Newbie Advice Required

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    Ian McMillan


    I’ve been following Al for a while and have bought a couple of his books and have been getting into calisthenics since May of this year.

    When I started in May I couldn’t do a pull up, now I manage 5 sets of 7. I’m amazed at how quickly I have changed my strength and how I look. I have a six pack at 51 years old and I’m really pleased!

    Ok enough background. I’m at the stage now where I’m wondering if I should keep trying to increase the reps on my pull ups or leave them at 7 and keep adding sets? I already do five sets.

    Also I’m wondering if I should stick to doing a circuit style workout like this:

    pull ups x 7

    push ups x 15

    Australians x 10

    dips x 10

    jumping squats x10

    then repeat five times…


    Or should I do all my pull ups then all the push ups and so on with rest in between each exercise?

    I want to get a bit bigger muscle mass but my true goal is to get as strong as I can as quick as I can so I can progress onto more advanced moves like muscle ups, levers etc.

    So to recap, what res and sets should I work on for strength and progression to more advanced moves?

    And, do I stick with the circuit style of doing things or should I concentrate on one exercise reps and sets before I move on?




    Al Kavadlo

    Hey Ian – Congrats on your progress! Glad I’ve been an inspiration to you!

    If strength is priority #1, you might want to stop doing circuits and do consecutive sets of the same exercises with 2-3 mins rest between sets. There are an infinite number of ways to structure your workouts, so try different things and have fun with it. In time, you will find what works best for you. There is no one perfect program.

    Ian McMillan

    Hi Al,

    Thanks for your reply. I’ll go back to the sets as you suggest. Should I just keep doing 7 or so pull ups, keeping below say 10 and just keep adding sets?

    Just wondering how to keep the strength gains to maximum and I know people say once over 10 reps then it starts to become endurance or mass building.

    You have been and continue to be an inspiration to me. Really enjoyed your books and it’s great that you take the time to answer people on here.

    Many Thanks,


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