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!
We've all heard it - - the magic number, that is. 500.
500 pushups. 500 reps. 500 squats. The number 500 has somehow assumed "mythical" (if I might use the term) proportions in training "lore" - - and with good reason - - doing 500 reps of a certain exercise is anything BUT easy. And if we're talking pushups, 500 pushups WILL give you a HECK of a workout - - see http://rahulmookerjee.com/index.php/blog/item/47-500-pushups-a-day and http://rahulmookerjee.com/index.php/component/k2/item/87-more-on-doing-500-pushups-a-day for more on this!
Anyway, today's (second) note is not about pushups - - it's about WALKING.
Yes, that's right - - walking - - that oft ignored, simple, yet amazingly effective exercise that we can ALL (provided we have a pair of intact legs!) do on a regular basis.
And though walking might seem like no big deal to some, have you ever stopped to wonder about how many steps you can walk without stopping?
That's right - - not "reps" - - steps - - or "paces" for our friends from the U.K. - - can you walk 300 paces without halting? Or 400? Or 500 - - or more?
Well, I don't know about you, but I counted my steps today as I moseyed up the hill - - I was going up one of the paths without stairs - - a path I use on the days I don't go up the route with stairs (though the lack of stairs certainly does NOT make it any easier to puff up the slope).
I thought I'd do 300 at a time for fun.
100...200...300... - - the magic number (for me) just came and went before I knew it.
And soon enough, I was at THE magic number - - 500. But I didn't stop there.
I managed a total of NINE HUNDRED steps - - UPHILL, at a steady pace before I finally stopped to catch my breath - -and give my aching calves and legs a much needed break.
From that point on, the route joined the "regular" route with stairs until the top - - probably another 400 or so. I didn't count, but that's a rough estimate.
And at the top of my hill I checked my watch, slick with sweat - - and - - YES! I had done it - - I had surpassed my previous best of 13 minutes - - ended up with a 12 minute climb today.
Now that's something to feel good about - - or at least, I feel good about it. And those of you that exercise on a regular basis will know the feeling of exhilaration that accompanies a PR - - be that any form of PR (weight lifted, or seconds shaved off your run/climb, et al).
And why do I mention this along with the "500 steps at a time" topic?
Well, simply because walking can sometimes get to be so "easy" for some that you actually end up slacking - - and missing out on some of the benefits this exercise has to offer (multiplied manifold, of course, if you're walking up hill).
Oh, thats just a simple walk. Pff!
Oh, walking! Hmph! How can that possibly help me!
On the other hand, TIME your walks - - and COUNT your steps - - and you might just find you get a way better workout than you do if you're "just walking".
And that, my friend, is a tip I thought I'd share with you (and one I've used myself many a times as well).
All for now!
P.S.: - I speak about the many benefits of walking in Fast and Furious Fitness - - walk on over HERE to reserve your copy: - http://rahulmookerjee.com/index.php/articles/4-fast-and-furious-fitness-the-book
Well, we're finally back online, and with a new look at that - - a look that (judging by the emails I've got so far) some of you seem to be enjoying more than the previous version of the site.
Whew - - what a battle it was to finally get online again, but it's DONE for now, and I hope Fast and Furious Fitness doesn't have to "move" again anytime in the near future!
Anyway, let's start things off with some reader feedback - - specifically, a great question from Tom in Newark. He wrote in saying that he loves pull-ups - - and that they are his favorite exercise, but he had a question. Are pull-ups better when done with a "hammer grip" (parallel, with the fingers of both hands facing each other), or is it better to do them with a regular grip (palms facing away)?
He also goes on to state that doing the hammer grip pull-ups seems to hit different parts of his back than the regular pull-ups do, and that both complement each other.
And he finished off by saying he's building some super gripping power with a combo of these two exercises (and a few others thrown in, these being the main ones though) alone.
Great question, and one I've often pondered myself, and my answer is - - Tom, they're BOTH good - - and they're BOTH variants you should practice on a regular basis.
You've also let one of my "secrets" to improving at pull-ups here out of the bag - - that being to work the hammer grip pull-ups to improve the regular pull-ups, and vice versa.
And yes, the hammer grip pull-ups DO hit your back differently than the regular pull-ups. The regular version seems to "spread" your lats out more, while the hammer grip pull-ups seems to "lengthen, stretch and strengthen" (no other way to put it on this one!) your lats a lot more. And they BOTH hit your lower back pretty well.
The parallel grips also seem to lend themselves to higher reps than the regular grip pull-ups, though interestingly enough, that doesn't happen ALL the time for me - - only on occasion. I'll elaborate more on that later though.
The only real area of difference is the abdominal region. I've found that the regular grip pull-ups tend to hit the "front" of the stomach as a whole a lot more, as opposed to parallel grip which seems to tax the "obliques" a lot more - - a good thing, by the way, since THOSE are the muscles (along with the transverse abdominal muscle resting deep under the superficial "six pack" muscles) that really pull your waist in - - as well as add REAL POWER and STRENGTH to your entire core.
And contrary to what most people think, BOTH are great ways to develop crushing grip power - - of course, if you do things the right way. There is a secret that one needs to know - - and MASTER - - while doing pulling exercise - - something so simple you'd think it was obvious, but something that (amazingly enough) I see ignored on a regular basis.
I detail that secret in Gorilla Grip - - a must have if you're (like Tom is) interested in developing crushing gripping power - - you can grab your copy right HERE: - http://rahulmookerjee.com/index.php/products/8-gorilla-grip/
But otherwise, both are great versions of the same exercise, and I recommend practicing both versions if you can on a regular basis. Just make sure you do the exercise in PROPER FORM - - no "kipping", no "swinging up with the legs" or the other foolishness I notice and write about on a daily basis.
