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Do exercise more


DXM: Do Xercise More. One adherent prayed to The DXM Angel for an explanation. The DXM Angel appeared to her disciple in a vision and dictated the following exercise program to the commenteer, which is by far the best in the world, if your aim is non-sport specific fitness and health. (That's right, this program is divinely channeled and not, in fact, pieced together from scientific research, trialanderror, personal experience, sports training and such sources as Pavel Tsatsouline, CrossFit, Brooks Kubik, Mel Siff, Yuri Verkhoshansky, Vladimir Zatsiorsky, Louie Simmons, Dan John, Arthur DeVany, Thomas Kurz and Ross Enamait.) The DXM program is aimed at general fitness. Follow this program when you're training for what some people call by the charming phrase "versatile many-sidedness�. If you want to develop a specific ability, then specialize as you see fit. It takes about three or four hours of your very precious time a week, and will increase dynamic and static flexibility, muscular strength, power, speed, aerobic efficiency, anaerobic efficiency, aerobic recovery capacity, anaerobic recovery capacity, muscular endurance, tendon, ligament and bone strength, muscle fibre recruitment and coordination. It will also make you lean, cause your body to run on fat rather than sugar, boost insulin sensitivity (a key determinant of longevity 1) and improve your health.

And The DXM Angel saith, "The mind of the square thinks in straight lines. My disciples' thought is bound by no lines. Worship not regularity and seek not to conform biology to Euclid! Who says to you 'Do regular exercise' is thine enemy. This doctrine I give to you: Your body knows no straight lines! Your body knows no Aristotelean logic! Your body desires chaos! Abandon all straight lines and I shall bless thee with sexy abs and thighs of steel!\ For your body is not a machine, but an adaptive, non-linear system. Exercise is not like filling a box; it is like nurturing a plant. 'More' does not mean 'better'. For every stimulus you apply, you will get a response. An irregular system ddemands irregular stimuli. Vary sets. Vary reps. Vary frequency. Vary intensity. Vary load."

The DXM program is what's called "cybernetic periodization", meaning that - within a structured framework - you lift what you feel like lifting, you train when you feel like training and run as fast as you feel like running. Pay attention to the feedback you body gives you. Rest when you're tired. Train when you've recovered. Simple, eh?

The Program

The DXM program consists of a mobility routine, ideally to be done every morning, a main workout to be done about 4 days a week and practise, to be done whenever you think of it.

The DXM program is a seven week macrocycle consisting of a three-week mesocycle which develops strength and power and trains endurance at maintenance level, followed by a three-week mesocycle which develops endurance and trains strength and power at maintenance level, followed by a week of rest. The seven-week macrocycle then repeats. (This is called conjugate periodization or emphasis periodization.)

Weeks 1-3\ ¼ hard endurance workouts. ½ maximal effort strength workouts. ¼ dynamic effort strength workout\ Weeks 4-6\ ¼ moderate endurance workouts. ½ hard endurance workouts. ¼ maximal effort strength workout\ Week 7\ Rest.\ You will typically be training 4 times a week, so for the first three weeks, you'd do one hard endurance workout, two maximal effort workouts and one dynamic effort workout. (Note that I say 'typically'; there are no rules or prescriptions here, go by how you feel and what is convenient.) Vary the days on which your workouts fall. Vary the time of day you train. Vary the length of the sessions. The moderate intensity workouts make your body adapt faster and make you less liable to overtrain. Dynamic effort is really a kind of moderate intensity strength workout, with extra benefits for speed and power, as described below.

Workouts

Strength workouts

The DXM program incorporates two kinds of strength workout: maximal effort training, designed to increase overall brute strength, and dynamic strength training, using lighter loads and moving faster, designed to increase the speed at which you can apply your strength.

