I've not been able to get to the park I normally perform the outdoor portion of my workout in for quite a bit now. Not really sure why, but one reason is TIME - that park is a fair distance away from where I live, and I just haven't found the time as of late to mosey on over there for some long and enjoyable workouts.
I miss it somewhat - especially having to shoo off the "busy bees" that all show up in my workout "space" to do little other than pass comments, "ooh and ah", and hang their jackets on the dipping bars (or even worse, position their posteriors on said piece of equipment as soon as one's ready to start a hard set of dips). Ah, the fun of it all. . .
But, I'm digressing here - so since I can't make it to that particular park these days, I'm making do with one right near my house. Which is fine, really, except for the fact that it doesn't have the old rusty swing set that I'm used to doing my pull-ups on. I basically used to use the top of the swing set (thick bar joining the swings together) to do my exercises, and it worked great.
Neither does it have a monkey bar apparatus of any length/height, so going back and forth on it (an excellent grip builder, btw) is out.
But, it does have a monkey bar set up of sorts, so that is where I do my pull-ups these days. And I'm doing OK - except for the fact that the monkey bars form a "V" where I grip to perform my pull-ups, and I'd much rather do them on a thick and straight bar if that makes any sense.
Why? Well, many reasons, mostly personal preference, but also because I think I can exert maximum force and get the most out of my back muscles on a straight bar as opposed to a "v" setup.
And so, I'm trying out some interesting variations on the pull-up these days - one of those being the hammer grip pull-up - where you basically perform the movement by gripping a couple of parallel bars and pulling - perfect if your doing pull-ups on a monkey bar setup.
I've seen this variation done many a times before, but for whatever reason, I never really got into the movement that much myself - but I am now - and here are some observations: -
- This type of pull-up should be far easier than the regular pull-up (especially in the bottom position) for those that have shoulder problems, as the shoulders are in a "neutral" position of sorts as opposed to a regular pull-up.
- The movement should be easier to master than a regular pull-up, meaning more reps is a real possibility - and leading to many fun "high rep" pull-up sequences!
- The parallel grip makes it a lot more comfortable (note - thats different from "easier") to perform abdominal movements such as the L-hold, or V-hold. I personally sometimes have trouble with my shoulders when performing said movements on a straight bar, but nothing of the sort happens on parallel bars - even if I hold for an extended period of time.
- It brings the biceps into play big time; so for those of you that are looking to hit the biceps with a decent exercise - this is it. The regular pull-ups is still king - but this one is a close second.
- Last, but certainly not least, this movement can be a fantastic grip builder as well if you perform the right number of reps - try it and see!
Not to mention it makes a nice change from having to do your pull-ups the same way every time; always good to change things up once in a while.
None of this means you should replace the regular pull-up with this one - not at all. That movement is still the #1 back and arm movement in my books - but this one is a pretty decent strength builder as well if you really get good at it.
And that, my friend, is the tip of the day - back again soon! If you workout today, make it a super one!
P.S: - To see photos of me with my adorable little baby girl, click on over here to my facebook account: - https://www.facebook.com/rahul.mookerjee
P.S. #2: - For more interesting variations on pull-ups, check out Fast and Furious Fitness right here: - http://rahulmookerjee.com/index.php/articles/83-fast-and-furious-fitness-the-book
I was bushed (to say the least) after yesterday's stair climbing workout.In fact, one of my first thought upon getting back home that evening was "I must have dropped at least half a kilogram of weight this afternoon with all that I did". And it wasn't just me thinking that - my body was actually "telling" me this. Those of you that participate in competitive sports out in the heat will know exactly what I mean here.
Got up this morning and headed straight for the weighing scales, and what I saw shocked me, to say the least - yesterday's adventures left me a total of THREE kilograms lighter.
THREE kilograms - that is 6.6 lbs for those of you not versed in the metric scale.
And all in ONE afternoon??
I couldn't believe it - rubbed my eyes, and stood on the scale again, but there it was. Numbers don't lie - and my body was telling me something similar yesterday anyway, so I finally accepted it.
Now, some of you might think this is because I'm dehydrated to the bone - but you'd be wrong if you thought so. I am NOT dehydrated - I drink about 12-14 large glasses of water on a daily basis, and made sure to "drink up" as soon as I got home.
I currently weight about 85 kgs or so, a good 12-13 kgs over my "fighting" weight in China (around 72 kgs), but that was with a daily hill climb - and not as many of the Fast and Furious exercises as I do now. One can only wonder at how much I'd have weighed back then if I combined the hill with a lot of Fast and Furious routines, hehe.
Anyway, this is NOT to say that those of you that have been spending years lazing on the couch with your only exercise being beer curls or pizza chomps can jump straight up and start pounding up flights of stairs in extremely humid weather - NO. That is not what I recommend - build up to it - and even after you do so, your results might not be as drastic as mine are. Remember, if there's one form of exercise my body responds to BEST, it's climbing steep hills - or stairs - and that is pretty much what happened.
