I have had a lot of readers request an occassional calisthenic workout for them to perform as a change up between weight sessions and as a break from their normal routine. So, here you go:
Warm up with a light jog and then begin, no rest between sets!
-100 Bodyweight Squats
-20 Push Ups
-100 Jumping Jacks
-20 Plyometric Squat Jumps
-100 Bodyweight Squats
-20 Leg Lifts
-100 Flutter Kicks
-20 Push Ups
-20 Leg Lifts
-20 Push ups
-50 Jumping Jacks
-10 Minute Run (and I mean KICK ASS RUN, not quick walk).
DO WORK AND LET ME KNOW HOW IT GOES IN THE COMMENTS!
I have a client that is preparing to enter the Air Force with aspirations of becoming a member of the elite Air Force Combat Control Special Operations team. Today is our calisthenics day, and I have taken the popular “100 Workout” and modified it. In case you don’t know, the 100 Workout looks something like this:
100 Jumping Jacks
70 Leg Lifts
60 Jumping Jacks
30 Leg Lifts
20 Jumping Jacks
Run 10 Minutes
and for some brave people, repeat. This guy is a step above regular conditioning, so he’ll be doing this and about 4 variations of this, with kettle bell swings, burpees, push ups, plyometric jumps, dips, broad jumps and much more. I know what he’s about to go through, and you can never be prepared enough (this will go well with the 3 hours per day he already spends in the pool).
Time to kill it!
Hey San Antonio, Europe, Iraq and readers from all other corners of the globe.
Yesterday, I put my client Lindsay through a bit of torture on leg day, and thought I’d share it with everyone. This is an absolute leg blaster – try it a few times, first time to get weights down, and then focus on improvement. The key is to get through all of the exercises without dropping weights, so it may take a time or two to zero in on where you need to be.
I’m listing Lindsay’s weights (she’s a 115lb female, adjust accordingly).
Round 1 (10 seconds between exercises until the last exercise, rest 2 minutes, then repeat):
Overhead Squats x 5 (40lbs)
Front Squats x 10 (40lbs)
Squats x 15 (75lbs)
Repeat 5 times
All squats are ass buried to the grass.
Rest 3 minutes.
Round 2 (15 seconds rest between exercises, 2 minutes rest after the last exercise, then repeat):
Dead Lifts x 10 (85lbs)
SLDL x 20 (75lbs)
Leg Press x 30 (200lbs)
Repeat 5 times.
I haven’t heard from her yet, but I’m imagining that she is on fire today. But her legs are getting stronger and looking better every week!
I like to share my own personal fitness goals here on my blog. I believe in positive pressure, and sharing goals with friends, family, co-workers and acquaintances is a great way to keep positive pressure on one’s self.
I do not train most clients the way I train myself. Why? Because most of my clients don’t have the same goals I have. There are specific ways you train to obtain specific goals. My goals are strength first, stay lean, and obtain more lean body mass in that order. While I could balloon up and gain sheer size, I prefer to at least stay somewhat aesthetically pleasing. A majority of my clients are females looking to lose fat and transform their bodies, not become earth shattering strong (while strength gain is typically a welcomed side effect of proper training and nutrition).
Also, my own workouts are somewhat boring (they’re very repetitive, and while I do make regular changes, it’s tough to train the way I do) – if I can’t keep a client excited, it’s tough to keep them consistent! Seriously, people training simply to transform their body don’t need to train that I train. Weightlifting (more specifically, powerlifting) is more than improving my physique for me. It’s my hobby, my sport, and poundages are the way I keep score. While I do train some individuals that have similar goals, my training is very specific to my goals.
Anyway, I have two goals that I am very excited about. First and foremost, my goal is to have a three lift one rep max total (dead lift, squat, and bench press) of 2000 lbs. Right now, I’m in the 1900 range and quickly climbing. I expect to be able to obtain this goal in the next couple of months. The key is obviously to stay healthy when dealing with such large weights.
My long term goal is to break the raw bench press record of 715lbs. Raw means no bench shirt, no assisting equipment etc. My current raw one rep max on the bench press is in the mid 500s, and at 34 years of age, if I can stay healthy I think I have an outside shot at obtaining that goal. I believe in dreaming big, and breaking a world record is my ultimate goal. The guy that owns the current record did so at a bodyweight of 311lbs. I currently weight 240lbs and I intend to stay within 10-15lbs of this bodyweight. The more immediate goal, which coincides with the 2000lb total, is to bench press 600lbs at under 250lbs of bodyweight. My goal is by my 35th birthday which is March 16, 2011. At my current bodyweight, my one rep max in the bench press is considered world class. Staying in this bodyweight range is important to me for health, pain management and of course, to look like a professional at what I do.
So there it is – I’ve put my own personal fitness goals out there for the world to see and I expect to be held accountable! When shooting for your goals, ask yourself, in everything you do: “Is this helping me get to where I want to be?”
What are your goals? Would love to hear them! Work hard and take pride in everything you do. Pride is simply your signature on a job well done…
In my workouts, I pick an exercise that I’m going to be doing in my workout and choose to do something as close to maximum effort as I can possibly go. The exercise changes regularly, and the goal may be do a higher number of reps with a particular weight than I’ve done in a while (or have ever done) or do more weight than I’ve done for fewer reps. Yesterday, I dead lifted 635lbs. The other day, I leg pressed 1000lbs 20 times. Today, that exercise was flat db bench press… To my workout!
DB Bench Press
I’m very particular about who I do the regular bench press with during my workouts. I do not like to bug people for a spot and I don’t trust most people spotting me if I get up into the 400lb range, so today I just stuck with the db’s.
Hell set: 125×33 reps
I’ve never tried to see how many times I can do 125lbs but this is the biggest set of db’s my gym has. I still feel this.
Incline DB Bench
That one set wore me out, so this one wasn’t so intense.
Flat DB Flies
Hammer Strength Decline Bench Press
4 plates each side (360lbs) x 10 x 4 sets
2 sets x 20 reps
Hammer Strength Dip
360lbs x 8 reps x 3 sets
180lbs x 15 x 3 reps
DB Skull Crushers
30lbs x 15 x 2 reps
I was sufficiently cooked at this point, but I’m enjoying the high volume. I typically get in and out of the gym in under 50 minutes, but the last couple of weeks, I’ve been spending a bit more time lifting. I have some improvements I want to make and some goals to reach, and I’ll talk about those a bit more in a later post – lots of stuff to accomplish from a muscle gaining/fat loss point of view over the next few months. I’ll also be discussing my current nutritional strategy over the next few days.
If you don’t slow down, you’ll always go forward!
To all of the fathers (and single mothers who play both roles), I want to take this time to wish you Happy Father’s Day. I believe that as a father, the holiday is everyday, as there is absolutely nothing that compares to being a daddy.
Peyton and I had a great breakfast together, and while he played in the pool, I was able to get a head start on the week and get a nice, intense workout in. The workout of the day was Push muscles (benching, shoulder work, triceps, etc) but I finished off with some calf work and then several sets of what I’ll call light box jumps, as it wasn’t scheduled to be a plyometric day – my entire posterior core is still on fire from a few days ago.
I was able to get a vid of me jumping on to a 36″ box (one guy was saying 42″, but this one is the one I’ve always called 36″ and I’m pretty sure I’m right) holding 25lb plates in each hand. Later this week, I’ll try to get a vid of me actually doing this with the bar on my shoulders (a jumping squat).
Sorry for the quality of the vid and my lack of energy, but this was more than 2 hours into an already intense workout in a very hot gym!
Now Peyton and I are going to get cleaned up for a nice, early dinner. I look at everyday I get to spend with him as a great day, and I’ve cherished absolutely every single day since he was born.
I hope everyone is enjoying this special day. I will be posting more workout related videos over the next few weeks as I start focusing on the insanity I like to train with!
As I mentioned yesterday, I wanted to do a little extra sprint work to help me recover between sets. Today, I only ran at about 60% to avoid too much trauma after an intense leg workout, but I only rested 15-30 seconds between sets. Simply put? Fifteen 40 yard sprints with light rest.
Everything you do should have a purpose. Train smart! Whatever your weaknesses are, focus on improving them. This is the primary thing I focus on with my clients – every workout, every movement has a reason behind it – nothing is ever cookie cutter.
While in the gym today, I was wearing a t-shirt that my best friend Hank gave me from a strongman competition he entered last year.
I don’t believe in light workouts – my work is intense and heavy. I do believe that there is a time to reduce VOLUME, but IMO, it doesn’t mean reduce intensity. Sure, it is necessary to schedule an extended rest period, but most people use the “get a light workout in” mentality as a crutch. So when I workout, I’m typically squatting (and all variations), dead lifting, bench pressing, and leg pressing a lot of heavy weight. It does draw attention, and although I prefer to train unimpeded (which is why I typically don’t workout at my own gym/personal training studio as that is my office), I don’t mind answering questions about working out. Today, no fewer than 3 people asked me if I “competed”.
