Saturday, July 24, 2004

Furey Workout

Matt FureyAfter 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

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hindu Squats - building strength and endurance throughout the thighs, calves, lower back and chest, and lung power.

Stand with feet shoulder width apart, hands pulled in tightly to the chest. Inhale. Keeping your back fairly straight, lower your buttocks until your thighs are parallel to the floor. As you lower your buttocks, straighten the arms and have the hands behind your back. As you move towards the parallel-to-the-floor position, raise your heels from the floor. Now swing your arms upwards and push off your toes, raising your body to a standing position. As you rise, your hands come in front of your body. They continue to rise until they're level with your chest. Once you're in the up position, pull your ams in towards your chest, as if rowing a boat. Make tight fists and keep the elbows close to the body. Repeat......

Wall Walking - stretches and strengthens all the muscles along the spine, and works the abdominals.

Stand three feet from a wall, with your back to the wall. Lean backwards with your hands stretched above your head. Slowly move your hands down the wall. Continue 'walking' until the top of your head lightly touches the floor. Turn to your stomach and stand up again. Repeat.

Reverse Push-ups - strengthens the back, shoulders and arms, and promotes flexibility and suppleness throughout the entire upper body, especially the shoulders and spine.

Lying on your back, with knees bent and feet flat on the floor, place your hands next to the tops of your shoulders with palms on the ground. Push your body off the floor until your arms reach the locked position. The crown of your head should be facing the floor. Push yourself forward. Make your body into a wheel by trying to get your chest even with your hands. Slowly lower yourself, bringing your upper back and neck to the floor. Repeat.

Kneeling Back Bend - increases flexibility and strength throughout the back and thighs, and gives the abdominals a great workout.

Kneel on the floor with your palms resting on the backs of your thighs. Keep your back straight and hips forward. Let your head fall backward, and gradually lower yourself toward the floor. Go only as far as your body will allow. Don't force the movement. Once you have reached the limit of your flexibility, return to the starting position.

Bowing - builds full body explosiveness

Stand with the feet shoulder width apart. Bend your knees and lower your buttocks so that the thighs are just above being parallel to the floor. Make fists with your hands and place them above your head. One hand is above the other. Focus on your abdominals. Imagine you have a sledge hammer in your hands and you're going to drive it into concrete. Throw your hands forward and downward while straightening your legs and sliding backwards on the soles of your feet. Repeat.