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

Setting Yourself Up to Win: A Body By Science Approach

It is with great pleasure that I bring you today’s guest post. As you may know, I’m big on identifying and implementing Primal lifestyle hacks that deliver max results with the least amount of pain, suffering, sacrifice and time as possible. So when someone comes along saying they have a research based approach to fitness that will get you amazing results in just 12 minutes a week I listen up. If you are not yet familiar with authors Doug McGuff and John Little‘s Body By Science read on to get a great overview, and check out the BBS website.

Before we get into it let me point out that I agree with Doug’s position that before you start throwing stones or dragging heavy rocks you should achieve a certain base of level of fitness. That’s why I developed the Primal Blueprint Fitness protocol that scales for all fitness levels, emphasizes injury prevention and prepares people for more natural, functional movement patterns. But, as they say, there is more than one way to skin a cat. Doug’s methodology is one such way – a way that I encourage you to test in your experiment of one.

Enter Doug McGuff…

When one is first beginning to make the change to a Primal lifestyle, the dietary approach can seem a little intimidating, but the exercise portion can seem hopeless to those who are significantly out-of-shape. Much of the exercise in the Primal approach is a functional activity-based approach. In essence, you are trying to recreate the types of movements and activities that our ancestors might have carried out. In the process of doing so, an exercise effect is achieved as a byproduct of the activity. This is how it occurred in our distant past, and it is what our bodies are evolved to do.

The problem when starting out is that the Primal approach to diet can be challenging because we have suffered metabolic damage that makes it challenging to revert to our genetic default state. There are addictions to overcome, and new metabolic trails to be blazed. This is the beauty of Markʼs 30 day challenges…they help you to navigate through the transition period.

While the dietary changes can be challenging, the challenge of exercise can be almost insurmountable for those just starting out. The one significant problem with a functional approach to exercise, is that it assumes a given level of fitness…a level that may not exist. Further, the activity is simply a re-enactment of what a human should be capable of with an exercise effect occurring as a by-product or side-effect. Also, functional movements (running, crawling, jumping, dragging heavy objects) all involve encountering significant forces. Without an appropriate level of conditioning, these forces can produce injury, and sometimes the injury can be bad enough to permanently sideline any effort at achieving fitness.

Do not get me wrong, these functional activities are an important part of a Primal lifestyle, but they should (in my opinion) be the joyful expression of a body fully capable, not an artificial mimicking of the past as a means of producing an exercise effect. So before trying to throw stones or drag heavy rocks, let us discuss how the beginner can start to establish a degree of fitness that will actually make these activities what they are supposed to be: a joyful expression of a strong body.

Setting Yourself Up to Win Step 1: Decide How Much Time Per Week You Can Honestly Spend on Fitness

Be realistic. Most people shoot themselves down with too much enthusiasm. Donʼt think in the realm of 6 our 8 hours, because you know this will not work out in the long-term. Remember, we are looking for a lifestyle change. If I could convince you that you could make major changes in your fitness with just 2 total hours per week I suspect this would make you feel like this is doable. Once you have some hope, you are on your way. So 2 hours it is….120 minutes out of a whole week. Perfect!

Setting Yourself Up to Win Step 2: Take Your Answer from Step 1 and Divide by 10

Yup. You heard right. Divide 120 minutes by 10 for a grand total of 12 minutes. That is all Iʼm going to give you to get into condition to become a functional human animal. Do not let yourself become skeptical. Do not say to yourself “there is no way 12 minutes is enough”. Simply embrace the fact that there is NO WAY that you will be unable to carve 12 minutes out of your week.

Setting Yourself Up to Win Step 3: Be Willing to Be Shown a Way of Exercising That Is So Hard That 12 Minutes Is All You Can Stand

This is where the catch is. If you do this properly, 12 minutes will be all you can stand. The thought of extending this to 13 minutes will not cross your mind. In fact, within the first 90 seconds you will start to think “how much longer till this is over?”.

