Saturday, August 24, 2013

Stephen Makes Stuff Up #3: "The Curse of 5"

I get the joy of making up a lot of workouts for my day job, but I have to say that this is one of my favorites so far. I got the idea from a friend of mine who I have the opportunity to train. He often has the problem of getting stuck on the number "5" while counting reps or rounds in his workouts. He then suggested that we make a workout with five exercises, each for five reps, for five rounds. I took this as a challenge and this is what I came up with.

The Curse of Five

  1. 5 Deadlifts
  2. 5 Burpee Pull-ups
  3. 5 Manmakers (w/KB or DB)
  4. 5 One-Arm Push-ups (each side)
  5. 5 One Arm KB/DB Thrusters (each side)
--5 Rounds

  • The deadlifts should be heavy. Not necessarily your 5RM, but something you would normally be able to get 8 reps with should be fine. 
  • A Manmaker starts with a Kettlebell or a Dumbbell pressed overhead on each side. You then, bend down and place the weights on the floor, shooting your legs out behind you like a burpee. However, you should have your feet be wide for this next part. You then row one of the weights, while pressing the other into the ground. After placing the weight down again, you do a push-up while holding onto the weight and then row on the other side. Next, jump your feet back up and stand up, pressing the weights back over head. That's one rep. This should be fairly heavy, since it's only five reps. 
  • The One-Arm Push-ups should be done with your feet close together. If you cannot do them with your feet close together, you may start with them spread out and move them closer as you get stronger. You may also do a OAPU Progression, which is starting with both hands directly underneath your shoulders. You do one push-up and, while keeping one arm close to your side, move one arm out a little ways from your body and do another push-up. Do this once more, reaching out farther. Ideally, you should try to reach the non-pressing arm out to full extension. 
  • For the One Arm Thruster, hold the KB or DB in one hand at the bottom position of a shoulder press. Squat down deep, below parallel, and, as you come up, press the weight to full extension. You are using the drive from your legs to help press the weight. Once again, we're looking for a heavy weight.
  • The most important thing in this workout is not how fast you complete it, but maintaining good form with the heaviest weight possible and completing the bodyweight movements as described.
That's all for today! Until next time, good luck and train hard!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Furinji Saiga's Primal Strength Workout

Establishing good movement patterns in "Furinji Saiga's Primal Movement Workout" is only one half of the equation. It is also necessary to build the raw, primal strength that Saiga possesses, both as we've seen in the short time he's been in the manga, as well as what we can imagine based on the Elder. I find it likely that Saiga possesses the power to break his opponent in his hands without the use of any martial arts at all. That is the premise of this workout.

Furinji Saiga's Primal Strength Workout

-Practice Martial Arts- 1 Hour
-Primal Strength (Using various weights of logs and stones. As reps increase, weights should decrease.)
  1. 10 Deadlifts
  2. 10 Cleans 
  3. 20 Shoulders
  4. 20 Squats
  5. 30 Clean and Press
  6. 30 Thrusters
  7. 40 Push Press
  8. 40 Overhead Press
  9. 50 Slams
  10. 50 Biceps Curls/Chest Raises
  11. Tree Striking/Rending- 15 Minutes
  12. Sled Push/Pull- 5 x 100 Meters
  13. Sprints (pick 2): 100 Meter Forward, 100 Meter Backward, 1 Set of 90 Degree Sprints, 40 Yard Suicide x 5 Sets of each chosen
4-6 Hours Later
-If you still feel good after the morning training, then repeat the entire workout over again. I don't mean, "Hey, I can still walk, let me make it so I can't anymore." What I mean is, if you breeze right through the workout and you still feel pretty strong, then attempt to complete the workout again in its entirety. This is less likely than during the "Primal Movement" workout, because you'll be lifting fairly heavy and the intensity should take your endurance out. However, in the case that it does not, please feel free to go at it again. You may have to adjust your weights down and you can feel free to stop whenever needed.


