I train on the beach in my jeans all the time. Don’t you, bro?
You know, lately, I’ve seen a lot of wacky workouts with sensationalistic themes or titles. Things like…
The EXTREME Pec-Punisher Workout!
The INSANE Home Workout That Will Set Your Body Fat on Fire!
The Ab-Annihilator That Will Drive You CRAZY (and will get you institutionalized, too)
The list goes on and on. And you know what I think? What a bunch of wusses! I mean, do you really think that a workout – or any workout program for that matter – is really that extreme. Who are you kidding? Have our standards dropped so low that we really think that lifting weights, doing calisthenics, and the like borders on the extreme. Because when I think of something extremely hard that could actually drive someone to the point of insanity, I’m thinking hell week for Navy SEALs hard – not “I just did a 5×5 workout, gulped down a protein shake, and went home to take a nap before my afternoon massage” hard.
I’m sorry, but working out – as challenging as it can be – isn’t exactly on my list of extreme activities. And sure, there are fitness and athletic events that are truly extreme – like competing in an Ironman, or running an ultra-marathon. But those events involve a little more than an hour or so at the gym. And no, sorry, the Tough Mudder doesn’t count, and I won’t think you’re tough because you did one. Sure, it may be tougher than making pancakes on a Saturday morning, but not by much. The Death Race, on the other hand, probably comes pretty close, though.
My point being that in an effort to pump up egos, and make average, mostly unfit people feel like superheroes for doing a few pushups, we’ve lost sight of what hard work really looks and feels like. And this only complicates the problem because so many people are falsely indoctrinated that they have to train to the extreme in order to get the results they want – when simply working hard enough would be enough. Of course, most people these days aren’t all that familiar with real hard work, but I digress.
And sure, it’s easy to make a workout hard. If you make someone do more than they think they can, then trust me, it’ll be hard. For example, take a guy who thinks his max set of pushups is 50 reps, and then don’t let him get up until he’s done 100 reps. That’s hard. And believe it or not, it’s more of a mental/emotional challenge than a physical one. But that doesn’t mean it’s extreme – not by a long shot.
And this is very good news because most people don’t need to go to extremes in order to achieve their fitness goals. And so, with that said, here is a workout that is NOT crazy, insane, or extreme, but still works just fine.
Continue reading This Workout is not CRAZY, INSANE, or EXTREME… but it works.
Reminder: today is the last day to get the TACFIT 26 program with all the additional bonuses for $50 off the normal price. The sale ends at midnight!
I quickly spliced together some footage from a TACFIT 26 workout I tried the other day. This is from the TACFIT 26 Qual Workouts (instructor level), [...]
I was perusing the archives of Chris Highcock’s Conditioning Research blog, and I found this little nugget hidden amidst the rest of the June posts. The article is well-worth the read, but if you just want the abbreviated version, this is basically what it proposes: for strength and hypertrophy purposes, given that we want to maximize the amount of muscle fiber recruitment as much as possible, our exercise program should aim to target all fiber types (ie slow twitch and fast twitch muscle fibers).
Now, we’ve known about muscle fiber types for a long time, but the idea of programming our training to take all fiber types into account during one training session – even during one exercise – is new, at least to me.
Chris proposed that by performing a wall-sit exercise for a long enough duration, the body will automatically recruit all of the different fibers to maintain the pose. For instance, as the slow twitch fibers get fatigued, the fast twitch fibers will activate to compensate. It’s speculative, but that does make sense to me and seems plausible, but I’ve never been a huge fan of static contraction training as a standalone protocol. It’s a great exercise, yes, but how can we apply this idea to movements, which is what I’m really interested in?
So, here’s what I would propose is worth a test, and this is how I’d do it – if it were up to me. I’ve come up with two examples of applying the protocol to the squat exercise; one with a barbell, one without.
Continue reading Sequential Recruitment of Muscle Fibers For Maximal Muscle Gain
A Complete Bodyweight Workout Program to Help You Burn Fat, Build Muscle, and Get Stronger In Less Than One Month (Zero Equipment Required)
If you want to build a foundation of total body strength by strengthening your legs, core, and upper body musculature, burn some fat to lean out, reveal your abs, and enhance the muscle definition, AND if you want a do-it-yourself, braindead-simple training program that was created specifically for reducing bodyfat and building lean muscle, then you’ve come to the right place. Below, you’ll find a complete bodyweight workout program that you can use to accomplish these goals – at home or at the gym.
