C-MASS: A gift for the PCC community!

by Paul "Coach" Wade on June 3, 2014

Around seven months back, I wrote a two-part post for this blog, called The Ten Commandments of Calisthenics Mass. I wrote it because, in my experience, many athletes know how to use bodyweight to build strength and skill—but very few really understand how to use calisthenics as a powerful tool to maximize dense muscle mass.

I didn’t realize it when I was writing it, but the piece turned out to be the most popular post ever published on the blog. I love hearing from the bodyweight athletes out there, so I was real happy to get, and answer, ten comments. But then I got twenty. Then fifty. Eventually, the piece had hundreds of comments, and I had a mountain of questions by email, too. The article had really hit a nerve—a huge amount of blog readers were clearly starving for more information on old school bodyweight bodybuilding. A lot more.

AlfredMoss
Many modern trainees have been taught that only external weights build muscle, and bodyweight is simply for fitness. A century ago, the opposite was true. Most of the truly muscular men—like Alfred Moss—used calisthenics to get big, and only ever employed super-light dumbbells for conditioning.

Then a member of the community had a smart idea. Somebody suggested—for convenience sake—that we weld the two posts together, and throw in a bunch of the questions and answers I’d been discussing. We could publish this as a short PDF, free to members of the PCC community.

This was a great idea, but I decided to go one better.

You see, I’m passionate about bodyweight bodybuilding. I love it. And talking to all you guys and girls on the blog had ignited that fire hotter than ever! I wanted you all to love it too, to see calisthenics mass-training the way I have always seen it.

So as I was putting the little PDF together, something happened. I started to really get into it…found I was setting down all of my “secrets”…my favorite exercises, my hard-won tactics, my long-held theories about bodybuilding routines…

…and before I knew it, I had added over a hundred dense pages of totally new material! I made this little book into a big book, representing the last word on bodyweight mass building!

When I was done, I crammed this new volume with dozens of cutting-edge bodyweight training shots, as well as old school photos, instructional illustrations, graphs and tons of other cool stuff! After months of effort, I was finally as proud as a new poppa. I called my latest baby C-MASS—for calisthenics mass—and I’m not lying when I tell you that I love this book at least as much as Convict Conditioning.

Here she is!

I know what you are thinking—probably what I would be thinking, reading this post. I’d be thinking: okay…he’s gonna try and sell us something now. He said the book would be free to the PCC community, but because the book has so much extra content, he’s decided to cash in on it.

I would think that too. But I’d be wrong. When it comes to my bodyweight brothers and sisters, I’m a man of my word. Only for the PCC community and regular readers of this blog, I’m giving you the chance to get your FREE copy of C-MASS, today.

[Offer is now closed]

Simply enter your details, and as soon as Dragon Door staff have verified that your request is appropriate, they will shoot you your own complete digital copy of C-MASS! (In the form, there’s a question asking why you qualify for a copy of the manual. Just tell them that you are a follower of the blog, a member of the PCC community, or whatever else makes it right.)

This gift-offer has a window of one week—the webpage above is temporary and will close on Tuesday, June 10th. I worked real hard on this book, and I would dearly love all of you reading this to receive this little gift from me. So please grab it now!

What’s the catch?

There is no catch. The gift is yours, no-strings-attached. However, note that Dragon Door has already been selling C-Mass as an inexpensive e-book and is working on the design for a paperback version, which should be published in a couple of months. So, perhaps you’ve already got the sucker! Then consider this a second copy you can share with someone who could really use it.

I’m not the only one who has worked on this project out of love, either—the entire PCC team has taken part! When I told them I was writing a new book, Al Kavadlo and his brother Danny offered to donate all the high-quality photos I needed. They asked for nothing, and bent over backwards (in the case of the bridging images, literally!) to get me everything I asked for. Likewise, John Du Cane threw all his support behind the project, donating PCC event photos and handing me all the resources I needed to get this thing done. What a goddam gentleman!

Even the lovely-but-super-busy Senior PCC Adrienne Harvey threw in a great photo—plus, it was the Girya Girl herself who took the amazing cover shot! The entire team pulled together for this. It is a true honor to work with such talented people, people who will drop everything, just for a chance to give something back to the bodyweight community.

The PCC team put this together as a labor of love, just to show our heartfelt gratitude to all of you—the amazing PCC community who have supported us SO MUCH over this, our first year. I’m not just talking about all you future-legends who attended our certs, or the phenomenal athletes who have won the right to bear the letters PCC after their name. I’m also talking about all the wonderful folks who have spread the word, checked out this blog, made a comment, or just plain shown interest in what we are doing.

Guys—you are amazing. Thank you so much for being with us. With you enlisting in the Bodyweight PCC Army, this first year has been mind-blowing. Next year is gonna be even better!

…so what are you waitin’ for? Go get your free book!

Paul

PS. If you enjoy it, please come tell the world here.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
  • nico

    absolutely brilliant and besides f***ing hilarious especially the picture of danny doing the archer pullup with the text:
    This week, Danny used a different pullup bar than

    usual—his muscles were totally confused, and actually

    doubled in size.

    aside from teaching me an awfull lot about training and the working of the human body you just crack me up.

    thanks.

    • Nico, thanks for picking up the book and reachin out to tell me about it! I’m real happy you liked it…I had a blast writing it!

      • nico

        On a diffrent note a bit for the sake of vanity, at this point i’m 87 kilo about 191 pounds at the height of 185 cm about 6’1 i’m currently showing abdominal muscles but not a sharp six pack. i am eating three relatively small meals a day not losing weight but getting more muscle definition.

        My questions as i’m hugely inspired by the picture of bobby pandour is: if I want those abs should i be starting to eat bigger meals to get more mass now or should I strip down as much fat first.

        I follow the cc program working out hard three times a week, and work six days a week actually working a manuel labor job

        • Keep on as you are, kid. If you are noticably increasing muscle definition, without gaining weight, then you are seriously incresing your dense muscle mass. That’s gold, man. When that kind of progress slows, you can strip the fat by cutting down on food volume a little.

          And become an expert in hanging leg raises!

          • nico

            thanks a lot coach, I will keep on pushing my limits

          • Good, but be careful, Nico…Al has traded-marked that phrase dude, you gotta pay him 50 cents now just for sayin it!

  • Vasily

    Thank you so much for this opportunity, Coach. Our belarussian community of CC-followers had already bought some copies of your new great book. It was very exciting!
    Sorry for bothering you, but i ask you some questions several days ago but i think you don’t see it. If you allow, shall i repost my message?
    “Greetings from Belarus to you, Coach Paul. I want you to give me advice about knee problem. I’m 19 years old. Some years ago I have a little injury on my knee. It didn’t hurt a lot, but after that I noticed that I have some crunching in the lowest point of squats. Like I said, it doesn’t hurt, but it takes a lot of discomfort to me. I am doing CC nearly half a year already (and nearly 2 years of just simple bodyweight workouts). In CC I hit 6 step on squatting but then I decided to return to step 2 and make progress slower in order to give my knee some reabilitation. Also I had some therapy on my knee but it didn’t help. What can you advice to me, mr. Wade? Hope you will answer. Also, I have lots of questions to you, Mr. Wade, because you are the only to whom i trust 100% in BW matters:
    1) you have already wrote to somebody that there is a way to loose fat and build muscle. I try to loose some belly fat but also want to pack some muscles. I’m training on your CC program New Blood 2.0, but i think to apply your total-body split from C-mass. What’s your advice on leaning and bulking up at the same time?
    2) In the end of your “The Bodyweight Revolution” you mentioned that Joe “Whatever his last exercise of the session was, Joe would often make his very final set harder by completing a ten second dynamic-tension isometric at the top position of that very last rep.” I don’t understand about top position. It’s different in various exercises: in pull-up it’s when your chin is over the bar, but in push ups it’s like on the photo with Al. Can you explain this?
    3) Can I build muscles if my sleep time is near only 8 hours? You read that 10 is good and twelve is better
    4) I’m nearly in the end of the second step of pull-ups. Shall I start some grip work in order to give my forearms strenght and size or i should start it later?
    5) Some questions about training programs in your C-mass(by the way it’s great book. Had some hours of very interesting reading. As always with your books and articles:)). In your first total body split there are no leg raises. Why? And one more thing. You said that we shouldn’t train one body part more than twice a week, but in this program there are three times per week when you hit one body part. Can you explain it?
    6) Can I do some cardio (high-intensive training, runnings, swimming etc.) on days of rest without strenght-mass training?
    There will be more if I don’t bother you too much. Thank you for all your articles and books, they really teach me a lot. From Belarus (it’s near Russia, Poland and Ukraine) with love.
    Vasily”

    • Vasily! Great to hear from ya! Thanks for writing and picking up the book–please thank your pals personally from me, too.

      Sorry I missed your questions–I rarely go back to look at old posts. So let’s see what I can do here, eh?

      1. Knee doesn’t hurt, but crunches? That aint a crisis, it’s called “having knees” young man! Train slow, don’t bounce and warm up well and you’ll be fine. If pain DOES begin, then change shit.

      2. Whatever the exercise, when you’re at your highest is when the key muscles are most contracted–it’s not necessarily the “hardest” part of the rep, but it IS where the muscles are shortest, and where you should peak-contract if yer gonna do it. Yep, that’s the top of the pullup and the pushup, the way you describe. The pushup only feels a bit easier coz the locked arms are taking the strain.

      3. You can build muscles under pretty much any circumstances. A bit more sleep is ideal, but never, EVER allow yourself to get paranoid about whether you are living an “ideal” life. Just rain hard. Real men just do what they can and get on with shit!

      4. If you are rocking the early stages of pullups, you don’t NEED grip work. But you wanna throw some hangs in at the end of your workout for shits and giggles? Go for it. But take it slow man.

      5. Well spotted. That is a very basic routine. Your midsection will still be hit by the other work. It’s a fact I didn’t mention, but my buddy Matt Schifferle sent me an interesting scientific study that shows that the best midsection exercise is probably pullups–with leg raises coming second! So yeah, the pullups will work those abs. But pushups are also a great basic waist exercise, because you gotta hold your body straight. I love how folks are told to do planks these days for their abs, but nobody considers that when you do a pushup, you are getting a plank for free!

      6. Yeah, but take it easy and don’t let your cardio get you too sore or tired the next day or you’ve got things ass backwards. If your training slips back, cut the cardio.

      And hell, I know where Belarus is! It’s near Milwaukee, right? Thanks again and hit me up anytime, buddy, loved your questions.

      Paul

      • Vas, I missed yer question on bulking and leaning. These are bodybuilding concepts from the last fifty years. You don’t need em. Just train hard to get stronger while following a balanced diet. That’s all you need, kid!

        • Vasily

          Ah, you catched me just in time when i want you to re-ask my question:)
          Thank you so much for your reply. I will further bother you with various questions but today i only want to rejoice the fact that you’ve replied. You rock, Coach. Keep inspiring all of us for the rest of our days. Love from Belarus.
          Vasily

          • Big respect to the awesome calisthenics athletes like you out there in Belarus–look forwards to hearin from ya again my man.

            Thanks for the kind words!

  • I’m about half way through the book, am loving it so far. One of the guys I train really wants to get big so have made a few tweaks to his workout based on what I’ve been reading; first session tomorrow, let’s see how he does.

    • Dave, it means a lot to me that you are spreading the word! Especially since I know you are a strength/skill/function athlete above all else. (I am not the only one lookin forward to your upcoming post on this blog…)

      Reps, baby!!!

      • Thanks Coach, I have a group of guys and girls who love calisthenics almost as much as I do, but they all have different requirements so if one wants to get a bit of mass then I’ll do whatever I can to help him with that. This book is a wealth of knowledge for helping me with that.

