Most people aren't entirely clear on what exactly isometric exercises entail. And that's understandable, as they are rarely discussed or talked about in the "muscle media" these days. Let's take leg training as an example: - I mean, how often have you seen a personal trainer advocating exercises where you stay in a certain position and don't move, as opposed to doing an "accepted" exercise such as the "leg extension" (which is actually an awful exercise in my opinion)?
Briefly then, isometric exercises are those in which you hold your body in a certain disadvantaged position, and hold for time. They also encompass exercises wherein you push or pull against an immovable object, thereby building a type of strength in the muscles, ligaments, joints and tendons that you wouldn't while doing other exercises.
Isometrics can be a great way to develop one's strength and endurance in certain positions. Done correctly, isometric exercises can also help strengthen muscles that are weak to "get them up to speed" for other exercises.An oldie, but goodie, is holdiing the "chair" position against a wall. This one is simple - simply find a wall, line your back up against it, and then "sit" down such that you are forming a "chair" with the wall - and hold for time. Sounds simple enough to do? Not advanced enough? Well, I have this to say - TRY it before you knock it! Most folks canot do more than 10 seconds of this exercise - and remember there are far more advanced variations as well.
So, should you include isometric exercises in your program? Most definitely. However, I don't believe they should be the cornerstone of your program - nor should they be the "base" upon which you build.
There are many reasons behind this, but the #1 reason is that isometrics do not lend themselves well to "cardiovascular" training. Most of the exercises I advocate (and DO) ensure that you get a kick-butt strength-cum-cardio workout in very little time - but isometrics, due to the nature of the exercises don't quite fit the bill. Do them, and you'll see why I'm saying this.
As for me, I personally do not a LOT of isometric holds in my own training, but I'll include them sometimes just for a change. I'll do them sometimes at the end of my workout, or mix it up a bit and include some isometric holds in the middle of my workout (for a "rest"). And it works great for me.
So, bottom line - include isometric exercises into your routine, but don't rely solely upon them. Mix them into your routine wisely, and you'llstrengthen your muscles in a whole different manner altogether.
PS #1: You really should check out Fast and Furious Fitness if isometric training is something that interests you.
PS #2: We're going to have an online payment facility up on the site VERY SOON wherein you can order your product online and pay via credit card - stay tuned for this!
If your like most people, you probably think this one is not doable.
Most people have been conditioned to believe that any effective routine has to be somewhat long; for most people, this usually equates to an hour or more (and I'm not even talking about time spent driving to the gym, changing into workout clothes, et al). I have a hard enough time convincing folks that you CAN get a super workout in 15 minutes, 20 minutes at most.
And now, I'm talking about 5 minutes. That's right, everyone has five minutes to spare - and the margin for excuses just got way slimmer (no pun intended). Think about it - how hard is it to simply devote five minutes of your day to an activity that will more than justify the time spent on it?
FIVE minutes out of your daily routine is what you need to spare - and YES, you WILL improve your fitness in that period!
One of the keys to "5 minute fitness" is jumping rope. Jumping rope has been around for ages, but has inexplicably fallen out of favor with most people these days. This is bad news, as jumping rope is one of the most effective overall body workouts you can get. Your legs get a great workout from the constant jumping, and you chisel fat off your body with every jump. You also build solid, useful muscle all over your body - not to mention the deep breathing, which energizes your entire system. In fact, I did a very brief 15 minute routine today - which included rope jumps amongst other things, and I had nothing left by the end of it. And I feel absolutely GREAT now!
I cover rope jumping in Fast and Furious Fitness. Simply jumping rope on a regular basis is enough to transform you into a lean, fat burning machine, so incorporate it into your routine if you have not done so already.
Don't believe me? Try jumping rope for five minutes straight, and then tell me how you feel. I'll bet you feel a whole lot better - and if your a beginner, TWO minutes of continous jumping is likely all that you need before you can't go any further. Either way, you'll benefit tremendously from this one exercise alone.
PS: Jump on over HERE to grab your copy of Fast and Furious Fitness.
Regular readers of this blog will know that I suffered a nasty injury to my calf (and lower back) a week or so ago, mostly due to my own negligence. For those of you that missed it, visit this page and look for the "Listen to your body" post. This is a perfect example of me not doing the smart thing, and basically paying the price for it.
Anyway, took a week off my sprint training (and almost all other leg related training) due to this injury. Figured I'd give it at least a week to heal, so I can come back stronger. So, did that, about a week's passed, and the pain's abated to a great degree, so I thought I'd start to ease back into my sprint routine. Remember, I love training my legs - and sprints are one of my personal favorites, so you can imagine how frustrating it is for me to just have to sit back and not be able to even run, let alone sprint.
So, made it over to the park again this morning, and started to warm up in readiness for the sprint. Did a few "trial" runs, they didn't feel right though. Uh-oh, not good. . .Did my first "medium pace" sprint, and the calf started to complain again. Uh-oh, here we go again. . .Only this time, I'm a wiser person. I'm definitely NOT going to ignore my body's signals while "coming back" - so did a few brisk walks around the park instead (which I can do without any pain) and then did some other upper body exercises before calling it a day.
And that's what you need to do as well, when returning from injury (or if you're just starting out, or haven't exercised in ages). Listen to your body, and understand what it's telling you. It can be frustrating "sitting on the sidelines" not being able to do what you'd like, but as you can see from my experience, the consequences of ignoring your body's signals altogether aren't too pleasant.
You also need to judge your body's signals accurately. Not waking up on a cold morning to go running simply because "you cannot" is laziness despite what your body is telling you, but not running because of a genuine injury is reasonable and sensible, and you need to heed your body's advice on that one. Always remember that though your body's always telling you something, YOU are the ultimate judge here - and it is YOU that decides how to act upon those signals.
Do so wisely, and you'll ensure that you stay on the right track!
PS: Fast and Furious Fitness offers you many routines that will help you stay on track as far as your fitness is concerned.
Woke up around 9AM on a cold Saturday morning. Drank some green tea, and proceeded to get my workout in. 40 minutes later, I was exhausted and soaked in sweat - despite it being a COLD day - and I'm STILL feeling the effects of the workout a few hours later.
My exercise routine was "longer" than it normally is - that is, if you can call a 40 minute workout (with a bit of a break in between) "long". But remember, this was my TOTAL workout time - including warmups, and I had worked my ENTIRE body by the end of it. And today's Saturday, which means a rest day tomorrow (Sunday) and therefore an extra solid workout today.
I did the first 20 minute routine at home, and hammered my chest, arms and back pretty well (the core and the legs were taxed as well). The second one was done at the local park. This was more of a back, core and grip workout - by the end of it I could barely clench my forearms to make a fist, and I'm STILL feeling the effects while typing this a few hours later.
And the fantastic part about all this is that I got a good cardiovascular workout in as well. Not quite as good as if I'd have been sprinting (that one's still out for me as I haven't recovered from my injury fully), but still a decent cardiovascular workout. And this is of paramount importance. Remember, your heart and internal organs are just as important, if not MORE important than your "strength", so work both equally hard and preferably together.
Now I'm at home, preparing to "make a run" to the post office to ship a couple of copies of Fast and Furious Fitness out - yes, I'm handling that part of the business personally for now. Life's good - especially more so when you add in regular hard workouts!
Enough for now. This email contains two, nay, several important tips - see if you can find them.
Many people have asked me if I go to the gym due to my "broad shoulders". A common question folks will ask me is "Do you lift weights?". Or, it might go something like "Hey, I bet you spend quite a bit of time in the gym, and so do I". And so forth.
My answer is always the same - NO, I don't go to the gym. No, I don't have any "fancy" routines I follow. No, I don't sweat what I eat - I just make sure I'm eating right most of the time, and the rest takes care of itself. Somehow I suspect this answer is not what people want me to tell them (at least not those that are obsessed with the gym), but there it is. It's the honest to God truth, and it works for me, so thats what I tell them.
Anyway, on the topic of broad shoulders. There are exercises that will develop the proverbial "shoulders like boulders", shoulders that will look damn strong, and that are every bit as strong as they like. And handstand pushups are one of those exercises.
You can get a great workout by incorporating these into your routine. These will develop your shoulders like never before, and your pushing power will shoot through the roof once you get good at these. And cardio? Done in sets, handstands pushups and their variations will leave you covered in sweat and gasping for breath. Even if you DID want to do some cardio, chances are you'll be too wiped out - and in a good way - to do anything else. That was the case with me as well this moring; as you know, I'm recovering from a nasty leg injury, so doing anything stressful for the legs is definitely out for the moment (which would probably mean no cardio for most folks) - but the pushup workout I did this morning took care of "cardio", and more.
I cover handstands and handstand pushups, along with a host of other exercises in Fast and Furious Fitness. Grab your copy now, and start incorporating the handstand into your routine as soon as you can. If you do so, chances are that pretty soon, you too will have folks coming up to you asking if you go to the gym.
So what are you waiting for? Don't be the curious onlooker that spends hours in the gym doing "lateral raises", and all sorts of other exercises that really don't compare to this one. Grab your copy of Fast and Furious Fitness NOW, and watch how a whole new world of physical gain opens up in front of you.
P.S: Don't forget to sign up for my daily newsletters in case you haven't already!
P.S#2: Here is the link to Fast and Furious Fitness again - follow the routines in the book, and you'll soon have the local "muscleheads" coming up to you asking you much the same thing as they do me.
If you read my last post, you know that I'm currently recovering from an over-eager training session (or to be honest, a brainless training session given what I know about training). My body gave me all the right signals, yet I responded to them WRONGLY - and boy, did I pay for it over the last couple of days.
But,that's life for ya. Things happen - we err, I'm human, after all. So I'm just starting to get back into the swing of things - slowly, and with utmost cautiousness. Didn't do an intense workout today, in fact didn't do anything resembling an intense workout, but did a few stretches, low reps of a few exercises, and that was it. Just getting my body back "into the groove", and doing what I can (or should be doing) for the moment.And I can always build (back up) from there.
And that's one of the keys to success that I refer to repeatedly in Fast and Furious Fitness - doing what you can, and building from there. This applies to everyone, and to most situations, regardless of whether you are starting out, resuming exercise after a "long layoff", or coming back from injury (as I am) - it doesn't matter. Do what you CAN - even if that's just a little bit - and build from there. Do something, and that something will soon become more substantial.
And one last word of caution: If you are returning from injury, be especially cautious getting back into your normal routine. Make sure you are properly healed before resuming exercising, and make sure you start off at a level slightly below what you were when you left off. Don't be fooled into thinking that this will drop you down a level or two - on the contrary, you will regain lost ground very quickly, and it will ensure that your body is ready for further rigors in whatever workout it is that you are doing.
Okay, thats the tip for the day for today. If you are working out today, work out hard - and with common sense - and make it a great one!
I've spoken a lot about discipline, and sticking to one's workouts in my Fast and Furious Fitness book. However, there are times when you need to listen to your own body, and today was definitely one of them.
If you've read the blog post from yesterday, you know that I went through a hard, hard workout yesterday morning. Felt great afterwards, and was planning on doing something different today. Decided to a get a hard sprint workout in instead of an indoor routine, so off I went. There was this little voice in the back of my head telling me "Rahul, it's not smart to do super tough workouts DAILY", but of course I ignored it and headed straight on to the local park.
Started my sprints, and the first thing I know is that my lower back feels all wonky and strange after the first "all out" sprint. Now just so you know, I may be hurting and sore in other areas from my workouts, but my lower back is usually NEVER sore - I make it a point to follow strict form in my exercises, and also make sure I work my core regularly with some of the exercises found in Fast and Furious Fitness. So this should have been a red light to me; that something was WRONG, and I needed to stop.
And being the blockhead that I can be at times, I ignored it. I massaged the area a bit, and ran the second spring. Felt OK, so I went on to a tougher incline, and started my sprint there. Before I was even starting to hit full velocity, I felt a sharp "ping" in my left calf muscle, accompanied by a stabbing pain.
OUCH - now THAT got my attention. Stopped the sprints right there and then, and started to walk back home - and even that felt like a chore. My lower back was screaming by now, and I could barely straighten my leg. Tried doing some dips and pull-ups, but that didn't work out too well (as you can imagine), so threw in the towel, called it a day, and headed back home. Was admonished soundly by my wife for not listening to my body, despite my advice to others - boy, that one hurt, but I deserved it. I would likely not have been in pain as bad as this if I had stopped after my first sprint (when my body first started to talk to me), but that's no longer an option.
Just goes to show that I'm no different from you guys in that I need a good "kick up the kiester" once in a while, just to make sure I follow my own advice and do the right thing for my body. And this morning served as a stark reminder to this.
Anyway, got the lower back and calf massaged with hot mustard oil (one of those "traditional" recipes for aches and pains), and will use magic spray as well. I think it's safe to say I'll be out of action tomorrow for sure. Was planning on doing some hard pull-up workouts tomorrow, but I'll certainly be asking my body before I do so. . .
So, moral of the story - listen to your body. It's always trying to tell you something, and it's not smart to ignore what its saying.
Back tomorrow again.
PS: If your looking for a REAL tough workout routine such as the one I followed yesterday, you can find it here in Fast and Furious Fitness.
This morning, I followed one of my workout routines that I outline in Fast and Furious Fitness. This was a super tough workout - I was hammered by the end of it, and it took only 40 minutes from start to finish. And this was including warm-ups. The best part about it is that it required virtually no equipment to get done, except for a jump rope. By the time I was done, I had literally nothing left to give - and had hit my entire body hard with the exercise routine.
The workout included jumping rope, pushups, and a few other things - certainly not complicated by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, you can take any ONE of the above exercises (and I've just mentioned two in this post) and weave an entire workout around them, if you know how to do so. And in case your wondering, YES, these "simple" exercises are tough, and will hit your body in ways you've never hit them before with traditional exercise routines. I could barely lift up my shoulders to put on my shirt after I was done, and I've been doing these exercises regularly.
After the workout, I sat down to a nutritious breakfast, and then proceeded with the rest of my day in fine spirits. Thats how it should be - start your day with a good workout, then a healthy post-workout meal, and you're all set for the rest of your day.
Note also that you do not need to complete a 40 minute workout daily in order to get results. In fact, you could take my workout that I did today, and break it down into three (approximately) 15 minute sessions, and do those on seperate days, and you'll still get a great workout in.
That's what I really love about Fast and Furious Fitness. Requires a bare minimum of equipment, if at all, and produces results - QUICKLY! So reserve your copy of the book pronto - you won't regret it.
All for now.
PS: Here is that link again: Fast and Furious Fitness
Moseyed on to the local park this morning, and got a fantastic workout in. I was pressed for time, so I did one of my simplest, and shortest workout routines. The entire workout lasted 20 minutes at most, and this was including rest periods. And believe you me, I worked up a pretty darn good sweat while I was at it - and it's winter right now.
And get this - I did only TWO exercises. That's correct, just TWO exercises, and simple ones requiring NO equipment. And they left me hammered in 20 minutes flat. I did do some other stuff after that just to test myself, but as expected, I did not do as well on those exercises - which was to be expected - the two "biggies" took everything I had and then somemore.
A brief recap of my workout this morning would look somewhat like this: -
- Short, yet effective workout
- 20 minutes total, and a lot of that is REST - and your hammered at the end of it.
- NO fancy exercises, and NO equipment required; just good old fashioned determination, and HARD work
- Strength plus cardiovascular workout - all in one!
And those are the type of routines I advocate. Exercises that are simple, yet more than get the job done - and that too in quick time, as opposed to the hour-long (or more) routines containing tons of exercises in each workout. . . Of course, you can choose either - but if I were you, I know which I'd choose! More later.
Until next time, take care - and if your working out today, make it a GREAT one!!
PS: Grab a copy of Fast and Furious Fitness here to see how you can get fit without spending the entire day exercising.
Started off in fine fettle with my sprints this morning. Did a 5 minute general warm up, then eased into the first sprint, and cranked things up from there. I finished that part of my workout in about 20 minutes, most of which was deep breathing and "recovering" from the sprint. I talk about sprints in great details in my "Fast and Furious Fitness" book, but for now, let's talk about deep breathing.
As you can well imagine, a set of hard sprints gets the heart pumping, and there are few (if any) exercises that require more deep breathing than sprints do. My own routine went like this: sprint, breathe in and out DEEPLY while recovering, and then back again. And getting the fresh air into my system felt GREAT - sort of like I had a "natural" drug pumped into my system, with only good side effects. By the end of my routine, I felt fantastic mentally and physically - sort of like I was floating on air - and this was after a set of hard sprints, which are supposed to exhaust you by the end of the workout. And I attribute all this to deep breathing - and with good reason. Breathe deeply, and you get fresh, lifegiving, OXYGEN into your system - which energizes and purifies your entire body. You feel more aware of your surroundings, and are able to perform that much better.
And in my particular case today, being that it's the middle of winter here, it felt that much better getting the cold, crisp air into my lungs and entire system while working up a healthy sweat.That's a "free" tip for you: when exercising outside in cold weather, concentrate even more on deep breathing, rather than trying to protect yourself from the cold (which is what most people end up concentrating upon), and you won't believe the natural high this gives you.
Most people forgot to concentrate on their breathing during their exercises - and this is one of the biggest mistakes you can make. ALWAYS concentrate on your breathing - and once you start doing so, you will be amazed at the benefits you reap from doing so.
Deep breathing is something else that I cover in my book Fast and Furious Fitness, along with a host of other important information that is a must for any serious trainee. Be sure to grab a copy.
Thats all for today. If you are working out today, make sure you breathe deeply while doing it!