Kudos on the gripping strength you've developed - - add some monkey bar work in there, and you'll soon be on your way to tearing wrists off in no time, hehe.
And that, dear reader, is that for now. Back again with more!
P.S: - Our Facebook page is a great way to stay informed on what is going on at Fast and Furious Fitness HQ's - - stop by and check it out - - https://www.facebook.com/fastandfuriousfitness
This is something I've been meaning to write about a LONG, LONG time now, but haven't had the time to do so.
The park that I partake of my daily walk in has plenty of folks of all age groups exercising on a regular basis (which is a great thing). You'll find folks out for their walks (and/or Tai Chi, bodyweight stuff, et al) even on days so hot that you literally feel like a sponge that is slowly, but surely being SQUEEZED, dripping sweat with every movement.
And that is one area where the Chinese score over a lot of other countries - despite the recent surge in couch potatoes (young 'uns at that) and folks getting lazy, by and large, the Chinese still believe in daily exercise as "part of their lives" as opposed to a lot of developed countries where exercise is treated as something you have to "fit into your schedule" (and consequently becomes a chore).
But that isn't the topic of today's post.
A few weeks ago, I puffed up the hill, and almost collapsed once I was at the summit. It was an especially cloudy and muggy day, extremely overcast, and one could barely even BREATHE (you know, the sort of humidity that "clings" to your lungs) and that doesn't make climbing a steep hill any easier.
There weren't that many people that day, except for a few young men "lounging" about, if I may term it as that.
And as I completed 25 strict, letter perfect pushups, something I tend to do after a hill climb (and before my pulling movements), they looked on in amazement as if to say "in THIS heat? No way!?"
But one of them soon got down from his "perch" on a nearby railing and started to follow suit - and pounded out what seemed like 70 or so "rapidfire" pushups.
Or so he claimed.
His compatriots cheered him on, but to me it felt like watching a circus show - rather like watching a human machine gun hurriedly rep out half baked pushups, the arms barely bending, the chest so far from the floor that you could stick a barrel in the space - - and most of all, the horrible, jerky, up and down motion where the person exercising uses momentum rather than strength to complete whatever "movement" it is he is doing.
Uggggh, I thought.
But I'm used to this sort of foolishness, and I just sort of shook my head ruefully and didn't say much.
Fast forward a couple of days, and I see a wiry guy on the pull-up bar, a slim fella with very little fat on him, someone you'd think should be great at pull-ups done in proper form.
But as he "jumped" on to the pull-up bar, I watched from a distance, warming my grip up for a few tough sets of the monkey bars, and I soon found out that his fitness levels were nowhere near what I thought they should - or would, for that matter - be at.
Our friend completes the first rep by literally "jumping" half the way, and then goes half way back down, and then kicks both legs furiously, sort of like the "dolphin kick" when performing the butterfly in swimming, and that kick gets him to rep #2.
He gets to rep #4 or so like that, and then furiously contorts his face, scowling, and letting out "oohs and ahs" for the benefit of a few girls who had stopped to watch "the monster crank out the reps".
He finishes 20 or so reps like that, and then jumps down from the bar (the last 5 reps being half-half reps, in that neither did his chin get over the bar, and neither did he go even halfway down), grinning at the simpering women, and at that point I couldn't help but laugh, though I turned around quickly, not wanting him to notice.
But notice it he did, and he came on over to the monkey bars, which are three times as thick as the regular pull-up bars most folks prefer.
He jumped up, but fell off the bar quickly, much like a limpet detached from a tree trunk.
"That's not easy", he grimaced, staring at his hands (baby soft from what I could tell). "That's too hard on the palms!"
And as he said this I repped out a few "back and forth" reps across the monkey bars, swinging my way across, and the guy kept staring.
Then, he jumps on to the bars again, and starts to rep out pull-ups in the same shoddy manner, and at that point I stopped him.
"Not that way", I said, somewhat irritably. "All the way up, and THEN (this is the part he most hated), go ALL the way DOWN!"
He gaped at me as if I had asked him to dive to the bottom of the Pacific.
"Down", I repeated.
And after about 5 rounds of this conversation, he finally did lower down to a "flexed hang" letting out a genuine gasp this time.
He then flailed around with his legs for a while, but not even the most desperate of kicks could get him past half way point on this particular rep.
And he soon dropped from the bar like a dead weight and glared at me, as if I was responsible for his "failures" in front of the girls.
Soon, he walked off, muttering something about my calloused hands being "horrible".
Ok...horrible they are, but they sure can GRIP!
Now, the point of mentioning this jokerishness is not to poke fun at the two fine men I just spoke about, but rather to emphasize that "cheating" a.k.a "bouncing or kicking" your way through reps does YOU no good.
It may stroke your ego for a while, but when you do the exercise in right form, you'll soon find out that ALL your "effort" thus far has been in vain. More importantly, bouncing and kicking on pushups and pull-ups (for instance) is a great way to lead to shoulder and tendon injuries - not something you want for sure.
So don't be the guy that "bounces" out 50 plus reps and preens in front of the women. Be the guy who pumps out 15 slow, letter PERFECT reps, and BUILDS from there.
Don't be the guy who "kicks" his way to 20 half baked chins. Be the guy who spends hours honing his grip on THICK bars, more time in the dead hang position, FEELING his lats, and PERFECTING that first rep before moving on.
In other words, check your ego in at the door when training hard - and this goes for trainees at ALL levels.
Concentrate on the workout itself - - and the numbers will come. Believe you me, the numbers will come!
And here's a parting shot - if all this sounds too "silly" (pff! I'd rather "pound" out the reps rather than worry about this nonsense, some might say!) - just go back and read my post a while back on the "old man I met in China" right here: - http://rahulmookerjee.com/index.php/blog/item/167-the-old-man-i-met-a-couple-of-months-back-in-china. Read the part about a letter perfect handstand, the vice like grip - - the entire post, actually, and then read THIS one again, and that'll say it all.
Or at least, it should!
And thats it for today. Back again with more!
P.S.: - Pull-ups are one of the hardest movements for folks to even complete, let alone complete in proper form, but the benefits from doing these right, and doing these regularly are manifold. And the same holds true for handstand pushups. Weave a workout around these two movements (remember the leg work!), and you'll be looking like a human gorilla in no time at all!
Was completing my workout today in the local park when a couple that I've seen often came along.
I was working out in the afternoon today, and this particular, probably in their mid 20's or so usually chooses this time of the day for their jaunt.
And as I went through the last few repetitions of an extremely tough exercise I've been working HARD to master, I saw "the look" on the woman's face.
And from the title, you've probably already guessed what type of a look it was - - and you're right.
And what's funny, at least to me, is that this look repeats itself every time they see me exercising - - oddly enough, they seem to show up just at "that" particular time in my workout. One of those things as it were.
The guy usually looks at me with a resigned, sort of "benevolently friendly" (if that term makes any sense), says something to the gal, and walks on.
The gal walks on too, saying something to the guy, but she's got the first stage of the "the look" printed ALL over her face.
As in, what's that crazy "gui lao" doing? (Gui Lao literally meaning foreign devil, a not so polite but commonly used term on mainland China, at least in the Southern provinces)
She pauses, stares at me, and I stare at her after I complete my rep, and then go on about my business.
Finish that rep, and I find her staring at me again with a look of "why would someone do that", as her partner nudges her, edging her on her way, down past me.
And come the third rep, I see both of them sneaking surreptitious glances at me, but being they're too far away at this point for it to really register in my mind, I just act as if they're not there and continue.
This particular scenario repeats itself every time they see me, so you might ask, hey, what exercise is it that causes the Chinese to give me the "crazy gui lao" stare?
Well, as mentioned before, it's an exercise that is extremely tough to master, and certainly not for the "pumpers" at the local gym/'roid house.
It requires patience to master, so that makes it a no-no for most people.
It makes you grip as if your life depended upon it, and it makes ugly callouses sprout all over your hands. Strike three for most folks right there.
But it also develops a vice like grip, super strength (and endurance of sorts) in the entire arm, especially the fingers and forearms.
And that exercise is - without further ado - a FLEXED hang - but from one hand.
Simply put, that means yours truly is hanging in the bottom position of a pull up (arms fully outstretched) with one hand - for time. And to make it even more fun, I use a thick bar to do this exercise.
I've been at it for a couple of weeks, and it was surprisingly hard to begin with, even for someone like me whose used to doing various sorts of pull-ups.
No swinging around crazily, no showing off, just a flexed, still, controlled HANG.
And while the exercise might cause the average person to gawk and gape, be informed that if you want to build a bone crushing grip, this particular exercise will do it for me - in less than a minute, or minute max per set.
I mean, find someone, at whatever body weight, that can hang on with one arm in good form - on a THICK bar - for one minute or more, and you've got someone with a seriously, seriously strong grip.
And I don't know about you - but I'm more than willing to brave callouses and the "crazy" look (and the pain) to achieve the results I'm referring to!
Now, I realize there are a lot of people might agree with me here, and rock on down to the local playground for some timed holds, but before you do so, a word of caution: -
- Make sure your able to do timed holds with TWO hands in PROPER form for AT LEAST a minute before even attempting this. And yes, there is a reason the four words are capitalized. . .extra attention, folks!
- Make sure you can do at least 5 pull-ups per set in good form without undue fatigue.
- And last, but not least, make sure you keep your weight at reasonable levels. This usually goes hand in hand with the first two, unless your freakishly strong, of course, but I've hardly ever seen overweight folks manage one pull-up in good form, let alone five.
And that, my friend, is the story for the day. Try this simple little exercise out if you so desire, and let me know how it went!
P.S: - Can't even do a flexed hang with TWO hands for any length of time, let alone what I mention? Well, no problem, amigo - your NOT alone, and there IS a solution. Pull on over to http://rahulmookerjee.com/index.php/articles/88-getting-better-at-pull-ups-from-dud-to-stud-within-a-matter-of-weeks and you'll soon be pumping those reps out as if they were second nature - NO questions asked!
I'm sure you've noticed that I've been talking a lot about leg and core training/conditioning these days. Most of my notes seem to have some sort of reference to either walking, or hill climbing - and for those of that think it's a bit of an "overdose" on leg work, well, stop reading this email right now.
But there will likely be many of you that understand just important it is to condition the legs and core, and thus know why I stress it as much as I do.
Repeat something thousands of times, and it literally becomes second nature - or habit, if you would.
Repeat something thousands of times, and even the most obstinate of us (in this case, those who plain just don't WANT to get in shape) will usually give it at least a thought, and maybe even a try. And there in lies the importance of stressing the really important stuff over and over again.
Anyway, for those of you still not on board, the #1 (by far) reason to condition your legs and core the RIGHT way is that it's virtually impossible to have a well conditioned core and pair of legs, and not work the heart, lungs and entire cardiovascular system at the same time - which in turn means less overall fat, both visceral and subcutaneous.
Take five guys (or gals) that have bellies and arses hanging down to their ankles, and compare their resting pulse, blood-work and/or overall health with five fitter people, and you'll quickly note that a conditioned core/legs goes hand in hand with a healthy heart most of the time.
Note I'm talking about the right way - and the right way does not include "leg presses" or "hamstring curls" or other such junk - I'm talking exercises that make the lower body and core (and therefore by extension the entire body) work as ONE unit, rather than separate muscle groups.
To put this in further perspective, consider the old Chinese saying "Ren lao xian lao tui", which when translated into English basically means the legs are the first to go as a person ages. In other words, young legs == young heart == young YOU - enough said on that one, methinks.
