Tuesday, 24 April 2012 08:41

Too much volume?

My last note on doing 500 pushups a day seems to have attracted quite a few readers. This seems to be a favorite topic for many folks - and not without good reason. 

Anyway, one reader that stumbled upon the blog recently wrote in to tell me that while my goal of doing 500 pushups daily was a great one, I was simply "doing too much" daily and that would hinder, rather than aid, my progress. He also stated that the exercises I do after (or sometimes before) my pushup workout can be a workout unto themselves, and asked me why I needed to do that many things in one workout.

His final question was whether that many pushups a day really built one's strength up "beyond a certain point".

Hmm, interesting points/questions - and those are questions a lot of people have (especially the last one), so I'll address them here as well.

First, note that "too much" is a personal thing. Doing 50 pushups a day may be way too much someone that's never done a pushup in their lives, and doing 500 or more a day is routine for professional strength athletes (boxers, wrestlers, strongmen etc). And remember that whatever your goal is, you need to WORK UP TO IT. In my case, 500  is what my current goal is - and so I'm working up to it by doing 300 odd daily.

Second, the reader is RIGHT in saying some of the exercises I do before/after the pushups can be a regular workout unto themselves. But here's the thing - I don't do a "high volume" of everything. As an example, I may do 300 pushups in a workout - but I'll do only 10 handstand pushups, 25 pull-ups, and three sets of 10 reps of ab exercises to finish things off. This may still sound like a lot of "volume" for someone that hasn't been working out hard, but it really isn't for an experienced trainee. So no, I don't do TWO workouts one after the other - and neither should you - but it doesn't hurt to "keep in touch" with supplementary exercises while focusing on your main goal.

And as for the last question - well - the answer is obvious enough to me, but a lot of people don't readily believe me when I tell them that YES, doing 500 pushups in perfect form daily WILL build a ton of strength. This goes double for those that lift weights, and believe the ONLY way to get stronger is to lift heavier weights. Well, I'm not going to attempt to outargue my weight lifting friends, but here's something that might make you believe - pick a number of pushups that are hard for you to do - and then do them daily in good form until that number becomes easy to do. At that point, go into the gym and test yourself on your favorite "lift", be that bench presses, rows, or even the golden pull-up.

I think your going to be amazed at what you find out - and what you find out will likely be that ALL your upper body lifts have improved.

Still need more evidence? Well, you've heard me talk about handstand pushups and the amazing levels of power they build when done correctly. Handstand pushups are impossible to do for most people - especially for reps, and when I first started, I was no exception to this rule. So what I did was work my regular pushups harder and harder - until one fine day, I felt good enough test myself on handstand pushups again.

And get this - I was not simply aiming to do one or two in good form. No, my test was doing two sets of TEN in good form - something I could never do before.

And do you know what? After doing pushups on a daily basis (at that point I was doing about 170 or so), doing handstand pushups was a BREEZE. I popped off 12 in good form when I tried - and banged out an even 10 the next time. So much for the "high volume" not building strength - it sure did in my case.

So what all this boils down to is that training, at the end of the day, is very much a PERSONAL thing. YOUR goals, YOUR current physical condition, YOUR desire to improve and other things are what determine your success -  or failure when it comes to training. And remember that there's no one "best" way for everyone - sure, there are guidelines, but you've got to find out what works best for you - and then DO it - it's just that simple.

Anyhow, this post has turned out a bit longer than expected, so I'll end it here - but a long post was required to do justice to the topic. Thanks again to those that send in questions and are regular readers - I appreciate the interest all of you have shown!

Up and ahead,

Rahul

PS: The very idea of doing 100, or 500 pushups in one workout can sound pretty intimdating to the average person - but it doesn't have to be that way. Remember that you can achieve any goal you set your mind to, provided you have the right general guidance - and Fast and Furious Fitness provides you with just that. Click on HERE to grab your copy ASAP!


