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Disclaimer The information in this book is not designed to take the place of professional medical advice. The information in this book has been provided for educational and entertainment purposes only. This book has been compiled from sources deemed reliable, and it is accurate to the best of the Author's knowledge; however, the Author cannot guarantee its accuracy or validity and cannot be held liable for any errors or omissions. Changes are periodically made to this book. You must consult your doctor or get professional medical advice before using any of the suggested remedies, techniques, or information in this book.

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Training Programs Chapter 8. Final Thoughts Preface Hi, Human Strength Athlete! I am so excited you are here and to join me on a journey of explosive strength and power.

You might be just starting out. You might be a veteran athlete looking to take your fitness to the next level. Whatever brought you to calisthenics, I am excited for you, because what you are about to learn can change how you think about fitness, how you train, and most importantly your entire life.

Al Kavadlo's Blog

Not that long ago, I was in the same spot many of you are. For years, I weight-trained. I felt strong, and I looked big.

But one day I was challenged by a friend to do a back lever, and I couldn't even get myself in the right position. I didnt have the strength for that? A few years later, I suffered a nasty shoulder injury.

I needed to find a way to recover from my injury while still training to gain strength. That was when I truly discovered calisthenics, the lost art of of naturally gaining strength using only body weight, and the most effective training on. I started watching street workouts and gymnastics and began following everybody who was doing this type of training. I saw people performing iron crosses, human flags, and one-arm push-ups and pull-ups.

I was hooked. I Wanted It So Badly. This is what drew me to calisthenics in the first place. I wanted this kind of strength. I wanted this lean gymnast physique, this skill, strength, flexibility, and control. And I was even more amazed that it could all be achieved without buying a gym membership, touching a single weight, or taking supplements. For years I was dedicated to weight lifting. I looked big, and I felt strong, but I realized that I couldnt do simple gymnastic movements because I lacked mobility and flexibilityI wasn't even able to hold my body in the air.

Develop Strength for Life I quickly learned how powerful this type of training is. It not only enables incredible strength gains but also enables natural fat loss and creates that incredibly sexy, lean physique youve always dreamed of. It builds strength for life, protects your joints, conditions your nervous system, and enables you to develop functional fitness levels while working your flexibility, mobility, and body control.

This type of training is called calisthenics. And over 10 years ago, I got totally obsessed with it and began a journey not only to achieve this kind of strength, but also to help as many people as possible do the same.

I had just one problem: I had no idea how to get there. It took years. I consumed all the information there was on calisthenics; I watched videos, followed trainers, and experimented.

I trained harder than I ever had before. But I struggled to reach my goals of doing stunts like the human flag, planche, and one-arm pushups and pull-ups. Videos, and trainers who specialized in bodybuilding, not calisthenics, simply did not provide enough guidance to master such challenging stunts.

I struggled, without guidance, to create an effective program for myself and to troubleshoot. After a number of years, I am proud to say that I can finally accomplish all these stunts with ease. Now I am ready to share that knowledge with you. Progressive Calisthenics: Your Gateway to Inhuman Strength Well-structured progressive calisthenics can give you insane strength gains, muscle growth, and fat loss while still protecting your joints and conditioning your bodynaturally.

Soon, calisthenics became so much more than just a training program for me. It became a way of life. I will teach you the rules and lessons I have learned. You will learn how to set your own goals and how to work out, but there is just one thing I want you to keep in mind: Be in the moment. There is no competition. Train hard, move, eat good food, and love life! Go get it! Learn the secret principles of progression that guarantee incredible gains in strength and mass, improvement of skills, and increased fat loss just by using your own bodyweight.

Build an amazing physique while naturally conditioning your body into strength for life. Break free from any constraints. Workout anywhere, anytime! No Gym Needed. Get proven step by step system for mastering skills previously thought impossible like the human flag, the planche or a one armed pull-up.

Learn how to create your own workouts to fit your needs and schedule. What is in the book? The book includes over exercises organised into progressions for a number of fundamental movements.