Second, strong legs and core help you from a practical perspective, and that goes both for the average Joe and for sportsmen/athletes.
It's virtually IMPOSSIBLE to excel at your chosen sport without having strong, durable and well conditioned legs and midsection (core).
Any successful boxer knows that while training the specifics is important, fights are ultimately "won on the road". In other words, the longer your legs dont give out, the better your chances are of winning the duel.
Any martial artist will tell you it's impossible to generate power in a kick without a strong core to back it up.
And so on and so forth - it "don't" matter if your sport of choice is soccer, tennis, volleyball or what you have it - the same principle applies.
Some of you might say that swimmers don't have legs that are all that strong, but the fact of the matter is that while swimmers generally do not have legs that are as strong when compared to those that participate in land based sports, their core conditioning is second to NONE. And I've never seen a swimmer with "fat" (or weak) legs and too much "junk in the trunk" - have you? What's more, most ace swimmers DO work the legs with land based exercise such as running in order to balance their impressive upper body development out.
Even those that don't participate in sports that require physical activity know the importance of staying in shape - just ask any top chess player.
The average Joe will find that strong legs, hips and core makes it possible for him or her to move that heavy couch up the stairs, or carry multiple bags of groceries up to the fifth floor without their arms given out.
Enough reasons, you think? I'd say so!
Anyway, there are more reasons than I can get into in this note, but yet another positive effect of training the legs and core is the sheer CONFIDENCE it adds into your daily life.
You might be able to bench press an elephant, but a gut hanging over your belt will likely make you feel fat regardless - and you won't be able to hide it either.
Other hand, a lean flat core, coupled with strong, muscular and streamlined thighs (and therefore legs) will make you feel confident about going into just any situation - and like the last example, it's almost impossible to hide a pair of well conditioned legs, no matter what you dress in.
Climbing hills as I do on a daily basis is a GREAT, GREAT way to work the legs, core and entire body (by extension), but it's not the end of the world if you don't have a hill nearby. Jumping rope, lunges, squats, "table" pushups, sprints on flat land or up stairs - - there are MANY ways to work the legs, and I have devoted an entire section on this in Fast and Furious Fitness: - http://rahulmookerjee.com/index.php/articles/83-fast-and-furious-fitness-the-book - and you'll probably want to grab a copy right away while we're still running our "20 % off" special.
Anyway, I'm off for a well deserved late lunch myself. If you work out today, make sure it's a great one - and make sure to work the legs and core heavily!
P.S. : - While working the legs and core is the #1 priority, that doesn't mean you forget about your upper body. And working the back is probably the MOST important thing you can do for yourself in that regard. Pull-ups are the best way (by far) to work your back and entire upper body into the ground, and. . . what's that? Too tough, you say? Well, fear not, my friend - I just put a new course out there that'll teach even the rank beginner amongst us to get to "stud" level at pull-ups (and reap the associated upper body benefits) within as less as a few weeks! If I were you, I'd pull on RIGHT NOW to grab this course: - http://rahulmookerjee.com/index.php/articles/88-getting-better-at-pull-ups-from-dud-to-stud-within-a-matter-of-weeks
As you probably already know, pull-ups (done correctly) are one of the toughest exercises you can do, bar none.
Most adults can barely hang onto the bar for more than s few seconds before "dropping like a stone" - and the reasons are varied. Being overweight is the primary cause for most folks, while lack of strength in the upper body (namely the back, shoulders and grip) is the over-riding factor for other people.
Yet others simply shy away from this exercise, automatically deeming it to be "too tough" and "something I could never do for reps".
I bet it does - and those of you that have sent me emails over the last month or so on pull-ups KNOW it does.
And so, I've put together a course that will get even the rank beginner amongst you to start repping out pull-ups like a pro - within a matter of weeks.
That's right - you CAN go from "zero to hero" within the space of a few weeks.
Will it take effort? Sure - but no pain, no gain, amigo - it's as simple as that.
Nothing in life worth having is free, and the bare minimum I can ask you for is EFFORT, plus a paltry $15.99 which is what the course retails for. And when you factor in the bucks saved on gym memberships, fancy machines and the like, this amount doesn't seem like a lot at all, does it?
This course is being offered as a PDF as of now, so you should expect to have your copy in your Inbox within 24 hours of making payment.
I'd go into further detail in this note, but I believe the best thing to do at this point is to direct you to the sales page right HERE: - http://rahulmookerjee.com/index.php/articles/88-getting-better-at-pull-ups-from-dud-to-stud-within-a-matter-of-weeks ; so you can take ACTION on this pronto.
Get cracking on this NOW - I look forward to hearing about your success!
P.S #2: - In addition to Facebook, we're also on Google+ HERE: - https://plus.google.com/+Rahulmookerjee_FastandFuriousFitness - stop by and check it out!
P.S #3: - My special "20 percent off" offer seems to have been received quite well until now - remember this only lasts till Jan 2014, so get in while the going is GOOD!
'Twas a crisp and breezy Monday morning today. Winter's approaching - and fast - in my neck of the woods, and signs are we'll have an especially severe winter this year. Global warming, anyone??
Anyway, woke up bright and early at 11, hehe, and dove straight into a combination of leg exercises and pushups that left me dripping with sweat despite the chill in the air. To give you an example of the sort of "cardio" effect this sort of routine can give you, try alternating sets of 20 pushups with jumping rope for 100 reps each time - and don't rest more than 10 seconds between each exercise. 5 sets of this puppy, and you'll be feeling it in no time - guaranteed!
Headed on to the park for some pull-ups after that, and started in on some hammer grip pull-ups alternated with regular pull-ups. Man, those monkey bars were COLD - I was literally "wringing" the cold
out of my fingers after every set!