Monday, 23 April 2012 08:42

More on doing 500 pushups a day

One of my goals for this year is to do 500 pushups a day as part of my daily routine. More specifically, my goal is to BUILD myself up to the point where I can do that many a day, and still do other things without feeling completely winded. Sort of like my 1500 jumps a day goal, which was significantly easier to achieve (for me) - and no, I don't do that many on a daily basis now - but is sure is a nice feeling to know I CAN do that many if I want or need to.

Now, I CAN do 500 pushups if I want to even now - I wrote a bit about that here: - http://rahulmookerjee.com/index.php/blog/item/47-500-pushups-a-day. But I'm bushed after that and barring a few core exercises (a FEW), I'm not going to be doing much more - and truth be told, I wouldn't NEED to do much more after doing that many pushups in one workout. But, goals are goals, and it's always fun to set TOUGH goals - as accomplishing a real toughie makes the effort required to accomplish that goal more than worthwhile.

For those of you that are wondering, I made the pushup goal a month or so ago - it was NOT a "New Year resolution". Don't believe much in those anyway, those type of resolutions seem to be the first to fall by the wayside as soon as the festive season ends.

Anyway, I'm working on getting there, and things seem to be going good so far. I'm pumping out an average of 300 pushups daily at this point (in one workout) - give or take a few. So I could do 297 today (my numbers for today) and hit 320 tomorrow, and an even 300 the next day and so forth. After this I'll usually work on some bridging, rope jumping, core exercises, handstand pushups and pull-ups - but thats AFTER my pushups.

Some of the things that I've noticed after incorporating these many pushups in my regimen are: -

- My breathing has improved vastly - sinuses, blocked noses and the like are very much a thing of the PAST. And this is due to the deep breathing that accompanies a pushup workout.

- Vastly improved core strength and digestion - I'm not doing as many core exercises as I did before, but am still getting a better core workout.

- Improvement in pull-up numbers (sounds strange, huh?)

- Improved wrist and forearm strength, without doing a single direct grip exercise

And those are just a few - it proves a point that I make repeatedly - that pushups are an OVERALL body exercises that build strength and conditioning throughout the ENTIRE body.

Now, am I saying pushups are all you need to do? Not at all - you still need to include core movements and pulling movements into your workout (and don't forget about working the legs!) - but if your just starting out, you might find it quite hard to do anything else after a 100 or so pushups.

And last, but not least, I feel way more alive throughout the entire day after doing a lot of pushups. Not sure why - I believe the deep breathing purifies the lungs while also working the muscles of the diaphragm, chest and rib cage at the same time - which leads to automatically breathing deeper through the entire day, and a feeling of increased clarity and awareness. I'm not sure how else to explain it - the best way to experience it would be to do the pushups yourself, and then see how you feel! 

Anyhow, thats a goal I thought I'd share with you. Will keep you posted on my progress!

Best regards,

Rahul

PS: Rome wasn't built in a day, and neither will you do 500 pushups in a day without working up to it. But, work up to it you CAN - and Fast and Furious Fitness will show you just how.


Friday, 20 April 2012 08:18

Do what works for YOU!

Was going hammer and tongs at my workout today in the park. I was doing pull-ups along with ab and grip work - one of my most enjoyable routines.  The sun was out, the birds were singing and there was a cool (sort of) breeze blowing in my face.  Long story short: - I was training hard and all was well with the world.

(OK, maybe all wasn't well with the world - but you know what I'm saying - when your engrossed in a tough workout - and if your applying yourself as you SHOULD be - nothing else seems to matter at the time!)

Anyway, I noticed this one seriously overweight dude with headphones on "checking me out" as I went through my routines. Wasn't annoying - and to his credit, he was being (or trying to be) discreet about it, but what made it completely obvious is that he discarded his own routine and literally started to ape what I was doing (when he thought I wasn't looking).

Now, being that his own routine was mostly lying down horizontally on the dipping bars and doing some sort of "stretch" in that position (I kid you not), that would appear to be a good thing. I was doing exercises that work - good, HARD exercises that produce results - so on the surface of it, it should be a good thing that this type of training was what he was apeing - right?

