember, you’ve got to compensate for the fact that you spend a lot of your day involved in tasks that take place at the front of your body, let alone the exercises you do to pump up your “show muscles.”

3) Understand the purpose of assistance movements in injury prevention

Though compound movements (bench press, pull ups, overhead press, squats etc) are great for stimulating overall muscle growth and strength development, they cannot engage all aspects of a muscle.

Relying solely on compound lifts will also lead to muscle imbalances as weaker muscle groups will give way to stronger ones when performing a certain lift.

That’s where assistance or isolation movements come into play. They’re great as a means of specifically targeting, stimulating and strengthening the weaker muscle groups.

I view the assistance exercises as not just a means of isolating certain parts of a given muscle, but also a way of ensuring you strengthen and engage weaker or less developed areas of your physique, thus maintaining a good strength ratio between the various muscle groups.

THERE YOU HAVE IT.

3 simple steps to maintain order, harmony and balance throughout your body and greatly reduce the instance of injury.

If you enjoyed this post, found the content useful and want more info like it, there’s 2 simple thing you can do effective immediately:

That’s all for now folks…. TTFN.

HOW TO APPROACH FITNESS FOR OPTIMAL RESULTS

How to approach fitness for optimal results

We’ve all heard how important it is to adopt the right mindset in order to make dramatic improvements to your physique.

“Mind over matter.” Right?

The problem with this statement is that it’s pretty generic.

Don’t get me wrong!! Creating the right mental framework is dang crucial to your results. Without it you’re not going to receive the best possible outcome from the fruits of your efforts.

In fact, there’ll be times that are really trying. You’ll be pushed to the max, struggling to reach your goals, and it’s the mindset that gets you over the edge and keeps you in the game.

Most people, when they actively make the decision to get into shape, place a high level of emphasis on their training and nutrition. While those are definitely key parts of your fitness journey, and play a significant role in the way you’re able to mold your physique, they don’t form the complete picture.

But here’s the kicker. The mind is only useful when it’s made completely aware of what you want to achieve. It needs to consciously know what’s to be expected. (In other words you need to fully know your endgame inside out, through and through).

You need to know exactly what to get your mind focused on when it comes to training, diet and improving your body. Only then will you see dramatic improvements in your physique. (This goes for other aspects of life as well).

As is the case with many things in life, most people simply coast through without being fully engaged and understanding the real reasons behind what they’re doing and why they’re doing it.

These individuals are in the dark. Sure, you could argue that they’re getting some benefit from what they’re doing, but settling for 50%, when you could be getting 100% is really sub optimal and literally dumb.

I digress. Anyway, back to the topic at hand.

So where should you place the majority of your focus when it comes to your fitness pursuits?

I’d suggest giving the following some serious contemplation:

Revaluate your priorities when it comes to fitness

Why do you really want to be in shape?

  • Identify and understand the driving force (root/deep reason) behind you wanting to transform your physique
  • Approach your fitness goals from an objective perspective

 The best mindset to adopt with regards to health and fitness is a survival mindset. Take things back to basics. Learn how the body works and the language it uses.

The above statement I’ve made literally translates to:

Make survival the backbone of your physique development/fitness endeavour

See, the body only cares about survival. It’s an organism built for survival.

It doesn’t give a damn about being 200lbs at 6% body fat. It tries really hard to maintain homeostasis. Its basic function is to adapt to stresses in order to keep you alive.

Resistance training is a stress and the body compensates by building new muscle and increasing your strength level overtime, to help it cope with the demand placed on it.

Below are some questions and example answers to initiate that change in thinking….

Q: What are the benefits of being strong and how does it apply to everyday life? 

A: If you’re stronger, you’ll be able to handle day-to-day tasks with more ease and efficiency. E.g. makes carrying groceries easier, picking up the kids and lifting heavy objects. (Especially if you work a physically demanding job etc). The bottom line is think outside the box and Look at the goddamn bigger picture!!

Strength training shouldn’t be viewed as some arbitrary activity just designed to make you look good naked and improve your efficiency at tossing around huge mounds of metal.

Q: What are the benefits of being lean?

You don’t have to carry around excess weight and lard that makes walking up a flight of stairs, playing with your kids, running around after your dog, fitting into a car and practically just about anything that involves moving your body a damn chore.

When I fully embraced this frame of mind, I made drastic improvements physically. It’s all about honing in on the essential and discarding all the unnecessary crap. (As Bruce Lee very rightly pointed out).

The way I view diet and training nowadays is on a whole other level, compared to when I first started.

To me they’re a means of making the body more efficient at generating and utilizing energy.

If you can digest and wrap your head around this stuff early, you’ll save time and avoid misdirected effort.

It all boils down to SURVIVAL.

Channel your mind and bring it into alignment with the deeper attributes associated with fitness.

Remember, merely having a destination you want to reach, with no understanding of the route required to get there is really a sub par strategy that’s practically doomed to fail.

On a side note, this shift in thinking doesn’t just apply to fitness. You can implement it in all aspects of your life. It’ll make you a more efficient person in your work and fun life. What I’m getting at is, you’ll be able to really crush it at life.

The take home message is:

Adopt this mindset and watch how your productivity and results improve across the board in your life.

If you liked the post, be sure to share and subscribe for more awesome content. If you want a full program, training & nutrition guide, check out and grab yourself a copy of Warrior 101. (Solid copies now available) And build yourself a warrior worthy body.  Contact me for further details.

Keep training hard, eat well and live legendary.

 

3 PILLARS FOR A KILLER PHYSIQUE

3 pillars for a killer physique

“Simplicity is the greatest form of complexity.” As the saying goes and it seems to hold weight. The fitness industry (like many industries) loves over complicating, hyping and peddling half-truths etc… yada, yada… you get the picture.

Anyways, that’s a whole other chapter in and of itself.

Outlined in this article are three key points that have certainly benefited me, and I’m certain that, should you choose to adopt them into your training arsenal, (if you haven’t already) they’ll bring significant and dramatic effects to your physique.

The three points listed combine together to produce an outcome I’ve dubbed the “TRIPLE D’S

Density, Definition & Detail!!

 If you structure your training and nutrition in a way that enables you to direct your attention to these areas, I’m certain you’ll relish the result.

Enough chatter. You ready to get down to it?

1) Strength (Relative) : To increase density and carve out detail

Strength takes top priority, because developing strength is the cornerstone in creating a base or laying the foundations for a solid, dense physique. In fact, if you were to focus on honing your strength level and getting incredibly lean, you’d carve out a pretty damn impressive physique.

Now let’s take it a step further and say that relative strength is more impressive and will do way more for your physique than total strength. Think about it logically, if you can bench press 315lbs at a bodyweight 175lbs and 8% body fat compared to some other guy that can press the same weight at 230lbs and 20% body fat, who’s stronger? (I leave you to decide).

Improving your relative strength is simple in nature, but far from easy in practice. Why you ask?

Because you need to progressively increase poundage and get stronger whilst maintaining a lean body. (We’ll talk more about body fat a little later).

Lift and progress to lifting heavier weights or adding reps with the same weight each workout. Make it your aim to improve on a weekly basis either by adding an additional rep or increasing poundage through a technique called micro loading. (For those who don’t know micro loading involves strapping on a pair of fractional plates i.e 0.5lbs-2.5lbs to the ends of the bar to continue incrementally progressing).

This is a highly effective strategy, since it’s not always an option to slap on 5-10lbs to the bar and rep out every workout.

Remember, the key pointer here is, that muscles are adaptive tissues that respond to stress and tension. (Without getting too scientific) They grow and adapt to handle stresses so that your body is ready and prepared to deal with a similar challenge in the foreseeable future. (The challenge in this case, the stimulus from weight training).

Muscle is therefore created in an attempt to make the body more efficient at dealing with the physical stress of lifting weights, thus making it imperative that you increase the stimulus overtime, to avoid stagnation.

On a side note, lifting heavy weights is only one form of progression, there’re other ways to challenge your body, as it’s not always feasible to continue upping the poundage. Eventually there comes a point when you just can’t possibly get any stronger. (To put it in perspective, if the human body was capable of continuing to lift heavier with no upper limit, everybody would be lifting 3,000lbs).

That said however, the majority of people are a way off from maxing their strength potential.

So back to the point, lifting heavy has two major advantages over lighter “pump” workouts.  The benefit being an increase in muscle density and (obviously) overall physical strength. This added density gives the muscles a hard, angular look or what I refer to as “marble flesh.”

Personally, I employ a rep range of around 4-8 reps. I use a method known as RPT (reverse pyramid training) meaning my first set is the heaviest. I usually hit the first set for 4 followed by a set of 6 and finally a third set of 8 reps.

2) Low body fat: To boost definition and bring out detail

abs

A lean individual, showcases chiseled, dense musculature. Cuts, separation and definition all become more prominent as adipose is stripped away. The idea is to look like you’re carved out granite. A damn solid sculpture.

Being lean in the 7-10% (the more you tend towards to lower end of the spectrum, the more pronounced the effect) body fat range will make you look more angular and in certain eyes this is more attractive. (If you catch my drift).

Having a low body fat isn’t just an asset when it comes to pure cosmetics either. No, no, no. Being lean will have positive effects on endocrine functioning and hormonal profile. A leaner body has an “easier” time utilising nutrients and directing them towards muscle growth and cell repair than a fatter individual.

Just like anything you can run into issues or too much of a good thing. Eventually the leaner you get the body begins to run certain issues i.e. decline in testosterone declines, mood issues, muscle loss and a dive in sex drive. (None of these are desirable).

These problems usually arise in individuals maintaining sub 5% body fat for extended periods of time. (Which isn’t the vast majority of folk, I might add).

Getting down around 7-10% body fat range will not result in those damned pesky issues and you’ll still look fantastic.

The trick to getting lean and staying there, is to find a suitable way to eat less, while getting in essential nutrients to nourish your body. I personally like intermittent fasting, but you don’t have to fast to get lean.

Find a way of eating that allows to you to:

  • Eat at a calorie deficit
  • Fits your schedule/lifestyle

If you can stick to it, that’s worth it’s weight in gold.

 Proportion

Pecs too big for the arms? delts dwarfed? Having the right balance and keeping muscle groups proportionate with each other is key in looking good (let’s face it, we all want to look good on some level).

Unless you want to look like Johnny Bravo, (nothing against you) you need proportion to maintain balance and symmetry of your physique.

From a purely aesthetic standpoint it’s a good idea to attempt to bring and model your physique on the classical V shape.

Broad, masculine shoulders, wide, flaring cobra like lats that sit atop a taut, slender waistline housing a diamond cut midsection.

Focus on sculpting your shoulders, upper back and lats to make your waist appear smaller. Bring your legs on par with your upper body. Build your upper chest to give your pecs an armor plated appearance.

If you need a little inspiration, take a look at images of the Roman and Greek sculptures, hell go visit a museum or art gallery and get a firsthand view.

So, in a nutshell

  • Get Strong
  • Get Lean
  • Get Proportionate

 From now on make your mantra

“Density, Definition & Detail.” 

Hope you enjoyed the article. Feel free to subscribe for more epic content.

HOW TO GET & STAY LEAN ON AN ERRATIC SCHEDULE

Meals

Ah… it’s nearing that time of year again. Out go the sweat pants and jumpers, in come the shorts and tank tops. Beach season, pool parties and barbeques. Yep, summer’s nearly underway.

Over the past three months, I’ve been busy filming a short film. (Unrelated subject matter). Without going into too much detail, It consumed virtually all my time. There’s a lot of work that goes into it, especially when you’re the writer, director, director of photography (camera and lighting) and editor all rolled in one, and on a tight schedule.

Much as it pains me to type this… training just wasn’t top priority. Unfortunately it had to take a backseat.

Many will shudder at the thought of reducing their training frequency and volume, fearing the loss of their gains.

A drop frequency and volume, alone won’t necessarily result in massive drops and losses, providing adequate stimulus and intensity is maintained.

I was literally training 1-2 (that’s 2 hours a week) times a week hitting heavy, basic movements. My primary objective as always, to progressively increase strength. And you can still get stronger while training only 1-2 times a week.

Since I regularly adhere to a 3 day a week lifting regime, it wasn’t mentally problematic.

As we’re all aware, nutrition is the other part of the equation. I used the same strategy I implemented during my time in Spain at the end of 2014. I was busy traveling, sightseeing and exploring and also rarely saw the inside of a gym.

