below are my workouts from the past week and a half. I pulled the movements and progressions from the Dragon Door book “Convict Conditioning.” i created my own workout plan, however, as i did not find any of those outlined in the book to be right for me. the training is centered around mastery of the “big 6″ movements: pushup, squat, pullups, leg raises, bridges, handstand pushups (with one arm!)
body weight movements have been a favorite of mine for as long as i can remember. the challenge of moving your own body through space and the thrill of mastering, or even accomplishing at all, some of the more difficult movements such as the front or rear lever, muscle-up, or 1-legged squat.
my initial plan was to move through the progressions of the “big 6″ moves and attempt to always move forward. for example, the squat progression is:
1. shoulderstand squats – inverted, so only the weight of the legs is your resistance
2. jacknife squats – you use a low support like a bench for your hands so you can help push off from the bottom
3. supported squats – the support is higher (like a 36″ box) so you don’t get as much form your upper body
4. full squat – ass-to-ankles
5. close squats – heels together, toes pointed out at 30 degrees, ass-to-ankles
6. uneven squats – one-legged squat with a basketball (the only piece of equipment that Paul “Coach” Wade claims you need to train) under the extended leg for support
7. one-legged squat – 2 sets of 50 per leg is the ultimate goal. then add weight.
each movement in the progression has set and rep goals for beginning, intermediate, and progression standards. when you can accomplish the progression standard, move on to the next more difficult movement.
i wanted to train 5X/week and i wanted to hit the whole “big 6″ each workout. my body requires a constant reminder that it needs to adapt, or it begins to adapt to being a skinny person. moving through the easier moves in the progressions wasn’t too hard, but i soon discovered that doing the hardest moves i could do 5 days a week was not going to work out, so to speak. now, i simply modulate volume and intensity by the movement. i’ll do the hardest squats i can, but relatively easy bridges, for example.
the last couple workouts especially, i’m beginning to find my pace and appreciate the strictness of form that Coach Wade requires. to make up for my abundance of type I muscle (see becoming a fast twitch machine), i tend to be explosive in the concentric, but still retain absolute control and a pause at the finish of each movement before a slow return to the start
so, that’s what i’ve learned, but what have i gained in almost two weeks? it’s easy to track progress with CC, and i’ve definitely seen some. horizontal pulls, for example, the first progression step on the way to a 1-armed pullup, requires that you can do 3 sets of 30 reps, slow and controlled with a pause at the fully contracted point (when your chest touches the thing you’re pulling up on.) i went from barely being able to maintain my form on 15 reps for a couple sets to having 1 set of 30 and a set each of 22 and 23 reps with great form and control.
my one-leg squats, which i’ve had for a long time, have solidified and stabilized, especially on the weaker left side. my handstands are getting stronger, longer, and more stable, i accomplished 2X20 reps of “close pushups with perfect form and cadence. all pushups in CC are done with the feet together. all the way. no wide base to cheat off of. working on bridges has made the biggest (and only!) improvement in shoulder flexibility/mobility that i’ve seen in years. oh, and one more HUGE deal – deep, slow squatting has increased spinal extensor strength and endurance while increasing ankle flexibility. i came up with the following to test myself:
speaking of the weaker side, i’ve been using a method of bringing up the strength of my weak side. i want to pass it along, as it makes sense and seems to be working. use your weaker side first, and complete as many reps as you can (minus one!) this is how many you get to do with your strong side. this saves some of your recovery ability to help bring the weak side up fast. i’ve felt the difference.
more than anything, i’m really enjoying my training. i don’t dread it, i revel in it. each day i train, i follow my body’s lead and work it hard where it’s ready and ease back where it’s still recovering.
oh, and the 8% BF thing. yeah. i had to get it out there so people can ask me if i’m there yet, and how it’s going. i want to be pestered. i have about 3% to go. it’s a hard 3%, though. i’ve had 3% to go for years, i think. limiting carb intake except peri-workout and on a single carb-up day/week should do it. the GH boosting techniques i’ve been using seem to be helping, too.
wall handstand X35s, X30s, X30s, XX30s
full pushups X21,
full squats X20 to warm up for 1-leg squats
pushups X20, X20 met progression standard
1-leg squats X6/side, X6, X6
horizontal pulls X21, X22, X20
flat knee raises X35, X35, X35 met progression standard
flat bridges from steel horse X20, X19, X19
wall handstand X50s, X54s, X42s
close (diamond) pushups X13, X16, X16
close squats X20 to warm up legs
1/2 one-leg squats X15/side, X15, X15
slow chinups, hands-to-chest X10, X8, X8
flat bent-leg raises X30, X30, X30
flat bridge on steel horse X15
short bridge X15
stopped when left leg hamstring wouldn’t stop cramping
wall handstand X62s, X50s, X52
diamond pushups X20, X14, X11
close squats X20, X20, X20
left-arm bias chinups X8, X8, X8
lying straight leg raise X20, X20 met progression standard
short bridge X50, X50 wide knees, X50 wide knees
KB ladder double KB deadlift, swings, cleans, and push press 1..5..1 +5 extra on the last set 20kg/24kg KBs
Convict Conditioning style workout followed – rounds of max reps pullups, dips, pushups, and leg raises/bridges
easy ring rows and pushups X30
close pushups X12, X16, X20
close squats with support, 5 second dwell at bottom to increase ankle ROM X20 X20 X20
hands-free, ATG w/3 second dwell front squats 135 X7 X8 X8
horizontal row X30 X23 X22
hanging knee raises X15 X15 met progression standard
hanging straight leg raises X10
bent-leg straight bridges X10 X10 X10
few minutes jumproping
warmup circuit, 3X:
20 elevated pushups
20 easy ring rows
20 full squats, arms crossed
1/2 one-leg squats, per side X10 X12 X14
dips: BW+20 X10 X12 X14
wide grip pullups X10 X12 X14
wide knee short bridges X50
20 elevated pushups
20 single arm ring rows per arm, #13 with toes at the black mat
20 full squats
close pushups 20 20 met progression standard
one-legged squats X10/side, perfect w/ no faulters, falls, or dabs. total control.
lean-limited full squats 25
rope grip intervals 15s/15s X 5
tabata 1/2 burpees 8 rounds