Sunday, April 29, 2012

Bodyweight training is strength training

For the longest time I have always treated bodyweight exercises as more for conditioning rather than strength. But after doing some reading and based on my own experience I have come to realize that I have approached bodyweight training the wrong way.

Rather than doing high rep pushups, squats, leg raises... Etc. I should concentrate on their progressions (e.g. Normal pushups to close grip pushups to incline pushups and so on). Just like high rep weight training, which defeats its purpose as your body simply adapts to the stress, the same thing happens with bodyweight training.

The body adapts and you don't gain anything out of it except for maybe improved endurance and possibly ligament wear and tear. So treat it just like any other strength training. Stick to the tried and tested 8 - 10 rep range. Once that becomes easy do more advanced versions of it. It's more economical that way.

Monday, April 16, 2012


I am PROUD. Proud of my home gym. It is not much. It is more of a living room gym. Those who are priviledged enough to set foot in my humble pigeon hole are all dumbstruck by my choice of furniture.

Squat rack
2 Barbells
Weight plates
12kg kettlebell
Chin up bar
Power wheel
Stability ball (I haven't used this for years. Tried to give it away but no takers. Hmphh)

I might want some additions/upgrades:

Multi-grip chin up bar
Skipping rope
Punching bag (though there is really no place I can put it without obstructing traffic)
Sled (though i need to pull it OUTSIDE my pigeon hole)
Box (for jumps more than anything else)

Hmmm.. What else? Though I must say what I have is already sufficient to give me a nasty workout.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Of barbells, dumbbells, and bodyweight

So I finally joined Jason Ferruggia's Inner Circle. Best to take advantage of the favourable exhange rate while it lasts, right? As I expected, it is a treasure trove of knowledge. There are articles, other written resources, the forum (though so far I have not benefited from it much).

I scoured through all of Jay's programmes and I noticed a recurring pattern: the barbell exercises are kept at a minimum (at most 2 barbell exercises per session) and the reps are between the 4 - 8 range. 8 is a rarity actually.

The rest are dumbbell and bodyweight stuff.

Don't get me wrong. The programmes are all tough. But it isn't killer tough that it fries your CNS and takes ages for you to recover. I think Jay has found the balance that gives the trainee the optimal combination of strength, power and athleticism.

Reminds me that I still have a long way to go before I can write an effective programme for myself. Let alone for others.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Dumbbells... So Underrated!

There was a phase I went through where I left my pair of dumbbells gathering dust.  I used the plates on the barbell, but the dumbbell handles are left in a dark corner, and hardly ever saw the light of day.  The barbell was the ultimate tool to get strong and dumbbells do not have a place in the grand scheme of things.

Boy, was I a bloody idiot!

Trust me when I say that you can still get awfully strong with only a pair of dumbbells and nothing else.  Heck, I honestly think you can get crazy strong with nothing else but dumbbells and bodyweight stuff.   In my opinion, anyone who is thinking of strength training, ESPECIALLY the girls, would not hurt starting their training career with a pair of adjustable dumbbells.

Dumbbells are less intimidating than the barbell and easier to master.  It gives you a good foundation when you start training with a barbell.  Heck, I started 'serious strength training' with dumbbells just 3 years ago!  And finally, below are a list of my favourite dumbbell exercises, in no particular order:
  1. Snatches
  2. Clean and press
  3. Farmers walk
  4. Lunges (I have a love/hate relationship with lunges)
  5. Step-ups
  6. Military press
  7. Goblet squat
Hmm.. I can already think of a few tough training sessions just looking at the list above.  Do you have any other dumbbell exercises that you love?  Care to share?

Saturday, April 7, 2012


Deloading after 2 months of continuous training. Starting to notice a slight decline in performance. I tire easily too.

Taking a week off. Perfect timing. Going off to hometown to see my nephews.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Wish List

Last year I managed to get one very important item in my inexhaustable wishlist: the squat rack. It has turned out to be one of the better investments I have ever made. It is also a great conversation piece. Not many girls have a squat rack sitting in their living room.

This year, I would like to cross off one more thing on my wishlist: to join Jason Ferruggia's Inner Circle.

Basically I will get 12 months' worth of membership and with the membership I get a brand new programme each month. I am not sure if I can get access to previous programmes posted in the Inner Circle. It would be a fantastic bonus if I do.

It is pretty clear that I am reverting to following other people's programme. But I guess I am simply not ready to design stuff on my own. I either over simplify or over complicate things. Goes to show I still have a long way to go.

The cost of the membership is US$147. Equivalent to MYR460. Not that pricey to be honest. I can afford it for sure. It definitely cost much less than the typical 10 sessions with a trainer. Would definitely get it soon.


The trouble with gaining weight and having broader shoulders is that I have to chuck away some of my favourite work shirts since I can barely button them up anymore.  Time to shop for new ones.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Don't ask me for advice

Once upon a time, I was eager to share what I know about diet and exercise to anyone who is willing to listen or pretend to listen. But unfortunately I discovered that people are mosly skeptical about what I say and keep on doing what they have been doing anyway.

Which is pretty funny since I don't see them lose an ounce of fat despite dedicating quite a chunk of their waking hours slaving on the treadmill.

Nowadays, I just listen to them talk about exercise and their so called diet with disinterest. Sometimes I get the urge to say something... To correct their misguided beliefs but eventually I decide not to other.

It is unfortunate that I have come to a stage where I couldn't be bothered. I wish I could share what I know with the general public. But it is just not worth it. Now I just share information with those who are smart enough and genuine enough to want to actually learn.

The rest can continue their love affair with the treadmill.