I’d like to wish everyone a happy and safe Thanksgiving. I hope you all get to enjoy some good food with family and friends. I plan to train hard in the morning and then stuff myself full of turkey and apple pie.
In addition, I have a new coupon code available for all of my books and DVDs. Simply enter the following code at checkout and you will receive a 15% discount.
You will find all book and DVD descriptions here:
Lastly, for those who have asked about eating and training during the holiday season, take a look at the article that I wrote after last year’s Thanksgiving feast. As is always the case, I ate myself into a food coma and enjoyed every minute of it.
People are so worried about what they eat between Christmas and the New Year, but they really should be worried about what they eat between the New Year and Christmas.2 comments
One of the participants on my forum recently posted the following video of himself. It’s a classic video that is well worth a minute of your time.
There are so many great things about this clip that I’m not sure where to begin. For starters, this individual weighs over 200 pounds yet has some of the most impressive pull-up strength I’ve ever seen. It is much more common to see bar displays of this level from smaller athletes.
What is equally impressive is his ability to hold the upright position with relative ease. Drinking a glass of milk from this position may appear comical, but doing so is actually quite difficult. He is essentially holding an extremely challenging isometric position with the control necessary to calmly drink a glass of milk. He maintains this position for almost 20 seconds. He also gets bonus points for casually strolling through the snow with bare feet and a t-shirt. This is real man strength from a real man.
I also enjoyed the title of his video. He’s named it One Arm Towel Pull-up Certification. I’m assuming (and hopeful) that this title is a dig against the fitness industry. Never before have there been so many bogus certifications. We’ve literally reached the point where you can become a certified professional after a few hour course that is provided over the weekend. You could essentially leave your job on Friday evening with no experience and start a business on Monday with piece of paper that says your are a professional.
In the past year alone, I have had several people ask if I provide ab wheel certification courses. Yes, you read that right. An ab wheel certification?! I wish I was joking. We’ve reached a point that is beyond pathetic.
Contrary to what the fitness marketers would like you to believe, real knowledge and strength are not acquired over the weekend. It takes years of consistency and effort. If you wish to perform feats such as that seen above, prepare to invest several years of your life towards hard and consistent work. There are no shortcuts.
When recently asked on my forum about his training, the man above responded with the following:
Pleased to manage new personal records after 18 years of training, somehow PRs feels better and better year after year.
He went on to say that he has trained grip strength specifically for 4 and a half years. He also spent over 8 years working hard, manual labor.
Let me remind you again, there are no shortcuts. That’s not my opinion. It is a fact.
For 37 years I’ve practiced fourteen hours a day, and now they call me a genius. – Pablo de Sarasate7 comments
Following my most recent compilation video, I received several questions about the manila rope exercises that were demonstrated within. I will use this entry to address those questions and inquiries. If you have not yet seen the video, take a look below.
Perhaps the most commonly inquired about exercise were the one-arm body rows demonstrated at the 2:54 mark. This exercise is a favorite of mine as it allows me to target multiple objectives. Not only do we have a quality pulling exercise, there are obvious hand strengthening benefits as well.
Targeting multiple objectives is particularly useful when your training goals cover a broad spectrum. I train to become stronger and better conditioned, while also addressing commonly neglected areas such as the hands and neck. As a result, I welcome the opportunity to perform exercises that allow me to target more than one objective. The one-arm body row is a prime example. Traditional two-arm body rows could also be performed for a less challenging variation. With each, expect the hands to be challenged throughout the movement.
If you wish to perform rope body rows, you will need to attach the rope overhead. The most inexpensive way is by knotting your rope to an overhead pull-up bar or rack. You can see below how I tie a simple knot to satisfy this requirement.
As for purchasing strips of manila rope, two of the best suppliers that I have used in the past are Mcmaster.com and one particular seller from eBay (I have no affiliation with either). With each, you can purchase rope by the foot for reasonable rates.
