Okay, yeah, so, I’m a kettlebell guy. Or at least, that’s how I’m often described. Towards the end of my sojourn within the BIG CORPORATE BOX, I was known for two things: my garish over-the-calf socks, and my kettlebells (and let that be a free marketing lesson to all of you. Have a signature in your professional appearance. It works.) It would have surprised my coworkers to learn that while I hated wearing pants on cold and rainy days because I didn’t get to show off my socks, I didn’t hate using tools aside from kettlebells.
Truth is, before I met the kettlebell, and before I fell in love with the TRX, I was a bodyweight guy. I love work done where it’s just me and gravity. There’s a savage grace to it.
There are folks out there who trained with me in the late 90’s and early 00’s who found themselves crawling, skipping, running, and doing all kinds of crazy movements in deep sand. And they were absolute terrors in their chosen sports as a result of the work we did together. And when I chose to go full time and be a shiny-mirror/loud-music gym monkey? I had clients crawling all over the place in all kinds of variations. And members likely thought I was nuts.
Until they started noticing my clients were getting seriously shredded.
Then some early adopters started crawling as well.
And they started seriously shredded.
Calisthenics, or bodyweight exercise, is just about the purest method of hardening and fortifying the body as I have encountered.
Normally, I get into the topic of calisthenics, and I get to talking about the Greek root words kalos (beautiful) and sthenos (movement) and how the concept is both a truth and a promise. Do enough of it, and focus on moving beautifully when you do it, and you’ll be rewarded with a more beautiful countenance.
Normally, I do that. But, not this time.
Sometimes, I get to talking about calisthenics, and I talk about yoga, or what we Westerners think is yoga. I mention that the ancient Sanskrit yoga manuscripts describe just three basic positions , and that the yoga that most people think of when they hear the word (the sucky-flowy kind, not the cool-balancy kind) , Vinyasa yoga, wasn’t introduced until the 1940’s.
And, that yoga strangely mirrored the bodyweight exercises that were incredibly popular among the ‘physical culturists’ of Eastern Europe.
And whatever you do, please don’t tell your yoga friends, because, as the saying goes, “You can tell me I’m wrong, but don’t you dare tell me my Pappy is wrong.” A yogi’s word is damn near scripture for a yogini. (In the annals of apologia, no one quite reaches the apex, or the nadir, of zealotry that yoga people do.) And sure as hell, don’t tell that middle aged lady you know who just dropped multiple thousands of dollars to travel to India for a ‘yoga certification.’
But, truth is, the Yogi who introduced vinyasa yoga claimed only he had read the 5,000 year old manuscript that contained all the movements he brought forth into the yoga world BEFORE ANTS ATE THE MANUSCRIPT.
I hate when that happens. I HATE WHEN INSECTS SUDDENLY GET INTERESTED IN EATING MANUSCRIPTS THAT ONLY I HAVE SEEN.
Sometimes, I get to discussing bodyweight exercise, and I’ll do that. But, not this time.
Instead, I’m just gonna tell you: bodyweight exercise works. The important elements are tension, time, and intent. If we, as coaches, do our due diligence and craft a program that honors those three parts, and you, as athletes, act on what we bring to the table, you will see impressive results. Seriously, all you need is a 6’x6′ space and gravity and you can change your body for the better.
Just remember, your training time at home, just like your work time at home, is yours. Defend it jealously. Don’t let the outside distractions get in your way, and just as crucially, when it’s over, let it be over.
Then, go back to your real life.