Europe’s Most Wanted

by Al Kavadlo and Danny Kavadlo on October 21, 2014

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Danny Al Ferris Wheel Europe PCC Workshops

This October has been a groundbreaking month for the Progressive Calisthenics Certification. For the first time ever, two PCC workshops took place on consecutive weekends, both overseas – and both a rollicking success! The PCC family continues to grow and grow. The passion for calisthenics transcends intercontinental boundaries.

First, we conducted our inaugural workshop in The Netherlands at Trainingscentrum Helena in Haarlem, Holland. Hosted by the #1 Krav Maga instructor in the world (outside of Israel), Martijn Bos, our premiere event in The Netherlands resulted in new calisthenics achievements from each and every attendee!

Support Press Holland PCC

Human flags, muscle-ups and elbow levers were all fair game for participants, as were handstands, archer pull-ups and back levers. Every single person who came to PCC Holland achieved at least one personal best. It’s an exciting experience to witness firsthand the birth of such excellence!

Europe PCC Muscle-Up

Knowledge was shared, friendships were formed and new PCC instructors now walk among us. The solidarity and kinship among the newest members of the PCC family is a heartwarming thing to behold. As usual, it was hard to say goodbye at the end of the whirlwind weekend!

PCC Group Photo Holland 2014

There was little time to relish in the success, however, as we soon headed over to Sweden to conduct our second PCC event in Gothenburg. The momentum of groundbreaking achievements that began in Holland didn’t slow down one bit once we arrived in the land of the midnight sun. Positivity breeds positivity, and the Sweden crew proved it. Some of the most recognizable faces from the international street workout team Barstarzz even showed up to earn their Progressive Calisthenics Certifications!

PCC Sweden 2014 Barstarzz

The fierce calisthenics vikings of Gothenburg continued in the tradition of previous PCC classes by smashing personal bests, inspiring one another and having a blast the whole time! We love our job!

PCC Sweden L-Sit on Danny and Al

Now that we are back in the States, it’s hard to believe how quickly it all went; time flies when you’re having fun! The good news is, we get to do it all over again next month! PCC wraps up the 2014 season with a return to the good ol’ USA. Our final event of the year will take place at Drench Fitness in Milwaukee, WI on November 7-9. Spots are still open for this event. Go sign up right now!

And for our European fans, do not fret! You will have three opportunities to attend the PCC next spring when we come to Germany, Italy and Ireland on three consecutive weekends!

No matter where we go, spreading the joy of calisthenics is fresh and exciting every time! We can’t wait to see YOU at our next event!

PCC Group Photo Sweden 2014

 

***

About Al and Danny Kavadlo:

Al Kavadlo is the lead instructor for Dragon Door’s Progressive Calisthenics Certification. Recognized worldwide for his amazing bodyweight feats of strength as well as his unique coaching style, Al is the author of three books, including Raising The Bar: The Definitive Guide to Pull-up Bar Calisthenics and Pushing The Limits! Total Body Strength With No Equipment. Read more about Al on his website:www.AlKavadlo.com.

Danny Kavadlo is one of the world’s most established and respected personal trainers. He is a Master Instructor of Progressive Calisthenics and the author of Everybody Needs Training: Proven Success Secrets for the Professional Fitness Trainer. A true in-person experience, Danny is known globally as a motivator and leader in the body-weight community. Learn more about Danny at: www.DannyTheTrainer.com.

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Convict Conditioning 3: Explosive Calisthenics

by Paul "Coach" Wade on October 14, 2014

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Al Kavadlo Danny Kavadlo

Our ancient ancestors were incredible bodyweight athletes. Just a basic grasp of history will make you realize how true this statement is. What’s more, they were explosive athletes: can you imagine the inherent power, the speed, the agility and reflexes it would take for a team of human beings to take down a mighty creature like a rampaging boar, a wildebeest or even a giant mammoth?

Hell, who wouldn’t want to have all that back today? Who wouldn’t want to become that explosive again—for sports, athletics, or maybe even self-preservation in a survival situation? Perhaps just for the natural pride of knowing that you’ve taken your body back to the primal “default” settings you were always meant to have?

Mother Nature gave you this incredible machine for becoming almost Spider-Man explosive. That machine is your own body. But somewhere along the way, something in the fitness world went wrong. We turned our backs on this birthright. Instead, athletes looking to gain qualities like speed, power, and agility started using gimmicks. They are jumping off boxes; using straps and bands; throwing weighted balls around; and dancing around cones. None of this will get you explosive as fast as just moving your body! Your body is really all you need. It was all we ever needed.

