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Book Summary: Combat Conditioning Functional Exercises for Fitness and Combat Sports by Matt Furey
Combat Conditioning was the first book that introduced me to bodyweight exercises for functional strength and endurance. I was the type of kid in high school sports who was the proverbial “no talent ass clown.” What I mean by this was that I was very strong, but the natural talent eluded me. I always promised that there are people who are much more talented, but I would never be out of work. Growing up in the gym craze of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s “Pumping Iron” movie had me strength training with all my friends. Now when you’re young and you’re simply pounding out weights to see how strong you are, bad things end up happening. When I received a physical before the start of the Varsity football season, the doctor looked at me and politely said – “Hey idiot, have you ever heard of stretching”? Needless to say, the hunt began for a better way to train and gain functional strength. Lawyer Note: I hate these, but they are important. With any exercise routines, check with your doctor to make sure you are able to perform these routines.
Why is this important to me?
This book will help you gain knowledge about bodyweight exercises that help in three areas: Strength, Endurance, and Flexibility. If these three things are not important to you, save yourself 5 minutes and turn off the video. Otherwise please continue with me.
Have you ever seen any of the following: Great MMA fighters, cirque du soleil or a gymnastics competition? All of these phenomenal athletes have functional strength. This means they can do things with their bodies that 90 percent of the population cannot. The good news is that 90 percent can do these things if they change their exercise routines. Another book you should check out is Convict Conditioning. This focused more on muscle, joint and tendon strength. What’s beneficial about it is that you can keep that strength well into your seventies.
Don’t get me wrong – any form of exercise is better than none. If you do nothing and start lifting weights, keep doing it. But if you want an inexpensive way to train with compound results, then this book is for you. A big problem with weightlifting itself is that it utilizes muscle isolation. This means that if you do curling, you isolate the movement to the biceps muscle. This does nothing to create functional strength for your tendons or joints. The human body was designed to work together, so why not shorten your workout and do compound exercises to maximize your results. If you did a simple pull up, you’re still training your bicep, but you’re also activating your back, forearms, shoulders, and core along with building functional strength.
Matt describes his holy grail of working out which he coins in the royal court. I will explain each exercise.
Hindu squat is an excellent exercise. When you start out, you can do a half squat like with your arms in front of you parallel to the floor, but as you progress and build strength in your knees, you’ll want to do a full squat with the back of your thighs touching the back of your calves.
Strong legs are good for the body. When you work your legs, you engage your whole body and burn calories all day long, even after your workout. The legs consist of the largest muscles in your body, and it shows the next day when they are sore.
When doing Hindu squats, work up to doing three sets of 100. Doing the royal court for 3 sets of cycles is a great workout that doesn’t take much time. If you travel, this is a perfect routine because it doesn’t take long at all.
The Hindu pushup is different from a regular pushup. Start with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart and your butt in the air. Push through in an arching motion (similar to Downward Facing Dog in Yoga). Try to work up to 3 sets of 50 repetitions. If you’ve never done these before and can only do a few, don’t be discouraged. Like anything new, it takes practice to build up.
This exercise will help you with strength, back flexibility and endurance. Enjoy!
The back bridge gets a ton of bad press. People think it’s bad for your back and neck. Like everything else, please do what is comfortable for you.
You can build a bridge in three ways. Think of this as an exercise and NOT a stretch. You will feel your body warming up by doing this exercise.
You can start with an exercise ball if you can’t do the neck bridge. As you progress, you can move into the neck bridge (upside down) and then the gymnastic bridge (with your arms and no head).
Please note that if you have never done these before, they will seem difficult at first. Don’t get frustrated. Before I started bridging, I had terrible neck pain and back pain. Find out because I only did heavy weight lifting with squats and bench presses. Anyway, when I started making the bridge, all the pain went away.
The stretch in your back and neck feels great and the results speak for themselves. Note: DO NOT force this exercise. Take your time and build up to it.
Combat Conditioning is a great book to introduce you to bodyweight exercises for functional strength, endurance and flexibility. I saw a discovery show where they were making a martial arts video game. They showed a man doing a unique exercise.
There were telephone polls in the ground at varying heights in two rows. He jumped from one to the other and landed on one leg. He jumped to the other and did a full leg squat with his other leg fully extended in a kicking position. This is a true test of functional strength and flexibility. Oh BTW, this man was 75 years old. Results that last a lifetime are something I always strive for.
I hope you found this brief overview useful. The key to any new idea is to work it into your daily routine until it becomes a habit. Habits are formed in as little as 21 days. One thing you can take away from this book is the royal court. Try it as part of your training routine for a month and chart your progress. I think you will be pleasantly surprised by the results.
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