Five for 5

by Paul "Coach" Wade on May 28, 2013

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Summer is knocking at the door, boys and girls. (Allegedly.) Everyone is outside, hanging out in the golden rays, whiling their hours away in sun-soaked fun and romantic adventure. (Allegedly.) Summer lovin’. It’s like a scene from Grease, I tells ya. And why the hell not? A spell in the sunshine promotes Vitamin D synthesis, improves mood, and boosts immunity. It may even increase lean tissue-building testosterone levels. (Allegedly.)

Seriously, there are some times you want to lock yourself away in your cell and perform hours and hours of calisthenics—and there are times you definitely don’t. There are times you want to get a quick, productive workout under your belt, so you can go out and enjoy life instead. For a lotta folks, summer is one of those times.

My hands are up, officer; I’ve been guilty of long, draining, excessive workouts throughout my career. But I have also experimented with very brief, efficient, training sessions—and I want to share a few of the tactics I’ve personally used for super-short workouts. Specifically, I’m gonna give you five types of session that will keep your motivation high, keep you strong, flexible and tough—and all for the temporal investment of a mere five minutes. (Yeah, you read that right. Five minutes.)

I want you crazy kids to enjoy summer. Think you can’t get a viable training session done in five minutes? Read on, Macduff.

 

The S4 Method

This right here is my personal favorite strategy for a quick, effective workout. It’s simple, too—provided you can view a clock or wristwatch. For any movement or body-part, you warm up, then perform: a minute of a strict bodyweight strength exercise; a 60 second muscular hold for stamina and control; a minute of a fast calisthenics exercise; and a final stretch. (Strength, Stamina, Speed and Stretch—four “S” qualities. S4, get it?)

So the method looks like this:

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How quick and simple is that? You just knock out each of these for one full minute. Non-stop activity, with no rest in-between exercises. That’s it!

If you think this is not effective, I challenge you to try it. Here’s how it might work for midsection. You warm up for a minute with some abdominal tension, leg swings and hip rolling; then—eye on the clock—jump up and grab the overhead bar. For sixty seconds you grind out slow, smooth, perfect leg raises. (Ten reps is about right, champ.)

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By now, you are grimacing—but you still got some life in ya, right? So drop to the floor and press out into an L-hold—now stay there for sixty seconds.

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By the end of this (if you manage it) your legs will be trembling, and your gut will be in agony. But the show ain’t over, bud. Hook your feet under something; you have one minute to pump out as many bent-leg sit-ups as you can stomach. (Pun intended.) You are going for speed—military style.

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 USCMC image (LCpl Esteban Gallegos)

By now your midsection is spent, and you will be pretty much snapping up using everything you have. The minute—which will seem endless—finishes, somehow. Your body just wants to curl up in pain right now, but I want you to do the opposite—roll onto your stomach and straighten your arms, pushing up into a cobra stretch.

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This hold is a strange mix of relaxing—as it decompresses your confused and tangled, deep-fried muscles—and painful, as the time mounts up. One minute of this, and you walk out a free citizen—if you can walk at all!

Sure, this workout is too tough for most athletes. But as with all progressive calisthenics, you can tailor it to your own level. Can’t do leg raises? Knee raises or lying leg raises. Not loved by the L-hold yet? Bent-leg holds or jackknife holds work the same. Too shot to do the sit-ups? Throw a b-ball at the wall and catch it on the rebound for a minute (an underrated gut exercise).

Even the time aspect is variable. A minute is unthinkable for these exercises? Start with 30 seconds for each and build up a few seconds each session.

The S4 method works with pretty much anything. Want some upper-body push action?

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Again, with the PCC “toolbox” you can vary the difficulty in dozens of ways. For example, beginners might sub dips for kneeling push-ups. The elbow lever could be swapped for easier prone statics like planks, wall planks or raised elbow levers (see the PCC Instructor’s Manual for even more options). Fast push-ups could be subbed for incline push-ups, focusing on pumping out rapid-fire reps in the top range. Stretch out on a doorway for an easier pec stretch.

S4 works for legs, too:

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If you are working on unilateral or asymmetrical exercises, it’s best to alternate sides each rep. Again, you can use different difficulty levels, or different techniques—S4 stands a lot of tweaking.

Strength, control, speed and mobility. That’s three simple, five-minute workouts right there that very few advanced athletes could manage—trust me.

 

Gear Change Sets

Fancy a change? A workout new and fresh, free from the baggage of your long-term program? It’s a good idea to try novel exercises. It’s another cool idea to change your sets and reps. But how many athletes think about radically changing their speed? Or, how about changing your speed as much as possible…in a single set?

This is the basic idea behind Gear Change sets. You begin with a handful of slow-mo reps, and finish with a bunch of max speed reps. There are many ways you can approach this. A great one is to shoot for 4 slo-mo reps—that’s 30 seconds up, 30 seconds down—immediately followed by a minute’s worth of a very high-speed, explosive exercise for the same body-part. For example, after 4 slo-mo squats, I used to perform tuck jumps for a minute (if you are outside, a maximum speed run for 60 seconds is probably even better).

So here’s a potential Gear Change workout for the legs:

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Ever combined slo-mo squats with running? Murder.

Pick the right movements for your ability, and you have an amazing five minute body-part workout right there. But for Christ’s sake, always start each slo-mo rep at the bottom—or you may find yourself doing a 30 second negative squat you cannot push up out of. Slo-mo reps are tough, so don’t try slo-mo with an exercise unless you can do at least twenty strict reps with it at regular speed.

The method works for any body-part. For midsection, you could follow 4 slo-mo leg raises with squat thrusts for 60 seconds. After slo-mo push-ups or pull-ups, you might apply a minute of intense bag work or shadow boxing. You get the idea.

This slow-to-fast method is an amazing way to train. Through the complete elimination of momentum, the slow moves are tougher than you imagine (until you try ‘em). They just seem to hit the muscles in a new way, activating deeper fibers we don’t reach by bouncing mindlessly through reps, like so many folks seem to do. Very slow reps also really teach your brain something about the movements you are using; leverage, joint tracking, movement angles, weight shift. Subtle qualities of bodyweight motion, easy to miss at regular speed, now scream at you. When you are done with them, your muscles feel totally numb—and asking them to switch to their highest gear is a true challenge.

The Gear Change set also replicates real life. There would have been times when our ancient ancestors had to move very slow with high tension—maybe dragging a carcass back to the cave—then they were forced to suddenly fight off a predator trying to steal their prize. Slow to fast. Survival today is no different; imagine a soldier in the desert carrying heavy weapons or equipment, suddenly having to run for cover in a firefight.

Don’t get me wrong. Gear Change sets (like the other ideas here) are not meant to form the basis of your long-term training program. But they sure are fun, effective and instructive once in a while.

 

The H.P.A.S. Protocol

This is a beaut of a workout. I’m gonna call it HPAS, coz “Half Pyramid Antagonistic Super-sets” is too hard to say (at least for me). The premise—as always—is real straightforward. Pick two exercises for opposing muscle groups. Begin by doing each for 10 reps, then each for 9 reps, then 8 reps and so on, until you get down to one rep per set—and you do all this without stopping.

Here’s one potential workout:

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Few exercises go together better than regular push-ups and Aussie pull-ups.

Back to back antagonistic superset madness! On sale NOW!!

Can all this be done in five minutes?—if you use brisk reps with no pauses, yeah. But it’s not easy, and most folks will have to seriously build up to this. (There’s a good goal, huh? I’m looking at you, Jack.)

The HPAS Protocol is a perfect example of how short sessions can be both powerful and productive. Very popular in jails. If you can follow the above workout, you will have scorched every muscle in your upper bod, knocked out 20 sets, and got a helluva cardio workout, too.

This workout is proof that you don’t need to be in the gym for hours to make progress. In calisthenics—as in life—it’s quality that counts, not quantity. A hundred thousand rhinestones won’t make you rich, son; but a handful of diamonds sure will.

 

“The Century”

The Century is the rapidly-becoming-classic PCC certification test. It is designed to display technical ability in combination with an advanced level of conditioning, but it can also be a damn fine workout in its own right. In case you haven’t heard of The Century (where you been, dude? Under a rock?!), it’s so-called coz it features one-hundred nonstop reps in a single set:

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PCC-certified super-achievers will probably be sick of training for The Century, but it’s still a good staple to return to from time-to-time. Not only is it great to get back to the basics, but a hundred reps of the good stuff will leave your circulation and energetic system supercharged.

Beware though—if you want to crack this sucker in five minutes, you better have taken some Super Soldier Serum this week, kid. It can be done, though.

 

Al Kavadlo owns The Century in under 2 minutes 39 seconds.
Can you come close to that?

 

The Bridge

One final suggestion. You want the best five minute bodyweight workout money can buy? Hold a bridge for five minutes.

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I’m not kidding. The bridge has so many benefits, it’s crazy. It is the best bodyweight exercise in the world. A long hold will increase total-body strength and endurance—not just in the showy muscles, but in the vital deep tissues and tendons. It will increase flexibility, mobilize the ribcage, hip flexors and stomach wall, and disperse adhesions and calcifications in the shoulders. It bulletproofs the spine and lower back and drastically reduces knee pain. The inverse head position increases circulation to the noggin, releasing endorphins, inducing calm, and improving brain health. The bridge rocks.

I know what you’re thinking. Just one exercise? That’s an imbalanced workout, for sure! No way, José. In the real world, most eager athletes do so much for the front of their bodies—the showy pecs, biceps, abs and quads—that throwing a little extra meat to the under-loved posterior chain cannot hurt one bit.

Besides, the bridge is one of the all-time bodyweight classics, no different from pushups, squats or pull-ups. If you can’t hold a bridge for five minutes, there’s no way you can call yourself in great shape, no matter what else you can do.

 

Lights Out!

There you go—a killer series of five-minute summer training tactics, just for you.

So, what are your plans tonight, buttercup? What’s that? In a little while, you’re gonna eat, grab a shower, then head out for the evening?

Sounds great!

…before that, you’ve got five minutes to spare for old Coach, right?

My thanks go out to Al Kavadlo (PCC Lead Instructor) for generously contributing such cool pics to illustrate this article. This is not the first time Al has donated pics (and advice) for free to promote the bodyweight cause—thanks Al!

***

About Paul “Coach” Wade: Paul Wade is the author of five Convict Conditioning DVD/manual programs. Click here for more information about Paul Wade, and here for more information on Convict Conditioning DVD’s and books available for purchase from the publisher.

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  • Kettlebell King

    Great stuff Coach! I’ve been doing the Century Workout and the Marine Pyramid for a while. They are BOTH excellent usage of time and my vote for some of the best Bang for Buck workouts!

    • Paul John Wade

      Hell, if a marine did (or does) it, you KNOW that stuff works! I expect to see you at the PCC soon, King my friend.

  • Jim Ryan

    This is truly excellent stuff, coach! Simple and fast, but far from easy! Thanks much!

    • Paul John Wade

      Simple doesn;t mean easy, right Jim? Thanks for the comment, my man!

  • Paul John Wade

    More killer ideas from the Hebrew Hammer!
    Great video–particularly interested by the one-arm pushup, switching sides. Been speaking to the great Jack Arnow lately, and he often mentions the same method for one-arm pullups….seems like it was a favorite of Jasper Benincasa!

  • Matt Schifferle

    That HPAS protocol is in a whole different league from the classic start-stop style of exercise. It’s amazine how you can take a classic super set workout to a whole different level once the stop watch comes out.

    • Paul John Wade

      True words–and it means a LOT to me coming from the Fit Rebel.
      Thanks Matt!

  • Tamás

    This is a fantastic aproach, makes harder to skip a day’s traning sayin’, don’t have time. Thanks Coach Wade!

    • Paul John Wade

      That’s the idea Tamas my friend…I wrote this just for hard workin’ athletes like YOU!

  • RobbyTaylor

    Great suggestions, coach! What’s extra awesome about a 5 minute bridge hold is that you’re not actually moving at all for 5 minutes – it’s sort of like you’re just sitting there.

    • Paul John Wade

      That’s a great point, Robby–and the lack of movement is something that will help injured warriors amongst is. Statics are something I didn’t deal with much in CC, but with Al’s know-they will be covered in depth in PCC.

  • RobbyTaylor

    Yep, just did the 5 minute bridge, and it’s definitely tougher than I expected. Next time I’m gonna have to do it on hard floor instead of carpet because my hands started sliding after awhile. Although I suppose that does make it more difficult to maintain form.

  • RobbyTaylor

    Just did the HPAS with pull ups and dips. I used rings for the first 2 sets of dips, but after that reverted to the P bars. Did the first 5 sets of each in 5 minutes – needed 4 more minutes to finish working my way down to 0 reps haha. Great templates!

  • Julie Clements

    Great article! Thanks for sharing. I wanted to add another great benefit to bridging. I am pregnant and tend to get extremely nausea, bridging helps to bring the sick feeling down. It is amazing the benefits that calisthenics can offer. 🙂

    • Paul John Wade

      Jeez, today is a learning day. Wow. That’s a really incredible fact, Julie: thank you for teaching me something.
      You bet I will pass it on!!

  • Loved the S4, gonna keep it in mind for when I’m more advanced on the big six. Coach, you just keep giving us more knowledge, thanks for that. One day I’ll make a video with all the master steps including the one-arm handstand push-up so don’t forget my (nick) name lol Thanks once again!

    • Paul John Wade

      droidjv–your name is formally noted. And I’ll be here with you all the way, brother. All the way.
      I believe in ya.

      • Thanks coach, it means a lot to me. CC has done wonders for me and specially my knee.

  • disqus_hR6iTQECdy

    always nice to see the master hand point across the river, to a crossing less known , used, or traveled… and i appreciate the detailed info in the routines listed… beginners need that kinda stuff.. !!.. looking forward to the (very soon) upcoming PCC.. !
    jim perry

    • Paul John Wade

      I appreciate the kind comments–thanks Jim, my man!

      • jpujjayi

        just reached the page in the ‘Log’… re Brad Johnson’s book… bought it..!

        the log is full of jewels.. page by page… the pics are great too..

        • Paul John Wade

          Brad is THE BEST. You will not regret that purchase, kid.

          • Zach Gheaja

            paul, just got done with the PCC…I can safely speak for all in attendance when I say it met and exceeded my high expectations. it is really indescribable how great I feel about this weekend. I failed the century, but I learned so so SO much and I know I’ll bang out that video soon and get my cert. I put my all into this weekend and have been rewarded far beyond any threshold I knew beforehand. I now have a new personal standard of fitness and health. The instructors and material were perfect in my opinion. My advice to anyone who wants to do this challenging workshop, dont wait till a month out to work on that century, because its a great workout and worth a century of practice. al said a few times…strength and endurance arent all that far apart from each other. I learned that lesson among countless others. another tip, try to stay at the hotel dragon door sets up so you can pal around with the rest of the group. I tried to save money on my hotel and its roach class and it SUCKS.. and its the ONLY thing id redo about this weekend. PCC ! EL ENTRENADOR!!

  • Puneet P

    Hi Coach- let me first start out by thanking you from all my heart, something which i’ve been wanting to do for a long long time. Hope this one reaches you! Brief history- had once progressed to doing 5 L-hold Pullups full ROM, 3 handstand pushups, and then, ruined my elbows, wrist & shoulders with barbell snatches, deadlifts, massive overtraining.

