AL KAVADLO – INTERVIEW WITH CALISTHENIC MASTER

About Al Kavadlo. In case you don’t know him yet…

Al Kavadlo is one of the world’s leading experts in bodyweight strength training and calisthenics. The author of several books, including the Amazon bestsellers Get Strong and Street Workout, Kavadlo is also known for his appearance in the popular Convict Conditioning book series.

Famous of smiling while performing some of the most difficult bodyweight exercises imaginable, Al has racked up millions of views on his YouTube channel.

As lead instructor for the Progressive Calisthenics Certification (PCC), Al brings his unique coaching style to fitness trainers and enthusiasts around the globe. Al has been featured in The New York Times, Men’s Health and The New York Post. He is also a regular contributor to Bodybuilding.com.

We have asked Al a few questions. Here is his wisdom.

#What did inspire you to start calisthenic exercises?


I started doing push-ups and pull-ups when I was a kid, not because I was a “calisthenics guy” necessarily but simply because I didn’t have a gym membership or much equipment.

Over the years, I would try weights, machines and other workouts, but eventually, I came full circle and went back to pure bodyweight training.

It’s just more fun for me than any other type of training. 

#How does your diet look like? What do you eat to maintain great physique? 

I don’t take any supplements of any kind or follow a very strict diet. I simply eat when I am hungry, stop before I am stuffed, and focus on eating quality foods that are as close as possible to the original source. 

#What is the biggest advantage of bodyweight exercises in your opinion?


The ability to do the exercises at home or outdoors is very appealing to me. With calisthenics, you can make the world your gym! 

#If you would have to use only 3 exercises to build your workout. What would they be and why? 

Squats, handstands, and pull-ups: those three are enough to thoroughly work the entire body – and they are fun! 

#What is your advice for beginners aspiring to start their calisthenic journey? 

Don’t waste too much time analyzing what you’re going to do – just start! You will learn so much from your own experience as you go. 

What else?

Bodyweight training gained masses of followers around the world. This trend is not gonna stop but only can increase.

No matter if you’re a beginner or muscle-up master. There is always room for improvement.
If you’re really into calisthenics, necessarily check details about upcoming workshops.

You can find it on www.alkavadlo.com

What people take away from courses designed by Al Kavadlo?

Every student aims to master:

  • hand standing
  • advanced techniques of push-ups and pull-ups
  • muscle-ups
  • human flag
  • pistol squats

Progressive Calisthenics Certification

To become certified by Al you have to prove your skills. Below we list requirements for aspiring instructors.

MEN’S TEST

40 full squats

30 full push-ups

20 hanging knee raises

10 full pull-ups

WOMEN’S TEST

40 full squats

30 kneeling push-ups

20 hanging knee raises

10 Australian pull-ups

Looks too tough? Don’t worry. Even If you fail – it’s possible to pass this exam in the second attempt when you feel ready for it.


Books for aspiring calisthenic masters by Al Kavadlo.

If you love reading and learning, check out these books. Listed titles don’t include only pictures with exercises. They are filled with calisthenic wisdom, philosophy and knowledge about how to get brutally strong while using only your own body.

#1. Get Strong: The Ultimate 16-Week Transformation Program for Gaining Muscle and Strength

Amazon

About the book

Get Strong is a guidebook for those who are dissatisfied with their current rate of progress, and who want to effect lasting changes, fast.

What people say

This is a very useful book for anyone who wants to start training with body-weight. This is a great book that shows you a very specific program that allows you to build strength (and some muscle) using body-weight exercises. 


#2. Street Workout, A Worldwide Anthology of Urban Calisthenics. How to Sculpt a God-Like Physique Using Nothing But Your Environment

Amazon

About the book

Intermediate and advanced calisthenics practitioners will discover a veritable treasure chest of tips, techniques and insider secrets-guaranteed to force-feed their future achievements in the realm of bodyweight mastery.

Pushing, pulling and squatting your own bodyweight along with forward flexion and back bridging represent the basics of getting brutally strong, solid and unbreakable.

By utilizing basic principles of progression such as the manipulation of leverage, adding or removing points of contact and/or increasing the range of motion, you can continue to get stronger without ever having to pick up a weight-and have a helluva good time while you’re at it!

Street Workout proves it so-with its mix of inspirational photography, exact detail on what to do when. It’s step-by-step blueprints for off-the-charts, eye-popping physical excellence.

What people say

This book is loaded with great exercises for anyone looking to build functional strength and master their own bodyweight.


