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Muscle and Strength Building Advantages of Overcoming Isometrics

In Isometric Training, Progressive Calisthenics, Uncategorized, Workout Tipsby 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 Methods & Success Mindset, Progressive Calisthenicsby 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 …

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How I Switched From Weights to Calisthenics

In DIY Fitness Equipment & Reviews, Playground Workouts, Progressive Calisthenicsby Matt

I’ve always loved to exercise, and I’ve been strength training since college. However, I’ve only been focusing on calisthenics based workouts for the past 10 years. Before then, you could count on finding me on a bench press or leg press most days of the week. So how did I go from an iron-worshiping gym junkie to a calisthenics enthusiast? Well, …

What is Grind Style Calisthenics?

In Core & Abs Training, Methods & Success Mindset, Progressive Calisthenics, Pull Up & Biceps Training, Push up Trainingby 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 Methods & Success Mindset, Progressive Calisthenicsby 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 Diet-Free Healthy Eating / Fat Loss/ Nutrition, Progressive Calisthenicsby 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 Methods & Success Mindset, Progressive Calisthenicsby 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 Methods & Success Mindset, Progressive Calisthenics, Pull Up & Biceps Training, Push up Trainingby 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 Core & Abs Training, Leg Training, Methods & Success Mindset, Progressive Calisthenics, Pull Up & Biceps Training, Push up Trainingby 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 Core & Abs Training, Playground Workouts, Progressive Calisthenics, Pull Up & Biceps Training, Push up Training, Suspension Training, Uncategorizedby 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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The Link Between Range of Motion & Muscle Growth

In Playground Workouts, Progressive Calisthenics, Pull Up & Biceps Training, Uncategorizedby Matt

Range of motion is one of the most important elements in progressive calisthenics. It’s why many of the steps in Convict Conditioning use range of motion as a way to progress and regress almost every exercise. It’s just a shame many people fall for the idea that there’s an ideal range of motion to use in each exercise. This is …

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How to Do Bridges Like a Boss

In Progressive Calisthenics, Pull Up & Biceps Training, Uncategorizedby 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 …

Programing Supplemental Calisthenics Moves

In Leg Training, Progressive Calisthenics, Pull Up & Biceps Training, Push up Training, Suspension Training, Uncategorizedby 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 Calisthenicsby 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 Diet-Free Healthy Eating / Fat Loss/ Nutrition, Methods & Success Mindset, Progressive Calisthenics, Uncategorizedby 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 Leg Training, Progressive Calisthenics, Push up Training, Suspension Training, Uncategorizedby 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, Uncategorizedby 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 …

The Center Line Principal of Advanced Calisthenics

In Playground Workouts, Progressive Calisthenics, Push up Training, Uncategorizedby 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 Methods & Success Mindset, Progressive Calisthenics, Pull Up & Biceps Training, Push up Training, Uncategorizedby 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, Uncategorizedby 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. …

What “Be Comfortable Being Uncomfortable” Really Means

In Diet-Free Healthy Eating / Fat Loss/ Nutrition, Methods & Success Mindset, Progressive Calisthenics, Uncategorizedby 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 …

4 Facts About Muscular Tension

In Playground Workouts, Progressive Calisthenics, Uncategorizedby 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 …

How to Kill Workout Boredom

In DIY Fitness Equipment & Reviews, Playground Workouts, Progressive Calisthenics, Suspension Training, Uncategorizedby Matt

  Boredom kills your ability to progress and advance your workouts. No matter how hard you’re pushing yourself, a boring workout is only slightly better than worthless. It kills you mental edge.  It kills your drive and desire. It kills your focus. Not to mention it’s also a total bear to get through. So I say it’s time we got …

Technique Isn’t Everything

In DIY Fitness Equipment & Reviews, Methods & Success Mindset, Playground Workouts, Progressive Calisthenics, Uncategorizedby 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 Playground Workouts, Progressive Calisthenics, Push up Trainingby 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 Playground Workouts, Progressive Calisthenics, Uncategorizedby 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 …

Are Isolation Exercises Holding You Back?

