Intermittent Fasting

Motion

The purpose of this post is to expose my readers to Intermittent Fasting (IF), sharing it’s effectiveness for improving general health biomarkers along with IF’s effectiveness for burning fa you to start Most diets work very well, this is hard to argue.  It’s commonly a matter of how the diet fits with a person’s lifestyle, which can impact how well they are able to stay on track.  

Not every diet is for every person.  What works for you, might not be great for me, which might be so so for the next person.  We are all unique in what our body responds best to, and how well we are able to manage our approach to eating across the long-term.  

“Long-term” is the key part to remember.  Choose a diet, or in the case of intermittent fasting, a “pattern” of eating that is a long-term solution.  Sustainable to your wants and needs.    

I encourage you to shop around and collect enough information to help you make a decision on what’s best for you.  

This article hopes to shed some light on Intermittent Fasting, what I.F. is, the benefits and various approaches, etc.  

The big question…

Does intermittent fasting work?

Hell Yes.  Intermittent fasting works.

Intermittent Fasting works to the degree a person is able to execute the principles of this pattern of dieting.  

Some people may find intermittent fasting to be a godsend, effective and simple.  Others, conditioned to eating frequently, may find refraining from eating food for longer periods to be torturous.  

Take a break and test the waters…

Regardless of the category you may fall into, I recommend everyone purposely go without eating food for extended periods (16-24hrs) for one big reason…  

… to find out if you have the discipline to handle it.  We live in an age where food is literally everywhere.  We eat without purpose, even when we are not hungry we eat.   

Eating too much, just like taking a break from eating, is a habit.  And despite all of the data showing how long it takes to break an old habit or make a new one, habits require conditioning.  No different than physical conditioning.

So, the question is… Can you take a break from eating for a little while?  

Depending on the pattern of intermittent fasting chosen, a “little while” can mean 16 hours (8 sleeping hours, 8 hours awake).  16 hours without eating.  It might sound like a lot, but it’s not.  

Again, it’s all conditioning, shifting of habits.  

Rather than sulk about how hungry you feel during the fasting window, take advantage of not being tethered to finding your next meal.  You’re unchained, free to be productive and get things done!  Build up your career, start that business, connect with old friends, spend time with family, workout, get chores and errands done.  

When it comes time to eat, you’ll eat.  Plain and simple.  

Let’s hammer out the basics of intermittent fasting and see if the data satisfies your research side and structure fits your lifestyle… 

What is Intermittent Fasting?

Intermittent fasting is a pattern of diet where a person takes a scheduled break from eating food and opts to not eat food (fast).

Depending on which intermittent fasting method is chosen, the timeframe of eating/fasting pattern or “cycle” can be split into a day (24 hours) or an entire week.  

Brad Pilon, author of the “Eat Stop Eat” method of Intermittent Fasting says:  

“If you consider Intermittent Fasting to be the ability to practice patience when it comes to the act of eating –  a conscious polite restraint when it comes to food intake, then the philosophy is simply – we do not have to eat all the time, therefore we are free to choose when we eat.”

The focus with nutrition has long been how many calories and what kind of calories.  These things are still important, but now add in the influence of time.  

Time, changes the game.

Eat, then stop, then start eating again.  Time is proving to be an important variable to improve the triad of nutrition:  

  •  Aesthetics (fat loss, lean muscle, etc)
  •  Peformance
  •  General Health and Longevity

Here’s an intermittent fasting infographic provided from Dr. Mercola (Mercola Nutrition):

 Intermittent Fasting

How did I find Intermittent Fasting?

Several years ago, I stumbled onto intermittent fasting by accident.  I was researching another topic.  I was curious after reading Martin Berkan’s Lean Gains.  5-6 articles later, I was sucked in but still not a believer.

Martin’s fasting approach was a hybrid, like nothing I’d seen before.  His own physique speaks to the potency of intermittent fasting, especially when paired with resistance training.  And to be honest, I trusted the guy from the get-go because it was obviously he’s practicing what he preaches.  Very noble in this day in age.

Here are some broad takeaways from LeanGains:

  • In a 24-hour day:  8-hours of eating, 16-hour of no eating.
  • Physical exertion encouraged (mostly heavy multi-joint resistance training)
  • Supplementation was recommended to help break the fast (BCAA’s, etc)

As great as LeanGains information was, it lacked direction, was heavy with science and lacked “the plan” so to speak.  No offense to Martin, but his blog is essentially a collection of years of his own trial-and-error with intermittent fasting on himself, some of his clients and translations of research on the topic.  

LeanGains provides great info, just lacks a clean action plan.  

Investigating further, I read “Eat Stop Eat” by Brad Pilon.  Brad is a former big food industry researcher.  His background in the food industry was a little hard to believe, considering his book was advocating people to step away from food.  Ha. 

“Eat Stop Eat” turned out to be the book that made me cave.  

Why did I resist Intermittent Fasting for several months?

If you thought this was going to turn into the feel-good success story, nope.  I’m stubborn as hell when it comes to change, especially with things I feel like I’ve invested time into getting right.  My previous personal nutritional habits was one thing I felt I was doing right.  

You have to remember, for the previous 5-8 years, I had subscribed to the “eat 2-3 meals per day with snacks in between each meal”.  

“Keep the metabolism firing”.  Right?

I was hardcore into this approach, unwavering.  

Reflecting back, this pattern of eating had many flaws:  

  1. I needed a luggage bag for all of my on-the-go meals and snacks (inconvenient).
  2. Post-meal mental fogginess. 
  3. Overwhelming meal planning (eating six times per day requires a lot of planning).

I never minded bringing extra Tupperware containers work.  The problem was the AMOUNT of Tupperware, and the food inside of the Tupperware occasionally needed cold storage to avoid spoiling, which wasn’t always available.

Regarding mental fogginess.  I’d satisfy my hunger by eating followed by very predictable mental crash 15-20 minutes later.  The most frustrating thing was the crash.  I wanted… no, needed, clear mental performance.

Meal planning what you’re going to eat six times per day sucks.  I became very efficient at the planning, but it didn’t ever not suck while I was doing it… know what I mean?  I pushed through because I was committed to staying disciplined.  