While I have never done a strongman competition, I have competed in numerous power lifting meets (full meets, push pull, bench only, dead lift only) and as I have written about for the last couple of years on this blog, I’m obviously a competitive bodybuilder with the end of October and mid-November in my sights for the next time I will step on stage. With that being said, when I asked about competing, I answer that not based on the one or two times per year I step on stage in posing trunks (I’m not a fan of those by the way) or the one or two times I step onto a power lifting platform to measure my strength against others – when I think about being a competitor, it is so much more than that: I compete every time I walk into a gym, every time I pick up a weight and every time I sit down to eat. Every food decision is a competition. Every rep is a chance for me to become stronger. Every set is a chance for me to beat the last one.
I have a very competitive spirit that drives me in everything I do. I make no bones about the fact that I honestly in my heart believe that I am the very best in the world at what I do. I know that I am the authority for fat loss and body transformation, and I don’t feel that is being arrogant – I feel that it is confidence and I also believe in the power of perception. It’s more than just believing, as every single day I strive to increase my knowledge and also practice what I preach about this lifestyle. I feel the same way about being a father: I focus on being a role model and providing Peyton with absolutely every opportunity I can to ensure his comfort and success, while making sure that he understands the value of discipline and hard work. It’s no coincidence that he has said Sir, Ma’am, Please, Thank you, Bless you, You’re welcome, since he could speak. It’s also no coincidence that he is a very fierce competitor at a very early age. Of course, it is important to me that he learns how to channel that and keep focused in whatever he does. So far, so good.
I was focusing on keeping my rest really brief here (under 75 seconds). It was TOUGH. I don’t know if I’m still a bit depleted from my vacation, the heat or whatever, but I am going to throw a sprint day in to get my recovery between sets down to where I want it. Remember, I believe in one way to squat: ass to the ground.
Stiff Leg Dead Lifts
I was actually pretty loose by this point, so I just rolled the 315 down to the floor and got started.
Same thing. Winded a bit more than I like, but the intensity was there.
Two sets – one to acclimate and feel the machine:
and one to murder it and go for a personal best with 1000lbs:
Done with this…
I posted a pic of the GHR machine I use on Twitter.
5 sets x 20 x bodyweight
I kept the rest light again… I’m glad I didn’t have to back off on the reps, but I could def feel it.
I don’t pay attention to the weight here. I am lucky enough to be really genetically gifted with calves, so this work is minimal.
I spent about 20 minutes stretching.
Nowwwwwwwwwwwwww… I’ve discussed my during workout protocol before (with nutrition, I know, it never stops), but it’s a bit different right now then normal.
During comp prep time, I’ll drink roughly 35g of BCAA and 15-25g of dextrose during a workout to decrease cortisol and keep the body fuel and anabolic. Considering I’m still a month away from there, I’m consuming a lot more carbs now than I will be at that time. SO, here’s what I did today:
-Starting 30 minutes before, I drank roughly half of a lime Redline Xtreme. I like caffeine. I sipped the rest through the workout but didn’t finish it.
-About 10 minutes before, I started sipping an ABB CarboForce (100g carb drink). Sipped throughout, finished at the end
-During my workout, I also sipped on SciVation Xtend BCAA’s – roughly 30g.
Of course, water is a must.
I know, sounds like a lot, but during prep, I’ll mix the dextrose with the BCAA’s, and that’ll pretty much be it. Right now, I’ll take clean calories when I can get them, and training is a time I need them.
Wow, this turned into a 1000 word post – didn’t expect that! As always, questions, comments and criticisms are welcome via Twitter, in the comments or email.
No, I haven’t gone to the dark side. No, I haven’t hired a “beach body” coach to assist me in my training. And no, I am not taking advice from Tony Horton on my training protocol (for the record, I’d seek advice on training from my 5 year old Peyton before I would listen to Tony Horton). Today, I threw movements and body parts out the window, and trained heavy and on instinct.
My legs felt surprisingly good after yesterday’s intense work. I know a lot of people want to be sore, but I could do leg extensions for sets of 100 and be sore, yet, that wouldn’t do a whole lot toward making my legs look better or get bigger or stronger.
I decided that I wanted to leave no stone unturned in the gym today. SO… I hit a little bit of everything.
I want to look completely different than most people. I want to look amazing. So I do things a lot different than most people do – I have absolutely no fear of anything in the gym… There’s no damn way I’m going to let iron beat me. I have an objective in every workout, and it’s up to me to reach that objective.
Of course, one of the best overall lifts you can do – it activates more than 70% of the total muscle fibers in the body. That leads to more lean body mass and less body fat, and has an amazing influence on the body from a hormonal standpoint as well.
I discussed these in my plyometric workout from last week. My legs feel fresh and I know a bit more about my capabilities here, so I took it a bit further. On this exercise, you start on the ground, squat all the way down, and on the upward portion, jump onto a box. That’s pretty much the only way to describe it.
135lbs x 5 jumps x 2 sets
185lbs x 3 jumps x 2 sets
Ok, for the record, jumping with 185lbs isn’t easy… I mentioned that George St Pierre (the MMA fighter that IMO may be the best conditioned athlete in the world) does these with 225lbs. That is my goal. Also, staying healthy is pretty important to me as well. It’s everything: can’t workout, you can’t make progress.
Flat BB Bench Press
I warmed up for a bit here. I’m admittedly breathing hard at this point and feeling a bit worn, but I went ahead and started consuming my 100g carbohydrate drink (I always drink a 30g dextrose + 30g bcaa drink during training). It seemed to give me a burst, even if it was psychologically.
365×3 repsx5 sets
Way harder than I expected it to be, but it is what it is.
Hammer Strength Decline Press
Ok, this is a vanity thing and I like the burn of this machine. Completely loaded, 5 plates on each side = 450lbs
450lbs x 6 reps x 3 sets
I resisted the desire to do a little direct arm work. The body works as a unit – as a whole. Basically, if you train the proper way, you put your body in a state of growth (and this is important for FAT LOSS TOO, don’t think I’m only looking for sheer mass). Simply put, you don’t have to individually focus on every single muscle in the body by isolating it. This is a poor training practice and isn’t going to provide optimal results!
Ok, questions, comments, criticisms?
I had a pretty relaxing weekend, nothing insane or overwhelming, just hung out with my son and relaxed as much as possible. The heat was a bit intense to say the least, but might as well get used to it!
I am now roughly 38 days away from beginning contest prep. Right now, the workouts are a bit higher volume, heavy and intense. When prep begins, there will be little transition, but as it persists, the focus will slowly shift to lower volume work to accommodate for the adjusted calorie intake and extra cardio.
Icarian Squat Machine
-One of my favorite leg machines. I really prefer to avoid machines as much as possible on leg day, but this is a machine that I’m a big fan of. Full range of motion, completely loaded with plates.
Stiff-Leg Dead Lifts
Heavy but to the point!
Right now, I’m using a broad variety of workout techniques to keep things interesting and challenging. While I love power lifting movements, I also like to incorporate speed work (both foot and technique speed), Olympic movements, Yoga, Mixed Martial Arts and other types of training protocols. Today, I warmed up, put on the headphones, cranked up the heavy stuff, and did about 40 minutes of Plyometrics.
Horizontal Bounds (aka – Broad Jumps)
I wasn’t measuring, but the goal was to jump as far forward as possible. I did this roughly 20 times.
Vertical Box Jumps
42″ box x 15 jumps x 3 sets
I put on a 20lbs vest and repeated the above protocol on a 36″ box (3 sets x 15 jumps).
One leg box Jumps
30″ box x 10 reps each leg x 3 sets
4 rounds of 90 seconds as fast as I can possibly jump (I’m a bad ass rope jumper haha)
I almost was removed from the gym for this, but after watching a video of Georges St Pierre do 36″ box jumps with 225lbs on his shoulders, I had to take a stab at this. I was cautious. I only used a 24″ box and I only used 135lbs. I lowered down into a full squat position, jumped as I exploded upward and landed on the box. I want to video myself to see how it looks, and I’ll post that up as soon as I do this again. I have to say that these caught my legs on fire, I did 2 sets for 10 reps.
Bascially, jumping laterally as far as possible, and immediately exploding back in the other direction.
3 sets – 10 jumps each leg.
One goal of training to become stronger is to always push with the same force, no matter what the resistance on the bar is. If you’re bench pressing, for example, and you can bench press 300lbs, you should put the same force behind the bar even if you’re benching 100lbs. This is something that requires a lot of practice and mental preparation, but it’s key for getting the most out of every training session. IMO, Plyometric training is a great way to help you accomplish this.
Ok all, questions and comments are always welcome!
Extreme training leads to extreme results (and this goes for extreme fat loss, ladies!)
Today’s workout was quite intense. I started off with very heavy bench pressing (long rest to be as strong as possible for each set) and then as the workout progressed, I stepped up the intensity with less rest.