And last, but not least, for those that might think "oh, he drops weight pretty easily" - uh, no - I don't drop excess flabbage all that easily. In fact, Mother Nature has been pretty stingy with the good genetics when it comes to me (at least physical genetics) - I'm prone to packing on the pounds around my hips, waist and chest pretty easily even without overeating - so I actually need a lot MORE exercise than a lot of other folks (including couch potatoes) might.
But it does go to say that if I can knock weight off when I want to, so can YOU.
If I can do pull-ups in sets of 5 - well, so can YOU!
If I can will myself to use EVERY opportunity I have to get fit - well, so can YOU, my friend.
Obesity (and not just regular "fat around the stomach" - I'm talking seriously obese) is a HUGE problem where I'm at - and I see this every time I travel in the subway, and I wonder what would happen if these folks actually bothered to get off their smartphones and CLIMB for a change - rather than hanging to the escalator railings with a sour face looking on at me as I take the stairs two at a time.
But no, that doesn't happen does it.
We have folks whining about their "busy lifestyle", and "workloads at the office". We hear them whinging about their gym memberships which never seem to benefit them, yet they never cancel 'em. And so forth.
Now, if your one of the lot that "thinks it's silly" to pound up the stairs every time you see some, well, I can't force you to change yourself. If you still believe that you need to spend hours on the treadmill and pec deck, well, have at, my friend - you won't hear many complaints from me.
But if you understand what I'm saying in this note - and truly agree with me from the bottom of your heart, well, then I salute you - not simply for having the courage to do something different and improve your life - but also for having the will power and self-discipline to tell yourself that no barrier is insurmountable - and for having the cojones to throw away any and all excuses that might stand in the way of you getting the body you DESERVE!
And there it is - NO EXCUSES, period. That's really all there is to it.
Onward and upward,
PS: I'm enjoying a well earned rest today, but those of you looking to drop the excuses - along with some flab - might want to check out Fast and Furious Fitness: - http://rahulmookerjee.com/index.php/articles/83-fast-and-furious-fitness-the-book
Had a real busy day yesterday, running around from pillar to post as it were trying to get a bunch of stuff done. How does the "stuff that needs to get done NOW" always crop up on a Saturday of all days??
I sure don't know - but what I do know is I was TIRED at night. Hit the sack around 1 AM or so, and was slept like a log till about 11AM today. And those of you that work long hours all week, or don't get the Saturday off at them "evil" corporations know what I mean, hehe.
Anyway, Sunday's usually touted as a day of rest - and rightfully so - but along with the rest, and associated gluttony that a lot of people indulge in on this "relax" day of the week, what if you could get a QUICK AND DIRTY workout done within half an hour max, which would make you feel buzzed for the rest of the day, and make that gluttony or beer bash all the more enjoyable?
I don't know about you, my friend, but the very first thing I did upon waking up this A.M. was to jump straight into one of my quick and dirty workout routines from Fast and Furious Fitness that I spiced up a bit with some different exercises not mentioned in this edition of the book.
Did some stretches to get the blood flowing, and jumped straight into a set of 100 jumping jacks, interspersed with 100 knees to chest jumping (a real killer, by the way). Did these in varying numbers, and followed up with 50 assorted pushups done FAST - I think I timed myself at slightly over 3 minutes for these.
Back down on the floor for some leg raises, situps, bridging and assorted core work - done one after the other of course. Didn't try to shoot for any personal bests, but just focused on keeping the heart rate up, the muscles WARM, and just kept going. Around 12 minutes or so of this.
Finished off with 5 minutes of handstand pushups, toweled the sweat off, and that was THAT. Would normally go in for some chinning movements after this, but it's Sunday - hey, I deserve some rest too - and besides, the routines I did had me dripping from head to toe - not exactly an easy workout by any means.
Now, the reason I mention this isn't to reinforce the point that workouts should be done at a rapid pace (they should, but that's another tale for another time) - it's mostly to emphasize that you can get your workout in even on a Sunday without spending too much time over it. Think about it - 20-25 minutes of tough, fast paced exercises before that lunch date at 2PM - sure beats feeling hungover and tired after lunch.
It also goes to show that you do NOT need to hit personal bests in each and every workout - something I emphasize repeatedly in Fast and Furious Fitness. You do NOT need to beat yourself up daily with long routines that take forever to complete. Just be consistent, and the results will come.
So that's the update for today - stay tuned for more. If you work out today, make it a GREAT one!
PS: My new course Shoulders like Boulders contains routines that can be completed within as less as 15 minutes, and give you a fantastic upper body/core workout: - http://rahulmookerjee.com/index.php/products/87-shoulders-like-boulders
PS#2: I refer to Fast and Furious Fitness repeatedly in this note - you can grab your copy HERE: http://rahulmookerjee.com/index.php/articles/83-fast-and-furious-fitness-the-book
Many of you have noticed that I talk about handstand pushups, and building strong and durable shoulders through this very exercise in a lot of my emails. I'll post sample handstand workout routines, speak about how I included handstand pushups into my daily workout, and so forth - and from the feedback I've gotten thus far, it seems a lot of you enjoy reading about this exercise.