But it wasn't.

So there I was, doing slow pullups in sets of 5. Slow, hard pullups to really nail good form (there's a tip in itself) - and I was doing those in sets of 5.

Our guy waits till I'm done, and then leaps on to the monkey bars and tries to do much the same thing with a lot of "aah's", and "ouches" - and the mandatory "kipping", as in, he's literally using momentum to pull himself half way up and then dropping back down like a sack of potatoes. After doing a rep or two of this, he pauses, and continues staring at me working my way through my own set of pullups.

After that, I did some hanging leg raises, and hanging knees-to-chest exercises - two of the very best things you can do for all round core development. So our guy decides this is something else he likes, and attempts it. He gets his knees up about a quarter of an inch or so via pure "swinging" (NOT the right way to do them), and then larrups down from the monkey bars with more vocalizations.  Gee, no wonder it hurts, it's wonder the dude hasn't torn his lower back apart completely if this is what he does on a regular basis.

And it was more of the same as I proceeded on to other exercises. At the end of it all, he simply shook his head and walked out of the park - likely never to return again - and likely to harbor a grudge against the "tough exercises" he was apeing.

Now, I tell you this not to poke fun at the dude, but simply because there are WAY too many people out there who copy other people's routines to the letter, and then wonder why it doesn't work as well for them as it has for someone else. And this is a huge mistake.

Remember - your body is UNIQUE - and what works for you might not work well for others (and vice versa). Said dude wasn't even in any sort of shape to do pull-ups and had obviously never done them before; he'd be far better off working exercises that would pull his ponderous belly in - but he saw me doing it, so he had to attempt it as well. Bob Doe down the road reads that "so and so champion of XYZ bodybuilding contest" does "10 sets of 50 reps in the bench press", and attempts the same thing himself - and the next thing we know is that he's sitting at home nursing a sore shoulder or worse.

It might sound funny, but that's how it is for the majority of people. And they'd be FAR, FAR better off figuring out what works best for THEM as opposed to what the big guy on steriods does, or what someone with far more experience than them does. That is what I'd advise for YOU as well - figure out - and DO what works best for YOU!

And last, but not least, this is NOT to say that you shouldn't learn from others. Quite the contrary - you should - but there is a difference between "studying" someone's methods and blindly copying them. Study, learn, and then adapt said methods to your OWN advantage, and your on the right track. Other hand, if all you do is blindly copy - well, you're likely not going to get very far, if at all. 

And that, my friend, is that for the day.

Best regards,

Rahul

PS: One of the very best sources of knowledge that you can study is right HERE.

Wednesday, 18 April 2012 05:59

Fit, or overweight?

Headed out to the park this morning after pumping out 180 good pushups. The blood was roaring in my ears - I'd normally do some more things before gallivanting on to the park, but being it's cool outside (for a change), I couldn't wait to get outside to feel the fresh breeze on my face.

So, romped on to the park, onto my exercise spot - only to find the dipping bars being occupied by a short, portly gentleman who was, for lack of a better description, "swinging" himself on the dipping bars. So much for starting off with a nice, slow, low set of dips.

Side note: It's amazing how people ignore a fantastic piece of workout equipment right IN FRONT of their eyes. Sure, the old, thick dipping bars ain't no shiny machine in a new gym - but use them correctly, and they'll build more strength than any new fangled machine ever will (or can). This particular gentleman was a step ahead of those who see dipping bars as a place to hang their sweaters and not much else - but still, if your out exercising, and if all you can think of doing on the dipping bars is swinging back and forth while imagining that "loosens" your legs up, well.  .  .

Anyway, started off with pull-ups. Warmed up with some "mini" pull-ups, and then on to the first, full range pull-up. Upon which the guy behind me said "Wow, for a big guy like you, you sure can pull yourself up well. Cool!".

Well, being that I'd only done ONE full range pull-up at that time, I was a bit surprised to hear that - but thanked him anyway, and moved on to doing sets of pull-ups. He continued goggling at me for quite a while before he finally left. Wonder what he'd have said if he saw some of the grip exercises I was doing.