    When i found convict conditioning, thanks to my aching elbows in particular, coudn’t even do knee-pushups, zero OZ pullups and all. But since following CC workouts exclusively, have reached 17 reps of OZ pulls, 31 close squats, and about 14 close pushups. And i can’t thank you enough! I strongly feel if i hadn’t found CC, and the benefits of calisthenics explained in it, i would’ve been still doing weights, and would’ve had to totally stop working out for the rest of my life, which would’ve led to depression in all probability and what not, lol. So thanks a ton for saving my life sorta there sir!!

    If you could take out some of your precious time for this long post of mine, I’d really like to ask though, that since my issue is mostly with my tendons and ligaments, and isometrics is about the best solution for them since it increases blood flow to the tendons and ligaments, could i experiment with doing 1 set of full rom + 1 set of iso. holds? I have been already doing it and elbows have been feeling good, plus the strength increase has been much more than before. For e.g.- 1 rep of pull ups would ideally take 5 seconds of TUT (2 seconds up, 2 down, &1 second hold at bottom), so 10 reps of pull ups=50 seconds. So im trying to just hang for 50 secs with a slight kink in the arms, i hope i am making some sense 🙂 Later on, i was hoping to experiment with say, 20 seconds iso hold in bottom position of pullups, 20 in the middle, and 20 at the top, not sure though, but will give it a shot when i feel stronger.

    Would really like to know your thoughts on this Coach. And really, thank you.. thank you for saving my life, coz i can’t imagine it without doing any workouts, striving to get stonger and all..

    Kind regards, respect and salutations 🙂

    Puneett

    • Paul John Wade

      Puneett, thanks for your kind message my friend! Isometrics can definitely be easier on the joints–if you do it right–than moving training. But this requires some body wisdom, man. If something hurts while you are training, don’t do it. Lay off that movement and find movements you can do that don’t hurt. Don’t quit your workouts, Puneett–quitting won’t help anyway. Don;t be afraid to drop back in steps for a month or two though (focus on those legs and abs!). Stretch the painful area daily if you can and apply other therapies (thermal, massage) and even chronic pain in the elbows and forearms can be cured. Trust me.

      • Puneet P

        Many thanks for your reply Coach 🙂 and i do trust you sir 🙂 I had actually had to start out from wall pushups, vertical pulls and all, and within a year now im much better, thanks to CC! And i did jump back in steps for about 3-4 months i guess!

        Reverse namaskar (as mentioned in this blog) is going to be new addition to my stretching arsenal of cobra pose, bridges and many other yoga holds (its just a coincidence that i’ve added sleeping virasana 2 weeks back into my routine, and i saw it in your blog also so i was like, im doing the right stuff 😀 ). I will start doing yogic stretches daily from now on as you’ve said. Can we do them daily for the joints which are already healthy? (would it compromise strength in the long run?)

        And i am already following your advice, progressing really slowly, not trying to rush! I am sorry, im making this really long again 😛 so i’ll just stop for now, and just a last point, body wisdom-wise, im pretty ok i mean, firing of lats, abs, power breathing, shoulders in the socket, muscle memory and all, so that’s why isometrics really suits and props me up.

        Many many thanks again Coach. You’re a light for so many people across the globe, and you have all of our best wishes and respects 🙂

        Kind regards and respect

        Puneett

        • Paul John Wade

          Sounds like you have got this calisthenics thing licked, Puneett! Stretches are okay, but keep them ACTIVE (for tension-flexibility) rather than relaxed, and avoid excessive soreness.
          Good to have you here. Stick around the blog here, there’s lotsa great stuff you’ll love coming up.

          • Puneet P

            All thanks to you Coach, all thanks to you (for having the calisthenics thing licked.. haha)!! And yes, i do keep the stretches active as mentioned in CC, sometimes adding a bit of pnf also at the end, just to make sure..

            Looking forward to learning a lot more from you and Al over here!! Thanks a ton for your time, your replies sir!

            Respect and kind regards

            Puneett

  • Leo

    Very good arcticle!
    On which days should I work levers or other statics, on workout days?
    Should I do Planches, Front Levers etc with straight or slightly kinked elbows?
    I have included twists to my workout, they work very well, but 20 sec are to short.
    Can I do them for longer periods of time and also more then three times a week?
    I want to include the other trifecta moves, but do I need a prerequisite such as step 6 of push ups or something. I’m working on the early steps following the new blood routine, but isn’t it more productive to work horizontal pulls instead of pull ups until I include hspu’s to my routine? I want to include grip work too, but is this too early?
    When can I start it? I also heard that full bridges may be dangerous to the lumbar region of the spine, which is designed more for stability rather than flexibility. Is this true?
    I’m fifteen years old and I want to gain in strenght and health, but I want a little muscle too.
    You said, that CC is safe for kids in the super faq, but you also mentioned in CC2, that kids cant put on any real muscle, because of their fast metabolisms, so cant I get muscular through calisthenics?
    Final question, will the PCC come to germany?
    It would be an honor if you, Paul, could answer these questions, because they are really important to me.

    • Paul John Wade

      Leo my man–great questions. It means a lot to me that athletes your age are following PCC: seriously.

      -I know to many gymnasts, straight-arm levers are the freakin holy grail. But you know what? I believe in soft elbows. I am pretty sure Al disagrees though, so try both ways.

      -Glad the twists are working for you. Sure, you can do the Trifecta moves several times a day if you want. Avoid soreness like the plague with this work though. You are oiling your joints, not wearing em down!

      -You can start the Trifecta gently straight away. Remember Leo, the holds are meant to be gentle mobility exercises to balance your body, not hard stretches.

      -Sticking with horizontal pulls can be a great idea, kid. Grip work at your age–don’t bother. Work on building good form in the basic bodyweight moves, and take care of your body.

      -I have also heard that bridges can be unsafe for the spine. I can say, hand on heart, that this is a BUNCH OF CRAP. Do them moderately and with wisdom (be safe, don’t push too hard, avoid injury, etc) and they will look after your back your entire life. Truth.

      -You CAN put on muscle using calisthenics as a teen, but don’t expect to look like a bloated, veiny Mr Univerolympimerica. (Who wants to anyway?) Bodyweight exercises will add proportionate, natural muscle for your individual frame. Eat well (mom’s cookin), rest well, keep straight edge and train sensibly using ancient bodyweight methods and you cannot go wrong. (Listen to your coach, kids.)

      -We WILL be coming to Germany eventually, Leo. Get training hard and in a few years maybe you will be instructing thousands of people alongside us!

    • RobbyTaylor

      You can still get strong doing levers with bent arms (a “bent arm planche” [bottom position of planche push up; like elbow lever only without resting on elbows] is still hard), but it takes much more strength to do them with locked out elbows. More to the point, conditioning the elbows for this takes more time and will make you that much stronger; this is one of the weakest links in the chain, and strengthening it will have a lot of carry over to other exercises. Straight arm strength carries over strongly to bent arm strength, but not vice versa. For example, I’ve read several accounts of people who could hold a full planche being able to bench press twice their weight on their first day of attempting the bench press. However, “simply” being able to bench press twice your weight will not, by itself, give you the strength necessary to do a planche.

  • jpujjayi

    Robby.,, I’m saying that I am a beginner at this. Speaking for myself only, not for anyone else.

    • RobbyTaylor

      Oh hah well I guess I was the one misinterpreting. Yeah that’s the point, everyone can benefit!

  • Zach Gheaja

    Paul, has anyone you know of ever been able to bridge hold and support the weight of a person jumping onto their midsection? Amazing article btw. Your writing style is peerless and lets not get into the wisdom part, we don’t have all day, am I right? Id like to tell you that personally…you are responsible for my current HEALTH and fitness and I cant thank you enough. Cant wait for the weekend, you guys!

    • Paul John Wade

      What Robby said!
      And thanks for the compliment Zach. If the old school teachings I have tried to pass on have helped your health and fitness–that means the world to me.
      Keep doing those pushups, my friend.

  • Anastacia

    Great article; I immediately knocked out a workout after reading it. I Love the simple S4 Method, it’s easy to remember and use anywhere. I can easily apply exercises form CC1 and CC2 to the formula. I use CC1 5 days a week and am adding the CC2 Trifecta to this. I love your books; I have Al’s as well, but I am old school enough that I enjoy having the progression protocols to work through. I have really gained a great deal of strength by taking your advice, being humble and working slowly from step 1 on each of the big six movements. Even when I knew I could do higher steps I worked on perfecting form and technique following the progression as laid out and really pausing and counting. By doing it just as you coached I have not hit any plateaus which is amazing! Also,just so it’s on the record, I am officially asking you to write book #3 Survival athletics:-) Take Care, Anastacia

    • Paul John Wade

      What a great post! Trust me, you are not alone, Anastacia. Your progress–banking strength while strengthening the joints–is how it SHOULD be done. Well done!

      Book 3 will be explosive and speed training, and it will be out in 2013 I think. I will write Survival Athletics (just for you) but it may be a free book. We’ll see.

      Thanks again and keep making progress, Anastacia!

      • Anastacia

        That’s fantastic; I can’t wait for the new book! Explosive and speed training is the perfect balance to my current training regime and exactly what I am looking for.

        It’s funny how you can try out, and sadly purchase, tons of different styles of training, but the ones that jive with you are effortless to maintain and naturally progress with you.

        Your style of training is simple and effective, no wasted effort, and I stick with it without even considering dropping it to try other styles. It’s been like that from day one. I use the Veterano schedule and it works great for me.

        I now train other women how to regain a sense of strength and confidence using your program. It’s sad, but so many people focus on teaching women to lose fat and not get strong; the thing is when you get strong you lose the fat too!

        Thank you for all the research and coaching you do. I will continue using your programs and recommending your books to others.

        Truth is, people are amazed at how strong I am for my frame, so it’s easy to recommend your books:-)
        Wishing you all the best, Anastacia

        • Paul John Wade

          Anastacia–thank you for spreading the word about old school calisthenics. It means a lot to me, and it means even more to have YOU as living proof of the power of the system.
          Keep doing those pushups!

  • Gabor

    Dear Coach,

    I don’t want to be too long so I’ll rather be short.
    I am really thankful you shared your experiences and knowledge in your book. I especially like you are not a young over-ambitioned sport-expert but a very experienced not so young (sorry Paul) and very intuitive person. But of course you are an expert too. By your system I could train regularly but before that I hadn’t had any result in any sport because I’m not that kind of a guy. To tell the truth I am a quite weak and skinny 27 and a half years old guy who look (and sometimes feel) rather like a boy than a real man. 180 cm and 58,5 kg, according to the body mass index I’m underweighted. With my mr bean like looking (just looking, I’m not a very funny guy) unfortunately I’m not the statue of manliness yet. I always find that I can’t hold the good posture, I have to cross my arms or legs or take a contrapost position or take my arms to my waste because I can’t simply and strictly stand although it is not a very difficult exercise.
    I started to do your techniques about one year and 4 month with 56.5 kg as a very new fish (in hungarian fresh meat) slowly step by step, and I am at the step 5 in push-ups (2×16), leg raises (2×13), step 6 in squats (2×20), but the pull-ups is quite a failure, I stopped the horizontal pulls at 3×21, and began to do the jackknife pulls, which of I can do 3×13. And I’m waiting for the bridging very much beacuse I think many problems of my body (jaw, neck, bad posture and roundy stomach – although I haven’t got any excess fat -, weak arms and hands, ankle and splay-foot) is related to my spine. I can do nice bridge hold but only as a stretch.
    My ideal weight would be 70 kg, but it is so far away, is it possible to reach that weight or should I bother with body mass index? If I mentioned the bmi once you told in a former interview that your weight is almost 100 kg. According to bmi you are a little bit overweight, or your muscles are so dense that we shold rather throw the bmi out to the mess? 😉
    Have you ever had a student with such a kind of bodytype as mine in your carreer?
    And let me share my thought about beauty of the human body. Bible says “the life is more than meat, and the body than the raiment.” (Luke 12/23) So we can speak that not the clothes make the man, but the man makes the clothes. I really appreciate that your training is focusing on the original natural beauty and functionality, the health and strength of the body, not the fashionable styling (skinny goodlooking or huge arms, it just depends on the erverchanging fashion but the functionality is lasting forever.) And I believe that our ancestors are not a monkey-like animals but beautiful and functional designs of the best Designer, God. They are Adam and Eve.This is our anatomical heritage.
    Sorry for being too tall, I hope I will receive a kind of answer from you although this article is not so fresh. I would be very happy if I got a reply from you soon.

    God bless, and good luck, be so simple, honest, strong and healthy as now in the future too 🙂

    Gabor
    Hungary, Europe

    • Annlee

      Gabor,

      How’s your protein intake? To grow muscle you’ll need it. Also, those muscles need strong bone to anchor to. That doesn’t necessarily mean more calcium – it may well mean more phosphorus and magnesium, more Vitamin A and D. Lots of discussions over at Mark’s Daily Apple forums on the nutrient complementarity.

      This is for the long run – slow and steady will grow sustainably.

  • T Money

    Hold up. So I’ve been doing warm ups, 2 secs down, one sec hold, and 2 secs up. I’ve been treating the warm up like I treat every other exercise. Am I working too hard on my warm ups?

    • RobbyTaylor

      well if it’s still a relatively easy exercise, such as a basic bodyweight squat, then that’s fine. the whole purpose of a warm up is to get your heart rate going and the blood flowing without wearing you out. these days i usually do jumping jacks in my warm ups, sometimes bridges and twist holds.

  • calistenicos001

    Its amazing how much knowledge you have, Coach! I’ve been following CC since 3 years ago. Before that i just had been doing hundreds of pushups everyday, as a skinny 16 year old guy who wanted to improve his physique and his lifestyle. Now, 3 years later, ive archieved the master step in exercises like pushups, squats, bridges and leg raises. And I didnt only have improved my body. I’ve also become a calisthenic enthusiast and its all thanks to you. Thanks, Coach!

    Yeah, CC has meant a lot to me. It was one of the first books i read in english and it even helped me to improve my language skills (I’m spanish and I considered CC is far better than any other modern fitness book written in my language). Its even a philosophy for life: being strong not only physically, but mentally, spiritually, to fight against the obstacles of life. Again, great books that can only be written by someone with huge knowledge based on experiencte.

    Really excited about the next CC3 coming soon. Cant wait!

    …But meanwhile, lets try those workouts and do some bridges.

    • Paul Wade

      Only just caught this–don’t really read back over the blog, but bless you man. You just made my whole day.

      Keep doin those pushups, kid!

  • Emmanuel Cortez

    Not complaining but; S4 looks a lot like the neuro-sets (http://www.dragondoor.com/the_revolutionary_training_solution_-_the_neuro-set/) Jon Bruney promotes in his book “Neuro-mass” (http://www.dragondoor.com/b70/). My question is: How many of this S4 / Neuro-sets (Neuro-sets, in my own personal opinion, sounds more sticky) would You recommend us to do in one training session? and, Would You recommend to schedule them in the fashion ‘Veterano’ or ‘Good behavior’ programs are?

    Thanks for Your books and articles, I really enjoy them and they’ve been a lot of use to me.

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