Thursday, February 28, 2013

The Trifecta - The first steps of the CC flexibility programm

Hey guys,

The Trifecta is a special joint training and functional mobility concept, promoted by Paul Wade in his book "Convict Conditioning 2". The trifecta contains 3 holding exercises which help you to build the flexibility you need for every-day-movements, to improve your joints and also to help you preventing injuries or even heal occured weaknesses/pains. Every progression series was invented to strech and strengthen one of the 3 muscular chains of the human body - the anterior chain (chest, front of the shoulders, biceps, abs, front hips, front thighs, shins), the posterior chain (upper back, rear shoulder, triceps, spine, butt, hamstrings, calves) and the lateral chain (latisimus dorsi, side abs, hip abductors side thigh). I do the exercises daily, as a warm-up before the routine and as a cool-down after the routine. After a short time you'll see major improvements in your mobility and you'll feel that every move you make becomes smoother.
Today I'm gonna describe the first steps of the 3 progression series:

The Bent Leg Hold - Step 1 of the L-Hold Progression


This exercise streches actively the posterior chain, while strongly contracting the anterior chain.
Find parallel bars or a chair with stable arms. Grip the bars with slightly bent arms. Brace your upper body and lift your knees up until your thighs are at least parallel to the ground (if you can hold them higher, the stretch becomes stronger and better). Keep your feet and legs together during the hold.

Target: 20 sec (if you can't manage 20 sec, try 2x10 sec or 4x5 sec with a short rest in between)

The Short Bridge Hold - Step 1 of the Bridge Hold Progression


This exercise streches actively the anterior chain, while strongly contracting the posterior chain.
Lie down on your back and bent your knees. Your feet should be flat and around 6-8 inches away from your butt. Now press down through your feet and lift your hips and your back off the floor until your thighs and trunk forms at least a straight line and your bodyweight is supported only by your shoulders and feet. Hold this position for the requested time and move back slowly to the start position.

Target: 20 sec (if you can't manage 20 sec, try 2x10 sec or 4x5 sec with a short rest in between)

The Straight Leg Twist Hold - Step 1 of the Twist Hold Progression


This exercise streches actively the lateral chain, while strongly contracting the lateral chain of the opposite.
Sit down on the floor or a mat with your legs straight. Now bent one leg until your feet is right beside the knee of the other leg. Twist your opposite shoulder towards the bent knee and secure your elbow on its outside. Let your head follow the twist of the torso. Place the palm of the other hand behind you and prop yourself on that outstreched arm. Hold the position for the required time and repeat the move to the other side.

Target: 20 sec (if you can't manage 20 sec, try 2x10 sec or 4x5 sec with a short rest in between)

These holds represent only the first steps of the series so the stretch is not as hard as in further steps, but for the beginning these exercises are really good! I'll come to the next steps in later postings.

Cheers,
Andi

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Video + exercise description - Vertical Pulls

Hey guys,

Many people are used to train their chest muscles, but you definitly should pay the same attention to its counterpart - the upper back. If you have muscular imbalances at your upper body (chest much stronger than the upper back) you'll probably look like the "Hunchback of Notre Dame" one day. It also can cause pain at your back (especially for the girls because of the weight of the boobs at the front side). Not to mention that a strong upper back prevents injuries at this part of your body.

Pull ups, as a prime exercise for your upper back, have many benefits, including giving you a strong counterpart to the chest, giving you enormous power, are a really safe but challanging exercise for your upper back, shoulders, forearms and biceps, giving your body a nice shape and, last but not least, they are a feat of strengh and just look unmentionable cool ;)

Due to the fact, that most people aren't able to perform at least one slow and clean rep of full pull ups Paul developed a progression series to lead everyone to the full pull ups and beyond. And the first step of this progression is the Vertical Pulls. Vertical Pulls work your upper back and your biceps pretty slight but still enough so that your muscles get an impulse to grow and your tendons and joints (especially the ones in your elbows and shoulders) start to get used to this type of stress.

Let's come to the how-to-perform explanation:


Find a solid vertical base on which you can hold on safely (a doorframe or something similar). Stand close to that base (like me in the video) and grab it breast-high. In this position your arms will be well bent. Now allow your body to shift back by leaning slightly and extend your arms until they are almost straight in the same time. This should last 2 seconds. Hold for a count and pull yourself back in the start position by contracting your shoulder blades and bending your arms simultaneously (again 2 sec). Repeat the movement without a rest. If you can't manage to meet the target instantly, do as much reps as possible until you can do the requested amount.

