Hawaii Calisthenics Workout (pics inside)

Been in Hawaii the last few days for some rest and relaxation with the fam.

I have found some great places to do the bodyweight workouts while here!

During my training session this morning, I was thinking about something and wanted to share it with you.

See, the last couple of years since I have started getting more and more into this bodyweight training stuff, I think there are what you might describe as two different schools of thought:

1 – The “calisthenics crowd”

The focus here is on progression … working up to moves like:

– one arm push ups
– pistol squats
– handstand push ups
– pull ups and more advanced variations

This is the focus of my Bodyweight Strong program.

=> Learn more about Bodyweight Strong here

2 – The “fat loss/ zero equipment crowd”

The focus of this style is no equipment, time-efficient, and easy on the body.

A great example of this style is the “500 Rep Accelerator” workout I shared with you the other day:

– 50 full squats
– 50 invisible jump ropes
– 25 push ups (choose a “modification” for your level of fitness)
– 50 split shuffles
– 25 cross body mountain climbers (each side)
– 50 jumping jacks

Do TWO rounds of the circuit for a total of 500 reps – goal is to finish under 7 minutes!

This is the focus of the Bodyweight Cardio 500 program we have been talking about all week.

=> Learn more about Bodyweight Cardio 500 here

So which approach is best?

The short answer – both!

If you are looking to gain strength, lean muscle, and work up to doing “cool” moves like the clutch flag and pistol squat I’m doing in the images above … you want to take the progressive calisthenics approach.

If you are looking to blast your conditioning levels through the roof, slash body fat, go easy on your joints and do it with absolutely ZERO equipment … the fat loss/zero equipment approach I describe is best.

I personally use a blend of BOTH in my own training at different times … which is a great way to do it as well … depending on my current goals and what I am working towards / training for.

Well, I am off to do some kayaking this afternoon. During my workout this morning, I was thinking about this concept and thought I would share it with you. I hope it makes sense, and that it helps you figure out the best body weight training approach for your goals!

Train hard, and talk soon -

- Forest Vance, MS, PCC
ForestVance.com

###

If you are looking to lose fat, get into great shape, and go easy on the joints … AND you want to do it in a time-efficient way, and with literally ZERO equipment … click here to grab your copy of Bodyweight Cardio 500 now. It’s on sale for one more day at a great “Friends of Forest” price. Don’t miss out! ;)

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8 Minute Power Cardio Workout

Got another wokrout for you today from the Bodyweight Cardio 500 program!

Let’s dive right in:

8 Minute Power Cardio Workout

Do each exercise for 30 seconds work and 30 seconds rest, for 2 rounds. Count your reps and aim to add one more rep in the next round – with good form of course.

– Squats x 30s
– Rest 30s
– Plank x 30s
– Rest 30s
– Total body extension x 30s
– Rest 30s
– Power Punches x 30s
– Rest 30s

See a video demo of how to do the workout here:

Remember, what makes this workout – and the entire program – unique is:

– The workouts are EASY on your joints. NOT a ton of crazy jumping exercises or high impact stuff with this one.
– The workouts take 20 minutes or less (in this case, only EIGHT minutes!) … and they work your entire body. Three or four of these sessions a week of this is ALL you’ll need to lose fat and get into great overall condition.
– There is ZERO equipment required for this workout, and for all of the workouts in Bodyweight Cardio 500. No pull up bar, no stability ball, NOTHING. So you’ll have absolutely NO excuse to miss your workouts.

=> Learn more about the Bodyweight Cardio 500 program here

This is the perfect short, low-impact, ZERO equipment workout to replace your regular, boring cardio routine. Try it today!

Train hard, and talk soon -

- Forest Vance, MS, RKC II, PCC

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7 Minute Accelerator 500 Bodyweight Workout

We’re back today with a sample workout from the Bodyweight Cardio 500 program.

Remember – what makes this workout – and the entire program – unique is:

– The workouts take 20 minutes or less (in this case, only SEVEN minutes!) … and they work your entire body. Three or four of these sessions a week of this is ALL you’ll need to lose fat and get into great overall condition.
– The workouts are EASY on your joints. NOT a ton of crazy jumping exercises or high impact stuff with this one.
– There is ZERO equipment required for this workout, and for all of the workouts in Bodyweight Cardio 500. No pull up bar, no stability ball, NOTHING. So you’ll have absolutely NO excuse to miss your workouts.