Anyway, the reason I bring this up today is to point out one major fallacy in modern day thinking (when it comes to fitness) - and that is, one's weight. Folks automatically assume a stocky, strong fellow is "musclebound" and "not fit" - and when they see a rail-thin skinny waif or dude, they pat them on the back saying "well done, I wish I was fit as you are".

Erroneous thinking, my friend. While weight is, and always will be an important measure of one's overall health and fitness, it is by NO MEANS the end and all of fitness. I've seen rail thin folks struggle to do even one pullup, and I've seen big, strong guys climb hills daily without getting fatigued. I've seen skinny men jogging around the park - supposedly building strong lung power - but give them a flight of stairs to sprint up, and they're exhausted before they know it. And these are but a few examples. 

So, that, my friend, is a classic example of judging a book by it's cover - not the insides. And if your going to counter what I'm saying by pointing out that body mass indexes are what one needs to consider - well, then just remember that some of the world's strongest and fittest athletes are considered obese by those standards. That's right - obese - and we're talking highly paid professional athletes here. So while I'm not knocking the BMI thing, it's again by no means an accurate indicator of one's fitness.

And on the flip side, this should NOT be taken to an extreme and is NOT an excuse to justify being fat and slovenly. If your belly hangs out depressingly, if you can barely walk a mile without fatigue, if you can't do a single pushup in good form, all these things are NOT good things - and you DO need to make sure you can do them, and control your weight accordingly. What I'm saying though is that shouldn't be the only thing your focusing on.

Concentrate on your HEALTH - and STRENGTH - and make sure your doing all the right things to keep your weight at a decent level - and the rest will come automatically. The above won't guarantee you a six pack - I don't have one myself, and never have - but it will guarantee you some amazing improvements in your overall health, strength and levels of fitness.

So, that, my friend, is today's tip - time for this "big" guy to go shower!

Best regards,

Rahul

PS: I speak about dips in today's note - a fantastic exercise for the entire upper body. To find out how to do them in proper form, I urge you to get your copy of Fast and Furious Fitness NOW. 


Monday, 16 April 2012 08:32

Core torture with pushups

Did you know that the good ole' pushup can offer you a core workout that is almost unparalleled in intensity?

If your like most folks, it's a good bet that you don't generally think of pushups as a "all in one" core workout. Sure, people know that pushups work the upper abdominal region as well - but what most people really believe is that pushups are a good workout for the chest and arms - and not "much else". Tell someone that he can get a fantastic core workout in with pushups, and pushups alone, and he'll likely look at your as if you were nuts.

And given the general knowledge that people have about pushups, proper form while doing them, and what type of pushup to do - tis understandable, but pushups are SO much more than a chest and arm workout that it's not even funny. Sure, you work your arms and chest well during the movement - but to label the pushup (or to think of it as) as a pure "chest builder" would be to do it a gross disservice. Pushups work the entire body as a unit - especially the core - and some types of pushups can rightly be termed as "pure core movements".

Remember that when I'm talking about core training, I'm not just referring to the "abs". I'm NOT referring to the six muscles at the front of your stomach - I'm talking about hips, lower back, entire abdominal region, butt, thighs and hamstrings - all of which make up your core. Do a pushup - a simple, regular pushup in proper form and under control - and you'll quickly see that pushups are so much more than just an arm and chest builder.

And while the regular pushup does a super job of training the core, there are some variations that go way beyond where the regular pushup ends. For one, we have the "table" pushup where you position yourself on your hands and feet as if you were a table - hold - and repeat for reps. This variation is hell on the core, and is enough to pulverize even advanced athletes - but form is of utmost importance. Do this one in right form and for the right number of reps, and you'll quickly discover what I'm talking about when I say some pushups can be termed as "pure core movements".

