Anthony Mychal will help you build the body of your dreams. header image

Anthony Mychal will help you build the body of your dreams.

Anthony Mychal is a self-taught skinny-fat geek that built an athletic “X” physique
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Anthony Mychal

I want to get in shape. I know what I need to do. But I can’t find the motivation. Help?

A lot of people know me as the former skinny-fat guy man dude person human thing that was able to build a respectable looking and moving body.

Which is cool…

…and beats being made fun of for having girl boobs (which has happened to me before).

But I’m also self-taught. Because, uhh, introverted nerds unite! I didn’t have the cojones for a public gym. I taught myself the basics of barbell and bodyweight strength training in my garage. I taught myself the basics of freestyle acrobatics in my backyard.

But now’s not the time to spill my emotional baggage on the floor…

I know what it’s like to have zero accountability, save for you, yourself and, uhh, you again.

And if you’re a self-taught solider in arms, chances are you’ve faced this demon: you (a) know what you need to do, and (b) know you want the results, it’s (c) hard to get up and take action.

And it’s not long before a story forms in your head:

I need to find motivation.

But this is story is poison.

Motivation isn’t something you find.

Motivation is something you cultivate.

I can show you how.

I made a free email course on mastering motivation and your behaviors.

I like making these email courses to test out ideas. There’s less baggage. Not as much worry for headlines. Not as much worry for pictures and needing to be super visual.

Just words. Effective words…(hopefully).

There’s a good chance this course will be up on this site in full sometime soon. But it’s all email right now.

Take it or leave it.

You can signup below.

My friend asked me about back pain. Here’s my reply.

Last week a friend of mine texted me. He asked me about back pain. Said his friend was having lower back pain that crept into the hamstrings. Also said his nutsack felt weird.

As with any injury, the logical thing to do = see a doctor to make sure you don’t have cancer or meningitis or AIDS.

I’m not qualified to diagnose anyone with much of anything, aside from stupidity…something I diagnose myself with on the reg.

But referring someone to a doctor and leaving it at that is a cheap way out. I’d like to think I know a few things about actual injuries than most some a few doctors…because I’ve recovered and experienced so many. (Probably more than the docs themselves.)

In the past six months, I’ve had…

  • A broken finger
  • A dislocated finger
  • A separated shoulder

I shouldn’t necessarily be proud of how broken I’ve been, but, whatever…

So aside from seeing a doctor (which is always a good idea to make sure your body isn’t going to combust right now tomorrow), here’s what I said…

I don’t know about the nutsack pain. But if you have pain connected from the lower back into the hamstring, I’d guess it’s something neural. Sounds like a sciatica kind of thing. 

And I feared his reply because I knew what it was going to be.

So what should he do?

Another crisis of ethics. I’m really not in the business of telling random people what to do. But I can tell others what I’d do if I were in the same situation. Because said neural issue could stem from many many many many many many different things.

And now that I’ve cleared enough of the legal and ethical hurdles in my head, let’s get onto the meat and potatoes.

For a little context, this guy is in the car a lot.

A LOT.

Already the wheels are churning.

Because a personal philosophy = a lot of back pain stems from a lack of mobility throughout the spine. As Frank Forenrich explains in Exuberant Animal:

Unfortunately, many back pain sufferers take a strictly structural approach to the problem. We feel pain and jump to the conclusion that a disc or ligament has a structural flaw of some sort — a bulge, a tear or a herniation. So we ask the doctor for a series of diagnistic images (X-rays, MRI, etc.) to give us a closer look at the offending tissue.

But in a sedentary population, back pain is unlikely to stem from any structural injury. After all, most Americans are scarcely using their bodies in the first place. Instead, common back pain is more likely to stem from poor use of the spine and reduced sensitivity to position and motion. Your physician wouldn’t be so coarse as to put it this way, but here is what he’d like to say: ‘The reason your back hurts is because you never use it. Because you don’t use it, your spine has grown dull and insensitive. You have a stupid spine and a stupid torso. It’s time to wise up and get moving.’

We can’t forget that the spine is essentially a series of joints strung together consisting of twenty six bones. That’s like nine fingers put together.

One of the quickest ways to kill a joint, let alone a series of successive joints in a chain = restrict movement about a joint.

From a daily environment standpoint, we’re living through a time when we rarely move our spine. We wear shoes, which effects on spine. We sit a lot, which effects our spine.

TL;DR = our lives, for the most part, aren’t helping our spine.

From a traditional fitness (McFitness) standpoint, we’re living through the neural spine Nazi regime.

We protect our spine as if get taken through any sort of range of motion another World War would start.

I don’t have anything against keeping a neutral spine. It’s useful for lots of things, like optimal transfer of force for barbell and freeweight exercise. But you need to have a more capable spine if you want to be a decent moving and decent feeling human being.

TL;DR = McFitness isn’t helping our spine.

But I’m veering off the path…

Warp tunnel = what I’d do for back pain with someone that sits a lot would be twofold.

First, I’d get the spine moving different ways.

Second, I’d do my best to undo the time spent sitting down.

The specifics, you ask?

OK.

But I’m now effectively ignoring the dude at the start of this, and I’m turning this into: if I had back pain of any sorts, here are some easy things you can start doing tomorrow to take matters into your own hands. Because, uhh, you DO own your body.

So maybe leaving your body 100% in the hands of others, you should start to take control.

ANYWAYS…

#1 – Undo butt in seat time with these…

Imagine if you threw a cast around your elbow or knee for ten hours every day. What would happen? What would you feel when you removed the cast? Sitting is essentially a cast for the spine and the musculature around the spine.

Structural adaptations start to take place as the days of this casting go on and on if they aren’t “undone.”

They usually aren’t undone. We sit in the car on the way to work. We sit at work. We sit even after we’ve sat for hours.

Ever been in the car for eight hours and want nothing more than to stand…only to want nothing more than to sit once you’ve stood for, oh, I don’t know, five seconds?

The first line of defense = fight against the sitting position as often as possible when you aren’t sitting. How? Hammer the opposite position.

1a. The couch stretch 

anthony mychal couch stretch

Get something soft for underneath your knee if you’re on a hard surface. Put your knee on the ground close to a wall, then slap your foot up on the wall above your knee. Set the front foot out as if you’re in a lunge position. Your goal is threefold: (1) have the knee touch the wall, (2) have your butt touch your heel, (3) have your butt of the rear leg squeezed.

You want to AVOID a huge back arch in order to properly stretch the hips. And you want to AVOID improperly aligning your knee, hip, and shoulder because you’re avoiding the reality of the situation: your quadriceps feel like they are going to tear from the bone.

So let’s tackle these one at a time…

Avoid a back arch by thinking about your hip structure like a bowl. The front of the bowl = the front of your hips = your pelvic. The back of the bowl = the back of your hips = your sacrum. You want to tip the bowl so water flows out backwards. One of the simplest ways to make sure you’re kinda sorta doing this = squeeze your butt.

Ideally, you want your hips to be level. Look at the picture above. My hips aren’t level because I’ve been ignoring this stretch for decades = this is the red line. The yellow line = hips more level.

Avoid improper alignment (that makes the stretch easier) by rotating towards the lunge leg. When your left leg is lunging forward, take your right shoulder and rotate it across the leg. Do the opposite for the, uhh, opposite leg.

anthony mychal couch stretch alignment

Back to my criteria…

If you haven’t done this before, you won’t even get close before you start tearing up. It’s going to hurt. Don’t necessarily push yourself and tear your rectus femoris, but don’t expect this stretch to feel green eggs and ham.

Once you’ve stopped wiping the tears from your eyes, you can add a back arch. BUT MAKE SURE YOU KEEP YOUR REAR LEG BUTT SEQUEEZED. This position = the opposite of sitting.

couch2

How long do you hold the position?

Until you pass out.

Maybe.

No.

Don’t pass out. Don’t sue me. Hold it for as long and often as you can. I recommend humans (yes, humans) hold this position for two minutes every day. I need to take my own advice sometimes. If you’re a human that sits a lot, you probably want to hold it more.

If you want a “lite” version, you can do it from a lunge positon. Same rules apply. Squeeze butt. Don’t arch back. Get foot to butt.

pretzelhip

#2 – Elongate and decompress the spine

Humans are built backwards. Cats, bears, dogs, apes…all of them carry their weight across all fours. Their spine is horizontal, gravity is vertical. Our spine is vertical, gravity is vertical. Meaning our spine is almost always getting squashed. Sitting doesn’t help, so…

2a. Hang as often as possible

Grab something. Let your body relax. Hold for as long as you can.

