Many years ago, a colleague grabbed my upper arm and said "your slim, but your arms are loose".
"Huh?", I responded, not knowing what he was talking about.
"When I used to play sports, my arms used to be TIGHT. Like THIS!", he responded, clenching his fist as hard as he could and trying to show off a non-existent bicep.
I didn't respond.
"But now I'm all flabby, flab coming out from here, there, everywhere", he rejoined.
Now, that sort of thing is a typical comment from someone whose never been fit - and couldn't be bothered to get fit - so the only thing he does is to make negative (and in most case meaningless) comments about those that ARE in good shape. I was (at that time) knocking out pull-ups in sets of 6, doing all sorts of variations, and he wasn't even able to do one without grabbing his pits in agony - that alone should tell ya something, haha.
Pull 'em down into the quagmire instead of get better at pulling yourself up on a pull-up bar seems to be the motto for these people, and being I'd already experienced many comments like that, I laughed silently and didn't respond. And soon, we moved on to other topics.
But negativity notwithstanding, this does expose a common myth amongst most people - that being, it's better to have tight "pumped up" and "showy" muscles at all times of the day and night. Apparently being loose and relaxed is not important - showing one's steroid pumped and tense muscles to the world is.
I often marvel at the stupidity of this myth, and how many people buy into it - but before I start tearing this myth apart, let's take a look at Nature first.
The grizzly bear is probably the most powerful animal on the planet pound for pound, but do we see it walking around showing off it's muscles? No, it's actually quite content to hide them beneath a layer of fur - but when it comes time to chase that rabbit downhill, or carry a moose uphill while running (that's right, while running), it does so effortlessly.
The big cats (tigers, leopards, panthers etc) are amongst the best and strongest hunters in the world, but do they have a sleek, relaxed look about them - or a maniacal crazed "pumped up" look?
You see how foolish this theory is - but it's not just about the look either.
Look, (no pun intended) your muscles weren't MEANT to stay tense and knotted up - they may get that way after working out, but they sure as heck weren't meant to STAY that way. Look at any of the old time strongmen - few people can hold a candle to them in terms of strength, and yet they had the smooth, powerful look that comes from training NATURALLY.
The kind of look that a wrestler's shoulders have.
The kind of look a swimmer's chest has.
And so forth.
Second, loose muscles are actually a lot easier to stretch and move around, reducing the chances of accidental (or otherwise) injury drastically. This is in stark contrast to the modern day bodybuilder who has to go through a 15 minute or more stretching routine just to limber up - in which time a Fast and Furious Fitness practitioner is done and dusted with his workout.
I generally dive straight into my workout after getting up in the morning - without a lengthy warm up - how many weightlifters and bodybuilders can say that?
And last, but certainly not least, if you still prefer the "beachboy" look after reading all this, well, "tain't" none of my business to be quite honest. Preen on as much as you would - I really don't mind. To each his own, is what I say.
And that, my friend, is that for today - back again later! If you train today, make it a super one!
P.S. : - I speak about Fast and Furious Fitness in this note - you can grab it right HERE: - http://rahulmookerjee.com/index.php/articles/83-fast-and-furious-fitness-the-book
P.S. #2:- My new course Shoulders like Boulders is going gangbusters - hurry up and see what the commotion is all about: - http://rahulmookerjee.com/index.php/products/87-shoulders-like-boulders
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
I'm sure you've heard the old saying "It's best to workout in the morning before breakfast". That saying loosely translates to "wake up early in the A.M., go for a run, or lift weights, or do bodyweight stuff - whatever your poison, imbibe it early in the morning - and THEN start your day".
Many athletes and professional sportsmen follow a similar sort of routine. For instance, a boxer will often do his roadwork early in the morning, waking up as early as 4A.M. or so to run, then eat, and then commence with the rest of this day (which of course is mostly occupied with exercise).
And many regular folks do just the same thing - and it works great for them.