Another one is the "extended pushup". This baby is a killer exercise - I'm yet to meet someone that can bang off 25 perfect reps in this one. You do these with your arms out in front of you, and while you may think that arm strength is the key to success in this one - it's NOT. You push up and down with core strength; and you build super core strength from this one movement alone. Do it with proper form, and you'll see what I'm talking about.

That's two that I just mentioned; but there are plenty of other such variations as well that I mention in Fast and Furious Fitness. I included these in my daily routine today - and believe you me, my core was shaking like an earthquake hit it after a few good sets. And you may be surprised to hear that each set did not take more than a minute or so to complete - 10-15 minutes of core torture in all, but that was plenty.

If your just starting out, I don't recommend doing them until you get good at the regular pushup as they are far more advanced and thus much tougher to do - but once you get good at doing regular pushups, work into the advanced movements as well.

So, what are you waiting for? Incorporate a few "core pushups" into your daily exercise routine, and watch (and FEEL) your core change before your eyes!

Best regards,

Rahul

PS: Always remember that form is of paramount importance. Do NOT attempt either one of the exercise above until and unless you learn correct form, or you run the risk of getting injured. I detail proper form for these (and other types of pushups) in Fast and Furious Fitness - grab a copy NOW, and you'll be on the road to a strong, healthy, and conditioned core in no time at all!

 

"“Every man should be able to save his own life. He should be able to swim far enough, run fast and long enough to save his life in case of emergency and necessity. He also should be able to chin himself a reasonable number of times, as well as to dip a number of times, and he should be able to jump a reasonable height and distance."

So said the renowned old time strongman and fitness scion, Earle Liederman. For those of you that don't know, Earle was one of the leading strongmen of his time, and the creator of a highly succesful mail order bodybuilding course. (Note: This was back in the "days" when bodybuilders were, for the most part, truly fit, strong and healthy - unlike their modern bloated counterparts).

Have to say that I completely agree with what Earlie said - sage wisdom, as the term goes. It's a pity such things aren't made part of school curriculums worldwide - we'd be sending a much more different message to kids than we do these days with all the muscle magazines and steriod inflated gym hulks bragging about the peak of their biceps. We'd be starting them off young - and more importantly, they'd start off on the RIGHT path - that is, the path to REAL strength and lifelong health as opposed to what most modern days kids have in mind these days.

And it's sad, but most adults these days would be hard pressed to fulfil even ONE of the "general" requirements above. Let's take a brief gander at some specifics he mentioned and see how the average gym goer matches up: 

"Swim at least half a mile or more" Doubtful for the average adult, unless we're talking about a swimming pool where you can rest on the wall in between laps

"Run at top speed two hundred yards or more" - would be impossible for most people, including most that train in gyms on a regular basis.

"Jump over obstacles higher than his waist" - Most folks would end up straining their lower backs doing this - if at all they could do it.

"Pull his body upward by the strength of his arms, until his chin touches his hands, at least fifteen to twenty times" - a definite NO for 99.9% of the populace.


"Dip between parallel bars or between two chairs at least twenty-five times or more" - Ditto

"If he can accomplish these things he need have no fear concerning the safety of his life should he be forced into an emergency from which he alone may be able to save himself." - True enough.  .  .

And while I may not agree with the numbers and exact requirements, I have to say that Earle painted a pretty decent picture of what the average person should be able to accomplish without too much exertion. I'd modify the numbers slightly, and perhaps delete a couple of the requirements while adding my own (hanging on to a chinning bar for time would be one of my requirements), but still, he's got it spot on for the most part.

Now, how do you make sure YOU build yourself up to able to do all this? 

Well, you have to train the right way, and you have to train regularly. And most of the advice you'll find out there will NOT help you achieve these goals. Lifting weights and yanking away on a lat pulldown machine in the gym will not help you bang out 15 or more chins in a row. Running for hours on the treadmill may be making you think you're getting enough "cardio", but no way is that going to build you up to running all out for 200 yards or more - and I mean running ALL OUT, not a lazy jog.