You want to hang from something that allows your hips to relax (you can bend your knees), so it has to be high enough. But you can get creative. My house has an little stairwell nook that lets me hang. I’ve hung off first story hotel balconies (the ones you can reach from the ground floor…I’m not James Bond). I’ve hung from hotel stairwells. Monkey bars.

You can find lots of places to hang. You might even want to install a pull-up bar somewhere in your house that lets you hang. Every house should have a place for you to hang. It’s as humane as having somewhere for you to bathe.

2b. Squat as often as possible

squat

Squatting seems counter intuitive because it’s similar to the sitting position. But the sitting position is really just one stop on the way down to a rock bottom squat. Imagine if your arm was in a cast at 90 degrees. Now you get out of the cast. What’s the first thing you do? You flex and extend your arm to lubricate the extreme ranges of motion.

Working through the full range of motion smooths out the kinks.

The full squat smooths out the kinks of sitting.

I said lubricate.

Besides, your spine funnels into your hips. Having a good set of hips will go a long way in fixing and preventing back pain. The deep rock bottom squat hold is one way to build solid hips.

So let’s clarify…

I’m not talking about weighted squats. I’m not talking about doing squats for reps. I’m talking about just getting into a rock bottom squat and amassing as much time as possible down there.

I brush and floss my teeth in a squat every night.

You want to make sure you’re using decent technique. Weight over tripod, not on the toes. Don’t compensate through a collapsed foot or ankle. The full details of squatting are within Z2B, as is a progression for moving into the deep squat.

#3 – Snake

Let’s stick with the cast idea. The first thing you want to do when you’re free of a cast = move. (I think I’ve said this enough times.) The suggestions above move the spine here and there, but in minimal patterns. You want to start moving it in different planes.

Enter: the snake.

Ever seen a snake’s spine? Pretty crazy. And yet they slither as if they were liquid.

You can break this snaking into two actions.

Stand upright. Keep your hips static. Now bring one shoulder down to the same side of your hip. This is snaking from the shoulder.

snakes

Stand upright. Keep your shoulders static. Now bring one hip up to the same side of your shoulder. This is snaking from the hip. It’s a little trickier to understand, but you’re basically sucking your hip up into the socket. It’s called pelvic listing. Here’s a video of Katy Bowman demonstrating pelvic listing.

Now here’s what we do.

Head on down to the ground and face the ground. Do a mild archbody hold by lifting your chest and legs off the floor. You can keep your arms grasped onto your boobies for good measure. Now “snake” your spine. Start with the left shoulder. Then right shoulder.

snake3

This shoulder variation is the easier variation to pick up on visually. The hip one is more subtle, which is shown below.

snakehip

Keep the movements slow and deliberate for starters, doing double the number of repetitions for the hips than you do for the shoulders because the hips’ll need more.

So watz teh program dewd…?

Everyone wants to know about programs. My program for stuff like this = the meow method, which is something I talk about in Z2B. Think of a cat. The cat sleeps for a while. Gets up. Stretches. Goes about it’s day.

Use the meow method. Do these things as often as as much as you can. In the car? Maybe if you’re the passenger, you can do some pelvic listing. When you get out of the car, you can hold the squat. When you pass something you can hang on, you can hang.

For starters…

  • Hold the couch stretch for two minutes daily per leg.
  • Hold the squat for one minute daily.
  • Hang for one minute daily.
  • Do twenty reps of snakes daily.

And you can even use these as qualifiers as sorts. If your couch stretch sucks, then you should expect to have back pain. If you don’t hang often, then you should expect to have back pain. If you can’t reach the bottom of a squat correctly (heels stay glued to floor), then you should expect to have back pain. If you don’t move you spine like a snake often, then you should expect to have back pain.

And a last tip for people deadlifting and squatting: if you have massive back pain centralized primarily in the back to the point of it being absolutely awful when bending over (rounding the spine) and picking even a pencil up off the ground, I’d look into resetting the SI joint.

But maybe I’ll talk about SI joint junk another time.

(Like how every time I try to do hip thrusts, I get SI joint problems.)

OR maybe I’ll beef this up more and make this more of a…

If you have back pain and can’t do x, y, and z, then you know why you have back pain. 

We’ll see.

I’m out.

And love.

♡ to Ido Portal. He’s the one that got me to hang and squat more. My body feels better because of it.
♡ to Dan John. He’s the one that gave me the bowl visual for the couch stretch.

 

Why you shouldn’t listen to your hunger

Yo yo yo. 

I never was a multiple “yo” guy. One is fine. I like one. But I’m useless stringing together more. What about you? 

Anywho…

Ant here.

Below is a snippet of second version of Big Win Fat Loss I’m working on. This is smack dab in a discussion about meal timing and meal frequency. 

I like the idea. I think it’s an important idea. So sucking it out from behind the pay wall and into the free world. As Mario would say…hewegoo ~

#####

Imagine a world where everyone acted immediately upon their sexual impulses.

You see someone you’re attracted to. You either (a) sexually assault the person, or (b) masturbate in public.

Not a very fun world.

But think about it…

We have sexual impulses and sexual desires hardwired into our DNA. If we didn’t, we’d be Emo Sapiens. So depressed about life we’d just cry in a corner.

Emo Sapiens would go extinct. And quick. No desire for sex = no babies = no human proliferation.

So why not act immediately on sexual impulse…?

Well…

There may have been a day when humans did such a thing. After all, the majority of human evolution occurred in a world that looks nothing like today’s world.

So us humans were gently shaped with certain traits advantageous for survival…in a world that looks nothing like today’s world. Meaning those same traits aren’t exactly lamb to today’s world’s tuna fish.

b4ij1xtl

Humans work on a different frequency than the one broadcast by the modern world.

Females are sent a Victoria’s Secret catalog every second. There are billboards. TV commercials. Radio commercials. Crowded cities filled with way more people than humans are used to being around.

(And porn is a click away. Don’t know if you were aware. I wouldn’t know though. My friend told me. That’s how I know. So I’m just spreading the word.)

The input we digest now is staggering.

And said sexual impulse happens (probably) a lot more because of the volume of sexual input in the world today is a lot higher than what it used to be.

So we don’t give in to our immediate sexual impulse. It would be nearly impossible to function as a modern society if we did. And we know passing on the urge won’t ruin our chances of reproducing in the future.

Now…

Being hungry is similar to being horny.

We get hungry for the same reason we get horny. Imagine never being hungry. You wouldn’t care about food. Another trait of Emo Sapiens.

Ever had an elderly family member lose his or her appetite? Happened to my grandma. Doctors recommend pounding milkshakes spiked with protein powder.

Without the energy and nutrients, humans become frail and fragile.

No food = no energy and nutrients = no human.

So the impulse is there…

And the huger story is quite the same as the horny story: 

The world us humans spent the majority of their time evolving within is a lot different than today’s world. Things we have were great for the old world. Maybe not so much for the new world.

There are billboards. TV commercials. Radio commercials. Crowded cities filled with way more food than humans are used to being around.

(And food porn is a click away. Don’t know if you were aware. I wouldn’t know though. My friend told me. That’s how I know. So I’m just spreading the word. My Instagram page? No. No food porn there. Nope. No beer either. It’s the pleats. Some kind of optical illusion.)

Our hunger mechanism isn’t fit for today’s world. Just like our horny mechanism.

The difference?

Where we (decently) regulate our sexual desires, we TERRIBLY regulate our hunger desires.

OHMAHGERD I’M HOOONGGRY. IF I DON’T EAT I’LL DIEEE.

Hunger is SUPPOSED to reflect a state of TRUE biological hunger. And maybe it did a long time ago in a galaxy far far away.

But a lot of cultural customs have taken us away from truly communicating with our bodies.

We hardwire hunger into us with habits. Like Pavlov’s dog. Ring the bell, the dog drools. Without the bell, no drool. This is the world around us dictating when we are hungry. 

Same thing happens when the clock strikes 12:00PM for lunch…or whatever eating habits you’re used to rolling with.

And even worse? If you try to ignore these external cues (remember those?), you fall trap to pink elephant syndrome.

Try to NOT think about a pink elephant…and all you can do is think about a pink elephant. Try to NOT think about food…and all you can do is think about food.

A willpower killer = trying to IGNORE something. Much better to acknowledge, accept, and surf the emotions.

(It’s worth pondering: how many “bells” are in your life?)

And this circles us back to what Wansink warned: we are slave to external cues.

You can be sitting in your office, head down working, with no thought about sex. But if you happen to look out your window for a split second and see a naked woman streaking down the street, suddenly that’s all you think about.

