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Fitness hacks
Purpose of this thread is to describe any clever ideas, techniques, habits, whatever, that relate to physical fitness. I do bodyweight calisthenics and yoga exclusively, but I didn't want to create a thread just for that, so weight lifters feel free to join in.


I've been doing pushups and bodyweight squats almost every morning since I was in my teens, plus pullups when possible, plus yoga for the past twenty years. For the last ten years, I've been traveling almost continuously, either camping or living in hotels and weekly apartments, and it has been very hard to find pullup bars in many countries, so I gave them up. Thanks to Richard Turpin at the Armenian/Persian Ayatollah's forum, I was forced to face the reality that there is no way to work biceps using just floor exercises and so I really need to add pullups back in.

Example of how hard to find pullup bars in some countries. During a recent 6 week bicycle tour of the Mojave area, I only once encountered a true pullup bar (in Blythe, California), plus Baker, California had a children's playset that could be used for pullups. Otherwise, nothing. In Spain, I visited maybe 70 towns and cities during a recent 3 month hiking trip, and the only time I found either a true pullup bar or something that could be used as a pullup bar was in Teruel, and that bar was very low, designed for children, so I had to fully bend my knees to allow hanging. In Ukraine, by contrast, pullup bars are everywhere.

In order to simulate pullups in the absence of a pullup bar, I used the following hack. Cut 6m piece of Mil-550 parachute cord, which has static breaking strength of 250kg. As a rule of thumb, dynamic breaking strength is 1/5 of static strength. Since I weigh 75kg, I need to double cord to give dynamic strength of 100kg, so now cord is 3m long. Wrap cord around tree 10-15cm in diameter, thus ends of rope 1.5m from tree. In the Mojave, there are often ironwood trees with trunk or branches this diameter, or you can use telephone poles on the side of the road. In Spain, I encountered pine trees this diameter everywhere. Tie free ends of cord to stick (I use my hiking stick) using clove hitch knot. Then lean back and do one arm inclined rowing. To avoid abrasion to rope, sew up tunnel of 1000d cordura, about 50cm long by 2cm diameter, and run rope through tunnel where it touches tree.

It was pretty obvious to me that one armed inclined rowing was not equivalent in difficulty to pullups, but it wasn't worthless either. Today was my first day exercising in Ukraine and so I had a chance to test how much strength I had built in the last 5 months using one armed inclined rowing. Result: 9 correct and 1 almost correct commando style pullups, which is my preferred pullup style (right hand closest to body and pull to right shoulder on even days of month, left side on odd days). I probably couldn't do more than 5 commando pullups previously, so these were encouraging results. I expect to build up to 15 commando pullups during my 3 months in Ukraine, where I'll have daily access to a pullup bar in the nearby park. Then back to one armed inclined rowing hack during 9 months away from Ukraine. Probably lose a little strength during those 9 months, like down to 12 reps, then build back up to 15 next summer in Ukraine.

I'm 58 years old, so these are good numbers for my age.

Messages In This Thread
Fitness hacks - by shemp - 05-29-2019, 03:49 PM
RE: Fitness hacks - by zatara - 05-30-2019, 03:37 PM
RE: Fitness hacks - by Jetset - 05-30-2019, 03:44 PM
RE: Fitness hacks - by Ouroboros - 05-30-2019, 03:50 PM
RE: Fitness hacks - by shemp - 05-30-2019, 04:27 PM
RE: Fitness hacks - by raetj - 06-07-2019, 02:02 PM
RE: Fitness hacks - by Tribunus - 06-08-2019, 05:25 PM
RE: Fitness hacks - by Dash - 06-07-2019, 06:46 PM
RE: Fitness hacks - by SC87 - 06-08-2019, 05:05 AM
RE: Fitness hacks - by mike - 06-08-2019, 03:51 PM
RE: Fitness hacks - by repodude - 06-08-2019, 06:52 PM
RE: Fitness hacks - by Beest - 06-09-2019, 12:51 AM
RE: Fitness hacks - by ex-malemodel - 06-10-2019, 01:36 AM
RE: Fitness hacks - by Suits - 06-10-2019, 01:41 AM
RE: Fitness hacks - by Greenman - 06-11-2019, 09:48 AM
RE: Fitness hacks - by Tribunus - 06-11-2019, 08:07 PM
RE: Fitness hacks - by Beest - 06-13-2019, 08:16 PM
RE: Fitness hacks - by roberto - 06-14-2019, 08:49 AM
RE: Fitness hacks - by shemp - 06-14-2019, 01:37 PM
RE: Fitness hacks - by Beest - 06-15-2019, 06:42 AM
RE: Fitness hacks - by shemp - 09-26-2019, 02:33 AM

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