But the question I'd like to address today is whether this dictum, passed down from the ages, is really the best fit as far as most regular (and by that I mean people who don't exercise/play sports/lift weights etc for a living) are concerned?
My answer would be - well, it depends.
First off, there's nothing at all wrong per se with most of these "golden nuggets" that have been passed down through the ages - most are backed up by sound logic, results and experience - and I have no beef with that at all.
But the thing is, in this case, the old saying neglected to take the modern way of life into account.
For instance, does a person working night shifts (which weren't all that common even 70 to 80 years ago but are now - you can thank the Internet and many other modern gadgets for that) really do better working out tired after working all night, or in the afternoon after a restful sleep?
Do folks that aren't "morning people" do that well exercising in the morning?
The answer to both of these, is either "probably not", or (and a better answer), "it all depends".
My own routine is probably not what is commonly touted as ideal - I usually wake up around 10AM these days, and get my workout done a bit after that.
I'm usually late to bed as well - it's not unusual at all to find me up working until 2, or even 3AM at times. And funny part is, it actually seems to work pretty well for me. And this isn't that uncommon at all, especially for folks with a variable work schedule, or that are self-employed.
I started my workout this morning at around noon, and finished around 1:30 - LONG workout by my standards, but also a satisfying one - and again, contrary to popular opinion, I had nothing to eat before that.
But, that type of thing has been working for me, and one can't argue with results.
So, my initial answer on this stands - it ALL DEPENDS. Don't get too hung up about WHEN you exercise - just make sure you DO it.
If that means going for a run at 3:30 A.M., then by all means do that.
If it means waking up at 6 to hit those 250 daily pushups hard, then go for it!
If it means climbing a hill at noon (which I've done before) because that's really the only time you have in the day, then steel yourself, and DO it.
So long as you make time to exercise, your body won't care - it will reward you for it anyway. And thats really the only thing you should keep in mind on this one.
And thats it for today - see you again soon! If you work out today - or tonight - make it an awesome one!!
PS: Fast and Furious routines can be completed at any time of the day - so don't let that be an excuse to put off what you really shouldn't be putting off any longer:- http://rahulmookerjee.com/index.php/articles/83-fast-and-furious-fitness-the-book
It is a well known fact that intense exercise for as little as FIFTEEN minutes a day has the potential to boost your productivity and energy levels for as much as 2 hours a day, if not more - and this couldn't be more true.
I know that when I workout, it's a take no prisoners workout come what may - rain, sleet, snow or hail (and I've actually gotten hill climbing workouts done in the rain as well - more on that another day though!). You'll see me sweating, puffing, and literally forcing myself through a tough workout - especially on a hot day, and while it's hard, hard work - the feeling I get at the end of an intense and tough workout just cannot be replicated (and this is regardless of the duration of the workout).
And what's more, at the end of it all, I feel buzzed, and ready to ZOOM through my day - and the tasks piled up on my plate just keep getting done without any apparent effort. I'm in the "zone" - and this without much mental effort to put myself into it.
So, given this fact it's a wonder more people don't make time to fit exercise into their daily routines. I mean, think about it - around 30 minutes of a daily HARD, take no prisoners routine, and you not only drop unwanted pounds, build muscle and improve your overall strength and fitness levels, but you also get increased productivity and OFF THE CHART energy levels THROUGHOUT the day - which in turn help you get tasks done quicker.
Now, I don't know about you, my friend, but I'll take that any day over a coffee boost (lasts for 15 minutes max), or a "snack" break (good to do once in a while, but again, the effect wears off fairly quickly). Whatever your "pick up of choice" might be, I'll bet it ain't nowhere near as effective as the natural HIGH you get from natural exercises done the right way, and that, my friend is a fact.
And whats amazing is you don't need to follow "conventional" wisdom to reap the benefits of said practice either.