On top of that was the macronutrient mathematics.  Subscribing to 1.5-2.0 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight, I was constantly stressing about getting enough protein at each sitting.  

Regardless of approach, here are some frequently asked questions about Intermittent Fasting…

What food/drink is allowed during the fasting period?

Coffee, tea, water and other non-caloric beverages are generally approved to be consumed during the fasting period.  

In most cases, I think sticking to just coffee, tea and water is best.  

The minute a person sneaks a calorie in here and there, the floodgates can open.  Just avoid calories during the fast altogether, it will help you stay focused.  

How to make periods of fasting easier?

Discipline. 

Seriously.  Go deeper within yourself ask the simple question of, “How bad is it really?”  

Another helpful tip when trying something new is having some anticipation on what to expect.  If you’ve rarely fasted beyond hours spent sleeping, be prepared for hunger pains.   

Again, expect to be hungry.  

To sugar coat it less, Intermittent Fasting is a choice.  If you can’t handle what comes with it, move on to something else.  If it was easy, everyone would do it.

I can tell you this from experience:  If you can grind your way through the first 10-14 days of trying intermittent fasting, you’ll be just fine.   

For many people, coffee and water can help to supress appetite and keep hunger pains at bay.   

Look past the superficial hunger pains, don’t let them control your mind.  Instead, look forward to the increase in mental clarity many people find during periods of fasting.  I sure did.  

Since there are many different methods of intermittent fasting, consider less aggressive methods where the fast is not so long.  Work up to it.  

Nutrition can, and often does, drive a person insane.  Way more than exercise in my opinion.  

There are great winds of changes with regard to nutrition.  The research is pumped out at an extremely high frequency, the prescription about what is “best” is conflicting and confusing.  

Personally, I think the promotion of not eating (aka: fasting) has been slow to gain popularity because the food industry doesn’t want people to reduce eating.  A reduction in eating means a reduction in revenue, plain and simple. 

What business is ok taking a massive hit to their revenue?  None I’m aware of.

So recommending people to eat less is not something big food business wants on billboards, TV commercials or internet advertisements.  

Exercise, from my vantage point, is pretty clear cut.  Incorporate resistance training, cardio, stretching and mobility, rest when needed and aim to use daily workouts to make progress over the long-term.  

Want to get stronger?  Lift weights (mostly free weights or progressive body weight) and try to increase the amount of weight lifted over time. 

Want to improve cardio endurance?  Do cardio.  Include short burst high-intensity intervals (10sec-3min), mid-range intervals (5-15 minutes) and long slow aerobic cardio here and there.  

Ok, off the topic of exercise, back to intermittent fasting.

Airbike Workouts Part 1| Time, Distance, Recovery and Hybrid Variations

Airbike Workouts, Motion

The airbike is a near total-body, beast of a conditioning tool.

I’ve been an avid user and advocate of airbikes for over 10 years so for what’s it worth, I will speak on their effectiveness as a conditioning tool.

I love to hate on my Assault Bike, always have.

But don’t let the rumors about airbikes scare you off.  Any workout on an airbike can be scaled to suit your current fitness level or goals for the workout.  Not every training session needs to be “torturous” or end of days.  

My experience with airbikes…

During the first 8 years, I owned the only airbike on the market, a large fan Schwinn Airdyne.  It was a vintage model: gold metal frame, plenty loud and weighed as much as a refrigerator.  For $150 on Craigslist, I couldn’t pass it up.   

The problem with the Airdyne bike is they break down.  Mine blew apart on me, literally.  Others who have owned these older model Airdyne bikes have probably had similar experiences.  The Airdyne was a great piece of equipment but had poor durability when used consistently with higher intensity workouts.  

The damage proved too much to repair (finding replacement parts is a nightmare),  so I chose to invest in the next generation airbike, the LifeCore Assault Airbike.  

The main reason for the purchase was my belief in the versatility and overall training effect an airbike can inject into a workout program.  Plus, once I purchased my Concept2 rower, the mechanics of each offset each other quite well.  

For the past 2 years, 33% of my machine-based cardio workouts have been satisfied using the Assault bike (33% on the rower, 33% running).  

I purchased my Assault Bike from Amazon.com with Free Prime Shipping, trust in Amazon as an online retailer and a killer price of $799 (usually $999).  The same deal is still live on the site to this day.  

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Though I felt it was important to share how I came into ownership of my current Assault bike, it’s not the point of this article.  

Enough with the back story, let’s talk about how you can bring airbikes into your training sessions using several different methods… 

Hybrid Work-Capacity Training

As mentioned earlier, airbikes are more versatile than most people know.  Sure, they provide a tremendous training effect on their own, but the challenge gets cranked up a notch when positioned inside of a bigger workout. 

Here’s an example of a hybrid workout (airbike mixed with other exercises):

Complete 5 Rounds (as fast as possible)

20 Squats

10 Pull-Ups

20 Push-Ups

15 Lunges

15 Hollow Body Rocks

20 calorie Airbike

*** Caution:  Your soul (and your oxygen) will be consumed by round 3 and fully digested by round 4 or 5.  

Workouts like this a built on simplicity.  No fancy exercises needed .  The focus of this workout is to perform as much work in as little time as possible.  

A 20 calorie ride may take roughly 25-40 seconds depending on how hard you’re pushing.  Choosing calories as the target can provide increased motivation to pedal harder since the calories will accumulate quicker with higher output, or slower with lower output.

Adding an airbike sprint to the end of each round adds an injury-free exertional challenge. 

Expect major fatigue here.

Airbikes kick ass alone…

Let’s not forget how great of a training stimulus airbikes provide by themselves.  

I’m talking about doing nothing else along with it, just hopping on the bike and working hard for a set period of time, distance or calories.

The 5-Mile Ride for Time is an excellent choice.

Keeping a workout simple can mean keeping your objectives simple, and is often the best choice for the day.

Sore or lacking time?…

For the individual who finds themselves frequently pressed for time but wants to workout, airbikes can provide a potent workout solutions in less than 20 minutes, including a warm-up.

That’s hard to beat.

