I was looking for a new physical challenge in 2015 and an article in Men’s Health led to a video, which led to watching several videos on progressive bodyweight training. The article was a about a street athlete who was the subject of a viral video titled: Hannibal for King. After watching quite a few videos and searching the term “progressive bodyweight training” I came across a book titled Convict Conditioning.
After reading just a little background on the book and watching a series of tutorials based on the exercises I knew I had found my new fitness challenge. It’s been quite a while since my last blog post. I have figured out the voice, or direction if you will, for this blog and thought I would start back with a “Fitness over Fifty’ series. I hope to make this relevant for all and not just those over 50.
The reason that I chose a program of progressive bodyweight training is that this type of training strengthens the tendons and ligaments and produces a functional type of strength. Using weights builds the muscle without strengthening these tendons and ligaments. I’ve seen demonstrations of strength by people doing this type of training that most guys in the gym just can’t do, no matter how big and muscular they are. There are six exercises to strengthen the overall body but you only start with four until you get to a certain level. The four exercises are the pushup, the pullup, the squat and the leg raise. When you have reached a certain level with these there is also bridges and the handstand pushup.
There are 10 progressions of all of these exercises leading up to perfect one arm pushups, one arm pullups, squats and even a one armed handstand pushup. I have been doing the program for almost 10 months now and it has been a bit more humbling than I expected. As of this writing I am on the third or fourth progression of the four main exercises mentioned above. About 3 months ago I decided that I wanted to introduce weights back into my routine to supplement these main exercises. I have seen real progress over these past months as well as proof in the gym that what I am doing is working. Building my strength back up has also helped my yoga practice as well.
I don’t have a set training schedule. I’m going a little bit more with instinct this time around. On average I work each body part every 4 to 5 days. One big difference I have noticed training on a plant based lifestyle is the recovery after my workouts. I don’t generally have that sharp soreness the next day. Now I’m no science guy and won’t even attempt to explain it but I think I’m not accumulating as much lactic acid buildup from my workouts. Whatever the explanation, I am pleased with the results and am looking forward to seeing what the future brings.
I’ve tested myself a few times recently and the progress I’ve made have convinced me I’m on the right track. I don’t do bench presses as part of my workouts anymore but did some recently just to see how I measure up. At 155 pounds I did 3 reps of 155 pounds with strict form. I realistically feel that if I had someone spotting I could have maybe pushed five. Four for sure! Last week I decided to test myself on the pul-lups. Never in my life have I been good at pull-ups. Even when I was very strong in the past I still struggled with these. Going into this I wasn’t able to come close to doing one. Last week I did four with chin above the bar. They may not have been proper, strictest Convict Conditioning form, but they weren’t shabby. This was very encouraging.
I plan for ‘Fit Over 50’ to be a series of article,s and to cover different aspects of how I personally stay fit at the age of 51. Some will be about workouts, some about yoga and others about the food and nutrition part of it. I also plan to share some of the people and their stories that inspired me to begin training like I am now. I hope this will be of some benefit to not just people my age and older, but for anyone that is interested in improving their fitness on a plant based lifestyle. I’m just an average guy trying to stay ahead of father time. As you will come to learn I’m not some fanatic exercising countless hours per week. And at my age my body is not perfect, and is probably never going to be. In the end it’s really all about being the best version of ourselves!