It is also possible to purchase longer strips of rope and cut them yourself to perform exercises such as rope pull-ups. You can see a video demonstration of rope pull-ups and rope cutting within the following tutorial.
If you opt to tie a rope overhead for one-arm body rows, you may wish to add a second rope. Doing so allows for additional options. One example is the bodyweight triceps extension that was demonstrated at the 2:42 mark within the compilation video above. Using rope instead of the more traditional suspension trainer adds another element of difficulty. This variation is perhaps my favorite triceps exercise of all. It is much more challenging than it appears.
Another advantage of securing two ropes overhead is that you can also climb rope indoors. As seen in the picture below, you can climb two ropes from the L-sit position. This exercise is ideal during winter months when you may not be able to climb rope outdoors. You can either climb up and down the two ropes for continuous reps, or target two objectives by climbing to your pull-up bar whenever you use it. For example, each time I perform a set of bodyweight pull-ups, I climb to the bar, rather than simply grabbing it while standing. This simple addition introduces a new challenge without eating more than a few seconds from the clock for each set. Such an addition may not sound like much, but it certainly does add up over time.
When it is nice outside, you can certainly climb rope and also pull a weighted sled as demonstrated at the 2:46 mark within the video. If you wish to create your own homemade pulling sled, you can find simple instructions within the previous tutorial.
If you have any additional questions about the exercises seen within the video, feel free to comment below or shoot me an email.
Accept what life offers you and try to drink from every cup. All wines should be tasted; some should only be sipped, but with others, drink the whole bottle. – Paulo Coelho
Let me begin this entry by stating that I’m not easily impressed. I don’t mean that in a pompous way. I just have high expectations for myself and others. I’m not impressed by hard work. Yes, I respect it, but I also expect it. I believe we are all more capable than we may ever realize.
One person who may be an exception to that statement however is China’s Lei Liu. He has defied the odds and then some. At only 26 years old, he’s already done more than anyone could have ever imagined. As a young child, he contracted polio and was unable to walk. It’s safe to say that no one could have guessed that he’d become one of the strongest pound for pound bench pressers that we’ve ever seen.
Below you can see Lei bench 498 pounds. He did so at a bodyweight of 148 pounds with absolutely no leg drive.
I am beyond impressed.
It is performances like this that solidify my belief that it is up to the individual to determine how far he’ll go. Never ask someone how much you can achieve. No one knows. As a child, no one knew that Lei would eventually become a world record bench presser. It is impossible to predict what others will achieve. Technology may have come a long way, but crystal balls still don’t exist.
No one can predict the future. It hasn’t been written. It’s up to you to take out your own pen and decide for yourself.
There are no limits. There are plateaus, but you must not stay there, you must go beyond them. – Bruce Lee9 comments
Paul Anderson was a legendary strength athlete. Legendary may even be an understatement. His strength was off the charts.
I’ve actually discussed him on this blog several times before. I was always a big fan of Paul Anderson, not only because of his strength, but also his interest in homemade equipment. Paul Anderson was the king of homemade gear and low-tech training.
In previous entries, I’ve shared a brief video that highlighted his training style. Many of you may have seen the following video. If not, it is certainly worth a look.
Fortunately, I recently learned that the full documentary where that clip originates can now be seen on Youtube. The embedded player below contains all seven parts of the film.
I’ve always believed that one of the best learning tools is observation. When you come across a fellow athlete or coach who is successful, it is useful to simply observe them in action. You don’t necessarily need to copy what they do, but try to understand what were the keys to their success.
I like to think that everyone I meet knows something that I don’t know. I try to learn something from everyone. I apply this philosophy not only towards coaching but also life outside the gym. I am always interested in learning from and observing others. Therefore, when I come across almost two hours of footage about Paul Anderson’s life, I get pretty excited.
If you share my enthusiasm, you will surely enjoy the footage above.
What a disgrace it is for a man to grow old without ever seeing the beauty and strength of which his body is capable. – Socrates4 comments