Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Capturing the Flag (and eatin' well on a budget!)

If you can’t do it in a t-shirt and jeans, then you can’t do it at all.
-          David Lee Roth

More and more I’ve come to love simple, do-it-anywhere, low-tech strength training.  It’s been this way for years.  I discovered the ultimate piece of fitness equipment, kettlebells, in 2008 and at the same time re-discovered bodyweight strength training in the form of Pavel’s bodyweight masterpiece The Naked Warrior.  Since then I’ve made my sole focus improving both of those disciplines.  When I tell people I practice calisthenics, their immediate response is either a) “WTF is a calisthenic?” or b) “Oh, you mean you do pushups and pull-ups and such?”  Occasionally I hear “OMG, I love calisthenics!  We do sooo many of them in P90X/Insanity, etc.”  And I think that’s great, for the record, but what I’m talking about goes far beyond that.

I love calisthenics that improves brute strength and raw power, NOT mere endurance.  I like the calisthenics work and strength training that most people aren’t doing anymore, but should be.  In addition to the RKC Big Six (Get Up, swing, front squat, clean, military press, and snatch), I love doing things like pistols, one-arm pushups, dips, weighted pull-ups, muscle ups, etc. etc.  The list could go on and on, but for the sake of brevity I’m going to add just one more move – one that I discovered recently and instantly fell in love with: the clutch flag. 

In the world of bodyweight training, flags are essentially exercises in which you suspend the majority of your body in the air in some way by grabbing onto something else by your arms.

Bruce Lee, aka “The Little Dragon” performing the Dragon Flag