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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 “talentless clown ass.” What I mean by that was that I was very strong but the natural talent eluded me. I always swore there were people who were far more talented, but I would never work. Growing up on the fitness craze of the Arnold Schwarzenegger movie “Pumping Iron” led me to lifting weights with all my friends. Now that you’re young and just lifting weights to see how strong you are, eventually bad things happen. When I got a physical before the Varsity football season started, the doctor looked at me and politely said – “Hey idiot, have you ever heard of a stretch?” Needless to say, the search began for a better way to exercise and gain functional strength. Lawyer’s Note: I hate these but they are important. For any exercise routine, 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, then save yourself 5 minutes and close the video. Otherwise, continue with me.
Have you ever seen any of the following: Great MMA fighters, cirque du soleil or gymnastics competition? All of these amazing athletes have functional strength. That means they can do things with their bodies that 90 percent of the population can’t. The good news is that 90 percent can do these things if they change their exercise routine. Another book to check out is Convict Conditioning. This focused more on muscle, joint and tendon strength. What is beneficial about this is that you can maintain this strength until you are in your seventies.
Don’t get me wrong – any type 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 exercise with compound results, then this book is for you. A big problem with weightlifting alone is that it uses muscle isolation. This means that if you are curling then you are isolating the movement in the biceps muscle. This does nothing to build functional strength for your tendons or joints. The human body is 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 working your biceps, but you’re also engaging your back, forearms, shoulders, and core along with building functional strength.
Matt describes his Holy Grail for the processing of which he thinks the Royal Court. I will explain each exercise.
The 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 on your legs, you engage your entire body and burn calories all day long, even after your workout. The legs are made up 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 in 3 circle sets is a great exercise that doesn’t take a lot of time. If you are traveling then 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 inward in an arcing motion (similar to downward facing dog in yoga). Try to work up to 3 sets of 50 reps. If you’ve never done them before and can only do a couple, don’t be discouraged. Like anything new, it takes practice to create.
This exercise will help you with strength, back flexibility and endurance. Enjoy!
The rear bridge gets a ton of bad pressure. People think it’s bad for your back and neck. Like anything else, do what works for you.
You can bridge three ways. Think of it as an exercise and NOT a stretch. You will feel your body warming up doing this exercise.
You can start with an exercise ball if you can’t do the neck bridge. Then, as you progress, you can move to the neck bridge (on your head) and then to the gymnastics bridge (with your hands and no head).
Keep in mind that if you have never done them before, then they will seem difficult at first. Don’t be disappointed. Before I started bridging I had terrible neck pain and back pain. Go figure because I only lifted weights with squats and bench. Anyway, when I started doing the bridge, all the pain went away.
Stretching your back and neck feels great and the results will speak for themselves. Note: DO NOT force this exercise. Take your time and develop it.
Combat Conditioning is a great book to introduce you to bodyweight exercises for functional strength, endurance, and flexibility. I was watching a discovery show where they were making a martial arts video game. They showed a man doing a unique exercise.
There were telephone boxes on the ground at various heights in two rows. He would jump from one to the other and land on one leg. He would jump to the other and do a leg full 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 summary useful. The key to any new idea is to implement it into your daily routine until it becomes a habit. Habits are formed in just 21 days. One thing you can take away from this book is the royal court. Try it as part of your exercise routine for a month and record your progress. I think you will be pleasantly surprised by the results.
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