I love working out and love to experiment and push my body to its limits. I just thought I would share these different ways of exercise for those that are interested. I use calisthenics because I don't lift weights, but the same rules apply.Pyramids
Pick an exercises and go up to failure from the failure point work your way down. For example:
10 second Rest or as much time as it took to the number of repetitions between exercise (if 2 Push Ups takes 2 seconds rest 2 seconds, if 5 Push Ups takes 10 seconds, rest 10 seconds, etc. Basically, you have more rest time the higher your repetitions get).
Perform 1 Push Up
Perform 2 Push Ups
Let's say your maximum is 15 repetitions, begin descending back to one:
14 Push Ups
13 Push Ups
Rest, until 1.
These are really good for endurance and overall strength.
A note on failure or maximum repetition: to save yourself from injury, especially for those of you just beginning an exercise routine, failure means giving yourself enough stamina to pull off 1 or 2 more repetitions with perfect form
, which means proper body alignment and breath control. When you start shaking to get a rep done you run the risk of damaging your joints and over exhausting your muscles causing stiffness, injury and burn out. Contrary to popular belief, you need to be smart when you exercise. Get enough sleep, have a balanced diet, drink lots of water, warm up, stretch, listen to the body and have a good time.Supersets
Pick two exercises and perform them one after the other with no rest between sets. Rest after second exercise is complete. The exercises can target the same muscle group, opposing muscle groups (push/pull for example) or two different muscle groups all together. For example:
To exhaust one muscle group and develop strength and endurance perform Dips followed by Wide Push Ups, or Diamond Push Ups followed by Plyo Pushups (Clap Push Ups).
To work antagonizing muscle groups perform Hyper extensions (Superman Crunches) then Crunches or Leg Raises.
To work two different muscle groups perform Squats then Pull Ups, etc.
You can also do Tri-Supersets, which follows the same principle only with a third exercise. You basically have a Circuit at this point.HIIT or High Intensity Interval Training
Pick one exercise and perform each one for 5-20 minutes with a 2:1 ratio for exercise versus rest. For example:
1 minute Jumping Jacks
30 second Rest
Repeat for 5-20 minutes or planned amount of Sets.
You can also add Supersets the stronger and more in shape you get. For example:
1 minute Mountain Climbers
30 second rest
1 minute Push ups
30 second rest
For Sets or specified time. This basically turns into a killer Circuit.Circuit Training
Pick 3-7 exercises, perform 5-10 repetitions each for 3-8 sets. For example (we'll keep it easy, but you can do whatever exercises, weights or body weight, that you choose. Crossfit websites usually have their Workouts of the Day [WOD] you can follow, as long as you know the terminology):
This example is For Time:
Wide Push Ups- 5 reps
Lunge Squats- 5 reps
Pull Ups- 5 reps
Side Lunges- 5 reps
Leg Raises- 5 reps- This equals one Set. Perform 5 Sets with no breaks as fast as you can. Record your time and try to beat it the next time you perform this Circuit.
This is for reps:
Do each as many as possible for 15-30 seconds per exercise:
You can add more time or reps the stronger and more in shape you get.
The possibilities are endless.
There are many more ways to exercise, but these are my favorites (and the ones I've memorized, to be honest).
End Notes:Strength and Endurance
If you want to build bulk and strength with calisthenics you do what is termed Under Tension (similar to an Isometric exercise). This basically means holding the beginning and end position of your exercise for 2-5 seconds (or longer). This causes the blood to flow to your muscles, thus causing bulk. Because Push Ups are the most widely taught upper body exercise, we'll is them as an example.
From the top Push Up position (called the Plank) hold for an extended count, descend as slowly as possible and hold at the bottom for an extended count slowly push up. Repeat as many as possible.
Another great muscle builder is what is referred to as Partials:
Perform Push Ups going half way down and pause. From the half way position go all the way down and pause. Return to middle position and pause, return to Plank. As many as you can.
To build strength and explosive power perform a Push Up with a slow descent, pause at bottom and push up as fast you can. You can jump your hands off the ground and clap for greater explosive power. These are good for any external martial artist or fighter. Same rules apply for Squats.
For endurance perform as many Push Ups as possible as fast as possible (with perfect form that is). Same rules apply for Squats, Crunches and Pull Ups.Isometrics
Isometrics means "same distance" in Greek. It is holding a position under tension for an amount of time without movement. A good breathing method that works is to inhale with body in ready position, exhale and tense the muscle you are targeting, and inhale once again top release tension. Do this 3-10 times per muscle.
Refer to this website for proper breathing (there's a free PDF somewhere on the site, I just don't feeling like surfing through all the useless advertising. I refer you here so as not break any copyright laws- it's a direct link to the breathing method):http://www.animal-kingdom-workouts.com/isometric-muscle-exercises.htmlDynamic Tension
This is using the principle of Isometrics except you are moving. Those of you familiar with Okinawan Karate this method is utilized in their katas Sanchin and Tencho (in the Uechi style almost all their katas are performed with dynamic tension). Filling the Golden Bell (elongation and filling of the tendons and ligaments) is also very similar to this type of exercise, but not the same as the Golden Bell is an internal skill.
Basically, tense your body and move around with said tension. You can use the same breathing method as the Isometric example from the site or whatever is comfortable. I would look up Sanchin on YouTube to get a better idea of what I am talking about (Uechi Ryu would be the best choice- this is what they specialize in).
Barstarzz, Calisthenic Kingz, Hannibal for King (among others) are excellent to look up on YouTube for progressive calisthenics. They have basics for those new to exercise, but the fun stuff.. well, you'll see
. Enjoy, cry and sweat!