Is Fitness One Size Fits All?

With all the science, rumor, old wives tales and nonsense in and about the fitness world,  I feel as if fitness has been neglected. I have to ask, where does the individual fit in? All of the advice, all of the diets, workouts and all that- where does the individual fit in? Why is fitness all about looks? This fitness thing should be about health. It should be about wellness- being well-adjusted, physically centered and so on. Fitness should not be what it is  represented as today. It is not what fitness should be. In my opinion, fitness is not one size fits all. The fitness industry has people believing that if you’re not looking like some fitness model, you’re not healthy. That is wrong. EveryBODY (no typo there) is different. Fitness is not one size fits all. Unfortunately, people put way too much stock into looks and not enough stock into being physically, mentally and spiritually fit.

With the obesity epidemic in America today (stats later on in paragraph), shouldn’t the focus for fitness be on weight management and overall health?

STATS

  1. More than 1/3 of all Americans (38%) are obese.
  2. Non-Hispanic Blacks have the highest obesity rates (48.5%), followed by Hispanics (44.5%).
  3. The cost of obesity (as of 2008 CDC reports) is/was $148 BN USD, with the average cost of healthcare for the obese being $1429 more than those not obese.

With all the stats I have laid out, where does this fit in?

Image result for fitness model pix

In my view, the fitness industry needs a reboot. The focus should be on the individual and to focus on making fitness fun again. Too much attention is given to junk science, gadgets, extreme workouts and all sorts of things that people will not buy into. Fitness should be all about feeling good and making yourself the best you can be. So many times, we have seen obese people in the gym getting mocked by some nubile kid who is posting selfies and facebooking. This is the kind of thing that hurts the image of the fitness industry look very, very bad.

funny picard meme why would you make fun of a fat person at a gym who is trying to do something about it

For fitness to be about the individual, there must be a cessation on junk science, all the gadgets, tips, tricks and bad advice. I contend there must be more of a customer service driven point of view. To have the trust of people and to (most of all) make people healthy and to change the world. We at the Halcyon Fitness Group are committed to bringing this sort of change. People need to have fun in this world, more now than ever- why not make fitness fun and more relaxed?

In closing, there needs to be a reset for the fitness industry. Fitness as we have described… does mean a “one size fits all”. People are different and that fact needs to be recognized. Fitness should mean different things to different people. Fitness does not have to mean one size fits all.

HOW TO GAIN STRENGTH- 5 RULES

HOW TO INCREASE STRENGTH- FIVE RULES

Strength is and always has been a goal for those who are avid fitness people. In today’s era, with the ever-increasing popularity of MMA-style training and CrossFit training, there has been a metamorphosis of the definition of strength. Gone are the days of 5’9″ 320-lb “strongmen” who could outlift you and OUTEAT you. Now it’s all about functionality combined with strength training. It is a huge win for the advocates of this type of training. It’s pretty evident that it works. It’s also a slam-dunk that it’s here to stay. Why not functional training? It is a more modern approach to training and it has the science to back it up.
On the other hand, there are some who will ask, “what about strength?” I am sure there are some of you out there who are looking to increase your strength without using steriods or any other PEDs let alone any sports nutrition products. Here are a few tips on how to increase strength without PEDs or changing your regimen or lifestyle.
When you are strength training, whichever day it is, always remember to take 30-45 seconds of rest between sets. Also in the same vein, slow the speed of the reps down. Let’s say your rep speed is on a 2-3 count. To gain strength, slow that down to about a 4-5 count. I must warn you to start at the weight your are currently using, then build up. No need to hurt yourself.
Another way to increase strength is to use supersets. if you have never heard of a superset, it is as follows: Let’s say you are working chest today. You’re doing cable crossovers at 30 lbs for 3 sets, 15-18 reps. To superset the exercise, you immediately do another exercise with no break… like wide-grip pushups at a similar rep speed and rep count. This way you will work all the muscle fibers and increase strength.

Another way to increase strength is to go all out. Challenging yourself with max reps at maximum intensity. This is an old-school technique that works. It is also very risky and the chances of injury are much higher than that of the aforementioned routines.
Lastly, use the science available to you. Learn your body. Know and learn what works best for you. Learn your limits. Fitness is not one size fits all. Strength is not one size fits all. Stay learning. Learning is a foundational component of increasing strength or anything else in life. Stay hungry. Never be satisfied with anything, if that’s your goal.

