A Meeting of Minds and Muscle—The Dragon Door Health and Strength Conference

by Al Kavadlo on August 25, 2015

Al Kavadlo Presenting at Dragon Door Health and Strength Conference 2015

Earlier this month, I had the privilege of presenting at Dragon Door’s first-ever Health and Strength Conference. The event took place over two full days, consisting of lectures, Q&A sessions, and networking opportunities with heavy hitters from various corners of the fitness world.

Nearly 100 coaches, trainers and exercise enthusiasts gathered to listen, discuss and share their varied experiences with one another. Plus there were some pull-up bars, kettlebells and other strength training implements on hand for anyone who had the urge to get some reps in before and after the various presentations.

My brother Danny and I each gave our own separate speeches; Danny spoke about achieving a chiseled set of Diamond Cut Abs, while I lectured on the topic of Zen and how it relates to calisthenics.

Danny Kavadlo Presenting at the 2015 Dragon Door Health and Strength Conference

Including the Kavadlo brothers, there were a total of 13 presenters, each with their own unique stories and experiences. Knowledge was spread, insights were shared and thoughts were provoked. Though the presenters came from various backgrounds and areas of expertise, the similarities and common themes present throughout the weekend were hard to ignore.

Almost everyone spoke about the importance of consistency, while many speakers also stressed spending a good deal of one’s training time developing strong fundamental movement patterns. Whether it was powerlifting legend Marty Gallagher stressing the importance of the squat, deadlift and bench press, or Steve “Coach Fury” Holiner extolling the strength and conditioning benefits of DVRT training exercises like the sandbag clean and press, using your body’s musculature as one cohesive unit was a theme that came up again and again. This concept should also be familiar to anyone who’s practiced progressive calisthenics. Regardless of what modality you prefer or which system you find most effective for your goals, the basic movement patterns (squat, hinge, push, pull, etc.) remain the same.

The business of personal training was also a hot topic at the conference. Equinox’s top manager Rolando Garcia gave a wonderful presentation on the fitness industry, focusing on all the crucial components of success in the personal training industry, other than the actual training itself. Rolando got into some of the least talked about, yet most important topics for fitness professionals.

Other presenters included Dr. Chris Hardy, Max Shank, Zach Even-Esh, Andrea Du Cane, Jon Bruney, Phil Ross, Logan Christopher and Mike Gillette. Though these presenters spoke on a wide variety of topics, including everything from training senior citizens to training for a professional cage fight, similar ideas about cycling intensity, managing stress levels, and staying in tune with the body kept coming up.

As the weekend went on, we came to see that whether our roots are in strongman training, calisthenics, or any other discipline, we all have the same vision to become a better version of ourselves each day.

Surrounding yourself with others who pursue excellence can be a wonderful source of inspiration. The energy (and synergy) of the group was undeniable. We all walked away from the weekend buzzing with new ideas and ready for the challenges ahead.

Dragon Door Health and Strength Conference Group Photo 2015

Hope to see YOU at next year’s conference!


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 five 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.

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