For each 7-week cycle, pick 4-6 exercises, including some kind of squat, some back-strengthening exercise, an upper-body pulling movement and an upper-body pressing movement. Unlike the endurance workouts, where the exercises change every time, the strength exercises require you to stick with the same exercises for the duration of the seven week macrocycle. This is because practising a movement regularly means you'll recruit more muscle fibres.

There is no need for a warm-up before strength training 2, and a warm-up will decrease the tension you can generate by tiring you. The structure of our strength training workouts is as follows:

  • Joint rotations (see 'Mobility' section)
  • Dynamic stretching (see 'Mobility' section)
  • Strength exercises (and - for maximal strength sessions - plyometrics)
  • Static stretching
  • Static holds

Use Prilepin's table to determine your sets, reps and load.

Maximal effort training\ For maximal effort workouts, lift 85% + of your maximum. By Prilepin, this is 1-4 reps per set for 4-20 total reps. During maximal strength training, we alternate sets of strength exercises with sets of plyometric exercises, described below. This is called complex training.

Dynamic effort training\ Lift 60-70% of your max, focusing on accelerating as fast as possible. 1-3 reps per set is typical. The number of sets is quite high, around 8. The DXM Angel recommends using rubber bands (see 'Equipment' below).

Tension is strength\ Research has shown that how much strength you gain depends on how hard you tense your muscles 3. You can only voluntarily tense about 30-50% of the fibres in a muscle at a time. When people are electrocuted by a lightning bolt or the State of Texas, all their muscles fibres contract involuntarily and the force of the contraction rips the tendon right off the bone. In other words, hidden in your muscles is a positively scary amount of strength. You can increase your strength by learning how to recruit more and more muscle fibres. There are a few tricks to allow you to tense your muscles more:

  • The obvious one is to just consciously focus on squeezing the muscles tight as you move. Ngggrrrr...
  • The more you practise a particular movement, the more fibres you'll recruit. Practise.
  • Strengthen the tendons, and your nervous system will allow the muscle to apply more force. (There are several methods of strengthening the tendons built into the DXM program.)
  • Your body can only handle moving heavy weights if the abdomen is braced. Try to shift a boulder with a limp midsection and you'd damage your spine. To protect against this, your nervous system has a mechanism called the pneumo-muscular reflex: the higher the pressure in your abdomen, the stronger your muscles can tense. This is why martial artists kiai as they strike. Practise taking deep breaths in and exhaling forcefully in a high powered jet and really feel the pressure in there. Intra-abdominal pressure depends on the rectal sphincter, rectus abdominis (the six-pack muscle), transverse abdominis (the muscle you use to suck in your gut) and the diaphragm.
  • Tension spreads. The more muscles you tense, the tenser your muscles become. We all intuitively understand this, which is why you see people screwing up their faces as they use strength. Tensing big muscles, like the buttocks and abdomen, is especially useful. Tensing one arm or leg makes the other one more tense.
  • There's a neurological set-up called the positive support reaction, designed to allow us to stand and hold things. It works like this: apply pressure to the sole of a foot, and that leg tenses; apply pressure to the palm of a hand, and that arm tenses. For this reason, The DXM Angel advises that you do you strength workouts barefoot and without gloves. (If your gym complains about you being barefoot, just ignore them and keep doing it. Our research shows that they always give up.) Squeeze the bar as hard as you can with your hands as you lift the weight.
  • Before doing a set of an exercise, do a partial repetition or a static hold with more weight than you could normally do a lift with. For example, if you can squat 100kg, rack the bar with 130, stand up with it for a few seconds, then put it back, unload it to 100kg and do your set. (This is also a good way to strengthen tendons and ligaments.)
  • 'Successive induction feedback' is another neurological reflex you can take advantage of to build strength. After you tense one muscle, its antagonist is temporarily disinhibited. The DXM Angel advises us to do alternate pressing and pulling exercises for this reason. (e.g. a set of military presses followed, after a minute's rest, by a set of pull-ups).