Anyway, I was finishing up with some timed holds, when along dwadles this young'ish sort of guy with a silly grin on his face.
Plenty of these "specimens" where I work out, and they usually leave me to my own devices, which is what I prefer - but I could tell at one glance that this dude wasn't of the same bent of mind.
He was looking at me from afar, making gestures, "sidling" up to the monkey bars every time I finished a set (and sidling right back when I glared at him) - in short, doing everything he could to get me to speak with him.
And I was, of course, doing everything I could to shake him off. I'm not exactly one for "chit-chat" (especially idle and silly chit-chat) during my routines, and I never make any bones about that fact. And it usually works - folks usually leave me alone when I'm working out.
On this occasion though, I was unsuccessful.
"Hello", he starts, while proferring me a limp hand.
"Hello", I grunt back, getting back to my timed holds.
Did my 4th set of 20 second holds, and was taking a brief rest when I heard him again.
I pretended not to hear.
Wool in my ears, as they say. . .
"Excuse me", he said for the third time, finally moseying on up to the monkey bars in a most slimey fashion.
"Yeah", I say.
"Do you work out here daily?"
"Uh huh", I grunt back.
"You shouldn't be working out on these", our guy says. He pointed at the monkey bars with a limp finger as if they were something to be ashamed of, and shook his head in a sad manner.
"You should get the TRX", he tells me. "You'll get the cuts and definition you want in no time at all!"
Uh-oh - those who know me know that "cuts and definition" are the last thing I want to hear about, and badger me with that type of nonsense during a workout - well, you're liable to get the sort of rousing reception a hibernating grizzly bear provides those who rouse him from his sleep.
Anyhow, I ignored him and went on to set #5.
"Ouch! That must be painful", he starts after this set.
"Calluses, what do you expect", I retort in a gruff manner.
"You really need the TRX. Here, take my card", he goes, handing me a sort of business card with the name of a prominent gym as well as the TRX logo on it.
"I don't want your card".
"Try it, it'll help you".
"I don't want to try it, and I don't want your help", I snapped back, annoyance getting the better of me.
He finally seemed to then "get the message", and pushed off in the other direction, mumbling "Thank you" under his breath. Good for him.
Anyway, "cuts and definition" not withstanding, I find it funny that even gyms these days are scrounging around for folks to buy their overpriced (and in many cases absolutely worthless) memberships. It would seem that folks are sick of paying through the nose for something that doesn't really benefit them - but maybe not, as I don't see the number of fit people going up - it's actually the other way around.
Now, just so you know, I've got nothing against the TRX system (even though I prefer to use my own bodyweight to get fit). The TRX has worked for many people, and I'm sure it'll continue to work for many more, and who I am to knock something that apparently "works"?
But does it work better than a bodyweight based program such as what I advocate?
Not a snowball's chance in tarnation, my friend. The TRX has several things going for it, the most important being the fact it also at the end of the day is a bodyweight based program - and the other being that one has to stay on a super strict diet during the program, else you dont see results.
But, I don't see whats wrong with doing pull-ups on thick bars and how they're any worse than doing them on the suspension system the TRX provides.
I don't see whats wrong with climbing a long, steep hill daily for your "cardio" as opposed to super strict diets that one cannot stick with for any length of time.
And neither do I believe that it's necessarily better to do pushups using straps or pushup bars - I much prefer the old fashioned way of putting one's palms on the floor and completing the exercise.
Folks think they need something "fancy" to get fit - but the truth is, all you need is your own body and some willpower, my friend, and your all set.
More importantly, people need to learn that "tough" isn't a bad thing. Thick bar pull-ups are tough, and they'll give you a pair of calloused hands for sure, but you'd be hard pressed to replicate the STRENGTH that this particular exercise builds no matter what gizmo you use. 'Tis a fact - try it yourself and see if you don't believe me.
Tough is GOOD - and they understood that in the old days. And thats why they had some mighty strong - and FIT - men back in those days. Men who stuck to the basics, and focused on getting stronger. Men who knew all you needed to get a great workout in is your OWN body weight.
What's also amazing is that folks these days are willing to fork over big bucks for the latest gadgets, fad diets, gym memberships et al, and then do so all over again when their "purchase" doesnt deliver what was promised.
So, forget the $250 gym memberships, my friend.
Forget "workout systems" that promise you six pack abs within said number of days.
Ditch the fancy protein shakes, "no carbs" diet, and any other nonsense the so-called fitness gurus might preach.
All you really need to do is fork over a mere $24.99 for Fast and Furious Fitness, and you'll be all set. Heck, that's less than a FRACTION of what I mentioned above would cost - but you'd better believe it delivers far more than any of the above will.
It's solid, tough, back to the basics stuff - and THAT, my friend is what really delivers - not the lass on TV showing off her "8 pack" trying to sell you products late at night.
Anyway, this email has gone off for long enough - so I think I'll end here. Gotta go help my wife reposition a solid oak bed we have - moving that sucker around the bedroom (limited space) can be a workout unto itself.
P.S.: - I speak about "men" towards the latter part of this note, but this advice, and the routines I teach in Fast and Furious Fitness are just as applicable for you ladies out there - as well as kids. Click on over NOW to see what the hullabaloo is all about: - http://rahulmookerjee.com/index.php/articles/83-fast-and-furious-fitness-the-book
If there's one upper body (primarily) exercise that's guaranteed to have you huffing, puffing and sweating within a short period of time, it's the good ole pushup.
It doesn't matter how out of shape or in shape you are, there is a type of pushup out there that will make you feel it in the right areas when you perform the movement correctly. It doesn't matter if your just starting out or an experienced trainee. It doesn't matter if you choose to train in the morning or evening - and it doesn't matter if your from Mars or Venus - pushups, when done correctly will get the blood pumping and the heart beating within a short period of time. Good stuff.
