Carpet Slide Push-Ups (with reach)

How-To, Motion

A pair of carpet slides is an essential tool for every home gym.

Carpet slides add a new training dimension to a boat load of exercises. Slides can be used with exercises like reverse lunges, lateral lunges, crawling drills, hamstring curls, core work, and in this particular case, push-ups.

Probably best of all, they’re incredibly economical at $2-$7 for a pack of 3-4 sliders.  How?  The carpet slides marketed for fitness purposes are dangerously close in design and functionality to the furniture sliders available at your local home improvement store.

In the past, carpet slides have received the most attention when incorporated with lower body training.  Think hamstring curls and reverse lunges.

But carpet slides are extremely useful for upper body training also.  Using slides to introduce new variations of push-ups can be refreshing, and brutally challenging.

Carpet slide push-up variations are amazingly challenging.  Not everyone is ready for the coveted single arm push-up, and for those of you that are, maybe you’re looking for a new variation.  Something you can integrate into a work capacity circuit or load up with a weight vest and grind it out.

This is it.

Progression-wise, the carpet slide push-up w/ reach exists somewhere between a traditional two-arm push-up and full-blown single arm push-ups.

Some (not all) of the load is from the moving hand does take on some loading during the exercise, although this can be limited by the exercisee.

Exercise Technique…

 

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  •  Begin in the top position of a push-up, hands centered on top of the sliders.
  •  Slowly lower yourself to the floor, hugging sliding the non-working arm out in front of your body.
  •  Keep the elbow of the working arm pulled into side body
  •  Pause briefly at the bottom, working elbow at 90 degrees.
  •  Press up and repeat on the other side, alternate for scheduled reps.

Workout Integration…

  •  Rep range:  6-12 reps per side with bodyweight, beyond than add more weight.
  •  Load:  Bodyweight until 12 reps are achieved, then add weight.
  •  Sets:  This depends on goals, 3-5 sets is plenty.
  •  Tempo:  Slow it down on the descent to the bottom, 3-5 seconds on the way down.
  •  Technique break down = rest

Where does this exercise belong?

The strategy of building fitness progressively from the ground up is awesome.  Your current fitness level and past training experience will determine how and where you place this exercise into a workout.

For some, this will be a strength training drill, you’ll need adequate rest after the set.  3 simple sets of 6-8 reps will leave you drained.  That is fine.  Beat on it for a few weeks, aim for improvement.  Expect to be sore through the chest and tender around the obliques in the coming days.

For others, the carpet slide push-up will provide a delightfully saucy challenge in a short burst metabolic training session.  I’ve worked it into a long circuit or kept it simple as part of a 3-exercise burner.

Here’s an example of where this exercise could live within a total body workout:

Alternating Split Squat Jumps x 8 each side

***Carpet Slide Push-Up (with forward reach) x 8 each side***

Airsquats x20 or Goblet Squats x8 (load up here)

Suspension Trainer Inverted Row x10 or 1-Arm Bent Rows x 8 each side

Own the exercise from top to bottom to top…

I have to admit I’ve seen several YouTube videos of carpet slide push-ups.  85-90% of the people in the videos are dropping into the bottom of the push-up too quickly.  More like falling into it.

Address the concept of OWNING the eccentric descent in this exercise.  Pause at the bottom, stay tighter than a pair of skinny jeans, contract and push up and out of it.

Again, slooooooowwww down, spend more time under tension and focus on remaining as rigid as possible.

At most, the descent into the bottom of the push-up should take 1-2 seconds, with NO bounce out of the bottom.  Pause at the bottom, hang out there.  Press out.  Strict.

Core training?  This is core training…

Without sounding like a physique zealot, because I’m not, this exercise provides an unbelievable stimulus to the core.  All without any bells and whistles, just basic rigid body position, technique, and gravity.

You won’t be able to execute as full extension carpet slide push-up without activating the torso aggressively.  It’s self-limiting.

