So you’re looking for realistic and usable training methods that are mad, suspended, or otherwise accessory free? “Mad” like this magazine is busting out the molds of training dogma and demands that no quarter be given to the status quo. That’s what the mighty Hanzo Suspension Theory is all about; something to make all the unworthy run screaming into the safety of the local boring-ass gym. Good riddance to them, more oxygen for you and me.
I do not, cannot, and outright refuse to train in a manner that has been approved or ok’d by the standard fitness powersthat-be. To understand my theory and the principle behind it, let’s drift back 25 years to my old running crew: bikers and fishing.
The way the guys used to fish back in the day was to throw a grenade into a lake. Fast, effective, illegal as hell, and directly to the point of the desired outcome: fish for the fire food (Please note: do not do try blowing up fish and blame me, you’re an idiot if you do). So, what’s the point?
Think in your own terms: What’s needed? What really works? Why waist time living somebody else’s idea of fitness, rather than just doing the most efficient, brutal methods possible?
My Mad Methods is not a cute idea, it is a way of looking at your need, then having the balls to try anything that catches your eye or makes sense. To my old biker crew, grenades and dinner went hand in hand with what was needed. So when it comes to your workout, be ready to blow it up if necessary!
The literal meaning of “to suspend” is to fasten to some elevated point without support from below; to hang so as to be free at one point; to keep from falling or sinking by some invisible support.
As requested by the good and evil editor and chief of this fine piece of literary mayhem (Mr. de Grasse), we will now explore a simple workout with a rock, a rope, and two bar stools. What could go wrong?
Recently I have been exploring bouldering (also known as free climbing). This is rock climbing without being tied off or secured by a belay rope. The boulder itself is never very far off the ground, but the physical ability required to maneuver in and around little to no existent spaces is an unbelievable workout on your whole body, a complete body bust out. The core is obviously the big winner in this type of suspension training, but as you can see in the pictures, the extremities bare a bitch slap as well.
Incorporating bouldering into a workout is easy, you could; 1) Use it in a solo situation with a set time limit. Cling to the rock with everything you’ve got, like your life depends on it. Listen to your body. It becomes a Zen type experience if you do it right, a real drama of fear and fun. Or, 2) Hike a kettlebell out with you and bust out supersets of Snatches and boulder holds. When fifteen nonstop minutes is up, vomit and go home. Mission accomplished.
The coolest thing you will find about boulder holding is the isometric tsunami of contraction required to hold your body for even a moment. The objective is to find a path in the crevasse of the boulder to lead you to the top. So, if you’re banging out a boulder like walking up the stairs you are not putting enough of a challenge on yourself. A great workout is one that cannot be finished the first time attempted (feel free to get that line tattooed).
Here are a few things that will help: shoes with a knobby sole, gloves (thin type like the kind you use to work on your chopper), and long sleeves and pants.
I play with these bouldering sets as an addition to my basic training, regardless of whatever else I choose to tackle that day. One of my standards I the Hanzo 100: 25 Pull Ups, 25 Push Ups, 25 Squats, and 25 Kettlebell Swings.
“But Hanzo, we got no rocks!” No problem! Get a rope, find a beam or some secure bar, then scale the wall while you suspend yourself from the rope. I call this Wall Walking. Here are a couple variations:
Variation 1: This involves walking and pulling yourself up and down at the same time. One does not lead the other.
Variation 2: Let your hips drop so your hands and feet are above you. Now pull yourself up and down without moving your hands or feet. The instability of the moving rope and the distance of your body from any usable leverage point is what will determine the level of pain and pleasure that will ensue. Another way to add difficulty simply hang your body at the bottom of each rep for a count of 10, then arching your torso backwards and squeezing out a rep.
Bar Stools & Push Up Handles:
Lastly, on our little excursion of suspension and pain we grab the bar stools and a pair of push up handles (I like using the Perfect Push Up). Set them on top of your stools and proceed to do dips, performing an L-Sit in between each rep. Take note of the way your wrists move and breakdown the body mechanics of each rep, this will build your flexibility and range of motion from that observation of what the body does naturally. This will allow you to expand and dramatically improve your other exercises because of the increased body awareness.
5-Day Bodyweight Workout Plan
So, how do you put these aspects of training to good use? That’s up to you. I try and touch a little of all things in my arsenal everyday. Just five reps of stool dips adds up after 365 days. As always, contacting me for this stuff is a no brainier, so don’t hesitate.
The following example is a real chapter out of how I actually train. This not a theory, this is MY mad method:
MON: 5 minutes of Wall Walks, 25 Stool Dips, 25 Jumping Pistols.
TUE: Bouldering 15+ sets. If you’re digging it, go by feel. On these days you do the Hanzo 100 before you split to the rocks.
WED: Hike to a site with a boulder and a 20kg kettlebell. Perform the Hanzo 100 again.
THU: Trail running, rope climbing, playground workouts.
FRI: Explain foot prints on the wall to whomever you have to answer to, then bolt out the door for Uphill Figure 8 sprints. Perform the Hanzo 100 again.
This article was featured in the Oct/Nov 2011 Issue of the My Mad Methods Magazine. "The Art of the Bodyweight Workout: Fishing with Grenades" was written by the Ron Morris. Learn more about the My Mad Methods Magazine by Clicking Here
Ron “Hanzo” Morris is an educator and consultant for many agencies, correctional facilities, and college teams. He hold a tactical certification and national recognition for his books and videos, as well as a deep education in martial arts and fitness. Find out more
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