Same goes for the truck driving past with the billboard on its side advertising for a quarter pounder with cheese.

So although hunger is this great evolutionary thing we have, the thing that differentiates us from Emo Sapiens, it’s worth understanding: 

The world our hunger mechanism was cultivated within is not the same world that’s now abusing our hunger mechanism.

Point of this talk =

If you absolve any cultural barriers attached to meal timing and meal frequency, you could say that humans have a built in mechanism to tell them when to eat: when hunger strikes.

But this is also like saying you should have sex when you’re horny. 

It’s true…kind of…

…but you need to wait for the right time and place to satisfy your urges.

And we’re good about doing this sexually.

Not so much with hunger.

We hate hunger because we’ve been culturally indoctrinated to hate hunger. But what if I told you hunger wasn’t bad? And what if I told you hunger was actually good? Necessary? Perhaps a cure for cancer?

What then?

Because it all might all be true.

#####

And that’s the end of the lesson, which leaves a marvelous cliffhanger for the next lesson. Because storytelling told me it was a good idea. Especially because most sport and fitness resources are drier than the Mojave. 

Anywho…

Next week, I hope to have episode one of #ASKANT up and running. There is still time to submit a question. Most of the work I’ve done to this point = logistics.

Until next week…

 

Ant, out ~

 

P.S. If you’re a Z2B owner, the hinge unit hath been unlocked! Official email will be sent to you on Wednesday. I’m going to comb it over tomorrow.

P.P.S. Some exciting things are happening. I can’t wait to share them with you. 

Why I’m not doing muscle-ups anymore (and my current training program)

This is a ‘lil thing about muscle-ups, but it’s not really about muscle-ups. You don’t have to be able to do muscle-ups to suckle the lesson outta’ this teet.

Incentive to suckle: I’m attaching my current training program. The one I built in lieu of my now somewhat normal finger.

You’ll also learn the first answer I give people that ask how to do a muscle-up.

Let’s begin…

I used to love muscle-ups. Here’s a vid from a while ago. Trying to be smooth and controlled.

Used to do them for reps. Could do around five or six consecutive ones. Used to do them for ring combinations. Like this. Used to do them every training session.

But I’m not doing them anymore.

Here’s why.

(Small backstory.)

I couldn’t use my rings for a while because I broke and dislocated my finger (see past letters).

Err.

I could use my rings. But I decided to forego above the ring work. Because, every once in a while, I’d have a neural fart. All would be going according to plan, but outta’ no where I’d spasm and lose good position.

Didn’t happen a lot. But it happened.

I didn’t want to have to drive to the hospital with a crooked finger again on account of a neural fart, so above the ring work was out.

No surprise: my ring abilities leveled down. Hard.

Rings are finicky. You need to be on the rings in order to get better on the rings.

Standard linear straight barbell exercise won’t help.

When I first got my rings, I could do dips with 100+ pounds attached to my waist. But I couldn’t hold the top position of a dip on rings for more than, uhh, two seconds.

Make that one second.

Alright, alright. You know how to tease the truth outta’ me.

Make that none seconds.

This is why rings are fun and invigorating.

In the nice and neat straight and linear world, you can do an exercise pretty well. Then you (try to) do the identical exercise on rings and get your face kicked in.

784eaa8a62387642f0b10b29d15605c9

It’s kind of like getting one of those metal puzzles…all of the rings and gadgets intertwined, your goal is to separate them. You look at the thing and think, Psssh…this is gonna’ be so easy.

And then it’s not. And then you throw the metal puzzle against the wall.

The gap between how you think things should be and how they actualy are somehow makes the situation simultaneously frustrating and invigorating.

It’s hard to hold yourself back from diving into the rings because you want to prove (to yourself) that you aren’t a piece of glass.

And that’s what happened in my situation. When I got my rings, I didn’t prepare. I just dove in. I had fun.

I don’t regret it.

James Clear wrote here about successful people starting before they feel ready.

You’d be a fool to waste momentum.

Momentum allowed me to fall in love with the rings. If someone told me to work on foundation moves for one year before ever trying a muscle-up, ring training probably would have become labor…not love.

But then there’s the other side of the story…

Sometimes riding momentum and having fun isn’t in the best interest of long term development.

Diving right into ring training cost me.

I got a funky wrist injury that lasted about six months because I didn’t properly train false grip strength.