This exercise seems to have helped a lot of people out there - especially folks with shoulder injuries from training unnatural movements, or caused by lifting weights that are way too heavy in compromising positions (for the shoulder). In fact,I know folks that have been helped more by careful practice of this ONE exercise more so than by doctors and chiropractors, and THAT, my friend, is no mean feat by any stretch of the imagination.
A lot of you have also asked me a multitude of questions about this exercise, and I've done my best to answer them speedily, and in as much detail as possible.
For instance a reader sent me a question a couple of weeks ago about how to work into handstand pushups from regular pushups last week and I answered him - and he seems to be well on his way to cranking them out in reps now (congrats Jason!).
But it got me thinking - what if there was a product out there that told you EXACTLY how to perform the movement, work into it, progress in it - in short, explained everything there is to explain about this movement? No more emails, and no more waiting on responses - just open the manual, and there it is in front of you.
And so, I decided to put out a brand new product today; titled, quite appropriately, "Shoulders like boulders!". This little power packed manual can be ordered off the site here: - http://rahulmookerjee.com/index.php/products/87-shoulders-like-boulders, and is priced at a very reasonable rate of $12.99. Sure, I could charge way, way more for this - especially considering the amount you'll save on doctor bills, surgeries and the like (if your shoulders are currently that badly beat up), or the amount the average Joe would save on his gym membership (no gym membership required here!) - but I'm not going to do so at this point.
I want to make sure this manual is affordable to EVERYONE - hence the low introductory price - so jump on this offer NOW.
Whats more - I'm currently offering this as a PDF copy, so there's no shipping times involved either! Simply click the order button, make the payment and you'll have the manual in your Inbox within 24 hours - it's that simple.
So hurry on over, and order your copy now - and watch those shoulders develop into meaty boulders within a few workouts - all done safely, and naturally.
All for today - back again soon with more!
P.S: - Getting such a product at $12.99 is an absolute steal - push on over NOW to make the most of this special introductory offer: - http://rahulmookerjee.com/index.php/products/87-shoulders-like-boulders
This has GOT to be one of the most talked about questions in strength training.
Which is better - the chin-up, or pull-up? And I've seen this question posed so often in so many different places, that I thought I'd do my best to try and address it today. . .
First off, I'd like to say that ANY sort of pulling exercise involving your own body-weight is good - be that chin-ups, pull-ups, pull-ups on rings, horizontal pull-ups and so forth. It isn't so much which one is better than "they're all good", so if your doing any of them at all (and most people DON'T), more power to you.
My own preference has always been for pull-ups, and I state this in my book as well; the main reason being the pull-up is a more natural movement, and builds more strength throughout the upper body in lifting postures you actually USE throughout the day. Think about it - do you generally lift stuff with palms out or in? I'd say the former most of the time, and thats one main reason behind my preference.
Second, the pull-up tends to target the LARGEST muscles in your upper body a lot more than the chin-up does - those being the lats, which provide most of the pulling power/support throughout your entire back area. Develop real strength in the traps and lats, and you'll never have trouble picking up heavy objects again - not to mention you'll LOOK strong as well, no matter what you wear.
So, what does this mean - should we ignore the chin-up altogether?
Well, it depends. Most people actually end up ignoring the pull-up in favor of the chin-up, mostly because the chin-up is an easier move to accomplish. Chin up brings your chest and biceps into the movement a lot more than regular pull-ups will, so it is easier to do them that way a lot of times. Chinning can also put your wrists and elbows in a somewhat unnatural position, which could be a problem for some folks.
Is that OK to do long-term - well, again, it depends - I'd say no if you want to develop your back to the fullest, but at the same time, the chin-up can be an interesting and intense variation at times; especially to target the upper chest area. Try mixing these in with a bunch of dips and pull-ups - YOW!
And at the end of the day, if pull-ups are too tough for you to do, and chins are all you can do, well, do them - you'll still build way more strength doing them than you would on the lat pulldown machine in the gym (an useless piece of equipment if I ever saw one); and they are probably the only one exercise that will aid you in making the "leap" to a regular pull-up.
So, there's my answer - make of it what you will. As with most other things, it all really depends on YOUR goals, and how far YOU want to go - but that is a basic outline of the issue.
And that, my friend, is that for now - back again later!
PS: To read and learn more about these amazing body weight exercises, order a copy of Fast and Furious Fitness HERE: - http://rahulmookerjee.com/index.php/articles/83-fast-and-furious-fitness-the-book
A great variation to your regular pull-up workout (for those of you that do them) is the close grip pull-up. The movement is similar to the regular pull-up/chin-up, but the only difference is that your hands are close together while performing the movement - close, as in less than shoulder width - and touching one other if your really good at the exercise.
I did these for 5 sets of 5 reps today in addition to some other things - and I'm FEELING it in my forearms right now!! That's right; this type of pull-up is great for the forearms, and is a super tough variant as far as gripping power goes. Believe me, these are hard enough to do even if your good at the regular pull-up - and they're almost impossible to do with a weak grip.
