As I let you guys know in the last email I went to the LA Ftiness Expo last weekend and got to meet some cool athletes in the calisthenics community like the whole THENX Crew, Demi Bagby and Nonny Nonemacher.
2 of my friends whom I workout with competed in battle of the bars so it was great to see them give it their all in the bars. You cans see some of the battle here:
Now I never realized how small the calisthenics community is and some of you might not even be aware of it.
Groups like barstarzz and bar brothers have given it popularity but it’s still not that big.
Ive gotten more involved in this sport in the last 5 months and I will continue to share tips on how to achieve skills such as the muscle up, handstand, lever and other skills.
My friend asked me yesterday how do I get started in calisthenics so I wanna share 5 tips that I knew when I started calisthenics:
5 Tips When Starting Calisthenics
#1) Master the basics: Pull ups, push ups, lunges, planks, dragon flags, dips, etc. All these are the basic exercises which more advanced skills like levers, muscle ups and human flags are built upon.
So master those exercises, do them with good form and build up your base of strength so when you attempt a muscle up it is a lot easier to progress knowing how to do 10+ pull ups vs barely being able to get 5 pull ups and kip your way up the bar and be prone to injury.
#2) Find a calisthenics group: I started making really big progress once I started working out with other guys who were more advanced than me. They always encouraged me to push myself more and to try the progressions that helped them achieve skills such as handstands and muscle ups.
#3) Define your goals: Define if you wanna build muscle, gain strength or get better at a specific skill.
==> If you wanna build muscle doing slow and controlled reps for 4 sets of 8-12 its a good rep range. Once you can do more reps than 12 start doing weighted body weight exercises. It’s simple but this works the best to build muscle since you wanna keep your muscles under more tension to induce growth.
==> For strength it is all about training your nervous system. Doing 4 sets of 1-5 reps of weighted reps will help you build up explosive strength. You can do this with pull ups, dips, push ups or any exercise: Grab a weight that you can only rep out of 5 reps max and try to explode up on every rep.
==> Plyometrics are also fantastic for building strength: Work on doing clapping push ups, pull ups and even dips. The first progression would be to learn to let go of the bar or ground and then catch again. You only need low reps for this too – 3-5 reps since you wanna be exploding with as much force as possible.
#4) Focus on mastering one skill at a time: If you want learn how to muscle up, handstand and back lever all at the same time it is possible but it will take a lot of hours of training. If you are limited on time I would suggest picking one skill and working on the progressions for it everytime you workout. If you wanna get good at handstands at the beginning of your training sessions practice frog stands, headstands, wall assisted handstand holds and free standing handstands.
Focus on one skill and you will make faster progress vs trying to learn everything at once.
#5) Learn Retraction, Protraction, Depression & Elevation: So this is the big one! For exercises such as the planche you need to learn how to protract & depress your scapula. This is very fatiguing if you are not used to it.
For handstands you need to learn how to both protract and retract while upside down as well as elevate your scapula for proper alignment.
This is a good video to get more aware of these planes of motion:
Try them out while doing an L-sit on the floor or parellets/dip bars so you get an idea of what is your weakest area.
Once you learn to be more aware and in control of how your shoulder blades move you will have better alignment when executing any calisthenic exercise.
That’s it for today, I think I gave you too much info and it might be tough to process it all at once, specially #5 so take your time and really think about your goals.
Feel free to reply to this email if you have any questions, I’ll do my best to answer them.
Core Exercises You Probably Aren’t Doing 4 Stronger Abs:
#1: Furniture Slider Push Up Walks: These are killer for your core & you don’t have to do them weighted like I did or do the push ups. You can simply walk with the furniture sliders for distance. If you don’t access to furniture sliders you can try to use towels on your feet or your socks if you are gonna do these on a wooden floor.
#2: Plank Pancake Stacking: Stack up a bunch of plates and switch them from one side to your other one while holding the plank position the whole time. This one starts out easy but depending on how many plates you stack up the difficulty increases and you can also do them slower to make them harder. This one is great since it forces you to work on rotational strength and stability which is crucial for sports that require sprinting from any angle.
