Most Efficient Workout

Upper body

Perform: elevated pike push-up -> pull-up -> decline push-up -> elevated row
Doing push: raise one leg in the air -> lower slow -> hold and drop the one leg -> raise fast -> repeat
Doing pull: raise fast -> hold and raise one leg in the air -> lower slow -> change one palm to opposite grip and drop the one leg -> repeat


Perform: reverse hyperextension -> hyperextension leg raises -> bridge push-up -> 5 tibetans 3rd rite
Doing: raise fast -> hold -> lower slow -> repeat (the other way for the five tibetans third rite)

Lower body:

Perform: pistol squat -> single leg deadlift
Doing: straighten your arms to be in line with your trunk or place at least your hands behind your head -> lower slow -> hold and drop your hands -> raise fast -> for squat, hold the calf raised (without assistance) -> repeat

Why to perform in this order?

This order is actually called push-pull supersets. It combines two or more exercises to maximize the amount of work of opposing groups of muscles. The exercises are performed with no rest period between the sets. As a muscle can only provide work during contraction, the opposite muscle has to relax, so that the body can move. Switching immediately to an opposite group of muscles induces respective muscles to change quickly from contracted to relaxed or vice versa. So both muscles will be surprised and balance each other out. This is what makes push-pull supersets so efficient.
Moreover, to ensure better energy management, we prefer to start with more demanding (body)weighted movement and finish with less; respectively for the core, with strength first and then with active flexibility. Nevertheless, performing a sequence in the opposite order will still be a useful push-pull superset, but significantly less efficient.

Agonist and antagonist

Here is a list of different agonists and antagonists represented by a "vs.":

And now the description of how these muscles work together during the workout movements:

Upper body:

Elevated pike push-up primarily targets the delts and the triceps. Depending on the position of the hands to the shoulders, the principal synergist will be mainly the chest (if freestanding) or the traps (if wall assisted).
Pull-up primarily targets lats and the biceps. Principal synergist are the rhomboids and the traps.
Decline push-up primarily targets first the chest and the triceps.
Elevated row primarily targets the rhomboids and the biceps. Principal synergist are the traps and the lats.


Reverse hyperextension primarily targets the lower-back. Principal synergist are the glutes and hams.
Hyperextension leg raises targets primarily the abs. Principal synergist are the lower-back and the glutes.
Bridge push-up primarily targets the lower-back and the glutes. Principal synergist are the triceps, deltstraps and the hams.
Five tibetans third rite primarily targets the abs. Principal synergist are the iliopsoas and the quads.

Lower body:

Pistol squat primarily targets the quad and the iliopsoas in its lower part. Principal synergist are the glute and the calf. Raised legs stabilizers are iliopsoas and quad.
Single leg deadlift primarily targets the glute and the ham. Principal synergist is the lower-back. Raised leg stabilizer is the glute.

How can I decrease the movement difficulty?

In motion

Upper body: pike push-up -> pull-up -> push-up -> row
CoreV-up -> superman -> slightly side sit-up (like in self-defense)
Lower body: deep squat -> good morning


Upper body: backward bear crawl up stairs with butt raised high up -> climb-up or climb rope with s-hook -> dragon walk and renegade row
Core: crab walk -> bear crawl [both Quadrupedal Movement (QM) either forward or backward, but don't mix]
Lower body: carry someone as a backpack up stairs and raise your knees high -> forward crab walk up incline

And how can I increase the movement difficulty?

Carrying a backpack with some plastic bottles filled-up with water, sand or gravel is a good way to increase the weight, but you can instantly spice up the movement by shifting your bodyweight:
Upper body: elevated handstand push-up -> L-sit pull-up -> tuck planche push-up -> front lever tuck row. Lower with one leg extended straight for push-up and row. For pull-up or row: either change one palm to opposite grip at each repetition or blast your forearms by using a towel over the bar like a rope.
Core: straight leg handstand press -> hanging straight leg raise -> bridge push-up with either one arm or one leg -> straighten your arms to be in line with your trunk for five tibetans third rite
Lower body: straighten your arms to be in line with your trunk or place at least your arms behind your head and/or elevated front foot (as on slope up) for pistol squat -> floor one leg curl

What to know before starting?

Drink water

You should drink stillwater half an hour before and after the workout. Normally, you will not be thirsty during the workout, and also have more energy as your body does not need to digest at the same time. Drink the numerical equivalent of at least half of your bodyweight in centilitres; meaning, if you weigh 80kg, then drink at least 40cl of water. Preferably drink tap water but look into whether it is advisable to do so in respect to local conditions. Be sure to drink clean water, and therefore it is recommended to let the water flow until you feel that it is unlikely to get any colder. Reduce the flow, place your hands below the tap and suck gently. This will allow the water to naturally warm up from your body heat; avoid just swallowing it. Personally, I take about 18 sips of water, with a short breathing break in the middle, half an hour before and two hours after each of my three daily meals.