Caution: To prevent your shoulders from injuries keep your shoulders tight (no relaxing) during any exercise when you hang somewhere. This advice is also valid for vertical pulls.


Target: 3 sets of 40 reps


With my physical ability it was easy to meet the target 3 times in a row so I moved on to the next step after I did verticall pulls 3 times. I guess some of you who are used to train before will meet the target as fast as I did, while others will need some more time.

Paul recommends to do the exercise only once a week but I prefer to do it twice (see "The Plan").

Cheers,
Andi

Sunday, February 24, 2013

The Plan - Part II

Hey guys,

After I posted the results from the 4th cycle I sat down to think about how to adjust my plan. I decided that, until now, the design of my plan worked pretty well for me so I'm gonna leave it that way in general. I changed some exercises due to my progressions in that exercises (I highlighted the replaced ones compared to my first plan). I always progressed to the next step after I met the target 3 times in a row, but I decided to make one exception from this rule - wall headstands to crow stand. Due to the fact that I met the target last time, the feeling that it definitly won't be a problem to meet it again and my decision to integrate 1 set of 2 min. wall headstand each time when I perform crow stands makes me feel that it won't be a problem.

Cycle 5-8:

Day 1 - Wall Push Ups, Knee Tucks, Bar Hang & Trifecta
Day 2 - Horizontal Pulls, Shoulderstand Squats, Double Leg Calf Raise from the floor with straight legs & Trifecta
Day 3 - Straight Bridges, Crow Stand & Trifecta
Day 4 - Rest
Day 5 - Wall Push Ups, Knee Tucks, Bar Hang & Trifecta
Day 6 - Horizontal Pulls, Shoulderstand Squats, Double Leg Calf Raise from the floor with straight legs & Trifecta
Day 7 - Straight Bridges, Crow Stand & Trifecta
Day 8 - Rest

Additionally I plan to integrate kettlebell swings and HIIT (high-intensity interval training) somewhere in the plan, but I don't know when yet. I'm gonna inform you by the time I do it.

 After I've finished this 4 cycles I'm gonna reconsider the plan again and, if necessary, restructure it.

Targets for each exercise:

Wall Push Ups: 3 sets of 50 reps
Knee Tucks: 3 sets of 40 reps
Horizontal Pulls: 3 sets of 30 reps
Shoulderstand Squats: 3 sets of 50 reps
Straight Bridges: 3 sets of 40 reps
Crow Stand: 1 set of 1 minute
Bar Hang: 4 sets of 1 minute
Double Leg Calf Raise from the floor with straight legs: 3 sets of 90 reps

Once I've met the progression standard (the targets) 3 times in a row I will move on to the next step of the routine.

Cadence:
Still 2-1-2, which means 2 seconds up, hold for a second, 2 seconds down, no rest between 2 reps (e.g. for pushups)

Some exercises (like the knee tucks & the shoulderstand squats) are still pretty hard for me, but I think I can manage to progress to the second step during cycles 5-8...at least I hope so.

P.S.: At my youtube channel (Andreas Heller) you can already find some videos/playlists to the different progression series (I'm gonna explain the exercises in further postings).

Cheers,
Andi

Friday, February 22, 2013

Cycle 4

Hey guys,

Today it's time to show you my results from the recently finished fourth cycle.

Cycle 4

Additionally I made "Bar Hangs" and "Double Leg Calf Raise from the floor with straight legs" 2 times per cycle and every day the "Trifecta" (compared to cycle 3 I progressed to step 2 in the hang & calf raise progression and also in every exercise of the trifecta!).

This time I am satisfied with my results. I made good progress in every exercise and reached the target in wall push ups and wall headstands once. In the bridge progression I've started with straight bridges which represent the second step. This exercise is much harder than the short bridges but I feel good with performing them.

My feelings about this cycle are absolutely positive and I can see progress in strength and appearence. Working out makes much more fun when you can see major improvements in your mirror as well :)

The first 4 cycles are done by now and I'm going to think about adjustments in my plan. The day after tomorrow I'll post the plan for the next 4 cycles with adjustments.

