The Best Gym Pound for Pound is in Bulgaria?

September 27, 2010

The coolest thing about the Internet in my opinion is the ability to meet people from all over the globe. Over the past 3 years I’ve become friends with a sharp personal trainer from Bulgaria, Yavor Marichkov. Yavor runs a blog called Relative Strength Advantage. My favorite part of his site are his video tutorials. His little gym is popping up all over Youtube and making a big impact. If you are cruising Youtube and run across a gym with a black & white checkered floor, then stop and check it out…most likely it is Yavor’s gym. Every video that comes out of that gym is pure gold. This is why I believe it is one of the best gyms pound-for-pound.

Best Gym Pic

[Believe it or not, I was going to put up a picture of an amazing looking Bulgarian beach. When you think Eastern Europe you don’t think beaches, but Bulgaria has some parts that look like California. I decided with this picture of a painted on Bulgarian flag instead.]

Tales from an Eastern European Gym
-by Yavor Marichkov

I was skinny-fat, weak and completely lacking in athletic skills as a child. I was more interested in books I guess. Sometime before high school I noticed that I didn’t completely suck at basketball. My strategy was to wait for a pass in the opponent’s field. So when high school came, I joined the basketball team and through sheer stubbornness and lots of one-on-one with the basketball rim in my neighborhood, I managed to land a spot on the varsity team in my junior and senior years. That, along with my teenage growth spurt, fixed the fat part, but I was still weak as a kitten.

Me, The Muscle Mags and the Gym

Some of my class mates started working out and got very quick results and this inspired me to join a gym. I read a book or two and even bought fitness magazines, but following the routines from the fitness rags stopped working after a few months. It was later that I found out these newbie gains were due to the stress of introducing exercise in my life, and not thanks to the worthless routines in the magazines.

Hitting a Plateau and Discovering Strength Training

So after no longer being able to progress in the gym, I started looking for a solution. I asked around about protein shakes, high-carb diets, etc – desperately looking for a solution. It was then that I was introduced by one of my mentors to the concept of strength training. In just two months I blew through my strength plateau. My pull-ups increased from 5 to 12. I was ecstatic.

[Here’s an advanced version of the pull-up: the sternum pull-up. It is done by pulling up explosively and finishing by moving the elbows back and touching the bar to your chest. This is a great way to build the overlooked mid-back muscles as well as to work up towards a muscle up.]

How I Became a Personal Trainer

I became fascinated with bio-mechanics – the highly efficient way the body works when aligned and used properly. Fun fact – most babies when they start walking, have perfect biomechanics – they do movements (for example when bending to pick a toy) like lunges, squats, dead lifts and over head presses with perfect technique. A bunch of friends, mentored by the same guy who introduced strength training to me, started a personal training studio where they showed people how to really get results in the gym. I started hanging out there, helping out, spotting, A few years later I became a part of the team

The Best Gym in Bulgaria

The cool thing abut the gym is that it is based on free weights, complex movements and perfect bio-mechanical technique. The gym also introduced the concept of personal training to Bulgaria. We use the same principles with regular people as well as with professional athletes. Here are some of the exercises I’ve mastered as well as a few advanced moves demonstrated by pro athletes and trainers in our gym:


[Mastering the muscle-ups will give you a fantastic upper body. In fact, you could do a complete workout with just a bar for muscle ups. At to this bodyweight circuits, sprints, jump rope or a pick-up basketball game and you are all set.]

The Muscle-Up Is A Technical Move

What you do is hang from the bar and let your body swing forward. At the top of the swing you explosively pull yourself up. At the moment your upper arms become parallel to the ground, you kick with your knees up. All of a sudden you will find yourself on top of the bar. Check out the post on the muscle-up, if you need further tips for this move.

Handstand push-ups

[The great thing about handstand pushups is that they will emphasize your shoulders. After only a few weeks you will dramatically improve your proportions – the shoulder to waist ratio.]

