T Nation

Advice for Training


Hi all I'm new to the forums =)

I'm currently following this routine...it was modified from an old routine where I did 60 elevated pushups and 60 squats instead of handstand pushups and pistols, till I was told I needed to incorporate strength training. Thing is. I dont have easy access to weights, which is why I'm using only my bodyweight.

Jump rope 6mins
Handstand pushups till failure - I'm currently at around 8-9
Pistol x 40 per leg (all I can manage currently)
Elevated Dibs x 60
Crunches x 50

5 sets of the above

Question is, I'm finding this routine pretty tough....by the 4th set I can barely do a handstand anymore, and when I finally get into one I can only manage around 8 halfway down pushups before I fold like a taco....

So, considering this is a much tougher routine, how often should I carry this out to maximise strength gain and minimise injury?

Also, any suggestions or modifications will be greatly welcomed (for example, should I keep the handstand pushups seperated, or bunch them together with 30 secs rest between them?)

I'm training for martial arts, to build bigger shoulders and to lower body fat (is that too many goals ^^)

Thanks! =)


The only exercise there that is actually strenghtening is the Handstand push-up.

All other exercises should be replaced by more difficult exercises. You'de probebly want to aim for 6-10 reps (and later even fewer if possible) for any exercise if strenght is your goal. Thus all exercises must be modified.

First do a quick warm-up and start wiht the handstand push-ups. Do these well, going as far down as possible. Use milk crates or chairs to elevate your starting position so that you can put your head thru and get a better range of motion. (this will make the exercise mush more difficult). Do a 5 sets of as many as you can resting as much as needed.

Replace squats with a more difficult leg exercise and choose more than one like a one-leg squat, quad leans, and glute-ham raises, elevator squat (all equipement free).

For upper body Chin-up variations and push-ups variations are great. Elevate your feet for push-ups and go down very slowly and pause at the bottom for 2-3 seconds and explode out. Use a similar technique for the chin-up/pull-up (if you dont have a chin-up bar, go to the park or use a sturdy door).

The idea is to do these exercises so that you reach failiure within 10 reps. Quality of the rep is what you should emphasize on.

You can make a circuit with these exercises if you wish.

Keep the rope jumping for the end for 5-10 minutes.


First and most importantly, muscular failure has nothing to do with strength development. So, ending your sets a rep or two short of failure will be an important step forwards.

Secondly, since you're already rather advanced in bodyweight exercises (40 pistols?? Are we talking about the same movement??), I'd really like you to find some kind of external resistance. Push a car, lift a couch, toss some rocks or books into a backpack. A very important note here: You will get stronger by lifting some kind of weights.

I'd like to see some kind of pull-up. Trees and rafters come in handy for this. Or monkey bars, if you have a schoolyard nearby. Also, some kind of rotational ab movement, like rainbows or russian twists, would give a more well-rounded ab workout (along with some kind of lower back work).

Another thought would be to take an EDT outlook on things (see Charles Staley's basic EDT workout: http://www.T-Nation.com/readTopic.do?id=459765 ) Essentially, try doing the HSPU's for a total of 10 or 15-minutes, and note the total number of reps. Next workout, all you need to do is achieve at least 1 more rep in the same amount of time. Something to consider.


I often do HSPU and Towel Chin EDT. It is excellent for upper body strength and development.


I agree with Minotaur, fill a backpack up with rocks or whatever, use a large duffel/gym bag and fill with heavy stuff., use for curls, shoulder presses, rows, You can be very creative if you think about it. Put loaded duffel/gym bag on your back while lying down then do push ups. large rocks in your yard, pick them up and carry them for 50 to 100 feet, then repeat. All kinds of stuff you can do


thanks a million for the advice...I'm gonna modify my workout again.

Day 1 : Jump rope 6 mins
Handstand pushups 12 x 5 sets with 30-60 secs rest inbetween
Pistols wth heavy backback 12 x 5 sets with 30-60 secs rest inbetween
Weighted Crunches 12 x 5 sets with 30-60 secs rest inbetween
Jump rope 20 mins

Day 2 : Run to nearest park with pullup and dibs bar (about 3km away)
Pullups 12 X 5 sets with 30-60 secs rest inbetween
Dips 12 x 5 sets with 30-60 secs rest inbetween
Run back =)

I'll also be incorporating Planche Progressions on a daily basis...the final progression looks like a killer lol....but its gonna take a long time to get there

And repeat from day 1

As far as I can understand for strength I'll have to be able to do the movement for a max of 8-12 reps....right? And keep the sets relatively low as well. Which means that as I progress I'll get a weighted vest. Also, should I keep some endurance training? etc elevated pushups in the 50-60 range

Well gurus?

edit : Are hindu squats and hindu pushups useful? Other then a wider ROM they seem similar to normal squats and pushups

edit : And a happy new year to you all!