Today I'm going to talk about a time tested exercise combination for the upper body that works wonders if you know how to combine it into your routine effectively.
The routine I'm going to talk about is extremely simple, but amazingly enough ignored by many people. It consists of only TWO exercises. That's right - just TWO. You could work more in if you think you need to, but you likely won't find it necessary to do so.
It requires no other equipment other than a chinning bar - and even that isn't required if you have some other place to hang from (eg. a ledge, a tree branch, monkey bars, and so forth). It makes for a real tough workout to be honest - but it does so without eating up your entire day. And you could do this combination, and do no other exercise for the upper body - and you'd still make good gains as far as the upper body is concerned.
Now, at this point you've probably figured out what one of the exercises is - and you are right, my friend - it's the good old PULL-UP. But it's a pull-up done in proper form until your chin crosses the bar, done slowly, and for repetitions (and done WITHOUT "kipping").
The other exercise is another toughie - and one which is even more ignored than the pull-up - and that is the handstand pushup. Do these two exercises in sync for a while, my friend, and you'll soon be buying new shirts for yourself.
I did 40 pull-ups and 40 handstand pushups as part of my routine today - and believe me, there wasn't much else I could fit in except for some lower body movements, and core work. These two movements work the entire upper body into the ground - if you know how to do them correctly. See Fast and Furious Fitness for detailed instructions on how to get going with these two exercises.
Why do these two exercises work so well?
Well, first because they are compound exercises that work the entire upper body - as opposed to exercises which claim to isolate a certain muscle. I'm not EVEN going to get started on that one here. . .but rest assured that both exercises work the entire upper body as an unit. Yes, we've all heard that pull-ups work the back, and pushups the chest, but what is not often mentioned is how pull-ups use the chest muscles as well and pushups work the back. For more on this, see Fast and Furious Fitness.
Second, and more importantly because they train the same muscles HARD in OPPOSITE directions - and this last bit is important - they train the same muscle, in opposite directions, giving you muscles and tendons that are flexible and strong in ALL directions as opposed to one.
Think of it this way - what use would a rubber band be if you could just pull one end of it out? The same thing applies to your body. The pull-up motion requires ALL your upper body muscles to pull your upper body weight and the handstand pushup requires them to push the same weight. When you pull, you arch your back and draw your shoulder blades "back", and you do exactly the opposite when you do handstand pushups - and THIS is what leads to balanced muscular development, as opposed to, say, a "gorilla like" look where you work the chest muscles to the point that you stay hunched over, but neglect to do any back work (and this is more common than you'd think).
There are other reasons, and I could spend all day discussing this, but those two should be more than plenty for you to get started and find out the amazing benefits of this combination for yourself. Get started, do what you can, and you'll soon be the one telling me about how YOU'VE benefited from this combo!
Now, one last thing - remember that this sort of routine is NOT for the uninitiated. If your just starting out, this is not for you. If you haven't done pushups and pullups for a while, start off with regular pushups, and get good at them before working up to the other two. That is crucial - don't bite off more than you can chew - or you'll end up going backwards, not forwards. And of course, as always, remember to ALWAYS maintain good form.
Follow this sort of a routine religiously, and you'll soon have upper body development to rival the local "gorillas" at the park (or gym, hehe) - and what's more - you'll have solid, FUNCTIONAL strength to go with it as well!
PS: To learn more such amazingly simple, yet brutally effective exercise combinations, grab your copy of Fast and Furious Fitness NOW.