Thursday, March 31, 2016

Building A Grip Without Needing Weights

Weights in most aspects of Physical Culture is ideal to developing strength and unbelievable power and physique but it's not always the case. In other words, you don't weights for everything unless you're looking for a particular way to build strength. For grip work there's a lot of ways to develop mighty mitts but i'm here to tell you that weights aren't always needed in this manner. I have build a powerful grip without having to do barbell and dumbbell work, I mainly use only a couple maybe three implements that would be considered "weights" but in truth they're just a measuring stick compared to how I really found my grip power.

To truly understand Grip Strength we need to look back to what makes us very strong or very weak in our hands. It takes a tremendous amount of strength to bend steel, rip a phonebook and/or lever a heavy sledgehammer so to really make that strength possible is to not do something else but get down to the dirty soil and reach down and use those actual tools to build your grip strength. Another way of building great grip power without the iron is doing hangs from a bar or rings; these alone can build an insane grip because in order to even hang you need to have a bit of tightness to grip the handle and just stay there. Some can't hold for more than a couple seconds, some can hold far longer its a matter of practice and focus on the intention.

Finger Tip Push-ups is also a favorite since its very basic and simple exercise yet many can't do it due to issues in the wrists or fingers. The objectivity is to utilize what works best for your goals and achieving progress little by little. I love to move around like an Ape and since my mind is getting more geared towards that Tarzan like state and doing Ape style movements I'm doing exercises like Hanging from the pull-up bar in different grips to hit the tendons and muscles from other angles, walking or jumping like a gorilla by being on my knuckles and putting my weight onto them the majority of the movement and building that pull-up power by isometrically flexing in various stages of the actual pull-up. Training the fingers and hands is essential to building a complete body that is full of strength from a variety of angles.

Training to use as minimal equipment as possible without relying the barbell and dumbbells is very effective and its more natural. The Sandbell is one implement that is great for your grip and no I don't consider it weights, this is more functonal and can be used for practically any movement. I believe without question the best of the best when it comes to pure natural grip strength and powerful tendons are mountain climbers, these guys/girls have pound for pound some of the strongest hands on this planet period. They are the closest to our Ape ancestors by having fingers that could literally tear you apart if you fought them. You don't need to be a mountain climber to build this kind of strength but you will need to find a rock climbing wall or build one around your house or for the cheap route get eagle claw straps to wrap around your pull-up bar and go from there, I've tried these and they're tough as hell and I only managed maybe a couple reps the last time I tested them.

Don't believe for a second grip strength is purely getting from wrist curls and weird machines, if you truly want a mighty set of hands, you need to get dirty and do exercises that really target the hands and fingers while engaging the entire body, isolation isn't going to cut it. Its not a knock to anyone but from personal experience and seeing some of the strongest men on the planet within mere feet up close I know for a fact real grip work comes from those who target the hands in a specific manner that digs into the tendons and builds insane eagle like claws for fingers. Train your grip with a vengeance and you'll learn how tough you can really be with the power of a gorilla.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Coming Full Circle With The Sandbell

There are plenty of exercises that really hit the Core Muscles hard but one of the best ones can actually trim your waistline in a very short amount of time. Using the Sandbell, the 360 Exercise produces a heavy target not just on the abs but the entire upper body structure of the arms, shoulders, back and grip; this exercise takes control and focused tension on the muscles used. When practiced correctly, this one exercise can develop powerful and muscular abs.

The constant shifting of the weight makes it even more amazing as you have no choice but to keep control of the bell or else you might hear something crash unless you're outside and you hit a window or a fence. When it comes to weight; I believe to develop great mastery and full flexibility and strength in the exercise itself, be sure to take on no more than 20 pounds, that may not sound like a lot but because of the control and accurate amount of tension it's going to feel way different. I have heard of the 40 lb. 100 rep challenge and for the most part it's basically a marketing ploy. I'm going to give you a quote I made on a forum where it'll give you a complete outlook on why the weight doesn't make you the man, but the consistency:

"Its not the weight that makes you a man, its the consistency to train and learn the value of your body's capabilities according to your range of motion, awareness & the will to stay in peak condition without risking injury. More often than not, ego breaks more than the body does. The physical injuries are just icing on the cake because people buy into the fact that if they don't train beyond their natural abilities they're not worth a damn. I've pushed myself hard for more than a decade and only got one small minor injury during that entire period."

