Reactive Strength: De-SISS-ifying Pushups.

What you are about to read will curl the toes of those that worship at the alter of canonized calisthenics. The following is only for Renegade eyes and not for those who hold to the gospel of KISS - Keep It Simple Stupid.
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Note: This is part two, click here for part one!

What you are about to read will curl the toes of those that worship at the alter of canonized calisthenics. The following is only for Renegade eyes and not for those who hold to the gospel of KISS - Keep It Simple Stupid

Have you seen the recent trend: trainers turned "coaches" randomly generating set/rep schemes based upon whim faster than your latest pyramid marketing scheme? They remain shackled to convention hoping in their next article to sensationalize the next Biggest, Baddest Ass-Kicking? protocol. Adding the word "Super" in front of slow rate, "High" in front of intensity or "Ultra" in front of compressed rest periods doesn't give you a get-out-of-jail-free pass. You're still imprisoned, just within a more populated cell block called "the industry."

If you're not actively freeing your mind from their marketing propaganda, you're enslaved by it. Have you seen how basic calisthenics recently boomed across the news? The pundits dress you with new gadgets, angles and diagrams, but they remain BASIC movement patterns.

Like I wrote in my Reactive Strength Part I, these trainers think in terms of out-conditioning rather than out-performing opponents. Research clearly demonstrates though that every exercise conditions your movement patterns: the more that you perform a certain movement, the more you condition yourself to respond with that movement pattern. It's just plain simple motor science 101. Why do you think SPECIFICITY developed?

So ask yourself the question and then answer, "If I let these bodyweight mongers limit my movement, how can I expect to perform with increased agility and coordination on the field?" Basic calisthenics serve the purpose of generally preparing you to do specific work. Read that again. Now, if you've already established a base level work capacity, what's next? Like I tell my MMA athletes-so you're an effective fighter, now what?

Remind these Conformist "Coaches" that unless an exercise serves a specific purpose to performance, the exercise COMPETES with the performance of your sport's skills. Read THAT again! Unless you design your program to specifically augment the physiological profile of your sports skills, you create "conditioning" which interferes with performance.

Unless The Movements Directly Transfer To Your Given Field, Basic Calisthenics Should Be Used For:

  1. Rehabilitation to rebuild what atrophy quietly stole
  2. Incorporated into an overall GPP STRATEGY to increase work capacity.

If you continue a calisthenic beyond these two ends, then your training amounts to no more than muscular masturbation. Worse -doing so neurologically conditions these KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid) movements into SISS patterns (Stuck in Simplistic Stupidity). Remember that every exercise is an act of making that movement repeatable. The more you do something, the more likely you are to do it. You're also RESTRICTED by and to those movements since the most practiced movement holds the greatest neuromuscular dominance in performance, especially under stress of competition or a new trick. Yes, the movements continued beyond their BASIC purpose will turn you into a SISSy.

Many in the group-think muscle factory adhere to this KISS principle. Nothing saddens me more. All people own natural genius and unique talents. KISS stifles creative individualism; it should OFFEND you that someone insists upon a Simple-Stupid educational approach for your movement capability. Don't let anyone dumb-down your senses and your abilities. Let them be mired in the pestilence of robotic motion and vulgar skill.

Pushups could be the world's most common basic calisthenic. So let's nuke those first, Renegades. When the exercise no longer serves a positive and specific purpose towards increasing performance, then it's time to jettison the baggage. It's time to sophisticate the motion. Action on the field does not occur static in one plane. We live in a three dimensional world and life is dynamic.

Multi-Planar Pushups:

  1. Lateral Gear-ups
  2. Forearm Screw-ups

Sophisticate your movement and emancipate the natural talents that lay there awaiting you. In the future installments of Reactive Strength, I'll address other sissy exercises such as Hindu squats and one-legged squats.

Click Here For Part One - Neck Mobility For MMA And Boxing.

Scott Sonnon