Do you have back problems of any kind? Stiffness in the back, an inability to bend over fully and touch your toes, or maybe extreme lower back pain that gets aggravated by simple day to day activities? Stiff upper back? Hunched over? The list goes on, and on, and on. . .
And if you answered yes to any of these questions, believe me, your in the majority - not the minority.
Sad as it sounds, back pain/problems are an issue for a LOT of people today. Just this week, I spoke to three people in their early 30's - a time when the body should be at it's fittest - that could barely make it to work and back home without severe lower back pain. In fact, there are folks that end up going to work with back braces strapped on - the pain can get to be THAT bad.
And this issue ranges across all age groups and demographics - I've seen folks that could lift enormous poundages do so, and grab their lower back in agony the next minute. I've seen 18 years old that make regular visits to the chiropractor. And so forth.
What's sad is that back pain is an issue one can easily avoid - WITHOUT making expensive trips to doctors and chiropractors, and without consuming a ton of expensive medications.
How so, you might ask.
Well, the first way is blindingly simple - and thats basically to "get off thy duff", as it were. Most folks today spend the majority of their days sitting down, and sitting for long periods without moving or stretching is without exception, one of the WORST things you can do for your back - especially your LOWER back. Simply walking around for a while with erect posture can alleviate back pain to a degree, but what amazes me is that folks are willing to drive long distances to see medical professionals that will "help their back pain", but neglect to simply walk around for a while daily.
Most back pain occurs due to the following reasons - weak upper back muscles (very common), weak muscles along the spine, and a wonky lower back (this last one is extememly common too). Those are the usual culprits - strengthen these areas the right way, and you can say goodbye to back problems forever.
So, how do you get the job done then?
Well, simple - you do so through bodyweight exercises that strengthen your back naturally. Pull-ups, as taught in Fast and Furious Fitness are one of the VERY BEST exercises you can do for your entire back. These are tough, but the results make the effort more than worth it.
There are stretches that make you feel like a billion bucks as well - while working the whole body as a unit. One of these is the gymnastic bridge that I show you in Fast and Furious Fitness - get good at this, and you'll be bidding riddiance to that nagging lower back pain shortly thereafter. I show you the basic movement in the book - there are far more advanced variations - but you'd be amazed at how many folks (including the "pumpers" in the gym) score a big ZERO when they try this one for the first time.
And lest you think those are the only things you can do to strengthen your back - well, think again, my friend. There are a plethora of different options available to you - but only if your open to trying them. The path most traveled is NOT always the best path, especially on this one!
Last, but not least, this email is NOT intended to be medical advice - if you have recurring back pain that doesn't go away even after strengthening your back, see a medical professional right away. In most cases though, I'll be willing to bet you won't need to do so after working on some of the exercises I spoke about - back pain will most likely be a thing of the PAST.
Anyway, thats it for today. Get cracking on "dem" pull-ups, and some of the other Fast and Furious exercises, and watch your back pain disappear like there's no tomorrow!
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!
There's one exercise that we all know, but don't practice enough - though we should be. We do this exercise daily without even thinking about it, yet most of us fail to do it regularly, and with enough passion to actually reap dividends.
It's so simple that you'd probably laugh at me for mentioning it. It's something we do without even thinking about it daily - and it's something that most folks that aren't handicapped can do without any problem whatsoever.
It's one of the oldest exercises known to man, and it produces great results - maybe not the kind the average person would expect, but it DOES produce results, and LONG-LASTING results at that (as the old timers who incorporated this into their routine got). And the results produced benefit you internally instead of just externally - and these results play a huge role in pushing you further along the path to overall well-being and lifelong health.
So, what IS this exercise I'm talking about?
It's not pushups, though those will do you plenty of good, and are something everyone should do. It's not yoga. It's not long distance running, and it's most definitely NOT bodybuilding.
Well, then what is it?
