Lucha libre workout
arena mexico, exercise, lucha libre, Mexican wrestling, Professional Wrestling, strength, training

Lucha Libre Workout: The Mexico Regimen

It’s been a while since I’ve shared a workout. Since the my last published workout, I’ve done both heavy and hypertrophy regimens, both of which were built around my training and show schedules. For example, when I was only training on Saturday and/or Sunday and doing shows on Friday and Saturday, I could work a muscle group to complete exhaustion Monday through Wednesday and still have time to recover. Although I’ve got back to heavier lifting days, I carried over one particular element from my pervious hypertrophy program: tempo lifts. After 12 weeks of assorted hypertrophy exercises at various tempos, I not only saw muscle growth, but slowing down my lifts also made me more conscious of my range of movement and thus a better lifter. 

Now that I’m in Mexico Citythe Mecca of lucha libre—I’ve adapted my lifting program to my rather-busy lucha training schedule. To reflect the entirety of my week, I’ve included both lifting and lucha days in my training overview. Below you’ll find said overview, and a preview of the workout. Because this program was written by La Avispa—who is an ACSM Certified Personal Trainer with a Bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science—it is subject to patronage of her Patreon. If you want full access to this workout, new workout plans, and other cool shit, check out her Patreon for more deets.

Note about neck exercises: I learned this simple, three-way neck exercise regimen from CMLL Profesor Tony Salazar. It’s a means through which to safely strengthen your neck without the potential for spinal compression—a problem that traditional neck bridges can often cause. Essentially, there are three basic movements: nodding “yes,” shaking your head “no”, and a circular motion. The workout is as follows:

  • Lay on your back in crunch position, with your knees up, feet tucked near your bum. 
  • Once you start, do not rest your head on the floor until after you have completed all reps from all three exercises. That means once you start, you will not rest until you’ve done all. Of. The. Reps. 
  • Lift your neck about 1-2 inches from the floor.
  • In a controlled manner, nod your head “yes” 20 times. 
  • After completing 20 reps, shake your head “no” 20 times. Again, do not touch your head to the floor between reps, nor after you complete all 20 reps.
  • After completing 20 reps, move your head in a circular motion to the right. STILL Don’t touch rest head to the floor—you’re almost done. 
  • After 20 reps, move your head in a circular motion to the left. Once you finish all 20 reps, you can rest your head on the ground. 

Depending on your current neck strength, you can add reps as needed. I was advised to perform the exercise at least twice per week, and to add 10 reps to each exercise every two weeks (meaning +10 to “yes,” +10 to “no”, +10 to circles to the right, +10 for circles to the left for a total of 40 additional reps) until you hit 50 of each. Adjust accordingly, but 20 reps of each should be an easy baseline for anyone who fancies them self a pro wrestler. 

Now to the workout: 


  • Horizontal push & pull exercises 
  • Weighted ab exercise 
  • Neck exercises 


  • Lucha libre (~2 hours high-impact, interval-based cardio)


  • Fasted HIIT exercises (10 rounds @ 15 secs, 1 minute rest between intervals) 
  • Vertical push & pull exercises 
  • Weighted ab exercises 
  • Neck exercises 


  • Lucha libre (~2 hours of high-impact, interval-based cardio)


  • Squats, deadlift, misc legs 
  • Weighted ab exercises 
  • Neck exercises 
  • Lucha libre (~2 hours low-impact chain wrestling) 

Saturday & Sunday: rest and/or perform 


As promised, here’s a snippet of the first three exercises for Friday:

Lucha libre workout

What’s your current workout plan? Interested in seeing the whole program? Hit up my comments and let’s chat.


Guerrero Gym Lucha Libre
arena mexico, exercise, lucha, lucha libre, Mexican wrestling, mexico, performance, Professional Wrestling, training, wrestling school

Passion, Fear, and Life (In Mexico)

I have a fear. 

It’s not a fear of failure, nor success. Not spiders (okay, kind of) nor death—not irrationally, at least. 

I don’t lose sleep over finances, bad performances, or soured relationships. Injury? Maybe. I mean, lucha libre is innately a dangerous sport, and many careers and lives have been ended as a result of injuries sustained in and around the ring. 

Such fear is, of course, attached to an auxiliary fear: The fear that I’ll lose skills that I do not use. As the old adage states, “practice makes perfect.” Therefore it stands to follow that an unpracticed practice makes imperfection, and imperfection can lead to injury, and injury can lead to the end of a career. 

But mostly this self-flagellation isn’t even about injury, training, or practice: I train my ass off, all of my teachers have regarded me as a good student, and I generally practice a policy of consent—meaning I’m not willing to spontaneously experiment a potentially dangerous move without knowing that both my partner and I are capable of pulling it off safely. 