In closing, remember what I have laid out here:
1) Stay hungry
2) Be fearless, always try new things
3) Learn how your body works
4) Keep your goals in front of you.
5) Put the work in.

These five rules, as well as everything else I have given you will GUARANTEE success in your quest to gain strength. Not only will it guarantee success in your fitness goals, this will enhance your life in all other areas. It will make you a better person.

8 Warning Signs of Depression and 10 Foods to Considered Helpful

 

8 Warning Signs Of Depression Plus 10 Foods Considered Helpful
Infographic © herbs-info.com. Image sources: see foot of page

Clinical depression is a mental health issue that is often disregarded in the medical community (and society in general!) There is a stigma surrounding mental health problems like depression that people don’t seek immediate treatment once they start noticing signs and symptoms in themselves and other people. However, the truth of the matter is that millions of people are affected by depression all over the world.


According to research done by Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance, Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) affects roughly 15 million adults in the US, with two out of three people with depression choosing not to seek medical treatment. The WHO estimates that 350 million people all over the world have depression, with 800,000 people dying each year because of suicide. The mental health burden is one every country should be aware of; just because an illness can’t be seen doesn’t mean the person affected isn’t suffering. Depression is just as real as heart disease or cancer. [1][2]

8 Warning Signs Of Depression: [3][4]


#1 – Feeling helpless or hopeless: Depression is often characterized in a pessimistic worldview – that nothing is going right or will ever go right. People who are depressed suffer from an overwhelming feeling (often fear-inducing) of hopelessness despite being in a world full of endless possibilities.

#2 – Losing interest in daily activities: Closely related to the first symptom, losing interest in daily activities is another warning sign of depression. Along with feelings of hopelessness and helpless is a sudden loss of interest in going to school or work – activities a person does on a day to day basis. Depressed individuals often think “Why bother?”

#3 – Changes in appetite: Feelings of depression can lead to appetite changes – your body may feel hungry but you just aren’t in the mood for anything. Not even favorite food items can improve your appetite. This is one of the main problems with depression – the physical effects it has on the body. Along with poor appetite is dramatic weight loss and compromised immune system.

#4 – Sleep pattern disturbances: People who are depressed often find themselves with a multitude of thoughts that prevent them from getting a good night’s sleep. They can toss and turn for hours but sleep will evade them.

#5 – Mood swings: Mood swings are a major characteristic of Bipolar disorder – which is characterized by periods of mania (extreme happiness) and depression. Chronic mood swings – from happiness to sadness, and even other emotions like anger can signify depression.


#6 – Lethargy: Lack of sleep and deteriorating physical health all add up to a feelings of lethargy – or very low energy. Being tired can be a sign that someone is going through emotional difficulties.

#7 – Behavioral changes: Acting out or being aggressive can also be a sign of depression. Teenagers and young adults who suffer from depression may act out and be aggressive towards others. People who are often described as “troublesome students” or “black sheep” maybe experiencing emotional or mental health problems.

#8 – Focusing and memory difficulties: You will notice that all the symptoms on this list are related to each other – and that most certainly includes this last item. Poor appetite, sleep disturbances, and low energy can lead to problems with memory and focus – resulting in poor school and work performance (which can be seen by others as “acting out”).

10 Foods For Fighting Depression

These foods have been extensively studied and can be helpful:

#1 – Chocolate: The best way to heal a broken heart is through chocolate! You will often hear girls saying that chocolate is a great way to curb sadness – and there is actually scientific evidence that supports that theory! Two different studies have found that chocolate can significantly improve a person’s mood, as well as alleviating chronic fatigue. [5][6]

#2 – Asparagus: You may find the presence of asparagus on this list to be strange but according to research it works! According to a published study by Singh, et. al. in 2009, asparagus has significant antidepressant activity, able to reduce stress and agitation in the test subjects. [7]

#3 – Green tea: Green tea is a great antioxidant – and a great antidepressant as well. Beyond tea’s relaxing properties, a study has shown that green tea was able to have a positive effect on people suffering from post-stroke depression, linked to green tea’s inherent antioxidant and phytochemical characteristics. The results of another study found that there was an inverse relationship between the prevalence of depression and green tea intake in the selected population. [8][9]

#4 – Avocado: It can be hard to find scientific studies that directly link avocados with a lower risk for depression but its omega-3 content has several. One of the most significant studies found that omega-3 fatty acids were an effective treatment for people suffering from Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) and people with undiagnosed depression (but exhibit the warning signs). [10]

#5 – Oatmeal: Oatmeal has high folate or folic acid content, which has been linked to depression management caused by different factors or co-morbidities. In 2014, a study found that corticosterone treatment caused depression, depression that was significantly relieved by folic acid intake. Similar results were seen in a study in 2013 where folic acid was able to combat depression caused by stress and antioxidant imbalance in the brain. [11][12]

#6 – Strawberries: A study in 2012 found that strawberry intake was linked to a decreased rate of mental health decline with progressing age. The study estimated that strawberries were able to slow “mental aging” by two and a half years, attributed primarily to the high antioxidant content of the fruits. While the study didn’t focus on depression, advanced age and a decline in mental health has been linked to depression – something strawberries can apparently help manage. [13]

#7 – Cashews: Cashews are an excellent source of tryptophan – an amino acid that is synthesized by the body into serotonin, a neurotransmitter whose low levels has been linked to depression. A study actually found that people diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder had low levels of tryptophan. By boosting your tryptophan intake, you can help reduce your risk for depression. [14]

#8 – Walnuts: A Polish study published last year in 2015 listed walnuts as a significant food item that could help in the management of depression. Walnuts, like avocados, are a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, and can be included in the diet for risk reduction in terms of depression. [15]

#9 – Oranges: Oranges are one of the highest vitamin-C- containing fruits, known for its immune-boosting capabilities. However, ascorbic acid or vitamin C is able to help with depression as well, seen in a study published in 2015. The study found that treatment with ascorbic acid was able to reduce depressive symptoms caused by high levels of tumor necrosis factor. [16]

#10 – Blueberries: A recent study in 2015 by Tan, et. al. concluded that blueberry extracts were able to have positive effects on neuronal and mental health. The researchers discovered that blueberry extracts improved memory and hippocampal expression; the hippocampus being one of the areas of the brain that control emotions. These results suggest that blueberries can also help with the management of depression, which has been strongly linked to cognitive decline. [17]

References:

[1] Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance. Depression statistics. http://www.dbsalliance.org/site/PageServer?pagename=education_statistics_depression

[2] WHO. Depression Fact Sheet. http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs369/en/

[3] Mayo Clinic. Depression (major depressive disorder). http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/depression/basics/symptoms/con-20032977

[4] National Health Services. Clinical depression – symptoms. http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Depression/Pages/Symptoms.aspx

[5] Sathyapalan, T., et. al. (2010). High cocoa polyphenol rich chocolate may reduce the burden of the symptoms in chronic fatigue syndrome. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21092175

[6] Scholey, A. & Owen, L. (2013). Effects of chocolate on cognitive function and mood: a systematic review. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24117885

[7] Singh, G., et. al. (2009). Antidepressant activity of Asparagus racemosus in rodent models. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18692086

[8] Di Lorenzo, A., et. al. (2016). Antidepressive-like effects and antioxidant activity of green tea and GABA green tea in a mouse model of post-stroke depression. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26626862

[9] Pham, N., et. al. (2014). Green tea and coffee consumption is inversely associated with depressive symptoms in a Japanese working population. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23453038

[10] Grosso, G., et. al. (2014). Role of omega-3 fatty acids in the treatment of depressive disorders: a comprehensive meta-analysis of randomized clinical trials. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24805797

[11] Rosa, P., et. al. (2014). Folic acid prevents depressive-like behavior induced by chronic corticosterone treatment in mice. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25316305

[12] Budni, J., et. al. (2013). Folic acid prevents depressive-like behavior and hippocampal antioxidant imbalance induced by restraint stress in mice. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23142187

[13] Devore, E., et. al. (2012). Dietary intake of berries and flavonoids in relation to cognitive decline. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3582325/

[14] Ogawa, S., et. al. (2014). Plasma L-tryptophan concentration in major depressive disorder: new data and meta-analysis. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25295433

[15] Muszynska, B., et. al. (2015). Natural products of relevance in the prevention and supportive treatment of depression. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26276913

[16] Moretti, M., et. al. (2015). TNF-α-induced depressive-like phenotype and p38(MAPK) activation are abolished by ascorbic acid treatment. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25836357

[17] Tan, L., et. al. (2014). Cyanidin-3-O-galactoside and blueberry extracts supplementation improves spatial memory and regulates hippocampal ERK expression in senescence-accelerated mice. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24709099

Why Lifting Matters

When it comes to fitness in America today, there is a unspoken predisposed allegiance to cardio and functional training. While there’s nothing wrong with that, but resistance training has value. Maybe you’re convinced you shouldn’t lift weights because you prefer not looking like The Hulk. Maybe you figure you just wouldn’t like it, since you’re not one of those CrossFit types.

Though I don’t want to be confrontational about it… you’re wrong. Strength training not only builds muscle but can prevent disease, relieves stress and will definitely help you lose weight.

Here are 13 great reasons to include a little work with the weights into your fitness repertoire.

1. You’ll live longer.
While most forms of regular exercise can add years to your life, strength training in particular has big benefits. As we get older, the more muscle mass we have, the less likely we are to die prematurely, according to 2014 research from UCLA. “In other words, the greater your muscle mass, the lower your risk of death,” study co-author Arun Karlamangla, M.D., said in a statement. “Thus, rather than worrying about weight or body mass index, we should be trying to maximize and maintain muscle mass.” And what better way to maximize those muscles than by pumping iron?
2. For better sleep.
Regular exercisers — especially those who truly push themselves — report the best sleep, and weightlifting is no exception. In a small 2012 study in older men, researchers found that resistance training reduced the number of times the study participants woke up during the night, as compared to a control group who performed no exercise.

3. Your progress is so noticeable.
There’s nothing that feels quite as rewarding as setting a goal and crushing it. If you’re new to strength work, you’ll find that a weight you once thought was impossible to lift starts to feel easy sooner than you might imagine. Add to that, you’ll feel like a conqueror.

4. To protect your bones.
Weight-bearing exercise and particularly strength training is thought to increase bone density, reducing the risk of fractures and breaks among older adults.

5. To boost your balance.
Of course, one major cause of bone breaks as we age is falling. Some of weightlifting’s benefit in protecting against osteoporosis may be improved strength and balance, resulting in fewer falls. Indeed, research suggests that various resistance routines can reduce an older person’s rate of falling by around 30 percent.

6. It can make you happier.
Like many forms of physical activity, a little lifting can work wonders for your mental health. Strength training has been linked to reduced anxiety and depression symptoms as well as improved self-esteem, and it may even give your brainpower a boost.

7. To look better in your clothes.
Now, we don’t suggest you lift weights (or do any exercise, for that matter) solely for appearance — there are just so many other benefits! — but when it comes to slimming down, endless hours on the elliptical may not be getting you any closer to the results you desperately seek. In fact, building muscle may help you lose fat more effectively than simply doing cardio. “If you’re looking to lose fat, go with strength training,” trainer Nick Tumminello, author of Strength Training for Fat Loss told Business Insider. “Watch your diet to reveal your shape, and strength train to improve that shape.”
8. To burn more calories.
Simply having more muscle on your frame helps your body burn up extra calories — even when you’re sitting completely still.

9. You can do it in under 30 minutes.
Adding strength work to your regular exercise routine doesn’t have to eat up the tiny bit of free time you had left in the day. In fact, lifting is one area where more is not always better — around 30 to 60 minutes a week, total, is plenty, according to Runner’s Times.

10. And you don’t even have to go to the gym.
We’re using the term “lifting weights,” but the world of strength and resistance training includes a whole host of options outside of what you’d find at the gym. You can “lift weights” with cans and jars you find in your kitchen. You can “lift weights” using only your body. You can buy a pair of five-pound dumbbells and lift along with a DVD in the comfort of your own living room, where the only person checking you out in the mirror is you. In fact, if you’re new to strength training, many moves are safer if performed with just your bodyweight until you can get the hang of perfect form. Plus, many of those machines at the gym aren’t adjustable enough for the wide range of bodies that use them.

11. To run faster (really!)
Or swim longer or bike harder or get better at just about any other athletic endeavor you fancy. Why? Because you’ll be cultivating stronger, more powerful muscles to then put to good use. Also, strength training can help prevent injuries in other athletic pursuits, by helping correct muscle imbalances that in turn throw your form — even just while sitting or standing — out of whack.

12. Aids in heart health.
Despite the name, cardio isn’t the only form of exercise with cardiovascular benefits. A resistance training routine has been shown to lower blood pressure, in some cases as effectively as taking medication. The American Heart Association recommends adults aim for at least two strength training sessions a week.

13. Because then you can wear shirts like this

You can’t ban these guns - Men's Muscle T-Shirt

In closing, this is not a end-all, be-all list. This is another list, a tool to help you meet and exceed your fitness goals.

 

 

AN IMPORTANT MESSAGE

Okay people… I just wanted to say one thing. I sincerely appreciate your support in my blogging and fitness endeavors. It means a lot to me that you like what I write (and repost). Those of you who follow me on wordpress– thank you. If you follow me on twitter @halcyonfg16… thank you. On the facebook version of this blog… vid.me… wherever… I graciously and humbly give you thanks for your patronage.

One of these days I am going to have to do something for you all. Real talk.

Thank you for your time.

BATES’ TOP TEN STRENGTH/SIZE EXERCISES

NOTE: This is MY list, not a definitive list made elsewhere. This is basically what got me big. The basics… THE BASICS ALWAYS WIN.

 

Yes, this is still “The Basics Always Win”, but I am taking a different path on this one. I am going over my top ten favorite strength training exercises. These are foundational, but brutal. They got me big… and will get you big as well.
As always, use caution when strength training. Always consult your primary healthcare provider before starting any fitness regimen. Now, the list.

1) Bench Press. Called “The Grandaddy of Em All”, this exercise is king for a reason. Raw, animalistic strength is evident. It is noted that the bench press does tax the Central Nervous System a bit. Risk of injury is high, so technique and a bit of reason will come in handy.

2) Barbell Squat. Yet another brutal, yet simplistic exercise. This is another exercise that emphasizes technique, skill and a bit of courage lol. High risk of injury here as well. D
3) Bentover Row. This very simple exercise is all about blasting the upper back. Power, pure power.

4) Barbell Lunge. Used by athletes for ages to develop size in the quads, hamstrings as well as overall growth, this exercise is also dangerous for the knees (especially if you go too heavy).

5) Lying Dumbbell Flyes. This exercise is all about power, concentration and technique/form. Injury to shoulders, arms and chest is high. All-around exercise for great strength and looks.

6) Lawnmowers (Dumbbell Row). This exercise shores up the back, shoulders while scuplting the upper body as a whole. Great strength, thickness and width is a certainty.

7) Standing Dumbbell Press. All-around strength. Great for shoulders, back, neck even the chest gets a bit of work. Form, form, form. You need to use a weight that is comfortable, but challenging.

8) Dumbbell Curl. Timeless exercise. All about form, strength and patience. Yes, the politicians can’t ban the guns, but you need good form and a weight that is comfortable yet challenging.

9) Skullcrushers (Pullover Press). Animalistic power, size and savage strength is the name of the game here. Form, form, form!!!
10) Behind-neck press. Awesome for size, strength and bragging rights.

In closing, these are only ten of the many exercises that I consider great. Hopefully some of you gym rats out there can use what I have been using to get results, because that’s what it’s all about: 1) Good form 2) Passion 3) Results. These are the basics. THE BASICS ALWAYS WIN!!

Expansion

I have been wanting to do more with this platform. I stumbled over two apps, Discord and Vid.me. These two are great apps- Discord is the “Skype killer”, plus it’s free (from what I have seen). Vid.me allows for great original content with total freedom.

These are great times for fitness and wellness. For the Halcyon Fitness Group? Just another weapon in our arsenal. Keep your eyes on us. As a matter of fact, join us!!!

twitter: @halcyonfg16

Vid.me: vid.me/halcyonfg16

Discord: Look up Halcyon Fitness Group.

 

Things are changing. Exciting time to be alive.

Bodyweight Exercises Part 2: The Extreme End of the Basics

DISCLAIMER: These exercises are for the ambitious ones among you. As I always say, listen to your body. Do not hurt yourself trying something you are not comfortable doing.
THE BASICS ALWAYS WIN!!

1. Bodyweight Skullcrusher

The classics are such for a reason. They work! But if you feel you’ve reached a sticking point, especially due to your triceps, then look no further than the skullcrusher.

