A great variation to your regular pull-up workout (for those of you that do them) is the close grip pull-up. The movement is similar to the regular pull-up/chin-up, but the only difference is that your hands are close together while performing the movement - close, as in less than shoulder width - and touching one other if your really good at the exercise.
I did these for 5 sets of 5 reps today in addition to some other things - and I'm FEELING it in my forearms right now!! That's right; this type of pull-up is great for the forearms, and is a super tough variant as far as gripping power goes. Believe me, these are hard enough to do even if your good at the regular pull-up - and they're almost impossible to do with a weak grip.
I don't recommend doing this style of pull-up all the time; the standard pull-up is still king in my opinion, but it pays to change things up every so often, and this is one great variation you can use, especially if your looking for extra forearm/bicep work.
So, during this 5 x 5 workout (along with other 5 x 5 exercises - for "sample" workouts you can follow, see Fast and Furious Fitness), I added in yet another style of pull-up, a couple of hard sets across the monkey bars, and then timed holds. And that was pretty much all I needed to get the forearm workout of the week. No fancy gadgets, no routines that took all day. No pumping, no preening, nothing - just basic work on thick bars - and that's ALL.
So, moral(s) of the story?
- Keep things simple - the simpler the better - and usually tougher.
- Variations are great; just make sure you do them RIGHT!
And that, my friend, is that for now. Back later with more!
PS: - The forum had a few problems, but they seem to be all sorted out now - stop by and post your thoughts and ideas: http://rahulmookerjee.com/phpbb2/
PS#2: If you don't already do pull-ups, you really SHOULD be. Fast and Furious Fitness is the place to start for a primer on how to incorporate this wonderful exercise into your regimen: - http://rahulmookerjee.com/index.php/articles/83-fast-and-furious-fitness-the-book
Yes - it sounds like a stupendous idea indeed, doesn't it? Pushups that heavily tax the core of all things - that alone is a hard concept for most to stomach, but LEGS as well?
Pushups are primarily a chest, arm and shoulder exercise as far as most trainees are concerned. And while they do provide a great workout for the chest and arms, they also work the back (including lower back) and core heavily - and as I said, certain types of pushups will work the legs as well. And some pushups are pure CORE exercises - with the rest of the body merely playing a supporting role as it were.
I fitted the core pushup into my workout today - I did this, and another style of pushup as "rest" exercises between my main two upper body exercises, which were pull-ups and handstand pushups. What I mean by "rest" exercises is that I did a set of these exercises while "resting" between the main exercises - not something I usually do, since it cuts down on my ability to focus (and recuperate for) on the next main exercise, but I was feeling unusually peppy today, so figured I'd give it a shot.
One such pushup is the "extended arm pushups", where instead of putting your hands at shoulder level beneath the chest, you extend them all the way out over your head, and THEN do the pushup. The form is hard to explain in an email, but let me just say that chest/arms (while taxed) are NOT the limting factor for this pushup - for those that have never done these before, you'll be finding your lower back/core is what is really being worked on this one - don't be surprised if you end up with sore abs upon doing these!
Another example would be the table pushup, wherein you simply get into the position of a table (on your hands and feet), hold for a bit, and then push back to the starting position. This is a superb tricep builder, but it also works the thighs, butt and hamstrings heavily if done correctly. And so forth. . .there are just too many examples to list out here.
Now, does this mean that pushups are ALL you need to do for your entire body? Not really - not by a long shot actually, but the fact stands that you can get a pretty decent overall body workout in less than 15 minutes or so simply by doing different styles of pushups.
And no, these aren't "easy" exercises by a country mile - but I think you'll discover that for yourself when you try them! Thats a GOOD thing though - remember hard work is what brings real results.
OK, I'm outta here for now. Until next time - train hard - and keep me posted on your progress on the workouts you guys have been doing!
PS: All the different pushup variations that you need to know about can found right HERE: - http://rahulmookerjee.com/index.php/articles/83-fast-and-furious-fitness-the-book - grab your copy ASAP.
If there is any single bodyweight exercise that inspires awe, smacks of raw power, is an almost unparalled upper body muscle builder - and a tough one at that - it's probably the humble ole' PULL-UP.
Pull-ups are a supreme test of an individual's strength and fitness levels. And it's sad, but true - that most adults today are probably doing good to knock off ONE pull-up in decent form.
There are numerous reasons why the pull-up should be a staple part of any upper body workout you do, and I'll list some here: -
- One of the best strength exercises you can do - bar none. Pullups done correctly will give you superhuman grip and pulling strength; as well as increases in muscle all over your upper body - including the chest. Plus, they strengthen your entire back beyond belief - get good at these, and you can kiss your back pain goodbye forever.
- Pull-ups stretch and lengthen the spine, thus keeping the vertebrae aligned as they should. The very act of HANGING from the pull-up bar does this, and this leads to a huge increase in nerve force throughout the entire upper body - very few other exercises can duplicate this.
- Pull-ups ensure that you get "balanced" development throughout the upper body. Let's face it, most trainees are crazy about working the chest (which explains why bench pressing is so popular); but when it comes to the back, we don't see near as many folks lined up at the pull-up bar. And this sort of thing ultimately leads to unbalanced upper body development with an overdeveloped chest with nothing to "back it up", for lack of a better term - and makes you a prime candidate for injuries.
Ok, enough already your saying. I know pull-ups are good for me - but I can barely do ONE properly - what do I do?
Well, first of all, and the most important thing is - DON'T GIVE UP! It's easy to get disheartended when you can barely do a single pull-up despite training regularly - or if your training with someone thats good at them. Remember the Rocky movies? Remember Rocky II where we see Stallone popping off one handed chin ups? Or Rocky III, where we see "Mr T" grunting his way through a set of pull-ups while Rocky trains like (for lack of a better description) a "gym bunny"?
I bet you do - and if your not good at pull-ups yet, I bet those scenes had you in awe. That's good for inspirational purposes, but remember that YOU can get good at them as well. Emblazon that in mind as your work your pull-ups; you CAN - and WILL get good at pullups!
Also, make sure your doing your pull-ups in good form; this means pulling with the back instead of the arms. Most trainees will try and jump on to the pull-up bar and somehow haul themselves up - NOT a good way to do them! A correct pull-up starts from a dead hang, and you use your BACK to pull - not your arms - your arms should simply assist the movement. For more on this, see Fast and Furious Fitness - it's imperative you get the form down pat, and I've provided plenty of detail on pull-ups there.
Grip strength can also be a limiting factor for a lot of trainees; so you may also want to work on some supplementary grip exercises if your not improving at your pull-ups. I detailed some of these in yesterday's email, and the book contains plenty more that you can do.
Last, but not least - stay FOCUSED on the task. It's easy to lose focus when doing pull-ups, and end up with sloppy reps - not good. Make sure you focus on your grip, and your back - and keep that focus throughout the entire rep/set. That in itself is a huge tip right there - implement into your own training, and watch your results skyrocket.
And work your pull-ups hard - HARD! I know I said this at the beginning of the email, but it's so important it bears repeating. Remember, hard work is what gets you the best results, and you'll agree with me after you've got to the point where you can pop off 5 sets of 5 good pull-ups without much trouble!
Well, my friend, those are some tips that should get you started on the road to pull-up mastery. It's a long road to be sure, but one well worth mastering.
And if you haven't yet incorporated this exercise into your routine - well, you know what to do.
All for now. If you train today - train HARD, and make it a great one!
PS: Fast and Furious Fitness shows you how to go from ZERO pull-ups to stud level. Don't delay any longer - click HERE to grab your copy now, and get started on the road to get an upper body that'll be the envy of most gym rats!
Got through another great workout this morning - and a pretty simple one at that. Most of my workouts these days consist of only THREE main exercises; yet, my entire body gets a fantastic working over with just these three main exercises. So, I guess you could say my workout is short, sweet and simple - and that, my friend, as with many other things in life is a good thing.
So, what did I do?
As I said, three exercises - and those are: 5x 5 handstand pushups, 4x 5 pull-ups, and the front/back bridge. I did some supplementary grip/balance work as well, but only because I felt like it - not because I had to. And that was that.
Now, just THREE exercises? I'm really getting a great workout (for the entire body) from just THREE exercises?
And the answer is, YES - I AM (short and simple again, but it gets the point across, so hey. . .).
Now, I realize this may be hard to believe for some of the gym going folks that have been practically raised on a diet of "10 sets x 10 for chest", "5 sets of 20 for the 'peak of the biceps' (whatever that may be)", "10 sets of 10 on the leg extension machine", and so forth. But tis true.
In fact, most people - not just the gym "pumpers" - look at me with disbelief when I tell them less is MORE when it comes to working out - and nothing I say would convince them to believe otherwise. Ask them why they believe the opposite though, and the majority won't really know what to say except that Bubba on the internet forum told them, and Bubba's always right, so, uh. . .there it is.
Okay, your choice - but without further ado, I'll give you my reasons behind the short, sweet and simple philosophy.
First off, your body only has so much to give. Unless your a professional athlete, sportsman, or laborer, you'll likely find that you have X amount of time to work out in, and only so much energy to devote to your workout. So doing a gazillion exercises won't work simply because you wont have the time - or ability - to do all of them justice.
Second, and this ties into point #1 - simply doing an exercise is not enough - you must FOCUS on the exercise like there's no tomorrow, and you must complete each rep in letter perfect form. Always strive to get better at what you do. And this is only possible if you have a limited number of exercises to do - it is impossible for anyone, even the most genetically gifted of us to do justice to ALL exercises in humumgous two to three hour daily workouts. And recovering from such workouts is next to impossible as well.
Third, and this is something you need to make a note of - the body responds to HARD work. Doing fewer sets of a TOUGH exercises (or struggling to get even one rep) is FAR better than moseying through a set of an easy exercise just for the "pump". The body doesnt care about how LONG you take to finish an exercise. It DOES care about how hard you work to complete the exercise, and therein lies the secret to increase in strength.
