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photos after this workout | summer '16

Bodyweight Espresso workout

+ how not to be a goldfish

Minimalistic, short and simple bodyweight workout that can be done almost anywhere. You don’t need to do all your workouts in the gym, some are best done outdoors, like this one which I did during family vacation.

It’s one of my old evergreens that never fails to challenge my whole body, demanding balanced overall strength and good level of conditioning. The addition of espresso in the name indicates this workout was intended — at least for me — to be effective and short. Some are yet to find out, short is a relative term, when applied to their level of fitness.

goldfish mentality

Most people embrace vacation with a mindset that vacation means doing nothing much but resting, lying on the beach, enjoying the sun, drinking beer, eating pizza, visiting places, partying to some or extreme degree. Time to finally enjoy something in their life while having a break from all the hard time which is left waiting back home. Basically the plan seems, double down on doing all things unhealthy in the absence of usual stress environment.

Every year, every summer, this is what I hear on repeat:

  • 6-8 weeks before summer I signed up for aerobics, fitness class, ›enter‹ your preferred choice of activity,
  • two months before my vacation I took up running to lose some weight,
  • I started a new diet some 2-3 months before summer vacation,
  • I tried this, that or maybe that same thing you tried,
  • your story maybe?

99% of such stories start, develop and fail in same predictable manner:

  • they all seem to start some 2-3 months before summer vacation,
  • then with just 1-3 weeks until the actual start of vacation, most stop, fail or lose motivation when realising they will run out of time to reach their unrealistic goal,
  • during the actual vacation, everything goes and they gain all back or worse,
  • while still on vacation occasional feeling of guilt is erased by fake promise to self, how once back home, they will really start to change,
  • then once home, they forget all within seconds, like a goldfish.

don’t be a goldfish

Nobody is perfect, nobody needs to be perfect and nobody should seek perfection unless they wish to find misery. The way to your better self is to start a never ending journey of self improvement. Every day you can become a little better than you were yesterday. Each day you can find one small thing that you can improve by more then 0%.

accept “your self” is your child as well

Can you improve — in some way — by say close to 1% day? This equates to more or less 100% better you in 100 days. Let’s say you can’t manage this 1%, maybe you can improve by just ⅓ % each day. This means you will be at least 100% better off in just 10 months.

Start humble, remain consistent, end never, and you can absolutely become 100% better than you are today.

vacation homework

There are three reasons for this article, one is to maybe kick your butt a little in case you deserve it; two is because this can be done without “almost” any equipment, making it a great vacation alternative; three because this workout contains three exercises which I will introduce next in my standards: pull ups, pistols and handstand push ups.

I honestly try my best to write easy workouts but they usually just end up being simple, not easy. The better you are, the more challenging you can make this for your self. As much as it would make me happy for everyone to be able to do all the exercises, this is simply unrealistic, which is why I will suggest substitutions for some exercises and even write an additional easier version of this bodyweight espresso, calling it bodyweight espresso light.

ring pull ups

equipment needed

All you need is a pair of wooden gymnastic rings, which are perfect to take along while going on vacation as they take almost no space, easily fit in any luggage plus are really light so they don’t add much weight. That being said, to use a pull up bar instead is fine as well, rings do however allow — because of adjustable straps length — for many additional exercises, especially a scaled down pull up substitute, like ring rows.

Bodyweight Espresso • classic

warmup @ 2 rounds

  1. wall handstand (40 sec) + handstand push up (1x) @ done as one exercise

  2. perfect push ups @ 20x
  3. make them as perfect and pretty as you can, imagine being a push ups role model
  4. ring pull ups @ 6x
  5. wilfully slow down push ups and pull ups, each repetition taking about 4sec, either 3sec down – 1sec up; or 2sec down – 2sec up
  6. walking lunges @ 40m in length
  7. don’t rush it, enjoy the stretch of each step forward, which should be longer and deeper then you maybe usually do

then @ 10 rounds (my time 16'59")

