Saturday, November 27, 2010

Building Elite Levels of Strength and Power with No Equipment

In an ideal world we would have all the equipment and training space needed to execute a complete strength training program.

The problem is we don’t live in an ideal world. More often than not we have to do without ideal training equipment and ideal training facilities.

For some it’s a lack of funds. For others it’s a lack of availability.

Whatever the reason, have you ever considered that it's possible to build an incredibly powerful body with absolutely no training equipment?

The truth is: you can.

A couple years ago I came across a book that changed my perspective on what it took to build significant amounts of strength and power. The book was The Naked Warrior by Pavel Tsatsouline.

Now I had read Pavel’s stuff in the past and was already a huge fan. His stuff on barbell strength training and kettlebell conditioning had a huge impact on how I look at strength training and conditioning. In fact, reading his stuff is what got me interested in becoming a strength training and fitness professional in the first place.

So, I was already very interested in what Pavel had to say and I wasn’t to be disappointed.

Building Elite Levels of Strength – The Naked Warrior Way!

The whole premise of the book is that all you need to build impressive levels of strength is your own bodyweight.

As Pavel explains, your body can’t tell the difference between one type of resistance or another. It doesn’t matter if you’re using barbells, resistance tubing, kettlebells, or your own bodyweight – all your body understands is resistance.

The problem with most bodyweight exercises is that they are too easy to provide the right stimulus needed to produce significant gains in strength.

Pavel solves this problem by selecting two exercises that put the body in a position of biomechanical disadvantage (which increases the body’s perceived resistance) and work virtually every muscle group in the body: The One-Arm Pushup and The One Legged Squat (aka the Pistol).

In the original Naked Warrior program, Pavel neglects to describe any form of explosive power training. So, I have made a slight modification of the original program to now include training that involves the improving explosive power. I consider explosive power training essential for the martial artist as it improves both striking and grappling.

The Program

Like in the original Naked Warrior program you’ll be doing the exercises every hour or so for the prescribed number of reps. You will do this each day.

The only thing that changes from the original program is the exercises you will be doing and how you cycle them.

Instead of only doing the One-Arm Pushup (OAP) and the Pistol, you’ll also be working two drills that help you build explosive power: the Jump Squat and the Clapping Pushup. (links to video)

Every two weeks you will cycle back and forth between the traditional OAP/Pistol combo and the Jump Squat/Clapping Pushup combo.

So, a sample month would look like this:

First Two Weeks - Monday – Saturday: Traditional Naked Warrior Program.

Every 1-2 hours stop what you’re going to perform a set of both OAP & Pistols. The number of reps you do each set should be about 50-70% of your max reps for that drill. So, let’s say you can only do 4 Pistols max. You should be doing, at least, 2 reps each hour or so.

Second Two Weeks – Monday – Saturday: Explosive Power Training (Naked Warrior Style).

Just like with the Traditional Naked Warrior program you’re going to be doing sets every 1-2 hours. Only during this phase you’ll be doing Jump Squats and Clapping Pushups. It isn’t necessary to worry too much about the number of reps you’re doing at this stage. 3-5 reps is enough to facilitate an increase in explosive power.

Progressions –

In the Naked Warrior book Pavel gives several examples of how to progress with Naked Warrior program. He gives examples of exercises to use when you aren’t strong enough for the OAP or the Pistol and more difficult exercises for those that are too strong for the core exercises to be of any use.

The simplest way to progress with the Clapping pushup it to increase the number of claps you do each rep. You can do a double clap or a behind the back clap. I’ve even seen guys who work up to a triple clap pushup that consists of a regular clap, a clap behind the back, and another regular clap – all before landing back on their hands!

The Jumping Squat isn’t much more complicated. Your goal should be to increase your jumping height over time. Alternatively you could also seek to decrease the amount of time your feet spend in contact with the ground making the drill more “plyometric” in nature.

If you want to know more about training the Naked Warrior way I strongly suggest you grab a copy of the book. It covers a ton of information that I’m simply not able to touch on in a single blog post. I know you will find this information invaluable to your training.

Train Hard,

Josh Skinner (donjitsu2)


  1. You can definitely use the different strength training equipment such as the weightlifting equipment, for ensuring a complete workout.
    So, I hope you have got the basic idea about the different benefits of strength training equipment and strength exercises.
    We can see more: strength training equipment


  2. In fact any weight or strength training equipment has huge benefits on your health if used regularly.
    And the easiest equipment you can get started with right away with very little cost is weight lifting equipment.
    For information: strength training equipment