I was pretty active on a daily basis. I’d actually kick each day off with varying degrees of calisthenics movements and due to the nature of my trip, I ended up walking places an awful lot. (I even found a nice steep hill and set of steps to run up and down like a maniac).

Now, I’ve been implementing some form of intermittent fasting daily over the last 4 years. So I’m pretty accustomed to going without food for stretches of time. So this made staying lean more manageable.

My approach is as follows:

Meal 1: 1-3pm

Protein, fats & greens (Small meal)

Example: Chicken breast & broccoli w/ coconut oil

Meal 2: 5-7pm

Protein, fats & greens (moderate meal)

Example: Salmon, green beans & salad w/ ½ avocado

Meal 3: 10-11pm

Protein, carbs & fats (Largest meal)

Example: Turkey & potatoes + (optional Sweet treat)

I didn’t always adhere to the schedule allotted above and I didn’t always eat 3 meals. I rotated the food choices frequently in accordance with personal preference and availability.

The one thing I did consistently was eat in a manner that enabled me to maintain sufficient nutrient uptake and simply tweaked and adjusted meals based on feeling and look. If I felt really light, I’d eat a little more, usually in the form of carbs. If I felt stuffed and uncomfortable, I’d cut back and reduce the total food volume. The idea is to find what works for your body.

The most important consideration when dieting to maintain or trim down is identifying a satisfying way to eat. Hunger is the bane of fat loss, because most don’t have the ability to tolerate it. If you fill up on foods that satisfy you and keep you tied over, that’ll alleviate the unpleasantness that usually accompanies hunger. (Why make things unnecessarily hard on yourself?).

Now, diet is specific. It varies from individual to individual. You can’t take one approach and deem it appropriate for everybody.

Nothing was or is set in stone. The arrangement and layout is merely a sample, to demonstrate the manner of eating I used. (In fact I’m still eating this way today, because I enjoy it and it works for me).

The key is to experiment with different foods and ways of eating to find what works for your unique structure, metabolism and biochemistry.

That’s the art and science behind it. What works for you won’t necessarily work for me and vice versa.

This eating arrangement affords itself well to fat loss, due to the simple fact that it’s not heavily packed, calorically speaking. In fact it’s damn light.

But that’s not the point.

The real takeaway from the above is:

1) Whole foods take priority.

Real, solid, nutrient dense foods should comprise the bulk of you’re diet. Sure you can eat as much processed crap as you want and still “lose weight” if you’re eating below your body’s requirements. However, I’m willing to bet you want to preserve your health so you can keep on rocking the good life. If the majority of your nutrition comes from whole foods, you’ll be supplying your body with all the necessary macro and micronutrients, which in turn enable it to function and perform optimally.

I’m not against eating a little junk now and then, but junk tends to be less filling than nutritionally complete foods. As a result of this when the hunger demon strikes, you’re more likely to cave in and gobble all those goodies, setting yourself up for a perpetual nightmare. By all means have your cake and eat it, just be selective and mindful when you do it.

2) Eating modest earlier & larger later in the day

This ties in, and works well alongside fasting. I often break the fast with a lighter meal, gradually increasing the calorie intake as the day wages on.

During late evening or night I switch gears and consume the bulk of my calories. I prefer eating this way. It helps keep me satisfied and aids sleep at night. From a hormonal standpoint it makes sense. Eating carbs releases serotonin (feel good factor) in the brain, which in turn helps you wind down. From an anecdotal perspective, this method helps me stay on track and avoid over eating. I notice when I eat carb dense meals earlier in the day, I tend to get hungry much sooner than intended.

3) Intermittent fasting is just a tool

Fasting isn’t magic. It’s an effective way of eating, that when correctly implemented should allow you greater liberty in dropping fat & building muscle. It should free up your time and day. People make the mistake of getting too caught up with the little details, like sticking to an eating window. If they happen to go over that window by a few minutes or couldn’t eat at a specified time they freak out and stress over it.  That completely defeats the purpose. You don’t have to be so damn rigid about eating all your food in some arbitrary 8hr window.

These days I don’t cling rigidly to an “eating window.” I just like pushing my first meal further into the day and allowing roughly 3.5 – 4hrs gaps in-between for digestion. The main thing is to eat appropriately for your goals. Always keep your goals in mind.

The info presented here is merely in place to act as an example. It’s my method and it works for me.

I’ve come to realise training and eating are unique processes, and therefore needs be taken on an individual basis. Sure, you can learn the basic principles, but self-experimentation and implementation is what it really boils down to.

EXPERIMENT, IMPLEMENT & ENJOY…FIND WHAT WORKS FOR YOU!!

IMG_1381

CRAFTING THE WARRIOR PHYSIQUE: PART 1

Rain Ninja Assasin

The warrior build is a lean, defined, proportionate look packed with strength and versatility.

Bruce Lee, Rain (ninja assassin) and Brad Pitt’s Tyler Durden character from Fight Club all reflect the warrior build to some degree.

The simplest, most effective means of building this physique is through progressively getting stronger whilst remaining lean and trim.

For many, that means stripping of body fat whilst preserving/building lean muscle tissue, through the combination of diet and heavy, progressive strength training. (It doesn’t get any simpler than that fellas).

Focus on boosting your strength and power to weight ratio. Every single pound on your body should have a reason to be there.

Breaking down the warrior physique

photo-15

The Warrior physique is a lean, dense and proportionate build that prioritises strength and density over “puffy mass.” Every pound on your body has to earn its place, and pay rent in a manner of speaking.

The warrior build prioritises compact, solid, hard muscle, with incredible levels of leanness and definition.

The actual size of the muscles themselves may not be that impressive by bodybuilding standards, but they’ll be hard, cut and dense. The muscles will look like they’re literally carved from marble.

It’s the combination of a very low body fat and heavy strength training that produces this result.

An average amount of muscle mass, with exceptional definition brings about a much more impressive look, than a puffy, swollen, bloated looking physique.

Besides, training for dense muscle will have a lasting effect. Your muscle will look hard virtually all the time. Whereas, simply relying on higher rep, pump and fatigue training will only boost sarcoplasm (fluid) within the muscles, leading to a temporary swelling of the muscles.

This ultimately makes the muscles look bigger, but unfortunately it doesn’t last.

