The Traveling Warriors Workout Routine Part 2
Earlier this week I shared the warm-up for The Traveling Warriors Workout routine. In my post I went over positional breathing, neurodevelopmental patterning, and movement integration. I also gave you the sets and reps you should use as well as how you can progress some of the movements and/or replace them with your own favorite exercise that fits the mold. If you missed it, you can check it out here.
Today the focus is on strength and how you can develop more of it using just your bodyweight and the space you have in your hotel room.
Regardless of whether you’re sticking with just the warm-up for now, this section will be important for you to read so you can see how to progress once the warm-up becomes second nature for you. At that point, you’re likely to feel a world of difference in your movement already.
Greasing the Groove
I wish I could take the credit for the skeleton of this routine but it just wouldn’t be right. To that I must credit the accomplished Pavel Tsatsouline, who has been referred to as the man responsible for introducing the kettlebell to the United States. Kind of a big deal.
Along with that title, Pavel was also the instructor for Spetsnaz, the elite Soviet special-forces unit. He’s also worked with our own special forces in the United States.
In Pavel’s book, The Naked Warrior, he describes how strength is a skill. And like all skills, strength can be learned.
The book focuses on two main exercises: the 1-Arm Push-up and the Pistol Squat. He gives numerous variations and progressions to eventually build up to a rock-solid pistol squat and actually performing a 1-Arm Push-up. It works, too! You can check out my first 1-Arm Push-up after two weeks of implementing his “grease the groove” principal here.
If you haven’t read his book, I suggest you do. It’s a must read for any coach, athlete, weekend warrior, or in this case, a traveling warrior.
The secret to gaining the strength needed to perform these two moves involves 2 concepts; generate tension, and perform the movement frequently.
Not like 2-3 days a week, more like 7-10 times a day, one at a time, throughout the entire day. A little different way of thinking than you’re used to, I’m sure.
By “training” this way (I put training in quotes because it really seems too easy to be called training, but it really does work) you’re never working to failure and rather practicing perfect reps every time you perform a rep. From there it’s a matter of proper progression.
In his book, Pavel lays out rep schemes that you can use, but for the purpose of this article I felt it was important to go over the concept.
The Traveling Warriors Workout is much the same as The Naked Warrior, but a little different. I choose the following exercises:
- Pistol Squat off a Chair
- Jumping Jacks
- And Hard-Style Plank
Following the warm-up routine discussed in part 1, you will be ready to tackle each and all of the exercises listed above. If you can’t, you need to spend more time working on part 1.
What’s great about these exercises is their ability to get you ready for a 1-Arm Push-up and Pistol Squat. Here’s what your basic Push-up and Pistol Squat from a chair look like:
I hope by now you’re beginning to see just how effective this routine can be with just a bit of effort.
To choose your workout time for the first two exercises, have a friend give you a number between 8-12 or cut up some pieces of paper and draw from a hat (keep the same pieces for future use and to save trees.)
The number you draw will be the time you spend alternating between both movements.
As for the reps, there are a few options you can choose from.
As of late I like using ladders. In a ladder you perform the first number of reps, stop and rest, then perform the next number, and so on and so forth. For example if you’re using a ladder of 2,3,5, you’d perform 2 reps of push-ups followed by a rest (or in this case your pistol squats) and then perform 3 more push-ups followed by the same sequence. Once you’ve reached 5 reps, you start over at 2 again and simply repeat the ladder.
The beginning portion to your Traveling Warriors Workout will look like this:
- Draw a number between 8-12 and set a time for that number
- Perform your Push-up, or variation for a ladder of 2,3,5
- In between your Push-up reps perform your Pistol Squat from a chair, or variation for a ladder of 1,2,3
- Alternate back and forth until your timer is up
It should be noted here and is importantly to keep in mind…
THE TIMER IS JUST A TIME KEEPER, A FRAME OF REFERENCE. THE IDEA IS TO FOCUS ON PURE STRENGTH AND PERFECT FORM, NOT TO PERFORM AS MANY REPS AS YOU CAN IN THE TIME YOU DRAW.
Rushing the workout will sacrifice your form and your strength abilities. If you need a rest, stop and rest. Take some deep breathes, walk around, stay loose; just don’t rush your reps!
You can get surprisingly strong with this routine and the best part is, you can perform it as much as you’d like.
- To progress your Push-up, get lower to the floor.
- To progress your Pistol Squat, get lower to the floor.
If you’re already at the floor on your push-up, add a variation; pauses, shifts, or plyometrics. You can also, start from the top again and work your way down to the floor with the 1-Arm Push-up.
In your Pistol squat, use a rock-back to initiate more hamstring recruitment. As you get lower and lower you’ll get stronger and stronger; sinking into a rock-bottom Pistol squat will seem like a piece of cake. From there you can add pauses or partials.
Let’s say you master the 1-Arm Push-up and the Pistol Squat, then what?
Well, let’s see you get to that level first. Of course you can always add more reps, but best of all, you can just replace the Push-up and Pistol Squat to another movement you’d like to work on!
Examples would be Handstand Push-ups and Counter-Balance Squats (like a reverse lunge except your knee taps the floor rather than your foot touching the floor)
Because you’re not loading your body with external load, and also sticking to set and rep scheme that should always leave you feeling like you have more in the tank, you can repeat this workout as often as you’d like!
In fact, if you’re looking to get strong, which quite frankly I don’t know why you wouldn’t be, you SHOULD do this workout every day. Hence why it’s more than just your Traveling Warriors Workout routine.
The last part of the workout is to get your heart rate up and focus on core strength. Everyone knows how to do a jumping jack so for that reason there is no instructional video.
The Hard-Style plank, or Standing Lockout, is a great choice to developing serious core strength. Think of a traditional plank only squeezing everything as tight as you can!
If this is new to you, I recommend starting with the Standing Lockout shown below.
The Hard-Style plank is technically a progression from the standing version as you have the additional force of gravity pushing down on you.
Learn both methods and master them.
As it relates to your Traveling Warrior Workout routine, perform 2-3 sets of 25 Jumping Jacks and 2-10 second holds of either the Standing Lockout or the Hard-Style Plank performed with a small 5-10 second rest in between your planks. It will look like this:
- Jumping Jacks
- 5-10 second rest
- Repeat 2-3 rounds
Just as with your warm-up routine, this routine can be modified to your own liking. Your template would look like this:
- Upper Body Strength
- Lower Body Strength
Draw a number between 8-12 for time and perform ladders of 2,3,5 1,2,3, 3,5,7, 1,2,3,4, etc. I like lower reps as it focuses more on pure strength development.
- Cardio Movement
- Core Movement
- Perform 2-3 sets at most.
To quote Dan John one more time, the Traveling Warrior Workout routine is “so simple, you won’t do it!”
Prove me wrong and do it! Remember, you don’t have to be on the road to put this workout to good use. Let me know what you think and how the results worked for you.
Safe travels everyone,