The answer will likely surprise you - it's WALKING. Yes, you heard me right - I'm referring to walking. Something most of us can do, and something which you likely don't even think of as exercise unless your a power walker or unless your out hiking.
Walking is one of the oldest, and most useful exercises there is. You may not think it does you much good, but even a regular (at a decent clip, not necessarily power walking) couple of miles a day will benefit you greatly - perhaps more so than many other forms of exercise. You'll burn calories - which is something most people want to do - but more than that, walking strengthens all your internal organs, and promotes overall health and longevity to a remarkable extent. This fact has been proven scientifically, but even if you don't believe those findings, you've just gotta look at the routines of the old time strongmen, boxers and wrestlers - virtually ALL of them incorporated lots of walking into their daily routines.
It's also a potent anti-dote to ageing - walking works the legs, and as the Chinese say, the legs are the first to go when a person starts to age. Keep the legs fit and strong, and you keep the entire body fit and strong by extension.
And know that it doesn't have to be a vigorous walk to benefit you (though busting your chops walking up a steep hill certainly WILL benefit you!) - walking at a decent pace (note I said decent - not slow) also has it's own benefits, and many of them. The key thing is to walk at least a couple of kilometers daily, or more is possible - and do so without the "marathon" mentality of making the miles, and nothing more. Enjoy the walk, breathe in the fresh air - and simply WALK - thats pretty much it.
That isn't to say walking by itself will get you the results you want - quite the contrary - but it IS a vital part of your routine, and should NOT be ignored.
As for me, I'm doing plenty of walking these days in Oman - this in a country where virtually NO-ONE walks. Sure, the extreme heat is a reason for that, but even so, you'd be amazed at how widespread obesity is here. Folks talk of people in the US being overweight, but there are other countries where the problem is just as (if not more) acute. . .I'm constantly thinking about how much fitter people would be if they just stepped out of their vehicles and walked a couple of kilometers to get to wherever they have to.
Anyway, be that as it may, I'm also doing plenty of handstand pushups, rope jumping, stair climbing and other things in addition to my walking - all things YOU should be doing, or trying to do as well! Of course, you do need a good routine to put things together - but thats why I wrote Fast and Furious Fitness- this has all the routines you need, and more, to get into great, great shape.
OK, long enough post for today, I'll stop here for now. Until next time, make sure you train hard - and be sure to try and incorporate walking into your daily routine as well!
PS: I spoke about Fast and Furious Fitness in today's email - the link to that is right HERE. Click on over NOW, and start on the routines that WILL change your life for the better!
Well, it's been a long time between posts indeed - and for that I apologize. Just too much going on this last month as it were; the main thing being that life being the strange animal that it is, I've ended up moving from the plains of India to a tiny country in the Gulf of all places - to Oman, specifically. The reasons for this move are beyond the scope of today's email, but it was a heck of a move regardless, which ate up pretty much every spare minute my wife and me had over the last month.
And lest you think the title of this email was a mistake, well, no - it isn't - I fitted in a fantastic trip to the Himalayas as well. That's something I make sure to do every year - I simply can't stay away from the mountains.
So, whats all this got to do with exercise, you might ask?
Well, plenty, if you think about it. Look, the first thing is that there's been a lot of travel going on as of late, so I haven't had the chance to work out daily - and when I do work out here, I don't have a pull-up bar at hand. Neither is there a local park I can go and do pull-ups in. So, I do the best I can with other exercises. Nothing can quite replace the thick bar pull-ups I did before, but I think I'll live until I find a way around that problem.
And no - I don't skip my workouts just because there's no pull-up bar around - there's plenty of other things you can do for an excellent workout. See Fast and Furious Fitness for more on that.
And what if you'd want to skip your regular workout altogether - and do something different for a few days?
Well, you can - and thats what I did on my recent trip to the mountains in India. It was a five day trip, and ALL I did was walk up and down the mountains (trek would be a better term) daily. And believe you me, trekking the steep Himalayas is not something to sneeze at, especially if your doing an average of 8kms or so a day, most of that up steep dirt tracks through the jungle. I guess you can say I slept like the proverbial log at night - whew!!
On that note, know that walking hills is one of the best things you can do for your overall health and fitness, so if you have access to hills around you, make sure you incorporate hill climbs into your routine. And it doesn't end there - you can also SPRINT up the hills - only make sure you work up to a certain level of fitness before attempting hill sprints!
It was a great, great trip overall - stunningly beautiful mountains, great weather, good food - and getting in great workouts without even thinking about it. Double thumbs up overall.
Now note that I do NOT recommend skipping your regular routine all the time; especially not if your skipping it in favor of a less beneficial routine. Sticking to a routine and getting better at a few exercises is one of the hidden keys to lifelong health and strength, but if you need a change - or if you find yourself in a position to follow an equally beneficial routine for a few days,then by all means go for it.
And as for now, I haven't found any outdoor activites to do here in Oman, but then I'm only a few days old here. Give it some, and let's see what I can dig up!
All for now - I should be updating this more frequently now that I finally have acess to the Internet. In the meantime, have a great weekend ahead - and if you train, make sure to make it a great one!
PS: Hill sprints are without exception one of the most powerful tools in your fitness kitbag, but you've got to be exercise due caution while doing them. Fast and Furious Fitness shows you how to work these into your routine - do so if at all possible, and you won't believe how quickly your body changes before your eyes!
Ask the average trainee a list of exercises they do (or for those starting out, a list of exercises they plan on getting after), and you'll likely get a long list - most likely put together with input from the "experts" that swear by doing thousands of reps and a ton of different exercises on a daily basis.
One such routine I read on a forum was (this was a bodyweight routine) went thus: - 500 bodyweight squats, 50 pistols (one legged squats), 200 pushups, 100 pull-ups, 10 sets of 1 minute handstands, 25 burpees, and - to "finish" things off, 10 minutes of jumping rope.
This routine was apparently meant to be followed daily, and one is expected to increase the number of reps on all exercises except the bodyweight squats, which was already the mind boggling number of 500 per day. YIKES!
Now, this may sound good in theory (apparently it does to a lot of folks), but for the average person, it means one thing and one alone - OVERTRAINING, and therefore a complete lack of progress; in many cases, a reversal of any progress made, which is even worse. It may work for professional athletes whose JOB is to exercise 8 hours day - but these folks have little else to do other than exercise, and practice their chosen sport - which is NOT the case for the average person.
I mean any ONE of the movements described is enough for an entire workout, if done correctly. 500 squats?? Do those right, and you'll likely have very little left in you after that. 100 pull-ups? Impossible for most folks to do. 100 pushups? Pretty tough workout by itself, without adding a ton of stuff in. You get the picture - these type of training "programs" (and I use that word with caution) are found plastered all over the Internet, but are to avoided at all costs.
And whats even sadder is that this particular routine was being recommended by some folks to others - ignorance is bliss, it would seem.
My own routine consists of a variety of movements, but I definitely do NOT go over the top on any of them. And truth be told, you'll make FAR greater gains working on a few movements, and working those movements HARD. For instance, my upper body routine this morning consisted of a 100 pushups, 25 handstand pushups and 25 pull-ups, followed by a bridge, but I was hammered at the end of it. The key is to focus on each rep - get the MOST out of every rep - and you'll see you don't need super-high reps to make progress. Neither do you need to do every exercise under the sun in a workout - concentrate on a few hard movements, and work those like you mean it.
Emblazon this into your mind - LESS is MORE, provided you do things correctly. Quality over quantity wins out every time - this cannot be emphasized enough.
And last, but not least, please don't think I'm against anyone working up to super high reps in a movement. On the contrary, I think those are great goals to shoot for - but add in a bit of common sense as well. Doing a 100 pullups is fantastic, but a hundred of them daily along with other things might just be over loading your system a wee bit too much. Do 100 one day, 25 the next, 70 the next, and so forth. You'll also find that you'll progress, and roar past "sticking points" much faster this way.
