Today I’m going to talk about an EXPLOSIVE, dynamite and time tested exercise combination for the upper body that works wonders if you know how to combine it into your routine effectively.
This post is for those who want to build REAL strength. Pumpers and toners, click away NOW.
Other hand, if you’re part of the “sensible minority” that wants to build shoulders that literally POP out of your shirt, a chest that BULGES with POWER AND INTENT – and a broad “barn door” like BACK – read on!
In fact, do not just READ. Read not just once, but twice, or even thrice – it’s THAT important.
The routine I’m going to talk about is extremely simple, but amazingly enough ignored by many people. It consists of only TWO exercises.
That’s right – just TWO. You could work more in if you think you need to, but you likely won’t find it necessary to do so.
It requires no other equipment other than a chinning bar – and even that isn’t required if you have some other place to hang from (eg. a ledge, a tree branch, monkey bars, and so forth). It makes for a real tough workout to be honest – but it does so without eating up your entire day.
And you could do this combination, and do no other exercise for the upper body – and you’d still make fantastic and explosive gains as far as the upper body is concerned.
Now, at this point you’ve probably figured out what one of the exercises is – and you are right, my friend – it’s the good old PULL-UP. But it’s a pull-up done in proper form until your chin crosses the bar, done slowly, and for repetitions (and done WITHOUT “kipping”).
The other exercise is another toughie – and one which is even more ignored than the pull-up – and that is the handstand pushup. Do these two exercises in sync for a while, my friend, and you’ll soon be buying new shirts for yourself.
I did 40 STRICT AND SLOW pull-ups and 40 STRICT AND SLOW handstand pushups as part of my routine today – and believe me, there wasn’t much else I could fit in terms of upper body work except for some lower body movements, and core work.
These two movements work the entire upper body into the ground – if you know how to do them correctly.
Problem being, most folks do NOT do them correctly.
You’ll see folks doing half ass “kipping pull-ups” at the local park and claim they’ve banged out a “record number of reps” – and yet their arms look like clothes “flailing off” clothes hangers.
And as exercise #2? The good ole handstand pushup?
Well, you’d be hard pressed to find ONE in 100 people that does – get this – the BASIC variants of this exercise correctly – the REAL toughies.
And YES, I said the BASIC variant!
Anyway, why do these two exercises work so well?
Well, first because they are compound exercises that work the entire upper body – as opposed to exercises which claim to isolate a certain muscle.
I’ve spoken more (at length) about this in 0 Excuses Fitness but for now – let’s just say that if you’re smart – you’ll focus on TOUGH COMPOUND movements that bring you MAX results as opposed to “pseudo pump generating bunny curls” at the nearest gym.
Second, and more importantly because they train the same muscles HARD in OPPOSITE directions – and this last bit is important – they train the same muscle, in opposite directions, giving you muscles and tendons that are flexible and strong in ALL directions as opposed to one.
Think of it this way – what use would a rubber band be if you could just pull one end of it out?
The same thing applies to your body. The pull-up motion requires ALL your upper body muscles to pull your upper body weight and the handstand pushup (as well as plenty of the other pushups I talk about in 0 Excuses Fitness) requires them to push the same weight.
When you pull, you arch your back and draw your shoulder blades “back”, and you do exactly the opposite when you do handstand pushups – and THIS is what leads to balanced muscular development, as opposed to, say, the “Hunchback of Notre Dame” look where you work the chest muscles to the point that you stay hunched over, but neglect to do any back work (and this is more common than you’d think).
Now, one last thing before you “bound” off your year long perch on the couch and fall flat on your face attempting to do a handstand pushup or even a handstand.
Remember that this sort of routine is NOT for the uninitiated.
If your just starting out, this is NOT for you.
If you haven’t done pushups and pullups for a while, start off with regular pushups, and get good at them before working up to the other two.
That is crucial – don’t bite off more than you can chew – or you’ll end up going backwards, not forwards. And of course, as always, remember to ALWAYS maintain good form.
Follow this sort of a routine religiously, and you’ll soon have upper body development to rival the local “gorillas” at the park (or gym, hehe) – and what’s more??
You’ll have solid, FUNCTIONAL strength to go with it as well – that the “gym gorillas” will NEVER even COME CLOSE to matching!
P.S. – You know what’s great about the stuff in 0 Excuses Fitness? Some of the pushups don’t just work the upper body into the ground – they work the WHOLE BODY – including the cardiovascular system at a level you will NOT, I repeat, NOT, believe my friend. And the above combo I’ve mentioned is just ONE, my friend. Just one – and to learn MORe such amazingly simple, yet brutally effective exercise combos, grab your copy of the System right HERE – The 0 Excuses Fitness System