All posts by Al Kavadlo

Al Kavadlo Summer 2015 Update

Fear The BeardThis summer has been off to an amazing start!

I’ve been traveling all over the US and Europe, teaching the Progressive Calisthenics Certification everywhere from Alexandria, VA to Alessandria, Italy.

I’ve also been teaching and training at home in NYC whenever I am not on the road!

In the weeks ahead, I’ll be speaking at Dragon Door’s first ever Health and Strength Conference, heading to Holland and Chicago to teach more PCC workshops, and then returning to NYC for a special One-Day Kavadlo Bros Workshop at Nimble Fitness.

There are still openings for all of these events, so click those links to go sign up right now!

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In addition to traveling the world, I’ve also been busy creating new content for Bodybuilding.com as well as the PCC blog and my Youtube Channel, which recently surpassed 7 million total views!

ROCK ON!!!

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My only disappointment this summer has been the ongoing construction at my favorite training spot, Tompkins Square Park. Due to the closure, I have not been able to host any bootcamp classes. I’m still hoping to do one at the end of the summer, however, if the park is reopened in time.

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Since TSP has been shut down, I’ve been working out at other NYC parks, like East River Park, where I filmed this fun, new workout video with Grace Menendez.

Thanks for stopping by and make sure to follow me on Youtube, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for the latest updates!

Al Kavadlo Spring 2015 Update

KavadloSquat
Hey hey hey!!!

I’m very excited about the new look of this website! My books, workshops and links are now easily accessible from the main page, while all of my old blog posts and articles are readily available using the search box in the upper right corner of the blog.

While I won’t be updating this blog often, I’m keeping busy writing for the PCC Blog, Bodybuilding.com and answering fan questions on my Ask Al video series on Youtube.

Speaking of questions, a lot of people have been asking me if I will be doing any bootcamp classes at Tompkins Square Park this summer and the answer is: Yes! I’m not sure of any exact dates yet, but I plan to do at least one (hopefully more) free class at TSP some time this summer.

Make sure you follow me on Facebook and/or Twitter so you can stay up to date on the details.

Hope to see you at one of my workshops or classes soon!

We’re Working Out!
Al

 

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, 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!

Al Kavadlo 2014 Recap

As 2014 comes to an end, I find myself looking back and marveling at what a year it’s been!

This was the first full year of the Progressive Calisthenics Certification, which consisted of 9 different workshops in 6 different countries on 3 separate continents – over 200 people attended PCC this year!

Next year PCC is going to be even bigger! Check out the full schedule of all my upcoming workshops for more details.
I hope to see you at PCC in 2015!

This year saw the release of my latest book, Stretching Your Boundaries, which has maintained a spot in Amazon’s top 100 Exercise and Fitness Kindle downloads since it came out last January.

I’ve been featured in more media publications than ever before, from the Financial Times to Fitness RX and Men’s Health.

I’ve also continued working with Bodybuilding.com and TRAIN magazine, authoring dozens of articles between the two publications in 2014.

As big as this year has been, next year is going to be even bigger!

I just completed a new book for Dragon Door Publications entitled Zen Mind, Strong Body. Look for the ebook in January!

I’ll also be appearing in “Coach” Paul Wade’s highly anticipated book Explosive Calisthenics, the third installment in the Convict Conditioning series.

Also look for a redesign of this website to launch next year.

Thanks again to all my friends, fans and followers for your continued support and gratitude!

Check out this brand new handstand video!

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!

Kavadlo Bros and Hylete Apparel

The Kavadlo Brothers are now official endorsers of HYLETE athletic apparel!

To celebrate this momentous occasion, Hylete is making a very special offer to all of my fans and followers:

Any new customer who creates an account through the link below will receive a lifetime of discounts and special offers from Hylete apparel!

If you’re in need of high quality workout gear, don’t miss this opportunity!

Click here to sign up!

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!

Al Kavadlo 2013 Yearly Wrap-up

Thank you to everyone who reads this blog for helping make 2013 such a fantastic year! I am truly grateful for all the wonderful things that have happened!

This year saw the release of my most popular book yet, Pushing The Limits! – Total Body Strength With No Equipment as well as the debut of the Progressive Calisthenics Certification (PCC), the world’s first-ever bodyweight strength training certification.

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.

