Hey, I have been working out on and off (the off due to some chronic fatigue) for a couple years now with bodyweight/some weights, recently had a bit of a shoulder/neck injury at the gym, which has leaned me into the direction of calisthenics. Sort of a mixed blessing because I’ve found some pretty amazing things trying to find alternatives to weights!
So, been using CC as a guide, using the progression standards along with various other moves as found in Al’s books. Although I am making good progress for the most part I am wondering if it isn’t all a bit too regimented and unecessary with the progression standards leading up to such high reps.
So I am wondering, mainly for the case of pull-ups and pushups, if it wouldn’t be okay to go into some harder variations for more of a strength/power/mass style workout. Such as the diamond and uneven pushups, and to cut right to full pull-ups, while still doing rows (I feel they should both be done since they target slightly different areas of the back). I can already do 10/6 pull-ups despite working on the lvl 2 progressions, and I’m at 20/15 for the pushup progression. What do you say, will the months of working endurance stuff really pay off, or in the long run am I better just listening to my body and customizing my workouts for my goals?
I appreciate the conditioning of the joints and ligaments, especially being at the tail end of an injury, but I feel like after a month of endurance work I’d like to get some more strength training back into my workouts.
Also, in pushing the limits are those progressions meant to be done at a slow 2-1-2 or or a little faster tempo?
The progressions in CC are merely a guideline. It isn’t necessary to build up the rep counts for the progressive standard of every exercise in order to get to the master steps. It isn’t even necessary to do all of the progressions. Do whatever exercises you want that will lead you to your goals. I personally think the best overall exercises to focus on are muscle ups, bridges, and pistol squats.
Yeah, okay that’s what I was leaning towards, though I still intend to take things somewhat slowly…injuries slow you down more in the long run.
One more thing. Has anyone played with rep speed and found which produces better strength gains between slower and faster? Also, when doing sets is it more beneficial if, say I’m doing pushups, I take each set to failure (or one before approx) or if I do more even sets, such as 20/20 /20. I guess essentially it’s just the first one or two sets in practice, eventually it will hit failure before that, but I was wondering if it isn’t better to go all the way on the firsts sets too, since isn’t that last rep where the muscle is most stimulated?
Thanks for the reply. And thank you Al for all the information and website! Any chance you’ll be bring the PCC to Canada, or is that too close to home?
Doing the concentric portion of an exercise (the upward part) slowly tends to be more difficult than doing it quickly, but doing it quickly helps build explosive power. It’s not a bad idea to practice both, and keep in mind that doing the eccentric (negative) part of a movement slowly will also help build strength and is ideal since doing this portion quickly basically amounts to letting yourself fall. Keep in mind that for the purposes of strength training you should strive to keep any kipping and momentum to a minimum no matter how fast you are going.
I typically don’t go to failure, maybe on the last set. Some people go to failure all the time, some people never do. Strength gains are typically had when an exercise is challenging enough that you can do no more than maybe 12-15 reps in a set. 20 is really getting into endurance territory, and if you’re doing relatively high rep sets this amounts to general conditioning, not necessarily a strength focus. What I would do is pick a rep range to stick to rather than a specific rep number for a given exercise, then put in a solid effort for each set while leaving some left in the tank. Typically I find that I can do more total reps for given exercise in a given workout this way than if I were to go to failure every set. The reason CC suggests working to really high reps is to ensure that you have the joint integrity for the next exercise, although I personally feel that some of the progressive standards are overly cautious, but it’s designed to be more approachable for more people.
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