A much ignored but extremely effective exercise, especially when done for high reps, this exercise is one of my favorites - not just to get a great upper body workout in a short period of time, but also to "rev the engine up" before embarking on a tougher/longer routine.
What do I mean?
Well, I wasn't feeling the best this morning when I woke up. The weather's changing around here, and I think I might have picked up a tad bit of flu or something - so, I wasn't at my chirpiest to say the least.
Started to get stuck into my normal routine (which today was supposed to be various styles of jumping jacks, rope jumps and a few other associated exercises), but quickly figured out that I just wasn't being able to "get into the groove" as I normally do. I was sweating, and breathing hard, but something didn't feel quite "right" - in other words, I wasn't as switched on as I should have been, if that makes sense.
So, for a change, I figured I'll pump out 25 slow pushups, and then get back to the set #6 on the rope jumps.
Did that, and then knocked off 5 "table" pushups (slowly) for good measure, followed by 10 finger tip pushups.
By that time I was starting to feel a little something in my triceps, and I was breathing much deeper than I was before for sure.
"Hey, this feels good - that old, familiar feeling of the heart starting to pump HARD, and working up a great sweat while I'm at it".
So, figured I'd do a "few more" pushups before getting back to the rest of my normal routine.
Hit #60. Figured I'd do a "few more".
On to #92. "Ok, a few more".
Another set of 20 slow tricep pushups - followed by fingertip pushups again - and I'm on 120 pushups before I know it.
I finally finished at 155 pushups - and whats more, I was feeling GREAT by the end of it. No more "wooziness" or "slow off the blocks" feelings - I was feeling recharged and ready to ROLL. The blood was pumping, the sweat was pouring, and I was breathing like I'd just run a sprint - all great, great stuff.
Never did finish the 1500 rope jumps I had planned for today, but finished my routine off with 25 pull-ups and timed hangs - and that was that. And this feeling of being "on top of the world" after a good hard set of pushups lasts all day long - I'm still "buzzing" a few hours after my routine, and my triceps literally feel "worked to the bone".
And thats not just a stray observation - pushups always make me feel better. For those of you that do them regularly, you know what I mean - and for those of you that don't do pushups on a regular basis - well, one of the best things you can do for your health is to get cracking on a regular pushup schedule - it'll benefit you far more than you know.
So the next time you need a quick "pick me up", ditch the coffee in favor of 20 pushups done in the right way - the boost you get will be well worth it!
All for today. If you workout today, make sure and make it a winner!
P.S.: - I speak of "table" pushups in this email, and I did a wide variety of pushups today in getting to the 155 mark. To learn more about how I structure my high rep push up routines, push on over HERE: - http://rahulmookerjee.com/index.php/articles/83-fast-and-furious-fitness-the-book
I've not been able to get to the park I normally perform the outdoor portion of my workout in for quite a bit now. Not really sure why, but one reason is TIME - that park is a fair distance away from where I live, and I just haven't found the time as of late to mosey on over there for some long and enjoyable workouts.
I miss it somewhat - especially having to shoo off the "busy bees" that all show up in my workout "space" to do little other than pass comments, "ooh and ah", and hang their jackets on the dipping bars (or even worse, position their posteriors on said piece of equipment as soon as one's ready to start a hard set of dips). Ah, the fun of it all. . .
But, I'm digressing here - so since I can't make it to that particular park these days, I'm making do with one right near my house. Which is fine, really, except for the fact that it doesn't have the old rusty swing set that I'm used to doing my pull-ups on. I basically used to use the top of the swing set (thick bar joining the swings together) to do my exercises, and it worked great.
Neither does it have a monkey bar apparatus of any length/height, so going back and forth on it (an excellent grip builder, btw) is out.
But, it does have a monkey bar set up of sorts, so that is where I do my pull-ups these days. And I'm doing OK - except for the fact that the monkey bars form a "V" where I grip to perform my pull-ups, and I'd much rather do them on a thick and straight bar if that makes any sense.
Why? Well, many reasons, mostly personal preference, but also because I think I can exert maximum force and get the most out of my back muscles on a straight bar as opposed to a "v" setup.
And so, I'm trying out some interesting variations on the pull-up these days - one of those being the hammer grip pull-up - where you basically perform the movement by gripping a couple of parallel bars and pulling - perfect if your doing pull-ups on a monkey bar setup.
I've seen this variation done many a times before, but for whatever reason, I never really got into the movement that much myself - but I am now - and here are some observations: -
- This type of pull-up should be far easier than the regular pull-up (especially in the bottom position) for those that have shoulder problems, as the shoulders are in a "neutral" position of sorts as opposed to a regular pull-up.
- The movement should be easier to master than a regular pull-up, meaning more reps is a real possibility - and leading to many fun "high rep" pull-up sequences!
- The parallel grip makes it a lot more comfortable (note - thats different from "easier") to perform abdominal movements such as the L-hold, or V-hold. I personally sometimes have trouble with my shoulders when performing said movements on a straight bar, but nothing of the sort happens on parallel bars - even if I hold for an extended period of time.
- It brings the biceps into play big time; so for those of you that are looking to hit the biceps with a decent exercise - this is it. The regular pull-ups is still king - but this one is a close second.
- Last, but certainly not least, this movement can be a fantastic grip builder as well if you perform the right number of reps - try it and see!
Not to mention it makes a nice change from having to do your pull-ups the same way every time; always good to change things up once in a while.
None of this means you should replace the regular pull-up with this one - not at all. That movement is still the #1 back and arm movement in my books - but this one is a pretty decent strength builder as well if you really get good at it.
And that, my friend, is the tip of the day - back again soon! If you workout today, make it a super one!