Read that with complete mindfulness. Don't buy into the notion that bigger is always better, you don't need to go to extreme reps with a lot of weight to get amazing results. Pace yourself little by little down to the smallest fraction and you'll still get results. I'm a big dude and never needed to move a ton of weight to become strong, the things I have done were carried over because of my training. Trust me when I say this, no matter how big or small you are, you can get crazy strong with minimal equipment and no more than 20-25 lbs. worth of actual weight. 

Be in control of your exercise or it will hurt you more than just physically. When it comes down to it, if you want powerful Tarzan-like abs, this is a top exercise to make that a reality. Practice with focus, intention, muscular tension (Muscle Control) and awareness of how your body moves within the exercise. Make it work for you and if you want to increase weight, do it for progressive reasons, not to prove how strong you are. Train smart and train awesome.  

Monday, March 28, 2016

Train For Yourself

I go over different workouts all the time for various reasons and at times it does become overwhelming from trying to do whatever just for the sake of doing it. I don't believe in trying to fit into someone else's ideals because they're stuff is so perfect. People forget that no matter what they make themselves out to be, nothing comes close to doing something for yourself because it leads a path to finding your true self. Practicing many systems and exercises over the years, I became very strong mentally and physically by doing things that suit who I'am.

Training to be like somebody else only makes you 2nd or 3rd rated in the sense where it makes you lose sense of what and who you are further and further away from what's truly there in the first place. Does that make sense maybe, maybe not but don't believe for one second you can't be the strongest version of yourself. It's not something you can just achieve overnight, it takes years of searching, learning different things and know your faults, weaknesses and how you pick yourself up.

I train for me because I know more than anyone what I've been through, good or bad and that fitness is not just a fad or even a lifestyle; its beyond those things. It's my universe, it's what brought me to do the things and choices I make everyday; its my blood, my skin, my soul, my breathing. People can call their way of life a style or something to temporarily do to pass time but they'll never understand what it's truly like to live your training no matter what you do or where you go or who you are with. I have had people tell me that because I do what I do everyday has become easy for me; truth is, it gets harder everyday because I constantly have to find something that's exciting, fun, quick, long, space or hardly any to do something. The only thing easy for me to train everyday without fail is the thought of if I don't do it at all, I lose a piece of my soul and that is something I can't live with. 

Train because you wanted to, not because you crave it or because you don't have a choice, do it because its a part of who you are. I can talk all I want about what works, what doesn't and how this should be and what that sucks and here's the blueprint & all that other crap, it all boils down to what you want to do and you go do something whether it's to experiment or do a routine or hell because you thought something was cool, you're going to do something anyway but do something because you knew in your heart, deep down in your guy that's what you wanted to do in that time. It's not easy being your true self in your training believe me I deal with it everyday yet it brings me to what I love and what it does for me and only me. Train for yourself, no matter what.

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Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Jungle Fever & Bodyweight Training

I'm hearing the call of the Jungle daily. The experience of moving like a wild animal puts you into a state of mind that not many other systems can touch. Your mentality becomes different and you're channeling that animal spirit within. Repetitions are great and everyone should strive to reach a goal of certain amount of reps in their regimen; however, I'm more for the quality within the quantity instead of just making useless reps at a pace where the form is sloppy and the potential for injury is greater. Nobody's perfect but always strive for quality in your practice.

That's the thing with animal moves and bodyweight training in general where the better quality of your movement the greater your strength, flexibility & endurance comes into play. Everything counts; train your body to become instinctive. How your body reacts to a situation in more extreme cases will either save your life or get you killed and the same goes for saving a life as well. Your movement development interacts with your instinctive nature. Train your body to instinctively act on the ability to crawl, jump, balance and be able to withstand unpredictable durations in situations that you never know how long can go whether in a split second or an hour or more.