Setting Yourself Up to Win Step 4: Do No Other Formal Exercise for the Rest of the Week

Thatʼs right…no other planned exercise. But what if you get antsy and want to work out 2 times per week? Fine, but if you do, it needs to be two 6-minute sessions AND they need to be so hard that 6 minutes is all you can stand. In the initial weeks it is perfectly acceptable if you do nothing else. In fact this is encouraged…up to a point. After 4-12 weeks (depending on your starting level of conditioning) you will get the uncontrollable urge to do something active. When (and only when) this happens, you should cautiously go out and do something. It can be as physically demanding as you like, but it must NOT be formal exercise. This activity should be experienced as PLAY…even if others define it as functional exercise. As you become better conditioned, the active genotype that is deep within your DNA will wake up and it will drive you to be more and more active. Once you are at this level, continue to do  your once a week workout with ever-increasing intensity, progressively improving your strength and metabolic condition. As you become ever more conditioned, then you will be well-protected as you learn the skills of a fully functional human.

How To: Getting Started

Your 12 minutes of exercise should be composed of 4 or 5 movements. These movements should be basic compound movements that require very little skill to perform. You should aim for low skill movements because all of your attention needs to be focused on effort and rapid fatigue not performing a complex movement that requires a lot of concentration. If you have access to a commercial gym, performing these movements on quality machines will allow you even more focus on effort as opposed to the movement. The best equipment available in commercial gyms would be from Med-X or Nautilus. Plate-loaded equipment such as Hammer Strength or Pendulum is also a good choice. Cybex and other common pieces can work as well, but are generally not as good as the ones listed above. The movements to perform are as follows:

  1. Pulldown: A palms up, slightly narrower than shoulder width grip is best. This can also be done as a chin up (weight assisted chin-ups are available at many gyms).
  2. Chest Press: Set up so starting point is hands just below nipple level and not too deep (hands even with the front plane of chest-shoulder and elbows at about 90 degrees).
  3. Compound Row: A pulling motion in the horizontal plane.
  4. Overhead Press: Use a palms facing each other grip as opposed to palms facing forward which externally rotates your upper arm and impinges the shoulder joint.
  5. Leg Press: Starting point should be leg and hip joint at about 90 degrees. An extremely deep starting position is not necessary.

Each of these exercises should be done until you cannot produce any further movement of the weight. You should perform them in a way that keeps the muscle under constant stress. Here are some tips: Start the movement very slowly. Take at least 3 seconds to crack the weight stack and 3 seconds to move the first inch. After moving the first inch, just try to keep the movement going along smoothly. Done properly the cadence from that point should take you 5-10 seconds to complete the lifting phase of the repetition. On a pulling movement, hold the contracted position for 2-3 seconds if it feels harder to do so, if it feels easier to hold, simply begin the lowering portion smoothly. On a pushing movement end the positive about 10-15 degrees before your limbs fully straighten. If you fully straighten your limbs the weight will be resting on a bone-on-bone tower and the muscles will unload and get a respite. When you reach the point of 15 degrees before your joints lock, smoothly reverse direction and lower the weight at about the same speed you lifted it or slightly faster. As you approach the end of the lowering phase…slow down. If the weight stack touches at the bottom of your movement, you should allow the weights to barely touch without completely setting them down. Once you barely touch, you should barely start the next repetition, allowing 3 seconds to cover the first inch, then just try keeping the movement going. By about the third repetition you will be pushing as hard and as fast as you can, but you will only be able to go fast enough to move the weight through the positive in about 7-12 seconds. Once you fail or get stuck, do not heave or jerk in order to get another repetition, simply keep trying to produce movement (even though no movement occurs) for another 5 seconds or so. A properly selected resistance will allow between 4 and 8 repetitions. Once you have gone through this procedure on the first exercise, move briskly to the next exercise. You should not rest any more than 30 seconds between the end of one movement and the start of the next. Ideally, once you become more metabolically conditioned, you will have about 5-10 seconds between movements. If you would like to see this workout on video, it can be seen at Look for the videos of the Big 5 workout. You can also check out the directory section which lists the personal training centers around the world that use the BBS approach. The most ideal way to experience this approach would be under professional instruction. Most facilities do not require a membership. Even a single workout would provide a great benchmark for you to shoot for when on your own.

If you cannot go to a commercial gym, you can get started with simple free-hand exercises that I will describe to you now.

