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Friday, January 30, 2015
There's a fine line between being smart about your training and being a complete dumbass and not knowing what the hell you're doing. Granted some people just can't understand the concept of how idiotic certain things are till it's too late. A lot of people these days are looking for the coolest trend, it peaks their interest and want to see what it's like because hey everyone else is doing it right, why not you? Truth is those fads are geared for those type of people; gullible, not too bright and willing to jump in with both feet without looking at things from under the surface or another perspective. I've been there I've tried the bodybuilding gig and taking protein shakes and trained so damn hard I was ready to pass out (I'm not actually joking about that). It's easy to see something new, exciting and something you feel you want to fit into and I can't blame yeah, some of these fitness fads look incredible and the promises are unbelievable but in the end, it's money stealing and 95% of these fads will just fade away quicker than a calorie burn on a treadmill.
What most need to realize is that in order to even get the results you want, its not always the program that's the problem, it's the understanding of your own body. The body is capable of great things and we sometimes take for granted the way our bodies repair themselves and grow both the inside and outside but none of us are invincible. There is a limit to what our body can withstand but that threshold isn't the same with everyone, some can handle things far greater than others. To get the very best out of your training is to learn your body's capabilities and learn when to stop and when to keep going. Some of these workouts like those crazy Crossfit WOD types are insane and they expect some chick or dude who is a beginner to do that advanced workout that even Superman would say "uh uh." Not saying Crossfit isn't bad but it does have its cons like everything else and in more ways than one. I believe in finding what the body is capable of but to a certain degree; I want to able to train everyday even if it's just a qi gong workout to build that internal power but if I can't even move a single inch of my body there's something wrong there.
There are three types of people in fitness; one is the guy/girl who is smart about what they do and understands when to push and when to back off, the second is that person who believes in pushing to the limit practically every workout and would rather die getting that last rep even if his form is way off and the third is that poor gullible shmuck who doesn't know their ass from their elbow and chases after fads like a woman who's a shopaholic (sorry ladies) and just puts themselves in harm's way without even taking the time to go through the techniques and what could be useful. It is a challenge we all face and I go through phases where I'm particularly interested in a certain program but if it's new to me completely, I test out the waters and find out if my body has the greenlight to do some tough stuff and more so if they actually have any interest to me afterwards. I have pushed myself to limits that would make most people cringe and have seen great friends push themselves so hard it took them awhile to get back to the frontlines. I'm a firm believer in pushing to see what you're capable of but only do it when the time is right and you're 100% ready because if you're not you're going to suffer some consequences.
To make the right choices in your training is by experimenting and if something doesn't feel right regardless of what the workout says, it's best you don't so it. If it something you're interested in and it helps you plus you're happy and you're not fighting it that's what you ought to get good at and utilize it within another program that perks you up. Mix it up, make a game out of it, use your brain and don't always listen to what some dumb trainer told you to do, do it because you love it. I've seen some awful trainers in my time but the best ones I know of helps you find that passion, the type of training that excites you regardless of what you're feeling and they will push you but they also know what buttons to push. Don't be a shmuck who's a sucker for every fad that came his way; be that person who trains with passion, willing to push when you need to and smile about it not frown and bitch because bitching just makes things worse. I get it sometimes we can't be giddy all the time when we train because I'm certainly not the type of guy who jumps for joy like a little school boy who saw the coolest candy in the candy store at every workout, I have days where I just want my workout to be over with and let it go the rest of the day but at the same time even in that state at times I know I'm making things happen for myself because it's my passion and practically my birthright for doing this so even on the bad days, it's still awesome in the end. Do what works for you and celebrate your accomplishments and your challenges, find what you love and let it be the driving force for anything that comes into your life. Be awesome.
Thursday, January 29, 2015
For anyone that has the read the comics or has seen Batman Begins, we know how rigorous the Caped Crusader's training is, although exaggerated in some ways, in others it is admired. He doesn't do much in the realm of weights although it's been seen a time or too possibly in the cartoons but what you see from him is a no bullshit entity of superior conditioning; Push-ups, Squats, Pull-ups, Gymnastics, Martial Arts, Parkour, unbelievable endurance, crazy strength for a guy without super powers and his awareness and understanding of his body is just incredible. To get a basic idea of the closest thing to a realistic Batman workout is by doing the Batman Workout. There is even a challenge which has you doing the main three bodyweight exercises; Push-ups, Squats and Sit-ups over a 30 day period that has an increase in repetition.
When it comes down to it, some of the best athletes in the world relied mostly on bodyweight training it's a known fact; guys like Rocky Marciano, Ricky Henderson, Hershel Walker, Stan Musial, Mickey Mantel, Frank Gotch, Karl Gotch, The Great Gama, Lou Thesz and others. So whether you want to believe it or not, bodyweight training is an incredible staple of physical conditioning and it's even made its way not just in Batman but others like Doc Savage. Batman in my opinion takes it to its very peak doing things that weights can't even measure even if he was equipped with a gym chalk full of machines and weights. He uses what's practical, efficient and can be used anywhere because as you know he stalks the night for viscous criminals and needs that reserved endurance and strength to take them down and brought to justice. Think about it, if you're the city's night watchman and need to stake out the most notorious crooks even those that freaking huge (Bane and Killer Crock ring a bell?), do you really think weights are going to help in the long run for the strength you need as you're fighting them off? I'm not saying weights aren't good they are in many cases but yet when it comes down to it you need that reserved strength like a conditioned fighter. You have to able to use it a moment's notice and not for a short term workout; it's got work outside the gym as well as in.
Despite no superpowers and doesn't heal quite as quickly as most heroes, Batman is the only human hero that is practically superhuman. Sure he doesn't have much sleep and has to keep up appearances as Bruce Wayne but when he gets in that zone, in that mindset where no matter what the odds he finds a way to get the job done and that goes along with his training. Like I said if you ever read what his actual workouts are like it is grossly exaggerated and makes even the most conditioned athlete look like a small chump but yet there are possibilities if we even cut down to a 1/3 of what he does would benefit anyone who wants to get in some serious shape. If he actually existed and taught even remotely a small dose of his conditioning secrets, think of what that would mean to a MMA Fighter, Boxer, Baseball Player, Track Athlete and Strongman.
His training is in my opinion, underrated yet led by example because you don't have to do the exact same things he does (quite frankly no one can) but you can however do something and think in a different perspective on elevating your strength and conditioning to another level using a progressive system and the understanding of food intake, recovery and sleep. Batman in most people's eyes is the greatest Comic Book hero ever created and why; because he's more relatable as to being human and struggling to do well in the world like the rest of us. Sure we don't have his billions of dollars and a secret batcave or hell even the damn gadgets but even without those things he's still human and has developed himself through hard fought training, brains and the will to fight for what he believes in. So the next time you knock a system of exercise that seems too basic and is only good for endurance; do half of what Batman does and see how well conditioned you are.
Tuesday, January 27, 2015
I was never really that big of a fan of Golf unless it was on a video game or watching movies like Tin Cup, Happy Gilmore or Caddyshack. I barely think it's a sport but yet in a way I admire Golfers for their key eye on how to go for the right shots and those unexpected putts in the hole from 100 ft is pretty awesome. It takes much more than hitting a ball with a messed up looking stick and knocking it in a Gopher hole. Your eye sight needs to be sharp, timing your swing is a key and regardless of power you need a rhythm in speed and technique. Sure some guys can knock a ball 300 yards or more but how many can accurately secure a ball on the green from say 75 yards and have it be less than 20ft from the hole, that's some serious Golf right there.
Now beyond the swing, you don't need to grip the club that hard and you don't need to hit it so hard you pull a muscle, you can have a great swing with a solid grip that is stable but not crushing. There's not a whole lot of strength in it once you get the hang of it. Flexibility is a factor and the ability to breathe. Some of those guys pull muscles not from straining their swing but because they're holding their breath and yet lose their power. Think of it this way, you're an avid Golfer; what if you can jump up your game just by your thoughts along with your practice? The mental part of the game is even more essential than the physical and knowing the ability on how to use your mind within your own realm of imagination. Also your breath is your power more than your muscles, when you know how to breathe and have that pattern in your swing, you can generate more power without needing to tense up.
Picture yourself in your own little Movie Theater, you have your own seat in the press box or wherever you choose to sit, no one is around and the only thing that is going on is you watching a movie. Breathe a little deeper and sink into your private film as you watch yourself hit the ball further with that perfect swing, feel the air in your body as the wind runs through the course, it's the perfect weather and it's just you, your clubs and the hole you're shooting into. Picture walking up to the ball with ease, feel the grass in your feet, see it as if your shoe padding felt like the grass you are walking on. You take out your next club and you intuitively know it's the right club. You make another perfect swing, you breathe into the club as you go up and come back and hit the ball, it goes another 60 yards or so, you're getting closer, feel your heart riddled with joy and feeling happy. Everything is quiet, feel that warm weather, the sensation of power in your hands as you grip the club, you zoom in on the flag, zoom out and get ready for your shot, you are confident, you have incredible control of the ball and it goes where you tell it to go. As the ball is heading to the flag you know right there it's going to land just mere feet away and your winning shot is in your grasp. You get to the top of the putting green, your shot is just a couple feet away but you want to savor the moment, take in that deep breath of fresh, crisp air and as you take out your putter, you are not only going to win this match but you made it ahead to where the other golfers can't keep up. The shot is yours, bring that putter back breathing into the pull back and as you come forward in your swing, it becomes a magnet for when it hits the ball that magnetic field puts it right in the hole. You are the champion, the big winning check is yours and you earned every penny of it. Picture this often and see what happens in your game.
When you take that long driver and you want to put that ball so far out, the blast of the club to the ball is so loud it carries over to the next course. That is power my friend, make that club crack with super accuracy and majestic strength, your fellow golfers will think you're on steroids. The sound of lightning striking, thundering power into the ball with effortless aim and sending that ball into the stratosphere as you send it home while having it go for the ride its life. This is beyond the game, it is your game and you have the power to become a champion.
Monday, January 26, 2015
Yesterday, I went out with my 26 pound Sledgehammer and a tire. It was in the mid 40's weather wise but I didn't care, I was determined to make my mark. After all the sweat, the heavy breathing, numbers running through my head and the physical torture I put myself through I hit 1000 reps hitting that tire. To calculate 26x1000=26,000; that's the amount of weight I lifted total, that's 13 tons of pure, hard and super powerful steel in my grasp. This was my fourth 1000 rep triumph in the near decade since my leg accident. The other two were 1050 Hindu Squats/Jumpers, 1000+ reps using a deck of cards and 1000 Arm Wrestling Pulls. Doing 1000 reps of anything is pretty awesome and a great goal to shoot for. It goes beyond logic when it comes to specific exercises and it puts you in the realm of an elite group. It really is a cool number to achieve.
Now does doing 1000 reps require only one exercise? No it doesn't, you can 2 exercises at 500 reps per one or 3 exercises at a 500/300/200 scheme or whatever you want it to be. It is achievable but it takes more mental than physical and your heart and mind need to be on the same page otherwise it won't happen the way you want it. Some people do 500 Push-ups, 400 Squats and 100 pull-ups in a workout that can be done once you're in a high level of conditioning. It doesn't even need to be done all in one workout, it can be spread out throughout the day until you've hit that mark. However, if you do it with a single exercise like I have done and others that is some serious work and mental strength to go after. I did mine in sets between 20-100 reps at a time and when I needed a breather I took it, it takes a lot out of you and you need to conserve your oxygen. This is not an everyday thing, this is in the realm of three times a week at best and that's if you're at an advanced level. Also it takes knowing your body and intuitively knowing when to go at it and when to take a break or stop.
Like I've said before doing 1000 reps of exercise can have magic wonders happen; increased testosterone, strengthened tendons, muscle coming out of nowhere and a level of endurance that is off the charts. A friend of mine told me magic things happen when you hit 1000 reps and I understand what he meant. Think about it, doing 1000 reps of say like push-ups or squats is quite a feat of endurance but also comes with insane strength as well because after a while when you become a little sore it's tough to keep moving and the strength you need to get up is much more utilized. You are in a level of conditioning not many people have achieved and could never understand. It's beyond physical at this point and like I said it's not an everyday thing unless you're superman or someone with an insane amount of endurance and can recover well. After doing this many reps in a short or certain period of time, you're going to need recovery and letting your body repair itself but that doesn't mean you shouldn't stop training, stretch, hold certain positions, do Yoga but not anything too hardcore otherwise you can injure yourself or burn out from too much training and over exhausting the body's nervous system. However, when you do this every once in a while, like I said magic happens; fat burning at a rapid rate, increased muscle mass from specific exercise using heavy weight and incredible stamina along with crazy strength.
You can make the 1000 rep barrier all you want, one of my favorites is taking a deck of cards and going through the deck, I have used both a hammer and done push-ups/squats. Make it interesting and creative for you so you don't always have that dread of thought most people get. A friend once said "it never gets easier" which is true but it can be more interesting; change the speed, rep count, do less sets, go slow; there are so many different ways to do 1000 reps. As I may have mentioned this is an advanced level of training that is not for the couch potatoes or the lazy weekend warriors; it takes guts, heart, mental power, physical progression and a great deal of focus I'm not going to lie it is tough and you will be hungry as hell; I went through 2 huge plate fulls of Panda Express eating noodles, veggies, rice, chicken and beef just to feed my body enough after all that training. You will need to fuel your body and a protein shake isn't going to cut it, you will need to eat to fuel up because unless you're fasting that day eating is mandatory but don't be eating mcdonalds or burger king or any of that crap (Panda Express does have some very healthy options and have eaten there many times and do not have an extremely large gut) so pack it on and eat the way you're meant to. None of that eat a small salad or Vi Shake afterwards when it comes to this kind of workout you'll need fuel. Eat veggies, fruits, lean meats and a good amount of carbs and fats because they supply tremendous energy needed. If you drink milk, I suggest Raw Milk over the Pasturized stuff or Almond Milk for those that are Lactose Intolerant. Have it and be prepared to sweat, breathe hard and burn off fat like a freaking furnace.
Friday, January 23, 2015
The magic pill, 6 minute abs, fat to fab in 6 weeks or less, circuits to beat the clock and a very personal favorite of mine; train like the movie stars you see in your favorite trash magazine. In today's society with things constantly changing, people want their quick fixes and if they don't come out right they bitch and moan plus blaming others for their faults. We have become a move it or lose it type people and the latest fads make "promises" of making you look like a greek god or goddess in under a month even if you weigh 300 lbs. and are under 6' tall. It's heart breaking and at the same time pathetic that these money scamming pricks who charge an arm and a leg just so you can have the perfect body here and now as if it was even remotely possible. Hate to break it to you my friend, it's bullshit and it's always been bullshit. Sure some people have a gift of putting on muscle quicker than others or in a lot of cases take drugs and other "supplements" to heighten up the process. There is no such thing as a quick fix or a magic pill that will help you build instantaneous muscle that is remotely healthy or logical.