So, I’ll make you a deal: I’ll provide the complete program and let you use it for free IF you’ll follow the instructions below AND if you’ll tell me about your success four weeks from now. Deal? Deal.
How I got in Shape for the First Time in my Life using Bodyweight Exercises
Most people don’t know this about me, but I wasn’t always a fit guy. Actually, I was a pretty chubby kid from time to time growing up. Although, I was fortunate that my parents signed me up for sports and supported me in that area, which helped to balance my otherwise sedentary lifestyle. You see, besides playing sports, I also liked playing video games, which isn’t exactly the most physically active thing you can do. Combine that with school and you have a fairly inactive off-season, if you know what I mean. I had my off-season fun (video games), and my in-season training (sports). So, every new sports season would come around, and I’d have to fight really hard to get back in shape – not all that unlike the predicament a yo-yo dieter faces. But all that changed one day in my parents poorly-lit, dusty basement. It was in that basement where my love of physical training was born and forged – deep in the night.
You see, my father bought me a book called The Marine Corps 3X Fitness Program, and that little book sparked a flame that quickly turned into an obsession. So, what usually happened was after I could barely keep my eyes open to keep playing on my computer, I would head down to the basement to workout before bed and I started doing pullups, pushups, and situps like a madman – usually around 11pm. I just got obsessed with improving my performance. I did bodyweight exercises, and eventually got a weight set, too. Yeah, those plastic ones with a bench that was so shaky that I was sure it would collapse eventually – pinning me helplessly beneath the massive weights (note: I may be exaggerating about the actual poundage slightly). But my roots were in bodyweight training, and I’m a bit lucky in that regard.
Why Bodyweight Training Rocks (in a nutshell)
Bodyweight training can be done by anyone, anywhere, and it works really really well. It’s especially good for building a foundation of strength in beginner and intermediate trainees and, done correctly, it teaches whole body integration of strength and conditioning. It can be used for a variety of training goals like fat loss, muscle building, strength and conditioning, and performance enhancement. Plus, it’s pretty cool to master your own bodyweight and build a high strength to weight ratio. And did I mention it works really really well?
Continue reading Replace 10 lbs of Fat with 10 lbs of Lean Muscle in 4 Weeks using this Simple Workout Program
Supercharge Your Results and Prevent Exhaustion By Using the Escalating Intensity Strategy During Your HIIT Workouts
Not too long ago, I introduced the escalating intensity strategy that I’ve been using for a number of years, and I gave some examples for applying it to straight sets, supersets, and circuit sets (click here for the full article). Today, I’ll be explaining how to apply this strategy to interval training, and in particular, the Tabata-inspired, 4-minute high-intensity interval training workouts (HIIT).
In case you’re not familiar with this superb training protocol, here it is in a nutshell:
Perform 20 seconds of work immediately followed by 10 seconds of rest and repeat 8 times for a total of 4 minutes. The shorthand version of this is 20/10×8.
It’s a fantastic training protocol because it’s very simple and effective, but never easy – even for the most advanced athletes and trainees. Many different training programs use it, such as TACFIT Commando and TACFIT Warrior, just to name a couple, and you can learn more about it here if you’d like: 4 minute HIIT workout.
Now, the inherent problem with this model for a lot of people is that performing truly high-intensity exercise for this long is extremely difficult, and most people can’t do it properly without a coach – if at all. Inevitably, basic exercise technique begins to fail around the middle point and it just goes downhill from there – bad news.
And that’s the reason why I started experimenting with the escalating intensity strategy during my HIIT workouts. To say that I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the results would be an understatement. Quite frankly, I’ve been shocked that I can do less total work at a lower overall intensity level and still get equal or better results. Are you intrigued yet? Yeah, I was, too!
Continue reading How to Optimize the 4-Minute, Tabata-Style HIIT Workout (Without Killing Yourself)