Next Level Strength


Next Level Strength – The Ultimate Rings and Parallettes Program is on sale now!

The latest Kavadlo Bros collaboration includes a brand new bodyweight program using rings and parallettes, as well as a detailed section on programming your own custom workouts. The book also contains extensive nutritional guidance and lots of other new insights.

Here’s what people are saying about Next Level Strength:


“Al and Danny cut to a depth that most calisthenic practitioners will never reach. What you have before you is a well researched, practical approach to achieving your fitness goals through bodyweight training, produced by the experts in their field.”
—Jeff Cavaliere MSPT, CSCS, ATHLEAN-X™

“In Arnold’s classic book, The Education of a Bodybuilder, Arnold stresses the importance of bodyweight training. His insights are brilliant, correct and… completely ignored. Danny and Al once again remind us of the need for bodyweight training in their new book, Next Level Strength.

I have been using the techniques that Danny and Al have taught me personally and I continue to make progress well after the age of sixty. This is amazing information brought to you by two of the best people I know.”

—Dan John, Author of The Hardstyle Kettlebell Challenge

Next Level Strength takes all the power of old school calisthenics and blasts it to a higher level!

Just when I think the Kavadlo library of advanced calisthenics cannot possibly be improved upon, they raise the game for everyone else! Next Level Strength is brilliant…make no mistake: this is the ULTIMATE manual on using rings and parallettes as old school calisthenics tools. As I’ve gotten older I’ve found myself utilizing the techniques in this awesome book more and more…the result has ALWAYS been the same: old aches and pains vanish, my joints heal, I gain fresh muscle, and I make breakthroughs in total-body strength.

If you have seen rings and parallettes in gyms and were wondering how to use them to take your training to the next level quickly and safely, or if you are just looking for new tools to explode your athleticism beyond your old limits, Next Level Strength belongs on your bookshelf! 10/10!”

—Paul “Coach” Wade, Author of Convict Conditioning


“Danny and Al Kavadlo have truly taken their already masterful bodyweight strength instruction to the next level with Next Level Strength. Rings and parallettes are great training tools, but the genius of this book is in the exercise selection and progressions. The program is accessible to the beginner, while giving the advanced trainee all they can handle. Most importantly, the program is fun and goal oriented, and will be in regular rotation with my own training. The Kavadlos always set the bar high with the quality of their books, and I think this one will become my favorite, which is saying a lot. Next Level Strength should be on the bookshelf of any serious student of strength. Highly recommended!”

—Dr. Chris Hardy, co-author of Strong Medicine

Next Level Strength is available in both paperback and ebook versions. Click the link to get your copy today!

Kavadlo Brothers TRAIN Magazine Cover

Kavadlo TRAIN MagazineHey hey hey! The Kavadlo Bros are on the cover of the new issue of TRAIN magazine! What a way to start off 2019!

I’ve been a contributor to TRAIN since the very first issue and I’ve been in over 60 issues since the magazine’s inception, but being on the cover is a very special honor – an honor that Danny and I are extremely grateful for.

We owe a big thank you to every one of you for your support over the years. This would not be possible without you guys!

If you want to see more of this type of thing in the future, please continue to support us by picking up a copy wherever fine magazines are sold. It should be on the stands until the end of January, so grab a copy before they’re all gone.

(They don’t like smiling faces on their cover so I had to mean mug it for this shot. You can still tell that I’m smiling inside.)

Air Baby Tutorial

Air Baby

The air baby is an advanced handbalancing exercise that combines strength, balance and skill.

It’s a visually breathtaking maneuver that can take years to perfect.

The air baby has origins in breakdancing, but it’s also become a trademark move of calisthenics and certain styles of yoga.

Though the air baby requires a high level of strength and control, the process of building toward the full movement can help you improve those attributes.

Here’s a 5-step progression you can use to achieve the full air baby.

Take your time with each step and be patient.

Crow Pose

Step One – The Crow Pose
The first step toward learning an air baby is the classic Crow Pose. In fact, you can think of the air baby like a one-arm/one-leg version of the crow.

Step Two – One Leg Crow
Once you can comfortably hold the crow for 30 seconds, you are ready to try taking one leg away and reaching it outward. You will need to shift more of your weight toward your fingers in order to stay balanced in this position.

Step Three – One Leg Crow with Staggered Hands
After you can do a crow with one leg extended for more than 10 seconds, you are ready to try the pose with your hands staggered. The idea here is to place less weight in your secondary arm by keeping it farther away from your body. You will also need to shift the position of your primary hand so that your fingers are facing out to the side rather than forward.

At this point you can also begin to play with turning your body slightly sideways and starting to stack your hips. You may be surprised by how much core strength this demands, particularly in the obliques on the side of your primary balancing hand.

Air Baby Progression

Step Four – Assisted Air Baby
Once you can hold the previous progression for longer than 10 seconds, you can take more weight away from your assisted hand by raising up onto the fingertips. Then you can gradually start removing fingers.

Eventually, you’ll be close enough to a full air baby that all you’ll need for assistance is one finger. Even still, it can be a pretty big jump between this step and the full air baby.

Step Five – Air Baby
Once you can hold the assisted air baby for several seconds with just one finger, you can experiment with starting to remove the assisting hand completely. Be prepared for a lot of trial and error as you learn to find the sweet spot between tipping too far forward and falling too far backward.

Additional Air Baby Tips
–You may need to experiment with the exact placement of your knee in relation to your elbow. If it is too high or too low, you won’t be able to balance.

–It can help to think about pressing the ground away with your balancing arm while crunching your obliques to keep your knee on your elbow.

–Keeping the extended leg contracted and squeeze the heel of your bent leg toward your butt.

–Don’t be alarmed if your knee and/or elbow gets chafed from the friction caused by practicing this exercise. Sometimes breakdancers will wear a wrap or pad on the elbow to help with this.

–It may be helpful to first learn the one arm elbow lever before going for the air baby, as they are similar in some ways, and the air baby is more difficult.

Watch the video below for demonstrations and more:

How to Hang from a Pull-up Bar by Your Feet

Pullup Bar Feet HangEver since I was a kid, I always wanted to be Batman. Now I’m one step closer.

The calisthenics foot hang involves hanging upside down from a pull-up bar with no contact points other than the tops of your feet.

It’s a fun and challenging exercise that can build foot and leg strength as well as confidence and mental fortitude.

Feets of Strength
In the world of calisthenics, there are some exercises that you absolutely need to do: squats, push-ups and pull-ups, for example, are non-negotiable in my book.

Then there are exercises that are “nice to do” – if you are interested. You can get in great shape without these moves, but they do have added benefits, and perhaps more importantly – they look awesome!

I’m talking about things like the human flag, elbow lever and yes – hanging upside down from a pull-up bar by your bare feet.

Hanging Leg Raise Toes to Bar
Tread Lightly
So how does one begin to train for such a move? The first thing I recommend is learning to do a toes-to-bar leg raise – even if you need to bend your knees a bit for now.

Learning the toes-to-bar is a good prerequisite, as you pretty much need to be able to do this in order to get your feet in position to begin. It will also ensure a solid baseline of core strength, which plays a key role in the calisthenics foot hang.

When you are ready to try, start by hanging from a bar, then lift your legs all the way up and hook your feet over the top of the bar. Aim to get as close to your ankle joint as possible in order to give yourself the best leverage.

From there, slowly begin loosening your grip as you actively flex your toes toward your shins and squeeze your quads, shifting weight onto the tops of your feet.

Hanging From FeetIf you feel ready, try moving one hand from the pull-up bar onto one of the side posts that supports the bar. Eventually you will be able to take both hands away from the bar, instead holding onto both posts for support. From here you can progressively put less weight in your hands over time until you feel ready to remove them completely.

