Well, the summer rolls on here in this part of the globe - and let me tell ya, it's gotten HOT and REAL humid here as of late. As in, so humid that one sweats simply sitting on a chair doing nothing (without A/C). As in, so HOT that you feel like you stepped into a furnace the moment you step out of the house. As in, I'm soaking wet after my workouts these days - I can literally wring sweat out of my clothing after my routine. And so forth. I could go on and on, but you get the idea here.
Boy am I glad I left the Middle East when I did - I don't EVEN want to think about what the weather is like this now in this part of the year. YIKES!
Anyway, getting back on topic - there's literally no respite from the heat and humidity these days - and that in turn means one has to figure out a way to work out effectively despite the oppressive weather conditions. And while it's important not to fall prey to the "Oh, it's too hot to train" syndrome, it's equally, if not more important to know how to train SAFELY during extreme weather conditions. And so, I thought I'd throw a few tips out there in this regard - mostly basic things, nothing fancy, but you'd be amazed as to how often these basic things are ignored. . .
1. Keep yourself well hydrated! This goes without saying, and is applicable to all weather conditions really, but it becomes more important in hot (and especially humid) conditions. Err on the side of caution or even a bit of excess here - there's nothing more frustrating than feeling weak in the middle of the workout due to extreme dehydration (and I've been there myself, so I know how it feels).
As for how to keep oneself hydrated, I prefer WATER to be the best drink when it comes to keeping yourself well hydrated. This is a personal choice really -nothing wrong with sports drinks and such, but at the end of the day, I've found nothing recharges my batteries during and after a tough workout as a drink of cold WATER.
2. Pick the best time of the day to train - preferably the evenings or mornings, when the sun is either going down or about to rise, as you'll do better than if you were training outside in the sun. And while the more extreme of you might enjoy the feeling of "breathing in fire" while climbing a steep hill or doing roadwork in the sun, it's not always the best thing to do for your body. Again, I've been there and done that - for more on this, see Fast and Furious Fitness.
3. Less is MORE when it comes to training in this type of weather. Now, this doesnt mean that you drastically reduce your workload or don't train progressively - what it means is that you do enough - but you don't over do it. And this is especially applicable to those of you that train with high rep bodyweight movements (like I do). So, I might shoot for a goal of 50 dips and 40 pull-ups every time I workout - but I tailor this number according to how I feel, how hard I've worked, and what kind of weather I'm training in. As a general rule, you'll probably do slightly less in real humid weather than you would in better weather - and rest assured, this is fine.
4. If your training outdoors, and doing movements that require a strong grip, you'll likely have trouble with your hands "slipping" off the bar while you exercise. This can be real frustrating (not to mention dangerous) - especially when sweat on your hands is the limiting factor as opposed to grip strength. Chalking the hands up helps with this, but you'll likely require a towel as well to wipe your forearms after each set. Wrist bands are good too - I personally don't use them, but I've heard they do a good job of absorbing the sweat on the forearms.
5. Dress for the weather - this one is obvious. Again, less is more when it comes to hot and humid conditions - I can't help but shake my head when I see folks out in thick sweatpants in the local park in this weather. . .
And that's really all there is to it - all simple and easy things that you likely already knew, but you'd be amazed at how many people neglect one or more of these points.
And with that endeth today's note. Back again soon with more!
PS: For more motivation on getting outside and training in oppressive weather conditions, read Fast and Furious Fitness - I guarantee it won't disappoint!
I've been laid up over the last week or so with a NASTY, NASTY ankle injury. Not quite sure how I managed to strain it, but long story short - I woke up last Tuesday morning with a throbbing pain in my left ankle (not quite unmanageable, but pretty painful in certain spots), and a right ankle that hurt somewhat if I put pressure on it.
Big deal, huh. I've been doing a lot of boxing style roadwork these days, so it's probably just tiredness, sore ankles, right? Best to just get on with things and "tough it out"?
WRONG - let's just say I went for my workout Wednesday, and returned home with a right ankle that was almost impossible to walk upon - and which later got so painful I'd literally howl in agony if someone even lightly TOUCHED the area. That's right - just a gentle TOUCH was that painful.
And being the genius that I can be sometimes, I ended up trying to tough that out as well - and went for a gentle walk the next day. Long story short, BOTH my ankles were shot after that - I spent most of last week in severe pain and hobbling about, mostly in bed. I've had sprained ankles and injuries before - but nothing quite compared to THIS pain. YOW!
Anyhow, there's a lesson for you that I keep talking about, and sometimes don't follow myself - that being, the body is giving us signals all the time, and sometimes we pay no heed to them - and thus reap what we sow. I did get back to my usual workout today after a week's lay off, but boy was that a painful reminder of what I should have done, which was to lay off both feet immediately the moment I felt serious pain.
