Finding your Hidden Strength Reserves

It’s amazing really, so many indirect actions are perfect metaphors other areas of your life. Take exercise for instance. From my observations, your level of dedication to your workouts indicates:

-How disciplined you are in other daily or frequently recurring activities (uh, diet anyone?)
-How much effort you put into those activities, or barring that:
-How hard you push to complete or push those activities to the next level

Of course, regular workouts can also contribute to your well-being on a daily and ongoing basis, but I’m talking about the less frequently connected dots in life. For instance, little victories in life tend to lead to, or contribute to a belief that you can, accomplish small (and large) victories in other areas of life.

Take a look around the fabric of your week after a good workout or two. What did you accomplish in those workouts? What did you attempt? How did you challenge yourself?

Often, we find that the best victory (especially as you push past 40!) in a workout is finding out how much effort we could give. Realizing, ‘damn, I didn’t know I had it in me!’

Sometimes, it doesn’t matter that you didn’t reach the goal, or complete the WOD. What matters, and what is most exhilirating, is discovering a power within you that had been dormant or undiscovered. A power that surfaces through the expenditure of energy from a synergy of mind and body.

That is what lifts you up. That feeling is what drives you on. Empowerment makes you realize that you have barely tapped your own potential, and damn that feels good.

Here’s my empowering workout from today. I really didn’t know I had it in me, specifically that many pullups in one workout. I have been struggling with consistency and setting up the right combination of home gym equipment in my garage and backyard. Now, I can’t wait to load up another 50 lb. sandbag and add weight to my pullups!

Warm-up at track:

-Joint rotations (see instructions here. Just scroll past the first paragraph for the videos.)
-3 laps (jog/walk; sprint/walk; sprint/walk)
Coupled those with:

Finger-only pullups: 3 sets of 3-4 (on a fat steel beam, thus the fingers only)

At home:

5 supersets of:

-Kipping&strict pullups: x 3-4 (not to failure)
-Sandbag ‘hug’ lift from floor, 100# x 1-2 (not going for failure)
-Single arm ‘gas-mower starters’ with 80-120# power band x 5 each

So now it’s your turn. Go out and start exercising. Do what you do, Crossfitter, runner, triathlete, whatever. If you don’t do anything, just walk. Really push yourself. Reach deep. When you want to quit, keep going. After you ignore that quitter a few times you might just forget about it altogether.

Chances are, you will discover something about yourself that was long forgotten, or perhaps you never even knew about.


Total Core Shredding Body Blasting Rocky Workout Routine!

In my last post about Rocky IV we glossed over Stallone’s training and showed a highlight reel of some raw training from the movie. This time we are going to talk about how we can get raw without having to catch the next plane to Moscow.

There are really only three things you need to do the work Rocky did in his remote Russian farmhouse. One is a barbell (but a pair of adjustable dumbbells will do,) the other is a pullup bar, and the last is a sandbag. In fact, two sandbags would be even better. Learn how to make a cheap sandbag here.

Here are the exercises you will be performing. You can do these with 1 to 2 minutes rest in between, or perform them as a circuit, resting after all the exercises are done. For circuits (interval training,) use a lighter weight and move at a faster pace.


Do slow, light repetitions of each exercise to warm up.

The Movements:

-Basic Pullup: This is the basic pullup, not a kipping pullup. You can use a chair or stool to assist you if a full pullup is not possible. Do as many as you are capable of, adding a dumbbell between your legs if you can do 15-20 with ease.

-Standing Russian Twist: Use a barbell, with one end empty and anchored to the corner of a wall or wedged between something heavy. The end you are holding has weight on it. Start light until you are comfortable with the exercise.

Standing Russian Twist at

Stand in front of the barbell, holding the end with both hands at arm’s length. Keeping the arms extended. twist the barbell all the way to one side, then back to center. Repeat on the opposite side. Lean forward slightly as the bar is lowered and get your legs and hips into the movement.

When you are comfortable, swing from one side all the way to the other.

-Sandbag Step-ups or Lunge:
With a sandbag on one or both shoulders, step up on a stool or step, alternating legs. Make sure the step is at least 12″ high, or high enough to engage the quadriceps and glutes.

You can also choose to perform lunges, either in place or walking. If you use one sandbag, switch the bag to the opposite shoulder halfway through your set.

-Standing Military Press:
You may not have a horsecart loaded with your training team to press, but a barbell works just fine. Clean it to the shoulders, then press up using minimal or no leg movement. Tighten the core and move the barbell in line with the shoulder plane.

-Barbell or Dumbbell Rollouts: 
This is a tough core exercise affecting the entire abdominal wall, and using the lats, triceps, obliques, serratus anterior and glutes to stabilize. But first learn how to do it.

Start from your knees if this is your first time. Place your hands on the barbell (or adjustable dumbbells,) and keep the body straight as you roll forward until the arms are extended in front of you (or as far as you can go and still roll back to the start.)

Now maintain that tightness making your body rigid and roll back the way you came.

Now imagine doing this with a barbell.

When you get strong enough, try doing this exercise starting from standing. Now that is a hardcore abdominal workout!

Do 2-4 sets of each exercise, depending on your fitness level. If you are doing intervals, do one set of each exercise one after the other, no rest between. That is one round. Do 2-4 rounds and rest 1-2 minutes between them.

This is not a comprehensive routine to replace a complete program, but add it to the schedule once or twice a week as a way to build a stronger, more functional body.

For more equipment and workout ideas, continue reading:

Pullup Bars for the Home Gym

The Kettlebell Dumbbell Relay Workout for Strength and Endurance

TRX Suspension Trainer vs. Pull-up Bars

Build Muscle and Burn Fat with these Simple Exercises