This post was inspired by a question on the boards.ie fitness forum recently. A poster was having trouble increasing the number of pull ups and dips that they could do – they were stuck at 4 of each and going nowhere.
The biggest challenge for a beginner looking to increase their bodyweight strength numbers is that you can’t ‘work up’ to bodyweight in the same way as you would build up numbers with a barbell and dumbbells (unless you want to cut a limb or two off?!). If you were a 75kg guy looking for 5 reps with bodyweight on the bench press then you might start at 60kg and 12-15 reps and add weight and drop reps each week on the way to your target. Obviously if you’re a 75kg guy only able to do 4-5 pull ups, you can’t use that method because you can’t go below bodyweight.
So what to do…? Well you can partially deload your bodyweight with bands and work with higher reps that way – adjusting band tension to allow for more/less assistance, this is a favourite of Will Heffernans and from seeing the results its gotten both guys and girls, it’s a pretty damn good way of doing things.
The definition of “functional exercise” is what it produces, not what it looks like.
If you’re ever struggling to choose an exercise for a certain bodypart, ask yourself these two questions:
1) is it a multi joint compound movement?
2) is it done standing?
If the answer to both is “yes” – that’s probably the one to do. And if all the exercises you’re trying to choose between answer “yes” to both questions, pick the one you hate the most. You probably need to do it more anyway.
There’s exceptions (pull up variations and bench variations being the obvious ones), but it’s a good guideline to follow.
Want to lose weight, tone up, and get fitter and stronger?? All you have to do is eat…real…food.
…ok, ok – if that’s too simple I’ll give you the complicated version – eat meat and vegs, nuts and seeds, fruit, a small bit of startch and no sugar. Can you see the trend there? It’s all “natural”. None of it comes in a cardboard box, is pumped full of preservatives or covered in chocolate.
The first step towards a fitter and healthier body is fueling it with the right stuff and ditching the junk, this one step alone will be enough to kick start weight loss in most people. From there you will need to understand the importance of calories and the energy balance equation, and after that, all you need is patience and dedication!!
The “food pyramid” (you know the one) is perhaps the most disingenuous piece of seemingly “expert” advice ever. It was created by the US department of agriculture. Look at the prescriptions on it, and then think for a second. Where do all those grains come from…. Hmmmmmmm!!
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