Making your workout easier and something you look forward to is as easy as….

Make sure your workout is something you like to do!
You can bike, ski, play Jai lai, ultimate frisbee, scuba, swim, run marathons, walk around the block, skydive, ride horses, do wind sprints till you vomit, play competitive paint ball, practice yoga, or martial arts, ballet, salsa, ninjitsu, rock climbing, down hill biking, skating – roller, board, inline, ice- water ski, free dive, throw tires around, Navy Seal style, tug of war with friends, handstands, push ups, pull ups…

There are a million things to do, you do not have to just go to a gym and pump iron, unless of course, you enjoy it! if you take the time to find what you enjoy doing, as with anything in life, it will be something you look forward to and, ergo, it will work for you!

Aloha

Making your workout easier and something you look forward to is as easy as….

Make sure your workout is something you like to do!
You can bike, ski, play Jai lai, ultimate frisbee, scuba, swim, run marathons, walk around the block, skydive, ride horses, do wind sprints till you vomit, play competitive paint ball, practice yoga, or martial arts, ballet, salsa, ninjitsu, rock climbing, down hill biking, skating – roller, board, inline, ice- water ski, free dive, throw tires around, Navy Seal style, tug of war with friends, handstands, push ups, pull ups…

There are a million things to do, you do not have to just go to a gym and pump iron, unless of course, you enjoy it! if you take the time to find what you enjoy doing, as with anything in life, it will be something you look forward to and, ergo, it will work for you!

Aloha

Change up! Chest, Triceps, Stomach, bit of cardio at the same time…

As we are resting here in La Paz, we are utilizing the gym which is very close to where we are staying.  Man doesn’t become strong by only pushing pedals!  I used to be an assistant manager at 24 Hour Fitness and picked up quite a few things due to the quality trainers I had the pleasure of working with at the time – SHOUT OUT TO YOU MIKE and SUPER VAN [thanks for helping liberate my mattress and for letting me ride your ninja bike=]

As many of you probably work out in the gym, Id like to share a chest and tricep workout with you.  Part of the utility of the work out is based on the lessons of a gentleman who spent time in prison due to his mafia dealings.  He gave me a lot of sound advice on many things to include how to really get a solid workout in based upon the penal systems limitations.  I have thought about this often since and based on the lives many of us live, so regimented and structured, we are i a prison without walls.  I do not mean to launch into a social commentary, for this is not one.  What I do want to share is what that gentleman and the personal trainers shared with me in one neat package.  For the time I am here, I will be sharing my workouts with you.  I have no delusions of grandeur and what you are doing may be adequate, may be light years ahead of what I have to offer, this is merely for those of you who want to try something different or maybe you want to make a whole new start…  Enjoy!

There will be NO REST period between exercises.  This is a continuous flow series and is part of the workout.  You’re getting cardio, while strength training.  This strength training is for building strength more so than sheer volume of muscle.  If you want to build muscle, we have to do a different work out entirely!  This will be a good start to give you strength from which you can really begin to body build.

NOTE:  Everything that is done once you begin the first stretch, is done with a constant attention to your posture.  YOUR ENTIRE POSTURE!  No matter what exercise or stretch, you are focused and A W A R E.  You are aware of your foot position, your back, hips, arms, chest, neck and head.  You are always seeking the best posture available to you at the time of the exercise.  If you are unable to hold a decent posture, move on, there is no point in reinforcing poor habits, it will get you nowhere but pain in the long run.

Today is Chest and Tri’s, music by Ozzy Osbourne.  Stomach is done every time just as Arnold recommends=]

LIGHT STRETCHING

Arms swings – swing right arm having movement come from the waist.  let the hand and arm be heavy.  Start slowly, but not so slowly you are engaging the arm muscles.  Again, movement is to be coming from waist/hip area.  This may take some time, its OK, you have the rest of your life=]  Do your right arm, then your left.

Hands behind back – Start with either arm, place arm above head, like raising your hand to answer a question, then allow the forearm to drop behind your neck.  With your opposite hand, allow it to drop to side and reach behind and up your back to the other.  Grasp your fingers and hold.  BE GENTLE, this is a powerful stretch.  If you cannot reach your hands together, hold a towel in the upper hand and with your bottom hand, hold it.  As you loosen, you can creep your lower hand up the towel until one day you no longer need it.

Swim stretch – This is the one you see the swimmers doing before the race on TV or what have you.  Cross one arm across your chest in front of you as best you can.  At the same time, bring your opposite hand up in front of it in a bent angle, and hold your straightened arm across your chest, you should feel the stretch in the shoulder of the straight arm.  DO NOT, place your holding arm on the elbow of your straightened arm, behind the elbow on the tricep as best you can.  Can be a deep stretch so go easy!

Arms at wall – Stand with your feet shoulder width apart, the stretching arm side will be touching the wall as best possible.  The entire side, including the foot.  Both feet are facing forward.  The arm being stretched is back behind you along the wall at shoulder height.  Keep your posture as perfect as you can.  If this is difficult for you, come away from the wall just a little bit.  Over time you will eventually be able to be flush with the wall.

Begin Weights

Physio ball bench – The physio ball is the big ball, you will be using whatever dumbbells will allow you ten repetitions [thats what I go for].  Sit on the ball with the weights in your hands resting them on your thighs.  As you roll onto your back, you will bring the weights up into the air above you in a chest press position.  You will stop once you feel the ball under your upper back. Keep your knees as close together as possible.  Your booty will be hanging in the air, keep a steady force on this area towards the ceiling.  Feet as close together as possible as well.

When you bring the weights down, you can do one at a time or both.  if you opt for one at a time, keep the other in the air.  The one coming towards you will end up closer to the bottom of your chest than the top as this is better for your joint.  Keep your posture.  Thats part of the exercise, yes you are strengthening your chest, you are also building your core.  Keep the focus!

Feel free to alternate between using both at the same time, one at a time, mix it up, right side, left side, both etc.  Keep your workouts varied and interesting and you will not get bored, which is a big reason for failure in realization of goals.

Pull ups – Pu the weights down and go to a pull up bar, or a weight assited pull up machine.  If you do not have a pll up machine and are unable to do a pull up, use a chair and get in position and the do a reverse up, gently letting yourself down.  After a few months of this, you will be able to do pull ups.

If using a machine, start with the minimum assistance necessary for 8-10, the add more assistance, I use 10 pound increments until I can no longer do one with 60 pounds of help.

Dips – Many of you will have a machine if you are using a gym, if so, immediately switch the weight to again allow you to do 8-10 dips and then gradually increase the “help” until you can do no more.

If you do not have a machine, you will need to find two parallel bars, or, get two chairs, your hands will be on the one behind you and your heels will be on the one in front of you, legs straight.  Dip down and push yourself up.  You will feel this in the triceps no matter which way you do it.

Push ups – diamond push ups are your first push up.  if this is difficult for you, do a regular push up.  Do remember to try your very best to have your elbows facing back and not out to the sides!  Do as many as you can and dont lie to yourself, thats silly. Eventually you will be able to do a lot, but only if you didn’t lie.  Imagine if you were able to lie and rationalize to yourself as a child, you would probably have trouble walking if you ever learned at all.  it’s no wonder evolution decided we would walk before we could talk lest we never learn the basics!

Stomach

Cable side row – This will need a machine for the cable aspect.  Adjust the cable to a height between your chest and waist.  You will hold the handle with the opposite hand of the direction you are twisting.  Example, if you are twisting to the right, the left hand will be in contact with the handle and the right will be folded over it.

Keep your arms straight and stand parallel to the cable pulley.  Twist to the right or left depending on which way your starting, a full 180 degrees.  You should feel this all over your stomach.  As with all exercises, choose a weight that allows you to do 10 at least.

If you do not have a machine, lie on the ground on your side with your legs together and raised off the ground a few inches and  loosely hold your hands behind your head and use your side muscles to raise your upper body.  You probably wont go far, in your mind you are picturing touching your elbow to your feet, if you actually do this, you either did it wrong because my directions are abysmal or you are a ninja.

Cable samurai sword up  – I have also heard this called the woodchop and some others.  This is the same principle as the above exercise, except this time you are lowering the cable pulley to the lowest setting and swinging up, everything else is the same.

If you don’t have a machine, do bicycle legs.  This is where you lie on your back and you “pedal” your legs while alternately touching your elbows to your knees.

Dual cable bottom to top – In this both of the cable pulleys will be at the lowest setting, the weight will be lower than you may initially think, it’s ok, it’s a powerful lift.  Grasp both handles and in a sweeping motion, bring the handles up and in front of you.  You should feel a powerful chest contraction.  This can be done with dumbbells as well if you don’t have a machine.

Cable cross body – Keep the pulleys in the same position, just switch hands so that they are now crossed in front of you.  Bring both hands up and to the side, you should look/feel like a Super Hero breaking out of something.  This can be done with dumbbells as well if you don’t have a machine.

Decline press – The bench you are laying on will now have your legs higher than your head, hence, decline.  Use either the bar or dumbbells.  You will be pushing straight up, it may feel a bit odd.  You should feel this more so in the top of the chest.

Push ups wrist  – Place your hands in push up position, but now turn them over with the wrists on the ground and your fingers will be facing one another under your chest.  This is a powerful push up, start with mats or padding under your wrists.  Go slow, if need be start on your knees.  With time it will become much easier.

Go back to Pull up Machine for a set!

Sevens curls  Use olympic bar or available bar/dumbbells, this isnt to work the muscle hard, just to provide a balance for the day in the arm, not a necessary thing, I do it cause I like what it does for me.  You start by curling the bar to waist height seven times, then start at waist height and curl to chest seven times, then curl from wait to chest seven times.

Tri pull down rope – This is a machine exercise.  Use the rope attachment, the “dangly” one with two ends.  Use a weight you can comfortably control.  You aren’t looking for a fast pace, your body should be still, use your triceps to move the rope, dont “throw yourself” into it.

Over head lifts for tri’s – Once again, sit on the big ball and have a dumbbell in either hand to start.  As you held your arm for the hands behind back, or the second stretch, you will basically do the same for this.  Use a light weight until you figure out your range.  Start with your arm fully raised, legs and feet together, back straight.  Bend at elbow bringing arm and hand holding dumbbell behind head and then raise back to fully extended position.  Do this for 10 reps.

Bicycles forward and reverse – Lie on your back, as you pedal your feet, hands behind your head, you will touch your elbows to the knee closest to you.  Do not pull on neck with hands behind head.

Crunches – Legs straight in the air, crunch your upper body as far as you can towards your knees.  Do not pull on neck with hands behind head.

Flutter kicks – With body straight on bench or floor, have hands under “sit bones”, A.K.A. sacrum, legs straight, head slightly raised to give you view of your feet.  Kick feet back and forth in an up and down motion until you feel naseous.

Take a quick break, and do it all over again.  Continue doing so until you notice your posture and strength are no longer existent.

Batman workout!

Nolan Fans site batman pushups in jail

You may or may not habe seen the movies, so you may or may not have an inkling of what I am writing about.

First thing the Christian Bale Batman does in the movies upon greeting the day is what?

Push ups and situps, even in The unholiest of Prisons as seen here…

Nolan Fans site batman pushups in jail

This is the basis for our re-ninjafication of our bodies. For that matter, in the original James Bond novels, Mr. Bond did 100 pushups and sit-ups first thing in the morning as well, no matter where or what was going on. There IS something to this!

My idea of The Batman Workout is a combination of The Dark Crusader, meets Shaken not Stirred 007 and this dude from South Beach Miami who would randomly drop and do ten pushups whenever he found himself not doing something.  Get stuck on the computer, or its turning on, the ever popular loading phase, do 5 or 10.  I have been told that the biggest problems arensolved not as a whole, but in taking small pieces at a time.  For me losing and maintaing a healthy weight is a daunting task at times. Further, to maintain a healthy muscle mass and internal power is more dauting still!  This is one way I have found to circumvent long hours in the gym and keep a daily attention to my health.  And when I do spend long hours in the gym, or, as I find myself doing a lot, on a bike, this workout is a perfect compliment.

There can be no excuses when it comes to our bodies.  Do not let the power of rationale lead you to the surgeons blade.

When you step back, you see the genius of this workout.  A. It can be done anywhere.  You can do 5 pushups in any clothing and not break a sweat.  Do 5 push ups 5 times a day.  Thats 25.  For many of us, thats 25 more than we currently do.  This will add up over time, and a relatively short period of time if I may say so.  Remember, I used to weigh 100 pounds more than I do now, I speak from experience as I earned my health back over a period of six years. As you do your pushups, you will become stronger.  As you become stronger, you will naturally do more.  Now lets say you do 7 instead of 5… 42 almost twice as many at the end of the day….  Can you see the boon in this way of working out?

First thing in the morning, you do push ups. As I was taught in Kung Fu, you want to have your elbows pointing to the rear more so than the sides for the maximum effect. In the push ups to the laft, youll see the opposite, the elbows are pointing more outward than back.  Do the best you can and dont be too hard on yourself.

Another way of saying that, if you had eyes in your elbows, they would see your feet more so than the walls or scenery at your right and left. If yu find yourself having difficulty with form or being able to do more than one or two, start by doing as many as you can with good form,mso you will look from the side as a plank lowering and raising, no saggy lower back or arching back, straight… Then drop to your knees and continue. You will still be building strength and thats what matters! A few months of knee push ups and you graduate to plank style.
I do mine in groups of ten. Use five or twenty or thirty. Dont judge based on anyone but yourself!

There are a few different ways to do your push ups so that you can really fine tune the smaller muscle groups making for a more complete over all… You.

Diamond Hand diamond-push-up

Arms Wide – In this your arms are out beyond what you may consider to be “normal” or comfortable.  Practice to see what works best for you.

Arms Narrow – As you come up and down, your elbows will be touching the side of your rib cage.

Arms wide and narrow BUT – now you are on your knuckles – this can be done on a soft surface to begin with and gradually move to harder and harder surfaces. Why would you do this? To make the bones in your hands much harder. This is where you are beginning to get your body ready to hit things. Another reason why your elbows are facingnthe way they are. When you change the setting from horizontal to vertical, you realize that all along you have been practicing punching, punching with your elbows out is in effective, unless your rockin the haymaker!

On the wrist – this is to further the strength of the hand as a whole, and, again, it is a strike. You may have seen it in movies. Regardless, it is good for the health of the hand, wrist and forearm as it makes it much stronger! Start on a soft surface and move to a harder one accordingly.  GO EASY WITH THIS ONE, you dont want to damage yourself in the quest of becoming stronger!  Try to have the finger as close together as possible, not only on your individual hands, but the fingers of the hands should be close to the opposite hands, in the picture below, this would be as far apart as you want them to be.  The closer together, the more power being built.

wrist push ups

Rolling – this is a bit more complex, hence why it is further down the list. You start with a fist, go down and when you come up, you “pop” off the ground a wee bit and land on your wrist, down, up, pop, land on your palm and down up – thats 1. This too is a strike and an amazing strength builder.  I will place a video very soon, if you don’t get it, these instructions, don’t try it.  If you are just starting out, don’t try it.  Simple, this is a complex and powerful exercise, patience built the wall of China as will patience build you!

Shoulder rolls – For this one you will remain in the up position and you’ll be “rolling” your shoulders to the front and then to the back using whatever count your are comfortable with.  Again, video will be posted soon to help with understanding!

Thats it, for now, for the push ups.  Once these become boring, go for one arm and finger tips!

SIT UPS!

Sit ups are a super important part of our caped crusader and Secret Agents workout as they should be for you!

First things first. Get some kind of “soft” for under your sacral area. These are the bones that connect the spine to the pelvis, when doing sit-ups, they can become irritated and sore leading you to cheat on form and do less than you actually are able to do!

We want to do these sit-ups with proper form, feel free to mix it up, but ensure you do them all.  if you start to feel it in your lower back, you need to re focus and get the lower abs working! This is your core, the center for power i your body. Spend time on this as all other parts will be made stronger! The dantien is located here. In Chinese medicine, this is the storage area for your Chi. With internal martial arts [kung fu, tai chi, xing yi], many sports, you will be told that all movement originates here first.

Sit ups will not strengthen the dantien per sey, but will begin to bring your focus to the area and perhaps begin to get you to pay attention to it. Only focused meditation and specific training build the actual dantien as it is a space in between matter and energy. For now, we focus on the matter surrounding it!

Sit ups –

Flutter kicks – hands flat, palms on the floor, just underneath your butt, legs straight, head slightly raised looking at feet.  Now begin “swimming”, you can keep the kicks tight or get your feet far apart, do a bit of both until you feel like puking then move to next one.

Crunches – raise yourlegs into thenair and have them straight up and side by side.  Arms bent and fingers gently touching side of head.  Start crunching, do till woozy…

Side bends – lie on your side with your legs pressed tight together and slightly elevated off the ground, about six inches, feet pointing in the direction your body is facing.  Hands gently touching side of your head.  Start side bending towards your feet, try and do at least ten.  As with every exercise, you determine what is ok and what is not.  Push yourself dont hurt yourself.  If you cheat, you cheat yourself, no one else.

Bicycles forward and backward – lie on your back, your knees to your chest, hands gently touching the side of your head, start “cycling” your feet, like you’re riding a bike, as you do this, touch your opposite elbow and knee together.  Back and forth, back and forth, after you have done quite a few, this is an easy one, switch to “pedaling” in reverse.

Leg lifts – Either lie on your back or holding onto the chin up bar, raise your legs to a 90 degree angle and lower, repeat. Many times.

V ups – raise your legs together and the upper body, hands straight above your head, until your hands and feet meet, you should now be balancing on your booty.  Chances are you will be all over the place, but thats O.K., takes time=]

Hand Stands!

The third thing we will add to your repetoire is the hand stand. If you are already advanced and can go right into it, great! If like me you need a little help, or if you want to remain in control and not be wildly kicking around, you can use the wall.

You want to stay in control as this is what will build your core strength and reduce the chance for injury.  Injuries sustained with handstands can be serious as they will usually effect the rotator cuff and can lead to all sorts of troubles such as impinged nerves, frozen shoulder etc.  Slowy and Steady will make you strong.  Do not male workouts life or death situations, use your workouts to be strong for when life or death situations arise.   Use a wall unless you are very strong already in this particular field, i.e. You could do handstand push ups no problem.

When using the wall, either face the wall, bend at waist putting finger tips very near the wall to a few hands space away from the wall. Secure your body and kick either the right or thenleft leg up immediately followed by thenother leg, control it as much as possible and you will feel your heels either crash or gently land on the wall.
Now immediately ensure your shoulders are locked in with your arms and upper back. Stomach is flexed and core muscles are activated. Head can be relaxed, look at the floor or the wall on the other side of the room.

From here, the possibilities widen. You can begin “push ups”, you can focus on keeping your legs off the wall while remaining in postion so you can eventually do it without a wall, you can have your fingers close enough to the wall that you can flatten your entire body, even the back of your head to the wall, or you could be a couple hand spaces out and slowly bring your legs towards your trunk, bending at the knees and then lengthening your legs skyward again.  You can also do nothing and just focus on the feel, and you can also spread your legs as though you are doing a split.

If you arent comfortable kicking over your head, the try facing away from the wall, about an arms length, and slowly walk your self up the wall and into position. At first this will take a lot of strength and thereby reduce your upside down time, but thats O.K., its all about becoming stronger!

If you walk up the wall, you can then walk yourself to the right and left along the wall!

At all times keep your posture, your focus, your overall being tight and aware. Dont wait until the last moment to come down, come down easy…KEEP YOUR FOCUS, its very important that you are really present when doing this.  All exercises will “give” you more if you are present, we know that, this is one of those exercises that can give you some fairly serious injury if you are not super focused.  From neck pain, rotator cuff injury, lots of problems can arise from improper handstands.  As it is a super work out and strengthening aid, it can just as easily set your program back months if you are not focused.

The last of our ninja workout is the age old PULL UPS!

Palms facing you and palms facing away.  Wide grip, narrow grip.  NINJA!
If you have trouble doing more than a very few, have a chair beside your bar, or whatever structure you are using to pull yourself up to and instead do resistance lowers. This is where you will use the chair to get in your position and then hold it as long as you can, struggling in a controlled way until you fully extend your arms, then get on the chair and do it again, repeat until your arms are full of jelly.

Start small and slow.  Eat as healthy as you can afford, a cable TV bill should never come out of your organic veggie fund.

Aloha!