P.S: - To see photos of me with my adorable little baby girl, click on over here to my facebook account: - https://www.facebook.com/rahul.mookerjee
P.S. #2: - For more interesting variations on pull-ups, check out Fast and Furious Fitness right here: - http://rahulmookerjee.com/index.php/articles/83-fast-and-furious-fitness-the-book
I was bushed (to say the least) after yesterday's stair climbing workout.In fact, one of my first thought upon getting back home that evening was "I must have dropped at least half a kilogram of weight this afternoon with all that I did". And it wasn't just me thinking that - my body was actually "telling" me this. Those of you that participate in competitive sports out in the heat will know exactly what I mean here.
Got up this morning and headed straight for the weighing scales, and what I saw shocked me, to say the least - yesterday's adventures left me a total of THREE kilograms lighter.
THREE kilograms - that is 6.6 lbs for those of you not versed in the metric scale.
And all in ONE afternoon??
I couldn't believe it - rubbed my eyes, and stood on the scale again, but there it was. Numbers don't lie - and my body was telling me something similar yesterday anyway, so I finally accepted it.
Now, some of you might think this is because I'm dehydrated to the bone - but you'd be wrong if you thought so. I am NOT dehydrated - I drink about 12-14 large glasses of water on a daily basis, and made sure to "drink up" as soon as I got home.
I currently weight about 85 kgs or so, a good 12-13 kgs over my "fighting" weight in China (around 72 kgs), but that was with a daily hill climb - and not as many of the Fast and Furious exercises as I do now. One can only wonder at how much I'd have weighed back then if I combined the hill with a lot of Fast and Furious routines, hehe.
Anyway, this is NOT to say that those of you that have been spending years lazing on the couch with your only exercise being beer curls or pizza chomps can jump straight up and start pounding up flights of stairs in extremely humid weather - NO. That is not what I recommend - build up to it - and even after you do so, your results might not be as drastic as mine are. Remember, if there's one form of exercise my body responds to BEST, it's climbing steep hills - or stairs - and that is pretty much what happened.
And last, but not least, for those that might think "oh, he drops weight pretty easily" - uh, no - I don't drop excess flabbage all that easily. In fact, Mother Nature has been pretty stingy with the good genetics when it comes to me (at least physical genetics) - I'm prone to packing on the pounds around my hips, waist and chest pretty easily even without overeating - so I actually need a lot MORE exercise than a lot of other folks (including couch potatoes) might.
But it does go to say that if I can knock weight off when I want to, so can YOU.
If I can do pull-ups in sets of 5 - well, so can YOU!
If I can will myself to use EVERY opportunity I have to get fit - well, so can YOU, my friend.
Obesity (and not just regular "fat around the stomach" - I'm talking seriously obese) is a HUGE problem where I'm at - and I see this every time I travel in the subway, and I wonder what would happen if these folks actually bothered to get off their smartphones and CLIMB for a change - rather than hanging to the escalator railings with a sour face looking on at me as I take the stairs two at a time.
But no, that doesn't happen does it.
We have folks whining about their "busy lifestyle", and "workloads at the office". We hear them whinging about their gym memberships which never seem to benefit them, yet they never cancel 'em. And so forth.
Now, if your one of the lot that "thinks it's silly" to pound up the stairs every time you see some, well, I can't force you to change yourself. If you still believe that you need to spend hours on the treadmill and pec deck, well, have at, my friend - you won't hear many complaints from me.
But if you understand what I'm saying in this note - and truly agree with me from the bottom of your heart, well, then I salute you - not simply for having the courage to do something different and improve your life - but also for having the will power and self-discipline to tell yourself that no barrier is insurmountable - and for having the cojones to throw away any and all excuses that might stand in the way of you getting the body you DESERVE!
And there it is - NO EXCUSES, period. That's really all there is to it.
Onward and upward,
PS: I'm enjoying a well earned rest today, but those of you looking to drop the excuses - along with some flab - might want to check out Fast and Furious Fitness: - http://rahulmookerjee.com/index.php/articles/83-fast-and-furious-fitness-the-book
Had a real busy day yesterday, running around from pillar to post as it were trying to get a bunch of stuff done. How does the "stuff that needs to get done NOW" always crop up on a Saturday of all days??
I sure don't know - but what I do know is I was TIRED at night. Hit the sack around 1 AM or so, and was slept like a log till about 11AM today. And those of you that work long hours all week, or don't get the Saturday off at them "evil" corporations know what I mean, hehe.
Anyway, Sunday's usually touted as a day of rest - and rightfully so - but along with the rest, and associated gluttony that a lot of people indulge in on this "relax" day of the week, what if you could get a QUICK AND DIRTY workout done within half an hour max, which would make you feel buzzed for the rest of the day, and make that gluttony or beer bash all the more enjoyable?
I don't know about you, my friend, but the very first thing I did upon waking up this A.M. was to jump straight into one of my quick and dirty workout routines from Fast and Furious Fitness that I spiced up a bit with some different exercises not mentioned in this edition of the book.
Did some stretches to get the blood flowing, and jumped straight into a set of 100 jumping jacks, interspersed with 100 knees to chest jumping (a real killer, by the way). Did these in varying numbers, and followed up with 50 assorted pushups done FAST - I think I timed myself at slightly over 3 minutes for these.
Back down on the floor for some leg raises, situps, bridging and assorted core work - done one after the other of course. Didn't try to shoot for any personal bests, but just focused on keeping the heart rate up, the muscles WARM, and just kept going. Around 12 minutes or so of this.
Finished off with 5 minutes of handstand pushups, toweled the sweat off, and that was THAT. Would normally go in for some chinning movements after this, but it's Sunday - hey, I deserve some rest too - and besides, the routines I did had me dripping from head to toe - not exactly an easy workout by any means.