  1. Chin up: This can be done with a chin-up bar that mounts in a door jam, on a sturdy tree branch or rafter board or playground equipment. If you are not strong enough to do chins, you can set the bar height so you can assist with your legs. If this will not work, simply do them negative only by jumping or climbing to the finished position and lowering yourself as slowly as possible.
  2. Pushups: If you are too weak to perform strict marine pushups, do them from your knees. If you are too weak to do them from your knees, then do only the lowering portion, lowering as slowly as possible. If you are strong enough to do classic pushups, do them with a few modifications. First is slow movement. Start the first inch very gradually, taking 3 seconds to move the first inch and then keep smooth movement going. Divide the movement in halves. Do the first half (bottom position to elbows bent at 90 degrees) until complete fatigue. After you have exhausted the bottom half, do the top half until complete fatigue (elbows from 90 degrees to almost complete extension).
  3. Squat: Start first by doing a static wall squat. Place your back against a wall and descend to a seated position where your hip joint and knee joint are both at 90 degrees. Hold this position for as long as possible. You are done when you start to slide down and cannot hold the 90 degree position any longer. Once you are worn out on the static, do a deep knee bend but with the movement divided in half. Do the first half until fatigue (from hips and knees at 90 degrees/thighs parallel to floor, up to the halfway up point where knees are about 45 degrees). Once you canʼt do the bottom half any more, then do the top half of the movement until you canʼt go on. Remember to not straighten your legs completely, but to turn back around when your knees get to about 15 degrees.
  4. Static Lateral Raise: This movement is done using a door frame. Stand with your feet just outside the door frame and bend slightly forward at the waist. Place the backs of your open hands in the opening of the door frame with your elbows slightly bent. You should be positioned like you are going to a lateral raise with dumbbells. With your hands in the door frame, begin to slowly and smoothly press laterally against the frame. Gradually build up to a 50% effort and keep up a 50% effort for 30 seconds. After 30 seconds, gradually ramp your effort up to 75% effort and continue for another 30 seconds. After this 30 seconds is up, gradually ramp your effort to 100% and continue for a final 30 seconds. When you first start you will think “this is silly”. However, by the end you will realize that this is probably tougher than anything you could do on a weight machine.

Setting Yourself Up to Win Step 5: Rest, Recuperate and Repeat

Finally, realize that the exercise you have done does not directly produce any physical changes. Rather, it simply stimulates your body to produce an adaptation. For your body to produce the physical change you desire requires rest and time. Simply follow the Primal Blueprint in your diet and lifestyle and wait at least 5-7 days before you perform this workout again. Do not incorporate any other deliberate forms of exercise. Be as active as you like, but keep the intensity low. After 6-8 weeks you will start to develop the urge to become more physically active in ways that are more vigorous and challenging. This will tend to occur lock-step with your increasing strength. At about this time you will notice that you are now performing unexpected feats of strength. A common example is lifting a heavy bag of dog food or cat litter into a shopping cart with one hand and suddenly realizing “hey…did I just do that?”. Once these sort of things begin to happen your active genotype that is locked inside your skeletal muscle will “wake up” and you will have the natural tendency to become very active. It is at this point that you can start to incorporate functional exercise and experience the joy of a body fully capable.

Setting Yourself Up to Win Step 6: Don’t Forget What Got You Here

Functional exercise by its very nature is of higher risk. The forces are higher and less controlled. The exercise that occurs is a byproduct of the activity rather than its direct goal. Despite these realities, it is very tempting to forget what got you here and simply transition to this form of exercise permanently. In my opinion this is the wrong thing to do. At this point you are actually strong and capable enough to bring about forces high enough to exceed your enhanced capabilities and get injured. No matter how good you think you are, it is always best to survive to play another day. The best way to do this is to continue a program that is focused on delivering high intensity and low force as a way of continually improving your condition. By continuing a BBS style condition program once every 7-10 days, you can be assured of maximal strength and conditioning so that you can play and partake in functional movement with the highest level of performance and least risk of injury.

Grab a Copy of Body By Science and Start Your Own BBS Self-Experiment Today!

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. Glad to see Body by Science get some attention on this site. I noticed some informed and unfortunately uninformed comments regarding the article.

    I have a couple comments for all.

    -Anything that makes you stronger, makes you more “functional”

    -Every muscle in the body could be called a “stabilizer”

    -Everyone has a certain phenotype, you can’t change your body/phenotype. Genetics plays the largest role in how you look/muscle build/height/etc.

