Wednesday, 01 October 2014 00:00

"Gawd", I can barely lift my arms up!

Well, it's been a long time since my last update - - and for that I apologize (yeah, I know, again!) - - this last month has been a virtual whirlwind of activity. Running hither, traveling thither, apparently a thousand things to get done and only 24 (sometimes less) hours to get it done - - you know how it goes at times!

Anyway, I was puffing my way my favorite hill yesterday on a HOT and BALMY (and I mean it - - it's so humid and muggy out here these days that you literally start to "drip" sweat as soon as you step outside) Tuesday morning. Step by step (or double step, for those of you that know me!) and finally I was up at the top - whew!

Now, for those that have been following my newsletters/site, you know that the climb is only part one (albeit the most important) part of my daily workout, and bodyweight exercises follow shortly thereafter. I generally do a combination of stretches and pushups at the top of the hill and then some intense grip work/pulling exercises at the bottom - - but today was to be different, as a long forgotten (for whatever odd reason) exercise suddenly slipped into mind.

And before I knew it, the hands made their way down to the cemented section at the top of the hill, and I found a wall to "lean" against - - and I turned myself upside down - - and yes, you guessed RIGHT - - for some reason, I haven't been doing handstands or handstand pushups for a couple of months now - - but jumped straight back into them yesterday morning.

Now, handstands and handstand pushups are a fantastic, fantastic exercise to build the upper body, and I've written many times about this in all my manuals, so you might ask why I stopped doing this exercise for a while.

Fair enough question...And one that I don't really have a ready made answer to, as it was one of those things that just "happened". You know how it goes, you try a new exercise, or focus on another one, and one of the old ones suddenly slips into the background - - until you remember it - - and then you're back at it with a vengeance.

In my case, "new" would certainly be true, now that I think about it. I've been focusing on many new stretches that I've experimented with - - as well as "extra wide grip" pushups (don't ask, hehe) - - as well as building my grip - - and this last one (grip) takes up a lot of my time and energy (though the results have been WELL worth it).

And I've also been focusing on my pull-ups, perfecting my form, no swinging, kipping, etc (not that I did that to start with, but one can always improve regardless).

Anyway, the first handstand left me teetering unsteadily on  my hands, and I felt a "new" (yet familiar) feeling through my entire core as I turned myself upside down.

Oh yeah. THAT feeling ... THAT feeling of your insides literally being "tightened" as you struggle to mantain focus and balance.

The second one was easier, but not by a  lot.

And the third was a bit easier, but again, not by a lot.

But the important thing is I was able to DO the actual handstand - - call it muscle memory, or call it what you will, but my shoulders didn't pop out of my body the moment I balanced my bodyweight on them, and this despite me not having done a single handstand, or handstand pushup for ages now.

And as I struggled my way through sets of 2, then 3, then 2 handstand pushups (will take me a few days to work back up to 5-7), I knew I was going to be sore tomorrow in my chest and tricep area - - not to mention my forearms, which I thought were getting a good ole "beating".

Anyway, I completed the rest of my workout as usual, and then had a good lunch, a nap, and then was off to get some work done in the evening. Decent enough dinner, a little sore around the lats, and then off to bed...

Did I say a "little sore"?

Well, I did - - but that's nothing compared to what I felt like THIS morning. I woke up, and tried stretching my arms over my head as I normally do upon waking up - - and - - OH BOY.

My upper back, but especially my lats (the muscle group around the armpits) seemed to be literally "pulsating" with a life of their own every time I raised my arms above shoulder level. Sort of as if I'd hammered them with endless sets of pull-ups, but in reality, the handstand pushups were what caused the soreness - - and funnily enough, my forearms feel absolutely normal (probably due to all the grip work I do).

OUCH! As I flexed and stretched, trying to get the blood flowing, I also noticed a new soreness around the shoulder area - - sort of the "front" part of the shoulder - - a "deep" sort of soreness, sort of like someone had beaten that part of the shoulder muscle to pulp - - but without the associated "bad pain", if you get my drift.

My own fault for neglecting my "upside down" exercises for days on end, hehe.

Anyway, the reason I'm telling you this is because all of us (myself included) tend to "forget the basics" every once in a while (or if not forget, not focus upon) and we all need that good old fashioned "kick up the backside" in order to get back to them.

That kick can come in various forms - - sore lats - - a bulging stomach (for those of you that haven't exercised in a while) - - admonitions - - or just about anyway, really - - but the fact of the matter is simple - - don't forget the basics, or they'll come back to hit ya - - HARD!

And I'm also telling you this so you know that one of the BEST, bar none, workouts for your upper body can be centered around two main exercises.

That's right - - just two - - those being handstand pushups and pull-ups (and it doens't matter which level you're at  - - even TRYING these exercises will cause some serious strength to develop!).

I've mentioned this combo repeatedly in my courses, but for some reason it gets ignored a lot of times - - and so I'm putting it out there again - - this time with a personal experience to share as well, hehe.

Anyway, that's it for now. Gotta grab some lunch, and recuperate a bit more before the evening session. Be back soon with more - - if you work out today -- make it a great one - - and remember to focus on the BASICS!

Best Regards,
Rahul Mookerjee

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