The other thing I'd like to mention is that we hear a lot about the R.I.C.E method of treating a sprained/injured ankle, which is basically rest, ice, compression and elevation. The rest, compression and elevation worked great for me, but for some reason soaking my foot in a hot water solution of epsom salt/water worked better for me than the ice treatment. Not knocking the ice at all, but for those of you that don't seem to respond well to ice treatment, there's another alternative there.
And now, on to the other point - that being, what NOT to do while doing the hanging leg raise.
First, eliminate ANY and ALL momentum during the movement. I cannot stress the importance of this enough - an extremely tough bodyweight exercise for the entire core is reduced to a mere "swinging" exercise on the bar if you allow momentum to do the work. "Kipping" reps may be great to show off, but the slow, steady and controlled reps are what get the job done, and the hurting going in the abdominal region - which is a GOOD thing!
Second, know that there are many ways of skinning a cat, especially if your starting out in this advanced movement. While touching your toes to the bar is great, you may not be at a point where you can do that. Heck, even getting to a 90 degree hold might be tough for you - so do what you can, and progress from there. What you don't want to do though is "swing" your way up to a position you couldn't get up to normally - you'll only end up injuring yourself.
Third, and last - this movement can be tough on the shoulders, so warm up thoroughly and make sure your shoulders/grip can take the load before you jump into it.
And thats about it for that one - it's a great exercise - and produces great results, but only if trained ever so correctly.
And so it goes at Fast and Furious HQ, feeling GOOD after my workout today. Here's to many more!!
PS: For more on the hanging leg raise, and other core blasters, check out Fast and Furious Fitness.
One of the most common reasons for failure in any exercise routine is that folks simply fail to "stick" to their routine. They do a good job of mapping their goals out, figuring out which exercises to do, and how often - but when it comes to actually putting in the hours, a lot of folks find that they're just not able to dedicate themselves to their routines as much as they should be.
And often times, the reason for not sticking to the workouts isn't purely lack of motivation, or even lack of discipline (though that does apply to a lot of folks) - it's mostly people not (or not being able to) making time to fit their exercises into their daily routine.
Now, given that as little as 10 minutes of intense exercise (the right kind) can literally turbo-charge your entire day, you'd think that exercise should be a priority on everyone's list - but amazingly enough, it's not - and the exercises more often that not end up getting the rap rather than the person. So Jane 50lbsoverweight complains that her running program is "worthless" because she "isn't accomplishing anything at all" on the program, when in reality the program simply isn't being used as it should be. And so forth.
But the truth is, it's ridiculously simple to fit exercise into your daily routine - its amazingly easy, if you just open your mind to all the possibilities there are around you in your daily life. I was real busy yesterday, and spent most of the day running around from point A to point B like a chicken with it's head cut off, but still managed to get some decent workouts in - and how?
Well, simple - I was traveling by subway - so I simply used (read ran) the stairs instead of the escalators provided. Sure, I got some curious looks from the legions of tired, hunchbacked office workers patiently queing up on the escalators to get to "terra firma", but I also managed to get some great stair sprints in every couple of hours - and believe you me, combine that with a lot of walking and carrying stuff around - and it gets HARD - real quickly. I can still feel the soreness in my quads today, which points to the effectiveness of the workout.
It's amazing how many people ignore that one,simple basic tool staring them right in the face - and which fits straight into their commute - the stairs. Imagine how much fitter the average office goer would be if he/she made it a point to use the stairs every time instead of the lift/escalator? And making that commitment wouldn't take any time at all - a few minutes MAX - but those few minutes are enough to get the blood pumping, the heartbeat racing and the sweat trickling down one's brow - all good things!
Anyway, thats just ONE thing you can do to fit your workout into your daily routine. There are dozens of other techniques, so you'll have to find the one that works best for YOU. And remember this - its always better to do SOMETHING rather than nothing - and even a 30 second hard sprint up some steep stairs can work better wonders than a long, ponderous jog around the local park (not that there's anything wrong with that if you prefer it, but I'm just saying. . .)
Anyway, gotta go for now - more later. If you train today, make it a super one - and let me know how it went!
PS: The bug in the ordering system has now been ironed out, so run on over here to place your orders for Fast and Furious Fitness: - http://rahulmookerjee.com/index.php/products
Well, well, well. It's been a chaotic few months for sure since I last wrote (yeah, I know, long gap again) - and things have changed once again at Fast and Furious Fitness "HQ" again. To cut a long and convoluted story short, we've now left the sands of Oman FAR behind, and are back where we were 8 or so months ago - back to India, that is.
I'd really like to think this move back is permanent, at least as far as the Gulf is concerned - neither me nor Mrs. Fast and Furious Fitness wants to move back there, period. My current location is far from ideal, has more than it's fair share of problems, et al - but it's way better than a vast, open desert at any rate. Do miss a thing or two about the place - the runs along the beach for one, my old heavy bag which I had to leave behind (sigh), but overall, I've never felt better about leaving a place for good.
And on the workout front of things, back to India means back to my old workout haunt - the neighborhood park, or the "hood" as I like to call it fondly, mostly due to the motley collection of folks hanging around there with not much to do, but thats another story altogether. . .
This also means a very welcome return to a couple of exercises that I hadn't been able to do for a while now - and those are pull-ups on thick bars, and dips. I've spoken a lot about doing pull-ups on thick bars, and how they strengthen your entire body (especially your forearms, grip and fingers) beyond belief, but combine the exercise (or any of it's combinations) with dips done on thick bars, and you get a killer upper body workout. Throw in a a few ab exercises, and sprints (or a fast run, if you prefer), and you've literally hit the entire body in less than a hour.
Here's a short, but sweet workout along those lines that should have you hurting by the end of it: -
- Warm up with a jog, or stretching, or whatever gets you going
- Jump rope 5X100, interspersed with sets of 20 pushups between the rope jumping sets.
- Thick bar pullups 5x5, interspersed with thick bar dips 5x10 (or whatever works best for you). Don't be surprised if your traps feel like they're being torn apart while you do this!
- Hanging leg raises 3x 10 (or less, depending upon what you can do).
- Timed holds (again from a thick bar - shoot for 3 sets of 60 seconds each).
Ok, so thats a pretty decent workout there that should take no longer than 45 minutes at most, and should work you to the bone provided you do it right. . .
And that, my friend, is that for now. Be back soon with more updates on whats going on - and an update on the online order process as soon as it's up and running again!
Well, this one is long, long overdue for sure. If you've been following this site a while (and if your one of the many who have signed up for the daily newsletters and/or made purchases), then you've probably noticed the complete lack of communication from me for a few months now, both via email and on the website. I used to send an email to you on an almost daily basis, or weekly at the very least, but as of late, that has not been happening - and I owe you a (long overdue!) explanation for this.
So, where HAVE I been - and what have I been upto?
Well, many things, really - the short answer to this would be LIFE and it's many turns have been keeping me busy. REAL busy, so busy that I've not even found time to speak to you guys for a while, which is something I aim at rectifying at the very earliest.
Well, like I said - many things - amongst one, Mrs Rahul Mookerjee and myself discovered a while back that we're soon going to become parents. Yes, that's right - unexpected news, at least when we got to know, but still GREAT news, and something we've always wanted.
Second, as many of you already know, I moved to Oman a while back - this for reasons mostly unrelated to the Fast and Furious business, but reasons unavoidable all the same - and THAT has been keeping me busier than an industrious worker bee as of late.
I'll go more into detail on all this at a later stage, but for now, let's just say that I've been real busy - like unavoidably busy - and hence the silence for a few months.
Anyway, so what have I been doing for exercise during this busy time, you might ask. Have I been getting my workouts in as usual?
Well - the answer to that is YES - even if I exercise less frequently at times due to other committments. But yes, I've still been getting some great ones in - and whats even better is that I've been experimenting with some different routines, which look to be giving me good results as well.
I'll share the actual "meat" of the workouts with you in emails to follow, but for now, I'll give you a brief overview:
- I've been getting a lot of my workouts in on the beach - great, great place to workout if one knows how to (and plus it's right HERE - prime example of using whatever "tools" you have at your disposal at the time). Workouts done on a flat surface are one thing, but add the uneven nature of a sandy beach in, and you take each exercise to a whole different level. Fingertip pushups as covered in Fast and Furious Fitness are a great example - they feel TWICE as hard when done in the shifting sand. Not to mention swimming in the ocean - a fantastic overall body workout which feels way different from workouts done on land, but offers many of (and some extra) benefits as well.
- Walking, climbing and running stairs has become a rather important part of my routine - and thats a good thing!!
- The heavy bag has become a part of my routine, and I'm getting some fantastic workouts in on it. Stay tuned for further details on that one.
And more, but thats a brief synopsis. The important thing to note is that I'm still getting my workouts in despite being real pressed for time - and if your in the same situation as I am - so should YOU. Something else to note as well is that I'm not forgetting my old routines - not by a long shot. But, adding something new into your routine once in a while spices things up, keeps it interesting, and is usually always a good thing provided you stick with it for a period of time.
Anyway, more to follow, so much more to share with you - but that's it for now. Until next time, take care - and if your working out today, make it an awesome one!
PS: Fast and Furious Fitness gives you many routines you can stick with - even if you dont have very much time to get a workout in. Grab your copy today!
PS#2: Train hard, and keep at it!
There is an old Chinese saying "Ren lao xian lao tui". Loosely translated into English, this means that the legs are the first to go when a person starts to "age". And I don't mean simply getting on in years - I mean "age", as in starting to wither away, suffer ill health, etc etc.
This saying has been around for a while, and with good reason. Weak legs are a sure sign of not just being unfit - but also that a person is not in the best of health - perhaps older than his age otherwise might indicate. The day you start to have trouble climbing a flight of stairs, or walking a mile or so to the nearby store (and back) is the day you might want to sit back and take a good, long look at your health and overall fitness levels.
And, whats sad is that the majority of the people today don't train their legs with near enough seriousness as they should. This holds true for most gym goers as well - most folks in the gym are upper body crazy, but when it comes to train their legs, they're suddenly nowhere to be seen.
Not good - both from a health standpoint as well as aesthetic.
Look, if your a serious trainee (and that includes you guys that lift weights), then you simply MUST train your legs! Along with the neck and back (especially lower back) region, legs are an absolute MUST to train. In fact, a good leg and back workout is often better than hours of "focusing on the pectorals with the pec deck", or doing exercises for the "show muscles" (such as biceps). The reasons behind this are many, too many to list here, but the first is simply to keep your entire body young - as the Chinese say, keep the legs young, and the body follows suit.
Another reason is that working the legs HARD is one of the hidden (though it shouldn't be) keys to REAL strength, health and fitness levels. The legs of the muscles are the largest in the body, and working the legs hard results in a release of growth hormones all throughout the body - as well as ramps up your all important caridovascular system.
The result? Huge increases in overall strength, and less overall fat levels - can't beat that, me thinks.
And it's not as hard to train the legs as you might think. Walking is a fantastic, but overlooked exercise for the legs - and one you need to include in your daily routine somehow. And if you have hills in your area, walk the heck out of them - thats a workout all by itself!
Jumping rope is another excellent, but often ignored leg exercise. Part of the reasons combat athletes such as boxers have such high stamina levels is their jump rope routines, which often consist of thousands of reps daily. And we don't see many fat boxers around at a professional level, do we?
Leg training is the first chapter in the exercises part of Fast and Furious Fitness, and rightfully so. I speak about leg training in detail there, and also give you a REAL LIFE example of what happened when I started to include hill training into my daily routine in China - be sure and grab your copy NOW to read all about that.
So, moral of the story? Work the legs regularly, and work them hard - the hard work required is well worth it at the end of the day!
PS: Yes, leg workouts can literally tax the entire body like it's never been taxed before. To learn how, click on over to Fast and Furious Fitness NOW.
Does training daily mean you are “over training” – and thus making your workouts counter-productive to what they should be? This is an oft-asked question, and an even more misunderstood topic, so I’ll provide my views on this today.
There’s two ways to answer this one – a long way – and a short way. In short, the answer is NO. And as for the long version of it. . .
First of all, training daily is not a bad thing and in itself certainly doesn’t equate to overtraining. You don’t HAVE to exercise every day, but on the other hand, you don’t want to go days without getting a single workout in either. I personally believe that doing something daily is of immense use and way better than not getting in any sort of physical activity at all (and no, typing on the keyboard doesn’t count!) – even five minutes of exercise is better than none at all as far as I’m concerned.
Second, it’s important to note that this overtraining concept has been blown way out of proportion. YES – it IS possible to over-train, but the majority of people out there don’t even come close to it – more like “under-training”. And most folks that perform physical activity as part of their daily job do so for eight hours or more daily. Athletes, laborers, those in the Army, etc etc . . .when was the last time you heard an Army recruit complain of being over trained with daily running/callisthenic sessions?
Now, it’s important to note that erring on the side of caution is good – but only if one does so in a sensible manner. Doing 50 pushups daily is NOT overtraining. On the other hand, if your doing marathon three to four running sessions at the gym daily, well, then you might need to ease back a little – and your body will likely be telling you that too.
Third, it’s not that easy to over train with natural movements a.k.a bodyweight exercises such as the ones I teach. These are all natural movements – remember – it’s NOT weight training, and provided you don’t work yourself to silly extremes, your far better off doing them daily than doing them only once in a while or not at all. Take walking for instance – a much overlooked, yet beneficial exercises. Human beings used to walk for miles daily before we invented transport. They were, on average, FAR fitter than most folks today are – did they “over train”? Does an ape (that is far stronger than a human could ever hope to be) in the wild complain about having to pull his weight up a tree daily? Sure, I’m not saying we have to become a Neanderthal, or an ape – but the point stands regardless.
This doesn’t mean it’s IMPOSSIBLE to over-train with bodyweight exercises . Many new trainees jump enthusiastically into their programs, attempt to do too much too often, and often end up right back where they started or worse. That’s not what I recommend. Moderation is key – but abstinence probably isn’t in this case. Note the difference.
Personally, I train daily - but I don’t go all out in each session. I also don’t make each workout ultra long and super tough; I’ll usually work on a few exercises hard for the day, and then call it quits. I also try changing things up every so often; I either add in new exercises, or change the order up on my existing exercises – it all depends.
As for when I take off, I let my body talk to me. These are days when I’m just too tired to train – can’t explain HOW my body lets me know that I’m on the other side of that very fine line, but let me know it does, and I usually heed it’s advice. And for those of you that train regularly, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about.
I also know that I feel way better and have a LOT more energy throughout the day when I train, as opposed to if I don’t – even if I’m feeling a bit exhausted BEFORE I start, and not really in the mood to train. In fact, some of my BEST training sessions have taken place when I was not in the mood to train in the first place – try that one on for size!
Anyway, that’s the long answer to the question. There’s a couple of other valuable tips thrown in there as well; see if you can find ‘em!
PS: You'll never worry about over-training once you get started on some of the routines I teach you in Fast and Furious Fitness. . .
"I am tired and run down".
"I can't sleep well no matter what I try".
"I just can't concentrate at work"
And so forth.
These statements (or derivates thereof) are probably something all of us hear on a regular basis from our friends, co-workers, colleagues or family. In fact, I heard something along these lines this morning from a colleague.
"Rahul, what can I do to sleep better? I just don't seem to be able to get to bed at night, and I end up waking up at 4AM or so", he asked me.
"Do you exercise regularly", I asked him
"No, but I'd like to start - I just don't have time".
"Well, what do you do when you wake up at 4AM daily and can't sleep any longer?"
"Huh? I try and go back to sleep, but can't seem to do so".
"Well, why don't you try and get some exercise in during that time", I suggested.
"Exercise? At FOUR AM? What do you think I am, a wrestler or something", he asked me incredulously. I think my suggestion probably qualified me for the loony bin in his opinion.
And thats OK - but give me the choice between training like a wrestler and feeling GOOD about myself all day long (in addition to getting stronger and healthier) - and I think I'll take choice #2 - no questions asked. Even if it means waking up at 4AM to train daily.
Actually, I DO wake up to train early - I train in the mornings, since thats when I can fit in my workout - and because thats when I seem to do best in them. I'm not exactly a morning person, but once the blood gets flowing, I manage to get in some pretty decent workouts in the morning.
I usually train for 30-45 minutes TOPS daily - and guess what that much training does for me?
I feel GREAT all day long, and have way more energy and motivation to "get things done". Even if I have a particularly hectic day, I usually dont feel completely drained at the end of it - I usually come back home with a sense of satisfaction that comes from getting a job done well. And not being able to sleep at night? Heck, I have a problem staying awake once I hit the sheets - and thats NOT an exaggeration!
Now, I've been told more than once that I'm nuts for waking up at 545AM (which is when I arise during the week) to train. Folks come at me with stuff like "you don't need to be doing that before work", or "just stretch a bit and you'll be fine", or - and here's the kicker - "you must be nuts to tire yourself out that much". Coming from someone that constantly complains about being tired (the person I referred at the beginning of the email) - now THAT's a bit thick.
And you'll experience much the same thing, my friend, if you start following routines like I outline in Fast and Furious Fitness. Not necessarily because of when or how long you train - but also because the exercises/routines I teach you are nothing like what most people follow. No 3 hours "gym marathons". No 10 sets of 10 for the head of the biceps. No leg extension machines.
No - what I teach you are exercises that hit the entire body HARD - and get the job done within a short amount of time. More importantly, these are NATURAL exercises that make you feel like a billion bucks all day long, and get you way stronger than you would do with the typical "blast this, pump that" gym routine.
No show, no glitz, just pure HARD training - with little or no equipment - and NO excuses. And thats how your training should be as well.
And if you agree with me and take action NOW - well, I'll see you in the "loony bin" soon then!!
All for now - more tomorrow!
PS: You can collect your copy of Fast and Furious Fitness at: - 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!