    -A Big 5 workout with super slow protocol, gives athletes a large edge over others. In traditional workouts, say 3 times a week, the fast twitch muscle fiber is burned out and will see none or extremely limited growth, as it never has time to recover. Body by science allows the adequate recovery period for these motor units and fibers. The fast twitch muscle fibers are the most important for athletes, because they are the motor units recruited for all athletic movements. The slow twitch muscle fiber that many programs are geared towards, has the least chance for growth and really has little benefit on athletic movement.

    -Injuries are so prevalent in athletics. The reason: Overtraining.

    -You don’t have to workout “explosively” to be explosive. Skill training is where you work on those techniques not your exercise program.

    About myself: I am a college baseball pitcher with a 90 mph fastball. I’ve done Dr. McGuff’s program for over a year and a half now. I’ve personally seen the results and the difference between other programs. This is definitely the way to go. It is smart, goal oriented, and safe.

    Merry Christmas to all and Happy Holidays!


    Twitter: @BuetMan

    Austin B wrote on December 16th, 2011
  2. This promotes mainly sarcoplasmic hypertrophy/muscular endurance. The longer the time of lifting the less myofibrils are recruited. The long recovery is interesting, based around a wound healing model. In CF we have a lighter days to keep muscle pathways open and not training to absolute falire keep a nice reserve in our recovery bank.

    Sam wrote on December 16th, 2011
  3. MUNN, J., R. D. HERBERT, M. J. HANCOCK, and S. C. GANDEVIA. Resistance Training for Strength: Effect of Number of Sets and Contraction Speed. Med. Sci. Sports Exerc., Vol. 37, No. 9, pp. 1622-1626,2005.

    John wrote on December 16th, 2011
  4. Does anyone know of a video showing the Static Lateral Raise as described here? I couldn’t find it on the Body By Science and a google search showed nothing. I feel like a fool for asking, but I just want to make sure I’m doing it right.

    Marissa wrote on December 16th, 2011
    • Honestly, this is a great article. I agree with it all 100 percent, but I absolutely love doing long workouts, but sometimes I just get that urge to sprint or go out for a 2 hour walk, whatever works for you is good. :)

      Chad wrote on December 17th, 2011
  5. I do not like gyms. I also do not possess weight machines. I do however want to try the at home modifications mentioned in the article. I am wondering if there is a way to get some video or still pics of the exercises being performed because while the directions are well done, I feel like perhaps I am in the wrong body position. The BSS site and the youtube vids I have seen so far focus on the weight machine exercises, not the at home maneuvers.

    Janelle wrote on December 18th, 2011
  6. have a question: how much weight do you use for these slow workouts? is their a formula for how much weight to employ?

    tcseacliff wrote on December 18th, 2011
  7. Select a weight that allows 4-8 reps or 90-180 seconds set duration. Generally this is about 75-80% of your usual weight when you start out.

    Doug McGuff, MD wrote on December 18th, 2011
    • thanks for the info. hard to gauge the weight. for instance, my first time was a chin up . but I had to do it in reverse, but no way could do 4-8. could only manage 2 1/2, but nowhere near 90 sec, I weight 230 lbs, now way would my arms do that for 90 sec!

      tcseacliff wrote on December 18th, 2011
      • I may try a gym to see if a pull down is better for me. the wall squats, were killer, could not walk for awhile.

        tcseacliff wrote on December 18th, 2011
    • Dr. McGuff,

      I’m preparing to train during the off-season at home with dumbbells (5-50lbs max)in place of the leg press, would squats work? I can come up with exercises for arms, shoulders, etc.

      Terry wrote on December 24th, 2012
  8. I’d love to have a picture of the lateral raise doorway exercise. Can’t picture it… I got the push ups, pull ups, squats, but can’t see the lateral raise one. Thanks!

    Sally_Oh wrote on December 18th, 2011
  9. A US Doctor shares one of the most important health discoveries in years in this beautifully presented artistic lecture.

    Click my name to see the video while its still at the top of my blog.

    Ben Tristem wrote on December 18th, 2011
  10. I have used the Body By Science workouts for the last 3 months. (12 workouts on Nautlius Nitro and 1 workout using adjustable dumbells…) So, in the last 3 months I have spent approximately 180 minutes strength training.

    I have absolutely no complaints. I am certainly stronger, and look forward to ski season. (If it ever snows…)

    So, I feel no need to go out into the streets to rumble, read Dinosaur Training, nor buy a GI Joe.

    And, to answer NSWM’s question, yes it does change your physique.