Toe-tal Body Tension
Make sure you are actively maintaining tension throughout your body the entire time and remember to squeeze your abs. In fact, you may find it easier to hang in a sit-up position with your torso flexed forward at first.

If you feel like you are starting to lose your footing, be ready to grab the side posts and lower yourself down carefully before you fall. However, I recommend making sure there is something soft beneath you, just in case you slip.

Bare Feat
Though the purest version of the move is performed barefoot, it may be helpful to practice with sneakers on at first.

Just like the skin on your hands when you were new to pull-ups, the skin on your feet will need to get conditioned to supporting your body weight. And yes, you can get callouses on the tops of your feet if you spend enough time hanging from them.

As is the case with all calisthenics exercises, a high strength-to-mass ratio is crucial to performing this move.

With enough practice, you can eventually get pretty comfortable hanging in this position. Then you can try doing it while simultaneously tearing a deck of cards in half.

Al Kavadlo 2017 Year in Review

PCC Australia 2017

“Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.” –Lucius Annaeus Seneca

With 2017 winding down, it’s hard to believe another year is coming to an end.

It’s been a good one, and I’m excited to see what 2018 has in store!

Here’s a quick look back at some of my personal highlights from the past 365 days:

PCC? Yeah you know me!
My role as lead instructor for the Progressive Calisthenics Certification once again had me teaching bodyweight strength training workshops across the USA. I also got to teach in the UK, Poland and Australia!

It’s a privilege and an honor to continue to teach the world’s #1 bodyweight strength training certification all over the globe. If you’ve ever wanted to train with me in person, the PCC is the place to be!

I hope to see you at a PCC event in 2018!
Get Strong Amazon

Get Strong and Universal Strength
2017 saw the release of my latest book, which I co-wrote with my brother Danny Kavadlo.

Simply titled GET STRONG, the newest Kavadlo Bros book hit #1 in Amazon’s Exercise and Fitness category multiple times during the year.

Additionally, I released my first-ever online video course this year, called Universal Strength. The initial response from the first wave of people who went through the program was even better than I had hoped!

Universal Strength is currently closed for registration but will reopen in January. In addition to the 30-day structured video course, Universal Strength members also get access to my new premium membership club, where I’ve been uploading exclusive videos and answering people’s questions personally. I’m very excited to continue Universal Strength in 2018!

newupdatepromo2App-solute Value
My animated We’re Working Out! App got a new update this year!

This latest update includes improved animations, more exercises and more workouts.

We also added a tracking feature so you can record your workouts and monitor your progress.

The app is available for both iOS and Andriod.

Go check it out!

Media Player
I appeared in several magazines this year, including TRAIN magazine and Men’s Journal. I was also featured in Poland’s #1 strength training publication, Body Challenge.

And of course, I continued creating content for various websites throughout 2017, like Bodybuilding.com, T-Nation and Mark’s Daily Apple.

Here are links to my top five articles that I published in 2017 (you may notice a theme):

T-Nation – Five Damn Good Reasons to do Bodyweight Training

Bodybuilding.com – The Top Five Newbie Calisthenics Mistakes

GMB Fitness – Five Steps to Achieve the Human Flag

PCC Blog – Five Reasons to Practice Pistol Squats

Bodybuilding.com – Five Advanced Pull-up Variations for Building Muscle and Strength

Nailed It!
In addition to continuing to refine my calisthenics practice, I also began dabbling in some other feats of strength. This year I learned to tear a deck of cards in half and even started bending nails!


Attitude of Gratitude
I’m extremely grateful for all the good fortune that I received this year and I owe a big “thank you” to everyone who read my articles, purchased my products, or supported me in any way this year. I appreciate your continued commitment. Onward and upward in 2018!

Hey hey hey! We’re Working Out!

Al and Grace Kavadlo 2017

How to Do A Double Under

Al Kavadlo Double Under

Who knew you could burn fat and have fun at the same time?

Those of you who’ve been following me for a while probably know that I’m not a fan of “cardio workouts” – but I do love me some jump rope training!

Jumping rope burns a ton of calories, plus it’s a great workout for your heart, lungs, legs, grip…and brain!

You see, unlike mind-numbing treadmill or stationary bike workouts, jumping rope requires you to stay focused and pay attention to your body, which has major cognitive benefits.

And wouldn’t you know it – by focusing on the task rather than the outcome, you can have a more enjoyable experience – and still get ripped!

Double Under Technique
The double under is a particularly effective technique for expending huge amounts of energy and revving your metabolism, but it can also be quite challenging to learn. As such, make sure you are very comfortable with standard jump rope technique before you begin working on the double under.

In order to perform a successful double under, you’ll need to whip the rope extremely quickly and jump higher than normal to make room for the rope to pass beneath your feet twice before you land.

I also suggest keeping your hands relatively low and slightly forward of your hips. If your hands are too high or too far back, you won’t have enough clearance beneath your feet.

At first, you may only be able to perform one double under at a time, but with practice you will eventually be able to string together multiple reps.

Double Trouble
There’s often a lot of trial and error involved in figuring out the proper timing for a double under. It’s a skill that takes practice and patience to master, so try not to get too frustrated in the beginning.

It’s best to practice on a soft surface like rubber or grass in order to minimize impact on your joints. Also make sure to bend your knees and ankles upon landing in order to reduce impact.

It can also help to learn the technique with a lightweight speed-rope, like “The Bolt” from Crossrope.

Crossrope_Bolt_Set

Lighter ropes can move a lot faster than heavier ones, and I’ve found that ropes which weigh around 3 or 4 ounces tend to be ideal for learning double unders.

Once you’ve gotten fluid with your technique, you can try using an even lighter rope for more speed. Be aware, however, that very light ropes can potentially be harder to control, so some people will prefer to stick with a slightly heavier option.

That’s part of what I love about “The Bolt” from Crossrope: It comes with two ropes that are easily interchangeable – a lightweight 3 oz rope and a super-lightweight 1 oz rope.

Watch the video below for more:

One Arm Elbow Lever Tutorial

One Arm Elbow Lever CrocodileThe One Arm Elbow Lever (aka Crocodile) is one of my favorite handbalancing skills.

It takes a lot of practice and patience to learn to balance in this position, but once you get the hang of it, you can have a lot of fun with this move.

In fact, it doesn’t require much more effort than the two arm version once you get the feel for the balance.

Of course the first step toward learning a one arm elbow lever is to learn the standard two arm elbow lever.

Assuming you’ve got that taken care of, the next course of action is practicing a self-assisted version of the full one arm elbow lever by using your secondary arm to spot yourself.

As with the standard elbow lever, I recommend learning to do the one arm elbow lever on a bench or other elevated surface before trying it on the ground, as being elevated leaves more room for you to lift your legs into position.

Elbow Placement
The placement of the elbow for this exercise should be right by your hip – don’t go too close to your belly button, which is a common mistake. As such, you will need to lean your body ever so slightly toward your balancing hand in order to avoid tipping over in the opposite direction.

Additionally, when practicing on an elevated surface, you can experiment with wrapping your fingers around the side, or flat-palming it – one might come a bit easier to you, but both ways are ultimately worth practicing.

Self Assisted One Arm Elbow LeverOnce you have your elbow in place, tighten your abs and lift your legs. It’s best to start with your legs wide and knees bent in order to get a feel for the balance.

After both legs are in the air, you can begin to play with taking weight away from your assisting arm. I recommend going up on the fingertips to begin shifting more weight onto your primary hand. From there, you can slowly start taking fingers away.

Don’t be in a hurry to get to the full one arm elbow lever. Staying on one finger for a while can be a very helpful progression toward acquiring this skill.

side elbow lever

Be My Lever
It will take a lot of practice, but eventually you will be able to balance solely on one arm. Once you get the feel for this, you can try fully extending your legs and eventually bringing them together. Holding a one arm elbow lever with your legs closed makes the balance significantly more difficult.

