Getting the Most Out of The Naked Warrior

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Jak Nieuwenhuis

Level 6 Valued Member
Hello, just to answer the basic questions first:

relevant demographics: I'm 23, Male, 6'1, 155, and pretty low body fat (I'd say 12% based on eyeballing it)

- injury history: no injury history that I can think of, except that i sometimes experience joint pain in my elbow or knee, but only if i overdo it (and its not like my body doesn't send me warnings before hand)

- movement history: have not have a functional movement screening, but I can move well.

- sports/competition history: just now beginning Tang Soo Do and have been quite happy with the strength i've seemed to gain thanks to naked warrior, especially the extra driving power I seem to get when kicking.

My fitness goals are to master the pistol and the one armed-pushup, as well as their variations (basically The Naked Warrior starting goals). The Naked Warrior is my favorite book by Pavel, and I don't like kettle bell training nearly as much. I have been reading and practicing Naked Warrior (on and off, but with relative consistency) for about 4 months now.

Currently I can do a pretty clean pistol with my left leg, the right being a little less balanced. I have been mostly training box pistols as well as isometrics in the starting position. Sometimes I will guide myself through the Pistols descent by holding on to a bungee cord from a swing set. I'll do maybe 5 pistols per leg on average per day, wavering the load and cycling through the most attractive variations that my skill level/environment will allow.

Despite not being able to do a full pistol on each leg I have gained a lot of leg strength from these pistols. I can tell when it comes out in my kicks or when I'm doing other exercises (and especially bicycling).

The OAPU are mostly done off the wall for or occasionally on knees or from a high desk. Wall is still easiest. Wall isometrics are king so far. Isometrics are great for NW in general it seem. I keep the ratio of isometrics to dynamics 3 to 10 as best I can. For pushups and Pistols.

I will sometimes also do a difficult push up variation with both arms (elevated, one leg in air, on knuckles, on fingertips, etc. ) for a set, focusing on max tension in less than 5 reps. This seems to help with OAPU and tension generation in general. I believe Pavel suggests this in the 'Rules of Engagement", but could someone please clarify this for me (the non OAPU variations)?

I also do Combat Conditioning (not Convict) by Matt Furey nearly every day, for 15 minutes. This really helps with my lung power, my endurance, my flexibility, as well as neck strength. There is a little bit of exercise crossover between the two workouts, but with focus on a way different skill set (flexibility and endurance mostly). Some of the exercises Furey teaches are great for practicing the pistol or the OAPU, such as Duck Walking or the One Leg in Air Pushup. Reps are done faster than naked warrior, since NW is about grinding.

The only other thing I do per week besides Daily NW and Combat Conditioning is a deadlift type movement for 5x5, twice a week. I choose the kettlebell swing or deadlift with a log that is in my friend's backyard. I'm not picky about which days I choose to do the big pull but I try to space it out.

A few questions:

1. What I really want to know from you all at the Strongfirst forum is if I am headed for over-training based simply off what I am doing. Daily NW + Combat Conditioning, while taking Sundays off. I'm careful to wave the load and listen to my body as well. For the time being I love this combination of programs and wonder if anyone else does something similar.

2. Should I be adding pull ups to Naked Warrior?
I have read the book several times and can still not figure out whether pullups are part of the program, and how I am supposed to train them. Apologies if it is set in stone somewhere in the book, I can't seem to figure it out. I'm thinking I could add a few sets of pullups to my deadlift practice twice a week, without going overboard.

3. What have you found to be a safe average of high-tension naked warrior reps per day? I've found that I can do about 10 total reps through out the day, either pistol or OAPU, without feeling like I am starting to reach fatigue, especially if I spread that out between 3-5 sets.

4. Why do I feel so much leaner and more muscular from a CNS training program? Seriously, more than ever before, ever before adding Combat Conditioning for endurance and flexibility. I understand the idea of tension hanging around in your muscles after doing HTT, it's just strange to feel so much stronger and leaner without ever really pushing myself ( to fatigue) with heavy weights.

5. I've read that to knock out all your NW reps in a workout you'd best do a ladder, but I'm not sure how to make one that is good for my NW skill level (which is beginner).

Any general tips on staying conservative and injury free doing NW practice would also be much appreciated.

Thanks for listening, any response would be much appreciated. Thanks for helping me learn more about this great book!
 

Sean M

Level 6 Valued Member
Welcome! Great introductory post.

