Sunday, July 1, 2018

My Favorite Summer Workout and Hidden Strength Secrets

My Favorite Summer Workout and Hidden Strength Secrets

Summer is finally here, giving you the chance to show off what you’ve been working so hard to achieve for the first half of the year. The joy and relaxing nature of summer can spell trouble for those gains, especially if you cut back on your training and diet. Given the nice weather, summer is the perfect time to take your training to the next level to increase lean muscle tissue, strength, and functional movement patterns. What’s the best way to do this without having to spend hours inside some stuffy gym? The answer is crawling.

What is Crawling?

One of the building blocks in how humans develop functional movement patterns, crawling is the earliest example in our development to trigger full body muscle cooperation. Starting on our hands and knees, crawling takes us forward, backward, and eventually side to side. Each new direction learned is a monumental milestone for our progress.

Once we start walking, we tend to forget about what came before it. By the time we reach adulthood, most of us would never consider crawling again. Science is proving that crawling isn’t just for babies. Recent studies show that adopting a practice from our infancy can have a significantly positive impact on the health, wellness, and function of our bodies.

The Benefits of Crawling

Aside from helping us form the foundation of our ability to move, crawling triggers several key benefits from infancy into adulthood.

Learn About Your Body: When you’re a baby, crawling helps you adjust to the body you’re in; this includes learning spatial awareness, movement speed, and stop and go, to name a few. As an adult, crawling provides you with instant bio-feedback in these same areas but also strength, endurance, and physical ability.

Brain Development: Crawling helps both sides of the brain to communicate, develop, and grow as babies and adults. What’s more, as an adult, crawling has been suggested to improve your memory and cognitive function.

Lean Muscle: Crawling is one of the most effective low-impact full body exercises you’ll find. It demands that all of your muscle groups work together, triggering intense cooperation between upper and lower muscle groups. This full body workout will help to develop an impressive amount of lean muscle.

Balance and Stability: As we age, we tend to lose our sense of balance and coordination. Staying physically fit with exercises that challenge your sense proprioception, or the space your body is in at any given time, has been shown to support balance and ensure long-term stability.

Feel Good: Exercise, especially crawling, has been shown to trigger the release of the feel-good chemical in the body called serotonin. This is why you feel so elated after completing a challenging workout or run.

These few benefits just scratch the surface. Want to know more about how crawling can help you? Read my post on the benefits of crawling.

Crawling Exercises for Hidden Strength

Power lifting and strength-focused training can dramatically increase your levels of strength, but these movements require lifting at least 85% of your one-repetition maximum at a fast tempo, or speed of movement. Guys and girls going for all-out strength are also in the same population that is at a higher risk of injury.

If you are looking for a safe way to develop raw strength without the risk of injury, crawling is here to help. Crawling can ensure that you develop functional strength throughout the body as your muscle groups, connective tissue, and neurons must work together to move through a series of challenging crawling exercises.

I personally use the following exercises to develop muscle, tone, balance, and, of course, strength. Let’s discuss each exercise, then I’ll provide you with the entire workout including sets and repetitions.

Spiderman Push-up Crawl: One of my favorite crawling movements, the Spiderman Push-up Crawl utilizes every muscle group in the body. As you master your bodyweight from the push-up position, you must also move forward. This will challenge your core for stability, your shoulders and chest for strength, and your legs for coordination. This movement alone is enough to provide results!

Lateral Crawl: How often do you move from side to side? If you’re like most people, it never happens. So, it’s no surprise that the hip flexor muscles (sides of the hips) are weak in many people, increasing the risk of injury. This goes for your shoulders and core as well. We are so front and forward-focused that we unknowingly neglect our lateral movements. The lateral crawl is an excellent way to challenge side-to-side strength from your feet to your neck.

Cross Crawl: If you want to give crawling a try without hitting the floor, the cross crawl is perfect. This knee to opposite elbow movement allows you to experience the feel of crawling without having to get down on your hands and knees. The cross crawl is especially useful for those people who have recently been through rehab and need to take it slow as they get back into a full-fledged workout program. The cross crawl will target all of your major muscle groups, but you’ll really feel it in your entire core.

Cross Crawl Walk with Kettlebell: If you’re a fan of the cross crawl, but you feel like it could use an upgrade, it’s time to throw a kettlebell into the mix. You get the same crossbody benefits of activating all of the major muscle groups, especially the core, and you’re developing next-level strength by adding the weight of the kettlebell. This is one exercise that can result in a serious set of abs.

Front Squat with Kettlebell: The squat is considered one of the best exercises in the history of fitness; however, a barbell back squat has a high potential for injury. Most people who try squatting with a barbell across their back are doing so incorrectly. What’s more, if you work a desk job, your glutes and hamstrings might be too weak to properly execute a barbell back squat. The safer alternative? The Front Squat with Kettlebell. A front squat with an appropriate amount of weight has been shown to have superior quadricep activation without the risk for injury. You’ll also target the core, hamstrings, glutes, and shoulders.

Skipping Rope: An excellent way to start or end your workout, jump roping is a cardiovascular-focused exercise that demands as much cooperation from all your muscle groups as the crawls mentioned above. It’s also an excellent way to develop speed and coordination. Use jump roping to warm up before your crawling workout and use it again to cool down before your post-workout stretch.

My Crawling Workout for Strength

You know what exercises to expect, now let’s put it all together to provide you with the workout that’s going to skyrocket your strength and fitness results.

Be sure to move from one crawl to the next. Don’t complete all four sets of one crawl before moving to the next. You should complete one crawl then immediately move into the next one. Once you finish the list of crawls, take a break for up to three minutes, then begin the list again. For example:
  • Perform Spiderman Push-up Crawls for 15 yards
  • Then immediately move into Lateral Crawls for 15 yards in one direction and 15 yards in the opposite direction
  • Then Cross Crawl Walk for 15 yards (so forth and so on)
Click here to watch the entire crawling workout for strength so you can get a better idea of the flow of the workout. I’d recommend watching it a few times to ensure you understand how to execute each exercise.

  • Jump Roping: 1 set of 2 minutes
Crawling Workout:
  • Spiderman Push-up Crawl: 4 sets of 12 to 20 yards
  • Lateral Crawl: 4 x 12 – 20 yards
  • Cross Crawl: 4 x 12 – 20 yards
  • Cross Crawl Walk with Kettlebell: 4 x 12 – 20 yards
  • Front Squat with Kettlebell: 4 x 12 – 20 yards
  • Jump Roping: 1 x 2 minutes
Feeling awesome after completing four sets? Go for one or two more rounds!

How to Maximize Your Strength Gains

If you want to increase your strength, muscle, and gains, it’s more important what you do outside of your workouts than during. Let’s review the key ways you can recover faster and see better results.

Rest Like Your Mean It: Numerous exercise studies have proven that the right amount of stress followed by plenty of rest equals growth in muscle and strength. You can’t train like a madman then skip on sleep and nutrition. Try to have one intense day of training followed by one easy day, then a day of complete rest. Repeat this cycle throughout the week. For example:
  • Monday: Intense Day: 6 sets of the Crawling Workout
  • Tuesday: Easy Day: Light cardio workout (e.g., walking for a few miles outside)
  • Wednesday: Rest Day (no exercise at all)
  • Thursday: Intense Day: 6 sets of the Crawling Workout
  • Friday: Easy Day: Moderate intensity workout (e.g., full body weight lifting)
  • Saturday: Rest Day (no exercise at all)
  • Sunday: Easy Day: Very light cardio (e.g., a simple walk through a park)
Sleep Like a Champion: Each and every night, try to sleep for at least 8 hours.

Get Outside: Spending time outside, enjoying the fresh air, is an excellent way to support recovery. You can even walk 4 to 5 miles on your easy days.

Soak Your Muscles: Soaking your muscles in Epsom salts has been shown to reduce soreness and facilitate recovery. Do this at least twice a week. 

Intermittent Fasting: If you want to build solid lean muscle, lose fat, and support strength at the same time, Intermittent Fasting might be just what you need. This is a practice of abstaining from food for 16 hours per day then taking advantage of an eight-hour feeding window. Start your fast at 8 p.m. then avoid eating until noon the next day. Do this for at least five days per week.

Stay Hydrated the Correct Way: It’s not enough to only drink water. You need to replenish electrolytes as these are essential for your everyday health, not just your fitness performance. Personally, I mix 40,000 Volts, an excellent electrolyte-focused supplement with my water throughout the day, especially during my workouts.

Try the Ketogenic Diet: This fat-focused way of eating has been shown to promote weight loss, cognitive enhancement, and strength gains. Click here to read more about how to easily start the Ketogenic Diet. I review everything you need to know. Don’t worry, it’s a lot easier than it seems. 

Track Yourself: Don’t rely on only using your memory to record your workouts. It’s important to track everything you do so that you can see your progress, and adjust your workouts when needed. My favorite way to track workouts and diet is with MyFitnessPal. If you’re on the Keto Diet, aim to limit your total carbohydrates to 25 grams or less each day for three months. 

Sexual Self-Control: It’s simple: Don’t ejaculate. This one might be easier said than done, but I’m convinced that conserving semen will increase strength and endurance, while giving you more energy throughout the day. And science seems to have my back. Studies show that abstaining from sex and ejaculation can increase testosterone levels, and as a result your aggression during physical activity might see a big increase. It’s the reason so many fighters such as Muhammed Ali would refrain from sex for up to six weeks. Give it a try and let me know if you see a difference in your strength levels. 

Have You Tried My Crawling Workout for Strength?
How did you feel during the workout? Would you say it’s more challenging that other workouts? Have you been crawling for a while? What results have you noticed? Let me know in the comments below!