The thing with bodyweight exercise overall is not just the luxury of training anywhere, anytime we have all heard it but it's also an opportunity to learn the true secrets and capabilities of our physiology & anatomy. Animal moves whether its from Global Bodyweight Training or from somewhere else, teach us how to control our bodies to become instinctive and be able to react to things you wouldn't expect. It's one of the reasons I have mixed feelings on systems like Crossfit; although it has amazing benefits in certain areas for some people and I like the randomness with the circuits and style of lifting and using your bodyweight it becomes a problem when quality deteriorates and only quantity matters. I believe if you're going to do something random or looking to shape up in a circuit style of training, make quality just as equal or more so than the quantity of the workout.

Practice mastering your bodyweight and find that animal spirit in your training on animal movements. Don't just learn how many push-ups or pull-ups you do in a set or see how fast you can do 100 Squats; learn the value of the quality in the movements more than the quantity because whether sooner or later in your workout if you become sloppy and keep pushing through, you will get injured and its going to be a bitch paying for medical bills because you decided to be a smart ass. Take it from me, I have performed some crazy stuff over the last 10 years and rarely ever got injured.

Be Awesome Everyone,


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Monday, March 21, 2016

Flowing In The Animal World & Exploring

Animal movement is so joyous and fun to do, period. I love the crawling, the jumping, balancing and just living it up. Yesterday I went into my Animal Flow workout and just felt amazeballs without needing to move all that hard for 10-15 min. like I usually do. Just flowing around and being creative integrating transitions, travels & switches that was more slow paced but still challenging.

The ability to explore your body as it moves in different patterns isn't easy by any stretch (pun intended) and it gives you feedback on what to work on and help yourself find your weak spots to generate into strength. My animal spirit is the Ape, I'm not questioning that and I feel whole heartedly that to be true. However you move will develop what you lean towards that spirit within you. We all have one and that's the beauty of exploration, its both a physically and mindful practice that everyone should do. It doesn't matter how old you are or where you come from; unleash your instincts little by little and see what brings out the best in you. 

The urban jungle can be scary and its up to you to find out what truly makes you animalistic. I know that sounds a little philosophical but so what? Animal Movement is not just moving in various motions; it's about channeling your inner self and bringing out what makes us who we can truly be. People are being held back because of various reasons; it isn't proper, it makes us look savage, it's uncivilized whatever the case may be. I'm still learning how to be more open with who I'am because growing up, it was very difficult to show my true self to practically anyone because let's face it, I grew up around a lot of guilt and ridicule and no matter how hard I tried; something always made someone defensive, poke fun at what I was trying to do and tell me it's impolite to be open about things or in other words "hold it in or suffer the consequences" that's how I felt. 

Over the years as I step by step was coming more out of my shell things started happening for me; showed people what I can do, be upfront about things and be accepted. My training has opened up a whole other universe for me where I can be myself, have fun, live without regret. Because I grew up around a lot of guilt not because of things I've done but the people who walk on it and hearing the soles squeak, it's instinctive for me to feel that way so around certain people I shut down and parts of me become emotionally painful. That's one of the reasons why I train, it helps me be open and be happy with who I'am and little by little i'm transitioning that mindset without needing to train but always keep my focus on the very thing that has helped me survive many hardships and helps me be a better man to the woman I love in all of this world.

Whatever you're going through, find something that helps you be a better version of who you want to become, channel your pain into something glorious and creative that gives you purpose and happiness. It's not materials that help you flow through life, its what keeps you flowing within yourself and making bad ass things happen. For me it's exercise and exploring, for others it may be something else but I'm telling you, nothing gives you more of a soul search than learning about your animal spirit and unleashing it without being fearful of it. Explore your true nature and make it awesome for you.  

Friday, March 18, 2016

Animal Conditioning Using Playing Cards

A couple years ago, I was testing out my conditioning as always and I went for a deck of cards workout that was made famous by the late Karl Gotch. Normally it be push-ups and squats so often I would do the whole deck which took me no more than 45 min. to an hour. As of late I've been wanting to do the deck again but with an added twist; I decided to not do only push-ups an squats but Animal Movements.

As you may have read on my facebook page I've been killing it with the Animal Dice Game where you roll a 20 sided dye once for an animal and a second for the amount of reps/steps you take. A couple times I added in a deck of cards to make things a little interesting. Instead of rolling twice, you only do it once to get the animal and you flip a card for your reps/steps. This is pure conditioning as it's going to be in my opinion; you can say there are better exercises but this is the ultimate in randomness and having to do unexpected movements and it's never the same workout which is a good thing if you're in sports or want to amplify your stamina for manual labor, continued strength, lung capacity for running or whatever.