There's more to it as well - but for more details, refer to Fast and Furious Fitness - I've covered this topic in detail there.
The exercises I did today work the entire upper body into the ground if done correctly. Doing handstand pushups is hard for most people, and doing 25 of them in good form will give even the strongest athlete a run for his money. Ditto for pull-ups - and as for the bridging exercises I did, they are advanced variations NOT mentioned in the book, but for those of that you can do it, it will work your entire body - as an unit - into the ground. You may notice there's no direct leg work in that routine - but I've been getting plenty of it via walking, jumping rope and climbing stairs as of late, so there was no need for it today.
The entire routine took about 45 minutes, and I was hammered by the end of it. And there isn't a single body part that I haven't worked - and again, remember, I only did THREE main exercises - and not that many reps either.
And thats pretty much how most of my workouts look like. I might on occasion try and do high rep work, like the 500 pushup workout I've spoken about before, but by and large, I keep it short, sweet and simple - and HARD. And the results speak for themselves.
So to those of you that are pounding away at workouts that go on for pages, and not really getting much in terms of results, you might want to stop and reconsider. Give the short, sweet and simple principle a try - and see how it works for you!
I realize that it may be tough for you at first to put a decent training program together that doesnt ask you to do every exercise under the sun and doesnt take very much time at all to complete - but I've done that for you in Fast and Furious Fitness. This book gives you several sample routines you can use to kick-start your training into high gear almost at once; and for those of you that prefer doing so, you can create your own routine as well with the exercises I mention. Make sure you grab your copy NOW!
So, thats today's message - and in case your training today, make sure you give it your all!!
PS: In case you haven't done so already, make sure to reserve your copy of Fast ans Furious Fitness ASAP. Here's that link once again - http://rahulmookerjee.com/index.php/articles/83-fast-and-furious-fitness-the-book.
So, I finish my workout this morning and toddle on downstairs to the floor beneath me to get a drink of much needed H2O. I had
just been through a fantastic workout - but more on that in just a bit.
For those that are regulars here at Fast and Fitness HQ, you know that I'm currently living in Oman. I also probably told you that I'm in "temporary" accomodation for now - this is sort of a "shared" sort of arrangement, with private rooms for all, but shared water coolers, common eating area etc. Sort of like dorms in a college, except not quite. . .anyway, so thats the story behind water being on the floor beneath me!
So, I meet this guy at the water cooler that lives opposite me. He takes one look at me, and we exchange the usual pleasntries.
"Whats up with the sweat fest", he asks?
"Been working out".
"Oh, been out for a long run, eh?"
"Must be hard to exercise in the heat outside, look at the way your sweating through your T-shirt"
(Remember, I'm basically living in desert like conditions - with A/C inside, which explains why he was so surprised by me sweating a tankful - but regardless, the conditions outside are HOT)
"Uh-huh. . ."
And thus it ended, with the gentleman having got his glass of water, and me having refilled my bottles.
Now, the dude's question was understandable in a way - I mean who sweats in a country where virtually NO-ONE walks even for the shortest of short distances, and the air-conditioning is super powerful. People talk about obesity in the US, but it seems to be even more of a problem here.
He was spot on on the sweating part - but he was wrong on the exercise part. I did NOT run for a mile - didn't even step outside in fact. All I did was an intense 45 minute workout which involved the following: -
Rope jumping (500 reps)
Handstand pushups (15 reps)
Freestanding handstands (lost count, but did them for a fair bit)
2 sets of the neck bridge, held for 2.5 minutes each
The front bridge
Stretching and more free standing handstands(as a finisher)
And that's it. Short, sweet and simple - and the gentleman would be amazed to know that most of the sweating did NOT occur during the rope jumps - I barely broke a sweat on those - it was mostly on the other stuff that I really pushed my limits.
So that, my friend, is living proof right there of what bodyweight exercises can do for you, in a short period of time. Intense workouts that leave you gasping for breath, work every muscle in your body, and make you feel ON TOP OF THE WORLD for hours afteward - all without even stepping out of our house. Can't ask for more than that, me thinks!
Not be able to do all, or any of the exercises I've just mentioned above? Fret not - Fast and Furious Fitness offers you a wide gamut of exercises that you can use to build yourself up to a level where 500 rope jumps seem like child's play to you. The key as always is to START someplace - and then progress from there - before you know it, you'll be making great progress.
Anyway, I'm off to shower and then grab lunch, so I'll end this here. In the meantime though, if you haven't already got your workout in for the day - do so ASAP - and give it your all!
PS: If this sort of stuff inspires you, and eif you haven't already done so, make sure you grab your copy of Fast and Furious Fitness TODAY. Get cracking on some of the exercises that will change your body for the better - in a short period of time!
Woke up this morning around 8AM or so, and went straight into a stretching routine that I've been practising over the last few days. The exercises I'm practising allow for a fantastic overall body stretch, especially in the hamstring area (where most folks are weak) - and boy does it feel good to stretch out your hamstrings first thing in the morning.
After that, I jumped straight into a rope jumping/pushup routine which had me jumping rope in sets of 100, punctuated by 20 pushups in between. Banged out a total of 120 pushups and 600 rope jumps this way - and managed this in around 15 minutes or so.
