Yes, you read the title right, and it’s no joke. THE FLOOR is a dual strength/cardio trainer thats been popular with incarcerated fitness enthusiasts (a.k.a. prisoners) since the invention of crime! THE FLOOR is not very portable, but oh-so-affordable that you a can use a new one where ever you go! THE FLOOR is so popular that virtually ALL buildings are built with one pre-installed (space stations/bottomless pits do not apply)! But we saved the best for last! Truly the greatest thing about THE FLOOR is that it is absolutely, 100% FREE OF CHARGE! We have already shipped one to your house for an unlimited free trial! Don’t believe us? Look down, you’re standing on it!
All jokes aside, there is absolutely, positively no greater asset to a cheapskate who wants to build some muscle/lose some fat than the very thing beneath you right now. The amount of exercises that you can perform without any kind of device or weight is staggering. These are often referred to as “bodyweight exercises” or “calisthenics” and they are just about as close to a perfect exercise as you can get. A few examples of calisthenics would be push ups, sit ups, and burpees. Some (myself included) even consider running and walking to be a calisthenic exercise due to the fact that the only resistance is your own bodyweight and there is no equipment involved (especially if you are of the barefoot persuasion)!
I consider calisthenics to be the perfect exercise for several reasons. The first is that they don’t require you to buy any special equipment or join a gym. Most can be done in your underwear (or less!) in the comfort of your own home. Since they don’t require anything, you can do them anywhere! At work, in a hotel room, in the park or your backyard, there is virtually no place where you cannot bust out a few push ups. Calisthenics are so easy to learn and can be done anywhere without needing equipment, so there is NO EXCUSE NOT TO DO THEM. Convenience is a double-edged sword, people. Be careful what you wish for!
Another great thing about calisthenics is that virtually all of them are compound exercises that give you functional strength. Bodybuilding culture has leaked out into the mainstream and people are starting to think that “isolation” exercises are a good idea. They aren’t. Think about leg extensions. They “isolate” the quadriceps muscles in the legs. Putting all the strain on the quadriceps is great for making them get bigger, but how often do you use that motion in real life? Never, thats when. A bodyweight squat is by far the superior choice for leg strength, becuase it uses all the leg muscles, not just one of them. Why work one muscle when you can work all the muscles in a body part in the same amount of time in a more functional way? When you do a bodyweight squat, your calves, quads, hamstrings and glutes all work together, just like they would in a real situation. When they all learn to work together, they are far stronger than the sum of their parts. Its what our bodies were designed to do. There is a calistenic for every muscle group in the body, and they are all equally capable of kicking your ass if you do them right.
Last but not least, calisthenics are the best because they can be made progressively more difficult (or less difficult, depending on your needs). Can’t do a full push up? Let your knees touch the floor. Regular push ups are too easy? Try putting your feet up on a chair, increasing the amount of proportionate weight your arms and chest have to press. Once that gets too easy, you can always throw in some good old-fashioned one arm pushups. That should keep you busy for a while. Virtually all calisthenics can be reduced to a version so easy that your grandma could do them, or so hard that they would make The Terminator cry like a baby. The choice is up to you, and the possibilites are limitless.
Calisthenics aren’t just for building muscle, though. If done with speed, they can provide a chest thumping cardio workout as good as any run. The Burpee, scourge of middle schoolers across the nation, is a combination of a pushup, squat and jump that will give even the most grizzled long distance runner a thorough heart workout.
The take home point is this: with so many exercises that can be done with just a bit of floor space, whats stopping you from getting in shape RIGHT NOW? If your bedroom is so covered with dirty clothes that theres no place to workout, then go outside. If its raining, then clean your damn room. The only thing thats stopping you from getting ripped is you. Step out of your comfort zone and hit the deck, soldier. Its time to rock ‘n roll!
COMING SOON: In depth analyses of the push up, the squat, and other great calisthenics. Look for them in the “Exercise” section.
The formula above is deceptively simple. It is simple because there isn’t much to it. I provide the knowledge, you provide the discipline, and pretty soon you’ll be in better shape than you may have thought possible. It is deceptive because while discipline may only be half the equation, its actually 99% of the effort. Anyone can read some sheet music, but that dosen’t mean that they can play the piano. No, it takes lots of practice and dedication to acquire a skill like that, and getting healthy is a lot like learning to play the piano. If you are doing it right, then you are spending 1% of your time reading what to do, and 99% of your time actually trying to do it. While I can provide you with all the knowledge you need regarding doing a lot with a little, its up to you to actually use it. The best advice in the world is wasted if it is not followed. A Zen master once said that his teachings were like tea leaves, useless by themselves, but when a student puts them into practice with study and meditation, the leaves steep in the hot water of the student’s discipline and release the flavor of enlightenment. I couldn’t have come up with a more perfect metaphor. Put what I say into practice. If it works for me, I bet it will work just as well for you. The knowledge you can gain from this blog, plus some determination to succeed dug up from the very depths of your soul will make you stronger than you have ever been, and I’m not just talking muscles. The kind of person who can persevere through doubt and frustration is the kind of person who will succeed at whatever they try. Being healthy means a lot more than big biceps and low bodyfat. Spartan Strength refers to strength of the body as well as strength of the mind, and you can’t have the former without the latter.