Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Do You Need to Buy a Bodyweight Exercise Program?

Transform Your Body with Bodyweight Exercise!
No Weights Needed! 
Develop Functional Muscle Fast!

The headlines above are common to bodyweight exercise programs. They promise to deliver fast results without having to go to a gym, use any special equipment or get out of your pajamas! While all of this is true, isn't it pretty easy to find bodyweight exercises on the internet, with complete instruction? 

Is it really useful to purchase a comprehensive program?

I used to think not. While I valued the videos companies like RMAX International and Bodyweight Exercise Revolution owners Adam Steer and Ryan Murdoch made, I didn't think they had anything special to offer. For one thing, between Coach Scott Sonnon, Craig Ballantyne of Turbulence Training and others, it seemed like you could find anything you needed to know about innovative bodyweight routines on YouTube! 

Why would I pay for it when I could get it for free? I have been doing yoga for several years and I thought I knew just about every bodyweight exercise in the proverbial book. When I discovered Bodyweight Exercise Revolution (BER) and RMAX International, I thought, "Wow! This stuff is so fresh, so effective!" But I still didn't think I needed to buy their programs.

Unfortunately I was rowing a boat with only one oar, and after a while, my haphazard attempts to integrate these systems into my daily routines grinded to a halt. I was clearly missing the core philosophy, and probably quite a few unpublicized exercises hidden within the paid product. Sure I incorporated the occasional side-leg slide and tripod switch into my routines, but it wasn't the same. I conceded that it was time to put my money where my ego was. 

These were my favorites to choose from:

TACFIT Warrior (and other TACFIT) programs:

This is made by RMAX International, founded by Scott Sonnon. It is an in-depth program with great routines and is geared towards tactical operators; military, police, etc. It is also over $100. I'm no tactical operator, and I wasn't sure I was ready for this program in any case. So choice number two was:

This is made by Coaches Adam Steer and Ryan Murdoch, who were trained and certified by Scott Sonnon (who they pay homage to in their manual, btw.)

Since they were my first experience with the bodyweight flow workout genre, I thought this was a great choice. I had already learned a lot of their featured moves, so why not pick this up and see what I was missing? There were two other reasons I chose this one:

  • The $47 price tag.
  • A 56 (yes, 56) day return policy. Take your freakin' time with this one!
After watching so many BER videos and following their blog, they already had my trust, so I had no problem giving up my credit card number. 

Then I got charged twice. 

Actually I think this was my fault, my computer was running a little slow...but it gave me a chance to test their refund out. I e-mailed customer support, got a quick reply and had the money back on my paypal account in about 48 hours. Refund policy works. Check.

The Program

BER is a downloadable program. I was skeptical about this, but now I am a convert. You get instant access, you don't pay shipping and if you need a physical manual you can print it out. 

So What's In It?!?

Seriously, at first glance this is an outstanding valueFor less than $50 bucks, you get a 209 page Bodyweight Exercise Revolution manual complete with exercise instruction, their macrocycling philosophy for maximizing athletic goals in the least amount of time, chapters on fat loss, hypertrophy (building muscle), general athleticism, longevity, recovery and more.

In addition you get 5 printable follow-along charts for each exercise chapter. This is convenient, because there is a learning curve to the exercise and the sequences if you have never done them before. Having it on the wall makes this transition easier. 

Also for every exercise chapter are photo and video instructions, not the best video, but I'll get to that in a minute.

Wow. Personally, I was impressed at the amount of 'stuff' for the money. As it turns out, these are just well integrated parts of the whole, but still a great value.

Areas for Improvement:

So far, the program is exactly what I expected, and certainly worth my $47 dollars. As I suspected, the complete theory behind their program was worth the price of admission alone. But why on Earth they didn't spend a little more time and money on better video quality is beyond me!

Let me be specific, about half the videos are just fine. Uniform, clean cuts, easy-to-follow and not too lengthy (I need to learn the exercises, not fall asleep!)

But the other half, although thorough and complete, were more like amateur YouTube videos. Yeah, they get the job done, but it seemed a bit lazy to me. I often wished for more consistency when I would watch one of the good videos, then go back to one of the mediocre ones. 

Is this a dealbreaker? No. Not for me anyway. The information inside this program is too valuable. I can put up with a few so-so videos.

The Total Package

The BER program is one of the first of it's kind, and it is definitely a revolution of sorts. It combines innovative and basic bodyweight exercises to build muscle, increase strength, improve flexibility (a lot) and even improve your cardiovascular conditioning. 

Adam and Ryan spell out the programs for each fitness goal so they are easy to follow along with. The 'cycles' are also short, about one month, so you don't get bored and if your diet is in check, you should start seeing results in a short time. As the manual says, BER will keep you busy for 15 months if you complete all chapters at all levels of difficulty. (You can take a peek at it here, just scroll to the bottom of the sales page and choose your workout:)

Which is the another good point. No matter where you are starting from, this program is for you. Don't be intimidated because you're a beginner or put off because you're in outstanding shape. Between the 209 page manual, the videos and the wall charts, this is an excellent value-packed fitness program that has something for everyone. 

Right now you get 56 days to check it out for yourself. But be prepared, Bodyweight Exercise Revolution is likely to transform you into a lean, agile, resilient network of muscles! Of course, you have to put the work in first...

Feel free to check it out for yourself. I liked it so much I went back and signed up for their affiliate program, so I'd be much obliged if you clicked on my link below. It takes you to the usual sales page, but I would recommend going straight to the 'Add to Cart' button so you can get started. Change happens with that first step! Commit! Commit!

P.S. Feel free to e-mail or comment below if you have any questions. I am using this program now so I should be able to clarify any fine points.

Live in Good Health!

Chris Mo

If you haven't tried one of the Bodyweight Daily workouts, try this one, which includes exercises from the program above:
Cardio Circuits, Tabata Intervals and Muscular Endurance