Beginner Flow Training: 5 Challenging Bodyweight Exercise Combinations

Motion

Natural movement flow is a key training element missing from most people’s fitness regimens.

Including movement combinations, ground-based exercises and sequences bridge the gap between linear resistance training and natural movement.

Practicing exercises in isolation essential for developing performance.  

What is isolation?  

Deadlifts, front squats, push-ups and pulling without the addition of any add-on exercises, using a work-then-rest format, is isolation.  

You’re isolating an exercise and performing it for a set number of sets, reps and rest.

In a separate blog post, I dove deeper into Ido Portal’s general training template, which included an overview of his methods following this approach:

Isolation 👉 Integration 👉 Improvisation

Walk into any gym, and you’re likely going to see people exercising in isolation.  

Perform a set of deadlifts, rest, check Instagram, a sip of water, then back to the next set of deadlifts.

This is the isolation phase of movement training.

Movement Flow

If you’re looking to add a fresh challenge to your workouts, combining exercises together to create movement flow sequences is a great way to do that. 

Several years ago, I started mixing and matching traditional movement patterns and non-traditional exercises together to create 2 or 3 exercise flow sequences.

Here’s an example:


Gym workouts and real-world movement can be very different experiences.  

While I value pursuing a mechanically perfect squat, do I ever stop to align my feet before squatting in a real-world scenario?

NEVER.

The modified squat I’m using in a real-world situation is often combined with 1 or 2 other movements.  

Squat down, lunge up, twist and carry.  

It’s rarely every just a perfect bodyweight squat in the real-world.

One goal of controlled environment training (aka gym workouts) is maximum transferability.

We lift and conditioning with the idea that it will enhance the physical moments (daily tasks, sports, and recreation, health, etc) help us improve the functionality of our body.

Yet, natural bodyweight movement is completely absent from most workout templates.

Crawling, climbing, rolling, navigating changing levels (laying to standing, fall training, etc), rotation or fusing exercises together in a pre-planned movement sequence or improvised movement work where you don’t know what’s coming next.

Practicing how to transition efficiently and effectively between two different body positions or patterns just makes sense to me.

Benefits of Movement Flow Training

👉  Improve movement IQ (confidence, dissipating fear of unexplored positions and tasks).

👉  Coordination and skill-building.

👉  Improving spatial awareness and how to transition between movements.

👉 Strength at more angles and positions.

👉  Injury mitigation via conditioning tissues to handle stress.

👉 Improve mind-body connection 

👉  Control over one’s bodyweight. 

👉  Fun, refreshing, never boring. 

Movement flow is very challenging for the mind, which to me, is one of the greatest benefits of flow work.

While you’re learning a flow, you really have to think it through to execute it properly and avoid getting twisted up, trips and falls.

“Ok, so my hand goes here, foot over the top, create tension, then relax, drop down, etc…”

The elevated thinking involved with a lot of ground-based movements is a major benefit.

Plus, introducing flow training is refreshing and fun. 

Hours in the gym working the same exercises, chasing the numbers (weight increases, more reps, more sets, faster finishing times) can get quite bland. 

Remaining excited every to move every single day is best for the long-term.   

5 Bodyweight Movement Combinations

#1  Parallette Bar Pass Through to L-Sit

Parallette Bars are inexpensive to buy and easy to build from PVC pipes.

Start in a push-up position, passing the legs through the middle of the parallettes right into an L-Sit.  

If an L-Sit is too aggressive, transition into a tuck position instead.

Hold the L-Sit for a 2-3 second count, then reverse the motion back to the start position. 

Perform 2-3 sets of 8-10 reps.

No parallettes?  

Chairs, stools or yoga blocks a good equipment substitutes.      

#2  High Bridge Rotation to Lizard Crawl

A reasonable looking back bridge used to be impossible for me.  My body was stiff as a board and incapable of arching through the spine. My shoulders lacked mobility, etc.  

Using dedicated joint mobility drills really accelerated the process, expanding the positions I was able to get into and out of, but bulletproofing my joints as well. 

