Tag Archives: strength

Strength, fat loss, endurance and mobility in 15 minutes

Can you get strong, lose fat, gain endurance and improve your mobility in under 15min? Abso-fuckin-lutely! But stop being greedy and stupid ‘cos these 15 minutes are not a walk in the park or on the treadmill. These 15 minutes will be the most grueling 15 minutes of your day and will require you to stay motivated, focused and push (almost) till you drop. In short, this isn’t for the slackers. This is for fighters!

If you’re ready to work, let’s get this show on the road.

Why will this work?

Let make make this clear. This is not a scam. This is not the ‘Look and feel awesome in just 3 minutes a day’ bullshit. This is not ‘Why choose hard when easy works’ nonsense. This is legit. This involves progression. This involves hard work. And this works only if, brace yourself, you actually do it!

– In order to get strong you need to strength train. I’ve spoken about this in detail multiple times earlier, but I’ll summarize again. Getting strong(er) is achieved only by linear progression i.e. starting off with a load you are comfortable with and very gradually increasing that load in as small increments as possible. So irrespective of what the exercise or workout is, be sure to start off light ‘cos if you stick to the progression for even a couple of months, you will find yourself working with much more weight than when you started. Starting off too heavy will only result in ugly reps and plateaus too soon into the game.

– To lose fat, it isn’t enough that you momentarily burn some calories. To lose fat effectively and consistently, you need to rev up your basal metabolic rate. Traditional cardio doesn’t quite help with this (wrt efficiency and sustainability) and short duration high intensity conditioning work is the best way to achieve this. Read more about this here.

– To gain endurance you need to challenge your anaerobic (and aerobic) threshold and this is best done by improving work capacity which directly relates to improving endurance. In other words, by increasing the amount of work you can do in a given period of time, you increase your endurance, power generation capability, coordination, fatigue threshold etc. In some other words, endurance also known as sufferance is your ability to fight through stress (exercise) over a given period of time and the more sufferance you are capable of, the fitter you can be.

– And finally, to improve your mobility, you need to consistently move through the full range of motion during every rep of every set of every workout.

So can all this be done in a 15 minute workout? Definitely. But only if all aspects of strength, conditioning and mobility are taken into account when designing the workout.

Here is one way to do it.

Raj’s full body strength & conditioning sequence

Perform a standard 5 minute warm-up with squats, lunges, pushups, leg swings, arm circles etc. and then do as many rounds as possible of the following in 10 minutes ensuring each move is done flawlessly and each rep is solid and strong. No ugly reps. No grinding out reps.

  • Clean two kettlebells.
  • Do a thruster.
  • Drop weights down and bear walk for 5-10 meters (preferably to a pullup bar).
  • While still on all fours, do a pushup.
  • Jump to a squat position.
  • Do a jump squat and (if you are at a pullup bar) grab the bar and do a chest-to-bar pullup.
  • Bear walk back to the kettlebells.

Here is the video.


  • Each round took me about 30 seconds but as I got tired it took me much longer and I ended up with about 15 rounds in 10 minutes.
  • I used 20kg KBs but feel free to use lighter/heavier ones based on your capability.
  • Cleans, thrusters, squats and pullups are all awesome multi-joint compound moves that demand plenty of muscle usage thereby making the sequence extremely energy hungry.
  • Technique is paramount irrespective of what the exercise is. So dedicate some time to learn technique if you aren’t familiar with these exercise.
  • I’ll post more workouts which have a similar output i.e. strength and conditioning in under 15-20 min in the future. Be sure to mix and match.
  • We workout at Bamboola Play School after coaching The Quad’s BootCamp. This was filmed at the end of my workout today and had to be done ASAP before the kids start pouring in. So pardon the lack of solidity at the start.