Always Full ROM

You should move through the complete “range of motion” (Full ROM) of the muscle contraction. This way, you will keep your flexibility and maximize the work per repetition.
Upper body: do push-up on your fists (for more comfort, fold your t-shirt and place it under)
Core: for the sit-up, place a filled-up plastic bottle or rolled-up towel under your lower back
Lower body: train barefoot. Most shoes lift up the heel, reducing the length of your calf, and therefore when training on a flat surface the body experiences the equivalent of training on a downward slope.

Our nose is for breathing (nasal breathing)

We naturally breathe only through the nose. Mouth breathing is a learned response to an emergency situation. In such situation, your body dopes itself by releasing adrenaline, which is unhealthy if regularly repeated. We are aiming to be adept in everyday life situations, which means we wish to prepare for emergencies, but not to simulate it each time. Consequently, you'll lower your heart rate at any given intensity, leading to higher energy reserves for the day you really have to fight or flight. And that's not all, there are three other advantages, beginning with the fact that your nose filters and regulates the temperature and humidity of incoming air. Additionally, you will also develop a strong diaphragm. Last but not least, exhalation through the nose maintains pressure in the lungs for longer, which increases the absorption of oxygen. However, at the start, beginners may experience dizziness with this approach. If this happens, continue to exert at the same intensity and return to breathing through the mouth until you feel safe to switch back to your nose.
To successfully complete your last repetition of a set, and generally for exerting at maximal effort, inhale 75% before, hold during exertion (stabilizes the spine) and exhale through pursed lips on the return.

How many repetitions should I do?

Adjust the difficulty so that you can do about 5 reps per set. As soon as you do not achieve the Full ROM, you can either immediately decrease the difficulty for one last repetition or switch to the next set. Remember that the exercises of one superset are performed with no rest period between the sets.

How fast should I do the repetition?

Play with gravity

We will take advantage of gravity, moving at three different speeds. As we progress through different kinds of muscular work, we'll surprise our muscle each time, to ensure a quick muscle improvement.

Tease gravity (negative reps)

Lowering should last about 4 seconds and employ an increase in difficulty (see at the top or above "And how can I increase the movement difficulty?". Note: do not use your backpack, as you can not remove it instantly before the raise-up).

Escape gravity (power)

Explosive raise-up. Even if you are not moving up quickly, the most important is the intention to do so. To track your development, aim for a clean and powerful movement, relying less on cheat rep’s that assist you through the use of a swing movement from the legs, hip or arms.

Resist gravity (isometric)

Hold for 4 seconds at the bottom of push movements, respectively at the top of pull movements.
For the squat, finish with a calf raise (without assistance) at the top (for the pistol squat, you can also contract your hamstring to bring your heel to your butt) and hold it for 4 seconds. For the one leg exercise, the raised leg has to work isometrically in order to keep your balance. The ideal form for the pistol squat is to have the raised leg extended straight, which is actually a static-active stretching of the hamstring by the quadricep. This causes a large lever arm to be applied to the iliopsoas, which can be considered to be a bodyweight yielding isometric. As you perform active stretching of your hamstring, your hip is pulled forward, which bends your lower back backward, making the pistol squat more challenging as you resist falling backward. There is no parallel with the one arm exercise. In both cases, the core works isometrically to stabilize the whole body.

Overcome gravity (forced reps)

Do an external action to assist a weak strength phase. E.g. during the pistol squat, in order to achieve your last rep of a set, you can assist the quadriceps to get up by lightly pushing on the floor with the heel of the raised leg. You can also support the iliopsoas, to keep the raised leg high, by holding the foot (static-passive stretching) with the hand of the same side, or further holding the wrist of that hand with the other (hyperstatic posture).

Occasionally, defy gravity

To improve your cardiovascular endurance at the same time, you can perform the workout as high-intensity interval training (called HIIT or Tabata). In this method you will perform neither negative reps nor isometric, but speed! Respectively, you will need to breathe with your mouth. At the top of any movement, add a fast movement in the air and bring limbs together:
Upper body: tap your hands on your chest or simply clap your hands
Core: considering the fact that the top position of the respective exercise doesn't allow an additional fast movement, go for a set of kip ups
Lower body: jump and bring your knees to chest. You can also jump over your own leg and back again.

How long should I rest between supersets?

