Since moving to Ireland and leaving my beloved MedX machines behind (Kieser London and Physical Culture), I decided to embrace a minimalist routine. Drew Baye’s Project Kratos was the obvious choice and came highly recommended (Steve Maxwell and Skyler Tanner are big fans). Not only did this make sense because there are no “good” training machines in Galway, Ireland (that I know of), I saw it as an investment in myself: learning a set of skills that would serve me anywhere.
Bodyweight HIT, as Skyler Tanner warned me, is incredibly challenging, but would serve me well and is as rewarding as any comparable HIT protocol using machines or free-weights.
My bodyweight training journey started whilst I was still living in London. I started doing the standard Project Kratos workout after getting an introduction to bodyweight training from Hillfit. Due to stress (full-time job in IT Sales, Corporate Warrior, “responsibilities”, etc) and being forced to work out in the evening (not a great time for me, I’m a late morning kind of guy), I struggled with the full routine and decided to switch to the condensed Project Kratos workout. Over time, I progressed to the harder versions of most of the exercises (e.g. harder partial chin-ups).
Having done Project Kratos (in some form) for a few months now, I have decided to start the A/B routine using the Kratos and Zelus workouts. The full regimen looks like this:
Kratos (A routine)
- Chin up
- Inverted Row
- Pike-push up
- Prone trunk extension
- Heel raise
- TSC neck extension
- TSC neck flexion
Zelus (B routine)
- Wide grip pull-up
- Tricep push-up (diamond push-up)
- TSC simple row
- Half-handstand push-up
- Squat hold
- Hip raise
- Leg raise
- TSC neck lateral flexion
Previously I was doing a bodyweight/machine hybrid workout and substituting pike push-ups for overhead press and inverted rows for seated rows, but now I’ve decided to go full bodyweight.
Recently, I did my first Zelus workout. It was horrible. I was horrible. But that’s okay. Bodyweight training is really difficult and it takes practice. And anyone who’s been doing strength training for a long time, knows that any new regime is going to be as hard as hell at first because it’s relatively novel.
Here’s my first workout record for Zelus (don’t laugh):
- Wide grip pull-up: M 55 TUL (yes I still like to count – I’m not as strong as Skyler :-P)
- Tricep push-up: M 60 TUL
- Lunge: L U+4 140 TUL (NTF) –> I forgot to do right leg HAHA (so I snuck in a pathetic right leg attempt 20-minutes after the workout …)
- TSC simple row: Couldn’t contract 100% for last 30 secs (wimp)
- Half-handstand push-up: Couldn’t complete 2 reps 2 times, took break then did E-3 (because I couldn’t do full-range of motion!) … 25 TUL
- Hip raise: M 145 (NTF – need to progress to harder variation)
- Leg raise: M 50 TUL (cramp in hip, thigh and calf)
- TSC neck lateral flexion: Could not contract for last 30 secs on the right side due to arm fatigue
Total workout time: 26 minutes (prolonged due to doing Zelus for the first time and still learning exercise form, etc)
Notes: Single set to failure on each exercise. No deliberate rest in between exercises but enough time to safely execute the next exercise. No specific cadence. I just focused on very smooth turnarounds. My cadence probably started at 3/2/3 and became progressively longer as the set progressed on all exercises.
- ## = seconds
- M = full range of motion / medium lever
- TUL = time under load
- U+4 = unilateral with 4s hold
- L = left side/leg
- NTF = not to failure (because I’m a wuss)
- TSC = timed static contraction
- E-3 = easy range of motion / easy lever / 3s rest at top of repetition
As you can see, it is not a very impressive performance at all! Drew would be disappointed in me ;-(. I find that exercise novelty can make it hard to reach muscular failure at first but once I’ve improved the skill, I’m confident I’ll be able to get there.
You might think that I’m unmotivated after that but I’m anything but. The challenge makes the workouts more exciting for me and gives me something to work towards as opposed to just chasing failure every time with the same exercises. There is nothing wrong with the latter but I like novelty!
I’m planning on alternating this with the Kratos workout every 3 days, so I should average 2 workouts a week. I might increase frequency where appropriate but depends on how I respond to the regimen. I should also mention, I play basketball once per week and try to do one long walk (30min-1hr) per day.
I’m having some professional photos done soon for future content. That has given me some extra motivation to get in the best shape of my life! 😀
Post your questions/advice in the comments below. I would love to learn about your workouts and I am happy to elaborate on the above in as much detail as you like.
Let me know if you find this interesting. If so, I’ll do more :D.
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