Announcing the Street Workout Photo Contest Winners

by Al Kavadlo and Danny Kavadlo on September 20, 2016

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Danny and I had a tough time selecting our favorite entries to the Street Workout Photo contest, but after some deliberation, we have selected the following winners:

Paolo Street Workout photo contest

1st Place – Paolo

This image was our favorite due to the fun energy and unique location of the photo. Danny and I are big fans of Coney Island in our native Brooklyn and we loved to see our Paolo from Italy representing for all the freaks in Coney Island. ONE OF US!

2nd Place – Collin

The one armed handstand is such a badass looking move and a staple of Progressive Calisthenics. In fact, the book that started the modern calisthenics explosion, Convict Conditioning, features a one arm handstand on the cover. I’d have to think that iconic image is part of the reason that CC has been Dragon Door’s best selling title to do so far. Perhaps in time, STREET WORKOUT will eclipse that groundbreaking title. I suppose that’s up to you guys, though!

3rd Place - Johno

3rd Place – Johno

How could this photo contest be complete without a human flag? Johno’s excellent execution of this trademark STREET WORKOUT staple is too good to ignore. Nice one, Johno!

Thanks again to all who entered! I hope to see you all at a PCC one day!

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Give The Squeaky Wheel Some Grease

by Bret Hamilton on September 13, 2016

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Al and Danny Kavadlo PCC demo squats and mobility

Keeping things simple, yet effective is something that I’ve personally struggled with at times. Every so often, I find myself imagining the solution to a problem has to be complex in order to provide the result I desire. I’m also often reminded that said solution to said problem is staring me in the face, I simply don’t realize it right way.

Back in June of this year, I had the privilege to meet and work with Al and Danny Kavadlo at the Progressive Calisthenics Certification. Over the course of the weekend, we did one-to-two hour modules on each movement taught in the course. It was during the squat workshop when I approached Al with a question regarding ankle flexibility as it pertains to the squat–specifically the airborne or hover lunge variation. “Al,” I said. “When you are working with someone who may have an ankle that is stiff or impinging, do you have any specific go-to drills to help develop flexibility in that joint to make the squat feel more symmetrical?”

His response, so simple as it was, annoyed me at the time. To be honest, I expected more than, “Give the squeaky wheel some grease.” With Al’s trademark grin, smiling eyes, and a pat on the back, he walked away as I reflected upon his words.

“Give the squeaky wheel some grease,” I thought, silently grumbling to myself. “That was not the answer I was anticipating, nor looking for!”

brethamiltonalkavaldopcc2

You see, when I asked that question, I was specifically asking it in reference to an old soccer injury of my own that left my right ankle feeling very bound up, and occasionally painful compared to the other side. I’d utilized various joint self-mobilizations in the past, yet nothing had really helped the ankle improve permanently. As a point of reference, by the time I attended the PCC in June, I was capable of performing full depth pistol squats and hover lunges for reps on either side, but they were rather sloppy on the right leg, due to my mobility limitations.

When I returned home from the course, Al’s words stayed with me. Even though I was skeptical, I trusted that maybe there was more to what Al said than I’d initially thought. I decided to put his words to the test. I dedicated myself to working on my hover lunges daily, focusing on “pulling” myself into the movement using my hip flexors and shin muscles. Gradually, I began to notice that I was more easily able to place the knee of my rear leg closer to the heel of my front foot on the descent of the hover lunge. Although the depth of my hover lunge had not increased, the amount of articulation my ankle was forced to go through in order to complete the rep was increasing steadily.

Al’s words were ringing true, all to my surprise, pleasure, and chagrin! The answer was in front of me all along, but it took a guy named Al six short words of wisdom to help me realize what I needed to do: Practice the move more often, and with a sharp focus on improving specific qualities within that movement, no longer worrying about reps and sets.

Bret Hamilton shrimp squat hover lunge

It is now early September. I’ve practiced the hover lunge daily for 6 weeks now. Not only has my ankle improved its flexibility, but it has ceased hurting. I’ve progressed from a regular hover lunge to placing first one hand behind my back, and eventually a second hand behind my back while performing them. This has forced the muscles in my hips, thighs, and shins to contract more forcefully in order to keep stable and complete the rep. I’ve also practiced doing a “dragon” variation of the hover lunge with zero, one, and two hands behind my back, as well as an elevated dragon pistol squat. I was capable of none of these feats prior to attending the PCC.

Throughout this learning process, Al’s simple words have continued to resonate with me. I’ve since applied this principle of consistent practice to other movements I’ve been stuck with and have found it to be equally as effective. I’ve “greased the groove” before, but only with the intent to improve the strength of a movement, never to improve the perceived quality of it. It has been the most liberating six weeks of strength training I’ve had since, well, ever! Letting the process unfold before me has been such a joy, and I encourage everyone to approach their own training with this same mindful pursuit. This is truly why calisthenics is so unique, beautiful, and playful all at once.

brethamiltonandalkavadlopcc4At the end of the day, my goal is to become the best version of myself possible, and to help further others in their own journeys. My hope is that you might take notice of this post and give your own squeaky wheels some grease. Because let’s be honest, we’ve all got them! And don’t forget to keep it simple.

Thanks, Al, you son of a gun!

 

 

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Bret Hamilton is the head coach and co-owner of Constant Forward Progress-Bodyweight and Kettlebell Training. He and his wife Megan live and train near Portland, OR. When Bret isn’t working with clients in the gym, he loves to jump on the trampoline, play pickleball, read a great book, and relax to video game now and then. You can learn more about Bret and CFP at www.constantforwardprogress.com.

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Grip Strength for Greater Triumphs

September 6, 2016

Many times we associate grip strength and grip training with those ubiquitous spring-tension grippers and strongman training. While I really enjoy grip training with heavy odd objects, giant kettlebells, etc. it’s also very possible to train for a monster grip using bodyweight training only. With just a little creativity, bodyweight grip training presents infinite variations […]

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The Official Street Workout Photo Contest

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The wait is over! Street Workout is now available in paperback format. To celebrate this monumental occasion, Danny and I are inviting YOU to show us your best Street Workout moves, based on one of the photos from our new book. To enter, post your original photo on Facebook, along with a photo of the […]

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Health & Strength 2016: This Is What We Do!

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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 […]

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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 […]

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Pull-Ups Everywhere!

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In the world of bodyweight strength training, the mighty pull-up is the indisputable king of upper back exercise. The classic movement is performed when hanging off a straight bar and pulling your body up until your chin surpasses the bar. The practitioner is encouraged to keep his or her entire body tense in order to […]

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Be Prepared for the Time of Your Life

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Where do I begin? I guess the best place to start is to say that if you haven’t been to the PCC yet, GO! I’ll wait while you go sign up. You won’t be sorry. I had the PCC on my workshop wish list for quite some time. I was maybe halfway through the first […]

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Fitness, Fun and Failure: What I Learned at the NY PCC

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A few weeks ago I had the honor of being a student at the Progressive Calisthenics Certification in New York City. The PCC was 3 days of learning how to bend, twist and leverage our bodies into chiseled masterpieces. There was talk about being turned into PCC ninjas, which immediately had me excited. However, I […]

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Gamblers do it all the time. You’ve seen them in Vegas. Atlantic City. New Orleans. They’re pumping money into shiny machines, stacking chips on velvet-covered tables, spinning their wheels at roulette. With tired eyes squinting through the thick, blue smoke, they see a fantastic vision of recovering what they’ve lost. In all likelihood, they won’t. […]

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