Combat Conditioning was the first book that introduced me to body weight exercises for functional strength and endurance. I was the kind of kid in high school sports who used the proverb “no clown ass talent.” What I mean by this is that I was very strong but natural talent escaped me. I always promised that there are people who are much more talented but I would never be out working. When I was growing up playing Arnold Schwarzenegger ‘s “Pumping Iron” movie, I added weight lifting to all my friends. Now that you’re young and weighing simply to see how strong you are, bad things eventually happen. When I found a physical body before the start season of Varsity football, the doctor looked at me and said politely – “Hey idiot, have you ever heard of stretching”? Needless to say, the quest began looking for a better way to exercise and gain functional strength. Lawyer Note: I hate these but they are important. With any fitness routines, please check with your Doctors to make sure you are able to perform these routines.
Why is this important to me?
This book will help you learn about bodyweight exercises that will help in three areas: Strength, Endurance and Flexibility. If these three things are not important to you then save yourself 5 minutes and turn off the video. Otherwise follow me.
Have you ever seen any of the following: Fantastic MMA fighters, cirque du soleil or a gymnastics competition? All of these amazing athletes have functional strength. This means they can do things with their body that 90 percent of the population cannot. The good news is that 90 percent can do these things if they change up on their fitness routines. Another book you should check out is Convict Conditioning. This focused more on muscle, joint and tendon strength. What’s beneficial about that is you can keep that strength well into your seventies.
Don’t get me wrong – any form of exercise is better than none. If you are not doing anything and you start lifting weights then keep doing it. But if you want a cheap way to work out with compound results then this book is for you. One major problem with lifting weights alone is that it uses muscle isolation. This means if you do curling then you isolate the movement to the bicep muscle. This does nothing to create functional strength for your tendons or joints. The human body has been engineered to work together so why not shorten your work and do compound exercises to maximize your results. If you did a simple pull up then you still exercise your bicep but also flex your back, forearms, shoulders and heart as well as create functional strength.
Matt describes his Holy Grail for working out his encounter with the Royal Court. I will explain each exercise.
The Hindu squat is an excellent exercise. When you start out you can do a half squat like your arms in front of you parallel to the floor but as you go forward and build strength in your knees, you will want to do a full squat with the back of your thighs touching the back of your calves.
Strong legs make a good body. When you work your legs, you touch the whole body and burn calories the day even after work. The legs are the largest muscles in your body and show up the next day when they are sick.
When doing Hindu squats, work up to doing three sets of 100. Doing the royal court in 3 fixed cycles is a great job that doesn’t take much time. If you are traveling then this is a perfect routine because it does not take long at all.
The Hindu pushup is different than a regular pushup. Start with your legs slightly wider than shoulder width apart and your stomach in the air. Push through in an arcing movement (like a dog facing down in yoga). Try to work up to 3 sets of 50 repetitions. If you’ve never done these before and can only do a few, don’t be discouraged. Like anything new, it takes practice to build it up.
This exercise will help you with strength, back flexibility and endurance. Enjoy!
The rear bridge gets tons of bad press. People think it’s bad for your back and neck. Like anything else, please do what is comfortable for you.
You can make a bridge in three ways. Think of this as an exercise and NO stretching. You will feel your body warming up doing this exercise.
You can start with a work ball if you can’t make the neck bridge. Then as you move forward, you can move into the neck bridge (on your head) and then the gymnastic bridge (with your arms and none).
Please note that if you have never done these before they will look difficult at first. Don’t be frustrated. Before I started bridges, I had terrible neck pain and back pain. Go figure because I was just doing heavy weight lifting with squats and bench press. Anyway, when I started doing the interval, all the pain was gone.
The stretch in your back and neck feels great and the results will speak for themselves. Note: DO NOT apply this exercise. Take your time and catch up with him.
Combat Conditioning is a great book to introduce you to body weight exercises for functional strength, endurance and flexibility. I was watching a discovery show where they were doing a video game on the martial arts. They showed a man doing a unique exercise.
Telephone polls were in the ground at various heights in two rows. He was jumping from one end to the other and landing on one leg. He would jump to the other and do a full-leg squat with one leg and his other leg fully extended in a kicked position. This is a real test of functional strength and flexibility. From BTW, this guy was 75 years old. I always want results that last a lifetime.
I hope you found this short summary useful. The key to any new idea is to work it into your daily routine until it becomes a habit. Habits last as little as 21 days. One thing you can take away from this book is the royal court. Try it as part of your fitness routine for a month and record your progress. I think the results will pleasantly surprise you.