Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
4 Oct

Contest: WOW Thoughts for Witstick

The Prize:

Witstick. Got 3 inches of floor space? Want an intense, full-body workout in minimal time? Pick up a Witstick. If you’re trying to lift heavy things, this giant stick of heft cuts the mustard. At just 2.5 or 3 inch diameter and 2 feet long it is deceivingly heavy. I was sent one of these awhile back and it’s really nifty. Its rubber covering makes it easy to grip and it’s the right size and shape for a wide variety of movements. I like to hoist it on my shoulder and just go for a walk. Eventually, you’ll be swinging it, tossing it, snatching it, and lunging with it in a choreography limited only by your own creativity. These things are handmade by John Byrne and John Muse, long time readers of MDA. There are several weight varieties, from 22 to 40 lbs. The winner of today’s contest will receive a Witstick of his or her choosing.

The Contest:

Primal Blueprint Fitness and the Workouts of the Week were released nearly two months ago now, and I’d like to hear what you have to say about them. In the comments section below, give me your best feedback on PBF and, more specifically, the WOWs. Do you enjoy them? Easier than you thought? Harder? Are there specific types of workouts of which you’d like to see more, or less? Do you have an idea for a new WOW? What do you think about the PBF Self-Assessment? What do you think about the PBF Lift Heavy Things progression and goal reps? Let me know. A winner will be selected at random.

The Deadline:

Midnight, tonight!

Who is Eligible:

Folks in the continental U.S. Other folks will win a substitute prize of equal value.

You want comments? We got comments:

Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. I think the PBF progressions are awesome. I haven’t really been doing the WOWs, since I have a routine that works for me, but I’ve been using the self-assessment and some of the progressions to help build up to some moves that I can’t do yet.

    jeff wrote on October 4th, 2010
    • I agree that the progressions are awesome. It really does help to be able to build up the proper strength and form before moving on to the next exercise.


      David Grim wrote on October 4th, 2010
  2. I haven’t done the WOWs yet, I’m working on getting through all the progressions outlined in PBF first. I’m loving it. I’m really not good at push-ups and pull-ups (I have great biceps, but the rest of my upper body is weaksauce.), so it’s challenging. I think it’s important to be able to do the basics! Anyway, big fan and big thumbs up :]

    kari wrote on October 4th, 2010
    • i can’t do pull ups either…3 and I’m done…and those are actually the chin-up style ones. I can do almost any other arm exercise with weight easily, but the pull-ups just never seem to increase. maybe my back is too weak from sitting at a desk all day

      Laurie wrote on October 4th, 2010
  3. The WOWs are great. My workout regimen now includes bits and pieces I’ve picked up from WOWs over the last few months. I still do the complete sweatstone workout about once a week (I’m up to three full rounds).

    It’s a great way to motivate people and potentially spark a lifelong interest in “alternative” workouts. They are also great examples of what PBF should look like.

    Keep ’em coming!

    Kit Perkins wrote on October 4th, 2010
  4. They’re fun, but I prefer CrossFit since it is usually more intense

    Justin Yin wrote on October 4th, 2010
  5. I enjoy getting new ideas from the WOWs and the assessment is nice (we do love measuring progress!)

    Russell wrote on October 4th, 2010
  6. I just finished reading the fitness ebook (changing up my fitness routine)and I think the progressions make a lot of sense. I’m eager to do the self-assessment to see where I stand.

    I always think the WOW’s sound totally impossible, but I want to try them anyway.

    It would be great to see some indoor WOW’s for those of us who live in cold climates. I don’t mind being outside, but running on snow and ice can be downright scary!

    Jenn wrote on October 4th, 2010
    • Yes, indoor WOWs are coming soon.

      Mark Sisson wrote on October 4th, 2010
      • I’m very glad to hear about indoor WOWs coming. In Tucson we have the opposite problem…too hot. Even though the weather is cooling off it would be great to have additional workouts that can be done inside. I can do all of the movements inside except for pullups, which are my weakest link by far. Having alternatives I could do inside would help me work on my biceps more.

        Sebastian wrote on October 4th, 2010
  7. I like them because I can fit them into my schedule without having to shoehorn them in. They’re also not BORING.

    Jackson wrote on October 4th, 2010
  8. I really like the progression, how-to, and videos of both. They really helped me ‘train’ my girlfriend. By that really just get her used to and transitioned into these movements since she was never that sort of person before. Of course I love the WOW’s. It’s a great way to make fitness goals attainable for people who don’t have a lot of time to come up with it themselves, but want variety to their exercise. I’m working on a new one I will probably send in next week;)

    mlkrone wrote on October 4th, 2010
  9. WOW, I like the variety.

