Bodyweight Workouts – Basement Sessions – 7/9/18 – The Basics

You learn by doing.

That is only half right. You learn by doing if you model your “doing” after somebody’s example that has “done it.”

Most of where I’m at in the year 2018 with my bodyweight training is a result of reading other people’s books, watching other people’s YouTube videos, and/or trying other people’s exercise programs. There is certainly no shame in trying to find proper instruction for something you want to do. In fact, it’s a bad tactic to try and learn something from somebody who has never actually done it. It’s one thing to regurgitate the process step by step from a text book, and it’s quite the other to have a person who has “been there” explain, “…okay, you do this, and THIS is how it should feel…,” or, “…if you feel this that means you are doing it wrong, and you need to do it this way…”

In my opinion, it’s the cuing that really defines effective instruction and training. The human body is such an amazing machine, and there are so many different permutations for the movement its capable of. Just this morning, I was in awe of Baby Breaking’s hip mobility as he is able to execute a cross-legged forward fold and get his entire torso to the ground (he’s learning how to sit up right now). At first, I thought he broke himself. Then I saw he was completely content. Babies are just really flexible. So, you want a person who understands the biomechanics of the exercise movement you are training, and who can adapt his/her instruction to what your body can and can’t do. If I can’t do a forward fold from a cross-legged position, I need a person who understands the x-ray of the exercise to tell me, “…you know, you can sit on a yoga block for now until your hips open up more…”

Back to my original point – proper learning happens with proper modeling. So, if you want to do something, find a person that actually DOES IT, and then see what they do. Ask them questions.

“Hey – how do you do that?”

“What does it feel like when you do that?

“What did you have to do first before you were able to do that?”

When it comes to bodyweight training, I don’t shy away from reading blogs, buying books, or watching videos created by people that are doing the exact stuff I want to learn how to do. In some cases, there isn’t one clear set of progressions or paths. Therefore, diversity in your learning and reading will expose you to many different ways to skin the cat.

Some of the people/groups I track and follow in the bodyweight training community are:

  • Al Kavadlo – author of Stretching Your Boundaries and Raising the Bar.
  • Zach Even-Esh – Underground Strength Coach.
  • Mike Fitch – Global Bodyweight Training.
  • Paul Wade – author of the Convict Conditioning series.
  • BarStarzz – amazing bar calisthenics athletes.
  • Thenx – another amazing bodyweight and bar training group.
  • Athleanx – Jeff Cavaliere is a great instructor and has paid programs, in addition to tons of free content on YouTube. If you want to learn proper cueing for exercise – this is a guy to check out.

And, finally – if I’m curious about different ways to progress in an exercise, I’ll just do a random YouTube search for that exercise, and watch some videos. Some of the instruction out there is pretty good. Some of it – not so good. If the person describing the movement can actually do the movement, and then takes time to discuss proper set up and execution, and describes the cues along the way, that generally is a good instruction. If the person says that the way to do a muscle up is to grab the bar, get your upper body above the bar, and then push up, then the instruction is pretty poor. As you watch more of these videos, you’ll be able to weed out the bad ones pretty quickly.

If you are trying to learn a move, don’t just rely on videos that demo the move – try to find videos that explain the move. For example – in two of my posts, I’ve demonstrated some of my favorite push up and pull up varieties. I’d hardly call those training videos. I point out a cue or two, but its not a full X-ray of the exercise. If you saw something you liked, I’d recommend doing a YouTube search for that exercise, and find a trainer that gives step by step cueing instruction. I’d eventually like to get to the point where I give step by step instruction, but I’m just not set up for that yet.

Today’s exercise routine is courtesy of a recent book I purchased called, “Raising the Bar.” I’m a fan of Dragon Door Publications because it features a lot of books about different modes of exercise by people that not only do it, but do it well, and in most cases, train it. The books aren’t perfect, but they do provide a ton of useful information for the price. I was able to get my RTB book for only $9.95 plus shipping (it was on sale). That was quite the bargain from its usual price, so I snapped it up. I wanted to see what Al suggested for one arm pull up progressions and muscle up progressions. As expected, the advice he provided differed slightly from what I had read and viewed before. So, mission accomplished. Found an alternate perspective.