It will show you how to create a routine for your particular goal, how to adjust your nutrition intake, where to start, how to progress and how to troubleshoot if you find yourself plateauing. Over detailed exercises organized into progressions with over 20 steps each Downloadable workout schedule, including detailed guidance on warm up, skills work, strength work and conditioning Downloadable poster with all the progressions for your wall Mental principles, philosophy and attitude to set you up for success 7 different workout routines for whatever your goal or lifestyle strength, fat loss, mass, minimalistic lifestyle etc.

I would love to hear your thoughts and feedback. You can reach me any time at Jeffcowancc gmail. Thank youand go get it! The Spartans were known for being the worlds toughest and most ferocious warriors.

They brought fear to their enemys eyes as depicted in the film We forget these men didnt have gyms, steroids, weights, protein bars, or many of the other simple conveniences associated with modern-day gym culture. Despite the lack of facilities, they had the ability to control their own bodies, to unleash power, to become the ultimate symbol of strength, to be unchallenged. Do you know what their secret was? They used their bodys potential to build a better, stronger body day by day, month by month, for years.

How did they do it? They used calisthenics. And they were not the only ones. Throughout the centuries calisthenics was used by Persians, Spartans, and Chinese warriors and monks. It is only recently that the raw versatility of your body has been displaced by gym memberships. Gyms, and all their equipment, only became accessible in the s and s.

You can read more about the history of calisthenics here. So what is Calisthenics? Calisthenics is all about lifting your own body weight, and its probably the oldest form of strength training. This type of exercise is also known as bodyweight strength training.

Somewhat forgotten, it is now making a comeback in mainstream fitness, mostly because of their natural and minimalist approach. In a world with millions of different workouts, contradictory studies, and information overload, being able to refer to just a few raw, natural principles and get incredible results attractive. Despite all the benefits of these routines and efforts to popularize them, calisthenics is still one of the most underappreciated strength training tools out there.

The biggest force behind this, in my personal opinion, is the fitness industrys reliance on pushing new fads selling supplements, and making you feel bad about your body. Its also a consequence of the fact that we fail to appreciate the potential of our own bodies, and getting stuck in the mindset that to increase strength we need to lift heavier weights.

This is something we have been conditioned to believe. There is a number of different things hiding behind the definition of the word calisthenics. Just have a look at different definitions I have found. But even a quick look at the meaning of calisthenics shows that our predecessors knew better.

The word calisthenics comes from the Greek words kalli, meaning beautiful, and sthenos, meaning strength. Calisthenics, in its basic form, has been kept alive through exercises given to weaklings and children or used as a warm up before taking part in other physical activities. However new-. Calisthenics and Its Effects on You! Generally speaking, calisthenics are very effective in developing raw strength, as it focuses on conditioning the entire body evenly, supporting the nervous system, and developing balance, coordination and muscle strength.

Also, body-weight workouts regulate body-fat levels, support the back which helps to avoid major injury , and improves athletic ability. The physique of a bodyweight trainer is truly special; bodyweight enthusiasts develop a look that is fiercely conditioned and portrays not just physical strength but a powerful inner strength as well.

Calisthenics, along with progression, can get you places you havent even imagined. And no matter what your goal is, whether its gaining muscle mass or losing fat, its all possible with calisthenics.

But you need to keep the progressions going. By progression, I mean progressive resistance and volume. But I am getting ahead of myself here. Lets rewind for a second. Why Is Calisthenics Important? If you cannot move your body and control it. Ido Portal Im a personal trainer. I have an interest in all things related to fitness and the way the industry is going.

I surf the web, watch the infomercials on TV, browse fitness magazines, and try to make sense of what I see and read, beyond all the hype and ridiculous sales pitches. To the untrained eye, it looks like youll never get fit and will never look good unless you hand in your hard-earned cash in exchange for a gym membership, a fancy DVD, or an overpriced eBook.

But the truth is, you can get fit. You can put on muscle without ever touching a dumbbell. You can have a strong core without a stability ball, and you can develop functional fitness without an overpriced suspension training system. Im not a purist. I dont want to advocate the superiority of any training method. I do in fact use weights at times, especially Kettlebells and sandbags, but bodyweight training is seldom done correctly. Its seen as something you do when you start training, something that does not require any equipment and therefore is suitable for boot-camp-type sessions, assomething you need to move away from when you start progressing.

Heres the thing, though: How Is Calisthenics Different? You already know calisthenics is nothing new to this society. It originated thousands of years ago in ancient Greece and has been used in athletics, the military, and working out without equipment. But there are a few unique aspects to calisthenics.

Calisthenics engages multiple muscle groups at the same time, and bodyweight skills require flexibility, mobility, and balance. Benefits of Calisthenics There are several very good reasons why you might consider training primarily, if not exclusively, with calisthenics. Below are a few reasons I and tons of others all over the world started training with calisthenics.

Anytime, anywhere: The benefit of calisthenics we hear about most is that you can perform workouts with practically no equipment compared to typical weight-training note that you do need some equipment to perform basic pulling exercises, like pull-up bars, etc. You dont have to buy high-end equipment or join a costly gym. The workouts are so simple and require so little space that anyoneand I mean anyonecan do them anytime and anywhere.

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If you move, you dont have to look for a new gym or move huge load of machines and weights with you. You can continue this type of training until your last breath. Improves flexibility and balance: More important, becoming proficient at body-weight exercises is all about your power-to-weight ratio.

Not only does an optimum power-to-weight ratio translate well to most physical activities and sports, but also leads to a certain body type that is driven by efficiency. Think here of the body of a gymnast: Generally speaking, bodyweight exercises develop far greater flexibility and balance than weight training does.

Minimum risk to your joints: Compared to weightlifting, calisthenics is easy on your joints. Think about it: Yes, you are right. This is a very big concern. Your joints are crucial, as important to you as milk in your tea. What good is a persons strength if he cant walk a mile without his joints aching? Incredible gains in strength and endurance: Calisthenics provides an opportunity to develop strength and endurance with the help of different exercises and their variations.

For example, if strength gain is what you are looking for, then you can perform exercises with less repetition and added resistance, whereas for endurance you can increase the number of repetitions without any additional resistance. Barely any expense required: The truly awesome benefit of calisthenics is the fact that it costs almost nothing. Nowadays everything is centered on weight-loss pills, going to the gym, and using all sorts of crazy machines to give you that one extra edge in losing fat and building muscle mass along with strength.

Calisthenics exercises cost next to nothing, and to your surprise, yield. The You can get the body of your dreams without going bankrupt. So lets not make any excuses now. Calisthenics is the solution to all of your problems. No fancy equipment, no machines, and everyone knows the basics. There are either push or pull movements and then legs, and core movements. It cant get any simpler than that. An if you keep your routine simple, you can really embrace a minimalistic approach to fitness.

Extremely varied: The positions, angles and ideas in which a calisthenics exercise or routine can be performed are almost limitless. As you progress through them and develop, your training keeps changing and evolving, always keeping things new and fresh and you dont run the risk of hitting a plateau. Good for all your fitness goals: Most of your aims can be achieved using just your bodyweight, whether it is losing weight, putting on muscle, preserving quality of movement and aging gracefully, developing cardiovascular fitness, or building a rock-solid foundation for a variety of sports.

If you have a fitness goal, trust me: Strengthens the whole body: Most callisthenic exercises engage more than one muscle group. Take classic push-ups, for example. They target your chest or the triceps, depending on the pushups variation, yet to perform a proper push-up you have to brace the whole body, including the quads, the glutes, and the core.

Whats more, these muscles have to work in harmony, which brings us to the next benefit of calisthenics: Without the cooperation of different body parts to achieve the proper order and rhythm of movements, you wouldnt be able to perform a single burpee, jump a rope, or do a single pull-up on the bar. Calisthenics also develops flexibility. Most bodyweight exercises involve fully extended movements, which build strength without costing flexibility.

The wider the range of movement in an exercise, the greater your gains in flexibility. Develops endurance: If calisthenic exercises are performed properly in the suggested number of reps and sets, they can really boost your bodys endurance. Especially great for the muscles endurance are bodyweight exercises which require holding a position still for a certain amount of time. Great examples are the plank, in different variations, and the v-sit.

Develops straight-arm strength: You might have heard about the phenomenon called straightarm strength. It is a term taken from gymnastics, and you have probably seen athletes using it to perform skills like the iron cross, plank, or crucifix. Develops real functional strength: Practicing bodyweight training will help you develop strength that is functional in real life.