After it’s no longer challenging to hold a one arm elbow lever on a bench, you can explore performing the move on the ground, or even on bars and other odd objects.

You can also try changing the angle of your body to make the move more challenging, such as rotating to a sideways position.

Watch the video below for more:

The Benefits of Cold Exposure

Abominible Snow AlEvery time I take a shower, I go through a little battle inside my head.

Allow me to explain…

Several months back, I read Wim Hof’s The Way of The Iceman, and it inspired me to experiment with cold exposure training.

In the book, Hof suggests ending every shower by turning the dial all the way to the cold side, then staying under the frigid water for as long as possible.

The first time I tried it, I barely lasted 30 seconds and found the whole thing to be quite unpleasant.

When it was over, however, I felt a powerful surge of energy which encouraged me to do it again the next day. After doing this daily for a few weeks, I’d conditioned myself to withstand several minutes under the cold water.

Though I’m a bit skeptical of some of the bold claims certain proponents of cold exposure training have made, there are three clear benefits I’ve experienced from it, and that’s enough to keep me going:

1 – Increased Energy
Though I’m not typically lacking in vitality, I do feel especially energized right after a cold shower. When the water hits my skin, it really wakes me up and gives my nervous system a jolt.

The science also shows that when the body is exposed to cold, it causes the capillaries to contract and blood is rushed away from the extremities in order to keep the internal organs warm. In the moments following cold exposure, the capillaries expand and fresh blood is returned to those areas. That’s probably why I’ve had some really good workouts right after a cold shower.

2 – Improved Recovery
When you’re fired up, a cold shower is a great way to cool down. Though it may seem like a contradiction to my last point, cold showers are perfect after a workout, especially if you’ve built up a lot of body heat.

Cold exposure following an intense training session also seems to help relieve muscular soreness, which makes sense given the anti-inflammatory power of the cold. There’s a reason it’s common practice to put ice on a fresh wound or injury. The healing power of the cold is undeniable.

3 – The Ultimate Meditation
Frozen YogaThe cold has an amazing way of bringing you into the present moment. It’s pretty much impossible to daydream or think about anything other than the physical sensations you are experiencing while you are in the midst of cold exposure. All you can do is stand there, breathe and accept it.

Focusing on the breath is a cornerstone of virtually all forms of meditation training, as well as a major part of the Wim Hof Method. If you focus your mind deep inside your belly and take big, powerful breaths, it’s easier to keep from succumbing to the cold.

It can also be helpful to move around. If I’m doing outdoor cold exposure, this could mean hitting a few yoga poses and/or doing some light stretching. If I’m taking a cold shower, I might start by letting the water hit my back and legs for the first few seconds, then turn to the side for a bit and let it run over my shoulder, finally letting it hit my chest, armpits and face after I’ve had a little time to adapt to the sensation.

Cold War
Even after following Wim’s teachings for the last several months and experiencing the benefits firsthand, it’s still sometimes a struggle for me to turn the shower knob to the cold side. Occasionally there are days when I’m eager to feel the cold against my skin, but much of the time there’s a voice inside my head trying to talk me out of turning that dial.

And that’s a big part of why I keep doing it.

Forcing myself to override the part of my brain that desires comfort has made me mentally stronger.

Just like my calisthenics training, my experience with cold training has helped reinforce for me how to best approach potentially daunting tasks without getting overwhelmed. The key is to focus on breaking the bigger task down into smaller chunks.

Cold ExposureOn the days when I really don’t want to feel the cold, I tell myself I’m just going to do 30 seconds. Once I get to that point, it’s usually not hard to convince myself to endure another 30 seconds. After a minute, I try to convince myself to say in for another minute. Sometimes it even starts to feel good!

There are days when I time myself on my phone and make sure I do a full 5 minutes. Other days I don’t bother with the timer and just stay in for as long as I can handle.

In addition to cold showers, I’ve also experimented with outdoor cold exposure, ice baths and cold rooms (like the one in the photo to the left), which can all get very intense.

Of course, I do take a day off once or twice a week when I am feeling particularly dispassionate about experiencing the cold.

Just like strength training, it’s good to give your body a break from all that stimulation occasionally. Typically when I skip a day, I’m more eager to go for it the next time.

Cold, Hard Truth
Studies continue to surface about the benefits of cold showers, ice baths and other forms of cold exposure therapy, yet many people are still hesitant to give it a shot. We live in a culture that encourages comfort above all else, but being comfortable all the time does not allow us to grow.

I’m sure you have a friend or two who thinks that you’re crazy for doing calisthenics. Keep that in mind if you think I’m crazy after you watch the video below:

If you’d like more info about cold training, pick up a copy of Wim Hof’s The Way of The Iceman.

Revolving Pull-up Handles for Grip Strength

Rotating Thick Pull-up Handles
There’s a street hustle in parts of Europe where passersby are offered the chance to win 100 euro if they can hang from a bar for two minutes.

To play the game, an entry fee of 10 euro is required, which seems like a small price to pay if you’re confident in your ability to hang.

The only problem is that nobody ever wins. That’s what makes it such an effective hustle.

A two-minute bar hang is no easy task, but it’s something that any serious calisthenics practitioner can accomplish.

So what’s the catch? How come nobody wins the 100 euro?

The answer is simple, but hardly noticeable upon first glance, hence the effectiveness of the con: The bar they have you hang from is very thick and – more importantly – it rotates.

Perhaps you’re thinking that a little bit of spin shouldn’t make it harder to hang. That’s what I thought, too, which is precisely why people fall for this game.

As The Bar Turns
I recently found myself in London teaching a Progressive Calisthenics Certification workshop at The Commando Temple, a fantastic place for calisthenics training, and home to some very serious grip enthusiasts. In fact, their head calisthenics coach and PCC Team Leader, Fitsz Dubova, is also a world-record holding grip strength competitor.

During one of the breaks at PCC, Fitsz showed me a pair of rotating handles that can be hung below a standard pull-up bar. Then he had me try to hang from them, so I could see for myself how they felt.

Fitsz demonstrates a one arm pull-up at PCC

Fitsz demonstrates a one arm pull-up at PCC


I was immediately surprised by how tough it was to hold onto the rotating handles, but I was still able to hang for a bit in spite of the increased difficulty.

Then Fitsz challenged me to try hanging from it on one arm.

On a standard bar, I can hang for a minute or longer on one hand, but on this thick, rotating apparatus, I was barely able to hang for two seconds!

Though I was intrigued, I didn’t get much time to play around with the revolving handles that weekend. After I returned home to NYC, however, I began thinking about them again.

I started looking around online, and came across an article on Jedd Johnson’s blog detailing how to make your own rotating grip handles. Then I went to my local hardware store and got everything I needed to assemble my own revolving pull-up bar handles.

Each handle consists of two pieces of PVC pipe – one inside of the other – with a foot and a half of chain threaded through and attached to a climbing strap with a carabiner. Placing one piece of pipe inside of the other is what causes the handles to rotate smoothly. They are cheap and easy to assemble.

Roll With It
Training with these handles has been a humbling experience. I’m no stranger to thick bar pull-ups, but the rotating nature of these handles makes them very tough to hold onto. I have pretty strong hands from decades of doing pull-ups on various types of bars, and I’ve messed around with a few kinds of grip boards and other climber’s training tools. Those of you who follow my blog also know that I recently started training to rip decks of cards in half. All of these things offer their own unique challenges, but these rotating thick grips are one of the most difficult grip tools I’ve encountered over the years.

Rolling Thick Grip

If you have a very strong grip, you might not notice right away how much harder it is to hold onto a rotating bar or rotating handles, but as soon as you begin to fatigue, it will become immediately apparent.

Think about what you do when you are hanging from a bar and start to lose your grip. Most people instinctively try to choke their hands up a bit higher on the bar for more surface contact and improved leverage.