MyDailyMobility is my recommendation for mobility conditioning. 

Today, I practice some variation of back bridging in nearly every workout, either as maintenance or to make progress.  

High Bridge Rotations require an adequate amount of spinal extension, shoulder mobility, stability and strength, which is why I recommend adopting a mobility program to accelerate the process.  

From an exercise progress perspective, practicing basic back bridges is the starting point.  

Adding in the rotation will come after.  

Transitioning out of the high bridge rotation can be a dizzying experience.  Refocus your vision, lower down and crawl lizard-style. 

The lizard crawl is an amazing strength and conditioning exercise.  

Here is a variation better suited for beginners: 

  Alligator Crawl

  Hand Slide Lizard Crawl 

  Elbow Crawl

#3 Burpee Sprawl – Push Up – Squat – L Sit

Perform a push-up, hop forward into a deep squat position, place the hands on the floor slightly behind the butt cheeks as the legs extend and LIGHTLY tap the floor with the heels. 

Reverse the flow.  

Keep the sprawl motion soft and graceful. 

#4  Lunge to Pistol Squat Flow

Lower body training is essential for health and performance. 

Our legs need to be strong and well-conditioned, but also mobile and capable of expressing strength and stability throughout a large range of motion.

Especially the hips.  Hip mobility training has been a game-changer for me.

This combination connects two movement patterns:  lunges and squats.  

During the transition from front to back, do your best to avoid making contact with the floor.

This is one combination probably best executed for reps. 

3-5 sets of 6-10 reps per side will work. 

#5  Lizard Crawl + Low Scorpion 

This lizard crawl + low scorpion combination is a unique, high-value movement combination. 

There’s no beginning or end with this sequence, which makes it a great bodyweight-based cardio alternative.

This flow is relatively compact, making it perfect for a small home gym or other imperfect training spaces.  

Practice this sequence for repetitions or time. 

I like to set a timer and go.  Not having to keep track of reps allows me to focus on what my body is doing.  

Time-wise, I’ve used this flow for 5+ minutes continuous and it’s a challenge every time.

MOVEMENT20XX 

Fusing movements together to create flows is a great addition to traditional lifting and cardio, and is sure to bring a refreshing challenge into workouts. 

If you want to learn more about movement flow training, I highly recommend checking out the MOVEMENT20XX program from Vahva Fitness.

MOVEMENT20XX is one of the best movement-based products I’ve come across.  

Eero Westerberg did a brilliant job organizing and communicating the techniques of each exercise, how to create flows and leverage this method of training to build a high functioning body.

 

Related Blog Posts

✅ Basics of Movement 20XX| The A-B-C’s of Crawling Exercises

✅ 14 Exercise Total Body Warm-Up Routine

✅ A Giant List of Effective Core Exercises| Part 1

Alternatives to Ido Portal Method

Ido Portal
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“Coming soon” since 2013…

I’ve been checking the Ido Portal Method website for 7 years hoping the “store” page would populate with a few online products.  

Take my money Ido Portal, take my money.

7 straight years of, “Coming Soon”.

I’m confident saying Ido Portal is not going to write a book or create a digital product.

Ido has mentioned in interviews he doesn’t want to chain his work to the “foreverness” of a book.  

Plus Ido Portal Method training philosophy is constantly evolving and expanding, so he’d likely have to compose a 10,000-page book on movement training, which would receive weekly edits for all eternity. 

Like others who wanted to know more about The Ido Portal Method, I started to compile notes from his old blogs, YouTube videos, and interviews.  The idea was to collect enough information, sort it out and begin piecing together a program for myself.

But at some point, I’d burned out.  

I started researching alternatives.  Something that could bring me close to the Ido Portal Method style of training, without wrecking my bank account (more on that below).

While the Ido Portal Method has brand name recognition (with movement training), I knew there had to be other training systems comparable to, possibly even better.

Initial search results confirmed that there were some amazing alternatives.  

The Bones of Ido Portal Method

Weeks of sorting through older content on Ido’s first blog, YouTube videos, and other media was time-consuming and painful.  

