Injured weight lifter looking for advice

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    First of all, I wanna thank Al and also Robby for all your work. Keep it up!

    I’m / was lifting weights for a long time but because of shoulder and elbow issues which never went fully away I actually gave up lifting (the last time I worked out was around 15 months ago).

    Last month a buddy of mine told me about calisthenics and Al’s books. I read of all them and it sounds that this would suit me a lot better than weights.

    Now, I’m wondering on which exercises should I focus on? My shoulder mobility is pretty bad so I’m now sure whether things like handstands or even starting pull-ups is a good idea. Also should I only work out 2 times for the first 2-3 months and then slowly progress? I’ll definitely will start with the lowest progressions and build up.

    I appreciate any help!

    Greetings from Germany


    Robby Taylor

    I would suggest starting out with push ups and inverted rows for upper body, especially if you are a big guy. It’s been awhile and you definitely want to ease in that elbow and shoulder. If you feel fine with it, you can also start on the bridge progressions, although I’m not sure how it will do for your shoulder.

    Lower body…generally of course I would recommend getting really comfortable with squats and lunges, then start working on shrimp squats or pistol squats. The thing is, since you have a history of working out yet need to ease in the upper body, I am thinking that, until your shoulder and elbow can be relied upon more heavily, you will need to get the bulk of your actual work done with lower body. Jump rope is a great place to start, swimming is excellent too. You could get a lot of conditioning in that way, and either one should help build up stability in the shoulder, as long as they don’t aggravate it.


    Thanks a lot for your answer! Would you recommend doing 3 moderate workouts a week for the first 2-3 months or rather 2 a bit more intense ones? Also when would you start working on pullups (meaning dead hangs and flex hangs for me at first)? What about core training like leg raises?

    Thanks again!

    Robby Taylor

    I’d suggest 3 moderate workouts, you should get a lot of volume in on the basics for now. Leg raises (and/or planks) are great, it’s a good idea to do a core exercise. I would suggest also working on back bridges. My main concern is that you don’t stress the shoulder and elbow.

    Speaking of which, I think you should focus on inverted rows instead of pull ups for now. They are easier, sure, but don’t underestimate them. When done properly, they work to stabilize the rotator cuff muscles, and give a nice back and biceps workout. Plus, they will help prepare you for pull ups. I still suggest doing them once you do pull ups though.

    Ensure that you feel very comfortable and strong with these basic exercises, perhaps a month or two, then consider working on pull ups. Just watch your shoulder and elbow, don’t push too hard!


    Alright boss, will do! Appreciate it!

    Al Kavadlo

    Thanks, Matt! Glad you enjoyed my books! Between the info in the books and the advice you just got from Robby, you should have enough to keep you busy for a bit. Keep us posted on your progress!


    Hey guys!

    I couldn’t start right away but over the last 2 months I slowly went to:

    3×45 wall pushups
    3×35 half squats
    3×15 australian pullups (knees bent)
    3×25 leg raises on the floor with knees bent

    3 times/week

    + daily mobility work

    I took it real slow this time on purpose and I def. feel better and stronger than when I started which is a big success for me in my current state! It’s still not perfect so I will keep progressing slowly.

    Now I’d need your advice again. Should I just continue with working out three times a week and up to difficultiy of the exercises (I thought about: incline pushups, full squats, australian pullups, flat leg raises) or should I add some more exercises (maybe start working on pullups, bridge, lunges…)? What about the workout frequency? Should I keep it at 3x/w for now or maybe do a split 4x/w?

    Any help is as always appreciated!



    Anyone? I would really appreciate it!

    Robby Taylor

    Glad you’ve been seeing progress Matt! You have the right idea about progressing your exercises, the ones you listed sound great. There’s not really a need to add more exercises, although bridging is usually a good idea.

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