After a near-catastrophic neck injury last year (memo to self: never have 180 pounds land on head), I was forced to change my workouts.
I had spent years lifting weights. 23 years, to be exact, and my body definitely felt the abuse. Joints creaked and popped; and my climbing ability was, shall we say, a tad less graceful than that of a Sherpa. The injury and subsequent (and still in-process) rehab, detailed in another blog entry, forced me to change my approach.
I started off simply doing the basics: riding the recumbent bike four times a week for 30 to 35 minutes. Lifting on Mondays and Fridays consisting of pushups, tricep pushdowns, lat pulldowns and curls on the Hammer machine, the latter three with very light weights and a lot of repetitions.
Then I read about Matt Furey. Furey is a somewhat accomplished martial artist with an interesting approach to workouts. He sells both books and videos (both of which get very mixed reviews) on a variety of fitness topics, including his "body weight workouts".
Furey describes a variety of exercises that I had never, ever heard of. I'm pretty well-read and like to read about fitness, workout programs and the like. Yet I'd never come across "Hindu Pushups", "Hindu Squats", "Reverse Pushups", "Wall walking", and "Bowing".
I perused Usenet and found some decidedly mixed reviews of his commercial material. But the gist of the comments seemed to be, "it's pretty good stuff, but the info is all over the Internet, you don't need to spring for his overpriced stuff."
Anyhow, I'd recommend getting the Furey book if you're a relative novice at training. But if you're an old hand at resistance training, check out Clarence Bass' site for some basic information. It seems as though it's a pretty good combination of strength training and yoga without the need for separate resistance and flexibility workouts.
Anyhow, I've been doing the workouts for a couple of weeks now. Prior to my injury, I could bench-press 225 pounds as many as 21 reps. Post-injury, I'd worked up to 51 straight pushups (chest to ground). But I maxed out at only 12 Hindu pushups the first time I tried.
So here's my workout that involves zero free-weights:
1) Three sets of Hindu pushups
2) Three sets of diamond (close-grip) pushups - super-set by moving to knees when exhausted
3) Three sets of pullups
4) Five sets of curls using chin-up bar - basically, a very short form a of a chin concentrating only on biceps
I'm not doing Hindu squats with any regularity due to the large amount of bike riding I'm doing. And the wrestler's bridges are... a little too risky given the synthetic disc in my neck. But I'll keep you -- my valued reader -- up-to-date on this momentous topic should any noteworthy results arise.
Clarence Bass introduces Matt Furey's Workout