How To Master The Handstand Push-Up

First, get comfortable in a handstand against a wall. Start by facing the wall. Get on all fours and place your palms 1-2 feet away from the wall. Lift up your hips and carefully kick up with one leg so you end up against the wall. Next, place a bunch of books on the floor. Start doing handstand pushups and let your head lightly touch the top of the books. When it gets easier, remove a book or two. After some time, depending on your initial strength, you will be doing full handstand push-ups. If you get stuck, try alternating high-medium-low reps every 2-4 weeks. Check out the handstand pushups tutorial if you need further help.

Full Contact Twist

[I learned about the full contact twist from Pavel Tsatsouline’s book Bulletproof Abs. In our gym however we use a modified, strength based variation of this move. It is a full body rotational exercise, great for core strength and overall upper body and full body strength. It’s only drawback is that the silly instructors in your gym might not allow you to place a bar in the corner and practice it.]

The Keys to the Full Contact Twist

Here’s how to do the full contact twist (link to tutorial), starting from the ground up. First note that your trailing leg should rotate – just like a punch in boxing. Second, flex your leading leg. The body works in kinetic chains that run diagonally throughout the body.

What is a Kinetic Chain?

So a kinetic chain – meaning muscles working in cooperation – runs from your left leg, through your obliques and stomach muscles all the way to your right arm and vice versa. So when you want to twist a heavy barbell from left to right, you flex your left leg, your stomach and rotate toward the right side. The final tip is to stay in the hollow position. This is a gymnastic term which means to tuck in your pelvis and ever so slightly hunch forward and flex the abs. This ensures maximum power coming from the abs.

A Few More Full Body Strength Moves

Here are a few more moves we do at our gym. They are a bit more advanced but all have in common the principles of integrating the whole body and using kinetic chains – muscles working together in a sequence – that are as long as possible.

Dragon Flag

[The Dragon Flag was popularized by Bruce Lee, the Rocky movies and Pavel Tsatsouline’s books: a fantastic core stabilizer The way we perform it at the gym is with the body as rigid as possible.]

Mastering the Dragon Flag

There are two steps towards mastering the move. You need to learn to flex all the muscles of the front of the body – so legs, hip flexors and abs work together. The actual movement in the dragon flag is done predominantly with your lats – so you pull your whole body with the armpit muscles.

Elevated Renegade Rows

[Rusty already introduced the Renegade Row as a great way to get strong stomach muscles. Here we take the exercise further – the elevation forces you to stabilize a bigger percentage of your body weight.]

32kg Elevated Renegade Rows… By a Girl?

There’s no magic in this move. Maria, the cute and strong girl in the video uses the principle of flexing the kinetic chain from the supporting arm to the opposite supporting leg and all the way in between.

One Arm Evil Wheel

[The evil wheel also works by forcing us to stabilize the muscles of the front of the body in the hollow position. Here Nino, front man of an underground electronic band, Taekwondo and Capoeira master and a former trainer at our gym is doing the exercise one armed – to show off! He does push off slightly with his knees on the way up, but even doing the negative, descending part of the move is hard enough!]

—–End of Guest Post—–

Note: Make sure and head on over to Yavor’s site and ask him any questions you have on these moves. He is extremely helpful and answers just about every question submitted on his site.

[I decided to throw in a beach photo after all. This is a little beach town in Bulgaria on the Black Sea Coast called Primorsko. Looks just as nice as many of the bigger well-known beach resort cities in the world.]

----> (New) Facebook Comments..."Cause all the cool kids are doin' it!"

{ 65 comments… read them below or add one }

Chris September 27, 2010 at 4:16 pm

Thanks for this post! These are really awesome exercises. Everyone knows that in order to get the most out of your workout routine you need to switch up the exercises and avoid the dreaded plateau 🙂 What better way to get more workout ideas then to see what like minded people are doing in other parts of the world!

Martin Berkhan September 27, 2010 at 4:17 pm

The Bulgarians know a thing or two about strength, that’s for damn sure. Just look at their past dominance in Olympic weight lifting (and no, it wasn’t just due to drugs).

