(How To) Build Monster Practical Strength w/ Body Weight Strength Training

So you’ve gotten past Dan’s No BS martial arts circuit, which was great for cutting fat, toning muscle, and building cardio. But now you’re looking for something more. Something to push you past the limits of your own body frame and build some monster strength, coordination, and muscle control. Read on in the next article written and demonstrated by personal trainer Al Kavadlo:

Al demonstrates the "muscle up"
It’s no secret that pound-for-pound strength is one of the most important factors for having success as an MMA athlete, and there is no better way to build true pound-for-pound strength than bodyweight training. After all, how can you expect to control your opponent if you can’t even control your own bodyweight?

While conditioning is a key component of being in fighting shape, you aren’t going to get strong from doing burpees and box jumps all day. The following three exercises require total body strength and control in a way that few others do. Master them and you’ll be amongst the most elite in pound for pound strength.

You could lift weights for years and never build the strength needed to do even a single pistol squat. A variant on the single leg squat, the pistol involves reaching one leg out in front while you squat ass-to-ankle on the other. It takes strength, flexibility and control to pull off pistols with poise. Make sure to engage your abs and keep your heel flat on the ground when performing this exercise. It may be helpful to sit back onto a bench or plyo-box when learning in order to help find the balance. If you fall back, the bench will be there to catch you.

There is no better way to build monstrous pushing power than doing handstand push-ups. Start by kicking up into a handstand against a wall with your back slightly arched and your fingers spread out. Engage your core muscles and keep your body tight as you lower yourself down and press yourself up. If you aren’t strong enough to do this yet, you can start with your feet on a bench instead. Make sure you touch your head to the ground on every rep to ensure a full range of motion. You can also try touching your nose to the floor instead of the top of your head to allow yourself to go a bit lower. With enough practice, you may eventually be able to perform a freestanding handstand push-up without using a wall for support.

No other upper-body exercise requires both pulling and pushing power quite like the muscle-up. Even UFC welterweight champion George St. Pierre has recently started adding muscle-ups into his regimen. A muscle-up is like a pull-up combined with a dip, but it’s also so much more! To perform this exercise, you’ll need a pull-up bar (or gymnastics rings) with plenty of overhead clearance. When you do a muscle-up, instead of simply trying to pull your chin past the bar, the objective is to pull (and then push) your entire upper body up and over. Even if you can do lots of pull-ups and dips, you’ll likely need some practice on the transition before you will able to execute a proper muscle-up. Muscle-ups require lots of upper-body strength and can also help build explosive power. It’s great to practice doing muscle-ups explosively as well as slow and controlled in order to reap the full benefits of the exercise.

Remember to be patient when learning these new moves – most people will not be able to do a single rep of any of them upon their first attempt, so don’t get discouraged if you struggle when starting out. Stay humble, keep practicing and take it one day at a time.

Al Kavadlo, CSCS is a personal trainer, group exercise instructor and author of the book, We’re Working Out! A Zen Approach to Everyday Fitness. Al has also coached MMA and Jiu-jitsu fighters in strength and conditioning. To find out more, visit AlKavadlo.com.

-Dan Kai Wah from DynastyClothingStore.com

(How To) Dan’s No BS Martial Arts circuit to get you in shape FAST! (Experts Only)

Dan punching his opponent in a kickboxing match

If you need to get in shape quickly for competition, build explosive speed and strength, cut fat, tone muscle, and become an overall beast of a human being; here’s Dan’s no BS, bare-bones martial arts-rooted circuit to get you there quickly. Be warned however, it’s not for beginners and you will need to be somewhat in shape already to follow this circuit. Don’t say we didn’t warn you!

How I came up with this circuit:
Having trained in martial arts since the age of 10, getting my black belts in Karate and Taekwondo, and cross training in different martial arts such as Muay Thai and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu; it allowed me to amass knowledge of a number of warm up exercises that had different uses. This routine was heavily influenced during my time training Muay Thai in Hong Kong. It kicked my ass the first few times I did it, and only then did I realize this type of circuit was what I needed to do to become a pro level athlete. Since then I have tweaked it to make it even better.

What this circuit does:
It turns you into a cut beast ready to kill your opponent. Make no mistake, this is a high intensity circuit. It’s not for the average gym go-er looking to shed a few pounds because of a lame new years resolution they made every year–yet never follow through with.

How to use it:
Use this as a warm up prior to your regular martial arts training session. If your martial arts class is already high intensity and includes these routines, then don’t use this warm up. You will over train yourself.
For body builder types, use this as a warm up to your weight lifting routine to gauge where your true practical strength lies and build better coordination that just lifting weights won’t help you with. This will also help with your cardio and cut fat.

The circuit:
All exercises are done all-at-once unless otherwise stated.

1. *100* Sit-Ups (Core)
Any kind of sit ups will do. This is meant to be done fairly quickly like a crunch, but not rushed.

2. *2×60* Elevated / Wheelbarrow Push-Ups (Upper Body, Core)
Have a partner hold onto your legs like a wheelbarrow. If no partner, use a stool or medicine ball.

3. *6×10* Knuckle “Pump” Push-Ups (Upper Body, Core)
First go down slowly until your chest is 1 inch off the ground, then push/lift yourself a few inches above the ground quickly for 10x, come all the way up to finish the pushup, repeat.

4. *6×10* Frog Jumps / Squat Jumps (Lower Body, Core)
Squat all the way down, then explode up high into the air, arms reaching to the sky, come back down, repeat.

