Health & Strength 2016: This Is What We Do!

by Danny Kavadlo on August 23, 2016

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Dragon Door Health and Strength Presenters 2016

As I stepped on the stage at Dragon Door’s second annual Health & Strength Conference, my mouth was dry. My hands were moist. My heart beat hard against my rib cage. I took the stage to address the hundred or so freaks and geeks of fitness in attendance. My lips parted and I began to speak….

A little background info: I love a crowd. I was born with the natural gift (or curse) of never getting stage fright. I enjoy making a spectacle of myself. So you may ask yourself, why the nerves this time? Good question.

You see, I presented second out of a panel of fifteen esteemed speakers, including Senior PCC Adrienne Harvey, PCC Team Leader Logan Christopher, PCC Instructor Angelo Grinceri and many other giants in their field. As the second speaker, I had the dubious honor of following one of the finest orators I’d ever witnessed in my life: my good friend and celebrated trainer Rolando Garcia III. To say that Mr. Garcia is a tough act to follow would be to dangerously understate the situation.

When it was my turn, I took to the podium and grabbed the mic. The moment was mine for the taking and I went for it, firing off one of the finest performances of my career: How to Coach & Train Your Way To Pull-Up Greatness. I sermonized about all things pull-up related, from the humble hang to the mighty muscle-up, and everything in between, even an urban history lesson on the ancient “gymnasia” of yesteryear and the modern movement known as Street Workout. The crowd went wild. We even had two attendees achieve their very first muscle-ups at the Health & Strength Conference. Hellyeah! No need for me to worry; this is what I do.

Danny Kavadlo: This is what I do!

This is what I do!

Also on the list of presenters was the legendary Olympian and scholar, Dan John. Dan is someone I’ve wanted to meet for many years. Besides his numerous published titles, Dan also wrote the foreword to my #1 Amazon Bestselling book, Strength Rules. It was a privilege to watch the man in in action doing what he does best. No one breaks it down with more humility, integrity and hilarity than Dan John. Minds were blown.

Dan John drops knowledge on a packed house.

Dan John drops knowledge on a packed house.

Six-time national powerlifting champion, record setting strength coach and notorious recluse Marty Gallagher left his cave in the hills of rural Pennsylvania for the city streets of Minneapolis to share his wisdom at the Health & Strength Conference. In his trademark no-nonsense form, Marty shocked and awed as he manipulated leverage to increase the payload of suspension training.

The man, the myth, the legend… The immortal Marty Gallagher.

The man, the myth, the legend… The immortal Marty Gallagher.

Master RKC’s Phil Ross, Andrea Du Cane, Steve “Coach Fury” Holiner, Mike Krivka and Keira Newton each had their turn to educate. Subject matter ranged from operating a successful practice in the fitness industry, to kettlebell training, to assessing the right tools for the job, to matters of mobility. So much information was packed into these two glorious days. The presenter team was rounded out by Jon Bruney and Mike Gillette, two record holding strongmen with bodies forged of iron and hearts of pure gold. They presented about neuro-power and ring training, respectively. This is how you do it!



Naturally, the most special component of the conference was the people in attendance. These strong men and women who made the journey are truly the ones who made it such an unforgettable event. Thanks to all of you for being there, representing strength and knowledge in all their forms. I am stronger, wiser and better prepared for life in this world for having been there with you.

Keep the dream alive,


Health and Strength Conference Group Photo

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Angelo Grinceri IST Push-Up

Men and women of all fitness levels are familiar with the push-up and its ability to challenge and build full body strength and muscle. There are many ways to regress and progress the push-up to fit the needs of any everyday athlete. Regressing the push-up’s difficulty can be as simple as changing the angle of the body or adding the use of your knees for a closer point of contact to redirect weight away from the upper body and arms. Progressing the push-up to a more advanced variation can consist of changing or removing an extremity position, adding an external resistance, and changing the angle of the body to redirect more weight into the upper body and arms. Each push-up progression delivers a unique challenge (as with most functional exercises) that can be felt throughout the arms, shoulders, chest, back, and especially the core.

ISTSmallBookCoverAs progression remains a staple focus to any athlete’s training program, the need to challenge the body further than performing more repetitions or adding more resistance to the same exercise over and over again becomes a necessity.

So we start to add variations. As your strength and ability within the push-up progresses, you will be challenged with different positions and fewer points of contact. Each variation will bring a different challenge to the body.

Some of my favorite push-progressions are explained in depth within the PCC; such as the archer push-up, the pike press, and the 1-arm push-up.

Each of these push-variations changes the body’s position, changing the way the extremities and core integrate when challenged throughout each repetition—stimulating the body’s soft tissue (muscle, ligaments, tendons, fascia, and skin) in a different way through various ranges of motion.

Anti-Rotation Variations

Standard strength training and muscle building exercises focus on performing repetitions in the sagittal plane. One way to progress an exercise in the sagittal plane is by adding a unilateral component, increasing the difficulty that is felt throughout the entire body. Some examples of unilateral variations are a 1-arm plank compared to a standard plank and a 1-arm push-up compared to a standard push-up.

Both of these unilateral variations require extreme muscular tension that originates in the deep core and radiates out through the extremities to integrate the body as one unit; this is known as bracing. Bracing improves muscular integration, muscular strength, joint stability, and joint alignment — allowing the body to fight off the external forces that want to pull your unsupported side down to the ground. When a point of contact is removed in the push-up position, bracing the entire body tight is what allows the body to remain horizontal. Fighting against the forces of gravity and resistance wanting to pull the body a certain way is known as Anti-Rotation.

Without bracing the body for anti-rotation it would be nearly impossible to remain horizontal while performing a 1-arm plank and 1-arm Push-up.

Posi-Rotation Variations

What about training the body through rotation? I would like to introduce a Posi-Rotation variation to our classic strength training exercises. Pose-Rotation variations such as the Intrinsic Strength Push-up challenge the body to maintain core tension and joint stability as the body rotates in the transverse plane while on the ground.

Angelo Grinceri IST Diagram PageOur multifaceted, dynamic body moves in three dimensions with every step we take. The standard function of walking requires a synergistic rotation of the shoulders, spine, and hips. Whenever watching the body move, the transverse plane will always be in “plane” sight.

Since our spine rotates with every step that we take, All humans should be incorporating transverse plane training into their daily workouts.

Training the spine to rotate safely with control is an excellent way to stimulate the body’s ligaments, tendons, muscles, and fascia differently than a regular strict push-up.

Adding a rotational variation to this classic strength exercise will facilitate a different stimulation of soft tissue, leading to a more able body that is stronger in more positions while on the ground and standing.

As the body rotates through each repetition, the arms and shoulders have to adjust to the rotating torso – adding lots of variability throughout the entire body with different leverage points, ranges of motion, and body weight displacement.

Angelo Grinceri IST Push-Up Collage

Start incorporating the Intrinsic Strength Push-up as a simple transverse plane (global rotation) variant to your push-up arsenal.

The Intrinsic Strength Push-Up:

IST push-up variations deliver a unique challenge to any athlete from beginner to advanced. This push-up progression stimulates and strengthens the horizontal press with global rotation.

Intrinsic Strength Push-ups offer three variations to the horizontal pushing motion during the same set without having to change the position of the hands. This simple eye gaze over the right and left shoulder allows the muscles to stay engaged, providing the body with great T.U.T. ( Time Under Tension) while still delivering a variation.   Improving strength and muscle throughout the chest, shoulders, back, arms and core is only possible through physical adaptation from Time Under Tension. The more time spent working the position, the more the body adapts to that position.

This horizontal rotation is performed by lowering down to the bottom of the push-up while simultaneously taking the eye’s gaze over one of the shoulders. This transverse plane variation causes the shoulders, torso, and hips to rotate to that same side, changing the weight distribution through the arms.

IST Push-ups Over Shoulder

How To Perform the Intrinsic Strength Push-Up

  1. Start with your feet in a bilateral stance, shoulder width apart.
  2. Walk both hands out on the floor until you are in a plank position.
  3. While lowering down to the bottom of the first push-up, simultaneously take your gaze over your right shoulder and return to the high plank position.
  4. Do a regular push-up, after returning back to the high plank position
  5. While lowering down to the bottom of the third push-up, simultaneously take your gaze over your left shoulder and return to the high plank position.

Angelo’s Advice

  1. Allow every joint to help with the full body rotation.
  2. Your eyes will direct your head, shoulders, spine, and hips to rotate towards the same focal point (above the shoulder).
  3. Actively apply pressure into the ground through your legs and feet to create lower body tension.
  4. Actively apply pressure into the ground through your shoulders and fingers to create upper body tension.
  5. This extremity tension will radiate through the core – ensuring core tension and more muscular activation.

When turning the head over the right shoulder, you will notice that:

  1. More weight and tension will shift into the left shoulder.
  2. A stretch will be felt throughout the left chest

Perform a series of three push ups to complete one repetition of an IST push up.
First push-up: look over the right shoulder.
Second push-up: look in-between your hands.
Third push-up: look over left shoulder.



Angelo Grinceri, PCC, FAFS, is the author of Intrinsic Strength: A Breakthrough Program for Real-World Functional Strength and True Athletic Power Angelo’s fitness journey started with a focus on aesthetics and bodybuilding. As he grew as an athlete and coach he started to focus on strength training, corrective exercise, and athletic function. He realized a connection was needed between these different modalities and Intrinsic Strength Training® was born. Based in NYC, he can be contacted through his website, Follow him on Youtube, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for Angelo’s Advice and follow-along workouts.


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