So no, it’s not the potential for injury that worries me. 

Occasionally these fears are induced by the thought that what I do, that which I pursue, that which compels me “to do,” could ultimately be tantamount to nothing. The fear that outside of itself, the work, the training, the traveling, the countless hours of sweat and practice and exertion and pain and body dysmorphia and late nights covered in grime and glitter and sweat will all be swept into the dustbin of history, essentially amounting my career in lucha libre to a masturbatory act. This is especially true when considering the possibility of failure, of not succeeding in the business. 

But I enjoy lucha libre in and of itself: my level of commercial success doesn’t necessarily directly impact my happiness. So no, it is not failure that I fear. 

It’s more difficult to triangulate what scares me: it’s much more abstract. 

I have a fear of the will-and-can-never-be-known, of being forced to consider those alternative timelines. 

A fear of “what if?”

That in my old age a fit of nostalgia will incite that often painful stroke of hindsight: what if I had trained harder? More often? Where would lucha libre have taken me if had I truly pushed myself to my limits? 

What if I had made different choices? What if I had taken different  performance opportunities? What if I had come to Mexico sooner? What if I had started lucha libre sooner? Chosen a different name? A different mask? No mask? 

I fear those moments of steeping in deep reflection and the unforeseen— yet inevitable and obnoxious— sting of regretful hindsight, to which I can merely retort “that time has come and gone” and hope that I’ve soothed the self-induced guilt. In moments of clarity I realize this is all, of course, trivial: these are decisions I made at another time and in another place. Many decisions were also made out of ignorance (how could I possibly have known that I’d want to go to Mexico to wrestle?). 

Negro Navarro lucha libre
Sometimes you get to train with legends.

But something is different now: I’ve noticed that as of late, such moments of regret are infrequent and fleeting. Perhaps it is because several years of preparation, work, training, traveling, countless hours of sweat and practice and exertion and pain and body dysmorphia and late nights covered in grime and glitter and sweat, have all lead me to what I’m doing right now: living in Mexico City and training with Consejo Mundial de Lucha Libre. This is not to say that I’ll be debuting in a CMLL ring in the next month or so. But for now that’s not the point: this is the most accomplished and happy I’ve felt in lucha libre in a long time. 

Years ago I tried to move to Mexico City and eventually ran out of money. Nearly 7 years later, I’ve made it back here with purpose and focus. And I couldn’t be any fucking happier. 

Well, maybe I will be once I get a puppy. 

Arena Mexico

academic, arena mexico, art, Cultural Studies, culture, exercise, lucha, lucha libre, Lucha Libre Volcánica, Lucha Volcánica, masculinity, Mexican wrestling, mexico, performance, Performance Art, Professional Wrestling, school, strength, training, travel, Washington, wrestling school

The Final Post Edition, or Goodbye For Now


It is with some sadness, albeit zero trepidation, that this will serve as my final blog post. My reasons are few: mostly I have just become too busy to dedicate the time required to write at the level that I demand of myself. Although I have not talked about it here, I recently began picking up stunt work for commercials and film, which—in addition to regular lucha gigs, full time employment, and my 7-day training regimen—not only occupies more of my time, but also has forced me to broaden my focus from just lucha libre. Given this personal shift, I’ve found it increasingly difficult to dedicate the same rigor to thinking and writing about lucha libre that I was once capable of maintaining.

I started training as a luchador in 2011 during my senior year of college. During that same year I applied for the Watson Fellowship, which would have funded an entire year of studying lucha libre abroad in South America, Spain, and Japan. Unfortunately I was selected as an alternate awardee, Although disheartened, I was undeterred, and redirected my existential flightiness: I moved to Mexico City to immerse myself in lucha libre. The exodus was relatively brief: I quickly ran out of money and my lack of Spanish made employment opportunities scarce. Despite emptying my savings account, my experiences were invaluable, and the relationships I forged with locals and other luchadors during my tenure continue to this day.

Another byproduct of the trip was this blog, which I had originally intended to use as a diary to chronicle and share my experiences from the road. But now that I was no longer pursuing lofty goals within lucha libre’s mecca, what would be the scope of this blog? After returning to the States, the blog unintentionally became a smattering of cultural theory approaches to lucha libre—to mixed reactions from many readers who just wanted a “wrestling blog”—as well as observations about interpersonal relationships within the sport. Although the theoretical lens seems a bit far afield from professional wrestling, I am by no means the first person to give pro wrestling an academic treatment.

Despite the breadth of topics, my quarterly workouts (which were initially just filler posts) proved to be my most popular posts. I feel it’s safe to say that post-Mexico, I had no coherent vision for the blog and thus it never found a voice.

To that end it should be noted that I am not abandoning the blog on account of it not gaining monumental popularity: I knew quite well that the blog of a non-famous luchador would garner only a specialized, rather small audience (nevermind the fact that the blog was simultaneously academic in tone). Rather, this blog represents a particular chapter in my life that was rife with uncertainty, fear, and passion: uncertainty in the wake of moving to Mexico City to pursue the impossible; fear of said uncertainty; the unbridled passion for a sport. I was in an intense, naive, love affair with lucha libre, for which I flung myself into a personal exodus, into Mexico City, into the birthplace of lucha libre.

While I still love lucha libre, our relationship is now an established one; the maddening, lusty, honeymoon phrase has passed. And although my visions of performing in CMLL during my time in Mexico City did not come to be, I have not abandoned my passion for lucha libre nor the pursuit of excellence, and opportunities within the sport. In fact, I will achieve one of many lucha goals this August when I perform in Arena Naucalpan alongside three of my colleagues from Lucha Volcánica.

I am leaving behind this blog because of it’s significance from a specific period within my relationship with lucha libre, and by extension, a period within my life. I am instead shifting my focus to my future with lucha libre.

Put differently, I am moving on.

No, I am not moving on from lucha libre: when I started this blog I was pursuing, thinking, and dreaming about doing lucha libre. Now? Now I am simply too busy with the doing to be dreaming, a luxury that I was dreaming about back when I first started here.

And I like it that way.

With love,

Ave Rex

PS: You can still find me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.




We ordered 6 beers 1 hour before the show. Yep.
arena mexico, exercise, lucha, lucha libre, Lucha Libre Volcánica, Mexican wrestling, mexico, performance, Photograhy, school of lucha libre, Seattle, Shows

Back in the States: Photos and a Lucha Volcánica Anniversary Show

I’ve officially been back in the states for a week now, and despite traveling for a little over two weeks, it was actually a pretty quiet trip. I previously talked about the AAA tryouts in San Jose, and I spent the subsequent week in Austin before going to Mexico City for a little over a week. Continue reading “Back in the States: Photos and a Lucha Volcánica Anniversary Show”

arena mexico, culture, lucha, lucha libre, mexico, observations, streets, travel

The First Month: A Short Story In Photos

This week will mark the end of my first month in Mexico City. The myriad experiences thus far are many: from the excitement of training in the birthplace of Lucha Libre Mexicana, the fear of a new country, the frustration of lacking communication, the anguish of a terrible performance, to delivering a great performance on the same card as Hurican Ramirez. In lieu of attempting to–and undoubtedly failing to–capture my experience in prose, I have elected to share some photos.


More to come. Other photos can be found on my Instagram @ luchadorfenix.


arena mexico, culture, lucha, lucha libre, mexico, observations, travel

Once Upon a Friday Night In Mexico: Arena Mexico & More!

As some of you already know, I recently moved into a house in Mexico City! It is centrally located near Guerrero Gym, Sepulcro’s tienda, & Miguel’s taller. It is also, unfortunately, situated a mere 50 feet from a panaderia…
The day before I moved in, I was given the house-owner’s keys for the purpose of making myself a copy. Watching the locksmith create the key was an interesting process, as unlike large stores such as Fred Meyer’s in the US, the key was largely made by hand with a file. I remember thinking, “Wow, the craftmanship is impressive.” During the walk back, I noticed that this was a larger theme in Mexico: torillas are made fresh by tortillarias in the streets; there are no ‘farmer’s markets,’ because the food available at the mercado is being sold by the farmers themselves; everything from pipes, to textiles, to clothing bear “Hecho en Mexico”. It is remarkably different from the United States, where we are so divorced from the means of production of goods. “Wow,” was all that I could think in response to this cultural dissonance: just “wow.”
Unfortunately, the first key did not work. The next day, I returned to the same locksmith, and he provided me a new key. This key also did not work. The third time, he closely compared the original key and the second copy, and made minor adjustments with a file, after which he assured me that the key would work.
Well, it sort of worked.
The key went into the lock, and clicked to the right. Twice. Two ‘clicks’, that is. After that, the key would not turn, at all. In either direction. After nearly an hour of jiggling, wiggling, tugging, pushing, and pulling the key, Juan–the son of the house owner–and I, decided to try to turn it with pliers. The result?
My *actual* key was much thicker than this one
…except the broken portion was left inside of the lock. Consequently I spent the night on an inflatable mattress on Sepulcro’s living room floor, as the locksmith could not drill the lock until the following day.
The takeaway? If you are visiting Mexico City, go to Fred Meyer’s if you need to copy a key.
In other news:
Hell. Yes.
It is the end of my second week here in Mexico city, and I have finally made it to a show in the legendary Arena Mexico! The show featured a plethora of luchadores, including a few favorites of mine: Dragon Rojo, Ultimo Guerrero, Rush, and the recently unmasked Rey Cometa. Blue Panther also made an appearance, who is sort of a big deal.
This is pizazz!
Not homoerotic at all.