  • Once again, martial arts can be a variety of different things: techniques, sparring, forms, or a class for example.
  • Covered Deadlifts in the Primal Movement workout.
  • Cleans are performed similarly to a deadlift, but as the weight comes across the top of your thighs, you use pop your hips forward, shrug slightly, and jump slightly. You will then pull the bar up in a straight line up your body before diving/squatting underneath it, your arms rotating around the bar until it rests on your front delts, your elbows pointed out, and with you in the bottom of the squat position. Stand up to complete the movement. You may drop the bar/log in between reps. If you are using a log, you may have to have a very close, alternating grip and then release the top hand so that both arms catch the log as it comes up. For all squats and cleans, your goal is to have your butt get as low as possible. We're building functional strength and that means full range of motion.
  • Shouldering is pick the log or rock up from the ground and placing it on your shoulder. It should still be a relatively heavy weight, so you shouldn't be able to just pick it up in your hands and put it on your shoulder. You should have to hug it close to you. 
  • For the squats, you can do front squats, which would have the weight up on your arms and front delts or back squats, where the weight is sitting across your shoulders. You may have to clean the weight to get it into position, so it's not going to be a very heavy weight, especially since you're looking to do 20 reps with it. If you have to set it down in between reps, that's fine. The idea here is to build strength, so eventually, a heavy thing won't feel so heavy and you'll need to find something heavier to manipulate. 
  • A clean and press is starts of the same as a clean, but at the top of the movement, you press the weight overhead.
  • Thrusters start in a front squat position. You then squat down and, as you come up out of the bottom, you use the momentum of the squat to help you press the weight overhead.
  • A push press starts with you holding the weight on your chess, you bend your knees and hips a little bit and forcefully explode upward, using the momentum to press the weight overhead. Make sure that your head comes forward ahead of your arms on each rep.
  • An overhead press is similar to a push press, except that you are using pure strength to push the weight instead of momentum. Remember to keep your elbows tucked in slightly to ease the tension on your shoulders.
  • For the slams, you will pick a rock up over your head and throw it forcefully to the ground. Pick it up and repeat. Be careful not to crush your toes. 
  • For biceps curls, you can use two small rocks, one big rock, or a small log. At the start of the movement, you will be standing with your arms extended, elbows at your side, weight or weights in your hands. You will then bend at the elbows until your arms are fully flexed, but your elbows will not move from your side at any time during the movement. If you are holding one weight in each arm, make sure you do 50 reps on each side. 
  • Tree striking/rending means hitting trees with any strikes the you like or grabbing them and trying to manipulate them. Your goal is to try to break branches (small at first) with strikes and by grabbing and trying to twist or snap them. In the anime, we see the elder pruning his trees with just two fingers. This is a ridiculous example of what I'm talking about. 
  • You can push or pull a specially made weight sled or a tire or even a car if you want. The idea is you want to push or pull something very heavy for an extended period of time. Rest two minutes in between each 100 meter push/pull.
  • 90 Degree Sprints are like running a baseball diamond. One set is each direction
  • A 40 Yard Suicide will require you to place markers at 10, 20, 30, and 40 yards.  You will sprint to the 10 yard line and back to start, then immediately go to the 20 yard line and back to start, then the 30 yard line and back to start, then to the 40 yard line and back to start. That's one suicide. 
  • If you end up having the energy to do the whole workout again, it includes the martial arts section. 

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Frequency of Posts

I haven't been posting as frequently as I would like due to my work and training schedule. I'm currently teaching nearly 20 classes a week, while working on both my own strength and conditioning and skill work for a scheduled fight in October. I've also been spending a lot of time working on Personalized Training Programs. I've been very excited to work on the first few programs and would love to make more (one step closer to making this blog my full time job, which means I could post a heck of a lot more, but I digress).

In any case, I'm going to do my best to continue posting at least once a week for you guys, so thank you for your patience with all of this. You guys have been awesome and you're the whole reason for this blog to begin with!

Until next time, good luck and train hard!

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Furinji Saiga's Primal Movement Workout

We haven't seen much of Furinji Saiga's training in History's Strongest Disciple Kenichi, but we do know that he is the son of the "Invincible Superman," Furinji Hayato. Therefore, because of that, we can guess that he is similarly trained and/or skilled. The Elder uses a lot of "Ancient Martial Arts" and is also capable of ridiculous feats of strength such as trimming his trees with just his fingers or running across the tops of trees or even water.