Why are in such a rush? You excited about what you're going to do and get, are you just beating your body to death just to lose a single pound and are you really going to tackle a workout you're clearly not ready for just to see if you can beat the clock? People want results NOW!!! They don't give a damn about what they do as long as you look like something Michelangelo cut out of stone; don't need to worry about having healthy bones, they'll just break and heal, maybe pop a few tendons and dislocate a few joints all for the sake of having a powerful looking physique. In a way I feel sorry for these people it's sad and gives others who want results and are willing to keep going in a safe manner a bad name. It's like a little 4 year old who wants a piece of candy and if he/she can't have it they throw a tantrum and scream and cry as if somebody was just murdered. Don't believe me, it happens with some people I've seen it first hand and I just have no sympathy for the poor bastard. Results are earned and they must be respected otherwise it will backfire on you and you'll have no one to blame but yourself.
It took me nearly ten years after my accident to do squats and leg flexibility exercises efficiently and with control, for a number of years, I fell, barely balanced on a few things, had trouble standing up for even a few minutes, be able to stretch beyond my toes and never once felt like giving up because if I did, it would've been too easy and I wasn't going to let myself go after coming this far. I pushed through, sweated, was even in a great amount of pain at first because I just started learning to walk again. What's the point to all this; the point is results come when you have earned them and just you didn't make a goal or two and you didn't get what you wanted right away doesn't mean you should quit. You need to be patient, believe in yourself and take responsibility for what you do, if you screw up, it wasn't the trainers fault or the program you did didn't work; you weren't ready and your results became what they were meant to be. Whether it takes you ten years, 10 months or 10 hours, results will come when the universe tells you you're ready to have them. I have busted my ass for years doing plenty of ab work and no six pack but I have built a strong core that can take a beating far better than the guy who does have a six pack. I not only earned what I have, I have tremendous gratitude for it and continue to get better not just in having strong abs but great flexibility, upper body strength that is just crazy and have kick ass speed for my size to swim fast, sprint like a madman and a lower body that is strong, durable and agile. When you earn your results, you'll have a greater appreciation for what you have accomplished.
Challenging yourself is a great thing but sometimes pushing too hard can lead to a lot of problems. I have blacked out from running when I was in high school, I nearly passed out at the gym from dizziness and over exhausting my body and believe it or not I have been hurt to the point where I needed to rehab. There were times where I couldn't get out of bed because every single shred of my joints hurt and I could barely move a few inches without being in great pain; want to know the kicker, I wasn't even 21 yet when all of that happened. Be safe when you go after something, don't sacrifice form just for a quantity amount of reps or sets. Understand how your body works, think outside the box and do the best you can to not get injured or worse end up dead, yeah you read that right people have died from pushing themselves too hard. Don't rush your workout, be efficient, resourceful and use some common sense for Christ's sake. When you challenge yourself, do so by adding a little more than what you normally do, not a freaking ton trust me it's not fun. Challenge yourself by the smallest fraction because little by little when you have made a killing in your obstacles you're building a bigger picture. A passionate painter doesn't take huge chunks of color and slabs it on otherwise it's not going to come out right, he has to take his time, see the picture in his mind as he paints and little by little puts his colors where he wants them to be, he's efficient, cunning and patient. Be like a painter, form your colors to see your masterpiece even by the smallest swift of the brush and when you're done, you have an artistic beauty come to life.
Here's a little Philosophical Fitness for you on setting goals:
When people set certain goals, some are pretty huge, some are doable, even some are very illogical and just so wrong but yet they're goals nonetheless. There comes a point in time when the goal is either in reach, doesn't have a chance in hell of making it or you become so obsessed that come hell or high water it's going to commence with sheer will power and a driving spirit. The reality is no matter how far or close you are even by the smallest fraction, you are making progress one way or another and when progressively increasing that fraction you are still better than when you started. People need to face facts that not everything will happen the way they planned it, however, you do get better despite failing and when success hits, you not only become stronger, you become wiser. Failure is apart of life but there's always two sides to every coin, when failure is evident, success is right on the other side waiting for you.
Thursday, January 22, 2015
There are many pros and cons about certain aspects of bodyweight training and it has a mix of critics and praises alike. There are many ways to utilize only your body to the point where weight training won't be a factor for you anymore but like me and others I like a combination of the two but not always applied to barbells and dumbbells. You can learn Hand Balancing, move like a wild animal, do all kinds of push-ups, squats, pull-ups, stretches, rope climbing, jumping, sprinting but the main factor is with all this variety, is it really free?
There are certain programs based on bodyweight training that costs plenty of dough but the irony is it's no equipment required so why pay for a certain course? Some people charge way too much for certain programs but at the same time, some of these are far too difficult for the average person and I can understand why. I do realize some guys are only out for the money and rather make some huge marketing rip off than to actually teach and value a person's reason to get their course in the first place. There are cheap courses out there if you can find them but for people like me, I go for quality and not always some cheap knock off just so some moron with a narcissistic complexity can cash in my money. However, there are things that people may not know about the very exercises they're learning and some seminars based on Bodyweight Programs help put in extra knowledge to get an edge on what can bring results a little quicker just by teaching a few adjustments and showing others how to broaden their horizon and take on certain secrets that others may not know. Nothing is new under the sun we all know that and everyone does certain of the same things just in a different format but it helps finding what is possible that brings us to a new level of mental aspirations for what we already simply do. So when you see certain programs that cost a boat load or less than a few bucks, look into the other side instead of what's written on screen.
There is no right or wrong program, people have different needs, different body types and no program is a one size fits all. In order to find the right program, you can't just go out and buy a shit load of courses and just happen to pick one, you have to find out what you're interested in, what strikes you so deep you feel you need to experiment. I have many books and DVDs on various courses but I don't go out and buy every single course out there otherwise I'd be broke. I look for what can applied for me and what benefits my body. I don't care what scientists say what works or what doesn't, I don't always follow others advice from what I already have but the reason they appeal to me is because I look for courses that are different, meaningful and teaches me not to just exercise but help find the creativity and brighten my passion. So, as far as experimentation goes, do what appeals to you and work on a system of your own design from the people you have learned from because following every course down to the letter isn't always going to cut it, you have to find your own path and practice the exercises YOU want to learn until they become a second language and becomes a reflex like memory.
So is Bodyweight Training really free? It's both yes and no for many reasons but I'll give you the simple rundown of each one…..
Yes- Because you can do your exercise anywhere you want and use it however you want. They're a time saver, doesn't cost you a membership or gas to get to the gym and you can set the pace for what works for you in your own home without the distractions and obnoxious sweaty people.
No- Because there are certain ways to help you advance along but to get the biggest benefit of this, you're going to need to add more to your collection, go to seminars, possibly throw down money for a trainer that actually knows his shit and doesn't hide anything or use online training.
If you don't choose to add on anything (its worth the investment) that's ok, being simple and basic is a great way to go about it and you're still doing something. However if you're like me, you want to absorb as much as knowledge on it as you can and might need to save a few bucks here and there but in the end, it's an investment in your health more than anything else. Most rather buy booze, cigarettes, drugs and useless things to put up on their wall in their house yet you are doing something they can't do and you have something they'll never achieve so who's the smarter person here. While someone is drunk off their ass and having a hangover, I'm doing bridges and getting high off the euphoria from holding a position for three minutes; that person who smokes and treats exercise like it's something to pass the time to me is pathetic when they can save all that money and not only save their lungs but put it to better use by getting real food and actually giving a damn about their body. The person who would rather shoot up and get stoned out of their mind can do far better and learn a few things that doesn't involve fear from cops or cost you an arm and leg to get naturally high from the endorphins and ideal less depressive options and doesn't require getting a "quick fix." What about that crap people buy off infomercials and never use them because it doesn't go well with the house and stuff into a closet or under their bed and forget about it, what a waste a money man when you can do cardio based exercises in your living room without a single piece of equipment or get a pull-up bar that you don't have to drill holes into or a set of gymnastic rings that will take down the strongest of men and has far more value than a 500 lbs. piece of crap treadmill. Make your training count and use your body as the ultimate weapon, when you can apply that, adding weights is just part of the package deal.
Tuesday, January 20, 2015
The word "Functional" has been one of the most overused terms in fitness today by shmucks who have no clue what the word truly means. Let me brief you in, when they talk about functional; it has no real world value. It is not functional to stand on a ball and squat with a barbell, it is not using a machine that supposedly works multiple muscles for the real world; for the most part, functional is certainly not when you do bodybuilding type exercises. You have been lied to and been sucked into this belief that fitness is all about the beautiful setting of a gym and its ok to do itty bitty exercises for the muscles you supposedly want to grow and look like a bigger shmuck. Functional is when you carry a large weight say a keg or a log, functional is when you use multiple muscles in awkward positions, functional is the ability to squat and stay there for a period of time, functional is sprinting as if your life depended on it and one more example, functional is when you lift weights that involve basic pressing, pulling, squatting, grip work and utilizing every muscle within the exercise.