But, it gave me valuable insight into his movement philosophy.  

Deconstructing his training methods, it becomes clear Ido Portal Method is a carefully organized hybrid system.

A collection of many different disciplines and methods:

  •  Ground-Based Conditioning  
  •  Gymnastics
  •  Traditional Resistance Training
  •  Mobility 

Categorizing the main elements provided clarity on what to look for during my alternative program search.

Again, looking through the magnifying glass, one will find elements of gymnastics, locomotion, Yoga, traditional resistance training, dance, Capoeira along with mobility training from Functional Range Conditioning (FRC).

Most of these methods are bodyweight-based.  However, Ido does utilize barbells, dumbbells and other tools to train strength or loaded stretching.

“Expensive Machines, Cheap Bodies”, is a classic theme inside Ido’s camp.

While I disagree with going cold turkey on all gym gadgets, I do understand Ido’s point of view.  People get lured into thinking they need fancy fitness machines to get into shape, build strength, etc.

You don’t.

Equipment manufacturers do not care if you buy their products only to love it when a customer buys a product, only to use it for drying wet laundry.  They have your money, you have clutter.

The potency and power of a simple gym set up can be humbling.  A pair of gymnastics rings, an overhead pull up bar, a space to crawl/roll and a willingness to train hard more than enough to make huge gains.

The Rise of Locomotion

Ido Portal did not invent locomotion, crawling and floor flow sequences.

I know this will be difficult for some people to read, but humans crawl as babies during early development and flow-oriented training has been around for generations.

He can be credited with being one of the first to post locomotion work on YouTube.

Crawling/locomotion, bridging and various “Floreio” elements is a great way to expand workouts away from linear exercises.  It’s easy to see the Capoeira influence.

Locomotion exercises can be progressed similarly to traditional exercises, giving beginners an opportunity to practice regressions while offering advanced trainees some really difficult patterns.

Along the way, isolated locomotion work is fused with other movements to create sequences.

Movement 20XX (a digital program from Vahva Fitness described below) was one of the first programs I found to be teaching a similar ground-based conditioning/locomotion curriculum at a FRACTION OF THE COST.

Newsflash:  Online coaching with Ido Portal Method is expensive as shit.

How do you quantify “expensive as shit”?

Expensive as shit = $1,000-$2,000 for 3 months (3-4 hrs per day, 6 days per week)

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Price tag 6 years ago, best believe it’s higher now. 

It’s unlikely you’ll be coached by Ido Portal himself, but rather one of his students.  Plus, they reserve the right to fire you with zero refund.

People can justify and afford to spend $150 on a program.  Especially one with zero compromises in content and coaching, and likely a superior delivery with stream quality and support.

Across 12 months, that’s $15 per month.  Very doable.  

Spotlighted below are a few training systems worth exploring:

Movement 20XX

Movement 20XX

Movement 20XX is a bodyweight based training system that uses ground-based conditioning exercises and combinations to create pre-planned flows and movement sequences.  

Natural movement training.

Students start out by training movements in isolation, gaining strength, stability and fluidity prior to transitioning into movement sequences, and eventually improvised flow work. 

Movement 20XX blends many different movement disciplines, cherry-picking the best elements from Parkour, Yoga, bodyweight training, etc.

I started working on beginner locomotion years ago.  Doing so changed everything about my movement quality, capacity and confidence.  

It also started a shift in how I viewed the “working out” and fitness.   

The first few weeks of crawling was no joke.  It was humbling and I sucked.  But in time, my body adapted to the demands, graduating from stiff and immobile… to pliable, dynamic and strong.

My early attempts at the lizard crawl were ugly.

It’s a tough pattern.  The body position and range of motion were foreign, and the timing of the hand/foot movements was a challenge to manage.  Getting into the low position was challenging (trademark of the lizard crawl), much less moving anywhere.

I reluctantly swallowed my pride and started training as a true beginner.  The basics of crawling became my daily practice.

With practice, progression and adaptation, the Lizard Crawl became one of my favorite locomotion patterns, and still is to this day.