At the back of the book, Al described some of his “favorite” exercise programs. One of them he called “the basics.” It is very no-frills – 3 exercises, 10 reps each, 5 sets total.

Simple enough. I think I’ll try it…

Continue reading Bodyweight Workouts – Basement Sessions – 7/9/18 – The Basics


Bodyweight Workouts – Basement Sessions – 7/2/18 – One arm push up training

Yesterday was a nice Casual Sunday.

I don’t know if its a late thirties thing, but you kind of enjoy a nice low-key day where you get some stuff done, but still have a chance to just enjoy things unfolding around you with zero pressure.

Most of my day is dictated by Baby Breaking’s eat/sleep/play schedule. Mrs. Breaking leaves for work around 6:30 am, so the next 13 hours are total bro time.

BB woke up around 9am (he was fed at 6am, hung out with me until 7am, and went down for a nap). In that time, I drank some awesome butter coffee, did the dishes, made a grocery list, and watched a bunch of hot takes about LeBron going to LA that made me mad (note – he was supposed to go to Philly to complete THE PROCESS. #trusttheprocess #hinkiediedforoursins

Once his feed at 9am finished, and he let out an awesome manly burp. We saddled up and went to the food store. He’s kind of like a wet stick of dynamite when you take him shopping. Whether its just his time or a gentle outside stimulus, he might explode. Luckily, he didn’t start stirring until we got to the check out.

He slept during the ride home, and I tried to c-a-r-e-f-u-l-l-y move him into the house w/o waking him up.


We played briefly, and then he decided he wanted to go back to sleep. That was roughly about 1030am, and he stayed down until almost 130pm.


and its a good movie too!

In that almost 3 hour block, I was able to

  • knock out a yoga session and foam rolling session
  • make an awesome lunch consisting of chicken broth (yum), stripper bass + bacon salad, heavy cream and blueberries
  • get a pot of homemade chicken soup cooking on the stove
  • do the household bills and budget review
  • adjust the Amazon subscriptions for the month
  • prep all of the ingredients to make an amazing chocolate avocado mousse
  • watch 30 minutes of the Phillies game (via Slingbox) while sipping some delicious iced chicory and coffee
    • Note – getting the Slingbox and hooking it up at my parents house (in PA) has saved me HUNDREDS of dollars. I can basically watch all of my hometown local sports broadcasts here in Kansas for no cost. Otherwise, I’d have to have the MLB/NBA/NHL package, and/or get Direct TV to have access to NFL Sunday Ticket. Eff that noise. Slingbox baby!

It was heaven. Don’t get me wrong. I love hanging out with this kid. But, as I’m sure other parents will attest, you cherish every single second that the baby is content and asleep. Every. Single. Second. That is your time to “adult” in peace.

Once BB woke up, we continued watching the Phillies game, and he ate. In addition to his milk, we experimented with some mushed carrots. He enjoyed that. Once he was done eating and burping, I put him in his bouncer, and proceeded to finish making my chocolate avocado mousse. It turned out great. See this article for the recipe (scroll to the bottom).

He hung in there for a bit, but was ready for another nap almost 90 minutes later. I kept watching the Phillies game, and then went downstairs on the elliptical for 25 minutes after the game was over. Knapp hit a walk-off homer in the 13th. Go Phils! This team is actually pretty fun to watch. The bullpen threw 17 innings in the past two games. Pretty crazy.

Drew a sample of my currently carbonating Trappist-Style Ale. Only two days in, so no real carbonation (probably will take a solid week to force-carbonate). That is okay – I’m in no rush.

BB awoke again, and we fed, burped, and then bathed. By then, the bro-day was winding down, and Mrs. Breaking returned to the roost around 730pm. The chicken soup that had been simmering all day was pretty tasty. Note – use boneless/skinless thighs for your soup. Skip the breasts. Fat makes everything taste better.

Can’t complain about that day.