7 Minute Accelerator 500 Bodyweight Workout

– 50 full squats
– 50 invisible jump ropes
– 25 push ups (choose a “modification” for your level of fitness)
– 50 split shuffles
– 25 cross body mountain climbers (each side)
– 50 jumping jacks

Do TWO rounds of the circuit for a total of 500 reps – goal is to finish under 7 minutes!

See a video demo of how to do the workout here:

And learn more about the Bodyweight Cardio 500 program here

There you have a fun, challenging, ZERO equipment workout you can crank absolutely ANYWHERE.  Give it a try today!

Train hard, and talk soon -

- Forest Vance, MS, RKC II, PCC

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Exercises you should NEVER do …

For the last two years at FVT, we’ve put on a “Train-A-Trainer” event for charity at our facility.

How the “Train-a-Trainer” event works:

– Folks sponsor a “round” of exercises for the FVT Team, for some dollar amount. Each round is 45 seconds of work, followed by 15 seconds of rest. Last time we did 15 rounds total. 100% of the money raised goes to the charity we are doing the fundraiser for.
– For each round a person sponsors, they get to have the FVT team do whatever exercise(s) they like.

It’s lots of fun – but also a little miserable for the FVT trainers, as I’m sure you can imagine ;)

Here’s the thing though. I am personally best at STRENGTH – based stuff. I can press a heavy kettlebell a few times, or pop my feet up and do a handstand push up … but generally speaking, this is NOT what people pick for exercises that they sponsor.

Burpees are always a favorite. As are various jumping exercises, running around the building, that kind of thing.

CONDITIONING – based stuff … because they want to see us work and suffer a little I guess!

Here is the moral of the story. I am GOOD at strength-based exercises, so that’s what I gravitate towards. I will do this type of training ALL the time in my own personal workouts unless I purposely include conditioning in the training sessions.

But what I – and YOU – need to do, is make sure to include some things that we are NOT good at in our training as well. For example – I have to make sure to include higher-rep, higher work period stuff in my workouts. I don’t really personally like doing sets of 20 or 25 push ups … or doing 40 or 50 body weight squats in a row … but I know that in the long run, it will get me BETTER, because it will improve my abilities in that “realm” of physical fitness.

If you are like me, and you gravitate towards the strength stuff … I have news of a great new program to share with you. It’s called Bodyweight Cardio 500 … and it’s all about getting your a@@ in CONDITION and losing fat, with bodyweight ONLY workouts. ZERO equipment required for this one:

Check out Bodyweight Cardio 500 here

The scientific concepts this program is built around are solid, which you’ll see when you click the link above … and Kate (the author of Bodyweight Cardio 500) also incorporates some really creative and interesting ZERO equipment body weight exercises, like the ones in this video:

Great stuff.

So that’s it for today. Bottom line is, make sure you’re including not only what you LIKE to do in your training – which really is just human nature – but also what you DON’T like to do … to keep getting better, and to ultimately become the best you can be!

Train hard, and talk soon -

Forest Vance, MS, RKC II, PCC
ForestVance.com

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3 Plank Variations you HAVE to Try

Today, I have 3 AWESOME new plank variations for you to try!

Now hopefully this goes without saying … but you need to be able to do a standard plank with perfect form FIRST, before trying these more advanced variations.

We see a lot of folks want to jump ahead to some of these moves before they are really ready, just because they are “cool” and fun or whatever … but there is a LOT of value in learning and mastering the basic plank FIRST.

On to 3 Plank Variations you HAVE to Try:

1 – the spiderman plank

Get into a front plank position on your forearms … externally rotate at one hip and bring the knee up to the same elbow. Do this for reps, alternating legs each time.

2 – the side plank with a hip lift

Get into a side plank position … this one can be done from the knees OR the toes. Now, you’ll just raise your top leg up and down for reps, keeping all the muscles in your body tight, and everything nice and locked in.

3 – the plank jack

This is like a jumping jack, done from a plank position. A great move to strengthen the core, but also will give you a great conditioning challenge at the same time.

I show the variation done from the “high plank” position … you can also do it on the forearms / elbows, this will make it tougher.

There you have three killer plank variations for added challenge and variety in your core training routine. Start mixing those into your ab workout a few times each week and you’ll have that lean, strong, defined midsection ready to rock in no time!

Thanks for watching, and talk soon -

- Forest Vance, MS, RKC II, PCC

PS - Last call for the FVT Ultimate Abs Challenge package … you’ll get MANY more workouts like this one, my 30 Day Performance Nutrition Diet and access to my ENTIRE
workout of the month archives … for less than 10 bux! Can’t beat that deal – details and sign up HERE before midnight tonight.