But I can’t do this because…

When you can come up with excuses to not walk on a daily basis, I’m sure you can come up with a bunch of excuses to not do this. So here are some modifications –

  • If you don’t have kettlebells, use dumbbells or barbells. If you don’t have kettlebells or dumbbells or barbells, use sandbags. If you don’t have kettlebells or dumbbells or sandbags or barbells, use a backpack/school bag. The point is to lift a weight from the floor to your chest and then squat thrust is overhead. No equipment isn’t an excuse.
  • If you don’t have a place to do pullups or can’t do pullups, well, don’t do them. Finish with a max height squat jump.
  • If you don’t have enough space to do bear walks, do 20 mountain climbers instead.
  • If you’re not ready to suffer through it, then get back to your treadmill and stay weak.

Peace out.

The beginner’s guide to getting strong & looking awesome

If you are truly interested in getting fit and/or looking awesome, there are a couple of things you need to do –

  • Stop asking about fitness, fat loss and health on FaceBook forums filled with idiots who think they know nutriton ‘cos they eat and fitness ‘cos they flail around a couple of dumbbells.
  • Shut up, open your mind and listen when I talk.

If thats cool, read on. If not, thank you for stopping by.

Linear Progression

Strength is the foundation of fitness. Period. The sooner you realize that and start working towards get stronger, the faster you will get to your goals. So then what is the fastest, safest and most effective way to get strong?

Arnold - Strong is awesome!

In the world of strength training, the world in which people are strong as hell and look awesome as heaven, the concept of linear progression is a very familiar concept. The awesomeness of this concept is that it applies equally to both the beginner who wants to look and perform well in life and to the fitness enthusiast who is looking to continue climbing up that fitness ladder.

Linear progression is, in all honesty, nothing more than continually progressing linearly. This refers to progress that is continuous and linear without any sharp jumps or drops during the (training) cycle. And if you understand the concept of linear progression, you will realize that it is the only sure shot way to fitness and success in general. Don’t believe me? Think about it for a second.

Why do you start school at grade 1 and make your way up to grade 12 before moving on to college/university? Why do you start off as a subordinate and slowly make your way to the managerial positions? Why are you asked to start off with the empty bar (wrt barbell work)?

The point is, linear progression works and it works so well that, as long as you stay the course, success is a given! Let me explain.

Have you heard of Milo? No. Not the sugary junk that is marketed as health food. I’m talking about Milo of Croton – a wrestler from the 6th century BC. Heard of him? If not, check this out. Definitely an interesting read. Among many of his feats of strength, the following is applicable to what we’re talking about.

Legends say he carried his own bronze statue to its place at Olympia, and once carried a four-year-old bull on his shoulders before slaughtering, roasting, and devouring it in one day. He was said to have achieved the feat of lifting the bull by starting in childhood, lifting and carrying a newborn calf and repeating the feat daily as it grew to maturity.

See what he did there? He started off by lifting and carrying around a newborn calf and then he continued to lift and carry around the same calf each and everyday. In a few years, the calf was no longer a cute little thing that weighed a few pounds but a fully grown monster bull that weighed as much as a dozen men! And, Milo, grew strong enough to lift and walk around with a fully grown bull!

Myth? Maybe. Maybe not. But the point is that you start with a load (resistance) that you can comfortably handle and every progressing day (or week), you increase the load by the smallest possible increment. Ideally, you want to increase the load in such small amounts that you hardly even notice the added resistance. That, my fine folks, is the holy grail of getting strong and there is no denying it!

What about beginners?

Here is a question for you – Before we get all fancy with loads and reps and increments and rest periods, can you control your own bodyweight? Are you strong enough to move your body under total control? If you said no, then read carefully.

Let me make this very clear.

  • If you can’t do 25+ proper full ROM bodyweight squats, you have no business trying to squat a load or sitting at the leg press machine.
  • If you can’t a 120+ sec plank you’re pretty far away from a 6-pack or washboard abs. Period.
  • If you don’t have 25+ legit pushups (chest touches floor), the bench press station means nothing to you.
  • If you don’t have a single pullup, you are only making yourself look like a douche curling those 25lb dumbbells.