In Playground Workouts, Progressive Calisthenics, Pull Up & Biceps Training, Suspension Training, Uncategorizedby 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 …

Volume Creep is Workout Poison

In Methods & Success Mindset, Playground Workouts, Progressive Calisthenics, Suspension Training, Uncategorizedby Matt

More is not always better, especially when it comes to your workout. Just adding more endless sets to your routine can cause what is known as volume creep. Volume creep is one of those false ideals that runs rampant throughout our fitness culture. It makes us believe we are getting a better workout. It feels like we should be getting …

How to Progress in Calisthenics

In Progressive Calisthenics, Uncategorizedby 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, Uncategorizedby 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 …

The 10 Rules of Advanced Push Ups

In Progressive Calisthenics, Push up Training, Uncategorizedby Matt

  It’s funny how so many people will say that the push up is one of the best exercises around, but then claim it can only build a little strength and muscle before you need to use weights.I don’t blame most folks for considering the push up as a beginner exercise. The reason is because most folks never develop their …

The Value of Unilateral Training

In Leg Training, Methods & Success Mindset, Progressive Calisthenics, Uncategorizedby Matt

  Unilateral training is any exercise where one side of your body is moving or working differently than the other side. The world of calisthenics has a rich history of unilateral training. Most body weight exercises progress through shifting your weight from one side to the other. However, walk into almost any gym and you’ll find the vast majority of …

Advancing Your Hanging Leg Raise

In Playground Workouts, Progressive Calisthenics, Uncategorizedby 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, Uncategorizedby 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 …

You Can’t Build Muscle Until You’re Stronger

In Playground Workouts, Progressive Calisthenics, Suspension Training, Uncategorizedby Matt

  I’ve long said that strength doesn’t come from muscle. Muscle comes from strength. There are a number of meanings behind this saying. The first one is that it pays reference to your inner strength, the power that comes from within when the going gets tough. For when your muscles are burning and your body feels like it’s made of …

Sit Ups vs Leg Raises

In Playground Workouts, Progressive Calisthenics, Uncategorizedby 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 …

The Advanced Medicine Ball Push Up

In Progressive Calisthenics, Push up Training, Uncategorizedby Matt

  The medicine ball push up is a staple of progressive calisthenics. Like any body weight exercise, there are many ways you can technically advance from the simple and easy to the complex and really difficult. In this video, I show off some of the more advanced technical “tweaks” to make this move a powerhouse strength and muscle builder.

A Healthier and More Effective Perspective on Going to Failure

In Methods & Success Mindset, Progressive Calisthenics, Uncategorizedby 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 Methods & Success Mindset, Progressive Calisthenics, Suspension Training, Uncategorizedby 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, Playground Workouts, Progressive Calisthenics, Uncategorizedby 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, Playground Workouts, Progressive Calisthenics, Suspension Training, Uncategorizedby 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 …

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Why Pleasure is More Important Than Pain in Fitness

In Methods & Success Mindset, Playground Workouts, Progressive Calisthenics, Suspension Training, Uncategorizedby Matt

In a previous post I wrote about how pain is weakness invading the body rather than leaving the body as some hardcore folks like to claim. As I’ve also stated in previous posts, every exercise you do is essentially a set of instructions you are “downloading” to the cells of your body. If we put the two philosophies together we …

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How Calisthenics & Body Weight Exercise Earns You Loads of Respect

In DIY Fitness Equipment & Reviews, Leg Training, Methods & Success Mindset, Progressive Calisthenics, Uncategorizedby Matt

Since I’ve been training in the body weight disciplines I’ve been getting a lot more of something that I never expected. It’s not just more muscle, strength, power or balance. It’s respect and admiration from others. I must admit I was one of those guys who loved to lift to feed my ego. I always liked going to the gym …

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Why Body Weight Training Builds Such a Sexy Physique #3

In DIY Fitness Equipment & Reviews, Leg Training, Playground Workouts, Progressive Calisthenics, Uncategorizedby Matt

  While progressive calisthenics  is one of the most challenging of body weight skills, it’s also one the most rewarding when it comes to sculpting a killer physique. I credit this with the fact that progressive calisthenics requires your technical abilities to improve to reach higher levels of strength. If you want to advance to single leg squats or U-shape …