    Tensolator wrote on December 18th, 2011
  11. I have a back injury that prevents me from doing much regarding strength training and so cardio. If you are able to follow the basic MDA instructions with regularity you are going to be fine. I consider all the other stuff to be suggestions. Take what works for you, your abilities and your schedule, and leave the rest. Your mileage may vary and that’s okay!

    Debra wrote on December 19th, 2011
  12. Hi everyone.. I have a question, if we follow this 12min intense training program by Doug McGuff, does that mean we should also drop sprinting as well in order not to interfere with the recovery process? Or within one week, can we still do this 12min intense workout and 1 sprint session within the same week?

    Many thanks


    Chad wrote on December 19th, 2011
    • Chad,
      No problem doing sprints 1/week, just leave it a couple of days after your workout.
      This has come up on Doug’s website before.
      I’ve being doing BBS for 2 years now, with occasional sprints (on an ergo) and I’m very happy with the results I get.

      Dan wrote on December 20th, 2011
  13. I worked for a little while at a gym that did only the BBS workouts–known also as H.I.T (high-intensity training) and “Super SLo-Mo”. I also was put through the workouts that I put my clients through.

    This is the most intense workout I have ever experienced. The bulk of the training is in the mind, however. You quickly learn how easily you give up mentally, when you’ve got lots more in the physiologic tank. It’s not the be-all-end-all, and anyone who claims this for any exercise protocol should be viewed with skepticism. But, for the time spent (around 15-20 minutes including quick water breaks between exercises) I’ve never worked harder in my life, or felt so totally muscularly spent after a workout.

    If you are put through this workout properly, and stick with it for a couple of months, your brain starts to catch up with what your body can do, and you can get yourself totally spent in 15 minutes. I highly recommend trying this for a few months as another great tool for a healthy lifestyle. The best benefit is realizing how to truly challenge yourself, something you can apply to any workout protocol. Good luck everyone on your fitness and health goals!

    Steve wrote on December 21st, 2011
  14. Pretty good stuff! Mostly agree…why don’t people “get it”?

    Franny Goodrich wrote on December 21st, 2011
  15. I’m confused about the body-weight exercises. When you say “Divide the movement in half” and “Do the first half to fatigue” then “Do the second half to fatigue”, what do you mean? Am I doing sets of half exercises? Or am I going so slow that I get fatigued by the time I complete one rep of one half of one exercise? If so, how can I push all the way up (the second half of the exercise), when I am fatigued by the first half of the exercise?

    Please forgive my ignorance, I’m just failing to see how to do that.

    David B. wrote on December 23rd, 2011
    • David, I responded to your question in my response to Joe’s, it was after yours on the message board.

      Jordan wrote on December 28th, 2011
  16. I’m with David B, a little lost on how to read the squats section of the body-weight exercises. I understand the wall sitting technique, but I’m having trouble understanding divvying up the deep knee bends, or just picturing how I should go about.

    Joe A wrote on December 23rd, 2011
    • Joe, since you have the wall sit, you’re half way there. With your knees bent at 90 and your hips bent at 90, your back will be flat against the wall. This 90 degree position will be your starting position when squatting, but you won’t be against the wall, instead you will be doing body weight squats. Starting at the 90 knees/hips position you will then go up to the halfway point between 90 and fully standing, looking at your knees from the side the angle is actually about 135 degrees. He refers to that as the 45, your thighs are really only 45 degrees from the starting position, but if you were looking at yourself from the side the full angle of your knees would be 135 degrees. Does this make sense? Sorry it was repetitive.

      As for the halves of the exercise, you are dividing the pushup and squat movements into halves as he describes, a lower half and an upper half. David it is not easy, you are correct in that thinking. You perform the lower half of both movements first to failure, and then the upper half till failure. You may not be able to get as many repetitions on the top half and you’ll find it’s much harder to control your cadence and form on the top half as well.

      Jordan wrote on December 28th, 2011
  17. Update: So I just did the workout and I was very impressed with how difficult it actually was to do the exercises with the appropriate tempo and form. It was as mentally taxing as I thought it would be. It was also more physically demanding than I thought it would be. I thought for sure I’d do more pushups and pullups than I actually did, but that was not the case. I had the same spent feeling after the workout as any “normal” workout I might do on my own.