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2 Tips to Improve your Freestanding Handstand (video)

I attended the Progressive Calisthenics Certification in the San Diego, CA area a couple of weeks ago. It was truly an amazing experience.

After three full days of training body weight, I of course tried many new moves, and as a result also ended up with a list of exercises I want to be able to do by the end of the year.

The freestanding handstand is at the top of that list. It is a great feat of athleticism. And it looks very cool.

I am getting just a little better at the move every time I practice it … I got a solid three second hold with my feet away from the wall the other day, and was super pumped!!

Now the exercise might look a bit intimidating to you, but it’s really pretty accessible for healthy, reasonably fit and athletic individuals, if you apply the principles of progression to it like you would anything else.

So today I have a video for you with 2 tips to improve your freestanding handstand from my friend Max Shank.

The Progressive Calisthenics Cert was actually held at Max’s gym, and I spent some time with him last year as well when I took the RKC II at his facility.  Max is a super knowledgable dude, and he walks the walk for SURE. You can see a few pics of him doing some CRAZY feats of athleticism on his website at the link below.

So check out the video. And if you enjoy it, check out Max’s website and training program, called “Ultimate Athleticism“.

Video Tips

– Get good at the handstand against the wall before you move to freestanding handstands
– Practice the crow stand to get comfortable using your hands to balance your weight
– Hold your arms straight like “stilts” on the ground
– Swing one leg up like a pendulum to get into position; the other leg will stay close to the ground, so you’ll be in kind of an “L” shape with your lower body
– Gradually kick up to that top position (watch the video to see a demo)

Check out Max’s full program “Ultimate Athleticism” here

And start working on those freestanding handstands! :)

- Forest Vance, MS, RKC II, PCC
ForestVance.com

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Full Body Weight Only STRENGTH Workout

Your goals include gaining lean muscle, improving your functional strength, and losing some body fat.

You also want to FEEL good, and avoid the aches and pains and potential for injury that can come with lifting weights.

And, you like the idea of a “minimalist” training approach.

For all of these reasons, body weight exercise appeals to you.

All that being said … you are to the point where plain old squats and push ups are too easy … but you’re not to the point of doing some of these crazy calisthenics
tricks you see on the internet, like one arm muscle ups or pistol squat box jumps.

So I designed today’s workout specifically for YOU!!

This training session is more in the “style” of phase one of Body Weight Strong … medium rep range (approx 8-12), focus is on time under tension for gaining some
lean muscle … and the exercises you choose, you should be able to perform for this range.

In other words, if you can only do handstand push up, you want to regress down a bit so you can get your reps up. Same goes for the single leg squat variations, and
everything else.

I’m going to crank a workout like this myself before the Big Game today, so I can feel a *little* better about enjoying my favorite foods. I suggest you do the same!
:)

 

Full Body Weight ONLY Strength Workout

1 – Warm up – do each exercise for about 20 seconds, rest 10 seconds between moves, repeat sequence twice:

– easy jog
– spiderman climbs
– “short” bridges
– leg swings
– jumping jacks

2 – Skill work / practice

Here, while you’re very fresh, is a great time to practice any higher – skill moves you are working on. Do this for 3-5 minutes.

Examples (what I’m working on personally right now):

– dragon flags
– free handstand holds
– human flag variations

3 – Main workout – two pairs of movements … alternate back and forth between the two exercises in each pair … do 8-12 reps of each exercise … rest for about as
long as it takes you to complete each set (1:1 work to rest ratio) … do three to four rounds of each:

– Handstand push ups w static hold at end of set – for this one, until you can get a good 8 reps, you can do just a few, and then hold at the top for another 15-20
seconds … you could also do wall walks, or pike presses, or any other HSPU progression
– Box jumps on to picnic table (on to the bench – easier – or on to the actual table itself – harder)

– Overhand thumbless grip body weight rows
– Single leg squat standing on picnic table bench (off leg hangs off side and reaches towards the ground)

4 – Finish with sprints … you’ll do six to eight 100 yard sprints, building up the intensity and speed with each one … and rest about 30 seconds between each one.

5 – Static stretch tight muscle groups for 3-5 minutes

There you have a full body weight only strength workout you can crank before today’s Big Game.

If you are to the point where plain old squats and push ups are too easy … but you’re not to the point of doing some of these crazy calisthenics tricks you see on
the internet, like one arm muscle ups or one arm, two finger push ups … this is a GREAT workout for you!