Muscle-up tip number one million: use the false grip. If you can’t muscle-up and want to muscle-up and you aren’t using the false grip, this is where you begin. 

false grip muscle up

Muscle-up tip number two million: train the false grip. Start from an inverted row position. Just grab the rings and dangle. Once you can hold this for one minute, you’re ready for more intense action. Take it to the pull-up position. Just hang.

falsehangs

I always battled elbow pain. And, perhaps most importantly, my progress was scatterbrained.

Such is the nature of being self-taught, but even after I found a system I could comprehend,  I didn’t want to regress to build the proper foundation…so I never did.

Hubris for the win!

I had nicks and bruises. But nothing bucked me off the saddle.

Breaking and dislocating my finger unintentionally bucked me to the Moon.

Now I’ve landed back on Earth.

It’s incredibly tempting to hop back on the rings and do what I was previously doing. Maybe flirt with some elbow pain. Maybe another wrist injury.

A cocktail I’m all too fond of embracing into the esophagus.

OK.

Geez.

You know me all too good.

did shoot the cocktail. I hurt my wrist a little bit. My elbows hated me. Yaddah yaddah yaddah. So I’ve decided to take a step back and work on the basics. Because I don’t want to be the same mediocre goober I was before.

I had the fun times.

Now I can be an adult.

There’s almost always a more “adult” path.

But I know, for a self-taught goober like myself, the adult path is like being forced to sit in public school when you’re inkling is to go alone and wander Hyrule.

lost woods

Sometimes you have to head into the Lost Woods, take the beating, and then realize, “Hmm…maybe there is something that there rigid classroom thingy offers after all.”

So I’m now doing false grip hangs. I’m doing ring push-up variations. I’m doing inverted row variations.

I’m doing the basics.

I’m swallowing my pride.

If you ever find yourself in a similar situation, there’s something you should know.

What often separates the best Pros from the average Joes: beating the basics into your bones.

At Spartak, the Moscow tennis club, there is a rule that young players must wait years before entering competitive tournaments. “Technique is everything,” said a coach, Larisa Preobrazhenskaya. “If you begin playing without technique it is big mistake.”

You might be surprised to learn that many top performers place great importance on practicing the same skills they practiced as beginners. The cellist Yo-Yo Ma spends the first minutes of every practice playing single notes on his cello. The NFL quarterback Peyton Manning spends the first segment of every practice doing basic footwork drills—the kind they teach twelve-year-olds. These performers don’t say to themselves, “Hey, I’m one of the most talented people in the world—shouldn’t I be doing something more challenging?” They resist the temptation of complexity and work on the task of honing and maintaining their hard skills, because those form—quite literally—the foundation of everything else.

Daniel Coyle, The Little Book of Talent

 

P.S.

I know gymnasts see the muscle-up as a peon skill, akin to these “basics” I speak of. But I’m not going to ruin my confidence by acknowledging such a thing. And I think we all know gymnasts are midgets trained as sorcerers the ancient art of black magic. They aren’t real human beings.

 

P.P.S.

For those of you in Z2B, the squat unit is now unlocked. Official email coming your way tomorrow.

 

P.P.P.S.

I suppose you’re still here for the training program, eh?

SUNDAY

A1) DEADLIFT

  • 1 set @ 3r
  • Add five pounds

A2) TUCK FRONT LEVER

  • 5-10 second hold
  • Make it easier, make it more comfortable, focus on technique and position—don’t even think about “the next progression”

A3)  FEET SUPPORTED HANDSTAND PUSH-UPS

  • Do a few slow reps

B1) RING ROW MUSCLE-UP TRANSITION

  • 3 sets @ 5r
  • Do slow

B2) SHOULDER DISLOCATES + BRIDGE WORK

C1) FRONT SQUAT

  • 2 sets across @ 6r
  • Add five pounds

C2) CHIN-UPS

  • 2 sets across @ 6r
  • Add one pound

D) BLAH

  • ANY BACK SHOULDER/BACK/BICEPS PUMP WORK HERE
  • HANG FOR 60s
  • QUAD/HIP FLEXOR POSITION WORK
  • SPLITS POSITION WORK

 

MONDAY

A1) DEADLIFT

  • 1 set @ 3r
  • Add five pounds

A2) TUCK PLANCHE

  • 5-10 second hold
  • Make it easier, make it more comfortable, focus on technique and position—don’t even think about “the next progression”

A3) SCAP SHRUGS

  • On rings, do a few slow reps from the curl and row position

B1) RING PUSH-UPS

  • 3 sets @ 5s + hold support position for 10s after last rep
  • Make it easier, make it more comfortable, focus on technique and position—don’t even think about “more reps” or “the next progression”

B2) SHOULDER DISLOCATES + BRIDGE WORK

C1) GOOD MORNING

  • 2 sets @ 20r w/ 65 pounds
  • Compress as much as possible. Increase ROM with each rep.