I don't recommend doing this style of pull-up all the time; the standard pull-up is still king in my opinion, but it pays to change things up every so often, and this is one great variation you can use, especially if your looking for extra forearm/bicep work.
So, during this 5 x 5 workout (along with other 5 x 5 exercises - for "sample" workouts you can follow, see Fast and Furious Fitness), I added in yet another style of pull-up, a couple of hard sets across the monkey bars, and then timed holds. And that was pretty much all I needed to get the forearm workout of the week. No fancy gadgets, no routines that took all day. No pumping, no preening, nothing - just basic work on thick bars - and that's ALL.
So, moral(s) of the story?
- Keep things simple - the simpler the better - and usually tougher.
- Variations are great; just make sure you do them RIGHT!
And that, my friend, is that for now. Back later with more!
PS: - The forum had a few problems, but they seem to be all sorted out now - stop by and post your thoughts and ideas: http://rahulmookerjee.com/phpbb2/
PS#2: If you don't already do pull-ups, you really SHOULD be. Fast and Furious Fitness is the place to start for a primer on how to incorporate this wonderful exercise into your regimen: - http://rahulmookerjee.com/index.php/articles/83-fast-and-furious-fitness-the-book
Yes - it sounds like a stupendous idea indeed, doesn't it? Pushups that heavily tax the core of all things - that alone is a hard concept for most to stomach, but LEGS as well?
Pushups are primarily a chest, arm and shoulder exercise as far as most trainees are concerned. And while they do provide a great workout for the chest and arms, they also work the back (including lower back) and core heavily - and as I said, certain types of pushups will work the legs as well. And some pushups are pure CORE exercises - with the rest of the body merely playing a supporting role as it were.
I fitted the core pushup into my workout today - I did this, and another style of pushup as "rest" exercises between my main two upper body exercises, which were pull-ups and handstand pushups. What I mean by "rest" exercises is that I did a set of these exercises while "resting" between the main exercises - not something I usually do, since it cuts down on my ability to focus (and recuperate for) on the next main exercise, but I was feeling unusually peppy today, so figured I'd give it a shot.
One such pushup is the "extended arm pushups", where instead of putting your hands at shoulder level beneath the chest, you extend them all the way out over your head, and THEN do the pushup. The form is hard to explain in an email, but let me just say that chest/arms (while taxed) are NOT the limting factor for this pushup - for those that have never done these before, you'll be finding your lower back/core is what is really being worked on this one - don't be surprised if you end up with sore abs upon doing these!
Another example would be the table pushup, wherein you simply get into the position of a table (on your hands and feet), hold for a bit, and then push back to the starting position. This is a superb tricep builder, but it also works the thighs, butt and hamstrings heavily if done correctly. And so forth. . .there are just too many examples to list out here.
Now, does this mean that pushups are ALL you need to do for your entire body? Not really - not by a long shot actually, but the fact stands that you can get a pretty decent overall body workout in less than 15 minutes or so simply by doing different styles of pushups.
And no, these aren't "easy" exercises by a country mile - but I think you'll discover that for yourself when you try them! Thats a GOOD thing though - remember hard work is what brings real results.
OK, I'm outta here for now. Until next time - train hard - and keep me posted on your progress on the workouts you guys have been doing!
PS: All the different pushup variations that you need to know about can found right HERE: - http://rahulmookerjee.com/index.php/articles/83-fast-and-furious-fitness-the-book - grab your copy ASAP.
If there is any single bodyweight exercise that inspires awe, smacks of raw power, is an almost unparalled upper body muscle builder - and a tough one at that - it's probably the humble ole' PULL-UP.
Pull-ups are a supreme test of an individual's strength and fitness levels. And it's sad, but true - that most adults today are probably doing good to knock off ONE pull-up in decent form.
There are numerous reasons why the pull-up should be a staple part of any upper body workout you do, and I'll list some here: -
- One of the best strength exercises you can do - bar none. Pullups done correctly will give you superhuman grip and pulling strength; as well as increases in muscle all over your upper body - including the chest. Plus, they strengthen your entire back beyond belief - get good at these, and you can kiss your back pain goodbye forever.
- Pull-ups stretch and lengthen the spine, thus keeping the vertebrae aligned as they should. The very act of HANGING from the pull-up bar does this, and this leads to a huge increase in nerve force throughout the entire upper body - very few other exercises can duplicate this.
- Pull-ups ensure that you get "balanced" development throughout the upper body. Let's face it, most trainees are crazy about working the chest (which explains why bench pressing is so popular); but when it comes to the back, we don't see near as many folks lined up at the pull-up bar. And this sort of thing ultimately leads to unbalanced upper body development with an overdeveloped chest with nothing to "back it up", for lack of a better term - and makes you a prime candidate for injuries.
Ok, enough already your saying. I know pull-ups are good for me - but I can barely do ONE properly - what do I do?
Well, first of all, and the most important thing is - DON'T GIVE UP! It's easy to get disheartended when you can barely do a single pull-up despite training regularly - or if your training with someone thats good at them. Remember the Rocky movies? Remember Rocky II where we see Stallone popping off one handed chin ups? Or Rocky III, where we see "Mr T" grunting his way through a set of pull-ups while Rocky trains like (for lack of a better description) a "gym bunny"?
I bet you do - and if your not good at pull-ups yet, I bet those scenes had you in awe. That's good for inspirational purposes, but remember that YOU can get good at them as well. Emblazon that in mind as your work your pull-ups; you CAN - and WILL get good at pullups!
Also, make sure your doing your pull-ups in good form; this means pulling with the back instead of the arms. Most trainees will try and jump on to the pull-up bar and somehow haul themselves up - NOT a good way to do them! A correct pull-up starts from a dead hang, and you use your BACK to pull - not your arms - your arms should simply assist the movement. For more on this, see Fast and Furious Fitness - it's imperative you get the form down pat, and I've provided plenty of detail on pull-ups there.
Grip strength can also be a limiting factor for a lot of trainees; so you may also want to work on some supplementary grip exercises if your not improving at your pull-ups. I detailed some of these in yesterday's email, and the book contains plenty more that you can do.
Last, but not least - stay FOCUSED on the task. It's easy to lose focus when doing pull-ups, and end up with sloppy reps - not good. Make sure you focus on your grip, and your back - and keep that focus throughout the entire rep/set. That in itself is a huge tip right there - implement into your own training, and watch your results skyrocket.
And work your pull-ups hard - HARD! I know I said this at the beginning of the email, but it's so important it bears repeating. Remember, hard work is what gets you the best results, and you'll agree with me after you've got to the point where you can pop off 5 sets of 5 good pull-ups without much trouble!
Well, my friend, those are some tips that should get you started on the road to pull-up mastery. It's a long road to be sure, but one well worth mastering.
And if you haven't yet incorporated this exercise into your routine - well, you know what to do.
All for now. If you train today - train HARD, and make it a great one!
PS: Fast and Furious Fitness shows you how to go from ZERO pull-ups to stud level. Don't delay any longer - click HERE to grab your copy now, and get started on the road to get an upper body that'll be the envy of most gym rats!
Got through another great workout this morning - and a pretty simple one at that. Most of my workouts these days consist of only THREE main exercises; yet, my entire body gets a fantastic working over with just these three main exercises. So, I guess you could say my workout is short, sweet and simple - and that, my friend, as with many other things in life is a good thing.
So, what did I do?
As I said, three exercises - and those are: 5x 5 handstand pushups, 4x 5 pull-ups, and the front/back bridge. I did some supplementary grip/balance work as well, but only because I felt like it - not because I had to. And that was that.
Now, just THREE exercises? I'm really getting a great workout (for the entire body) from just THREE exercises?
And the answer is, YES - I AM (short and simple again, but it gets the point across, so hey. . .).
Now, I realize this may be hard to believe for some of the gym going folks that have been practically raised on a diet of "10 sets x 10 for chest", "5 sets of 20 for the 'peak of the biceps' (whatever that may be)", "10 sets of 10 on the leg extension machine", and so forth. But tis true.
In fact, most people - not just the gym "pumpers" - look at me with disbelief when I tell them less is MORE when it comes to working out - and nothing I say would convince them to believe otherwise. Ask them why they believe the opposite though, and the majority won't really know what to say except that Bubba on the internet forum told them, and Bubba's always right, so, uh. . .there it is.
Okay, your choice - but without further ado, I'll give you my reasons behind the short, sweet and simple philosophy.
First off, your body only has so much to give. Unless your a professional athlete, sportsman, or laborer, you'll likely find that you have X amount of time to work out in, and only so much energy to devote to your workout. So doing a gazillion exercises won't work simply because you wont have the time - or ability - to do all of them justice.
Second, and this ties into point #1 - simply doing an exercise is not enough - you must FOCUS on the exercise like there's no tomorrow, and you must complete each rep in letter perfect form. Always strive to get better at what you do. And this is only possible if you have a limited number of exercises to do - it is impossible for anyone, even the most genetically gifted of us to do justice to ALL exercises in humumgous two to three hour daily workouts. And recovering from such workouts is next to impossible as well.
Third, and this is something you need to make a note of - the body responds to HARD work. Doing fewer sets of a TOUGH exercises (or struggling to get even one rep) is FAR better than moseying through a set of an easy exercise just for the "pump". The body doesnt care about how LONG you take to finish an exercise. It DOES care about how hard you work to complete the exercise, and therein lies the secret to increase in strength.
There's more to it as well - but for more details, refer to Fast and Furious Fitness - I've covered this topic in detail there.
The exercises I did today work the entire upper body into the ground if done correctly. Doing handstand pushups is hard for most people, and doing 25 of them in good form will give even the strongest athlete a run for his money. Ditto for pull-ups - and as for the bridging exercises I did, they are advanced variations NOT mentioned in the book, but for those of that you can do it, it will work your entire body - as an unit - into the ground. You may notice there's no direct leg work in that routine - but I've been getting plenty of it via walking, jumping rope and climbing stairs as of late, so there was no need for it today.
The entire routine took about 45 minutes, and I was hammered by the end of it. And there isn't a single body part that I haven't worked - and again, remember, I only did THREE main exercises - and not that many reps either.
And thats pretty much how most of my workouts look like. I might on occasion try and do high rep work, like the 500 pushup workout I've spoken about before, but by and large, I keep it short, sweet and simple - and HARD. And the results speak for themselves.
So to those of you that are pounding away at workouts that go on for pages, and not really getting much in terms of results, you might want to stop and reconsider. Give the short, sweet and simple principle a try - and see how it works for you!
I realize that it may be tough for you at first to put a decent training program together that doesnt ask you to do every exercise under the sun and doesnt take very much time at all to complete - but I've done that for you in Fast and Furious Fitness. This book gives you several sample routines you can use to kick-start your training into high gear almost at once; and for those of you that prefer doing so, you can create your own routine as well with the exercises I mention. Make sure you grab your copy NOW!
So, thats today's message - and in case your training today, make sure you give it your all!!
PS: In case you haven't done so already, make sure to reserve your copy of Fast ans Furious Fitness ASAP. Here's that link once again - http://rahulmookerjee.com/index.php/articles/83-fast-and-furious-fitness-the-book.
So, I finish my workout this morning and toddle on downstairs to the floor beneath me to get a drink of much needed H2O. I had
just been through a fantastic workout - but more on that in just a bit.
For those that are regulars here at Fast and Fitness HQ, you know that I'm currently living in Oman. I also probably told you that I'm in "temporary" accomodation for now - this is sort of a "shared" sort of arrangement, with private rooms for all, but shared water coolers, common eating area etc. Sort of like dorms in a college, except not quite. . .anyway, so thats the story behind water being on the floor beneath me!
So, I meet this guy at the water cooler that lives opposite me. He takes one look at me, and we exchange the usual pleasntries.
"Whats up with the sweat fest", he asks?
"Been working out".
"Oh, been out for a long run, eh?"
"Must be hard to exercise in the heat outside, look at the way your sweating through your T-shirt"
(Remember, I'm basically living in desert like conditions - with A/C inside, which explains why he was so surprised by me sweating a tankful - but regardless, the conditions outside are HOT)
"Uh-huh. . ."
And thus it ended, with the gentleman having got his glass of water, and me having refilled my bottles.
Now, the dude's question was understandable in a way - I mean who sweats in a country where virtually NO-ONE walks even for the shortest of short distances, and the air-conditioning is super powerful. People talk about obesity in the US, but it seems to be even more of a problem here.
He was spot on on the sweating part - but he was wrong on the exercise part. I did NOT run for a mile - didn't even step outside in fact. All I did was an intense 45 minute workout which involved the following: -
Rope jumping (500 reps)
Handstand pushups (15 reps)
Freestanding handstands (lost count, but did them for a fair bit)
2 sets of the neck bridge, held for 2.5 minutes each
The front bridge
Stretching and more free standing handstands(as a finisher)
And that's it. Short, sweet and simple - and the gentleman would be amazed to know that most of the sweating did NOT occur during the rope jumps - I barely broke a sweat on those - it was mostly on the other stuff that I really pushed my limits.
So that, my friend, is living proof right there of what bodyweight exercises can do for you, in a short period of time. Intense workouts that leave you gasping for breath, work every muscle in your body, and make you feel ON TOP OF THE WORLD for hours afteward - all without even stepping out of our house. Can't ask for more than that, me thinks!
Not be able to do all, or any of the exercises I've just mentioned above? Fret not - Fast and Furious Fitness offers you a wide gamut of exercises that you can use to build yourself up to a level where 500 rope jumps seem like child's play to you. The key as always is to START someplace - and then progress from there - before you know it, you'll be making great progress.
Anyway, I'm off to shower and then grab lunch, so I'll end this here. In the meantime though, if you haven't already got your workout in for the day - do so ASAP - and give it your all!
PS: If this sort of stuff inspires you, and eif you haven't already done so, make sure you grab your copy of Fast and Furious Fitness TODAY. Get cracking on some of the exercises that will change your body for the better - in a short period of time!
Woke up this morning around 8AM or so, and went straight into a stretching routine that I've been practising over the last few days. The exercises I'm practising allow for a fantastic overall body stretch, especially in the hamstring area (where most folks are weak) - and boy does it feel good to stretch out your hamstrings first thing in the morning.
After that, I jumped straight into a rope jumping/pushup routine which had me jumping rope in sets of 100, punctuated by 20 pushups in between. Banged out a total of 120 pushups and 600 rope jumps this way - and managed this in around 15 minutes or so.
The adrenalin was flowing, the heart was thumping. Sweat was rolling off me like no-one's business - and I felt like a billion bucks - like a natural "high", if that makes any sense. I've heard of "runner's high", and other such terms - but THIS feeling puts them all in the shade. What's more, this feeling lasts all day; it's currently around 11:30 AM or so as I'm typing this, and I still feel wired. And last, but not least - you burn a ton of calories training this way - all while building healthy, FUNCTIONAL muscle all over your body.
Anyway, I finished off with some neck bridges and handstand pushups - both advanced exercises which I do NOT recommend if you are just starting out - but which I'll cover in an advanced training manual that I'm in the process of writing. Stay tuned for that one.
What about you, my friend?
Did you get your exercise in for the morning? More importantly, how are you feeling right now?
If the answer is "no" to the first question, and "so-so" to the second, well, then you need to get training the Fast and Furious way. And there are many ways - one being "circuit" training with Fast and Furious exercises - similar to what I did this morning. Gets the blood flowing, the heart pounding, and the lungs churning - all in all, a super package that doesn't take up more than 15 minutes of your time.
And whats more - this 15 minutes results in hours more of feeling so good that you're automatically way more productive for the rest of the day.
Now, I dont know about you - but 15 minutes of hard exercises = an entire day's worth of increased alertness, focus, productivity and well being - I'll take that any day over long, drawn out routines that take up the entire day, and do next to nothing for your overall health and well-being.
Anyhow, I'm about to run now - but in case your interested in this (and you should be), then Fast and Furious Fitness is what the doctor ordered for YOU. Get cracking on some of the routines therein, and let me know how you do!
Doing things in reverse (backwards) is not normally thought of as a good idea - but the concept can be extremely beneficial when it comes to your training.
Sometimes, training in "reverse" may be the best thing you can do to shoot past a sticking point, or to better your performance at an exercise your already good. Or, it might just be what the doctor ordered to change things up once in a while (always a good idea).
And what do I mean by "reverse" training?
Well, put simply, what I mean is to literally "reverse" an exercise - and perform it for repetitions in good form. For instance, take the regular pushup, and do it in reverse - as in, get on your back and push yourself up as opposed to chest touching the floor. And if you've never done these before - I'll bet you'll find this exercise a lot harder than the regular pushup - and you'll find it works a bunch of different muscles than the regular pushup does.
Form is paramount on this one, so make sure you do it correctly. This type of pushup is covered in Fast and Furious Fitness, along with instructions and photos on how to do it correctly - make sure you follow the instructions carefully before starting.
Another fantastic example of "reverse" training would be handstands, and handstand pushups - where you literally reverse the motion of a pull-up, and push yourself up and down while supporting your entire bodyweight on your hands. This one is tough enough for most folks to do - so you don't hear much about it - but work this exercise on a regular basis, and you won't believe the upper body gains you make within a short period!
I cover the basic handstand (and handstand pushup) in Fast and Furious Fitness. Bear in mind that there are way more advanced variations than what I show in the book - but also bear in mind that most folks (including those than can lift heavy weights in the gym) would struggle to knock off 10 basic handstand pushups in good form. Try it, and you'll see.
You'll also likely find that your results and performance on the regular exercises you do sky rockets after you work the "reverse" exercises into your routine. I've often found that my pushups improve dramatically after doing a set of reverse pushups right after a set of regular pushups - that's a powerful tip right there - and there are many other examples I could state.
And lest you think this applies only to upper body exercises, think again, my friend. This applies equally to ALL exercises - upper, lower, or core - more details to follow later.
Anyway, think about it the next time you hit a sticking point - it might just be what the doctor ordered. Give it a try, and let me know how it works for you!
I can recall more than a few instances where I've had to cancel my scheduled workout - either cancel it, or abruptly terminate it due to pressing reasons. Now I'm not saying I enjoy this, but hey, thats life - things that are out of our control happen sometimes, and there's not much we can do about it.
And it happens to all of us - and to the best of us as well. I'm sure even the most determined and disciplined amongst us will recall a time when we just HAD to skip our scheduled workouts - even if we didn't want to - just because we were in a situation that demanded it.
Now, does being in such a situation mean you can't get your exercise in for the day? Well, not really - not if your determined enough - you might not be able to get your full routine in, but there's always ways to fit in mini-workouts that are pretty demanding in and of themselves, and that will give you pretty good results if done regularly.
And what do I mean by mini-workouts?
Well, I mean ultra short, intense workouts - so short that you may not even want to classify them as workouts - more like BURSTS of energy. These "workouts" may not last more than a minute at a time, and whats better, you don't need to schedule a time for them either - you just fit them in as and when you can during the course of your day.
I often don't have time these days to complete my entire routine (and as I posted earlier, I don't even have access to a chinning bar at this point in time, so I'm unable to practice one of my all time favorite exercises as well) - so I improvise during the course of my day. I'm currently living on the fourth floor of a building, and in my case, improvisation equates to taking the stairs EACH time I enter my front door. This means I'm either running, or climbing the stairs at a brisk pace at least four to five times DAILY - more than a lot of times if I'm going out a lot.
Sure - I could take the elevator - and folks stare at me in a strange manner when I'm sprinting up the stairs in full formal attire (on my lunch break!) - but it's worth it - I get a fantastic little mini-workout in that makes me feel good for hours afterward. And whats more, this sort of things burns a ton of calories as well, so your getting in that "cardio" your doctor is always talking about.
I did a similar thing a few years back when I used to take the subway to work - I used to make it a point to sprint the stairs up to ground level (or those from the ground level to higher levels - this subway was above ground in parts) EACH time I took the subway. I did this on my rest days (when I didn't exercise in the morning) and I did them on the days when I did exercise - and I did them on the way back from work as well. And in ALL cases, these little mini-workouts recharged my batteries for the next couple of hours. Thats like 1 minute of exercise, maybe 2 at most vs a couple of hours of "feel good" later. Now I don't know about you, but that sounds like a pretty decent trade-off to me!
So that's one example - my example. And just so you know, climbing stairs is a fantastic exercise - second only to climbing HILLS on a regular basis - which I classify as one of my #1 workouts that I've ever done. The health benefits you receive from this type of exercise are second to NONE - and you'll soon see what I mean if you incorporate something similar into your routine.
And stair climbing, although a great exercise, is by no means the only thing you can do to fit in a mini-workout during the course of your day. You can pump out a set of 20 pushups whenever you have time, or you could offer to help your neighbor move the heavy stuff into his van on moving day (and I've done this sort of thing before - more in a later post!). You can do burpees, or you can simply walk down to the nearby store instead of plonking your rear end down on the car seat. It's really all up to YOU - but when there's a will, there's always a way!
So, that's the mini-workout concept. Give it a shot, and let me know how it goes for you!
PS: There are many, many simple exercises that you can do for a mini-workout - for more, read Fast and Furious Fitness. I can't guarantee there'll be no stares, but I CAN guarantee great results if practiced regularly!
PS#2: To those that are training this weekend - make it an AWESOME one!
Today's post is going to address callus formation - something which every serious trainee experiences at some point in their training career - be it bodyweight training, weight training, bodybuilding, racket sports, or any other similar endavor which requires repetitive gripping or pulling movements.
Bodyweight exercise enthusiasts, pull-up maniacs and most sportsmen are NO stranger to calluses - in fact, the only competitive sport that I can think of that doesn't involve calluses is swimming. Some folks try to avoid getting calluses while others wear them proudly as a "badge of honor" - the thought basically being, the more committed one is to their activity or sport of choice, the more callused the hands get.
As for me, I sport plenty of calluses on my hands. As a matter of fact, one of them split right open while I was performing my pull-ups today - OUCH! Now thats something that's painful - I had to adjust my grip to be even able to complete my workout. My own fault for tugging away at it though, so the split wasn't entirely unexpected.
So, what do I think of calluses? Do I try and avoid them? Do I wear gloves to minimize wear and tear on my hands? How do I deal with the pain while doing my exercises?
Well, first off, I believe that calluses are an inevitable, if sometimes unwanted by-product of serious strength training. It's virtually impossible to do thick bar pull-ups, finger pull-ups, and any other pulling movement without developing calluses. And I do NOT believe in using gloves or other "aids" while pulling - I believe they take away from the overall exercise. Second, although they can be REALLY painful, I don't try to avoid getting them - pretty much because it's impossible to do so while training hard.
Why, you may ask? Well, it's hard to explain - but "feeling" the bar in your hands is of paramount importance if your aim is to succeed at pulling yourself up on that bar. You need to feel each square inch of your palms fiercely gripping the bar - until your fingers literally peel off - and you need to "feel" your strength transfer over from your back muscles to your hand muscles to complete the pull. All this, in my opinion, cannot be done with gloves. I realize there are people that wear gloves and seem to do well enough - but in my opinion, gloves are NOT the ideal pulling companion.
As for the pain, well, I try and not grip directly over the callus if I've got one that really hurts me. For instance, I completed my pull-up session today by gripping more with the fingers than the entire hand (on the left hand - and note that I'm NOT talking about "thumbless" pull-ups). You can also apply antiseptic cream or other potions to the calls after your session. But at the end of the day, it's going to hurt a little no matter what - my advice would be to work through it the best you can. And though that sounds masochistic to a degree, it really ain't once you really start to "get into" your routine - you'll automatically work through the pain without even realizing it if your committed enough.
Also, remember that it's always harder training with equipment outdoors than it is doing your exercises indoors. By that I mean that I'd be less likely to develop painful calluses by doing pull-ups on a chinning bar as opposed to a thick, rugged iron beam out in the park (with numerous contusions and abrasions on the surface). But then, you also develop a much stronger grip, "lasting" power (no sniggers, please!) and a higher level of mind-muscle connection by doing the exercise in a tougher manner. No pain, no gain - as they say - but it's entirely up to you. You CAN still train indoors and make great gains - you just have to go about it the right way.
And last, but not least, remember that this advice is just as applicable to your ladies out there as it is men - at least looking at it from the point of success in your training it is!
Keep pulling like you mean it,
PS: Training indoors is a fantastic option for most of us, but you have to know how to do it the right way to get proper results. Fast and Furious Fitness shows you that way: - http://rahulmookerjee.com/index.php/articles/83-fast-and-furious-fitness-the-book