When you see people lifting in Crossfit or those gyms that supposedly share what strength is, very rarely you see real lifting when it really counts. Lifts like overhead presses, picking up heavy objects off the ground, dragging heavy chains, swinging heavy sledgehammers, pull-ups without kipping, moving across the bar, walking with heavy objects like kettlebells or dumbbells, tossing a heavy ball overhead. These are real world exercises and although I love the idea of having fun and making cool workouts, I also believe in when the time comes to use that strength when it matters most. You're not going to help anyone by doing wrongful snatches, wearing out your joints faster and bruising your entire frame just to gain an inch of muscle and you're certainly not going to be saving lives with tricep kickbacks or balancing on your tippy toes as you squat on a bosu ball. Sorry to be an ass but you know what, I'm telling you for your own good. Plus 2 hours or more at the gym isn't helping your cause, if you happen to be in a fight, it's not going to last like a UFC match, you need to handle it as fast as possible when it comes down to it. Focus on what truly matters.
One of the greatest exercises you can ever do to get in shape in record time is not lateral raises or 15 pound rows on a machine, it's swinging a heavy sledgehammer on a tire. No you don't have to be like those back breaking dudes who smash rock 12 hours a day (although it definitely worked for one of the last old-time strongmen) but this type of training works the whole body and it doesn't just build muscle but tendon strength as well. Think about it, in order to keep a steady pace of hitting a tire (or pile of dirt/sand) you have to keep a solid grip on the handle; doing this in high repetition will make people think twice about shaking your hand. You can get a typical good sledgehammer at a local hardware store like Home Depot or Lowe's and they're inexpensive but the cream of the crop of sledgehammers belongs to my man Ryan Pitts at Stronger Grip. His hammers are legendary not just for their craftsmanship but the power and strength needed to hold on to even one of these bad boys take a special kind of person to handle it. His Epic Sledgehammer is my all-time favorite next to the Thor Hammers, this mighty tool looks like something that was made on Asgard or Mt Olympus very powerful and breathtaking. You can do all sorts of things with this but the basic swing on a tire turns boys into men in a heartbeat. My best with the Epic (that weighs 26 pounds empty) is 520 reps, that's moving a total of nearly 7 tons of raw power in my hands. So let me ask you this, would you rather have a 3 pound dumbbell that doesn't do anything but look embarrassing or would you like to hold something that looks like it was built by the Gods of Mythology and be able to build realistic and superhuman quality like strength?
Functional in reality is building solid muscle that is realistic, agile, flexible and powerful as oppose to bloated shit that only looking good is all that it does. Athletes of yesteryear didn't care that much how they looked but rather depended on the strength they have managed to achieve and not just have it for a short period of time but for a lifetime and use it whenever they could at any time they wanted. Quality is to be respected and made to put effort into, not always the quantity or the "look" that is supposedly the way to go about things. Don't believe me, take a bloated Mr. Olympia wanna-be up against and put him up against someone like John Grimek or Bill Pearl, hell how about George Hackenshmidt and I guarantee you not only would this guy get his ass beat but the other guy wouldn't even have broken a sweat. Real muscle is built on smart training, intense focus and quality food and rest. I do admire bodybuilding in some form but to say these guys are strong and durable (extreme few are) is just laughable. Learn and research the real ability to develop functional strength from the guys that have the real inside scoop on building world-class strength without the need of artificial steroids or any of that drug related crap. Earn it and live it.
Monday, January 19, 2015
Some trainers and "experts" tend to make people feel inferior with the small minded concept that if you did this amount of reps in an exercise or you lifted this much weight you're in a certain class of strength. I'm going to teach you another way of thinking and showing you that you're actually stronger than you think you are. Let me give you an example of my own experience. Thursday night I decided to take my 26 pound sledgehammer and just hit the tire as many times as I felt like doing. I did a total of 350 reps which using a hammer that heavy is pretty insane in itself but I decided to calculate differently and look at it from another perspective. I took the amount of weight moved and multiplied it by the reps I did, want to know what it came out to? 9100 pounds total, that's over 4 ½ tons lifted, talk about moving serious weight. So this got me thinking, why not use that to get a bigger picture of what you can do in your exercise whether it's weights or bodyweight. After reading this and thinking differently, trainers will feel like crap and you'll be the stronger feeling one.
Let's picture this in a bigger concept or idea; when you move weight a certain amount of times you're actually gaining more strength than you perceive to think about. How about we look at it from a weightlifting experiment:
Say you are an avid Bench Presser and you can bench a good amount of weight say for example, 350 lbs. Your average Powerlifter can easily do this within his weight class of 180 lbs. He can probably bench much more in competition but let's say for the sake in Practice he moves 350 in certain amounts of sets and reps schemes. So let's take that weight and put let's say the 5x5 scheme. That's 25 total reps, now let's have a little fun calculating shall we; you take 350 and multiply that by 25, what does it come out to? You got it 8750. You just lifted that amount of weight total and in terms of tons that's just under 4 ½. That's an insane amount of weight moved, so do you think you're not strong enough? Let's look at a bodyweight exercise: Handstand Push-ups…
Say a man is like our Bench Presser, same weight at 180 lbs. He likes to do Handstand Push-ups as an addition to his training. Moving your bodyweight in this format takes a great amount of strength and the heavier you are, the more you have to deal with. So let's say he did the same amount of reps with the bench press totaling 25 reps (this alone constitutes an already insane amount of strength). Let's get our calculators out, isn't this fun, it's like being in school but in a more exciting way. 180x25=4500; using his own bodyweight he just moved 4500 lbs. that's over 2 tons lifted, that alone puts someone in an elite level of strength.
