Building strength without weights….not what you think!

If it is your goal to live the “muscle lifestyle” you know you are going to have to workout regularly for the remainder of your life.  Stop working out, and the muscle goes away.  It’s a tough pill to swallow for some, but it’s best to just accept it as a part of life.  If you are going to be spending the next 40, 50, 60+ years working out, you are going to want to incorporate new training methods into your regimen.  If you don’t not only will your progress stop, but you will become burnt out and de-motivated.

Almost all of us are willing to try any weight lifting routine that is outside the box.  As long as we are in the gym pumping iron, we feel that we are benefitting ourselves.  While this may be true to a degree, take a look at the following workouts with an open mind.

Matt Furey, a martial arts world champion, and first American to ever win a gold medal competing in China wrote a book called Combat Conditioning: Functional Exercises for Fitness & Combat Sports.  One of the toughest men in the world conditioned his body almost exclusively through body weight exercises. 

Give the following exercises a try over a few week period.  See how they work for you, and consider ordering Matt’s book.

Hindu Pushups

This is a tough exercise to complete with proper form.  It is great at increasing strength, as well as flexibility in the back and lower body.  Start by keeping your butt in the area as you are on all fours.  Try to make a triangle with your body; keep your back bent at the hips.  Face your head towards your toes.  Begin by taking a deep inhale, then slowly bringing your body down in a circular arc motion, before bending back up to look at the ceiling.  Push back on your heels and repeat.

Aim for 30 reps to start.  Many of you may find this hard, others will find it easy.  Find your comfort level and start from there.  Pay less attention to your form at the beginning, as that will improve when your stabilizer muscles get better trained.  In four weeks, aim to do 100 straight.  Concentrate on your breathing always.

Handstand Pushups

This is effectively a squat for your upper-body…and we all know how great squats can be.  This is a very hard exercise, but you will reap great rewards if you learn how to master it.  It’s hard to start, but once you begin seeing improvements to your arms and shoulders, you will be addicted to these. 

Find a free wall and position yourself about two feet from it.  Keep your rubber-soled shoes on for better traction.  Get on all fours and place one knee under your midsection.  Use this leg to support yourself.  Take your other leg and slowly extend it until your foot is pressed against the wall.  Transfer your weight to the foot against the wall and lift your other foot slowly against the wall into a similar position.  With your hands position on two chairs about 2 feet apart, slowly raise your body up and down until your head lightly touches the floor.  This is a hard move, and if you can’t get it at first, don’t be frustrated.  Just look at it as a great opportunity for growth.

Hindu Squat

This may not seem like much because I bet a lot of you are used to squatting with several hundreds of pounds in the the gym.  The Hindu Squat however, is like nothing you’ve ever seen.  Stand up straight with your arms at your side.  As you begin to squat, raise your heels off the floor.  Continue squatting until your butt touches your calves.  At this point, you want to explode up and bring your arms forward.  Once at maximum height, bring your arms back to your sides like you were rowing a boat.

Concentrate on your breathing as you do this.  Exhale on the way down, inhale on the explosion up.  This is the opposite breathing technique for most weight lifting, but works great for this particular bodyweight exercise.  It will help you maintain your focus, balance, and keep you tight.  Start by doing 100 straight, with a one-month goal of doing 500 in one set.  Focus on your form at the beginning and keeping a good pace.  Go as fast as possible while not sacrificing form.  500 in 15 minutes is really great and will mean you are well on your way to terrific shape.


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