Functional strength is the ability to move your body in space. Bar athletics is the ultimate test of functional strength. Its totally unforgiving.

I know a lot of people who are huge and pull huge amounts of iron in the gym but they cant do a single muscle-up. Develops hand strength: This is aunique aspect of calisthenics. Your hands will be involved in every single movement in calisthenics. I trained with weights for years, and the last thing I wanted was to fatigue my hands and forearms before I hit those specific muscle groups.

In calisthenics, your hands and forearms are extensions of your grip. They are very important, and 8. You can always add exercises to develop additional grip strength, but you should develop it naturally as you train and progress.

Disadvantages of Calisthenics Leg work is limited: Lets face it. A pistol squat is pretty easy, if you have been training for a reasonable amount of time. I was able to do 15 reps per leg the first time I tried it. Paul Wade writes in Convict Conditioning that there is no need to increase intensity for leg work past the pistol level. But in my experience excessive training at this intensity level can lead to annoying joint pain. So whats the solution? There are leg bodyweight exercises which do go beyond a pistol squat.

Although they are limited, if performed correctly, theyll turn your legs into tree trunks. We explore that in detail later on in the book.

No dynamic movement for lower back: The biggest problem for anyone who practices bodyweight training is that there is no way to train your lower back using your own body weight. To make your lower back stronger and healthier, you need to lift heavy stuff off the floor. Now, some of you might say bridges do the job. But bridges, even stand-to-stand bridges, are not the same.

Those who tried both deadlifts and bridging will tell you the difference right away. Bridge is a mobility and flexibility exercise and can in no way match the level of resistance that deadlifts provide.

But this doesnt make bridge a completely useless exercise. It is a great exercise for building lower-back flexibility. However, adding a dynamic strength-building exercise for those muscles will be a huge step forward.

The only problem is you cant do it with your bodyweight. Despite the fact that weights are mandatory for this type of training, you have plenty of options to choose from. Skill work Skill work is a unique aspect of calisthenics which deserves its own paragraph. Now consider this situation. The problem is strength without skill is barely applicable in real life. When I was lifting weights I felt really strong.

I could squat over kg, but when a friend challenged me to do a one-arm pushup I failed miserably. I was definitely strong enough, but I lacked skill. In bodyweight training, unlike any other kinds of training, there are two basic components: What is the difference? Exercises that do not require much strength, but do require a lot of time and patience and very often appropriate flexibility, mobility, and balance to achieve correctly, come under skill work.

Exercises that take more strength than skill to perform are strength work. As ones individual skill, strength, and work capacity improve, exercises that may have been previously classified as strength work may become skill work.

Take, for example, a handstand. The only strength component to a handstand is holding yourself up. But all the muscles of your whole bodyespecially in your coremust work in coordination to keep you balanced. As a beginner, youll focus a lot on strength, but once you have built enough strength, handstands, along with planks and front levers, will become all about skills like balance.

Thus, they become skill work. I see a lot of people not even considering skill work until they have enough strength. Its a mistake.. Skill work will play a huge role in developing proper strength. It should be included in every session. Ideally, you want to work on your skills while developing strength. You might want to practice skill exercises as a warmup to save you time, but in every single training session you should have a skill component.

Because of the way strength work becomes skill work over time, its important to reassess the exercises youve chosen for each component as your training progresses. You should be taking a hard look at whether a given exercise counts as skill work or strength work regularlyabout every 6 to 8 weeks. Chapter 2 - Diet and Nutrition Eat Healthy: Now, as calisthenics is a minimalistic approach, our approach to diet and nutrition needs to reflect that, too.

The most common misconception among beginning athletes is confusing healthy eating with dieting. Eating healthy does not mean that you have to go on some kind of crash diet. Healthy eating means making changes in your diet in a way you can enjoy and sustain for the rest of your life. It is more satisfying and will get you to a healthy weight help you stay there.

Dieting wont. Most people fail to lead a healthy lifestyle because, as soon as they learn the benefits of eating a healthy diet, they tend to change their whole eating pattern at once. Such a drastic change is not acceptable to our bodies. Thats not the way to go. But I want to tell you from personal experience: Your energy level, your mindset, your outlook on life. If you want to truly live life to the fullest, you must take care of your body.