Shuffle the cards as you normally would; have your dye in hand and roll it for an animal then flip the card to take your steps. This workout should roughly take you around 30 min. to complete and rest as little as possible; if you need a break, do deep breathing and drink that water, never sit down. Most decks are at around 52 cards, mine has 55 including 3 Jokers. Here's the repetition scheme for your cards.....

2-10=Face Value
K/Q/J=15 Reps
Ace=20 Reps
Joker=50 Reps

So pick 20 Animals you'd like play with or get them out of a Animal Kingdom Manual or from the DVD and go from there. Have fun with it, make noises if you want; it's not meant to brutalize your training but to help you have a good time while going through something very tough. This is great for kids, athletes in sports such as wrestling, MMA, Soccer, Football, Boxing, Spartan Race ect. My personal deck I use is Here and here's a set to get some 20-Sided Dye. This is an amazing workout with no special equipment and can be done practically anywhere at anytime. I do this in my den or outside when it's warm but if I'm in a hotel room or a very small room I do what's called a Caged Style workout where you're only allowed to move in a short amount of space. I have figured out how to do animal movements anywhere so don't let anyone tell you you need a very wide range of space.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Tarzan Is Calling To Me Once Again

Couldn't stay away from my Animal workouts for long. Over the past few days I've been hearing the call from the Ape Man himself & he's making me work harder than ever before. The jungle has been nuts since he got me playing the Animal Dice Game again. With the way he's kicking my ass lately I have hit more than 40 rolls of animals; the show off over here has been warming up with even higher numbers; my highest set of rolls is at 58, that's a lot of movement ranging from 1-20 steps at a time.

Even in the last 4 workouts; 57, 58, 42 & another 42 rolls I'm feeling it everywhere and my core is just getting hit the most because of the contraction to protect my lower back from injury. The endorphin high is incredible and I love feeling really good afterwards. This is pure conditioning and can really put you in Jungle Shape, basically gaining stamina and overall body to strength ratio. Although I'm over 265 lbs; I feel like an athlete under 220 and look like i'm around 235. If you really want to burn off fat and put on real muscle, this is the ticket hands down.

As much as I love my sprints, Isometrics & Hammer Work; the animals are the top of the workout food chain at least to me when it comes down to building insane strength and endurance for bodyweight work. You don't need to do that many rolls worth of animals to get the full benefit, only 5-10 to start and 20 min. worth of work is all that's needed. How much would it cost to you to get fit only 20 min. a day and gain strength, power, stamina & speed all in one workout?

Animal Kingdom Conditioning- $127 ($0.35/day for an entire year)

Animal Kingdom Conditioning 2- $67 ($0.18/day for an entire year)

Animal Flow 2.0- $59.95 w/ DVD ($0.16/day for an entire year)

Animal Workouts DVD- $29.95 ($0.08/day for an entire year)

If you really think about those numbers, that's still under $1 a day to train for an entire year alone just learning about animal exercises and that's still cheaper than the average gym. Just one of these courses alone can save you a couple hundred bucks a year at a gym that you need to drive to, get stuck in traffic, dress into workout clothes and get ready to get on a treadmill and the weights which you might have to wait for at several minutes at a time usually. Get your greatest benefit by saving time and money on a long-term perspective. I can hear the jungle man calling to you now and letting you know its never too late to get in Jungle Shape.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Best Workouts & Equipment While Traveling

I like a lot of things that training has provided but you can't always do what you want when it comes to certain things. Traveling for example can be a pain if you had to lug a kettlebell around or in dying need of a gym that a Hotel has (if that's what they call a gym) specific equipment. That's why I believe the best traveling form of exercise is Bodyweight; can be done in your hotel room, out in the hallway, at a park or hell on a plane (yes I literally have done movements seated on a plane).