Now, the reason I mention this isn't to reinforce the point that workouts should be done at a rapid pace (they should, but that's another tale for another time) - it's mostly to emphasize that you can get your workout in even on a Sunday without spending too much time over it. Think about it - 20-25 minutes of tough, fast paced exercises before that lunch date at 2PM - sure beats feeling hungover and tired after lunch.
It also goes to show that you do NOT need to hit personal bests in each and every workout - something I emphasize repeatedly in Fast and Furious Fitness. You do NOT need to beat yourself up daily with long routines that take forever to complete. Just be consistent, and the results will come.
So that's the update for today - stay tuned for more. If you work out today, make it a GREAT one!
PS: My new course Shoulders like Boulders contains routines that can be completed within as less as 15 minutes, and give you a fantastic upper body/core workout: - http://rahulmookerjee.com/index.php/products/87-shoulders-like-boulders
PS#2: I refer to Fast and Furious Fitness repeatedly in this note - you can grab your copy HERE: http://rahulmookerjee.com/index.php/articles/83-fast-and-furious-fitness-the-book
Many of you have noticed that I talk about handstand pushups, and building strong and durable shoulders through this very exercise in a lot of my emails. I'll post sample handstand workout routines, speak about how I included handstand pushups into my daily workout, and so forth - and from the feedback I've gotten thus far, it seems a lot of you enjoy reading about this exercise.
This exercise seems to have helped a lot of people out there - especially folks with shoulder injuries from training unnatural movements, or caused by lifting weights that are way too heavy in compromising positions (for the shoulder). In fact,I know folks that have been helped more by careful practice of this ONE exercise more so than by doctors and chiropractors, and THAT, my friend, is no mean feat by any stretch of the imagination.
A lot of you have also asked me a multitude of questions about this exercise, and I've done my best to answer them speedily, and in as much detail as possible.
For instance a reader sent me a question a couple of weeks ago about how to work into handstand pushups from regular pushups last week and I answered him - and he seems to be well on his way to cranking them out in reps now (congrats Jason!).
But it got me thinking - what if there was a product out there that told you EXACTLY how to perform the movement, work into it, progress in it - in short, explained everything there is to explain about this movement? No more emails, and no more waiting on responses - just open the manual, and there it is in front of you.
And so, I decided to put out a brand new product today; titled, quite appropriately, "Shoulders like boulders!". This little power packed manual can be ordered off the site here: - http://rahulmookerjee.com/index.php/products/87-shoulders-like-boulders, and is priced at a very reasonable rate of $12.99. Sure, I could charge way, way more for this - especially considering the amount you'll save on doctor bills, surgeries and the like (if your shoulders are currently that badly beat up), or the amount the average Joe would save on his gym membership (no gym membership required here!) - but I'm not going to do so at this point.
I want to make sure this manual is affordable to EVERYONE - hence the low introductory price - so jump on this offer NOW.
Whats more - I'm currently offering this as a PDF copy, so there's no shipping times involved either! Simply click the order button, make the payment and you'll have the manual in your Inbox within 24 hours - it's that simple.
So hurry on over, and order your copy now - and watch those shoulders develop into meaty boulders within a few workouts - all done safely, and naturally.
All for today - back again soon with more!
P.S: - Getting such a product at $12.99 is an absolute steal - push on over NOW to make the most of this special introductory offer: - http://rahulmookerjee.com/index.php/products/87-shoulders-like-boulders
This has GOT to be one of the most talked about questions in strength training.
Which is better - the chin-up, or pull-up? And I've seen this question posed so often in so many different places, that I thought I'd do my best to try and address it today. . .
First off, I'd like to say that ANY sort of pulling exercise involving your own body-weight is good - be that chin-ups, pull-ups, pull-ups on rings, horizontal pull-ups and so forth. It isn't so much which one is better than "they're all good", so if your doing any of them at all (and most people DON'T), more power to you.
My own preference has always been for pull-ups, and I state this in my book as well; the main reason being the pull-up is a more natural movement, and builds more strength throughout the upper body in lifting postures you actually USE throughout the day. Think about it - do you generally lift stuff with palms out or in? I'd say the former most of the time, and thats one main reason behind my preference.
Second, the pull-up tends to target the LARGEST muscles in your upper body a lot more than the chin-up does - those being the lats, which provide most of the pulling power/support throughout your entire back area. Develop real strength in the traps and lats, and you'll never have trouble picking up heavy objects again - not to mention you'll LOOK strong as well, no matter what you wear.
So, what does this mean - should we ignore the chin-up altogether?
Well, it depends. Most people actually end up ignoring the pull-up in favor of the chin-up, mostly because the chin-up is an easier move to accomplish. Chin up brings your chest and biceps into the movement a lot more than regular pull-ups will, so it is easier to do them that way a lot of times. Chinning can also put your wrists and elbows in a somewhat unnatural position, which could be a problem for some folks.
Is that OK to do long-term - well, again, it depends - I'd say no if you want to develop your back to the fullest, but at the same time, the chin-up can be an interesting and intense variation at times; especially to target the upper chest area. Try mixing these in with a bunch of dips and pull-ups - YOW!
And at the end of the day, if pull-ups are too tough for you to do, and chins are all you can do, well, do them - you'll still build way more strength doing them than you would on the lat pulldown machine in the gym (an useless piece of equipment if I ever saw one); and they are probably the only one exercise that will aid you in making the "leap" to a regular pull-up.
So, there's my answer - make of it what you will. As with most other things, it all really depends on YOUR goals, and how far YOU want to go - but that is a basic outline of the issue.
And that, my friend, is that for now - back again later!
PS: To read and learn more about these amazing body weight exercises, order a copy of Fast and Furious Fitness HERE: - http://rahulmookerjee.com/index.php/articles/83-fast-and-furious-fitness-the-book