The traditional skullcrusher is a triceps extension exercise performed while lying on a bench and using external resistance such as a barbell or dumbbell. However, the rulebook goes out the proverbial window when you execute a bodyweight skullcrusher! This time, perform the same movement pattern, but use only your own body, leveraged against a horizontal bar. By employing this change, not only do you smash your triceps, but you also rock your abs, chest, shoulders and back, as you can no longer rely on the bench to provide stability.
Bodyweight skullcrusher

Start in a narrow-grip push-up position, arms shoulder-width apart or slightly closer, with your hands on a bar or other elevated surface. Keep your hands close together and your elbows pointed down to keep emphasis on the triceps. Bend only at the elbows—not the shoulders—and lower your upper body down until your forehead is between your hands. Press from the triceps, and push yourself back up. The lower the incline, the more challenging the exercise.

2. Close-Grip Chin-Up

When it comes to vertical pulling exercises in the urban Street Workout jungle, the lion’s share of the spotlight tends to go to pull-ups performed with an overhand, wide grip. With so much attention placed on this pronated pull, it’s easy to forget that the close-grip chin-up is a valuable move in its own right.

Detractors of bodyweight training sometimes claim there are no exercises that emphasize the biceps. I encourage them to try 3 sets of 15 close-grip chins and get back to me. You see, the underhand grip allows you to recruit your biceps to a greater degree, while the overhand grip places greater engagement on the muscles of your upper back—although both exercises definitely hit both the arms and lats. Furthermore, close-grip chin-ups are the perfect counterpart to skullcrushers, as the two moves emphasize antagonistic muscle groups while crushing the core. Combined, they work hand in hand for building a balanced, symmetrical upper body.
Close-grip chin-up

To perform a close-grip chin-up, grip an overhead bar with you palms close together, facing you. Brace your entire body as you pull your chest toward the bar. Pull down and back, making sure to focus on the acute bend in your arms. Then, lower yourself back down with control, keeping your abs engaged in order to avoid swinging. Your legs should remain straight and squeezed together throughout the entire range of motion.

3. Shrimp Squat

You’re not strong if you don’t have strong legs—period. This is true for calisthenics and every other form of strength training. The shrimp squat, aka “skater squat,” is a unilateral leg exercise that is similar to a back lunge, but with one big difference. For this exercise, your rear foot is kept elevated rather than being placed on the ground. This simple change puts a serious muscular burden on one leg at a time, so make sure to train both sides evenly.

Begin by standing on one foot with the opposite leg positioned behind you and bent at the knee. Slowly bend at the hip, knee, and ankle of the standing leg, and lower your back knee until it gently touches the ground. You will need to lean forward in order to maintain your balance at the bottom position. Now, press with the foot of your standing leg, and return to the top position.
Shrimp squat

I recommend that you perform shrimp squats while grasping your elevated ankle with one hand, but it can also be done with both hands behind you. The latter variant places more weight on your heel and shifts the balance against your favor, making the exercise far more difficult. Shrimp squats also provide a deep stretch to the quadriceps and hip flexors of the rear leg, so take it slowly if you have flexibility issues.

4. Windshield Wiper

I love sit-ups in all their forms. They are as classic as you can get, but at some point, if you want to increase the difficulty without adding weight, you must make an adjustment in leverage.

Windshield wipers not only place your body in the vertical plane, thus creating a mechanical disadvantage against gravity, they also limit your points of contact to just your hands and dramatically alter the range of motion. That’s a lot of bang for your buck.

Start by hanging from a bar or other surface with your hands in an overhand grip. Lift your shins all the way to the bar, keeping your legs straight and together. It can be helpful to envision pushing the bar “down” toward your shins. The bar won’t move, but you will! Squeeze hard to help maintain control.
Windshield wipers

When you get to the top, begin rotating your trunk so that your legs move toward one side, then the other. The twisting movement emphasizes your obliques and serratus muscles. Do your best to avoid bending your elbows when performing windshield wipers, though a slight kink may be unavoidable at first.

The first time you attempt a windshield wiper, you may be unprepared for how much upper body strength is required, so brace yourself. This exercise is harder than it looks, and it is by no means just an abs exercise. A great degree of upper-body pulling is also involved, so be ready to work your whole body.

5. Single-Leg Bridge

There are many times in fitness where we ignore the muscles we can’t see. Don’t get me wrong: There is nothing bad whatsoever about training with aesthetic goals in mind. I myself have pursued looking better with my shirt off. But even so, it is also important to be strong in the muscles you don’t see in the mirror, like the hamstrings, glutes, and spinal erectors.