Here’s a classic distance based interval training workout…

.3 Mile Sprints 

  • Complete 6-12 rounds of a target distance of .3 mile
  • Each sprint is 100% effort for best time.
  • Work:Rest Ratios (Example: 1:3 = 30 second sprint, 90 second rest)
    • Beginner – 1:4 
    • Intermediate – 1:2 or 1:3
    • Advanced – 1:1 or 1:2

An distance-based workout like this will take anywhere from 15-30 minutes, depending on how many rounds

If you’re capable of a 1:1 work-to-rest ratio without any significant drop-off in watt output in the later rounds, you’re an animal and probably need to increase the distance per work bout.  

Most people won’t touch a 1:1 work-to-rest scenario, and that’s perfectly ok. 

Progressive fitness is smart fitness, right?

An Ideal Recovery Solution…  

For the person who’s suffering from delayed onset muscle soreness or simply looking for a low-impact workout, a long and slow ride on the airbike can serve as a great total body recovery tool.  

To measure effort best, I suggest using a heart rate monitor with chest strap to track beats per minute.  Try to keep heart rate below a target beats per minutes, say 130-150bpm.  Typically I aim for 150bpm with my recovery rides. 

If you don’t have a heart rate monitor, you can keep your RPM’s below a certain pace, anywhere from 55-70 RPM.  This pace translates well with the 130-150bpm suggestion.    

Both beats per minute and RPM’s will depend on your current fitness level of course.  Some folks with ride at 60RPM and see a heart rate of 150bpm.  Others could ride at the same pace and see a heart rate of 130bpm or less.  

This is fitness, unique to each person.

Once you identify a manageable pace, aim to ride for an extended distance or time.  

Personally, I prefer riding a distance of 10-15 miles or 30-40 minutes for recovery.  Grab some water and a towel, set the bike up in front of the TV, put the headphones in and start riding.  

Post-recovery ride, you should feel good, not drained, just good.

 

During interval training, pay attention to recovery…

My goals during an interval training workout are not solely centered around my output.  

Ability to recover quickly, fully and repeatedly is an important adaptation of training.  

It’s worth measuring from workout to workout, month to month.  Recovery tells a story.  For some it can indicate over-training.  For others, it can indicate improvements in cardiovascular conditioning.  

Example:  If your output is 1000 watts during interval #1 but drops off to 800 watts during interval #2, this is an indication you were not recovered enough between work bouts to maintain initial intensity.  You could expect interval #3 to be even worse.  

This is an example of a mis-managed workout.  The workout looked great on paper but didn’t translate well when it came time for application.  

Interval training, much like resistance training, should be programmed progressively.  If you’re a beginner, you’ll need more rest between work bouts.  If you’re well conditioned, you may need to decrease your rest periods or increase the work interval while maintaining a steady watt output.  

One major benefit of interval training with an airbike is the ability to start and stop quickly.  When the interval begins, it’s easy to get the bike up to speed.  The interval ends and it’s easy to back off and recover in a comfortable position and pace.  

Part of the art of interval training is managing the work bouts and the rest periods according to your fitness level and goals for the workout.  

We want to develop our ability to exert at higher and higher intensities (adding duration) during the interval, yet we also want to train our body to recover faster between efforts.  

If you’re tanking from fatigue on the first couple of intervals, it’s defeating the purpose altogether.

Monitoring improvements in recovery time can provide valuable insight on the body’s adaptation to physical exertion.  

With discipline, consistency and appropriate progression in interval length and rest periods, your body will improve its ability to exert but also recover from that exertion.

*** Beginners will take longer to recover after performing work than a more conditioned individual.  

Connect your mind to your body for recovery…

One important, yet overlooked strategy to recovery is to become AWARE.

Get in touch with how your body is feeling during the workout.  Check your breath.  Are you breathing deep, with control and purpose?  

Or are you neck breathing in full panic mode?

Control your breathing, calm your thoughts, do your best to relax during the rest periods.  

Allowing your thoughts run wild is the wrong way to recover, but it’s what we often default to when physical stress becomes overwhelming.  Developing capacity to control your mental self-talk in times of physical stress is a character builder.  

The mental-self frequently acts as a governor to the physical-self.  In other words, your mental will give out before your physical will.  

Physical stress alters our state, perceptions and rational thinking.

Learning to anticipate, manage and expand our ability to handle physical stress is important.  

It’s worth asking the question:  “Is this really that bad?”

Time-based Interval Training

Time-based interval training is a classic strategy to training on any piece of cardio equipment.  Comparing effort with time is highly applicable to sport, and provides great benefits to general population looking for tough workouts.    

Here are several of my favorites, varying in length:

Short: 20 seconds work/ 40 seconds rest

  • 1:2 Work-to-Rest Ratio
  • 5 to 10 rounds
  • All out sprint for 20 sec work interval.

Don’t hold back on this sprint.  20 seconds is short enough to max out your watts.

Intermediate: 30 seconds work/60 seconds rest

  • 1:2 Work-to-Rest Ratio
  • 6-8 rounds.
  • All out sprint for the 30 sec work interval.

Long: 60 Second work/120 second rest

  • 1:2 Work-to-Rest Ratio
  • 5-8 Rounds
  • Find pace for the 60 seconds.

Any working interval extending beyond 30-40 seconds will have to be paced.  

Maximum effort cannot be sustained across the timeframe.  With newer generation airbikes, managing effort can be gauged several ways: watts and RPM’s.  Use both to monitor output during the work interval.  

It will take some painful trial and error (and honesty) to pinpoint the highest output you’re capable of sustaining across during of 60 seconds.  

Choose an output based on the last 10-15 seconds of the work interval when fatigue is highest, not the first 30 seconds of the work interval.  

It’s easy to come out of the gates hard during interval training, only to see output drop off drastically.

The goal of this workout is to sustain end range output across the entire 60 seconds.  It’s important to note that end rage output for 60 seconds will not be the same as it is for 20-30 seconds.  

Closing it out… 

If you’ve read other posts on Meauxtion, my promotion of airbike training might seem to conflict with the current “movement culture” approach.  Maybe it does, maybe it doesn’t.

The cool part about fitness is there are MANY ways to “do” fitness, and I see value in participating in ALL of them.