About 2 minutes of active rest, with a mix of soft exertion at high concentration and fast movement
Core: gently repeat a few balancing squats
Lower body: gently repeat a few precise high front kicks, followed similarly with back kicks. To achieve precision use a clear target.


For HIIT, you should rest as described above but for half of the time it took to perform one superset. Note that this way to train has many advantages but one main inconvenience. Given that this method of workout induces a fight or flight state in yourself, you may experience an intensified demeanor. For example, during or just after such a workout you may find yourself having a temper in response to someone kindly asks for something.

And how many supersets should I do?

Adapt the difficulty such that you can achieve about 5 supersets (or 10 for HIIT). If you have a bad day, then decrease to 3 supersets, it's always better than nothing. Regardless, we apply the triangle pyramid sets structure to the push-pull supersets. These progressively ramp up to a heavier load (increase weight and decrease repetitions) and then ramp down to finish with a lighter load (decrease weight and increase repetitions), such that the first push-pull superset is actually more of a warm up. Start with a lighter version of the movement (see above "How can I decrease the movement difficulty?") or simply move gently. Then increase the difficulty (see above "And how can I increase the movement difficulty?") at each next superset and consequently your number of reps will decrease to a minimum of 3 Full ROM reps per set (e.g. ...3 push-up, 3 row). Upon completing the mid-point set, successively decrease the weight on each set such that you can finish with about 5 Full ROM reps per set.


Now you should remind your muscles of what they trained for. So, perform 5 minutes of full movement comprised of 3 sets, 1 rep per set, emphasis on slow to super slow movements. Execution e.g.:
Upper bodyParis Fire Brigade "planche à 25" (muscle-up followed by frog to handstand)
Core: press handstand to front limber, or more advanced, back limber
Lower body: lower in pistol deep squat, sit and lie on your back, floor one leg curl (slide your heel from a hamstring bridge to a glute bridge), sit-up (keep the other leg straight out) to pistol squat and step over your hands
If you want to focus even more on a proper form, you can enhance your kinesthesia simply by closing your eyes.
During the rest time, you can loosen up your muscles by shaking them... Or for more fun:
Upper body: juggle with objects
Core: do some carioca exercise
Lower bodyjump over hands
All of these also serve for your cool-down.

How to recover fast?

If you have well balanced your load between the agonist and the antagonist, the next day you should feel that your muscles are tired, but no sign of DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) except if you did the HIIT.

A cold shower is warmly recommended

Indeed cold has a strong impact on the cardiovascular system. Once exposed to cold, your body will first contract the muscular walls of the blood vessels (called vasoconstriction) to reduce heat loss. Depending on the energy transfer (= temperature x flow rate x time) and your cold training level (see Wim Hof), your body will soon detect a body temperature drop, and will widen your blood vessels. This natural reaction (called cold-induced vasodilation) will boost your blood flow which clears the various waste products from the muscles and at the same time supplies fresh nutrients. You could even take advantage of cold showers to train for performance in cold circumstances.
Cold training is similar to weight training, you can go for light and long, or heavy and short. Above all, you must accept the cold and not try to resist it. When you experience the cold water, concentrate on your breathing, imagine a fire in your chest, and visualize the heat flow to your extremities.

Cold bottle rolling

You can also recover particular muscles faster by rolling yourself on a plastic bottle filled up with cold water. Here we use again the principle of agonist and antagonist, the selected muscle will be even more relaxed as you will naturally contract the opposite muscle to avoid rubbing on the floor (e.g. contract the hamstring as your are rolling on the quadricep so that the toes don't touch the floor). The blood flow will naturally increase to one side due to the contraction, and mechanically plus thermally from the other side due to the rolling repetition (about 10 times at gentle speed) of the cold bottle.

Is there any frequency recommended?

As you train to be adept in everyday life situations, this workout can be your principal conditioning during the week (best would be after work and before dinner). Train each day another body part (e.g. upper body on Monday and Wednesday, lower body on Tuesday, core on Thursday) and keep your Friday to improve one of the non-exhausting Adept Utilities (e.g. whistle loudly, tie fast your shoelace, breath-holding...). Once in a while break this routine for specific conditioning (e.g. navigation run for endurance, sprint and quick change of direction for speed, contrast training for power or PNF stretching for flexibility...). During the weekend, focus on technique, either acquisition, optimization or exploration. Adapt your performance for the variances in season of your locale with the focus on enjoying your experience and respecting increased obstacles and dangers. When performing in the more extreme conditions, such as the cold and/or wet of winter, ease up the intensity and include indoor practice. In the less extreme conditions of warm and dry, practice with more focus on application using your activities of interest.