The Situation Workout September 27, 2010 at 4:17 pm

I agree the use of these types of bodyweight exercises are huge in developing an over visualy pleasing physique…

Not to mention alot of these are plain fun to do, the one arm evil wheel looks brutal


Bryan- Workouts Without Weights September 27, 2010 at 4:23 pm

This is really cool that Yavor has written a guest post on your site. I have been following him for a little while now. I love his videos. He walks you through each movement so well.
His comments on my blog are always positive and helpful.

Eric Moss September 27, 2010 at 4:23 pm

Just goes to show you that you don’t need much to build world class strength along with a world class body. Most people get way to caught up in complicated and advanced routines only to get lack luster results.

Ever see that video of MMA legend Fedor Emelianenko training in a park? If one of the legends of MMA doesn’t need complicated stuff to stay on top neither does anyone else.


Pete - Abs Workout Program September 27, 2010 at 4:23 pm

Hey Rusty,

Yeah…I’ve been a fan of Yavor’s for quite some time. His stuff is awesome!

Thanks for sharing all of the videos. I especially love the ones with the renegade rows using the kettlebells. My wife and I started doing once or twice weekly kettlebell workouts about 9 months ago, and they have been an excellent addition to my “regular” workout program.

Those renegade rows are a heck of a lot harder than the girl in the video made them look. If you don’t believe me, just them on the floor…not even on a bench like she did them.


Thanks again and best wishes,

~ Pete

David - Get Fit Get Lean September 27, 2010 at 4:24 pm


Yavor does have some cool videos. He may not look like it but that guy is pretty strong! Always a good read.


Tom- Your Fitness Quest September 27, 2010 at 4:29 pm

Nice guest post. Yavor is a great guy and I have been impressed with him and his website for a while now. Thanks for sharing all the videos. It’s always fun to add new variations to your exercise routine and those look like some great exercises.

Craig - Hollywood Body Fitness September 27, 2010 at 4:30 pm

Yavor is one of the best fitness gurus I know on the web, not to mention a great guy who offers some killer off the wall routines.

We keep in contact often, and will probably have some hybrid Hollywood-Bulgaria routines coming out in the near future 🙂

Alykhan - Fitness Breakout September 27, 2010 at 4:31 pm

Rusty & Yavor,

Nice guest post! I’m also a follower of Yavor’s site and I’ve learned a lot of helpful information on body weight resistance training that I didn’t know before. I now incorporate a lot of these moves, such as renegade rows and mixed grip pull ups into my regular routine. I give Relative Strength Advantage two thumbs up! Go check it out!


Henrik Flensborg September 27, 2010 at 4:32 pm

Those Elevated Renegade Rows looks mean – and the one armed evil wheel looks brutal as well

Raymond - ZenMyFitness September 27, 2010 at 4:34 pm

Wow looks like a magical place Primorsko it would be a great place to train!
I think the Eastern Block Countries (EBC) have a lot offer they kept a lot of secrets hidden in thier early successes of power lifting and bodybuilding.
I now use a technique called Fascia stretching where it came from the EBC.
Yeah glad to say I found Yavor’s site too and subscribed to his Youtube videos cause its one of the most unique strength building sites that is available.
I think when you visit him he also has a wicked sense of humour!
Great review of his site

John Cortese - Cortese Training Systems September 27, 2010 at 4:47 pm

Awesome videos. I liked the elevated renegade rows – those look brutal! Looks like a challenging but fun variation of the original. Great post.

Kev September 27, 2010 at 4:50 pm

That’s pretty inspiring stuff right there, but I love the old school training techniques of the former Soviet bloc!! Chalk up another victory for strength training over the all-show-no-go culture of bodybuilding!

Mike @ Papa Star Health September 27, 2010 at 4:51 pm

Wow! Great stuff. I love the Dragon Flag workout. Pull ups are (in my opinion) the best exercise. So simple and effective. The variations are endless and it creates an appealing physique. Any tough movement done correctly in good form with intensity is great for the body but I’ve found that pull ups get results fast and create back strength. It’s tough to have a bad back or suffer from back injuries if pull ups are done regularly. The core stabilizers get worked so well during the chin/pull-up movement making it great for long term back and spine health.