When you try to do this on a rotating handle, however, it just spins right back to where it was, forcing you to grip from a position of unfavorable leverage. It’s impossible to utilize any type of false grip on a bar that turns.

On top of that, these 2-inch grips are too think for most people to wrap their hand completely around, which makes the idea of hanging for two minutes that much more daunting.

Though I usually prefer to grip with my thumb on the same side of the bar as the rest of my fingers, as I feel that gives me the best leverage, I’ve been practicing pull-ups and hangs on these handles with my thumb wrapped around the other side in order to purposely increase the grip challenge.

I can hang from a standard pull-up bar for close to four minutes, but so far I’ve yet to stay on these handles for a full 60 seconds.

If I ever get to two minutes, I’ll be ready to try and win that 100 euro.

Watch the clip below to see my max set of pull-ups on these revolving pull-up handles:

Learning to Tear a Deck of Cards in Half

Torn CardsLast Halloween I went to see my friend Adam RealMan perform his one-man sideshow act, which includes everything from sword swallowing and eating lit cigarettes, to bending steel and tearing decks of cards in half barehanded. Fun for the whole family!

I’d witnessed card tearing before on several occasions and found it to be entertaining and impressive, but I’d never thought to try it myself until that fateful evening.

After watching Adam’s performance, he and I got to talking and I happened to inquire about the card tearing feat. He immediately reached into his back pocket, whipped out another deck, handed it to me and told me to give it a shot.

After a quick primer on technique, I grabbed the deck as instructed and did my best to rip it in two.

“C’mon, Al – I know you’re strong! You can do this!” Adam said encouragingly, but alas he was mistaken. Instead of the cards tearing, it was the skin on my hands that tore, and I began to bleed.

“Oh yeah, that’s normal!” Adam told me. “My hands bled the first few times I tried it, too!” he continued.

After letting me struggle with the deck for a minute, Adam took the cards back from me and promptly finished what I had attempted to start, easily ripping the now twisted deck in two.

He then handed me another sealed deck from his pocket (circus people apparently carry multiple decks of cards on them at all times) and instructed me to go home and practice.

“Split the deck in half and see if you can tear 26 cards. Then build up from there.” he instructed me.

When I got home I followed his advice and was able to rip the half-deck in two. The next morning I ripped the rest of the deck in half. Then I went online and ordered a case of playing cards so I could continue practicing.

Other than the advice Adam Realman gave me on Halloween, and a few videos I watched on Youtube, I didn’t have much to go on besides my own trials and errors. So I kept working on tearing 20-30 cards at a time, and gradually started to increase that number.

Six months later I finally managed to tear a full deck of cards in half without crying, cursing or bleeding. Soon thereafter I did it on video and shared it to Instagram. It’s not pretty, but here it is:

Card Tearing Technique
After I shared that video, I sent it to Adam to get his feedback. His reply basically boiled down to, “That’s nice, but you’re doing it wrong.” Adam pointed out that when I tore the cards, the rip was beginning by the bottom of my hands and going up toward my fingers. He then informed me the correct way to do it is by initiating the tear from the top down.

I went back and re-watched those card tearing videos again and saw that Adam was right. All the guys on YouTube – including Logan Christopher, Jedd Johnson and Adam T. Glass – start the tear from the top down. It’s amazing how we can miss some of the smaller details when learning something new (even if those details are clearly demonstrated, as they are in those videos).

So the next few times I practiced tearing cards, I attempted to rip them from the top down, but no matter what I tried, the tear still started from the bottom. I couldn’t figure out what I was doing wrong.

After asking around in my inner circle, it was recommended to me that I contact Chris Rider, one of the world’s top performing strongmen, and a fantastic teacher from what I’d heard.

Turns out Chris’ coaching helped a lot. In fact, during my first card tearing session with Chris, I made as much progress as I had in the previous few months training on my own. I obviously didn’t get any stronger in one hour, but Chris helped fix my technique. I was able to apply his advice effectively because I had built a lot of hand strength from practicing on my own already, even though I’d been making some mistakes. As my brother Danny always says, Everybody Needs Training – even me!

Card Tearing S

The technique Chris taught me starts by clutching the deck horizontally with the thumb, index finger and middle finger of your non-dominant hand. If you are right-handed like me, this means you’ll clutch the deck in your left hand. Once you’ve got a tight grip on them, aim to curve the cards in toward your palm slightly, then pinch the top corner of the opposite side of the deck between the thumb and the index finger of your dominant hand. Don’t put the fleshy part of your thumb on the deck. Instead, pinch it between the thumb itself and the outside of the index finger. This was the main mistake I was making before Chris corrected my technique.

Once both hands are in place, keep a firm grip and twist the cards into an S-like position by turning the top corner upward with your dominant hand as you continue to curl the opposite end of the deck slightly downward into your palm. Use your dominant hand to tear the deck toward you, while the other hand twists away, like you were revving a motorcycle.

Initiating the tear can sometimes be easier than finishing it. The final few centimeters are often the toughest part. As such, you may need to adjust the position of your hands slightly in order to complete the tear. It can help to slide the index finger of your non-dominant hand into the tear for more leverage on that side. You’ll also want to ease up on curling the deck inward. The S-curve is helpful to start the tear, but can make it harder to finish.

Here’s a more recent tear of mine with better technique:

Wild Card
Some of you may be wondering why a calisthenics devotee like myself would spend so much time practicing a strongman feat like card tearing.

It’s a reasonable question, and my answer is that – just like calisthenics – card tearing is simply a lot of fun!

Furthermore, learning to tear a deck of cards is actually more like getting your first muscle-up than you might think.

In fact, all the physical feats I’ve achieved it my life require the same three fundamental things:

1 – Progressive Overload
Every form of strength training operates under the principle of progressive overload, which refers to developing strength through incremental resistance increases over the course of several weeks or months. In weight training, practitioners start with a light weight and slowly add more over time. In calisthenics, beginners build a foundation with basic exercises and work their way up to harder ones (pull-ups before muscle-ups, etc.).

In the case of card tearing, progressive overload just means beginning with fewer cards, then gradually working toward the full deck. I started with a half deck, but you can start with 15 or 20 cards and build up from there if a half deck is too much. Treat it like any other exercise: Practice a few times a week, doing 3-5 sets each session (each tear counts as one set), and aim to train at around 65-80% of your maximal strength. You shouldn’t be trying to tear as many cards as possible every time. It’s easy to get carried away with this, so take a week off if you begin to feel pain in or around your elbows.

Thumb Callous2 – Tolerance for Discomfort
In the beginning, your hands will hurt, but after a while you’ll get used to the sensation of the cards pressing into your skin. You may even start to develop callouses in strange new places. It’s just like how people who are new to pull-ups experience discomfort due to hanging from the bar, but eventually their hands toughen up and it is no longer an issue.

3 – Technique/Specificity
Like anything, the more you practice card tearing, the better you’ll get. You can understand the technique theoretically, but knowing it in a deeper sense only comes from firsthand experience, so be prepared to practice a lot before it really starts to sink in. I’m still not where I want to be with this skill, but I’m enjoying the journey.

Changing of the Card
A few months into my card tearing odyssey, my mom told me that I had some old junk laying around in her attic that she wanted me to throw away. Among the boxes were a bunch of old baseball cards from when I was a kid. For a second I was going to throw them out, then I realized I could use them for tearing!

I soon discovered that the type of cards you use can significantly alter the difficulty. In tearing several different brands of baseball cards, I found that some of them were thicker and harder to rip than others. (Don’t worry, none of them were particularly valuable.)

Even within the world of playing cards, there are many different brands and varieties, and some are harder to tear than others. The same brand of card won’t even be totally consistent from deck to deck. I encourage you to experiment with a variety of cards. The nice thing about the tougher ones is that you don’t need to use as many in order to challenge yourself and effect change.