For instance, I woke up at 11:30 AM today - not exactly early in the morning. Had a late night last night, so needed the rest. Woke up, brushed my teeth, and dove straight into some Fast and Furious routines interspersed with some tough cardio exercises (no equipment required on those BTW, not even a jump rope) - and finished off with 30 assorted pull-ups in the local park.
I was soaked in sweat by the time it was over. Had a late lunch, and got down to business around 4 or so. Took a short nap around 5'ish, woke up around 6 - and it's 8PM here at the moment - and I'm STILL FEELING ON TOP OF THE WORLD! Not to mention that I've got MOST of my tasks accomplished within 2 hours - as compared to the sloth like feeling I experience if I don't exercise, where it literally takes me hours to accomplish what feels like very little.
You'd think the natural endorphin rush would have worn off by now, but it clearly hasn't - and I'm sitting here writing to you, updating my sites, and doing other things as well - at a time where most people slip into their jammies and plop down in front of the "tube" to end the day.
And this experience isn't a one-off - it's the norm for me.
So, for those of you that are still dithering about starting to get back in shape, or perhaps find it hard to commit to a regular routine - or just plain don't want to start to exercise - well, all I can say is - you are MISSING OUT, big time!
So thats today's tip - let me know the RESULTS you achieve if you do choose to incorporate it into your life!
PS: While committing to a daily exercise routine is great, you still need to know the RIGHT exercises to do, or you might as well be banging your head against a brick wall wondering where that energy will come from. It's NOT about joining the latest gym. It's NOT about lifting weights heavier than the Titanic. And it's certainly NOT about hours of boring cardio that lead nowhere. Here is a link where you can find out all about the right exercises to do to get in phenomenal shape - FAST - while getting a boost that will literally fly you through your day: - http://rahulmookerjee.com/index.php/articles/83-fast-and-furious-fitness-the-book
The message I'll try and get across today is by no means exercise-related alone; it applies to ALL fields of life - education, sports, workouts - just about anything, really.
And that message is - focus on the POSITIVE, rather than amplifying the negative.
Sounds simple enough in theory, but you'd be amazed at how many folks look at the negative in any given situation, rather than the positive (and potential for more positive).
A common enough example might be a person with a bit of a belly (but otherwise strong and in decent enough shape) reluctant to take his shirt off while running on the beach for fear of what others might say.
"I don't have the six pack to do that", he might say.
"Well, it doesn't matter all that much - you're not going to the Mr. Universe contest out here", I might respond. "Plus, you're plenty strong, and it SHOWS - broad shoulders, powerful chest - and how are you going to get that stomach fat off anyway unless you target it?"
"Oh, I don't know about the strong part", he might respond in a downbeat manner. "No-one ever tells me I'm strong - it's mostly all about the one body part that I find hard to keep in shape".
"Well, forget about what others might think or say - do because you want to do and FOR you - and thats half the battle won", I'd respond.
Now, the above story might sound a bit silly, but rest assured it happens to us all.
Most "people" in our lives will rarely complement our positives, preferring instead to focus on our negatives.
"Oh, I know you got that A in Math, but what about History? What price Biology", a father might ask his son - and reprimand him soundly for the latter two issues, while forgetting to even dwell on the former. (And yes, this happens a lot - I should know - I've had it happen myself when I was a kid!)
It happens a lot at the workplace too - our accomplishments tend to get easily forgotten, and our failures magnified. And a lot of people end up getting discouraged by the constant negativity, lose sight of their overall goals, and are back to square one within no time at all.
A lot of us have been told that "this is how it is in the real world" - but guess what - it doesn't HAVE to be that way. More to the point - YOU don't have to get discouraged by others - and you certainly don't have to let them stop you from achieving your goals - or whatever you are out to achieve at that moment.
What does this have to do with fitness, you might say.
Well, plenty, my friend - plenty.
You may be a super marathon runner, but not that strong when it comes to lifts - and you may hear the "oh he's got stamina, but he's not strong" (with a heavy emphasis on the latter).