Katie September 27, 2010 at 4:55 pm

Wow what at coincidence I was just on Yavor’s site today and loved it! I am seriously impressed by those renegade rows, definitely going to try that one. It looks like it would do amazing things for your core.

Jason - Core Routine September 27, 2010 at 5:03 pm

The Renegade Row was something else.

I love this kind of stuff. I use it all the time in my workouts for myself and clients.

Nice to see someone who is not Crossfit talking about body weight exercises.


LD - Dead Simple Diet September 27, 2010 at 5:11 pm

When I saw the title I said to myself “isn’t Yavor from Bulgaria?” Great Post, and Great site.

Adria September 27, 2010 at 5:22 pm

This looks awesome! I can’t wait to find some advanced exercises on YouTube to post on my fitness site! Thanks for the tip!

David Gowing - Advanced Health & Fitness September 27, 2010 at 5:23 pm

I have been using the gymnastic “hollow position” since first reading about it on Yavor’s site. I have incorporated it into my training and can honestly say it has really helped increase my strength and control in every movement I have used it for.

I’m so happy reading this Rusty, I have been reading Yavor’s blog for quite a while now, and I can say he genuinely knows his stuff and truly deserves this shout out! 🙂

His articles and video tutorials are so well thought out and broken down. And he always offers a unique perspective on his subject matter.

Thomas - Waist, Hips, & Thighs September 27, 2010 at 5:24 pm

@ Rusty,

Yavor videos and posts are some of the best. He always makes sure he is the one doing something in the videos that he is explaining. That helps people realize he’s not just talk and no action. I remember the post with him doing the handstand pushups not the easiest thing in the world for anyone to do.

Relative Strength Advantage is a great blog!! Yavor keep up the great work!!!

Rusty awesome post as usual!

Jordan September 27, 2010 at 5:25 pm

Yavor helped me improve my shoulder strength with his military press video. I am definitely looking to increase my strength, now that I have finally dialed in my diet! I agree Rusty; the online community really puts the best information at our fingertips. Being a Physical Education teacher I love having access to this cutting edge material and creating it for others.
Thanks again Yavor

Frank-Free Relationship Advice Newsletter September 27, 2010 at 5:35 pm

Hi Rusty,

Thanks for your great post as always and also the guest post from Yavor. His videos are very cool. The beach town picture looks very nice. Wonder how much it would cost to buy a property there? 😉



Louis September 27, 2010 at 5:37 pm

Great Love Renegade Rows. Looks like a cool gym to train at. Love the body weight stuff

Michael - Lean Athlete Fitness September 27, 2010 at 5:42 pm

I have been a afan of Yavor for a while now! Always love his stuff and his great videos. Keep em coming buddy! Europeans are the one! lol
I’m gonna work my up to the one arm evil wheel, cheerio!

Steve - More than just Muscle September 27, 2010 at 5:51 pm

Yavor’s site is fantastic. I love his muscle up tutorials, I’ve never been able to do one before but looking forward to getting in to the gym to try one!

Bova - Spartan Health September 27, 2010 at 5:53 pm

This post is giving me flashbacks!

I remember seeing Rickson Gracie (Ju Jitsu God) training with Muscle Ups while he was preparing for a major fight back in the 90’s. He was the first guy I saw using them. A tough exercise for tough people.

And the FLAG . . . like you said Rusty, to me that’s images of Bruce Lee and of course Stallone’s training sequence from Rocky 4. Stallone had rocky using a lot of unconventional exercises in that movie, which were ahead of the trend.

“I must break you” – Ivan Drago

Kyle Battis September 27, 2010 at 5:55 pm

Great stuff!

I love these exercises and actually hadn’t seen the one arm wheel. Tremendous stabilizing strength!

Keep it coming man,

Kyle Battis

Chris Cannon - Free Muscle Building Tips September 27, 2010 at 5:56 pm

Awesome post. I’m still wondering which of those is the most difficult (it’s gotta be the one arm evil)… I’ll try them all out and report back!