Plyometrics\ When your foot strikes the ground as you run, the Achilles' tendon is squished, then it expands and helps propel you forward. This is known as reactive strength or 'having a spring in your step'. Reactive strength is trained by a method called plyometrics. Alternate a set of a strength exercise with a set of a plyometric exercise for the same part of the body. Plyometrics are mostly used for the lower body, to help running and jumping. The DXM Angel recommends that you do sets of shock jumps and depth jumps between sets of squats. Only do about 4-6 at a time, staying as fresh as possible. Rest for maybe ten seconds between each rep of plyometrics.

Endurance workouts

Dr. Izumi Tabata discovered that subjects trained with intervals of intense anaerobic exercise with short recovery periods increased both aerobic and anaerobic fitness. In other words, it is not necessary to do aerobic work to increase aerobic capacity. Aerobic work, like jogging, decreases strength 4 5, usually grinds down joints, puts the body under oxidative stress and encourages your body to store fat. I don't know where everybody got the idea that fitness is to be found in this long, low-intensity exercise. It's completely unnecessary. Don't do it. People are convinced that marathoners are healthier than sprinters, but if you look at the scientific data you will see this is not so 6. If, on the other hand, you don't look at the scientific data, and instead just take the briefest glance at an endurance athlete, you'll notice they look frail, weak, stressed, uncomfortable and old before their time. Then look at a sprinter, boxer, gymnast or weightlifter and notice that they look terrific, proud, lean, powerful and erect. That longandslow exercise reduces strength, that it wrecks joints, that it is unnecessary for aerobic fitness, all these things are undisputed in the scientific community, yet it is this sort of 'gentle' exercise that continues to be prescribed, so stuck are we in the Euclidian-Darwinian mechanistic thought strategies. A superior technology is presented here.

You can train aerobic and anaerobic capacities together by means of high intensity interval training or H.I.I.T. A Tabata interval is a particular H.I.I.T. protocol involving 20 seconds of full-intensity activity, followed by ten seconds of rest, for eight rounds. An experiment by Dr. Izumi Tabata found this to be extremely effective. (A lot of people wouldn't believe that you can gain fitness in less than four minutes, but they have been using far inferior technology. Few of these workouts take more than twenty minutes, but they're the most effective thing you can do.) The short rests will train your body's ability to recover quickly from peak effort (which is the sort of 'endurance' needed for most sports, like football, rugby, basketball etc.). The workouts will increase blood supply to the muscles, and your muscular stores of citrate synthase and phosphocreatine. The repeated ballistic shocks will strengthen your skeleton, as will all that juicy growth hormone. These workouts are great for insulin sensitivity.

In the DXM program, we change the exercises in each endurance workout in order to build versatile fitness. These workouts will cause a lot of lactic acid and growth hormone to be released, which will keep you young, strong and healthy. (The growth hormone might make you feel nauseous. Deal with it.)

The structure of the session is as follows:

  • Joint rotations as per the mobility routine.\
  • Next, warm up by skipping, bodyweight squats, rowing or whatever. A warm-up should do just that: make you warm. It should get you heart rate and breathing elevated, but exhausting yourself at this stage is counterproductive.\
  • Next do one set of dynamic stretches, as per the mobility routine.\
  • Now do your main workout, as described below.\
  • Static-passive stretches. Gently stretch all the major muscle groups for about 20 seconds each, moving briskly through the different stretches. This also functions as a cool-down and speeds recovery.
  • Isometric stretches (for an explanation of the different kinds of stretching, see the section on 'Stretching' below).
  • Finally, do static holds like handstands (against a wall, if needs be), squat holds, planks, L-sits, holding the mid-point of a push-up, or low horse stance. These should last 40 seconds to 5 minutes each, long enough to feel the lactic acid burn. Hatha yoga postures may be used here.

The static holds at the end serve several purposes. According to research by Christian Thibeaudeau, they increase the speed at which your body recovers from exercise and makes functional adaptations. The also produce a lot of lactic acid, which triggers more growth hormone, which will strengthen your tendons, ligaments and bones. (This is why static holds are used so widely in traditional martial arts conditioning. The DXM Angel, in her infinite wisdom, places great emphasis on the strength of the ligaments of her followers.) They also work the slow-twitch fibres to increase muscular endurance. However, the overall focus of the workout is decidedly on the fast-twitch fibres, so this slow-twitch work won't compromise your power.

Here are some some sample endurance workouts. Do a different one each time, according to no particular pattern. Use the dice to pick them, if you like. If the periodization plan above calls for a moderate intensity workout, only push yourself about two-thirds as hard as possible. Courtesy of Ross Enamait:

  • 'Work capacity 101'. 5 pull-ups, 10 slams, 15 burpees, 10 lateral lunges. Do this combo every two minutes for ten minutes.
  • 'Magic 50'. 5 rounds of: 5 snatches per arm, 5 swings per arm, 10 burpees.
  • 100 burpees as fast as possible.
  • '25 repetition roulette'. 25 reps of: burpee with sandbag (or other weight, but The DXM Angel likes sandbags) in front of your hands, immediately followed by a clean&jerk and a twisting overhead lunge.
  • 'Sandbag interval challenge'. 4 rounds of: 400m sprint, 10 clean and presses, 12 burpees
  • 'Carry, run and press'. 3 rounds of: 400m run carrying sandbag, 400m sprint without it, 10 clean and presses.
  • '300 yards of hell'. Power clean a sandbag and throw it as far as you can for 5 reps, then do 5 zercher lunges with the bag per leg, then throw the bag. Repeat this until you've covered 300 yards.
  • 'Swinging and snatching'. 2 rounds of: 400m,10 snatches of 23kg dumbbell, another 400m sprint, 10 swings of the dumbbell.
  • 'Lifting and loading'. 50 reps total each of the following: clean and press, zercher squat, loading a sandbag onto a table (or something similar). Do them in whatever order you like, as fast and as heavy as possible.
  • 'Living room challenge'. 3 minutes of clean and presses, 2 minutes rest, 3 minutes of zercher squats, 2 minutes rest, 3 minutes sandbag shouldering. Fit as many reps into those three minutes as possible and use as much weight as possible.
  • 'Burpee and pull-up challenge'. Do as many total burpees and pull-ups as you can in 10 minutes. Give yourself two points for each pull-up and one point for each burpee. 110 points is just about respectable; 220 points is excellent.
  • 5 800m runs OR 6 600m runs OR 10 400m runs with 1 minute rest between each OR 12 200m runs with 30 seconds rest between each.
  • 10 rounds of: sprint 100m, jog 100m

Courtesy of CrossFit:

  • 'Fran'. 21 X 41kg barbell thruster, 21 X kipping pull-up, 15 X 41kg barbell thruster, 15 X kipping pull-up, 9 X 41kg barbell thruster, 9 X kipping pull-up. Complete this as fast as possible. 10 minutes is OK; 4 minutes is excellent.
  • 'Grace'. 30 clean and jerks as fast and as heavy as possible.
  • 'Isabel'. 30 snatches as fast and as heavy as possible.
  • 'Helen'. 3 rounds of: 400m sprint, 21 swings with a 25kg weight, 12 pull-ups. \<> Complete this as fast as possible. 15 minutes is OK; 9 minutes is excellent.
  • 'Nancy'. 5 rounds of: 400m sprint, 15 overhead squats with 40kg. Complete this as fast as possible. 22 minutes is OK; 12 minutes is excellent.
  • 'Fight gone bad'. 1 minute of thrusters with 20kg, 1 minute of high pulls with 40kg, 1 minute of box jumps, 1 minute of push-presses with 40kg, 1 minute of rowing, 1 minute rest. Repeat all this 3 or more times.
  • Do 12 hang cleans with 30kg followed by 7 pull-ups. Repeat for 20 minutes.
  • Do 20 reps of swings in a minute, 20 cleans the next minute, 20 snatches the next minute, 20 burpees the final minute.
  • Roll a die. Multiply the number by 10. This is the number of seconds you'll be working for. Roll it again. Multiply by 5. This is the number of seconds you'll be resting for. Roll it again. This is the number of rounds you'll be doing. (e.g. if I roll 3, 5 and 4, I do 30 seconds of work, rest for 25 seconds and repeat this cycle 4 times.) Apply this to any mode of sprinting or any exercise with a high work rate.
  • 3 rounds of: 21 snatches with 45kg, 400m sprint. Complete this as fast as possible. 20 minutes is OK; 10 minutes is excellent.