I was flanked by two of my good friends, Sepulcro and his son Erick–the latter of whom is often my translator. Sepulcro, in case you are not familiar, happens to be a well known luchador in Mexico. Because of this, he was able to leverage us some front row seats.

This is really close.
Literally front row.

The night was filled with excellent lucha action–and a few Coronas, to be sure. The headlining match was a tag match, which featured rivals Rush and Terrible on opposite sides. The previous week, Rush defeated Terrible in a cabellera contra cabellera match, a tension off which they played throughout their entire fight on Friday. While both excellent luchadores, they spent more time building up their rivalry than they did doing anything remarkable.

I was surprised by how empty the arena was–it may have been at 50% capacity. But I suppose when lucha libre is so ingrained in the culture, a trip to Arena Mexico is probably significantly less novel for the locals than it is for me. It is probably not unlike going to a Mariners game in Seattle, only lucha libre is infinitely cooler than baseball.

Not that lucha libre is lacking in obnoxious mascots…

As a luchador in Arena Mexico for the first time, I couldn’t help but notice that despite being a young troupe, some of our luchadores back home are perfectly capable of performing many of the moves that I saw last night–most of the moves, in fact. This is a powerful motivator for my return, despite recent excellent failures in the ring.

Also: another show next Saturday! More info to follow on Facebook!


El Fénix

arena mexico, culture, lucha, lucha libre, mexico, observations

Cutting My Teeth: A Week of Training and One Epic Public Failure

Tuesday, September 18th marked the day of my debut in Mexico, and the day that I realized that Mexico is indeed chock-full of luchadores. There is even perhaps an overabundance of them, which only funny to me because my home company, Lucha Libre Volcánica, has struggled to recruit new luchadores.

I was invited to perform by one of my maestros, Sepulcro, to what turned out to be an anniversary show of some effect, and was held in the back parking lot of a public marketplace in front of 60-80 people. There was no pay, but we were instead thanked with delicious in-house made chicharrón, and cervezas.

El Fénix, Sepulcro, Sepulcro Jr., and Power Back. Keepin' it real.

The event coordinator had invited a select few luchadores—the bigger names of course—and each of them decided in turn to bring all of their luchador friends. For fans, this meant that they would get to see a lot of luchadores. For the luchadores, it meant that there were all messily crammed into a tent that was meant to comfortably fit 15 people at best. This also marked my first time being a part of a 4-man tag team match, which took place in a ring that had been haphazardly and hastily thrown together. Imagine: extra-thick yoga mats layered above plywood and steel beams, all topped with a tarp that appeared to have borrowed from a utility tent. Oh, and that tarp is “secured” by twine.

All that I could think of?
I have yet to find a spanish equivalent for the phrase “shitshow.”

Of note: the referee.

The structural integrity of the ring was so questionably terrifying, that I had trouble focusing on the match itself instead of thinking about my safety the entire time. I also managed royally fuck up a move called tijeras from the third rope. Tijeras should look something like this:
Instead, I ended up doing something resembling this:

This person has it much worse than I doConsequently I have a bruised shoulder, which isn’t too bad considering what could have happened. I would easily call it my worst match ever, and if nothing else, it was definitely a learning experience. [UPDATE: Video of this trainwreck can be found here]

In other news, one of my maestros wants me dead. To be clear, not just me: all of his students. Meet: Pierrothito.
He is actually kind of *big* deal. 
Pierrothito, or Pequeño Pierroth, is a CMLL alumn, and has performed internationally. He is strong, agile, and roundly respected worldwide as a luchador. He is also a demanding maestro, and runs his practices much like a drill sargeant.
...except he doesn't wear the awesome hat
¡Más arriba, maggots!
On an unrelated note, Sr. Pierroth also stands at a staggering 5 feet tall and one half-inch, so it feels more like this at times…
No offense is meant to small persons
Not represented to scale.
Here is a breakdown of an average training day:
Note: to put the latter two in perspective, the ring sits 4 feet off of the ground. And we do all of this before we ever get in the ring to practice lucha libre, in which we do drills for another hour. At least.

…and maybe a couple of other “warmup” exercises. In short: Pierrothito does not fuck around.

Despite being physically destroyed on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings, my evening practices with Sepulcro are significantly more relaxed by comparison, and instead are quite technical in nature. Regardless, I am simultaneously getting my ass kicked and learning loads from my two maestros, both of whom are excellent teachers, even if one of them is trying to kill me…