C2) OVERHEAD PRESS

  • 2 sets across @ 6r
  • Add two pounds

D) BLAH

  • ANY FRONT SHOULDER/CHEST/TRICEPS PUMP WORK HERE
  • HANG FOR 60s
  • QUAD/HIP FLEXOR POSITION WORK
  • SPLITS POSITION WORK

 

WEDNESDAY

Repeat Sunday only do incline presses instead of overhead presses. Increase five pounds per week.
 

FRIDAY

Repeat Monday only do barbell rows instead of chin-ups. Increase two pounds per week.
 

NOTES ~

The aggressive linear progression comes from me starting from scratch on just about every barbell lift. And, in general, caring less and less about maximal strength. Lifts are done slowish with full range of motion. 

…and there you have it. Simple.

I launched a thing. It’s called Zero to Barbell. Here’s everything you need to know.

Got a text message from Steve Kamb a few days ago. Steve owns NerdFitness.com and hired me as his coach some time ago.

Here’s the text:

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You could say his training has been working a little too well.

I talk about building an “X” physique often.

When Steve came to me, I told him: be ready for a steady diet of barbell and bodyweight training.

Because in order of importance (for body transformation) it goes:

  • Air
  • Water
  • Iron
  • Food

Why iron before food?

Because what you do with your body tells your body what to do with food. 

(Picked that little gem up from a fella known as Amir Siddiqui.)

But what I’m saying isn’t new. Stuff has been around since the early 1900’s. Eugen Sandow used it. Worked back then. Works now.

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DIVE IN HEAD FIRST. AMBITION. NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTION! YEAH!

Eh…

Barbell and bodyweight training forces you to use your body in ways you might not be familiar with.

Overhead pressing. Squatting.

How often do humans have to reach fully overhead or squat all the way down to the ground in this thing we call modern “real life?”

Not often. Maybe never.

There’s no need.

Until some jackwagon like me tells you to squat and overhead press…with a barbell on your back or in your hands. In order to build muscle (in the right places) that even a tailor can’t quite understand.

Before you think about doing this wonderful stuff with extra weight, you need to think about doing this wonderful stuff without weight.

Are you able to reach fully overhead or squat to the floor…with correct mechanics?

Here’s a fun experiment.

Pin your elbows to your side. Bend your elbows to form right angles. Point palms to the sky.

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Now rotate your wrists so that your thumbs face each other.

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Now keep rotating your wrists so that your thumbs point to the ground.

Uh oh.

I’m betting something quirky happened with that last challenge. Your elbows probably flared away from your torso.

But I didn’t tell you do flare your elbows. I just wanted you to rotate your wrists.

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Your body doesn’t give two licks about “mechanics” or “technique.”

It doesn’t roll over and die when confronted with a challenge. It does what it can do, as a system, to accomplish the task at hand. Right or wrong. Your body doesn’t think about long term mechanical implications. All it knows is the here and now.

So maybe it’s not so much about whether or not you’re able to do certain things, but rather if you’re prepared to do certain things.

Because I can run one mile…but I certainly ain’t prepared to run one mile. Different beasts. And you don’t want to confuse beasts. Unless you don’t care about your joint integrity.

If I had to summarize all of this…

Humans don’t come with an instruction booklet.

This is why Starting Strength is so dang popular. It says: this is how you perform the basic barbell exercises.

…which is great thing for a self-taught goober like myself.

But it’s not enough.

Because knowing how to do the basic barbell exercises doesn’t mean you’re prepared or even able to do them. The truth of the matter is that basic barbell exercises are still more advanced than the basic bodyweight exercises that enable the basic barbell exercises!

I get emails from lots of people all around the world. These people often want to pay me for a program. But before I make any program, I always want to see whether or not the exercises I’m going to program are being done correctly. So I ask for videos.