OK, my friend, thats the wisdom for the day. If your looking for training programs that allow you to blast every part of your body without overtraining, you can find them right here: - http://rahulmookerjee.com/index.php/articles/83-fast-and-furious-fitness-the-book.
All for now!
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
Today I'm going to talk about a time tested exercise combination for the upper body that works wonders if you know how to combine it into your routine effectively.
The routine I'm going to talk about is extremely simple, but amazingly enough ignored by many people. It consists of only TWO exercises. That's right - just TWO. You could work more in if you think you need to, but you likely won't find it necessary to do so.
It requires no other equipment other than a chinning bar - and even that isn't required if you have some other place to hang from (eg. a ledge, a tree branch, monkey bars, and so forth). It makes for a real tough workout to be honest - but it does so without eating up your entire day. And you could do this combination, and do no other exercise for the upper body - and you'd still make good gains as far as the upper body is concerned.
Now, at this point you've probably figured out what one of the exercises is - and you are right, my friend - it's the good old PULL-UP. But it's a pull-up done in proper form until your chin crosses the bar, done slowly, and for repetitions (and done WITHOUT "kipping").
The other exercise is another toughie - and one which is even more ignored than the pull-up - and that is the handstand pushup. Do these two exercises in sync for a while, my friend, and you'll soon be buying new shirts for yourself.
I did 40 pull-ups and 40 handstand pushups as part of my routine today - and believe me, there wasn't much else I could fit in except for some lower body movements, and core work. These two movements work the entire upper body into the ground - if you know how to do them correctly. See Fast and Furious Fitness for detailed instructions on how to get going with these two exercises.
Why do these two exercises work so well?
Well, first because they are compound exercises that work the entire upper body - as opposed to exercises which claim to isolate a certain muscle. I'm not EVEN going to get started on that one here. . .but rest assured that both exercises work the entire upper body as an unit. Yes, we've all heard that pull-ups work the back, and pushups the chest, but what is not often mentioned is how pull-ups use the chest muscles as well and pushups work the back. For more on this, see Fast and Furious Fitness.
Second, and more importantly because they train the same muscles HARD in OPPOSITE directions - and this last bit is important - they train the same muscle, in opposite directions, giving you muscles and tendons that are flexible and strong in ALL directions as opposed to one.
Think of it this way - what use would a rubber band be if you could just pull one end of it out? The same thing applies to your body. The pull-up motion requires ALL your upper body muscles to pull your upper body weight and the handstand pushup requires them to push the same weight. When you pull, you arch your back and draw your shoulder blades "back", and you do exactly the opposite when you do handstand pushups - and THIS is what leads to balanced muscular development, as opposed to, say, a "gorilla like" look where you work the chest muscles to the point that you stay hunched over, but neglect to do any back work (and this is more common than you'd think).
There are other reasons, and I could spend all day discussing this, but those two should be more than plenty for you to get started and find out the amazing benefits of this combination for yourself. Get started, do what you can, and you'll soon be the one telling me about how YOU'VE benefited from this combo!
Now, one last thing - remember that this sort of routine is NOT for the uninitiated. If your just starting out, this is not for you. If you haven't done pushups and pullups for a while, start off with regular pushups, and get good at them before working up to the other two. That is crucial - don't bite off more than you can chew - or you'll end up going backwards, not forwards. And of course, as always, remember to ALWAYS maintain good form.
Follow this sort of a routine religiously, and you'll soon have upper body development to rival the local "gorillas" at the park (or gym, hehe) - and what's more - you'll have solid, FUNCTIONAL strength to go with it as well!
PS: To learn more such amazingly simple, yet brutally effective exercise combinations, grab your copy of Fast and Furious Fitness NOW.