Some people would like to travel with equipment that could be useful and resourceful. When I travel I usually take only 2 specific types of equipment that are light to carry but effective regardless of where you are. That would be the Chest Expander & the TNT Cables, they have been lifesavers for me as they give me the type of training I'd like to do that can be done just as in the gym. Hook the door attachment to a door, strap the cables in and you're good to go. Basic exercises like Pulls, Presses & Squats can be done with the cables. The Chest Expander is just as awesome if not more convenient and has nearly as many exercises to choose from. 

When it comes to specific workouts while traveling, hands down Circuits. Doing these for 20 minutes is all you need to get in good shape. The Darebee Workouts work best for training in hotel rooms, waiting for a plane or wherever. I once did a workout that involved stretching & Bridging exercises while waiting for a plane at the airport. I'd rather do a circuit in a hotel room or outside somewhere where i'm staying so I don't sweat all over the place. When it comes to equipment, resistance bands are best and to me Lifeline Fitness carries the best kind and very affordable. Do workouts that are within the 15-20 min range or less unless you're on vacation and may have more time you don't need to train any longer than that. When I'm in Lake Tahoe, I take advantage of my surroundings and head down to the lake to lift heavy rocks, swim, crawl amongst the rocks, climb ladders of the docks and anything else that suits my imagination. 

I get it some like to use a gym and maybe some may need it like Pro athletes or musicians, entertainers or whatever but for the most part unless you're a bodybuilder, powerlifter, strongman you don't need to go to a gym while you travel. Have some imagination. If you got a good small amount of space; you can do some crazy training. Since me and my girl are heading to Disneyland for her first trip to California we'll be walking the majority of the time but in the hotel, mostly calisthenics & resistance training will be used but at the parks in line for rides; Isometrics baby. Push, Pull, Wall Sit, Squeeze & flex in various positions as you stand in line. Be open minded and be resourceful with what you have. Use the environment and use your imagination and you'll never ever need the gym again. Value what you have and make use of your surroundings. Don't make excuses to not train. 

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Why Cram It When You Can Spread It

One of the fascinating things about Fitness is not only the variety but the mixture of exercises put together. Now I'm not one to be fiddled routines and on occasions I put myself into only one workout for the entire but for the most part; I like to dabble with exercises throughout the day. The reason why for that being done is because sometimes one workout just isn't quite enough or I won't have a usual time to train everything I need to do.

Some folks can only do one workout within the day because that's all they can do which is understandable; job, family, emergencies, unexpected circumstances whatever the case may be you only have this much time to do what's important. I like to look at things from another perspective; doing exercises throughout the day may have some value you may not realize. Not everyone has an hour to exercise to the gym or even at home at times which is believe it or not perfectly ok. I would normally get my training in by the afternoon after promoting or hanging with my girl but at times when I travel or i'm out of my element in another person's home and I would sometimes have to improvise.

I do my best to teach you that when you can train anywhere at anytime there's more to it then just being able to get something in within those factors. As the title implies, you can do things throughout the day but in increments instead of just cramming everything into one specific set of time. Here's an example; in a little over a week i'll be in California for a family gathering and since i'm not there that often, things can get chaotic with me seeing everyone and going all over town and to other cities/towns within 30 mile radius my training won't be exactly the same and I won't always have the time I need to train the way I normally would. That doesn't mean I stop doing what I do, just spreading things out with exercises here and there to get going with the chaos that happens there. My exercises mostly contain push-ups, self resistance, stretching and Isometrics plus the occasional squat but overall I just do enough exercise to where I can get a few minutes in throughout certain areas of the day. Because of this trip, I'm doing what I feel is right for me to do and train even for a couple minutes before something crazy happens and if people give me looks or think something negative; their issues not mine.

Training throughout the day may sound taxing and exhausting but as Doc Brown would say "You're not thinking 4th Dimensionally" but with the right level of intensity and keeping reps down to only a few and the exercises only a few; it can keep you energized the entire day. Wouldn't it be cool to feel giddy & high on endorphins? Being able to stay active without fatiguing and enjoy the vibrations of your body's electrical feeling? It can even help calm your nerves with the right exercises and doing things without people noticing you. Be open to ideas and doing what's important for your body. Give yourself an opportunity regardless of time that your body matters and staying fit doesn't have to be complicated but a gift to have the chance to do something down to the smallest fraction. Make it work for you and not against you, be your own trainer.