Isolation Vs Compound Exercises, Is one Really Better Than the Other?

In Back & Biceps Training, Chest & Triceps Training, Fitness Independence, Isometric Training, Progressive Calisthenics by Matt

The debate between isolation and command exercises is starting to rage once again within our fitness culture. So this week, I wanted to take a fundamental approach to get to the bottom of the isolation vs command debate for building muscle and strength once and for all. Live Feed Q&A:  Thoughts on Overcoming-Yielding Isometrics 12:31 “I need to work on …

The 4 Essential Elements of Effective Strength Training

In Isometric Training, Progressive Calisthenics, Suspension Training by Matt

Effective strength and muscle building workouts require much more than just the correct exercises or sets and reps. They also require the 4 essential elements of the neuromuscular proficiency. Each layer of neuromuscular proficiency helps build the other levels above it. So if you’re lacking in your tension control, or stability, your ability to build muscle and strength will always …

My Final Word On How Many Set You Really Need to Build Muscle

In Fitness Independence, Isometric Training, Progressive Calisthenics by Matt

Asking how many sets you need to do to build muscle, especially with calisthenics, can trap you into an infinite number of rabbit holes. Every expert and their mom seems to have their thoughts on the subject, and everyone is sighting research and empirical evidence to back up their claims. Despite all of these “answers” you’re still left with the …

How to Know For Sure if An Exercise Will Build Muscle

In DIY Fitness Equipment & Reviews, Fitness Independence, Isometric Training, Progressive Calisthenics by Matt

It seems like everyone and their Mom is trying to think outside the box an be a “innovator” in the world of fitness these days. This especially goes for creating new exercises and variations that promise to be the next best thing in building muscle and strength. Loads of experts are cooking up new ideas in an effort to hack …

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Muscle and Strength Building Advantages of Overcoming Isometrics

In Isometric Training, Progressive Calisthenics, Uncategorized by Matt

At first glance, overcoming isometrics may not seem like a very effective method for helping you build muscle and strength. You’re not moving, you’re not working against a quantifiable level of resistance, and you’re not even counting reps. It seems like isometric training may be lacking all of the necessary components of an effective strength program, so how can it …

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What Makes Your Workout Effective?

In Fitness Independence, Progressive Calisthenics by Matt

An effective workout depends on a lot more than just using the optimal exercises and rep range. Details like that are important, but the true essence of an effective workout depends on something much more subliminal and subjective. Neuromuscular proficiency is essentially the skillful use of your own muscles, and it alone can make or break the effectiveness of your …

What is Grind Style Calisthenics?

In Back & Biceps Training, Chest & Triceps Training, Core & Abs Training, Fitness Independence, Progressive Calisthenics by Matt

Grind style calisthenics (GSC) is bodyweight training with an emphasis on building strength and muscle. It’s essentially the calisthenics variation of bodybuilding or powerlifting. This is in contrast to endurance or met-con style calisthenics which uses fast circuit style workouts for conditioning. It’s also different from the sport of calisthenics which uses explosive techniques for power and athleticism. All that is …

What Calisthenics Program is Best For You?

In Fitness Independence, Progressive Calisthenics by Matt

Any calisthenics program can work, but the real question is which will work best for you? One of the most important factors is how much programming assistance you need. Programming assistance is essentially the amount of structure you have within a given calisthenics program. Having more structure means there’s less guesswork on your end since the program lays out most …

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What to Do When Staying in Shape Seems Impossible

In Progressive Calisthenics, Satisfying Healthy Eating Tips by Matt

Sometimes, it can seem like staying in shape is impossible when life becomes stressful. Even the most disciplined fitness enthusiasts face times when they lose motivation or feel like they can’t keep up with their current habits. It’s normal to feel like life itself is against you and your efforts to stay in shape. It’s a myth that some special folks …

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4 Myths About Workout Progression

In Fitness Independence, Progressive Calisthenics by Matt

Workout progression is the key to building muscle, strength and performance. All of the other stuff, like your routine, exercises and equipment you use are merely details. It’s the progression of your exercises and routine that gets you what you want. There are a number of myths surrounding workout progression that I wanted to address today. These myths can create …

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Using Calisthenics to Get Jacked with Adorian Moldovan

In Back & Biceps Training, Chest & Triceps Training, Fitness Independence, Progressive Calisthenics by Matt

Adrian Moldovan is the man when it comes to building muscle, especially with calisthenics training. His practical down-to-earth strategies are effective as hell and a refreshing dose of muscle building reality in a world of fads, hype, and dogma. I recently had the honor of sitting down with Adorian over Skype so I could pick his brain over some of his …

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6 Common Misconceptions About Convict Conditioning

In Back & Biceps Training, Chest & Triceps Training, Core & Abs Training, Fitness Independence, Leg Training, Progressive Calisthenics by Matt