Theres no other way. Moving and nutrition foundational to our quality of life. When you deprive your body of any of these, you are slowly killing it. Most people understand this; the confusing part is knowing what eating healthy means! Below are some basic rules of lean, mean calisthenic eating. The Foundation If you are chasing aesthetic goals, nutrition should be your primary concern. People struggle with two common problems: We will address both, but first you need to have a good foundation for your new nutrition plan.

These rules apply regardless what you are trying to achieve. Here are some of the basic things to keep in mind: Limit sugar and processed foods A lot of processed foods contain saturated fats, trans fats, and a large amount of sodium and sugar. This is the main reason why processed foods are a huge hindrance to your goals. Eating foods with saturated fats and trans fats increases the risk of Type 2 diabetes and coronary heart disease. Theyre also low in vitamins and minerals.

Eating too much of them is not going to benefit you in any way. Eat big to get big In order to gain weight, you need to eat surplus calories. However, you should always be aware of what kind of weight you are gaining: Body fat can be measured using a few different methods, most common of which is the skin-fold test, using a caliper.

If you are gaining too much fat, you need to make some adjustments in your diet. We will discuss this later in this chapter. Eat at regular intervals Experts say its better to eat small but frequent meals rather than two or three big meals a day. This keeps the metabolism running at top speed, so youll burn more body fat. Also, our bodies cant absorb huge amount of nutrients at once, so if we eat huge meals, most of the nutrients wont get absorbed and will go waste.

I eat every three hoursis there anything better about dieting? Love it. A gram of protein for every pound Although the recommended protein intake varies between 1 and 1. Protein helps to build muscle, and the more muscle mass you have, the more fat you burn. So, no matter what your goals are, you should always keep your protein intake to optimum levels.

Reduce carb intake It is not always fats that make you gain fatcarbs are a huge culprit in fat gain. Excess carbohydrates you eat get stored as glycogen, which is then stored as fat. High-carb diets can make you gain weight very fast, but most of that weight is usually fat. Keep your carb intake in check. Personally, I recommend avoiding carbs all together. The only time I eat carbs is after a workout. Avoid liquid calories Do not drink calories.

Beverages dont make us feel full, so we often take them for granted and dont notice how many calories were drinking. But calories are calories. It doesnt matter where they come from; if you take in too many, youll end up out of shape. Go raw as much as you can At this stage in my own training, Im not chasing any particular goals, so every single one of my meals consists of veggies and white meat, and I will usually mix up some healthy fats in between.

Eating as much raw food as possible will not only help you build strength but also make you feel much better. Protein Intake Rules There is a lot of talk about protein in fitness, and thats fittingthey are extremely important. And if you want to gain strength and muscle mass, there are a few simple things you should know. Proteins are large molecules made up of amino acids that play critical roles in the healthy functioning of our bodies.

There is protein in most of our body parts. Each gram of protein has 4 calories of energy. As we discussed earlier, it is recommended that you consume a gram of protein for every pound of body weight. When should you consume protein? Our bodies respond to protein in much the same way regardless of when we eat it. Still, it isa good idea to consume ample protein right after your workout session.

This encourages a quick post-workout recovery. We all know that muscle tissue breaks down during a workout, and your muscles actually grow while you are resting. But if you dont fuel the recovery properly, your muscles wont have the building blocks they need for growth. To insure a quick recovery, you should consume protein within an hour post workout.

Get that chicken breast in. Tracking Your Intake This is a bit more advanced, but if you are serious about achieving your goals, especially your aesthetic goals, you should definitely track your intake. Research clearly shows that having a food diary can really help you achieve your goals. Get a notebook, and record everything you eat. Documenting at least a complete week of your eating habits will help you get a clear picture of what youre regularly consuming.

For many people, it is an act of self-discovery that reveals why theyre not getting the gains they want or expect from their workouts. Most people vastly underestimate the number of calories, especially empty calories, that they consume.

That can counteract the results of even the best workout plan. The only way to get the body you want is to know what youre eating, so you know when it needs to change.