Have a nice day!

Cheers,
Andi

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

It's time for a delicious and healthy soup

Hey guys,

Last weekend I tried a recipe for a really delicious and healthy Brussels sprouts and chestnut soup. After I'd eaten it I thought that I should share the recipe with you because it's easy to make and fits perfectly into a diet like mine (even if chestnuts have some carbs, they have a lot of natural mineral nutrients, vitamins and good protein as well). The fibres of the chestnuts and the Brussels sprouts also compensate some of the carbs from the chestnuts. You can minimize the insulin effect of carbs...it's all about the combination of food!

Let's come to the tasty part...

Ingredients:



- 11 oz. (approx. 300g) Brussels sprouts
- 7 oz. (approx. 200g) pre-cooked chestnuts (you can buy them vacuumized or you cook them yourself)
- 7 oz. (approx.200g) soy cream
- 1 onion
- 1 vanilla bean
- 25 fl.oz. (approx. 750ml) organic vegetable stock (without glutamate)
- salt, pepper and nutmeg powder
- 1 dash of white wine
- 1-2 tbsp. (approx. 15-30g) butter

Preperation:
Peel the Brussel sprouts and cut them into halves. Cut the onion into small pieces. Now heat the butter in a saucepan, add the onions and fry until they become transparent but not browned. Add the Brussels sprouts and sauté for 4-5 minutes. Deglaze it with a dash of white wine and pour in the vegetable stock. Cook it with low heat for 17 minutes. Put in the chestnuts, the soy cream, salt, pepper and nutmeg powder and cook it for 3 more minutes. Scrape the vanilla bean and add the extract to the soup. Purée the soup with a blender and now you can enjoy your meal!


If you try it, I'd love to hear how you liked it!

Cheers,
Andi

Monday, February 18, 2013

Video + exercise description - Shoulderstand Squats

Hey guys,

It's time to start to work at your legs...
As many of you might have seen, lots of people spend big efforts on improving the upper body muscles (in fact even there most effort is spended on the front side). The main reason is optical improvement...big chest and broad shoulders can be seen even if you wear clothes. You can see your abs at least sometimes, when you go to the bathroom. Those are some incontrovertible arguments...if you just pay attention to the good-looking-at-the-first-sight stuff. But...this sort of "focused" training has nothing to do with gaining real overall strength or a good health (you gonna get some muscular imbalance instead). You need to train your whole body guys! And main parts of your body are your legs and your butt (with a lot of big powerful muscles). You need them for almost everything you do in your life (even getting up from a chair is impossible for people with very weak leg muscles). Btw...Musculus glutaeus maximus (a muscle at your butt) is the one with the highest volume in the human body...and also the most important one for a nice buttock. Another point why training for the legs is important is because people with big arms, a well-trained chest and a sixpack still look ridiculous in shorts if they deny training their legs ;)
So here we are...some of you might be confused why they should start with Shoulderstand Squats for working their legs. Guys, it's just a start...your legs just need to do a little work but you gonna build up stronger joints (lots of people with knee problems know why joints are so important) and don't put to much pressure on them in the beginning. Joint improvement is much slower then muscle improvement due to a worse supply. They just need more time...give it to them (strong muscle work can cause injuries if the joints are not prepared well). A second and third reason why to start with this exercise, in the beginning, is to build up more flexibility (range of motion) and overall muscle interaction.

Enough talk...let's start with the how-to-perform explanation:


First to say...due to insufficient strength in my hips my posture is not perfect.
Start by lying on your back with knees well bent. Now kick against the floor while pushing with your hand until you are straight in a shoulderstand position (as you could see in the beginning of the video). For supporting the position place your hands at your lower back. The pressure should be on your upper arms, upper back and shoulders...NOT on your neck!  Perfect posture would be if your body is totally straight (not bent in your hips or legs). Keep your torso as stable and straight as possible and bend at the hips and knees until you smoothly touch your forehead with your knees (2 sec). Hold for a count (if you want to, you can skip that count in this particular exercise). Extend your legs until you reach the shoulderstand (2 sec) and repeat the movement without a rest. If you can't manage to meet the target instantly, do as much reps as possible until you can do the requested amount.


