Headstands: They’re Not Just For Yogis

If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably avoided headstands throughout most of your training career simply because you thought they were just a little too… well… “yoga-ey”.

(Also, I thought I was one of those rare people who just could never actually do a headstand because my elbows were too weird, or something like that. Big surprise, it turns out I was doing them all wrong.)

But although headstands are certainly a yoga staple, they’re also used a lot in gymnastics and calisthenics because, contrary to what you might currently think, they actually have a lot of awesome benefits.

So why headstands?

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Why You Should Never Feel Bad About Modifying Your Workouts

Have you ever had to modify an exercise because no matter how hard you tried, you just couldn’t do the full version?

Yeah, me too.

And if you’re anything like me, you don’t exactly like to have to modify exercises. You want to do the real thing. To be strong, fit, and kick ass at everything you do.

But… life doesn’t always work that way. And training, especially, doesn’t always work that way. Because although we all have our strengths, every single one of us has weaknesses and areas we need to work on.

For example, here are just a few of the many exercises I still have to modify:

  • Although I can do pull ups and chin ups without assistance, if I want to push past a certain number, I continue to have to use a band, which frustrates me like crazy (one of my New Year’s resolutions this year is to be able to do 10 unassisted pull ups in a row).
  • Similarly, though I can do a few full pistols in a row, I need to use a band or hold onto a chair in order to make it past those first few.
  • Despite being fairly flexible, I can’t even get close to doing the splits. This drives me nuts in gymnastics class, where some people are able to do it so easily.

And trust me, there are a lot more.

And although it frustrates me at times (as I’m sure it frustrates you), modifying an exercise because you can’t do the full or advanced version is actually not a bad thing.

Here’s why you should never be ashamed to modify your workouts:

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How to Start a Workout Habit

January is the month that most people decide that damn it, this is the year they’re finally going to get in shape.

So the gyms get really crowded with people trying to start a new habit and get their health on track once and for all.

The only problem is, most of those people are doing it all wrong.

They get an expensive gym membership, then proceed to go to the gym 3-4 times a week for the first two or three weeks. And they feel good, they feel like they’re making progress.

But then—something happens. Maybe they get discouraged that they haven’t made as much progress as they would have liked in that two weeks (haven’t lost two pant sizes, gained 5 pounds of muscle, etc.), or maybe life just gets in the way.

Whatever happens, by the end of the month, the gym is nice and quiet again, and those people who said they were finally going to start a workout habit give up until the next New Year rolls around.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. There are a few simple—and very doable—ways to start a workout habit that results in long-term success.

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Mastering Double Unders: Your Complete Guide


So you’ve been jump roping for a while now, doing single jumps and high knees with a jump rope, and you’re wondering how to take your jump roping to the next level.

It’s time you start to master the ultimate jump rope exercise: double unders.

Double unders have long been a drill embraced by boxers, since they’re incredible for overall conditioning, coordination and building endurance. And if you’ve ever done CrossFit, you’ve probably encountered them there too.

If you don’t know what they are, let me tell you, there’s no doubt about it: double unders are tough. While the concept is simple—get the rope under your feet twice in a single jump—they require an incredible amount of speed, strength, and coordination to actually execute. 

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Pistols: The Ultimate Guide to Mastering the Ultimate Leg Exercise


Want to get legs of steel—without using any weights at all? Then it’s time you make it your goal to master pistols.

One of the very best bodyweight leg exercises out there, pistols require incredible leg strength, flexibility, and balance. And if you’ve never tried them before, I’ll warn you: pistols are tough.

In fact, I’ve been working on pistols for a little while now, but I’m nowhere near where I want to be with them. Watch me as I struggle through just three:

But here’s the thing: if you think you can never do a pistol, think again. Because if you follow the progression of exercises below, you’ll build the necessary strength to master the ultimate leg exercise before you know it.

Start wherever is most appropriate for your current strength and flexibility level—i.e. there’s no need to start at the beginning if you can easily do a one legged bench squat already (although working on this will still help you build up strength). Then make sure to include these exercises in your workout routine two to four times a week for the fastest possible results.

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How To Do a Proper Air Squat

how to do a proper air squat

You’ve probably heard that squats are one of the best exercises you can do. 

Not only will squats build lower body strength, they’ll get you closer toward your goal of getting the body you’ve always wanted, improve your athleticism, and more.

But do you know how to do a proper squat?

As a personal trainer, one of the first things I do is check the bodyweight squat form of my future clients. No weights, no bands, no special equipment: just 10 basic air squats, no more.

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How to Push Through the Pain of a Tough Workout

push through the pain of a tough workout

No matter how motivated you are or how good of shape you’re in, there are undoubtedly going to be times during your workouts that you’ll feel like you can’t push any harder.

Because during the very toughest of workouts, your muscles will feel like they’re literally on fire. Your heart will feel like it’s going to thump right out of your chest. Your lungs will feel like they’re going to burst into thousands of pieces.

You’ll feel like you want to take a break. To quit. To give up.

And the truth is that no one would blame you if you did. In fact, most people—99% of people in fact—would say that you’re crazy if you did go on.

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How to Get Out of a Workout Rut


I don’t know about you, but I’ve been in a bit of a workout rut lately.

My actual workouts are still going great. I’m making steady improvements, and never miss a day (unless it’s my rest day, but that’s intentional of course).

I still end up sweaty, breathless and starving at the end of each workout, and typically lay on the floor in an exhausted heap after the last timer beeps. And I almost always beat my previous times and reps.

But still… I feel like I need a challenge. Something new, something that I don’t immediately do really well, something that’s… hard for me. Something to shake things up.

I’m sure you know what I’m talking about.

Being in a rut (or at least, feeling like it), whether it’s with your workouts or something else in your life, sucks. If you’re anything like me, it makes you feel less empowered, less awesome, and definitely less badass.

But unsurprisingly, this isn’t the first time I’ve experienced this rut feeling… and luckily, I’ve figured out ways to get out of it in the past.

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How to Kick Ass at Life


Wake up. This is your life. You’ve only got one shot at it.

If you fail, there’s no turning back.

This is it.

So I want you to ask yourself right now: are you living the life you want to live?

Are you kicking ass like you know you should be?

If your answer is no, don’t worry. It’s never too late to start living life optimally.

Because no matter whether you’re 18, 32 or 85, you can start living life the best you can right now.

Here’s how to start immediately:

Fuel your body

You wouldn’t expect a fancy car to run smoothly on cola-infused gasoline, and you shouldn’t expect your body to live up to its potential if you’re feeding it sugary drinks, fast food and junk 24/7.

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How to Start (and Keep) a Consistent Workout Schedule


When it comes to starting something new—such as creating a workout habit—the hardest part is to stick with it long enough and keep a consistent enough schedule that it becomes a habit for life.

Because while it’s pretty easy to start doing HIIT, or eating healthy, or foam rolling after your workouts, sticking with it in the longterm is a much more difficult feat.

And we all know it’s only too easy to make excuses not to work out. You get busy. You’re too sore. Life happens.

And sooner than later, the excuses start to pile up. You end up skipping a few days, a week, maybe even a few weeks—and before you know it, you’re back at square one. It’s a vicious cycle.

In fact, learning to keep a consistent workout schedule is one of the subjects 12 Minute Athlete readers email me about the most. But it doesn’t have to be that difficult.

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