Whether you're a lifter or a bodyweight fanatic, you can generate much more power than you believe to do. When generating a certain amount of force in a period of time in the rep scheme, you're getting far more strength than you would believe. This goes well for women as well who believe about the bulkiness or that they're not strong enough, true women don't have the same ratio of strength as a man but that doesn't mean a woman can't be insanely strong and not only that but can still have an athletic feminine body. These assholes who tell you that if you do this amount of reps you're either a beginner, intermediate or advanced level of training when in fact you're actually stronger than you can imagine. When it comes to bodyweight they make it sound like you can barely do anything, I would love to see a guy who's the same size as me pull off 5-7 pull-ups, that's not a beginner folks, that's insane strength. Let's take at a look at that, at the moment I'm around 260 lbs. My best at pull-ups right now is around 5 reps before it becomes too difficult, the average "expert" would tell me I'm in the beginning stages of pull-up reps (elite is 20). Ok say I 'am in the beginning stages of that so let's calculate: 260x5=1300, that's well over ½ a ton I just lifted total, that's a hell of a lot of strength for a "beginner" don't you think? Yeah some expert huh?
You are far stronger than you think. Don't let others make you feel inferior because you're in a specific level just because you didn't pass some perquisite. People have different shape of body mass so you can't really determine someone's strength by the reps they do, so the next time you lift a weight or moving your own bodyweight, think about how much power you're really generating as oppose to lifting this amount of weight for that amount of reps that equal strength or endurance. Think differently, look at it from another perspective and see the bigger picture. Don't let some moron with his name attached to a piece of paper tell you how strong they think you are. Determine your strength in a different way and when you start to notice it, you're getting far more out of it than you thought before. Hope you learned something and I truly hope this makes sense to you because I'm not looking out for the traditional way of training, I look for things from another perspective and help others see that so they can find out for themselves how to do things that aren't mainstream and in search of the truth instead of a white lie we see every day.
Thursday, January 15, 2015
We often fear what we don't understand, it's human nature and it's part of what signals us with the fight or flight complex. When you're in the gym or at a playground or anywhere you train, there might be some person that is just surreal with incredibly hard moves, possibly lifting far more than you can imagine, he/she may even just have far better usefulness for those exercises performed; however you can be dominant if you want to be, in order to make that happen, you need to let go of the fear and focus on what you want to get better at or do things that just flat out make you crazy strong. Don't expect to be better or not be better than the next person, become better than you were yesterday, play around, do some cool moves you are good at or just run through your own drills and make a game out of it. We focus so much on what we fear, we forget to look at what we're capable of and challenging ourselves to get better even by the smallest fraction.
When you train, the key to overall results is to learn the facets of utilizing every muscle in your body within the realm of a single exercise; it could be sprinting, swimming, lifting heavy weight, doing acrobatic moves, gymnastic type exercises or a personal favorite of mine; moving like a wild animal. The more muscles being used, the more you'll experience the results of developing a strong and functional body. You see, isolating movements is just so boring to me these days, focusing on a single muscle in multiple exercises just has a complicated and odd element that isn't natural or useful. Unless you're rehabbing or in a specific sport where certain muscles are developed those are the only true exceptions otherwise you're wasting your time.
Moving like a wild animal is just an incredible feeling of taking your muscles and joints to another realm of fitness that is slightly getting a rise out today but not as much as it should be. I'm not saying Animal Movements are the end all be all but they are the top of a short list of ideas that helps you burn fat like a furnace, build muscle in a unique and fun way plus it can be done by anyone at any age. A key ingredient to get your results is to think like that animal, not just move but having that mindset, creating scenarios in your mind to move as fast as possible from an imaginary predator or catching your possibly only meal of the day, you can even move a little slower for endurance purposes like traveling to a nearby habitat or moving along to find your next meal; use your imagination. If you have read enough of my articles by now you know my favorite animal is the mighty Gorilla. I like to picture myself as the mighty King Kong with arms that can crush tree branches with a single squeeze of my biceps, have insanely strong hands that can rip off the head of a dinosaur and powerful abs so strong they're like indestructible armor. Walking or running like a gorilla is fun to me and get to live out my fantasy of being in the jungle climbing, taking down my enemies with a single punch, have super strong tendons that are like adamentium claws like Wolverine and move insane heavy weight like it was a pebble. You may not be a gorilla person but maybe a tiger, a beautiful bird, a demon speeding wild cat, maybe more like a crab with claws so powerful they take down sharks or hell maybe a type of monkey like a baboon it's up to you who you want to be for that animal. The real way to know this is to experiment with as many animal movements as possible and intuitively find out which one you seem to mimic the most.