You are farther along than me in your strength journey, and NW in particular, so all I can add is:

1) "Over-training" is really "under-recovery", which is evidenced by not being ready for your next days' exercise. Sounds like you are in-tune with your body and know how to self-regulate, so I wouldn't worry about it.

2) Don't know about "should", but if you wanted to add them, a great program is the Fighter Pull-up Program. It can be done GTG style, or in a more condensed session such as during your NW training session. When I eventually do a NW training cycle, I intend to include pull-ups as my "pull" fundamental human movement (push-ups being "push", pistols being "squat", deadlifts and/or kettlebell swings being "hinge", and get-ups and farmer's walks as "loaded carry/abs").

PS, I love that your deadlift work is with a log. Really primal: "lift heavy things".
 

Jak Nieuwenhuis

Level 6 Valued Member
Thanks for the thoughtful reply. I forgot for a moment to differentiate pullups from big pulls such as deadlifts.

Going from what I remember Dan John saying

so, could be wrong, but the NW program is basically a lifting program that covers all bases...

Squat: Pistol
Push: OAPU and Difficult Pushup variations (such as one leg, elevated, etc.)
Pull: Pullups
Hinge: Deadlift / Swing
Loaded Carry: With the Log or the 35 pound kettlebell generally ( I guess pavel doesn't reccomend these explicitly in the book)

Combat conditioning is a conditioning program that can accompany a lifting program anyway, probably why is synergizes so well so far

I'll look into that pull up program and see what's good, don't want to weight in yet till i check it out and try it.
 

pet'

Level 8 Valued Member
Hello,

@Jak Nieuwenhuis
Welcome to StrongFirst !

1. What I really want to know from you all at the Strongfirst forum is if I am headed for over-training based simply off what I am doing. Daily NW + Combat Conditioning, while taking Sundays off. I'm careful to wave the load and listen to my body as well. For the time being I love this combination of programs and wonder if anyone else does something similar.
If you listen carefully to your body, you can not overtrain. For instance, if you feel "permanently" a little tired, if you often feel sore, feel some pain, etc...this is a body signal to slow down a little.

Basically, NW is done using GTG so you practice when you are fresh only. This is very feeling-based. As soon as you feel you will not pass the move, you do not have to go for it. So this is supposed to prevent you from overtraining too.

Combat conditioning is not that taxing if it remains your principal physical activity. IMO, this is a good addition to NW.

Keeping at least 1 day off is good

In a nutshell, I think you are on the right track (but of course I am not a pro !)

2. Should I be adding pull ups to Naked Warrior?
It is a good idea to add some pull ups because it will strengthen even more your back, arms and core. In terms of "options": ladders of 3, 4 or 5, FPP, GTG. All good. Plus, pull ups are a good antagonist for the push ups, even if strictly spoken, the antagonist would be the row. Pull oneself up remains extremely functional and natural...and potentially useful (climbing a fence, etc...)

However, a nice addition to NW is a "big pull" such as swings, snatch, clean or DL.

3. What have you found to be a safe average of high-tension naked warrior reps per day?
There is not general answer because there are too many factors : recovery abilities, physical demand of everyday life, difficulty of the move you do using GTG. For instance, I can do 600 or 700 standard push ups using GTG, but only 25 or 30 really good OAOL PU using full tension.

4. Why do I feel so much leaner and more muscular from a CNS training program?
Full tension teaches you how to use your body as an only one rock solid unit. This is why you feel stronger. You always work your whole body during all the move ROM. Plus, HTT does not burn all the muscle energy (ATP) so it lets them with full tone because they are not exhausted. In PttP Pavel explains that high volumes "burn" the muscle and let them "soft" because they consumed all their ATP. If you look at oldtime strongman routine, most of them worked with HTT and very low reps per set, but everyday. However, they were in pretty good shape (Sandow, Saxon, etc...). NW follows the same logic of low rep sets, but almost daily.

5. I've read that to knock out all your NW reps in a workout you'd best do a ladder, but I'm not sure how to make one that is good for my NW skill level (which is b
Ladder of 3 is your 5RM, ladder of 5 is about your 7 - 8RM and ladder of 7 is about your 10RM

Any general tips on staying conservative and injury free doing NW practice would also be much appreciated.
Do not train if you are tired or sore. Focus on perfect technique. Quality first ! Then do some stretching. I practice everyday but maybe 4 or 5 times a week would be enough: crawling (and animal walks in general), deep squats, bridges, splits, twist holds, toe touch with straight legs could be the basics

Kind regards,

Pet'
 

Jak Nieuwenhuis

Level 6 Valued Member
Thank you Pet'.

I believe what you are saying regarding the ladders is that if I can do 5 clean box squats from 3ft with a 35lb kettlebell, then I should do ladders of up to 3 with that for practice, along with the one arm pushup?

When doing these ladders would I rest on the longer side and relax in between or keep them short?

Again i really appreciate that you and other people are responding to this. i've been doing this alone with no community thus far and its reassuring knowing there are other people doing this throughout the day.
 

pet'

Level 8 Valued Member
Hello,

@Jak
You are welcome !

then I should do ladders of up to 3 with that for practice, along with the one arm pushup?
Regarding NW, I would not go for ladders higher than 3. Indeed, HTT can become taxing for the CNS if the volume starts to increase too much. Instead of that, I'd do as follows: when I'd feel the ladder is "easy" (without lying to myself) and when I can pass it "anywhere anytime", I'd go for an harder variation. Al Kavadlo progressed that way for some moves. He told something like "If I can do a move during the night, I get it". So you get the idea.

When doing these ladders would I rest on the longer side and relax in between or keep them short?
Rest as long as needed. At least, this is what I did with good results. Here, we not aim for conditioning, we aim for tension and strength. Power loves rest to quote Pavel.

Kind regards,

Pet'
 

Jak Nieuwenhuis

Level 6 Valued Member
Thank you again Pet'.

I'm really glad I came here and asked these questions. I'm gonna try a ladder (of single leg box squats and OAwallPU) in the next couple of days and see how it feels, taking long relaxed rests in between.
 

pet'

Level 8 Valued Member
Hello,

@Jak Nieuwenhuis
I hope everything will be fine ! With motivation, dedication and patience, you'll achieve it pretty fast.

If you wish, you can also open a training log in the dedicated section: Training Logs for Members Only

That way, you will be able to track down everything, see how things evolve, etc...

Kind regards,

Pet'
 

Marc

Level 6 Valued Member
Jak,

all that sounds pretty solid!
Speaking of volume: you must listen to your body. If you feel you could not do another set with perfect tecinique, do not attempt one. There is often a point in daily NW training where your brain "shuts off". I interpret this a a signal to stop for that day. 10 total sets per day sounds good. Some days you might do only 6 the others maye even 15. Again, it depends on your "freshness" and the intensity of the progression. With that being said, try implementing one arm planks for your OAP practice and once you are able to, OAP nagatives eventually holdinf the bottim position. These two will help a lot with your OAP progress.
Fighter Pullup program is a good choice.
You said you deadlift. That is fine. 1-2x per week in the range of 5x5 seems like a good approach. Maybe supplement it with swings done S&S style about 2x/week.
Speaking of recovery: make sure to get enough sleep, stress management and food. Not getting fat but eating enough to support your goal.
 

Jak Nieuwenhuis

Level 6 Valued Member
Thanks Marc, I do have a question about the one arm planks, am I suppose to do them like the other NW isometrics (about 50% tension for 3-6 seconds), or more like a wall sit/2 arm plank (for more time with less tension)?

So you're saying deadlift 1-2x per week and then do SS-style swings twice a week? for work on an explosive movement, I'm guessing.. I did do SS for about 2 months before ultimately choosing NW and Combat Conditioning. got good (great) results with SS, just didn't like it all that much in the end unfortunately

NW seems to depend a lot more on sleep than other programs I've tried which depended way more on food intake. still trying to get at least a few healthy meals down the hatch per day.

Great input appreciate it Marc
 

pet'

Level 8 Valued Member
Hello,

@Jak Nieuwenhuis
a question about the one arm planks, am I suppose to do them like the other NW isometrics (about 50% tension for 3-6 seconds), or more like a wall sit/2 arm plank (for more time with less tension)?
Regarding to ab training, you can also go for Janda sit ups or hanging leg rises (those ones also work on shoulders), done in Hard Style version.

HS Breathing

HS Sit ups

HS Hanging Leg Rises (standard and advanced)

Janda sit ups

Kind regards,

Pet'
 

Jak Nieuwenhuis

Level 6 Valued Member
I actually own a copy of Bullet Proof Abs, which basically reccomends daily low rep training as well.

are you saying that supplementing NW drills with some of the drills from Bullet Proof Abs would be beneficial to some degree?

so maybe do one or 2 less pistols or OAPU if it means I can do a couple HLR?

PS: don't own Hardstyle Abs, just the earlier version with the six pack on the front.
 

pet'

Level 8 Valued Member
Hello,

@Jak
I'd go for 2 or 3 ladders of 3 - 5 reps with HTT, 3 times a week (not more if hypertrophy is not the goal), using blocks of 2 weeks. This would be a "programmed version". Otherwise, GTG may also get the job done. Of course, this is just a suggestion. Do not go for ab training if you feel tired. Do not cut OAOL PU or pistol work if they are your main goal ;)

Strong abs will help you to get a better stability during your pistols and OAOL PU.

Kind regards,

Pet'
 

Oscar

Level 6 Valued Member
My 2 cents: I ended up with patellar tendinosis when doing NW. It was my fault, not NW's, but it happened anyway. It happened because I was working too close to failure (I was doing about 3 reps of a variation I could only do 4 clean reps), and also due to bouncing at the bottom of the squat.

Next time I run this program I will make sure I descend in a controlled manner, no bouncing at the bottom. And also, I will make sure I don't exceed 50% of what I can do. For instance, doing 3 or 4 reps of a variation I can do 8 clean reps.

Good luck!
 

Jak Nieuwenhuis

Level 6 Valued Member
Thank you Oscar I just looked that up and I do occasionally feel pain in the patella tendon during and after training. Not an everyday thing, but I do notice that area hurts (usually on left leg only) if I overdo pistols or hindu squats.

I will usually lay off the squatting movements for a day or so and everything will be fine. addressing the trigger points in the area around my knee seems to help as well.

that tendon on my left knee is sometimes a bit tender to the touch, but not in pain when I'm moving or squatting. almost like a trigger point pain

I'll make sure I watch myself on the depth for squats until the tenderness decreases.

Thank you for naming what I was talking about in my post, by the way (the pain in my left knee). I think since I'm at a beginner stage (and a warning stage of patellar tendinosis) I could still avoid what it sounds like you experienced if I watch my reps and depth really closely
 

Marc

Level 6 Valued Member
Jak,

regarding deadlifts/swing: if you do deadlifts 2x/week you probably can ditch swings. If you do not do deadlifts you can add in swings 2-5x/week. Or snatches 2x/week.
Regarding the one arm plank: I would go for 10-20sec while "breathing behind the shield". Also holding the bottom position while hardstyle breathing for 3-5 hisses seems to be good to "plug" tension holes.
 

Oscar

Level 6 Valued Member
Thank you Oscar I just looked that up and I do occasionally feel pain in the patella tendon during and after training. Not an everyday thing, but I do notice that area hurts (usually on left leg only) if I overdo pistols or hindu squats.

I will usually lay off the squatting movements for a day or so and everything will be fine. addressing the trigger points in the area around my knee seems to help as well.

that tendon on my left knee is sometimes a bit tender to the touch, but not in pain when I'm moving or squatting. almost like a trigger point pain

I'll make sure I watch myself on the depth for squats until the tenderness decreases.

Thank you for naming what I was talking about in my post, by the way (the pain in my left knee). I think since I'm at a beginner stage (and a warning stage of patellar tendinosis) I could still avoid what it sounds like you experienced if I watch my reps and depth really closely
Be careful with that tendon... tendinosis can be solved fairly simply if caught early, but become a nightmare if they turn chronic.

Regarding squat depth, in my case that didn't cause as much trouble as the bouncing motion at the bottom. I think I would have been safe if I went deep with no bouncing. Anyway, squatting to a low box can be a good idea until you clear that pain
 

Jak Nieuwenhuis

Level 6 Valued Member
Jak,

regarding deadlifts/swing: if you do deadlifts 2x/week you probably can ditch swings. If you do not do deadlifts you can add in swings 2-5x/week. Or snatches 2x/week.
Regarding the one arm plank: I would go for 10-20sec while "breathing behind the shield". Also holding the bottom position while hardstyle breathing for 3-5 hisses seems to be good to "plug" tension holes.
I do really like swings at least once a week. I could sacrifice a deadlift log session for swings. Meaning deadlift once a week and swing (SS style) once or twice a week.

Thank you for clarifying regarding the plank. Will practice this drill today or tomorrow. Will use similar tension style for what I used to do in get ups.
 
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