Chris Cannon

Drew @ FitExcellence September 27, 2010 at 6:16 pm

Yavor is a really great guy, and his exercises are tough as he’ll. He really knows his stuff. Using a few of his recommended exercises, I have managed to master things in just a few weeks that I thought would take a lifetime. Great stuff!


Dave - Not Your Average Fitness Tips September 27, 2010 at 6:29 pm

Count me in as a fan of Yavor’s blog as well. The videos he’s been posting lately have been top notch. For anyone learning to gain functional strength, especially with his most recent series on how to perform your first muscle up, Yavor is the man!

Rafi @ Passionate Fitness September 27, 2010 at 6:44 pm

Great post Yavor! You’re the man. I haven’t been around in awhile so I’m a bit out of it but I stopped by your blog and it looks great. I’ll definitely try to stop by more often.



RyanF - My Favorite Fitness Tips September 27, 2010 at 6:46 pm

I am a great fan of Yavor Marichkov and have been following his site for quite some time now. I am really not a fan of bodyweight exercises before but because of the benefits of getting a better and more natural-looking physique they are now one of my favorite parts of my workout.

Yavor Marichkov has user-friendly instructions and it makes bodyweight training much easier to execute. Guess my bodyweight workouts will be a lot more challenging from now on.

Thanks for the article Rusty!


Bryan - Workouts Without Weights September 27, 2010 at 6:52 pm

Watched the videos again and have to give these guys and girls some credit. The bodyweight dragon flag and evil wheel will be going on my website as well as the renegade row. Excellent videos. Thanks Yavor.

Josh- Home Made Fitness September 27, 2010 at 6:53 pm

Call me patriotic, but I think the strongest gym going is Westside Barbell in Ohio. You can’t walk in there without getting stronger.

Some serious vids going on there though, very impressive stuff. Cheers Yavor

Jordan - The Healthy Teacher September 27, 2010 at 6:59 pm

I am in the middle of Visual Impact, but tried the handstand push ups today for the fun of it. Pretty difficult, but I got better results after watching the video than on previous attempts. Thanks again Yavor!

Ivan September 27, 2010 at 7:13 pm

Yes, we bulgarians know a thing or two about streght… one of my students, here in Spain was completely convinced that I am insane, loading the weights for him.
But there is one thing I keep repeating:
Loose all the respect about the weight! Do NOT think how heavy it is! Just lift it!

Alex Allmert - Hardcore Natural Bodybuilding Tips September 27, 2010 at 7:23 pm

Holy crap, now this I like.

The elevated pushups are a great display of shoulder and core strength, a more advanced version of it would be one without leaning against a wall, I hear it takes a few years of consistently doing handstand pushups to eventually not have to rely on the wall.

The elevated renegade rows are a new exercise to me, never seen anything like it.

I like the fact that most of the exercises don’t need any equipment, not all of us can afford a gym.

keep up the good work Rusty!

-Alex Allmert

Clint @ Crude Fitness September 27, 2010 at 7:51 pm

Lots of love for Yavor on here I see.
Nice work matey!

Oh, and good post again Rusty…. who’s blog am I on again? 🙂

Kelly-Fitness Overhaul September 27, 2010 at 8:05 pm

Yavor is one of the true go to guys when it comes to strength training. He always comes up with some off the wall exercise that I’ve never seen before on his blog. I have been checking his blog out regularly for the last nine months and I never get tired of it! He always has some nuggets of information that you can’t get anywhere else. I’m glad that someone as respected as you are, Rusty, is giving him some props.

I always look forward to seeing what Yavor is going to come up with next. The people that haven’t visited his blog yet, don’t know what they are missing. I have been training for over 27 years and I still learn a lot from him and especially his videos.

Kelly September 27, 2010 at 8:38 pm

I’m a big Yavor fan.

His posts are always bold and adventurous – exercises and routines you likely have never seen before.

I also really appreciate his progressive approach so that even beginners can get started moving towards his level of mastery.