Cards Torn in HalfGrip training is some of the most functional training you can do because we use our hands throughout the day more than just about any other part of our body. Most of us carry bags, open jars and pick up random objects every day. Since I’ve been practicing card tearing, I’ve noticed all of those tasks are starting to feel a little bit easier.

Though some will dismiss card tearing as a silly trick with no practical value, I believe it’s a great way to strengthen your hands and fingers, as well as your mental fortitude.

And there’s nothing wrong with being able to keep your friends entertained at parties.

Get Strong with the Kavadlo Brothers

GetStrongCoverDo you want a simple, effective exercise program that you can do anywhere?

Have you been searching for the best calisthenics progressions to build muscle and strength?

Are you looking for a program with proven exercise sequences, exact set and rep ranges, warm-ups and rest days?

You asked for it – you got it!

GET STRONG is the latest collaboration from me and my brother Danny and the first Kavadlo Brothers book to feature a detailed 16-week program.

Here’s what others are saying about GET STRONG:

“GET STRONG is a phenomenal program. In this book, the Kavadlo Brothers will guide you from the very beginning and help you build a proper foundation. From there, they’ll gradually progress you through four phases of strength, giving you the progressions and programing details to take you beyond what you ever thought possible.”
–Mark Sisson, Author of The Primal Blueprint

“To be strong is one thing, to teach strength is another. The Kavadlo brothers embody both. They explain everything in great detail while providing clear images of them using the world as their gym.”
–Ed Checo, Founder and CEO of Barstarzz

“I have read every word the brothers have written at least a dozen times, and there is no doubt about it–this is definitely the best book they have ever produced. Both the brothers teamed up for this one, and the elite-level calisthenics knowledge and passion these men have accumulated over decades of training and coaching at the highest level really shows on every page.

It’s got all the programming you need to get to the highest possible level of bodyweight strength, plus, it’s full of the wisdom and tactics you need to be able to apply that programming. I am very, very excited to see what students of bodyweight strength–newcomers and old dogs–are gonna be able to achieve with this book!!”
–Paul “Coach” Wade, author of Convict Conditioning

Order your copy of GET STRONG now!
GETSTRONG1170x500AVAILABLE

The Top Five Calisthenics Legs Exercises

Calisthenics LegsYou don’t need to rely on lifting weights to build strength and muscle – not even on leg day. Calisthenics training is a fantastic way to build strength throughout your entire body.

There’s a plethora of awesome calisthenics leg exercises, so it was hard to narrow this list down to just five. Some of my favorite exercises like the pistol squat and drinking bird did not make the cut.

That said, the following moves are the most universally proven for building strength and muscle – and that’s the whole point of this list. They are presented in approximate order of difficulty.

Legs get to it!

The Classic Bodyweight Squat
Unquestionably the most fundamental strength building exercise for the legs, the classic bodyweight squat hits all the muscles of your lower body, and may be a mobility challenge as well. Working your way up to 40-50 consecutive bodyweight squats will set you up with a fantastic foundation to progress your lower body strength training.

Walking Lunge
The walking lunge requires a bit more body awareness than the standard squat. It also introduces a balance component, and is a great way to hit your leg muscles from different angles. Walking lunges are the perfect complement to bodyweight squats.

Archer Squat
This asymmetrical squat variation is a beautiful merger of strength, flexibility, balance and control. It’s also a great way to target your inner thighs and can be an early lead-up step toward one-legged squats. You may have seen this move referred to as a “cossack squat” or “side-to-side squat” but no matter what you call it, it’s a fantastic exercise for the lower body.

One Leg Box Squat
Having a box, bench or other object beneath you is the perfect way to begin training single leg squats. It’s common for beginners to lose their balance at the bottom of a one leg squat. As such, the box can provide safety and stability as you build the strength and control to perform a freestanding, unassisted one leg squat.

Hover Lunge
The hover lunge is more of a pure strength exercise than other single leg squat variations like the pistol squat and shrimp squat, which have a much greater mobility component, hence their exclusion from this list.

You can think of this almost like a lunge where your rear foot remains hovering in the air. You’ll need to lean forward a bit more than in a standard lunge in order to stay balanced while on one leg. Reaching both arms forward helps with the balance as well. Be careful to lower yourself down with control – especially during those last few inches – to avoid any impact on your rear knee.

Watch the video below for more:

GETSTRONG1170x500AVAILABLE

Dragon Door Bodyweight Master Pull-up Bar Review

Dragon Door Bodyweight MasterAs much as I love pull-ups, I hadn’t actually had a proper pull-up bar in my current apartment until recently. My place doesn’t have the type of door frames that can accommodate a doorway pull-up bar, and since I live close to Tompkins Square Park, I’d been happy to head there for all my pull-up bar needs.

That changed recently when I received a Bodyweight Master Pull-up Bar from Dragon Door. As a long time member of the Dragon Door family, I was fortunate enough to get my hands on one before they went on sale to the general public. So I’ve gotten to spend a lot of time with the Bodyweight Master prior to compiling this review.

After having the Bodyweight Master Pull-up Bar from Dragon Door at home for the last few months, I can definitively tell you that it is the best freestanding pull-up unit that I have ever used. Besides being great for all kinds of pull-ups (including neutral grip), the Bodyweight Master has attachments that allow for parallel bar dips, Australian pull-ups and even human flag training.

Bodyweight Master human flagBuild-A-Bar
The Bodyweight Master arrives unassembled but doesn’t take very long to build. I’m not particularly handy, but I was able to put it together in about 90 minutes with the help of my wife. Someone with more experience building things could probably have done it faster.

The bar itself is made of steel and it is 1.5 inches in diameter. It has a rough feel to the touch, which makes it easy to grip. The unit weighs 104 pounds and can support up to 350 pounds, according to the manufacturer’s website.

The Bodyweight Master pull-up bar is adjustable in height, so it can accommodate users of all sizes (the bar can be set as high as 8’4″). While it is much sturdier than other freestanding pull-up units that I’ve used, the taller you set the bar, the less stable it becomes. Additionally, if you are practicing explosive calisthenics on this bar, be prepared for it to shake a little bit. Unfortunately, this is the nature of any freestanding, adjustable pull-up unit. A bar that’s fixed to the ground or mounted to a wall will always be more stable than one which is not.

There are holes on the bottom of the Bodyweight Master that allow it to be bolted down for maximum stability. However, I rent an apartment and have my unit set up in the living room, so that’s not a viable option for me.

Grace Kavadlo Dip
Big Dipper
As mentioned earlier, part of what makes the Bodyweight Master so unique compared to other home pull-up units are the attachments which allow for parallel bar dips. These dip handles are easy to take on and off, and are very stable. They can also be set to any width you like, which further adds to the versatility of the unit.

Beyond that, the Bodyweight Master includes a low bar that allows for Australian pull-ups, which is very easy to put on, take off and adjust. When the low bar is in place, it can also be used in conjunction with the high bar to practice a parallel grip human flag or other exercises that require two bars which are stacked vertically. You can even use the low bar to elevate your feet for incline push-ups or other such exercises.

All in all, I highly recommend the Bodyweight Master to anyone who’s looking for a freestanding pull-up unit. Compared to other products of a similar nature (like the TAPS unit, for example) the Bodyweight Master is a fantastic value and a superior product.

Watch the video below to see the Bodyweight Master in action:

Click the link for more information on the Bodyweight Master from Dragon Door

Five Animal Movements for Strength and Conditioning

Al Kavadlo AnimalPart of what makes calisthenics training so much fun is how it helps us reconnect with our animal instincts.

Crawling, climbing, running and jumping are hardwired into our DNA. There’s just something special that happens when we tap into our primal roots. It feels good to move!