I can go on and on, but I’m sure you get the message.

Folks, seriously – walk before you run. Bodyweight training before weighted training. As a general rule when you work with a particular weight, move on to the next weight, ONLY when you have truly dominated this weight!  So work up to a good number of reps of each bodyweight exercise before you even consider adding extra poundage or touching them machines.

How do you do that?

1. Simplify your training. Understand that a fitness program isn’t a compilation of a bunch of random fancy looking moves. Fitness is the capability to do things and there isn’t much things you can do if you haven’t mastered the basics. So instead of doing 30 different exercises for no sensible reason, focus on the very basic movements – squat, pushup, pullup and plank.

2. It might sound like common sense to learn to do something right before doing it over and over again, but common sense isn’t so common these days. So learn the right way to do these basic moves.

3. Once you have learnt the right way to do things, practice them! Strength is a skill and unless you practice strength (moves) over and over again, you’re never going to get good at it i.e. you’re never going to get stronger.

4. If you see that you’re not strong enough to perform the basic moves as is, look into beginner variations. Mark Sisson has some awesome videos that explain beginner progressions for the various basic moves. Check them out here – SquatPlankPushup and Pullup.

5. Work towards satisfying the following requirements before adding any kind of weight to your movements.

  • Squat – 25+ repetitions with perfect form
  • Pushup – 25+ repetitions for men (5+ repetitions for women) with perfect form
  • Pullup – 10+ repetitions for men (1+ repetitions for women) with perfect form
  • Plank – 120 sec+ elbow plank

Be it the random trainer at your neighborhood gym or the extremely experienced CrossFit level 1 trainer or Mark Rippetoe himself. I don’t care who tells you what. The bottom line is – if you aren’t strong enough to satisfy the above requirements, you have absolutely no business doing anything other than these 4 basic movements.

I’m not a beginner anymore! What now?

If you don't know what this is and/or which book this is from, you're still a ranked beginner

So I’ll assume you laid the foundation as stated above and you’re now an advanced beginner or an intermediate i.e. someone who satisfies the above requirements and is aware of the proper technique to do the basic moves. Here is what you need to do.

1. Simplify your training. Choose a squat (back squat, front squat, KB squat etc.), a push (OH press, pushup, dip etc.), a pull (pullup, row, inverted row etc.), a hinge (KB swing, Rack-pulls , Deadlift etc.) and a isometric hold (plank, L-sit, L-hang etc.). Forget everything else. Seriously.

2. Do 2 sets of 5 reps of each of these moves every other day or 3 days a week. For eg. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Rest as required between sets.

3. Each progressing training session, increase the number of repetitions by 1. Once you get strong enough to perform 12 solid repetitions, increase the weight by the smallest possible increment. Continue progressing.

4. Eat slightly above appetite and sleep as much as you can.

5. Don’t do anything else. And by that I mean, don’t f*cking do anything else! No running on off days, no basketball in the evenings, no extra ‘weights’ at the gym, no more nonsense. More is not better. Better is better and it doesn’t get better than this.

What about women?

Yeah. What about women? Won’t we get big and bulky? Ummm no, you wont. Don’t believe me? Look at Neghar Fonooni. Is she big and bulky? Or is she strong and awesome? You tell me.

Neghar Fonooni – Strong is awesome!

How does she train? Well, here is a sample.

Summing up

Whether your goal is to get fit or look awesome or both, do what been said, and only whats been said, till you get strong enough to back squat 2 x BW (1.5 x BW for women), deadlift 2.5 x BW (1.75 x BW for women), do 15+ pullups (6+ for women) and hold a 3min plank.

And then we’ll talk. We’ll talk about variety and macros and six pack abs and training frequency and rest periods and tempo and what not. Until then, shut up, open your mind and listen when I talk.

Peace out.

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