johnny bravo is a fictional character, if you haven't watched the cartoon yet, please do …as this workout will immediately make a lot of sense. Johnny Bravo builder is one of my all time favourite Monday workouts. Originally this workout includes weights but as at the time of writing the whole world is in the middle of covid-19 lockdown — leaving only gym owners with access to the gyms — I did my best to create a weights free version of this iconic workout of mine, which so many of you love.
In additional to a pull up bar, you will need gymnastic rings for this workout or figure out some other way how to do and improvise dips, like between the chairs, dips on paralletes, dips on bench. I tried to keep the use of any equipment to the bare minimum but using less then this really wouldn't do the Johnny Bravo workout justice it deserves.
warmup @ 2 rounds
As always you an include any additional warmup exercises or routines you feel are needed, move from one exercise to the next based on how you feel …the goal is to reach high activation with the least energy spent to do so.
Now all of what follows are really simple tests and something that you should already know how to do but since we are doing the testing, think of this as a blank new page …let's make a deal that how you do those tests is with best possible form.
Best possible form probably means you will do less reps then you would want but this will give both you and I an opportunity to make you better and use this perfect form as a new baseline and from now on you do all those exercises same way as you will do them in testing
All I said should be self evident but trust me it is not because humans seem to have in their nature to “cheat a little” to feel better but you really would be cheating your self of quality progress so now is a perfect time to decide you will do all your repetitions better then ever and continue using new more honest form going forward.
You need to log in at this point to access the Johnny Bravo workout it self and to use the features, like dynamic algorithm which will individualise the reps for each exercise to your fitness level based on your test results. The registration is a two step process, it will ask you for weight, height, age, data as well as many things are taken into account not just for this workouts but for any other which I write.
This is an extreme squat challenge, both mentally and physically … and it’s not for everyone but if you love squats, have good technique, have no injuries or other health related issues that would make trying this a bad idea … then this is something you may consider from time to time as total mind fuck.
What you just read is the original introduction for my Squat to Valhalla challenge from 2016 and soon to be re-introduced to the public in the original version but updated with dynamic content to take advantage of tools built into my website.
Similarly to the Johnny Bravo bodyweight version — which I wrote because all but the gym owners have access to proper weight equipment in the time of global covid19 lockdown — I am inviting you to an extreme challenge, Squat to Valhalla - bodyweight edition.
There are no weights used but this doesn’t mean no weight will be used. You will need to find a training partner which will have a vip seat to watch your punishment. Depending on how strong you are or how many people you can reasonably choose from, to help you go through this challenge, you should choose wisely.
While the lockdown measures are in place, partner squats literally mean a partner from your own household, in my case as shown in the video this falls to my better half Špelca. For those who are lacking a training partner alternative solutions are explained further in the article.
warmup @ 2 rounds
gradually accelerate up to 90% of max speed by feel, then slow down
rest same time it took you to finish the 400m interval
You need to log in at this point and log in to access the Squat to Valhalla workout it self and to use the features, like dynamic algorithm which will individualise the reps for your squat challenge based on your test result. The registration is a two step process, it will ask you for weight, height, age, data as well as many things are taken into account not just for this workouts but for any other which I write.
I have just finished one of my hardest workout plans - 90 days of Sparta Builder - which I managed to finish for the 4th time in 7 years. This plan is not something you would ever consider to do more than once every 12 months, it is just too hard.
I have been training light for a week and already have the strength testing that followed behind me. I feel strong and mentally fresh to keep going and take all my strength gains into a completely new plan, which I named TARTARUS.
TARTARUS - will have heavy focus on old school style muscle building, basically I plan to revive golden pumping iron era type workouts, I will also include conditioning into this plan as this is almost my trademark style of workout planing - and - old man strength exercise element to it.
So why am I telling you all this?
Because training just for the sake of training makes very little if any sense to me. I need to have a goal, a challenging one. It gives me focus and demands me to grow physically, mentally and personally.
There is no finish line!
Back squat for 60 reps unbroken with 60kg doesn’t seem like a reasonable thing to do. Repeating that 5 times during the same workout would surely be crazy.
There is something magical about the number 300, it has a legacy of sorts which demands you reach it in a challenging way. There must be a battle involved, with self, with quitting and sacrifice before you reach the 300.
Back squats were just the means to reach the 300 in a worthy, honourable way, representing a heavy fought battle before reaching the victory. There should be a price to pay for such pure emotions in the days to come. Call it battle wounds if you want, be proud of them. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, soon you will feel stronger and walk pain free again. It is a small price to pay for your newly forged invisible piece of ironmind.
Being reasonable all the time or a slave to productive performance is lacking that true raw experience, sometimes it just feels great to face the extreme, sharpen your spirit, toughen your mind and honour the battle for 300.
The easiest way to steal someone's effort is to convince them hard work is not essential.
Here, have your reward, no need to actually earn it. Please don’t feel bad for all the effort you didn’t put in. What is important is that you showed up, pretend or better yet believe you tried - even if never giving your best. Not everyone is cut out to work really hard so there is nothing wrong if you remain comfortable doing things pain free. Such are lessons dressed in modern virtue, promoting false ideals, leading to fears of own shadow.
You can always set low enough expectations to avoid failing but this is not how you actually get better then you were yesterday. Achieving what is easy will always feel empty, it does not make you appreciate the reward as there can be no reward behind no true effort.
Don’t let anyone steal your effort,
it is yours to face, to defend,
and yours to overcome.
No true effort, no true reward.
Effort stolen = Reward stolen.
You shouldn’t pick a weight which gives you an advantage over your training partner. Fat axle muscle cleans at moderate weight will be perfect for this lesson. This one here is “just” 61kg but it will soon get heavy.
You should both start at the same time, each should complete your first 5 reps at matching pace so you always finish at about the same time. Rest will be short, one of you should slowly count, loud enough for the other to hear, five, four, three, two, one …and off you go into your second set of 5 reps. When done your training partner counts down, five, four, three, two, one …and your third set of 5 starts.
I think you are get the idea. You both need to match each others pace for those 5 reps per set. Then one of you always counts down from five. It works differently when you hear your partners voice counting, you listen, then you both go.
Sooner or later one of you will fail the set of 5 reps. If this happens to you before you reach your 10th set, the challenge ends for you, while your training partner needs to continue for another 25 reps at pace you — who failed — dictate to your partner. Your job is now to push your training partner through additional 25 reps because you failed your 5.
Let this sink for a moment then answer how many reps will both of you do in the end?
I prefer strongmen equipment for a lot of my training. Nothing but pure strength will save you. Fat axle for example is a bar made from raw iron, without any bearings (bumpers don’t spin at all), knurling or markings, all this will prevent you to lift the weight like a weightlifter and demand you lift more like a strongman. Those who have never tried to lift with a fat axle might be shocked by how much harder it is, anything with a fat grip is simple yet much harder.
I don’t use fat axle to make lifting harder. I use it because you don’t need a skill of a weightlifter when you use a fat axle. What you need most is raw strength. There is really not much skill involved at all. It is hard to do it wrong even, you either can, can’t or can’t anymore.
This raw axle is 50mm thick, slick and 31kg empty. Staš is lifting “just” 71kg for reps but consider this was part of a strongman endurance circuit including heavy sled push, farmer carries, sandbags and airdyne sprints.
It easy to challenge your self to your limits when you can’t be saved by skill. Your form can’t break down because of poor technique, it is the lack of strength (sometimes coupled with general exhaustion) that will be your limiting factor.
High skill movements demand high skill, which usually turns into poor form when you are exhausted. Low skill movements demand almost no skill, you stop when your strength breaks down, there by minimising the risks of injury which comes with poor form. This is especially true if you are using weights which you can lift for reps instead of pushing for the max.
I am not stating the case against high skill movement exercises. I am stating the case for overlooked benefits of raw strength/low skill exercises. Going back to the old strength exercises would give majority the biggest bang for their buck.