Kū Fitness: Minimalist style

 Posted by on 02/10/2014
Feb 102014
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mens fitness pushup

As I mentioned in an earlier post, The Aipa Project is going to Bali.  Actually I’m in Bali now.

But of course, like any other gym junkie, before I left I looked up the hotels we are staying at to see if they have a fitness center.  They supposedly have a ‘Wellness Studio’ in which I have no idea what that means.

Bali is known for promoting wellbeing to achieve physical, mental, and spiritual oneness.  I’m cool with that, but I need a little bit more than just meditation and downward dogging.

But aside from traveling, there are many obstacles that people come across when trying to get back in shape and exercise.  I’ll be honest, fitness can be both time and money expensive.

Some of you cannot spend hours in the gym, or buy expensive equipment, or want to pay membership to a club you’ll only use maybe twice a week, or would rather start in the comfort of you own home.

Whatever your reason is, it’s all good because I’ll show you what you can do instead.

You can get a great workout with no equipment, and with the addition of one or two pieces of simple equipment, your workout can become frickin awesome.

So now that I took away the drive to the gym or the search for a fitness facility at a hotel, you have no excuse to not do this type of workout.

Pros and Cons of Bodyweight Training

According to Jason Ferruggia of Renegade Strength, bodyweight exercises place less stress on your joints than training with free weights. You can do bodyweight movements anywhere, you could do grocery cart lunges down an aisle.  I asked Aaron Luther at Island Athlete what he thought, “The best thing about bodyweight exercises is that they can be done anywhere, anytime so you have no excuses for not training. Boom! I just did push-ups 10x,” and I’m pretty sure he did them.

Here are a few more reasons:

  • Bodyweight exercises involves the recruitment of multiple muscle groups which can enhance strength gains.
  • Highly functional.
  • If you are just getting into training, bodyweight exercises gives you a good foundation to build upon.  I also high suggest you are able to control your body before you add on external factors.

In no way, am I putting down lifting weights and going to the gym. If you did think that – you crazy! But I do believe bodyweight training is must for everyone, even for the most advanced gym-goers.  As awesome as bodyweight training is, there are some downsides as well.  According to Island Athlete, there comes a point in your bodyweight training where it transitions into more of muscle endurance.  I’m okay with endurance, but I’m a big fan when it comes to strength. Some other cons:

  • Can be limited to adjustments once an exercise gets easier.
  • At some point you will need to add weight to the movement and if you don’t have certain equipment, some muscle may not get worked as much as others.

Since I’m in Bali, I can’t rely on a gym filled with weights.  So I’m back to using the best tool I have, my body.  For beginners, I recommend that you start with bodyweight exercises and then progress into adding weight training.

Here is a Sample Workout

I will run through how I create a bodyweight workout and share with you some other variations that you may find interesting for a minimalist style workout.

There is a huge list of exercises and different ways to group them with sets, reps, duration, and so forth.  This is just a sample workout and the rest is up to your creativity.

How to do the workout: 

Always start off with a good warm-up to increase your core temperature and prepare your body for the exercises to follow; jumping jacks, jogging in place, reverse lunge to reach, push-ups, squats, jump rope with your imaginary rope (you can do double under and cross overs all day!). Then once you are ready, do the following exercises in a circuit fashion with the least amount of rest in between exercises.

You will perform a Ladder with these exercises.  Perform 10 reps of each exercise 1-6, then with little rest start a second round with 8 reps for each exercise.  Continue down the ladder with 6, 4, and 2 reps.  If you are gassed and the last round of 2 reps have you feeling woozy, then stop.  The objective is to work down the ladder 10,8,6,4,2 then back up 4,6,8,10.

1.  Squats

2. Push-ups

3. Alternating Reverse Lunges

4. Y-W

5. Burpees

6. Overhead Sit-ups

Get Creative – Design Your Own Workout

There are many different types of bodyweight exercises you can find out there and endless amounts of variations of putting them together.  Zach Even-Esh, founder The Underground Strength Gym created a series of workout programs based around bodyweight training that you can check out here: Bodyweight Training Secrets.

If you want to give it a try and design your own.  Here are a few suggestions:

  1. Choose anywhere between 4-10 exercises and prescribe either a rep or duration to perform each exercise.
  2. Make sure you pick exercises that will have you training all parts of your body.  You will kick yourself in the ass if you decide to put squats, lunges, and jump squats all together.  You should be doing pulling exercises, leg exercises, and pushing exercises, and total body exercises such as burpees – my favorite.
  3. Take your time, if you are just starting out – gradually build up.  Be smart and safe.
  4. When you get stronger you will need to incorporate a few pieces of equipment which I will share a suggestion list.
  5. Have fun and work hard! Remember, you can do this anywhere; kitchen, living room, office, or even at a beach.

Bodyweight Exercises

Here are a few common bodyweight exercises to get you started:

  • Squats (Squat Jumps, Single Leg Squats, Hindu Squats)
  • Planks (Plank Push-ups, Single Leg Planks, Plank Triceps Extensions)
  • Push-ups (I actually made a video of different Push-up variations (video))
  • Lunges (Forward, Reverse, Back and Forward, Jump Lunges)
  • Core (Bird Dog, Sit-ups, Supermans, Bicycles, Glute Bridges)

Suggested Equipment

The follow equipment are not a must-have, but they are great to have.  Obviously you don’t need to get them all, but any of these equipment would be a great addition to your workout:

  • Medicine Ball
  • Kettlebell
  • Dumbbells – I prefer the Hex Dumbbells
  • Suspension Trainer – I have a Jungle Gym XT
  • Strong Band or Resistance Bands

As you can see there are many things you can do to get started on your fitness journey. From those of you who are just starting out to those who have been training for a good amount of time, bodyweight training should always be a part of your workouts.