Aaron September 27, 2010 at 8:49 pm

This was a pretty impresive post. A lot of their stuff is great material as I love adnvanced bodyweight movements because they’re sooo beast!!! You should check out Calisthenics Kingz. This guy is insanely impressive at what he does.

Alejandro "The Fittest Vegan" September 27, 2010 at 9:02 pm

Nice!!! I’m jealous of that gym, wish we had it here in Canada. I like that pull up, definitely a big builder.

Mike - Fitness Contrarian September 27, 2010 at 10:20 pm

Hey Rusty,

Yavor is a nice guy who always publishes quality fitness information. He has a great site with a lot of interesting information.

Everyone should checkout the bodyweight exercise category on his site for all the innovative videos.

Great Post.

Best – Mike

Bryan September 27, 2010 at 10:26 pm


Love the video, as so much more to the post!

Blows my mind how much core strength that you can build up with just a few exercises.

Darrin - Lean, Mean, Virile Machine September 27, 2010 at 11:39 pm

Yavor’s one guy with a kick-ass website who happens to be super down-to-earth as well. I’ve learned a lot from his site and when he stops by my blog to give his 2 cents. He really has videos for EVERYTHING and I encourage everyone to check out his infamous black and white checkerboard gym!

Ian @ HomeWorkoutBlog September 27, 2010 at 11:44 pm

Yavor is the man.

Check out his site, follow along with the videos, and you can’t help but get stronger with minimal equipment.

Nice work Yavor!


Chris - ZTF September 28, 2010 at 2:01 am

Great guest post, never really checked out Yavor’s site. Full of great stuff, Found this article on lower abs very interesting

Eastern europeans know there stuff with strength training basics. I have a russian friend who came from a gymnastics background and all the this stuff is like child’s play to him. Good advice in this post, still trying for my first muscle up, think I need a bit more general strength.

Yavor :: Relative Strength Advantage September 28, 2010 at 3:20 am

Hey guys, fantastic comments! I’ll get back to them when I have a minute.

I’d like to thank Rusty for letting me write for fitness black book as well as my friend and mentor Milko Georgiev (the bad ass guy doing the Dragon Flag, who also trained Mario and Nino in the vids above), who is the owner of the gym, for teaching me this stuff!


Anita September 28, 2010 at 4:29 am

Rusty – you’ve just given me a new target to achieve 🙂 I just have to work my way up to the Dragon Flag. I know it will take a while – a long while… But I am astonished at the strength of that exercise so I have to do it.

BTW – I’m Bulgarian and I can totally vouch for the beauty of Bulgarian beaches. The mountains are incredible too.

Sue September 28, 2010 at 4:44 am

Great post – glad to be introduced to a great site. Yavor gives excellent advice. I’ve got some catch up reading to do now.

Hazman @ CrazyFitnessGuide September 28, 2010 at 9:38 am

This is a very good post, and Its amazing how the best gym is in bulgaria…but also you dont really need a gym to get a body, just hard work, a good ethic, plenty of natural exercise, and bodyweight, and your set to go!

Fitness Training Programs September 28, 2010 at 10:37 am

These are some great exercises especially for the core. I noticed that these are more body weight specific which helps you develop a strong lean look versus that steroid hulk type magazine look. Keep the good stuff coming!

How To Lose Weight- Mikey September 28, 2010 at 9:00 pm


this was an awesome post. I’ve done headstand pushups before and used to be able to do 10, but haven’t done them forever. Thanks for the reminder.

And the full contact twist is definitely something I have to give a few months trial in.

these all look like great exercises that would be fun to do with an outdoor gym on the beach or something. I’ll have to test that theory in Spain next year. you coming? haha.

Cubicle Warrior September 29, 2010 at 2:57 am

Hey man thanks for this post! It’s nice to see how people workout in other parts of the world.

I struggled with doing 1 pull up before but after doing statics and a variation of the sternum pull up (where in i literally jump to get some momentum going) i could do 10 now in a set with no problem.

