Archive for the 'Training' Category
The video below includes a brief tutorial about neck training with a resistance band. All that is needed is a band and a strip of velcro. With these simple supplies, you’ll be able to effectively train the neck in multiple directions.
As mentioned within the video, I use 2 inch wide, industrial strength velcro. I also suggest wearing a beanie hat when performing the exercise as the velcro needs to be secured tightly. Without the hat, the velcro could potentially scrape your forehead.
As for comparing this exercise to others such as harness work, there are pros and cons to each. If you enjoy a heavy harness like myself, you certainly don’t need to abandon it for resistance bands. I use of both. I typically train my neck 2 or 3 days per week and never limit myself to a single exercise.
Unfortunately, neck training is everything but common. I have visited boxing gyms in different states and countries and rarely see anyone training the neck. Such neglect is a huge mistake for any combat athlete.
I realize that fighters have many objectives to train throughout the week, but the neck must be included on the list. If you’ve slacked on your neck training before, consider purchasing a piece of velcro and a band. You’ll have more than enough to start. It’s also nice that these exercises can be performed at home and will only require a few minutes. You don’t need to rearrange your weekly schedule to make time for neck training. Small additions will often accumulate into something much more significant if you remain consistent.
The gem cannot be polished without friction nor man without trials. – Confucius
PS – Please take an additional 15% off the already discounted book and DVD prices with the coupon code: 2013HOLIDAYS3 comments
Below is a new interview that was conducted by AthleteGo.com. I hope you find the training related questions useful. As always, if you ever have questions of your own, please email me and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible.
Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live. – Jim Rohn5 comments
Earlier today I posted the following picture to Facebook.
I wasn’t expecting much of a response as I’ve demonstrated the exercise before. Apparently there are new readers to the site however as the image garnered plenty of attention.
For starters, many asked about its origin. The image comes from one of Edward Aston’s old books. You can view the book in its entirety at the link below.
How To Develop A Powerful Grip – By Edward Aston
Edward Aston was a legendary strongman who was born in 1884. He possessed incredibly strong hands and performed many impressive grip feats. For example, at only 170 pounds, he deadlifted 496 pounds on a 2 1/4″ bar using an overhand grip.
As for the exercise itself, it is intended to develop pinch grip strength. As for difficulty, I’ve had many athletes humbled on their first attempt. As for door safety, I’ve performed this exercise and similar variations for many years and never had even the slightest of problems.
For those who wish to make the exercise more difficult, you can alter the position of the feet and the distribution of your bodyweight. You could even hold a dumbbell in the non-working hand and/or attempt to perform one-arm pinch grip body rows.
Initially, most athletes won’t need to make the exercise more difficult however. Pinch grip strength is often underdeveloped. One reason is because the thumbs rarely receive direct work. If you wish to target the thumbs separately, one of my favorite options is the finger exerciser seen in the tutorial below.
Another useful exercise from Aston’s book is the one-arm rope hang. As discussed previously, a piece of rope can be an extremely useful grip training tool. The one-arm rope hang is particularly challenging.
A similar variation can also be performed with a towel. A beastly demonstration can be seen below.
As you can see, some of the best grip training options are relatively low-tech. The simplistic nature does not diminish the difficulty however. Exercises such as those seen above can be extremely challenging. Be sure to look through Edward Aston’s book for additional ideas.
A chain is no stronger than its weakest link, and life is after all a chain. – William James
PS – Please take an additional 15% off the already discounted book and DVD prices with the coupon code: 2013HOLIDAYS2 comments
One of the motivators behind this blog is my desire to prove that it’s possible to get in shape with little or nothing. As a result, I’ve shared countless stories of athletes who have thrived despite training in less than ideal environments. Whether it was boxers in Brazil, wrestlers in India, or athletes in Russia, the common denominator between them is their ability to succeed without the so-called necessities that the fitness industry so heavily markets.
Unfortunately, there appears to be confusion in regards to some of my previous entries. For example, one reader of the site asked why I continue to share so many stories of underprivileged athletes.
He wrote the following:
You’ve made your point, it’s time to move on.
Another reader of the site asked what’s the relevance of an athlete who lives in poverty to those who are more fortunate.
In his words:
Are you suggesting that we need to live in poverty to be successful? How ironic…
Based on comments such as these, I feel it is important to clarify a few points.
1. Not An Exception, It’s The Rule
First and foremost, I will continue to share stories of underprivileged athletes to silence those who would otherwise suggest that one successful case is the exception not the rule. It is with conscious thought and intent that I have shared stories from athletes around the world. For example, I’ve highlighted success stories from boxers in lands such as Ghana, Brazil, and Uganda (just to name a few). Not only do these boxers not know each other, there’s a good chance that they don’t know of each other. There is no relationship or sharing of information between them. These are unique stories. Once again, the common theme between them is success despite lack of equipment, supplementation, and nutritional options outside of simply trying to survive.
2. Raw Footage
What’s nice about observing these athletes in action is everything you see is raw and real. There is no marketing nonsense to sift through. These athletes don’t know we are watching. We wouldn’t even know what they were doing if it wasn’t for the journalists who traveled to those lands to document their stories. That alone is significant.
These athletes are not training to impress us. They are literally training for their lives. They have dreams of escaping the poverty that surrounds them. They train how they do because it has been successful. They don’t do so with hopes of converting others to follow their approach. Such realness is rarely captured in the fitness industry today.