A few people have messaged me and mentioned that they wanted to kind of follow my workout routine. Remember that I have specific objectives in mind, and what I do is custom designed for me. While I would totally recommend following the premise, the volume may be excessive for someone that doesn’t have a lot of training experience. Also, remember that I’m 6 weeks out from beginning contest prep, so my caloric intake is quite a bit higher than normal and I’m trying to pack on as much lean body mass as possible before I shift the paradigm to fat loss.
Warmed up and acclimated for several sets, and then got to work
385×3 reps x3sets close grip
385x3x3 mid grip
385x3x3 wide grip
DB Bench Press
Decline Hammer Strength Bench Press
5 plates each side (450lbs) x 8
450lbs x 6 x 2
Cable Cross-overs SS with Pushups
80×15 — 25 push ups x 3 sets
Lateral Raises Superset with Front Raises
40×15 — 40×15 x 3 sets
Reverse Grip Bench Press Superset with Tricep Pressdown
275×10 —- 150×20 x 3 sets
Out! Not as long as it looks. Just straight to business, no messing around. Time is valuable, and I don’t waste it!
Here I am roughly 6 weeks out from when I’ll get insanely serious about my prep and be on “the path” nonstop for 16-20 weeks! Right now, the workouts are insanely heavy and intense. I believe in intensity – it is the way we force the body to do what it is we want it to do. My time is valuable, and I don’t like to waste it. In everything I do as a personal trainer, as a father, as a friend, and as someone who is obsessed with fitness and health, I want to know that I did everything possible to be the best, with no regrets.
Legs are key to overall body transformation – they stimulate every hormone you need for fat loss and added lean body mass, you burn calories training them, and the muscles respond very well.
Stiff-Leg Dead Lifts
IMO, one of the most important exercises that is so often overlooked!
This one wasn’t as easy as I had hoped. I had an insanely kick ass workout this weekend, and to be honest, I was still feeling it a bit!
BB Hack Squats
Ok, this had my quads ready to absolutely explode.
36″ Box x 15 jumps
42″ Box x 10 jumps
36″ x 15 jumps
I’m sufficiently cooked! My legs are throbbing and look as if they’re going to explode, but that’s the way I prefer to feel after a leg workout.
Don’t waste time – KNOW you worked out!!!
I’m feeling really good and am actually starting to get anxious about the redundancy of prep. I’m sure I’ll change my tune sometime in August or so, but I’m excited to actually have a specific goal to focus on. I’ll be starting prep at a much lower level of body fat than I did last year, and I’ll also be making a few adjustments to my regimen from last year. Like last year, I’ll enjoy and welcome the challenge.
DB Bench Press
Hammer Strength Wide Grip
5 plates each side (not sure what the machine weighs)
1st set x 12
2nd set x 9
3rd set x 7
Whole stack x 15 x 3
Reverse Grip Bench
(90lbs across my legs) x 20 reps x 4 sets
Adequately cooked! High intensity, heavy and kept a really good energy level. I feel incredible – no aches, pains, stiffness, etc.
If I get a short break, I’ll post up a current view of how I’m eating. Right now, my primary goal is muscle gain while reducing body fat. Understand that nutrition is the primary factor when it comes to reducing body fat – weightlifting, regardless of the goal, is responsible for stimulating the muscles for growth.
I know, I know – I can hear the ladies: “But I don’t want to gain muscle”. It does NOT work that way. A slight increase in lean body mass greatly increases your metabolism, which leads to more fat loss. Browse through the blog – I’ve covered this in many places!!! There’s NO spot reducing of fat. Weight training is KEY to losing fat!!! I know that goes against a lot of common beliefs (“But I need more abs and cardio” thinking) – starvation and excess cardio only makes a large pear become a small pear!
I’m excited about getting another Bikram Yoga class in as well, which is a great compliment to any weight training/fat loss/body transformation program.
Here’s a quick rundown of my leg workout. A lot of people hate doing legs. Hell, I hate doing legs myself. But legs have their place: they are the biggest muscles in the body, they respond well to training, more calories are burned during training legs and since they grow quickly, they increase the metabolism. Not to mention that training legs increases every hormone you need to burn fat and become leaner. SO, it does not matter how far or how much you run: do not skip out on leg training.
Here’s what I did today:
5 sets x 315 x 8 reps
4 sets x 315 x 10 reps
Stiff Leg Dead lifts
7 sets x 315 x 10 reps
Glute Ham Raises
5 sets x bodyweight x 15 reps
Simple and to the point. Light rest period, intense, slow/deliberate reps. Can’t wait until tomorrow!