What are Battle Ropes?

What are Battle Ropes?My first introduction to battle ropes was watching UFC fighters swing them up and down like mad men during one of those training montages they like to show to hype up a big fight. I can’t say I’ve seen them at any gyms I’ve been to and none of my friends have them lying around their homes. I just assumed that they were for elite level athletes who want to increase their grip strength and conditioning.

So what exactly is a battle rope? We’ve all seen those long, thick ropes used at shipyards for tying up boats to a dock. That’s essentially what a battle rope from Onnit is, crafted from polypropylene so it won’t rot, hold water, or shed fibres. You can leave them outside in your back yard from one day to the next and not have to worry about the elements damaging it.

One way to use battle ropes is to wrap them around a pole or a tree, grab each end and then whip them up and down furiously. It’s a great cardio workout that can be done in between kettlebell exercises. Your core, shoulders, arms, and an assortment of other muscles will get blasted in a short amount of time. Onnit has 40 and 50-foot battle ropes in a couple diameters designed specifcally for this.

Onnit also has shorter 10-foot battle ropes that aren’t designed to be wrapped around a tree. Instead, you use this length of rope in place of a traditional jump rope. Everyone has seen Rocky jumping rope to get in shape before a fight. With a battle rope, you get that same awesome cardio workout with the benefits of swinging a thicker, heavier rope around.

What are Kettlebells?

What Are Kettlebells?As Joe Rogan puts it, kettlebells are cannon balls with handles attached to them. Big balls of iron that you swing around to lose weight and build muscle and endurance. They come in a variety of weights depending on your skill level and the exercise you want to do, ranging from small 10 lb. kettlebells all the way up to 100 lbs. or more.

Kettlebells are a Russian creation, dating back to the 1700s. Around 1960 or so, they made their way into the United States. In 2001, the first instruction certification program was created in the USA by Dragon Door Publications and Pavel Tsatsouline. Thanks in large part to Joe Rogan, kettlebells have experienced a tremendous increase in popularity the last few years.

I started doing kettlebell exercises in the spring of 2012. After a month or so of doing kettlebells four or five times a week, I started noticing a difference in not only my strength, but my body as well. I was losing a great deal of weight while gaining muscle. It was the first exercise that I not only enjoyed doing, but was seeing the results of rather quickly! Best of all, I only need to spend about 30 minutes per day to get an amazing full-body, ass-kicking workout from the comfort of my living room!

What I like best about kettlebells is that you don’t need any fancy equipment, a gym membership, or even a whole lot of room do start using them. I purchased a couple of 20 lb. kettlebells from a store nearby and was using them that day. There are a wide range of instructional DVDs available to guide you as well as a wealth of YouTube videos. If you’re tired of riding a bike, running outdoors, or if you’re not interested in joining a gym or purchasing expensive equipment, a set of kettlebells might be something to investigate further.

Kick Your Ass with Turkish Get-Ups

Kick Your Ass with Turkish Get-UpsThis is my second post about working out, and it’s yet another exercise with a silly name. But make no mistake, there’s nothing fun about Turkish Get-Ups. If you’re like myself and your workout regimen consists mainly of kettlebells, I suggest first attempting this without one. Once you’ve got the rhythm down, then add in a kettlebell and proceed to get your ass kicked.

A Turkish get-up is performed by standing with one hand over your head and one hand out to your side. You then slowly bring yourself down to one knee, and then carefully down on your back so you’re laying flat on the ground with one hand out to your side and the other still pointed straight up over your head. You then reverse the process standing back up again. Repeat. Again and again. Switch the leg which you first kneel down with and the arm over your head. Speaking of which, the arm over your head should remain as still as possible, and you should keep your eyes on it at all times.

I do Turkish Get-Ups two ways: allowing myself to put my elbow on the ground when laying down and getting back up, and I also do it with no hands. Generally I do the no-hands version when using a light kettlebell or no weight at all. The heavier the weight, then the added stability of having an elbow to lean on is definitely appreciated.

So what are the benefits of Turkish Get-Ups? For one, it requires your entire body and all of its muscles to accomplish. Your core gets a serious workout since it’s stabilizing your body throughout the exercise. You work towards improving shoulder stability and hip mobility and extension. It’s a great from top to bottom, and doesn’t even require any equpiment—if you don’t have a kettlebell, do it without, or grab a book, bag of sugar, or something else with a bit of weight.

Check out a couple of Turkish Get-Up examples after the jump. One with hands and one without:

Continue reading Kick Your Ass with Turkish Get-Ups

Strengthen Your Legs with Hindu Squats

Strengthen Your Legs with Hindu SquatsIf you’re looking to build up strength in you legs, you need not join a gym or buy any expensive exercise equipment either. One of the best ways to give your legs a quick yet effective workout wherever you are is with body weight or Hindu squats. While the idea of them may sound relatively easy, a handful of them will bring you to your knees.

To perform a Hindu squat, start with your feet about shoulder-width apart. Extend your arms in front of you, parallel to the ground. Inhale while pulling your hands straight back behind your body. Next, exhale as you bend your knees, stand on the balls of your feet while crouching to the ground, squatting above your ankles. Stand back up and repeat the process as many times as you can.

Depending on how in shape you are, you should be able to do around 50 or so your first time. Add Hindu squats to your daily exercise regime and you should be able to increase that number by five or 10 each day or two. Incredibly, doing multiple hundred at one time is not uncommon, though it may seem impossible after your first try.

This is an exercise that is great for any man who wants to increase power and endurance in his legs. Women will want to give it a shot too if they’re looking for an easy way to work their legs each day. The end result, regardless of sex, will be toned and strong legs you’ll want to show off.

Check out an example of a Hindu squat below: