Q and A Feb 15th, 2013

Challenge workouts

Question: I’m retaining a lot of fluid. And I’m gaining weight. I think I’m retaining water. Any advice to not retain water? What should I eat? What should I avoid? I’ve always heard rule of thumb is don’t eat foods that have over 500mg sodium. If you could give me some advice that would be great. Amie

Answer: Stay away from processed foods. Eat more veggies, uncooked or prepared by steaming preferably. Drink lots of water. Avoid caffeine. Train hard enough to get a good sweat going. These things should help. Also check out my friend Joel Marion’s report on 23 Foods that help reduce belly fat HERE.


Question: I don’t have a pull up bar. Any  solution?

challenge workouts

Answer: I’ll leave this one for Nick, the Mad Scientist of Exercise:

So you’re training at home and you don’t have a place to put a chin-up bar. Or you don’t have a power rack with a chin-up bar on it.

No problem!

I’ve got a couple of simple items that are going to totally change the way you look at hardware stores…

What are those items?


Your basic woodworking C-clamps, available at any hardware store in the world.All you have to do is clamp those onto something solid in your house (or outside) and you’ve got yourself a couple of chin-up handles! I have two clamps (the size I use is 4 inch – it gives you the perfect size handle for gripping on) attached to a rafter in my basement.It’s a simple matter of clamping those on somewhere high up then doing pull-ups on them!If you’re worried about damaging the surface with the clamps, just slide a couple of smaller pieces of wood in between the clamping surfaces to spread out the load. c-clamps for pull-ups at home

This setup is not only cheap and easy but very versatile. Because you can clamp on anywhere you like, you can change the grip width very easily. You can start with close grip chins then move a clamp out further and do neutral-grip wide-grip pull-ups.

You can set the clamps on two different rafters and do regular wide-grip pull-ups. Heck, you can shift the clamps around to almost any position and do a HUGE variety of mixed-grip pull-ups. The options are many.

At this point, I’m sure you’re thinking “sounds great, but are they solid?”


I weigh about 200 lbs and once solidly clamped on, mine did not budge the slightest bit. And this was with me TRYING to pull them loose. I even did pull-ups on just ONE clamp and it didn’t budge.

So if you train at home and have been looking for a pull-up solution, head over to the hardware store a.s.a.p. and go grab your C-clamps!

c-clamps for pull-ups at homeThis pictures shows the clamps on the rafter. c-clamps for pull-ups at homeStand up on a bench or chair then grab the clamps.
c-clamps for pull-ups at homeNow you’re set to do neutral-grip pull-ups! c-clamps for pull-ups at homeTop position.
c-clamps for pull-ups at homeHere’s a further-away look. c-clamps for pull-ups at homeGrip the clamps like handles.
c-clamps for pull-ups at homeStart position. c-clamps for pull-ups at homeTop position.
c-clamps for pull-ups at homeThis is a closer grip version – the distance between the clamps is about 6 inches. c-clamps for pull-ups at homeTop position.
Hanging Leg/Knee RaisesYou can also perform hanging leg raises and knee raises (as well as
any other hanging exercise) with this clamp set-up.
Hanging Leg/Knee Raises at home anging Leg/Knee Raises at home
anging Leg/Knee Raises at home

On a side note, you can also use those C-clamps to anchor training bands. I use the clamps when I’m doing bench presses adding band resistance (great training explosiveness out of the bottom). The rack I have doesn’t have posts for attaching bands so I put the clamps onto the bottom base rails and tie the bands onto those. It’s quick and easy and really works well!

Question (for Nick Nilsson, the Mad Scientist of Exercise ;)) I loved the videos Shawna had from you. (See them HERE.) How did you come up with so many back exercises? I mean who can think up 145 exercises for one muscle group?

Answer (from Nick Nilsson): Well, to me, it’s all about results. I don’t create exercises just for the sake of creating exercises. They’ve gotta have a purpose and they’ve gotta get RESULTS. Sometimes I take equipment and look at it in completely different ways. Where one person sees a bench press machine, I see a shoulder press, a leg press, a calf raise machine, curl machine, row machine. Sometimes, I’ll challenge myself to work every single bodypart while limiting myself to just one piece of equipment. And then there are times when I just say what the ‘heck’ and go all mad scientist and just see what happens.

The real key to remember is that these crazy exercises I come up with aren’t crazy for no reason…they’re extremely targeted to their purpose, whether it be working the maximum anatomical range of motion of the lats in one exercise (with my Full-Range Pulldowns) or changing the angle of pull on a standard exercise to change the focus of it (like in my Seated Lean-Forward Barbell Shrugs). Plus, I want you to have FUN when you’re in the gym, while getting better results! You’re going to put a lot more effort into things and have a WAY more motivation to train hard when you’re trying new things and having a good time doing it.

I have to say, the #1 thing people tell me after using the exercises from my books is that their motivation to train simply went through the ROOF! Some people have literally had to STOP themselves from spending too much time at the gym because of how much they’re enjoying the new exercises!

Check out Nick’s 145 Back Exercises HERE

back exercises


I’d be remiss if I didn’t share with you a program that my ‘go to’ rehab and all-round ‘fix my injury’ friend, Rick Kaselj has up this week. He recently did a seminar on Spinal Health and Core Training. For all you hard core trainers AND trainees in the crowd, this one is really helpful. He teams up with several other experts to solve a multitude of issues. These are a few of the things you’ll learn:

  • Back Pain and the Athlete – how big of an issue back pain is for athletes
  • Shoes, Barefoot Training and Performance
  • Squats, Deadlifts and the Core
  • Link Between Back Pain and Latissimus Dorsi
  • How Your Core Can Be the Cause of Your Shoulder Injury
  • Why do we slump all the time?
  • Addressing Stiffness and Endurance in the Core
  • 4 Hidden Factors that Affect Back Pain
  • What Core Exercises to Start Off with When Back Pain Hits
  • Being Barefoot and Injury Recovery

You can find out more HERE

challenge workouts


Finally…the dumbest move I’ve ever scene (this person will definitely need Rick Kaselj to fix his back pain and every other pain he has after this):

challenge workouts
Never do this…