Too much of any one “thing” can end up being a bad thing because you’re excluding other “things” that can provide value and balance.

Make sense?

Cardio machines such as airbikes, rowers, SkiErgs, and Versaclimbers serve a valuable purpose inside of a long-term term training regimen.  

Keep your mind open, train hard, and let me know how you did with these workouts.

 

Cheers,

Kyle

 

Pistol Squat Progressions For Beginners

Motion

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Pew, pew, pew… pistol squats.

There are few exercises that accomplish more for functional lower body performance than single leg squats, aka “pistol squats’.  They’ve been referred to as the “king of lower body strength training”, and I cannot disagree.  

Here are some key benefits of pistol squat training:

  • Improve single leg performance (strength, balance, stability, etc)
  • Challenge movement complexity beyond regular squats
  • Training body control and coordination
  • Low reps, high reward
  • Mind/body focus
  • Assessment for movement deficits (strength, balance, flexibility, etc)
  • Portable strength (you can do them anywhere)

I’ll expand on each of these benefits in a separate article.  For now, the takeaway is pistol squats are a potent lower body performance enhancer, connect the mind and body to a greater degree, progress body control and coordination, and you can practice them anywhere.  

Symmetry

Building symmetrical strength, balance, and coordination between the right and left sides of the body provides immediate and noticeable benefits to performance in daily life and sport.  Bilateral squats are not bad, but they can mask deficits and encourage compensations.  Your body is extremely good at finding a way to complete exercises by any means necessary, even if the movement is full of compensations. 

For a lot of people, one of the great payoffs in practicing physical fitness is that one moment when you realize a physical task was executed that wasn’t previously possible.  Surprisingly yourself physically is rewarding.

“Oh, I can do that now”.

Unknowingly, many daily tasks are performed on one leg.  Improving one’s ability to perform on one leg makes doing anything on two legs that much more efficient.

Personally, increasing my focus on improving pistol squat performance has saved my lower-back, and served as a door opener to more advanced movement flows.  

More so, single leg training brought to light my own right/left performance deficits.  I won’t say I became a better person once I cleaned up my asymmetries, but my performance saw improvement and nagging irritations went away.  

If you find yourself unable to mirror a range of motion, or lift a similar amount of weight on one side of the body but not the other, it’s worth investigating why these differences exist.  

It could be because of favoritism.  Right/left side favoritism is common.  I have it, you have it, we all have it. Repetitively completing tasks using the same arm or leg can slowly create imbalances, which may or may not manifest into acute or chronic issues down the road.

Examples:  Stepping up or down a ladder with the same leg, using the same arm for heavy lifting or carrying, slinging the work bag over the same shoulder, driving with the same hand on the steering wheel tilted to the same side.

I’m not saying audit your entire life and become a hypochondriac with these things, just be aware favoritism exists.

Though it is important to practice traditional bilateral squats (2-legs), single leg training, even if only using one’s body weight, addresses gaps left unfilled by regular squats.  

Balancing on one leg requires hip stabilizers to wake up and participate.  This is a positive for those who sit for long periods throughout the day. 

Leverage Exercise Progression

For a beginner, a full round of pistol squats may seem unachievable, and only for the “fit”.  This is bullshit.  

The “fit” didn’t enter this world sporting six-packs while ripping out pistol squats, just as the wealthy (typically) haven’t always been wealthy.  The simple truth is your body isn’t acclimated to the mechanics of the pistol squats yet.  Leveraging proper exercise progression and dedicated practice, a full pistol squat is a lot closer than you’d think.

If you’re unable to execute a pistol squat, the simple truth is that your body isn’t acclimated to do so.  It’s a sign you may be lacking strength, flexibility or coordination, all of which can be improved quickly through proper exercise progression and practice.

You’re a lot closer to doing pistol squats than you think.

With proper progression and some tenacity for achievement, the human body adapts to be strength and new patterns quickly.  

The power of progression is why I continue to demonstrate progression roadmaps leading to these “big bang for your buck” exercises.

All 3 of the following exercise progressions can be used regardless if you’ve been squatting with two-legs or using supported single leg squat variations.  Though these exercises are a nice stepping stone, they are not necessary if the exercise is regressed back far enough to be manageable.

Variation #1:  Suspension Trainer Assisted Pistol Squats

Use the suspension trainer to guide your body into and out of the squat.  Grip the handles with intent and use the arms to lessen the intensity as needed.  Slowly ask your legs to do more work as you gain strength.  

3-5 sets of 5-8 reps per leg

Variation #2:  Pinch Grip Assisted Pistol Squats

This pistol squat progression is demonstrated using a squat rack, but a door frame will work just as well.  Grip the rack or doorframe with your fingertips, lower into the squat and back up, assisting as needed.  Slowly soften the grip as you become more efficient.  Move to a 2 or 3 finger pinch grip to increase the challenge.  

3-5 sets of 5-8 reps per leg

Variation #3: Dowel Assisted Pistol Squats

The dowel acts as unstable assistance in this progression.  This unstable assistance provides an introduction to a training effect similar to an unassisted pistol squat.  Maintaining balance throughout the range of motion will have the hip, knee, and core stabilizers working overtime.  

Expect to feel soreness in the days from maintaining balance throughout the work set. 

3 sets of 4-6 reps per leg

All three of these exercises should be used as progressions to a fully unsupported single leg pistol squat.   Keep in mind that each exercise demonstrates a full range of motion.  

Select a progression according to your current fitness level.  Aim to graduate to the next most difficult progression as you gain strength and efficiency. 

If this article was helpful, leave me a comment, or check out others like it.

Next steps?  Get after it.  

Cheers, 

Kyle 

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Ido Portal Exercises for Beginners| Lizard Crawl Variations

Ido Portal

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The goal of this article is to present several of my homemade lizard crawl regressions to get a newbie acclimated.  Most of these drills were designed to help myself better understand the mechanics of the lizard crawl, and I’d like to share them with you…  

The Lizard Crawl exercise, from my point of view, is the king of the ground-based locomotion drills.  It’s a monster of an exercise, best broken down into digestible segments if you’re a beginner to such training.

Lizard crawling is jam-packed with physical benefits that spill over into all other areas of one’s physical practice.  The lizard crawl will test joint range of motion and stability, muscular endurance and strength, core strength/stability/endurance and motor control all in one shot.  

Another positive side effect of lizard crawling is conditioning.  It’s pure work when you’re inefficient and learning.  Expect to be winded with heart rate will be soaring after several yards.  

Although a successful lizard crawl is a total body effort, the upper body is tested to a great degree.  The lizard crawl elicits a similar training effect to more common crawling variations (bear, crab, etc) and progresses it a step further.  

Remaining in the low position for the duration of the crawl is what does most people in.  

A full blown lizard crawl is deceptively difficult.  Watching someone like Ido Portal lizard crawl (a world class movement practitioner), it’s easy to think, “Doesn’t look too bad, it’s just crawling, I could do that”.  And maybe you can.  If so, good on you.

But for most people, the mechanics are complex.  As mentioned earlier, joint position and range of motion, the timing of the hands and feet, core activation in difficult positions may completely foreign.  

Foreign = struggle bus.     

I do suggest you watch several of these videos and test abilities to give yourself a baseline for improvement.  

Even if you’re able to crawl several feet on both sides, the next challenge is to add some distance to the movement.  

Without further ado, here are few more lizard crawl variations to slip into your workouts demonstrated by yours truly…

Lizard Crawl Variation #1 – 2 Hands + 1 Foot

In this variation, we are going to keep two hands in contact with the floor while practicing hip range of motion and foot placement.  Softly move the knee up beyond waist height and place the ball of the foot on the floor.  Lower into the bottom of the push-up, chest hovering roughly 2 inches above the floor. Pause, looking forward, return to the start position.

Lizard Crawl Variation #2 – Soft Arm Reach

Introduction to reaching with the lead arm.  We will remain stationary for the time being.  Expect the complexity to ramped up significantly once movement is introduced.  This variation involves a soft slide of the lead arm, straight out and back in.  This also provides some sensation of what it will feel like supporting the body on one arm, another challenging aspect of the lizard crawl.  

Same exercise cues as the previous variation, lower step with the leg, plant with the ball of the foot, lower down with control, but now slide the hand out softly.  Breathe. 

Lizard Crawl Variation #3 – “Alligator” Arms and Legs

To give you a taste of some dynamic movement, here is the short-arm variation of the lizard crawl.  I refer to it as an “alligator” progression.  The idea is to reach with a limited range of motion, keeping the elbows flexed and close to the rib cage.  This elbow position is far more manageable versus reaching out into full extension.  

Also, notice the limited range of motion on the foot placement.  Plant with the ball of the foot, stabilize and find your bearings, breathe, now move the hands and support.  Slowly move forward, do not rush.  

This variation provides a humbling introductory training stimulus to the full lizard crawl.  Many will begin to understand the complexity the exercise while practicing this variation.  

The pathway to improvement is practice.  Don’t be discouraged by your initial attempts, because it may be a frustrating experience, even if you considered yourself to be well conditioned.  

It’s common to find joint mobility, stability, core strength and endurance to be lacking, all of which can be practiced using the three drills I’ve shared.  Each will lead you to the next and progress will be made.    

If you’d interested in learning more about the Ido Portal Method training philosophy, check out this popular article I wrote several years ago…

 

For now… let me know how you made out.

Cheers…

Kyle 

Landmine Training| A Simple Workout for Fat Loss

fat loss, Landmine Training

 

The landmine attachment is a hybrid workout tool and a great addition to any home gym set-up.

Landmine attachments are a part free weight/part fixed range of motion apparatus.  One end of the barbell slides inside of the landmine sleeve while the other end is controlled by the user.  The sleeved end of the barbell pivots about a range of motion as the user engages in pressing, pulling and grappling with the free end.

Here’s a video…

Similar to barbell training, the exercises can be progressed by adding weight plates or increasing the complexity of the exercise.  Training factors like reps, sets, time under tension may also be adjusted to suit the needs of the individual.

The user controls the free end of the barbell, which will travel through an arcing, fixed range of motion.  Commonly barbells are 7 feet in length, so the range of motion is wide.

For the beginner, no weight or a very limited amount of weight may be necessary to familiarize oneself with the functionality of the set-up.

The barbell/landmine integration adds another dimension of unique exercises to a person’s exercise selection.  Many of these exercises will surface in future articles, though a few will be discussed in this post. which will be discussed briefly with the elements of this workout, but in greater detail in future articles.

Nearly any traditional exercise can be performed using a landmine, the main difference becomes this “fixed range of motion” feature.  Having a fixed range of motion transforms many exercises into “angled exercises”, naturally.  

Using the landmine in combination short rest and a high amount of work can inject a much-needed freshness to fat loss workouts where creating EPOC (excess post oxygen consumption) is the goal.  Maximum metabolic disruption.  

Obviously, nutrition is an important piece of any body transformation, but including challenging workouts will increase the speed at which fat is burned and lean muscle is earned.

This simple landmine complex workout is just one in an entire Rolodex of workout options.  I plan to share them all, so strap in.

The Workout…

 Perform each exercise in descending order for the reps listed… 

Split Stance Angled Press x 5 right/left

Reverse Lunge x5 right/left

Bent Over Row x6 right/left

Front Squat x6 

Landmine Grappler T

Single Leg Deadlift x6 right/left

This workout might be considered a complex, where all of the work is performed and rest is taken at the end of the last rep of single leg deadlifts.  

I recommend working through 3-6 total rounds of this landmine complex.  

Rest will vary based on a person’s current conditioning, but 45-90 seconds is generally appropriate for most people.  

I’ve had complexes where I rested for 45 seconds in between early rounds (1-3), and longer in between later rounds (4-6) based on my fatigue level.  Adjust the rest as needed.    

There is no right or wrong amount, the key is to push yourself without sacrificing exercise technique.

[Sidenote: If this type of training interests you, all landmine workout ideas are going to be continually posted on the M[EAUX}TION YouTube page and described in further detail later on the blog.]

Closing it out…

Using the landmine in combination less rest and a higher amount of work can inject a much-needed freshness to fat loss specific training where EPOC (excess post oxygen consumption) is the goal.  EPOC, in my world, is simply creating a training effect specific to burning fat loss.  It can be achieved through many methods:  cardio, resistance training or a combination of both.

Short-term metabolic disruption.  Stressing the body to expand performance.

Doing more work in less time is one way to measure and describe work capacity. Work capacity-oriented workouts are a very potent method to assist in reducing body fat.  

Obviously, I cannot tell you it is the ONLY WAY (because this is not true), but there is no arguing the “lean out effect” from doing more physical work in less time.  The training effect is massive, and the benefits extend beyond the workout.

It’s common for people to lose fat despite any nutritional changes.

Lower-load resistance training coupled with interval-style bursts develops work-capacity beyond what traditional cardio can offer, while maintaining the potency of resistance-training.  The keyword in the bolded/underlined sentence is “lower”.  Sub-maximal weight is best for metabolic workouts.

For the record, I don’t feel metabolic workouts trump traditional cardio.  You’ll see this as the M(EAUX)TION content grows.  Both have their place in training as useful tools.

In the future, you’ll see more landmine workouts posted, except integrated with bodyweight exercises and other training tools to increase the flavor and shake things up a bit.  

Bodyweight exercise always pairs nicely, whether it’s traditional (push-ups, pull-ups, etc) or new-school ground-based movements like you’d find in Animal Flow.

 

For now, get going on this workout, let me know how you made out.

KG

Turkish Get-Ups: “Press at Every Step” Variation

Kettlebell Training

Turkish Get-Ups (TGU’s) are one of the great kettlebell exercises.   Nevermind kettlebell exercises, they are one of the great movement training drills we’ve got.

When I am asked, “What are the best exercises I should be doing?”

Turkish Get-Ups are always a part of my answer.

This is a heavy question to ask and even heavier to answer.  Responses will differ depending who you’re asking but generally speaking, there is too much movement value, low risk and high reward with Turkish Get-Ups to leave it out.

Few other exercises provide the total body training effect of Turkish Get-Ups.  

Like any exercise, TGU’s have an infinite amount of variations, add-ons, and programming option (sets, reps, time, weight, etc).  Practicing variations is a nice way to introduce a movement challenge and avoid the onset of boredom.

Make no mistake, keeping training fresh is important across the long-term.

One of those variations is the “press at every step”.

This TGU variation involves performing five presses in the following positions:

  1.  Lying position.
  2.  Elbow support.
  3.  Hand support.
  4.  Half-keeling.
  5.  Standing.

Press #1:  Lying Position

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This is the only true horizontal press of the five listed.  “Horizontal”, meaning you’re pressing from the back of the body to the front of the body (anterior to posterior then back to anterior again), similar to the mechanics of a traditional bench press.  Lower the weight down until the elbow makes light contact with the ground, pause, press back up.

Press #2: Elbow Support

FullSizeRenderPressing from the elbow support position will be a new experience for a lot of people.  Expect this to feel unnatural and use cautionary judgment with weight here.  The trajectory of the kettlebell is slightly different than any traditional pressing exercise. 

Press #3:  Hand Support

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This body position will likely be the most awkward press of them all.  Remain rigid from waist to shoulder.  Naturally, your body is going to want to crease or your ribs are going to flail.  Avoid letting either happen.  Stay rigid and press! 

Press #4:  Half-kneeling

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Training in the half-kneeling narrow stance position is a natural core blaster and can reveal side-to-side differences in symmetry.  You might be steady with the left knee up, but hardly maintain the position with the right knee up.

Turkish Get-Ups aside, half-kneeling pressing is a natural overhead pressing progression into the standing press.

Press #5:  Standing

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Finally, standing at last.  In the world of “functional training”, this is as functional as it gets.  Pressing objects overhead is a common task in life.  Unfortunately, most of the objects pressed overhead in life aren’t evenly weighted with nice handles.

Here is a video of a full “Press at Every Step” Turkish Get-Up…

 

Whether you’re craving a movement challenge or simply a new variation of a timeless exercise, give this one a shot.  Be prepared for sore shoulders and core in the days that follow.  Five presses inside of each TGU repetition accumulates a lot of work for the upper extremities.  

For more great kettlebell exercise variations, I recommend two resources.  The first is a landmark book from the modern day Godfather of kettlebell training, Pavel Psatsouline.  There isn’t a kettlebell professional who hasn’t read Pavel’s ongoing work with kettlebell training.  

The second resource is a full training system from Chris Lopez designed to improve body composition using kettlebells, more specifically fat loss.  Kettlebells are unique in their ability to burn fat when used systematically.  Chris has published a number of kettlebell training programs focused on how to  “lean out” using kettlebells for quite some time.   

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Most importantly, let me know how you made out with this TGU variation…

 

Cheers, 

Kyle

Animal Flow: Movement Training for Fans of Ido Portal Method

Animal Flow

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“Animal Flow is an innovative fitness program that combines quadrupedal and ground-based movement with element from various bodyweight-training disciplines to create a fun, challenging workout emphasizing multi-planar, fluid movement.”  

If you’ve been hunting for a movement system to deepen your understanding of Ido Portal’s locomotion exercises, Animal Flow is the system to follow.  

Animal Flow’s training methodology embodies the evolution my own fitness practice has experienced over the last several years.  

The “your body is a barbell” is cliché statement, but a true statement about bodyweight training.  Everywhere you go, no matter what the circumstance, bodyweight training is a tool to be leveraged.  

Don’t stop at isolation…

A lot of people stop the bus at basic bodyweight training:  push-ups, pull-ups, squats, lunges, etc.  I have nothing against basic bodyweight training because it’s brutally effective for improving performance, it’s free and it’s arguably the most functional form of resistance training.  

You can live a great life by hammering away on basic bodyweight movements.

However, as I mentioned in my post “Basics of the Ido Portal Method”, a lot of people have an innate desire to explore what’s beyond isolation movements.  

After a while, it’s common to feel like your workouts are being reduced down to numbers (quantified progress):  more reps, more sets, more time, etc. 

There’s nothing wrong with quantified progress.  Quantifying your workouts practice is a great way to measure improvement or stagnation.  Scanning your numbers can help you evaluate if your current training plan working the way it should.  

It’s not much different than following a recipe in the kitchen.

But there is another realm, one where you’re moving without being restricted to reps and sets and time.  

This realm explores your body’s movement capacity through space.  

Twisting, turning, reaching, pulling, pushing, shifting, transitioning, flowing.

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Some of these body positions are common and familiar, some are not.  Training uncomfortable positions is important to prepare the body for unpredictable scenarios.

Movement capacity development.  

 

Ground-based movement training benefits ANYONE and EVERYONE.  Why?  Because it is life played out through the movement lens.  Everywhere you go, your body is right there with you.  

Enter: Animal Flow…

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  • Anything in BLACK is information from the Animal Flow website.  
  • Comments in RED are my interpretation and elaboration on those points.  

What comprises the Animal Flow program?

“Animal Flow includes a wide range of exercises and movement combinations that are grouped into six components, each designed to elicit specific results. The six components can be mixed and matched in many ways, and you can incorporate one, some, or all of them in your workouts! The six components include:

Wrist Mobilizations

Wrist Mobilizations include a range of simple exercises designed to increase the flexibility and strength of your wrists, which is particularly important for any practice where you are spending a lot of time on your hands.”

– Although most of human life is spent either sitting or standing, training the hands/wrists/arms to tolerate a more robust range of motion and loading stress in various positions is important.  

Our wrists and arms aren’t designed to hang at our sides or flexed up on a keyboard for all day every day.  Hanging, brachiation, crawling, climbing are all activities humans should be able to do.  

More specific to the Animal Flow program, wrist preparation ensures your body is prepared to handle the load stress.

Activations

Activations are static holds we perform to connect the body before we start our practice. Examples include Static Beast Hold, Static Crab Hold, and Limb Lifts.”

– Activating dormant muscles is helps protect our bodies against acute injury and chronic aches and pains.  It boosts our ability to accomplish common daily tasks efficiently.

This is sometimes referred to as “pre-hab”.  Again, cliché, but important.

It’s not necessary to suffer an injury to begin paying attention to muscle activation.  Basic maintenance can keep a person functioning on a high level without pain or risk of injury. 

Imagine how much better a squat would be if your glute muscles knew they were supposed to participate in the exercise.

Isolated activation exercises remind these muscles they’ve got an active role in the exercise to come.

Form Specific Stretches

Form Specific Stretches are full body stretches that start in an animal form and then move through a wide range of motion. This increases your mobility and flexibility throughout the entire body. Examples include the Ape Reach, Beast Reach, Crab Reach and Scorpion Reach.”

Stretching is not dead, so don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. Mis-directed, poorly performed stretches are dead.  Stretching areas that don’t need to be stretched is dead.  

Smart, intelligent stretching in combination with passive and active mobilization techniques are a smarter way to achieve a more functional range of motion.  Hello, KinStretch.

Traveling Forms

Traveling Forms are exercises that mimic the movements of animals. You’ll start with the “ABCs” – Ape, Beast, and Crab – to get you going on these full body conditioning moves. The traveling forms are essentially how we move like animals to improve the function of the human animal.”

 

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The human body is designed to navigate many different forms movement.

The ability to handle your body while performing uncommon movement tasks (example: crawling) beyond standing and walking will serve you well across life.  It gives quality to your years.    

Crawling (and the many variations of crawling) is a major component of Traveling Forms.  Yes, this is a similar crawling we do as infants.  Funny how we regress back to our earliest forms of movement as a reset later in life.

Crawling is an under-estimated, challenging form of movement that trains the body to handle unique body positions, transitions, upper extremity loading and core activation.  

The other, a less scientific reason to crawl, is it’s fun.  Plain and simple.  Crawling is an uncommon activity that is fun.  Life’s too short to not have fun.  

Fact:  a person is more apt to stick to training if there is fun involved.  Prove me wrong.

Switches and Transitions

Switches and Transitions are dynamic movements that we perform one after the other, creating the “flow” of Animal Flow. You can transfer from one form to another, or repeat the same one as a drill. Examples include the many variations for Underswitches, Side Kickthroughs, Front Kickthroughs, and Scorpions.”

– Combining 2-3 exercises is a great way to create a training effect beyond what’s possible by practicing only one drill in isolation.

Transitioning from crawling, to kick throughs into hollow-body rocks will challenge your body to adapt to several different patterns and planes of movement and muscular stress.

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Here’s an example:  Animal Flow Workout – Long Cycle Ground Based Movement 

These sequences can be practiced for extended periods of time to increase the demand on endurance and cardio.

A workout becomes an experience at this stage.  Switches and transitions is where people begin noticing they’re having fun. 

Flow

Flow: Your Flow is where the real magic happens. You’ll combine the Animal Flow moves by linking them together in a fluid sequence, seamlessly transferring energy from one move to the next. Flows may be a choreographed sequence practiced over multiple sessions, or may be created freestyle!”

No secrets here, it will take dedicated practice and patience to arrive at the “flow” stage.  Those who stick to the plan will make the gains needed to begin moving freely, improvising each movement as you go.  

Like words making a sentence, exercises stitch themselves together, “flowing”. 

In sync, the mind and body connection is extremely powerful.  Flow a physical demonstration of a mind that is free.

Bringing it home…

A balanced approach of traditional resistance training, gymnastics, and ground-based exercises can make a person dangerous.  Each philosophy improves the others.

If you’re a fan of Ido Portal’s methodology, Animal Flow is a logical training system to look into.  

Ido hasn’t produced a product for the masses yet, and I suspect he will never release a product.  

The current options to train under the Ido Portal Method are private online training or attendance of a seminar.  Not ideal and both cost a small fortune. Ido is in high demand right now.  

You could always cherry-pick drills from YouTube videos (as I have done), but you’ll never progress as quickly as if you were following a system.  

Training systems are designed with an end goal:  results.

If you’re interested in expanding your movement capacity, check out: Animal Flow 2.0

 

Cheers to discovering your movement capacity, 

Kyle 

 

 

 

 

 

Ido Portal Method Lizard Crawl Exercises For Beginners

Ido Portal

 

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Progression to the lizard crawl…

 

Arguably, one of the most confusing aspects about the Lizard Crawl, a ground-based locomotion drill brought to fame by Ido Portal, is where the heck is a true beginner supposed to start?  

To be clear, when I say “true beginner”, I am not talking about a person previously a competitive gymnast, high-level athlete or even a person who’s just completed the Gymnastics Bodies 12-week course and moving like a champ.

I’m describing a person who has an average capacity to move (but is motivated to learn) and interested in learning more about these fantastic drills.  Or, maybe a “true beginner” is a person who’s looking to re-establish a workout regimen and hasn’t moved purposefully in a great while.  

Either way, I applaud you for stopping by and learning how to crawl like a lizard.

The goal of this article is to provide several launching points to use as a gradual work up into the full Lizard Crawl.  Each successive Lizard Crawl progression is purposed to provide a gentle introduction to the body position and loading, in order to prevent overwhelming the body (and the mind) with the complexity of the full Lizard Crawl.  

A full-blown Lizard Crawl has a deceptive number of parts moving simultaneously and requires a combination of mental processing and physical capability.  There’s an incredible amount of mind-body connection needed to crawl in this position.  So, rather than rushing into the sexy dynamic variations, tripping over yourself or becoming frustrated, start by breaking up the movement into sections and training each section exclusively.

Personally, I believe it’s best to start by practicing static exercises first.  By training in one place, you’re removing some of the heavy thinking on how to move next in the Lizard Crawl, which believe it or not, is half the battle.  First experiences in this low position can leave a person wondering how they’re supposed to move an inch, much less 15-20 yards.

If you’re addicted to motion, static training can be a boring rinse and repeat activity, but it’s important to pound on the basics before moving on.  Give each of these exercises a shot, even if you think you’re beyond the progression.

[All of the exercise progressions listed below assume you’re able to do 15-20+ traditional body weight push-ups without issue.  If not, certainly continue to read on, but hammer away on upper body resistance training first to establish a base of strength.  

Ido often refers to traditional resistance training as “isolation training”.

 

Lizard Crawl Progression #1:  Push-Up with Alternating Foot Placement

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The goal of this first drill is to practice the feel of the lizard crawl while reducing the amount of strength needed to do so.  Using two arms into the descent accomplishes this.  

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Video embed coming soon… click the icon or here

  1.  Step the foot up to the outside of hand and plant.
  2.  Lower down into and out of a push-up.  
  3.  Return to high plank position.

Sets/Reps:  3-4 sets of 6-10 per side

When to progress:  If you’re technically sound with 10 reps per side, move on to progression #3.  

*** Using a pair of carpet slides will assist this simple exercise. Carpet slides are a valuable training tool.  Besides being useful for a wide range of bodyweight exercises (and resistance training), carpet slides help to provide a fundamental understanding of ground-based crawling technique, with relatively low-friction.

Lizard Crawl Progression #2:  Carpet Slide Upper-Body Reach and Press

Carpet Slide Reach and Press

The lizard crawl requires respectable upper body strength.  Lifting the arms with grace, placing them softly on the floor in a low crawl position is an uncommon pattern of movement.  It requires strength through a fuller range of motion.  The strength needed for lizard crawling is very different from the strength needed during an isolation exercise like a push-up.  Push-ups will help you will lizard crawling, but only to point.  

Anticipate the arms feeling heavy in the low crawl position. 

The premise of this next drill is to introduce load the working arm while practicing the arc range of motion using the carpet slide.  Over time, decrease hand pressure on the carpet slide, eventually removing the slide completely.

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Video embed coming soon, but for now, click the icon or here

Sets/Reps:  3-4 sets of 5-8 per arm.

When to progress:  If you’re technically sound with 8 repetitions, move on to progression #3.

Progression of this exercise:  Tempo changes everything.  Slow down the descent to the floor and also the arm moving through the arc.

 

Lizard Crawl Progression #3:  Alternating Lower-Body Step and Reach

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Step, lower down, reach and breathe…

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Video embed coming soon, but for now, click on the icon or here

  1. Starting in a high plank position, step one foot to the outside of the same side hand.  (The side you step to will be opposite of the working arm)
  2. Slowly lower your chest to 1-2 inches above the floor.
  3. With soft pressure, slide the unloaded hand out into full extension. 
  4. Pause for a moment, breathe, feel the position.
  5. Slide the hand back in, return the foot and press up to the high plank.  
  6. That’s one repetition.

Sets/Reps:  3-4 sets of 8-10 reps on each side. 

When to progress:  If you’re technically sound with 10 repetitions on each side, move on to dynamic crawling variations (video).

Progressions for this exercise:  Slow the tempo, add weight to the exercise in the form of a light weight vest or body conforming sand bag or progression to dynamic bear crawling (video).

Bringing it home…

***  One of the best cues in movement training is to move quietly.  Less noise through a robust range of motion implies full control over the movement.  

One last important training tip: all of these drills can be performed with stretch band assistance.  Stretch band assistance allows reduces body weight loading to encourage technique execution.

Some folks have steered away from using stretch bands to assist exercises like chin-ups, pull-ups, push-ups, single leg squats in recent years, but I am a HUGE advocate of using stretch bands for gradual load progression.  Any stretch bands will do, though RubberBanditz bands are spreading like wildfire.  

Give these exercises a shot and be mindful of what’s taking place as you’re inside of the training session.  

The secret sauce to progress is disciplined effort and consistency.  Practice and you will experience results.

Cheers, 

KG

Five Parks Yoga: Power Vinyasa Flow

Yoga

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I recently threw up a post on the Meauxtion Facebook page about streaming workouts from the internet into the home.

To keep it short, I think they are a match made in heaven.

Yoga is slow paced movement therapy, which makes it ideal for following a video stream.  

If the pace is too quick and a person is unfamiliar with the movements, you’re doomed. 

 

Over the course of the last few months, I’ve identified several fantastic yoga channels on YouTube.  They’re perfect for the home setting.

If you’ve got a yoga mat, a towel and some water nearby, you’re good to go.

One of several yoga workouts I use comes from Five Parks Yoga.  It’s a Power Vinyasa Flow.  Give it a shot.

 

Here is the workout

 

Cheers,

Kyle

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