To be the true king or queen of your jungle is how you let your energy flow, make yourself stand out, learn to internalize your body's power and take on that sensation of electrical surge throughout your body. Don't force it otherwise you're just fighting yourself, let it flow and create what you want out of it instinctively. This is done by practice and learning how you flow through your movements, when you sit and how you breathe. Deep Breathing is a major factor in creating this incredible power throughout every single part of your body from your neck to your toes. Create your energy with intention, passion and imagination. Utilizing this along with your training you'll be dominant in your endeavors with a few added bonuses that I'll let you figure out on your own. You can let go of worry, fear, frustration, anxiety and depression by learning how to use your energy and to practice the realm of breathing using your imagination. You are very powerful, do the very best you can do.
Tuesday, January 13, 2015
Back pain can be a real bitch for most people. You have spasms, stiffness and can hardly move to function right without feeling tension in certain areas. It is difficult to fathom someone can have a healthy spine especially in this day and age with overweight people, inflexible folks that take pill after pill to take away the pain. For the most part, pills only temporarily block out the pain until it comes back and bites you harder than ever. It isn't uncommon to not be flexible in the back, most people who want have a powerful back lift heavy weights but yet there is a draw back. Typical stretches may not always cut it and you can't keep paying a chiropractor every week just so you move around here and there. Our spines are the most crucial parts of our entire anatomy because without them we wouldn't be able to walk, move our limbs and most of all function internally. In order to build a healthy spine, you can't just lift a few weights, you need to stretch it to the point where it not only becomes flexible but strengthens you at the same time.
I wasn't always a flexible guy, I use to be so damn stiff I'd wake up mornings hearing cracks from my neck to my toes and it would be exhausting just to get out of bed; that's only supposed to happen to people in their 40's and 50's right? Reality check, I wasn't even 20 yet. After my leg injuries, I dedicated myself to strengthening my body in ways I've never attempted before, I even went out of my way to train my body that would have doctor's cringing and everyone in my family thought I was nuts, I was obsessed at that time. I learned how to do bridging and not just holding a position but be able to lift myself up and move in those positions from the wrestler's bridge and front bridge to holding the Gymnastic Bridge (Wheel Pose in Yoga). Strengthening the spine has been part of my quest for nearly a decade and the results from it are indescribable, my body began to take shape like a big athlete, I can touch my toes from standing barely bending my knees and it opened up growth hormones naturally so that I was losing fat, building muscle and making my tendons incredibly strong. Most fear bridging because it looks unnatural and looks like only something a gymnast or a wrestler should be doing but in fact whether you're big or small it is one of the best damn exercises you can ever do.
What many don't realize about bridging is that it not only stretches the neck and back but its every single muscle in your body from neck to toes. Think about it in order to even hold the positions you need your feet to planted into the floor, your hips raised as high as possible and your Core muscles need to be strong enough to stabilize you, it's impossible to hold any bridge without needing that kind of strength and they say bodyweight exercise is only good for endurance. When you can control your entire body in a position of that caliber you begin to open up the body in ways you have never imagined; super strong legs, incredibly powerful abs, a spine surging with electrical power, a crazy strong upper body, neck muscles to help prevent injuries and with the stretching you're opening up the hips and get incredible sexual energy that is just fuming with power. For men, you're building incredible growth hormone which releases energy that helps burn off fat, build muscle and have a libido that a teenager would envy; it is that powerful, for women; the hips are a powerful presence on the body, think of the incredible pizazz you can create with strong sexy legs, powerful mobile hips and losing that belly fat you absolutely wanted to get rid of to have a sleek and toned abdominal muscle that would make gay guys quiver over. Your whole body becomes one big unit and it can help you in ways that don't always involve exercise. Be able to touch your toes without grunting or being in pain, be able to move with grace and strength at the same time, have an athletic build that turns heads; it's all possible through adding bridging into your routine.
Remember when I talked about hormones; I wasn't joking, I once trained a guy who was in his mid-30's, he wanted so badly to be flexible and he tried many things and he wasn't a big guy either he was no more than 165 lbs. soaking wet, he was so stiff at first going down the wall backwards was difficult for him. I showed some specific techniques that involved breathing and contracting the muscles and within less than a half hour I had him touching his nose in the wrestler's bridge for the first time in his life. After he experimented more on it, his body started feeling like he was back in high school, full of vigor and surging energy from the inside out and this is after nearly 2 decades of him having those types of back issues. When you can jump start your hormones, everything in your body comes alive and puts you in a state where you feel incredible for no apparent reason and you bring a new presence that can be felt from the other side of a room. At 255 lbs. and less than 6' tall I shouldn't be able to do this stuff let alone falling backwards onto my head and kicking over so it's not only a blessing but I have proven that if you practice and progress little by little, it doesn't matter how big or small you are there are possibilities. I have not done one single form of exercise that brings more power and strength to the spine that bridging has and have nearly 20 years of experience in the fitness field under my belt. Gain your livelihood and own your life in a powerful way. It may not be for everyone due to certain issues but the majority can learn to bridge with the right techniques and understanding of their own physiology. Become strong and flexible. Be awesome.