I’ve been snowed under work since my last post. It’s all good since there are many exciting new projects coming along, but you might have noticed that the situation threw me out of balance to the point where it wasn’t until today that I managed to blog again.
On the other hand, since then I was able to kickstart and make significant progress on a minimalist workout routine that I am totally hooked on.
It all started about 10 weeks ago. I was searching for “minimialist workout routines” on YouTube, and stumbled onto this insane video by Al Kavadlo:
Any chance you can do a video on how to shoot fireballs from your hands? – YouTube commenter
Impressive stuff indeed. But what really got my attention was the fact that this sort of calisthenics training is an almost perfectly minimalist approach to physical excercise:
- There’s almost zero equiment involved. I say almost because while all the exercises in the video above are performed without equipment, Al is also a master leveraging the power of bars for training. Check him out on this video. Still, compared to the fancy contraptions available in most gyms, bars are extremely simple tools.
- As impressive as Al’s moves look, they are actually variations of a few very simple bodyweight exercises: pushups, squats, handstands and bridges.
I got Al’s “Pushing the Limits” book, which I highly recommend — it’s nothing short of a bible of modern calisthenics, with detailed explanations of exercises, tons of pictures and sample workouts.
This is the most basic, Novice workout:
- Wall Push-Up or Kneeling Push-up — 2 sets of 30 reps
- Bench Squat or Partial Squat — 2 sets of 30 reps
- Lying Knee Tuck — 3 sets of 10 reps
- Beginner Bridge — 3 holds of 30 seconds
- Tripod — 3 holds of 30 seconds
- Frog Stand — 3 holds of 30 seconds
I was shocked by how difficult this workout was. While I was able to start with full pushups, it took me about 3 weeks to be able to do two 30-rep sets, and about 2 more weeks to fully master the frog stands.
On the other hand, I was impressed how easy it was for me to master the second, Beginner workout:
- Push-Up — 3 sets of 20 reps
- Full Squat — 3 sets of 20 reps
- Split Squat or Lunge — 3 sets of 10 reps (each leg)
- Lying Leg Raise — 3 sets of 10 reps
- Straight Bridge — 3 holds of 30 seconds
- Headstand — 3 holds of 30 seconds
While I still am working on perfecting my headstands a bit, I was able to do the whole workout from the very first day. It seems like the most difficult part is to master the very basic moves. Once past that initial barrier, it all becomes much easier.
We’ll see how it goes with the Intermediate workout, which I will tackle in the coming few days:
- Close Push-Up — 3 sets of 20 reps
- Uneven Push-Up — 2 sets of 10 reps (each side)
- Assisted Pistol — 3 sets of 10 reps (each leg)
- Side-to-Side Squat — 3 sets of 10 reps (each leg)
- Full Bridge or Neck Bridge — 3 holds of 30 seconds
- Elbow Lever — 3 holds of 30 seconds
- Handstand — 3 holds of 30 seconds
Wish me luck!