With PCC off to an amazing start, my brother Danny and I have gotten a lot of press this year, including this article in the NY Times.
I’ve been a regular contributor to Bodybuilding.com for most of 2013 and I’ve recently landed a monthly column in their new partner publication, Train magazine. The debut issue is on newsstands now throughout the US, Canada and the UK. I’ll be sharing a new bodyweight workout in every issue, as well as an occasional extended feature.
While 2013 has undoubtedly been the biggest year of my career, next year is shaping up to be even bigger!
My next book, Stretching Your Boundaries – Flexibility Training for Extreme Calisthenic Strength is finished and set for release in mid-to-late January by Dragon Door Publications.
I’ve got a full calendar of workshops and certifications lined up for 2014, including events in Germany and New York City. Additional dates will be added in the months ahead. Check my upcoming workshops page for the complete list of events.
Over 60 calisthenics enthusiasts from half a dozen different countries showed up for a 3-day crash course in calisthenics and a chance to take on The Century to earn the title of PCC Instructor.
The event was Dragon Door’s best-attended European certification in the company’s thirteen-year history of producing fitness workshops.
This workshop also featured the debut of our indoor scaffolding set-up, which allows for a one-of-a-kind calisthenics “Street Workout” style experience.
The good vibes and mutual inspiration were at an all-time high. Every single attendee set new personal achievements and perhaps more importantly, we all had a great time and made new friends along the way! Thank you to Fredrik Högström for helping organize this amazing event.
When I first began my website and Youtube channel just over 4 years ago, I never would have dreamed something like this could be possible.
It’s been a pleasure and a blessing to connect with so many amazing people and we are still just getting started! Click the link for a list of all my upcoming workshops.
One more thing! If you haven’t been following my Youtube channel, make sure you subscribe so you can continue to get videos like the new “Ask Al” series seen below.
“Danny Kavadlo’s training helped me to discover strengths I never knew I had, and I can take those lessons with me wherever I go, for the rest of my life. The wisdom and insight contained in Everybody Needs Training not only relates to being a successful fitness trainer, but can be applied for peace and success in many of life’s ventures. Danny is the best!”
—ELIZABETH GILBERT, New York Times #1 Best Selling Author, Eat, Pray, Love
“Like Danny himself, this groundbreaking book is incredibly smart, brutally honest, laugh-out-loud funny, and totally out of left field… you owe it to yourself to grab a copy of this masterpiece. I cannot recommend it highly enough.”
—PAUL WADE, Author, Convict Conditioning
“Everybody Needs Training is quite ‘something.’ I don’t think I have ever seen this kind of depth in the field. It’s both obvious and ‘wow’ as you read it. Amazing stuff. It fills a gap in the community that, frankly, surprises me no one has really filled.”
Since releasing my book Raising The Bar (and the companion DVD), dozens of people have written to tell me how my training advice helped them achieve their first muscle-up. Oftentimes they will send video footage along with it. I love getting these types of messages!
As we’ve discussed before, however, many peoples’ first muscle-up ain’t always so pretty. Though I am happy to grant some leeway on form when someone’s learning a challenging new exercise, I don’t want people all over the world doing ugly muscle-ups (“ugly-ups” as I like to call ‘em) and crediting me with having taught them that way.
Clean and Clear
While getting your first muscle-up is a wonderful fitness objective to work toward, simply getting your torso over the bar shouldn’t be the end goal. Once you’ve achieved your first muscle-up, it’s time to work on improving your form.
But before we get to cleaning up your technique, let’s go over the two most common issues people new to the muscle-up kingdom may encounter:
While allowing one arm to come up before the other can sometimes be a helpful gateway to cleaner muscle-ups, it is generally not a good long-term strategy. Though it may be the only way you’re going to get a feel for the crucial transition from below the bar to being on top, it’s best to try to shake this habit as soon as possible.
Almost everyone needs to kip a bit to do their first muscle-up, but once you can perform a few reps you should aim to steadily reduce your kip. Though a little kipping is certainly acceptable if you’re doing reps on the bar, do your best to keep it to a minimum. If your knees are bending more than an inch or two or your legs are casting out too far in front of the bar, you need to clean it up.
Fixing Your Form
Even if you’re pretty good at muscle-ups, chances are you can benefit from the following training tactics. I recommend these three techniques for getting rid of the common form flaws and establishing yourself as a muscle-up master.
Just like in your early pull-up practice, negatives are a great way to establish a movement pattern in your nervous system. Start at the top of a muscle-up and lower yourself slowly to the bottom of the dip position with your chest leaning over the bar. Brace yourself and transition as carefully as possible from having your chest above the bar to the top of a pull-up position. Squeeze your abs tight and reach your legs away from the bar to counterbalance. At first you may not be able to control it much, but with time you will eventually get the hang of going slowly through the transition. Once this happens, controlled muscle-ups will soon follow.
Gradual Kip Reduction
Don’t expect to suddenly go from your first sloppy muscle-up to replicating the opening of Andreas Aguilar’s 1991 World Pro gymnastics routine. The only way to significantly minimize your kip is to do it slowly and gradually. If you find yourself bending your knees during your muscle-ups, focus on keeping your legs straight(er). If you’re bucking your hips too much, imagine there is a wall a foot or two in front of the bar that you don’t want to crash into.
When the objective is to improve your form, focus on performing fewer reps at a time. Sets of just one or two reps will allow you to focus on the subtle details of the movement pattern without getting fatigued. Like the old saying goes, “quality over quantity.”
False Grip It’s great to practice explosive muscle-ups but slowing the movement down can add a whole new challenge, allowing you to build more strength in the transition from below to above the bar, which is the most crucial part of the exercise.
In order to do this, it’s helpful to use a false grip, which entails bending your wrists over the bar so your hand won’t need to roll around it during the transition. When you get to the top of the pull-up phase, your hands will already be in the right position. Some people even find an exaggerated false grip with closed fists resting on the bar to be ideal.
If you have access to them, learning the muscle-up on gymnastic rings can be a useful tool to help perfect your bar muscle-up. While the two skills are each unique in their own ways, there is a lot of carry-over from one to the other. If you don’t have rings, practicing a false grip muscle-up between two parallel bars can give you a similar feeling.
Al Kavadlo is not liable for any injuries or damages that individuals might incur by attempting to perform any of the exercises or feats of strength depicted or discussed on this website. Any individual attempting to does so at their own risk. Consult with your physician before beginning an exercise regimen.