#3: Dragon Flag Negatives: This is the best core exercise to learn core control and if you are training to achieve skills such as levers and the planche this is the exercise that has the most carry over since you are forced to keep tension on your core, hips, and ankles at all times. When doing this exercise make sure your hips are up and your toes are pointed to keep your body in proper alignment at all times.
#4: Weighted Hollow Holds: On the video I used a 30 pound weight and it had me dying after 5 seconds of holding this hollow hold. If you have ever wanted a great low ab exercise this one is killer. Play around with the weight to make it hard or easier.
What all these exercises have in common is that: They work on core stability an strength.Training these exercises will have a lot of carry over to:
Improving your sport
Lifting more weight since you are able to keep your core engaged for longer and they
Also will make learning more advanced bodyweight skills like planche, handstands and levers a lot easier.
Pick one exercise and try it on your workout next time & let me know how it goes!
That’s one of the phrases one of my calisthenics friends uses when motivating others.
While working out, if someone calls you a champ you will not back out and do more rep or push yourself harder.
Today I wanna remind you that you are a champ, you are destined for greatness and you got this, whatever goal you are trying to tackle you will get it as long as you keep going!
There are always fundamentals when it comes to building muscle and eating more calories is one of them.
Today I wanna share my simple 5-step formula for meal prepping.
Set aside 4 few hours every 3 days to just to cook.
Pick 2 sources of protein to cook: Ground beef/turkey, chicken or any type of steak.
Pick 2 sources of carbohydrates.: Potatoes, yams, rice or pasta.
Once everything is cooked simply put the food into 2 big containers.
I’ll be honest, I am very boring when it comes to cooking since I like to make things simple.
Many people fail at meal prepping simply because they try to add too much variety to their meals and it becomes overwhelming. They try too cook too many different foods at once.
By limiting your food choices and keeping it very basic, it’s easier to manage since you only have 4 options:
Do I want Chicken with mashed potatoes or rice?
Or do I want Ground Beef with Mashed potatoes or rice?
After you serve your plate or reheat your food then throw some veggies in there too.
Only buy 2 different ones at a time like spinach and broccoli and in one meal have broccoli and the next have spinach.
The less options you have the easier it will be for you to stick with meal prepping.
If you have been wanting to meal prep, I hope my simple advice helps you finally get started. You will save tons of time by just having to re-heat your food instead of cooking each meal or driving to a restaurant.
The less time spent cooking means more time making gains at the gym and in life.
I already know you started on the right track so I respect you for that.
I recently began reading a book called “The Big Leap” which is all about finding the fears holding you back from living the life you deserve.
Reading the book made me realize how working out in “fear” will be the reason why you won’t reach your strength goals this year. This is something we all do un-consciously (myself included).
So today I wanna help you to find one of your fears so we can eliminate it & you can get stronger!
Inside the book, the author tells you that your main goal in order to be fulfilled is to operate in “Your Zone Of Genius”
That is the zone where you are your most creative, happy, healthy, strong & full of excitement to live.
Inside the book the author says:
“Fear is excitement without the breath; The very same mechanisms that produce excitement also produce fear, and any fear can be transformed into excitement by breathing fully with it.”
In order to overcome fear you must breathe into it and get used to it being there.
Think back on the first time you asked a girl out:
You were nervous AF and when you finally had the balls to ask her out you probably held your breath in since you couldn’t relax and be comfortable.
This same thing happens when speaking in public. You curl up and start breathing heavily from the shyness and uncertainty of how the crowd will react.
Now all this fear also happens in your workouts.
You put more weight in the bar & you start to doubt yourself if you can even lift it.
Or you decide to do a heavy weighted pull up but as soon as you touch the bar you start thinking “I am tired, this is too heavy, I can’t do it”
All the fear happens in the mind not the body so in order to get rid of this fear you must simply move without thinking.
The key to overcoming fear is to be content with being in fear.
Think back at the last time you were doubtful or afraid of an exercise.
I personally fell off a pull up bar once pretty badly (my grip wasn’t strong enough) and ever since jumping into tall bars is scary.
So now I practice jumping into tall bars and also falling off of them in order to get more familiar with the height.
It’s scary and every time I go for a jump I think: “what if I fall?” but the more I face my fear the easier it gets.
What I am building here is confidence. Yes the fear is there but the more I jump the less I think “what if I fall” and instead I am simply practicing my fear so it becomes normal and it doesn’t scare me anymore.
