Bodyweight Conditioning and Coordination.
There's been a lot of talk lately about the current fitness "fads" of bodyweight exercise, functional weight training, kettle/clubbells (though these cost), etc. A lot of arguments for and against it have been made: strongest argument for it is simplicity and cost, you really can't argue that one (although kettle/clubbells can cost your firstborn, they will last until doomsday and certainly beats a yearly gym membership). The strongest against (I've seen) made by the gym rats is the upper limits of bodymass strength training compared to machines and barbells.
As of two years ago I've abandoned gym machine training in favor of freeweight and bodyweight exercises. While I haven't on my bodyweight regimen become a 500 lb bodybuilder, some of the effects have been very cool nonetheless.
The following two methods are remarkable for developing total body coordination, environment awareness, as well as a functional understanding of how your body can move and what its capable of.
Created By David Bell : Some French guy.
Bear in mind, the guy is amazing, the flipping isn't really required. The important thing is gaining the ability to bounce off things and redirect yourself, this "freeing your mind" opens doors to new limits and movement possibilities. Psychologically Parkour helps you turn off the "Oh ****" reflex and lets you just do things, its very similar to learning to control the flinch response when you first start striking, the "get away" reflex when you first start getting mauled in grappling, or the stress lock up when you get thrown without knowing ukemi.
Website: Paying attention to the freerunner clothing line is optional...
For this activity there's a great number of bodyweight exercises that are used to help build your capacity to be mobile, agile, and strong.
Upper Body Exercises:
Lower Body Exercises:
Handstands (Environmental, but you can do it in a padded area just as easily, and much more safely):
Environmental Strength Training (nothing really dangerous, go ahead, play in the park):
Next up is Ginastica Natural, the BJJer in me loves it, I credit this with almost all my improvement in transitional movements and breathe stamina in the last 4-5 months.
Created by Alvaro Romano (to my knowledge).
A very fluid freeform exercise in ground movement and breathe control (though some of the breathing is a little freaking and might make some CMA people scream "THEY STOLE OUR QI GONG!!!" but that's ok really). Lots of big names in BJJ utilise this or similar exercises for solo training, I've even pulled the Rickson card on this one, wait and see, he was the first student practitioner from what I've read (If I'm wrong... uh, I don't care).
Open Door BJJ
I decided to put this in as an "about the author" portion:
I'm a small guy, well, to be more exact I'm a narrow guy. 6'3 and I'd weigh 160 if I was dripping wet and holding a 2 liter bottle or two of Barqs root beer. I'm skinny, I get it, leave me alone. I'm an athlete though, 1st place crew at CSSRA national championships in 2002, Varsity level ranked 4th and 5th (LW and HW respectively) in Ontario 2004. So the "skinny nerd that hates weight rooms" clause doesn't apply because I've logged more than enough hours to find a better reason than that to hate modern gyms.
So, at the end of all this I hope you've enjoyed my first major thread project, and can find a use for the exercises in the assembled videos. If you didn't and find these exercises pointless and funny looking, **** yourself with a Bowflex bar.