#3. Stretching Your Boundaries: Flexibility Training for Extreme Calisthenic Strength 

Al Kavadlo Stretching your boundaries
Amazon

About the book

In Stretching Your Boundaries, Al Kavadlo provides a blueprint that anyone can follow to achieve supreme physical elegance, mobility, and strength—and to amp up their game in any aspect of physical performance.

Stretching Your Boundaries could have been called “Yoga Meets Calisthenics”. Or “Zen and the Art of Stretch”.

Because—as with the best of the physical culturists—there is a deep, yet lightly-carried spiritual “vibe” to Al’s teachings.

There are a humble joy and a sense of well-being emanating from the man—that speaks volumes about his program.

If you really want to succeed as a physical culturist—and if you really want to live a healthy, happy, long life—then the right combination of spirit, wisdom and hard, skilled practice is the essential recipe, or template if you will.

In Stretching Your Boundaries you will find the time-tested tools you need to continue cultivating yourself as a magnificent human artwork.

What people say

This is a great book that explains why you need to STRETCH. Trying to do L-Sits but can’t? It might be your TIGHT hamstrings. Al has a few fixes in here for you. Each various body weight strength exercise is shown here with the possible STRETCHES that may help you unlock your potential. Solid information in here and great photos.


#4. Pushing the Limits! Total Body Strength with No Equipment

Amazon

About the book

Pushing Limits is a progressive plan for primal body power.

Pages are filled with footsteps of the great bodyweight exercise masters.

What people say

I’ll be 69 in May.
I play very competitive softball and exercise every day. I ask you, “What is the number one goal in an exercise program? Go ahead. Formulate your answer. Don’t look below.

It is to avoid injury. No mater what you do today, the only thing that will significantly effect your condition six months from now is an injury.

Al’s blogs and books have helped me immeasurably. To compete with the youngsters in my sport, I work on strength every day. Al has given me a way to do this while protecting my joints from injry.

Thank you, Al.


#5. Raising the Bar The Definitive Guide to Pull-ups

Amazon

About the book

In Raising the Bar Al Kavadlo breaks down every type of exercise you can do with a pull-up bar. From the basic two arm hanging to the mighty muscle-up, all the way to the elusive one arm pull-up.

Al takes you step by step through everything you need to do to build the chiseled frame you’ve always wanted.

Whether you’re a die-hard calisthenics enthusiast or just looking to get in the best shape of your life, Raising the Bar will meet all your expectations and then some!

What people say

Al is a real world practitioner. The stuff in the book is for real people and if you build around the principles outlined you will see results.


#6. Zen Mind, Strong Body: How To Cultivate Advanced Calisthenic Strength

Al Kavadlo zen mind
Amazon

About the book

In Zen Mind, Strong Body, Al Kavadlo presents his “philosophy of fitness” a philosophy that has allowed him to endure injury-free while achieving some of the world’s most challenging movements.

One-arm Pull-up, the Human Flag, the Stand-to-stand Bridge, or the Front Lever. It’s also a philosophy that’s allowed Al to sculpt a magnificent physique while maintaining an ever-burning passion to further develop his calisthenic excellence.

What people say

I really enjoyed this book, with its simultaneous mindful attitude and motivational message. The idea of treating our fitness as a practice instead of a workout really resonates with me, and reminds me of other folks like Matt Fury andFrank Forencich. They’re all writers who like to impart some of the hard science of exercise along with the spiritual and emotional quotient of our fitness activities.


#7. We’re Working Out! A Zen Approach To Everyday Fitness 

Al Kavadlo book
Amazon

About the book

 A Zen Approach to Everyday Fitness is less of a step-by-step guide and more of a fitness philosophy book.

It is designed to show you how to make your own workout program, rather than just following my routine. It is not like any fitness book you’ve ever seen before. 

What people say

Although I do workout daily, my routine was hitting a plateau & I found it becoming more & more like a chore, as opposed to something I love. Whilst I was fighting professionally negative reinforcement was a great incentive, as nobody wants to lose, but now that full-time work was taking over, I found it harder to maintain the same levels of enthusiasm & thirst for improvement. Just a few good points, from a very positive person in Al Kavadlo gave me that nudge in the right direction, to help rekindle my passion for martial arts & competition; not necessarily ground-breaking but fantastic & honest nevertheless, just what people need to hear sometimes & it doesn’t have to be the drill sergeant telling you that “you’ll never make it!”- working out’s meant to be fun after all!


It was an interview with Al Kavadlo

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