The “Diesel 20”: Add Twenty Pounds of Muscle in One Year —Using Only Bodyweight

by Paul "Coach" Wade on January 6, 2015

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Danny Kavadlo 1 Arm Push Up

Okay. It’s the New Year. It’s 2015—that means another year just slipped by you.

Another ****ing year.

That vague image you had of your ideal self: of jacking up to a dangerous, bone-shattering level of strength, and bulking up some serious muscle…you got there yet? Huh? Or are you still running around on a low setting, chasing your own ass?

Big changes need to be made, stud. And big changes require big personal challenges. A rich dude I knew back in the Bay once told me that it was EASIER to set—and meet—the goal of making a million dollars, than setting and meeting a goal of making a hundred thousand dollars. Why? Cuz the bigger goal is more inspiring. It unleashes more psychic energy; causes you to truly marshal ALL your forces to meet the challenge. The same principle that holds true for money holds true for your body. A big, inspiring, challenging goal is more likely to be met than a small, flimsy, pathetic one. So here’s a goal for ya:

I want to help you put on 20 pounds of muscle in a single year: using only bodyweight training.

Matt Schifferle Muscle

PCC Instructor, Matt Schifferle is a calisthenics master who exclusively uses bodyweight…does it look like he has a problem adding slabs of muscle? Check out the loaded guns!

Now, if you love training and that ain’t a goal to jack you up—you’re probably dead already. Twenty pounds of dense, solid muscle is an awe-inspiring amount of beef, and would totally revolutionize your body. Forget what you mighta seen on bodybuilding sites or magazines, where guys talk about putting on ridiculous amounts like fifty pounds in a year. That’s real rare, and when it does happen it is purely the result of huge amounts of steroids and other chemical poisons: it is mostly water, and what isn’t water is fake, artificial tissue that’ll disappear (taking extra with it) when the drugs are discontinued. That’s madness to me: if you want to look big using dumbass tricks, just stuff some goddam Kleenex in your sleeves. (In fact, modern bodybuilders are actually doing the equivalent of this. Google “synthol abuse” if you feel like laughing at the mentally challenged.)

What will twenty pounds of REAL muscle look like on you? Imagine a big, juicy quarter pounder burger patty. Now, remember that a quarter pounder burger is its raw weight: and that patty is at least a third bigger before cooked up. Now imagine four of these big, raw patties squashed together. That big, meaty lump is pretty much what a pound of muscle looks like. So imagine twenty of those lumps (that’s eighty large raw burgers).

It’s quite an amount, no? If you could plaster your torso, arms and legs with all that meat, you’d appear much, much bigger and more intimidating. (Remember, if you count bones, organs, skin and the rest, the average guy only has about forty pounds of lean muscle on his body anyway.)

And as for strength? Damn, son—if you really want to level up your raw power, getting diesel is a real good way to do it. Yep, there are some real pansy huge bodybuilders out there, and there are some tiny guys who can lift like Superman. But as a general rule, there is a direct correlation between muscle and strength. That’s why powerlifters and Olympic lifters move up through weight classes throughout their careers: as they gain strength, they gain lean muscle tissue. Plus, you’re not gonna be pumping out reps on silly machines, right? You are gonna be using the ultimate functional training tool: your body. You WILL become alpha-strong as a consequence of training for this goal.

How to really do it: six keys to success

You are probably expecting a routine here, right?

In truth, it’s very, very tough to work hard on just one routine for a year. Most athletes will get stale and bored, and quit. Thinking “programs” is not enough. Putting on the “Diesel 20” is a big ask—it’s kinda like going to war. Exercises and routines are your weapons and equipment. In war, the tactics you use are way more important than your weapons. We’ll talk programs a little later—let’s absorb the tactics first. Here are SIX Alpha-Building tactics to keep you on the straight and narrow:

  1. Joints first

If you are going into a year of hard training, you gotta be conditioned to it first. The job of a beginner—no matter what age they are—is to learn the correct calisthenics movement patterns, build basic strength, and condition their joints. If beginners launch into tough regimes designed to build maximum muscle, they will only end up hurt and frustrated. If you are a beginner and want a great starter routine for the New Year, I wrote one here just for you.

  1. Work the basics.

Despite what you might believe, tons of muscle is NOT built by working with dozens of exercises, working with isolation-type moves, or by working each muscle head “from every angle”. This might (or might not) be a method for putting the finishing touches on a physique that already carries plenty of beef—for actually building mass, its worse than useless. A better tactic is to structure your training around a handful of basic, compound movement-types, used progressively. I favor the “Big Six”: pullups, bodyweight squats, handstand pushups, bridges, leg raises, and pushups. (Some folks might choose to include dips as part of the pushup family.)

Al Kavadlo Bar Dips

I’m a pushup man myself, but I gotta say it:
dips can be an excellent upper-body builder.

Note that “structuring your training around” these six does NOT mean you are limited to six exercises. The Big Six are families of exercises: so when you are doing “pullups”, you might actually want to do two types of vertical pull plus a horizontal pull to work all your back muscles: three exercises, but they all come under the “pullup” banner. As long as you stick to the basics and work progressively, this is a good way to work everything to the max.

You can add other bodyweight work, certainly for the lower body: explosive jumps and plyo work goes well with squats, as does sprinting training. (Hill or stair sprints build more muscle on the legs than you might imagine: many UFC fighters actually favor this kind of work over barbell squats.)

Beyond this, if you want to throw in some different stuff into your sessions—maybe isolation movements or static exercises—sure you can. But use these things sparingly, as add-ons, rather than the backbone of your program.

  1. Mix low AND high reps.

High reps or low reps for maximum muscle gain? If you read my article, The Ten Commandments of Calisthenics Mass (Commandment X), then you know that you need BOTH. For upper-body, it’s a great idea to begin your sessions by using very hard pulling and pushing exercises which limit you to low reps. If you want, you can use more sets than usual. One useful method is to shoot for 10-15 reps over as many sets as it takes.

It doesn’t matter what exercise you use—dips, pullups, pushups, levers, handstand pushups, whatever—just use low reps for your primary push and pull movement, and constantly try to move up to harder and harder techniques. For the rest of the pulling/pushing exercises of your workout, you should shoot for higher reps, attempting to really drain the muscles. In the old days, this used to be called the “heavy/light” system. There are alternative equivalent methods, but this combination works very well over the long term.

You can use this approach for legs, too, but since the lower body has adapted to carrying you around all day, you can usually grow well using just higher reps.

  1. Sets and reps?

As I said above, if you are working with very hard exercises, where you can only get low (1-5) reps, you can use more sets to reach your rep goals. (If you can only do four strict pullups, for example, you might set a workout rep goal of ten reps, and do a set of four, a set of three, and three singles—or whatever you can manage.)

If you are pushing hard on muscle-building, higher rep sets (8-20) stick to one or two sets and just give it your all. (Extending your set—by changing grip, style, range-on-motion, speed or position—doesn’t count as a new set. It’s all one set, baby!) That’s miles better than just plugging away. Sure, for legs you can get away with adding more sets than this, but always emphasize quality over quantity.

  1. Hit it hard or go home.

If you want to transform yourself this year, work ****ing hard when you train. How hard? Hard enough to improve—it ALL comes down to this. “Improving” doesn’t mean “jumping to stuff that’s too difficult”. It means finding a baseline you find manageable but tough, and consistently improving form, adding a rep here or there, or making minor technical progressions. These all add up over the year to huge changes.

I’m not a generally huge fan of training to “failure” for most workouts. But the reality is that the harder you push yourself, the better your body adapts, to cope with the perceived effort. Eight reps is better than six reps. Fourteen reps is better than ten reps. If you are fired up and committed to gaining a LOT of muscle in the near future, you need to push yourself more than you might in regular strength training sessions.

  1. Stay away from the weights.

To those of you versed in modern fitness “culture”, this sounds nuts. Sacrilege, even. You gotta hit that bench, those heavy squats, or you can’t grow, bro! Sure. That’s why gymnasts are some of the most muscular natural athletes on the planet.

Yes—bodyweight training WILL jack you up.

Yes—bodyweight training WILL jack you up.

In the REAL world, using weights makes training TOO EASY. That’s why most gym-trained folks never change. Any fat weakling can do bench presses or machine curls. But strict dips? One-leg squats? Hanging levers? One-arm pushups? Only for REAL athletes.

Bodyweight also keeps you honest. It’s simple to bulk up 20 pounds of fat and go do some deadlifts and convince yourself it’s “all muscle”. But when you are struggling to add reps to your pullups, you know the truth from the lies pretty damn quick.

Programs, Paulie?

Okay—that’s the tactics. What about the program?

Well, I can’t give you a program. That changes over a year. (For sure, the exercises you use MUST change, as you grow in power and mass.) There are plenty of programs you can apply these tactics to in Convict Conditioning, Raising the Bar and C-MASS.

Like I said, your program should ideally be based around six basic components (which are distilled into the Big Six). Pullup variations, bodyweight squats and leg work, bridges, handstand work, leg raises/midsection and pushups. They key is to work these six families hard. What does “hard” look like? Here’s a sample intermediate routine, containing just two workouts, cycled with a day off between each. The exercises may change if you are not this strong, but the flavor is there:

WORKOUT 1: Pullups, Squats, Bridges


Everyone loves pullups! You warm up with two sets of five regular two-arm pullups and some hanging stretches, just to get everything loose. After that’s it’s archer pullups—an exercise you find pretty tough. You want to get ten cumulative reps in today: it doesn’t matter how many sets it takes. You begin with your weakest side, and manage to grind out four good reps. You repeat that on your stronger side, then get three reps on both sides. You finish with another set of two (both sides) and a single (both sides), making ten reps (4, 3, 2, 1). Not quite failure, but tough, stimulating work—you’re going for eleven reps next time, champ!

Not done yet, though. After some shoulder circling, you head back to the bar to finish off with regular, two-arm pullups. Your lats and biceps are so shot that strict, deep reps are out of the question now: so you only go ¾ of the way down, and swing yourself up. One set of nine of these, and there’s no point in doing any more vertical work: your lats are flash fried.

Al Kavadlo Shredded Back Pull Up

ACHIEVEMENT UNLOCKED: Shredded upper-back!

Your upper-back and traps could use some more training, right? So it’s back to everybody’s favorite, horizontal pulls. You set yourself under a low bar and pull yourself up until your chest touches, forcing your shoulder-blade muscles to contract almost painfully, even from rep one. A strict set of eight, followed by a set of seven leaves your upper-back tissues pumped and burning as hell.

By now, your entire upper-back has had a great workout—front-to-back, side-to-side. You are a Spartan though, and want to finish off with a little treat for your grip—hanging grip holds. To help work the entire hand, you throw a couple towels over the bar, turning a tough exercise into a real bastard. Your forearms are pretty thrashed already, so you can barely last a few seconds each hold—three sets and yer hands are cramping, with your forearms feeling so hot, you want to plunge them into ice water. Great work. You are doing something right! Thankfully, your arms can take a break now. Legs are up next.


After a warm-up of jogging on the spot and jackknife squats, it’s time for the perfect neural primer if you want big legs: explosive jumps. Three sets following the rules and progressions I set out in Convict Conditioning 3 (released soon!) and BANG—it’s suddenly time for squats.

Perfect one-leg squats are a little tough for the rep range you’re shooting for, so you start with a version of assisted squats, using a doorframe to help pull yourself up. You go tough on yourself, though—each rep is slow, strict, momentum-free, and with as little help as possible. Ten strict reps per leg, for three sets, leave your quadriceps feeling like they’ve been surgically removed, dipped in battery acid, then sewn back in.

But you need more squats—for motor patterning and conditioning. (Don’t worry, those big leg muscles can take it.) So you work with deep, strict, perfect two leg squats—two sets of fifty reps leave those legs pumped and blitzed beyond belief. Not done yet though—you head outside for some sprints. (I’m betting you have a stretch of road. Somewhere.) You set a point around a hundred meters away, and hit it. At first it feels like you’re running through Jell-o, but you grit your teeth and somehow adapt. Five rounds of sprints with a minute in-between leaves those legs shot and shaky. You ever seen a sprinter’s legs, kid?

Allan Wells Sprinter Quads

Allan Wells is just one example of a champion sprinter with great legs who never touched a weight: he stuck to plyometrics and bodyweight circuits, and in the eighties his contemporaries said that when he flexed, his quads looked “like a road map”.


Back indoors and though you yearn to crash on the couch, you still have another exercise to go: bridges. Everything is warm now, so you head straight to bridge pushups: fifteen reps seem easy, so you stretch out and switch to gecko bridge pushups—one arm, one leg. Only for champions, this. You are shaking and trembling, but manage four reps apiece. It doesn’t feel like enough, so you go back to regular bridge pushups, and bang out a set of twelve: each rep with a three second pause, tensing at the top. Just to bulk up those back-legs, you finish with two sets of straight bridges—twenty-five and eighteen reps leave your hamstrings (and triceps) aflame.

Convict Conditioning Bridges

Classic bridge pushups. Not sure what the book is called.

By now, it’s time to call it a day. But there’s a nagging feeling in the back of your mind: you suspect that you worked your legs so damn hard—all the squats, jumps and running—that you couldn’t give your spinal muscles all they deserved during the bridges. Your legs gave out first. Sure, you gave them a good workout, but “good” won’t build the Diesel 20, right? So you rock up to the overhead bar again, jump up and spin round into a back lever. Yeah, it’d be ideal to lever up and down, but your body is so brutalized now, just holding the lever is an achievement. You hold it ramrod stiff for three seconds—spinal muscles like steel pythons…five seconds…body shaking…eight seconds, and down. You give yourself a goal of thirty seconds total, holding the back lever: it takes seven ruthless, cumulative sets to manage it. By the end of it, you are sweating and exhausted, and your spinal muscles are thrashed to hell.

Do you do any more for your legs and back? Any squats, deadlifts, leg curls, hacks, adductor band moves? NO! Not because you don’t want to, because you can’t. Your muscles are worked to the max!

Forget what the fools tell you that you can’t build muscle with calisthenics. If you can train like this once or twice a week for a year, you will revolutionize yourself. This stuff would add mass to a pencil! Go have a steak and a good night’s sleep—you earned it.

WORKOUT 2: Handstand pushups, leg raises, pushups

It’s 48 hours, ten hours sleep and several quality meals since your last workout: but your legs are still a little stiff. Must be time to hit it again with workout 2! We did pullups, squats and bridges last time: this time it’s handstand work, midsection and pushups. Mostly upper-body. Your legs shouldn’t have to work too hard.

Handstand pushups

A good warm-up is always a great idea before shoulder work. So you start with shoulder rolling, active stretches, plus a few handstands against the wall. That gets some blood in there. Time to hit handstand pushups: for your first set, you bust out a strict set of six—not too shabby. Two minutes rest and you’re back on it—five reps. Maybe you could have got six, but it’s not wise to push too hard when your skull is hovering above the ground, right? You still want more, so you add sets rather than doing lots of reps all at once. Another set of 3, then a final perfect single rep, and you call it a day (that’s 15 reps: 6, 5, 3, 1). On that final single rep you hold your arms locked out for a total of about twelve seconds—seems like forever. You don’t quite crumple to the floor after this, but you ain’t far off.

Arnold Handstand Push-Up

Yep. Even Arnold himself used handstand pushups from time to time—
the legendary Frank Zane spots him.

You can feel the deep stimulation in the deltoids and triceps as you wander around, shaking out your wrists and arms. How can your shoulders and arms NOT grow after a beating like this? Hell, your whole damn upper-body feels like it’s had a workout!

Leg raises

Need to stretch out those compressed torso and shoulder muscles—after a break and a sip of water, you head off to the horizontal bar.

Your body is already warm, so after a couple sets of light, stretchy, knee raises, it’s time for the real stuff: strict hanging leg raises. With your legs as stiff as ramrods and using zero momentum, you bust out a set of eighteen. On the next set you only get six reps before you need to start swinging and cheating, but fight your way to eleven anyway. Two sets and your abs, waist and hips are toast.

Al Kavadlo Six Pack

Al’s six-pack was built with bodyweight training and nutritional discipline. No machines, drugs or supplements are necessary for a stripped steel stomach like this.