To help make my point on how much core is involved with an exercise like this, drop down into a push-up position, raise one arm forward in full extension, while the other supports the body.

Stay in this position for time.  Just remain in that position without changing posture.

Too easy?  Inch the feet closer to together, narrow the base of support.  Any exercise can be made harder.

The challenge to the core during the carpet slide push-up with reach will be intense, felt from the hip flexors, through the torso, up to the collar-bone.

There will be a tremendous anti-rotation stimulus while supporting the body with one arm. Think about it for a second… the other half of the body wants to sag toward the floor (damn you gravity). Even with the sliding arm providing some assistance, your core will be lit up.

Maintaining a rigid body from head-to-heel is a must. Stay straight. Creating rigidity will require adequate tension through the mid-section.

Progression: Make it harder…

To increase the challenge, gradually lighten the hand contact of the sliding arm, which will lessen the amount of assistance from the sliding arm while increasing the load of the working arm.  Removing assistance from the sliding arm also drastically increases the amount anti-rotation stress as the exercise inches closer to a true single arm push-up.

Increasing the difficulty can be accomplished several ways, but the most honest approach would be to lessen the contact to just the fingertips.  Start with all five fingertips, progress to three fingers, two-fingers (thumb and pointer)… etc.

Before you know it, you’ll need a weight vest, at which point you’ll begin from the bottom rung of the progression once again, with palm firmly on the carpet slide.

Regression:  Make it easier…

To decrease the challenge, wrap a band around your torso and anchor the band to a point directly overhead.  The band will assist you during the hardest point of the exercise when you’ll need help the most.  For most, the hardest point will be the bottom of the push-up.

No carpet?  

Carpet slides work on hard surfaces also.  I’ve used them on hardwood and cement floors with great success.  Of course, this will limit the lifespan of the carpet slides, so if you’re going this route, purchase cheap slides at your local home improvement store.  A pack of carpet slides at Menard’s near me costs $2.99.  Cheap.

A suspension training set to the lowest possible height (without making contact with the floor) will also work.

The other option tools like the Ab DollyHAVYK Sliders, or a more budget friendly option like Core Coasters.  All have wheels which make them ideal tools for hard surfaces.  These options cost significantly more than the carpet slides, but you’ll find a plethora of uses for each, making them a worthy investment.

Early in the article, I suggestioned using furniture slides as a viable alternative to carpet slides designed for fitness.  There is a slight difference in my experience, being that fitness specific carpet slides typically have a much better integrity.  The manufacturers know that these are going to be used frequently, the design is more durable.

Here are some fitness carpet slides on Amazon.

No equipment at all?

Worst case scenario, I’ve done these push-ups without any tools period.  Doing so requires minimal weight on the sliding hand, but it works just the same.

User beware, going this route is intense.  There’s going to be way more friction on the floor  without a slide.  This is ok, just be aware that it might be too aggressive.

The end…

That’s all folks.  I’ve written too much already, way too much.

Give this baby a try.  Mix it in wherever you see fit.  Ask questions as you have them.

 

 

Kyle

 

 

 

Black Friday 2016 Fitness Deals: Rogue, Amazon, Get RXd and DragonDoor

Motion

Black Friday and Cyber Monday are ideal time to take advantage of steam discounts on fitness equipment.

Dumbbells, barbells, air bikes, rowers, medicine balls, kettlebells, and on and on…

… are all discounted heavily during the days leading up to Black Friday, all of the way through Cyber Monday.

Most of these items are on temporary sales AND given either free shipping or huge discounts on shipping costs.

Remember, fitness equipment (bikes, rowers, weight, etc) is rarely light or easy to pack and ship.  A lot of shipping companies calibrate shipping fees based on weight, so… if a company is offering $5 flat shipping (as RogueFitness is right now), you better jump on it right now.

It’s common to pay $100 for a kettlebell, and also $100 of shipping on that same kettlebell.  That is money that you need not spend, especially with the deals that are going on this time of year.