5. *50* Ab Crunch Leg Raises (Lower Body, Core)
Lie on your back and raise your feet into the air pointing to the sky. Partner holds onto your legs and pushes them downwards either left, forward, or right, and you must resist this motion, without touching your feet on the floor, and raise your feet back up into neutral position, repeat. If no partner, you can do it by yourself, holding onto a medicine ball or other object that you can hold onto for support.

6. *2×20* Sprawl Jump Push-Ups (Full Body)
Set an object, medicine ball, or a bag next to you (on your side). Sprawl out (go into push-up position) quickly and do a push-up, get upright immediately and jump sideways over the object, knees high up against your chest while in the air, and right when you land, sprawl out and repeat, jumping back and forth over the object. This exercise is meant to be done quickly to build explosive strength in your arms and legs, speed and coordination, and practical fight cardio.

7. BONUS! *100* Sit-Ups (Core)
Cool down with 100 more situps…

I have used this routine on my club students back in college while I ran the MMA club as a warm up before we got into the real training, and most of them would quit and never come back, while some puked hard and didn’t want to do it again.

In total, you would have done 250 core exercises, 220 upper body exercises, and 100 lower body exercises. Now try doing this every other day. If you can complete this warm up within 15 to 20 minutes, congratulations, you’re in shape to compete!

-Dan Kai Wah from DynastyClothingStore.com

(How To) No BS Top 10 Weight Loss Tips – Presented by MarioFitness.com

Mario Rigby of MarioFitness.com
Our friend over at MarioFitness.com, Mario Rigby, has been kind enough to let us share one of his wonderful workout and nutritional articles. Mario is a professional track & field athlete, representing his country ‘Turks & Caicos Islands’. He is also a Personal Trainer, Sport Conditioning Coach, and works as a NEXT Model. Here is his article on No BS Top 10 Weight Loss Tips:

Most people are finding it harder each day to live a healthier lifestyle and losing weight is usually on top of their wish list. As a result of these unhealthy lifestyle choices people gravitate towards fad diets. However diets don’t work. If they worked everyone that is on it would be thin. All people who are on a diet will eventually go off a diet. According to a new study published in American Psychologist two-thirds of people trying to lose weight with a significantly reduced-calorie diet will gain back that weight – plus some extra pounds – within four to five years.

If your typical weight loss diet looks something like this, you will need to seriously re-evaluate your eating habits:
Breakfast – Coffee/Muffin
Lunch – Salad
Snack – Yogurt
Dinner – Fish with veggies

These limited varieties of food are of low nutritional value. Instead of looking at food as fattening calories look at food as high quality fuel to satisfy your body’s needs. If you enjoy brownies, do not deny yourself of this food but limit the amount you eat. Manage your favorite foods not deny yourself of them.

“Dieting is associated with extreme hunger which can cause further weight problems since your body has to rebel against you not feeding it properly, the symptom is binge eating”.

To lose weight successfully you must do a combination of things to improve your overall lifestyle.

1. Watch your portion size.
The rule of thumb is to not eat until you’re full, but to stop eating when you’re about to become full. Your stomach can only detect if it is full within 20 minutes of eating/drinking the first meal. This is the same for everyone. By eating larger portions earlier in the day you will loss calories even if you ate a substantial breakfast you will make up for it by eating less for dinner.

2. Eat your largest meals early in the day.
I call this the upside down pyramid. Typically the largest meals are eaten at dinner and the smallest at breakfast as lunch times are usually in the middle. Change this so that breakfast is your largest meal and dinner your smallest while lunch is in the middle. By skimping daytime meals you are more likely to over-eat at night.

3. Don’t eat mindlessly.
Eat when your body needs fuel, not when you are bored, stressed or eating food for the purpose of entertainment. Distract yourself by doing something other than eating. You become unusually hungry late at night, so the best solution is to sleep early therefore you will have an excuse to have a big breakfast.

4. Know your body composition.
Knowing how much excess fat you have can help determine an appropriate weight loss goal. Weigh yourself at least once a week but don’t become neurotic about it.

5. Eat Slowly.
The brain takes 20 minutes to receive the signal that your belly is full. Slow eating can save you excess calories and you’ll have time to enjoy your meal.

6. Once in a while eat your favorite meals.
Eat the foods that you love because if you deny yourself of these foods you will end up binge eating. At the same time eat your favorite meals in moderation. To avoid temptation to over eat, try to avoid hanging around the kitchen or standing around the chips and dip at a party.

7. Make a meal plan that works for you.
It’s okay to consume extra calories on days that require you to have more energy, such as a long day at work, extra long workout days, etc.

8. Eat closer to the earth & avoid processed foods as much as possible.
By eating foods that are the ingredient instead of foods that contain ingredients you will burn more calories in the process.

9. Include the “Five” food groups.
For every meal include as many nutrient dense foods as possible and eat at least two kinds of foods for your snacks. Stay away from single foods as this limits your intake in a variety of vitamins, minerals and other nutritious foods. By combining many different nutrients in one meal you are less likely to over eat.

10. Stay Active.
You don’t have to be at the gym everyday to get that cut and lean body you’ve been eyeing in the health magazine. By staying active throughout the day you burn calories. Some activities could include walking to work/home, riding your bike, getting off the bus one stop earlier, walking up the stairs instead of taking the elevator, etc.

Presented By MarioFitness.com

-Dan Kai Wah from DynastyClothingStore.com