I want you to do the same: If you have been avoiding an exercise because of a prior bad experience: break it apart and do progressions for it. Drop your ego and don’t be afraid of starting at a lower point.
It’s a new year and the reason why this is the first e-mail I am sending you it’s because I want you to succeed this year and the only thing that will hold you back is fear.
Not only in your workout goals but your relationships, finances and creative endeavors.
So please apply this mindset: if you are scared of something feel the fear but also breathe and relax into it. You will overtime turn that fear into excitement!
In a few hours the clocks will hit midnight & a new year will be started.
2018 will be Epic!
I know you will destroy all your goals & I am here to help you in every step of the way.
There has been a lot of changes in the fitness world in the last year and today I wanna share my fitness predictions for 2018, so let’s start.
Calisthenics will be televised
Calisthenics as a sport really exploded this year but it’s still in its infancy. I feel that it will be the new sport on TV like Ninja Warrior since it offers enough action and tons of wow factor.
More Calisthenics Gyms will open
There is very little few calisthenic gyms out there at the moment but more will open as the demand increases. There is a lot of skill involved in calisthenics so with that in mind more people will jump on board to learn how to muscle up, handstand & lever as a new fun way to “workout”.
Glute workouts for men = Normal
Let’s face it 2017 was the year of the booty for women and all of us men are grateful for that 🙌 I believe that more men will realize how important it is to train the glutes not just for aesthetic purposes but also for strengthening the legs, spine, improving posture but most importantly being able to lift more weight. So far powerlifting and olympic lifting are some of the the few sports that emphasize glute training to keep getting stronger. I feel that men will realize how important it is to have a stronger ass and many won’t be so intimidated to do more weighted hip thrusts, glute bridges and more glute isolation exercises.
This year desserts got a lot of buzz because of how creative people were in their presentations from using cakes in mason jars, weird ice cream fusions like orange and chipotle, unicorn shakes & coffee, etc. In order to keep up and since originality sets you apart I believe that juice bars/smoothie shops will be more crafty and creative in 2018. These shops will mix up fruits, vegetables and spices to creative unique flavors and colors that not only taste amazing but also look Instagram worthy.
So those are 4 of my predictions.
I personally will be releasing more workout programs starting in January to help you get stronger. I’ve gotten more involved into calisthenics so that will be my main focus in 2018 but I will also be doing power lifting and strongman training.
Hope you have a kick ass New Year’s celebration & I look forward to helping you reach your goals in 2018.
I am driving 7hrs tomorrow to visit a strength coach in Santa Cruz, CA in order to learn how to lift more weight without adding bulk & also to learn how to use hypnosis in your workouts to break PRs & burst trough training plateaus! It is going to be EPIC!
Can’t wait to share what I learn with you soon.
Today I wanna give you a “Freestyle Workout”
And if you have never “freestyled” then you are in for a big surprise since essentially you make up your own rules.
You can see the workout video here:
💀 Here is the Arms & Back Punisher Workout 💪
➖➖➖➖ Super-set #1
1A) Muscle Up Flow x 1
1B) Farmer Walks x 1
Repeat Super-set 4 times (with 1 min rest in between super-sets)
2A) Parallel Bar Freestyle (Dips) x1
2B)) Pull Up Side to Side Walks (explosive) x1
Repeat Super-set 3 times (with 1 min rest in between super-sets)
4) Handstand Push Ups x 1 Max set
You will want to “freestyle” with the muscle ups & dips (That’s why there is only 1 rep labelled)
All that means is is that you create a flow and do an exercise right after your muscle up.
Example: Muscle up to front lever or muscle up to straight bar dip.
You can add 1 or 3 exercises right after your muscle ups & create a “flow”
Modify everything at your level, if all you can do is 3 pull ups then freestyle that. You could do a pull up to a pull over or a pull up to an L-sit (there are no fixed rules)
➖➖➖➖ Give this workout a try or next time you do your workout; add a flow.
Pick one exercise like pull ups & do a flow/freestyle with that one exercise.
I guarantee this will be a fun & tough challenge that will only help you get stronger & build more muscle from the added time under tension.
Let me know how it goes and if you have any question feel free to reply to this email!