I’ve been reading and applying the lessons in Convict Conditioning for over 7 years now and I couldn’t be happier with the results. That’s why I continue to recommend it to anyone who’s interested in building muscle and strength through bodyweight training. Over the years, I’ve noticed a few common misconceptions about Convict Conditioning that pop up within our fitness culture. …

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Use Your Lats to Build More Muscle

In Back & Biceps Training, Chest & Triceps Training, Core & Abs Training, Progressive Calisthenics, Suspension Training, Uncategorized by Matt

I always used to think of the lats as a narrow muscle group that ran up the sides of the back. I also used to think they were only really used in moves like pull ups and maybe rows. Lately, I’ve been learning a lot more about this incredible muscle and it’s made a massive improvement in almost every exercise I …

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How to Do Bridges Like a Boss

In Back & Biceps Training, Progressive Calisthenics, Uncategorized by Matt

Bridging is one of those calisthenics exercises that plays second fiddle to moves like pull-ups, push-ups and squats. Many athletes hardly practice them at all which is a shame. If there’s one move that can improve your performance and results in calisthenics it’s bridging. The biggest reason bridges fall out of favor is because many people do “pushing bridges” where …

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Tackling the PCC With Adrienne Harvey

In Progressive Calisthenics, Uncategorized by Matt

Here she is, the one and only Adrienne Harvey! Yes, the one and only Girya Girl is on this week’s episode of the R.D.P Podcast. In our conversation, Adrienne  pulls no punches about what it takes to excel at the coveted Dragon Door PCC Century test plus. We also get into some of her best tips for diet, nutrition, fat …

Programing Supplemental Calisthenics Moves

In Back & Biceps Training, Chest & Triceps Training, Leg Training, Progressive Calisthenics, Suspension Training, Uncategorized by Matt

Just like traditional weight lifting methods, calisthenics includes both basic compound movements as well as single joints moves like curls, shoulder raises and grip work. Even though you may not need these moves, they can shore up a few weak points and round out your physique. The trick is knowing how to fit them into your program so they don’t …

Build Far More Leg Strength & Stability

In Leg Training, Progressive Calisthenics by Matt

Over the past year or so I’ve been really struggling to build up my legs. Much of the problem has stemmed from lack of lower body stability. Simply put, the less stability you have in any area of your body the less muscular tension you can handle. When you improve your stability you open up a HUGE amount of potential for …

Programing Calisthenics for Fat Loss, Muscle Building & More

In Fitness Independence, Progressive Calisthenics, Satisfying Healthy Eating Tips, Uncategorized by Matt

Calisthenics is a fantastic training method, but it can fall flat if you don’t know how to program your routine to accomplish what you want. The squat is a good example. You can use it to pursue any goal from building muscle to explosive training and even fat loss. It’s just one move but it can used to accomplish many …

Body Weight Chest and Leg Routine for Muscle Growth

In Chest & Triceps Training, Leg Training, Progressive Calisthenics, Suspension Training, Uncategorized by Matt

There’s nothing as satisfying as a good pump in the chest and arms. There’s also something to be said for possessing legs that feel more like a pair of cyborg limbs that can withstand anything you throw at them. Body weight training is fantastic for accomplishing these goals anytime and anywhere you find yourself. These moves require little to no …

The Magic of Technical Convergence (v2.0)

In Progressive Calisthenics, Uncategorized by Matt

In the past I’ve touched upon the topic of technical convergence which is one of the big advantages body weight training has over weight lifting.  Now I’ve come to realize the benefits reach much further than just preventing injury and building some more muscle. Technical convergence may actually be one of the keystones towards building you a complete level of …

2 More Squat Myths That Need to Die

In Leg Training, Progressive Calisthenics, Uncategorized by Matt

  Welcome back! In the last post I discussed 2 classic rules that are commonly applied to squats and why these rules may need to bend, or even break when it comes to doing body weight squats as nature intended. So let’s keep this party rock’n with 2 more squat myths that need to die! Rule #3- Don’t round your …

2 Squat Myths That Need to Die

In Leg Training, Progressive Calisthenics, Uncategorized by Matt

The squat is one of those moves that I have long held a love / hate relationship with. On one hand I love having strong legs and the feeling of tension surging through my body in a big powerful way. On the other hand, I hated having that damn barbell pressing down on my back and the stress on my …

The Center Line Principal of Advanced Calisthenics

In Chest & Triceps Training, Progressive Calisthenics, Uncategorized by Matt

Understanding the center line principal is crucuial if you want to build more than just an average level of strength and muscle with calisthenics. Moving your limbs towards your center line had many advantages. It places more tension on your target muscles so they get bigger and stronger. It helps protect your joints, espeically the shoulder, and it helps to …

12 Reasons You’re Not Building Muscle With Body Weight Training

In Back & Biceps Training, Chest & Triceps Training, Fitness Independence, Progressive Calisthenics, Uncategorized by Matt

There isn’t a doubt in my mind that you can build a substantial amount of muscle and strength through body weight training. In fact, I train with body weight exercise because there are some massive  advantages body weight training has over weight training when it comes to building muscle. Still, some times the muscle just won’t build and it can be …

Are Barbell Squats Fake?

In Leg Training, Progressive Calisthenics, Uncategorized by Matt

I spent nearly 15 years living under a barbell to make my legs stronger. I subscribed to the idea that that barbell back squat was the undisputed king of leg training. When I shifted over to body weight training I prayed to the gods of leg strength that I wouldn’t lose too much size and power in my lower body. …

2 Ways to Progress and Advance Your Pull Ups

In Progressive Calisthenics, Uncategorized by Matt

There are a million ways to progress and advance that classic pull up into a muscle-building, mass-exploding, strength-crushing move from hell. But where do you start? Many of the advanced moves are a massive leap away from the classic pull up so many folks never explore beyond the 2 arm version because the advanced techniques are too far above their …

What “Be Comfortable Being Uncomfortable” Really Means

In Fitness Independence, Progressive Calisthenics, Satisfying Healthy Eating Tips, Uncategorized by Matt

  The saying “be comfortable being uncomfortable” is a common idea in our fitness culture. Until now, I’ve kind of thought it was like a Yogi Bear-ism, you know where he says things like “Disney Land is so crowded no one is going there anymore.” Even though the saying is contradictory you still understand what it means. Recently though I’ve …

A Better Way to Stretch Tight Hamstrings

In Leg Training, Progressive Calisthenics, Uncategorized by Matt

  I’ve always been plagued by tight hips and hamstrings and it’s held me back in everything from Taekwon-Do to various aches and pains in my lower back. The funny thing was, every time I got on a dedicated stretching routine, things got worse. I actually became tighter and my muscles were all the more susceptible to pulls and strains. …

A Simple Exercise to Switch on Muscle Growth

In Progressive Calisthenics, Uncategorized by Matt

Muscle growth and strength is always limited by how well you can engage your target muscles. Engaging your chest, arms, shoulders, back and every other muscle in your upper body is heavily dependent upon your scapular alignment. This exercise is one of the best ways to condition your back muscles how to “set”  or tuck your shoulders. If you can …

4 Facts About Muscular Tension

In Progressive Calisthenics, Uncategorized by Matt

Tension is the primary thing that causes muscle growth. Growth doesn’t come from weights, supplements, diet or even your routine. All of that stuff is just a means towards being able to control the tension on a muscle. If building muscle is a goal of yours then creating and using tension should be the biggest focus of your program. Below are …

The Cause of Stubborn Muscle Growth

In Fitness Independence, Progressive Calisthenics, Uncategorized by Matt

  Stubborn muscle growth is incredibly frustrating. You put in your time and effort while following that supposidly perfect program to the letter and you still don’t make gains. The issue isn’t that you’re not working hard enough. It’s because you may not have built up enough muscle control.   In the last post I talked about how technique is …

Technique Isn’t Everything

In DIY Fitness Equipment & Reviews, Fitness Independence, Progressive Calisthenics, Uncategorized by Matt

  “Technique isn’t everything. It’s the only thing.” If I ever open a gym I’m putting that up on the wall in big BOLD  letters. Everything you’re looking to gain from your training boils 100% down to your technique and how well you can maintain it. If your results are lacking, look to your technique.  Never consider anything other than …

Intro to Handstand Push Ups

In Chest & Triceps Training, Progressive Calisthenics by Matt

  Few moves will build upper body muscle and strength like the handstand push up. The only problem is it’s a really tough move to even start training even for the experienced exercise enthusiast. I’ve met more than a few folks who can lift a weight fine enough but struggle with handstand push ups. Even those who claim they can …

I Always Lift with My Ego

In Progressive Calisthenics, Uncategorized by Matt

  Lifting with your ego is something many experts caution you against. I however, aim to lift with my ego as much as possible. The difference between my approach is that my ego isn’t attached to weight or reps. My ego is 100% focused on my technique. The technical side of an exercise is always what’s most impressive, especialy when …

Secrets of the Best Abdominal Exercise

In Progressive Calisthenics, Uncategorized by Matt

  The hanging leg raise is without a doubt one of the greatest ways to target your abdominals. All of these planks and crunches don’t even come close…….if you know what you’re doing. Problem is most folks will hardly scratch the surface of the potential contained in such a move. Sure they are hanging, and yes their legs do some …

Are Isolation Exercises Holding You Back?

In Back & Biceps Training, Progressive Calisthenics, Suspension Training, Uncategorized by Matt

  My initial workouts were heavily focused on exercises that would isolate the muscles I wanted to grow. Looking back, I now believe these moves actually held back my progress even once I focused on compound movements. The tricky thing about muscle isolation is the fact that the body likes to use muscles in synergy. So The abs like to work along with …

More Muscle & Less Elbow Pain From Pull Ups

In Progressive Calisthenics, Uncategorized by Matt

  The pull up is one of the best moves to pack on muscle, but it’s also a common cause of elbow pain. Luckily, it is possible to build more muscle and end that elbow pain with a simple tweak. With the pull up, the rear shoulder muscle is kind of like the weak link which holds back the tension …

Bulk Up Your Arms & Triceps With Tiger Bends

In Progressive Calisthenics, Uncategorized by Matt

  Tiger bends are as old as the hills and will bulk up your triceps muscles unlike anything else. You can do them anywhere, they can easily adjust to any strength level and they also build strong joints. A word on that last point though. If you feel it a bit in the elbows at first back off the range …

How to Progress in Calisthenics

In Progressive Calisthenics, Uncategorized by Matt

  I’m often asked how to make progress in calisthenics. I understand where this question is coming from. With weight training it seems easier to track progress since you can attach a number to how hard you’re working. If you lift 100 pounds 10 times and then can lift it for 12 then it would stand to reason that you’ve …

3 Simple Moves To Advance Basic Body Weight Exercises

In Progressive Calisthenics, Uncategorized by Matt

  Progressive calisthenics is equal parts art, skill, and bravado. You can’t just slap some weight around and use that to add resistance to your exercises. Instead it takes technical  innovation and ability in how to move your body to make your muscles beg for mercy. There are many advantages to adding resistance through a change in technique: – You …

Advancing Your Hanging Leg Raise

In Progressive Calisthenics, Uncategorized by Matt

  The hanging leg raise shares the following common characteristics of calisthenics exercises: – Almost anyone can do it. – Most people choose not to because it’s “too easy.” – Once you get the technique dialed down, it will challenge you in ways unlike anything else. Not to mention it also will build you a physique that looks and performs …

Body Weight Training on the Smith Machine

In Progressive Calisthenics, Uncategorized by Matt

  Even though you can do body weight training almost anywhere you find yourself, the gym is still an ideal place to train. There are many pieces of gym equipment which can add new dimensions to your bodyweight training. The smith machine is just one such piece of equipment. While typically used for weight lifting, the smith machine is one of the …

Sit Ups vs Leg Raises

In Progressive Calisthenics, Uncategorized by Matt

  When it comes to building the ultimate abs which is best, sit ups or eg raises? Debating one exercise against another sets up the mentality that one is good and the other is bad. In the end, you’re probably best off doing both. Why throw out a perfectly good exercise? That being said, I think the leg raise is often playing …

A Healthier and More Effective Perspective on Going to Failure

In Fitness Independence, Progressive Calisthenics, Uncategorized by Matt

  The idea of going to failure is a polarizing topic within the strength community. Some say failure is good. Supposedly it’s what sends the signal throughout your cells that tells your body to grow. Other’s say it’s bad and should be avoided. I’ve been on both sides of the debate over the years and now I believe I’ve found a middle …

Calisthenics Better Than Weights for Building Muscle?

In Fitness Independence, Progressive Calisthenics, Suspension Training, Uncategorized by Matt

People don’t believe me when I tell them that I’ve built up my body through calisthenics. They ask me if it’s possible for them to get the same results through calisthenics as opposed to weights. Truth is, not only can you build up your body just as well with calisthenics, but I believe you can get even better results than you would …

How Easier Exercise Makes Your Body Harder

In DIY Fitness Equipment & Reviews, Progressive Calisthenics, Uncategorized by Matt

  I have a crazy idea when it comes to fitness. I believe that achieving success comes down to making it easier to do what is necessary to achieve that success. The easier you make things, the faster you’ll reach your goals and the lofty peaks of success suddenly are well within reach. This is why I’m such a big fan of calisthenics and the Triad …

How to Strengthen any Weak Muscle / Body part

In DIY Fitness Equipment & Reviews, Progressive Calisthenics, Suspension Training, Uncategorized by Matt

  We all have areas that are stubborn and difficult to train. For me, it’s long been my shoulders and forearms. For others it’s their legs or arms. Whatever your weaker areas are many folks try to “fix” the area with extra hard work and exercises that focus on that muscle group. While this can work, it often doesn’t. Sometimes …

The Super Power of the Loaded Pistol Squat

In Progressive Calisthenics, Uncategorized by Matt

  In a contest, I would take the loaded pistol squat over the back squat any day. It’s not just because the pistol requires more balance and hip control. It’s not because you don’t need a squat rack, barbell and lots of extra weight. And it’s not just because people stop and stare when I do them in the gym. …