The realm of bodyweight training is not limited to strength based movements like push-ups and pull-ups, or even advanced skills like the human flag or handstand. Far from it! The spectrum of human movement is virtually infinite.

The following animal inspired exercises combine strength, conditioning, mobility and body control in a fun and surprisingly challenging way.

You can practice them for time and/or distance, as they don’t lend themselves to strict sets and reps as well as many classic calisthenics exercises. Focus on keeping your movements fluid and controlled – and don’t forget to have fun!

Animal Crawl
Start on all fours with your knees below your hips and your palms directly under your shoulders. Lift your knees a few inches from the floor and begin crawling forward, while keeping your back flat and level with the ground. Try this one moving backwards for an added challenge.

Crab Walk
Sit on the floor with your knees bent so your feet are flat in front of you. Place your palms just below your shoulders and lift your hips up, putting all your weight in your hands and feet. Push down with your shoulders to maintain your posture and begin crawling forward. The crab walk works well in reverse, too.

Frog Hop
Get into a deep squat and place your hands on the ground just in front of you. Shift your weight into your hands and hop your feet in between them, using your arms to help pull yourself forward. As soon as your toes touch down in between your hands, reach your arms forward again and repeat, taking the momentum from each hop into the next repetition.

Lateral Frog Hop
Get into a deep squat then straighten one leg, reaching it all the way out to the side. Place your hands on the ground outside your bent leg, then jump your legs and hips into the air, switching the position of your legs in the air so you land with your opposite leg extended. Then shift your weight across and repeat. Make sure to practice in both directions.

Three-Legged Dog
Get into a “downward dog” position (like a push-up with your hips raised into the air) then lift one leg as high as you can. From here, take a small hop forward with your grounded foot, then gently slide both hands forward, making each hop flow right into the next. Make sure to work both sides evenly.

Watch the video below for more:

Xero Shoes Prio Review

Xero Shoes PrioI first discovered Xero Shoes several years ago during my search for a minimalist running sandal. I’d just read Born to Run, and like many others who were inspired by that book, I decided to get rid of my overly-cushioned running sneakers.

I wasn’t ready to run barefoot through the streets of NYC, but I was looking for the closest approximation. I wanted to “feel the world” without the risk of cutting the bottoms of my feet on broken glass or stepping on a syringe.

While doing an internet search for “barefoot running sandals” I came across Xero Shoes (who at the time were called “Invisible Shoes”) and immediately contacted them to place an order. The first pair I owned was just a thin piece of rubber with a single string attached to it through a few small holes. I loved those sandals!

Running in Xero Shoes PrioOver the years, Xero Shoes has grown considerably as a brand, and they’ve continued to improve and refine their products. Those simple sandals they originally offered are now much more durable, and the fastening system has come a long way from that single piece of string. (Check out the latest running sandals from Xero Shoes to see how far they have come.)

With the introduction of the new Prio running sneaker, Xero Shoes have come full circle. Instead of just offering an alternative to the traditional running sneaker, they are now offering a better running sneaker.

The Prio is Xero Shoes’ follow up to their first closed-toed shoe, the Ipari Hana, which was introduced to the world last fall. While the Hana feels more like a casual/athletic shoe hybrid, the Prio definitely feels like a full-on sneaker, albeit an extremely lightweight, flexible one. With the Prio, Xero Shoes have found the perfect balance between their ultra-minimalist sandals and the conventional running sneaker.

Al Kavadlo Xero Shoes PrioLike all Xero Shoes, the Prio is cut fairly large and is great for people who have wide feet.

Unlike a lot conventional running sneakers, however, the Prio molds to the shape of your foot, rather than forcing your foot to mold to the shape of the sneaker. It’s a very adaptable shoe that provides a more natural feel than most standard running sneakers.

Of course you can do more than just run in these bad-boys! The Prio is great for calisthenics training or any other physical activity that requires agility and/or foot movement.

The Prio is available for both men and women, in a variety of colors.

Watch the video below for more, then click here to get yourself a pair.

(Disclaimer: Al Kavadlo is an official sponsor for Xero Shoes)

The Top Five Ab Wheel Exercises

Standing Ab Wheel RolloutA lot of people know that I’m not a fan of fancy training equipment – that’s part of why I love bodyweight exercises!

The ab wheel, however, is one of the few calisthenics accessories that I deem worthwhile. It’s a very simple, portable piece of equipment that can help facilitate a fantastic full-body workout.

That’s right, the “ab wheel” actually works much more than just your abs. The exercises below will challenge your arms, shoulders, chest, back, glutes and even your legs, as well as your midsection.

Here are my top 5 ab wheel exercises, listed in order from least to most difficult:

Ab Wheel Plank
If you’ve never used an ab wheel before, this is probably where you should start. Get into a standard push-up position, only with your hands gripping the handles of the ab wheel instead of being placed on the floor. You may be surprised at first by how much the instability of the wheel increases the difficulty of the plank. (If you aren’t able to hold an ab wheel plank yet, you can modify the exercise by placing your knees on the ground instead of your toes.)

Walking Ab Wheel Plank
Once you get a feel for holding a plank on an ab wheel, you can experiment with moving in that position. Take small steps and grip the handles tightly to avoid tipping over. Maintain a straight back the whole time, keeping your hips in line with your shoulders and legs.

Kneeling Ab Wheel Roll-out
There are essentially two types of ab exercises: The first finds the abs performing some kind of trunk flexion. Crunches, sit-ups, and knee tucks are all examples of this type of ab exercise. The second type are exercises in which the abs are used primarily in a stability/anti-extension role. These include planks, hollow body holds, and front levers.

The classic ab-wheel roll-out gives you the best of both: It involves flexing and extending the trunk (like the exercises in the first category), but the most intense part of the movement happens when your body is extended horizontally, with the abs working in an anti-extension capacity (like the exercises in the second category).

Begin in a kneeling position with the ab wheel beneath your chest, then roll the wheel away from your body as you pivot from your knees, bringing your hips and torso down toward the ground. Avoid arching your back or piking your hips in the air. The lower you go, the harder the move becomes, so feel free to start with a partial range of motion at first. Eventually the plan should be to reach your arms completely overhead with your body hovering about an inch above the ground.

Reverse Ab Wheel Roll-out
For this variation you will once again begin in a plank position, except with your feet on the handles of your ab wheel instead of your hands. From there, carefully tuck your knees toward your chest, then extend your legs back into a plank position. Go slowly in order to avoid toppling over.

Standing Ab Wheel Roll-out
This is the granddaddy of all ab wheel roll-outs! Extending the range of motion by raising up onto your toes significantly increases the difficulty of an already tough exercise. As with the kneeling version, avoid arching your back or piking your hips in the air when performing this exercise. In fact, it is not uncommon for the lower back to fatigue before the abs when performing ab-wheel roll-outs, so be mindful of your lumbar region when performing this exercise.

The full standing ab-wheel roll-out may very well be the single best exercise for developing your midsection, but you’re going to have to work your way up to it gradually.

Watch the video below for more:

If you would like to get an ab wheel like the one I’m using in the video, check out Fitwood. They are currently offering a ten percent discount to my followers! Simply use the code AL10 at checkout to receive the discount.

The Top Five Push-up Variations for Building Strength and Muscle

Push-up1The push-up is one of my all-time favorite exercises. It’s simple, effective and doesn’t require any equipment besides the floor beneath your feet.

Push-ups are fantastic for building strength and muscle in the entire upper-body, particularly the chest, shoulders, triceps and abs.

My other favorite thing about push-ups is that they can be infinitely progressed and modified to keep your muscles guessing…and growing!

Though there are countless variations on the basic push-up, the following five are among the very best for building strength and muscle:

1 – Classic Push-up
The classic two arm push-up will never go out of style! Make sure you maintain a straight line from the back of your head to your heels throughout the entire range of motion. Also be sure to lower yourself all the way to the bottom and achieve a full extension of your arms at the top.