    Phil Carsten wrote on October 4th, 2010
  10. The self-test and progression are excellent. The LHT listed in the free book are also great, they allow me to get an awesome workout in about 20 minutes. I can feel myself getting stronger and more confident. The idea of the different tiers speaks to me as a person that loves games and video games. I haven’t progressed far enough to tackle one of the WOWs but they look varied and exciting. They will become the bulk of my LHT when I finally master the 5 essential movements.

    Mike H. wrote on October 4th, 2010
  11. I really like how quick and easy it is to squeeze in some quick hill sprints and a couple Lift Heavy Things progressions. I haven’t tried the WOW’s yet, but they sound fun and I’m hoping to incorporate them soon.

    Pat wrote on October 4th, 2010
  12. Mark,

    The workouts are great, please keep them coming!

    Brandon wrote on October 4th, 2010
  13. PBF self test is a great help. Progressive steps are also a simple, but beneficial concept. Haven’t had time to assess the WOW workouts.

    Shyrock wrote on October 4th, 2010
  14. The WOW’s are fun and interesting.
    I’m partial to lifting heavier more often but if you have the time to find some sand or good grass, this is a great way to take advantage of a beautiful day.
    I’d say keep the WoW’s the same intensity and variety. Randomization is key. Thanks

    DAN wrote on October 4th, 2010
  15. I like the progressions, but it might be good for a future installment of PBF plan to include alternate exercises at each level. For instance, I find the dive bombers to be rough on my shoulders. Others might like a variant on the squats or pull ups.

    The self assessment and progressions are cool – easy to use and measure progress. One thing that I didn’t see addressed enough (though I may have missed it) – the need to do the reps with perfect form. Remember what Dan John famously wrote: “During the pull-up, go from straight arms to chin over the bar. Really, try it that way. It’s called the right way.” Doing the assessment (heck all the workouts) with a buddy who can check your form and keep you honest should be encouraged. Also, it might be good to remind people that they don’t need to try and set personal records with each and every workout. Ideally we’d only workout when we’re really pumped and energized, but let’s face it: we all have bad days sometimes. And that’s O.K. Of course if you start having a bunch of bad days then something’s wrong. Doing what you can with good form at the right level of effort should be the goal, not simply nailing a number of so-called reps.

    I know you’ve mentioned that throwing was not touched on in PBF but would be in the WOWs. Can we get the same deal with the dead lift? What could be more primal than picking something big and heavy up off the ground?

    Jeff wrote on October 4th, 2010
  16. I’ve been doing Crossfit for about 18 months and I prefer the higher intensity, but while Crossfit can be intimidating for a beginner, the WOWs and PBF have served as a great introduction for my wife as well as one of my friends.

    Chris wrote on October 4th, 2010
  17. I think that all of the WOW’s are awesome and the new and ever changing exercises really help to keep me motivated and spontaneous. I love PBF.

    Matt wrote on October 4th, 2010
  18. I absolutely love your workout ebook. I’ve given up on isolated weight exercises and other worthless exercises, and I look better than ever after starting your workout plan.
    The WOW’s are great, although a little difficult, and are a nice way to spice up a workout

    Carlos wrote on October 4th, 2010
  19. I have done a few of the WOW’s. Some are easier to get accomplished than others. I would like to see more that I can do at the gym. I know that’s not primal but some of the routines can’t get accomplished in a small gym in Downtown seattle.

    Kyle wrote on October 4th, 2010
  20. A lot of the WOWs seem to involve working with a partner…and some of us don’t have partners. My friends here are mostly sedentary and already think I’m crazy for my food choices.
    It just makes me feel a little lame when so many are partner-centric.

    I love the PBF e-book, though. My favorite part is how each exercise is scaled for difficulty levels, and also tells you how to graduate from one to the others.

    Melody wrote on October 4th, 2010
    • Partner-centric WOWs won’t be an ongoing, regular theme. The last 4 WOWs were designed and chosen to be best done with partners. We did this as a tie-in with the 30-Day Challenge. Of course, all have solo variations, too.

      Mark Sisson wrote on October 4th, 2010
  21. They are good for the variety that they provide. For a relatively short amount of time spent exercising, the thoroughness of the workout is impressive.

    Eric wrote on October 4th, 2010
  22. I haven’t tried the WOW because I am not up to the right level yet. Some winter ones would be great for those who can do them and live in cold climates. Maybe I will get strong enough to try them by next winter?

    Thought the self-assessment was good and gave me a place to start. Husband and I picked some days and worked out regularly for 4 weeks or so. Then we started to get off track with injuries not exactly related to the work-outs, a trip, work overload or volunteer obligations. It works best, motivation wise, to work out together but I’m thinking that is not always going to happen and I need to keep to my own schedule.

    We have never gotten past the warm up for sprints so haven’t actually done any sprints.

    Husband is progressing much faster than I on all fronts.

    I have wrecked wrists and painful thumbs which the push ups seem to make worse. I think I have figured out alternate exercises for those, but not sure.

    With winter coming we are rethinking ways to get in the workouts.

    Did our squats this weekend while picking up all the black walnuts that blew out of our tree and tossed them into a pile. Personally I would rather do something useful while working out.

    I have decided to jump rope on the covered porch for my sprints which I will be able to do most of the winter. Also can use our treadmill.

    Rigged up an indoor bar to do pull-ups. Just have to remember to take it down when not in use so I don’t bang my head on it again. (see injuries above)

    I very much liked to video explanations of the various exercises for the PBF. They were very helpful.

    I think my biggest problem, besides being weak and my wrecked body parts, is self motivation. It is hard to push myself to do that extra pull up or whatever. Okay, that’s just stupid. Just do it Sharon.

    Sharon wrote on October 4th, 2010
  23. I like the WOWs. They offer some fun variation into my workouts, especially when I just don’t feel like doing crossfit. I will agree with Melody that when the WOW is partner oriented I feel a little lame since I have no one here at school to do them with. Doesn’t stop me from doing it though.
    I love the PBF and I haven’t even read the whole thing yet! The scaling and progression is great

    Ben wrote on October 4th, 2010
  24. get some pairs of old socks. put a rock in each sock, tie the open ends together. Now go to a tree. As if you were a school bully, throw the socks up so they get caught on a branch. The Workout is to climb up and retrieve the socks one at a time. You can do this with any object, but I’ve found that weighted socks work pretty well. You can play around and each time you retrieve all of your socks, you can throw them back up and sprint some distance and back, then do it all over again.

    Clack_Attack wrote on October 4th, 2010
  25. I haven’t varied my own workout up too much yet, but I’m looking forward to checking these resources out! They seem great from what I’ve seen.

    BoyPrimal wrote on October 4th, 2010
  26. I’ve just started exercising again in the last month. The WOWs and sprinting has been tearing me up. Being sore the next morning is distinctively satisfying though.

    I’d like to see more variations on the standard tabata sprints.

    Mattie B wrote on October 4th, 2010
  27. I like the WOWs but I think there should be at least two a week. One workout a week doesn’t seem like quite enough. Grok was running and climbing more often than he wasn’t!

    Emerson wrote on October 4th, 2010
  28. I feel that a neat idea for a WOW would be some sort of partner drills. Including fireman carries, wheel barrow relay, push pressing partner w/ partner jump for assistance, or even a piggy back .5 mile walk. Could be a great way to strengthen a friendship or relationship, or liven up a Sunday with the kids.

    Aaron R wrote on October 4th, 2010
  29. The WOW’s are great. Quite a real challenge. I really enjoy the sweatstone and easy as 1,2,3. I like the idea of doing them with partners or in groups. It would be great to have a page to meet with people in our area to do them together.

    Bryan Barksdale wrote on October 4th, 2010
  30. I like the WOWs! As some have said, they are not as intense as CrossFit workouts, but I like that I can grab whatever is lying around (my body or a sandbag) go to the park and get primal.

    I will be sad when it’s too cold to work out outside :(

    Jessie wrote on October 4th, 2010
    • Indeed PBF WOWs and CF workouts are different. I will point out though, that most WOWs are highly scalable, allowing the user to pick the amount and kind of weight, for example. The intensity, to an extent, depends on how hard you push yourself and the choices you make with regards to the few variables available in the workout.

      Mark Sisson wrote on October 4th, 2010
  31. I don’t do the WOWs mostly due to lack of partners, accessories, and accommodating weather, but I love my 5 essential primal movements workouts.

    My feedback: as somebody with a history of lower back pain, I consider *deadlifts* at least as important as the other primal movements; it may even surpass some of them. I’d like to see it discussed and integrated in to the fitness eBook.

    Derek wrote on October 4th, 2010
    • Glad you’re enjoying PBF, Derek. Let me point out that many WOWs can be done in doors, that all partner workouts have solo variations, and the only accessories needed, generally, are a pullup bar in some cases and some kind of weigth (whether it’s a kettlebell, jug of water, dumbbell, sandbag, heavy rock, etc.). Really, we’ve worked at trying to not require specialized equipment.

      I hear you on deadlifts. I’ll have to add my two cents on the topic in the future.

      Mark Sisson wrote on October 4th, 2010
  32. I really like PBF and more importantly my wife, who doesn’t like to exercise likes PBF. 20-30 minutes is much more appealing to her than an hour of CW cardio or strength training so she’s been more consistent with her workouts.

    I like the fact that you can mix things up, depending on what you feel like doing and the WOWs have introduced me to different moves and exercises that I’ve never tried before.

    I think the best part of PBF is that it is free. Someone posted an article on Facebook about how to choose exercise equipment and it talked about $$$ treadmills, ellipticals, etc. I posted a link to your PB Fitness book and told people that the workouts are free and need minimal equipment (just a way to do pull ups).

    Mark the quality of what you are offering people for free without pushing products or programs to buy down people’s throats is really rare on the Web today. Thank you for everything you do.

    Dave wrote on October 4th, 2010
  33. How about an occasional WOW for those of us who are not so advanced on the fitness scale? Guess I could make up one myself if I put my mind to it. Hmmmmm.

    Sharon wrote on October 4th, 2010
    • Yes, be creative! The WOWs should give you some ideas on how to structure a workout, or… just get out and move and play!

      Oh, and I’ll add that all WOWs scale quite well. If you can’t do a proper pushup or pullup or squat, etc., substitute one of the easier movements from PBF Lift Heavy Things.

      Mark Sisson wrote on October 4th, 2010
  34. i like the WOW’s but at this point i’m still focusing on the PBF and getting a great workout that way. one thing i’ve thought of is integrating the essential movements into the WOW’s…. that way it would still be the essential movements but a little variation when desired.

    kelly q wrote on October 4th, 2010
  35. As a CrossFitter, I appreciate the functionality of the movements you chose to promote. The progressions (and their subsequent videos) are OUTSTANDING! My wife and children can train with me and receive an equally fulfilling workout. I especially like the handstand pushup progressions. They are the best progressions for this difficult movement that I have ever seen or read anywhere. Well done!

    AP wrote on October 4th, 2010
  36. My favorite part of Primal Blueprint Fitness is the self-assessment and the exercise progressions. I haven’t had a chance to try any of the WOWs yet.

    I’ve been following the primal blueprint for a couple of years now, but fell out of the fitness side when I had to cancel my gym membership over a year ago. I tried to keep up on my own with bodyweight exercises and using whatever heavy object I could find to lift. But I never really had a sense of progress with these; I would do the same exercises repeatedly with no real gains and started getting bored.

    I grabbed the Primal Blueprint Fitness document in preparation for this year’s 30 day challenge and psyched myself up for the self-assessment. I’ve never really been good at pull-ups, but squats and push-ups are not much trouble. The self-assessment gave me a clear idea of what I needed to be doing to get the best results; instead of struggling to do a single pull-up, I could do them standing on a chair; instead of lifting the same 50 pounds in an overhead press, I could position my body in such a way as to increase the weight or target different muscles.

    When I started out, the only level 4 movement I could hit were the squats. Over the last month, I’ve moved up to level 4 on everything but the pull-ups, which I think will come with more ease as I continue to lose weight. They’re not just the same old exercises done over and over, but a clear progression from beginner to intermediate, with new ways to challenge yourself and no real equipment necessary.

    Brian wrote on October 4th, 2010
  37. I’d like to see a few more WOW’s for those of us that are in the lower levels. I know they are customizable, but it would be nice to see some geared towards us.

    ElizaGrok wrote on October 4th, 2010
  38. The WOW have been great. It is great to get new ideas and keep the workouts fresh. I created on my self. I call it Dane. 500 reps of any Pull Up/Push Up/Body Weight Squat/ Sit up / Dip. Of course you can make it less or more reps for your level of fitness. LOVE PBP

    Dane Johnson wrote on October 4th, 2010
  39. I love the progressions for the PBF. Especially the 5 essential movements. It makes it much easier for beginners to jump in and get moving. The WOWs are great as well once your in good enough shape to do them.

    Joshua Pepping wrote on October 4th, 2010
  40. I’ve done every WOW that didn’t involve sprinting due to a jammed up ankle.
    Really enjoy the creativity involved.. they’re never boring.

    Lars1000 wrote on October 4th, 2010

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