Here are several companies that are offering incredible deals on right now, or through Black Friday and Cyber Monday:

 

Rogue Fitness

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In a few short years, Rogue Fitness has gone from niche CrossFit equipment supplier, to a premiere fitness equipment company.  The intelligence in design, quality and the speed of innovation make Rogue Fitness a great option for gym equipment and accessories.

Although they are updating their website constantly with new deals, right now the most notable is the 5 items for $5 shipping.  So, you’ll get a deal on the item you purchase, plus only pay $5 for shipping on all 5 items.

Steal.

Head over to RogueFitness.com for the deals.

Amazon

No Black Friday post would be complete without including mega online retailer, Amazon.  While the deals on fitness products can be a littler harder to spot because of the massive catalog of products that Amazon sells, they are there if you look around.

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Keep a close watch on Amazon this holiday shopping season.

Right now, the Lifecore Air Assault Bike is discounted to $799 + Prime Shipping.  This bike is normally $999 on every website, and rarely is shipping included.  Not to mention 2-day free shipping through Amazon Prime.

I noticed several other discounts on weight vests, jump ropes and slam medicine balls also.

 

Get RXd

Get RXd has two incredible products, the Xebex Airbike and Xebex Rower.  If you’ve been looking for alternatives to the LifeCore Assault Bike or the Concept 2 Rower, these are definitely it, without compromise.

Here’s a snapshot of the Get RXd homepage:

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Both Xebex products, the Air Bike and the Rower, are currently on sale for $599 (40% off).  This is a steal.  If you have the funds, I would suggest pulling the trigger.

Also included in the above snapshot is Get RXd version of the “home gym package”.  Having outfitted a home gym piece by piece over the years, I can tell you that it can be a slow, sometimes frustrating process.

If you’re starting from ground zero, go for the package and get most everything you need in one transaction.

 

DragonDoor

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DragonDoor is a niche functional training company, originally making a name for itself with some of the best kettlebells on the market, kettlebell and bodyweight training guides, along with other unique training equipment.

Over the years, they have built a comprehensive offering of bodyweight and kettlebell programs in collaboration with some of the top fitness experts around the world.

A truly reputable company with some quality products.

Stock up!

This is one of only a couple of times a year that you are going to see massive discounts on fitness equipment and other active gear.  For the reasons listed above, I highly recommend stocking up on anything you’ve been looking at but haven’t purchased.  I sure will be!

Leave comments below on items you scored great deals on!

 

 

Kyle

 

 

 

 

Bodyweight Training Programs

Motion

Intelligently designed bodyweight strength and conditioning programs can turn a beginner into an absolute machine with little to no previous workout experience.  The same programs can humble the elite who have a perception that bodyweight exercise has relevance to their situation.

I’ll come clean.  It wasn’t that long ago that I believed bodyweight exercise could have zero impact to my own training.  I’ve been designing my workouts for the last 10+ years or so, and I was completely wrong.  It’s easy to evolve to have tunnel vision with fitness.  You get used to doing things a certain way, and you discard anything that doesn’t parallel “that way”.

It’s why I support all forms of fitness and do my best to avoid being a zealot.

Bodyweight training, similar to more traditional externally loaded resistance training (barbells, dumbbells, kettlebells, etc) is all about leveraging the principles of progression.

If you stay disciplined to practicing the progressions, you’ll make incredible gains in a short amount of time.

From my experience, the most profound improvements can be made by adjusting any one (or several at once) of the following training variables:

  • Time under tension
  • Movement complexity
  • Stable transition to unstable (example: using 1 arm or 1 leg instead of 2 arms or 2 legs)
  • Increase reps, sets, rounds
  • Decrease rest periods
  • Single plane exercises into multi-plane exercises
  • Rotation

Coaches who are designing the best programs know that leveraging continuous exercise progression is the key to getting client’s the results they want.

I say again:  smart progression and the willingness to continue to go outside of your comfort zone is what gets results.

While I feel that my own program design is solid, I do borrow ideas from programs and other coaches.  Borrow and tweak, but always give credit where credit it due.  That’s my philosophy.

So here we go.  Below are some timeless programs, and also some of the hottest bodyweight-only training programs on the market today.

The best part?  Once you have the program you’re good to go… no equipment necessary.

The Naked Warrior (Pavel Psatsouline/DragonDoor paperback)

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The Naked Warrior was my first exposure to next level bodyweight strength training.  It changed the way I viewed strength forever.  After adding a healthy dose of pistols, dive-bombers and 1-arm push-up progressions to my training regimen, I had never been stronger.

Pavel Psatsouline is the godfather of modern-day kettlebell training, but he is also an accomplished military and sport performance instructor.  He can be credited for making advanced bodyweight training mainstream and also for sparking the kettlebell revolution in the Western Hemisphere.

 

TacFit Commando (Scott Sonnon/RMAX)

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The design of my personal bodyweight workouts involve a ton of exercise variations cherry-picked from Scott Sonnon’s TacFit Commando training system.

TacFit acknowledges the need for improving ROTATIONAL performance and addresses it with a lot of really unique drills.  Rotation is rarely addressed by the fitness industry and often under-developed in a lot of people.  Building rotational power and the ability to resist rotational forces is important for athletic endeavors and the demands of everyday life.

Improving rotational power can be a game-changer for weekend warriors, particularly those who enjoy playing golf, tennis, hockey or softball.

TacFit training systems are a melting pot of many training methods, which Scott collected and organized into a comprehensive program.

The attention to detail extends beyond smart exercise progression and into tactics for recovering from exertion and joint mobility, which again, is rarely discussed in most training programs.  Doing the work at a high level is one thing, but more important is the ability to recover as quickly as possible from work bout to work bout.

TacFit addresses these lesser known concepts brilliantly.

Scott Sonnon is an accomplished martial arts athlete turned military and sports performance coach.  He specializes in training the tactical sector (firefighters, law enforcement, military special forces, etc).

 

C-Mass (Paul Wade/DragonDoor e-book)

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C-Mass is a bodyweight program for those who are interested in building a physique using nothing but the weight of their body.  The exercise progressions in C-Mass are not for the faint of heart, but anyone who’s pursued building muscle aggressively knows that uncommon result require uncommon efforts.

I highly recommend this book for those interested in taking their training to the next level, all without touching a weight.

 

Pushing the Limits! (Al Kavadlo/DragonDoor e-book)

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Just like Pavel Psatsouline is the godfather of kettelbells, Al Kavadlo can be pegged as the modern-day guru of bodyweight training.

Where Paul Wade’s C-Mass may be more appropriate for the advanced trainee, “Pushing the Limits” is packed full of exercise progressions to serve anyone.  Personally, I’ve beat on Al’s 1-arm push up progressions to improve my pressing strength (and as a byproduct my core stability) well beyond what I thought was possible.

Whether you’re looking for clever bodyweight exercises to add to your current iron regimen or a guide to move you passed road that “The Naked Warrior” paved, this book is for you.

 

Street Workout (Al Kavadlo and Danny Kavadlo/DragonDoor e-book)

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“Street Workout is an incredibly comprehensive collection of calisthenics concepts, exercises and programs.”

I’d consider this an equally comprehensive resource as TacFit, with unique bodyweight variations, tips and pearls for building to the next level.

Al and Danny are world-class calisthenic coaches that share a ton of tips and techniques in this book. You’ll be busy for some time with this one.

No matter…

…what methods you’re currently leveraging for workouts, it is important to know that you always have options.

Bodyweight strength and conditioning is a tool in your training tool bag.  Use it when needed, inject some difficult bodyweight exercises into your workouts, use them as a baseline for improvement.

Where can you progress?  What should you regress and tweak to make the next jump?

Establishing an awareness of training options will keep your workouts fresh while avoiding that common cluelessness that many people have when the training space isn’t big enough, time is limited or equipment isn’t what they are accustomed to.

Bodyweight training is adaptive training, but it is also human performance enhancement training in its rawest form.

Bodyweight training strategies are an ace up your sleeve, always.  Play it whenever you need to, and be confident that the workout is going to be HIGHLY EFFECTIVE.

 

Kyle

 

Ass Kicking 250-Meter Rowing Workouts

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Photo Credit:  Amazon.com

The rowing machine (aka: rowing ergometer or “erg”) is a tortuous piece of cardio equipment, and the 250-meter interval is a perfect distance for high intensity interval training.

The rowing ergometer elicits almost zero impact to the joints. Personally, I feel that more people need time away from the joint impact.  Every single time I row during a workout, I am reminded of how demanding an exercise it really is.  I’ve never climbed off of the rower feeling like I dominated it, it gets me every single time.

Rowing is dangerously close to being a total body mode of exercise, making it a near perfect piece of equipment for stripping fat and improving cardio performance.  More muscles doing a large amount of work in less time, means good things for reducing body-fat.

Despite best efforts, a large majority of the world still obsesses over chest building upper body pressing exercises.  Rowing places a heavy emphasis on upper body horizontal pulling (think elbows pulling backward along the rib cage), making it a small, yet viable solution to offset all of that pressing.

Anyways, enough with the chit-chat.

Here are three short-burst interval workouts you should dive into ASAP, all incorporating a rowing distance of 250-meters:

Row Workout #1: 250-meter interval

250-meter repeats 

*Repeat for 8-12 rounds, rest for 1:1 (work to rest) or a flat 60 seconds before starting the next interval.

Using the 1:1 work to rest ratio, a 45 second work bout will buy you 45 seconds of rest.  1:1 work to rest ratios can often be too aggressive in the later rounds.

This workout is brilliant when used as a cardio finisher after a resistance training session.  I suggest integrating rowing workouts on days where deadlifts, kettlebell swings or any other low back stress has been avoided.  Rowing does stress the lower back (nothing extreme but it is involved) and taking small precautions against unnecessary strains is smart.

My opinion of course.

A 10 round workout will take roughly 15 minutes, more than enough time to get a great cardio training effect.

Workout #2:  Bodyweight Exercise + 250-meter Row 

15 Push Ups

15 Bodyweight Squats or 6 R/L Alternating Assisted Pistol Squats

250-meter row

* Repeat for 8-10 rounds, rest 60 seconds (advanced) or 75 seconds 

Pairing a short, intense row with bodyweight exercise makes for an incredibly dynamic workout.  Remember, more muscles stimulated and more work being done equates to a higher training effect.

Performing push-ups and bodyweight squats will pre-fatigue your body for the row.

Depending on fitness level, you can tweak the reps for the push-ups and the squats.

Decrease the reps if need be, because the goal is to make it through all 8 rounds.

If you need more, progress the push-ups to weighted push-ups or modified single arm.  Switch bodyweight squats in favor of weighted squats, assisted single leg or free-standing pistol squats.

Let exercise technique guide your exercise selection, and if it’s manageable, its green light all the way.

*Limit or eliminate any upper body pulling exercises (horizontal in particular), as the rower will fill in the pulling gaps, and tread lightly with hip/low-back stress inducing exercises like deadlifts or kettlebell swings.  As I mentioned earlier, rowing stresses the lower back plenty.

Workout #3:  250-meters + diminishing rest periods

Interval #1:  Row 250-meters, rest 60 seconds

Interval #2:  Row 250-meters, rest 55 seconds

Interval #3:  Row 250-meters, rest 50 seconds

Interval #4:  Row 250-meters, rest 45 seconds

Interval #5:  Row 250-meters, rest 40 seconds

* Repeat workout for 2 full rounds (10 total intervals)

Why 250-meters?

Isn’t it too short?  No, absolutely not.  Done one time, yes, it’s way too short.  But spread across 8+ rounds, the training effect is perfect.

Plain and simple, the 250-meter distance gives a person the chance to row all out. Posture and technique can remain top focus during shorter distances, which means that power output per stroke and stroke rate can be maximized. Repeated effort interval training works extremely well when rowing distances shorter than 500-meters.

There is no need to pace a 250.  It should be a full sprint.

Pretty generalized here, but a quick 250-meter time will take most people 40-50 seconds (a 500-meter time cut in half).  Some may scoff that 250-meters is too short, but in my personal opinion, 45-50 seconds of high intensity effort is more than sufficient.

50 seconds is a long time to be exerting at a high level, using any mode of exercise (biking, rowing, sprinting, etc).

Also, not every workout needs to be the one to end them all.  Fitness is stuck in this weird mentality vortex where every trainer and organization thinks they need to create a more extreme workout than the last one or the next guy.  It’s just not necessary.  Be intelligent about your workout practice.

Workouts can be hard and smart at the same time.

I am happy to encourage people to bust out of their intensity comfort zones, but do it while thinking it through with common sense.  Make consistent, measurable progress the number one goal, however you achieve that.

Smart interval training workouts can and should make you tired, eventually.  But a smart interval workout should not beat you to a pulp after the first few rounds, leaving you too tired to give any effort in the later rounds.  Accumulating some volume still matters during an interval training session.

Interval training repeated effort training.  It’s a highly structured, controlled cardio tactic that elite athletes have been using for decades.  What’s great for the rest of us, is that interval training is also best practice for burning fat.  Pretty cool.

The key for managing your 250-meter intervals is respecting the number of rounds you’re going to work through during the workout.  During the work bouts, give it all you have, get out of your comfort zone and do the work.  Be aggressive.  During the rest periods, practice mindful rest.  You’re eyeballs might want to jump out of their sockets, lungs on fire, but calm your mind, slow your breath and get your heart rate to follow suit.

Effective interval training teaches a person how to handle the rest periods as much as how to tolerate the stress of the work bouts.

Ideally, power output and pace will not experience a drastic dip during a well-structured interval training workout.  Especially if the distance being rowed is 250-meters, which allows a person to maintain a high power output and stroke rate.

Sure, row time may slow down slightly as the workout progresses, but that is a predictable response to fatigue, which should improve as you stay consistent with your training sessions.  Fatigue is a performance killer for beginners and elite alike.

Across the upcoming weeks and months, keep a close eye on your rowing times and how fast you’re recovering in between bouts.

Here are some benefits of interval training pulled straight from the Concept2 website:

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Photo/Information Credit:  Concept2.com

No discussion about longer rowing distances?  That’s for another post.

I’ve got nothing against rowing the classic distances: 500 meters, 1,000 meters or 2,000.  Those are time-honored, challenging distances that serve as valuable benchmarks for measuring improvement in performance.  But man, one of the worst experiences in my life was the 2,000 meter test.  Yuck.

 Give these workouts a try…

…don’t over think it.  The point of rowing shorter distances is to give an increased effort during the work bouts, recover hard, rinse and repeat.

If you don’t yet own a rower or you’re on the fence about it, I cannot recommend them enough.  Rowing is a world-class workout, no matter the distance or time.

I know it’s a big-ticket purchase for a lot of people, I get it.  My wife wasn’t exactly thrilled when my rower was delivered to the doorstep.

If you’re an Amazon Prime member, you can now purchase the world’s greatest rower (I’m dead serious), the Concept2 Model D with PM5 (performance monitor 5) for $945 and free 2-day shipping.  Incredible.

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I’m not suggesting that you should base all buying decisions on Amazon’s customer reviews, but 1,025 consecutive 5-star reviews is mind-blowing for a product of any kind.

A quality rower is a great investment, I wouldn’t recommend any rowing machine outside of Concept2 except for Xebex Heavy Duty Rower.

If you’ve got any questions about the Concept2 Model D w/ PM5, message me privately and I can give you my experience as a rowing machine owner.