I’ve also been staying active on Facebook, where I recently surpassed 10,000 likes, and YouTube, where I am closing in on 20,000 subscribers. Check out my latest clip for some winter workout motivation!

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!

Everybody Needs Training

I’m excited to announce that my brother Danny has just released his first book, Everybody Needs Training.

This is the perfect book for any fitness professional looking to grow their business or anyone who ever wanted to be a personal trainer but didn’t know where to start.

Here’s what people are saying about Everybody Needs Training:

“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.”

—DAN JOHN, Author, Never Let Go

Get your copy of Everybody Needs Training here!

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

PCC Australia

The Progressive Calisthenics Certification is heading down under!

Danny and I are extremely excited for the chance to travel to Melbourne, Australia to teach the PCC workshop on February 21-23, 2014.

Click here to sign up!

I’ve been getting emails from people all over the world asking when the PCC will be coming to their neck of the woods. Sit tight – PCC will be visiting many different cities over the next several years. Click here for a list of all upcoming PCC dates and watch for more announcements in the months ahead.

Kavadlo Brothers Update

With summer officially here, Danny and I are stepping up our game!

The New York Times recently ran a story about the Kavadlo brothers and our unique brand of bodyweight training. You can read the online version of the article here.

Nimble Fitness in NYC is hosting us for another bodyweight strength training workshop just like the one mentioned in the Times piece. This workshop will be limited to 15 participants, so make sure you sign up before it’s sold out!

Danny is putting the finishing touches on his debut book, tentatively entitled Everybody Needs Training – Expert Tips for Personal Trainers. Look for Danny’s book to be released by Dragon Door Publications later this summer.

I’ve also been hard at work on my next book, entitled Stretching Your Boundaries – Flexibility Training for Extreme Calisthenic Strength. That book will be available later this fall or early next year.

The Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu website BJJ Legends just ran a review of my latest book, Pushing The Limits! – Total Body Strength With No Equipment. Read the review here.

This summer is the last time that I’ll be holding outdoor bootcamp workout classes at Tompkins Square Park. If you’ve ever wanted to train with me at Tompkins, this is your chance! There are only 8 more classes left. Contact me if you’d like to attend.

Last but not least, the next Progressive Calisthenics Certification in August is already filling up. Book your spot now before it’s too late!

The Clutch Lever

The clutch lever is a unique bodyweight strength skill that works the entire upper body as well as the core muscles, especially the lower back.

A hybrid between a clutch flag and a front lever, the clutch lever is an intermediate-level skill that’s less challenging than the full front lever much in the same way that clutch flags are a good precursor to the human flag – but that doesn’t mean it’s gonna come easy!

Before you’re ready for this move, you’ll need a fairly high level of strength in your upper body, abs, glutes and grip. Make sure you’ve got a good foundation in push-ups, pull-ups and dips prior to beginning your clutch lever training.

To perform a clutch lever, stand next to a sturdy vertical pole and wrap your arm around it, clutching it tightly. Keeping your elbow fairly close to your body with your hand just above shoulder height, reach your opposite arm behind your back to get a solid grip on the pole right outside your hip. Squeeze tightly with both hands and lean your trunk back, using your forearm beneath you for leverage to lie back into a horizontal position. Allow your top arm to extend as you lean back; feel free to experiment with varying degrees of elbow flexion.

To achieve a successful clutch lever, you’ll need to maintain tension through your entire body. Also, be careful not to lean your weight too much toward the pole. Doing so can lead you to spin out of position. Though it may take some time to get the hang of this exercise, with practice you will be able to gradually work up to longer holds.

Watch the video below for more:

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The PCC Has Arrived!

The inaugural Progressive Calisthenics Certification workshop this past weekend was an amazing success!

Over 50 fitness trainers, athletes and exercise enthusiasts from all over the world showed up for a crash course in calisthenics and a chance to take on the Century workout to earn the the title of PCC certified instructor.

The enthusiasm of the attendees was overwhelming and the positive energy was impossible to ignore. Dozens of attendees achieved their first muscle-up, lever or human flag and many other personal bests were set during this groundbreaking event. It was truly a weekend I will never forget. Along the way, challenges were overcome, new friendships were formed and lives were forever changed.