    Difficulties: I found it very difficult to move only one inch in 3 seconds, my tendency was to move more than one inch. I also found it hard to watch the clock moving so slowly because it takes a lot of mental focus. I think it might be easier to just do one repetition in x number of seconds. For example, Dr. Doug says 3 seconds for the first inch, and then 5-10 seconds after that, so maybe making the repetition 8-13 seconds,not including the hold for 2-3 seconds for pulling motions. I’m sure there’s a reason for the 3 second one inch, I just found it difficult to keep track of, and I can’t really enter that into my interval timer.

    I think it will take me another workout or two to feel completely comfortable with this and hopefully I’ll have all the bugs worked out.

    Jordan wrote on December 28th, 2011
    • Jordan, good on ya for trying it out! Yes, it’s very hard to pay attention to timings while doing the workout. It was designed to have someone guiding you through with a stopwatch. Having said that, what really matters is not x inches in y seconds, but keeping your muscles under constant tension, and having an idea that you were able to do so for around 3 minutes (this is a debatable number, but the idea is you are lifting a heavy enough weight that you’ll turn to jelly in 2-3 minutes or so).

      As for 1 inch in 3 seconds, the reasoning behind starting this way is to teach you to start very slowly, and not have momentum going into the movement (and so not using bad form, such as throwing your head forward and pulling your back off the pad when doing a seated chest press, for example). Starting so slowly means you really have just that agonist muscle and the movement’s synergist muscles doing the work, and the head and neck and rest of body are as relaxed as possible, which helps prevent headaches and a sore neck.

      As with any protocol, this isn’t the end game. Super Slow folks can be very dogmatic, including inventing a definition of exercise, that, surprise, matches exactly what their protocol says to do. I think the truth is that we need bouts of super slow, and at other times, things like interval training, Cross-Fit, etc. The body really does plateau, once the brain and neuromuscular pathways learn a movement. The body doesn’t get bored with a workout, it gets more efficient and so the amount of work the body performs decreases. Change up the workout is what I say, but always start from a good base of form, posture, correct flexibility and balance. Any way, that’s enough of my dogma :)

      Steve wrote on December 29th, 2011
  18. Just wanted to report back: I HAVE gone back to the Y and restarted my “Body by Science” workouts. It feels GREAT (after the shaking stops {smile}). It’s only been three workouts, but I’ve actually added 15 pounds to the leg press already (it was feeling a little too easy). (!!)

    I wrap my wrists with ace bandages, am very careful about position, and move very slowly. Love it, and glad to be back at it.

    Elenor wrote on January 30th, 2012
  19. I started Dr mcguff’s big 5 routine 3 years ago at 280 lbs. I am now a lean 190lbs lifting almost twice the weight per movement. I started doing the big 3 after about 6 months of the big 5. I also had to move my training days to once every 11 days to get results…. say what you will, paleo +bbs is a winner in my book.

    taustin wrote on January 31st, 2012
  20. A bit lost of the static lateral raise he mentions on the free-hand exercises, could anyone send me a photo / video of what to do?

    Nico wrote on February 9th, 2012
  21. Buy the book. It’s 15.00 on amazon. It has all the info you need.

    taustin wrote on February 9th, 2012
  22. I am a type 2 diabetic and I need the activity to. Help keep my sugars under control even on a carb restricted paleo diet. I bought the book and have gone through it. I had my first bbs workout that I started with twenty minute walk on the treadmill. If I am lifting one day out of seven, should it be a problem if I decided to do thirty minutes four to five days?

    William A wrote on February 16th, 2012
  23. Hello:

    I’m so excited I found this article. I first found out about BBS on the forums here Marks Daily Apple. I read Marks Books and then BBS, but gave up starting BBS, because at the time I had no access to weight training equipment. So I started doing You Are Your Own Gym. However, being 48-years-old I’ve had some difficulty mostly with the lower body movements I end up over training. When I read BBS I apparently missed some of what Doug McGuff shared in this article about body weight exercises that will also work. Plus now my financial situation has improved to where I can afford to join a gym.

    Tom Wilson wrote on May 3rd, 2012
  24. Hey, I’m looking for some exercises I can use with the Body By Science protocol. Anyone have any suggestions or favs they’d recommend? Thanks!