You drop down and walk to the other side of the room, to give your grip a bit of a rest, then you’re back—this time for hanging knee raises. These should seem easy after the straight-leg stuff, but your abs are tired: you can manage one really, really tough, messy set of twenty-one. Your hanging strength is spent now, so you head to the floor. You get on your back, not for a rest, but to work on some lying leg raises. One set of twelve strict, wheezing reps and you are nearly done. There’s a little gas left in those abs, so you quickly hook your feet under the couch and move to fast sit-ups. Just ten reps in, your abs are ready for suicide. By fifteen, “fast” is out the window, and you are gulping breaths on the floor between reps. You shoot for thirty, but twenty three is your absolute limit today—not because you quit, but because your stomach muscles do. How do you know you’re done? You can’t even get up for a full minute—your abs won’t respond. So you lie down and get your breath until you can face the next movement.


You take a few minutes to walk off the pain in your belly, stretching a little to let the blood and waste products in your tight abs dissipate, then it’s back to your true love: the floor. A couple of easy warm up sets of pushups, then you’re into the real stuff. Let’s work the arms and shoulders with close pushups—one strict, slow set of twelve leaves your pushing muscles hot, and your triceps swollen like balloons. So we repeat the feat! Or try—you manage an agonizing-but-strict ten reps. You could not do more close pushups if you tried. So you place your hands a few inches apart, and the shift allows you another three pushups. Then you move a few inches apart again—two more. By now your upper-body is screaming in pain, and you are huffing like the Little Engine That Could. But you are a warrior, and there is more in you. So you switch to regular pushups, and manage to grind out five okay reps—with a little body English. This last set has lasted twenty reps—but WHAT a set it was. For sanity’s sake, you take a ten second breather, shaking out your arms and shoulders. Still not done, you get back into the pushup position and pump out some partials—nine half reps, six quarter reps, and finally about a dozen “pulse” reps: just bumping up and down, to squeeze the last bit of juice from your muscles. If the floor was a 500lbs barbell, it wouldn’t be any easier to push!

By now, the triceps and shoulders are blown to bits. But the pecs—after a three minute rest they got a little bit left in the tank. You set up two chairs a little way apart, and place your palms of the seats for stretch pushups, setting your feet up on a box at hip height to make things even tougher. Ten reps and your chest muscles are in agony. You manage eleven. But instead of crashing down, you pop your feet down on the floor to improve your leverage and continue. You manage another four reps only, your chest screaming at you the whole way. You’re toast.

Clint Walker Stretch Pushups

In the fifties and sixties, actor Clint Walker had the best pecs in Hollywood. The stretch pushups didn’t hurt none, huh? (You’re right. He shoulda played Superman.)

It takes you five minutes of rest before you feel ready to hit the shower. Another killer workout in the bank—but look on the bright side. You got another 48 hours to rest before going back to workout 1 and kicking yourself in the ass again.

Got the idea?

Gentlemen, it’s training like this that builds SERIOUS MUSCLE. It’s not easy. It’s not really fun. But if you can train like this for a year you will look like all those guys you always dreamed of looking like. I’m not saying you should do this workout—you can use any workouts you like—I’m just trying to give you a taste of the kind of hard-ass, focused training that will ramp up your muscle mass quickly.

Another point is that you need to—always—vary the exercises you are using to reflect your strength and ability. For most people, the exercises in the above workouts, with those rep levels, would be too tough. For some hard cases, these exercises would be too easy. The exercises you use will change as you get stronger, fairly quickly: the athlete performing these exercises would “outgrow” them fairly soon, as he moves to harder and harder stuff over the year. (How do you “move to harder and harder stuff”? You meet rep goals on the exercises you are doing, then find ways to make ‘em a little harder. You got this thing, right?)

Fit Rebel Push-Up

Just Do It

If you are really up for this challenge—Beta to Alpha in twelve short months—one final piece of advice. Keep it secret. I don’t believe this modern bullshit that you should shout your goals to as many folks as possible. There is magic in secrecy, in knowing something nobody else does. Social media is one reason so few folks get in shape these days—they expend all their mental energy talking about their goals, and leave none for the goals themselves.

Shoot me a comment with questions or ideas—but don’t promise me you are gonna do it. Promise yourself. If you really want to go for this, get weighed, take a photo of your physique, and come back in one year to show me how awesome you got. I WILL publish it, and you WILL get famous.

I believe in you, kid.

A million thanks to the greatest calisthenics trainers on earth, Al and Danny Kavadlo, for providing most of the photos. Find Al at and Danny at It was also an honor to be able to use shots of the Fit Rebel himself, Matt Schifferle. This guy is a master bodyweight bodybuilder, and really understands the science like nobody else in the world. Please check out his site,


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

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  • M. Ouistiti

    Inspirating like always.
    Ok, time now to hit those bars !!!

    Oh and a very Happy New Year by the way ^_-

    • My main man! You inspire me, too. Thanks a ton for the comment. Here’s to making 2015 the year of muscle!

      Oh…and when you say you’re gonna “hit the bars”, you DO mean the horizontal ones, right? Or at least get wasted AFTER the training.

  • That’s gotta be one of my favorite articles from you, Coach. I thought after C-Mass, there is not much more to say about bodyweight bodybuilding.

    I love how you avoid giving out a specific program by providing such an in-depth training story.

    • Silvio! Wow, what a kind comment brother–thanks!

      I’m real glad you enjoyed the article–I wrote it specially for YOU my friend!

  • The Diesel 20! What a brilliant article, Coach! Your methods are tried and true! I totally agree with Silvio about avoiding getting attached to specific programming and just preaching the truth! Folks get married to rep schemes and routines, get bored, and fuhgettaboutit! I love how you addressed all these points! I’m gonna keep on training Convict-stylee and continue getting shreds! Thanks for the advice and a great morning read!

    • It’s the Calisthenics Queen of New York!!

      Bless you for the sweet words, Grace. With your incredible energy exploding out to the bodyweight world, how can we fail to win the war against stupid training methods?!

      Al is right, you ARE awesome. Keep it up, kid!

  • martymonster

    Hi Coach,

    Great to see you put such emphasis on technique. Part of the session is really loving the strictness of the movement. And as you point out there is also a time to accept a dirty rep or two.

    Love to hear you are talking dynamic work as part of the session. Sprint Drills, medicine ball throws or good old broad jumps. I think I’m going to love CC3.

    PS. I swear I’ll finally get that one arm pushup this year. Its so close I can taste it. I’m loving it like a shark loves blood in the water.

    • Hey, it’s Marty Monster! Thanks for the interesting comment, not to mention all the great input and support you gave this blog in 2015. (Yeah, I’m paying attention!)

      Keep me posted on the one arm?


      • martymonster

        Pushups last night. Sank my teeth to the bone and shook it all around like I was a dog with a rabbit. Four sets, first two with half one arm, the second two with uneven. Sweat dribbles off nose, breathing like bellows. Finisher was tossing the 7k speed ball for 25 reps. It was a great night.

        • Now THAT is a workout that builds muscle, strength, reflexes, cardio, AND health!

          You are winning, Marty, it’s an honor that you shared this with us, thanks bro!

  • Great Stuff! I’ve been working my Supersets with Bodyweight to maximize my strength.

    • Awesome news. You cannot fail with this method–conditioning, too.

      Supersets, sixties style, babyyyy!!!

  • Anthony Romayo

    Great article. It’s interesting to me how many different approaches to BW training there are for whatever level someone happens to be at. This article kept my attention.

    • Anthony Romayo

      When I decided to quit weights and go back to Bw, convict conditioning was the first book I purchased. I learned a lot from it and then cc2. Although my training now is much more fast paced (anaerobic) I think it’s good information in general. Consistency is the key.

      • Thanks for the words my man.

        I look forward to the day when we induct you back FULLY into Team Convict, Anthony…

        • Anthony Romayo

          Oh. Im there. I just want to hear more about anaerobic training. I try to make all my workouts with as little rest as possible. Im 54 and I think being fit is more important for me. I have kept all the strength that I aquired from all the years of my lifting. Matter fact I think im even stronger from calisthenics. They give me a better mind body connection then lifting ever did.

          • Wish I could like this a dozen times

  • Halil Mutlu

    adding some negatives at the end of each workout would be nice also

    • Halil, King of Intensity!!!

      • Halil Mutlu

        thanks for the approval Coach:D

  • Halil Mutlu

    Nice tips to write on the log as a reminder Paul-Sensei:D

  • Portagee Slim

    Awesome, Coach!
    I agree with you on keeping your plan quiet. The goal is a bigger you. Only YOU need to know that. Show people the bigger, stronger you. Results are all that seem to matter to them. The JOURNEY is for US!
    Cheers, Coach! Success to you in another year of hard training.

    • Someone who really gets it! Great to hear from you Portagee Slim, please stick around!

      Hope that means you are gonna go for the Diesel 20 BUT are too wise to tell us all…

      …yet. See you in 2016?

      • Portagee Slim

        I will be around…..When I am not in the garage, kicking my own @$$! I have a long way to go, I have problems with balance in the crow stand. But I will keep working on it. A personal goal is a handstand by my birthday. And a freestanding handstand by years’ end……if the journey is right, we can do this!

        • A garage gorilla!

          Hey slim, try consolidation training with the crow stand–that works REAL well. Just a few seconds every hour, rolling and stretching your wrists each time.

          Watch your time fly up!

          • Portagee Slim

            Awesome tip. Thank YOU! I will add that to today’s lineup

          • Keep me posted bro!

          • Portagee Slim

            In the beginning of Feb. I will go back to doing crow stand as a regular part of my workout. ‘Till then, I will just work the consolidations. I will give you a status update.
            Thank you for the support. Really valuable, especially as I am an older athlete getting back to work after a 20+ year lay off from exercise….
            Your amigo, Slim

  • Kishore

    Hey Coach. Happy New Year. How are you?

    I was wondering when you’d write your next article. It seriously is bad ass. I’ll give this Diesel20 a serious try this year. Those drop sets sound deadly.

    When is CC3 coming out? I thought that would be your New Year’s gift to us. Are you working on CC4, Survival and Combat Athletics? BTW, Al’s new book is amazing. Give it a read.

    I’ll see you in a year with the photos. We’ll see the difference together.

    Take Care,


  • joe williams

    Hi coach,

    Your student Joe here, I have to say this template for adding the beef to a bodyweight students frame sounds awfully enticing to say the least. I have completed (for now) the c-mass inspired and sole use of cc methodologies, for a period just short of 3 months. The results of a short but sweet “balls to the wall” workout has left me beefed up. With significant amounts of calories added (junk food included), damn this stuff works. Here is picture (all be it crappy sorry about that) that shows some solid muscular gains to back up the premise that bodyweight I am close to 13 stone (182 pounds) now of solid functional muscle. I am sorry about not keeping this to myself ( I do not do or entertain the notion of social media I ain’t got nowt to say).

    Your Student

    • joe williams

      Please excuse this, I do not use any kind of supplementation just good old calories.


      • Yep, that’s my student.

        I used to tell folks that the only chemical I used during training was deodorant–and my training partners always said I never even used enough of THAT!

        • joe williams

          I just noticed my fucked up post (excuse language) all I did was edit the text this happens-the box is a picture of Ludwig snare drum think Bonham John Henry Bonham

          • Aha! Don’t worry, Adrienne will edit your cussing I bet, using those asterisk things.

            She edits me all the f***ing time

          • joe williams

            Ah fer f**** sake it aint “nobodys fault but mine”

  • Aleks Salkin

    Among your finest posts yet, coach! I’m really enjoying the focus you’ve been putting on the wide range of available approaches to calisthenics training – particularly muscle building, since so many people think of calisthenics as an alternative instead of choice number 1 for getting ridonkulously strong and huge.

    Also, glad to see you and I have the same approach to getting some calisthenics swole going: mixing harder and easier exercises. Amazing that more people don’t take advantage of that, opting instead for nose-bleed high rep sets of only easier exercises.

    Seriously pumped way the F up for the last chapter in the thrilling conclusion to the Convict Conditioning series! Soon as I get it and put it to the test I’ll drop you a line and let you know how it goes.

    Cheers from Jerusalem!

    • Hey, it’s the Hebrew Hammer!

      I read in Scientific American that fault lines are developing under Israel, because since you have been training folks over there there are TONS more muscle walking around! You got any comment on that, dude?

      Always awesome to here from you, my good friend. Hope things are going as good as you deserve in J-Ru.

  • Phil

    Couldn’t agree more with the weight lifting part coach!. Weight lifting is much more easy to crank out then any of the big six. Sounds like a good thing but it really isn’t. I did CC religiously for a year and I learned that bodyweight is the real deal. I’m convinced calisthenics is the best way to build muscle, strength, agility, athleticism, etc. plus it’s badass! gotta get back at it.

    • Phil, my main man!

      Glad the fire is coming back–as long as you need to MOVE (which is as long as you live), you need to be working on calisthenics! Get back to as soon as you read this…I’m serious man, give me ten pushups!!

      And hey…even if it’s ten years between your pushups, you DIDN’T quit as long as you went back to it eventually, right?

  • fred

    Hey paul

    great article, cant wait for your next book!

    i have a few questions, maybe you could help.

    1. Half-One-Arm-HSPU, i can do them now after being on this step for almost 2 years (measuring with books). however im doing them against a door so i can get balance support on both of my feets on the door frames, is this acceptable? my plan is to do it like this until i can do a full One-Arm-HSPU, and then start working with doing it against a corner.

    2. When doing Half-One-Arm-HSPU, my hand position is a little bit different than what i see on the CC cover picture. My fingers are basically pointed away from my head rather than towards the head, i just find it easier for me to press like that, is that a big deal? should i re-learn my handposition for single arm HSPU work?

    3. I can do one leg squats but i really want to learn uneven squats to make my squatting better and more flexible. I am currently doing uneven squats using the floor as my support (gliding down my heel on floor), once i can do 20 reps ill add some books until i can do them on basket ball (as you suggest). However i feel that im very far away from doing uneven squats (especially on my left leg) and i dont want it to take forever. Do you have any extra exercise or flexibility/mobility stretch that i can do to really help my uneven squats?

    i currently do some ankle stretches together with some “bottom uneven squat holds”, where i basically just squat down, bring one leg out on some books and hang there for some seconds to make my body used to the position. (building my way up to a basketball)



    • Musclehead Fred!

      Hey bud, thanks for the comment–some very interesting questions here so let’s shoot straight to the answers:

      1. Well done on the one-arm handstand work–you sound like a beast! Sounds like a tasty step-the difficulty is knowing how much assistance you are giving with the legs. If it is just support you are looking for, why not use the corner now–provided you can handle the extra friction? Losing a little depth is acceptable.

      2. I can’t see your hand but I would ask–how are your joints? Wrist, elbow, shoulder? If the answer is “no worries” then I say, if it aint broke, don’t fix it!

      3. The one-leg squat stretch in the bottom position sounds like great stuff. You are right, the key is getting used to the bottom position. Another real cool variation involves squatting down, leaning to the side, THEN extending the leg. Adrienne Harvey demonstrates this beautifully at 4.14 in this video:

      There are some lovely regressions in here to work on. Watch the whole thing, it’s a great vid! You can also do uneven squats with assistance–a pole, a doorframe, a buddy. 5 reps per side every few days and you’ll be killin it soon enough.

      Hope this helps buddy!


      • fred

        Hi Paul, thanks for the answer, helped alot.

        my shoulder, joints, wrist etc all feel fine so i will keep doing what i do.

        About the corner, does it matter which side i use the corner? because ive seen a picture on the log book (great book!) max shank using corner on the same side as the arm he is using (e.g. right arm, corner to the right).

        Because i kind of need a corner to the other side, if i do on my left arm i need a corner on the right side, because when i try to push back up (positive part) my body just turns and twists so that i fall down into two hands again

        i just tried it and i failed with the positive part of the movement, but i think if i just add some more books and teach my body i should be able to do it eventually

        thank you


        • Fred! I actually find it easier to use the corner on my non-loaded side, as the friction is more cushioning. But some athletes swear by using the arm side. Try both, there really is no definitive answer.

          Ading books? Gorgeous. This is TRUE prison style. You got this, Fred. Thanks for experimenting and letting me know how it meant–please keep me posted in the future as to your progress my friend. I enjoyed chatting with ya.

          • fred

            thank you for answering, i know exactly what to do now 🙂
            i will keep you updated for sure 🙂

  • Great as always, Coach! It’s funny, some goals I may tell a few people, but the really important ones I keep to myself 🙂 Also agreed… everyone (and if they don’t they should) love pull ups!

    • Thanks for making the article look so sweet–as always!

      I know you love dem pullups. Funny story, a few weeks back one of my (newer) athletes was reading back through the posts here and asked my why there was a SIDEWAYS image of “that punky girl” doing pullups.

      I took a look, and you were actually doing a flag. That’s how good it was.

    • Matt Schifferle

      I’m right there with ya Adrienne, It’s so much fun to feel like you’re training in an underground lair for a secret mission.

      • besides… no risk of hearing someone try to tell you you “can’t” 🙂

  • LeAnn Splitter

    This article is motivating Coach! I’ve never posted before but wanted to say thanks for CC, the original book has made me much stronger and helped me work through a lower back injury (one of my Gunny’s loaned me the book for the bridge progressions and I inhaled the whole thing back in 2010). Got up to step 3 on push-ups/pull-ups and step 6 on squats/leg raises and got injured last year twice – first my elbows and then a stress fracture in my leg. Decided to do a complete reboot and am on step 2 of everything again. Looking forward to getting the muscle and strength back I lost and more importantly heal! Just finished reading CC2 and going to add the trifecta in and looking forward to CC3!
    Slow and steady!

    • LeAnn!

      First, it’s a treat to hear from ya: thanks so much for your comment! Please stick around. Second, I can’t tell you what an honor and a pleasure it is to be able to pass some helpful info on to the members of our military. John and Dragon Door have always had huge esteem for, and a great relationship with, our fighting men and women. So thanks a ton!

      Bad news about the injury–but real wise to start with a reboot. So many folks just plough on, creating screwy movement patterns and imbalances without even realizing it. The Trifecta will help more than you know.

      PLEASE keep us posted on the road back to being stronger and better than ever. I know you got this, but if I can help any more at all, swing by!

      Thanks again,


  • joe williams

    Hi coach,

    Your student Joe here, I have to say this template for adding the beef to a bodyweight students frame sounds awfully enticing to say the least. I have completed (for now) the c-mass inspired cc methodologies training for a period of just short of 3 months. The results of a short but sweet “balls to the wall” workout has left me beefed up. With significant amounts of calories added (junk food included), and damn does this stuff works. Here is picture (all be it crappy sorry about that) that shows some solid muscular gains to back up the premise that bodyweight body-building works. I am close to 13 stone (182 pounds) now of solid functional muscle all without supplement’s. I am sorry about not keeping this to myself ( I do not do or entertain the notion of social media—I ain’t got nowt to say).

    Your Student

    • Joe, I caught this below. Sorry to you (and any others) about the multiple post bullshit, Disqus is being an asshat today.

      • joe williams

        No worries coach it got my panties in a bunch haha.
        Great post by the way.


      • joe williams

        Coach sorry to be a bore bud, can you suggest an eating plan that would be good accompany the program you have posted above. I am eating big as it is right now (3000 calories a day diet). I’m eating the usual burgers,chicken,pork products plus lots of deserts and junk food. Also plenty of ramen noodles,fries and mash potato (not all together).

        Any suggestions boss.


  • Hey, Kishore! Pretty awesome to hear from you man. I’m glad you like it, and yeah–drop sets would put meat on a stick. So beefin up a stud like you–no problem!

    CC3 is out real soon. Sorry it wasn’t a New Year’s present, but if you are looking for a FREAKIN AWESOME read to psych you up for 2015, check this out:

    Trust me, this is on it’s way to being Dragon Door’s highest rated book EVER. It’s my new favorite read, keep going back to it.

    Please, please, keep me posted: gonna keep you to that year, my friend. I’m here for you, as always.

    • V Kishore Vancheeshwaran

      Hey Coach. Thanks for the reply. Even I got frustrated with Disqus yesterday. I’m following a routine. I’d like your suggestions, addition or subtraction, shifting of exercises, whatever it is.

      Workout 1:
      1. Push progressions/variations
      2. Pull progressions/variations
      3. Squat progressions/variations

      Workout 2:
      1. Leg raise/ Core progressions (both static and dynamic)
      2. Bridge progressions and variations (static and dynamic)

      Usually 3-5 sets of 10-20 reps. The range varies in either ends of the spectrum.

      Monday – 1, Wednesday – 2, Friday – 1. Alternate the next week as 2-1-2. A few mins of handstands on the off days. I have not included any explosive work, be it sprints or clapping pushups and pullups. Except for handstands, I’m in step 5 for all other progressions.

      What do you have in mind coach?


      PS: I shudder to think what the advanced routine will look like. I would give a workout like Burpees 20, 19,18…0. So far I can do only 13 down 0.

      • Replied above, dude! Disqus, Jeez

  • Frank Delventhal

    Thanks for your reply Coach! I promise will stick around.

    I have to – if I do not train I getting mean like a rattle snake before a thunderstorm … 🙂
    And my wife tells me to get lost until I have trained (and as a “good” husband I am used to take orders). I hope that discus will post your reply that I got per Mail here too. 😉 So I agree with the little cursing (Disqus) that I read somewhere above.

    Thanks for your advice and inspiration. The bunch of people I meet here (PCC/RKC) are more like a kind of family. So I translated a German article from my website into English with a bit luck it will be published on dragondoor … So maybe another way to hear from each other. 🙂

    • All great to hear, Frank! You are looking awesome, glad to see you are showing people those “iron knees”…and your wife sounds like she has whipped you into shape, tell her “great work”!

      What’s your website address, bro? Put it up so I can see it and everyone else can check it out–we can look at the images if it;s German! (If you do post a link and it doesn’t appear right away, wait up–I’ll make sure it gets posted eventually.)

      Great to have you in the family!

  • Frank Delventhal

    Thanks Paul! Due to the shuffling of replies my original thank you is above this post. Random Posts … forces one to read more carefully …
    [Off-Topic-Warning: reminds me on on the move “Memento” where the main protagonist lost his short term memory so he starts to tattoo everything that he considers important on his body just to make sure he can read it later … ]

    • That’s what Al and Danny do!

      Me too, as I get older. My right forearm now says:

      -A dozen eggs
      -Kool Aid
      -Paper for the john

  • joe williams

    To kind sir, I’ll compile some photos of me training and see what you guys think.


    • Would love to see em kid! If you are serious about talking over a potential article, hit me up via Dragon Door support and they will shoot you my email address. Be great to promote you properly to the people, Joe!

      • joe williams

        I will do that coach its very flattering cheers fella.


  • Glad much boning is being had–and I hope you are keeping safe, too.

    You are right: 10 is just a random number, but possibly the “roundest” round number–it fits well, psychologically. Frank Zane used to call ten the “magic number” for reps. Well, I do mention the possibility of 15….wouldn’t go above that though. If you are going for heavy stuff–the hardest you can handle for 5 reps or under–your reps will degrade pretty damn quick: often 5, 4, 3, 1…so from there it’s just singles. I would say that in Convict Conditioning if you are serious about singles then you are really doing Consolidation Work and that’s a whole nother kettle of fish.

    Speaking of 15 cumulative reps, 15 works nice in the Joe Hartigen method too: aiming for 5, 4, 3, 2, 1.

    Unless you are doing the “skill strength” thing (which is overrated in my honest opinion) any more than that is a waste–of in-workout energy and recovery time. You really are better off lightening up and burning out with higher reps. But if you can combine these two methods (a heavy push or pull using cumulative sets, then hypertrophy sets with double figures and high intensity techniques) you are going to become pretty much unbeatable in terms of mass. It’s a hard way to workout though so I would only advise it in unusual circumstances…big annual goals, short periods of time, stuff like that.

    • martymonster

      When I’ve been sitting at the desk too long I find a great break is to slip under a sturdy table and bang out some Aussie Pullups in the Joe Hartigen format.I hold each rep for 5seconds. The very last rep I try to go negative for 30seconds…but I tend to run out of arm length at around 20 to 25.

      • That is a thing of beauty. Marty.

        If only more folks had this level of bodyweight knowledge, we wouldn’t have an epidemic of joint pain in this generation. Thanks for spreading the word!

  • Nick297

    Another awesome read from the Coach 😉

    So that’s basically a bodyweight dropset training. Right?

    I will try this myself after a leaning out a bit.

    Happy Holidays to everyone 😉

    • Nick!

      Well…it’s also heavy/light, don’t forget that–you are hitting it hard with lower reps before the intensity work. But yep, drop sets plus changing angles (like the close to regular pushups) and range (to half, quarter, then pulse pushups). This works with mosta the basics…

      Thanks for the kind words Nick, and great to hear from you!

  • nico

    awesome post coach, quick question: if i’m shooting for maximum strenght is this kind of working out, the way to go? It seems to be a bit “light” on the rest.
    You mentioned in the c-mass article switching between strenght and mass workouts.
    Is this the best way to go for maximum strenght and mass? Or can I hybrid: two sets for pure strenght and then lower step exercises for mass?


    • Nico! Hey there buddy, long time no speakee–great to hear from ya!

      Hey, what’s light about it? You are beginning your pull or push sessions with heavy exercises that limit you to about 5 reps, then you do multiple sets with that load. That is classic strength training right there! Remember though, I’m advocating a bodybuilding routine that builds strength here–if you want an article that is PURELY for strength, I will write you one.

      As for the “best” way to build strength and mass–I’m convinced that as long as you are doing hard, heavy exercises, plus the higher rep exhausting stuff, you are winning. You can do it the way I describe above–hard exercises then higher rep stuff in the same workout–or do different high and low reps workouts in the week, or even do some months of pure strength, then some pure mass stuff (closer to periodization). They will all work.

      As for your question on can you “hybrid” by doing very hard stuff for two sets, then the lighter stuff for intensity–SURE! Sounds great and in fact is not a million miles from the workouts given above, no?

      Thanks for the comment dude, loved it!

      • nico

        Thanks a lot coach. Another day, another lesson learned.

        • Paul John Wade

          Awesome. That’s how winning is done!

      • nico

        Btw I meant “light” as in a lot of exercises not a hole lot of rest. apologies for the misunderstanding, seem to happen a lot when I try to be witty.
        Probably leave that to people who are actually good at it.
        Now i’m heading back to trying to push a dent in my floor

  • Ha ha! You are a lucky man to have a wife with a sense of humor!

    Love the site–didn’t understand the words, but the second I saw the PCC logo I was home. Looks like you “support” us in more ways than one, Frank!

  • Mohammed

    Coach! Great post!

    Regarding the book with the bridging pictures, it’s called Convict Conditioning and was written by Paul Coach Wade. Great book, you should buy it, hehe!

    So, does Good Behaviour go out the window with this? I find that I can put maximum effort into each exercise if I only have a maximum of two exercises per workout. If I modified the “Good Behaviour” programme and added the necessary ‘light’ exercises to each session, would that work?

    I’m ashamed to say that I had not heard of Clint Walker until I read this post. Some movie buff I am, huh? At least I’ve always been a fan of Clint Eastwood. I hope that makes up for my shortcoming…

  • Les Gross


    I had gotten very sick back around thanksgiving and had to take 9 days off to recover before I even thought about doing a squat. Started up at about 75% of the volume I was doing before (I was doing The Big Six, by the book). Felt good, nice and sore the next day, but something amazing happened- I gained noticeable mass after my first session (Squats, Pushups, Horizontal Pullups), so my motivation kicked up a bit. 48 hours later I did session 2 (Handstand, Vertical Pull, Leg raises, Bridge work)- same thing happened, I gained visible, shirt tightening mass overnight. My motivation went straight through the roof. It was like I was experiencing beginner gains all over again. So I decided to take advantage of this explosion of growth and do some of the very things you are talking about in this very article. I’ll punish my legs with my regular squat progressions, then I’ll hit em again with some sissy squats, then I’ll gas them completely out with basic squats. Same thing with pushups. Move to the counter after my regular sets, or even better, I’ll dust out 2 or 3 low rep sets on gymnastic rings (tough pushups right there!). Everyone around me notices how much I’ve grown in the last month, whereas I hadn’t really gained any mass over the previous 4 months, nothing majorly noticeable anyway.

    This article comes at exactly the right time. Even gave me some ideas I hadn’t thought of. Thanks for writing this, Coach!

    • Les! Great to hear from ya!

      I LOVE this comment more than my own balls.

      I am not surprised by your sudden mass gain–at all. As long as you keep increasing your base strength, you can KEEP coming back and hitting intense sessions and “suddenly” bulking up every few months. You can do this for years: I talked about it in C-MASS.

      I have nothing left to teach this man. He’s the s***.

  • Joseph

    Hey Coach,
    I’ve been searching around for someone performing a one arm handstand pushup and I’m not finding anything. Would you be able to post a link to an article or a video that shows somebody performing this feat? Thanks

    • Nope–if it’s on video I haven’t seen it either. Sorry, Joseph.

      That DOESN’T mean it hasn’t been done, of course. It just means virtually nobody is training for it, out of the current generation of athletes. To use a similar example, you won’t find any video of a bent press going over 200 pounds; but over a hundred years back , Arthur Saxon officially did 371lbs; he did over 400 in training.

  • jasonparks

    Hello Coach,

    Great article. Another gem that I couldn’t wait to open when it hit my email. My question for you is how are applying rest between the exercises. You gave an example of doing archer pull-ups trying to get to 15 reps and breaking that down. Are you resting 30 seconds? A minute? I definitely want to get the most bang for my buck with this regime since I’ve found it hard to add mass and definitely love my calistenics and want to get the most from it all.


    • Jason, this is such a great question and I wish I’d addressed it better in the article. Here goes:

      On the heavy sets (archers, HSPUs) no less than 1 minute’s rest, no more than 5;

      On the intense stuff a bit less; 1-3 would be about right, 30 seconds in some cases–when your breath has calmed is a great rule of thumb.

      When extending a set by changing position or angle, as little rest as possible–a few seconds, tops.

      Hope that helps my friend and thanks so much for the great question and kind words; I appreciate it!

  • Matt Schifferle

    Holy hell this piece kicked serious ass Coach! Thank you very much for inviting me to be a part of it. It is a serious honor.

    More than anything, this sucker got me fired up and motivated big time. Looking back on my own workouts I’m thinking I can really crank things up a lot more. It’s funny how we can sometimes believe we understand what hardcore training is and then a couple of examples like the workouts you mentioned come along and I realize there was still a lot higher I can reach. Time to stretch the wings and go higher! Thank you so much Paul!

  • Matthew Marshall

    My muscles hurt just from reading this!

    • They will hurt more when you actually DO the workout!

      You ARE going to hit it hard later, right Matt…? I’m watching!

      • Matthew Marshall

        Believe it Coach! Gonna get on that tonight

        • Hit that s*** big time for old Coach, my man!!!

  • Pushers

    Hi Coach,

    Another fantastic article. I always look forward to your stuff and learn a lot. I’ve given up on free weights now for around a year and a half and have been bodyweight only since then. Finally my arms have shifted a bit and have grown from 16.5 inches to 17.25 inches after years and years of being stuck at the same size. I think this has mainly been to your C-Mass articles. Thank you!

    I was hoping you could give my current routine a quick critique – if it’s not too much trouble? Are there things you would change? Exercises you would move into different days, etc?

    I currently do an “A” workout and a “B” workout – mainly structured (though loosely) around pushes and pulls – on Mon, Wed and Fri. The goal is more mass!

    A (pushes)
    1. Half Handstand Pushups
    2. Uneven Squats
    3. Bent Single Leg Floor Calf Raises
    4. Dips
    5. Handstand Shrugs
    6. Sissy Squats
    7. Bodyweight Tricep Extension
    8. Wall Fingertip Pushups
    9. Wall Handstand

    B (pulls)
    1. Horizontal Rows (Aussie Rows)
    2. Full Bridges
    3. Flat Straight Leg Raises
    4. Bodyweight Bicep Curl
    5. Wrestlers Bridges
    6. Front Bridges
    7. Full Pullups
    8. Wall Handstand
    9. Bar Hang

    My progression is to shoot for 20 reps of an exercise. Once I can do 20 consistently on the first set I move to a harder version. I rest 45 secs per set and only do two sets of each exercise.

    Should I change anything do you think? Add a “C” day to move things to add more rest? Cut down the number of exercises?

    The handstands are there mainly for skill practice rather than bulking.

    Thanks a lot!


  • V Kishore Vancheeshwaran

    Hey Coach. Thanks for the reply. Even I got frustrated with Disqus yesterday. I’m following a routine. I’d like your suggestions, addition or subtraction, shifting of exercises, whatever it is.

    Workout 1:
    1. Push progressions/variations
    2. Pull progressions/variations
    3. Squat progressions/variations

    Workout 2:
    1. Leg raise/ Core progressions (both static and dynamic)
    2. Bridge progressions and variations (static and dynamic)

    Usually 3-5 sets of 10-20 reps. The range varies in either ends of the spectrum.

    Monday – 1, Wednesday – 2, Friday – 1. Alternate the next week as 2-1-2. A few mins of handstands on the off days. I have not included any explosive work, be it sprints or clapping pushups and pullups. Except for handstands, I’m in step 5 for all other progressions.

    What do you have in mind coach?


    PS: I shudder to think what the advanced routine will look like. I would give a workout like Burpees 20, 19,18…0. So far I can do only 13 down 0.

    • Kishore! Hey my man, sorry for the late reply–wanted to do your question justice!

      First up–this routine will work. It WILL work. If it appeals to you, go for it my man, and give me feedback!

      If you want my thoughts though–respectfully, just as another training nut looking under the hood with ya, I would respond like this:

      -You are doing the hardest 3 exercises all on day 1. Why not split it up? That’d allow you to give more to each exercise. How about:

      -Push/leg raise


      Keep the variations you mentioned. In other words, you are doing upper and lower body stuff on both days, allowing for faster growth–if you don’t overdo it.

      With this, you can alternate with a day off between. If that seems easy, you could even sometimes do these back to back, with a day off between cycles. You could also throw in the occasional day off as and when.

      Just a thought, my man, since ya asked…

      • V Kishore Vancheeshwaran

        Hey Coach. Thanks for the reply. I’ll try out both ways and let you know how it works.

        • Make sure you do–I still believe in you. You’ll be one of the future greats and mention me after I’m dead!

  • xgeryx

    Helluva inspiring article and program there not that if C-MASS wasn’t all about that. But guys, do you too realize the methods described? This article actually a shorter summarized version of all C-MASS principles there. Training wisdom right there. Feels like I’m gonna make a visit (again) to the park this evening and hit the bars hard 🙂

    Thanks coach!


    • Gergely! Great, great, GREAT to hear from ya!

      Thanks for the kind words–if I’m in time, then go get a few extra reps in on the bars for old Coach. If I’m too late, then I hope you had a killer workout my friend!

      Thank a million fer the comment buddy.

      • xgeryx

        You got it Coach 😉

  • Ahaha! You owned me! Yeah, it WAS Lee Marvin! Dumb Swiss cheese memory, thanks fer schoolin me in classic movies…I dunno where I got Kojak from?! Hm.

    As for the article–I don’t decide what gets posted here: that is entirely down to Al Kavadlo. He is PCC Lead Instructor and ultimate overseer of all fresh content. BUUUUT I think that article sounds like an awesome idea, and if you sent it to me via Dragon Door support, I promise I would pass it on the the big man.

    In fact I would love to read it myself, there’s not nearly enough articles on sleep. You know it’s a topic close to my heart dude. Write it!

    • Mohammed

      Telly Savalas WAS in the film; just didn’t fight Clint Walker, IF I remember correctly.

      I’ll write the article as soon as I get the time.

      Thanks again, Coach.

      • Thanks for the comments, movie-master–look forwards to hearing from ya!

  • Eoin Kenny

    Wait a second. I’ve been doing CC “New Blood” for a while now, but here you don’t advocate pulling work here for beginners? You said in CC that bridging requires a greater degree of contractile strength and shouldn’t be attempted until you’re past step 6 in push, pull, squat and leg raises? Why do you have a different opinion here? Great article by the way.

    • Eoin, thanks for the comment, buddy! And the kind words.

      Not 100% sure what you mean, dude. In the examples I give, the guy in question is at, or past, step 6 for everything. And he is working bridges hard. Let me know where you think I’m contradicting myself and I’ll clear it up. (Possibly just my confusing writing)

  • It was an honor to inspire you, Monica!

    If I can help more–just holler. Proud of you. You GOT THIS.

    Go kick ass!!!

  • Aleks Salkin

    LMFAO! Never had a lot of money, and I drove a Saturn. Still manage to get girls from time to time.

    You do the math.

    • …And there we all were thinking they called you the “Hebrew Hammer” because of your intense training style.

      Well now we know the truth.

  • Alain Latour

    Coach, I’m not exaggerating when I say your books have changed my life. If you have time, would you mind telling me what you think about this routine I started this week after reading C MASS?


    1. Push-up progression (currently on half one arm push-ups)
    2. Biceps exercise (e.g., chin-ups with fists close to each other)
    3. Squat progression (full on pistols!)
    4. 5 sets of 3 reps of jumps


    1. Handstand push-up progression (half handstand push-ups)
    2. Leg raise progression (frog)
    3. Bridge progression (currently on straight bridges, but struggling; since I have long arms, should I move my hands further back?)
    4. Five 50-metre prints
    5. Hang grip progression


    1. Pull-up progression (regular pull-ups)
    2. Australian pull-up progression
    3. Triceps exercise (dips)
    4. Fingertip push-up progression

    Thanks so much, I’m really looking forward to CC3!

    • Alain!

      Man, your comment really made my day–thank you. It is an honor to be part of the team that helped you discover the beauty and power of old school calisthenics!

      A mass building routine, eh? Sounds intriguing–lemme see…

      I LOVE your routine: great job spreading out the work. One thing I would say is, you got leg work on Monday and Wed–why not go the whole way and add something on Friday? A course of jumps would work great, and you would recover over the weekend.

      I think this is a sensible, solid routine with plenty of work but enough recovery time: combined with hard work, it looks like a real winner, in fact…

      I may steal it from ya for my military clients! I’m gonna call it “Latour of Duty”!

      • Alain Latour

        I’m honoured, Coach, and I love the Latour of Duty name. For whatever it’s worth, I did serve two years in the army back home. So you’re saying to add jumps on Friday as well as
        Monday? It shall be done. Thanks again!

        • A military man! That makes it all cooler.

          I would work squats (pistols and something else) on Monday and warm up then exclusively do jumps on Friday.

          Hit me up and let me know how your training goes, I’m here for ya!

      • Alain Latour

        Coach, first things first: I bought Advanced Calisthenics the moment it came out. I don’t just love it, but I’m also already working on it. Thanks for the great work!

        On to my question (if you don’t mind). I’ve been on the Latour of Duty routine for 3 months ago and think it’s time to change things up, partly because I’m now doing Krav Maga on Tuesdays and Thursdays, so I worry about overtraining. To complicate things, I might begin biking to work (40km a day, 5 days a week).

        I saw the advice you gave someone who was doing Muay Thai:

        “My advice is to add an extra rest day into your workouts: train upper body, take a day off; train lower body, take two days off; repeat. As well as this: drop your reps a little. I know this is sacrilege when it comes to muscle-building, but I want you to limit yourself to ten reps on everything. Stick with two hard, focussed sets. When ten is reached, stick with an exercise for 4 sessions (with no added reps) before moving up to the next step. If the next step is too tough, do your best to use “hidden steps”–tiny, tiny technical improvements.”

        Do you think I should do the same, i.e, upper body on Monday, Krav on Tue., lower on Wed. and upper on Friday, switching it all up the following week, and limiting work to ten reps? Or do I not need to worry about limiting reps? What would you say to a routine like the one you list in this article, e.g.. Pullups, Squats, Bridges for Workout A, Handstand pushups, leg raises, and pushup for Workout B?

        Sorry for the lengthy question!

  • tao

    Hey coach wade is it possible for you give us a idea when cc3 might come out? Were all waiting and it’s not getting easier knowing there’s more to come

    • Tao, my friend!

      JDC, the Big Bossman, says late February…so not long to wait, get warmed up for the best training of your life. It’ll be worth it, I promise. I put my heart and soul into this book for you.

      Bless your heart for looking forward to reading my stuff!!!

      • tao

        Thank-you coach I forgot to say i love the books while i got your attention i remember reading somewhere that you were doing a prison fighting book are you still and if not can you recommend some?

        • Nope, gonna leave the combat stuff to the real experts. If you want a great book, I recommend Dead or Alive, or any other combat book by Geoff Thompson. If you can ever train with Tim Larkin, do it! He really is the man.

          Hope that helps Tao, good talking to you. Please drop by again dude!

  • amar

    Coach, for some odd reason there is hate that surrounds you. Both in the “bro how much you bench?” community as well as the calisthenics community. I understand the hate the “bro how much you bench?” group has when it comes regarding you, but I was always wondered why the bodyweight community hated you, until I read this article. This article was the first training article I read in 2015, and what a way to start it off! But after reading this I understand why those people hate you; they are also trainers, basically wannabe coaches. They want to be the go to guy for Bodyweight work, the one everyone listens to. But once they realize what you are capable of doing they get jealous and feel threatened and decide to attack you and your disciples (I consider myself your disciple). They realize that they can not be the next “big thing” of bodyweight work, because the king Paul “Coach” Wade is still here, and no one can take away his position as “King of Calisthenics”. They can try, but they will fail.

    • Amar!

      Wow, what a lovely comment to receive–bless you my friend. It means a lot to me, thank you. It was also an honor that the first article you read this year was one of mine!

      As for the haters–it’s real interesting. I have been slammed by some pretty known barbell guys in forums and what have you. But I have spoken privately and via email to several of these guys and actually there attitude is much different. Many of them tell me that they are sick of the “heavy, heavier, heaviest” style of training, that their joints hurt, and that they are starting to use the older bodyweight methods.

      So you never know who is REALLY doing pushups and bridges behind closed doors…

    • Jim

      I would say Paul Wade gets some hate for the weight bashing in his books, which is unnecessary. Weights aren’t bad for you if you do them right and well. Also there is the bro science in the books which is a it off putting and I guess his writing style is a bit OTT and there is little science to back up his ideas, the high rep ranges in CC don’t match up with the goals of size and strength, but they don’t help. There are better books out there, eg Overcoming Gravity and Gymnasticbodies program’s BUT he is an engaging writer and has helped many to get motivated and start calisthenics which is only a good thing. Maybe his books aren’t optimal but they are good and have lots of good advice in them, eg I like the basketball advice and the slow tempo reps

      • Thanks Jim–glad you got something from CC my man!

  • Pushers

    Hey, no need at all for apologies Paul, I’m just very glad you took the time to write back – it’s not like you have too. I really appreciate that you did.

    Those are some very kind words good sir. I hardly think of myself as a beast and to be honest, I look at my arms and think they are still small. All a matter of perspective I guess. But yes, I am indeed all “natural” as it were. I was very sorely tempted to try steroids back in my early-to-mid twenties (I’m now 36), and at the time I was working out in a typical spit and sawdust bodybuilders gym in East London and could have got them easily, but looking back now I’m very, very glad I didn’t.

    Thank you for your feedback on my routine. I guess I’ll stick at it for the time being then. If I fail to see progression over the next few months perhaps I’ll re-evaluate and cut down the amount of exercises or split them over more workouts.

    Like many here I’m really looking forward to CC3. Cannot wait. You have taught me so much and I’m very glad I’ve given up on the old barbells and dumbbells after reading CC1.

    I’m also hoping to do a PCC workshop the next time the boys come to Munich (where I now live).

    All the best. And I’ll definitely stick around!

    • What a success story! Big guns, drug-free, young and thinking about attending a PCC!

      Does life get any better than that?!

      It does–by actually getting to that PCC!! It would be amazing to have you on Team PCC, Ed–and I know Al and Danny would love to meet you and train with you too.

      Maybe would could tempt ya with this April..?

  • Halil Mutlu

    it’s definitely going well but i dont think im kicking ass as hard as you do 😀

    • We will kick some serious ass together my friend!

      • Halil Mutlu

        hopefully after cc3 is released:DD

  • Dan Earthquake

    Hey Coach, Just want to share a few things. I did my first wrestlers bridge at Judo aged 7. I told the instructor – an amazing man called Ted Spacey – that it hurt the top of my head. “You’re not doing enough of them.” he told me. 2 years ago, aged 39 I realised that my head had finally stopped hurting. It is worth persevering. I’ve had 2 serious accidents that should have injured my neck, but didn’t. I guess I have Ted Spacey to thank for that..

    My Grandad sadly died last year aged 95. He had a fall when he was 94 which escalated a lot of things, but up until then he did calisthenics every day. He’d left the army in 1945 & decided to carry on his daily exercises, adapting them as he got older. By the time I found out in 1988 he’d been doing them for 39 years. It was a bit of a secret. Doctors who examined him were always amazed by his strength & muscle tone. He always claimed it was from accordion practice. My mum only found out when he was 89 when she went to visit unexpectedly early & saw him through the window. “Did you teach him that?” was the call I got later. Hardly.

    So what I’m saying is I’ve known the value of bodyweight exercises for years & it’s helped me with all my ambitions. I was an competitor in the heats of the UK strongest man competition in 2000 & 2001 (managing not to come last), I’ve ran all distances from 100metres to 40 miles & I swam the English Channel in 2013. Over the years I’ve read hundreds of exercise books, have trained with some of the Worlds best Endurance athletes & hung about with a few strongmen. All this is leading to my desire to tell you that CMASS is the best book I’ve read. I love it. It’s given me some new angles to think about, stopped me getting too complacent but mainly made me feel that I’ve chose the right road all those years ago when I decided to build a frame in the garden & do exercises in the house & the woods rather than at a gym.

    What next? I reckon I’ve got my Grandads 75 year record to aim at. Diesel 20 certainly appeals too.




    • Hey, it’s Dan the Man!

      I was real sorry to hear about your grandpa–but wow, 95 and training in calisthenics his whole life! What an amazing human being, and what a phenomenal man to live up to. Possibly coolest for me, he did literally a LIFETIME of training IN SECRET. Wow–that separates real men of the Best Generation from most of the punks today, who can’t push out a tough turd without letting the f***in world know on social media. What a fella and a what a great story. Bless ya for sharing it.

      Thanks also for the kind words about C-MASS, and props to you for building the frame. Work it like your grandpa and you will never regret what it does for you. It makes me blush to hear that true, established athletes like you are taking up my methods–wow, thank you.

      Also, that comment–“you’re not doing enough of them” totally made my day. You obviously had an awesome trainer. What kids coach would say that nowadays? Not many!

      Also–if I could I would shake your hand for the real kind, thoughtful review you left for C-MASS on the Dragon Door page. I read them all and mean it from the heart when I say I’m grateful as hell for you taking the time to write that. Thank you Dan and please stick around the blog!

      • Dan Earthquake

        Thank you for the reply & kind words, Coach. Means the world to me ( & everyone here).

        • The thanks go to you, the King of Cold–read your training PDF last night and LOVED it. Thanks for spreading the word on TRUE training methods!


          • Dan Earthquake

            Thanks again Coach, I’d forgot I still had that posted, bit out of date in some ways. First thing I noticed is the pictures of me have still having hair on my head. I’ve learned a lot since I published that – but learning never stops really & sometimes it’s good to look back on how you thought a few years back & see where you’ve developed since. I’m thinking of writing a progressive programme for open water acclimatisation for Channel swimmers, lifeguards, divers & survivalists. Rescuers need to be strong enough to pull others out of the water into boats/onto land & themselves out of danger. Ability to swim & survive/perform in rough seas & winter temperatures is a bit of a specialist subject but I live it, so have some experience. Do you think John du Cane might be interested in it?

          • Hell, you can only find out if you send it in, right? Go for it!

            I didn’t really know about the internet six years back, and someone just got me a mailing address for Dragon Door and I sent off my book in PAPER. (Yeah, that’s how old I am.) A lot of folks told me to forget it, but I heard back from JDC a few weeks later and boom–there you go. Email Dragon Door support with your idea and I’m sure they will send it on.

            If you decide not to go this route, I would still link to any document like this to try and promote it–I think it sounds like a great idea, Dan!

          • Dan Earthquake

            Well, it needs updating for me anyway so I’ll pitch it & see where it goes. I’ve been reading Dragon Door articles since 2005 but it’s the PCC blog that has really felt like home. Thanks for the encouragement Coach.

          • Awesome news!

            The King of Cold is always welcome here–stick with us my friend.

  • bf25tprpm

    Coach Wade sir,
    I ordered C Mass yesterday. This article has me so fired up for the new year to train. I accept the 20 lbs in a year challenge. My question is about cardio work and other activites.
    Do you incorporate cardio work at the end of your training sessions, or do it on separate days? Are you able to pursue other activities such as martial arts, swimming or snowboarding on non training days and still gain this amount of muscle? Do you only train two days a week or is it 48 hours off after each training session? If all this is covered in C Mass, I apologize for asking it here, just excited to get started. Thanks.

    • Hey dude! Thanks for reaching out an contacting me. Thanks also for buying C-MASS–I appreciate it more than you know!

      Cardio? To me, bodyweight drills like burpees are the best cardio and if you want to really hit this stuff it is best done, as you say, at the end of a session. But if you are really interested in gaining muscle, you might not need cardio at all. Why? Your heart and lungs get a great workout from regular, hard-ass bodyweight training.

      Alternatively, if you are doing other stuff–martial arts, swimming, etc–then THAT is your cardio, and I give you plenty of options for programming where you can include these things. (Twice a week training is possible, but not the best way to progress. 48 hours between each session–which is only actually a day off when you think about it–is better. But there are other options too.)

      And sure–you SHOULD be doing other stuff as well as calisthenics. They amplify each other. I don’t buy that bodybuilding bullshit that says you only lift if you want to get big!

      Remember too that C-MASS is not a complete method in itself–you will need to know the correct progressions to use with it. So if you have any questions, come back here and ask me. I’m here for you and I believe in you.

      You can do this!!!

      • bf25tprpm

        Thank you very much for the response. If C Mass is not a complete method, then should I get CC to learn the methodology?

        • Les Gross

          You would not regret buying CC, that’s for damn sure. One of the best things I’ve ever done for myself.

          • bf25tprpm

            will do thanks for the help.

          • Thanks for looking out for me, Les!

            All I mean is that C-MASS has the approach, but not the exercises. You can probably learn all you need about progressive exercises from Al Kavadlo’s YouTube channel. That’s an amazing video encyclopedia of exercises!


            I would advise anyone to check this out to learn perfect form!

          • bf25tprpm

            Got it coach, Thank you for the advice. I will begin the exercise research today. Do I need to read the C Mass book first, or may I begin this journey following the steps laid out in this article? Would like to get started asap.

          • You NEED nothing, my friend! Warm up, and work hard on the big six exercises. Hit it hard and you will learn as your body–your body is a better teacher than me, for sure.

            You don’t NEED books, just desire and dedication. Some of the finest bodyweight athletes I ever met could barely read but got amazing because quitting wasn’t in their vocabulary dude!

  • Pierrick

    Pierrick, France

    hellos coach Wade, I read your books since they are published in my country, and I would like to know what do you think about my routine (defects …), and i have a couple of questions about workout.

    1.Monday: push ups, mid section
    warm up: inclined push-ups, kneeline push-ups
    closes push-ups : 2 work sets
    warm up :Flat knee raises, flat bent legs raises
    hanging knee raises : 2 work sets

    Wednesday: pull-ups, squat
    warm up: joints circuling, trifecta, vertical pulls
    half pull-ups: 2 work sets
    closes horizontal pulls : 2 work sets
    warm up: supported squats, full squats
    uneven squats: 2 work sets
    calf raises (step 3), high knee running

    Friday: HSPU, bridge
    warm up: trifecta, joints circuling, headstand
    half HSPU: 2 work sets
    uneven handstand : 2 work sets
    warm up: straight bridge, angled bridge
    stand to stand bridges: 2 work sets
    grip work: one arm fingertips pushups, uneven hang

    for my obliques , i do kick press and clutch flag
    days off, I do the trifecta

    question 1:
    for the progression of pullups, can I move to full pullups? i do more than 5 reps (7 reps with a good form)

    question 2:
    can i add lot of muscle with ¨Total Body 1¨ written in C-mass?

    PS: sorry if my translation is bad

    • Pierrick–it’s awesome to hear from a bodyweight athlete from that great nation of France: many great calisthenics men and women come from there!

      I am real grateful for your question, and since English is not your first language I’m gonna make my answers simple as I can for you!

      First, I like your routine–it will work for you! Work it hard, be careful with your joints, and if it all gets too much switch to an abbreviated workout: i.e., one with fewer exercises per session. Like I always say, try things!

      Answer 1: You have my permission to move up to full pullups, provided you can get the minimum standard I set out in the book.

      Answer 2: YES–this workout is a VERY powerful, quick way to get stronger, quicker. But (and this is a big but) it only works as long as you recover enough between sessions. This is why it can work well with rank beginners–because they lack the power to really exhaust themselves in hard exercises, the way more advanced guys can. How do you know if you are recovering? Simple–you are getting better.

      Thanks for your question and god bless!

      Je Suis Charlie

      • Pierrick

        A ¨BIG¨ thank for your reply to my comment and for you compréhension about my english language. i forget to tell you how I love your books and articles , because the contents is REAL and WORK, and we can feel your philosophy.

        Thank to the 10 commandments of muscle gain in C-Mass, i add 2 kilo of muscle on my body in just a little bit more than 2 months.

        For finish, it’s nice to know as other countries support France in this hardship happened.

        Nous sommes tous Charlie.

        god bless !


        • 2 kilo in 2 months? You the man!! Great work my friend. Keep it up and keep me informed of your progress please!

          Thanks for the kind words Pierrick, and YES, Big support and love going out to the great country of France. For sure, Paris has never been far from my thoughts over the last couple days.

          God bless you all.

          • Pierrick

            Thank you Coach! for congratulations and support.
            I can be not make the ¨Diesel 20¨ during this year, Because I already defined my objectives, but I go Surely begin the challenge in 2016 or earlier.

            I will keep you informed of my progress, of news questions which will be born in my mind, and of the day when I will began this SUPER challenge.

  • Hey Sam! I inspired you huh? Well, then it was worthwhile me writing the article. It really lifts me more than you know to be able to gee up a bodyweight athlete. Bless ya for reaching out and telling me so!

    I have met sick animals like you who love the searing pain of training–these are the dudes who become true BEASTS if they can focus that masochism properly.

    I expect to see you as one big, scary f*** next year or I’ll wanna know why!

  • Ian Bajwa

    Hey coach I kinda hit a plateau on a lot of the exercises and lately it’s been about 6 sessions and I have not been able to see an increase in reps for my pushups (step 6), handstands (step 3), hanging leg raises (step 7) and definitely not pullups (step 2). I’m currently doing the upper/lower body workout routine you have listed in the C-Mass book while keeping my cardio up by training daily in Muay Thai. Do you have a possible solution to help with my plateau? Should I change up my routine or tackle these steps by doing high sets and low reps?

    I also got up to step 7 uneven squats from step 6 and had a lot of trouble doing even 1 rep but I’m slowly finding it easier after watching Al Kavadlo’s video and started doing bench squats as well as doing the consolidation training you listed in Convict Condtioning.

    Anyways any help would be appreciated when you have the time, thanks for everything and looking forward to your next book.

    • Ian–great to hear from ya. I can see you don’t need my advice on flexibility!

      Often when young, in-shape guys can;t seem to add reps, overtraining is at the root of it. Now, your training sounds great, but I’m not sure how brutal the Muay Thai stuff you are doing is–I know you kickboxers train real hard.

      My advice is to add an extra rest day into your workouts: train upper body, take a day off; train lower body, take two days off; repeat.

      As well as this: drop your reps a little. I know this is sacrilege when it comes to muscle-building, but I want you to limit yourself to ten reps on everything. Stick with two hard, focussed sets. When ten is reached, stick with an exercise for 4 sessions (with no added reps) before moving up to the next step. If the next step is too tough, do your best to use “hidden steps”–tiny, tiny technical improvements.

      Let me know how this goes. Any questions and hit me up–but not literally, Tony Jaa!

      • Ian Bajwa

        Haha don’t worry and thanks for the help coach!

        So for close pushups right now I was trying to meet the progression standard that’s written in Convict Conditioning which is 2 sets of 20 reps before moving to step 7 ( right now I can do 1 set of 15 and a second set of 7) but if it’s for building muscle mass I should just do 2 sets of 10 for 4 sessions before before moving on correct?

        Also about the rest time I was thinking of doing the total body routine you wrote about in C-Mass with all the big six exercises for every second day of the week at some point. Should I add two rest days in between workouts for that routine too in case I switch it up?

        Yeah…I was expecting overtraining to be the reason, I usually get my upper/lower body workout done in the morning and I go to an afternoon class on tuesdays and thursdays which are an hour long which usually consist of skipping for 3 rounds for 3 minutes each, cool down with stretching and then either bag work or hitting pads before ending the class with an explosive workout involving some variations of pushups, situps and squats.

        There’s also an evening sparring class I go to for mondays and wednesdays and if I’m feeling up to it I sometimes do light cardio such as bag work or running on the weekends when there are no classes or if I’m making up for a missed class. Friday is the day where I refrain from any kind of exercises but there are times where I might miss classes during the week and end up resting however I at least always make sure to get my calisthenics routine done.

        But yeah I’ll be sure to add in those extra rest days and lower those reps, does that also mean taking time away from doing muay thai classes?

        • Ian dude, you don’t have to sacrifice the martial arts to gain mass–you just gotta juggle things and alter your calisthenics somewhat.

          Your routine sounds like fun but yeah–it can make gaining tough. All that striking is basically punishing plyometrics and I’m betting you are doing calisthenics (pushups, squats, jumping jacks, etc) in your warm up–not to mention the hard stretching which will also damage the muscles, requiring some added recovery.

          Stick to my advice, stud–ease up on the calisthenics reps and keep gaining strength and ability slowly without exhausting yourself. When the time comes to specialize in mass, you will have the energy and strength to really capitalize on it!

          Keep me posted man!

  • Eugene Mackie

    Hey coach!
    Thanks for changing my life, your books have set me on a path that has lead to many changes for the better in the way I live.
    I wanted to ask you something unrelated to this article I’ve just been waiting for a good time.

    In the convict conditioning books you mention the methods will strengthen ligaments and tendons. I can testify to this having switched from weight training to a CC based routine my previously injured knee has become much stronger and supple along with other parts of my body.
    The question I have is how can I maximize this effect? Many people are surprised to find that not much strength is required for freestyle skiing which is my main sport but what is essential in such a high impact discipline is a sort of natural body armor. I was hoping you might be able to give me some pointers on how to train so that I can take a beating better than ever before?

    • Eugene!

      Thanks so much for your comment, I appreciate it. Hey, it always really makes my day when somebody tells me they healed (or is healing) an injury using the traditional bodyweight methods–an especially when it was a bum knee! Great work. And Jeez, it must be fixed if you are a skier. I don’t talk to many skiers but I imagine that discipline is very, very tough on the knees. You actually surprise me that not much strength is required.

      The key to really, really building joint integrity is building high levels of TENSION FLEXIBILITY. This is what the old-timers used to call “supple strength”. This requires loading the tendons of the joint gradually, when they are on the stretch.

      For the knees, I would advise daily holds (or maybe 4, 5 days per week) in the deepest squat you can manage. Build up to two minutes. Keep with the strength work every once or twice a week, too. Over time you should endeavor to build up to deep one-leg squats for twenty reps, with one-second holds at the bottom. Shrimp squats are another alternative.

      Obviously the hamstrings also cross the knee, so plenty of bridges also. Another point (which often helps folks with damaged ligaments) is to work the calves very hard (with full range bodyweight moves, not weights). I have worked with several footballers who swear this has helped their knee stability. It sounds dumb, but remember–the tendons of the gastrocnemius (the large muscle of the calf) crosses the back of the knee joint. This means that if the calf muscles are toned and in great shape, they almost act as a s substitute ligament of sorts, increasing stability in the knee.

      I hope that helps a little my friend. Thanks so much for the kind words and the interesting question!

      • Eugene Mackie

        Thanks a lot! I’m really pleased to get such an in depth answer from someone I’ve already learnt so much from. It feels kinda cheeky to ask a follow up question but I doubt it should take up much of your time!

        What you’ve said there makes a lot of sense to me, some of it I have already used in my training, a few people have been quite impressed with my pistol ability. While it is a knee injury that calisthenics helped me return from I am now equally worried about other injuries, problems with shoulders and other body parts are also pretty common so I’ve been doing what I think will protect everything the best.

        Moving forward, if I try to incorporate the concepts you’ve mentioned here to other body parts am I right in assuming I will attain the same protection for other joints? For example static holds and paused reps in pullups, push ups, bridges and also ensuring i work other shotgun muscles like rear delts obliques and neck?

        • Eugene–I’m real glad you asked me this! Because the answer is kind of complex–yes and no.

          When it comes to the LIMBS, sure–this tension-flexibility approach is absolutely the way you want to go. For ankles and knees–stretch under load. We are talking one-leg squats! For the elbows and forearms, you need deep pushups and pullups.

          For the trunk and waist the best approach is stretching under load with bridges and leg raises. To these, you should add spinal twists to tone the waist from all angles and decompress the spine.

          For shoulders, practically the OPPOSITE is true. Beware stretching under load–for example as in a wide bench press, or press behind neck with a barbell. This is because the shoulders are so incredibly mobile, and these motions will stress out the delicate internal structure (i.e., rotator cuff). The best way to keep the shoulders injury free is:

          1. Train them with handstands and handstand pushups. Having the arms stretched OVERHEAD (as in a handstand) is a key part of shoulder health. Very few people do this from day to day, and even fewer do this under load. This lack of activity causes the inner shoulder to lose flexibility and “space” and causes further injuries.

          2. Work hard on vertical pulls, but more especially horizontal pulling movements. Your whole life. A strong rear shoulder complex will pull the shoulder joint into the most stable position. One of the reasons so many bodybuilders have s***ty shoulders is that they specialize mostly on the bench press. This has the opposite effect of pulling the joint forward, into its weakest position.

          3. Use circular motions. The shoulder muscles were designed to be complex enough to allow for 360 degree motions–that’s incredible engineering, but most folks don’t use it. Lifters often just push or pull in straight lines. Instead, add in arm circles–front and back. Build to a wide range of motion, and go until your shoulders burn. 20-30 reps either way is a great warm up. Egyptian twists and plate twists are also wonderful for stimulating the rotator cuff–no weights or cables needed.

          4. Try spinal twists. The twists I describe in the Trifecta (CC2) are the best stretch for shoulders. They create space in the shoulder structure, ease excess tension, dissipate calcifications and spurs and actually reverse arthritis.

          Thanks so much for your question: you are right to put your joints first, I applaud you! I’m here all week so ask anything ya want!


  • Lee Smith

    Hey Coach! Can I just say, I am blown away with your dedication to responding to every single comment. You truly are a great Coach, face-to-face interaction be damned. On a related note, you probably get this question all the time, but do you by chance have any plans to surprise us in person at a PCC or something and bust out some pullups??? That would be a highlight of the calisthenics renaissance! Oh, and this article kicked serious ass too, by the way. I’ve read it over several times. More workout plans should be written like that!

    • Hey, it’s my main man, Lee! So sorry to be late getting back to this, been away from the computer all day training flesh and blood folks!

      Your words mean an awful lot to me–thank you. In truth, it is always a high point of my year to write an article like this and get to interact with so many incredibly smart, positive bodyweight enthusiasts. People like you! It’s really an amazing time. I still can’t believe so many folks want to send a message to an old bastard like me! HELL YES I’m gonna respond if I can!

      As for an in-person appearance at a PCC? Believe it or not, I seriously considered in in 2014: just showing up! So watch this space…

  • AgainstGravity

    Hey Paul!
    I’ve a question to ask you. Some months ago, I probably did the biggest mistake of my training life. I became obsessed with grip strength, and started to do one arm grip, towel pull-ups, even trained for ‘false grip’ on rings. I did it too much, too often. I was trying to do 200 pull ups (towel pull ups) in as few sets as possible… which was around 50 sets. I know it was really stupid, but back then I never have had an injury. I thought my joints were indestructible… until right when I was doing false grip work, I felt a sharp pain in the outside of my elbows. I started to suffer what some call ‘tennis elbow’.

    It was in March 2014, and i still have some pain today. The curious thing is that i dont feel any pain while doing exercises, its just afterwards, maybe hours or even days afterwards.

    This has forced me to stop my routine several times. But even if I reat for several weeks, whenever I come back to training, the pain comes back again.
    What would you recommend to heal this kind of crhonic injury?

    • Hey dude!

      Great to hear from you. What an awesome question!! And you better believe it is one close to my heart as I had tennis elbow for a long time–about five years! Earlier in my career.

      I’d preface my answer with a few comments. First up, this kind of elbow injury can be unpredictable. I can just happen, and it can just come and go. It can be painful when you are doing everything right, then suddenly turn good when you are punishing your elbows. Second, this kind of s*** can last a long time. YEARS. I’m not saying it will, but it certainly CAN linger on for a long, long time. Third, this kind of pain is unlike many other joint injuries in that it’s what docs call a “self-limiting” condition. That means that one day, it will just go away and is unlikely to ever come back. Mine never did.

      The fourth point is the most important, and interweaves the above three. DON’T STOP TRAINING. The bitch will linger on and on whether you train or not. Are you willing to quit for months or even years until it stops? No–and nor should you. Because not only will quitting training properly not speed up recovery, it will potentially slow it up. So train on with a smile!

      Now, stuff that’ll help:

      1. Never do anything that causes pain while you are doing it. You say pain comes AFTER training, and that can actually be not too bad, as it just means the muscles involved are spasming and have been worked.

      2. Avoid gripping WHILE pushing–AT ALL COSTS. IF you are performing dips or muscle-ups, stop. If you are using external weights, STOP.

      3. Keep performing pushing exercises but always do so with a flat hand, with spread fingers.

      4. If you can perform pullups without pain, do it. Limit your reps and keep intensity moderate. Skip the direct grip hanging work, but KEEP the fingertip pushup work at a gentle level the keep the forearm and hands good and strong.

      5. When pulling, use a hammer grip if you can. That often helps.

      6. This one is strange–but bear with me. If you feel tension in the anconeus (the outer elbow) during pulling, experiment with different finger positions. Some athletes find that extending the third finger, next to the pinky, helps a lot.

      7. This s*** goes without saying, but warm up well. Elbows nice and hot, then stretched, before every workout.

      8. Stretch the elbow regularly. This will ease up any scar tissue and prevent further damage. But you need to get serious and build to very hard stretches. I mean stretching your elbow up and grabbing your other hand behind your back (if you can’t picture this I’ll find a photo). Your wrist should be bent in the whole time to amplify the stretch. Holding for a full minute after training, and also once in the morning.

      9. The anconeus is not connected to the wrist, but it is connected to the muscles connected to the wrist. So frequently roll your wrists, bend your wrists and stretch out all the fingers to “freshen” the forearms and send fluid and blood everywhere.

      10. Explore sitz training–alternating heat and cold packs (or water from the faucet) to really pump up the tip of your elbow where the pain is. Cold doesn’t seem to help and nor does heat, but this does. Doing it with a bent elbow/wrist is even better.

      I hope this helps and until then–keep fighting against gravity. The injury will pass eventually with sensible training, and besides: a serious bodyweight athlete who has never had an elbow or forearm ding is just a pussy!!

      • AgainstGravity

        Thank you for the answer!

        It surprised me that you’ve had to deal with this injury for such a long time. I totally feel identified with what you’ve just said: it’s totally unpredictable. I remember that in the first months I even kept a log with the days (and hours of the day) I felt pain and the days I didn’t, just to see if there was any kind of relationship witth the things I was doing at the time. I stopped doing dips on rings, pull-ups, grip work… But no matter if I was doing only push-ups, or even one legged squats for several weeks: right when I thought it was healed, suddenly the pain came again, beating in the outside of the elbow.

        I’ll try apply all those advices, As you said in CC2, old timers recommended to ‘work out the injury’, not through pain for sure (I won’t be that idiot again, I’ve learned the lession the hard way), but with the goal of keeping insane amounts of fresh blood flowing through the joint, and healthy tendons through active flexibility or ‘tension-flexibility’.

        I even spent about two months when I was only doing elbow levers and L-sits with the palm flat on floor. I think it helped: the pain wasn’t there for several consecutive days. Slowly, I tried to reincorporate pulling exercises: rows. Felt good. Then I tried pull-ups. Felt good. But at the second-third week, when I thought it was healed, the pain came again.

        But I won’t let it me to stop training, for sure!

        Now my strategy is to focus directly in the weak point, the root of the injury. The tight forearm flexors and the weak forearm extensors.

        Besides fingertip push-ups (that I’m already doing), I tried to find some other calisthenic exercises that worked the extensors. And I found it:

        The problem is that it’s too intense for me yet. I want to do high reps with it, and even if I tried to do those wrist push-ups in my knees, it’s still too high intensity. So I decided to use very small bottles of water as a external resistance instead. It’s easy to adjust the intensity and allows me to do very high reps. I just put those bottles inside a backpack, and put the handle of the backpack over the top of the hand (that way I don’t have to grip it). From there, I just perform wrist extensions, with a very slow and controlled eccentric motion.

        So thats my ‘ultimate plan’ to train to recover from the injury for the next 3 months. If it fails, then I guess that injury just wants to keep with me for more years.

        1. Rest for two consecutive weeks without feeling pain at all. My right elbow passed this stage. I’m still waiting for my left elbow, though.

        2. First month, I’ll do a 2x/week wrist extensions with a very light external weight, high reps (around 20) for 4 sets, wiith a special focus in the eccentric part (controlled concentric, very slow and controlled eccentric). I’ll be increasing the intensity slowly: around 10%/week. After those extensions, now that all those muscles are warmed up, a single but very intense set of fingertip push-up hold, with the hardest progression I could attain, trying to literally dig the floor with the opened hand. Following that, several and different stretches.

        3. Second month, increease the frequency up to 3x/week. again increasing the intensity by10%/week..

        4. And third month, I’ll decrease the frequency to 2x/week, and reincorporate slowly the upper body exercises. Push ups. Rows. pull-ups….

        As soon as I feel prepared, I’ll substitute the external weight by more sets fingertip push-ups and the wrist push-ups I showed in the video.

        If the strategy fails, I guess this s**** wants to keep with me for more years. But I wont let it me to quit!

        Oh! And I’ve to say that since a month ago, I’m also doing the Trifecta. Twice times every day: after getting up in the morning, and before going to sleep. It feelgs great! I seriously recommend it to everyone.

        • You are clearly a thinker! I have read through your plan, and love it. All I would say is–allow for flexibility. Don’t allow your ideas to become a prison which they might become if you can’t change things.

          Other than that you have got this nailed, I wish most athletes were so smart. They would save themselves a lot of pain for sure.

          Yeah, back in the day I was absolutely convinced I would have arthritis in my old age. Nobody was more surprised than me when my elbow just seemed to heal overnight. I have had golfers elbow in the same arm, but never tennis elbow over twenty years or so. I’m sure yours won’t last as long, however. I got long old arms and that sure didn’t help.

          Keep me informed of things, buddy. I’m here for ya!

          PS. What’s wrong with wrist pushups against a wall? If the wall’s too hard a surface, just wear gloves.

          • AgainstGravity

            Thank you again, Paul!

            Not only for the answer, but for those wise words: ‘Don’t allow your ideas to become a prison which they might become if you can’t change things.’

            Yeah! I forgot the wall progression. I’ll start with that progression rather than kneeling.

            Have a nice day!

          • You too my man. Keep me posted!

          • AgainstGravity

            I will, for sure!

            By the way, just another question. Since the pain is so unpredictable and I’m not sure which exercises makes it worse and which ones don’t, my plan is to stop doing ALL exercises that, if pain came again, would make me think it’s related to that particular exercise.

            If, for example, I stop doing upper body pulling movements, but continue doing upper body pushing movements, and sometime through the week I feel pain, I won’t be able to know if the pain was due to the pushing movements, or I would have felt it anyway, whether if I do them or if I don’t.

            But you have recommended me to continue doing upper body pushing movements. Do you think that, as long as I do those push-ups with a flat hand in the floor, it won’t cause any further damage through this 3 months? Or it would be better to be conservative and stop doing any kind of upper body pulling&pushing exercise through this month?

            Theorically, it shouldn’t affect it, since the problem is mainly tight flexors. But I’ve relapsed so many times in the injury that I’ve finally decided to stop doing everything related to the upper body.

            This last decision was due to what happened me this last month. My left elbow has always been, by far, the worst injured one. The one that has caused me more pain. My right elbow… well, yeah, sometimes hurted, but in ‘rare cases’ compared with my left elbow. In fact, I didn’t remember my right elbow having any pain since months ago. So at the starting of December I decided to do something with it. I started to do right arm kneeling push-ups and right arm tucked-legs rows for the last month. Low frequency, high intensity, using what you called ‘The Hartigen Method’ (5+4+3+2+1). Since I read you describing it in one of your posts, I’ve used that method with other exercises and I’ve never progressed that much in pure strength! For me, far better than the clasic 5×5.

            Well, the fact is that I was progressing for a few weeks… until the pain in my right elbow (the one that didn’t have any pain for months) started to hurt as well. It really demotivated me, as you can imagine.

            But now that I think about it, maybe the cause was only on those intense one arm rows.

            So what do you think, Paul? Would it be totally safe to start doing push-ups? Or is it better to be totally conservative?

          • Tor


            I had the same problem, it was so bad that some times i had trouble sleeping. But deep tissue massage helped me, two weeks into the therapy i was 90% pain free! It was a month from now that i found out about Trigger Point therapy and i wanted to share it. Maybe it will be helpful to you, or anybody else out there with hurting elbows.

            Paul, do you have any thoughts on Deep Tissue Massage and/or Trigger Points? And thanks for the Books, awesome posts and informational comments, really useful and interesting!

            Best regards
            Tor (Sweden)

          • Tor! Great post!

            I have NO experience with these therapies–Against Gravity, why not give it a go? If it works, you can feedback to me and the PCC community.

          • AgainstGravity

            That’s exactly what I’ll do.

            Thanks, Paul!

          • Tor

            Good to hear that you have been to a specialist! Maybe its not a trigger point problem… But if you want to give it a shot i’ll try to diskribe the treatment here..

            It’s minimalist style, just take a tennisball or something and apply stroking pressure with it (like the picture shows), stroke for a minute or so per season, try to concentrate on the areas that is causing the pain if you find any… do it for 6 to 12 times per day.

            Good luck!

            (The picture is from “The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook – Your Self-Treatment Guide for Pain Relief” – Clair Davies)

          • I appreciate you sharing this with us, Tor–awesome work, thank you!

          • Tor

            Thank you too!
            Its an awesome thing to be a part of, the PCC community, really brilliant!


          • Againstgravity

            Thank you again Tor!
            I’ll apply those techniques as soon as I identify a trigger point with pain irradiation through the elbow. Meanwhile, just for the case, I got a copy of the book you mentioned!

          • AgainstGravity

            Thanks for sharing your experience, Tor!

            My pain wasn’t that bad as to affect my sleep, luckily. I even went to a physiotherapist (for the first time of my life) and he tried all kind of massages and stretches, trying to find where did I have pain, just to diagnose the issue. He couldn’t diagnose me: When I went to the physioterapist, the pain was ‘off’. I mean, in my case the pain is totally unpredictable. It starts to hurt some time through the day and that’s all. I can’t touch it, or reproduce it even if I wanted. If I started to do one arm grip work right now, it doesn’t hurt at all. But probably in a few days, I may start to feel that the rate of ‘beats of pain’ increases. Or not. In my case it’s totally unpredictable, as Paul described.

            Anyway, I really appreciate your advice. Regards!

          • Now, there is some wisdom to what you say. Just because an exercise HURTS it doesn’t mean it’s that exercise that’s doing the damage. In my experience I’m convinced that the pulling/gripping work caused my tennis elbow, but I tended to FEEL to pain during pushups, especially anything horizontal. Even pushing a door open, I could feel it.

            In the end though I’m not sure it matters which you stop. The anconeus is involved in pulls AND pushes at the end of the day. If you stop one and not the other for a long period, you are only setting yourself up for different injuries down the road.

            IF–and it’s a big IF–your elbow pain is beyond the acute stage, there is simply no point quitting. Ease up–maybe. Seriously, totally quitting is a waste of time.

            Keep me informed. Remember–you WILL get thru this. And with better legs!

          • Againstgravity

            Well, here’s some updates after 1 and a half month since I started the program. Everything seems OK. I had some beats of pain in my left elbow in the first session: when I tried to lift too much. That was a good thing to me: the confirmation that the pain in the left elbow it’s related someway to the extensors. I reduced the intensity and everything looks OK again. I’ll keep you updated once I finish the program. But, even if pain came again, I won’t stop doing calisthenics. I prefer to convive with the pain rather than stopping. I’ve been doing calisthenics for 5 years now, and I just need them. They’ve been like a ‘company’ for me, my only friend sometimes, the only one that could make me stop having ‘sad thoughts’ in certain days and give me some hope instead, like a magic pill would. I just don’t want, neither can’t, stop doing this.

            Through these 1.5 months when I haven’t done a single dip or pull-up, I’ve improving a lot of other ‘secondary abilities’ that only becomes ‘primary goals’ in situations like this: when you get injured. I’ve improved a lot my core strenght (through very different floor core exercises -and for sure, avoiding those boring crunches-. I’ve been improving a lot the active flexibility of my shoulders through the Trifecta… and even doing V-sits -for first time- rather than L-sits. I’ve worked my legs in a more intelligent way than I did with my arms when I got injured: letting them to rest when its needed. I started doing assisted pistol squats again rather than pistol squats, because I’m planning to do pistol squats the rest of my life. Why should I rush through the proccess?

            Started into sprinting as well, and soon, I may start doing some jumps… after getting a copy of your new book, entrenador!

          • Againstgravity

            Today I started to do two-armed push-ups and two-armed rows instead assisted right arm push-ups and assited right arm rows. I started to feel pain from my left scapula all the way to the left elbow. specially while doing and just a few minutes after doing the right armed push-ups, and I suspect it’s due to this uneven high intensity training on just one side. I’ll do classic push-ups instead: it’s less intense, but gives more blood flow to the elbows and prevents this kind of injuries due to muscular imbalances.

      • Paul-E-C

        For the stretch coach mentioned in #8 above check out Al Kavadlo’s book – Stretching Your Boundaries pg 71 – Standing Triceps Stretch
        (with Bind)

        • Good lookin out, Paul!

          Thank you, yeah that’s the sucker!

  • Nico

    Hé coach another question about grip work. In order to stimulate mass gain you need to “burn out” the muscle right? When doing the workout above you exhaust the arms doing pullups then finish with some towel hangs maybe only for a couple of seconds, but this will still signale muscle growth because you body doesnt realize the difference between a gripp workout or a finisher. Just as long as you deplete the glycogen stores, right?

    My question: does the same apply for strenght work? As strenght training is more on the nerve system, will a finisher for a couple of seconds build strenght as well?


    • Nico! Two pretty awesome questions! First, as long as you deplete the energy stores over a short space of time–seconds rather than minutes–you will grow!

      Your second question is real interesting. To answer, I don’t believe in “finishers” or “burnout” sets for strength. Why? Three reasons. First, because they deplete the energy reserves, rather than stimulate the tendons or nervous system (where true strength is found). Second, you train strength best by focusing HARD on doing stuff briefly–only a few reps–rather than pushing on and on, when focus is lost. And thirdly, depleting yourself like you do in bodybuilding makes you need longer for recovery, meaning you can’t train as frequently as most strength trainer would like.

      In short–burnouts for added muscle, keep the set briefer and more focused for strength.

      Hope that helps, Nico my man! Great questions as ever!

      • nico

        Thanks coach, as for getting bored using the same workout: Ive found that reading your articles gets me really motivated. So if you could write us a new article every month or so I could just stick with the same workout plan.


        • Dude, I love writing for you guys but remember I gotta spend some time with my sixty-plus girlfriends so they don’t commit suicide.

          PS. When I say “sixty-plus” I mean the number of women, not their age.

          • nico

            Haha, your the man coach


  • Martin

    Hi coach, nice to meet you. Your book CC has changed my life almost 3 years ago. I have body like Al Kavadlo. But, you know, with al respect to Al, he is small in person. I want to look bigger – so I stick to your amazing C-MASS book and started to train for mass. My workouts are short, but tough and challenging. And I have one problem – muscle soreness. On the second day after my upper-body or lover-body workout I am totaly out of order. It last for 2-4 days. On the fifth day I am ready to workout once again and hard. What are you thoughts about muscle soreness? Its not so problem (it is quite pleasant…), but do you have any tips like to suppress it? Greetings from Slovakia – small nation in central Europe.

    • Martin–hey thank you for the kind words, they mean a lot. I love your question because muscle soreness is a real interesting one, huh? For a start, it differs from athlete to athlete. When I really kick my workouts into high gear, I get terribly sore. But I have worked out with other guys–men not particularly hard working or genetically talented–who can hit it and hit it and hit it and never get sore: or negligibly so. Even on the same person, soreness varies from bodypart to bodypart. My lats and pecs get sore for example, but my biceps never, ever get sore.

