Last week, I discussed the Grind-style Calisthenics mindset. This week, I want to talk about the 6 tools GSC uses to bring your training to the next level.
The ultimate goal of Grind-style Calisthenics is to teach you how to work your muscles more effectively. Note that effective muscle training isn’t always about making your muscles work as hard as possible. It’s also about using your muscle tension in a more intelligent way.
Effective muscle training doesn’t just come from moving yourself, or an object against gravity. While that sort of training creates resistance, its how well you use that resistance that determines your success. The following 6 tools will help you work smarter rather than just harder.
Tool #1 The mind muscle connection
Grind-style Calisthenics recognizes the importance of developing a strong mind-muscle connection. Muscle tension is the active ingredient in your training. It’s what makes your workouts effective in the first place. Your muscle tension ultimately is controlled by your mind.
Just as your muscles themselves can be conditioned and developed over time, the very nerves upon which the mind muscle connection is delivered are also strengthened and conditioned.
Tool #2 Tension chains
Improving the mental mind-muscle connection requires a frame of reference. Some training methods think of using individual muscles, while others think of performing no movement. Grind-style combines both by about thinking about how you use your muscles to perform an athletic movement.
This is called Chain Training, which I detail more here and in my book Smart Bodyweight Training. Instead of training your muscles or training the movement you are training your muscles to accomplish a movement along specific tension chains.
You have six basic tension chains, three movement chains, and three stability chains. The three movement chains are your push chain, Pull chain and squat chain. Out of your stability chains, you have your flexion chain, extension chain, and lateral support chain.
Training all six chains ensures a complete and holistic workout that’s also efficient and functional. You can read more about Chain Training in Smart Bodyweight Training or in the free Chain Training eBook.
Tool #3 The Table of progressive elements
The third tool of Grind-style calisthenics is the table of progressive elements. This table represents nine different variables you can adjust with almost any bodyweight exercise.
This flexibility gives you the freedom to perfectly customize most any exercise to your body type, goals and fitness level. You can read more about what these nine elements are and how to use them here.
Tool #4 Suspension training
You don’t need any fancy equipment to practice calisthenics, but GSC makes heavy use of suspension trainers like gymnastics rings, ropes, and foot slings. A basic suspension trainer is like the table of elements. It gives you a lot of freedom to train wherever you wish while affording you a vast amount of variability to perfectly tailor your training. Check out this video on how to make your own for less than $20.
Tool #5 The Scoreboard workout log
A simple workout log is an invaluable training tool. It’s sort of like a workout GPS where it keeps you from getting lost while guiding you toward your destination.
You can use any workout log with GSC, but the Scoreboard Progression Log is an easy to use tool which requires minimal writing and interruptions to your workout. Download the free eBook about the Scoreboard Progression log here.
Tool #6 Healthy Eating
Lastly, you can only train as well as you recover and nutrition is a big part of the recovery process. Ideally, effective recovery nutrition should remove as much stress from the mind and body as possible. This is why Healthy Eating strategies for GSC emphasize satisfaction and enjoyment over restriction and deprivation.
Striving to gain as much enjoyment and benefit from the food you eat is the key to optimize in recovery and preparing you for your next workout. The healthy eating approach of the red delta project optimize is this by focusing on satisfying for primal appetites. You can read more about these appetites in the book Fitness Independence.
Altogether, these five elements combine to give you greater control over the creation and manipulation of muscle tension in a holistic and effective way. They give you a potential without restriction and yet guidance without limitation. Best of all, they open up a world of infinite possibility that you can explore for years to come.