The following is a guest article by my friend Ben Bergman that discusses different ways to go about building your own workouts, with a specific emphasis on how he does it himself, like with animal movements.
Many people want to find the best program that’s out there, they want follow along on the DVDs or try to imitate the trainer in the books to get their exercises right but what’s really going on here. When I began learning to walk again I started out with not 5 or 10 exercises, I only did 3 for a whole month and I was no where near the level I wanted to be at. Like many people I wanted to do an exercise just like the trainer in the book or the DVD and when I realized that I needed to modify it to my body’s structure it became clear to me that this worked out better.
When you begin an exercise program one of your focused goals is to learn the exercises you would like to learn. Watch how the exercise is done but instead of trying to do it exactly like the trainer does, learn to progress and how your body is structured. Some exercises don’t work for some people no matter how hard they try like for me I can’t do high volume plyometrics or box jumps at various heights because my legs can’t take that kind of stress. We all have different body types so in order for us to succeed in mastering exercises our bodies come first and use them the way we were made to.
I hear a lot about P90X, Insane, Hip Hop Abs and P90X 2 and some might be good but in the long-run it’s a totally overrated concept. Sure some people lost weight, got leaner and a bit stronger but they’re missing a total fragment in their program and that’s just following along. The greatest mastery in all of fitness is not following what others exactly do but to master your own training and exercises. I have taken on workouts that can make a gym rat run for the hills but it wasn’t because I followed someone else’s workout, it was my own, I built it I own it. Doing your training at your own pace and at your own variations of exercises is one of the best things you can do for yourself mentally, physically and spiritually. A reminder a mentor once said to me and I’m going to put my own take on it as well was “Being a first rate you is more important than being a second rate somebody.” You have more ability to be your own trainer than trying to follow someone else at their speed, they’re exact movement and they’re same tempo, it’s not that complicated.
Over the years I have developed my body from being a weakling who couldn’t move his own bodyweight in simple movements to being a very agile and strong guy at a much heavier weight. I have learned hundreds or thousands of different exercises ranging from push-ups, squats, sit-ups, cables, nails, pull-ups, animalized movements but they all came from my own take on them and I don’t do a large number of exercises everyday.
One program that I’m focused on right now is using a 20 sided die and whatever comes up, I do that many reps or double or triple them if I’m feeling very energetic that day and it’s based on animal movements. Now the reason why I like this workout is because it changes very frequently and it’s never the same workout twice. It gives me a challenge and I don’t always go forward or backward with the exercises. I like to call it a Compass Workout because when you move; you want to move in various directions like north, south, east, west and even diagonally because you want to work your muscles from every possible angle. Moving from many directions as possible was a focal point to one of the greatest masters in conditioning and wrestling and that was the late Karl Gotch. In taking this concept, I wanted to learn how to move my body the best way not just exercise wise but how my body structure can be used.
To get the best out of being successful in your training…..
- Master Your Exercises
- Progress At Your Own Pace
- Have Fun While You Do Them
- Work Exercises That Your Body Structure Can Handle
- Train For Yourself
- Be A First Rate You And Not A Shadow Of Someone Else
- And Last But Not Least….Set Short And Long-Term Goals
I have mastered just about every single one of these but it took me a long time to get there but I haven’t peaked yet because I’m still learning new things all the time and that’s the beauty of it. Mastered one of these elements and your journey is progressing along, mastered 3 of these, your fitness will skyrocket to new levels and if you take the time little by little to master all of them, you have mastered your own endeavors and well on your way to being your own best personal trainer.
Thanks Ben. For more articles you can check out Ben’s website Power and Might.