Bridges are a fantastic—and underrated—means to that end. You may associate them more with yoga than strength training, but make no mistake: The single-leg bridge in particular builds spectacular strength in the posterior chain.
Single-leg bridge

Begin your single-leg bridge by lying on your back with your knees bent, feet flat on the floor, and arms at your sides, palms down. Press your feet into the floor, raising your hips into the air as high as you can, squeezing at your glutes. Now, lift one foot straight above your hips with the elevated leg perpendicular to the ground. You will have to press extra hard with your grounded foot to keep your body up in the air. Be certain to train both sides evenly.

6. Handstand Push-Up

Your shoulders get a legitimate workout from push-ups, pull-ups and planks. But when you perform handstand push-ups, you enter a new realm where the primary mover is now the shoulders.

Even people who can military press huge loads are often surprised when they attempt handstand push-ups. Like the bodyweight skullcrusher, the exclusion of a bench or other external stabilizer compels you to keep a tight body in order to brace and support yourself.
Handstand push-up

Start by kicking up into a handstand against a wall. Make sure your elbows are locked at the start, to help prevent any unfortunate mishaps. Next, lower yourself down until the top of your head comes in contact with the ground. Now, push yourself back up, keeping your entire body taut the whole time. Engage your glutes and abs in order to avoid excessively bending your back, and try not to flare out with your elbows. You can also perform this exercise with a narrower grip for additional triceps emphasis.

In closing, I must add that these are challenging. But they work. Not only do they work…. but they will build on a core of discipline, strength and in some cases, honor. THE BASICS WIN!!

BEST BODYWEIGHT EXERCISES PART ONE

Best Bodyweight Exercises Part 1
DISCLAIMER
Always check with your primary care provider before engaging in any fitness regimen. This is not a “one size fits all” workout. Please use caution and listen to your body.

For those of you who are either still pondering about the best way to lose weight and get in shape (especially if you haven’t been to the gym in a spell), or are needing something different to break the monotony (and to give your joints a rest), here are some recommendations of mine for best bodyweight exercises. No gym membership, no credit card needed. All you need is some real estate (i.e. your floor) and a drive to succeed. Since this is part one of a scheduled three part series, I am going to give you 10-12 good bodyweight exercises that will get your heart rate going, you will be sweating and most of all, you’re gonna love it. So here’s the list:

 

Exercises
·          This block of bodyweight exercises are usually standalone exercise that are grouped together for an assortment of group training (which includes training on bars and/or benches). I will give you the exercise and the equivalent in case you cannot get to the bars or benches.
EXERCISE
ALTERNATE/EQUIVALENT

Dips
Military Press

Regular Push-Up
Wide/Narrow/Diamond grip Push-Up

Free Squat
Air Squat
These exercises target the big muscle groups such as the chest, legs and back. Alternately, your smaller muscles (triceps, biceps, traps, abs) will get a workout also.

 

The next block of exercises are CORE exercises. In case you don’t know, core exercises are those that tighten the midsection, giving you a great looking stomach (who really wants to look like a sumo wrestler when you don’t have to) and even shores up those all-important back muscles (especially those in the lumbar region). Also, this next block will also show you what exercises you can “superset” or use alongside with the original exercise (these superset exercises usually target another angle of the abdominal region and are done with no rest).

1)    Flutter Kick/Leg Raise: This combination will make you have some pretty rockin’ abs. Be sure to understand that this is not for the weak. Use caution as some have injured themselves due to overexertion (some to the point of hernias)

2)    V-Ups/Planks: This one is even tougher. The V-Up is all about the synchronization of the body to move as a unit in one fluid motion (like the letter V, thus the name), while the plank is more about the mind (keeping your body in a straight line for 45 seconds or more is a testament to the power of the human mind) than body.

In closing, I must say this: These are only basic bodyweight exercises. As I always say, “The basics always win” Why? If you master the basics, you have the foundation laid to do more, more effectively and efficiently because you understand the WHY behind the exercises. You understand the HOW behind the exercise and you definitely KNOW what to do to make your dreams, goals, visions a reality.  I grouped these exercises up in a easy manner. There are 12 exercises that are deceptively challenging, but will give you a good sweat if you are committed to doing it right.