Tag Archives: calisthenics

The Bodyweight Exercise Bookshelf

13 Dec

The original series of James Bond books written by Ian Fleming are serving as the inspiration for this experiment in health and fitness. As mentioned in the previous post, it was an excerpt from From Russia With Love that provided the list of exercises I’m performing. But just as “The World Is Not Enough” for Bond, one paragraph of information about press-ups and leg lifts is not enough detail to build an exercise regimen.

Using the power of the internet – which with every passing day seems more and more miraculous to me, what with all the photographs of cats, I did a bit of research on the topic ‘bodyweight exercise.’ There’s a lot of it to go through and some of it is not pretty. Luckily, I eventually found some seemingly solid books for getting this experiment under way.

Here’s a partial list of The 007 Experiment resource library for those of you playing along at home:

The Naked Warrior by Pavel Tsatsouline, published December 2003 by Dragon Door. 4 out of 5 stars on Amazon based on 66 reviews, * #37 in Books > Health, Fitness & Dieting > Exercise & Fitness > Weight Training

When adopting the exercise routine of a fictional Cold War-era British spy, there is a beautiful symmetry to studying training techniques from a guy born in the Soviet Union. Far beyond that bit of novelty, what really turns me on about Tsatsouline’s book is how he explains the concept of strength training as a skill. In an engaging voice and with lots of science backing up his concepts, he teaches about muscle control, how to kinesthetically recognize proper exercise form, and how to breathe effectively. This book focuses on only two bodyweight exercises, the one-arm push-up and the one-leg squat, but I’ll be applying Tsatsouline’s muscle control principles to four additional exercises found in…

Convict Conditioning: How to Bust Free of All Weakness Using the Lost Secrets of Supreme Survival Strength by Paul Wade, published February 2010 by Dragon Door. 4 and 1/3 stars on Amazon based on 17 reviews,

This book gives you bodyweight exercises from the perspective of the incarcerated. It’s nothing but ‘old school’ calisthenics honed in the gritty world of the U.S. prison system far away from fancy weight benches and flexing in the mirror. Wade admonishes the reader to start at the beginner level with all 6 of the exercises and stay at this level for at least a month in order to truly learn proper form and stay injury free. I am probably not going to do it exactly this way, but we’ll see. What I will do is take Wade’s calisthenics and apply some exercise-hacking know-how to them by way of another book called…

The 4-Hour Body: An Uncommon Guide to Rapid Fat-Loss, Incredible Sex, and Becoming Superhuman by Timothy Ferriss published December 2010 by Crown Archetype. 4 and 1/3 out of 5 stars on Amazon based on 1,618 reviews. Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #408 in Books * #2 in Books > Health, Fitness & Dieting > Exercise & Fitness > Injuries & Rehabilitation * #13 in Books > Health, Fitness & Dieting > Diets & Weight Loss > Diets

Tim Ferriss first impressed the hell out of me with The Four Hour Work Week where he shattered my old limiting beliefs about what it means to earn a good living. In The 4 Hour Body he has done it again by considering the human body with the question “for all things physical, what are the tiniest changes that produce the biggest results?” I’m using this book and the accompanying blog to learn how to best determine my health and fitness goals and to track my progress. I’m not aiming to gain 34 lbs. of muscle in 28 days but Ferriss’ exercise and eating tips are really, really, really cool.

If you were to imagine The 007 Experiment is a class, these are the 3 foundational textbooks.

In the next post you’ll learn how to start showering like 007. And because I really get a kick out writing the words ‘The 007 Experiment,’ I’m going to do so again: The 007 Experiment.

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Health and Fitness 007 Style

2 Dec

My buddy Damen is one of those people whose enthusiasm is infectious. One afternoon as we enjoyed a “few” pints of Czech beer we started kicking around ideas for new self-improvement challenges. As we were both in the process of rereading all the original James Bond books we decided to collate information about how the literary James Bond lives his daily life and incorporate some of that into our own lives. We already knew of some great online resources for information about the gadgetry, cars, clothes and such (here, here, and also here), so we reckoned we’d be adding to the wealth of data by collecting bits and pieces about eating and exercise from those Ian Fleming stories. Damen is tackling the eating info and I’ve tasked myself with the exercise.

So what does the literary James Bond do for exercise?

Here’s my primary inspiration, as I’m not going to take up golf:

“There was only one way to deal with boredom—kick oneself out of it. Bond went down on his hands and did twenty slow press-ups, lingering over each one so that his muscles had no rest. When his arms could stand the pain no longer, he rolled over on his back and, with his hands at his sides, did the straight leg-lift until his stomach muscles screamed. He got to his feet and, after touching his toes twenty times, went over to arm and chest exercises combined with deep breathing until he was dizzy.”

-Ian Fleming, From Russia, With Love

The above is not a whole hell of a lot to go on but it’s plenty to use as a foundation for a fitness program. James Bond had no need for gyms full of spandex and machinery that harkens back to the glory days of the Spanish Inquisition. James Bond wasn’t necking gallons of creatine and whey protein and fistfuls of supplement pills. James Bond wasn’t looking to hulk up into a ‘roid-balled Mr. Olympia. There’s nothing inherently wrong with any of those things if they appeal to you but 007 didn’t need them so…

In the posts to come I’ll be tracking my progress, regressions, aggressions, digressions, and impressions of the The 007 Fitness Experiment. I’ll be taking that short excerpt from From Russia With Love and figuring out how to turn it into a solid fitness regimen.

How will I cope with the lifestyle changes? Will I literally get too big for my britches? Will smoking 60 cigarettes a day turn out to be a crucial element in the 007 fitness equation?

All these questions and many, many more will be answered one way or another. I hope you’ll join me for the fun.