If one were to ask me: “Adrian, what’s the absolute fastest way to get to my weight/fitness/health _______ (loss, gain, size, shape, etc) goal via exercise, what would that be?”
Without a doubt: STREAKING!
Well, perhaps not this sort of streaking
But let’s think about that picture for a moment. Every step this brave soul took the entire crowd was anticipating (either to see how far he’d make it or when it would finally be over). Every single step counted. It mattered. If it was ended 3 seconds in, it went down as a flop, waste of effort and was worthless. Instead this dude made it far enough to get himself plastered all over the internet for people like myself to use in a blog. Great job sir! I hope your phone call went through in time.
It all started with Martin Rooney
I first heard about the idea of streaking via a coach I have looked up to for years. He was working on a 10,000 push ups in a year “streak” he called it. At first I thought, wow, that’s a lot of push ups. But then I’ve done 500 in a workout (took me 40 minutes) before so really 200 days like that and you’d be done.
But surely it would not be that easy. Work, life, family and other usage of our time could really get in the way of a goal such as this. Or….not. I mean I could hop off the computer right now and bust out as many push ups as possible …
…Okay, just did that. Got 32 reps. Damn that hurts after yesterday’s chest and back day.
Now if I just did that 3 times a day, 5 days a week for a year I would attain 24,960 push ups within a year. It took me 48 seconds to do those 32 reps. So about 25,000 push ups would cost me a total of 1,872 minutes of the 525,600 minutes I get every year (or 0.35%).
But let me ask you this: would 25,000 push ups in the next year make a VERY significant difference to my physical appearance?? Probably one very much in line with my goals?
Why You Should Streak
Given the right selection of exercise(s) to utilize in a streak you are going to save yourself one giant hassle: setting aside the time required to get your exercise in. Let’s face it, driving to the gym, getting changed, making sure you remembered your water bottle and towel, making your iPod playlist, dealing with the meatheads grunting on the bench press station every 8 minutes when they do a set, driving home, changing, doing the laundry of those smelly clothes…
Working out at a gym takes time, energy and don’t even get me started when having to work with a really busy personal trainer who’s schedule is absurd and hard to book appointments with (I apologize for that). With an appropriately chosen streak there’s none of that. You can climb out of your cubicle right this second, perform 15 body weight squats and 15 wall slides and sit right back down. Your boss won’t even know. Hell, you’ll probably even boost your energy and lessen your pain this way. So the question I really have for you is: why haven’t you been doing this all along?
How You Should Streak
I’m of the opinion first and foremost streaks should be body weight only first. Sure you could do a 10,000 kettlebell swing challenge using 12kg. BUT are you really going to pack around a 12kg kettlebell with you to work?? or carry it to the bedroom and bust out 50 reps before bed. Unlikely. So don’t set yourself up for failure when it comes to your first time streaking. Make it foolproof and then the only thing you have to worry about is excuse-proofing your damn self!
What exercises should one choose? Here are some criteria I suggest you consider:
1) it should be a movement you’re quite capable of performing pain-free and comes with a fairly low chance of joint stress on the long run (see warning later about that)
2) it should be a movement you can do anywhere (home, work, gym, on the train ride to work if you’re an attention seeker…)
3) it should be a movement based on your A) aesthetic goals B) posture correction, mobility or flexibility improvement or pain reduction goals C) performance of a lift goals (eg. 10,000 body weight heart beat squats would probably improve your barbell back squat)
No one said this had to be rep based.
It can be time based: maybe you want to spend 25 total hours in hamstring stretches because you haven’t been able to touch your toes since the 80’s.
It can be program based: maybe you were lucky enough to read this article: http://bretcontreras.com/5-things-you-should-do-everyday/ and decided that within the next 60 days you were going to achieve this brilliant advice 45 of the 60 days! That would do absolute wonders for you and your health and pain reduction.
And who even said this had to be exercise related? Maybe your goal is to finish 3 jugs of Superfood within 3 months.
Don’t make it complicated is my point. Just whatever numbers, time, goals, etc come to mind as a challenge but achievable and within a decent amount of time…just do it!!! It doesn’t have to be every day. Maybe you’re too sore; fine, skip a day or two. BUT don’t go too many days without doing your streaks or you’ll simply fall off the wagon permanently.
So, you’re willing to give it a go eh? Good on ya. Let’s help you set up a few streaks. That’s right, a few. You’ve come this far, why bother with just one. If this is your first time, pick 2-3. If you’re really gung-ho and really can’t afford to get to the gym more than 1-2x/week than hell, go for 10 streaks at a time. Some you’ll finish well before others.
Want a better butt? Try a streak of this sequence: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BSUFWViGZ54 Maybe you do it 250 times
Want better chest development? Pretty tough to be a push up. Try some of my favorite variations here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7eQopawA3vM
Your shoulders creaking and achy all the time, well perhaps you might want to give these a whirl: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DMOQNsBMSl0
Want to increase your overall toughness, fitness level and “core” power? Pretty impossible to beat isometric holds in this category: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UIJDhKbVp94
Want to perfect your kettlebell swing technique because it may just be the single best exercise on the planet? My gal did just this and it took her quite some time and instruction to get her to not feel it in her back. Here she nails the form: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=raLZ9bRFu_o (and oh boy so her booty look primo for doing so!)
Stronger “core”: Try these: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TdRFsf1A0Uw
Better abs: Look here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yzte9pmOZOM
Harder, more shapely thighs: Here ya go: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=baokarot4Ss
Wanna bring up that glute-ham tie it (I get giddy for GHTI): Alright: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CSO0ad0h-qE
Point is: any PAIN FREE, well performed exercise done in a streaking manner will equate to absolutely astounding results in a very short period of time. IF you don’t give up and you actually set your mind up to getting it completed!
MY ONLY WARNING
I akin the goal of a thousand repetitions of an exercise to the display at every IKEA store that shows their cupboard drawers being pulled in and our mechanically thousands upon thousands of repetitions. You can’t do hundreds and thousands of reps of anything and not expect a few negative situations to occur such as muscle soreness (perhaps a lot of it), tendon wear and tear, fascial tissue trigger points, inflexibility of the muscle being worked (10,000 push ups doesn’t sound like a good postural idea for the average gym monkey), and possible injury risk (such is the case with chin up streaks http://www.t-nation.com/free_online_article/most_recent/13064_pullups_in_5_months which led to my first purchase of gymnastic rings).
I will say this: if you choose to slaughter your glutes via 50,000 glute bridges you had better be smart enough to do some very serious self myofascial release on them routinely!
Wanna do a push up streak? Best be hitting some chest self myofascial release there too and copious amounts of chest stretching such as Dan John’s amazing “Stoney Stretch”
Trust me on this: you will never see faster change in performance, posture, strength, muscular endurance, muscle shaping/size/hardening and mental toughness than utilizing properly selected “Streaks” into your overall health and fitness programming.
If you’d like some help in selecting streaks based on your goals just leave a comment and I’ll do my best to help.