When we first really get to see Saiga, he manages to defeat five Master-class fighters before a coat has time to fall to the ground and the remaining Fists of Yami are wary and possibly even afraid of him. I have based this workout on the concept of "Ancient Primal Power." I will probably do another workout for Saiga, if we ever get some concrete training scenes for him.

Furinji Saiga's Primal Movement Workout

-Practice Martial Arts: 1 Hour (see notes)
-Primal Movement (All Exercises are MAX Reps, one right after the next. Choose one from each group. Choose a different exercise each time you do the workout.)

  1. Squat: Conventional, Sumo, Hindu, Split, or Pistol
  2. Lunge: Forward, Side, Reverse, or Walking
  3. Push: Push-up, One-Arm Push-up, Dip, or Handstand Push-ups
  4. Pull: Pull-up, Body Row, Upside Down Row, or One-Arm Variations
  5. Bend and Lift: Deadlift, Single-Arm Deadlift, Single Leg Deadlift(45#/25#)
  6. Rotational Movement: Waist Twist or Wood Chop
  7. Barefoot Walking/Running: 30 Minutes, as is comfortable
  8. Swimming: 30 Minutes, any style
  9. Climbing: 30 Minutes (Rope, Tree, Rock)
4-6 Hours Later
-If you still feel good after the morning training, then repeat the entire workout over again. I don't mean, "Hey, I can still walk, let me make it so I can't anymore." What I mean is, if you breeze right through the workout and you still feel pretty strong, then attempt to complete the workout again in its entirety. You're only required to do max reps of the the movements, so whenever you fail is fine; however, you are free to stop whenever you need to during the second run through.  
  • Practicing martial arts can be anything you like: it can be any type of bag work, forms, shadowboxing, sparring, a martial arts class, or even just practicing single techniques.
  • Conventional Squats would be feet directly under hips, sumo would be feet wide and pointing out, hindu are feet right under hips, but knees come out over the toes, and a split squat is done from a lunge position. Remember to do each side for the split squats.
  • For forward lunges, step out in front of you, bending at the forward knee until your rear knee almost touches the ground. Reverse the movement by pushing off the front foot and return to standing. One rep is each side. Side lunges require you to step out to the side and squat back, with the other leg straight. Return to the start by pushing off the lunging leg. A reverse lunge means the leg that is moving is the rear leg. The to return back to start, push off the rear leg and return to standing. A walking lunge just means that you will lunge forward and step through to the lunge on the opposite side. 
  • Pull-ups and body rows can be any grip you like. Upside down rows are done by hanging upside down on a bar by your hands, with your feet straight up in the air. You will then pull yourself up by bringing your hands to your shoulders. This is a fairly difficult movement so be careful.
  • For the deadlift, you can use a bar or a log. You will squat down and grab the bar or log with straight arms. Your head will be up, your butt will be down, and your back will be straight. Then, you will push down through your heels and drive your hips forward to lift the weight. The bar will travel up close to your shins and thighs for the whole movement. Your arms will stay straight and you will not shrug your shoulders. At the top of the movement, you will have your hips fully extended, shoulders back. Then, you will slowly reverse the movement and sit the weight down. That's one rep. The single arm variation has a weight on either side of the body. You'll complete the reps on your weakest side and then complete the same number of reps on the other. The single-leg variation is a little different, because your non-lifting leg will extend out behind you as you bend at the waist. Your lifting leg will be only slightly bent and the majority of the motion will come from your hip and waist movement.
  • The waist twist is done with very little or no weight and is really just for loosening up. The wood chopping should be actual wood chopping with an ax. You can do swings from shoulder to hip or you can do sideways swings. 
  • You'll notice a lot of differences in your stride in walking and running if you've never done it barefoot. At the beginning, you should try to stay on grass or sand, until you toughen your feet up some. 
  • On the climbing portion, make sure that you only climb to a height with which you are comfortable. 10-12 feet is generally a good height when you are by yourself. If you have access to a rock wall with climbing support, that can be really helpful, too.
  • If you decide to repeat the workout, that includes the hour of martial arts. 
That's all for today! Until next time, good luck and train hard!

Saturday, August 3, 2013

2nd Star Commander Junas' Training (Psyren)

Junas is the 2nd Star Commander under Amagi Miroku and is one scary guy. He's super fast, incredibly agile, very skilled at combat, and has an ability that allows him to cut through virtually anything with his Psi. Junas' most impressive attribute is his speed, but he's not just fast. He has an incredible endurance that allows him to keep his speed for a long period of time. When Kagetora was chasing him in the Present, Junas ran (while carrying a child) for 3 whole days!

We do need to remember that these abilities are all Psi based and not necessarily based in a training program. However, I've built this workout based on the attributes Junas displays throughout the series. It will focus on speed and speed-endurance (which is the ability to maintain speed for an extended time.)

Junas' Training

Sprint/Explosive Movement Complex

  1. Light Jog- 5 Minutes
  2. 8" Hurdle Hops- 5 x 20 Reps
  3. Slalom Run- 5 x 25 Meters
  4. Agility Ladder- 2 x 3 Drills (see notes)
  5. High Jump Squats- 3 x 10 Reps
  6. Box Up-and-Overs- 3 x 10 Reps
  7. 50 Meter Sprint/Walk Back
  8. 100 Meter Sprint/Walk Back
  9. 50 Meter Zig-Zag Sprint/Walk Back
  10. 100 Meter Zig-Zag Sprint/Walk Back
  11. 90 Degree Sprint- 1 Set Each Side
  12. 100 Meter Sprint/Backpeddle
  13. 50 Meter Sprint/Backpeddle

Additional Attribute Training (Choose 1)
-Sword Work
  1. 100 Downward Swings
  2. Draw Sword-Block-Parry-Strike- 25 Times (each side)
  3. 100 Downward Swings
  1. 15 Second Sprint/15 Second Walk
  2. 30 Second Sprint/15 Second Walk
  3. 45 Second Sprint/15 Second Walk
  4. 60 Second Sprint/15 Second Walk
  5. 90 Second Sprint/30 Second Walk
  6. 120 Second Sprint/30 Second Walk
  7. 180 Second Sprint/30 Second Walk
  1. Running- 30 Minutes+10%
  2. 40# Run-Carry- Until fatigued

  • For the hurdle hops, you'll keep your legs mostly straight, but with knees soft. Using as little motion as possible, hop over an 8" hurdle for listed number of reps. Rest 30 seconds between sets.
  • For the Slalom Run, you'll put cones every few feet for the listed distance and you'll alternatively run through them. Rest 30 seconds between sets.
  • Here is a video of some agility drills. Pick 3 and do 2 sets each. Rest 30 seconds between each drill.
  • Box Up-and-Overs, you perform a box jump and then hop off the box on the other side. That's one rep. Turn around and repeat for listed reps. Rest 30 seconds between sets.
  • Sprints should be 90-100% effort. The walk back is your rest period.
  • For Zig-Zag sprints, you will turn at a 45 degree angle and start your sprint. On your fifth step, you will turn 90 degrees and run back toward the center line of the field or road you are on. On the fifth step of that, you will reverse and repeat this every fifth step to cut a zig-zag back and forth across the listed distance. The walk back is your rest period.
  • For the last sprints, the back peddle does not have to be a sprint, but should at least be at a nice run-like pace.
  • After the first part of the workout, rest 5 minutes and pick on of the attribute trainings.
  • For the sword work, you can use a sword, a wooden sword, a stick, or even a sledgehammer. 
  • During the speed endurance, you will not rest between sets except for the allotted time for walking. This training is designed to push your lactate threshold higher so that you can sustain a higher intensity for a longer period.
  • For the endurance portion, "30 Minutes+10%" means that when you first do the workout, you will attempt to run for 30 minutes straight. When you are capable of doing this, add 10% more time to this. That means you will run 33 minutes if you can run 30 successfully, approximately 36 Minutes and 15 Seconds if you can run 33, 39 Minutes 45 Seconds if you can run the 36'15" and so on. It doesn't have to be as precise with the seconds. You can certainly round up or down to the nearest minute.
  • The second part of the endurance training is done right after the first. Using any compact weight: a medicine ball, a plate, a backpack-- you will carry it with your arms however you need to and run as far as you can go without stopping. If you stop or have to drop the weight even one time, you are done for the day.
  • When you pick an attribute, try not to train that attribute two workouts in a row. 

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