Progressive Calisthenics Returns To New York!

by Danny Kavadlo on January 17, 2017

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Danny Kavadlo Human Flag NYC PCC 2017

The first PCC of the New Year was held in my hometown of New York City this past weekend, and if it’s any indication of what’s to come, then it’s clear that 2017 will be another incredible year for the Progressive Calisthenics Certification!

In our fourth foray into the Big Apple, over thirty-five calisthenics freaks assembled to train, learn and grow together. We started the weekend as strangers, but ended it as family. As my brother and fellow PCC Instructor, Al Kavadlo would say: Hey hey hey! That’s what PCC is all about!

Hey hey hey! That’s what PCC is all about!

Hey hey hey! That’s what PCC is all about!

There was a mix of calisthenics practitioners, martial artists, dancers, everyday working folks and lots of personal trainers at this one. Attendees came from as far as England, Canada, Bermuda and Puerto Rico to take part. The bodyweight community is even more widespread than we’d imagined.

This man came all the way from Canada to re-certify!

This man came all the way from Canada to re-certify!

This event was particularly exciting for many reasons. To begin with, it was the first PCC where Dragon Door partnered with CRUNCH fitness, one of the largest gym organizations on the planet. This alliance truly illustrates how much the calisthenics movement is growing. This partnership will undoubtedly lead to the continued education of more and more trainers in the future. No wonder there were so many in attendance! They came from many locations to improve themselves as personal trainers, fitness professionals and even human beings. The future is bright!

Crunch Trainers Side Planks


This weekend’s PCC was also host to some very special guests including living legend Jack Arnow, who dropped some time tested wisdom and demonstrated several septuagenarian feats of strength! Our Street Workout photo contest winner, Steve “Grizzly” Opalenik was in attendance as well. Additionally, Martin Dubovic from Street Workout magazine not only attended the course, but also documented the whole event. Be on the lookout for a special all-star video coming soon!

Street Workout contest winner Steve “Grizzly” Opalenik lets his freak flag fly!

Street Workout contest winner Steve “Grizzly” Opalenik lets his freak flag fly!

The three rigorous days of push-ups, pull-ups, dragon flags and muscle-ups, as intense as it is, seems to fly by in a flash. That’s why it’s up to us to stay in touch, preach the gospel and spread the word!

NYC PCC Dragon Flag

Personal bests were achieved, lessons were learned and strength was celebrated. It was a weekend we’ll never forget, and as everyone who’s ever attended a PCC already knows, there is no substitute for an in-person experience. With more events scheduled this year in Boston, California, London and Poland, we hope to see YOU soon! The posse’s getting bigger.


Keep the dream alive,


NYC PCC at Crunch Gym Group Photo 2017


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The Muscle Building Advantages of Calisthenics

by Matt Schifferle on January 10, 2017

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Matt Shifferle Neutral Grip Pullup

I’ve been building muscle with bodyweight training ever since Convict Conditioning was first published. When I attended the first PCC, a few people told me they thought I still lifted weights because I had a decent amount of muscle. Not that I can blame anyone for their doubt. I was once one of those guys in the gym hogging up the preacher curl machine telling everyone that you needed to lift weights to build muscle. It’s funny how things change; now I believe calisthenics is one of the best muscle building methods, bar-none. Most of reasons for this belief are because of 5 massive muscle building advantages calisthenics offers you.

Matt Schifferle Neuro GripsAdvantage #1 Low maintenance training

Even die hard weightlifters admit that bodyweight training offers unmatched convenience and deficiency. You don’t need a gym or fancy equipment, nor do you need to wedge a long workout into a busy schedule. You just simply drop down to the floor or grab on to a bar and you’re in business.

While many admit to these advantages, others are unaware of just how convenience and efficiency are essential toward packing on muscle. This is due to the fact that building, and maintaining, a muscular physique requires months and even years of consistent training. The convenience and efficiency of calisthenics makes it easier to continue your training even as life becomes turbulent. This ensures your training stays consistent long enough to build the success you want.

Advantage #2 Technical progression

Building muscle through calisthenics isn’t really any different from building it with weights except for one thing: With weight lifting you keep your technique fairly consistent while adjusting the load you lift; with calisthenics, you use a consistent load while you modify your technique.

Progressing an exercise through technique requires you to develop more than just strength and muscle. You also need to develop the “softer” qualities like balance, stability, flexibility and muscle control.

When I first started training in progressive calisthenics I was humbled by how much I needed to work on these softer qualities. At first, it felt some of the exercises were not building strength or muscle because they were more about flexibility or stability. Eventually, I discovered that developing these softer qualities was the key to more muscle growth. The more I improved my softer qualities the more harder qualities like strength and power progressed as well.

Advantage #3 Emotional and mental focus

Effective training requires much more than tense muscle and proper technique. You need to put some heart into what you’re doing to reach beyond what you can currently do.

Which view would you prefer?

There’s just something about moving your body through space that requires more mental and emotional focus. Consider the difference between running on a treadmill versus hiking along in a path in the wilderness. These days, commercial gyms place televisions and similar electronic devices on their cardio equipment to stave off boredom and mental fatigue. Such distractions are not necessary and even unwelcome with bodyweight training. Through using exercises that require as much growth within your heart and mind you build the quality of your training and not just the intensity.

Advantage #4 Intellectual challenge and growth

Progressive calisthenics requires you to continuously analyze and improve how your body works. It strips away the false promise that your success depends on having the perfect routine or using the right equipment. This leaves you with little else to think about except to learn how to use your body better which is the true essence of effective training.

I wasn't able to do a pistol squat until I learned how to use my hips in a better way.

I wasn’t able to do a pistol squat until I learned how to use my hips in a better way.

Every workout is a lesson in how you are currently able to use your body and the weaknesses that you need to work on. Maybe you lack hip strength in your squats or perhaps your shoulders shrug from fatigue during push-ups. All of these little experiences invite you to explore how to adjust your technique and muscle control to improve how well you use your body.

Advantage #5 Workouts that are simple, disciplined and focused

I live by the 3 tenets of simplicity, discipline, and focus. Calisthenics embodies all three of these tenets perfectly because it requires mental and physical focus, continuous discipline and of course a simplistic approach to training.

It takes a lot of discipline to remain focused on simple workouts. The modern media constantly churns out advice that can quickly make training more complicated and fancy. Before you know it, you’re using a room full of gadgets to perform fancy exercises in a routine that’s based on rocket science. All of this fancy and complicated stuff might feel important, but it ultimately distracts you from what matters most.

Building muscle means focusing on just 3 things:

When your training involves little more than pushing yourself off the floor or lifting up your legs, there’s not a lot of clutter to distract you from working your muscles longer and harder. It may not be fancy, but that’s the point. The most exciting results are often produced from methods that appear boring at first glance.



Matt Schifferle, PCC Team Leader a.k.a. The Fit Rebel made a switch to calisthenics training 5 years ago in an effort to rehab his weight lifting injuries. Since then he’s been on a personal quest to discover and teach the immense benefits of advanced body weight training. You can find some of his unique bodyweight training methods at and on his YouTube channel: RedDeltaProject.

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When someone asks me how long will it take to learn an elbow lever, human flag, handstand or any other intermediate/advanced level calisthenics move, my response is always, “It will take as long as it needs to.” For the most part, if your only concern is how long it will take to achieve your goal, […]

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I’ve found that these days I keep getting asked the same questions over and over. Why did you get those lame tattoos? How come your face looks so much older than your body? Who are you, and what are you doing in the girls’ locker room? That’s my personal life, but in my life as […]

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Five Tips to Crush the Century

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As a recently christened Progressive Calisthenics Certified coach, the Century Test is very fresh in my mind. The Century tests multiple qualities: speed, strength, endurance, and also has fairly strict technique standards for each rep of your squats, push-ups, hanging knee raises, and pull-ups/Australian pull-ups. Even though it’s not what I’d call easy, don’t let […]

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