    Terry wrote on October 8th, 2012
    • The best are multiple joint exercises–just like Mark Sisson’s Primal approach: squats/leg presses, chest presses, pullovers/lat pulls. So, if you are talking about things you can do in a gym, hit the specific machines if they have them all:
      Seated rows
      Chest press
      Lat Pull-downs (seated, facing away from machine, pulling bar down to chest)
      Leg press
      Lat Pullovers

      If not talking about a gym, then do body weight squats/wall squats, focusing on, among things, squeezing the glutes and not just using the quadriceps for the positive movement; push-ups in all varieties; pull-ups. Nothing better than these simple exercises that work multiple muscles. You can do H.I.T/slo mo movements with each of these (the wall squat is already an isometric exercise, so a little different), but the push and pull-ups I do as slo-mo, and it really works you hard. Try also some “rocking Chairs” (from You Are Your Own Gym) where you get in a classic pushup position. From the book:
      “Start in the beginning position of a Classic Push Up, your body in a perfect
      line, your arms straight and your hands directly beneath your shoulders upon the floor. Now push your body slowly forward 6-10 inches with your toes, keeping your arms straight. Return slowly back to the starting position”

      Hope this helps. And I’ll say that BBS/H.I.T training is another tool in your arsenal, not the be-all-end-all, just like any other form of training.

      Steve Gardner wrote on October 8th, 2012
      • Thanks for the reply Steve! I should’ve also mentioned that I’d be looking to do the BBS workout with Bowflex SelectTech Dumbbells I have at home. If you know of info online where I can find exercise info on BBS using dumbbells or you have some additional(maybe better)suggestions, fire away.

        I’m just using BBS for a off-season workout after softball is done. Thanks again!

        Terry wrote on October 8th, 2012
  25. The things i dont like about this way of excersising is 1 i pay alot for the gym and i enjoy going often, 2 i play alot of sport and i need to train 4 times a week for it, the sport is soccer and i really enjoy it so i dont want to quit just because i may be overtraining and also i get bored alot and anxious without visiting the gym frequently.

    Glenn wrote on April 27th, 2013
  26. I am in love with all things primal when it comes to diet, but I’m not loving the exercise, I don’t care for abs or a muscly athletic fisique on women. I prefer a slim lean look without muscle definition you can see just by standing alone.

    I don’t enjoy typical circuit training style workouts, infact I hate them. They are the main reason I have failed to get fit.

    So I ask is 3 to 4 intermediate 30 to 45 minute sessions of yoga a week along with walking everyday (I don’t drive) and keeping up with 2 home schooled children daily enough to trim down along with a strict paleo diet?

    I love yoga so much, it’s the only body weight exersice I can stand.

    Cristy wrote on April 28th, 2013
  27. Anyone know what happened to the Body By Science web site? It just disappeared a day or two ago. Did Dr. McGuff decided to quite blogging?

    SteveRN wrote on June 18th, 2013
  28. Doug McGuff, MD may just be one of the wisest medical thinkers out there. Just when I thought I’d distilled most of the material out there on exercise protocols (Hollywood Fitness, Circular Strength Training, Bodyweight Exercise Revolution, TACFIT, Flow Fit, BTGB, Maxalding, Transformetrics, BarTendaz, Turbulence Training, Peak 8, P90X, Crossfit, Naked Warrior, Body by Science, Starting Strength, MovNat, Primal Blueprint Fitness, Convict Conditioning…), it wasn’t until I listened to McGuff’s Mercola interview that it finally dawned on me: time under MAXIMUM primal tension. My best interpretation of this concept at this point in time is the Convict Conditioning 1 protocol performed with McGuff’s BBS principles, but with each rep enhanced by isometric holds at the joint angles where the muscular leverage is strongest (usually between 75 and 90 degrees – watch Bill DeSimone’s 21 Convention 2007 Congruent Exercise presentation, as well as McGuff’s Paleo, Strength & Diet presentation at the same event on YouTube). After several months of this synthesis, I am truly astonished at the results.

    Gruesome wrote on August 20th, 2013
  29. Is there anyone in this discussion thread that has used or currently uses the Body By Science protocol that has gained positive results (muscle, strength, etc) ?

    I’ve been reading about it for more than a year or so, and considering adding it to mix up my routine. Mainly, I’ll train with Bowflex dumbbells at home. I really would use the protocol for conditioning after softball season, but we’ll see.

    Thanks, everyone…

    Terry wrote on April 5th, 2014

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