Some exercises really are more fun than a barrel full of monkeys.

Actually, most things are more fun than that classic childhood toy, the Barrel Full of Monkeys. They’re just plastic monkeys with hook shaped arms. How many times can you pick the damn things up in a chain and put them back down again without boring yourself senseless? The exercise we present in this video is DEFINITELY way more fun than that.

(Ryan: …you can make the Barrel Full of Monkeys more challenging by wedging one monkey in your nostril and trying to chain the rest hands-free… I’m serious, I kicked the crap outta a little kid with that clever variation..)

So what’s the point of all this monkeying around on the beach?

We’re not just hoping for free bananas. Movements like The Kong are a blast, and when you put them into circuits they’ll tax you to your limits. The challenge is partly due to neural sophistication. Learning new skills is much more calorically expensive than repeating movements your body has already adapted to.

This is because the body is naturally wired to return to homeostasis (a resting state). It quickly adapts to new challenges and finds ways to do those things while expending less energy. Staying one step ahead of your body’s incredible adaptability means constantly challenging yourself with new skills. This has the added benefit of increasing the number of calories you’ll burn.

Give it a try:

Here are the cues to keep in mind with the Kong:

  • Begin in a flat foot squat
  • Place both hands on the ground in front of you, with arms between your knees.
  • As your weight shifts forward and comes over your hands, pull with your palms. This frees up your legs.
  • Allow your legs to slingshot forward, landing again in the flat foot squat – it should feel buoyant and elastic
  • Now make it fluid

Monkey noises are entirely optional, but we do encourage them.

You really can learn to move with an athlete’s efficiency, and the natural grace you once had as a child. Have fun with it!

Want more ‘odd exercises’ like this? Check out my Forbidden Fitness program, it’s filled with functional exercises drawn from more than two decades of real ninja training.

-ps- no monkeys were humiliated in the filming of this video