      If I had a secret to get rid of delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), I would make a million dollars. But here are some thoughts to ponder, Martin:

      1. Soreness eases somewhat as your career progresses. You see this radically in the early days: a workout that will leave a first-timer in agony will only make the same athlete a little sore a month or so later. But this effect actually continues to a lesser degree later on. Work hard for a couple of years and the soreness will continue to ease bit by bit, even if it never goes.

      2. Frequency helps. The less distance you have between workouts, the less sore you will be–within reason. Many folks find that there is no soreness with pushups twice a week, but once a week makes them sore. This has to do with the chemical cycle in your muscles. You might find that actually removing a days rest from your program will help with soreness–but if it slows your progress, keep the extra rest and just swallow the soreness!

      3. Consistency really helps. You skip a workout, you will get sore.

      4. Soreness has nothing to do with growth. It is a consequence of short-term eccentric muscle damage. This damage is actually not cause by the LOAD, but the STRETCH of the tissues which tears them on a microsopic level. For example, a guy can do partial bench presses with hundreds of pounds and not get sore, while fairly light stretching dumbbell flyes will make him sore. It’s the stretch at the bottom that;s the culprit. The upshot is, if soreness is really annoying you, try removing just an inch or so from the range of motion on the exercises for that bodypart. You might find it makes a big difference.

      5. Soreness is NOT scar tissue, but it behaves in a similar way. The tighter your muscles are, the more you will notice the soreness “pulling” as your muscles move. So anything that loosens up sore muscles will help soreness: try some light exercise or very light calisthenics sets; a warm bath; some stretching; etc. After a session like this your pain will ease.

      6. Enjoy the soreness. You already worked this out though, I can tell. Frank Zane used to have a meditation where he associated soreness with growth. IF you are sore, you are alive. Awesome!

      Big respect to the great nation of Slovakia! You Salvs have given the world some amazing athletes–not to mention great thinkers: Tesla blew the s*** outta Einstein in my honest opinion and was the greatest physicist since Newton.

      Hit me up if you got any more queries buddy!

      • Martin

        Big thanks, coach. You gave me another good guidance to think about. I have no other questions, you give us a lot in your articels and books. Now I am going back to work – follow my dreams. And thank you for the kind words about Slavs! I wish you all the best!

        • Follow your dreams and keep me updated my friend–I will jump as high as you when you meet them.

  • Great, inspiring article as always coach. I thought I was hitting my training hard until I read those example workouts!

    • Australia’s number one!

      I know the one-arm pullup is too much in your blood to blindly switch to the muscle building jive! But maybe in future years?

      • Definitely mate, one arm pull-up first, then I reckon I’ll at least bring in one muscle training day a week.

  • Teguh

    Greetings Coach

    I’m the geeky 5’8 indonesian kid who asked you how to be taller to get girls years ago in another article. Your answer and advice was pretty insightful. It really helped me man. I can’t thank you enough

    Fast forward to today. I’m now 5’11 and 170lb of pure bodyweight muscle. I also accomplished my biggest dream since i started training, one arm chinup(not pullups, my elbows feels weird when i do pullup). All thanks to you Coach.

    But i have questions regarding building mass.

    1. Do i need to do aerobic exercise(Cardio?) when building mass? I think it’s counterproductive when i want to bulk up and i really sucks when it comes to endurance (An example: i really suck at Muay Thai sparring(Just 5 minutes and i’m breathing very hard. What’s your take on that and why?

    2. This question is kind of silly, but do i have to chew my food a lot when i’m eating? My parents said that when you’re not chewing your food enough you won’t get the full benefit of the food . Is that true?

    Thanks for all the good work Coach Wade.


    • Teguh! My main man, OF COURSE I remember you!

      Hey, thank you so much for reaching out–I had been wondering how your training was going and it almost made me jump to see how stacked and strong you are getting. Thanks for the update–I look forward to more in the future!

      As for those awesome bodybuilding questions:

      1. You don’t NEED endurance training to get big. But that said, there is no conflict between doing cardio and mass building if you do it properly. Also, I would put it this way–if you are unfit, your bodyweight workouts will be harder. You don’t need long, 20-30 minute sessions to build a great heart and lungs, remember. It can be done in a five minute session if you are INTENSE–and this is the best way to go in my opinion. Think: burpee sets, sprints, hill sprints, bodyweight circuits, hard swimming, etc. Forget the conventional bullshit of doing half an hour of ass numbing stuff on the bike and make it hardcore, challenging and fun. This will not hurt your bodybuilding at all–it build your lungs, heart, energy metabolism and circulation and this will HELP your mass-building efforts Teghu.

      2. This question is really interesting to me because nobody in fitness talks about chewing. Back in the day–like a hundred years ago–“adequate mastication” (that’s chewing a lot, for you dirty minded bastards out there) was a key element of virtually all health systems. Harvey Kellog was a total health nut, and invented corn flakes to FORCE invalids to chew their food properly–they were MEANT to be eaten DRY. Some systems guaranteed weight loss if you chewed each mouthful a hundred times, guaranteeing it hit the stomach as liquid. You don’t need to go that far dude, but the answer is YES–you should chew your food well. Digestion actually begins in the mouth, from the chewing plus the enzymes in saliva. Chew well enough so that your food is easy to swallow, and you are winning.

      Bless you for the update and kind words my friend–hit me up with an update soon please!


      • Coach Wade are you still following this program?

        Day 1 — hand-balancing work and spine training;

        Day 2 — pushups and hanging waist exercises;

        Day 3 — various types of pullups and bodyweight leg exercises;

        Day 4 — some stamina work, either high reps, supersets, circuit work or burpees.

        What does it typically look like if you are

    • Adolf

      Hey man, fellow Asian here. Could you please tell me what you did to increase your height? I’m just 5’5″ so it would help me a lot

  • Mohammed

    I read your comment below, Coach, which says you might show up at a PCC. Please try damn hard to make sure it’s one in the UK. It’ll be my honour to take you, the Kavadlos and Adrienne to lunch!

    • Sounds good to me! 🙂

      • Mohammed

        Great! Hope you bring a big appetite!

    • Am I reading this right, my man? You attending the UK PCC…?

      • Mohammed

        I would love to, if it does not conflict with my schedule. My alternative would be to attend a US one. Having grown up watching America on film, I’ve always wanted to visit. Maybe I’ll take the opportunity and begin the trip with a PCC event. That’d be an excellent!

        Either way, I hope you’re there!

        • That’s made my day–I want to see you posting as “Mohammed PCC” in 2015 my man!

          • Mohammed

            I hope I will!

  • That is a beautiful back lever, but Davy boy is all about that one arm pullup. He only does the back lever while eating his lunch.

    • Haha, thanks Coach! I train the back lever once a week, certainly not as high a priority as my one arm pull-ups

  • Hey, it’s my student Leo the Lion from Germany! It’s about time you made a comment, I was beginning to think you had forgotten me–we missed ya!

    1. We have discussed the wrist/elbow/forearm pain before–I think you can begin training light and just see how it goes. Keep things light and slow at first–no momentum. Do what you can–not what you think you should do. Keep doing the hanging work as that will strengthen your forearms and protect the area. Well done for going to the doc to get the all clear, that was wise.

    As for CC3–there is a ton of explosive drills and step you can do in there, even if your elbows still need a touch of rehabbing. Explosive pushups are cool as hell, granted, but they aren’t everything. You may have the world’s greatest vertical jump in you–waiting to be unleashed.

    2. I never use chalk or hand rub, but I’m not against it. It certainly will help if your hands are wet or the bar is greasy. Certainly much better than gloves bro.

    3. It’s natural to lean back a little on pullups. Verticality is the goal though, but don’t kill yourself about this. Just do them!

    Lovely to hear from you my man!


  • Asian_Wrestler

    Hi Coach Wade,

    I have read all your CC1, CC2, and C-Mass, and they are some of the best fitness books I have read. I’m in the midst of the most intense part of the wrestling season (so any spare time I got I try to use physically resting), so I haven’t been doing much calisthenics outside of practice.

    I accept you 20 lb challenge and will start in February (after the wrestling season is over because I have to maintain my weight class). The wrestling diet (should I say starvation) just doesn’t seem like an optimal time to start training for muscle growth either.

    My question now is, does this challenge take into account fat? If I gain 20 lb of muscle, how much fat should I gain?

    Thank you for reading,
    Asian Wrestler

    • Yo yo, Asian Wrestler–if that IS your real name–welcome and thanks for the comment my friend!

      For a start, you are right to wait until the end of the wrestling season. That much hard training, plus a starvation diet, is not conducive to getting big. On the bright side, you will find that if you really start eating good, nutritious meals and training hard WITH REST after the season, you will “rebound” and suddenly add a whole bunch of muscle you probably weren’t expecting!

      Ah–bodyfat! How much should you gain? Why gain any?

      I don’t believe in this old fashioned bodybuilding notion that you need to “bulk up” a load of fat to gain muscle. In fact, in my experience when drug-free folks diet the fat down, most of the muscle comes off with it. Besides, useless fat is just a hindrance to your bodyweight progress. As Freddie Ortiz used to say, you wanna be a lean-bodied shark, not a huge, blubbery whale, right?

      My advice? East sensibly, eat a balanced diet with a little junk for good measure, don’t get too hungry, and train hard. Keep an eye on your waist and learn to get in tune with your body. If you are gaining fat, your workouts will tell you–cut back. No excessive fat gain is required to build muscle; just like you don’t need to overload on protein, supplements, or vitamins.

      Hope that helps my friend!

      • Asian Wrestler

        Thank you for the advice and words of wisdom.

        I remember there was a point in my wrestling season when I was eating like a bodybuilder (many small meals + the fancy protein supp.s) because of the sheer volume of lifting we did combined with the lengthy practices. After just a few weeks, I gained three pounds of fat. After reading from your book CC2 that I don’t need that much protein, and certainly don’t need to eat 18/7, I decided to remove the excess protein bars and pbj waffles.

        Thanks for responding.


  • Thanks mate. Yeah that pic is from the first ever back lever I managed. The form is a little better now, didn’t quite have the strength to keep it straight the first time.

  • Yaroslav

    Greetings Coach,

    First of all I want to express my gratitude. I wasn’t ever weak, but looked very asthenic, bony and ungainly. In my teenage I’ve got a neurosis and feeling of disgust to my appearance. I had to constantly fight for my own, being mocked because of my dweeb look. Eastern Europe, you know. But at some moment, being 22 and looking as an overgrown child, I’ve realized, that something imposed to be changed. Ending up my preamble: I’ve bought a book and went from 60 (at 6′) to 80 kg in two years and a half, following CC paradigm strictly, word by word. Now I look ok and feel good. No one dares me. Thank you, Paul Wade.

    So, closer to my question. Six month ago I have got acquainted with RKC, read Enter the Kettlebell by Pavel Tsatsouline and become in general interested in kettlebells. Then I’ve started to practice and constantly include their hard style techniques into my routine, which made me finally switch to this new world. I’ve been following Rite of Passage program from Pavel’s book for relatively long time. Strength, aerobic capacity and explosiveness have a great burst, I can see, this works. But, the kettlebell influences my body composition in a way, that I’m becoming smaller. Lean, maybe even athletically looking, but smaller. I’m afraid my ancient demons will return, because with my body composition it’s very unrecommended to decrease in size.

    Now I have your post, which feels to be like ambrosia for me. Decided to come back to calisthenics, but my kettlebells “are looking at me very sadly” from their corner. I know, that you told in FAQ, that you respect kettlebells, because of their old school spirit. Thus, Coach, please help me how to conjoint those two worlds… or is it even necessary to use some other objects, except my own body to become that kettlebell way explosive and agile, while not losing size?

    • Yaroslav! My main man!

      Loved your question–you are passionate about adding some beef, huh? So am I! We are brothers, don’t be ashamed of it!

      Hey, I have to start by saying that I hugely respect Pavel Tsatsouline and although I am very, very well-read in his Naked Warrior I am not an expert on his training methodology with kettlebells (although the two overlap). In fact, I am by no means experienced in kettlebells at all.

      Can you use kettlebells and get big? Sure? Take a look at Phil Ross RKC: he is a kettlebell master with muscle to spare. There are plenty of “big boys” who got that way using kettlebells–so it can be done!

      The key to this is fairly straightforward. You clearly want to be a bodybuilder, Yaroslav. So you need to train like a bodybuilder. Many of the movements so sacred to modern kettlebell training have nothing to do with bodybuilding. Super high-rep swings (cardio, conditioning), get-ups (joints and functionality) and side/bent presses (efficient, old school strength) are not designed to build muscle so if you focus your training around these, guess what? You won’t build much muscle.

      No matter what equipment you use (bodyweight, kettlebells, bars, sandbags, machines) the METHODOLOGY for building muscle is exactly the goddam same:

      1. Use big, compound movements which activate a lot of body-muscle;
      2. Train slowly and strictly, using reps from about 6-15/20;
      3. Train hard, trying to add reps to a predetermined point;
      4; When you reach your goal, jack up the load;
      5; Keep building your strength, also–either with different workouts, at different points at each workout, or at different times of the year.

      Stick with this and you will build muscle, no matter what you do! If you love the kettlebells, work with them, but keep their use secondary to the main objective–getting bigger–and yes, you CAN combine both worlds!

      How do you do this? Plenty of ways. If you were my student, I’d pick 2-3 kb exercises you love, then work with just one every workout. That won’t eat into your bodyweight, but it’ll allow you to keep using them. There are other ways, of course.

      Hope that helps! You can do this, my man!

      Any RKCs out there got any other ideas?

      • Yaroslav

        Thank you for this sacred truth!

        At first I thought the same way, just to concentrate my kettlebell efforts around three favorite exercises and somehow correlate them with calisthenics movement families. The ancient movement pattern of kettlebell military press falls like the HSPU into overhead presses family, the swing hits the most lower back and legs being the solid body conditioner. The HSPU makes the body upside down, and inversion training is damn so important for coordination and good for health! But putting an un-centered heavy object, like stone, barrel or kettlebell with one arm overhead — it’s a great primordial ritual of strength!

        These were my thoughts till yesterday evening, at that moment I’ve tried Workout I from the article. As always, with the right cadence, rest periods and the like. I’ve chosen exercises much more appropriate to my level of ability. The archer pull-up has been replaced by the towel-assisted one-arm chin-up and I minded to skip regular squats, back lever and running, turning that triad into high-rep kettlebell swings. As I started training I didn’t touch a kettlebell. This routine is of full value, so I didn’t need to swing, I didn’t skip either running, or squats.

        Today I’m the embodiment of stiffness. Barely went downtown and back, my legs and spine’s engine feels conked-out. Time to meditate on growth!

        I’ve decided to keep proceeding with this program. We’ll see what happens. Maybe in the future in case of missing my kettlebells I’ll add some Mike Mahler RKC methods, this man of about 200 lbs prefers hybrid kettlebell-calisthenics work for size and strength with explosive emphasis. But for now I know, what to do.

        For now (and spiritually forever) I’ll follow your way, Coach! Calisthenics gives that priceless sense of freedom. Looking forward for Workout II!

  • Brad Sadl

    Ok Ok I’m a believer 😛 I can’t remember how I stumbled across your convict conditioning book but it happened almost a year ago. Up until 2 years ago I lived in Baltimore and went to an awesome gym where I did a mixture of weighted and bodyweight training. For work, I’m a physician I had to move to Alabama (loan payback) and the gyms here were well….(not great) The only gyms in town were Crossfit gyms. I joined one a couple years ago – and like with anything there is good and bad to them. They exposed my mobility weaknesses and helped me discover my love of bodyweight exercises. Although, likely to pushing it too hard i had a couple minor injury scares. About that time, after a lower back injury, I found your book convict conditioning and discovered Al Kavadlo/Danny Kavadlo and their books as well. The single most important thing I learned though from you was about the back bridge -that one exercise has strengthened my back and really EXPOSED my mobility issues. I’m still working through tight shoulders and hips BUT I’ve been injury free for many months now. I still do crossfit but slowly and surely am making the transition over to mostly calisthenics. I am looking forward to CC3 – explosive push-ups (i just got behind the back claps) and pull-ups are my favorite and looking forward to see where I can take it from there. I definitely want to hit up a PCC this year! There’s really no one in Alabama that i know of doing progressive calisthenics so I’m teaching myself through your books and the Kavadlo bros videos!! Thanks!!!