And I often find myself saying, “Gosh. There needs to be something that’s pre-Starting Strength. Something that uses mostly bodyweight exercises to set the stage for a looonnngg future of barbell and bodyweight training.”

Something that builds the body awareness and the positional capacity most barbell exercise demand. Something that diagnoses common mobility issues and also fixes them assuming a future of barbell exercise.

Otherwise you’re one of the people doing a bajillion mobility exercises for no good reason. And with no sensible progression.

So I did something rather sensible…

I created the thing I wanted to have. 

Zero to Barbell (Z2B) hath been born.

Z2B is an online course and a basic instruction manual for building movement capacity and body awareness for the fundamental movement patterns that barbell exercise is based upon:

  • Bracing
  • Squatting
  • Hinging
  • Pressing
  • Pulling

And if you don’t recognize one of these words, consider yourself gifted with your first red flag.

Z2B is designed to be done primarily at home. With minimal equipment. With no one passing judgmental glances in your direction. With no self-conscious delusions in a crowded gym.

I look out for my fellow self-taught introverted nerds.

Each movement pattern is built with a progressive sequence of exercises that are used to diagnose and tackle common mobility restrictions.

By the time you’re finished with Z2B, you’ll be able to walk into the free-weight area of any gym and not only act like you belong there, but also perform like you belong there. (And perform better than 95% of the people in the gym.)

Look…

Z2B isn’t the king kong ding dong silver bullet. It’s not going to overtly build you a ton of muscle because it’s primarily a movement resource.

(Even though there is a progression and build up to push-ups, parallel bar dips, bodyweight rows, and pull-ups…which certainly won’t hurt your muscular ambitions.)

But it’s going to build comfort and confidence in movement patterns that will transfer to barbell training.

When you’re comfortable at the bottom of a squat, you’ll be a lot stronger in the squat. And when you’re stronger in the squat, you’ll build more muscle in your legs.

So Z2B is sort of an investment in your future.

Think about the body you want ten years from now. What does it look like? What does it feel like? What does it move like? You need to start training TODAY with THAT body in mind.

This is NOT what most people want to hear, but Mark Twain had things figured out long ago.

Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.

And if you want to know my secret to success: consistency.

Seriously. I’m not talking about magical exercises here. I’m talking about a pretty easy relationship between your body, your level of preparation, and exercises that have been around since 1900.

So here’s the dealio.

Right now, Z2B is in a “beta.” There’s dust. I’m still working on the thing.

But I want you to know that I’m all in on Z2B.

If you hang around the fitness scene, you no doubt live through the launch of programs. I love me some programs, but programs are finite. No program lasts forever. Some programs don’t even last eight weeks.

But…

Technique? Health? Body mechanics?

These things won’t go out of style. Technique is a lot more important than a program. Z2B lasts a lifetime. And I’m going to be standing Z2B’s side for as long as I can.

Right now, the only units unlocked are the “classroom” units and the bracing unit. The squat, the hinge, the press, and the pull will be released in one to two week waves upon this very day.

I’m doing this “drip” release for a few reasons…

First, because I’m still adding to the units mentioned.

Second, because I don’t want you to drown trying to do too much at once. You spread your resources thin, which leads to less progress, which leads to de-motivation, which spirals you into the abyss…

Think about something…

If you normally train a position or pattern for one minute every day, then you have 30 minutes accumulated at the end of 30 days. If you spend eight minutes on a position or pattern per day, then you have 30 minutes accumulated in FOUR DAYS.

This is as close to using cheat codes as you can get when trying to game your physiology.

Because this is a beta and dusty, I’m launching it ahead of schedule. At a discount. And a heavy discount, I dare say. Some eight week programs online are $200. This is a “forever” course and it’s not even close to that number. Not yet.

At least, not right now.

Doors will only be open until this Friday.

If you want in now, click THIS LINK to purchase. After your purchase, you’ll be redirected to a screen with a blue button that says “Download Product” or something similar.

Click this blue button. You’ll be redirected to the course area and get details on how to register your user name and password in order to get access to the course.

If you don’t like dust or the idea of a beta, then that’s cool, too. The price of this thing has nowhere to go but up, but if you want to wait, then you can wait your pants off.

If nothing else, think about how comfortable you are as you train. There should be no second guessing your ability to hit positions or your confidence with technique.

If there is, something is wrong.

Z2B can make it right.

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