Hi everyone, this is my first post after just discovering Al Kavaldo’s article about beginner workouts, which led me to his (great!) videos and site.
My questions is, and apologies if this has been answered previously: I’ve started jogging 3 days a week and I want to start working on general body strength training using my own body. I thought Al’s beginner’s workout would be the best way to start. I’ve had experience doing similar stuff in the past, but it’s been a while. Anyway, I’d ideally like to get it done on the same days as jogging. Would you guys advise for or against doing the workout just after jogging?
Hey MDB, welcome to the forum!
This is a reasonable question, although I believe it, or a very similar one, has been asked here. But that’s ok because I enjoy answering questions anyway haha. To maximize effectiveness, strength training should be done when you’re fresh. It would be better to do calisthenics first then jog. But if your progress with jogging is super important and the calisthenics is a bit of a side thing for you then perhaps jogging first would be better.
You could split it up like do half of the workout before you jog and half after. Some people will even mix it like run a mile then do some burpees run another mile and do some pull ups and push ups run another mile…you get the idea.
Welcome to the forum, MDB!
There are lots of ways you can structure your program: you can use jogging as a warm-up before your strength work, or do a few miles after after you finish your strength work. You can also practice jogging and strength training on alternating days or do one on the morning and one later in the day like you said. There is no one way that is best for everyone.
Normally that’s what I would suggest, but it could further hinder your push ups. You should try it though it shouldn’t be too bad.
Sorry, do you mean the plank could hinder my push ups or the alternating days?
Ah I see. I could just do the plank at the end, granted my body will be pretty weak from the previous exercises but it’ll still benefit I guess. What do you think?
I’ve been looking at books for when I want to go further with things, was looking at ‘You Are Your Own Gym’, ‘Convict Conditioning’ and Al’s ‘Pushing the Limits!’. From reviews I’d say Al’s book seems to be more in line with what I’m wanting but I understand it’s only based on three exercises. Would Pushing the Limits and Raising the Bar be an effective full body workout? Are there any other good books that are along the same lines?
As an electric and classical guitar player and teacher I’m aware of the importance of technique and realizing the fundamental movements taking place as well as the need to master those movements for a solid foundations and how everything else comes from those fundamentals. I guess I’m looking for a book that will explain things in similar terms.
Sorry for all the questions!
The only reason I say the plank may tire you out for push ups is because the plank is the top position of the push up. The plank primarily focuses on the abdominal muscles, while the push up more focuses on the upper body (shoulders, chest, triceps). So depending on your core strength in the push ups doing planks in the same workout could make it difficult to maintain a straight body position in doing push ups if your core is not strong enough to handle both exercises. But, it shouldn’t be a problem if your arms are the first thing to give out in push ups. Doing your planks on your forearms could help, though. Just experiment with it. You could also do hanging leg raises, that’s a great alternative to planks; even if you can’t do them with your legs straight and have to tuck your knees it’s still a good exercise, and also shouldn’t tire you out for push ups. Or you could sub dips for push ups. You should also try to fit bridges in there somewhere; doing those at the end of your workout is a good idea, or during the workout in reps. It’s a good antagonistic movement to the plank, actually, and I think at the level that you’re at working up to a full bridge is an excellent goal. Maybe you already can do it, in which case you should!
As for the books, I’ve read all 3 and I would say that Pushing the Limits! is overall the most informative as a training manual. I like CC for the philosophy behind the training, but I think the structuring of the exercises themselves could be more effective. While PTL is based on 3 exercises, it really covers far more than that. Yes it’s based on push ups, squats, and inversions, but those are all pretty general terms and it includes everything from beginner variations to high level variations; there are many challenges to be found in that book. Plus there’s a bonus section at the end of the book with even more exercises that don’t quite fit into the main categories. As a training manual, it’s great because the pictures are excellent and the text is informative yet brief. I bought the kindle version of You Are Your Own Gym, and while it does have some good exercises in it, the whole thing seemed like it needed some editing. It is quite informative for people who are not already exposed to this, but PTL and Raising the Bar are the real deal. At this point, the only book that I’ve come across that I would suggest for calisthenics training besides either of those books would be Overcoming Gravity by Steven Low. The difference is that OG doesn’t have all of the nice pictures that PTL and RTB have, but it does have tons of detailed text; there are over 500 pages in that book and it does not come across as repetitive. It gives you tons of information on a huge variety of useful exercises and relevant topics (nutrition, sleep, recovery, etc), and as an informatory text it is a great book, but again PTL and RTB I think make better training manuals simply because they are so easy to navigate and utilize either before or during your training. You often really don’t even need to read anything just look at the pictures. PTL is a bit better overall than RTB, since it goes in depth in squats (you gotta hit the lower body) and the format is a bit more streamlined, clearly a result of Al refining his writing style after RTB. But I really like RTB because I generally prefer pulling exercises to pressing exercises since I’m better at pulling haha.
Oh, and yes in conjunction PTL and RTB will easily give you a complete full body workout. Technically PTL by itself will do this, since it covers squats and there are several exercises that will work the back.
The exercises in PTL and RTB are absolutely enough to work every muscle in the body. Though each book focuses on just three categories of movements, between the two books, there are hundreds of variations to keep you busy for a lifetime!
So I’ve been getting on well with things, although I’ve had to take a break from the jogging as my knees have been a bit sore.
My questions is, without having done other exercises before I can hold a bridge for about 10 seconds before my head starts touching the ground. However I do them and planks last, after having done pull ups and push ups etc. and as a result I can barely hold a full bridge for one second. Should I persevere with that or maybe alternate doing the bridge first?
Secondly, is it advisable to do planks and bridges daily? Or should I skip days like my regular workout.
Daily bridge work might be a bit much for you at this point, but like you said, it might be helpful to do your bridge work earlier in your workout before you are exhausted.
You’ve really got to read Pushing The Limits! It will answer many of your questions!
Thanks Al, I’m going to get it this week in fact. Looking forward to it! You’re probably right about it being too much for me, I tend to get carried away pretty quickly.
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