What I haven’t done is the muscle up. My door pull up bar doesn’t allow me to do so. 🙂

Thanks again! Really inspired to try the handstand push up. I might be doing statics with that as well

Lauren Snyder September 29, 2010 at 10:08 am

Hi Rusty,

Thanks for this awesome post 🙂 I’ll definitely check out Yavor’s blog too. These exercises look great…I’ve got to try the ones that are new to me!

Thanks agian!

Mark September 29, 2010 at 12:13 pm

Man I love your site Rusty – and the proof is in body composition changes I’ve made. Thank you for your work!

I have hit a plateau in increasing the amount of weight I lift at the gym so this post came at the right time. I have been at it for over 3 months now and think I will switch to body weight exercises for a while.

I tried the handstand pushups, thought I was strong in the shoulders but could only do a quarter of one before having to fall off the wall. Humbling indeed!

Quick question, could you tell me the recipe you used when you lived cheap off of chicken salad? I’m trying to get ripped and save money for an extended island hopping trip – and would prefer something healthier than ramen every night


Yavor :: Relative Strength Advantage September 29, 2010 at 4:38 pm


I think the fitness knowledge goes in circles. Today I learned there were apparently “Bulgarian dips” – this is the name the gymnastic coach Christopher Sommer calls them. He learned them from a Bulgarian gymnast and I learned them from him…


the past dominance was drugs (as in almost any other sport… people need to come clean!) + work, work, work… Big fan and long time reader of your blog as you know…


yeah, after quite a few years in gyms, I get excited when I find new ways to train!


thanks for being a reader. I really do try to explain as best as I can.


I’ve seen this vid of Fedor. Old school, Rocky 4 type of workout. Awesome!


kettlebells are a great tool to add variety, aren’t they? One of my favorite exercises is the swing.


Lol! I am around 175lbs now at 5’11’’. It’s great to be light and athletic – and not look like a bouncer in street clothes.


yeah variation is needed. I’ve been getting more and more into this gymnastic type training lately…


no doubt man! Hope to get another cool article from Hollywood soon… I know you’re busy but still!


Glad you liked those exercises!


Yeah these guys are strong. Sometimes I wonder how I got there lol!


actually it is a great place to drink and party lol! I have to learn about this technique from you. I just recently started reading about the fascia cause of a back injury I got this summer…


the elevated renegade rows are difficult… but if a girl can do them…


these techniques go full circles – to the US and back. I learned a ton from guys in America as well as Bulgaria.


This is a great quote from you: “Any tough movement done correctly in good form with intensity is great for the body.” Completely agree.


love to have you as a reader. Wish you success on your bikini bod goal for summer 2011!


Hey! The CrossFit guys don’t own body weight training lol!


Haha you got me man!


Awesome. You should link your site so we can check it out!


gymnastic training is awesome. Too bad they don’t present their info in a user friendly manner. We can fix this!


yeah, I try to only talk about stuff I’ve done. Though I admit the one arm evil wheel… I don’t dare lol!


Jordan, you’ve done the difficult part. Training is easy when you are a normal weight!


I guess it’s not super expensive. The bad news – investors are over developing these areas in a bad way with too many hotels…


Awesome. I’m a big, big fan (obviously!) of body weight stuff too.


We are the one, aren’t we lol! Too funny man…


you can do it, if I can! I failed my freshman pullup test in highschool. 0 pullups. Now I’ve done as many as 21… and 3 muscle-ups.


speaking of the Rocky training video…

A great Guitar Cover Version!

Phew, ran out of time – will have to come back!


Crystal September 29, 2010 at 9:18 pm

Great post! Can’t wait to try those handstand pushups!

Semper Phi October 1, 2010 at 7:38 pm

Yavor, great job. I’m from that part of the world myself. Gavarish pa rooskie?

