Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Why I love bodyweight exercises

  • No contracts or gym fees.
Bodyweight exercises can be done anywhere you’re at. You don’t need a gym or a “box.”  Just a little bit of space anywhere and you’re ready to work.
I checked into the local Plano Crossfit gym and they wanted $125 / month gym fee!  That’s insane.  I have one child in college and one in kindergarten that need that money more.
  • You can workout faster.
Since you are using your bodyweight for all your exercises there is no excessive downtime in between sets changing weight, or changing bars, or waiting for someone to work in, or chatting between reps/sets. You just progress naturally into your next set or exercise. 
If you still want to talk with someone between sets, talk to your wife, kid or pet.  Smile
  • It’s greener
You don’t need to drive to the gym.  Just stay home and workout in your backyard, or living room, or garage.  You could even run to the local park for a warm-up, do your exercises then run home for a cool down.  You’ll save gas, time and money and get some healthy vitamin B from the sun.
  •  Works on your conditioning 
Doing 3 – 5 sets of heavy squats, deadlifts, or bench presses will leave you out of breath but it won’t help your conditioning much. 
With bodyweight exercises you can move rapidly from exercise to exercise rapidly moving as fast as you want to keep your heart rate elevated.  The Army, Marine Corps, Navy Seals, Army Special Forces and Air Force PJs all use bodyweight exercises for their conditioning.

For the ultimate condition test try doing 100 burpees for time.  After you that you’ll like you just finished running a marathon!  You can all try doing a total of 500 reps doing pushups, planks, pullups and broad jumps.  That is tougher than it sounds
  • Highly scalable
If an exercises becomes to easy for you just and more reps or progress on to a more difficult form of the exercise.
Take pushups for example.  Everybody can do 10 –15 pushups, but can you do 50?  If you can do 50, can you do 50 decline push ups, or 30 wide/narrow grip pushups?  If that’s to easy you can move on to clap pushups and then one arm pushups.  Still to easy?  Then through on a weight vest and try them all over again.
This type of progression can be done with any bodyweight exercise.
For more information on using bodyweight exercises you can view the following links:

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Plano Pacers Holiday Hustle 8K

It was cold (36 f) and windy (30 – 40 mph) but other then that it was a nice day for a run. 

Since today is Christmas, the race started at 10 am instead of the usual 8 am.

My time was 40:28.  Not bad for the weather.  I took it easy into the windy and tried to run faster with the wind to my back.

My next big run is the Plano Pacers 15K the last Saturday of February. 

Early Christmas Present!

imageThe hardest bodyweight exercise for me to do is pull ups.  I don’t have a pull up bar in the house or a nice tree branch to do one on, so I usually have to improvise.  When I have done my Primal 5 (squat, pushup, plank, shoulder press and pull up) exercises, I have had to find time to go to the local playground or do inverse rows under the dinner table.  Inverse rows are effective, just not under the table.

Last weekend I noticed that Academy Sports and Outdoors had an Elite Fitness Power Tower on sale and that it was the perfect size to fit into the corner of the bedroom!  Sweet. ….. I brought it home and assembled it under the skeptical eye of my wife. 

My wife was really doubtful that it would ever get used and just end up collecting dust!  Well I use it for pull ups about twice a week.  My wife, son and mother-in-law use it just about every day!  It’s a good feeling to see the family working to stay healthy.

Seems like I made a wise decision.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Workout of the Week – 100 Burpees! I love to hurt!

I really love running. ….. But I like strength training, also.  So how does one combine the two without sacrificing functional strength?  Running is great for aerobic endurance and basic fitness.  It builds good legs and glutes and you can get a average core workout but that’s about the limit of it. 

If you do to much weightlifting, body building, or powerlifting you have a chance of becoming to muscle bound and just build strength for the exercises you train.  So my question was how to build functional strength?  How can I stray strong and fit with exercises that will complement my running and any other physical or daily activities I want to partake in?

Well for me the answer is bodyweight exercises.  Yes, I know, snicker all you want.  I use to until I got back into strength training and decided to take another approach.   Try doing 50 pushups, or 30 pistol squats.  Kind of hard huh? 

Well last night I did 100 burpees (I did the squat jumps but did a plank instead of the pushup)in about 12 minutes and, then followed it up with one set of 50 pushups.  That was to make up for not doing a pushup in the Burpees. I thought it would be easy.  It was a WHOLE lot Harder then I thought.  Today my abs, lower back, traps and hamstrings are a little sore.  It was a very good strength workout with a good aerobic workout added to it.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Workout of the Week (WOW) - Automobility

As part of my new found fitness and health strategy, I have decided that I need to get back to strength training in addition to just running.

Before I started running I use to Powerlift a lot.  I was in the gym for a couple 3 - 4 days a week.  All that really did for me was make me fat and kind of tired and sore all the time.  I decided to stop powerlifting and take up jogging.  I have not really did any kind of strength training for a few years until I started following the Primal Blueprint.  

One of the Primal Blueprint laws is to "Lift Heavy Things."  It is basically just incorporating some strength workouts into your fitness routine.  Instead of lifting in a gym, I have decided to take Mark's advice and do a series of body weight exercises(squat, pushups, planks, pullups, shoulder press) according to his Primal BluePrint Fitness (PBF) advice.  The results have been super!

One thing that he posts at on is a Workout of the Week (WOW) that can be used to substitute the five basic primal movements (squat, pushup, pullup, shoulder press, planks) once you advance to a certain level.  This keeps your body from adapting to the routineand from getting stale!

So today I did this WOW: WOW: Automobility.  It entails pushing a car across a parking lot for about 100 feet back and forth four times. I pushed my Ford Focus across a parking lot up a slight incline. 

It was quite a workout!  My thighs, hamstrings, shoulders and traps were all burning after this 15 minute workout.  It seems like a good workout.  I plan on doing it again sometime. Next time I'll try pushing my wife's van instead of my Focus.

The best thing about following PBF is it's quick, effective and I don't need to buy a gym membership!