I experiment with a lot of hybrid variations of the lizard crawl now, along with integrating it into conditioning circuits.  Nothing like sucking wind while crawling 1 inch off the floor.  Whew.

Locomotion exercises are primarily quadrupedal (4 points of contact with arms and legs) and move the body through a natural (yet uncommon) range of motion, reconnecting the upper and lower extremities, challenge the torso muscles, timing, etc.  

I include a variety of crawling patterns in nearly all of my workouts.  

Currently, I use crawling patterns inside of pre-workout warm-ups (daily tune-up) on strength-focused days, as part of work capacity circuits or with bodyweight based flow sessions.  

The bodyweight based flow sessions are fun and equally challenging for the body and mind.  The premise is simple.  I move around a room without a plan for 10, 15, 20+  minutes.  

Here’s an example flow…

 

A lot of crawling and locomotion patterns I integrated from Ido Portal Method (skimming the blogs and social media) are being taught by Eero Westerberg in Movement20XX, which is why the program made the list as a valid alternative to Ido Portal online coaching.

Movement 20XX was designed to be effective when used remotely, which makes it great for training at home or while traveling.  The program design is progressive and structurally sound.  

 

Global Bodyweight Training

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Strength is a critical component of becoming a better mover.  

Dare I say… strength might be the most important of them all.

Strength comes in many forms.  Strength doesn’t always have to be associated with bench pressing 3x your bodyweight, deadlifting a truck or heaving a 300lb atlas stone onto a platform.

A full range of motion single arm push up is a demonstration of pure strength.

As I get older, I care less and less about quantifying my performance with numbers (weight on the barbell, etc).

What I do care about, is how my body feels the other 23 hours a day (when I’m not training) and also what I’m able to with my body in both known and unknown situations where I need to be able to perform.

There’s some truth to the old saying, “Nice body, what can you do with it?”

Bodyweight Athlete curriculum introduces and educates people on the power of leveraging bodyweight based strength training.  

When I found Global Bodyweight Training, the first thing I noticed was how closely the curriculum matched what I had designed for myself.  It was nearly a carbon copy.

I’d recently decided to trim the fat with regard to exercise selection and variation, choosing to pursue higher-level bodyweight patterns like single-arm push-ups, single-leg squat variations, handstand positioned pressing, L-Sits, etc.

Progressive bodyweight training requires plenty of body tension, attention to detail and refinement of technique.

Bodyweight Athlete is a structurally sound training program for anyone interested in experiencing the potency of bodyweight training.  

The best part about bodyweight training is it can be taken ANYWHERE.  

You’re never without an opportunity to workout.

Bodyweight-based patterns included in the curriculum:

  • Muscle Ups
  • Handstand Push-Ups
  • Single Arm Push-Ups
  • Single Arm Body Rows
  • Pistol Squats
  • Handstands
  • L-Sits
  • Human Flag 
  • Back Levers

The exercise progressions listed can be scaled for any level fitness, from beginner or elite level movers.

 

Carefully selected exercises and well-timed progression of those exercises are extremely powerful.

The human body is an adaptation machine.  In order to continue making progress, you’ve got to increase the challenge somewhere.  Increasing the challenge can mean adding load, complexity, volume, time under tension, etc.

Quality programs are designed to condition the body progressively and safely.  You want to boost performance while limiting the chance of injury during training.

Regarding injuries, always remember there is life outside of the gym.  If you’re destroying your body while working out, life is going suck.  Dealing with daily aches and pains, dysfunction and injury is no way to live.

Keep the needle moving… safely.  Your gym work should enhance your life, not take away from it.

Bodyweight Athlete emphasizes joint mobility work, core conditioning, self-myofascial release, and breathwork.  These are lesser-known elements (yet important) of a comprehensive approach to building a body.  

It’s easy to become fixated on the sexy part of the program… the exercises.

Building a high performing body is a multi-faceted approach.

Mobility, establishing and expanding your useable range of motion, is CRITICAL.

I’ll go ahead and say mobility training IS strength training.

Keeping joints buttery and strong contributes to adding useable strength to your frame and also avoiding doctor’s visits for preventable joint conditions later in life.  

Core training.  Lots of people have gone deaf to the importance of training the core.  It’s hard to pinpoint exactly why, but I think it could be because people are wasting their time with most core-focused exercises.  

In fitness, the pendulum always seems to swing too far in one direction (with concepts, machines, techniques, etc) and people get hyper-focused on things for a little while before the novelty eventually fades.

I think this is sort of what happened with core training.

Just like low load/high volume bodyweight exercises (1000 bodyweight squat workouts) do very little for increasing raw strength, limited range of motion crunches and sloppy toe-to-bar work also do little to contribute to developing a functional core.  

(Oh. My. God.  He said “functional”.  Send me a better word and I’ll edit it out)

Take a single arm push up.  If your mid-section is weak, you’ll know within the first 6 inches of the descent.  Low back with fold, ribs will flare, compensatory movement becomes the default operating system.

Approach your core training like you’d approach building other patterns (squat, deadlift, pulling, pushing, etc) and you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

Core conditioning still matters.

Check out Global Bodyweight Training

Strength and Movement Training

Everyone will read and digest this article differently (seeing value or maybe not seeing as much value) and I understand that we all have different financial budgets for investing in programs.  

That being said, I do believe that combining the strength work from The Bodyweight Athlete with the ground-based conditioning elements (crawling, locomotion, etc) taught in Movement20XX is an extremely powerful approach to take.  

You’re getting the best of both worlds.  Strength and natural movement training.

Train elements from each in the same workout, or, alternate every workout.

I’ve used both approaches and found each to be equally effective and enjoyable.

Either way, you’re going to make great progress.

Follow a system

Find a training system and follow it.

I’ve provided a few options for you to look into, please do.

Skipping around from program to program, using bits and pieces of various techniques doesn’t deliver the same results when compared to digging in and following every detail from a full training system.  

Building fitness and movement capacity is a multi-faceted endeavor.  

There’s plenty to consider and monitor. 

Strength, mobility, movement training, traditional resistance training all play a significant role in creating a strong, well-conditioned, injury resistant, dynamic body.

It’s a lot to think about, it’s not easy, but in time you’ll begin to gain an understanding of how to building a body.  The path to improvement should be simple, not complex.

Avoid the minutiae of complex training systems.  Both of the programs above are structured with clear communication, free of B.S. and straight to the point.

Keep it simple.  Work hard, stay consistent, bust your ass when you’re training and remember to give your body rest when necessary.

The best advice I can offer is to limit the “paralysis by analysis” and exhaustive research.

Yes, do your own homework and self-educate, observe which programs are worth trying out, but ultimately remember to settle on 1 or 2 get into the gym to do the work.

Nobody ever  “thought” themselves into a better moving body with less body fat.

At some point, you must get your hands dirty and move, even if you’re god awful.  If you’re new to this stuff, lord knows, you might be god awful.

Keep at it and your body will begin to adapt.  You’ll move with improved grace, balance, strength, and confidence.

In the beginning, nobody knows what the hell they are doing.  Not Ido Portal, not me, no one.

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If you’d like to see what I’m up to, check the Meauxtion YouTube channel or Instagram to see what my daily training looks like from a home gym. 

 

Cheers to your success,

Kyle

Chin Up + Kettlebell Swing + Squat + Jump Rope + Push Up… Workout

Quick Tips

I’ve never felt inclined to name any of my workouts.  Thus, I give you the:

Chin Up + Kettlebell Swing + 2KB Squat + Jump Rope + Push Up…

… workout.

There is another organization that names all of their workouts, which isn’t a bad thing,  I just don’t feel like labeling my workouts with someone else’s name.  I could name this one “Brutus” or “Cactus Jack”.  Maybe I should name my workouts after WWF wrestlers past and present.  That would be cool.  Everyone seems to know WWF wrestlers names whether they admit to watching it or not.

I could use a numbering system I suppose, like “Workout #1” or “Level 5”, but maybe I’ll just call it what it is.

I selected the movements listed above because they represent most of the major movement patterns, and also because these exercise could be easily executed with the workout equipment that I had available the other day.

What did I have available?

As I mentioned, I typically only incorporate big movement patterns into circuits.  To be honest, I don’t like wasting time with exercises that hardly stress the prime movers.  Bicep curls and such are desert.  If I have time after I have completed what I often refer to as the “main meal”, I will work in the accessory exercises for fun.

 

I value my time.  Time is a commodity in my life (as I am sure that it is in your’s) so I prefer to get in, get out and get back out to experience other aspects of life.  Sure, I write about working out, structuring workouts, movement and nutrition a great deal, but that doesn’t mean that I am working out 2 hours a day.  Efficiency is the name of the game.  How effective can I make my workouts without taking away from other areas of my life that I also value.

Occasionally I will add an exercise or two that is slightly out of the box, but these movements are usually treated as a filler exercise (active rest) between more demanding exercises, or reserved for before or after the main circuit of the workout.

While I will admit that doing this is my personal preference, I would suspect that most of you will find that your own workouts are immediately enhanced by working in the big movements instead of a series of fillers.  More muscles engaged equals a greater training effective at the end of the workout session.

If you do more work in a smaller time frame, now you’ve primed your body for fat loss + muscle gain.

This is a great scenario, one that we need to keep advocating instead of “weight loss”.  You can lose weight by dehydrating yourself down to a raison in a sauna.  That’s weight loss, right?

Swap the fat tissue for muscle tissue.

Chase muscle and while running away from fat.

So what are the big movements?  In this case, the big movements that I leveraged for a training effect were:

I’m continually amazed at how effective bodyweight strength movements are, especially when organized into a circuit.

I can get the training effect that I desire while minimizing risk of injury and awful soreness in the days that is so commonly associated with resistance based training.   Of course, if you have never performed a push up or a squat, you’re going to be sore in the coming days.  That’s something you can expect with a new training stimulus and re-discovered muscle contraction.

Loading up on bodyweight style training sessions.  This type of training sessions should be heavily considered by anyone that struggles with achy joints, etc.  Bodyweight resistance exercise provides a low load introduction to basic strength drills, easing your body back into the swing of things.

Plus, being able to control your body exhibiting stability, strength and power through a healthy range of motion will do wonders for your performance, whether that performance be for sport or raking the leaves out of your yard.

So what does last weekends workout look like?

The structure looked something like this:

Metabolic Resistance Training Circuit

I loaded up most of the movements and went for 4 rounds, which took slightly over 20 minutes.  20 minutes continues to be the sweet spot for workout duration.  Anything more than that and I lose output, anything less and it seems like it wasn’t enough… as if I left some fuel in the tank.

20 minutes also seems to allow for focus on proper exercise technique (and grooving) while the fatigue continues to snowball.  Technique is important, don’t forget that.

If you take another look at the exercise selection above, I’d like to share a couple of substitutions that you could make.  If you cannot perform a bodyweight chin up, wrap a resistance band around the chin up bar you’re using, and stretch it down around your knee or foot.  This will assist you on the way up and ease you down from the top.

You could swap out standing broad jumps or squat jumps for the kettlebell swings, although there really isn’t a movement to mimic a kettlebell swing.  If you have dumbbells you could use those in a pinch, but again, there is no tool that functions quite like a kettlebell.

If you don’t have a suspension trainer, just do regular old push ups.  If you want a less expensive option that does a decent job of mimicking the push up+knee tuck combination, use furniture sliders or socks on a hard surface.  Both work decently.  I would go the furniture slide route if I had to choose.

If you don’t have kettlebells, dumbbells or a barbell for squats, you can do bodyweight squats just as well.  If bodyweight squats are easy, mix in pistols alternating each leg.  If you squats are too easy and pistols are too hard, use squat jumps.

If you don’t have a jump rope or a bike, run in place.  High knee with simultaneously arm action.  If you’re lucky enough to have a place to run a short distance, figure out how far it takes to run half of a 20 second shuttle run (10 sec out, 10 sec back).

