These are not easy.

Don't Eat Laundry Detergent. Try the Tri-Pod Challenge Instead!

February 1, 2018

Welcome back to Down With the Fitness!

In the past, I’ve rambled about how cool cells are. Making up our whole bodies, doing all sorts of crazy things. Since then, I’ve begun to scratch the surface of understanding some of the magical processes that take place inside these tiny little cells.

In short, it’s been tripping me the f*** out. Like every day. I can’t wrap my mind around it.

I’m not even going to attempt to dive into the science of it all here, other than to once again drive home my point, that YOU ARE A F***ING MIRACLE! Actually, you’re a whole bunch of them constantly occurring over and over and over.

I don’t care if you never exercise, just please realize that there is some truly mind-boggling sh** happening all throughout your body ALL THE TIME!

In a world (and the fitness industry can be especially guilty of this) making you feel like you’re not good enough, understand you’re a network of trillions of cells exchanging a near-infinite amount of chemical signals dictating this crazy ride known as your life.

No matter what you look like, how much money you have, who you vote for, or any other metric used to divide humanity; that is some magical stuff. You don’t need to fully understand it to appreciate it. Actually I’d argue it’s even MORE fun not to understand it and just be awe-struck.

Since I actually (kinda) understand how the muscular and digestive systems work, allow me to go into no-man’s-land where I know NOTHING and am just in pure awe myself…

When was the last time you stopped to appreciate your eyesight?

Your eye cells are constantly communicating with your brain cells, allowing you to process the world around you instantaneously… ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?!

I don’t have any idea how it works and I don’t care. It’s magic. I’m so lucky. So are you.

If you can appreciate things like this, I believe you’ll have a better outlook towards exercise.

It’s an awesome opportunity to play around with the magic of your nervous, muscular, cardiovascular, respiratory and skeletal systems working together allowing you to move; all whilst titillating your endocrine system to release some hormones that’ll make ya feel good, thus boosting your confidence and increasing your odds of using your reproductive system with another human being.

...It’s certainly NOT a punishment for hating how you look!!

Don’t get me wrong, hating the way you look can absolutely provide enough motivation to make a massive body transformation. But if you’re working out and eating clean because you hate the way you look, it’s gonna be a grind and it’s gonna be SUPER negative inside your head.

Instead, I would encourage you to remind yourself how lucky you are to have this miraculous body. If you appreciate it, you’ll be more naturally inclined to treat it well by taking a little time each day to exercise and maybe even practice some healthier eating habits.

It’s called an Awesomeness Mindset, rather than an Awfulness Mindset.

Really, this goes bigger than fitness. Gratitude is a pillar of overall happiness in life.

This hit home for me when I was reading Randy Blythe’s book a few years ago. He talked about being in a foreign prison in the Czech Republic, uncertain of his future, alone and scared sh**less.

In his Darkest Days, he would make lists of 10 things he was grateful for. How’s that for perspective?

You’re on the internet (another miraculous thing that I have no idea of how the f*** it works), reading this with your magical eyesight.

Even if you’re upset about something in your life, the magic that takes place between your endocrine system and nervous system for you to experience that emotion is completely mind-blowing, if you really stop to think about it.

Gratitude is free and widely available in everyday miracles like this. I feel like our society could use more of it.

(DISCLAIMER: Try and talk to me about the miraculous roles my eyesight and bodily systems had to play in order for me to experience road rage when some jackass doesn't know how to merge, and I may want to punch you in the face... I'm not saying it's easy to think like this all the time. It's still worth thinking about and appreciating every chance you get!)

Man I’m glad I saw this video of Randy getting on stage with Hatebreed for Doomsayer (one of the greatest lifting songs ever BTW) earlier. It led to a nice little tangent that hopefully will enhance your life. Watch this and let’s get to some actual exercise!

Today’s exercise is simple but also very challenging. Probably the most challenging exercise I've presented here. I’m going to call this blog the Tripod Challenge. It sounds kind of like the Tide Pod challenge, which  is really dumb and not good for you. The Tripod Challenge is not dumb and it IS good for you.

It is a fun but advanced variation of the plank. If you haven’t mastered the plank, you will not get the full benefit of this exercise. Click here to learn how to plank like a badass before continuing.

Once you’ve got the plank down, hold it and take one hand and touch your opposite shoulder without rotating.

3 Focus Points:

  • Straight Line from ears to ankles... Brace your core and squeeze your glutes to keep your low back and hips, respectively, locked in position. Now squeeze your glutes even harder. Seriously, your hips are going to want to shift. RESIST!
  • Forcefully breathe into your belly (which will create even more tension to keep you from rotating) and hold it while you reach one hand up to touch your opposite shoulder, without rotating.
  • Have your feet shoulder-width (or more) apart for added stability.

Pace: As slow and controlled as possible.

Programming Suggestions: Usually I’d say gradually work your way up to being able to do 3 sets of 10 with strict form, and that's probably a great idea... Buuuuuttttt, since I wanted to capitalize on a topical, click-baity headline and called this a “Challenge”, see how many you can do during the song below! (I got 55, although my breathing wasn’t) Rest at your own pace, but remember, the clock is ticking!

To Make Them Easier: Just plank.

To Make Them Harder: Really? They're not tough enough? Okay fine. Add a push up to every rep.

Recommended Listening: Well, since Randy Blythe inspired a good chunk of this blog, I’m gonna go with Pain in the Grass Alumni, Lamb of God! I remember doing two-a-days at the gym for over a month when Resolution came out. Not because I had any particular goal or anything. I just love this album so much and it’s perfect lifting music. Picking one song from that album is tough, but I've got a job to do.

Every time I get to this part of the blog I remember what a weirdo I must look like in the gym because the music gets me really fired up and I’m liable to be scowling, head-banging, and/or playing air instruments at any given time between sets.

Whatever. I’m having FUN! That exactly why I’m able to exercise consistently. Remember, this sh** isn’t meant to be a punishment. You’re a f***ing miracle just how you are.

Next Up: 33 Mobility Exercises To Help Your Hips, Shoulders, and Back!

As always, have fun and do your best! If you've got any questions/comments/success stories/struggles, feel free to come join the private Down With The Fitness Facebook Group

Take Great Care,

-Matt Koch