So, you take that as an incentive to improve and do improve your strength - and then you'll likely hear "Oh, he's strong, but he doesn't have a six pack. Whats the point"?
You see what I'm saying - it's impossible to satisfy "others". Those who focus on the negatives do so either out of ignorance or because they themselves feel threatened by someone trying to actually DO something positive - and blanking out whatever doesn't feel good to them is the way to go for such people.
So what I'm saying is this -
The next time you see a person snicker at your total number of pull-ups per set, ignore him, and focus on the fact that you're actually DOING them as opposed to the other person.
The next time you hear some clown jabber on about "oh, I was far fitter than that in my heyday", push the ignore button on - it's just not worth getting upset and annoyed over baseless comments like that.
And so forth.
And no, this isn't an excuse to be weak/skinny/fat and ignore the fact - far from it. What I am saying is that constant negativity doesn't help anyone - and helping a weak/skinny/fat person (for example) focus on the positive and thus cancel out the negative with extra effort helps far more than a constant stream of negative armchair (in most cases) commentary.
And like I said before, this is by no means limited only to fitness - this applies to all areas of your daily life.
In a nutshell, then - FOCUS on the positive - work on eliminating the negative - and don't let the negativity around you get you down!!
And that, my friend is really what gets you going and things happening at the end of the day.
I'll speak more about this at length in other posts, but this should be enough for a start. Back again soon with more!
PS: Get started on the routines outlined in Fast and Furious Fitness, and you'll be stupefied at how quickly the negativity around you disappears. Nay-sayers will choose a different person to badger, the overly negative folks will quickly back down - and YOU will be on the road to a better and healthier YOU - and thats what it's all about. Grab your copy now, and change your life for the better TODAY: - http://rahulmookerjee.com/index.php/articles/83-fast-and-furious-fitness-the-book
Well, I got in a workout alright today - whew! And it wasn't my normal routine by any means; I did something NEW today - as in, things I've done before - not anything I've talked about before, but highly effective nonetheless.
Today's workout did NOT involve any dipping, pull-ups, monkey bars, timed holds - none of those staples today. And it involved only ONE strength movement (albeit a great one), but I was huffin and puffin' like I used when climbing the hill in China in a different life. And in fact, it got so hard that at one point I simply had to collapse on the floor and PAUSE for breath - it was that tough.
Now, what on earth was this workout?
Well, let's just say a combination of some exercises so "basic" that one couldn't even think they'd be tough - but ohhh yes, they ARE! Those, combined with handstand pushups in between sets of the other exercises - YOW!
My workout lasted for more than an hour and a half today - hardly fits the bill of FAST - but certainly fits the FURIOUS part. And rest assured that this workout is too tough for the uninitiated to handle - which is probably why it hasn't made it to the book as yet.
What WAS it?
Well, a lot of yoga movements, and work for the core - and handstand pushups thrown in. I'm not going to get into all the gory details here, but here's a sample:
100 jumping jacks, preferably done FAST and without a pause (and no, I couldn't manage them all at one go)
Handstand pushups (as many as you can do)
Knees to chest while jumping - FAST - 100 reps as a minimum, preferably in a set (and no, didn't manage this either - like I said, haven't been doing them for a while!)
Handstand holds (or pull ups, if you have a chinning bar at home; I don't at this point)
Repeat for three sets.
And thats not even taking into account the stretches and other core work. Think cycling movements - SLOWLY - while lying down - can feel like TORTURE for the abs after a while.
I'm writing this a couple of hours after my workout, and I'm still sore in the traps, abs and legs - not something you'd necessary associate with yoga, eh?
Now, I don't do this type of workout ALL the time - but it's mighty effective if done as a change, and some of the movements CAN be incorporated into a regular workout as well. Tough movements to be honest, but can be done for sure.
So thats something else to think about for all the weight maniacs who think the weight room is the only way to get a great workout - THINK AGAIN! And it also tells you that doing something DIFFERENT once in a while can only be good for you.
I'm probably going to get back to my normal routine tomorrow - and it'll be great - I can feel it in my bones already! And for those of you that work out regularly, you know the feeling; inexplicable at times, but it can't be ignored.
So, that ends today's note - until next time - take care - and work out hard!
PS: I don't cover all this in a book - YET. But, I do have another book I'm working on which details advanced handstand training and bridging (another fantastic exercise), and I might just add these exercises into the mix. Until then though, you still have more than enough to work with with Fast and Furious Fitness - grab a copy NOW.
No, today's subject line/email is NOT an advertisement for a tobacco company (or other products that are injurious to health)! I'm aware that what I wrote in the subject line would be manna from heaven for the marketing departments in most tobacco/liquor companies, but I'm referring to keeping a kid "hooked forever" in a GOOD way - not bad.
I was doing my exercises out in the park today, when a little girl with her mother showed up in the area where the dipping bars are. Wouldn't have been more than 8 years of age or so, and they had badminton rackets in hand, along with a yoga mat - always a good sign - especially when most stroll into that area with cellphones and handbags in hand as if it's a mall - and then park themselves right on the dipping bars to complete their daily gossip quota. Ugggh.
Anyway, I saw this girl trying to do pull-ups on the monkey bars, and dip between the parallel bars (much the same as I was doing). She was too small to do them in full range of motion, but at least she was trying - and trying hard. Good stuff!
But, guess what was even BETTER?
Her mother was actually encouraging her from the sidelines. As in "honey, don't give up - try to get at least ONE chin". Or "honey, let's see you fall over into a gymnastic bridge" (and she did - it was great to watch). And so forth.
The majority of adults today don't bother to fit physical activity into their daily lives - and this seems to be the norm for parents as well, at least in this neck of the woods. And given that fact, it's not surprising there are more and more obese children "running" (I use that term loosely) around galore with I-phones in hand and pizza on the mind.
But guess what happens when parents actually encourage their kids to participate in physical activity and sports - kids do so happily, because kids are full of energy naturally and are made for this. And when a parent actually shows up and does some of the same stuff she's asking her kid to do - well, even better.
And guess what - once they start - and get into the habit - they're hooked, my friend, and that can only be a GOOD thing. And exercises don't have to be tough for kids; in fact Fast and Furious Fitness teaches you a wide variety of exercises that kids will absolutely ENJOY doing (and that adults would benefit greatly from as well).
So, if you have kids, make sure and set a good example - plonking down in front of the tube with a six pack and Doritos may seem like the thing to do after work, but it isn't setting a good example for the little one.
Anyway, wanted to share that with you; I figure you'd like it as much as I did. . .
Until next time - and if you work out today, make it a super one!
PS: One of the best presents you can give your kids is the gift of lifelong health, strength and fitness (and yes, I know I switched the order around) - grab Fast and Furious Fitness NOW - and get 'em started!
Fast and Furious Fitness: http://rahulmookerjee.com/index.php/articles/83-fast-and-furious-fitness-the-book
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
Been receiving some interesting emails as of late, and I'll share a couple with you.
The first email was from a person in the UK who bought my book a while back. He was already pretty strong, but in a LOT of pain from repetitive weight training - especially in the shoulder/trap region - so he wanted to get on a routine that would allow him to maintain his strength/fitness levels, but not cause him to squeal in pain every time he brushed his teeth or put on a T-shirt. Now, bear in mind this dude is strong (at least going by what he told me), but the amount of pain he's in on a daily basis - man oh man, I wonder if all those heavy weights are worth it after all. . .
Anyway, he writes me back two (or so) months later, and is all praise for the book - especially the part where I talk about handstand pushups, and how beneficial they are for you.
Quoting from his note "Your handstand pushup workouts are the BEST - I've never been feeling stronger in the shoulders/upper back; and whats more, that piercing pain in my shoulder joint is almost GONE! Kudos!"
Thanks pal - but the feedback isn't surprising, since you've been training one of the very, very BEST exercises you can to do rehabilitate, strengthen and rejuvenate your shoulders - those being handstand pushups. Sure, you need to do them in proper form or you might as well not do them at all, but they remain one of the very best upper body exercises there is, period.
I speak about handstand pushups at length in Fast and Furious Fitness - be sure and grab your copy now!
The second question was from a newbie who just joined the site yesterday. He's just starting out, and was apprehensive about whether or not my book contained routines suitable for a rank beginner. And my answer was YES - Fast and Furious Fitness WILL help you if you are at that level. Get the book, follow the instructions and work out religiously - and you WILL see a difference - more so than you would by joining a fancy gym and working the treadmill in front of the TV. Glug.
So, if your still on the fence (and those of you that are know who you are!), quit dallying around and get the book TODAY - it will literally change your life for the better.
OK, that's it for now. Back again soon with more!!
PS: Too much dithering never led to anything but a massive headache - quit beating about the bush and get the book TODAY - it IS literally a ticket to a BETTER you.
Well, today I'll get to an oft discussed issue when it comes to dips (one of my favorite exercises, as those who have been following this blog will know) - that being "Are dips bad for the shoulders"?
I'm sure you've seen a lot of discussion on this one, be it in the gym or the internet - and a lot of popular opinion seems to gravitate towards the "yes, they hurt the shoulders" category, while those who do them regularly seem to swear by them.
And as you can tell, I fall into the latter category, so my answer probably won't come as a surprise, but before you dismiss what I'm saying outright, take a minute to read through what I have to say, and then make your decision.
First off, as with any other tough exercise, dips are meant to be done in GOOD form - and good form is often what we do NOT see when we see folks performing dips. And as with any other exercise, you run the very real risk of hurting yourself on any exercise done with poor form, and dips are no different. That however doesn't mean they are bad for the shoulders - quite the contrary - in fact dips are one of the BEST chest/shoulder exercises you can do, period.
Second, like I said, dips are TOUGH - and TOUGH exercises seem to get a bad rap for no reason. Ever heard folks complaining about the bench press being too tough, or the pec-deck being bad for the body? I bet not - but funnily enough both of those activities are not normal for the body, and are nowhere near as beneficial to your overall strength and conditioning as dips are. Think about it - pressing a bar up while laying down as opposed to pushing your ENTIRE bodyweight through space for reps - which one is tougher?
Third, and most importantly, you progress in the dip as you would any other exercise. You do NOT try and bang out 20 reps per set the first time you do these and then get a severe case of shoulder pain and stop doing altogether. It's amazing, but there's still a plethora of folks out there who think bodyweight exercises are somehow "easy" because they are plain bodyweight exercises, and they over-do things accordingly. Big, big mistake.
So, long answer short - no, dips are not bad for you, per se - in fact, they are one of the best upper body strength builders out there. I've personally had great gains in my shoulder/upper body strength while doing this exercise, and I bet you will too. And no, this exercise is NOT "just for skinny people" - much like other exercises involving your entire bodyweight (handstands, pull-ups etc), this one can be performed just as well by a bigger individual as a small one.
Now, does this mean everyone should do dips, period - and not worry about hurting themselves? Well, no, not really - if you've had prior shoulder issues, or if you don't do too well in the dipping position due to a dodgy joint, well, then you probably shouldn't be doing a lot of these. But, the exercise is FINE to do for the vast majority of folks out there - and the comments I've recieved on the book vouch for that.
As for form, see Fast and Furious Fitness - I give you detailed instructions along with pictures on how to perform this challenging bodyweight movement. Get started TODAY - and let me know how you do!
And that's that for today. If you work today - make sure you make it a GREAT one!!