        Have to admit, I’m looking forward to having the post up here myself; we have a great community here and I hope my post can help contribute towards that a little.

        • You underestimate yourself pal, it’s a truly GREAT article and folks here will love it!

          • Thank mate, you’re too kind.

            So yesterday myself and 3 guys tried a new training plan for mass rather than strength, I figured I should give it a go as I’m telling others to do it. I usually train all exercises for one set, then move onto set 2, this time we trained set 1 (12 reps), took a minutes rest then did set 2 (train to failure) of the same exercise, before doing the same with the next exercise. This was a big change to my normal routine, have to admit I’ve not felt a muscle burn like that in a while; it went down great with the other guys too.

            Whilst I still plan to train for strength first and foremost, I think I may do this every few weeks just to ensure that my muscles are not holding my nervous system back.

          • Beautiful.

            Just be aware David, this is how it STARTS buddy. In six months time you may be training like this way the whole time, while adding the fourth inch on your guns.

            I’ve seen it!

          • I can well imagine, the endorphin release I got from training yesterday was even higher than usual. I think my determination to get a one arm chin-up will override my desire to train permanently this way for now though

          • Paul John Wade

            Word. There are plenty of big arms in the world.

            How many one-arm chins…?

          • Word. There are plenty of big arms in the world.

            How many one-arm pullups…?

  • healthiswealth

    What’s up Coach?!! Man that was a very good book with alot of information Im going to download it and take it to kinkos to get it bound together so I can read it like a regular book but the question I have is about the bone size of men and how it relates to building muscle mass specifically small-medium size structures( 7 inch wrist ) old timers had definite beliefs about this what do you think?

  • SimplyHuman

    I actually bought the book yesterday and I have to say coach, my mind=blown! I’ve been practicing calisthenics since I was about 16 (21 now) and got into your program about two months ago. I had no idea calisthenics could be so revolutionary! I’ve hit full progression standards on uneven push-ups (but want to stick with them a tad longer due to the MASSIVE gains I’m seeing from them) and I’m close to progression standards on the full pull-ups. With C-Mass and Convict Conditioning 1&2 I feel like my bodyweight methodology is complete.

    I’m a little skeptical when it comes to the prison diet because I’d like to cut and build at the same time and have seen results with diets such as “keto” but I trust your well of knowledge so I’ll try it out.

    A few questions:
    1. You mentioned the “Hard Gain” program for those who have huge problems gaining muscle. My gains have been great and consistent (I’ve been using veterano) so I imagine this program would only add to that but I haven’t found it. Any tips on that?

    2. You mentioned in a previous comment that your buddy showed you a scientific article claiming that pull-ups are actually the best mid-section exercise!??! Can we get a link to that?

    3. You mentioned calisthenics for height gain. At 5’8″ this interests me. What more could you tell us about your personal experience with that (even if it’s only what you’ve seen).

    Btw your writing style is engaging and fun to read! Thanks

    • SimplyHuman! There’s my man!

      Hey, first up, I’m real sorry you BOUGHT the book. I wanted it free to guys like you. In an ideal world, we would have put it out HERE free first, then put it out on Kindle. We weren’t trying to trick folks by doing this, the issue is that Amazon won’t sell books which were previously free elsewhere. But I’m real touched that ya bought the book and liked it. Thanks man.

      Glad your training is going well, my friend. Also glad you have seen results with keto–never used it. The Prison Diet really works, but that doesn’t mean I’m saying keto DOESN’T work. So if it works with your bodyweight training, I say go for it!

      1. That’s the program “Hard Time” my friend. You can find it on page 17 of the Convict Conditioning Super FAQ. Get it here: http://direct.dragondoor.com/specialreport/

      The Super FAQ only costs…damn, I wrote that for free, too! I’m doing this selling shit all wrong! Go get it.

      2. Yeah, that buddy is the “Fit Rebel”, Matt Schifferle–a phenomenal coach and athlete who posts and comments here. He has already commented below. He has written a GREAT article on calisthenics arm training that will be posted soon. Please don’t miss it, and comment on it when it comes up! Here’s the link he sent me: http://www.t-nation.com/testosterone-magazine-627

      3. All I would say here would be anecdotal, but I HAVE seen height gain from calisthenics. It makes sense, too. Folks think height is fixed, but of course it depends on the inter-relation of dozens of bones and the soft tissue that joins them, not to mention the muscles that support them. If you constantly crush this system (heavy squats and deadlifts, etc) then it will compress. If you strengthen and stretch these links, of course you can an inch or two–possibly more!

      Thanks for reaching out man, and thanks again for gettin the book. Hope my answers make sense.

      Paul

      • SimplyHuman

        Thanks for the reply! Looking forward to more!

  • Matt Schifferle

    Coach, I picked up a copy the day it came out and have read it 4 times over. I can’t thanks you and the DD/ PCC team enough to put this sucker out. I’ve long considered myself a bodyweight body builder but the notion of using calisthenics for mass eludes far too many people. I even had some folks at the first PCC tell me “you look pretty jacked so you must still lift weights right?”
    If folks at the PCC have a hard time believing you can build a lot of muscle with calisthenics just think how hard it would be to tell others!

    Ever since first starting CC I came to the realization that not only can calisthenics be an effective vehicle for building muscle, but I now believe it has some HUGE advantages over using weights. This manual is the bible in calisthenics muscle building hands down. Since implementing even half of the ideas I’ve noticed significant changes even though I’ve been training for 20 years and focusing on calisthenics for 6. This stuff is potent!

    Thank you so much Paul, John and everyone who made this book a reality.

    • Matt, it means a LOT to me that you liked the book. You and I have always been very close in our approach to calisthenics, probably more so than most people think.

      I was actually all “damn” when I read your up-coming arm-training article–because it is way better than the arm section in C-MASS, and much, much closer to what I’d wanted to say. I wish, in particular, that I’d had those great images of the bi/tri work you put out there. That article will be a huge hit here, for sure.

  • Thanks so much for the shout out, Coach!! This is such a fun book… and well, some of us ladies like to add a little “bulk” here and there too. It’s great to read your take on it, considering how much success everyone has been having with Convict Conditioning. 🙂

    • You are the best, Adrienne. Bless you for everything you did to make this possible, from the help and photos to the book cover and putting out this blog. Lost without ya!

  • Sam

    Paul, you really are the Lord of the bar! (Al still being the Monarch of Muscle-Ups)

    I was actually too fast and already bought C-Mass few days ago. And i must say that about the only thing in my mind was: “he’s gonna try and sell us something now. He said the book would be free to the PCC community, but because the book has so much extra content, he’s decided to cash in on it.”. But the truth is, it´s worth much more. Dirty deed done dirt cheap. Dirty in a good way, as always coming from you. Im going to try and grow up, not to doubt what good people say, lesson learned. Many lessons learned about calisthenics this year also, thanks to you all!

    Sam from Finland close to Milwaukee and Belarus)

    • Sam! Hey my friend, great to hear from you in Finland! (Thought that was just south of Canada?)

      Thanks so much for your comment, dude. As I said to another commenter, ideally we would have put the free book out to you guys a week BEFORE it went live on Amazon but Amazon just won’t roll that way.

      It really does mean a lot to me that you bought the book though–what would I do without my die-hard bodyweight brothers like you backing me up?! Thank you! I’m also real glad your training is coming on well. That’s the most important thing in the world to me. Hopefully you might consider at PCC in Finland? Stick around kid, there’s great stuff a-comin from the PCC!

      Paul

      • Sam

        PCC in Finland would change a dream into reality for me. It would also change my training more towards into building endurance and recovery ability (which ain´t a bad thing at all). And hey, one coach named Paul Wade has already written too good instructions for tackling that.

        • You’re right, you need to be one in-shape SOB for the PCC, strength alone just won’t cut it!

          And I also hope to take the PCC to Finland, it would be a dream for me too, Sam…

  • Leo

    Dear Paul,
    I got C-Mass too, it’s AWESOME!
    You mentioned in there that Dips are much more stressful on the Shoulders, Elbows and Forearms. Is this due to gripping while pressing?
    Because I can’t do hard moves on flat palms I did different Hand positions on push ups. Doing knee push ups on knuckles works well. Fingertip wall push ups are also good.
    1. I want to start Dips for Pec development and an alternative to flat palm push ups. Which progression is to start best with?
    2. As I get stronger I want to start Handstands. Which hand position should I use (parallettes)?
    3. I don’t want to get Tennis elbow from gripping while pressing.
    If I do Dips, knuckle push ups and Parallette handstands, can I balance that out with fingertip push ups?
    4. I tried out (stupid) doing close push ups and other hard tricep exercises and since then (1-2 Months!) the outside of my elbows hurts.
    I can do knee push ups with a shoulder wide hand position without much pain and my triceps aren’t weak at all, but my elbows will probably hold me back from doing
    arder push ups and triceps extensions. What should i do?
    5.I mastered Close Squats some time ago and tried out uneven squats. Even the easiest hidden step (with my outstretched leg either on the ground or on a flat book) caused me enough pain, that
    I can’t do any squats anymore. I’m working on shoulderstand squats since then. It’s a pity, cause I were close to jumps and I will lose some hard gained leg mass. I tried out a Wall Squat too and after months of training I was able to hold It for almost 5 minutes.
    But even this hurts my knee. Any advice?

    My muscles and willpower are not holding me back, but my fucked up joints do.
    I’m working on full pull ups and bent hanging leg raises.
    I’m able to hold a clutch flag for 10 seconds, a Wall Knuckle Handstand and a One arm knuckle elbow lever, so I’m not weak, but I really want to do something that will heal my joints and help me progress to harder exercises.
    Leo

    • Leo, my boy! I KNEW you’d pick up C-MASS–thanks for not letting me down, kid! Lemme see here…

      1. You know I prefer pushups to dips–yeah, the grip thing. Always begin easy–bench dips, with the feet lower than the bod. Then raise the feet. Then move to parallel bars, with a foot push.Eventually, you wanna move to the single, straight bar. CC3 will have more progression for ya.

      2. Parallettes IF you must. Only you can judge whether the wrist will take the flat palm. I’m not a fan of parallettes.

      3. I’m not necessarily saying grip-presses will mess you up, they are just a bit harder on your elbows. But the fingertip work is a good idea IF you use it judiciously. Too much is worse than none!

      4. What should you do? What you can! Slow and steady. Again and again. You will be surprised how your body and joints adapt given time. You have already learnt an important lesson–don’t jump ahead. That is even more crucial for athletes starting with more delicate joints.

      5. Yeah, skip the shoulderstands and go back to half or regular squats and jack up those reps. Quarter squats, if you gotta! Think about more frequent sessions, too.

      I know I’m tough on you Leo, but that’s only coz I believe in you so much. You are a strong kid–take your training slow and steady and you’ll be a super-strong man.

      Paul

  • Jerome

    Coach,

    We’re not amazing. You are !!!

    Cheers from France

    • Aw, Jerome, man…with all this nice shit folks are sayin, my head will weight too much to lift over the bar!

      But I really appreciate the kind words–thanks for reachin out. Good luck to ya and all those amazing calisthenics athletes over in France.

      Paul

  • Sean ;-)

    Hi Coach and community,

    I too bought the book pronto and I’ll admit that for a second I was disappointed it wasn’t a free pdf but then I still felt buying it was worth your efforts. One thing tho is I didn’t doubt that buying the book wouldn’t deliver the goods. Very rarely do you get the support from the man himself that you do here. I have total respect for your efforts, especially the way you try to answer all questions and keep this community’s pillars proped up. I don’t think ya should worry about not keeping your word cause the way you try to give back here I think is worth the small sum your asking for it. We should be so lucky coach don’t have us pay a special membership fee to have the access we have now to him here on the blog. As others do if ya look around. Now before someone tells me to wipe the brown off my nose, I say give the man his fricken 7 or 8 bucks and show the guy how much we, as a community, really appreciate his efforts here, past and present. He has done enough to earn it out right, I don’t think anyone would argue that. Perhaps if this community shows enough support he might put out a vid on it (C-Mass HD-heavy duty? lol).

