It challenges you. It pushes you and, perhaps, best of all, it gets you stronger than the rest that are plodding along, never questioning normality in their training.
This is how you build real world strength and functional conditioning. To start, head outdoors. Yes, outdoors. I train outdoors for the bulk of my strength and conditioning work.
Actually, the only time I am really in a gym is when I am training martial arts. When I train strength, its outdoors. When I train others, it’s outdoors.
Conditioning is outdoors. Power is outdoors. Strength endurance, you guessed it, is outdoors. It doesn’t matter what I am training for, it can be effectively achieved outdoors and in nature. I love training outdoors and it’s something I urge you to try. You’re not tied down to four walls. You are away from unnatural lighting.
You’re not breathing filtered, stale air. When you are outside you are free. You can train as loudly as you want and move wherever you want. The air is fresher and the sun is filling you with much needed vitamin D, the wind cools your face and there is a great sense of freedom.
It’s not all sunshine though, literally. One of the benefits/downsides (however you look at it) is the weather. Now I am in the UK when I am not travelling, so I pretty much have everyone beat on the crappy weather and you know what, I love it.
Dealing with conditions like the rain, wind and cold as well as the heat, humidity and dryness make you tough. I’m always going on about mental toughness and training in these conditions gives you just that. It’s not cosy. It’s not pleasant, but its “real world”. You never know when you might need to be strong, powerful and well conditioned in the real world. Training outside will prepare you for literally anything.
It’s that old mantra again: “Get comfortable, being uncomfortable”. As a martial artist this should go without saying, but sadly it get’s lost nowadays and people prefer to train in ideal environments, rather than those that push you outside of your limits.
So part one of this unusual workout is to simply get outside. Part two requires a single heavy kettlebell. A single heavy kettlebell is an amazing training tool. With a great mix of compound movements you can effectively push yourself to new limits of strength, power and conditioning. The following workout is pretty quick and really can be done anywhere.
1a. Goblet Squat x 10, 8, 6, 4, 2
1b. Hands on Bell Push-up x 10, 8, 6, 4, 2
1c. Racked Cossack Squat x 10, 8, 6, 4, 2
1d. Swing x 10
2a. Suitcase Carry 3 x failure
So, the workout looks like this…
You’ll do 10 goblet squats, then 10 hands of the bell push-ups, 5 Cossack squats left, 5 Cossack squats right, then finish up with 10 swings. Now you rest 2 – 3 minutes.
The second round is 8 reps of goblet squats and push-ups, 4 reps each side of the Cossack squats and then 10 swings.
The third round is 6 reps of squats and push-ups. 3 reps each side of Cossack squats and another 10 swings.
Forth round 4 squats, 4 push-ups, 2 Cossack squats each side and 10 swings.
Fifth and final round is just 2 squats, 2 push-ups, 1 Cossack squat each side and a final 10 swings.
The workout then finishes up with suitcase carries to failure. Walk with the in your dominant hand until your grip or form breaks down. Turn and walk the distance back with your other hand. This is done three total times. You can go ahead and thank Dan John for this nasty walking finisher!
You may notice something new when you are training outside… the abundance of oxygen filling your lungs. It’s funny really. But, it’s certainly noticeable.
The air inside gyms becomes stale. It becomes filled with toxins and other peoples funk. Breathing clear air outside is a going to make you feel better and it’s going to allow you to perform better.
So, warm-up, grab a heavy kettlebell and get outside. If you get dirty, so what? You shower after training anyway, I really hope…