On to the workout…

Continue reading Bodyweight Workouts – Basement Sessions – 7/2/18 – One arm push up training

Bodyweight Workouts – Basement Sessions – 6/27/18 – Handstand Push Up Training

I’m kind of new to Reddit, but, I must say, there is a lot of good information on there. I’ve joined some subcommunities for:

  • Beer & homebrewing
  • nutrition
  • keto diets
  • bodyweight training
  • Overcoming gravity (a group that talks about olympic style bodyweight training)

I’m finding that as long as you follow the rules of the Reddit community, you can really benefit from the information that is flowing out there. But, as with anything on the internet, the information is only as good as the source. So make sure you do your diligence before following something blindly.

Here is a good example of the power of Reddit…

Starting with this thread…

Muscle-up is the goal, currently at 3×10 pullups on RR: Increase reps or begin weighted pull-ups? from bodyweightfitness


…you get suggestions for progressions on one arm chin ups (good instagram video if you check it out), and, you also get a suggestion to check a link for a rather unusual progression…

Strict Bar Muscle Up: Surprisingly Easy? from bodyweightfitness

So, after a few clicks, you found advice from people who have actually been there, and can talk through the various progressions that got them to where they are. Found all of that in about 5 minutes of reading and clicking. Pretty amazing. Gotta love the information age.

Continue reading Bodyweight Workouts – Basement Sessions – 6/27/18 – Handstand Push Up Training

Bodyweight Workouts – Basement Sessions – 6/25/18 – One Arm Pull Up Training


Rather than rep out with either bodyweight pull ups or weighted pull ups, I decided to add two sets of one-armed ring rows after my uneven pull up work. The one arm row is a very nice and challenging progression in one arm pull up training if you lock in your form properly. I can’t stress form and technique enough on this exercise. It is very easy to cheat and rob yourself of the benefits of this great move. The key is keeping your shoulders square. In preparing this post, I tried to find good sample videos on YouTube, but almost gave up and shot the video myself. Most of the examples had people twisting their shoulders for momentum. That is BAD form. Then I found this video. Here is a demo that I 99.9% agree with…

The ONLY technique critique I’ll offer here is foot placement. In the video, the man says to widen your base to keep your core from twisting. As a beginner progression, that is fine. As your core gets stronger in the move, you need to move your feet closer together. Part of the challenge in single limb upper body movements is having core control and RESISTING the urge of the torso and upper body to twist. Your hips and shoulders need to remain square throughout the movement. You want to shoot for high reps in this movement, and don’t lower the rings (how you make it harder) until you are knocking out high reps with your feet together.

I think that one arm ring rows will continue to be my companion exercise with uneven pull ups until I crank out that elusive first unassisted one arm pull up.

Also, consider this my PSA for adding either olympic rings (which I have) or a TRX suspension system to your home gym. These are very versatile pieces of exercise equipment, and can be leveraged in so many different ways to enhance your home gym and overall bodyweight training experience. There are no shortage of exercises or programs you can find on the interweb that are built around this apparatus.

Continue reading Bodyweight Workouts – Basement Sessions – 6/25/18 – One Arm Pull Up Training

Bodyweight Workouts – Basement Sessions – 6/22/18 – Front Lever Training & L-Sit Training


Was in a rush this AM, so needed to hit and run today. Only 20-25 minutes available, and I didn’t want to do anything that was TOO taxing for my back (I have a tug of war tournament tomorrow). So, I paired up two moves that needed their turn in the training rotation, did two work sets of each, and called it a day.


Call this one of the benefits of “building” your own training program. If you need to adjust your focus, or just don’t feel like doing something that day, you can just pivot and do what you want. Stay within the basic framework of allowing enough rest for muscle groups to recover, and really you can create your own destiny. I was half tempted to break out a HIIT workout from my Beachbody archives (there are plenty that clock in under 20 minutes), but I just felt like a chill session that focused on a skill I’m developing.