Anyway, moving on. Lets get to the meat and potatoes of this post.

The Essentials: The main movements of the “Warrior Routine”

  • Weighted Chin-ups/pull-ups
  • Weighted Dips
  • Barbell Curls
  • Incline Bench press
  • Overhead Press

These are the exercises that will make up the bread and butter of your routine. Give them your undivided attention.

Pour your sweat and guts into them and you’ll carve out an impressively lean, dense and proportionate physique.

Increasing strength on these exercises alone will carry over and yield incredible results in terms of helping build and maintain an impressive physique.

Note: If you already have reasonably large thighs, you can drop or reduce emphasis on moves like squats and deadlifts.

Additional exercises/ contributing lifts

These are movements that complement the main lifts. They round out the routine and help fully develop the physique.

Chest: Incline Dumbbell Press

Deltoids (Shoulders): Lateral Raises and Face Pulls or Bent Over Flyes.

Back: Bent Over Rows

Legs: Squats, Deadlifts and Standing Calf Raises

Biceps: Seated Incline Hammer curls

Abs: Hanging Leg Raises and Planks.

Workout Overview

The overall volume and frequency is low. You’ll perform three workouts a week, each comprised of no more than 5 exercises per session.

Your primary objective is to improve strength on the on the main movements, which incidentally happen to be the one’s with (RPT) next to them.

Why low volume?

As mentioned earlier, higher volume, pump style training is not conductive to long term strength and dense muscle gains. (It’s worth repeating).

Put it this way, if you perform extensive volume and exercises per workout, you’ll end up stalling your strength gains and even regress.

It’s pretty well established that to make continual progress in the muscle gains department you need to get stronger over time.

Doing too many exercises will sap your strength during training and subsequently you’ll find your energy, focus and ability to lift heavy will waiver with the latter exercises. (Also increasing the likelihood of sustaining an injury as fatigue takes it’s toll).

Well that’s enough chatter. I’ve kept you waiting long enough. So hear it is folks….

The Warrior Routine

Note: Perform 2 warm up sets on first exercise of each muscle group. On RPT sets rest 2-3 minutes between sets to allow for optimal strength gains.

Workout A : Chest / Triceps / Deltoids

 Incline Bench Press 3 x 5,8,10 (RPT)

Incline DB Press 2 x 6-8

Overhead Press 3 x 5,8,10 (RPT)

Lateral Raises 3 x 5-8

Dips 2 x 5-8

Notes on this workout: I like to emphasize heavy lateral raises. Most people perform them in the 8-12 rep range. I find that going slightly lower, working with 5/6 reps helps build density and caps the delts off nicely. Play around with it and see what works for you.

Workout B : Back / Biceps / Rear Deltoids

Weighted Chins/Pull-ups 3 x 5,8,10 (RPT)

Barbell Rows 3 x 5-8

Barbell Curls 3 x 5,8,10 (RPT)

Face Pulls w/rope attachment or Bent Over Flyes 3 x 8-12

Seated Incline Hammer Curls 3 x 8-12

Workout C: Legs / Abs (Optional)

Squats 3 x 5

Sumo Deadlifts 3 x 5

Standing Calf raises 3 x 4,6,12 (RPT)

Hanging leg raises 4 x 8-12

Plank hold 3 x 90 secs

Notes on this workout: You’ll notice I use RPT on calf raises. I’ve found that getting stronger in the 4-6 rep range with calves tends to yield better overall development. Calves are one of those areas that are stubborn as hell when it comes to growing. Be prepared to work them hard.

Means of progression

The aim of the game is to make some form of progress from workout to workout. Each training session you should be lifting heavier weight on the main lifts than your previous session.

 I always aim to add anywhere from 2.5 – 5lbs to the bar each session. Constant progress, no matter how small is still progress and it adds up in the long run.

At the end of a 4-week period you could add 15- 20lbs to your lifts. (Damn fine progress). If you track your poundage, you’ll be able to see the progress you’re making and that’ll only help keep you motivated. (It’s a thing of Beauty).

What and why RPT?

If you’ve been lifting for a while, you probably have already come across RPT. This style of training has been increasing in popularity. Especially in strength circles.

RPT stands for Reverse Pyramid Training. It’s simply a way of training that involves beginning your session with your heaviest set first, while you’re fresh and full of energy.

Regular pyramid training involves building up to and ending with your heaviest set. With RPT you reverse the order.

The biggest benefit of training in this way is, that by starting with your heaviest set first (minus 1-2 warm up sets), you’ll find you’re stronger and lifting heavy won’t be as much of a struggle as it would if you were to lift heavy later on, as you become fatigued.

How long should I stick to this routine?

Thought you’d never ask.

I usually find it best to stick with a program for at least 8-12 weeks. Forget all that “muscle confusion” bullshit. Your body needs a chance to actually get used to the movements and improve at them before you switch up and do something else.

If you constantly program hop in search of “the next best thing”, you’ll never get the full benefits from the routine.

My thinking when it comes to training is to “milk” all the benefits and results that a program has to offer me. When progress comes to a halt, I’ll switch things up.

The problem is people change programs and exercises way too soon.

What about Cardio?

As leanness is a prerequisite for the warrior physique, most people will find they need cardio to help them reach and maintain a low body fat percentage. For cardio I usually go for walks with my dog on a daily basis, which covers low intensity cardio

On rest days or days when I’m not hitting the iron I’ll hit some sprints for a little high intensity cardio and to keep my anaerobic system in good condition. (Never know when you’ll have to out run an army of zombies).

You can play sports, hike, swim etc. Do whatever the hell you like, as long as it’s something you enjoy and doesn’t interfere with your strength training.

You don’t need to go cardio crazy. Just 15-20 mins of high intensity work 1-2 times a week on rest days will suffice. For low intensity cardio 30-45mins is fine.

To sum up:

  • Hit the iron 3 days a week
  • Focus on progressive overload on main moves
  • Do some cardio and abs on rest days
  • Be patient and enjoy the process.

In part two we’ll delve into eating for the warrior physique. Don’t miss out. Subscribe now.

If you liked the article and found it informative and want a fully structured program and nutrition guide that breaks everything down and goes into more detail when it comes to building the warrior physique, head over and grab a copy of WARRIOR 101.

A SIMPLE, EFFICENT WAY TO BUILD MUSCLE- PART 1

Muscle model

There are 4 key components that come into play and will literally make or break your efforts of achieving the physique you want. (I know you’re probably anxious to hear about them so lets get started).

  • Hormones
  • Nutrients (macro/micro)
  • Calories
  • Training

(You were expecting something more. Damn shame. In the simplest terms it really does boil down to this).

Tick of each of these boxes and watch as your body gradually changes. Each of these components works together in conjunction with one another to produce results.

Now maximising each of these areas will result in a “rapid” transformation.

Note: I’m not saying you’ll gain 15 pounds of pure muscle in 6 weeks. You will however, allow your body to function optimally and build up at it’s own pace.

For the sake of simplicity and to keep things short, (relatively speaking) in this first part of the series we’ll cover hormones.

Note: Most people’s efforts to build muscle would go a lot smoother, if they had a relatively low body fat to begin with. (Relax, it’ll all become clear).

Hormones

(Obviously if you’re on chemicals, this isn’t really a concern).

Since we’re addressing the issue of muscle growth, the key hormones we’re concerned about is none other than big daddy testosterone, the most anabolic hormone in the body, insulin and to an extent growth hormone.

All three of these hormones play a major part if you want to grow muscle tissue. Therefore, maximising these becomes priority number one.

The first thing I would do is lean down. Yep, that’s right I would lean down a bit to make improve my body’s level of sensitivity to insulin.

Lower body fat  = better hormonal response, mainly in the form of insulin sensitivity, which results in better overall nutrient partitioning.

Shedding fat also has an effect on testosterone levels, improving them, whereas being a fat ass leads to increased estrogen. (Not good when it comes to being lean and more importantly masculine).

The fatter you are the worse your body is at efficiently utilising nutrients.

So increasing insulin sensitivity and losing body fat is the first piece of the puzzle.

I’ve found the best approach for me personally is to adopt a diet lower in carbs, anywhere from around 50-120 grams a day.

I’d keep protein to about 1-1.5grams and increase the fats to compensate for the drop in carbs.

Depending on current body fat levels I would maintain that for the course of 1-3 weeks.

If you’ve got a lot of lard to lose, I recommend sticking to the above protocol for 3 weeks, before transitioning to a more conventional fat loss approach.

If we’re talking body fat ranges, In approximation, if you’re around 15% body fat with no visible abdominal definition, I would lean down till about 10% then up the calories in order to spur new growth.

If you’re at 10% body fat already and have some semblance of a six pack, I would still lean down a to about 7-8% body fat, before upping the calories and prioritising muscle and size gains.

Note: You don’t need to get super shredded 4-5% body fat.  Going below 7-8% starts to become tedious and demanding on the body.

It seems counter intuitive to go the opposite direction, but in the long run it’s definitely well worth it.

You’ll find you put on less fat during muscle gain phases. (I hate the word bulking and the idea of conventional bulking).  

Your body will also absorb and make use of the nutrients you’re feeding it and will push them towards the muscle cells instead of the fat cells.

In short, you’ll have an easier time building muscle without accumulating heaps of unwanted fat. (You don’t want to turn into a doughnut now, do you?).

Most people want to look good throughout the year, not just for 1-2 weeks out of 52.

Unless you’re a professional, competitive bodybuilder, or borderline anorexic or bulimic, conventional bulking is not the most optimal or conductive way to build muscle and look good naked.

By getting leaner first you’ll promote better insulin sensitivity, which will enable your body to shuttle nutrients to your muscle cells instead of your fat cells. Thus keeping you leaner during periods of higher caloric intake(It’s worth repeating). 

There are various ways to naturally go about raising your testosterone levels. However, they’ll never compare to being chemically enhanced, so get the notion of becoming a super freak out of your head.

Here are some things you can implement, if raising your testosterone, improving muscle mass and body composition is your goal.

  • Lean down – If you have a BMI (Body Mass Index) of 25 and can’t see your toes, you need to lose fat period. Don’t even consider a muscle gain phase until you have some abdominal definition.  If you’re skinny fat, same thing applies. Your first priority should be to balance your out of whack hormones. It makes the muscle building process a lot smoother.
  • Sleep sufficiently– 7-8hrs a night. During sleep cycles the body is repairing and testosterone peaks during the night.
  • Eat some fat– Fats aren’t the enemy, but if you over do them they aren’t going to be your friend. Avoid trans fats as much as possible. They’re the worst kind. I stick to fatty cuts of meat, egg yolks, nuts, avocado’s, butter olive oil and fish oil for my fats.
  • Supplement with zinc and vitamin D3- If you have an issue with low testosterone, supplementing with zinc and vitamin D3 has been shown to improve levels of T.  
  • Get your levels checked– Visit your doc and get your levels checked. If they’re low he/she can give you some pointers.
  • Avoid over consuming caffeine- Caffeine is a stimulant. Yes it can aid fat loss by mobilizing fatty deposits from fat cells, allowing them to be more readily burned during training. However, too much caffeine in the long-term will fry your adrenal glands and cause your body to (unnecessarily) secrete cortisol, resulting in lowered T levels

What about Growth Hormone?

 Growth hormone is important. Most people understand the importance of it when fat loss is a concern.

It has an important role in the body’s ability to utilise fat from fat stores, as well as allow the body to recover optimally.

Thus, proper sleep is important as gh is secreted by the pituitary gland during nightfall.

So partying, getting stoned and staying up late to watch bad(cheesy) horror movies are not going to help you. Not to mention when your sleep cycle is out of whack your body’s cortisol levels go up.

I’m not going to get to in depth with cortisol, other than to say you want to keep it low the majority of the time.

It’s a stress hormone that’s released when your body is over stressed.

When cortisol levels are up gh and testosterone go down. Similar to a seesaw, when one goes up the other comes down.

So not sleeping enough, being overly stressed out taking in too much caffeine (all you coffee drinkers out there) and training too damn long, will raise cortisol levels.

Back to Growth hormone then.

While it doesn’t necessarily promote muscle growth it does play a key role in the preservation of muscle tissue.

So how do you go about naturally increasing it?

Other than ensuring sufficient sleep at night, I would throw in a bit of interval training. I like to run sprints 1-2 times a week, either on foot or on the bike.