Target: 3 sets of 50 reps


Paul recommends to do the exercise only once a week but I prefer to do it twice (see "The Plan").

As you could see in the video I still struggle a bit with this exercise but it improves every time I practise.

Cheers,
Andi

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Cycle 3

Hey guys,

Today it's time to show you my results from the recently finished cycle.


Cycle 3
Additionally I made "Horizontal Hang" and "Double Leg Calf Raise from the floor with bent knees" 2 times per cycle and every day the "Trifecta" (like in the last cycles).


This time my results had been uneven but mostly improved. I made good progress with the knee tucks, short bridges and wall headstands. Wall push ups got better but I had to cut down reps at the second and third set in the second half of this cycle. This was mainly because I was exhausted after the first set (50 reps --> target reached). I guess it's just a small dent in the progress. Day 3 was really not good at all. I had bigger problems with the shoulderstand squats due to a lack of power for holding the posture so I had to cut down the reps each set...but I improved at day 6. I believe that day 3 was just a bad day. The reason for the low rep figure at the horizontal pulls was that I had no bar and I had to use a kitchen table instead (which is much harder...you need way more power in your forearms!).

Maybe you recognised that I met the requested reps for short bridges 3 times in a row...next time I wanna progress to the second step of the bridge progression.

All things considered this cycle was not as good as I expected it would be, but it was ok. I hope to improve in the next cycle.

Have a nice day!

Cheers,
Andi

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Video + exercise description - Knee Tucks

Hey guys,

today I'm gonna show you how to perform Knee Tucks. The Knee Tuck is the first step of the Convict Conditioning Leg Raise Progression. This progression series was invented to build a solid core which is important for nearly every daily life movement (and also for almost every movement in every sport). The big advantages compared to crunches are that all abdominal muscles are involved in every exercise of the Leg Raise Progression (not just the central abs but every muscle of the waist) and that you build up functional strength (because muscles from the whole body interact within that exercise). For calisthenic beginners (like me) this exercise is a really hard one! I was used to do hundreds of crunches and other isolated ab exercises but when I started with the knee tucks I realised that my abdominal strength is not able to stabilize the whole body through the core. In my former routine was neither interaction within the midsection nor within the whole body. It takes some time until the core gets used to an exercise like this (actually it's more realistic than crunches but our bodies lost the ability of doing what they should do). Don't lose your motivation on this just because you can't manage a lot of reps in the first few sessions. Little by little your midsection will get used to it and you can increase your reps...some nice side effect are that you get a stone-hard core which prevents your vitals and improves your posture. So just keep on exercising and you'll see improvements in a short period.

Let's come to the how-to-perform explanation:


Sit down on an edge (chair, bench, bed etc.). Now lean back a little and grab the edges of your choosen seating-accomodation. Straighten your legs with your feet together like you can see at the beginning of the video (your heels should be a little above the floor). Now bring your knees up until they are around 6-10 inches from the chest (your abs should be tightly contracted). This movement should last 2 seconds. Hold this finish position for 1 second. Now move back slowly to the start position (2 seconds). Start the next rep. Your feet shouldn't touch the ground during the exercise and your stomach should be at work the whole time! If you can't manage to meet the target instantly, do as much reps as possible until you can do the requested amount. The 2-1-2 cadence is very reasonable for this exercise (ab muscles have mostly slow-twitch fibres). No shortcuts allowed here!


Target: 3 sets of 40 reps


Paul recommends to do this exercise only once a week but I prefer to do it twice (see "The Plan").

At my youtube channel (Andreas Heller) you can already find more videos to the Progression Series (I'm gonna explain the exercises in further postings).

Cheers,
Andi

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Recipe for a delicious Low-Carb Bread

Hey guys,

last week I had a chat with nelson, who lives in the Dominican Republic, about post workout meals. I wrote that I ate two slices of low-carb bread with serrano ham and, after some chatting, I realized that you can't buy low-carb bread in every country. I live in Germany and you can buy it here in almost every bakery but it seems like this isn't possible in every part of the world. At the end of our conversation I told him that I will translate a recipe so that he (and, of course, all of you too) could bake his own fresh low-carb bread.
Here it is:

Ingredients:
- 11 oz. (approx. 300g) low fat curd cheese
- 8 mid.-sized eggs
- 4 oz. (approx. 100g) ground almonds or hazlenuts
- 4 oz. (approx. 100g) ground flax seed
- 5 tbsp. wheat bran
- 2 tbsp. soy flour (or other flour)
- 1 tbsp. (approx. 15g or 1 sachet) baking powder
- 1 tsp. salt
- 2 tbsp. sunflower seeds
- butter to grease the baking pan

Preperation:
Heat up a convection oven to 300°F (150°C) and keep the heat at least 15 min. befor you put in the dough.
Put the curd cheese, the eggs and the baking powder together in a large bowl and mix it well with a (electric) hand mixer. Now put all the other ingredients (except of the butter and the sunflower seeds) in the same bowl and mix it again. The dough could be a bit smooth/liquid, but that's ok.
Grease a baking pan with butter and pour the dough into it and  dredge it with the sunflower seeds.
Bake it at least 90 min. in the oven (300°F/150°C) and tata....

Low-Carb Bread

You should store it in the fridge in a paper bag (the bread is slightly wet and could molder in a plastic bag).

Average nutritional values per 100g:
170 calories
10.7 g total fat
5.3 g total carbs
13.1 g protein 


Now you can enjoy a health, delicious low-carb, high-protein bread!

Cheers,
Andi

Sunday, February 10, 2013

1st video + exercise description - The Wall Push Up

Hey guys,

as mentioned earlier this blog I'm going to post videos and descriptions of exercises which I use in my workout routine for building overall strenght and endurance.

Today it's time for the first exercise: The Wall Push Up

This exercise seems pretty easy and you can perform it almost everywhere. It represents the first step of the push up progression from Paul Wades book "Convict Conditioning". I've written it seems easy because, even if you're used to exercising in the gym (like I am), if you perform them correctly, it actually could be pretty hard. Due to the slow movement speed (2-1-2) and the high target reps (3 sets of 50 reps) the intensity is pretty high if you're not used to bodyweight training. If you're good in math you might have noticed that you've 250 sec of continous exercise load each set! That is a lot and also the reason why I was struggling with that exercise in the beginning (I'm used to the regular 3 sets of 8-12 reps with a 1-0-2 cadence = 24-36 sec each set). Anyway, after you hit the target 3 times in a row, you should/could move on to the next step (in my opinion).

Let's come to the how-to-perform explanation:


Face a wall with your feet together. Distance should be like seen on the video (if you stand closer to the wall it gets easier; farther and it gets harder). Place your palms flat against the wall (if you put them a little lower, the exercise is getting a bit easier). Your arms should be shoulder width apart and your elbows should be bent a little. Now bend your elbows and shoulders until you hit the wall smoothly with your forehead (this should take 2 sec). Hold the position for 1 sec (don't put pressure on your forehead!). Press yourself back in the start position (again 2 sec). Repeat without a rest (0 sec rest at the top/start position). If you can't manage to meet the target, do as much reps as possible until you can do the requested amount.


Target: 3 sets of 50 reps


Paul recommends to do the exercise only once a week but I prefer to do it twice (see "The Plan").

I hope this post is useful to you! I'm gonna prepare some more videos and postings on the first steps of the progression series (and, of course, later on I'll continue with the other steps).

Cheers,
Andi

Friday, February 8, 2013

A perfect low-carb & high-protein snack for ice cream junkies

Good morning everybody,

today I wanna share a recipe for a fast, healthy and delicious ice-cream-style snack with you.
Low-carb, high-protein, high in fibers, easy-to-make and really delicious.

Ingredients:
- 10 fl.oz. (approx. 300 ml) fresh soy milk (or just fresh milk)
- 10 oz. (approx. 280 gr) frozen raspberries/strawberries
- 1 tbsp. (approx. 15 gr) ground flax seed
- 1-2 tbsp. (approx. 30 gr) of vanilla or white chocolate flavored whey protein powder (choose a delicious one)

Preparation:
Put all ingredients into a blender and mix it up for 1 minute. Now you should get an ice-cream-like mixture which you can enjoy!


Enjoy your meal!

Cheers,
Andi

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

The Diet

Hey guys,

today I'm gonna write a bit about my specific diet which hopefully helps me to accelerate my progress.
As I'm not in a pen I see no need in following Paul Wades advices on this topic. I truly believe (and I read metaphorically a whole library of books/articles/studies about nutrition) that it makes big differences for your health and your power when it comes to your daily food consumption, e.g. the quality and the amount of protein etc.