The adrenalin was flowing, the heart was thumping. Sweat was rolling off me like no-one's business - and I felt like a billion bucks - like a natural "high", if that makes any sense. I've heard of "runner's high", and other such terms - but THIS feeling puts them all in the shade. What's more, this feeling lasts all day; it's currently around 11:30 AM or so as I'm typing this, and I still feel wired. And last, but not least - you burn a ton of calories training this way - all while building healthy, FUNCTIONAL muscle all over your body.
Anyway, I finished off with some neck bridges and handstand pushups - both advanced exercises which I do NOT recommend if you are just starting out - but which I'll cover in an advanced training manual that I'm in the process of writing. Stay tuned for that one.
What about you, my friend?
Did you get your exercise in for the morning? More importantly, how are you feeling right now?
If the answer is "no" to the first question, and "so-so" to the second, well, then you need to get training the Fast and Furious way. And there are many ways - one being "circuit" training with Fast and Furious exercises - similar to what I did this morning. Gets the blood flowing, the heart pounding, and the lungs churning - all in all, a super package that doesn't take up more than 15 minutes of your time.
And whats more - this 15 minutes results in hours more of feeling so good that you're automatically way more productive for the rest of the day.
Now, I dont know about you - but 15 minutes of hard exercises = an entire day's worth of increased alertness, focus, productivity and well being - I'll take that any day over long, drawn out routines that take up the entire day, and do next to nothing for your overall health and well-being.
Anyhow, I'm about to run now - but in case your interested in this (and you should be), then Fast and Furious Fitness is what the doctor ordered for YOU. Get cracking on some of the routines therein, and let me know how you do!
Doing things in reverse (backwards) is not normally thought of as a good idea - but the concept can be extremely beneficial when it comes to your training.
Sometimes, training in "reverse" may be the best thing you can do to shoot past a sticking point, or to better your performance at an exercise your already good. Or, it might just be what the doctor ordered to change things up once in a while (always a good idea).
And what do I mean by "reverse" training?
Well, put simply, what I mean is to literally "reverse" an exercise - and perform it for repetitions in good form. For instance, take the regular pushup, and do it in reverse - as in, get on your back and push yourself up as opposed to chest touching the floor. And if you've never done these before - I'll bet you'll find this exercise a lot harder than the regular pushup - and you'll find it works a bunch of different muscles than the regular pushup does.
Form is paramount on this one, so make sure you do it correctly. This type of pushup is covered in Fast and Furious Fitness, along with instructions and photos on how to do it correctly - make sure you follow the instructions carefully before starting.
Another fantastic example of "reverse" training would be handstands, and handstand pushups - where you literally reverse the motion of a pull-up, and push yourself up and down while supporting your entire bodyweight on your hands. This one is tough enough for most folks to do - so you don't hear much about it - but work this exercise on a regular basis, and you won't believe the upper body gains you make within a short period!
I cover the basic handstand (and handstand pushup) in Fast and Furious Fitness. Bear in mind that there are way more advanced variations than what I show in the book - but also bear in mind that most folks (including those than can lift heavy weights in the gym) would struggle to knock off 10 basic handstand pushups in good form. Try it, and you'll see.
You'll also likely find that your results and performance on the regular exercises you do sky rockets after you work the "reverse" exercises into your routine. I've often found that my pushups improve dramatically after doing a set of reverse pushups right after a set of regular pushups - that's a powerful tip right there - and there are many other examples I could state.
And lest you think this applies only to upper body exercises, think again, my friend. This applies equally to ALL exercises - upper, lower, or core - more details to follow later.
Anyway, think about it the next time you hit a sticking point - it might just be what the doctor ordered. Give it a try, and let me know how it works for you!
I can recall more than a few instances where I've had to cancel my scheduled workout - either cancel it, or abruptly terminate it due to pressing reasons. Now I'm not saying I enjoy this, but hey, thats life - things that are out of our control happen sometimes, and there's not much we can do about it.
And it happens to all of us - and to the best of us as well. I'm sure even the most determined and disciplined amongst us will recall a time when we just HAD to skip our scheduled workouts - even if we didn't want to - just because we were in a situation that demanded it.
Now, does being in such a situation mean you can't get your exercise in for the day? Well, not really - not if your determined enough - you might not be able to get your full routine in, but there's always ways to fit in mini-workouts that are pretty demanding in and of themselves, and that will give you pretty good results if done regularly.
And what do I mean by mini-workouts?
Well, I mean ultra short, intense workouts - so short that you may not even want to classify them as workouts - more like BURSTS of energy. These "workouts" may not last more than a minute at a time, and whats better, you don't need to schedule a time for them either - you just fit them in as and when you can during the course of your day.
I often don't have time these days to complete my entire routine (and as I posted earlier, I don't even have access to a chinning bar at this point in time, so I'm unable to practice one of my all time favorite exercises as well) - so I improvise during the course of my day. I'm currently living on the fourth floor of a building, and in my case, improvisation equates to taking the stairs EACH time I enter my front door. This means I'm either running, or climbing the stairs at a brisk pace at least four to five times DAILY - more than a lot of times if I'm going out a lot.