2 – Feet Elevated Push-up
Elevating your feet during a push-up changes the weight-to-limb ratio, placing more of your weight in your hands, and thereby increasing the strength and muscle building potential of the standard push-up.

3 – Archer Push-up
This variation finds one arm doing the bulk of the pushing while the opposite arm remains straight, acting as a kickstand of sorts to help stabilize the body. You can think of the archer push-up almost like a self-assisted one arm push-up.

4 – One Arm Push-up
By removing one arm from the equation entirely, you automatically double the amount of work performed on your other arm. Taking away a contact point also forces your abs and other core muscles to pick up the slack, thereby giving added benefit to this challenging movement.

Check out my full one arm push-up tutorial for more.

5 – One Arm/One Leg Push-up
Taking away a leg makes the one arm push-up even more challenging, and can help take your strength and muscle gains to the next level!

Remember to use cross-body tension to stay balanced during this difficult variation. That means that when you are pushing with your right arm, you will balance on your left leg, and vice versa.

Watch the video below for more:


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The Top 5 Pull-up Variations for Building Strength and Muscle

Al Kavadlo Pull-up MuscleIt’s no secret that pull-ups are my favorite exercise. There are an endless number of ways in which you can alter or modify the classic pull-up – and I love them all!

Still, the question remains: What are the very best pull-up variations for building strength and muscle?

Though all types of pull-ups work the entire upper-body (including the abdominal muscles), the following 5 variations are the very best for building strength and size:

Pull-up
The classic overhand pull-up has been a strength training staple for as long as the concept of “working out” has existed. Focus on driving your elbows toward your hips to fully engage your lats.

Chin-up
This underhand version of the classic pull-up is a great way to add emphasis to the biceps. It can also be a less difficult variation for beginners who struggle to perform pull-ups with the overhand grip.

Commando Pull-up
For this variation you will grasp the bar with your hands facing one another in a close grip, and your body positioned in line with the bar. This means you will have to pull yourself toward the side on the way up, which creates a unique challenge. Make sure to alternate which side of the bar your head passes with each rep.

L-sit Pull-up
The L-sit pull-up is a fantastic way to increase the demand on your abs, while also increasing the strength and muscle building potential for your entire upper body. Due to the change in leverage, all of your muscles will have to work harder than in a standard pull-up.

Archer Pull-up
The archer pull-up is an advanced variation that involves keeping one arm straight while relying primarily on the opposite side to do the bulk of the pulling. Begin like you’re performing a very wide pull-up, but bend only one of your arms as you pull your chin over the bar. This means your torso will shift toward that side while the opposite arm stays straight. The hand of your straight arm may need to open and roll over the bar at the top of the range of motion, depending on your wrist mobility.

Watch the video below for more!


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Al Kavadlo 2016 Year in Review

PCC1
“The best reason to look back is to see how far you’ve come.” – Unknown

Whoa! 2016 has been one helluva year!

My first major event was flying to Beijing, China to lead Asia’s first ever Progressive Calisthenics Certification (PCC) in January. It was an honor and a privilege to spend 3 days teaching and training bodyweight calisthenics with over 40 of my most dedicated Chinese followers.

Plus I got to eat authentic Peking Duck! The entire weekend was an experience I’ll never forget.

I also returned to many of my favorite cities for workshops in 2016, including London, Sydney, New York and Los Angeles.

I have a bunch of workshops lined up for next year, with more to be added in the months ahead!

Follow the link for info on all on my upcoming PCC workshops in 2017.

We’re Working App
This year saw the much anticipated released of the official Al Kavadlo – We’re Working Out! App for both iPhone and Andriod.

The app features an animated version of me that talks you through dozens of different workouts and exercises. The current version contains more than 35 unique workouts and over 90 different progressive bodyweight exercises.

Hey hey hey! We’re working out!

AlPhone2

Book Rapport
This year also saw the release of my latest book and first full collaboration with my brother Danny Kavadlo, Street Workout. This is by far the most thorough and comprehensive book I’ve been involved with to date.

At nearly 400 pages, Street Workout covers everything you ever wanted to know about bodyweight strength training. If you haven’t got your copy yet, go get one right now!

In addition to the release of Street Workout, several of my other titles were released this year in foreign language translations. Pushing The Limits! is now my most translated title, with versions released this year in several new languages, including Czech, Chinese and Slovakian.

AlKavadloBookCovers

Bar With Me
My publisher, Dragon Door Publications, also released a new freestanding pull-up unit in 2016 called the Bodyweight Master Pull-up Bar, which I currently have set up in my living room. So now I’m doing even more pull-ups than ever!

Watch the video below for more info:

Click the link for more info on the Bodyweight Master Pull-up Training System.

Beard Battle
In September, my brother Danny and I had the unique honor of being guest judges at the annual Coney Island Beard and Moustache contest.

In addition to judging the contestants, we got to perform a bodyweight strongman show in which we demonstrated some of our most notable partner exercises.

I can now scratch “perform in the Coney Island sideshow” off my to-do list.

Kavadlo Beard and Moustache Contest

Shortly after the contest, I decided to change up my look and go back to rocking big sideburns like the ones that I had when I first began this blog.

If you loved the beard, don’t worry – I’ll beard back!

More, more, more!
As usual, I’ve continued writing articles and making appearances on various websites this year.

Here are links to a few of the most noteworthy:

Lifehacker – Four Bodyweight Alternatives to the Deadlift

Bodybuilding.com – The Best Motivational Tip Ever

Progressive Calisthenics Blog – Ten Tenets of Calisthenics Skill Training

I’ve got a lot up my sleeve for 2017, including lots of workshops and a brand new book collaboration with my brother Danny, tentatively titled GET STRONG.

We are hoping for a spring 2017 release. I’ll have more information in the months ahead.

Til then – We’re working out!

Al Kavadlo 2016

Wim Hof’s The Way of The Iceman

WayoftheIcemanI’m excited to announce that my publisher, Dragon Door Publications, has just released a fascinating new title by Wim Hof, The Way of The Iceman.

As someone who enjoys bare-chested, outdoor winter calisthenics workouts, Wim Hof’s extreme cold weather feats immediately appealed to me. Hof holds several world records for cold-endurance, including running a marathon above the arctic circle in Finland wearing nothing but a pair of shorts!

In this new book, Hof and his coauthor discuss not only the methods that allow Hof to perform his otherworldly feats (breathing techniques, mental training, etc.), but also the science behind them.

I’ve been meditating and doing breath work for a long time, but a third of the way into reading The Way of The Iceman, I suddenly felt compelled to take a cold shower. I’ve been taking one every day since and loving the effects.

Wim Hof’s Method is so simple that anyone can get started right away. And the results are so palpable that once you start, you’ll almost certainly want to keep going.

After a few weeks of practicing Wim’s method, I found myself training outdoors in the snow with nothing but a pair of shorts!

Watch the video below then click the link to get your copy of Way of The Iceman.

Hand and Wrist Warm-ups for Calisthenics

Al Kavadlo Straight HandstandWhen performing handstands, push-ups and other calisthenics exercises, the hands and wrists bear most of the burden.

Even when we hang from a pull-up bar, our hands and wrists play an important role.

For this reason, it is important to warm them up properly before your calisthenics or handbalancing practice.

In the video below, I demonstrate six simple warm-ups you can perform for your hands and wrists before beginning your practice:

–Wrist rocks
–Wrist rolls
–Wrist circles
–Side-to-sides
–Reverse side-to-sides
–Fist spreads

I recommend performing each of these movements several times in each direction before beginning your training. Also feel free to perform additional reps while you rest in between efforts.

The exercises in the video go by fairly quickly, so you may need to watch it a few times.

Why Calisthenics Training?

There are so many reasons to love calisthenics! From the freedom to workout anywhere, to the playful element of bodyweight training, to the positive energy of the calisthenics community, there are more reasons than ever to embrace calisthenics.

In this new video, my wife Grace Kavadlo and I discuss some of our favorite things about bodyweight workouts, and share some motivational tips.

We’re working out!

Xero Shoes Ipari Hana Review

Al Kavadlo Ipari HanaI like to keep things in my life from getting too complicated.

I use very little equipment in my workouts, I keep my diet as simple as possible, and I prefer clothing that favors comfort and performance above all else.

That’s why I was so excited to find out that my favorite manufacturer of minimalist footwear, Xero Shoes, has just released their first ever closed-toe shoe!

I’ve been wearing the new Xero Shoes Ipari Hana for the last few days and I like them a lot! They’ve definitely got that “almost-barefoot” feel that Xero Shoes wearers will know and love. They also feel better the more that I wear them, which is a good sign. I haven’t worn them enough to say for certain yet, but they seem very durable so far. The Ipari Hana are available for both men and women.

The Ipari Hana – Click the photo for more info!

The Ipari Hana – Click the photo for more info!

One thing to know before you purchase the Ipari Hana, is that Xero Shoes are cut larger than many mainstream footwear brands. That’s part of why they work particularly well for folks like myself who have fairly wide feet.

It’s also of note that the more your feet acclimate to the freedom these shoes provide, the more your toes may spread out and your foot will begin to fully stretch. This can cause your feet to feel wider, even if they technically don’t get bigger.

The Xero Shoes Ipari Hana are great for working out, but they’re also great for any occasion. They look as good with a pair of jeans as they do with workout pants. You can probably even wear them to work if your company isn’t too uptight with their dress code.

If you are looking for a shoe that feels as close to being barefoot as possible, the Ipari Hana from Xero Shoes is the perfect choice.

STREET WORKOUT

Street Workout Book

STREET WORKOUT – the first official Kavadlo Brothers collaboration – is now available!

STREET WORKOUT covers everything you ever wanted to know about progressive bodyweight training using nothing but your own environment. Danny and I discuss everything from basic exercises like push-ups, pull-ups and squats, up through advanced exercises like muscle-ups, planche progressions the human flag.

If you’ve never read any of my books before, this is the one to start with. And if you have read and enjoyed any of my previous books, I promise you are going to love STREET WORKOUT!

Here’s what people are saying about STREET WORKOUT:

“Al and Danny Kavadlo—bodyweight coaches extraordinaire—have done it again. Their new book Street Workout is an incredibly comprehensive collection of calisthenics concepts, exercises and programs. In addition to their masterful demonstrations of every exercise, the Kavadlo brothers’ colorful personalities and motivational talents leap off of every page. If you’re serious about bodyweight training, you’ve gotta get this book!”
–Mark Sisson, Author of The Primal Blueprint

“Al and Danny Kavadlo are acknowledged worldwide as masters of urban bodyweight training, so it’s no surprise that this book is, without question, the new “bible” of the movement. This work is the greatest manual on progressive calisthenics available on the market today. It’s loaded with incredible progressions, stacked with tips and techniques, and overflowing with philosophy and wisdom. The programming sections are beyond extensive. Street Workout is THE magnum opus of the two greatest calisthenics coaches on the planet today. All serious athletes and coaches must buy this book!!”
–Paul “Coach” Wade, Author of Convict Conditioning

“I truly LOVE this book – it is utterly sensational and brilliant! Al and Danny Kavadlo have a fun and informative way of explaining and demonstrating the key calisthenics exercises for a fit, healthy and happy life. Their sharp instructional images are joyfully inspirational and always motivate me to bust out some reps on the spot! I truly wish there had been a comprehensive workout guide like this when I first discovered the miracles of bodyweight training.”
–Marcus Bondi, Two Time Official Guinness World Record Holder (Weighted Chin-ups & Rope Climb)

“Once again, an outstanding addition to our field of fitness from Danny and Al. I am a barbell/kettlebell guy first and foremost, but the Kavadlo brothers have finally convinced me of the pure value of using the body only as load.”
–Dan John, Author of Never Let Go

“This book brings together the vast knowledge and experience of two guys that definitely embody the whole street workout culture – hardcore, sometimes gritty but always extremely welcoming, with a whole lot of individual style and flare.”
–Mike Fitch, Creator of Global Bodyweight Training and The Animal Flow Workout

Al Kavadlo 2015 Recap

Al-Sit

Hey hey hey!!!

It’s hard to believe another year is coming to an end. So much happened in 2015, but it all seems to have gone by so quickly…

The year began with the debut of my latest critically acclaimed book, Zen Mind, Strong Body. Then came the highly-anticipated release of Paul Wade’s Explosive Calisthenics, which I had the honor of appearing in as a featured model.

And just last month, my brother Danny Kavadlo’s fantastic new book Strength Rules, which I modeled for as well, debuted at #1 on Amazon’s top Exercise and Fitness downloads.

What’s next, you ask? The first official Kavadlo Brothers collaboration!

Danny and I are putting the finishing touches on a new book tentatively entitled Street Workout Worldwide, scheduled for release next spring.

Kavadlo Bros Pistol Squat

The Progressive Calisthenics Certification continued its growth in 2015 as well. Danny and I traveled all over the US and Europe this year to bring the PCC to new places like California, Norway and the UK.

In addition to reaching new markets, many of the cities that had previously hosted PCC, like Holland and my hometown of NYC, saw even larger attendance than at last year’s events.

Look for more PCC workshops all over the world in 2016!

PCC Holland

I also launched a 1-day bodyweight certification with Dragon Door called the Strength Calisthenics Certification, which made it’s debut last month. Look for more SCC workshops in the US and Europe in the months ahead!

My media profile keeps growing as well. My column in TRAIN magazine continues to be seen by hundreds of thousands of people every month and my articles on Bodybuilding.com have been getting a lot of attention. I was also featured in the New York Post and on the television show Chasing News this year.

Chasing News Kavadlo

2015 was a big year in my personal life, too!

In August I married my sweetheart, Grace Menendez (now Grace Kavadlo). I never thought I would meet a woman who loves calisthenics as much as I do! Connecting with Grace has been the most amazing thing to happen in my entire life. To say I feel lucky to call her my wife is a tremendous understatement.

Couples Calisthenics

In addition to my workshops and new book, be on the lookout for the first official Al Kavadlo – We’re Working Out! app for iPhone and Android to be released early 2016.

Make sure you follow me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to stay up to date with all the latest news.

Thank you to everyone who has supported me on this journey. It’s been a pleasure to connect with all of you. I wish you all a happy, healthy holiday season!

We’re Working Out!

Al Kavadlo Planche

Strength Rules

Strength Rules

The wait is over! My brother Danny Kavadlo’s new book Strength Rules is now on sale in both paperback and ebook formats!

Strength Rules showcases Danny’s colorful personality and out-of-the-box philosophy on strength training and nutrition. It’s my personal favorite of Danny’s books so far!

Here’s what others have to say about Strength Rules:

“If you are a bodyweight master, this is the bible you will want to go back to again and again, to keep you on the straight and narrow. If you are raw beginner—Jeez, then get this book right now, follow the rules, and save yourself years of wasted effort! Strength Rules is as good as it gets!”
—PAUL WADE, author of Convict Conditioning

“Strength Rules by Danny Kavadlo is so good you can’t ignore it. It’s minimalistic. It’s low tech. It’s simple. It’s right.”
—DAN JOHN, author of Never Let Go

“I can’t say enough good things about Danny Kavadlo. I just love his entire approach, mindset and overall vibe. And Strength Rules has to be one of the coolest, most badass fitness books I have ever seen.” —JASON FERRUGGIA

So what are you waiting for? Go get your copy of Strength Rules right now!