The event blew away my expectations; between the wonderful attendees and my co-instructors Danny Kavadlo, Adrienne Harvey and Steven Low, this was the most impressive group of athletes I’ve had the pleasure of working with in my career so far.

Congratulations to the first class of PCC instructors! I can’t wait to do it again in August!

Al Kavadlo – June 2013 Update

This year has been going by so fast, it’s hard to believe summer is practically upon us. So much has been happening and so much more excitement is on the horizon!

This weekend, I’ll be leading the first ever Progressive Calisthenics Certification. You can read more of my thoughts on this groundbreaking event on the PCC blog.

In other PCC news, our first European workshop has been confirmed and will take place this November in Gothenberg, Sweden.

Write On!
I’ve begun work on my fourth book, tentatively titled Stretching Your Boundaries – Flexibility Training for Extreme Calisthenic Strength. The book will be released on Dragon Door Publications in early 2014.

My brother and fellow PCC master instructor, Danny Kavadlo, is also working on a new book. Danny’s book, Everybody Needs Training – Expert Tips for Personal Trainers, will be out this fall. I’m writing the foreword for the book and I’ve also been helping Danny with the photos.

Additionally, I’ve become a regular contributor to Bodybuilding.com. My recent article on handstands has generated a lot of interest in bodyweight training amongst the bodybuilding crowd. I’m very excited to get to spread the word about calisthenics over there!

Plus I’ve got two new YouTube videos for you to check out!

Zen Fitness

“Absorb what is useful, discard what is useless, and add what is uniquely your own.” – Bruce Lee

Throughout my life, I’ve experimented with dozens of different exercise modalities.

I’ve used barbells, dumbbells, kettlebells, medicine balls, sandbags, and just about every other heavy object I could think of to try lifting.

I’ve done parkour, martial arts, Marathons and yoga. I even tried a Triathlon.

I believe my various experiences have helped me become a more well-rounded physical specimen, but after all of those things, I always come back to the simplest, most direct way of training I’ve ever known – calisthenics.

I love calisthenics training because it requires nothing more than your body, your mind and your warrior spirit.

You don’t need to buy anything, go anywhere or put on any special clothing. Anybody can start right now.

As Maya Angelou once said, “Ain’t nothing to it but to do it.” (Or was that Ronnie Coleman?)

There’s a lot to love about calisthenics, but my favorite thing is how it keeps you in the present. When you’re working on developing a new skill, you need to give all of your attention to the task at hand.

When you are completely focused on your training, the division between body and mind breaks down and everything else seems to fall away.

This phenomenon has been called different things by different people. Whether you call it mindfulness, samadhi, flow state or any other name, it’s a beautiful thing when it happens.

This is actually the subject of my first book, We’re Working Out! A Zen Approach to Everyday Fitness.

Over the years, I’ve learned and absorbed many things from different places, taken what’s worked for me, and used it all to develop my own theories and methods, which continue to adapt and take shape before my eyes. I’m constantly working to refine and expand my movement repertoire and I still look for inspiration in new and varied places.

I owe a thank-you to anyone I’ve ever trained, trained with, worked with, worked-out with or known in any capacity whatsoever. Some people have obviously had a greater impact than others, but everyone I’ve ever interacted with (even electronically!) has in some way shaped who I am today.

The video below shows a variety of exercises I’ve picked up (and in some cases modified) from different bodyweight disciplines, all blended into seamless, flowing movement.

Be present for your training, have fun and find your own path.

We’re Working Out! with Jack Arnow

My brother Danny and I recently had the pleasure of meeting and training with legendary bodyweight strongman (and fellow Brooklyn native) Jack Arnow.

A training partner of Jasper Benincasa, who’s considered by many to be the strongest pull-up bar athlete of all time, Jack is well-known for his accomplishments in the world of one-arm chin-ups.

Jack was actually one of the first people to ever write about the subject; his article on one arm chin-up training predates my book Raising The Bar by several years.

In his prime, Jack was known to perform a one arm chin-up while holding a 35 lb. weight. Now, at age 70, he’s still stronger than 99% of guys, regardless of age.

Watch the video below for more:

April 2013 Update

In anticipation of the paperback release of my new book, Pushing The Limits! – Total Body Strength With No Equipment, I’ve been making the rounds on the internet fitness scene.

Since my last update, I’ve written new articles for Bodybuilding.com as well as T-Nation, plus I designed a series of workout routines for followers of Tribesports.

There’s also this piece I wrote for the PCC blog about my experiences in the fitness industry.

If that’s not enough, I’m the featured coach this month on Breaking Muscle. Look for lots of content over there from me during the next few weeks.

We’re Work(shop)ing Out!
The inaugural PCC workshop this June has sold out and a second PCC in St. Paul has been confirmed for the weekend of August 23-25. Additional PCC workshops in other cities will be announced in the weeks and months to come.

Danny and I are also leading a couple of smaller, non-certification workshops on the East Coast this month. We’ll be at Nimble Fitness in NYC on April 14 and we’ll be in Milford, Connecticut for two workshops on April 28th. There are still spots open for these workshops.

I’ll also be hosting a book release party for Pushing The Limits! on April 26th in NYC.
Click here for all the details.

Plus I’ve got two new videos for you to check out!

Al Kavadlo – March 2013 Update

There’s been a ton of exciting stuff going on lately!

My new book, Pushing The Limits! Total Body Strength With No Equipment was released last month on ebook and has already started generating a buzz.

The paperback is officially set for release on Friday, April 26. Nimble Fitness will be hosting a book signing/release party that night and you are all invited to attend!

Speaking of Nimble Fitness, my brother Danny and I will be leading a one-day bodyweight strength training workshop at Nimble this April. (Click the link to find out more or register.)

I’ve also been featured on a bunch of other websites recently! Highlights include this guest post I wrote for Mark’s Daily Apple, this interview I did with Gold Medal Bodies and a great review of my Raising The Bar DVD on Bodybuilding.com.

If that’s not enough, I’ve got two new video clips to share. This first one was shot the day after NYC got hit by winter storm Nemo. There’s no workout like a snow workout!

This next one shows you what happens when you record super-slow calisthenics and then play it back in fast forward. We’re working out…in hyper-speed!

Pushing The Limits! Ebook

Pushing The Limits! – Total Body Strength With No Equipment is now available in ebook format! (Paperback coming in April.)

While my last book, Raising The Bar covers all the essential bodyweight exercises that require a pull-up bar, my new book focuses on my favorite bodyweight exercises that can be done with no equipment at all.

Pushing The Limits! covers dozens of types of push-ups and squats, including one arm push-ups and one-legged squats. The book also goes over back bridges, headstands, handstands and other inversions.

Click here for more information or to purchase your copy of Pushing The Limits!

Here’s what people are saying about the book:

When people ask me about bodyweight strength training, I point them to Al Kavadlo. Pushing the Limits! is a must-have for bodyweight training enthusiasts or anyone looking to build strength without lifting weights. Al lays out dozens of effective exercises for every fitness level, while making the journey fun and encouraging.”

Mark Sisson, author of The Primal Blueprint

“Whether you are an advanced bodyweight conditioning athlete or a wet behind the ears newbie, Al’s Pushing the Limits! has something for you. Easy to follow progressions allow you to master advanced push up, squat and bridging variations. All you need is the will to do it! No gym required.”

Robb Wolf, author of The Paleo Solution

“In this awesome new book, Al only asks that you find ONE piece of equipment—your body! Stoic, Spartan, perfection…this book is bodyweight strength training for the ultimate purist!”

Paul Wade, author of Convict Conditioning

“This is the book I wish I had when I first started working out. Knowing Al’s secrets and various progressions would have saved me years of wasted time, frustration and injuries. The variations of The Big Three and progressions Al lays out will keep you busy for years.”

Jason Ferruggia, author of Renegade Muscle

“I LOVE this freaking Book!!! I will use it with my athletes, with the adults I train, in my own training and with my kids. This stuff reminds me of the old school Strength & Health Magazine, I’m fired UP!”

Zach Even-Esh, author of The Bodyweight Bodybuilding Training System

“Al is a master at developing the foundations of true strength through the use of the most complex, sophisticated and powerful training tool ever devised – the human body. Pushing The Limits! is a practical and entertaining book that describes ancient methods for building futuristic strength.”

Elliott Hulse, creator of The Grow Stronger Method


Click here for more information or to purchase your copy of Pushing The Limits!

The Century Workout

Over the last several weeks, interest in the upcoming PCC workshop this June has grown beyond my expectations.

We’re still more than four months out from the inaugural certification and we’ve already filled almost all of the 75 spots allocated for the event. This is going to be a truly momentous occasion!

As the PCC course material is based heavily on the work of Convict Conditioning author Paul Wade, a key part of earning the PCC title is passing Coach Wade’s “Century” test.

The Century is a strength and conditioning challenge that consists of 100 consecutive bodyweight repetitions performed as follows:

Men                                       Women
40 Squats                              40 Squats
30 Push-ups                         30 Knee Push-ups
20 Hanging Knee Raises     20 Hanging Knee Raises
10 Pull-ups                           10 Australian Pull-ups

A lot of people have asked about how the test will be judged. Here are some guidelines to make sure you are doing things the PCC way:

  •  The exercises must be performed in the order listed above. No exceptions.
  •  Squats must be performed with a minimum depth of top of the thighs parallel to the floor and a full lock out at the top of each rep. Arms may be raised in front, crossed, or placed on top of the head. Heels must stay flat the entire time.
  •  Push-up depth must reach a minimum of 90 degrees of flexion as measured along the outside of the elbow and a full lockout must be achieved at the top of every rep. A straight body position must be maintained throughout the entire range of motion. No sticking your butt into the air or leaving your hips down on the ground.
  •  Hanging knee raises must be performed with the knees being raised above waist level and a full extension of the legs at the bottom of every rep. Swinging shall be kept to a minimum. Arms must remain straight the entire set.
  •  Pull-ups may be performed with an overhand or underhand grip. The chin must clear the bar at the top of each rep and a full extension must be reached at the bottom. Kipping will not be allowed. (Australian pull-ups are to be performed with the bar at waist height and a straight body position must be maintained throughout.)
  •  Rest may be taken in between exercises, but each exercise must be completed in a single set. You may pause briefly between reps as long as the position is held (i.e. top of push-up position, bottom of pull-up, etc.)
  •  The reps may be performed as quickly as you like as long as all the above rules are adhered to. Form first!

In the videos below, you’ll see the Century demonstrated in real time by three different people: myself, my brother Danny, and our PCC co-instructor Adrienne Harvey.

Progressive Calisthenics

Since announcing the upcoming Progressive Calisthenics Certification, I have been getting more emails and messages than ever!

Many of the questions are about when the PCC will be coming to additional cities, others want to know what to expect when they attend. Though I don’t have any additional dates to announce yet, I can tell you that the amount of interest in this workshop has been even greater than we anticipated. It’s a safe bet that additional dates will be added. I’ll keep you posted as soon as details are confirmed.

In the meantime, Convict Conditioning author Paul “Coach” Wade (my collaborator on the PCC) has written an excellent FAQ page about the PCC that you can check out here.

I’ve also just posted the third video in my progressive calisthenics series. I saved the best for last: pull-ups!

And in case you missed them, here are the first two videos on push-ups and squats:

Al Kavadlo – Yearly Recap 2012

Without a doubt, 2012 has been the biggest year of my career so far!

Between the release of my second book, Raising The Bar, and the companion DVD, I’ve accomplished things this year I once would’ve thought impossible.

(Speaking of the DVD, take a look at begin2dig.com for a very thorough review, including some exclusive screenshots. There’s also this audio interview I recently did on PhysicalLiving.com.)

This website has grown a lot in the last year as well, receiving over a million page views in 2012. We’ve also added a message board forum and set up an official store to make it simpler to order my products. Plus the site got an awesome makeover courtesy of Chris James from MindTattoos.com.

I also achieved a personal goal of completing my first Triathlon this past July!

More To Come
From the looks of it, things ain’t slowing down in 2013. I’ve just about finished the manuscript for my next book, Pushing The Limits! – Total Body Strength With No Equipment, and I’m now in the process of making my final photo selections for the book. Once that is done, I will begin working with Dragon Door on designing the layout. It’s looking good for a spring release, with the possibility of the ebook version being available this winter.

The big news, however, is the upcoming Progressive Calisthenics Certification workshops, the first of which will take place June 7-9 in St. Paul, MN. If you’ve ever wanted to train with me in person, this is your chance. Spots are already filling up, so sign up now before it’s too late!

Speaking of progressive calisthenics, here’s the second installment in my video series: