How to Be “The Complete Package”—The Martial and Athletic Heritage of Explosive Calisthenics

by John Du Cane, CEO and founder, Dragon Door on March 19, 2015

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Danny Kavadlo Superman

The greatest fitness writers grab you by the wrist—and yank you into a new vision of what it means to excel as a human being. These writers inspire you to transcend your self-imposed physical limitations and to fly high in your athletic aspirations. These writers open up whole new vistas of potentiality for you—and dare you to dream big.

These rare writers challenge you to separate yourself from the herd of also-ran followers—to become leaders, survivors and winners in the physical game of life. But they don’t just challenge and inspire you. They give you the means, the secrets, the science, the wisdom, the blueprints, the proven methods and the progressions—that make success inevitable, when you supply YOUR end in consistent, diligent, skillful application.

Al Kavadlo Angled Pike JumpThese writers each possess their own potent, soulful, visceral voice. They are artists in their expression. They resonate profoundly with their own distinct vibe. You can feel the implicit truth of their message in every sentence they write.

Now—sad to say—I don’t need all of my ten digits to count out the fitness writers who have rocked my world in this manner. And I’ll bet you don’t either… Such writers are as rare as the most iconic of athletes, the Michael Jordans of their domain…

And if God chopped off all of my digits, except for my right forefinger—and asked me to point at the greatest modern writer in fitness? Without a nanosecond’s of hesitation I would point at Paul Wade.

I pride myself at recognizing true excellence in the world of fitness writing—but I almost jumped out of my skin with excitement when I first laid eyes on Paul’s Convict Conditioning in September, 2008. CC had greatness stamped all over it. Here was a work that could change the fitness landscape big time—and most assuredly it did. Now a legendary international bestseller, Convict can lay claim to be the Great Instigator when it comes to the resurgence of interest in bodyweight exercise mastery.

And—while Convict Conditioning 2 cemented Paul’s position as the preeminent authority on bodyweight exercise—there is no doubt in my mind that his magisterial new accomplishment, Explosive Calisthenics is going to blow the doors off, all over again.

What makes Explosive Calisthenics so exciting—and so profound in its implications?

See, it goes back to the laws of brute survival. It’s not “Only the strongest shall survive”. No, it’s more like: “Only the strongest, quickest, most agile, most powerful and most explosive shall survive.” To be a leader and dominator and survivor in the pack, you need to be the complete package.

Traditional martial arts have always understood this necessity of training the complete package—with explosive power at an absolute premium. And resilience is revered: the joints, tendons, muscles, organs and nervous system are ALL conditioned for maximum challenge.

Really great athletes are invariably that way too: agile as all get-go, blinding speed, ungodly bursts of power, superhuman displays of strength, seemingly at will…

How do you excel as a martial artist, as an athlete—or really at almost anything? You excel by relentlessly building your foundation and fundamentals. You excel by relentlessly practicing the skills it takes to master the moves. No one gets great by half-hearted, inconsistent application or by employing some special “hack” that’s going to magically transform you into a monster. Get real.

Luciano Acuna Jr. Flash Kick

Note the word “skill.” The foundation and fundamentals center first around the building of power and speed. But Explosive Calisthenics does a masterful job of elucidating the skill-practices needed to safely prepare for and master the more ambitious moves.

So, Explosive Calisthenics is for those who want to be winners and survivors in the game of life. Explosive Calisthenics is for those who want to be the Complete Package: Powerful, Explosive, Strong, Agile, Quick and Resilient.

But—the hallmark of greatness— Explosive Calisthenics doesn’t just inspire you with the Dream of being the Complete Package. It gives you the complete blueprint, every detail and every progression you could possibly want and need to NAIL YOUR DREAM and make it a reality. YOU, the Complete Package—it’s all laid out for you step by step.

Danny Kavadlo Swing DipFrankly, I shake my head at Paul Wade’s brilliance…the wisdom and sheer practicality…the compelling authoritativeness… the clarity. There’s been an enduring conspiracy theory that I am actually Paul Wade. That I secretly wrote Convict Conditioning and concocted a whole trumped-up marketing shtick to sell it with. Too funny! But, God, if only I could be that brilliant myself!

I am aware of how many hundreds of thousands of people around the world are now stronger and healthier as a result of Paul Wade’s first two volumes in the Convict Conditioning series. That’s wonderful to know and to contemplate. I am proud to have helped get the message out.

Now—for those who have the balls and the will and the fortitude to take it on—comes the next stage: Explosive Calisthenics. The chance not only to be strong and healthy but to ascend to the Complete Package. If you want it, then here it is…

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  • Dan Earthquake

    I discovered Dragon Door in 2005, finding it to have the most comprehensive archive of strength articles that weren’t full of unrealistic accounts or waste of time exercises. I like what you do John & you deserve your reputation & success. I’m a big fan of Paul Wade. I love the conspiracy theories about Coach being imaginary. I don’t believe that. If it were true it wouldn’t matter: the concepts are powerful & the exercises work. Paul Coach Wade has a unique style of writing that appeals to me. I recommend his books.

    • John Du Cane

      Dan, that’s a great testament, many thanks!

    • Well Dan, as we all know I am John Du Cane…others have suggested that I am Al Kavadlo, but judging by my writing compared to his, I’m Al after one hell of a heavy night out…

      Thanks for the love, man–as anyone who follows this blog knows, I also recommend YOUR books!

  • CC gave me the kickstart to a journey of strength and fitness 2 years ago. All these ideas and progressions Paul shared with us are just ahead of the pack! I am so thankful and proud to belong to this awesome community! I just can´t wait to hold my own CC 3 in my hands. A big shout to Da only Coach and kind regards to you, John 🙂

    • John Du Cane

      Thanks Norman, appreciate the kind words!

    • Big respect to you in Germany, Norman–thanks so much for the comment, it means more than you know my man.

  • John, my friend–bless you for your kind words and endless support.

    I know this book was late coming, but when it was finally born it was a long-held vision realized. I have you to thank for that—and everything else.

  • ANOTHER winner in the Convict Conditioning series! Already starting towards the kip up 🙂

    • The bodyweight-great!

      Adrienne, if you can master the flag, I have nothing left to tell you. You got this in the bag already…

      • Well I hope to get that thing mastered one day! Was having more fun with it yesterday in fact … 🙂

        • Will we be seeing a suicide jump at some point…?

  • Marcus

    Sweet – Christmas came early – I’ve just purchased my copy and scheduled the rest of the day off to read it =) I feel like a kid in a candy store. Thanks Coach and thanks John!
    Marcus

    • Wow, what an honor to read something like that–I hope it is worth the time, Marcus. Thank you, and keep us posted on what you think, my man!

  • Vasily K.

    Hey Coach! Just yesterday flipped through your great Explosive Calisthenics! The design is really hot and all the information in book is brilliant. Can’t wait till I reach those 5th Steps on CC1 to start working with the Explosive 6.
    You are a really good author, Paul. It’s very interesting to see how slightly differs the style of writing in CC2 from CC1 and now in the CC3 from the rest series. Hope that there will more CC№ to come!
    With best regards, Vasily K.

    • Vasily! Bless you for all your endless support–it means more to me than you probably think, buddy.

      Your comment has jogged my memory–I think I owe you an email, right bro? Been overloaded with training recently, but I aint forgot, Vas.

  • amar

    I wish I had this book when I was throwing in high school. I learned early on that while the clean and jerk was a good lift for throwers to develop strength, it did very little in terms of building the power I needed for throws. When doing the olympic lifts you are forced to decelerate to catch the bar, and almost no real life athletic activity will force you to decelerate, you need to explode all the way through. Not knowing what to do, I was forced to turn to medicine balls, but you can only get a little bit more power before a 30 pound ball becomes useless.

    These moves are definitely going to become a major part of my training and also a major training tool for the athletes I help coach at my old high school now.

    • Wow, what an amazing comment to read…damn man, that makes my heart sing, thank you. You clearly get it, my friend, as not everyone will, at least, right away. Thank you and holler back when you have explored the moves!

      • amar

        So I have been spending time on the first two exercise; Superman Pushups and Suicide Jumps. Currently im at; Pop Ups and vertical jumps. I know I can do more advanced progressions, but I have trusted you in the past and milked each exercise and I will continue to do so. I few things I have noticed;

        Punching power has improved drastically. I practice on my punching bag at home, throwing a few punches every now and then, not enough to constitute real martial arts training(like i used to do). One thing I noticed, my punches have more cobra like now, fast and real powerful. Im almost knocking over my 200 pound standing bag.

        Lower body power is through the roof. Im a stage actor (student) and my stage combat is more crisp and explosive. (Real good for me as I usually get the “power” hercules type of roles. Currently playing Hamlet)

        Im not even half way through the progressions yet on ONLY two exercises and my athleticism has improved so much! Thank you for this work of art Coach!

  • martymonster

    A big thanks to Paul Wade and Dragondoor for bring this remarkable series of books to market. I’ve totally dug the Convict Conditioning series since I first stumbled across it. The series is rightly touted as a game changer in the fitness industry. Its not just the charm of the author which has been the secret of success…and honestly, I can hear the Coach in my head as I train. It’s the clarity of the system in the series of progressions through technically harder links in a chain of exercises with stated progression levels that has set this apart from so many others.
    Thanks for all the help Paul. I really dig Bridges … just as you promised. I really dig the Trifecta…just as stated on the lid. I am fired up to add some explosive work into the mix.

    • Marty! The great man! God bless ya Marty, it’s always awesome to have you in our corner…just as we are in yours, always.

      • martymonster

        Thanks Paul, as they say, If I see far it’s because I stand on the shoulders of giants.

  • Glenn Sunshine

    I haven’t used either of the CC books before this. Would you recommend starting with them before CC3, or can CC3 be done without the prior prep from CC1 or CC2?

    • You don’t need CC1 or CC2 to get this book, Glenn. You don’t need anything.

      However…like I say in the book, explosive training places unique demands on the body, and I advise ALL athletes to have some level of bodyweight strength conditioning under their belts before they get started with this. This is largely common sense: if your joints are too weak to do bodyweight squats properly, you got no business doing explosive bodyweight leaping, right?

      That said, what system/method you use to get there is up to you my friend. You may already be there!

      • Glenn Sunshine

        Thanks for the response. I’ve been doing large numbers of basic pushups and bodyweight squats (sets up to 80 in the first and 200 in the second recently, sometimes in the past higher), so I may well be ready for some of this. OTOH I’ve also had a hip replacement and I’m not supposed to do impact stuff for a while yet. I’ll give it some thought and figure out where I want to go next. Thanks again for replying!

        • Sounds like you’ve got the conditioning, Glenn. Don’t forget, you may still be able to work on explosives based on the upper-body–power pushups and pullups, power dips, muscle-ups, etc.

          In the meantime thanks for your post and hope that hip is 100% damn soon.

  • Mohammed

    Been waiting a long, long time for this book. Will a physical version be available in the UK (on Amazon UK, that is; I know there currently are not any UK Dragon Door distributors)? If so, when?

    • Hey Mohammed! Good to hear from ya and thanks for your patience. We’ll hafta see if John or Adrienne can answer that one.

      • Mohammed

        I hope you’ve started writing CC4? Maybe for a 01/01/2016 release? Hehe.

        • You tryna kill me, bud?!

          Seriously…who knows? But for now I just want to get back into hands-on training for a while.

    • Will find out for you about Amazon UK. DragonDoor.com of course can ship directly to you, but I’m assuming you’re wanting UK distribution for less waiting and less import tax?

      • Mohammed

        Less waiting, yes but if it’s less than a month, then I am willing to suffer a little; better than 3 months. Regarding tax and other costs, if it is literally a few pounds more, I don’t mind. However, I won’t buy if overall costs amount to a ridiculous amount.

        • mike

          It’ s about £16 customs charge on delivery if I remember rightly. I downloaded the book yesterday because I had to read it instantly and it is excellent once again, i unfortunately can’t do much more than read it at the moment because I am in a leg cast recovering from ankle surgery so I’ll slowly be working my way back to one leg squats before trying the more advanced stuff in this incredible book.

          • Good luck on your rehab, Mike my man. You got this.

            I expect an incredible “from a cast to doing backflips” success story from ya in the future…!

          • mike

            Thanks coach! I’ll definitely be getting after them back flips once I’m back on my feet but for now its all pull ups an one arm knee pushups for me, but with the cc trilogy there isn’t a doubt in my mind that I will come back stronger and more powerful than before! Thanks again for sharing your knowledge coach.

          • Thanks for listening to an old bastard like me!

          • Mohammed

            Thanks, Mike. Seems I’m in for the wait!

          • Mohammed

            Good luck with recovery and training. I’m also in recovery but mine ain’t at all as bad as yours. However, I feel the frustration of having to back off.

          • mike

            Thanks Mohammed, good luck to you too mate. It’s so frustrating being injured but you just need to stop worrying about the things you can’t do and focus on what you can do, all the best mate

          • Mohammed

            Thanks, brother.

        • well, it seems like Amazon UK will happen eventually, but they do not know an exact date yet. Wish I could be of more help!

          • Mohammed

            Thanks, Adrienne!

    • John Du Cane

      Mohammed, we expect to have this for sale dirtily on Amazon.uk in about three months.

      • Mohammed

        Ah, three months. 90 Days. A lotta days. A lotta patience. Similar to the principles of Convict Conditioning.

        Thanks for the info, John.

        • Ah, by then you’ll have another three inches on your arms, my man!

  • Les Gross

    Ordered my copy on Monday, and can’t wait to get my grubby mitts on it. What I love most about the CC books (aside from the clearly laid out, proven progressions), is that they aren’t just books about strength and fitness- they are works of literature. They are entertaining to read, unlike thousands of other boring fitness books out there. I put them on my bookshelf right next to Cell, World War Z, Odd Thomas, etc. I will be very sad if this is the last book I read from Coach.

    • Wow, goddam, Les? Literature? You would be one badass college professor, looking at your shelf, that’s for sure.

      You are THE MAN I want by my shoulder when the zombie apocalypse hits!

      • Mohammed

        Zombie apocalypse fans?? I thought I’d be the only one here! You guys read The Zombie Survival Guide? Great book.

        • I note that it advocates CALISTHENICS. Perfect for functional strength, no equipment, won’t drain you in an emergency scenario…

          • Mohammed

            Apocalyptic Conditioning. The title of your next book. I expect royalties for the title…

          • 15% okay…?

          • Mohammed

            Just about!

          • Ha! Hard bargainer!

        • Les Gross

          I read a few pages of that at a friend’s house several years ago. Sadly I had forgotten about it, but I might go order it now. Thanks for the reminder!

          • Mohammed

            You won’t regret it!

      • Les Gross

        If I were being interviewed in front of millions of people, and the question was “If you could meet and shake the hand of anyone in the world, who would it be?”, I wouldn’t say Carl Sagan, or J.R.R. Tolkien- I’d say Coach Wade. I really mean that. Your books turned me from a skinny-fat weakling, into the strongest machine I’ve ever been, and I haven’t hit step 10 in any exercise yet!

        You’re a bad motherfucker, and influenced my life in ways that few other people have come close to

        • Les, that is an incredible honor. I can think of nothing that would make me prouder than shaking your hand, my friend.

          Don’t hurt me with that steely grip, my man!

    • John Du Cane

      Leas, I so agree with you…literature for sure and Paul is right up there

  • Sam

    I´m still reading this masterpiece but had to drop a comment about Hartigen; what an absolute BEAST he was!

    • That made me smile. And you are SO right, Sam!

      And if you end up liking the book, please drop a review on Amazon–and I’ll do pushups in your honor tonight, big man! Promise!

  • Eric Buratty

    John and Paul–way to take the fitness industry to the next level with this release!

    I’ve set out to conquer three movements this year: the straddle press handstand, the triple bodyweight deadlift with trap/hex bar and the kip-up. Out of the three of these so far, I’ve seen the least progress with the kip-up. So I will most definitely be grabbing my copy of Explosive Calisthenics soon–as I’m excited to practice the progressions in there for that spicy kip-up move.

    All things considered, it seems like the more “advanced” we get from an exercise standpoint, the more we start to realize the infinite number of options available for becoming a total badass with minimal equipment. It’s great to see that more people are starting to focus on those relative strength qualities that are highlighted in this release . . . “Superhuman Power, Maximum Speed and Agility, Plus Combat-Ready Reflexes . . . ”

    –E

    We have you both to thank for that, Coach Wade and John Du Cane!

    Ciao!
    –Eric

    • John Du Cane

      many thanks for the good comments and kind words Eric!

    • Eric, if I had read what this: “All things considered, it seems like the more “advanced” we get from an exercise standpoint, the more we start to realize the infinite number of options available for becoming a total badass with minimal equipment.”

      Before the book came out, I woulda included it in the intro. You are one wise man–great sentiment.

      You can get the kip-up, no doubt. Please keep me informed of your awesome progress!!

  • againstgravity

    Not sure if you remember me. But I can say now, 3 months later, that I’m healed.

    ‘Don’t stop training!’

    I didn’t, and now I consider myself healed of that nagging tennis elbow injury. Thank you for those words.
    I started to stretch really hard the flexors of the forearm, ‘really hard’, as you told me to do, and combined it with wall wrist push-ups -rather than those boring forearm curls that I did for the first weeks- (I preferred to not to use gloves: I wanted the skin to get tougher as well). After that, two serious sets of five reps on the hardest variation I could of fingertip push-ups.

    Now I’m doing kneeling wrist push-ups, and surprisingly, even though I started to do pull-ups and rows again pretty often (3 times per week), the pain is gone. After exactly 1 year (it started on march of 2014), it only disappeared not through rest, but through working out… the right way.

    Thank you!

    • Againstgravity…you just made my day.

      Keep up the great work, and Thank YOU!

    • martymonster

      Hi AgGrav, I’m suffering through tennis elbow as well. Resting is helping but is slow and frustrating. By wall wrist pushups do you mean a wall pushup but with the backs of the hands pressed against the wall? Work within pain threshold or do you have a fixed sets x reps scheme going on?

      • Againstgravity

        Hey martymonster!

        Sorry for the late reply. Here’s exactly the exercise I did:

        However, I performed this exercise in the wall, as an easier progression, because at that time, full wrist push-ups were too hard for me. I worked it 3 times per week, for 4 sets. I built up to 4×20 solid reps. It took me around 4 weeks to be able to do them -and to condition the skin, too-

        Then I progressed to kneeling wrist push-ups, which is the progression I am right now, though soon I’ll progress up to full wrist push-ups. I still do wall wrist push-ups as a warm-up, though.

        Besides that exercise, I performed 2 serious sets of 5 reps of fingertips push-ups, as I said.

        After that, I stretched the flexors of the forearm REALLY, REALLY hard. Here’s an example of the kind of stretches I did:

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NIeL0AYygiY (00:46 to 00:52)

        I hold it for about 20-40 seconds, pulling from each finger separately, then released, and repeated it several times, trying to really feel the stretch in the flexors forearm muscles, and spreading the fingers as much as I could on the floor. I also did it over a wall.

        I only stretched passively the flexors, though, NOT the extensors. And stretched every day, at least two times per day (morning and night), though I usually did it after my training too, so about 3 stretching sessions per day, for about 5-10 minutes/session.

        For me, only rest didnt work. I got injured at March 2014 and it was as painful as the first day on January 2015. However, by focusing strengthening the forearm extensors and stretching the forearm flexors, after just a few weeks, the pain was gone.
        Hope it helps!

      • Againstgravity

        Hey martymonster!

        Sorry for the late reply. Here’s exactly the exercise I did:

        However, I performed this exercise in the wall, as an easier progression, because at that time, full wrist push-ups were too hard for me. I worked it 3 times per week, for 4 sets. I built up to 4×20 solid reps. It took me around 4 weeks to be able to do them -and to condition the skin, too-

        Then I progressed to kneeling wrist push-ups, which is the progression I am right now, though soon I’ll progress up to full wrist push-ups. I still do wall wrist push-ups as a warm-up, though.

        Besides that exercise, I performed 2 serious sets of 5 reps of fingertips push-ups, as I said.

        After that, I stretched the flexors of the forearm REALLY, REALLY hard. Here’s an example of the kind of stretches I did:

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XTYyrQbT1VU (00:46 to 00:52)

        I hold it for about 20-40 seconds, pulling from each finger separately, then released, and repeated it several times, trying to really feel the stretch in the flexors forearm muscles, and spreading the fingers as much as I could on the floor, with the fingers pointing backwards, and with the fingers pointing forwards. I also did it against a wall.

        I only stretched passively the flexors, though, NOT the extensors. And stretched every day, at least two times per day (morning and night), though I usually did it after my training too, so about 3 stretching sessions per day, for about 5-10 minutes/session.

        For me, only rest didnt work. I got injured at March 2014 and it was almost as painful as the first day on January 2015. However, by focusing strengthening the forearm extensors and stretching the forearm flexors, after just a few weeks, the pain was gone.
        Hope it helps!

  • kane

    Coach i have just achieved muscle ups after months of plyo training and was trying to consolidate and clean up my form. Would i still be able to improvements in technique when training for explosivness or should i focus on getting over with power and work technique after improving power

    • Hey Kane!

      Brother, it all depends on what you mean by “clean up my form” and “technique”.

      If that means going slower and stricter–explosiveness is the opposite of what you want.

      But if it means moving faster and more efficiently–then power training is what you need!

      • kane

        Sorry for the vagueness….i meant when i go as explosive as possible my legs has a tendency to bend and kick and was wondering if i should iron out the kinks in my technique before starting explosive training for power or should i just get stuck in as in the end my goal is to become more explosive. Also on a side note your books have greatly enhanced my life and i am so stoked to get the ebook yesterday…many many thanks

        • No, no–get stuck in my man!

          Thanks for the kind comment. Stay stoked and keep me posted on your progress!

  • isondart

    I’ve been waiting. Got it on my kindle, read and went to work.

    Taking a break to thank you for the knowledge Coach!

    Now, back to the work.

    • THIS is the kind of comment I love to read!!!!

      Isondart, you the man.

  • Valentin

    Hi Coach! I’ve discovered you two years ago when my brother lend me the french translation of CC1, and for me it has been like a revelation, (I only knew gym and military training, so only very basic calisthenic mostly to train endurance) and I said to myself, this guy is absolutly right about physical training! I never go back again in a gym since! It was also very great to have discover you, because 6 months after I left to travel the world for 1 year and half now, and because of your program, I was able to train anywhere, one the beach, in the middle of mountains, etc…
    And now that I can understand english I have begun to train with CC2 too, and was looking forwards for CC3. As casual practicer of parkour and martial art I was even more interested by explosive calisthenics! So I just begin to read CC3 and I wanted to thanks you for all these three books which have change my life!
    You’re the best Coach, Thank You!

    P.S. excuse the poor english of the swiss guy that I am

    • My awesome student, Valentin! It does my old heart good to think of you training hard in the mountains and on the beach!

      Greatness awaits for you (and your bro)–never quit!

  • Paramesvara Dasa

    Great to see the forward reprinted as a standalone article. This is right on the money. There is a lifetime’s worth of physical development in the pages of the ‘big three’, if you will. Add in C-Mass, and you’re set for a very long time.

    • Thanks so much for the kind words, Paramesvara! Your support means the world to me. Please stick around the PCC community, there’s more awesome stuff to come!

  • Joseph Wills

    After “acquiring” a copy of Convict Conditioning about five years ago, I
    was immediately hooked and started incorporating Coach Wade’s methodologies.
    Especially when I could not afford or have time to go to the gym CC1 helped me
    improve my overall strength. My wife told me that I’m in much better
    shape than when I was lifting weights and she sees through me that it doesn’t
    take a lot of fancy equipment and designer drugs.

    CC1 reminded me a little of the calisthenics from when I was in
    the military. CC2 blew me away with the wealth of information about
    ancillary training and especially the history of calisthenics, Joseph
    Greenstein, Bert Assirati and so on. Because of this appreciation I purchased
    CC1, CC2, C-Mass, and CC3 (not on the same day).

    I’ve been trying to get muscle-ups for a couple of years now and
    have been practicing with jumping muscle-ups and straight-bar dips. I’m definitely
    ready to use CC3 to reach this goal of getting a clean muscle-up.

    Love how Coach is making a difference and reviving “true
    fitness”. Hey Coach, What are your thoughts on Isometrics (Joseph
    Greenstein)?

    • another great Joe! Thanks for your post!

      Love bodyweight isometrics (dynamic-tension style), and bar pulls, but even better are the classic static holds: bridges, planks, squat holds, flags, hanging grip work, hanging levers, L-sits, and so on. I get this question so much, I’ll have to pest Al to write a book about just statics!

      Train hard, Joe!

      • Rodolfo Oliveira

        Maybe you could co-author this book with him Coach… I would love to see something like that! Amazing book you put out there again Coach! I now have about 5 years of work to do! You never cease to amaze and surprise me Coach! I am still on campaign to have you write a manual on Survival Calisthenics! Cheers!

        • Hey Rudolfo! Nah, make it two years for a stud like you. God bless you for the support–as always!

  • Mohammed

    Just remembered, Coach. I do not know when you’ll write another post, so excuse this non-explosive calisthenics question.

    In CC2, you advise that one should not attempt neck/wrestler’s bridges till one can do a basic back bridge, which is to avoid inuries, of course. What can one do to strengthen the neck till they get to that stage? I’m on short bridges, and I do not want to spend more years with a relatively weak neck, since it is one of the most vulnerable parts of the body.

    The only ones I can think of now are using the hands to provide resistance and leaning against a wall with the head (the second is only safe up to a certain degree of incline). Any others?

    • Your suggestions were EXACTLY what I was gonna recommend! Sets of ten light manual-assist neck bends (front back, and side) then front and back neck bridges uses a towel against a vertical wall. You got this!

      • Mohammed

        Ah, excellent! I was thinking more keeping the neck straight while pushing with hands. Didn’t think to vary the CC2 neck bridge dynamic movements on the floor by replacing the floor with hands.

        Thanks, Coach!

        • Dan Earthquake

          Just a mention for the other way round – I started neck bridges at 7 years old (I’m 41 on Tuesday) & never tried normal back bridges till recently. They were horrible! Decided to carry on the with the neck bridges. Ted Spacey (my childhood judo coach) used to make us put our hands on our faces – this stabilizes the neck a bit which is good for starting out. You might try this Mohammed when you feel ready to have a go. I still do a certain amount of them like this, especially the first set. I do my bridges last thing before bed on the mattress supersetted with leg raises & a few static exercises for the core & upper body. Helps with sleeping (I have a few injuries from foolish things.)

          Talking of which, some years back I did a wrestlers bridge & my friend handed me a homemade scaffold tube & car wheel barbell (probably only about 50 kg) & I did a set of ten bench press sort of movements. It was to show off really, I thought about doing it an an exhibition but didn’t carry on with them. I could talk forever about Wrestlers Bridges – my favourite movement & I think they’ve saved my life a few times too.
          Until Coach Wade started writing I’d thought I was the only one left doing them!

          • You and me, keepin it old school, Big Dan!

          • Mohammed

            Thanks very much, Dan. I will definitely remember the hands-on-face

            tip when I get to that stage.

  • I’m about half way through CC3 so far, really enjoying it. Went through the basic jumping progressions with one of my students yesterday, who is running Tough Mudder with my team this year. Think breaking it down the way it is will really help him improve his jumping ability.

    Of course I’ll have to find some extra time in my own training to get in some of the more advanced exercises now, a kip up is something I’ve wanted to try for a while. Great stuff as always Coach.

    • Hey, it’s my main man, master of the one-arm pullup! Real glad you like the book my friend–a million thanks for picking it up. For you, a kip-up gonna happen in NO damn time.

      • Haha, thanks mate. Yeah, I’m pretty sure I’ve got the power for it, just need to fine tune the form, which your progressions will help me nail down.

  • David

    Hi Coach, hope you’re really good!
    When C-mass was released I asked you a couple of questions and I got some satisfying answers in return. I am especially happy ’cause I recently managed to progress to close squats without falling on my ass, form feels great actually, and this comes from a guy who used to have really weak knee-joints so thank you! I’ve basically worked my way up to 30×4 and in a 5-3-5 cadence together with squat holds and a lot of random squatting (picking things up and such).

    Now I got another question concerning squats: should I work towards doing i.e. 30×3 close squats before trying to progress to the next step? Would it be beneficial? I’m thinking of weak-knee background here.

    And a not so amusing question about injury..

    A couple of years ago, before CC of course, when I first started experimenting with using my muscles in my upper body I was doing a pulling movement (you stand up and pull one of those ‘lats-apparatus’ downward), too heavy of course, I think the ball of the shoulder joint kind of jumped out of it’s socket really quick so it didn’t dislocate itself and I never had to seek treatment for it. It’s been a couple of years now and shoulder pain has recurred a couple of times but only briefly, last time was last summer because of foolishness.

    Anyways, I’ve been doing step 3 of the push up progressions for about 9 months but for the last four or five of those months I’ve been trying to pass 25×3, starting over from 20×3 multiple times. So the last couple of weeks I’ve been starting to get frustrated over this so last week I committed a sin and tried to see if I could meet the beginner standard of step 4 and what happened? The pain in my shoulder is back! I further worsened it by giving it my all in step 3 on my next push up session. I decided to back off and give it rest and start all-over from step 1. Today I tried something called Intu Flow (dunno if you heard about it) by some martial artist who apparently cured himself with it and this made it worse hehe. It’s not like it’s hurting a lot but enough to bother me and feeling that I have to stay away from upper body exercises ’til it feels better.

    In retrospect I think that it can be my underlying shoulder problem that’s been stopping me from getting pass 25×3, ’cause when I think of it sometimes I felt extreme fatigue in my left shoulder after the last set, not pain just enormously fatigued, like not able to lift arm over head kind of fatigue.

    Sorry for such a long whine but I wonder if you, Coach, have any thoughts on how I could come to a solution for my shoulder aches? 🙂

    Thank you once more for CC Coach!
    Take care

    • Hey David, I remember you! How awesome that you are kicking ass on your squats! Great, great work. I would advise you to meet the progression standard on the close squats–don’t bounce, and hold at the bottom for a second or two. Your weak knees will be history. Sure, this won;t be fun, but you really need to master deep, close squats to progress to asymmetrical stuff.

      Sorry to hear about the shoulder pull–more common than you know. My thoughts:

      1. Rest it for a few days–don’t just launch into intense stuff like flow work. It may help down the line, but not right after a tweak.
      2. PERFECT form. Come back with moderate effort, but no bouncing, no speed. For now.
      3. Stretch the shoulder capsule every few hours–stretch yer arms STRAIGHT UP as far as you can for a rep or two. Try and touch the ceiling.
      4. Don’t neglect those horizontal pulls. Good form and lots of reps.
      5. It can be a great idea to do your horizontal pulls BEFORE any presses: to keep the shoulder pumped and stable.
      6. Inverse work: once the shoulder is strong, try doing lots of wall handstands, at least as much as your do pushups. This can balance out the muscles causin tweaks.

      You can come back from this, dude! We all do…keep me posted my man.

      • David

        Thanks Coach! I just can’t stress how much it means to get first hand advice from you.

        I love doing the close squat so it won’t be boring, ever! If I didn’t know there was a badass feat like the one legged one I could just stick to close ones forever 🙂

        I will follow your advice! Thanks again!

        • Welcome bro–I want you to still be with the community when you are doing those big, bad, one-legs!

          • David

            That I intend to do Coach 🙂

  • Brad Sadl

    This is an awesome book. I can’t wait to begin the progressions for the back flip and clean up my form on the explosive push-up! I left a review for you on Amazon (I bought the paperback version) and I’m all signed up for PCC#1 in Alexandria later this year!! I’m really excited about this training!!

    • Brad–hey, thank you so much for the review: I really appreciate it more than you know.

      And hell, you are signed up for a PCC too? God damn, Brad! The PCC will be a better community for having you with us. And your physique is looking old school badass!!

  • Americanadian Badass

    This is all very exiting stuff but i think ill stick with dumbell curls, tricep kickbacks, and leg extensions. Who needs all this “total athlete” mumbo jumbo? Oh, and a steady diet of crunches, of course.

    Love the books. You, Al, Danny, Max, and Matt keep me loving life.

    Its funny, but when i was a guest of the state, i worked a similar program to CC, but didnt have the knowledge and wisdom to progress to harder versions. Needless to say, it was inside where i fell in love with calisthenics.

    Its great to know that when i got out, i was only at the basecamp, with a whole mountain left to climb.

    AWESOME!!!!

  • Les Gross

    Finally received my copy today and I’m absolutely floored by the wealth of info in this book! LOTS of drills (with pictures of every single one of them) to keep me busy for as long as my body allows.

    I thought I wasn’t advanced enough for some of this, but I was surprised to find out that I had already improvised a few of the accessory moves (I’m looking at you, bridge-position-wall-push). Good to know that I’m not as unprepared as I thought.

    Great book, everyone buy this thing and pay Coach his dues.

    • It’s great stuff! Glad you got it and you are right, it can work for any level 🙂 Let us know how you do with it down the road too!

  • Peter

    Hey Paul I’ve a question for you:

    In CC1 you recommend to continue doing the ‘master steps’ for endurance rather than increasing the load, specially on pistol squats. I mean, as ‘beyond’ pistol squats, the goal is to keep doing pistol squats for 2 sets of 50 or so, because increasing the load, as you said, would destroy the knees, and it will be paid in the future.

    However, the problem is that I’m a really light athlete, so I can already do pistol squats easily. And I’d like to do weighted pistol squats. My goal would be to do 100kg (in total, bodyweight+extra weight) pistol squats, and then, and only then, start to building up the reps instead increasing the load. What do you think?

    • amar

      Im not coach wade, but imo you should first work up to 2×50. It sounds like you cannot dothat yet, so work on that and then you can see if you need to add weight.

      • Dan Earthquake

        I’m not Coach Wade either. I agree with Amar & would add that instead of adding weight, move slower. Super slow movements work the muscle fibres very well & can be done anywhere without extra weights/equipment at your own pace. Good luck!

        • Peter

          I like your idea guys, I’ll worl up to 2×50 before adding weight. I can already do 2×20, but 2×50 is still a long road to go. Thank you guys!

  • Brian Riddle

    I’ve been working on the clutch hang for 4 months with very little progress, could only hang for a second or two on each side. Had been working on it 2x a week after my normal workouts. After reading the book and learning the difference between strength training, skill, and power moves, I decided it seemed more like a power move. I pulled the clutch from my normal workout and moved it to my power push ups and jumps days. After just 2 weeks of this I can now do the hang for several 5 second sets on each side and many more smaller sets. Thanks Coach!!!! You’ve really changed my thinking and my approach to all my workouts, and how they fit together in a synergistic way.

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