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3 Tips for Chest Day

Tip #1: Forget about chest day.

Tip #2: Do some really hard pushups, along with some really hard pull ups, along with some really hard squats.

Tip #3: Forget about chest day.

Monday - International Chest Day

Okay. So if you live for chest day, my tips probably aren’t for you. But if you’re a guy that doesn’t really need to brag about his bench press, and just wants to get into f*cking shape, have some cut-up muscles, and functional strength way beyond everyday demands, then chest day is a waste of time. 30 minutes focusing on bicep curls is a waste of time.

Your body was meant to move together with itself. Tell me of a time in your everyday life where you needed to isolate your triceps in order to do something. No. Doesn’t happen. Pick something up off of the floor, and your whole body works together. Legs, lower back shoulders, arms. This is the type of exercise your body was designed for.

Unless you have a reason to use a split routine, where you work out one or a couple specific muscles/groups per workout. A reason like say, you are a bodybuilder whose mission is to carve every muscle of his body with the precision of a surgeon, you have 20 hours a week to devote to working out, and you are disciplined in your diet and rest. In reality, most of us just want to look and feel good. And full body workouts do that better because:

  • They are more efficient and sustainable for long periods of time
    • Forget about long hours at the gym day in and day out, with a full body workout you can see great results in only 2 to 3 workouts per week.
  • Using compound exercises like the push up, pull up and squat, you develop your muscles in functional proportion, and preserve joint integrity.
    • This means a lower long term risk of injury
  • You burn more calories during and after a workout.
    • The bigger the muscle you work, the more calories you spend. Compare the difference in 30 minutes of focusing on your biceps and 30 minutes of focusing on your entire body

So what is the best full body workout for strength, muscle, fat loss, and convenience? Some really hard push ups, some really hard pull ups, and some really hard squats.

The Secret to Transforming Your Body

Progress. Steps forward. This is how you transform your body.

“DUH!” But most people don’t really understand this concept, otherwise 100% of people would reach their fitness goals. To help you understand this secret of “progress”, I have broken it down for you into 3 parts:

  1. Where you want to finish
  2. Where you are now
  3. Commitment for the long haul

Let me start with a story. In ancient Greece a man named Milo dominated the Olympic wrestling arena, a six-time champion. He was the biggest and strongest in all of Greece. But before Milo gained this fame, he was just your average guy. An average guy that decided to become the strongest, most muscular man in Greece. And the easiest way to accomplish this, Milo concluded, was to train himself to carry a bull around town. He decided where he wanted to finish.

Milo+Bull

Knowing that he was much too weak to carry a bull around town, Milo began with a new-born calf. A calf, he thought, would be a reasonable place to start for his current abilities. Milo was honest about where he was then. He did not attempt to carry a bull that first day, as it would have resulted in sure failure. So, he threw the calf over his shoulders, and carried it around town. That night the calf ate, slept and grew. Milo ate, slept, and grew. The next day, Milo carried the calf around town again. And again the next. And the next.

It takes 2 years for a calf to fully grow into a bull. And so, for 2 years Milo carried that calf. Progressing steadily day after day. You cannot acquire the ability to carry a bull any faster than a calf can grow into a bull. Milo understood this, so he made a commitment to the long haul. And, after 2 years, Milo was finally rewarded. The calf grew into a bull, and Milo grew into a man with the strength and muscle required to carry a bull. He went on to be a six-time Olympic wrestling victor.

Where you want to finish. The first step in transforming is deciding how you want to transform. Your body only changes in order to handle the challenges it faces day to day. So… Stop thinking that you want to look a certain way, say “20 inch biceps, a six pack, and 7% body fat”, that is not a specific physical challenge, thus it is an incredibly complicated goal. So simplify it. Start thinking that you want to look like you can handle a certain activity. Examples: “on any given day I want to look like I can: do 10 one-handed pushups, squat 400 pounds or run a marathon”.

Why do this? Because saying “I want to look like I can do 10 one-handed pushups on any given day” is a simple goal to accomplish, just progress to a point where you can do 10 one-handed pushups and I can guarantee you that you will look like a person who can do 10 one-handed pushups. (Look at some calisthenics pros on YouTube to see what this type of person looks like).

So now we have a definite goal, one that is simple to progress to. I can just start where I am now, progress a little bit each day, and eventually with time I will reach my goal, and thus transform my body.

Milo’s definite goal was that he wanted to acquire the ability to carry a bull around town. This goal was simple to accomplish, just start with a calf and progress little by little every day. To acquire the ability to knock out 10 one-handed pushups, just start with a simple regular push up and progress little by little every day.

Where you are now. In order to get to where you want to finish, the only place you can start is where you are now. Many people fail to transform their body because they are not honest about where they are now.

The first mistake they make is to be too ambitious about their current abilities. How many times have you, or someone you know, jumped into a very very intense workout program, miserably tortured yourself, and then gave up without really getting anywhere? That’s because it is impossible to progress if you never get started, and if you “start” ahead of where you actually are, you are not really starting, you are just dreaming. You will lose every time if you start at a level you cannot perform at. However, you will greatly increase your chances of success if you begin at a level you are comfortable with, and progress steadily ahead.

Milo didn’t start out carrying a bull. He started out carrying a calf.

To progress to 10 one-handed pushups, you do not need to start out with the crazy intense workout that the pros do, you need to start where you are right now, even if that means only 5 regular pushups.

Commitment for the long haul. A calf cannot grow into a bull any faster than in 2 years. Milo could not acquire the ability to carry a bull any faster than in 2 years. All major transformations take time, transformations that happen overnight are exclusive to fairy tales.

You have to stay motivated for your goal. Milo stayed motivated by the fact that each day the calf was growing, thus each day he was progressing, and just as sure as the calf would grow into a bull, Milo would reach his planned destination. Stay motivated by the fact that each workout you are progressing to your definite goal, and sure enough you will reach your definite goal in due time. You will transform your body.

DISCLAIMER: I am not suggesting you train yourself to carry a bull.

3 Reasons to Skip the Ab Exercises

  1. You do Squats
  2. You do Push Ups
  3. You do Pull Ups

Let me explain. Your abs’ core function is STABILIZATION. To stabilize your body when you are standing, sitting, walking, running, jumping, showering, pooping and brushing your teeth, so basically all the time. The best way to work your abs is to require them to perform high levels of stabilization.

Here’s the scoop. Squats, push ups, and pull ups require high levels of stabilization throughout your core. Do plenty of squats, push ups, and pull ups and you will be doing plenty of ab exercises without really knowing it (until your abs are sore the next day).

Here’s more of the scoop. The more advanced squats, push ups, and pull ups you do the more stabilization and strength they require from your abs. Imagine a guy that can do 10 one-handed push ups, 10 single-legged squats, and 10 pull ups with a 50 pound weighted vest. I bet you imagined a guy with a six pack.

No Pull Up Bar? No Problem (for now)

Don’t panic. If you don’t have a pull-up bar, you can still start The Simple Workout today.

The good news. The pull up is only 1 out of the 3 greatest strength training exercises. That leaves 2 out of the 3 greatest strength exercises that you can do without any equipment what-so-ever. Think about it, 2/3 of the greatest strength training exercises is better than 0/3 of the greatest strength training exercises.

Excuse

How to do The Simple Workout without a Pull-Up bar.

  1. Squat: 4 sets
  2. Push Up: 3 sets
  3. Push Up (variation): 2 sets *I recommend a wide grip push up

How it works. With this modification, you will still get the same amount of total sets, so about the same total level of work/difficulty. In the push up you not only engage your chest, shoulders, and triceps, but also your back and biceps for stability and control. However, the push up does work your chest, shoulders, and triceps more than it does your biceps and back, which leads to the bad news.

The bad news. This is a temporary fix. If you follow this program for an extended period of time you might be at risk of developing a muscular imbalance, or simply put, your chest, shoulders and triceps will become stronger, larger, and tighter than your back and bicep muscles. This could cause several problems down the road, mainly bad posture. Exercising with a pulling movement is vital for effective strength training, so you can’t ignore it forever. But don’t fret, you can do this program for several weeks, get stronger, get well on your way, and not worry about developing an imbalance. Just make sure you get that pull-up bar within a month or so. Doorway pull-up bars are cheap.

WARNING! Detail. Because the push up moves your body, it not only works your chest, shoulders, and triceps (muscle groups typically used by pushing movements), but also muscles on the other side of your joints including your back and biceps (muscle groups typically used by pulling movements, such as the pull up). The push up moves your body, which requires a high level of stability and control. Stability and control requires compression of all involved joints, as follows:

  • At the elbow: Your triceps (backs of your arms) extend the joint, while your biceps apply force in the opposite direction, thus compressing your elbow joint so that it doesn’t move in an unexpected direction and cause you to fall on your face.
  • At the shoulder: your chest and some shoulder muscles pull your arms together, thus moving your body upwards. Because your body is moving, your shoulders must be INCREDIBLY stable in order to avoid falling on your face. This is accomplished by applying force on the shoulder joint from all different directions, activating not only your shoulder muscles, but your back muscles as well.

Confused? Let me put it another way. Many people wrongly believe that the push up only works your chest, shoulders and triceps. However it works your back and biceps in the following ways:

  • Back:
    • Muscles in your mid-to-upper back apply force on the shoulder joint, compressing it, so that you can be stable and not fall on your face.
    • Muscles in your lower back apply force at the hip joint so that your body doesn’t flop around and hinder movement.
  • Biceps:
    • Your biceps apply force on the shoulder joint in the beginning of the push up, when you first start to move your elbows together. (Many people forget, or never learn, that the bicep crosses the shoulder joint. TK).
    • Your biceps apply force continually at your elbow joint, in order to stabilize your arms throughout the movement so that you can avoid falling on your face.