As you can see, there is a progression, regression and alternative to just about every single movement known to man.  Once you know what a level up and a level down from an exercise is, you’re in business. Now you can OWN your workouts.

Replenish and refuel your body with some rock solid recovery nutrition, and you’ve just done your body good.

 

 

Cheers to Chin Ups, Kettlebell Swings, Squats, Jumping Rope and Push Ups!

KG

PS:  Seriously check out the nutritional link that I posted above.  If you want to see dramatic change in your body and performance, nutrition is at the bottom rung of the pyramid.  

How to Build Bodyweight Strength: 1-Arm Push Ups and Pistols

Quick Tips

Almost 8 years ago now, I stumbled onto Pavel Psatsouline’s bodyweight strength based book, “The Naked Warrior”.

The Naked Warrior

It was the Summer between my freshman and Sophomore year of college, and I knew that I wanted to pursue a career in strength and conditioning.

I became fascinated with bodyweight training.  One quick Google search led me to Pavel’s book, and I think I read it cover to cover in two days time.

The sad part, I didn’t act on any of his strategies.  It took me a couple of years to finally pick the book back up and re-absorb his methods.  I regret that big time.

Now that I think about it, reading through Pavel’s book was the first time that I was introduced to kettlebells.  They are featured throughout the book as effective loading progressions to make the exercises more difficult.  I didn’t actively pursue kettlebell training for another two years.

Damn.

Hindsight is always 20/20, right?

The Naked Warrior, provides a much needed look at how to develop raw strength through two simple (but not easy) movements:

  • 1-Arm Push Up
  • Pistol

I can remember reading reviews on the “The Naked Warrior, where customers were angry because the entire Naked Warrior book is based off of only two exercises.  I felt the opposite.  I thought it was extremely refreshing to read a book that was so focused.  One upper body movement and one lower body movement.  Both have tremendous carry-over into the real world and athletics.

Here is a great snapshot of Pavel executing the mother of all upper body pressing exercises, the 1-Arm Push Up…

1-Arm Push Up

1-Arm Push Up

Here is a still shot of the what I believe is one of the greatest lower body movements known to man…

The Naked Warrior Pistol

The Pistol (aka: Single Leg Unsupported Squat)

Both movements require a large muscular contraction, body tension and zen-like focus for completion with great technique.

Pavel’s teachings provide an extremely valuable lesson on methods to build high level strength.

The road to executing these two movements require large amounts of body tension and muscular contraction.  It’s simple and brilliant.

Here I am executing 1-arm pushups and pistols…



Training with 1 leg or arm at a time is a great way to uncover imbalance in strength, stability and mobility.  You might be able to notice, but my left arm is the weaker of the two.

I used to think that drills like the 1-Arm Push Ups and Pistols should be reserved for like circus performers and stuntmen.  Or, maybe they were just something you show off to your friends after a few beers.  But that’s because I didn’t fully understand their value.

Now I understand their value and incorporate these movements into my own training regularly while advocating their use in the training programs of others. Pistols and 1-Arm Push Ups building tremendous strength while teaching the trainee methods that can be used squeeze more out of their training.

Progression is the key here, as it is always the key to success in building a body that is strong, lean and able to move freely.

Not many people can drop down and perform a full bodyweight single limb movement on a whim.  There’s usually a fair amount of ramping up that needs to take place prior.  I understand this completely.  Both of these moves provide amazing bang for you buck, but they are advanced movements.  ADVANCED.

How do you move yourself into the advanced category?  Keep training, that’s how.  Keep working at it daily, weekly, monthly, yearly.

In a future post, I will give you a road map to executing your first 1-Arm Push Up or Pistol.  It’s a lot more simple than you might think.  Successful completion of both requires dedication and consistency.  You just have to keep working at it.

—>  No mention of fitness?  Not even once?

Strong is the New Skinny

You probably noticed that this post never mentioned fitness until right now.  In my opinion, fitness is nothing without the presence of strength.  Strong is the new skinny.  Spend time working hard building up your strength and your body shape will follow suit.

Cheers to harnessing your body to build crazy strength…

KG