Courtesy of Bryce Lane:

  • '10 minute thing'. Pick a big lift like squats, deadlifts, clean and jerks, snatches, or whatever. Do as many reps as possible in 10 minutes with 75-80% of your max.
  • 'Hi-NrG'. Pick a big lift like squats, deadlifts, clean and jerks, snatches, or whatever. Do 20 heavy reps, then do 3 minutes steady state activity like rowing or skipping or whatever, then do 5 more heavy reps, then rest for 1 minute. Repeat 3 times.

Courtesy of Clarence Bass

  • Do 5 minutes swimming or running or rowing or skipping or whatever at moderately high intensity, but not all-out, then do a Tabata interval.

Courtesy of The DXM Angel herself

  • Shoulder a heavy sandbag as many times as possible. When you get tired, skip for as long as it takes to recover for some more shouldering. Do this for three minutes, then rest for 1 minute. Do at least three rounds.
  • Tabata circuit with 2 rounds each of thrusters, high pulls, squats and swings
  • Tabata circuit with 2 rounds each of push-presses, burpees, high pulls and jumps squats
  • Tabata circuit with 2 rounds each of burpees (with push-up), kipping pull-ups, snatches and band sprints.
  • Tabata any high work rate drill (as listed below) or any kind of sprinting - running, swimming, rowing etc.
  • 20 seconds each of snatches, rest, woodchoppers, rest, shouldering, rest, clean and jerks, rest. Repeat 4-6 times.
  • Do each of the following slowly for 15 reps, then up the rate and the tempo for 8 reps, then at full speed for 4 reps: squats, military presses, deadlifts, full contact twists, hip pull-throughs, step-ups. Then grab two dumbbells and do a Tabata round, alternating swings and snatches each work interval.
  • Pick any high work rate drill or any mode of sprinting. Do it at high intensity as long as possible, then at lower intensity as long as necessary to recover enough so you can go at high intensity again. Repeat as long as possible. This is called fartlek.
  • Pick a big lift like squats, deadlifts, clean and jerks, snatches, or whatever. Sprint 400m, then do 10-30 reps of the lift. Repeat for 3-5 rounds.

High work-rate drills: Burpees, burpees with push-up, wall burpees (when you kick back, your feet are held up against a wall), burpees with a tuck jump, squat thrust followed by shouldering a sandbag or snatching or cleaning or power snatching or power cleaning, reverse burpees (instead of thrusting the legs back, you thrust the hand forward while holding a weight), deck squat followed by jump, kip-up followed by cartwheel, air burpee (when you kick back, your feet are in the air), squat thrust followed by shouldering a sandbag followed by squatting down to parallel and turning in the direction of the shoulder you have the bag on (Ross Enamait invented that one; he calls it 'extreme burpee shouldering'), squat thrust to pull-up or muscle-up, shoulder a bag and jump, clean and jerk followed by overhead lunge or twisting overhead lunge, overhead swing to split support, shouldering a sandbag, clean and jerks, snatches, loading a sandbag onto something like a table.

Practise

Pick 1-3 strength skills and practise them as often as possible. This element of the program is to be done when you're waiting for the kettle to boil or while you're watching TV. (From a practical point of view, this means that they need to be exercises you can do without equipment, unless you live in a squat rack.) Focus on maximising tension with the tricks above. Because our aim here is maximum muscle tension, any exhaustion is extremely counterproductive. If you can do ten repetitions of your chosen exercise, do four. If you can hold a position for 30 seconds, hold it for ten. Add resistance rather than repetitions. Vary the number of sets per day and the number of reps per set chaotically. Set a measurable goal (e.g. 20 pull-ups) and stick with the exercise until you've accomplished that goal.

Sample exercises: L-hang pull-ups, manna progressions (from L-sits to V-sits to mannas), planche progressions, handstand push-ups, one-arm push-ups, one-legged squats, power breathing (inhaling fully, then exhaling with maximal abdominal tension), ab wheel work

Stretching

mens flexibila in corpore flexilibilo – The DXM Angel\ When a limb is moving at 75% or more of its maximum speed, it has a certain range of motion – This is dynamic flexibility.\ When it is still or moving more slowly, it has a greater (or maybe equal) range of motion – This is static flexibility.\ When a joint moves under the impetus only of the muscles of that joint – that is active flexibility.\ When it moves with external help, whether by other muscles, a partner, your bodyweight, or any force other than the muscles of the joint itself – that is passive flexibility.

Dynamic stretching is an essential part of the DXM program. The program includes these at the beginning of workouts and as part of your morning mobility routine. It is essential that you understand that a dynamic stretch involves swinging a limb with speed and control within its range of motion. It is not throwing a limb at speed so that its momentum carries it beyond its range of motion. That is called ballistic stretching and is good only for tearing muscles. When doing dynamic stretches, start modestly, and go slightly further with each repetition, until you're at full amplitude. Do one or two reps at full amplitude, then move on to the next stretch. At first, it may take you a dozen reps to reach full amplitude, but within a month of daily practise you'll be able to get it first time.

Pick a few stretches you'd like to improve your flexibility in, and work on those until you reach your goal, then train those stretches at maintenance level and work on increasing flexibility in other stretches.

Static passive stretching, or relaxed stretching, is what most people understand by 'stretching'. Do it gently, not aggressively, or you'll damage the muscle and decrease flexibility and strength. It can be done as often as you like and will help with recovery. Contrary to popular belief, relaxed stretching before exercise does not reduce risk of injury 7 and has the effect of relaxing your muscles, which is not desirable when you're about to exert them. So don't do this type of stretching before exercise, only after. In the DXM program, it is done after exercise or on its own.

Isometric stretching, or static isometric stretching, or proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation stretching, or PNF stretching, is the fastest way to gain static flexibility. According to Pavel Tsatsouline's book 'Relax into Stretch', it is 267% more effective than relaxed stretching. It also makes you stronger lickety-split. To increase flexibility in a particular stretch, do isometric stretching every other day (your muscles need a day to recover) and as much relaxed stretching as possible. When you reach your desired level of flexibility, train these stretches at maintenance level. (Maintaining flexibility requires only one session of isometric stretching per week.)

For an illustrated list of stretches and instructions on different types of stretching, see Jujimufu's guide.

Mobility routine

The mobility routine consists of two parts: joint rotations and dynamic stretches.

Ideally do this first thing in the morning, but any time is better than not at all. This mobility routine lubricates the joints to allow them to move smoothly and stay healthy into old age. It also increases dynamic flexibility. A happy side-effect of the routine is that it will speed your recovery from intense exercise.

The joint rotations are designed to put your joints through a full range of motion. This lubricates them with synovial fluid. Circle your ankles, bend your knees, circle your hips, twist your waist, go through all your joints like that, putting them through the full range of their motion until they move smoothly, without stiffness.

After loosening up, do dynamic stretching. This normally includes leg swings to the front, sides and back. You can also do trunk rotations, arm swings, or whatever meets your needs.

You may also choose to do some moderate aerobic activity to give your heart an early-morning kickstart. The DXM Angel recommends skipping as it develops tendon and bone strength, lightness of foot, reactive strength, coordination, rhythm and timing. Skipping is especially essential to any kind of martial artist or combat athlete. Don't spend more than five minutes at this.

"Humans have easily injured knees!?" It's an unfortunate fact that people who exercise are likely to get knee problems. It's not just due to bad exercise form; it's just inevitable wearandtear. So you'd be well advised to do some prehabilitative knee exercises in the mobility routine, like gently stretching the hamstrings, quadriceps and calves, and manually moving your kneecap around.

Equipment

You don't need to join a gym to follow this program. Gyms nowadays are full of idiots, useless equipment like one-dimensional resistance machines and treadmills and ferns, anyway. They do, however, have some worthwhile stuff like barbells, dumbbells, pull-up bars and squat racks. A sandbag (homemade) and some rubber bands (good ones are available from www.elitefts.com) are a pretty good substitute for these weights.

Concept II is a rowing machine that most gyms have. It's great for intense anaerobic work as it works nearly every muscle in the body and the console is very versatile.

Rubber bands are great for things like squats. You can obviously quarter-squat a lot more than you can fully squat, so if you do a full squat with a barbell, you can't use a load sufficient to strengthen the upper range of motion, which is where most athletic movement requires strength. So you'll always have to trade off the benefits of full squats (flexibility and strengthening across wider range of motion) against the benefits of less deep squats (increased load). Enter the rubber band to solve this problem. The further you stretch the band, the more it resists, so as you squat down, it's as though the weight you're lifting becomes lighter, and as you go back up, it effectively becomes heavier. So you get all the benefits of both kinds of squat. You can achieve the same effect by attaching heavy chains to the bar, which pool on the ground as you go down, so you're not lifting their weight at the bottom, but The DXM Angel prefers bands because, simply put, they make you fast: If you hold a weight and a rubber band at the same height and release them, the rubber band will always reach the ground first. To resist a rubber band, your muscles have to outrun the inbuilt speed of the resistance. Isometrics against the resistance of bands are a great way of building speed. They are perfect for dynamic effort workouts. Another advantage is portability: you can carry rubber bands with you if you travel. This is tricky to do with weights, which have a tendency to be heavy. Another good use of bands is to loop them around something like a pillar, get inside the loop, and run or walk away from them as far as you can. A great exercise for athletic leg strength. Here is a good article on the advantages of bands.

Sandbags are the poor man's barbells and dumbbells. Barbells are precision engineered to be of an exact mass and be perfectly balanced; sandbags are thrown together at home and are completely unbalanced. This gives them the advantage of being cheap (or even free) and, moreover, the advantage of challenging your body in unpredictable ways. No two reps with a sandbag are the same; the loose sand sloshing about forces you to adapt, stabilize and balance. This builds strength in the stabilizing muscles of your abdomen, and prepares you for doing stuff like wrestling an opponent, who's always going to be resisting in unpredictable ways. Sandbags also build grip strength pretty well, and for the martial artists among us, harden the skin of the hands. Don't grip the bag by straps; grab a hold of folds of the canvas. You can steal little white sandbags, appropriate for one-arm work, from roadworks. You can also build your own sandbag as described here

Gymnastic rings are an extraordinarily cool piece of kit, and SUCH a part of The Ultimate Comment. The gymnast on the rings has a stronger and more versatile upper body than any other athlete, as well as an extremely strong back and core. They're no longer to be found in gyms, unfortunately, having gone out of style when physical culture decided to get completely shit and worthless. You could try building your own.

You can buy a pull-up bar for your doorway pretty cheaply, or you can use the branch of a tree. This is useful not just for pull-ups, but for levers, muscle-ups and other stuff, too.

Wheel roll-outs and pull-ins are like the ultimate abdominal exercise, sayeth The DXM Angel. Don't bother buying an ab wheel; just use a rollerskate, a skateboard or anything with wheels on it, really.

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