  1. handstand push ups @ 5x

  2. pistols @ 5x one leg - then - 5x other leg
  3. this is not the same as 10 alternate reps, start with your weaker leg, complete all the reps, then move to your other leg — you can do box pistols that’s perfectly fine
  4. rings pull ups @ 10x


I did those 10 rounds as e2mom = a new round every 2 min … and was on pace until the last two rounds when I decided to speed up and try to finish as fast as possible and managed in 16'59". That's my time from summer 2016, I am confident that I could go at closer to 16min today, we'll see how it goes during my summer vacation. If e2mom pace seems too fast, maybe you can try e3mom or e4mom (new round every 3min or 4min), or just take as long as you need to do the whole 10 rounds.

wall handstand push ups

handstand push ups = should be done strict, hands placement shouldn’t be too wide and remain similar to the width of regular handstand. No kipping allowed of course but if needed you can scale down hspu’s to controlled negatives and increase the number to 8 reps

ring pull ups

ring pull ups = no kipping allowed, this is a fully strict movement from start to finish. You know, all the way down, let me repeat, all the way down, then all the way up, each rep — it’s called a pull up — it just looks very different then you usually see nowadays

pistols • start position

pistols = you can do them on the box, stand on a stone if you want, but no alternate reps are allowed

I did this workout before going to the beach, I didn’t have a lot of time. Kids were having a nap, that wouldn’t last long and once they wake up we were about to go to the beach. This may not be that short of a workout for everyone as it depends on how fit your are. If you need to make it shorter by doing less than 10 rounds, that's always an option, yet you shouldn't do this by default just because workout feels harder than you would like.

As promised what follows is an easier version of the original workout. Notice how word easy is absent? That's not by accident. Accept there is no such thing as a really easy way to reach your goals. Your default choice should always remain to challenge your self on a regular basis. Not necessarily all the time but most of the time.

Bodyweight Espresso • light

warmup @ 2 rounds

  1. wall handstand hold @ 60sec
  2. perfect push ups @ 10x
  3. make them as perfect as you can manage at this time, even if you need to scale them down to the knee push ups
  4. jump assisted pull ups @ 10x
  5. alternatively you can scale down to 20-30 reps of ring rows
  6. walking lunges @ 20m in length
  7. don’t rush it, enjoy the stretch of each step forward, which should be longer and deeper then you maybe usually do

then @ 10 rounds

  1. push ups @ 10x
  2. ring rows @ 20x
  3. air squats @ 30x


This is an easier version of the original which is a bit more more suitable for a wider audience. I took out some physically demanding exercises that might prevent you from trying the original and rewarded you with additional volume to help you improve your level of strength and conditioning.

  • push ups = if you need to scale them, first level is to go for the knee push ups, second level is to reduce the number of reps to more suitable

  • ring rows = height of your rings can make this exercise easier/harder by altering how much of bodyweight is placed on the rings; alternatively if you are strong enough you can scale this exercise to (3-5x) jump assisted pull ups while starting, then later scale it down to ring rows

  • air squats = this is just a basic bodyweight squat, ideally you would go full depth — assuming you are able to do this — but your mobility or other limitations might force you to reduce range of movement to one you know is suitable for you

final words of advice

With all the good intentions I had, those two workouts might not be something suitable for your current fitness level. This is not how you start, this is how you remain in good shape or improve your current level of fitness. Even to some who may imagine to be in decent shape, suggested volume can be a problem, maybe a certain exercise is a problem or maybe you really are only just starting — so to ask something like this from you at this time is too soon. Additionally it’s not possible for me to know all the specifics of your situation, the level of your physical fitness or any limitations so I urge you to seek advice from a trusted professional in your area to help you out.

You may think — or some of you — that you somehow stumbled upon me and my page. There are no coincidences; your +1 % each day starts today; you have work to do!

Marck Goran Lorencin © all rights reserved