3. Observation Is A Powerful Tool
I don’t share these stories with hopes of converting an army of blind followers. You don’t need to copy what you see to benefit from these examples. Instead, use observation as the powerful tool that it can be. Simply observe the various athletes in action and make note of what they’ve done to become successful. You can then apply Bruce Lee’s timeless wisdom to absorb what is useful and discard what is not. For example, just because the wrestlers in India may train without a floor doesn’t mean that you need to as well. You can however learn from the work ethic and desire that they so clearly display.
Whether you choose to admit it or not, fitness is a hustle. The fitness industry is a multi-billion dollar machine with no signs of slowing down. Yes, there are good and bad apples within any industry, but we all know that the fitness world is filled with deception. I don’t have a problem with anyone earning an honest living, but many fitness marketers make used car salesmen look as honest as a young child.
Not a day passes without a marketer spamming my inbox with false promises of improved fitness. There is no shame in their game. They are relentless and extremely manipulative. It’s these modern fitness gurus who tell us what’s needed to get in shape. Meanwhile, there are countless stories from poverty-stricken lands that suggest otherwise. Whose story should we believe? The marketing powers who dictate trends in the name of revenue or those who succeed with little or nothing?
Hopefully we won’t need Captain Obvious to save the day and answer this question.
It’s comical that a fitness marketer will tell others what is needed when 99 percent of them wouldn’t last a day in the gym with athletes in distant lands such as Uganda or India. Perhaps what the industry tells us we need isn’t as important as previously thought.
5. I’ve Lived It
The stories that I’ve shared highlight the significance of intangible qualities that cannot be sold. The fitness marketers cannot sell you attributes such as hard work, dedication, sacrifice, consistency, or perseverance. As a result, these qualities will never receive as much attention as those items that can fatten the wallets of the fitness regime.
Fortunately, there are still some of us who have walked the walk and understand the significance of the intangibles. I don’t simply write about low-tech environments because it interests me. I have lived it. Below you can see me training in the basement of a housing project back in the 1990′s.
Our gym consisted of nothing but cement walls, a few punching bags, and several fighters who were hungry to succeed. It wasn’t Ghana or Uganda, but we didn’t have much more in terms of equipment. Lack of equipment didn’t stop us however. Everyone who was there was in shape. We worked hard, we challenged each other, and we encouraged each other. We thrived heavily on the basics. We worked hard with calisthenics. We ran hard. We hit the bags hard. We sparred hard and we fought regularly. The approach was simple yet effective. None of us knew anything about nutrition and no one took any supplements. That didn’t stop us from getting in shape. When in doubt, we always relied on more work and harder work. It never failed.
6. More Than Boxing
My experience is clearly rooted in the sport of boxing. Fortunately, you don’t need to be a boxer to learn from these examples. Instead, recognize that if high level fighters can thrive on the basics, you can too. The Average Joe or Jane needs much less fitness than a competitive fighter. To suggest that they cannot succeed with a similar low-tech approach is beyond ignorant.
The fitness marketers would certainly like you to believe otherwise so it’s my hope that the stories above will help some see through their rampant deception. If you wish to get in shape, you have everything you need to get in shape. Almost anything works if you are willing to work. The only legitimate secret is that there aren’t any secrets.
Get up, get busy, and the results will follow. If athletes in distant lands can succeed with this approach, you can too. It isn’t as complicated as many would like us to believe.
Effort is between you, and you, and nobody else. – Ray Lewis25 comments
Following my recent post on Tara Scott, I received several questions about exercise frequency. As mentioned in the original entry, Tara has exercised daily for over 2700 consecutive days. At age 46, she is in tremendous physical condition. She possesses a rare mix of strength, flexibility, agility, and more.
Unfortunately, after sharing her story, it appears that some readers confused the message behind it. I do not share stories of this nature with hopes that everyone will copy what they see. I am certainly not suggesting that one must train every day of their life. Instead, when witnessing an athlete such as Tara, it is wise to fall back on Bruce Lee’s classic advice.
The true value behind Tara’s story is witnessing how she embraces movement. The body is designed to move. We were not intended to be sedentary creatures. Tara is not running herself into the ground. Instead, she does what she enjoys. She embraces her body’s natural tendency to move and remains active by balancing intensity. She adjusts her workload according to feel. She listens to the feedback that her body provides. There are hard days, light days, and others that land somewhere in between.
Clearly, it is not necessary to exercise each day. It is however useful to be reminded of the human body’s potential for movement. It is also nice to see someone who enjoys her work. Far too many people have been fooled to believe that exercise is only useful when you are beating yourself into the ground. Tara proves otherwise. I highly doubt that anyone would remain so consistent without true passion for movement.
As for finding your ideal training frequency, there isn’t a definitive answer that can be applied to the masses. As discussed previously, answers regarding frequency depend on several factors (ex. volume and intensity). Personally, I do not pay attention to days on and off. I enjoy training so I strive to move each day. I approach every day as a new day however, where decisions are made based on the present not the past. If I feel run down, I back off. If I feel fresh and strong, I push myself accordingly. I’m always willing to make adjustments if and when necessary.
In summary, embrace the body’s natural tendency to move. Exercise and movement should not be loathed. You will naturally perform more often (and better) when doing something you enjoy. Personally, I love training. I’d much rather lift than sit in front of the television. I also enjoy the outdoors. If I am feeling run down, I’d rather take a brisk walk outside instead of sitting idle on the couch. The combination of light movement and fresh air will often recharge my batteries more than any recliner. Once again though, it is important to make individual decisions based on how you feel. Find what works for you. There will never be a singular approach that works for all.
The shoe that fits one person pinches another; there is no recipe for living that suits all cases. – Carl Jung9 comments