Generally speaking, after intense training your body’s level of gh will be up.

The only real way to boost gh considerably is to inject synthetic growth hormone out of a vial. It’s true. Nothing you can do naturally will compare to what you can do when enhanced.

That’s just the nature of the beast.

Cheer up, there’s still plenty you can do on your own. It’s still possible to look good without chemical assistance.

If you found this article helpful don’t forget to like, share and subscribe. Don’t miss the next article, Part 2 Nutrients and calories. 

 

BURST THE LIMIT- TRAIN LIKE AN ELITE

Bring the fire and intensity to your training.

Bring the fire. Add intensity to your training.

What separates the winners from the losers?

The champions from the average.

One word.

Intensity!!!

People like to complain.

“This dude is stronger than me. They’re faster and bigger.”

“That guys on drugs.”

“That guy has great genetics.”

Rather than fuss about something that is out of your hands, focus on yourself and what you can do to improve.

How far can I push?

How far can I go?

What can I do to improve myself?

 What can I do to reach my absolute limit? 

These are the real questions you should concern yourself with.

If you want to take your training to the next level you’ve got to train with intensity. There’s no denying it or hiding from that fact.

How do you train with intensity and reach a level many dream of and even fewer achieve?

Understand the principle of training to the limit.

You’ve got to get out of your comfort zone and find comfort in the uncomfortable. When you’re at the point where you muscles are on fire, you feel like you could give out and any second, that’s intensity.

Put it this way, if you’re not in any discomfort then you aren’t working hard enough.

If you leave the gym or wherever you happen to train feeling like you could train some more, you haven’t been working maximally.

Intensity is not something that can be bought and can’t be taught. It has to be acquired through experience.

I train way harder and intense now than I’ve ever done before and every training session whoops my butt.

When I first started training I didn’t understand intensity or know what it felt like to really tax your body and taking your muscles to real “failure.” (I don’t like the word failure because of the negative stigma and connotation associated).

Let me give you a scenario:

My last chest and arms session

I did 6 total sets for chest and 3 for bi’s and tri’s. (Not including 1-2 warm up sets). The session was short and sweet and looks simple on paper, but man was it another thing in practice. The whole ordeal was over in about 40mins.

The way I executed those exercises was intense enough that I felt a little sick, shaking and had to sit down for 10 minutes after training.

Here’s the full break down

(Rest periods between sets were no longer than 30 secs or about 10 deep breathes). As soon as I was done with an exercise, I moved straight to the next one with no rest.

Chest

Bench press- 3 sets starting with 5, 8 and on the last set complete failure. Grinding out reps until I could not lift the weight and the muscles would not contract anymore.

Note: I used a leverage machine so there was no danger of a loaded bar falling on my chest when taking the set to failure.

If you’re thinking of attempting this on a regular bench, be smart and have someone there to spot you incase the bar comes down and you’re not able to lift it back up.

Weighted Dips- 3 sets of 5,8, then complete failure. (I removed the weight and did bodyweight dips to failure).

Moving onto arms I did a superset of barbell curls and rope pushdowns 3 sets for each. Keeping the reps at 8 on the first two sets and to failure on the last sets.

Note: I didn’t fixate on reps when taking the final set to complete positive failure. My only concern was taking the muscles to their absolute limit and exhausting them.

I started out with my heaviest sets first using RPT (reverse pyramid) fashion. The heavy sets get the central nervous system fired up and primed.

That session was 12 sets total and at the end of it I was fried.

My definition of intensity is: The greatest amount of effort/force an individual is able to generate toward a targeted goal or objective.

To train to your limit and experience results unlike any other you must:

Work through pain – There’s a pain threshold that people often confuse with muscle failure. A lot of people train up to the point at which they feel pain, aching and lactic acid build up and then stop.

Training to failure is going beyond that, it’s pushing to the point where the muscles are no longer or barely moving.

This is the fundamental principle. Everything else is useless unless you understand and apply this concept to your training.

Limit your rest periods – If you’re doing heavy sets you’ll need longer rest periods to recover your central nervous system enough to be able to complete the next set. (3-5 mins is average).

That’s great for powerlifting and building strength and that’s the way I train when training solely to improve strength. However, you don’t need to be doing that with every damn exercise in your routine unless you are a power lifter or just trying to improve strength.

If you want to tax your muscles and give them a reason to grow you have to overload them, not just with weight but tension as well.

Muscles grow and adapt to the stresses placed on them. Therefore you have to stimulate them with new stresses. By limiting the rest periods and getting back to work faster, you’re challenging your body to work harder under less than ideal circumstances (for the body).

This’ll encourage new growth and development while also having the side benefit of toughening your will and resolve.

Remember, Intensity is subjective. It’s relative. Your level of intensity will not be the same as mine. We’re individuals and are at different stages.

I don’t expect a beginner to be able to train like this and understand intensity. It is only learned and acquired through experience.

When I started training I couldn’t train like this. I had no concept of intensity and this level of training and the amount of effort it required.

This is something that you learn as you go.

Another thing I need to stress about intensity, which I think is often mistaken, is this:

A lot of intensity wannabes will make statements like, “You have to be prepared to train to the point of passing out or losing your lunch.”

That’s absurd.

How on earth is that going to be beneficial?

It’s not.

If you’re passed out on that bench or hurling your lunch all over the floor how is that helping your training?

I never train with that intention. In my opinion it’s stupid. If I’m losing my lunch, I’m losing nutrients that could be used for repairing the body.

If I’m constantly passing out during training I won’t be able to finish training.

It’s not practical, nor is it a consideration or focus for me when training.

Just because you’re not passing out or hurling food doesn’t mean you can’t train intensely.

Now, when some people do train intensely that is a response they get. It can and does happen. I’m not denying that. But trying to chase that feeling and illicit that response in my opinion defies logic.

When you break it down, to train intensely you need to fatigue your muscles, make them burn, pump, ache and ultimately reach the point where they are no longer able to fully contract. (Believe me it’s definitely becomes more of a mental than physical game).

I don’t always train with this level of intensity and this is another point I want to bring up.

If you train like this, you have to be aware of the potential and likelihood of you getting injured is definitely very high. More so than if you train like the average gym rat does.

You need to give yourself breaks to allow your body to repair and heal adequately.

This type of training is hard and causes a great deal of pain. HELL IT’S DARN TORTUROUS.

YOU WILL BE UNCOMFORTABLE.  

That’s why most people don’t do it. You will however, see more results than all the others at your gym that don’t train with intensity.

However, just like you can have too much of a good thing, if you train like this constantly you will probably get hurt at some point.

Therefore, it’s important if not vital that you take periodic breaks and lower the intensity.

Instead of constantly blasting your body, add some light training days in and increase the rest periods.

Play around with your training. Be smart and listen to your body. If you don’t feel like going heavy on a certain day don’t go heavy. ALWAYS LISTEN TO YOUR BODY. That’s the key.

In the end it all comes down to this.

Crank up the heat, bring the drive, dedication and conviction and you’ll get your worth!!

INTENSITY AND IMPROVEMENT

WHEN SQUATTING ISN’T AN OPTION

To squat or not….

To squat or not….

Ah, good old squats. You’ve just got to love them. Nothing like sucking wind after a set of heavy ass to the ground squats. But I’m going to come straight out with it and I’m probably not the first one to say it.

SQUATTING ISN’T FOR EVERYONE!!! (Especially back squats).

Gasp!!! He didn’t just say that. Heaven forbid, that’s blasphemy, he’s committed the greatest sin known to man and must be punished……

Hold your horses. Before you go jumping the gun, read the rest of this post to get the full low down.

Rather than this simply being a “why you shouldn’t vs why you should post.” As we are all well aware, life seldom ever works like that.

Everybody has an opinion when it come’s to squatting. It’s a highly debated, highly controversial subject in the fitness community. Just visit any bodybuilding forum or fitness site and you’ll no doubt find statements such as.

“Shut up and squat”

“If you don’t squat, you’re a pussy.”

“Squats are one the greatest exercises in existence.”

Now my personal take on squats is this. In all honesty, I do squat because I have no issues, injuries or impairments that prevent me from performing a full squat.

Plus, I’m still working on bringing up the size and strength of my legs and squatting does help accomplish that, when done properly.

What’s not to love about them, done correctly they are a great overall mass leg builder and strengthener. (They also help develop your lung capacity).

Note: I’m not going to get into the proper technique of a squat here, because that’s not the focus of this article. You can just run a Google search if you’re curious.

However, some people just aren’t designed for heavy, ass to the ground squatting. Now I’ll say this, the parallel squat is not an effective replacement for the full back or front squat.

If you can’t do a proper butt to the floor back or front squat and you must do the parallel or half squat, try to limit it. Most of the common squatting injuries come from the parallel squat than any other variation.  (Always attempt a full squat, only do I ever recommend half or partial rep squats for those occasions when using really heavy weight).

Some people have knee (patella joint issues) and lower back injuries that just make squatting downright painful. Screw what others think, if you’re joints feel like hell when you perform squats, avoid them.

Bear in mind, there’s a clear distinction between a little soreness and crushing pain. (You don’t have to justify anything to anyone else, you train for yourself).

If you’re in this category, pick another exercise to work your legs that doesn’t bother your knees. (It doesn’t matter if it makes you look like a wimp. You’re training for yourself remember. Sacrificing your knees for validation from someone else is moronic).

If squatting is completely out of the equation, you can still get in some decent leg training with moves like the leg press and single leg RDL’s. If you can perform front squats and/or hack squats do them. Usually it’s the back squat that tends to give people problems.

There are also those individuals who have poor hip flexibility and until you open your hips up, you won’t get the full benefits of the squat and will probably do more harm than good, trying to squat with a loaded bar across your back.

If you’re in this bracket, I would focus on the bodyweight squat variation, trying to get my butt to touch the ground, to help learn the movement pattern and get the hips used to the full range of motion.

You’d also benefit greatly from stretching exercises designed to improve hip flexibility such as butterflies or hip flutters and side-to-side stretches, some of which are covered in WARRIOR 101.

If you still want to work your legs with weight I’d stick with a few sets of the leg press if I were you, until my hip flexibility had improved enough so that I could squat deeply and properly.

Avoid doing the half squat if you can, especially if you want to improve your hip flexibility to point of being able to do the full variation. It’ll only limit your range of motion and help stiffen your hips further. (Not what you had in mind, right?)

Don’t just take my word for it. I asked Chad Howse for his opinion on where he thought most people went wrong with squatting:

“Where most people find difficulty with squatting is the depth, they find it hard to go ass to grass and most don’t understand the cause – tight hips. Using weight lifting shoes with a heel or putting a two and a half pound plate under the heel can make a wonder of difference for depth in your squat, just make sure you continue working on hip flexibility in the meantime.”  CHAD HOWSE 

If you’ve built up your legs to a size and strength level you’re content with and only seek to maintain said level, you really don’t have to squat that often. I know a guy who has some pretty decent sized legs. Nowadays, he only squats 1-2 times a month, just to maintain strength and size.

He built them up over the years while progressing his squat up to 330lbs for about 10 reps. Not bad, considering the fact that he wasn’t really focused on getting incredibly strong in the squat. He also used to sprint up hills a lot.

If you’re in that category, I’d even go as far as saying that if you were never to attempt a squat again, you could still maintain that size to some degree. Stick with some walking and sprinting and you’d do fine.

Here’s what Greg O’Gallagher of Kinobody.com had to say about squats.

A strong focus on squats inevitably leads to over bulked thighs and glutes. This leads to chaffing thighs and a limited wardrobe. As well, the sweep associated with big legs is a feminine looking trait. Men should desire the legs of a gymnast or martial artist who needs to be fast and powerful but still light and nimble. 

When you keep your legs balanced and athletic, your upperbody will not only look more impressive, but you will experience better strength gains on your upperbody lifts. This is because intense, high volume leg training is very neurally demanding and will interfere with maximum performance for upperbody sessions.” Greg O’Gallagher 

That’s my two cents on squats. The debate rests with you. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic.

What’s your stance on squatting?

Agree or disagree?

In any case leave your comments bellow and add to the discussion.

By the way: If you’re looking for a full program to develop strength, and get lean, mean physique like a warrior pick up a copy of Warrior 101. It’s a fully detailed mapped out 3 phase program that also covers everything from exercises to nutrition, supplements, recovery and much more.

Also I’d like to announce the “WARRIOR 6 MONTH CHALLENGE”

Take the challenge and see if you can’t improve your physique, health and well being within 6 short months when you follow everything laid out in WARRIOR 101. Your health and vibrancy is worth it. Any further questions, contact me here.

GRIT AND TENACITY 

THE TRAINING TIMEFRAME: HOW OFTEN SHOULD YOU TRAIN?

To train or not to train?

How often should you train? That’s the question

It’s a question raised often. How often should you train in a given week? The honest truth is that there is no solid, definitive be all and end all answer that will satisfy all tastes. We’re all individuals at the end of the day, each with different requirements and goals.

Simply put, there’s too many damn variables/options available to group everybody together under one category. Some train 3 days, 4 days, 6 days, hence the large number of different programs that cater to that.

It all comes down to the individual. It really depends on how your body feels and responds your training frequency. By no means am I saying that an individual that trains 3 times a week trains less intensely and effectively than someone training 6 times a week. (And vice versa).

I personally prefer training with weights 3-4 times in a given week. However, I also engage in other physical activities outside of those “training days.” including sprinting, practicing martial arts, heavy bag work, stretching, yoga and calisthenics. (A rest day to me is simply a day where I don’t meditate with iron).

I view these activities as more of an outlet. Leisurely activities that I like to participate in and find joy doing. In fact I’m pretty much involved in some form of physical activity/training every day of the week.

Call them “rest days” or “active recovery days.” Whatever you like, it really doesn’t matter.

I’ve gotten to the point where I don’t seek to train merely for aesthetics. I train to be more athletic and to prevent injuries. Above all I train to make myself a better, more resilient and disciplined individual.

THE POINT IS I LIKE BEING ACTIVE!!

Don’t get me wrong!! If I feel I need additional “rest days” with little to no activity I take them. Only when the need arises. I always listen to my body.

Truthfully, it doesn’t really matter how many days you train, as long as you’re enjoying it, you feel great, it doesn’t eat into your recovery and recuperation capabilities, but most of all, you’re getting the desired results. 

Overtraining is not something I’m overly concerned with, because I’ve never really felt or been over trained. (At least in my mind).

I don’t rely on anybody to tell me how my body feels and responds to the loads I place on it. I know my own body and that’s the key thing.

You’ve got to consciously, understand your body and the signals it sends you. Get in tune with yourself.

In this day and age we rely too much on others to tell us what’s good for our bodies. There’s so much conflicting information out there that people are bombarded with.

Nobody can tell you how your body will respond to a particular frequency of training. You alone have to judge that for yourself.

Remember, no one on the face of this planet knows your body better than you.

People may look at what I do and say, yep definitely overtraining. I don’t give a damn though. I train according to how I feel and that’s good enough for me.

Train insane and enjoy the ride.

IRON AND SUBSTANCE

THE BODYWEIGHT DEBATE

Pull-up or shut up.

Pull-up or shut up.

Bodyweight training has become increasingly popular nowadays and with good reason. While weight/resistance training is fantastic, there’s a certain bodily strength and development that you can only get from bodyweight or calisthenics training.

Take a look at gymnasts, some of the strongest athletes the world has to offer, and virtually all that strength has in some way been developed through bodyweight training. (Of course in its very advanced stages).

Don’t get me wrong. I love weight training as much as any one else, but recently I’ve been incorporating more bodyweight exercises into my training and I love the freedom and feeling.

In fact, before I actually got into weight training I used to do numerous bodyweight/free hand exercises. Pretty much the first six months of training that’s all I did. It was a precursor to the iron that was to follow.

If you actually break it down, bodyweight is a form of weight training. The ‘weight’ part of the word is the giveaway.

As of recently I’ve added various forms of pushups, pull-ups/chins and dips, both weighted and regular to my routine. Not forgetting pistol squats, L-sits, inverted rows and handstand pushups etc.

I’m slowly working up to higher progressions and it’s a real pain. (Figuratively and literally speaking).

Truth is, bodyweight training requires, more focus, intensity, discipline and patience than pumping iron. (Yep, you read that correctly).  You see it isn’t easy trying to progress to a higher, more advanced variation of an exercise. It’s easier to do with weights than with your own body.

Want to get progress on a bench press, just add on another plate each side and get to it. (Not to downplay how hard you still have to train). With bodyweight it’s not that simple.

To get to the next progression, you’ve got to physically train your body to prepare it for the next level. It takes time. In many cases you have to practice the move over and over to finally be able to do it. It requires a lot of patience, something many people just don’t have.

If you can endure it though, it’s worth it. You’ll develop body strength, coordination and balance that you won’t otherwise get from lifting. Not to mention you’ll get some attention. (Always a nice side benefit).To top it of it’s also a great way to give your joints a break from heavy lifting.

Now, you’ll find certain individuals that think you can’t build muscle with bodyweight training. To all those people, I say, think again!!!

Of course doing endless basic pushups, pull-ups and dips will only get you so far, so they are partly correct. Sticking to the same basic bodyweight exercises constantly will eventually lead to result stagnation. That’s where advanced bodyweight training and progressions come into play.

Instead of doing a regular pushup, move your hands further away from your body and see how damn hard the exercise gets. If you find regular pull-ups a breeze, slap some weight plates around your waist, do some plyometric variations or work your way to a perfect form muscle up.

With bodyweight training you’ve got to continue to push the boundaries. Never get stuck in a rut. You have to get a little creative.

Just as there are those who knock bodyweight training, there are those who exclusively train with their bodyweight and knock all forms of extra resistance. (Weight training/bodybuilding etc).

Human beings are quite funny that way. They seem to feel that they have to choose one form of training over another. If you can get benefits from both and have access to both, why not do both? (Injuries/time commitment issues aside).

Ultimately it all comes down to preferences and personal choice. But never knock something till you’ve tried it.

Here’s a quick circuit I like to do from time to time.

Chest/Triceps/abs (perform 2-3 circuits)

10 regular pushups/ 10 sec V sit

10 wide pushups/10 sec V sit

10 diamond pushups/ 10 sec V sit

(Perform each round of the circuit in nonstop fashion. Rest about 60-90secs after each round).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ete9gaFvmHs

Hannibal. The man is a master of bodyweight. A one of a kind type of guy.

PAIN AND GAIN

Image credit: Marines