Ryan’s Ninja Secrets of Flexibility

My ninjutsu days are long behind me. But their influence resonates down to the present and permeates every aspect of my life.

I still approach my training from that mindset. I think like a ninja, observe the street like a ninja, and I still strive towards mastery every day, in every action. You’ve gotta keep yer sword sharp and your wits even sharper if you want to survive that game!

No, I don’t mean  I walk around in a black hood. Or wear a weapon-stuffed utility belt. Or pop up from behind the shrubbery to frighten the postman. Not that often, anyway.

Rather, it’s a way of looking at the world, a sense of strategy. And I’m going to share some of that with you — as long as you can keep a secret 😉 Continue reading “Ryan’s Ninja Secrets of Flexibility”

Wring Out Those Abs!

You’ve made it this far. It’s time to attempt the final stage in our three part multi-dimensional core series…

You mastered the lower body component of this movement in the first installment — the Arching Leg Thread — where we worked on your ability to recruit your core in a twisting motion while threading the legs through.

The second installment — the Lateral Shoulder Roll — taught you to transition sideways through the plow position. You worked on it until you could enter and exit seamlessly, while moving more or less in a straight line down the mats.

Now we’ll put them together into the grand finale: a move so cool your friends may faint from the sheer force of envy. It’s called the Twisting Spinal Arch, and it requires you to contort under yourself, moving from shoulder bridge to plow in a smooth, flowing sequence. Continue reading “Wring Out Those Abs!”

Build Killer Abs with the Plank Push

We received a lot of great feedback on our multidimensional core video series. You asked for more, and we’re here to oblige…

Core training is a big priority for our readers — and with good reason. The core is your body’s powerhouse. It transfers force from lower to upper body, protects the back, and keeps us upright. It’s also the location of that hot set of beach abs. Let’s not discount the importance of those!

Having a pretty little six pack is great of course, but if you’re nothing but a bag of highly toned spare parts you’ll never be able to use that strength in real world applications. The movement we’re sharing today is an important one because it teaches you to connect the driving power of your arms and legs to your core. Continue reading “Build Killer Abs with the Plank Push”

Ninja Wrist Secret for Desk Jockeys and Keyboard Warriors

You’ve asked for more secret ninja exercises, and I’m here to deliver.

“But I didn’t ask you yet,” you might say. “My wrists hurt, but I haven’t even started typing an email. How did you know?”

Ninjas just know things like that.

This time we’ll going deeper into the wrists and forearms with a couple closed chain exercises I developed in my ninjutsu days. I even filmed the clip in black and white, just for the sake of nostalgia…

We did a lot of wrist locks back then,  so I spent an awful lot of time stretching and mobilizing those specific ranges. It made my training sessions safer of course, but that mobility also gave me a bit of extra room when I wanted to slip out of a hold.

How did I open those ranges? Continue reading “Ninja Wrist Secret for Desk Jockeys and Keyboard Warriors”

Ryan’s Surefire Hangover Remedy

The desire for a surefire hangover remedy is probably as old as the existence of alcohol. That throbbing head, aching eyes and rolling stomach never fails to remind us that there is always a price for life’s excesses.

So is there a surefire cure?

Countless folk remedies exist, and Ryan has run into a pile of them on his travels. As a writer he’s also had reason to call on more than his share… Continue reading “Ryan’s Surefire Hangover Remedy”

Rub One Out: Foam Roller Massage for the Upper Back

The foam roller is an excellent tool for your recovery arsenal. You can pick one up for about twenty bucks, and it offers many of the same benefits as sports massage —performed right in the comfort of your own home. You don’t even have to nag your significant other to do it. You can get a great massage all by yourself.

This is a great tool for stretching out muscles and tendons, and it’s especially useful for breaking down soft tissue adhesions.

What the heck is a soft tissue adhesion? And should you be worried? Continue reading “Rub One Out: Foam Roller Massage for the Upper Back”

Dumbbell Squat – A Versatile Anytime, Anywhere Option

The Dumbbell Squat is a simple way to increase the challenge of your lower body training sessions. But a lot of people mess it up because they don’t understand the proper fundamentals of a good, safe squat…

It’s essential that you master unweighted bodyweight squats before putting this movement under any sort of load. Continue reading “Dumbbell Squat – A Versatile Anytime, Anywhere Option”

Yoga Back Bends – A Safe Progression

Modern life has declared war on your back.

Okay, I admit that may sound a bit dramatic. But we do spend more and more of our time hunched over a desk, slouched in front of a TV screen, or bent double in a half-sized economy class seat. Live for too long in that position, and over the course of months and years your body stiffens up and remains that way.

The natural counter to constant forward flexion is to bend in the opposite direction. But be careful! Performed incorrectly, backbends can result in injury. Done properly, they’re a great health-promoting exercise. Continue reading “Yoga Back Bends – A Safe Progression”

Bodyweight Cardio Exercise — Do the Kong and stop monkeying around

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. Continue reading “Bodyweight Cardio Exercise — Do the Kong and stop monkeying around”

Glute Complex — Develop a Delightful Derrière

Wow! Nice ass!

When’s the last time someone said that to YOU?

When you start making changes to your body, well-shaped glutes are one of the first shapeshifting signs that others will notice. The butt is also one of the most sought after body parts when it comes to targeted training.

Want to tighten up that derrière? Wanna give those sagging cheeks some lift? Do you want to sculpt a set of buns passing strangers could bounce a quarter off? Continue reading “Glute Complex — Develop a Delightful Derrière”