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!

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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!

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!