THE OFFICIAL BLOG OF RAHUL HARSH RAJE

Sharing nuggets of knowledge and ideas accumulated on health, strength and fitness based experiences. While here, feel free to hit the comments section and share your invaluable feedback about the blog's betterment. Have fun.

Saturday, 11 January 2020

Strength Strategies of a Man Less Traveled

You know, for a guy who rants and blabbers a lot (here, let me show you how to do a pull up), I have been living in the same place for a majority of my life.

Until now.

I have now begun to plan some real good travel in my coming years. Journeys that can help me redefine myself in ways unknown and make me a better man and a hopefully better author.

I have always preferred staying in the same place for a longer duration of time. And truth be told, part of it is because I hold strong to the tenets of following a set lifestyle: A day that consists of waking up at mostly the same time, brushing my teeth at the same damn time daily, having a meal, heck even drinking water by the clock at most times... these are stuff that give me immense pleasure when they are at their scheduled times daily.

Sure, one can always improvise but carrying a barbell on a tour would be the last of what we would all want on a holiday
All that stuff is fun and games but the waters start getting deeper when the subject of lifting heavy things and becoming stronger comes into the discussion. That has been one of the biggest pet peeves of mine when I make up my mind to travel to somewhere distant. Even when I travel for work, the thought of parting away from my beloved barbells haunts me throughout my scenic experience in an unknown country with a language and dialect I cannot understand.

Even if you combine all the weight you see in this hotel gym, it wouldn't match an average deadlift. That's how sketchy things can get when you're looking for free weights while on a travel

And the fact that you cannot easily carry even a moderate sized kettlebells in a flight without shelling out a grand sum of money is only part of what adds to my misery.

It kept on going this way for years.

At one point, I kept a body-weight training regimen that I could follow for those two weeks when I was out and get back to the iron when I return home. But the naiveness I would showcase when I did my first set of single leg squats after ages during those travel would ultimately defeat the purpose of a consistent, healthy, progressive training program.

I ended up spending efforts at something I wouldn't eventually carry along with me once I am back. I know, I know, Random Acts of variety and shit, but sooner than later, the need for this kind of bodyweight centric training was begging to become a part of my usual training programeven when I was back at home. A plan like this would provide a continuum that would give me a wide overlap between the programs I do when home and the ones I practice when I am traveling.

Before this thought took shape, here is what I was following. For 3 to 5 sets of 3 to 5 reps:

Day 1

Squats
Dumbell Lateral Raises
Dumbell Rear Lateral Raises

Day 2

Deadlifts
Incline Presses

Day3

Squats
Dumbell Lateral Raises
Dumbell Rear Lateral Raises

Make no mistakes. It's a very durable program and advanced trainees can make progress on this valhalla of an abbreviated program even when they take a layoff week or two here and there. Though I understand there are habit mongers like me who would frown at the idea of not having to move against resistance for more than three days.

To bridge the gap for people like us, I married this robust program with the czar of the bodyweight lifts. I took out the inessential and added something similar but different (and bodyweight).

The Pistol Squats and The One Arm Pushups: The Czars of Bodyweight Exercises

My program now looks like

Day 1

Squats
Pull Ups
Dips
Pistols

Day 2

Deadlifts
One Arm Pushups
Pistols

Day 3

Squats
Pull Ups
Dips
Pistols

I kept pistols on all training days in a moderate dose since I really (really) suck at them. You guys can feel free to replace it with the Hardstyle Plank, Janda Situps or any other high tension bodyweight ezercise of your choice. Just remember to keep the volume moderate (3 to 5 sets of 3 to 5 reps).

What keeps this format similar to the previous one is I retained the most important things that were being done by a barbell: The Back Squat and the deadlift. Everything else got augmented by a bodyweight version of it.

When I am traveling, I would then follow this 'Lite' version of the program

Day 1

One Arm Pushups
Pistols

Day 2

Pull Ups (need to find something to hang, or else, would do Door Pullps)
Dips (Or a TRX Bodyweight Press Variant)
Pistols

Day 3

One Arm Pushups
Pistols

The Takeaway

Sparing a few big boys of the weight room like the Squats, Deads and Presses, most of the really necessary strength moves can be done almost anywhere. What's important is they should be a part of your ongoing program so when you are left deserted on the road, you can still repeat most of what you have been usually doing.

The purpose of sharing these programs is to trigger an insight. Use these as a template to form your own program with the exercises most suited to your goals and preferences. Just make sure you include a healthy mix of free weight and bodyweight movements. Include only what's necessary and hack away the inessential.