What will set you on the right track is training NATURALLY. And that means doing sensible exercises that work the entire body, or lots of muscle groups at the very least - exercises that give you REAL strength, as opposed to bloated muscles that may look good in a T-shirt, but have little value when push comes to shove.

To drive that point home - how many modern day bodybuilders do you really think could accomplish 15 decent chins in a row? How many could hang off the ledge of a building for five minutes straight until "help arrived"? Ok, hypothetical scenario to be sure, but you get what I'm saying - bloated steriod powered muscles may "look" good, but when there's a life-death situation around the corner, I'll have the functionally fit guy in my corner always - no questions asked.

So, thats some food for thought for the day - let me know what you guys think!

Best regards,

Rahul

PS: To build the kind of strength and fitness leves that Earle demands of every man (and woman), the exercises in Fast and Furious Fitness are JUST what the doctor ordered. If you don't have your copy as yet, what you are waiting for? Grab your copy NOW, and watch a whole new world open up to you.



Thursday, 12 April 2012 08:36

Cheaters never prosper

Was having a whale of a time exercising this morning. Fun, but at the same time, I was dripping sweat like no-one's business, and it was getting increasingly harder to finish the workout as I progressed. Funny how that works, huh? Fun - but tough as tough can get at the same time - contrary to popular modern opinion on workouts, the two do NOT have to be mutually exclusive - and those of you that train hard know exactly what I'm on about.

Anyway, it would have been easy to "go easy" on myself during the workout. I could lower myself that much less on a pushup, or I could use a bit of momentum to "cheat" on the rep, and get it done - and truth be told, I'd probably still have got a hell of a workout even by cheating a little.

But I didn't. I made sure I completed EACH rep in PICTURE PERFECT form, no matter how tough it was. No matter how hot I felt, no matter how my chest screamed and no matter how much I sweated. No, I completed each rep as it should be completed - in letter perfect form - and I can proudly say that I got a far better workout by doing that than if I had cheated my way through some of the tougher reps.

And therein lies a very important lesson that will not only make your workouts more productive, but will also build plenty of internal fortitude and mental strength. That being, to keep going no matter what. To keep going - and to keep going the RIGHT way - with no cheating allowed.

And it doesn't matter what your actual workout looks like. You can be doing 500 pushups or 50 - it all depends on how fit you are, and how hard you've been training; but no matter what it is, make sure you get it done. More importantly, make sure you get it done with proper form, concentration and focus. Stack on a few workouts like this one after the other, and you'll literally see (and feel) your body change before your eyes.

Yes, it wil be HARD. Yes, you'll feel like every ounce of strength and stamina is being drained from your body. Yes, you may feel like quitting halfway through a real tough set. But guess what - THIS type of training is what produces real gains.

So,  if your doing pull-ups - you need to make your chin is over the bar on EVERY SINGLE rep, no matter how hard it might feel at the time - or the rep doesn't count. If your climbing a long and steep hill daily in hot, humid and sapping conditions like I did in China, you need to remind yourself that sapping weather doesn't mean you stop training, and doesn't allow you to train half-heartedly.

I could give you many more examples, but I think you get my drift.

Vim, vigor and gusto, my friend - and perfect form on EVERY rep.

Simple enough formula, but you'd be amazed the results this simple formula produces!

Best regards,

Rahul

PS: I talk more about my daily hill climb in China, mental strength, and other important things in Fast and Furious Fitness - grab a copy NOW!

 

Tuesday, 10 April 2012 05:57

Turn your body's circuits ON - naturally

I finished off my workout this morning with a series of dynamic stretches. Nothing at all complicated, just simple, basic stuff that stretch and strengthen the ENTIRE body - and make one feel amazingly alive at the end of it all. Now, I had just finished a HARD workout - but after I finished things off with stretching, I was literally buzzing with energy - good, positive ENERGY - all as a result of my stretches and how good they made me feel.

Folks often talk about runner's high, feeling the "pump" in the arms and so forth - but how many times have you heard someone talk about feeling "on cloud nine" after a series of fantastic stretches? I bet not many - and thats the reason I'm mentioning it in today's email.