    Book was and is awesome. I get so charged reading your material and motivated to get busy. Great to see how your presence brings out like minded people who are passionate about bodyweight training. Even though the book isn’t short I finished it fast and will re-ready again as I’m doing with all your material. There is so much awesome details on how to build mass. I also couldn’t help laughing at some of the side quotes and inside jokes (quadzoki-love it). This is not a waste of time for anyone passionate about bodyweight training and should be part of anyone’s collection. I’m so pumped for CC3 I can barely stand it. Keep up the awesome work and thank you very much for your efforts here in the community!!! I hope to benefit from your presence and the many other talented people that follow you here to the blog for years to come…..

    In fellowship,

    • Sean…your post blew me away. The fact that you bought the book and are happy to pay the money to Dragon Door just shows what kind of a man you are: PURE CLASS. Thank you.

      Your idea about the video is a real interesting one…I hadn’t even considered it. I’ll put it to John and the Kavadlos, see what they think. Also, thanks for the kind words about CC3–I told John I’d get it to him for October, and I’m working like a bitch to make it happen. Woulda been sooner but I got so caught up with C-MASS!

      Once again, I appreciate your words man. Contact with all you amazing folks on the blog has been an amazing event in my life, and this old bastard wouldn’t miss it for the world.

      In fellowship, right back atcha!

    • Rodolfo Oliveira

      I tottally second you Sean, I also bought it the exact same time the e-mail about the launch popped and I also do think that it is a freakin’ awesome material for just 7 measly bucks. I would’ve happilly paid double that value for so much quality information.

  • Rudolfo, you guys have paid for many steaks, that’s for sure–like I said though, I did C-MASS for free…I will not be getting paid one cent for it, now or in the future. A promise is a promise, and although John Du Cane insisted I get paid for it, I refused.

    Thanks again, my friend. I’ll work hard as I can to get CC3 done, just for you.) Many great athletes were born in October!)

    • Rodolfo Oliveira

      I admire your devotion to the bodyweight movement Coach! It must be awesome to love so much what you do that doing it is enough payment! I am trying hard to reach that point too! Cheers Coach!

      • It only took me 40 years. You can get there faster, Rudolfo!!!

    • Sean ;-)

      What?!! your not getting paid?!! Not many exist with your sense of loyalty and morals, well done. Well I hope those guys at least take you out for a steak dinner and a run at the ripper bar at least, sheesh. Christ, at lease take mine and Rodolfo’s 7 bucks and put it towards a lap dance (although would probably only get you a one legged, one eyed hooker……maybe lol)

      Maybe John will use the proceeds to help make a reasonably priced video companion to the book if he likes the idea. Can’t see the video not happening. I can’t think of anyone who has done it on a topic so hotly contested, “can bodyweight build mass?”. And with Al and Danny; that would rock!

      Like Rodolfo said if you make a shirt with “Balls, Wall, Together”, but I would humbly suggest adding “Repeat” on to that, I would get in line for one. Maybe a hoodie with that on the sleeves and convict conditioning on the back? While your at it, could you toss by John about making some dog tags with B.W.T.R (Balls, Wall, Together, Repeat) on it? I would snag one of those too. Ya I know I don’t ask for much, thats what you get for not taking my money….

      In fellowship,

      • A one-legged, one-eyed hooker..?

        …Sean, have you been fucking following me?!

        • Sean ;-)

          ….insert Jaws movie theme……

          • Paul John Wade

            Trouble with these strippers is they expect you to slip money in their underwear, but I only ever have change.

          • Trouble with these strippers is they expect you to slip money in their underwear, but I only ever have change.

            I am NOT popular in the local clubs.

          • Sean ;-)

            Soooo what your saying Coach is you treat them like real “SLOTS”?? No wonder your not popular LOL

      • Rodolfo Oliveira

        Wow, Sean, just shut up and take my money! I would but half a dozen of that hoodies so that I would ALWAYS work out using them! The Dog Tag would be awesome too! The one thing I miss in Dragon Door is some themed apparel (I hope John and the Kavadlo brothers read this lol)

        • Sean ;-)

          Rodolfo, you have given me an idea. If you want something done right you have to do it yourself. I’m gunna work on something and keep ya’ll posted.

  • MrBoudahas

    Thank you coach.

    • Pleasure is all mine, my friend!!

  • SimplyHuman

    Quick question for the experienced. So, as noted in the different aspects calisthenic methodology, we see that it’s possible to train for strength or mass depending on effort, frequency, rep count, set count, and certain psychological mentalities adapted specifically for the task at hand (Seeing it as practice or exercise).

    Now here’s a thought I’ve come across. What if one were to work for mass on one area of the body whilst working for strength on the same day for another area. Squats for mass, high rep, mad effort, low set count, while doing skill work on pull-ups for strength on the same day, low rep, low effort (energy expenditure), high set count. What are your thoughts on this guys?

    • Sean ;-)

      I’ll take a crack at this but will reserve the label of “experienced” for others ;)…

      The one problem I can think of (correct me if I’m wrong) is the issue of frequency, if you apply this to the chart that is near the beginning of C-Mass to do what your talking about with the legs you would require potentially longer rest times between workouts. With this approach, looking at it from Coach’s view, you would end up having workout days where you did nothing for the legs and just worked on the pull ups if you wanted to avoid burn out or maybe injury to the legs. With this in mind I think it’s doable provided it was programmed properly with frequent days off for legs and a plug in a few more sessions for pull ups since the demand on the body is lower. That being said as well everyone should take their own recovery abilities into account. For me, just cause its skill work it can still be intense too and sometimes a longer rest brings me fresh bodied and mind to the next session. That’s my 2 cents…

      • I can’t outdo what Sean said. Especially: “With this in mind I think it’s doable provided it was programmed properly with frequent days off for legs and a plug in a few more sessions for pull ups since the demand on the body is lower. That being said as well everyone should take their own recovery abilities into account. ”

        Truth!

  • Dale

    Coach – i bought CC1 pdf thru Dragon Door as soon as it was released. I was so impressed with the high quality of material you present that, at that time, i decided for every one of your books ( and Al’s too ) that i would buy the pdf ( to print off pages ) and kindle ebook ( for access at any time ) versions. They are THAT good. i started with level 1 for the first four exercises going slow but interruptions/excuses would come up to sidetrack me. Now i have done something to my knee but being a guy i am resisting going to my doctor. i am really looking forward to starting back as soon as i can and for CC3. Thanks so much for making us smarter and it is perfect for me using bodyweight since i don’t care any for using weights.

    • Dale, that is such an amazing thing to hear. Wow, I am honored that you would follow my methods so seriously. I could never have imagined making such an impact when I started writing, it’s like a dream come true for me. Thank you!

      Al’s book are phenomenal, but his brother is also a helluva writer. He has an EPIC midsection book coming out before too long, that I know you will love if you like my shit…

      • Dale

        I have Danny’s trainer ebook even though i will not be a real trainer. i will definitely look for his new book too and will have to buy the pdf and ebook versions it sounds like. i am reading your CC C-Mass now …. just up to chapter three. i am such a slow reader but it seems like i end up highlighting your whole book when i get done.

        • Danny’s book is great, even if you don’t plan on being a pro trainer. For one, it helps to see the other side of the business if you’ve been trained yourself. For two, we all eventually “coach” at some stage in our career, and this book can help guide us through this. Three…you never know, right? Some guys you would never imagine as trainers turn it all round and become awesome pros!

          • Sean ;-)

            Doesn’t Danny have another book on the way? Any chance we can get a run down of what’s coming this year from Al, Danny, etc for those of us that would like to stay in know?

          • DALE

            Coach mentioned above that it will be a midsection book. wow do i need that!!

          • Sean ;-)

            Awesome, count me in for that one as well…..

          • Paul John Wade

            Good man–knew I could count on ya!

          • Good man–knew I could count on ya!

          • Rodolfo Oliveira

            I have also read the Hardstyle Abs from Pavel but that $#%@ is waaaay too advanced… It will be nice to have a more comprehensive midsection book

          • Paul John Wade

            Yep, we ALL need it Dale. I can;t stand this bodybuilding thing that “abs” are something you do light, as an afterthought. Your trunk, waist and midsection ARE your calisthenics strength.

          • Yep, we ALL need it Dale. I can’t stand this bodybuilding
            thing that “abs” are something you do light, as an afterthought. Your trunk, waist and midsection ARE your calisthenics strength.

          • Paul John Wade

            Yeah, Danny has an AMAZING book coming out on midsection training–it’s going to be the ultimate old/new school manual for calisthenics athletes. It’s gonna become the go-to book, for sure. I can’t wait til it hits the shelves, seriously!

            As for Al, I’m not actually sure. I don’t even know where that dude finds the TIME to write.

          • Yeah, Danny has an AMAZING book coming out on midsection
            training–it’s going to be the ultimate old/new school manual for calisthenics athletes. It’s gonna become the go-to book, for sure. I can’t wait til it hits the shelves, seriously!

            As for Al, I’m not actually sure. I don’t even know where that dude finds the TIME to write.

          • DALE

            i don’t think you would want me as a trainer …… would look like Jim Carey being a coach …… scary !!!!! If i know my stuff then i could see giving advice maybe !!!

          • DALE

            Also between Coach Wade, Al, and Danny books, i will be studying for years to come !!!!

      • Rodolfo Oliveira

        Can’t wait for Danny’s book too… I found the referral in C-Mass and IMMEDIATELY searched for it at Dragon Door… you are getting expert in causing anxiousness in us Coach!

        • Stick with me kid and I’ll give you the gossip before it happens! That’s how much I care!

  • Dale

    Also it would be nice to have the CC Super FAQs material included in one of the future kindle ebooks so that all of your material would be available as a kindle ebook. I do like the idea for a video to go with the book. i have bought the first five CC videos and still waiting for the CC6 video to be released.

    • Thanks for your support Dale! I love you, my family loves you, my bookie loves you!

      Personally, I hate to say this but in my experience 9 out of 10 athletes read my books and don’t really alter their training at all. The people like you, on here, who are hitting bodyweight hard and smart are actually a very small, dedicated bunch. God bless ya! For this reason, the Super FAQ would just be overkill in a training book. I left it out there for the hardcore guys, like you, to find when they need it.

      Thanks for the feedback on the video, my friend. Interesting…I will take it on board…

      • Dale

        Coach – i will be looking for your future projects. i have read all of CC1 and CC2 and would like to go back and plan on re-reading both again.

        • This is one smart guy.

          I like him. We’re keeping him.

  • Sean ;-)

    To whomever can help,

    I’m trying to use this pdf with the kindle app so that i can read it across home and work related products. I’m finding the conversion of the pdf when it is sent to kindle jumbles up the charts and writing in places. Anyone else getting this? It seems it is only reproduced properly when I open it on my home laptop from which I originally downloaded it too. I’ve tried deleting it and trying again but same results. Thanks in advance for any suggestions.

    • Unfortunately sometimes a Kindle app will be problematic for complex pdf files like this one. Depending on what type of mobile device you’re using, you might want to find a solid PDF viewer instead. Personally I’ve had good results using the built in “books” app on iPad. What’s the device in question?

      • Sean ;-)

        I use iPads personally and with work but diff log in’s so syncing is a pain, hence the use of kindle app. I would try Books but when I try to send it to my work email the attachment doesn’t survive the trip. Which is odd since I’ve done it this way before with other books in larger sizes. I may be just S.O.L., but thanks for the suggestion.

        • Sean ;-)

          Problem solved, I figured out how to get it to open in books. I can now read it in all its original glory! I sent my purchase email to my work email….DUH!!!?? Typical guy, the answer the was right in front of my nose….literally. Thanks Adrienne for helping me to think a bit harder…is it bad if I smell something burning…

  • tesche

    Coming back from my vacations and what do I see here, C-MASS. Looks like a dream come true. Still working on the low steps of CC1 and CC2 as I’m still seeing progress coming along the way. Will order the book as soon as it comes out as a hard copy. For the mean time I will keep the PDF in my hands. Can’t wait for CC3 to finally hitting the market. Hope to join the PCC 2015 in Sweden 🙂

    Greetings from Sweden

    • Sean ;-)

      Hey tesche,

      Just thought I’d add in case you missed it Coach said CC3 it should hit the site come October. Of course for us loyal fans we should be seeing an earlier release….rrriiiiight Paul? I share your enthusiasm.

      • Rodolfo Oliveira

        And here I am seconding you again Sean! Although I would like the release to be in October cause of my birthday I wouldn’t mind receiving an early present ;D

        • Sean ;-)

          Makes sense to me Rodolfo cause this is the place where great minds and passion for bodyweight meet 😉 This site is brutal for trying to put in a honest days work….oh! ssshhhe-ite the boss is coming…..

    • Rodolfo Oliveira

      Greetings from Brazil bro! I have been working on the lower steps too! Make sure you share your progress with the community from time to time! Some real f* accountabillity can take you anywhere!

    • Tesche! Hey man, I appreciate the support, thank you so much. CC3 is on its way.

      Be AWESOME to have you with us as a PCC in 2015. Get working the Century NOW!

      Big respect back to Sweden!

  • Nick297

    Greetings from Russia.

    First of all I wanna thank all the people (the Coach, Kavadlo bros, Adrienne Harvey, etc.) who keep sharing their knowledge with us. You’re the best!

    Second. CC, CC2, Raising the Bar and Pushing the Limits completely changed my workout. For me calisthenics are harder than training with free weights. I don’t go to gym so to make a progress with weights I need buy new dumbbels and stuff like this in addition to the iron that I already have. But with bodyweight training I don’t need to spend money and I can make a progress for years. Love it!

    And C-Mass. It’s a great addition to my collection of the calisthenics books. It’s a well of knowledge and easy to read even for people (like me) who know English not as good an native speakers.

    Can’t wait for CC3!

    • Rodolfo Oliveira

      Greetings and welcome comrade!

    • Nick, it is a goddam HONOR to hear from a calisthenics student from that great nation of Russia!

      It means a lot to me that my teachings have helped you–I know Al would feel the same. Also, saving money is important. I’m a pretty cheap guy…I originally thought tipping was a place in China.

      Thanks for your post, it means a lot to me that you reached out. Writing CC3 right now man, just for you!

  • David

    Hey Coach! Apparently I qualified for the free copy, a big thanks from sweden!

    I started progressive calisthenics immediatley after reading CC1 about half a year ago. How I came across it was pretty much by chance.
    A little more than two years ago I started going to the gym, this was because I was 32 yo and felt the need to stay more active, more than through skateboarding since this is pretty hard on your body. Back then I didn’t really realize you actually could use just your bodyweight, that’s how brainwashed I was; “to stay fit and healthy you have to go to a gym” that’s how I reasoned. Pretty soon I hurt my shoulder pretty bad from some machine work and even then I didn’t ask the question “why” I just thought it was part of the game (in skateboarding you hurt yourself every now and then).

    However, eventually I came across youtube clips with, what I thought was some amazing calisthenic strength feats like human flags, front levers and what not. I was really stoked and decided that I was gonna try it to. So kept to it for almost a year, not really with a plan for progress, more than trying to increase the reps and training as many days of the week as possible. This is, what I’ve experienced, the tip given by many athlete’s out there if you watch their workout plans for beginners. Since I still was doing barbell squats I even hurt my knee pretty bad (I’m 1,88m’s).
    Well, finally I found your book browsing the internet for new inspiration and after I read the description, I looked it up further via the webpage of Dragondoor and saw the feedback it was given by (a lot of) people. I bought it.
    I immediatley started to read it and it completely change my perspective on training, the philosophy make so much sense! But even as much sense it make, it’s hasn’t always been easy to follow even though that’s what I’ve done. What I’m refering to is the mental part of it, the urge to fast progression (‘I want it and I want it now’), which of course don’t exist! So for me, so far it’s been a constant discussion with myself (I know, it sound a bit crazy) to avoid heading ‘the dumb way’ and stay ‘the smart way’. So far I’ve manage to do so and I feel that this is going to be less of a ‘problem’ the more time that passes in combination with the more progress I make, ’cause so far I’m always making progress, almost.

    When it comes to the actual training these first months has been all about one step forward and two back due to getting to really know the exercises and the diffrent steps. What I’ve noticed is that nowadays I always think of how I perform a movement and if I’m using the best form possible. This aaproach has forced me to step back or milking a step extra ’til I feel satisfied with how I perform in each rep.

    This leaves me with a couple of questions to you Coach:
    1. Oz pullups. I find this exercise really hard, first I was doing the pronated grip, sternum height, slowly making progress each session. Then about two months back I started training outside and the only bar nearby offers a neutral grip and is a little lower than hip height. I find this grip really hard, aswell as the height and I’ve reached a plateau, can’t pass the 10 reps (some days it’s only 8), which is becoming frustrating. Then, last night i passed a bar, sternum height and tried a supinated grip and could pretty easy bust 20 reps leaving strength in the bank and I was happy as a kid on christmas. This made me come up with a thought for alteration of the pullup exercise-plan. What if I continue with the supinated grip through the second step and then I continue doing this ’til I reach step 6 and then I start over from step 2/3 with a pronated grip. By doing this I could still practice the Oz pullups pronated grip every other session (while progressing with the supinated ones). What’s your thought on this layup? I realize that this may sound like I’m not really embracing the current step of the exercise but I really try to.

    2. Squats. I’ve been going through this progression very carefully since I hurt my knee during barbell squatting and have weak knees and stiff ankles (sprained the many times) from skateboarding. I just started step five and I never experienced any problem with this exercise along the way I’ve concistantly been able to progress through the steps. But since I started doing the full squats (wich feels awesome by the way) I feel that my ankles are pretty immobile, I feel that if I’d be doing close ones I’d fall on my ass. When I was doing step 2 and 3 I was really giving focus to my ankles and I experienced them getting more mobile but to a certain point and no further. Should I try to milk those earlier step even more concerning my weak knees and immobile ankles? I really wanna learn that one leg one! 🙂

    3. Leg raises. This is more of a reflection. Reading comments about this exercise from other people’s been about how easy they think it is. I in contrast experienced this to be really hard! I never done a midsection exercise with my belly properly tucked in before and man was I surprised of how hard even step one became doing this! So I’ve been struggling with this step for six months(!) but I’ve now progressed to step two, which feels pretty easy doing those lower reps.

    4. Pushups. Here I’m currently on step three, which feels pretty hard, I’m making progress but it’s a real effort. Here I actually experience that the first step is giving me a good workout even though I do it as a warmup now. I can feel my wrists and elbows burning and I interpret this as being weak links. During earlier progress in this exercise I actually came back to step one and re-did it when I was about to start step three just to get some extra benefit from that for my joints in the arms. Is repping up the warmup a good idea or will this affect my actual work sets?

    5. Trifecta. Since I couldn’t hold my self back I had to buy CC2 aswell. I quickly realized that most of the exercise in it is too advanced where I’m currently at but I started to do the trifecta frequnetly, just the early steps since I’m so far from full leg raises and to even start with the bridges and I’m not planning to rush things here either. Is it safe to progress in bridge hold or L-hold when a step starting to feel easy considering where I’m at in the CC-steps?

    6. HSPU and bridge. I’m really looking forward when I’m ready to start these ones! At the moment it feels that I might reach adviceable status for starting with HSPU before I could start doing bridges. If this is the case where should I incorporate HSPU in my program (HSPU and bridging is put together in your diffrent programs)?

    Sorry Coach, I realize this became more of the story of my life than a just a few questions! But since you sharing your philosphy of training I wanted to share some of my experience following it.

    It can’t be understated: I’m extremely happy not to have any pain in my shoulder or knees anymore and this is thanks to you!

    Kind regards

    • Sean ;-)

      While your waiting for Coach to answer I thought I would throw in here a suggestion since you and I have similar ankle probs but mines from a running accident. Check out MobilityWod on youtube and while there search for ankle mobilizations if you continue to not get any further range of movement. I believe he has specific vids that deal with ankle sprains as well. He’s a physiotherapist so the advice shouldn’t lead you astray. I have his book as well which has been helpful. I had to get professional help for mine and the therapy modalities were pretty similar.

      “”””Use your own discretion tho when it comes to health advice or better yet seek out a pro to do it right from the start. “””””

      Something I’ve been doing lately is using a counter weight held in front and sinking low into as deep a squat as my ankle will allow without sharp pains and hold for a few 30 secs. The counter weight helps me from falling on my ass backwards. Afterwards I find I can ditch the ditch the weight and I can sink deeper than I could before and more easily If you never got help for those sprains when they happened then everything may be scarred up and tight with adhesions. With patience and following some of the suggestions from the site I mentioned you can gain that mobility back but will take time I would think.

      • I love when folks share their ideas to help others! Thanks man!

        • Sean ;-)

          Thanks Coach just do’in what I hope others would for me. Plus it’s very respectable that people show the courage to lay themselves online to be judged to become better than they were. Not an easy thing in this arena. It helps me as well to read them. Thanks guys and Coach for responding makes it all worth while.

      • David

        Hey Sean and thanks a lot for the advice!!
        You already read the feedback I got from Coach so I’m a try that.
        But if it for some reason won’t work I’ll definitely look that youtube-user!

        cheers

        • Sean ;-)

          Always listen to the coach!! No problem…lol
          your welcome, just happy to be a part of the crowd here…

    • Wow, what an amazing post! Real, real great to get so much feedback, all of it interesting. Thanks for reaching out man, sounds like you are on the track to kicking butt, but let me do what I can to answer these great questions here:

      1. You got my permission to use this alternating method on the horizontal pulls. Well done for experimenting! Also, check out the discussion of horizontal pulls in the Super FAQ–I think that may interest ya.

      2. No–stay with the step you are on for squats. The best way to master the bottom position is–lots of reps, going to the bottom position. If flexibility is an issue, finish your reps with a stay in the bottom position. You can also warm up and practice a hold in the bottom position every day, if you’re not too overweight. This will help. The fact that you find it hard work right now is great–if nothing feels hard, we aren’t learning, right? Reps, reps, reps. You WILL adapt. Keep me posted with this.

      3. You got it! If you aren’t pulling in that gut, you aint training your midsection and boy, does it make a difference! Many guys have told me leg raises are easy, and you watch them doing it and they are swinging up and down like Charlie Sheen’s zipper.

      4. Important question, but tough to answer. If push comes to shove, do a little less in terms of reps–OR if you like the warm up do the same total reps, but have you tried splitting em into more sets? 2 sets of 7 will warm you up just the same as a set of 14, but without tiring ya. Suggestion.

      5. Yeah, go for it! Bear in mind though if the trifecta is making you sore you are doing it wrong. It should be mobilizing you, oiling and refreshing your joints and bringing healing blood to places where its needed. It should be helping you recover!

      6. Yeah, you can split these two up–in fact it’s typically better to progress by adding one at a time.

      Hope that helps–the fact that your joints have been fixed up has made my frickin day!

      Your pal,

      Paul

      • David

        Wow! It feels really amazing to get personal advice like this from you Coach! As a result I was super-stoked to go training last session 🙂

        1. No, I’m a go from the bar in hipheight with neutral grip. Firsly, it’s the closest one I got from my home. Secondly, the pullup is the exercise where I just have to face the fact that it’s gonna take time to progress from step two. As I described above I’ve been struggling with my mind since starting CC, it’s been set on the illusion of fast progression. So from now on I’m gonna do them pullups the proper way, as described in your book. Who am I trying to fool with this urge for fast progression-bs?
        Besides, I know I don’t get nearly as much sleep as I need, so enough already with this self-deceptive behaviour! 🙂

        A follow-up question: last session I did 10×2 and a 5×1 leaving strength in the bank on that last set. My thought was to work towards three proper sets of 10, to milk it and practice good pace and form. What would your thought be on this approach and, if you agree, how should I proceed after these three sets? Go with one or two sets ’til ‘intermediate standard’?

        2. The squats felt really good. A proper warmup with shoulder squats and jack knife’s then a 10×3 set, slow with a pause of 3-4 secs in bottom position each rep with a finnishing rep of 30-40 secs pause in bottom position. I felt great after finnishing this exercise, I really experienced my ankles getting that extra stretching. The long pauses gave the spinal muscles and midsection extra work to.

        3. Truth.

        4. Did not quite get this, due to linguistic confusion I believe. So far I’ve been warming up with step one, 25×2. Is this too many reps?

        5. Great! No, I’m doing the trifecta very carefully, no rushing whatsoever, so far I’ve only progressed to step two in bridge-hold.

        6. OK!

        Yes, I’m so grateful for the healed joints!!

        A question on plyometrics. I know this seem to be discussed in CC3 and I have a long journey in fron of before trying this in most exercises except maybe for squats where I’m on step five. at what step in squatting do you recommend exploring plyometrics?

        Thanks a million for the awesome feedback Coach! You the man! 🙂

        • David, the honor is mine to be your coach, buddy! I believe in ya more than you know.

          1. You won’t regret this choice. Ever. Good on you for having the balls to tackle a tough challenge.

          As for your approach to sets–play it by ear. Don’t be afraid to change, or you’ll feel trapped, with no need to.

          2. That stretch is where the money is, kid! Great work.

          3. Agreed, bro.

          4. Tell me if this is wrong–I thought you were asking whether to lower your reps on your warm up, as they were burning you out. If this is what you meant, for sure you can explore doing less reps per set. How about 3 x 10?

          5. Good, good man. Your joints will thank ya.

          funny you should mention plyo–as a rule of thumb I ask folks to wait til they get to step 5 of a chain before exploring explosives!

          I hope I got this right–if not, holler back David. And keep hitting those workouts HARD!!!

          • David

            Awesome!

            To wrap it up for the moment:
            2. As I said it felt really good but will the prolonged pause in bottom position affect the exercise in itself, I mean I’m giving myself a little rest here aswell am I not?

            4. Sorry, as I suspected I totally misunderstood it. I see it clearly now, I’ll do more sets with fewer reps, thanks! 🙂

            5. Surely feels like it, I try to do it at a daily basis.

            Alright, will incorporate plyo when I move on to step 6. You mention quite a lot of variants in CC1 and here. I think tuck jumps, dead leaps and hill sprints sound amazing. How should I approach this, by staying with one of them or just do whichever I’m in the mood for?

            /David

          • All awesome, man.

            Work on jumps at first–which ones don’t matter. Possibly throw in some faster pushups.

            Just begin the path…CC3 will change everything anyhow, kid. 😉

  • Mohammed

    Hi Coach Wade,

    How is life? I was so excited when I read C-Mass was out! I was then disappointed to read the printed copy would take another two months to come out. Then I read this post a few days back and applied for a free copy. Truth be told, whether I qualify for it or not, I’ll probably end up buying the hard copy anyway so I can have a collection of all your books! I was touched to read that you chose to not get paid for C-Mass.

    An update on my training and coupla questions:

    1) I said that I could get up to about 4 x 50 seconds on bar hangs. You advised me to cut down sets, build up to 60 seconds on the sets I do, then add another set as it is easier to build up to 60 secs when you’ve done it for the previous sets. Well, I did that and I have built up to (with a little difficulty) to 3 x 60 secs! After this post, I will do my pushups and then try to add a fourth set to the grip, hopefully.

    2) I’ve have been doing kneeling pushups on Mondays and Fridays instead of once a week. I mentioned last time that I’m up to 15 and 5 reps. Well, I spent the first few weeks practicing twice a week without adding reps (deliberately). Two things happened:(i) The first set of 15 feels MUCH easier and (ii) now, about a month or so later, I’m on 7 for the 2nd set and aim to add a rep today or Monday. The twice a week scheme so far has not impeded my progress, although on occasion, it feels a little tough.

    3) What do you think of the Heavy-Light-Medium approach? For a particular exercise, you do it 3 times a week, e.g., pushups: Mon: full intensity Tues: 50% volume, Fri: 75%. It is meant to be used when one plateaus. Since strength is a skill, the extra days are meant to give you practice without burning you out. Additionally, if I had to use this, would it be necessary to do horizontal pulls three times a week as well for balance?

    4) Something I wanna share with you. Even though I’m loving and benefiting from CC and grateful for my strength, I occasionally feel despondent when I meet guys who are MUCH stronger than me, yet for them, training is not something they take seriously and to top it off, they are training using weights/conventional methods (I don’t mean that in an arrogant way). For example, guys whose grip is much stronger than mine yet they do not train grip specifically at all! Sometimes, guys who do not train at all have strength/grip strength equal to or better than myself! I wonder to myself, “When will I become stronger than them?” I don’t know what the question is here but there it is…

    Finally, is there a chance you will be at PPC workshops, say when it comes to the UK…? It would be an honour to train with you!

    Thanks for reading Coach. I look forward to CC3. God bless you for the work you are doing!

    Mohammed from London, England

    • Mohammed! Great to hear from you my friend, thanks so much for the catch up! And yeah, you will qualify for the free book, you’re my bud. (If something goes wrong, let me know on here and I will fix it!)

      1. Pat on the back! You are on your way to monster status, kid–great work!

      2. Beautiful. When recovery is balanced just right with training, it’s like money in the bank! Great!

      3. You don’t need to cycle like this. It would be a mistake for a guy making progress like you are. The light sessions would just slow you up. And the horizontal pulls 3x per week would be overkill. Keep me posted if you try this Mohammed but I’m convinced there are better ways.

      4. Many of the old time legends of strength got that way coz they felt just like you do! You are such a young guy–just some consistency and time and you will blow these guys away. Trust me! Please don’t quit!

      Dude, as for the PCC, I won;t be there getting in the way. Why show, when the world’s greatest coaches are there?

      Thanks for reaching out my friend. I look forward to more updates–until you are stronger than me, then please don’t tell me. 😉 Continue to lead a clean life, train hard and god bless!

      Paul

      • Mohammed

        Thanks for the reply Coach Wade. Don’t worry, I don’t intend to give up! Especially not after 3+ years of following CC!

        One more thing, do you have any suggestions, apart from consolidation training, on how to achieve one rep of uneven squats (basketball)? Any hidden steps? I have mastered close squats and remained on them for at least 3 or 4 workouts after passing the progression standard.

        • Mohammed–sorry I missed this!

          The answer is–time and consistency, my friend!

          • Mohammed

            Hi,

            Thanks for getting back, Coach. I understand, it’s easy to miss a comment since there are so many posts!

            Problem is, I couldn’t even do 1 rep of step 7 but based on comments around the web, I have worked out some progressions. I’ll move my non-work leg forward from the close squat stance by a pace or so but leave it on the ground, then eventually raise that leg bit by bit until I get to basketball height. I think I’ll leave the foot on the brick/ball vertically instead of having it stick out straight like in the pictures in CC; for me, that’ll be more manageable, I think. I intend to take it very, very slow since I had a mild knee injury few years back and even attempting the top quarter of any single leg work makes my right knee click (without pain though).

            Also, I unfortunately did not get a copy of the C-Mass ebook. I mention this only because I can’t wait to read it and will have to wait 2 months to buy the printed version. Can you help, Coach?

            Thanks,

            Mohammed

    • Rodolfo Oliveira

      Just givin my two cents on number 4 Mohammed… don’t mind the other guys who don’t take training seriously as you do… some guys are born with a god-given talent strenght and that’s the way things are… if you keep training you will eventually surpass then and it will be a f*ing amazing feeling bro! Just keep the hard training and always compare yourself today to yourself yesterday and you’ll notice that those other guys are not that important for your life anyway! Hope to have helped! Greetings all the way from Brazil!

      • Mohammed

        Thanks Rodolfo, for the encouraging words. You are absolutely right in comparing myself to myself only. Good luck in your training!

  • Sean ;-)

    Hey Coach,

    On page 39 (I think it is) of CMASS you discuss a plank setup on a pull up station to lever on for bicep building. Having a hard time picturing what it supposed to look like. I have a homemade set up so curious if its something I would like adapt on to. Any chance you have a pic or a google term to search for image? Thanks….

    • Brother–sadly, no. I saw some pretty old Youtube footage of this, but no idea where it is.

      If anyone here can help, please holler!

    • Rodolfo Oliveira

      Glad to oblige! I have found something on the lines of it here: http://www.fitstep.com/Misc/Newsletter-archives/issue60/preacher-curls.htm

      He is doing it assisted by the bench so essentially all you have to do is put a plank going downwards from the pull-up bar and parallel to the bar (perpendicular to the floor). Is it that way Coach?

      • That’s it! This clever dude has a complex set-up to make things easier, but that’s the basic idea. If that preacher bench was FLAT pushed against the bar, you’d have it. But yeah, this is an awesome regression which, believe it or not, I never seen…great find, thank you Rudolfo!

      • Sean ;-)

        Thanks Rodolfo, that helps a lot. I had an idea but wasn’t sure.

    • Rodolfo Oliveira

      Glad to oblige! I’ve found a guy doing something of the sort (albeit a lower step): http://bit.ly/1pN4ybp I believe that the real deal would be to put a plank parallel to the pull-up bar just in front of you and do the pull-up facing it so that your elbows won’t go forward.

    • Rodolfo Oliveira

      Sorry for the repeated reply (the guest down there is me again) my internet simply suck!

      • It may be disqus–they can delay comments with web links in em. (Sometimes comments here disappear for no reason–not due to admin, they just get lost somehow.)

  • Marius Mare

    ‘Sup Coach

    Just wanted to let you know that I bought your book the moment I was notified of its release, literally. I also read it about just as fast and as always, it was really awesome. I literally am addicted to body weight training ever since I heard about you and your work and you just keep on impressing me day after day. I know that you’ve been in prison, but that ain’t the same man I’ve gotten to know through your books and your replies (thanks for your time by the way).

    Just wanted to let you know that all of your life experience and some of your beliefs and philosophies rubbed off on me and it has had a remarkable impact on my life. I am much stronger now (when there is a tight lid on a jar that no one can open, guess who they ask now??), more muscular, just want some more muscle tone but I think that comes with time, I have so much more confidence (I’m not the tallest guy, so I needed some extra confidence) and I have a way different outlook on life. And it mostly ’cause of you and your books.

    p.s I can’t wait for CC3!!!!!

    So to summarize: you da man coach 🙂
    And greeting from South Africa!

    • It’s my buddy Marius! Hey dude, thanks for stopping by. As for jail–not everyone inside is some badass villain like you see on TV. Many–like me–are really just screw-ups who got stuff BADLY wrong at some point and couldn’t make the swim back. That’s no excuse, but it aint exactly glamorous either.

      So–bodyweight has made you wiser and stronger by the sound of it. And more buff. Who the hell needs the Force?!

      Working on CC3 as we speak man–thanks again for saying “hi”, I appreciate it. Great to hear from ya!

