Tag Archive | "weight training"

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Time Saver Workout: Fast Four

WORKOUT BY: Leandro Cavalho, Creator of the Beachbody Brazil Butt Lift

For quick and effective workouts, you’re better off focusing on the larger muscle groups like the chest, back, glutes, quads, hamstrings, abs, and shoulders. For this workout, there are a total of 4 moves: Beginners can start with 1 set of each move; intermediate, 2–3 sets; advanced, do 4 or more sets.

EXERCISE 1

Walking Pushup: Bend over at the waist, keeping a flat back, until your hands touch floor. Walk hands out to a pushup position and perform 1 pushup, then walk hands back and return to standing. Each time increase number of pushups done by 1. Beginners, go up to 3–4 reps, intermediate/ advanced, 5–6 reps. After your sixth rep, perform 10 pushups.

EXERCISE 2

Squat: Beginners, do this exercise 12 times holding 12 lb. dumbbells; intermediate, 15 times holding 15 lb. dumbbells; advanced, 20 times holding 20 lb. dumbbells.

EXERCISE 3

Bentover Row: Beginners, use one 8–12 lb. weight in each hand and do 12 reps; intermediate, 15 lb. doing 15 reps; advanced, 20 lb. doing 20 reps.

EXERCISE 4

Inverted Tabletop: Lie faceup with knees above hips, feet flexed and positioned slightly higher than knees, hands behind head. Start with double reps: In 1 count, lift head, neck, and shoulders, bringing knees in toward chest. Then lift shoulder blades and tailbone a little higher for 1 more count. Return to start in 2 counts, bringing your head back down to touch mat. Then do single reps: Perform the move for 1 count up, 1 count down. Then do short reps: “Pulse” at top of move rather than returning back to the start. Beginner: Do 8 double counts, 8 single counts, 8 shortsIntermediate: Do 12 double counts, 12 single counts, 12 shorts Advanced: Do 16 double counts, 16 single counts, 16 shorts.

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Time Saver Workout: Fast Four

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Core 3-14

7 Best Barbell Exercises for a Strong Core

1 of 8 Attack Your Core While it’s true that “abs are built in the kitchen,” like with any muscle, abs are built in the gym, too.

You still have to blast them with intense exercises to create the stimulus for growth and definition.

Yet the common ab exercises guys use to target their core—planks, situps, stability ball crunches, etc.—leave much to be desired.

By using a barbell, however, you’ll be able to easily add resistance to each core exercise and intensify your training for more hypertrophy

Original article:

7 Best Barbell Exercises for a Strong Core

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Burn Fat and Build Bigger Legs

By now you know it’s possible to get in a great high-intensity lower body workout at home with minimal equipment, which explains why you’re standing at the bottom of a flight of stairs with a 25- or 45-pound plate in your hands.

When you’re looking for a quick fat-burning, leg-strengthening session, you can’t go wrong with the combination of weights and stairs. And now, we’re about to show you exactly what to do with both.

In our daily lives, we typically view stairs as an inconvenience. Walking up a flight of them is something we simply put our heads down and do, because unless there’s an elevator handy, we don’t have much choice in the matter. Stairs are everywhere, but there’s a catch, and it’s a beneficial one for you: when used correctly, stairs are one of the most effective workout tools in existence. Best of all, you don’t have to join a gym to find a set.

The workout below is designed for use by the home trainee who wants a grueling, circuit-style session that won’t take long to complete. The idea here is to perform as many rounds of both exercises as possible – set seven rounds as an initial long-term goal – with minimal rest, breaking your previous record each week. Each exercise can be made either easier or harder by increasing or decreasing the number of steps in play.

To perform thrusters, hold a 25- or 45-pound plate at chest level and sit back, leading with your butt and keeping your knees behind your toes, onto the second or third stair. Once you’ve landed, stand up quickly and, in one motion using momentum generated by your lower body, press the plate overhead. For step-ups, hold the plate in a comfortable position and simply step to the second or third stair, step back down again, then repeat with your opposite leg.

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Burn Fat and Build Bigger Legs

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strengthandtone

How to fast-track fat loss

To fast-track coveted progress such as greater fat loss, Tramontana says you need to get back to basics.

Cardio is not ‘hardio’

With a combination of higher intensity interval training (HIIT), low-intensity steady state (LISS) training, body weight training sessions and a nutritious diet, Tramontana ensures his clients are given the best formula for their body.

“My cardiovascular programming is based around a 75/25 split of LISS and HIIT. So based on the available amount of time for a client to add in cardio on top of resistance training would determine the amount of each they conducted,” he says.

Here’s what your cardio program could look like:

2 hours per week for cardio training = 30 minutes of HIIT over two to three days + 90 minutes of LISS over one to two sessions.

Be wary, if HIIT was all you did, you may encounter the downside of too much stress on your body, which can ironically turn HIIT into a fat retention tactic.

So what about weight training?

“For fat loss, I structure everything around two to three full bodyweight training sessions – two sessions based on linear periodisation macro cycle of 16-to-24 week programming, altered every four to six weeks,” he explains.

Translation? A program that begins by incorporating high-volume and low intensity weight training, and progressively moves into phases when the volume decreases and intensity increases.  Tramontana is a strong advocate for women to hit up the weights rack, “I find a lot of women are lifting nowhere near their capacity. Don’t be shy to lift heavy weights and test your ability regularly.”

The importance of rest

All this talk of intensity may have you thinking full pelt should be the only gear you work in, but without adequate recovery, you may be undermining your fat loss chances at the dumbbells. Both injury and overt fatigue can see you performing at less than 100 per cent over multiple sessions.

“Recovery begins with the post-workout meal. I advise at least 25 to 50 per cent of overall carbohydrates be included in this meal – either using complex carbohydrate sources or a combination of simple and complex carbs,” says Tramontana. “I also recommend at least one body therapy session per week.”

Think physiotherapy, massage, sauna, steam, floating, dry needling, sleep in, meditation, yoga, grounding – or something as simple as reading a book.

How to fuel your body with the right food

For Tramontana, eating for fat loss should focus on controlling hunger, which translates to better portion control and craving management.

“I ask that protein be included in every meal upon waking, generally an even or slightly escalating amount each meal depending again on habits and hunger patterns,” he says.

“For fat loss, I personally urge the exclusion of high-energy carbs even post workout – with the exception of competitors in the later stage of preparation.”

Supplementation may also give you an edge in the health and results stakes. Depending on your goals and needs, Tramontana advises the use of creatine, glutamine, vitamin C, branch chain amino acids, fish oils, whey protein, vitamin D, magnesium, zinc and a good-quality greens supplement to aid recovery, general wellbeing and lean muscle growth.

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How to fast-track fat loss

Posted in Exercises, Fitness Equipment, Health Issues, Nutrition, Personal Fitness Training, Sports nutrition, Training Methods, Weight loss, Weight TrainingComments Off on How to fast-track fat loss

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Blast Your Biceps & Triceps, Fast

The biceps and triceps are ideal muscles to superset, as they directly oppose each other. The biceps flex the elbow joint, while the triceps extend it. While one works the other rests, and vice versa, which allows you to cut work time in half while not sacrificing load or intensity.

SEE ALSO: 7 Ways to Make Your Biceps Workout Harder

The arm workout below consists of three superset pairings. The first duo hits the biceps and triceps with heavy weight and relatively low reps (6–8) on two barbell exercises to help spur muscle growth and strength; the second uses moderate weight and moderate reps (8–12) to fall in the hypertrophy sweet spot; and the third superset gets lighter with higher reps (12–15) and cable exercises— one being a hammer curl, which brings the forearms into play more—to finish the arms off with a great burn and a rush of blood. Do this workout on its own or after training a larger area like chest, back, or legs.

SUPERSET ARM ROUTINE

EXERCISE SETS REPS
EZ-bar Curl 4 6-8
Lying EZ-bar Extension 4 6-8
Seated Dumbbell Overhead Extension 3 8-12
Seated Dumbbell Curl 3 8-12
Cable Rope Hammer Curl 3 12-15
Cable Pushdown 3 12-15

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Blast Your Biceps & Triceps, Fast

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High Intensity Power Training Workouts for Fat Loss, Strength and Fitness

For most guys, when they think of conditioning for fat loss, it means either nausea-inducing sprints or churning away on a treadmill for hours like a hamster. Fortunately there’s an alternative style of training that’s as time-efficient as sprints and doesn’t require you to stray away from the weights. Furthermore, because this style of training actually places an emphasis on high-volume technical exercises, you’ll be able to get more skillful repetitions for different lifts that many guys struggle with. What this means for you is that this program will help you get stronger at technical lifts while also improving your body composition. How do you go about achieving this goal?  With High Intensity Power Training.

SEE ALSO: 7 Reasons You Need HIIT

Researchers wanted to examine what effects Crossfit-style High Intensity Power Training had on body composition and aerobic fitness. They had a 43-person group consisting of healthy men and women participate in a 10-week High Intensity Power Training program. The program consisted of various lifts preformed as quickly as possible, combined with skill work for select gymnastic exercises and Olympic lifts. The study results showed that both genders were able to improve their aerobic fitness as evidenced by improvements in their VO2 max numbers. In addition to this, both genders were also able to reduce their body fat percentages to the tune of 3.3% less body fat in the female participants and 4.0% less body fat in the male participants.

These two High Intensity Power Training workouts combine the beneficial aspects of the study so you can improve body composition, aerobic fitness and enhance skills that’ll transfer over to bigger PRs.

For best results, perform each repetition in the workout as explosively as possible, with little rest in between exercises. Each workout will be performed circuit-style, consisting of a total of 3 sets for each exercise, with 3-5 minutes rest in between circuits. The weight used should be challenging but not too heavy where you can’t complete a circuit. If you don’t have experience with Olympic lifts, you can substitute the barbell lifts with moderately heavy dumbbell or kettlebell variations. Take at least one day off between workouts.

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High Intensity Power Training Workouts for Fat Loss, Strength and Fitness

Posted in Exercises, Fitness Equipment, Health Issues, Nutrition, Personal Fitness Training, Training Methods, Warm up, Weight loss, Weight TrainingComments Off on High Intensity Power Training Workouts for Fat Loss, Strength and Fitness

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How to Use 4 Different Resistance Bands

Resistance bands are more than just stretchy pieces of rubber. Not only are they effective for getting in a full-body workout when time is short and equipment is sparse, but different bands can enhance your flexibility and mobility and help you push past sticking points. Here’s a crash course on getting the most from your bands.

WARMUP: MINI BANDS

Mini bands activate your glutes, which helps prevent other muscles from coming into play during exercises like deadlifts and squats to compensate for mediocre glute activation.

When to use: Before working sets, especially on lower-body days.

How to use: Step through the loop and secure the mini band just above the knees.

FREE MUSCLE & FITNESS APP:

We blended bodybuilding with high-intensity interval training to deliver a bigger, leaner body in 21 days. Download the Xtend Perform 21-Day Challenge app for the workout and supp plan. Available for Apple and Android devices.

SAMPLE EXERCISES

  • Lateral Shuffle: Stay in an athletic stance and keep tension on your glutes; don’t allow your feet to touch.
  • Split-stance Walk: With one foot staggered, walk forward while maintaining a split stance.
  • Glute Bridge: Lie supine with your feet planted on the floor and the band looped just above your knees. Thrust your hips into the air, focusing on pressing your knees outward.

VARIED RESISTANCE: LOOPED BANDS

This band variety can help assist with pullups and dips and move you past sticking points—weak portions of the lift—by increasing resistance on compound movements to strengthen the weak area.

When to use: Before or during a training session.

SAMPLE EXERCISES

  • Band-resisted Pushup: Wrap the band around your upper back and hold each end in your hands. Rep out your pushups.
  • Pullup/Dip Assistance: Loop the band around a pullup/dip bar and place one foot on the looped band.
  • Band-resisted Back Squat: Loop two bands on either end of a barbell and secure the other end to the top of a squat rack (pull down) or to heavy dumbbells placed on the floor (pull up). These are best used with compound movements like the squat, bench press, and deadlift.

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How to Use 4 Different Resistance Bands

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The Fitness Ageless Wonders

Shellie Edington, 52

From: Columbus, OH
Stats: Crossfit Games Masters Champ (2016 Winner, 50–54)

Edington has a six-pack that women 30 years younger would envy. Her abs (and the rest of her impressive physique) were earned through an intense five-days-a-week CrossFit program that includes running, rowing, Olympic lifting, and other CrossFit staples.

Edington discovered the sport five years ago, after getting bored with her occasional workouts at a traditional gym. “I felt at home there the moment I walked in,” she says. That didn’t mean it was easy: Edington says she could barely do a pushup or a pullup. “I was shocked by my lack of strength and skill. I was terrified to go back—which is exactly why I did.”

Although she competed in gymnastics through high school and was a cheerleader in college, Edington stepped away from fitness when she became a full-time mother of three. Starting a company called Tumblin4Kids that taught gymnastics classes for toddlers in 2000 kept her somewhat active, but she felt her body slowing down. “I was really dragging. I had put on about 20 extra pounds, and I thought I was going to have to retire from teaching kids because it was too hard to move around.”

She committed to going to a CrossFit affiliate three times a week for an hour at a time, and after a few weeks she started to add twice-weekly Olympic lifting to work on her technique. Around the same time, she started
a Paleo diet that helped her drop about 25 pounds from her 5’3″ frame. Her coaches encouraged her to compete in CrossFit Open events, and she took up the challenge with gusto. In 2014, Edington placed third in her age group at the Reebok CrossFit Games, and fifth in 2015, then went on to win the Masters 50–54 division in 2016.

As proud as she was to stand on the podium, Edington says the ultimate payoff is how she feels. “My hashtag is now #youarenotdoneyet because every day is a chance to get better.”

Workout schedule:

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The Fitness Ageless Wonders

Posted in Bodybuilding, Exercises, Fitness Equipment, Nutrition, Personal Fitness Training, Training Methods, Weight loss, Weight TrainingComments Off on The Fitness Ageless Wonders

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7 of the best fitness social media accounts to follow now

There’s no denying our Instagram feeds are a prime source of motivation. So we’ve sourced seven of the best social media accounts to help you stay motivated and inspired, grouped by your goals.For fat-loss fortitudeA Google search of ‘fat loss’ will see enough returns to bring on a migraine.

We’ve sorted the sensible from the silly so you can maximise your shred.Alexa Towersey @actionalexaWhat you get:Along with inspiring quotes and epic action shots (no squatting in a G-string here, folks), Towersey posts weekly examples of fat-burning circuits and booty-building exercises for you to try at home. And as a woman with years of experience and who trains some of Sydney’s top models, you are inclined to take her advice

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7 of the best fitness social media accounts to follow now

Posted in Exercises, Fitness Equipment, Nutrition, Training Methods, Weight loss, Weight TrainingComments Off on 7 of the best fitness social media accounts to follow now

<div id="DPG" webReader="131.413503972"><div class="side-bar" webReader="-16.5656565657"><div class="c9"><img src="http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/images/2014/al-kavadlo-vital-stats.jpg"/></div><h3 class="article-title c10">Vital Stats</h3><a href="http://bodyspace.bodybuilding.com/AlKavadlo/" rel="nofollow" target="_blank" title="Bodyspace"><img src="http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/images/2013/bodyspace-social-icon.png" width="20" height="20" border="0" class="c11"/></a><a href="https://www.facebook.com/pages/AlKavadlocom-Were-working-out/205151489148" rel="nofollow" target="_blank" title="Facebook"><img src="http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/images/2013/facebook-social-icon.png" width="20" height="20" border="0" class="c12"/></a><a href="https://twitter.com/AlKavadlo" rel="nofollow" target="_blank" title="Twitter"><img src="http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/images/2013/twitter-social-icon.png" width="20" height="20" border="0" class="c12"/></a><a href="http://www.youtube.com/user/alkavadlo" rel="nofollow" target="_blank" title="YouTube"><img src="http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/images/2013/youtube-social-icon.png" width="20" height="20" border="0" class="c12"/></a><p><strong>Name:</strong> Al Kavadlo, CSCS<br /><strong>Occupation:</strong> Trainer, author, instructor<br /><strong>Website:</strong> <a href="http://www.alkavadlo.com" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">www.alkavadlo.com</a></p></div><p>Over the last few months I've been getting more emails than ever, but often the same questions keep coming up. And for every person who writes to me, there are probably 20 more thinking the same thing but just not bothering to type out a message.</p><p>That's a big part of why I love to publicly answer questions I get from my readers! In this edition of Ask Al, I discuss everything from how to get better at pull-ups, to how to use speed to your advantage, to why I'm such a big sellout.</p><p>Feel free to drop me a line in the comments if you have a question about how to keep growing and progressing in the difficult world of bodyweight training!</p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/Zh_xtaQKXNU" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p>
<h3 class="article-title">QI've been training pull-ups for almost a year now. When I first started I went from 2 pull-ups to 10 in only a few months. I've been stuck at 12 reps for the last two months. What should I do?</h3>
</p><p>What you're experiencing is common. It's simply a matter of diminishing returns; the better you get at anything, the harder it gets to continue progressing. Be prepared to put in the time and effort if you want to take your pull-ups to the next level. It might feel like you've been at it a while, but in the grand scheme of things a year is not a very long time. Having said that, here are a few methods you can experiment with to hopefully increase your reps:</p><h4>Pull-up supersets</h4><p>Try doing a set of Australian pull-ups immediately after a set of standard pull-ups. Take a long break, then repeat the superset again. It's a great way to keep working your pulling muscles beyond failure once you can no longer perform any more pull-ups. You can do this 3-4 times in a single workout, but make sure you give yourself a few days rest afterward.</p><img src="images/2014/new-ways-to-build-bodyweight-strength-for-years_graphics-1.jpg" width="560" height="296" border="0" class="c13"/><h4>The rest-pause method</h4><p>After a brief warm-up, do as many pull-ups as you can, and then continuing to hang on the bar for a few seconds. After you catch your breath, try to do one more, then one more, and then maybe even one more. You might be surprised at how many extra reps you can squeeze out this way, and you will get an amazing forearm pump from all the extra hanging!</p><h4>Pyramid sets</h4><p>Start with one pull-up, then come off the bar and take a short break. Next, perform two pull-ups, then after another break, do three. Continue this pattern until you reach the point where you can no longer add another rep. Then start working your way back down.</p><p>
<h3 class="article-title">QI work a job where I spend several hours a day loading boxes and moving things. I want to start training calisthenics, but I'm worried about overdoing it. What do you recommend?</h3>
</p><p>Well the good news is you've probably built a decent base of strength already just by being active on a regular basis, but it's great that you want to do more. I recommend starting with just one or two days each week of bodyweight work to give your body time to adapt. Try doing your workouts on days where you don't have to work, so your muscles have recovery time. Ideally if you have two consecutive days off, do your workout on the first day and then take a rest day the next day.</p><img src="images/2014/new-ways-to-build-bodyweight-strength-for-years_graphics-2.jpg" width="560" height="339" border="0" class="c14"/><p>Since you'll only be able to train a couple of times per week, full-body workouts are going to be the best way to go. You might eventually build enough strength and stamina that you can add in more days of training and possibly train calisthenics on the same days that you have work, but you will see how that goes as you progress. Be patient, respect your body, and give yourself recovery time when you need it.</p><p>
<h3 class="article-title">QI read somewhere that it's best to exercise slowly when practicing calisthenics for strength, but I see most people cranking out their push-ups as fast as possible. Which is the right way?</h3>
</p><p>Though some coaches insist on slow, deliberate reps for strength training, I believe that there's room for variety when it comes to rep tempo. Super-slow training can definitely help build control and stability, especially when you're working through the sticking point on certain difficult exercises, but it's not the only way to approach your training.</p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/Owo0vKDTsQs" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p>For example, explosive movements like jump squats and clapping push-ups are better for building power. In my opinion, it's good to practice your exercises at different tempos. Once you've honed a move, you should be able to control it and make it graceful at any speed.</p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/BadkW_63ows" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p>
<h3 class="article-title">QI read an article you wrote that basically said training certifications are a bunch of crap. It seems a bit hypocritical to now offer your own cert with the PCC. I mean, really, a certification in bodyweight training?</h3>
</p><p>I'm flattered you've been following me closely enough to have read those earlier writings. You actually remind me a lot of myself—I'm always questioning everything! I bet we have a lot in common. And you're right, there are a lot of crappy PT certs out there. That's part of why I wanted to do the <a href="http://www.dragondoor.com/workshops/pccworkshop/?apid=4e8cb1ea167b0" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Progressive Calisthenics Certification</a>. Though it may seem unnecessary to you, with the current popularity of calisthenics training, the demand for a bodyweight strength certification was undeniable. It was going to happen eventually with or without me, so I figured, who better than me to teach it?</p><p>Mahatma Gandhi said: "Be the change you wish to see in the world." By leading my own certification, I can personally make sure that quality knowledge is bestowed and high standards are upheld. PCC has a physical test to establish a baseline of competency in performing the fundamental exercises, something that is lacking in almost every mainstream fitness certification. It's scary that there are personal trainers out there incapable of doing proper pull-ups or even bodyweight squats, and who got certified simply by memorizing and regurgitating information. That's why a theoretical understanding of exercise will never be enough to pass the PCC!</p><p>I'll still be the first one to tell you, however, that just having a certification—even the PCC—doesn't mean that you are going to be a successful trainer. I can help point people in the right direction, but it's up to each individual to take the journey for themselves. In fitness and in life, we're all personally responsible for our own success or failure.</p><p><a href="http://www.dragondoor.com/b73/?apid=4e8cb1ea167b0" rel="nofollow"><img src="http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/images/2014/al-kavadlo-streetching-your-boundaries-book-banner.jpg" width="560" height="144"/></a></p><br /><br class="c15"/><h3 class="article-title">Recommended For You</h3><div class="c18" webReader="6.68632075472"><a href="http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/stretching-for-strength-a-better-approach-flexibility-training.html"><img src="images/2014/stretching-for-strength-smallbox.jpg" alt="" width="200" height="114"/></a><div class="c17" webReader="8.91509433962"><h4 class="c16"><a href="http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/stretching-for-strength-a-better-approach-flexibility-training.html">STRETCHING FOR STRENGTH</a></h4><p style="display: inline;" class="webReader-styled">
Reports of stretching's demise have been greatly exaggerated. In this excerpt from Al Kavadlo's new book, the bodyweight training chief helps you build an effective, personalized practice!</p></div></div><div class="c18" webReader="4.91048034934"><a href="http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/bodyweight-bust-four-bodyweight-training-myths-debunked.html"><img src="images/2014/4-bodyweight-myths-debunked-smallbox.jpg" alt="" width="200" height="114"/></a><div class="c17" webReader="6.04366812227"><h4 class="c16"><a href="http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/bodyweight-bust-four-bodyweight-training-myths-debunked.html">BODYWEIGHT BUST! FOUR BODYWEIGHT TRAINING MYTHS DEBUNKED</a></h4><p style="display: inline;" class="webReader-styled">
Don't believe that high-level calisthenics are only for athletes who look a certain way. Everyone can benefit from the unique challenges that come with bodyweight training!</p></div></div><div class="c18" webReader="5.72282608696"><a href="http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/push-yourself-one-arm-push-up-and-beyond.html"><img src="images/2013/one-arm-push-yourself-smallbox.jpg" alt="" width="200" height="114"/></a><div class="c17" webReader="7.04347826087"><h4 class="c16"><a href="http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/push-yourself-one-arm-push-up-and-beyond.html">ONE-ARM PUSH YOURSELF!</a></h4><p style="display: inline;" class="webReader-styled">
Sometimes the toughest strength moves don't involve any iron at all. Heed the call of the one-arm push-up and discover how tough progressive calisthenics can be!</p></div></div></div><div class="padded-content article-content mod-about-the-author" id="article-about-author" webReader="37.5957446809"><h4 class="article-section-header">About The Author</h4><div class="ata-left-column" webReader="6.91304347826"><div class="ata-author-name"><a href="http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/al-kavadlo.html">Al Kavadlo, CSCS</a></div><div class="author-gradient-button"><a href="http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/al-kavadlo.html">VIEW AUTHOR PAGE</a></div><p class="ata-author-summary">Al Kavadlo, CSCS is one of the world's leading experts in bodyweight strength training and calisthenics.</p></div><div class="ata-right-column"><div class="ata-author-image-frame"><a href="http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/al-kavadlo.html"><img src="images/2013/writer-al-kavadlo-sig-new.jpg" alt=""/></a></div><div class="ata-view-all-articles-link"><ul class="bb-chevron-list bold-type"><li><a href="http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/al-kavadlo.html#articles" class="bold-type">View All Articles By This Author</a></li>
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New Ways To Build Bodyweight Strength!

Over the last few months I’ve been getting more emails than ever, but often the same questions keep coming up. And for every person who writes to me, there are probably 20 more thinking the same thing but just not bothering to type out a message.

That’s a big part of why I love to publicly answer questions I get from my readers! In this edition of Ask Al, I discuss everything from how to get better at pull-ups, to how to use speed to your advantage, to why I’m such a big sellout.

Feel free to drop me a line in the comments if you have a question about how to keep growing and progressing in the difficult world of bodyweight training!

QI’ve been training pull-ups for almost a year now. When I first started I went from 2 pull-ups to 10 in only a few months. I’ve been stuck at 12 reps for the last two months. What should I do?

What you’re experiencing is common. It’s simply a matter of diminishing returns; the better you get at anything, the harder it gets to continue progressing. Be prepared to put in the time and effort if you want to take your pull-ups to the next level. It might feel like you’ve been at it a while, but in the grand scheme of things a year is not a very long time. Having said that, here are a few methods you can experiment with to hopefully increase your reps:

Pull-up supersets

Try doing a set of Australian pull-ups immediately after a set of standard pull-ups. Take a long break, then repeat the superset again. It’s a great way to keep working your pulling muscles beyond failure once you can no longer perform any more pull-ups. You can do this 3-4 times in a single workout, but make sure you give yourself a few days rest afterward.

The rest-pause method

After a brief warm-up, do as many pull-ups as you can, and then continuing to hang on the bar for a few seconds. After you catch your breath, try to do one more, then one more, and then maybe even one more. You might be surprised at how many extra reps you can squeeze out this way, and you will get an amazing forearm pump from all the extra hanging!

Pyramid sets

Start with one pull-up, then come off the bar and take a short break. Next, perform two pull-ups, then after another break, do three. Continue this pattern until you reach the point where you can no longer add another rep. Then start working your way back down.

QI work a job where I spend several hours a day loading boxes and moving things. I want to start training calisthenics, but I’m worried about overdoing it. What do you recommend?

Well the good news is you’ve probably built a decent base of strength already just by being active on a regular basis, but it’s great that you want to do more. I recommend starting with just one or two days each week of bodyweight work to give your body time to adapt. Try doing your workouts on days where you don’t have to work, so your muscles have recovery time. Ideally if you have two consecutive days off, do your workout on the first day and then take a rest day the next day.

Since you’ll only be able to train a couple of times per week, full-body workouts are going to be the best way to go. You might eventually build enough strength and stamina that you can add in more days of training and possibly train calisthenics on the same days that you have work, but you will see how that goes as you progress. Be patient, respect your body, and give yourself recovery time when you need it.

QI read somewhere that it’s best to exercise slowly when practicing calisthenics for strength, but I see most people cranking out their push-ups as fast as possible. Which is the right way?

Though some coaches insist on slow, deliberate reps for strength training, I believe that there’s room for variety when it comes to rep tempo. Super-slow training can definitely help build control and stability, especially when you’re working through the sticking point on certain difficult exercises, but it’s not the only way to approach your training.

For example, explosive movements like jump squats and clapping push-ups are better for building power. In my opinion, it’s good to practice your exercises at different tempos. Once you’ve honed a move, you should be able to control it and make it graceful at any speed.

QI read an article you wrote that basically said training certifications are a bunch of crap. It seems a bit hypocritical to now offer your own cert with the PCC. I mean, really, a certification in bodyweight training?

I’m flattered you’ve been following me closely enough to have read those earlier writings. You actually remind me a lot of myself—I’m always questioning everything! I bet we have a lot in common. And you’re right, there are a lot of crappy PT certs out there. That’s part of why I wanted to do the Progressive Calisthenics Certification. Though it may seem unnecessary to you, with the current popularity of calisthenics training, the demand for a bodyweight strength certification was undeniable. It was going to happen eventually with or without me, so I figured, who better than me to teach it?

Mahatma Gandhi said: “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” By leading my own certification, I can personally make sure that quality knowledge is bestowed and high standards are upheld. PCC has a physical test to establish a baseline of competency in performing the fundamental exercises, something that is lacking in almost every mainstream fitness certification. It’s scary that there are personal trainers out there incapable of doing proper pull-ups or even bodyweight squats, and who got certified simply by memorizing and regurgitating information. That’s why a theoretical understanding of exercise will never be enough to pass the PCC!

I’ll still be the first one to tell you, however, that just having a certification—even the PCC—doesn’t mean that you are going to be a successful trainer. I can help point people in the right direction, but it’s up to each individual to take the journey for themselves. In fitness and in life, we’re all personally responsible for our own success or failure.

 

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About The Author

Al Kavadlo, CSCS is one of the world’s leading experts in bodyweight strength training and calisthenics.

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New Ways To Build Bodyweight Strength!

Posted in Bodybuilding, Exercises, Nutrition, Warm up, Weight TrainingComments Off on New Ways To Build Bodyweight Strength!

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