Enjoy the rest of your weekend, and talk soon -

- Forest Vance
ForestVance.com

###

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The videos feature me as your trainer and a workout partner / “trainee” going through the workout as I coach them through every form tip and coaching cue … so that
it’s like I’m RIGHT there, working with YOU on every rep and set of every workout to reach your body weight training goals.

PLUS, you’ll get the full set of COACHING videos … so even if you’re NOT into the follow-along format, you can watch in detail as I take you through each and every
move from the easiest to the hardest progression. You can do this program whether you’re a complete beginner or an advanced trainee.

AND, I’ve added 12+ weeks of bonus body weight / minimal equipment workouts that you’ll get – totally free – when you pick up a copy of the new Body Weight Strong
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=> Learn more and grab your copy of the NEW Body Weight Strong here

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Do More Pull Ups Fast (simple 30 day plan)

Are you tired of sucking at pull – ups?

Been stuck at the same number for way too long?

Here is a simple – but POWERFUL – plan to help you get more pull ups in just 30 days:

1 – On day one, do one all-out set with perfect form, and see how many pull ups you can do.

It’s very important to do this and establish a baseline number for yourself, so we can test at the end and see how you’ve improved.

2 – For 30 days, “practice” your pull ups frequently (3-5 times per week, do a couple sets of chin ups or pull ups).

You can do these any time – at the beginning of your current workout routine, between sets of other exercises, at the end … if you have a pull up bar set up at your house, you can even just hop up and crank em out at any point during the day.

3 – Do NOT go to failure! Always leave a rep or two “in the tank”.

This is important. A lot of folks, in an effort to do more pull ups, get to the point where they are going to failure at EVERY session and are always trying to beat their personal best. DO NOT do this. We are training the nervous system with this method, and part of the idea is to train your body NOT to fail and to do reps with perfect form. IF you go to failure, this method will not work.

4- Mix it up from day to day.

Some days do standard pull ups. Some days use band assistance / a slight jump assist w your feet on a box / etc and go to higher reps. If you are strong enough, some days do weighted pull ups and work in a lower rep range. Mix up your grip – pull up, chin up, parallel grip, etc.

A good idea would be to keep a log of exactly what you did on each day, so that you can make sure to switch it up each time you do your pull ups and keep things balanced out.

5- At day 27 or 28, REST and STOP doing pull ups completely for two or three days.

6- Re-test at day 30 and see how many more pull ups you can do in one all-out set!

So there you have a simple plan to do more pull ups in 30 days. It’s simple, it’s straight-forward, but it WORKS.

Train hard, and talk soon -

- Forest Vance, MS, RKC II, PCC

PS - The pull up exercise is a staple of body weight strength training. And that’s why pull up training is a huge part of Body Weight Strong.

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Click here now to grab your copy of Body Weight Strong 3.0 at over 50% off, this week only!

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3 Rules for Building Strength Without Weights

Just got back from an AMAZING weekend in the San Diego area at the Progressive Calisthenics Certification.

We learned and trained body weight exercise for three full days – including:

– push ups
– pull ups
– human flags
– muscle ups
– squats
– back bridges
– ab work – everything from L sits to dragon flags to hanging leg raises
– front and back levers
– floor levers
– handstands

And MUCH more.

Not only was the instruction top notch – I now have literally YEARS of progressions to work towards – it was an awesome, positive, encouraging environment. LOVE the
direction that Dragon Door is going with this.

I went in not knowing what to expect honestly … my build (6’5″ / 245 pounds) is pretty much the most unfavorable you can get for this type of training ;) … but I
felt like I fit in right from the beginning, and I was at least able to try the *basic* versions of all the harder moves, which was REALLY cool.

If you have ever considered attending this event, I highly recommend it.

Now one of the things about body weight training is how versatile it is. You can use just your own body weight as resistance to accomplish a WIDE variety of fitness goals – strength, muscle gain, fat loss, conditioning, and much more.

HOWEVER … the way you PROGRAM your training makes all the difference when it comes to reaching your goals.

As you may or may not know, my “thing” is training for muscle and strength with body weight – and so I wanted to give you three “rules” to help you accomplish this goal.

Follow these rules, and you’ll be on your way to getting big and strong with body weight exercise … neglect them, and you’ll likely have a hard time reaching your
goals.

3 Rules for Building Strength Without Weights

1 – Stick to the basics

Cool calisthenics moves and tricks are AWESOME – my personal goal list for the year includes these exercises:

– solid clutch flag on both sides
– elbow lever
– free handstand

And a few more.

HOWEVER … when it comes to actually gaining STRENGTH and MUSCLE, these moves are not going to help a ton. They are more “skill” oriented if you will … and are GREAT exercises … but not perfect for getting big and strong.

You need to be focusing on things like:

– push ups and advanced variations
– pull ups and advanced variations
– squats and advanced variations
– jumping
– sprinting

To gain muscle and get strong with your own body weight.

2 – Do the “right” amount of volume

If you are training for skill – practicing handstands is a great example – you want to go LOW reps, and do a lot of them, frequently, and NOT to failure. It’s like PRACTICE more than anything.

But let’s say you’re going for hypertrophy, like we do in phase one of Body Weight Strong … you want to pound those muscles with some volume.

Now you don’t have to go old-school, “golden age” bodybuilder-style and do thirty sets for each body part … but here is an example of what a workout might look like:

(NOTE: workout does not include warm up, skill work, metabolic “finisher” at the end, etc)

push up progression – 30-45 seconds, as many reps as possible
+
vertical jump progression – 30-45 seconds, as many reps as possible

four sets total of each move

THEN

pull up progression progression – 30-45 seconds, as many reps as possible
+
one leg squat progression – 30-45 seconds, as many reps as possible

four sets total of each move

3 – Higher reps for size, “medium” reps for strength

A lot of folks thing these two things are one in the same … and while there is without a doubt a relationship between the two, training to get big is actually
different than training to get strong.

As you can see in the workout above, you end up getting around 8-12 reps of each exercise … this is generally best for that muscle size goal.

If you’re going for STRENGTH … like we do in phase TWO of Body Weight Strong … you want to move towards a little lower in the rep range, like 3-5 ish … this is best for raw strength.

So there you have three “rules” of body weight strength. Follow these rules, and you’ll be well on your way to getting big and strong with body weight exercise … neglect them, and you’ll likely have a hard time reaching your goals.

Train hard, and until next time -

- Forest Vance
Certified Progressive Calisthenics Instructor

PS - Got Body Weight Strong 3.0 – the NEW version of this best-selling program, now with follow – along AND full coaching videos – on sale for you this week! Click HERE for more info and to save over 50% on the program for the next few days.

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San Diego Body Weight Workout

Headed down to the San Diego area this weekend for the Progressive Calisthenics cert … looking forward a TON of body weight exercise over the next three days, as well as lots of learning and connecting with like-minded fitness folks!

Check out this video to see what the PCC is all about:

Been chatting with clients, friends, etc over the last couple days about the cert and exactly what we’ll be doing while we’re there (it’s all about progressions and body weight exercise for all levels, but we’ll work up to some pretty advanced stuff) … and it’s got me thinking …

If your goal is to be a fit, athletic person who can call themselves “in shape”, I believe you should have a mastery of the body weight basics.

You don’t need to be able to do one arm pull ups and human flags … but things like:

– full squats
– push ups
– pull ups
– handstand holds on the wall
– hanging knee raises
– lunges in all directions
– running
– jumping
– etc

Should be in your skill set, if you want to call yourself “fit”.

If you CAN’T do all the stuff on the list above, you need to:

1) Get stronger

Start working on and building up your strength. It’s a matter of practice and putting in the time to get better and stronger at pull ups, handstands, one leg squats,etc.

Start with the tons of free body weight training tips, workouts, etc I have posted on my blog here:

http://forestvance.com

And if you want a full training course, we got brand new follow along videos for the Body Weight Strong program FINALLY done …. and we’ll be making them available at the ‘presale’ price tomorrow! So pumped!! Keep an eye on your email inbox if you’re interested :)

2) Drop some weight

If you are carrying around extra lbs, losing body fat is something that will help your body weight training BIG time . It’s just that much more “dead weight” you have to lift and move around.

I’ve lost about four pounds and two and a half percent body fat over the last six weeks or so since I’ve really been training seriously for this coming weekend, and

I’m amazed at the difference just this small amount makes when it come to doing the basic body weight exercises.

Work on getting your DIET dialed in if you’re trying to get your weight under control.

Again, visit my blog and see lots of free meal planning and healthy eating tips in the archives … OR you can check out the ‘official’ FVT Fat Loss Meal Planning system HERE.

So that’s it for today – I am off to my cert. Just a quick message to get you thinking for the weekend – and beyond – about your own fitness and body weight exercise goals.

Thanks for reading, and talk soon -

- Forest Vance, MS, RKC II
BodyWeightStrengthTraining.com

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