Category Archives: Body Weight Exercises

althumb

Explosive Calisthenics

Explosive Calisthenics, the third book in the Convict Conditioning series, is finally here!

Once again, my brother Danny and I have the honor of appearing on the cover of another Coach Wade book, as well as being featured models.

Senior PCC instructor Adrienne Harvey and PCC Instructor Grace Menendez are also well represented in CC3. It’s nice to finally have some females in a CC book!

With his trademark blend of old-school philosophy, hard-earned wisdom and in-your-face humor, Coach expands his infamous system of progressive bodyweight programming to break down the most coveted explosive moves, including the back flip, kip-up and muscle-up. If you want to know how far you can go training with just your own bodyweight, you owe it to yourself to get this book!

Explosive Calisthenics is my personal favorite book in the CC series! Watch the video below for demonstrations of some of the exercises covered in the book and make sure to get your copy before they sell out!

Zen-Mind-Cover-234x300

Zen Mind, Strong Body

My new ebook, Zen Mind, Strong Body, is now available!

Zen Mind, Strong Body is the ultimate Al Kavadlo collection, containing 26 of my favorite articles from the last 5+ years of this blog, as well as many never-before-seen photos, lots of inspirational quotes and some new sample workouts!

This book covers everything from my views on diet and supplements, to machines and free weights, to cardio options, to mental training and more!

It also includes a brand new foreword from Global Bodyweight Training creator Mike Fitch.

Here’s what people are saying about Zen Mind, Strong Body:

“Al Kavadlo’s Zen Mind, Strong Body is a breath of fresh air in a stagnant forest of rote physical training books. I have had the good fortune to train and learn from some of the best in the world, and Al Kavadlo is among the few people I would travel and pay money to train with.”Dr. Chris Hardy, author of Strong Medicine

“Al Kavadlo is a master of bodyweight training and calisthenics. If you want to gain strength and improve flexibility, and do it all without a single piece of gym equipment, Al’s the expert you should turn to.”Mark Sisson, author of The Primal Blueprint

“Zen Mind, Strong Body by Al Kavadlo should be the first book you look at when considering the world of bodyweight work.”Dan John, author of Never Let Go

“Zen Mind, Strong Body expertly covers the methods, the moves, the nutrition, the equipment, the benefits, the philosophy and even the culture of bodyweight training. If you are a newbie uncertain about whether to explore bodyweight, or an advanced athlete looking for a new take on the most ancient conditioning method, this is now the definitive go-to book.”Paul “Coach” Wade, author of Convict Conditioning

Click the book cover to get your copy! (Paperback version will be on sale in March.)

Also available for Amazon Kindle!

DCA.cover_-232x300

Diamond-Cut Abs is Here!

My brother Danny Kavadlo‘s new book,
Diamond-Cut Abs, is now on sale in both paperback and ebook formats!

Everyone is talking about Diamond-Cut Abs!

Diamond-Cut Abs condenses decades of agonizing lessons and insight into the best book on ab-training ever written. Hands down.”
—PAUL WADE, author of Convict Conditioning

“Danny has done it again! Diamond-Cut Abs is a no-nonsense, results driven approach that delivers all the goods on abs. Nutrition, training and progression are all included, tattoos optional!”
—ROBB WOLF, author of The Paleo Solution

“If you want the abs of your dreams, stop looking for the quick solution everyone claims to have and get ready to learn how to maximize your efforts towards your very own set of Diamond-Cut Abs.”
—MIKE FITCH, creator of Global Bodyweight Training

More PCC Workshops Announced!

It’s been just over a year since the first-ever Progressive Calisthenics Certification was held in St. Paul, MN.

In that time, my brother Danny and I have led PCC workshops all over the world, including Sweden, Australia, Ireland and Germany.

We just wrapped up our first cert in my hometown of NYC and there’s a lot more excitement ahead!

Here are all the events we have scheduled for the rest of 2014 and 2015:

October 26, 2014:
Kavadlo Bros 1-day Workshop in NYC*

*Not a PCC event

November 7-9, 2014:
PCC in Milwaukee, WI

January, 23-25, 2015:
PCC in Encinitas, CA

February 27 – March 1, 2015:
PCC in Mountain View, CA

March 27-29, 2015:
PCC in Minneapolis, MN

April 17-19, 2015:
PCC in Munich, Germany

April 24-26, 2015:
PCC in Alessandria, Italy

May 1-3, 2015:
PCC in Dundalk, Ireland

May 15-17, 2015:
PCC in Dallas, TX

June 5-7, 2015:
PCC in NYC

More workshop dates will be added soon!

Follow the PCC Blog for updates and new calisthenics articles every week!

C-Mass: Calisthenics Mass

Convict Conditioning author “Coach” Paul Wade has just released a new ebook that features me and my brother Danny on the cover!

C-Mass: Calisthenics Mass is now available for purchase in PDF ebook format as well as on Amazon Kindle. A paperback version is expected later this summer – most likely July or August.

C-Mass is my favorite book that “Coach” Wade has written yet! It’s jam-packed with entertaining and insightful advice on using bodyweight strength training to gain muscle mass, and it also includes info on pure strength training without mass gain as the main objective. There is truly something for everyone in C-Mass! Get your copy today!

Tompkins Square Park Calisthenics Bootcamp

My Tompkins Square Park Calisthenics Bootcamp is back!

Classes will meet at the jungle gym near the Northeast corner of NYC’s Tompkins Square Park at 10am on select Saturday mornings beginning April 12.

Due to my travel schedule for the Progressive Calisthenics Certification, I will only be able to offer bootcamp classes once or twice each month.

To stay informed of when classes will be taking place, make sure you follow me on Facebook and/or Twitter. I will update both accounts a few days before each bootcamp session to confirm that we’re on for that Saturday.

I almost forgot the best part! The new price for bootcamp at TSP is… FREE!!!

All you need to bring is a positive attitude and a willingness to challenge yourself! Adults of all fitness levels are welcome to attend. Hope to see you there!

We’re Working Out!
Al

Stretching Your Boundaries

I am very excited to announce the release of my new book, Stretching Your Boundaries – Flexibility Training for Extreme Calisthenic Strength.

Stretching Your Boundaries includes over 50 different bodyweight exercises to improve your flexibility, mobility, joint health, and of course – functional strength! The book was written specifically with calisthenics enthusiasts in mind!

Here’s what people are saying about Stretching Your Boundaries:

“The ultimate bodyweight mobility manual is here! Stretching Your Boundaries belongs on the shelf of any serious athlete—it’s bodyweight mobility dynamite!” —”COACH” PAUL WADE, author of Convict Conditioning

“In Stretching Your Boundaries you’ll sense Al’s deep understanding and love for the human body. Thank you Al, for helping to bring awareness to perhaps the most important aspect of physical education and fitness.” —ELLIOTT HULSE, creator of the Grow Stronger method

“An absolutely masterful follow up to Raising the Bar and Pushing the Limits, Stretching Your Boundaries really completes the picture. Not only stunning in its color and design, this book also gives you the true feeling of New York City, both gritty and euphoric, much like Al’s personality.” —MIKE FITCH, creator of Global Bodyweight Training

Get your copy of Stretching Your Boundaries now!

PCC Sweden

The Progressive Calisthenics Certification made its European debut last weekend in Gothenburg, Sweden.

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.

Kavadlo Brothers Workshops

Danny and I just returned from leading a Progressive Calisthenics Certification (PCC) workshop in St. Paul, MN.

It was an amazing event that involved groundbreaking personal achievements from every single person who attended!

The most exciting part?

We’re just getting started!

Danny and I have several additional workshops and certification opportunities scheduled for the months ahead:

If you’ve ever wanted to train with the Kavadlo Bros in person, this is your chance!

Click on the links below to register or find out additional information:


November 1-3, 2013 – PCC in Gothenburg, Sweden

November 16-17, 2013 – Kavadlo Bros 2-day Calisthenics Workshop in Pasadena, CA

January 18, 2014 – Kavadlo Bros 1-day Calisthenics Workshop in Randolph, NJ

February 21-23, 2014 – PCC in Melbourne, Australia

April 25-27, 2014 – PCC in St. Paul, MN

May 9-11, 2014 – PCC in Dundalk, Ireland

More 2014 workshop dates will be added soon!

Clean Up Your Muscle-up!

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:

Uneven Arms
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.

Excessive Kipping
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.

Negatives
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.

Watch the video below for more:


For more information about muscle-ups, pick up a copy of my book, Raising The Bar: The Definitive Guide to Pull-up Bar Calisthenics.

Related posts:
Getting Your First Muscle-up
Kartik’s First Muscle-up