One of the stretches I did was to grab my ankles. That's right, just grab my ankles. All you have to do on this one is to lie on your stomach, and bend backwards in that position to grab your ankles with your hands - and HOLD for time (in my case, a minute and 30 seconds). Simple as this one sounds, most folks wouldn't be able to hold this one for more than 20-30 seconds - let alone a minute or more.

Another one I did was the gymnastic bridge - something I've written about before, and something I highly recommend. Talk about turbo charging the entire body through this one stretch - WOW!

And while these two stretches I've just mentioned have you buzzing for the rest of the day, a great add on is that they are also an excellent core/abdominal workout. In fact, I wouldn't be lying if I told you you could get a good core workout from these two exercises alone.

Also note that I did these stretches AFTER my workout - not before. I've written about this before - it's always better to stretch at the end of your workout as opposed to before (which is what the "experts" all tell us). More on that later, and if you missed the post where I talked about it, simply use the search feature on the blog and you'll find it.

Well, my friend, that's it for today - gotta go run some errands now. Be well!

Best regards,

Rahul

PS: I talk about both the stretches I mentioned, and many, many more stretches in Fast and Furious Fitness - grab your copy NOW, and start turbocharging your internal circuitry TODAY!

Saturday, 07 April 2012 11:37

My thoughts on cardio

Cardiovascular training a.k.a "Cardio". Hey, we've all heard the word. It doesnt matter if we're overweight sitting in the doctor's office, lifting enormously heavy weights while the tubby guy next to you "does time" on the treadmill, or even while getting unwanted advice while your pumping out a good set of pushups.

The term has become so common these days that it's nigh impossible to talk about a fitness program without mentioning cardio specifically. Unless of course your talking about Fast and Furious Fitness - where the emphasis is on staying strong, fit and healthy (and many other things) - but not necessarily "cardio" in itself. 

Now, I realize that some people reading this will automatically take this to mean that I'm not much of a one for cardiovascular workouts, not a huge believer in maintaining a low resting pulse rate, etc etc - but that couldn't be further from the truth. I think those are excellent goals, and that "cardio" should be a part of every workout - but where I diverge from most modern day "gurus" is that I don't believe a workout should be either this or that. Most people today are trained to think of either "strength" workouts or "cardio" workouts - and that is completely alien to my line of thought.

So, am I not concentrating as much on "cardio" as I should be? Am I doing the wrong thing by not endorsing mindless hour long (or more) slow jogging routines that will supposedly give you excellent cardio? 

I think not, my friend - but before you judge, here's a simple test that will have you thinking. And that simple test is this - drop down, and give me 50 slow,good pushups in GOOD form. That's it - 50 pushups - and for those of you that haven't been doing this a while - make that 25. Just make sure that every rep is a good rep, and thats all I demand.

After your done with the 50 (or 25 - and believe me, even 25 pushups done in good form is more than what the average gym goer is able to handle), take note of your breathing? I'll bet your more than a bit out of breath - possibly completely winded if your out of shape at this time. And it's quite likely that your breathing won't return to normal for at least a couple of more minutes - or maybe even more.

And THAT, my friend, is "cardio" right there for you. Pushups are NOT purely a "cardio" workout - but they provide cardio benefits notwithstanding. And thats pretty much the case with most exercises I advocate in the book - they are NOT hour long "cardio" routines. But boy oh boy, they sure do get you breathing harder than you have in a while - and the pushup example was but one of the things I talk about.

I'm not sure where folks came up with the idea of "more is better" when it comes to cardio. You'll have people running on the treadmill for hours, claiming they did "cardio" and yet they have a tough time dropping weight and gaining muscle. Curiously enough, these same people are somehow able to watch TV, chat with the person on the machine next to them, sip sports drinks, and do all this while doing their "cardio" - and then they wonder why they aren't getting results.