My personal diet could be described as a cocktail...
I took a big cocktail shaker and put in paleo, atkins, logi, glyx, organic movement and some findings of newer studies and shook them well. The outcome of this nice low-carb shake is my personal diet...

I prefer to stick to some rules instead of  a strict nutritional protocol so I thought about some pillar rules to build my own food guide pyramid.

Here are the simple pillar rules of eating:
1. Try to avoid carbs as good as possible (the human body digests carbs in a bad way)
2. Eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables (as an exception of rule no. 1 - you can eat as much fruits/vegetables as you like even if they contain carbs)
3. Try to substitute dairy products with soy products (e.g. milk) as often as possible
4. Eat a lot of good proteins and fat (meat, fish, eggs, nuts, soy, beans etc.)
5. Try to use fresh, organic food whenever it is possible
6. Eat slowly until you have had enough but not more
7. Eat whenever you are hungry (even if you just eat some nuts or an egg)
8. Try to avoid any fast food, convenient food and any processed food
9. Just drink water or coffee or unsweetened tea, avoid any other drinks (no soft drinks; not even juice!)

Attention: Before you gonna live by these rules check up with a doc if you have any allergy!

I tried this diet before and it always helped me to get leaner and gave me more power than any other kind of diet.

In later posts I'm gonna explain some of the rules more deeply (e.g. why it definitely makes sense to avoid carbs; and why this isn't valid for fruits).

So now you know how my diet looks like...

Cheers,
Andi

Monday, February 4, 2013

Cycle 1 & Cycle 2

Hey guys,

as promised last time I start to publish my results from the cycles today.


The first 2 cycles


Additionally I made "Horizontal Hang" and "Double Leg Calf Raise from the floor with bent knees" 2 times per cycle and every day the "Trifecta".

As you can see I already made a adjustment in the second part of the second cycle. I replaced "Vertical Pulls", which are step 1 of the pullup series, with "Horizontal Pulls", which represent the second step. As I mentioned earlier I'm gonna move forward to the next step once I finished the progression standard 3 times in a row...that actually happened during the two cycles.

Honestly, I was a bit surprised about how hard the single exercises (except of "Vertical Pulls") are...caused by the 2-1-2 cadence I couldn't meet the progression standards of the other exercises.
But I look forward to the next cycles...I do progress every time and in every exercise so I guess I'm already getting stronger and more used to the cadence (at least I feel like that).

In my opinion the most challenging exercises are "Knee Tucks" and "Shoulderstand Squats". I really struggle to perform better with those. "Knee Tucks" giving me pain in my lower back (I guess that's a weak part of my "used-to-office-chairs-back") and "Sholderstand Squats" that are so difficult to me because I can't hold my body in the right position...but even with them I could realize progress every time I perform them again.

Until now I think that I'm on a good way, thus my overall progress is slower than I thought before I started the program (man, even the "Wall Pushups" are damn hard if performed slowly)...

A last word regarding the "Wall Headstand": The last time my body was upside down was...I can't even remember...but it's pretty simple...due to insecureness I needed six attempts before I kicked off the ground with enough power, but after I made it once I realized that it's really not worth the "fear". Just try it out! If you feel too insecure then ask a friend for help...you'll see that it's not so hard.

See ya next time,

Andi

Sunday, February 3, 2013

The Plan

Hey guys,

last time I promised to post my workout plan and this time I'll show it to you.
In his books Paul Wade recommends some plans but they are all with a very low frequency (mostly every exercise just once in a week). He pointed out that rest is super important and constant progress should be the first-choice goal. I agree with him on that, but (as I know myself a bit) I disagree with him on the frequency for my case. My body recovers pretty fast so I researched the internet for an alternative training plan and I found one on the CC Super FAQ site (http://www.dragondoor.com/pdf/Convict_Conditioning_SUPER_FAQ.pdf). I took Good Behavior  V 2.0  (S. 18) and modified it a bit to fit my needs. So here's the plan that I follow now:

Cycle 1-4:

Day 1 - Wall Push Ups, Knee Tucks, Horizontal Hang & Trifecta
Day 2 - Vertical Pulls, Shoulderstand Squats, Double Leg Calf Raise from the floor with bent knees & Trifecta
Day 3 - Short Bridges, Wall Headstand & Trifecta
Day 4 - Rest
Day 5 - Wall Push Ups, Knee Tucks, Horizontal Hang & Trifecta
Day 6 - Vertical Pulls, Shoulderstand Squats, Double Leg Calf Raise from the floor with bent knees & Trifecta
Day 7 - Short Bridges, Wall Headstand & Trifecta
Day 8 - Rest

To explain this one a bit...I started with the first cycle 2 weeks ago and I want to complete 4 cycles of exact those exercises and then I'm gonna restructure it if it has to be. All the exercises represent the first steps of the big six (like recommended in the book) plus 2 exercises from CC2 and the Trifecta (a flexibility program from CC2). Kettlebell workout isn't integrated yet, because I'm not sure yet where to put it...I think I will start with the Kettlebells after the first 4 cycles.

Targets for each exercise:

Wall Push Ups: 3 sets of 50 reps
Knee Tucks: 3 sets of 40 reps
Vertical Pulls: 3 sets of 40 reps
Shoulderstand Squats: 3 sets of 50 reps
Short Bridges: 3 sets of 40 reps
Wall Headstand: 3 sets of 2 minutes
Horizontal Hang: 3 sets of 30 seconds
Double Leg Calf Raise from the floor with bent knees: 3 sets of 100 reps

After I meet the progression standard (the targets) 3 times in a row I plan to move on to the next step of the routine.

To be clear about it, when I read the books I first thought that the first steps are pretty easy and that I'm going to progress really fast but after the first sessions I had to admit that they are much harder then I imagined...I couldn't meet any target except of the Vertical Pulls...mainly because of the cadence which you should take care of...

Cadence:
2-1-2, which means 2 seconds up, hold for a second, 2 seconds down, no rest between 2 reps (e.g. for pushups)

It's pretty tough to exercise at this slow movement speed but it definitely makes sense (at least in the beginning). Paul points out that, with this smooth cadence, you can better protect your joints and build soft tissue integrity. It also helps to put momentum out of the routine (which is important because your muscles should perform the work amount). So I think it's a good idea to follow this recommendation, even if it makes the meeting of the required reps much harder.

Next time I'm gonna show you my progress from the last two weeks so you can see where I am right now.

P.S.: I'm gonna post some videos of the exercises in later posts so you can see how they should look like.

Cheers,
Andi

Friday, February 1, 2013

Calisthenics and Kettlebells

Hey guys,

3 weeks ago, when I thought about a new attempt to become unbelievable fit, I had to decide which approach I should follow to gain the best results. I tried a lot over the past 15 years from "normal" (3 sets à 8-12 reps) gym training with machines over different split-training plans, German volume training, barbell and dumbbell stuff, fast and super slow training etc. Every time I learned something about the advantages and disadvantages of the different approaches. None of them seem to fit for me perfectly. I read some pretty interesting stuff about Kettlebells last year and also gave it a shot...guess what? It`s amazing to train with them! But I stopped it anyway....lack of motivation.

Thus, 3 weeks ago I decided that they should be a part of my new routine because I really had a good feeling (and great results!) with them and you can train almost everywhere because you don`t need much space (in later posts I'm going to integrate some videos to show you kettlebell exercises).

But just work out with the bells seems to boring for me in the long run...as you know I stopped training with them after all last year. So I need at least one more part for my plan...that's where "Convict Conditioning" from Paul Wade comes in....
CC is about six major exercises that you can perform with your own bodyweight (and some talk about training in jail and how bad "normal" gym training is etc.). Anyway I obtained copies of his first and second book and I read both books in 4 day...very interesting stuff and it seemed to me as if it's worth a shot. Paul Wade broke each of his major exercises (pushup, pullup, squat, leg raise, bridge, handstand pushup) down in 10 steps. Every next step is a harder version of the same movement (e.g. pushup series starts with wall pushups, than incline pushups, then kneeling pushups...) so (over a long time) you could progress up to the so-called master step (which are definitely for the masters!).

So Convict Conditioning is the second part of my new training.

Next time I write about how I designed my training plan for reaching my goals.

Cheers,
Andi