Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Becoming Beast

To better pass the time, and in the spirit of having better health/being stronger, I started doing various exercises starting this past April (when I caught the bug from Mike Lightman).

Since then, I've done various workouts, mostly body-weight circuits that cover both the cardio AND weight-lifting spectrum. I wouldn't necessarily rely on them as solely weight-lifting routines, but they do their fair share to strengthen and tone. Really, during this entire time, I've been looking for the perfect "full body workout."

What I've gleaned from sources like Men's Health is that in a full-body workout, you generally need 4 components:

1) A "pull" exercise
2) A "push" exercise
3) An exercise that works glutes, hamstrings, and quadriceps
4) An exercise that works the core (abs, lower back, and hip flexors)

I want to talk about one exercise routine in particular that I have done, the 300 Workout (I did it like I have done other routines...for about a month. After that point, I usually get bored and need to change the workout). Also, I want to talk about what I'm currently doing.


This guy was WAY out of my league at first, so I devised a plan to make it a bit easier for myself but still be able to work the same muscle groups in the same way. You can also use a modified workout that they suggest on the link above. Any variation of this workout is great because it will get your heart going like CRAZY and it will exhaust your muscles with an added plyometric bonus: the box jumps. Of course, if this workout gets easy, you could always modify the pushups and squats to be more difficult by making them plyometric: jumping or pushing yourself airborne!

After 5 minutes of jumping jacks and 5-10 minutes of stretching, I sunk my fangs into this:

SET 1 and 3

15 bodyweight rows
30 bodyweight squats - hands straight out or behind your head, prisoner-style
25 pushups - or "knee pushups," so you're only pushing up half your body
30 box jumps - vary the height of the jump to make it easier or harder
20 pike-ups - lay flat and pull your upper torso and legs up as in the photo
15 close grip pushups - index fingers and thumbs forming a diamond shape
10 bodyweight rows

15 bodyweight rows
30 bodyweight squats
25 pushups
40 box jumps
20 pike-ups
15 close grip pushups
15 bodyweight rows

And here's the time schedule for the above sets including the initial calisthenics/stretches. I tried to keep to this, but sometimes, it didn't go EXACTLY as planned. Even though I may have gone over my time limit, I made sure to finish the sets ASAP. As time went on, however, I was finishing the sets quicker and quicker. That's the idea, of course.

STRETCHES ~ 5 minutes
SET 1 - 165 reps ~ 8 minutes
REST ~ 3 minutes
SET 2 - 170 reps ~ 8 minutes
REST ~ 3 minutes
SET 3 - 165 reps ~ 8 minutes
REST ~ 3 minutes
STRETCHES ~ 5 minutes

TOTAL TIME: ~48 minutes

I would do the above sets w/o a scheduled break during the course of the set. This was hard. Especially during/after doing the box jumps. Those kicked my ass. Literally.

I did this routine 3 or 4 times a week, usually with a day of rest in between, although I'm sure after you're acclimated to the strenuousness of it, you could do it every day. Since I was pretty out of shape when I started, I wanted to give my body the chance to heal itself and be able to build muscle. They say rest is equally as important as working out because your body needs time to heal and rebuild muscle. Without this healing, you won't reap the rewards of growth as quickly. At least that's once school of thought.

Different specific exercises can be substituted in for the ones above to fit your own personal preference. For example, if you don't like the pike-ups, you could do a bodyweight plank for 30 seconds or 60 seconds. Or, you could supplement the circuit by doing exercises for specific muscle groups, like triceps dips OR calf raises. The main thing is that you include exercises in your circuit that fall under the 4 categories that were listed above.


Currently, I'm doing an upper body workout that consists of only pushups and pullups. I'm trying to develop my stamina for doing both of them and I'm following two seperate workouts but combining them together. These two are One Hundred Pushups and the Armstrong Pullup Program.

I will skip the details of these two workouts and leave them to your research, if you are so inclined. I'm making good progress on both (started out being able to only do 1 pullup and I'm able to do 9 consecutive now). My goal is 25 pullups by November 8th.

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