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  1. #1
    Canes4Ever's Avatar
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    Can you press your bodyweight? Article by Matt Furey

    Can You Press Your Own Bodyweight?

    by Matt Furey

    One of the most often-missed but absolutely amazing truths about many of the old-time combat men is that their strength and development usually always came from methods other than weight training or weight lifting. Sure, there are George Hackenschmidt's strength feats (he lost to Frank Gotch, in 1908 and 1911, respectively), but contrary to what many people have been led to believe, Hack was more weight lifter than wrestler.

    Make no mistake about this, the old-time combat men were first and foremost, physical culturists. They did gymnastics, wrestled, boxed, did deep breathing exercises and practiced muscle control. In addition to all of the above, many of them also worked long hours each day on farms, or in the steel mills and other manual labor establishments.

    Many of the old-time weight lifters were cut from the same mold. The great John Grimek, for example, would not lift weights for long periods of time. Instead, he would do gymnastic type exercises or "bodyweight calisthenics." Did the bodyweight calisthenics make Grimek stronger? You bet they did?

    Sig Klein was famous for doing a "military press" with 150 percent of his bodyweight. In those days, that meant a perfectly strict press, with the heels together, legs completely straight, back like a ramrod, starting slowly and and raising the bar in time with the rising finger of the judge, who was taking his sweet old time directing you. Talk about agonizing.

    Now, think for a moment and guess what exercise Klein used to develop his tremendous pressing power. Would you believe me if I told you it was handstand pushups?

    Back in my teenage years, my old friend Joe (the one I wrote about in my new book, Combat Conditioning: Functional Exercises for Fitness and Combat Sports), who used to do 1000 pushups a day, told me a little story about his friend Dave.

    Dave was lousy at the overhead press and it occurred to him that he might be able to improve upon this lift by doing handstand pushups. Not knowing whether his hunch was correct or not, Dave began an experiment.

    Each day, he would not only do regular pushups, but he made sure that he began his routine with three sets of handstand pushups, doing as many as he could in each set. At first, he couldn't do them at all, so he would bend his arms a bit and try to press back up. When this was hard, he'd hold the position until he couldn't do them anymore. After about a month Dave was able to do the handstand pushups pretty well. He then tested himself on the military press and his totals had greatly improved.

    More excited than ever, Dave jumped in with both feet and began doing even more handstand pushups. This time he waited a couple months before testing himself on the weights. When he did, his totals were up once again. On his own, Dave had found a lost secret to the development of strength that Sig Klein and others knew about long ago.

    Full Range of Motion
    Now, just imagine how strong Dave could have gotten if he did handstand pushups through a full range of motion. When Dave did his pushups, he always jumped into a handstand and balanced himself with his feet against the wall. He lowered himself until his head touched the floor, then he pressed back up.

    Seems like a complete movement, doesn't it? Well, I got news for you.

    Imagine you have a barbell locked overhead. Now, instead of lowering it all the way to your shoulders and pressing it over head, you only lower it to your forehead. Is that a complete or a partial movement? It's only half a movement, right?

    Partial movements can make you stronger, no doubt about that, but if you want to get the most out of your training, after you can do the partials fairly well, you're going to have to work on doing a complete handstand pushup.

    Other than drilling a large hole in the floor the size of your head, how can this be accomplished?

    Here's how:
    Get a couple of sturdy wooden chairs or benches. Place the chairs close to the wall. Make sure you have one elbow length of room between the two chairs. Get a bunch of thick phone books or encyclopedias and stack them between the chairs. Arrange them until they come about an inch from the top of the seat (where you'll be placing your hands).

    Have someone spot you and kick into a handstand with your arms locked. Bend your legs and place your feet on the wall. Now, once your position is steady, lower yourself until your forehead touches the top of the first book, then press back to the top position. At this point, you've discovered how much harder one more inch can be.

    Now, it doesn't take a brain surgeon to figure out why you have a stack of books between the chairs. They are your way of increasing the RESISTANCE.

    Don't think another inch will make much difference? Okay, no problem. Remove the top book and begin again. And continue downward until there are no books remaining between the chairs. When you can go all the way down and touch the floor, then you really know what it's like to do a complete handstand pushup.

    It'll take some time before you can achieve this worthy goal. It won't be easy. But then again, even doing a "partial" handstand pushup is mighty difficult for most people. Any progress you make along the way, from partials to the complete handstand pushup, is good news. You're doing what most people are unwilling to even try.

    Most importantly, when you add handstand pushups and other bodyweight exercises like Hindu squats, Hindu pushups and bridging to your routine, you're following in the footsteps of the men who ruled the world decades ago. Are the old-timers worth imitating? You better believe it.

    (copied from post on Bodybuilding Extreme, from an article by Strength Coach Matt Furey)

  2. #2
    Mallet's Avatar
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    Nice post Canes4ever!

  3. #3
    Canes4Ever's Avatar
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    bump...thanks Mallet

  4. #4
    dane26's Avatar
    dane26 is offline Retired Moderator
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    i used to do them when we had to go on long baseball road trips in college and couldn't get to a gym. good post, canes!

  5. #5
    Canes4Ever's Avatar
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    Originally posted by dane26
    i used to do them when we had to go on long baseball road trips in college and couldn't get to a gym. good post, canes!
    Hey Dane, I didn't know you played college baseball Cool brother....as you know I am a great fan.

    By the way Dane (or anyone else) do you know what Hindu squats and Hindu pushups are? Never heard of them.

  6. #6
    NightOp is offline Member
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    canes... wonderful post.. interesting and useful.

  7. #7
    $uperman's Avatar
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    well done canes... nice

  8. #8
    Canes4Ever's Avatar
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    Thanks guys, I thought so too.

  9. #9
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    big ups canes
    good post

  10. #10
    Psycoswole's Avatar
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    This was posted a while ago but a good read. Heres some info on the hindu pushups and squats canes


    bodyweight exercises

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    You know, handstand pushups are in my shoulder routine.

  12. #12
    skiboy is offline Associate Member
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    nice post i'm gona have to throw em' in my workout
    peace

  13. #13
    jax larue is offline New Member
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    yeh bodyweight exercises are good but they do not build up the kind of strength matt furey says they do,that kind of strength yuo build with weights not bodyweight exercises.

  14. #14
    jax larue is offline New Member
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    oh i for got thses links ,these are from george hackenschmidts book the way to live.
    this one is the chapter on exercies with out weights.
    http://www.sandowplus.co.uk/Competit.../wtl/wtl04.htm

    this one is on exercises with weights
    http://www.sandowplus.co.uk/Competit.../wtl/wtl05.htm

    also to build up great strength you must build strength not only in the muscles but the tendons and ligaments,and bodyweight exercises only build strength in the muscles.

  15. #15
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    gotta love "retro" AR posts.

  16. #16
    jax larue is offline New Member
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    whats wrong with "reto",style bodybuilding? i actually foloow the old methods
    and am striving for a build like that of Eugen Sandow,and have gotten stronger using the old pre-1950's style exercises and training methods,then i ever did using the latest scientificbodybuilding systems.

  17. #17
    chest6's Avatar
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    this is the second 4 year old thread u bumped..why not bump them all?

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by chest6
    this is the second 4 year old thread u bumped..why not bump them all?
    no kidding whats the point of it

  19. #19
    jax larue is offline New Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by diezell
    no kidding whats the point of it
    yeh lookslike this treadis soolditneeds a good swift kick

  20. #20
    jax larue is offline New Member
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    matt furey'sLooking a fat now.

    Matt furey's looking a tad fat ,checkout this like to his website.

    http://www.shaolinstrengthtraining.com/

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