Sure - I could take the elevator - and folks stare at me in a strange manner when I'm sprinting up the stairs in full formal attire (on my lunch break!) - but it's worth it - I get a fantastic little mini-workout in that makes me feel good for hours afterward. And whats more, this sort of things burns a ton of calories as well, so your getting in that "cardio" your doctor is always talking about.
I did a similar thing a few years back when I used to take the subway to work - I used to make it a point to sprint the stairs up to ground level (or those from the ground level to higher levels - this subway was above ground in parts) EACH time I took the subway. I did this on my rest days (when I didn't exercise in the morning) and I did them on the days when I did exercise - and I did them on the way back from work as well. And in ALL cases, these little mini-workouts recharged my batteries for the next couple of hours. Thats like 1 minute of exercise, maybe 2 at most vs a couple of hours of "feel good" later. Now I don't know about you, but that sounds like a pretty decent trade-off to me!
So that's one example - my example. And just so you know, climbing stairs is a fantastic exercise - second only to climbing HILLS on a regular basis - which I classify as one of my #1 workouts that I've ever done. The health benefits you receive from this type of exercise are second to NONE - and you'll soon see what I mean if you incorporate something similar into your routine.
And stair climbing, although a great exercise, is by no means the only thing you can do to fit in a mini-workout during the course of your day. You can pump out a set of 20 pushups whenever you have time, or you could offer to help your neighbor move the heavy stuff into his van on moving day (and I've done this sort of thing before - more in a later post!). You can do burpees, or you can simply walk down to the nearby store instead of plonking your rear end down on the car seat. It's really all up to YOU - but when there's a will, there's always a way!
So, that's the mini-workout concept. Give it a shot, and let me know how it goes for you!
PS: There are many, many simple exercises that you can do for a mini-workout - for more, read Fast and Furious Fitness. I can't guarantee there'll be no stares, but I CAN guarantee great results if practiced regularly!
PS#2: To those that are training this weekend - make it an AWESOME one!
Today's post is going to address callus formation - something which every serious trainee experiences at some point in their training career - be it bodyweight training, weight training, bodybuilding, racket sports, or any other similar endavor which requires repetitive gripping or pulling movements.
Bodyweight exercise enthusiasts, pull-up maniacs and most sportsmen are NO stranger to calluses - in fact, the only competitive sport that I can think of that doesn't involve calluses is swimming. Some folks try to avoid getting calluses while others wear them proudly as a "badge of honor" - the thought basically being, the more committed one is to their activity or sport of choice, the more callused the hands get.
As for me, I sport plenty of calluses on my hands. As a matter of fact, one of them split right open while I was performing my pull-ups today - OUCH! Now thats something that's painful - I had to adjust my grip to be even able to complete my workout. My own fault for tugging away at it though, so the split wasn't entirely unexpected.
So, what do I think of calluses? Do I try and avoid them? Do I wear gloves to minimize wear and tear on my hands? How do I deal with the pain while doing my exercises?
Well, first off, I believe that calluses are an inevitable, if sometimes unwanted by-product of serious strength training. It's virtually impossible to do thick bar pull-ups, finger pull-ups, and any other pulling movement without developing calluses. And I do NOT believe in using gloves or other "aids" while pulling - I believe they take away from the overall exercise. Second, although they can be REALLY painful, I don't try to avoid getting them - pretty much because it's impossible to do so while training hard.
Why, you may ask? Well, it's hard to explain - but "feeling" the bar in your hands is of paramount importance if your aim is to succeed at pulling yourself up on that bar. You need to feel each square inch of your palms fiercely gripping the bar - until your fingers literally peel off - and you need to "feel" your strength transfer over from your back muscles to your hand muscles to complete the pull. All this, in my opinion, cannot be done with gloves. I realize there are people that wear gloves and seem to do well enough - but in my opinion, gloves are NOT the ideal pulling companion.
As for the pain, well, I try and not grip directly over the callus if I've got one that really hurts me. For instance, I completed my pull-up session today by gripping more with the fingers than the entire hand (on the left hand - and note that I'm NOT talking about "thumbless" pull-ups). You can also apply antiseptic cream or other potions to the calls after your session. But at the end of the day, it's going to hurt a little no matter what - my advice would be to work through it the best you can. And though that sounds masochistic to a degree, it really ain't once you really start to "get into" your routine - you'll automatically work through the pain without even realizing it if your committed enough.
Also, remember that it's always harder training with equipment outdoors than it is doing your exercises indoors. By that I mean that I'd be less likely to develop painful calluses by doing pull-ups on a chinning bar as opposed to a thick, rugged iron beam out in the park (with numerous contusions and abrasions on the surface). But then, you also develop a much stronger grip, "lasting" power (no sniggers, please!) and a higher level of mind-muscle connection by doing the exercise in a tougher manner. No pain, no gain - as they say - but it's entirely up to you. You CAN still train indoors and make great gains - you just have to go about it the right way.
And last, but not least, remember that this advice is just as applicable to your ladies out there as it is men - at least looking at it from the point of success in your training it is!
Keep pulling like you mean it,
PS: Training indoors is a fantastic option for most of us, but you have to know how to do it the right way to get proper results. Fast and Furious Fitness shows you that way: - http://rahulmookerjee.com/index.php/articles/83-fast-and-furious-fitness-the-book
Ever thought of getting in a complete workout from head to toe without a single piece of equipment (that includes even basic stuff like a jump rope, chinning bar etc)?
Have you ever wished that there was an exercise you could do day in and day out to give you a fabulous workout, 365 days a year, regardless of the weather outside?
Looking for an "all in one" exercise that hits the core and upper body like a Mack truck?
If your the average person, I'll bet you've answered "Yes" to at least one of these questions.
Now, the question stands - WHAT is this one single exercise that will get me in great shape regardless of external conditions? WHAT is this one "magic" exercise that I'm talking about that can be done virtually anywhere?
It's not sprints, although those will get your butt in great, great shape. It isn't jumping rope, and it isn't doing pull-ups - although both these exercises SHOULD be a part of your routine. And it sure as heck ain't "long distance running" either.
So, what is it, you ask.
Well, the answer is simple - it's nothing but the good old pushups. Yes, you heard that right - pushups can be, and ARE a complete workout unto themselves. This is a tough one for most people to accept, and yet, strange as it might sound to most folks, pushups tax every part of your body from head to toe, and ensure you get a fantastic workout in for the day.
Don't believe me? Well, I did 200 pushups as my mainstay today. And while I'm not going to bore you with the gory details, let's take a look at the exercises I did on the last 50: -
30 handstand pushups (in sets)
20 "arms extended" pushups (in sets of 10)
By themselves, these two exercises can give you a COMPLETE upper body and core workout - if you know how to do them correctly. Form is paramount - for good form on these, see Fast and Furious Fitness - and YES, it will take you time to get good at the exercises, but the fact remains that you could do these two exercises on a daily basis, and not have to do much else for the upper body and core.
Ok, so what about the lower body? Well, the "arms extended" pushups DO tax the lower body - but if your not satisfied, try on some "table" pushups for size, and then tell me how your thighs and hamstrings feel. Looking to blast the forearms some more? How about fingertip pushups? The list goes on and on - there is not a single body part except maybe the neck that pushups (done correctly) don't hit.
Now, am I saying that you shouldn't do anything else other than pushups? NOT at all - on the contrary, I highly recommend you mix things up once in a while, and work on pull-ups and other exercises along with your pushups. For instance, I myself did 500 rope jumps and a back bridge along with my pushup routine today. The point I'm trying to make is that pushups are an exercise that leave you with NO excuse not to get a good workout in - irrespective of other factors. And in today's world, where most procrastinate on end when it comes to exercise, this can only be a good thing.
So, my friend, have you done your pushups for the day? if not - it would be a great idea to get them in NOW - NO excuses allowed!
All for now - back soon with more!
PS: For those of you that have a copy of Fast and Furious Fitness, I've been preaching to the choir on this one. For those of you that don't, push on over HERE to grab your copy pronto.
I've often spoken about fingertip pushups as being one of the very best exercises that you can do. In addition to being a great finger, wrist and forearm builder, the fingertip pushup also develops the much ignored (and yet, equally, if not more important than the actual muscles) ligaments and tendons of the fingers. The exercise was a favorite for many an old timer, and you'll still find it being used extensively by boxers, wrestlers, and the like.
But, while it goes without saying that the fingertip pushup is something you need to work upon, here is something I haven't discussed before - and that is to concentrate deeply on your fingers while doing the actual pushup - perhaps even more so than while doing regular (or other) pushups.
Now, concentration is important in ANY form of exercise - you need to focus on each rep and perform it as if it was the last rep of that exercise you'd ever get to do. Again, this goes true for any exercise, be it sprints, pull-ups, lifting weights, yoga, whatever. So why am I telling you to focus more while doing the fingertip pushups?
Well, I started my workout off yesterday by doing a light set of fingertip pushups. Eased into my regular pushup workout that way, and all was going well. I was feeling strong on the day, so attempted a set of 20 fingertip pushups after doing 110 other styles. And they went fine - until rep #17 - when I felt my right thumb suddenly "slide" forward in front of my palm, and take my entire bodyweight on it as it did so.
OUCH! Now, THAT is something that hurts - those of you that have experienced thumb injuries of this type before know what I'm talking about. I couldn't even move the limb for a few minutes after that. Sensation gradually returned, and I somehow finished off the rest of my routine, but not without experiencing some serious discomfort in my right thumb.
Now, it's not as if I never do fingertip pushups. It's not as if they are something new to me - they're not. But yet, I managed to injure myself doing something I do most of the time. And the reason behind that was that I perhaps lost focus just a little bit while doing the pushups.