Compare that to the minute or so 25 pushup routine I asked you to do. After doing 25 good pushups, even an advanced trainee will be somewhat out of breath - and a beginner will likely be wiped out. You won't HAVE the breath left to chit-chat; and THAT is what real cardio training is all about. And remember, the exercise isn't even a pure cardio exercise like jogging on the treadmill is. 

Now, I know that some people are so addicted to long, drawn out cardio sessions that it would be pointless for me to tell them otherwise. And that's fine by me - to each his own. Just know that the hours your spending pounding the pavement could be better spent elsewhere - with better results - and if you choose to learn how, well, I'm here for ya.

Last, but not least - workouts should ALWAYS be well rounded - i.e. you should be getting stronger, and FITTER through doing an exercise. Simply focusing on one of those two is not ideal - focus on the overall package, not the bits and pieces that make it up.

And that, my friend, is what I think about cardio. Have a fantastic weekend ahead, and if your training this weekend - get after it with gusto!

Best regards,

Rahul

PS: Fast and Furious Fitness will ensure you get the complete package when it comes to workouts - grab your copy NOW.


I wrote a a bit about grip training and it's importance the other day. That post recieved quite a number of hits, so today, I thought I'd write a bit more about it - only, we won't be talking "directly" about grip training, rather, we'll be talking about how to get better at doing pull-ups. How does this relate to grip training? Well, you'll see - and I'm not referring to the usual "get a strong grip and you'll automatically get better at pull-ups" (though that is a very valid point as well). 

But no. Today, we'll talk about an often ignored "link" while doing pull-ups - a hidden "key", if you would, that if applied correctly, will literally help you rocket past personal bests in pull-ups and other pulling movements in no time at all.

And this link that I'm referring to is nothing other than the "strength connection" between your hands, and your brain. This may sound strange to you at first, but hear me out first - the next time you do pull-ups, or lift a heavy weight, or do any pulling movement - focus on your HANDS, and your GRIP - and you'll find the exercise automatically becomes a bit, if not quite a bit, easier. REALLY focus on the bar your holding, or the feel of the weight in your hands - and see what a difference that makes.

I'll bet it's massive - and while I'm not sure how to explain it to you in scientific terms, I know that this is a FACT. Your fingers and hands are one of the areas of your body most jampacked with nerve endings and neurons "talking" to the brain, and when you focus on your hands - the brain automatically forces your muscles (and your body) to focus that much more on the lifting exercise - and boom - it becomes that much "easier".

And for those of you that believe in traditional Chinese massage and acupressure points - you'll know what I'm saying when I'm talking about tons of nerve endings in the hands reporting back to the brain. Sure, they exist in the feet as well - but we don't use our feet to lift too many objects.  .  .

Ok, so are you still with me? Still trying to figure out what all this hocus pocus about the hand-brain connection and Chinese acupressure has got to do with anything? Well, my friend, it does - and that brings me to today's tip - when doing pull-ups, or ANY pulling exercise - REALLY, REALLY focus on the grip. And the way to do that is to squeeze the living heck out of the bar your using - literally.

I do my pull-ups on a thick iron bar out in the park, so it's physically impossible for me to "squeeze" this sucker - yet, I try my best every time I do any pulling exercise on it. I really SQUEEZE the bar - until my fingers start screaming, and I STAY that way during the entire set. And guess what - this ONE simple detail has allowed me to make more progress in my pull-ups than anything else has.

This is one of those things that is easy to ignore - it's easy to simply hold on to the bar without really squeezing it - so make sure you keep this in mind while doing your pulling exercises. And if at all possible, do them on the thickest bars you can find - in addition to building fingers of rebar and a Tarzan like grip, you'll also build solid mental strength. Not easy to hang on to a thick bar and squeeze it for all your worth at the end of a tough workout - believe me on that one!

So thats today's tip - SQUEEZE the bar, and watch yourself progress faster that you ever have on your pulling movements!

Best regards,

Rahul

PS: I cover this, and many other valuable tips that you do NOT want to miss in Fast and Furious Fitness - grab a copy NOW.

 

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