  • Spike

    Hey Coach,

    I’ll start by saying that C-MASS is an excellent read! As a skinny guy trying to gain mass this is really an invaluable resource.

    I do have a very simple question though: accordingly, to build muscles one should do only two heavy work sets with high reps in the range of 8-20.

    My question is that for a beginner like me, it seems as though two work sets don’t seem to stress each of the body parts enough? 2 sets of push ups take less than 5 minutes, and if I were to do 4 of the Big Six movements, the whole workout only takes less than 20 minutes to complete.

    Would doing less than 20 minutes of workout 3 times a week be sufficient for proper mass building?

    Thanks!

    • Spike–great question and obviously an important one coz several folks have asked me it!

      I’d answer it like this: you say “two sets don’t seem to stress each of the bodyparts enough.”

      I’d say…Spike, how do you know? How can you tell whether they weren’t stressed “enough”? Didja get a scalpel and check out the cells under a microscope?

      No–I’m just kidding, my friend. In fact, I know full well what ya mean. You really mean: “I didn’t feel real tired and beat after two sets”. So what? This is purely psychological–we are taught in school that to get “results” we gotta work real hard…and since you don’t feel beat up after training, you don’t feel like you earned the right to grow.

      Here’s the thing. Your muscles don’t know any of that stuff. They only know if they got pushed into survival mode, by you depleting their energy once or twice.

      I say to you–HELL YEAH–20 minutes three times a week is GREAT for a beginner if you push hard on your work sets. But ultimately, only YOU can be the judge of whether this works, Spike. Are your reps going up? Are you regularly moving to harder exercises.

      Then it works, kid!

      • Spike

        Thanks for replying Coach!

        I guess to further clarify my question (as a beginner without much strength training experience): am I supposed to feel exhausted by the end of the workout? While I feel as though I have depleted my energy by the 10-12th rep of each set, and could go no further (near failure), by the end of the 2nd set I don’t really feel exhausted, and could add more sets if I want to with a couple minutes of rest in between.

        Also, while I have definitely made (slow) gains over the past few months since I started, I haven’t really gained any size at all (very skinny, 130lbs). I guess this is because I didn’t eat enough for mass gain to happen. In some days my performance can be fluctuating (e.g. can only do 7-8 reps instead of 12 reps from the previous workout).

  • Vasily

    Greetings again, Coach:)
    After several readings of your great C-Mass, some thoughts were born in my head and I want to ask you:
    1) If person who have not so fast metabolism will eat some junk food everyday in order to recieve some muscles, will he gain pure muscle mass or muscles with some fat? And if the second is right, how to get rid of this disgusting fat?
    2) Can neofits of CC gain muscles when their workouts have a huge amount of reps? (e.g. 2×40 incline push-ups, 2×30 australian pull-ups)
    3) Not C-mass-questions. In your first CC you taught us to do Aussi pull-ups with the bar near hips level. But in manual for DVD you said that we don’t need to bring the bar so low, and a chest-high is what we need. Can you explain?
    4) When a CC-student should start grip-work in order to bting additional mass and strenght to his forearms? It’s not mentioned in CC2
    5) Shall we do some warm-up before doing the Trifecta, or doing the first exercise-bridge-is already a warm-up before the next two?
    That is all that I remember to ask you, Mr. Wade.
    May the Strenght be with you.

    Vasily

  • V Kishore Vancheeshwaran

    Hey Coach 🙂

    Glad to have this book as well. For the past 5 months I have been hitting a plateau. And your book answered it perfectly well. I need to improve my strength.
    So now I have changed my training to purely strength based. And I am getting better and stronger everyday.

    Still waiting for the plyometrics in CC3.

    Regards
    VKV

    • Bless you for picking up the book, my friend–told you I’d get it for ya for free!

      Glad it fired you up–keep me posted on your progress, my friend!

  • Mika

    Hey Paul. First of all, thank you for all of your books, They’ve sort of became my bibles nowadays. But I got a one question which goes like this: So I’ve read all of your books, including this one, and I’m working on CC veterano routine which I included calf- & griptraining from CC2. Really liking it, and I feel it’s really working, I’m adding reps etc.

    But the question: Do you think I should stick with it since I kinda get the impression that CC is sort of a hybrid between strength- & musclebuilding program, or should I start some routine suggested in C-MASS. Getting stronger and leaner is my goal, but I also like to get some muscle.

    I guess I sort of answered my question myself, and the answer would be “yes, stick with CC” but I’d really like to hear your opinion.

    Thank you so much from the books once again. Greetings from Finland.

    • Mika, great to hear from my buddy in Finland!

      And you should trust your judgement–you answered yer own question just fine.

      Mika, so few athletes EVER get to a point where they are making progress, it would be a bad mistake to lose all your momentum–especially since you are meeting your goals. Just be sure to mix things up every so often, so as you don’t get bored. C-MASS can help with that!

  • Vasily

    Thank you for the answering, Coach Paul. But can you explain me some more:
    2) I’m new (maybe new – half a year) in CC and already 2 years in BW-training. Am I a beginner? And if not, does that mean that this rules won’t work to me?
    6) If I had a little excess fat on my stomach (heh, maybe not so little – I only can see 2 of the 6-pack), will the mass-gaining programm on training and your tip for the evening snack give me more fat with muscles, or it help me BURN that little fat? I think, you will have no definite answer, but this bothers me alot. This small amount of fat makes me feel sad because i’m not so muscular and also have fat. Sad but true.
    Peace and love from Belarus again, Mr. Wade. My girlfriend thanks you for keeping me in good mood because you are ANSWERING my silly questions (in my opinion). And sorry for not-so-good English.=)

    Vasily

    • Yo Vas! Tell your girl that the pleasure has been all mine!

      Are you still a beginner? We are really talking about if you have used up your strength. If you are still making quick progress–every other session or so–then this rule will still apply to ya.

      If you want to get “ripped” you really do this by diet. BUT muscle gain, like I describe, can really, really help. Not only will it make the muscles look better, but every pound of muscle is ACTIVE tissue. It is burning fat even when you sleep. For this reason, guys like you who have that last stubborn bit of fat can often only lose it when they add some beef.

      My advice–work hard for six months to add muscle. Then, if you still have some fat to lose, use diet to lose it at a pound a week or so. You can DO this, kid!

      As for programs–it’s impossible to say, since folks recovery times differ. BUT if a program is clearly working for you, commit to that sucka for around two months. Then change something–add exercises, change reps–something. To stop you getting bored.

      Love to Belarus my friend. Keep me posted on your training!

      Paul

      • Vasily

        As always, you made everything so clear to me. I will accept your advice on muscle gaining and will try to add some good muscles to my *maybe* tiny body (181 cm, 74 kg). If you are interested in my progress (no matter that you have thousands buddies like me) i will necessarily keep you on my training. Thank you again for the answers and the fact that you are answering our questions, Coach. You are one of the greatest examples of TRUE BW-master. Pure oldschool and this is cool. Keep pleasing us with great articles.

        Love and peace,
        Vasily

        • IF I’m interested?!

          You better keep me posted kid, or you’ll have to answer to me!

          Keep doing the pushups,

          Paul

  • FattyWhale

    Mr. Wade,

    (I would have left this in the “Bodyweight Revolution” post, but I saw you say that you don’t look at old posts regularly. So I’ll leave it here instead.)

    I’m not sure if you remember me or not, but a couple of months ago, you asked me if I would like to write a blog post; and I told you I would, but it was something that I was going to do right, rather than fast.

    Well I’ve been slowly working on it since (some days I can write a lot, others, not so much), and there’s yet still more to be done. I’ve re-written it a couple of times, and I’m constantly adding new chapters as well (I’m not someone who’s easily satisfied with his own work), even though I’m trying to limit the amount of information (which can be a hard thing, seeing as everything about exercise is all connected) that I include.

    I was getting close, but I’ve made another potentially game-changing discovery, that’s closely tied with the original idea. So I’m going to hold-off for a little while, so I can get more information, as I continue to test it out.

    I just wanted you to know, that I’m still working on it; and I’ll have it for you when I’m finished writing it. 😛

    But, to give you a taste, I’ll leave the title of the post, some of the chapters, and I’ll toss in the summary as well:

    “Do More By Doing Less”

    Strength is a Skill

    The Missing Piece

    Taking It to the Extreme

    Trying to do Too Much

    Learning From Past Mistakes

    Bringing It All Together with Variable Repetitions

    Get stronger by learning how to use your brain to activate a greater percentage of muscle fibers.

    Open up neural pathways by incorporating exercises that require high levels of muscular tension and body awareness; and that place a high demand on your muscular and nervous systems.

    Improve the neurological signal your muscles receive by repeated performance of an exercise, maintaining consistent form and repetition speed.

    Use slower repetition speeds to focus on your form, and to identify and strengthen weaknesses in your range of motion.

    Use faster repetition speeds to activate your fast-twitch muscle fibers, allowing you to use greater resistance; making sure to maintain complete control throughout the exercise.

    Only perform one set per exercise. By doing so, you’ll be able to use maximum resistance, thereby increasing neurological stimuli.

    Perform no more than two repetitions per exercise. This will allow you to completely focus on your technique, ensuring maximum performance.

    By using variable repetitions, you are able to address ROM weaknesses, as well as repetition speeds (the two main factors for plateaus) during the same set. Which will help to prevent you from trying to progress more quickly than you should.

    • Brother, OF COURSE I remember you, man! Hey, great to hear from you–I was a little worried your email had dropped off the system or something.

      I can’t wait to read what you come up with–take as long as you need. Although, with “chapters” this sucker sounds lore like a BOOK than a blog post! Looks so goddam intriguing…

      Thanks for the update, buddy!

      • FattyWhale

        I appreciate the kind words, sir. I did send it, but I suppose Dragon Door never relayed my information to you. Oh well, I’ll worry about that later, when I’ve finished it.

        To be honest with you, I think I may eventually write a book. But that’s for a later date. Right now, I’m just trying to concentrate on a more focused subject. But like I said, trying to give sufficient instruction, without too much unnecessary information, is a difficult balance to strike. It doesn’t help that I tend to think (as well as learn) in a non-linear way; so when I try to convey information, I’ll sometimes take for granted, that certain components are not inherently known; or I’ll go the other way, and overwhelm with too much information, without giving the proper amount of context. (When I open up the mental floodgates, it can be a challenge to rein it back in.) So I’m making sure to take my time with this project. 😉

        As far as the “potentially game-changing discovery” goes, it looks like I may have found a way to eliminate the vast majority of the progressions between the primary movements. This would allow the body to adapt in a fraction of the time it would normally take, accelerating progress exponentially!

        Needless to say, I’m pretty excited at the possibilities it would create. But before I’m able to know for sure, it’ll require additional testing.

        Hopefully I’ll have the answer soon, as well as the finished post for you.

        Thanks again.

        -Aaron

        • Aaron–if you can deliver a fraction of what you say you can, I would buy your book!

          And yeah, starting with a simple article can work well. I think that’s how Pavel started, and look how famous he became.

          Keep testing, and please keep me posted. I didn’t see your stuff but I’ll speak to Dragon Door admin about it soon as possible.

          • FattyWhale

            Mr. Wade,

            I have an update for you.

            The new project I mentioned—I’m calling it: “Progressive-Range” is starting to
            really come together. So I thought I’d take a minute to explain the theory
            behind it.

            This changes the progressions from a series of related exercises of a primary
            movement, to a series of progressions of that primary movement.

            As the name implies, what you’re now doing, is progressively increasing the
            range of a movement that you’re not yet able to do; while at the same time,
            because you’re actually performing the main exercise, you’ll be able to adapt
            more quickly.