ALWAYS remember that while fingertip pushups strengthen your entire forearm from finger to elbow without belief, they also place tremendous stress on the fingers and supporting joints. And unlike with regular pushups where your large chest muscles start "talking" to you when the reps get tougher and tougher, your fingers generally won't give you any such advance warning - so you have to pay extra attention to them. You DO need to push your limits, as with any other exercise, but you need to do so with extra caution.
Second, it is important to note that fingertip pushups are meant to be done with ALL fingers - at least until you get really good at them. You'll see most people unknowingly shifting focus to both the thumbs as they tire - and this is something you do NOT want. This greatly increases the risk of thumb injury; and thumb injuries can get real serious, and take a long time to heal, so you want to be extra careful on this one.
Again, note that you can attempt to perform the fingertip pushup with three - or maybe even two - fingers once you get real good at the movement (in fact that should be one of your goals), but start out with extreme caution. Finger (and especially thumb) injuries are nasty, and take a long, long time to heal sometimes - so avoid them.
Anyway, I soaked the thumb in warm water and salt yesterday, applied a lot of "magic" spray, and the finger's much better today. The fact that I perform finger exercises probably aided in recovery, but even so, I took an unscheduled break from all upper body exercises today. Want to make sure this heals up for the most part before I place more stress on it, and going by the evidence on offer, I seem to be on track for a great workout tomorrow!
And thats that for the day. If you workout today, make it a great one!
PS: For more powerful wrist and forearm builders, take a gander at some of the other exercises I mention in Fast and Furious Fitness.
One of my goals for this year is to do 500 pushups a day as part of my daily routine. More specifically, my goal is to BUILD myself up to the point where I can do that many a day, and still do other things without feeling completely winded. Sort of like my 1500 jumps a day goal, which was significantly easier to achieve (for me) - and no, I don't do that many on a daily basis now - but is sure is a nice feeling to know I CAN do that many if I want or need to.
Now, I CAN do 500 pushups if I want to even now - I wrote a bit about that here: - http://rahulmookerjee.com/index.php/blog/item/47-500-pushups-a-day. But I'm bushed after that and barring a few core exercises (a FEW), I'm not going to be doing much more - and truth be told, I wouldn't NEED to do much more after doing that many pushups in one workout. But, goals are goals, and it's always fun to set TOUGH goals - as accomplishing a real toughie makes the effort required to accomplish that goal more than worthwhile.
For those of you that are wondering, I made the pushup goal a month or so ago - it was NOT a "New Year resolution". Don't believe much in those anyway, those type of resolutions seem to be the first to fall by the wayside as soon as the festive season ends.
Anyway, I'm working on getting there, and things seem to be going good so far. I'm pumping out an average of 300 pushups daily at this point (in one workout) - give or take a few. So I could do 297 today (my numbers for today) and hit 320 tomorrow, and an even 300 the next day and so forth. After this I'll usually work on some bridging, rope jumping, core exercises, handstand pushups and pull-ups - but thats AFTER my pushups.
Some of the things that I've noticed after incorporating these many pushups in my regimen are: -
- My breathing has improved vastly - sinuses, blocked noses and the like are very much a thing of the PAST. And this is due to the deep breathing that accompanies a pushup workout.
- Vastly improved core strength and digestion - I'm not doing as many core exercises as I did before, but am still getting a better core workout.
- Improvement in pull-up numbers (sounds strange, huh?)
- Improved wrist and forearm strength, without doing a single direct grip exercise
And those are just a few - it proves a point that I make repeatedly - that pushups are an OVERALL body exercises that build strength and conditioning throughout the ENTIRE body.
Now, am I saying pushups are all you need to do? Not at all - you still need to include core movements and pulling movements into your workout (and don't forget about working the legs!) - but if your just starting out, you might find it quite hard to do anything else after a 100 or so pushups.
And last, but not least, I feel way more alive throughout the entire day after doing a lot of pushups. Not sure why - I believe the deep breathing purifies the lungs while also working the muscles of the diaphragm, chest and rib cage at the same time - which leads to automatically breathing deeper through the entire day, and a feeling of increased clarity and awareness. I'm not sure how else to explain it - the best way to experience it would be to do the pushups yourself, and then see how you feel!
Anyhow, thats a goal I thought I'd share with you. Will keep you posted on my progress!
PS: Rome wasn't built in a day, and neither will you do 500 pushups in a day without working up to it. But, work up to it you CAN - and Fast and Furious Fitness will show you just how.
Did you know that the good ole' pushup can offer you a core workout that is almost unparalleled in intensity?
If your like most folks, it's a good bet that you don't generally think of pushups as a "all in one" core workout. Sure, people know that pushups work the upper abdominal region as well - but what most people really believe is that pushups are a good workout for the chest and arms - and not "much else". Tell someone that he can get a fantastic core workout in with pushups, and pushups alone, and he'll likely look at your as if you were nuts.
And given the general knowledge that people have about pushups, proper form while doing them, and what type of pushup to do - tis understandable, but pushups are SO much more than a chest and arm workout that it's not even funny. Sure, you work your arms and chest well during the movement - but to label the pushup (or to think of it as) as a pure "chest builder" would be to do it a gross disservice. Pushups work the entire body as a unit - especially the core - and some types of pushups can rightly be termed as "pure core movements".
Remember that when I'm talking about core training, I'm not just referring to the "abs". I'm NOT referring to the six muscles at the front of your stomach - I'm talking about hips, lower back, entire abdominal region, butt, thighs and hamstrings - all of which make up your core. Do a pushup - a simple, regular pushup in proper form and under control - and you'll quickly see that pushups are so much more than just an arm and chest builder.
And while the regular pushup does a super job of training the core, there are some variations that go way beyond where the regular pushup ends. For one, we have the "table" pushup where you position yourself on your hands and feet as if you were a table - hold - and repeat for reps. This variation is hell on the core, and is enough to pulverize even advanced athletes - but form is of utmost importance. Do this one in right form and for the right number of reps, and you'll quickly discover what I'm talking about when I say some pushups can be termed as "pure core movements".
Another one is the "extended pushup". This baby is a killer exercise - I'm yet to meet someone that can bang off 25 perfect reps in this one. You do these with your arms out in front of you, and while you may think that arm strength is the key to success in this one - it's NOT. You push up and down with core strength; and you build super core strength from this one movement alone. Do it with proper form, and you'll see what I'm talking about.
That's two that I just mentioned; but there are plenty of other such variations as well that I mention in Fast and Furious Fitness. I included these in my daily routine today - and believe you me, my core was shaking like an earthquake hit it after a few good sets. And you may be surprised to hear that each set did not take more than a minute or so to complete - 10-15 minutes of core torture in all, but that was plenty.
If your just starting out, I don't recommend doing them until you get good at the regular pushup as they are far more advanced and thus much tougher to do - but once you get good at doing regular pushups, work into the advanced movements as well.
So, what are you waiting for? Incorporate a few "core pushups" into your daily exercise routine, and watch (and FEEL) your core change before your eyes!
PS: Always remember that form is of paramount importance. Do NOT attempt either one of the exercise above until and unless you learn correct form, or you run the risk of getting injured. I detail proper form for these (and other types of pushups) in Fast and Furious Fitness - grab a copy NOW, and you'll be on the road to a strong, healthy, and conditioned core in no time at all!
I wrote a a bit about grip training and it's importance the other day. That post recieved quite a number of hits, so today, I thought I'd write a bit more about it - only, we won't be talking "directly" about grip training, rather, we'll be talking about how to get better at doing pull-ups. How does this relate to grip training? Well, you'll see - and I'm not referring to the usual "get a strong grip and you'll automatically get better at pull-ups" (though that is a very valid point as well).
But no. Today, we'll talk about an often ignored "link" while doing pull-ups - a hidden "key", if you would, that if applied correctly, will literally help you rocket past personal bests in pull-ups and other pulling movements in no time at all.
And this link that I'm referring to is nothing other than the "strength connection" between your hands, and your brain. This may sound strange to you at first, but hear me out first - the next time you do pull-ups, or lift a heavy weight, or do any pulling movement - focus on your HANDS, and your GRIP - and you'll find the exercise automatically becomes a bit, if not quite a bit, easier. REALLY focus on the bar your holding, or the feel of the weight in your hands - and see what a difference that makes.
I'll bet it's massive - and while I'm not sure how to explain it to you in scientific terms, I know that this is a FACT. Your fingers and hands are one of the areas of your body most jampacked with nerve endings and neurons "talking" to the brain, and when you focus on your hands - the brain automatically forces your muscles (and your body) to focus that much more on the lifting exercise - and boom - it becomes that much "easier".
And for those of you that believe in traditional Chinese massage and acupressure points - you'll know what I'm saying when I'm talking about tons of nerve endings in the hands reporting back to the brain. Sure, they exist in the feet as well - but we don't use our feet to lift too many objects. . .
Ok, so are you still with me? Still trying to figure out what all this hocus pocus about the hand-brain connection and Chinese acupressure has got to do with anything? Well, my friend, it does - and that brings me to today's tip - when doing pull-ups, or ANY pulling exercise - REALLY, REALLY focus on the grip. And the way to do that is to squeeze the living heck out of the bar your using - literally.
I do my pull-ups on a thick iron bar out in the park, so it's physically impossible for me to "squeeze" this sucker - yet, I try my best every time I do any pulling exercise on it. I really SQUEEZE the bar - until my fingers start screaming, and I STAY that way during the entire set. And guess what - this ONE simple detail has allowed me to make more progress in my pull-ups than anything else has.
This is one of those things that is easy to ignore - it's easy to simply hold on to the bar without really squeezing it - so make sure you keep this in mind while doing your pulling exercises. And if at all possible, do them on the thickest bars you can find - in addition to building fingers of rebar and a Tarzan like grip, you'll also build solid mental strength. Not easy to hang on to a thick bar and squeeze it for all your worth at the end of a tough workout - believe me on that one!
So thats today's tip - SQUEEZE the bar, and watch yourself progress faster that you ever have on your pulling movements!
PS: I cover this, and many other valuable tips that you do NOT want to miss in Fast and Furious Fitness - grab a copy NOW.