Continue reading Bodyweight Workouts – Basement Sessions – 6/22/18 – Front Lever Training & L-Sit Training

Basement Sessions – 6/20/18 – Chest & Core

Another two-fer! Combined chest work (one-arm push up progressions) and core work (hanging straight leg raises). Hadn’t done a hard “chest” session since the Conbody “Thursday” workout.

I noticed that my breath was a lot more synced up with my movements. Usually, I’ll tend to goof up my push up breathing and invert it (exhale on the way down, inhale on the way up – I know, stupid), but today that didn’t happen. Right out of the gate, I was breathing out on the work, (in this case, the PUSH), and breathing in on the descent. Mastering your breath really does help in all modes of exercise – not just yoga.

Speaking of goofing, Amazon really dropped the ball this week. TWICE. As I mentioned in a prior post, I tried ordering some Ashwagandha, just to see if I notice any benefits from the supplement. The first shipment had Grape Seed Extract. The wrapper and barcode sticker on the bottle said Ashwagandha, but it was clearly a bottle of Grape Seed Extract. I returned it via Amazon’s normal processes (which are awesome by the way), and asked them to reship.

The same damn thing came again!

I don’t know if a drone picked my order both times, or if the human just goes by the barcode label even though the bottle clearly says GRAPE SEED EXTRACT, but, the process was a little frustrating nonetheless. If I reorder a third time, I think I need to have a dialogue with the Amazon folks to tell them not to screw it up again. I do have to admit, this is the first time in my history of ordering from Amazon that I haven’t gotten what I want. I still think its an amazingly convenient service, so, of course, I’ll keep giving them my money.


Here is what today looked like:

Pre workout nutrition – butter coffee with collagen powder

6/20/18 – one arm push up training and core work

  • Warmup
    • 3 minutes jump rope
    • 2 minutes jumping jacks
    • shoulder roll with stick – 10 reps
    • 1 minute dead hang
  • Work set – lever push ups (on medicine ball) – one note about this exercise. It is possible to cheat it by letting your straight arm do more work than it should. You really need to lock in your form. The whole idea behind this progression is to get a single arm used to moving the body through space. This is accomplished by keeping the work arm close to the body. You also want to be mindful of your foot placement. You want them close together (touching), and you want your hips in line with your torso and head. You DON’T want to flair your feet and hips AWAY from the work arm. This defeats the purpose of the movement. By keeping your arm close to your torso, and your feet/hips/torso/head in line, you are training your core at the same time.
  • 20180620_074001
    • Note the head/hips/feet in line, and hand/wrist/elbow/shoulder joints are stacked. This is a GOOD starting position.
  • 20180620_074044.jpg
    • Note the feet and hips are out of the torso/head line. Note the wrist isn’t under the shoulder. This is BAD starting position.
  • 20180620_074108
    • Note that head is inline with hips and feet, and that elbow is close to body. This is GOOD bottom position.
  • 20180620_074144
    • Arm is flared out from body.  Hips are just to the left of my center head line, and my feet (tough to see, but its the white thing above my left shirt sleeve) are out of the head line. This is BAD bottom position.
  • Warmup set – tricep push up – 20 reps
    • 2 min rest
    • lever left – 14 reps
    • 1 min rest
    • lever right – 15 reps
    • 2 min rest
    • lever left – 13 reps
    • 1 min rest
    • lever right – 14 reps
      • very happy with these work sets – added reps from previous session of 12 each arm
    • 2 min rest
    • regular push up – 22 reps
  • Work set – hanging straight leg raise
    • 11 reps
    • rest 2 min
    • 9 reps
  • Metabolic work
    • Single arm battle ropes – 1 minute
      • 215 reps
  • Cooldown
    • Flappy arm swinging
    • Side to side lunges
    • Beat your boots


Workout time – approx. 32 min.

Calorie burn clocked in around 192 C.

Avg HR (per Garmin): 105 bpm

Max HR (per Garmin): 153 bpm

Post workout, I made a nice recovery shake…


Do you have any favorite home workouts that you’ve put together? Do you train any push up progressions? If so, please share your thoughts in the comments below. If you liked this post, please click “like” and share!