    • Brad! You are a believer! Welcome onboard kid, the party would be nowhere near as cool without ya.

      An athlete who writes a post biggin up the bridge…you are very close to getting an invite to train at my house, my friend! Seriously, you are so RIGHT–it is the most important exercises for health and mobility in the world.

      I am real glad you have been injury-free for a few months: let’s make it years, eh? I’m also glad to hear you train alone, finding your own way. All true, worthwhile knowledge is self-taught, your teachers in life only set you in the direction of that knowledge. They can’t hand it over.

      Loved your comment. Please stick around, it is more awesome than you know to have a physician on the team. Let me know when you go for that PCC, too: Dallas is happening in May if you can make it? Be awesome to have you there, Brad my friend.

  • Pierrick

    Hi Coach Wade

    news question are born in my mind.
    1.if I want to take muscle, in my back for exemple, it’s not better TO train this part at the end of the workout ?

    2.The handstand push ups do they work more front delts if the arc of the body is very marked ?

    3.what are the benefits ( if they are ) to finish workout by the hardest mouvement that we can do ?

    4.I’m very interested by deep breathing since since I read that best the strongmen of the history practised, but i don’t know how practiced. Can you give my exercices ?

    Thanks for your reply

    PS: i decided to not move to step 5 of pullups because, I think that, if I’m patient , I will have more benefits

    • Pierrick, hello again my friend. Let me see if I can answer your great questions–if I get your intention wrong, forgive my old ass and set me straight, okay?

      Lemme see…

      1. Any muscle, exercise or bodypart which is underdeveloped should ideally be worked at the start of a session, when enthusiasm and energy are highest!

      2. Arc of the body is important because the relative position of the hands to the center of gravity is key here. The further back your COG, the more you are working front delts. (If your weight is back, away from the hands, that’s the equivalent of doing a barbell press with the bar out in front–more front delts.)

      3. For me, no real benefit. It’s often only hardest coz you are so exhausted, right? You should be working everything hard!

      4. I love this question. I just sit on my bench and breathe deeply, holding for a few seconds in and out. Pranayma is also great, as is counting your breaths. In the future I promise to write an article on deep breathing, just for you!

      As for the pullups–you can do it my friend! Keep me posted on your progress.

      • Pierrick

        Thank you! Paul

        Don’t worry, your answers to my questions are perfect and verry useful for me ! =)

        since I written the comment, I have try, différents technique of HSPH and I remarked than, when they are done with a little arc, the spine of scapula, traps and rhomboid together with shoulders work better and are more feed. .
        I’m very grateful for your reply to my fourth question because, I think breath is the image of our reflections !
        I inquire on Pranayama and I wait your article about deep breathing impatiently !

  • BodyWeightLover

    Hi Coach! I’ve been reading a lot about Sprints and it’s affect on building muscle (not just in the legs). Would you concur? Also, would you recommend doing them separate days or right after my body weight training? The latter is the way I’ve been doing them. If it matters, my main goal is to build muscle which is more difficult for me than losing fat. Thanks in advance!

    • amar

      I lifted weights a lot in high school, I was a football and track athlete. For three months of track I had no time to lift, I would just sprint and throw. Not only did I get leaner during that time of sprinting, I also noticed an increase in overall muscle mass. All I did for upperbody workouts were; Pushups/pullups as a warmup and then throw the shot put. Pretty soon my Large shirts were loser on me, yet my sleeves got tighter, from just sprinting and low intensity pull-ups. Sprinting twice a week is great and taxes you cns less. After track I still sprint to compliment my calisthenics and develop over all athleticism. What I do is;

      Easy Day:
      6x60meter sprints 1 minute rest
      3×100 meter sprints 1 minute rest
      all full effort

      Hard Day:
      3x60Meter sprints
      3×100 meter sprints
      2×110 meter sprints
      1×200 meter sprint
      Full recovery every rep

      This has helped me out greatly in developing max top speed. Remember this is a speed building session, not conditioning.

      • BodyWeightLover

        Hey Amar, thanks a million for the advice and info!! I started doing Body Weight training (as you stated, pull ups, push ups, etc.) and noticed a better difference compared to weight lifting (which I did for many years). At least, that’s my experience in comparing the two. I then stumbled across one of what appears to be the best kept secrets in exercise…sprints. After a few months or so, was noticing a nice difference. I had things going on and couldn’t exercise much the last few months, so started back up and just wanted to be sure what I was doing was best (thought it appeared so). Well, thank you once again Amar!

      • Amar, you are The Awesome.

        What a great comment, thank you for reaching out and helping the community!

    • Hey my man! What an awesome question!

      The answer is: hell yes. I concur.

      Let me tell you a story. In the 90s I was talking to a world class bodybuilding coach, who was helping a (pretty famous) female bodybuilder slim down to a “normal” fitness size so she could take a crack at Hollywood. She was ordered to lay off the heavy weights of course, but–tellingly–he also insisted that she completely stay away from sprints. He told her that if she sprinted regularly, she had no chance of slimming down her leg muscles. That should tell ya something about the stimulating power of sprints!

      When should you do them? Doesn’t matter. Some guys just like having a “leg” day, where they do all their bodyweight strength work and throw in squats too. This also works when doing abbreviated splits, like the one in my article. Other athletes prefer two days; a leg day of “slow” exercises (squats, calf work, hamstring work) and a day of “fast” leg work: jumps and runs. This can work well too. I’m not sure it really matters–all I would say is that I always advise folks to sprint AFTER squats, rather than the other way round. Sprints are a great finisher. (Jumps on the other hand should be low volume and BEFORE squats, to stimulate that old nervous system.)

      Sorry for rambling, kid–I just loved the questions! Thanks. Hope that helps!

  • amar

    Het coach, what are your opinions on Isometric holds for mass? And do you recommend mixing in bridge holds along with multiple bridge reps? For example holding a full bridge for 30 seconds instead of doing the full bridge for reps.

  • J

    Hi Coach

    I’m one of your biggest fans. I’ve read all of your publications Convict Conditioning 1 & 2 & C – MASS. ( as a matter of fact you’re the reason that I bought a kindle as the E-book variants are cheaper than the hard copies :D)

    You have changed my perspective and earned my eternal respect.

    I have a few questions. I’m planning a training program to gain as much muscle mass and strength as possible in 5-6 months. I’m a beginner, but strong and athletic. The

    program consists of the “Big Six”, the “Trifecta” and some other bodyweight exercises. I also want to incorporate some sprints.

    Your thoughts?


    • J! Hey, your comment made my day–bless you man, It’s an honor to meet you.

      Your program sounds like the s***! There’s really nothing much to add. All I would advise you is:

      1. Focus on minor amounts of progress–the odd rep. This adds up over half a year.
      2. Keep a log. Use it to keep track of these improvements.
      3. If you are not improving constantly as a beginner, change the routine.
      4. Sprints are awesome, added to squat training. Once you can do a one-leg squat for reps, add in some explosive jumps too.

      Basic stuff I know but you seem to know your stuff, J. Best of luck and keep me posted. If anything stalls, tell me and I’ll help you if I can!

      Thanks again stud!

      • J

        Thanks coach. To here see those words from you truly is an honour. I’ll keep you updated on my progress. I still cannot believe how similar our training beliefs and philosophies are. I’m only 19!

        One day I will be one of the biggest (in terms of muscle mass) and in terms of being well known, bodyweight training practitioners in the world. I want to show the world that your methods work and put an end to the question once and for all “Can you build muscle mass with bodyweight training? “.

        With respect, J

  • Marklar

    Hey coach. Terrific program. Quick question: at what point should one progress to a harder variation on the heavy exercises? If one is shooting for 10-15 reps, as many sets as necessary, when do you know that it is time to progress? Thanks for the insight.

    • Hey, Marklar my man! Great to hear from you buddy, hope your training is going well. Kickin ass and takin names!

      That’s a great question! There are multiple methods–half a dozen ways, at least, and they all work. But if you are thinking about trying this, the best possible way in my opinion is to use the “Hartigan Method”: when you can get 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, then make s*** a tad harder.

      I wrote more about this method here for ya:

      Hope that helps! Thanks for the comment, great to hear from ya. Sorry for the late reply my friend.

      • Marklar

        Thanks so much for this. I read the Hartigan method post back in the day but, I’m ashamed to say, subsequently forgot all about it. It’s the perfect complement to the Diesel 20. Thanks for pointing me back to it.

  • Jad

    Hello Paul “Coach” Wade, I’m from Lebanon so my english isn’t that perfect. I am in hard bodyweight work for over 2 years. I red all your books about 2 months ago. Thanks a lot because you inspired me to do calisthenics for the rest of my life because at this point I thought that calisthenics will give no more mass so I thought to add weight to my bodyweight work. But now, I know how to progress with my calisthenics for the rest of my life…
    My questions :
    1-I’ve started with step 5 of all the steps, but I can do lik 14 reps with lever pushups and 6 reps close pullups…Is that good ,btw before CC1,I was doing all my moves really fast with momentum, but they’ve build a physique too ( my routines were like 20 sets of 25 pushups) but with this tempo now I can max with 20 ones.
    2-I am in 3-way split “2” from C-MASS, but in some cases my upper back is sore the next day after the push one. Why?(This started after leaning forward with my dips I think).
    3-Is it okay to rest 2 min between sets and exercises for muscle building?
    4-Finally, I am on prison diet and I have some fats, my ABS are barely shown(I can L-sit for 60sec).I can eat on 6:30 am / 3:30 pm / 7:30 pm. Is it good? Should I eat a snack between 6:30 am and 3:30 pm to still gain muscle and burn fat?
    Thanks a Lot coach for your support !!!

    • amar

      Did you start off with step five and skip all the previous steps? In that case I recommend going back and working on the previous steps, it will oil your joints and also work those smaller muscles that are ignored with the bigger steps. You will notice a massive increase in strength.

      If you are fat, simply cut back a little. Personally I cant eat breakfast so I skip that and eat just lunch and dinner, and I am growing like crazy.

      Personally I respond better to lower rest, infact my workouts are done in under 30 minutes and I am close to death after each one, doing more sets than otherpeople do in an hour.

      • Jad

        First, thanks for your reply amar, second, do you think that I need to start from step 1 when I can do 14 lever pushups and I was doing pushups for over 2 years , do you think that my joints aren’t conditioned , before 2 years, at this time I was having a terrible pain in my joints when I started pushups (april 2013) because I didn’t know these first steps…But now my joints are good in my opinion (I can do all the trifecta hold with no problem at all)…I started from step 5 just to eliminate all the momentum that I was doing with my pushups since the first day, maybe I still gain some little mass with it and believe me I gained now, not for my joints seriously…
        About diet I am questioning if it is possible to not eat between breakfast and lunch for 9 hours and gain mass..
        Finally resting lower than 2 min for upper body parts (compound moves rest 2 min/Isolation rest 1:30) my performance in the second set will not be that good except in squats. My question is that 2 min is good for building muscle or should I rest little than that even if my second set will be lower than the first by 3 reps I think. When I rest 2 min my rep range drop of 2 from my first set (each set is to failure). In my opinion , first set will stimulate the muscle fiber so that muscle will grow at this work set , and because I gave it my all I can’t get the same hard work in the second and then I can’t get the same stimulation 😉 but I do the second set just to insure the stimulation and I believe this set should be good not bizarre compare to my first set.. I don’t know if that is good ,I am waiting Paul “coach” Wade to answer me…

  • Jad

    guys this is my old comment how should I delete it ?

  • Tim

    Hey Coach I was wondering how you feel about incorporating isometric holds into a program like this? For example finish the higher rep sets with like a 30 second hold at the half-way point. I got the idea for the holds from “Dinosaur Bodyweight Training” and was wondering what your take on it was.

    • Dan Earthquake

      Tim, I do quite a lot of isometric holds. Sometimes it just feels right to do it instead of rep movements. I count each breath to be equivalent to a movement so instead of 10 reps a hold of 10 breaths could be substituted. Of course, we’re all different but isometric efforts can be very useful where you haven’t got equipment – I tried to lift one end of a piano when I was 7. I kept at it weekly for years when no one was looking – I liked the idea of doing it. I finally did it when I was about 12 or 13. It jangled a bit when I dropped it. I thought I’d be done for, but no one noticed (luckily). Of course I was growing, but the struggle against the immovable is a valuable addition to any programme. I reckon you ought to incorporate it for a month & see how it suits you. I’m sure Coach will have some more detailed ideas on this, so I hope you don’t mind my opinion.

      • Tim

        Hey Dan no I never mind hearing another athletes opinion It’s nice to bounce ideas off of people. One of the big reasons I decided to start posting in the comments section. I appreciate the feedback man.

  • amar

    I would like to tell people about another technique I have used. It is like those “bodybuilding” dropsets, only difference is it is effective. On my last set of Pushups, I will do one arm pushups to failure, and right away do full pushups to failure, and then do half pushups to failure, and then move to incline push ups and finish with kneeling pushups. In one massive set I am done with the rest of my workout, and for the rest of the week I am sore as hell.

  • Luca

    Hey ‘Coach’ Paul Wade let me first say that your books with so much powerful information in it have changed my body and life for a big deal! So thank you Coach. I am now beginning with bodyweight grip training and I would like to know if with all the grip techniques described in CC2 if you could close the Captains of Crush gripper no 2 (195 lbs) ? I now weigh 176 lbs and I am starting with uneven hangs. Your feedback would be greatly appreciated!

  • tom

    Hey, coach. On abdominal fat people to exercise abdominal muscles and fat reducing method is running or increase the frequency of exercise?

    • ungu

      What exactly is your question here? If you want to reduce fat on your abdominal, its the same as on any other bodypart. You cant reduce fat on a specific body part by aiming on it in training. Further information are in CC2.

  • Americanadian Badass

    Hey Coach, I’m dying here… it’s March 2015 and no CC 3!!! Have I been forsaken?

  • Andrew

    Yes, please Coach. Please don’t keep us in the dark on a realistic CC3 release date. I’ve been anxiously waiting for you to release CC3 and a self defense book for over a year.

    Also, can you compile all the material you left out of CC1 into a book? I would love to read all the inspirational stories and jokes you have to tell. If you could write a book devoted to developing psychological strength with steps to work through and those stories to motivate the reader…. I think this would be a great addition to the CC series.

    • Americanadian Badass

      Andrew, i couldnt agree more. I feel like a junkie needing a fix.

  • Hello Coach!

    What do you think about doing the trifecta with hand balancing ( elbow levers and handstand) with neck training in between workout A and B?

  • mike

    Hey coach…
    Can we apply the rep standards mentioned in cc to this??

  • You’ve convinced me to start taking calisthenics seriously. I’ve been training with weights for over 15 years and I’m going to take the challenge and add 20 lbs of muscle in a year.

  • Adolf

    Anyone know coach’s email?

  • Rodrigo

    Hey Coach, how’s going? i doubt that you will see my question anyway i need to do!!

    I have over developed glutes/hip and need to focus on build my quads/front thights, but when i do pistols i feel much more wok on my glutes than quads. I already checked my form and altough not perfect it is very good, i try to keep my torso the most upright possible and even that way feel alot of the work on the glutes. Can you help me? Maybe a tweak in pistol form to make quads work more? At this moment i stopped doing pistols, i stick only with Sissy Squats and deep knee bends, for hamstrings straight bridge and bridge curl(stopped uphill sprints, feel alot on the glutes.)

    I always have done pistols with my heel in contact with floor, and always try do drive up from the “center” of my foot.

    Greetings from Brazil!

  • Susanna Hutcheson

    Hey boys, there are women out here doing the same stuff. So include us from time to time. ok?

  • Mixelflick

    Preferably women in yoga pants… 🙂

  • Philipp

    great article, what about rest day, currently I am training three days a week doing 5 of the big six exercises with levels ranging from 3-6 depending on the exercise. I kinda wanna do more, is that really neccessary, since my workouts are about an hour every other day……..I should probably just do as I feel like it, doing the 3 time a week for sure and in case I feel like it add another workout here and there…….

  • Dan Söderberg

    and so the gyms became empty at last the Wade wind swept them away

  • Dan Söderberg

    this classic is so sweet i got to sip it again and again

  • Dan Söderberg

    Sensei Paul Wade you stated in c-mass that you coyuld write a whole article on the benefits of keeping a log feel free to do so

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