Did your ancestors have any of this crap?

Explosive Calisthenics: Convict Conditioning Style

Here’s what we’re gonna do. We’re going to follow a Convict Conditioning approach. We’re gonna field-strip our training: we’ll get rid of the crash mats, the foam pits, wedges, wires and spotters. You just need to find something to hang from—a bar, a branch. No more specialized gear than that. We’re going back to basics, baby!

Forget intricate training schedules with hundreds of exercises programmed into a periodized routine. None of that junk works—it spreads your energy and focus too thin. We are going to use just a handful of movement “chains”—we’ll pick six of the finest, most mind-blowing examples of explosive speed and power on the planet, then we’ll work up to them progressively.

What examples?

The “Explosive Six”

First, don’t get me wrong: slow strength is crucial for the athlete—it builds muscle mass, teaches the soft tissues to resist force, and builds joint integrity. But it shouldn’t be the end of your calisthenics story! In the real world, you gotta be able to use your strength quickly, and with agility. You gotta EXPLODE!

In Convict Conditioning’s “Big Six” I shared with you my philosophy on the world’s greatest bodyweight strength exercises. But there is more to the story. There is also an “Explosive Six” which will turn that strength into incredible power. Take a minute to absorb the Master Steps on this list:

1. The Suicide Jump

Forget box jumps and go old school. This move is long known as a bodyweight feat for only the finest jumpers: Grab a broomstick…and jump over it. Sound easy? Try it, dude—you’ll find out how it got its name.

Danny Kavadlo Suicide Jump
2. The Superman

Also known as the flying Superman, this is possibly the archetypal power pushup: you just bend your arms, and explode your entire body off the ground, before shooting you’re your arms then landing safely. Warning: medicine ball work will not get you there!

Danny Kavadlo The Flying Superman

3. The No-Hands Kip-up

You’ve seen Jackie Chan do it; you’ve seen The Rock do it. Lie on your back and BANG! Whip up onto your feet. But since you’re cooler than those two dudes, I’m gonna teach you to do it with no damn hands.

Al Kavadlo No Hands Kip-Up

4. The Front Flip

Forget the relatively slow Olympic lifting everyone is into these days. Now we are talking speed-strength. Now we are talking perfection of muscular synergy. No running. No steps. From standing, explode 360 degrees and land on your feet like a cat.

Front Flip

5. The Back Flip

Beloved by parkour masters, martial artists and acrobats—if one exercise symbolizes agility, it has to be this one. We all know it—dip down and flip around, landing on your feet without using the hands. But how many have learned it? Mastered it, dominated, it? No funny little plastic cones required.

Back Flip

6. The Muscle-Up

The first five moves in this list build incredible power and speed. But they are performed off the floor. For a balanced power-physique, you need to pull upwards, as well. And for true explosiveness—which works every muscle in the upper-body and trunk—there’s only one choice. Hang from the bar and power up and over!

Al Kavadlo Muscle Up

Knowledge is power

Just take a look at that roll call. It’s pretty elite right?

Let’s dream for a moment. How much raw power would you possess—in every single muscle of your body—if you could bust out all six of these movements? How fast would you be? How conditioned would your responses, your reflexes become? How much would all that power improve and enhance your strength training, your bodybuilding, your sports? Furthermore, how many athletes do you know who can complete all six? Hell, how many human beings in history could? And yet, achieving this incredible level of ability can be done.

…And it might be easier than you think. But you need to open your mind and drop all thinking about modern methods, current gimmicks and trends, and be prepared to go Spartan as Hell. Old, old school.

Don’t be misled into thinking in terms of gymnastics, either. Gymnastics is great, but it’s a sport based on aesthetics and external judgment. What I want to share—progressive, explosive calisthenics—is much more ancient. We’re just moving. Nobody is judging you. I’ll help you find your own way. It doesn’t matter if you put this foot out of alignment, or that arm in the wrong direction. As long as you are building power, you are winning!

Most athletes—even dedicated, impressive men and women—shy away from “big” exercises like these. They assume that only naturally gymnastic folks can do them, and that they gotta start off real young.

BULL!

Any regular man or woman can build up to these exercises! You just need to do so progressively.

I am incredibly proud of my first book, Convict Conditioning. One of the reasons I’m so proud is that the manual persuaded many thousands of folks who were intimidated by incredible strength feats—like the one-arm pullup and pushup—to begin working on these movements by starting easy. Sure, you can’t pull off a one-arm pushup on your first day of training! But you can do wall pushups well, right? And when you’ve been working with them for a while, you can do incline pushups. Then kneeling pushups. Eventually, asymmetrical pushups. And before you know it, you’re on your way: you have experienced—first-hand, not via theory—the fact that progressive calisthenics can unlock your innate strength!

The exact same is true for the legendary explosive movements above. You can achieve each of them—if you know the “secret”. What’s the secret? The correct progressions.

My new book, Explosive Calisthenics is the third volume in the Convict Conditioning series. In it, I’ll be teaching you all the programming theory you need to optimize your power training. I’ll give you my training tips, my “performance hacks” to get you crashing through barriers. I’ll also give you dozens of extra zero-equipment drills to help you in your training. But most importantly, I’ll share with you my progressions. Each movement in the Explosive Six is carefully broken down into ten steps—ranging from “pretty easy” all the way up to the Master Steps above—and beyond. And I promise you, you don’t need a gym, foam mats or a spotter. Just your body, like I said.

I know all you reading this have been thinking about, and working on, your bodyweight strength—and I love you for it. But—if you’re ready—it’s nearly time for us to commence a new journey together. It’s time to shift up a gear—several gears—and transform that strength into power.

It’s time to go back to where we were meant to be, kid.

It’s time to explode.

***

Paul “Coach” Wade is the author of Convict Conditioning, Convict Conditioning Volume 2, the Convict Conditioning Ultimate Bodyweight Training Log, and five Convict Conditioning DVD and manual programs. Click here for more information about the Convict Conditioning DVDs and books available for purchase from Dragon Door Publications.

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The Forearm Stand: A PCC Hidden Step

October 7, 2014

Are you frustrated with conquering the freestanding handstand? We all want to progress quickly, but the jump from a wall handstand to a free-balancing one can be a huge hurdle! Enter the Forearm Stand – a relatively unknown movement in the PCC world – and a great “hidden step” on your way to the handstand! […]

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Preparing for the PCC Experience

September 30, 2014

While we’ve shared a lot of information about what happens at PCC workshops, there are always still questions revolving around the same couple of topics: How do I prepare for the Progressive Calisthenics Certification, and is the PCC right for me? Unlike many certification workshops in the modern fitness world, the PCC is a highly […]

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Suit Yourself

September 23, 2014

This was not a post I planned on writing, but it had to be written. You see, when the above photo was innocently shared on social media last week, it sparked a conversation that, quite surprisingly, I had never seen publicly addressed. The subject was something I’ve personally spoken about many times, but had no […]

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Bodyweight Conditioning: The Basics

September 15, 2014

In Progressive Calisthenics, we tend to emphasize strength. Many of the most visually impressive calisthenics moves require little more than a high strength-to-mass ratio. Though I often point out that true bodyweight mastery encompasses flexibility and balance as well, if you actually want to perform well in sports (or any prolonged physical activity) there’s another […]

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Lower Body Calisthenics

September 9, 2014

One of the best things that happened to my training was rupturing my triceps in late May. It was devastating! Right after the injury happened, on the way to the ER my 10 year old son said, “Dad now you won’t be able to do push-ups for a long time!” He was right. After surgery […]

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The Joy of Troubleshooting Progressive Calisthenics

September 2, 2014

  One of the many things I enjoy about teaching at PCC workshops as a Senior PCC Instructor is helping people get past where they’ve been “stuck” on a given progression. This is also very rewarding with my own clients at home, but since I know them so well, it’s a bit easier to predict […]

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The Power of Partner Training

August 26, 2014

Do you remember the feeling of your first pull-up, first push-up, or even your first plank? Those accomplishments are unforgettable milestones in your fitness journey, but it can be easy to take them for granted once you’ve moved on to new challenges. Did you ever help someone else accomplish a new feat of strength? Becoming […]

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The First Rule of PCC

August 19, 2014

People are always asking me if I know Coach Wade. “Is it true?” they ask. “Can he really do one-arm handstand push-ups? What does he look like? Is there a Progressive Calisthenics Certification coming to my city?” “Yes there is!” I tell them. Tell everyone you know! The first rule of PCC is you DO […]

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