            How this works is, by utilizing the static and eccentric phases, you’re able to
            break an exercise into parts, adding on piece by piece, until the entire
            movement can be performed. (If you’re using two arms, use your legs to assist,
            while if you’re only using one arm/leg, then use the other arm/leg to assist.)

            So for pressing movements, you start at the top of a movement, lower down, hold
            as you remove the assistance, and then press yourself back to the top.
            Eventually, you’ll be able to perform the entire ROM. Once you’re able, after
            you press yourself back up, it’s time to start the eccentric part of the
            exercise. So lower back down after you press yourself up, then eventually
            progress to: “half-speed”, “3-stop” (stop in the three main “sticking points”
            as you’re lowering), and then “stop-‘n’-go” (lower as little as possible, then
            stop; repeat until fully lowered).

            For pulling movements (I’m still refining the exact method, but this is what
            I’m working with at the moment), you start with static holds, begin fully
            stretched, gradually increasing the ROM until you can hold the top of the
            exercise (like holding your collarbone against the bar in a chin-up). Now begin
            to add the eccentric phase. Start with a short static hold at the top, followed
            by: lower to full stretch, eventually progressing to: “half-speed”, “3-stop”,
            and then “stop-‘n’-go”.

            Now it’s time to focus on the concentric phase. Once again, start at the top,
            then while using assistance, lower down a little, then start pulling
            (activating the muscles), but hold the position
            until you remove the assistance, then pull yourself back to the top. Gradually
            increase the ROM, until you can start from a dead-hang. Now it’s time to start
            re-incorporating the eccentric phase, once again.

            This covers the basic push/pull movements. There are other movements that don’t
            follow the same principles—like leverage intensive exercises (levers), although I have a pretty
            good idea for most of them, but if I can figure out the basics, then the rest
            will fall into place. (I hope.) 😉

            So now, instead of multiple progressions, this allows you to focus on the main
            one, kind of like cutting out the middleman.

            So say someone wanted to be able to do a one-arm push-up, but couldn’t even do
            a regular push-up, now, instead of multiple related exercises, the cycle would
            go like this: kneeling push-up, push-up, one-arm push-up. That’s it.

            So when I said it might be a game-changer, I hope you’ll now see, I wasn’t
            exaggerating.

            But it still requires further additional testing, so that I can refine it until
            I’m satisfied with it. (I’m never satisfied.) 😛

            -Aaron

  • Owsky

    Great little book, Coach, thanks!

    So, if one just completed the progression standard (2 sets of 10) on step 6 of pull-ups (close pull-ups), you’d advise them to stay on that step until they hit 2 sets of 20(!) before graduating to uneven pull ups, if their goal was mass?

    Another question. You mentioned once you practice deep breathing. You also mention it in the chest section of C-Mass. Could you expand on your own practice, please? Cheers.

    • Owsky, hey, there’s my buddy!

      To answer ya question, NO–two sets of ten is great for mass if you are hitting the exercise hard.

      As for deep breathing, I don’t follow a “system”–I use the time between sets to practice 10-20 deep, full breaths–filling my lungs from my stomach to my throat, with maximum expansion. I go with the flow–I don’t puff and push it. Done this for YEARS now–probably since before you were born. I’m convinced that this aids my recovery, and science may even be coming round to that idea, too…

      Get trying it Owsky, and let me know what you think!

      PS. Thanks for the kind words about the book, dude.

      • Owsky

        Oh great, that’s what I was already doing. Thanks again!

  • This book takes an approach to training that is becoming uncommon in the calisthenics world. I have already picked up a few interesting ideas from this book and will begin to implement them in my training as soon as possible. Great work as always, Paul! Can’t wait for CC3!

    • Always the man, Carter! God bless you for your always-positive attitude, my man!

  • Jason

    Hi coach! I hope you have time for this question. I can power my way through the concentric part of a pistol but on “weak” side I tend to collapse to the bottom and go backwards during the descent. Also, should I be concerned with how round my back is during a pistol? Thanks for all your hard work!

    • Great to hear from ya, Jason–I always have time for questions from bodyweight students…as long as I see em!

      The lowest point of the pistol is the hardest for strength. One way of increasing ability in the hole is–spend more time in the hole! After each leg session, spend a few timed holds in the bottom position on the weak side. That will strengthen you up quick. Also, pay attention to your concentric movement…by “power through”, I hope you don’t mean “rock” or “bounce”!

      As for the rounded back? Ya should try and keep your back flat where you can on squats, but on deep one-legs the back typically rounds. I’ve seen some guys–like Al Kavadlo–rep with a surprisingly straight back though, so it can be done. But pistols aren’t deadlifts. Your spine was meant to bend and flex.

  • Gabriel Pieren Salazar

    Hi Paul!

    I see you really answer every single question, you’re the best! This is the first time I post, so let me tell you that I love your books! (CC, CC2 CC Super FAQ, and C-Mass.) I like re-reading them, specially CC1.

    The day that Al Kavadlo announced on his newsletter that C-Mass came out, I immediately bought the book to offer it as a gift to my young cousin. I had the pleasure to introduce him a year ago to calisthenics after he had a back injury and was told to stay away from weights. He was 19, and he thought he would not be ale to train again, but now he’s sooo happy and strong, training and thinking about training all day.

    Something like this happened to me. At 16 I had a serious injury at both shoulders and breastbone. I spent a whole year without playing sports because of what some stupid doctors told me. Then one smarter doctor told me what I had was going to stay with me forever, and that I should just try to see what I could do. Every movement hurt, I had lost 10kg of muscle and I even became left handed because of the pain in my right arm…

    I tried swimming again and it really helped, then lifting weights, and that helped too but I was still in pain and feeling fragile. I played rugby for 8 years but after the injury and the doctors, I was afraid of the lightest contact.

    BUT THEN!! I found your book and read it. It took me a while to transition to calisthenics, and now it is not that I think that lifting weights is bad, it is just that calisthenics make me gain mass, stay lean and injury free, and feel powerful and unbreakable!! I am at almost 210 lbs and still going up, while mastering pistols, one arm Aussies, HSPU and on my way to one arm pull ups and push-ups.

    Calisthenics really transformed me, made me look at training in a different way, gave me back my confidence and made me feel awesome again!

    So I just wanted to thank you for your work and your help. You’ve changed lots of life Coach, mine included.

    I would ask for my free book because I follow the PCC blog, but I read it in 2 days while studying my exams, and I am glad I spent my money on it.

    Thank you again Coach, and keep up changing lives for the much better!

    PS: I love when you say things like Why? Because I like ya. I think you’re cool, and I like your hair. I can’t stop laughing when I go through these things… XD

    • Gabriel! Hey, thanks so much for writing me, my friend! It means a lot to me that you did, in fact it made my goddam day!

      Thank you for sharing your story with me, and the rest of the PCC community. To hear that you have gone from injured and in pain to UNBREAKABLE (love it) really, really put a smile on my face. And thanks so much for spreading the word to your cousin.

      You know, a lot of folks think I don’t exist; that I’m a marketing ploy or stuff like that. I kind of like it that way. But to hear that athletes like YOU are passing my teachings on to the younger generation…well, whatever happens to me, it has all made it worthwhile.

      Thanks for buying the book Gabriel, but thanks so much more for reaching out. It means a lot to me when my students drop by to talk. And hey–stick around, huh?

      Have a great day, my man!

      Paul

      PS. I specifically wrote that section for YOU. I DO think you’ve got awesome hair, kid!

      • Gabriel Pieren Salazar

        Thank you Coach!

        Your answer also made my day, I was so happy after reading it. I’ll stick around as always Coach.

        Greetings from Madrid,
        Gabri

  • Marius Mare

    ‘Sup Coach

    It’s me again coach, just wanted to pop you a question that I got from reading your C-Mass manual and I’m pretty sure other people are also curious about it. It’s about the ribcage expanding exercises. You mentioned “The big chest book” and after googling it and scanning through it, I noticed that their method is based around weight training exercises such as dumbbell pullovers and breathing barbell squats.

    Now, your philosophy of bodyweight is better kinda rubbed off on me and I’m just wondering if their is a bodyweight alternative to these breathing exercises. I kinda had an idea: deep breathing whilst in the full bridge hold. It makes sense that it might be an effective way to expand the ribcage without resorting to weights.
    Any thoughts?

    Can’t wait to hear from ya
    Marius

    • Dude–great question. I am real impressed that you checked out the reference I left for ya–well done, Marius! Yep, I mentioned that book to give you a feel of how much the old-time lifters respected breathing work. And ALSO yep, you can do it BETTER with bodyweight.

      Some thoughts:

      1. Deep breathing in the bridge–yes, yes, yes! Not unlike a pullover, no? But even more of a stretch.

      2. Deep breaths–sets of 10 only–between sets or after training. Maximal expansion (see pranayama methods/the “complete” breath)

      3. Deep breathing whilst hanging (try it!)

      4. Spinal twists. Much of the compression of the ribcage is due to over tightness in the back muscles. This cures it.

      5. Training the transversus as part of the chest complex–tight belly during ab work especially.

      Hope this helps kid–sounds like you have some awesome ideas even without me!

      Paul

  • Owsky

    Oh, one more question I forgot to ask, Coach: how does one maintain mass once an ideal level has been reached?

    • Owsky bud, it is MUCH easier to maintain mass than build it in the first place. Even strength training, functional work, or VERY high rep work will maintain what you have built!

  • Rudy Hartono

    Thanks Coach for your free e-book.

    My journey in calisthenics start when i want to get six pack abs once in my lifetime and also to cure back pain.

    I started this training from 2013 when i already 41 years old.

    Your book really give me inspiration, because you said that age doesn’t matter for calisthenic.

    I’m starting all the 6 big moves from start and just about several months ago the first time i can do pull ups.

    Now i almost can see my six pack, just still left some stubborn fat at the belly.

    I hope after can see all my six pack, i can use your c-mass book to bulk up.

    My current progression :

    1. Squat –> Close squat (2×20)
    2. Leg Raise –> Flat straight leg raises (2×20)
    3. Pull Ups –> Horizontal Pull Ups (2×20) (and i practicing grease to groove for pull ups)
    4. Hand Stand –> Wall hand stands (1.5 min)
    5. Bridge –> Short Bridges (3×50)
    6. Push Ups –> Full Push Ups (2×10)

    All thanks to Progression Calisthenics.

    Greetings from Indonesia.

  • Mattias

    Hi Paul and forum visitors,

    Great reading, I picked up a few things from it in my training that improved things instantly.

    There is one thing I am curious about, which I don’t see mentioned much in your books (or Al’s) or in the posts here and elsewhere. My curiosity is about the topic of muscle soreness. I understand that there isn’t much more cure to it than rest. But still it would be interesting if you had some thinking abound it?

    I’ve been a devotee of the CC program for a couple of years – which is geared for building mass according to my understanding. Basically I’ve been doing “good behaviour” i.e. training 3 times per week (with some session of trifecta thrown in here and there). This pretty much always provides at least a little of stiffness, usually some degree of soreness, in some body part on the remaining days of the week.

    Maybe I am pushing to hard considering my recovery ability. I am very disciplined and can put up with that. But it would be good to hear someone else’s perspective on how they handle it.

    • Sean ;-)

      If you don’t mind my 2 cents…I would say watch your training progressions. If your feeling run down, lack enthusiasm, sore throat, not rested after a good 8 to 9 hours. You may be over doing it. If you’re not progressing, or worse regressing, then you may be not getting enough recovery in there. I would do a check in with all the things Coach mentioned for good recovery and if your on the right track I wouldn’t worry to much about soreness. Especially as your trying to hit the progressions and pushing yourself it’s all part of the game. As he said (paraphrasing)”don’t worry about pushing yourself so hard that your balls might drop off” Lol You could try a deloading week to give your body a chance to catch up like half reps only for all exercises every 3 to 4 weeks? Nothing has helped me more then extra sleep. But to each their own on that subject some would disagree.