Rusty, I’ve recently incorporated your tip of doing interval training followed by steady cardio( 1 minute on the treadmill @ 11mph, then 2 @ 6, doing it 7 times, working my way up to 10, then following it by 15-25 minutes of steady cardio, usually 8 mph on the treadmill or 10-11ish on the elliptical). You were right, I am seeing results. However, I now officially hate you(not really). This sucks. I’ve been doing this 3-4 times weekly on my workout days and will soon incorporate 5 mile jogs on my days out of the gym. I am less than pleased with myself for ever allowing myself to get as out of shape as I had, so I’m trying to dial in the bodyfat% as quick as I can so that then I can go have fun putting some mass and strength on. Anyhoo…. peace.

Yavor October 2, 2010 at 10:04 am


yep, the guy doing the evil wheel has quite some strength – from martial arts training coupled with strength training (renegade rows, full contact twist, etc…)


yes, it is the one arm evil wheel. But the girl with the elevated renegades is very strong too.


Ha! Great that you are finding this stuff useful man.


Great to see you here. Your site is growing and improving by the minute!


Glad you got real life under control and are able to spend time blogging again!

Ryan F,

Speaking of bodyweight workouts, I used to think that the way to go was either increase reps or add weight. However, I am reconsidering this as I learn more abut gymnastics. It’s actually LEVERAGE that’s the key – so we need to find to change the leverage of the exercise so it becomes more difficult


yeah those guys are strong. Especially the girl for her size (she’s really slim) and gender.


WSB is a great place to learn about absolute strength and powerlifting. Good call!


good job man. If you stick with it and increase your numbers, the HSPU will give you very nice shoulders…


Just lift it – great slogan. Wish I understood more Spanish so I can learn from you and your blog.


I don’t think it is years… After getting good at the HSPU against a wall, it would probably take another few months to get a freestanding one. Reason being – some more basic strength is needed plus a sense of balance.

Btw – there are a TON of exercises you can do at home. If you got access to a playground like the one I train at in front of my building – it’s even better…


Thanks man – really appreciated!


Glad to have you as a reader and even more glad to learn from you (not only training wise!).


Bold and adventurous! I like this. I’ve got a bold and adventurous video shoot planned for tomorrow!


Calisthenics Kingz are a great bunch of friends and body weight training enthusiasts. As are all the other guys – from the US, Australia, Europe, etc!


It really is a nice place!


Thanks for showcasing the body weight exercise category. It will grow even more!


This is scratching the surface. I’m learning about gymnastics now – now that’s bad ass!


Thanks man! Big fan of your blog as you know!


That’s right! I only train with body weight, a set of dumbbells and the playground equipment… Ok the playground equipment cannot go under the “only” category lol!


I bet your Russian friend is freaky strong. Wish I trained in gymnastics as a kid… But it’s never to late…


Another fellow Bulgarian 🙂 Good luck on the Dragon Flag!


My pleasure!


You don’t really need a gym – you need the information on how to train… Good call!


Exactly – with body weight you cannot gain excessive bulk or become fat AND strong.


10 HSPU is not bad… not bad at all. Give the Full contact twist a shot – your core will thank you. Or not!


I tried statics with the HSPU but had poor results. What gave results was rotating rep ranges and range of motion. So I’d do very high reps with very little range of motion and gradually lower the reps and increase the range…


Give them a try. Glad you liked the article!


if you are at a natural body weight right now, there’s no reason why you won’t master the HSPU really soon! Good luck!


One of my favorite exercises – you’ll love the handstand pushups!

Semper Phi ,

Gavaryu – tolka ne mnoga lol! I used to go to a Russian-language kindergarten and took a year of Russian in school. Gotta brush up on it though.

Cheers guys – really enjoyed guest posting for Fitness Black Book!


Gary - Exercise Routines April 9, 2011 at 8:37 am

The problem is getting in reasonable shape before you show your face at the gym.

Andreas June 27, 2011 at 4:28 am

Diificult exercises, only for advanced people !

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spy blackberry phone October 26, 2011 at 1:54 am

It is wonderful to Read this kind of information i am going to bookmark this for future reference its good to visit your blog i will come back to read updates from you

Spartan Ren January 12, 2012 at 3:00 am

I will be visiting his gym as I’m off to Bulgaria for a couple of days business trip next week. Thanks for the inspiration Rusty!

Never stop, Never pause…

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