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What to track? Nutrients are substances we need to grow and for our body to function properly. Even more important than tracking calories is tracking how much of each nutrient you are getting. There are three macronutrients, or macros: Carbohydrates are the main source of fuel for our bodies.

They provide energy to the muscles, central nervous system, brain, and all other parts of the body. Carbs contain 4 calories per gram and can be stored in the liver and the muscle cells as glycogen for future use. This is the bodys building block. Containing same 4 calories per gram as carbs, protein is required for growth, tissue repair, immune function, production of hormones and enzymes, and also for providing energy when carbs are not available.

Fats contain 7 calories per gram and have a bad reputation for causing weight gain. But some fats are essential for normal growth and development, absorption of certain vitamins, cushioning the organs, maintaining cell membranes, and providing taste, consistency, and stability to food. There is no magic number for the ratio of macros in your diet, as everyone is different, and your body will respond to the macros in its own way.

These numbers changedepending on your goals. For example, if you want to gain muscle, it is suggested that you increase your carb intake, and if you are trying to lose fat, you should decrease carb consumption and increase your protein intake. You can read food labels to find out the macronutrient contents of the foods you consume.

There are also several mobile apps available that help you learn about and log your intake; some of the most popular are MyFitnessPal, Lose It!

Chapter 3 - Introduction to Progression You already know the advantages of bodyweight strength training and the rule of progressive resistance, but there is something that makes calisthenics extremely effective. It is its progressive structure. Our body is extremely adaptableif you do something for long enough, it will cease to benefit you.

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No, the work did not get easier. You got stronger. Your body got used to it, and what seemed impossible at first isnt even difficult anymore. To keep growing, you need to challenge your body continuously. This is what happens when you lift weights. When a weight gets easier for you to lift, you add more weight, and this forces your body to keep growing. But in calisthenics, you lift your own body. Weight in pure calisthenics is always fixed.

So what do you do when an exercise becomes too easy? You progress to a more difficult variation. Once regular push-ups become easy, you work on close-grip push-ups. Once close-grip push-ups become easy, work on handstand push-ups, and so on. The trick is to never let yourself do the easy stuff. Always strive for the most difficult variation you can manage. This is what we call a progression.

What is Progression? A progression is a series of exercises for the same muscle group in which each exercise is slightly harder than the previous one. You start with the easiest exercise and slowly build up to the most difficult. To progress, you will have to work on an exercise until you find it very easy to do, then move on to the next, more difficult exercise.

Then you work on the second exercise to "unlock" the third exercise, and so it goes. For instance, if you can't do push-ups, you start off with push-ups against a wallvertical pushups.

Then when you are competent at that, you do them on a raised surface like a deskincline push-ups. Once you're competent at that, you can move to the regular push-ups.

This can be confusing, but don't worry. Most of the work has been done for you already. Lets have a look at the example of the one-arm push-up progression. Inhuman strength? There are steps for that.

And for one-arm push-ups, there are 17 of them. The road to the one-arm push-up will look like this:. Now, notice how with every single step the exercise is getting harder and harder. Thats what you want. An appropriate number of sets and reps needs to be done at each level before progressing to the next. Progressive Resistance Progressive resistance is the secret weapon in your arsenal, that ace up your sleeve, the ultimate thing that makes any ordinary human extraordinary.

This simple rule of gradual increase of resistance takes a lot of different forms in calisthenics. What we discussed above is moving from a simple exercise to a more difficult one. But behind that, there are specific ways of progressing with bodyweight exercises. Lets have a look at them. Methods of Progressing in Bodyweight Exercises Aside from decreasing leverage by decreasing incline and eventually working on a decline there are several other methods of progressing.

Lets discuss them below: Increasing range of motion This is one very effective method of progression. In this method, you build up to a complete exercise by starting it with a limited range of motion.

Lets take the example of handstand pushups. If you cant do a full handstand push-up, you can decrease its range of motion by stacking some books under your head to support the weight of your body after you lower it only the first few inches toward the ground. Then, when you start to get stronger, you can increase the range of motion by removing the books one at a time.

Every time you remove a book, you have to support your own weight deeper into the push-up. Once youve mastered the handstand pushup, you can use this method to increase the difficulty and range-of-motion of the exercise as well. Just give it a try. Wouldnt it make the exercise tougher if you had books under your hands? This method works well with pushing exercises but is pretty hard to apply to pulling exercises.

Adding weight This is another very effective way to progress from one step to the next. In this method, you add some additional weight to an exercise to close the gap in difficulty between it and the next step in the progression. For example, if planks have become too easy for you,you can increase the difficulty by doing it withextra weight on your back.

Changing position of body in space In this method, you change the position of your body to make the exercise easier for you and then perform it. As you slowly gain strength, you move its regular form. For example, If you cant do a regular push-up, try doing it against a wall to build up your strength, then move to an elevated surface.

Once the exercise becomes easy for you, move to a more difficult position, and down the line youll find yourself performing regular push-ups with ease. Combining difficult and easy exercises In this method you combine an easy exercise with a difficult exercise and then perform them together.

Plank push-ups are an excellent example. Watch this video from Idos Portal. How to use this? Negative and bent-arm parts of the movement will always be stronger than positive and straight-arm parts.

So while leaving positive and straight-arm portions of the movement as is, you can easily make negative and bent-arm portions harder. Just like in the video above.

Or if you train with partner, you can try additionally increase difficulty of the negative part with added weight, while removing it from the positive part roughstrenght. Let me tell you this, I have tried this myself and have seen results. If you do this, and the results are guaranteed.

Combining exercises into more complex moves Adding weight or increasing range of motion are not the only methods in your arsenal. Try combining exercises. For example, if you became proficient in muscle-ups and front levers, you can combine them into a Muscle-Up to Front Lever sequence and perform them like one exercise.

Heres the freedom. No boundaries. Bend the rules and have fun After all this, there comes a time when you want to know if you have to strictly follow these rules.

Bending the rules has always been fun, and what good is it to do something if youre not having fun with it? With that, lets move on to the next topic, where we will discuss how you can bend the rules and still make significant gains.

Deconstruction This is an extremely useful skill to have, although you might have trouble doing it as a beginner. I want you to be aware you can do it, as it might come extremely handy when you are progressing and will have to troubleshoot your progressions.

Deconstruction means breaking down a skill to its core components. It is probably the best method to break down progressions into smaller sections and explore it from the bottom to the top. This could be also used to fix any problems you might have in going through the progressions. Now, what you see in the picture below is a copy of a great deconstruction form from an incredible website, Beast Skills, which I want to acknowledge here. I strongly suggest you go on their site and get through their tutorial on the front lever and more, as its just a killer.

As you go through the tutorial, I want you to note a few things: Lets use the example of a front lever. You want to look at it and see what kind of elements are being involved in performing this skill.

You can see the mid-section is extremely strong here, the head is facing forward looking at the feet, arms are straight at the very specific angle, toes are pointed to the front.

The palms of the hands should be facing downwards trying to push during the skill. This will properly engage the muscles in the upper body. It also helps to squeeze the rings or bar with your hands in order to generate more tension in the upper body and subsequently create a stronger lever. Also take note in the top picture that my hands are directly above my hips.

This will occur naturally as the body strives to balance in the position. Keep them close by your side, shoulder-width apart. On the bar, this is easily accomplished by simply setting your hands at the correct width. On the rings, you must be aware of keeping your arms in close by your sides. In both cases, you do not want to think of squeezing the arms inwards so much as flexing the entire upper body and keeping the arms glued to the side of the body. This is very similar to the back lever.

If they float away from your torso, youll have a much harder time keeping tension. Theres no need to retract your shoulder blades or push your shoulders forward unnaturally. As was previously described, youll want to actively push downwards with your hands, which will generate the correct tension in the upper body. Keep the midsection tight, and squeeze the butt and legs. Make sure that the front of the body is in line. Where you will often encounter difficulty with the skill is keeping the hips extended.

Do not bend at the middle, as its not proper form for the front lever seen below. Pointing your toes and thinking of stretching out your body will help to keep your body in line, much as it is for the handstand. When in doubt, take a picture or have someone spot your form. You can also watch your feet from this position, to make sure your body is not only in line, but parallel to the ground.

Troubleshooting Progression Progressions arent written in stone. If you find it difficult to progress from one step to the next: Break it down into more steps. The point is to bring down the difficulty enough for you to perform the next exercise and proceed.

If you find it difficult to do even after breaking it down once, then break it down again. Break it down as many times as you need, and, of course, pay attention to your weak areas. Practice with weights If youre unable to move to the next level of progression, adding some extra weight is always an option. And you dont even have to purchase plates or some additional weights for that. Many a times a good-old backpack works fine, as do sandbags, kettlebells, or whatever else you have.

Ask yourself, what will be effective? No one knows you better than you yourself. For better or for worse you know what is good for you and you are the only one who can judge the best if anything is working for or not. If you feel and data proves that what you are doing brings no results, then search for other way.

It may be Whatever it may be, figure it out and make it a part of your progression. Of course, the next proglem is when you should start progressionhow do you figure out that its time to jump to the next level? Here, we will discuss when to move to the next step. Deconstruction As we have already discussed in the beginning of the deconstruction paragraph, we can use deconstruction to troubleshoot progressions. Go step by step. What is involved in performing this particular skill? What are you doing right, and what are you doing wrong?

Where Should I Start? Along with this book, you are given a chart with number of progressions to follow. So at which step of these progressions should you start? The good-old Convict Conditioning was always suggesting that you should, no matter what, start at the step 1. If you as a beginner it does make sense. If you are more advanced, it also makes some sense, as these basic exercises condition your nervous system. Ultimately, the choice is up to you.

Personally, I feel that if you have already been training, you will want to start at the lowest level which challenges you. See at which level you can easily do 3 sets of 8 reps, then back up one step to a previous level.

This is where you should start. For example if you can do 3 sets of 8 reps of full push-ups, go back one step in the push-up progression and start there. Start with 3 sets of 3 half push-ups, then next session do 3 sets of 4, then 3 sets of 5. Once you build to 3 sets of 8 you can move on to the next step. Never progress faster than adding one repetition per workout. It is crucial you do not attempt to progress faster than this, but rather stick to micro-increments of one extra repetition with each session.

This not only allows for a smooth, constant progression, but it also gives the connective tissue in your joints time to adapt to the stresses placed on it, and reduces the risk of injury.

When Should I Progress? One simple rule: Unfortunately, this rule often gets very blurry. If you are a beginner, stick with recommended reps and sets. That might be enough or not enough to progress. Sometimes you will have troubleshoot or use micro progressions to get you to the next step refer back to troubleshooting progressions.

But as you get more advanced, and you will get a feel for your body and movements you will be able to tell when its the right time to progress. The one thing you should always remember is that you must not hurry.

Pushing The Limits! Ebook | Al Kavadlo

The most important thing is that you feel comfortable with the current step. The leveling of those exercises outlined in our progressions is approximate and will vary from person to person.

Once you are comfortable doing an exercise of one type at a given level for reps, you use it as your foundational strength training exercise of that type. In the meantime, you can try working on a higher level exercise even if you are not able to do it properly. Eventually, with consistency, you should be able to do the exercise, and then once you get comfortable with it, make it your new foundational strength training exercise.

For example, for upper body pulling strength, you could start out with the Australian pull-up, a beginner step in the pull-up progression also called an Inverted Row. You would use it for training volume; since it is challenging but doable for multiple reps, use it to build up your pulling strength. In the meantime, keep trying to achieve a full chin-up and pull-up. Eventually, you will be able to do chin-ups, and sooner or later pull-ups, for multiple reps.

At that point, you can start phasing out Australian pull ups and focus your pulling training on pull-ups and chin-ups. Eventually, pull-ups will become your foundational strength training exercise.

At that point you can start working on muscle-ups and levers. It's an ongoing series of progressions; you don't need to do all of the exercises you are capable of doing all the time, just the ones that are at the level of relative difficulty you are aiming for with respect to a given muscle group. Now you have the basic knowledge on attaining any skill and progressing in calisthenics.

Use this knowledge wisely. Chapter 4 - Get Ready to Build Inhuman Strength In this chapter, we will explore a number of rules and principles you need to understand before going out there and killing it. Principles of Calisthenics If somebody ever tells you there are secrets to getting started with calisthenics, you can laugh right in their face.

There are none.