      • Mattias

        Hi Sean,

        I don’t mind your 2 cents. Thanks!

        I like your recommendation a lot. Here is why. I have noticed from the few times I have (less than five occassion in two years) missed a particular work-out the next same work-out goes really well. Usually record breaking good and often from that point I attain a new level. But I don’t have much experience from this. I’m probably a little adicted to my work-outs so planning for skipping a practice is hard for “psycological” reasons. Your tip might be a good compromise. Every 4 weeks I do half the reps (e.g. compared to what I did the previous week). I still get to work-out somewhat and get some of the benefits from the relative rest.

        I’ll try that for a few cycles and see where that leads me.

        • Sean ;-)

          Mattias,
          I’m the same as you bro, hard time giving up the workout lol. I’ve had similar experiences as you in terms of missing a particular workout. Usually I find the same thing happens with exercises that would be considered maximal strength type. The next time at them I’m feeling more powerful. Which would make sense because as Coach has indicated if going for mass then more recovery is needed. Perhaps this is the same as you? Whether to skip or do partial reps will very by opinion. I find taking it easier or a deload week helps to keep the neuro connection to the muscle going. Give it a go and let us know how it works for ya!

    • Wow, what a GREAT question! Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness is your body’s own response to damage. If it is linked to anything, it is linked to the elongation of muscle under load. If you are in shape, a hard set of forward stretches will make you more sore than a set of pullups. It’s a stretch-damage response. It is NOT related to growth.

      It is also–in my experience–a complete genetic roll of the dice. I often used to get sore when I overdid it, but have worked out with guys at a similar level who NEVER get sore. Similarly, some of my bodyparts get sore–chest, calves, etc–but not others. I never get sore biceps, really. There also seems to be no link between bodyparts that get sore and those which grow fastest, or slowest. It may just be that these sore areas stretch more during training.

      Forget soreness as a reasonable measure of anything.

      • Mattias

        Thanks for input coach. Thoughtful and encouraging as always.

        • Always welcome your questions, good buddy.

  • Ruben

    Hey coach in the C-Mass ebook you say not to work out any muscle group more than twice a week. But one of the workouts you mentioned was a full body workout 3 times a week with the weekend off. Is working each muscle group 3x a week ok for a beginner?

    • Hey Ruben! Glad you are paying attention, kid!

      Yeah, 3x per week is okay for rank beginners, because they cannot generate enough power to eat into their recover time.

      Hope that helps my man!

  • Fatih

    Hi Coach! Thanks for C-Mass. I am an ex-rower from Turkey and 22 years old. I have read all your books and loved all of them. Your words truly changed my life so I am spreading the word here in Turkey also. A lot of my friends started CC after I told them. I have some questions for you and I will be very thankful if you answer those.

    1. I have a chronic wrist injury for 6 years which happened when I fall onto my hands from a height. Not a break but a soft tissue problem. After starting hand and forearm workouts pain is gone but my wrist is not flexible. I can’t do pushups on my palms. I can’t even stand on my palms. Can you help me out to make my wrists flexible again with some books or articles or anything.

    2. I am doing step 5 of all Trifecta exercises. For shoulder injury and pain how often can I make step 5 of Trifecta exercises. You said in the book if I want to make lots of times in a day it is better to do earlier steps. So is it bad to do step 5 3-4 times a day?

    3. Because of your suggestion I started The Naked Warior also a perfect book. My question is should I do bracing during CC workouts and what would be its benefits.

    Thanks again for everything!

    Greetings from Turkey!

    • Fatih! It is an honor to hear from you–and a greater honor to have ya spreading the word about bodyweight training in the great land of Turkey. Lemme see if I can answer those fine questions:

      1. Begin with pushup work on the fists. Afters training use wrist circles–rotate the hands–3 sets of 10 each way. This will heal your wrists, but it will take time!

      2. The Trifecta is meant to relax you, NOT be a workout. If step 5 is EASY, you can do it several times a day. If it feels tough, or makes you sore, drop back my friend.

      3. Generally, avoid bracing for bodybuilding–it’s better for pure strength. Bracing hard during CC-style workouts will drain too much energy because you are doing higher reps. Instead, keep your body aligned BUT as relaxed as you can during higher rep CC/bodybuilding stuff.

      Thanks so much for the kind words–keep working hard my friend. Big respect to all Turkish bodyweight athletes!

      Paul

      • Fatih

        Thanks so much Coach! I have learned a lot from you and I wan’t to keep learning. Can you also advise me some more books for further knowledge?

        • Sean ;-)

          Hi Faith,

          Aside from whatever Coach adds to (or takes away lol) my list I would say you already know about Pavel, anything he has is good reading. Assuming your looking for more bodyweight related books then: Al has great books, Raising the bar, Pushing the Limits, stretching your boundaries. Al’s brother Danny also has a new one coming out soon. Steven Low’s Overcoming Gravity is a giant tome of informations to do with gymnastic style bodyweight training. Kelly Starette’s Becoming a Supple Leopard for mobilization and injury prevention. Al Kavadlo’s and Gymnastic bodies website has forums with tons of reading on bodyweight related info and bonus you can post questions. This should keep you busy for a long while. Lastly you could go to Dragon Door’s site and sign up for the newsletter so that you are notified when new books come out….say like Coach’s new book for October…or Danny’s new book on mid section training…these are just my suggestions of material I enjoyed but is by no means a complete list, good luck on your hunt for greater knowledge.

          • Fatih

            Yeah Sean some of those books were in my list and thanks for sharing. I will also add the others. Especially ‘Kelly Starette’s Becoming a Supple Leopard’ seems perfect for me due to former injuries left from my rowing years. Also I will visit those websites. Just trying to get as much information as possible both for bodyweight training and body knowledge. I am a young folk who has started this journey just months ago but I will catch ya’ 🙂

          • Sean ;-)

            Your welcome, if I can be helpful in some way I will try, provided no objections here. I forgot to mention if you You tube Kelly’s stuff he has his own page with tons of helpful mobilization and injury specific mobilizations as well. Very helpful, for me anyways, dealing with various injuries I’ve had along the way. An ounce of prevention can go a long way. I learned that the hard way. Don’t be a dummy like me 😉

          • Fatih

            Thanks man! I will check that out too. I need to learn a lot about my body and how to keep it safe from injuries.

          • lebron james

            fatih ım from turkey too ım writin this in english cuz ım afraid of this not being published if ı wrote in turkish if you can send me your facebook link ı would want to discuss some stuffs in paul’s books here’s my e mail :halil_-11@hotmail.com dont think ım 11 tho its an old e mail address:D

  • Leo

    Hey Paul,
    I am working on full pull ups now and can do six or seven (strict).
    1. How can I increase my numbers to maybe 15?
    Any special routine, how often, how many sets?
    2. Which of the Tricep Heads does the Straight Bridge hit?
    3.How can I progress beyond Full Push ups on the knuckles?
    4. Should I include Triceps Extensions into my program to strenghten my weak and painful elbows? They hurt during anything like close push ups, when they are bent to more than 45 degrees. Can I just do Top Range Presses?
    5. Is it good to nap, even if it’s just one or two hours?
    I can’t sleep long and deep then.
    6. When bringing the hands together on close pull ups, which grip works the brachioradialis and brachialis the most. Probably overhand, but this is an uncomforatble position. Should I use rings or another grip?
    7. Is it necessary to build to V Raises or are the regular CC Hanging Leg Raises enough?
    8. Does Holding a Handstand give the Triceps a hard workout if I can’t do HSPU’s?
    9. Do I have to master the Dragon Flag, than the back lever and then the front lever?
    10. If I want to gain maximum mass, is it best to work on just pull ups, dips and squats (and maybe bridges)?
    I know, a lot of questions.
    Leo

    • Leo

      11. Are Straight Arm Press Handstands a worthwhile exercise?
      12. Should I train towards a Planche?
      13. Can I learn a backflip and frontflip without backhandsprings (because of the wrists)?
      14. Can one build strong Triceps WITHOUT bending the arms?
      15. Do Pullups work the long head of the triceps hard enough, that no triceps extensions are required?

      • 12. If you are having a lot of trouble with your elbows, I would say planche training will be very difficult. Some of the early progressions are VERY beneficial for people even if they don’t move past them. As you progress closer to a planche, it becomes much more taxing on your wrists and elbows so it would be difficult for you at this stage. Don’t let my advice stop your vision, just be wise about it.

        14. Static holds such as L sits can help the triceps a lot, but its not going to be the same as an exercise where the arms are moving.

      • Leo I’ve looked at Carter’s replies here and to be honest I can’t beat em!!!

    • Hello again Leo, not sure when Paul will get back to you on these so I will do my best to answer what I can.

      1. People can talk about increasing max pull up reps until they’re blue in the face, there’s so many different routines it can be difficult to pick one. From my own experience you will want to do 1-2 max sets every day for a few weeks. Don’t over do it, especially if you have elbow problems. I went from doing 5 to 25 in about 4 months doing one or two max sets daily, so that is generally what I recommend. After that point you have to get a bit more creative with it and I could explain that another time if you wanted.

      3. The same way you would progress with normal push ups, just doing the variations on the knuckles. If your wrists are in excellent condition you can attempt to do push ups on the backs of your hands, but that is a very risky thing for most people so tread carefully.

      4. From my own experience body weight tricep extensions (especially the one arm variety) are usually more taxing on the elbows than close push ups, so you may not be doing much good for your elbows. To properly strengthen the elbows you should do a variety of static holds with them bent at different angles and also practice moving them through a full range of motion with minimal resistance.

      6. I believe the underhand works them more, but I could be wrong on that. Rings won’t really make a close over hand pull up less uncomfortable from my guess.

      7. For most people regular leg raises are sufficient, however if you work on them long enough a V raise will come naturally.

      9. A lot of people find the dragon flag and back lever to be easier than the front lever, however it doesn’t mean they’re prerequisites. I was able to hold a soild front lever long before I ever tried a dragon flag. The dragon flag has a lot of carry over between the front and back lever so its often helpful to learn it first.

  • Kishore

    Hey Coach

    1.I was wondering about this when i started my pure strength training regimen. Say I gain a lot of strength alone (not muscle) and reach prison pushup. And then I want to increase my muscle. Should I do high reps and low sets on the the prison pushup? Or should i start over at the lower steps to build to the progression stds for muscle and then reach the higher progression steps?

    2.And is it possible to ‘lose’ strength? Like if I wanted to meet the progression stds in CC, but I have high strength, and I chose to do the lower steps just to reach the stds..?

    I hope you understand my doubts.

    Regards,
    Kishore

    • Kishore, buddy! Awesome questions!

      1. If you have lots of strength but want more muscle, jack up those reps for sure! You don;t need to start completely over, just find a progression level that matches your new rep range (for you) and take it easy for a few workouts to break in.

      2. Yep, you can become deconditioned if the exercises you do are too easy. BUT strong guys who return to lower steps for a while typically don’t do it for strength, they do it for joint healing, coordination, recovery, rehab and to build psychological momentum! All are very worthwhile…

  • dhairya

    Hey Paul,
    I want to make ensure that do we really need to hunch the back during leg raises..OR keep it straight..?
    Some say that straight one activates HIP FLEXERS more than Abs.

    • As far as I know, its best to keep your back naturally straight. There will be some curvature to your back so don’t worry about having a board straight back while doing them.

    • Great question! Yeah, one of the functions of the spine is to curve the abs. for me, I keep the back straight like Carter says, and curve when the legs go above parallel.

  • Hannah

    Are you guys gonna open up the offer again? I would love to get my hands on a copy of this. Love doing body weight stuff to get me ready for my fights.

Previous post:

Next post: