The most important lesson Thomas learned with calisthenics

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This is story of Thomas – Calisthenics Academy

Thomas is a banker living and working in Frankfurt, Germany. He was a paying member at a gym he never attended for several years before setting his sights on bodyweight training and running.

“Moving continuously in the right direction is more important than speed which you may not be able to hold and that eventually makes you stop.”

At 44, Thomas began to pay more attention to his fitness, even taking a friend’s bet to take on a daunting goal.

“My friend challenged me to finish a half-marathon. I had never finished a run of this length before.”

He’s been a regular runner ever since, although it wasn’t enough for him.

“Now I focus on bodyweight training. I still go running but only as additional cardio-training twice a week. Even now, I still have enough stamina to participate in half-marathons.”

Tom wanted a different body than a runner’s body, which is why he’s focused his attention on calisthenics.

“The body I am aiming for is more athletic than a runner’s: between a swimmer and a gymnast with well-defined muscles and low bodyfat.”

“After looking at several websites and programs I found that Calisthenics Academy is closest to my preferences: It offers a structured approach and clear path to defined goals (the eight exercises). Small steps to continuously progress strength and skills and simultaneously considering that the body (the joints) needs time to adapt to the growing challenge and so to reduce the risk of injury.”

The 3 main benefits Thomas has gained since joining the Calisthenics Academy community

He no longer struggles to be consistent

When it comes to his exercise routines, Thomas is a man of extremes. He will either be training intensively or doing little to nothing at all. “My biggest challenge is to train consistently. I have a pattern of training very hard for a few months and then swinging to the others extreme of working out very little.”

Since joining Calisthenics Academy, Thomas has succeeded in finding the right balance between consistent and fixed timeslots to train and his sometimes changing schedule.

“I pencil my training days in four weeks in advance. I then plan my other dates around the training. If there is a collision with dates I still have the flexibility to move the training to other dates.”

He has become more patient with himself

Because of his challenging schedule and his all-or-nothing tendencies, Thomas has often felt very impatient with himself. His flexibility in setting his schedule has given him the chance to rethink his view of exercise in addition to understanding “consistent training” a little differently.

“I have become more patient with myself considering my training and my progress: Even if I have to miss scheduled trainings due to the circumstances (e.g. business travel, sickness/flu) I am not blaming myself for not taking training seriously enough or losing faith in reaching my training goals.”

He no longer feels guilty, which gives him a healthier mindset about his training. It’s a lifelong journey, and you shouldn’t beat yourself up for missing a day.

“As long as I move towards my goal and do not lose sight of the goal, there’s no drama when I have to miss a training session.”

He feels supported through the entire experience

Tom has found a training program that fits his needs perfectly. Calisthenics Academy is as personalized as it can get without paying a trainer to constantly monitor your progress. “Calisthenics Academy promises and delivers. After looking at several programs I consider it currently to have the best platform and approach.”

But more than that, Calisthenics Academy is a community of athletes and trainers who are all working towards a common goal: getting fit, getting healthier and gaining amazing new skills in the safest possible way. We all want to support each other in our efforts, pick each other up when we’re down and push each other forward when we might need a nudge.

Thomas has experienced this support first-hand from the Calisthenics Academy team.

“The Academy staff is very devoted to bringing its members to success and are sincerely interested in receiving feedback to continuously improve the quality of their service.”

Finding Calisthenics Academy

Thomas searched the internet for different training programs. He was already familiar with bodyweight training, having used other programs in the past. However, none seemed to fit his needs as well as Calisthenics Academy.

“After looking at several websites and programs I found that Calisthenics Academy is closest to my preferences: It offers a structured approach and clear path to defined goals. Its small steps continuously progress strength and skills while giving the body time to adapt to the growing challenge and so to reduce the risk of injury.”

“The changing demands of my professional schedule and the structured approach of the Calisthenics Academy are the best fit I have seen so far. I am glad I found you”

Tom’s advice to anyone curious about calisthenics

“Don’t be too hard on yourself when training does not always go the way you want (e.g. you cannot train as planned; you feel too exhausted to train although you have planned it; you do less repetitions compared to the last training), but stay consistent and alway keep coming back to your training.”

“Moving continuously in the right direction is more important than speed which you may not be able to hold and that eventually makes you stop.”

Professional trainer, ex cross-fitter and a long time calisthenic practitioner. I started with Convict Conditioning and achieved levels of strength which enabled me to take part in street workouts championships. Check Out our Resources and Start Building Real Strength just using your Bodyweight!

Be humble and get strong

how calisthenics helped Noah

Noah

Join the tribe of Movement & Calisthenics Athlete – people just like you that are working with their own body weight to get strength, lose fat build muscle, recover from injuries and live their best lives!

This is story of Noah – Calisthenics Academy

Noah is a software engineer whose time is spent coding, volunteering at his church and playing or watching basketball.

“It is really humbling how hard even the simplest exercises are.”

Noah has always been lightly active over the years, never really sticking to a specific program or training regiment.

“I was thin, and I played basketball, but overall I was eating fairly unhealthily, was not exercising regularly, and spent most of my time in front of a computer screen.”

Diet is just as important as working out

Tracking Progress

Before changing how he was training, he improved how he was eating. “I started by changing my diet to stop eating sugar. I went cold-turkey and didn’t eat a dessert for three months. I started eating healthier breakfasts and lunches focused on eating more fruits, vegetables, eggs and less processed meats.”

He then paired his healthier eating habits with healthier training habits. Early in 2016, he discovered the Convict Conditioning training program. It was his first introduction to progressive calisthenics. But it didn’t quite stick until he found out about Calisthenics Academy.

“I liked the additional steps in between progressions and the materials available to learn the moves.”

“I’m learning to craft my own programming for my workouts. I care more about progressing than pushing out a bunch of reps. For me, 3x12 of an exercise seems to work well, and then I progress to the next exercise. I’ve found this to be very helpful and keep me motivated instead of getting stuck forever on earlier exercises that require 3x30 on the program.”

The 3 main benefits Noah gained since starting calisthenics

He’s learned to prioritize his time

Consistency is a continuous struggle for Noah. But he’s pushing forward, refusing to let procrastination or any kind of mental resistance stop him from doing what he needs to do. “Doing something is better than doing nothing and then waking up to realize you’ve not exercised for an entire week.”

He’s healthier in body and mind

His habits for both eating and exercising have drastically changed since he first started calisthenics. He’s found a few specific tricks that help him keep moving forward, and without restricting his eating or his workouts.

“- Going to sleep the same time every night
– Waking up the same time every morning
– Preparing lunches the night before
– Prep everything you need for your morning routine and set it out the night before
– If you don’t do any of the above four things and you aren’t hitting your schedule perfectly, take a second. Relax. Come up with an alternate plan and at least do something to work out that day.”

He’s committed to a long-term lifestyle

Noah has sees the benefit of pursuing calisthenics as a lifestyle. “I’m learning to craft my own programming for my workouts. I care more about progressing than pushing out a bunch of reps.”

Working out is more than exercising, and the learning process is in fact more important than the outcome. “It is really humbling how hard even the simplest exercises are.”

But the outcome will help keep you motivated, and Noah sees this too.

“I feel stronger. I’m not huge or ripped or anything. To the eye, I look fitter but nothing impressive, but my body just feels stronger.”

How to overcome the challenge of consistency

Noah thoroughly enjoys his new training program. But that doesn’t mean that he’s suddenly acing all his challenges. Consistency is a big struggle, even to this day. “I work out by myself and there are weeks where I really have to fight to even get one workout in.”

In order for him to succeed, he needed to change his way of thinking. He began to think more about how to hold himself accountable. “I read somewhere about the ‘Myth of Monday’. The myth is that you can just start next week, you can change it next week. No, if you miss a day of a workout, just work out the next day. Don’t wait till next week to do it right. This is a great lesson for everything in life actually. Make the changes you need to change as soon as possible and don’t let past mistakes breed future mistakes.”

“If you can commit to this program, you will learn a lot about exercising, about gaining strength, about gaining flexibility. You will create the habit of exercising. None of that will be wasted.”

“If you can commit to this program, you will learn a lot about exercising, about gaining strength, about gaining flexibility. You will create the habit of exercising. None of that will be wasted.”

Here’s Noah’s advice to anyone curious about calisthenics

“Know why you are doing calisthenics. If your answer is that you want to look ripped and get huge as quickly as possible, don’t do calisthenics. If your answer is that you want to feel stronger, more flexible, more connected to your body, then calisthenics is the way to go.”

“If you can commit to this program, you will learn a lot about exercising, about gaining strength, about gaining flexibility. You will create the habit of exercising. None of that will be wasted.”

Professional trainer, ex cross-fitter and a long time calisthenic practitioner. I started with Convict Conditioning and achieved levels of strength which enabled me to take part in street workouts championships. Check Out our Resources and Start Building Real Strength just using your Bodyweight!
The Lean and Mean Calisthenics Diet – 4 Minimalistic Principles to Get You Started!

The Lean and Mean Calisthenics Diet – 4 Minimalistic Principles to Get You Started!

The Lean and Mean Calisthenics Diet

One thing that attracts people to bodyweight training is its simplistic nature.

There’s no need for a gym membership, and you don’t need any special equipment. All you need is your body and your mind. Put those two things together and you can hammer out some of the most intense muscle and strength-building workouts based on calisthenics.

But developing a well-sculpted physique takes more than just working out. To really build the kind of body that shows off your muscles and all your hard work, you’ve got to eat right. The calisthenics diet isn’t complicated, but it still requires the same kind of hard work and mental toughness as doing bodyweight workouts.

Commit to the Calisthenics Workout Diet To Achieve the Calisthenics Body You Want

Calisthenics Diet requires commitmentIf you’re ready to follow the calisthenics diet and want to maximize your workout efforts, commit yourself to eating right and declare war on junk food. That’s a good place to start.

Once you’ve got your mind right about eating healthily, the rest is easy. It’s like bodyweight training in some ways; there are hundreds of ways to eat healthily, with lots of foods to choose from, just like the many bodyweight exercises you can make use of for your personal workout.

The calisthenics diet isn’t anything complicated.

There’s no complex system to follow, no pills or supplements to take, and no expensive pre-packaged food you need to buy. Here’s the strategy for success with this diet:

Principle #1 – The War on Junk Food – Eat As Natural as possible

You don’t get to be lean and mean by rolling through the drive-thru, ordering a hamburger, soft drink, and bucket of fries. And that ripped look isn’t made from chocolate bars, energy drinks, and pastries. If you’re serious about following the calisthenics diet, you’ve got to declare war on junk food.

An estimated 70 percent of all adults in the United States are overweight or obese, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. About 26 million people have diabetes, and another 79 million are prediabetic, according to the American Diabetes Association.

Controversies may well always abound over whether artificial ingredients, food additives, and pesticides are healthy or unhealthy.

convict conditioning diet

Some argue that it depends on the TYPE of chemical you’re considering, as well as the AMOUNT of said chemical you’re ingesting.

Me? I’ll let scientists continue their seemingly never-ending debates about which ingredients are OK to consume and which are not, but I’ll follow the safe route and avoid them all as much as possible in favor of eating REAL FOOD. The stuff that grows on the ground, on a tree, or comes from an animal. The stuff that only lists one ingredient on the package. The stuff we humans have been eating for tens of thousands of years.

How many times have food manufacturers promoted alternatives – mostly aimed at the weight loss market – that promise to be healthy substitutes for things like fat and sugar? As recently as 1996, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration – the agency in charge of telling Americans which drugs and foods are safe to consume – allowed for the fat substitute Olestra to be used in place of oils in things like chips. Soon, people discovered it “negated the body’s ability to absorb essential vitamins” and gave side effects including “cramps, gas and loose bowels.” Despite this, the ingredient is still legal in the USA. In 2010, Time Magazine called it one of the world’s 50 worst inventions of all time, yet it’s still included in a variety of processed foods.

While this is perhaps one of the more extreme examples of an undesirable food additive, I’ll play it safe and stick with nature-made foods. Yes, you’ll hear about the occasional e.coli-infected spinach or beef recall, but even these are the result of contamination with man-made industrial pollutants and dirty water sources (e.g. sewage), not a problem with the food itself.

And that’s because too many people gobble up burgers, fries, soft drinks, and sugary snacks every day like it’s going to be their last meal. Obesity and diabetes are both diseases that can lead to serious health problems, including death. And no matter how hard you workout, you’ll never achieve your ideal body if you’re eating junk.

The takeaway point:

Read the labels on everything you plan to buy. Go for foods that contain as few ingredients as possible (I personally shoot for five or less). Keep the words of fitness legend and bodyweight calisthenics master, Jack LaLanne, in mind: “If Man makes it, don’t eat it.

Principle #2 – Eat Produce, Organic when Possible

When was the last time you ever heard about someone overdosing on celery or dying of eating too many raspberries? These stories aren’t exactly making headline news! We evolved to eat fruits and veggies in abundance. These foods are absolutely loaded with all sorts of essential vitamins and minerals your body needs, not only to build quality muscle but also to regulate its every function. Small wonder every medical agency routinely talks about the anti-disease and general health-promoting benefits of nature’s wonder drugs.

So we know fruits and veggies are good, but let’s go one step further. Whenever possible, eat organic produce.

convict conditioning diet

Quite simply, these are foods that have been grown (or raised) on farmlands and pastures free of synthetic chemical pesticides, food additives, or antibiotic agents for at least three years. You can read more about what being organic means here. Again, there is debate as to how healthy/unhealthy pesticides and other man-made chemicals are, but why not play it safe and avoid them altogether if you can?

Challenges to buying organic produce
1. I know that there are a few challenges to consuming only organic food, the first of which is cost. Typically, organic produce will run you about twice as much as its conventionally-grown cousins. The best way to cut down on cost is to buy it in bulk.

In the last two years or so, bulk retailers like Costco have increased their selection of organic produce tremendously. I can now buy a 1.5-pound bag of organic baby kale for just over what it would cost me to buy two bunches (1/4 pound each) of conventionally grown kale. I buy 90% of my organic produce at Costco, as they carry reasonably-priced organic beets, apples, bananas, carrots, celery, spinach, kale, and several other items.

2. The second challenge is availability. Maybe you don’t live near a store that has access to many varieties of organic produce. If this is you, buy what you can organically, and stick to conventional produce otherwise.

As the University of Illinois reports here, it’s still far better to eat (well-washed) produce containing pesticides than to forego them altogether. Try buying organic varieties of things that you have to eat the skin on (such as apples, peaches, lettuce leaves, etc.), and buy conventional varieties of things that you’ll throw away the skin/peel (melons, bananas). You can also check out the Environmental Working Group’s list of the top best/worst produce items in terms of pesticide residues.

In fact, I’d encourage you to check them out, either way, their website being an amazing resource for all information pertaining to the consumption of organic produce.

The takeaway point:

Eat organic produce when possible, especially when you have to eat the skin/peel of the item. If you can’t buy organic, eat conventional produce. Just be sure to wash and scrub it well.

Principle #3 – Get Your Protein IN!: Eat Meat, Organic, Wild, and Grass Fed

It makes sense that if humans should eat and do what they evolved to eat and do, the same should be said about the animals we eat!

convict conditioning diet

Sadly (from a nutritional and ethical perspective), this is not often the case. For example, cattle in commercial feedlots are often bulked up on a diet of grain (which they don’t naturally eat – cows eat grass). They’re given growth hormones to further fatten them up. Finally, given their unhealthy diet and the crowded facilities they live in, they’re pumped full of antibiotics.

Sound appetizing? It will sound even less so when you look at this sometimes funny, often very scary video of inhumane, filthy feedlot conditions.

Unsurprisingly, animals not exposed to this sort of treatment seem to be nutritionally more beneficial for the humans who eat them. As explained in this CNN article, grass-fed beef may contain more beneficial fats and vitamins than grain-fed beef.

Fish, too, aren’t immune to the effects of man-made pollutants and practices. You may have heard how our oceans contain toxins and waste, perhaps most famously mercury, which find their way into the fish we eat. Nevertheless, it seems as if eating wild-caught fish (fish caught directly from the ocean) instead of farmed fish (fish raised in sometimes crowded and unhealthy “fish farms” similar to feedlots) may be healthier. Wild-caught fish tend to be higher in Omega 3 fatty acids and proteins, both of which are key ingredients to building muscle mass.

Your muscles need protein to repair the damage done during a tough bodyweight workout. Pull-ups, squats, lunges, push-ups and other exercises can challenge your muscles. And that’s what you want from a workout. But you need to feed your muscles after a workout with the essential amino acids found in protein.

The International Society for Sports Nutrition suggests that athletes consume about 0.64 to 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight. That means a 150-pound person should get between 96 and 150 grams of protein per day. And it’s doable on the calisthenics diet. Foods high in protein include eggs, dairy and soy products, nuts, fish, lean meats, and poultry like chicken and turkey.

So instead of de-beaked chicken, artificially fat cows, and commercially-raised fish, stick to eating animals that have been living the way nature intended: feeding on grass (cows), roaming (chickens), or swimming free (fish). As with organic produce, eating these kinds of meat will be more expensive.

So, once again, stick to buying in bulk when possible (Costco has a great selection of organic/natural meats). Or substitute some animal-based proteins for plant-based ones, such as beans, almond butter, hemp, and chia seeds.

You don’t need to ingest huge amounts of protein to build muscle and be healthy….even if lots of fitness magazines and supplement companies try to scare you into believing so for the sake of making a profit.

The takeaway point:

Eat animals that have lived the way nature intended. To cut down on costs, buy high-quality animal meat in bulk and eat more plant-based protein.

Principle #4 – Grains and Dairy?

Recently, things like gluten sensitivity and lactose intolerance have received a lot of media attention. Some people promote whole grains (including the gluten protein they contain) and milk (with its lactose sugar) as nutritional powerhouses, while others claim they are bad for your health and promote inflammation. The naysayers’ arguments make some sense based on evolutionary logic. After all, we weren’t consuming cows’ milk or grains until the Agricultural Revolution some 10,000 – 12,000 years ago, so maybe our bodies never evolved to handle these types of food well.

convict conditioning diet

To the question of whether gluten and dairy are friends or foes, I have no definitive answer. I personally eat both bread and milk regularly and have zero problems with them, but I know several others who must steer clear of such foods or else suffer bloating, pain, and lack of energy.

According to this Harvard research, you need to eat more whole-food to be able to get the ripped and toned body you want.

calisthenic diet

calisthenic diet

Here’s the beauty of the calisthenics diet. You can eat a ton of food, as long as it’s healthy. Fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes, and whole grains are healthy. They contain essential vitamins, nutrients, and antioxidants your body needs to repair cell damage and build muscle after a tough workout. Whole foods are also low in calories, fat, and cholesterol, compared to the kind of food you’ll find at a typical fast food joint.

Creating a diet based on whole foods will help you lose body fat. That’s what you need to show off your toned muscles and all your hard work.

Follow Coach Paul Wade’s advice from the legendary “Convict Conditioning”, repeatedly echoed throughout both of his books: Be your Own Coach. Although he advises this as it relates to designing your own workout programs, I extend his advice into the world of diet.

Try cutting gluten-rich grains (products containing wheat, barley, and rye) and dairy out of your diet for 30 days, to see if you feel better than before. The bottom line is you can still get all your carbs, proteins, fats, and vitamins from non-gluten, non-dairy sources – such as meat, veggies, potatoes, and rice – so cutting out grains and dairy from your diet will not have a detrimental effect on your training or your health.

BONUS TIP: Keep a Food Diary

Science Daily clearly shows that having a food diary can really help you achieve those goals.

Get a notebook and record everything you eat. You can do this even without committing to the calisthenics diet. It’s a great way to see what you’re eating, count your calories, and see what you’re doing right and what you need to change.

Calisthenics Diet Food Diary

Calisthenics Diet Food Diary

If you’re record-keeping-challenged, try logging your food intake online, or use a smartphone app to keep track of everything you’re munching on. And be honest.

Record everything you eat, EVERYTHING. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, morning snacks, afternoon snacks, and even late-night munchies.

Documenting at least a complete week of your eating habits will help you get a clear picture of what you’re tossing down your pie-hole. For many people, it’s an act of self-discovery that can reveal why you’re not getting the gains you want or expect from your workouts. If you’re eating too much junk and too many empty calories, you’ll never get the body you want. And this may be all you need to do to match your eating habits with the guidelines for the calisthenics diet.

In a recent study of 1,700 overweight people, researchers found that dieters who kept a food diary lost twice as much weight as dieters who didn’t. Keeping a food diary can help you keep your calories in check and eat less fat. It’s the kind of visual aid some people need to get their diet straight.

Stick to the Plan

You can get lean and mean on the calisthenics diet. And it’s really not that hard. You’ve got to make up your mind to follow a clean eating plan, and the results will follow.

There will likely always be some controversy surrounding what ingredients, types of meats, and synthetic chemicals pose a danger to human health. It can drive someone absolutely crazy to worry about every point health article X raises, let alone how health article Y (released only one week later) contradicts the claims made by X! That’s why I try to keep things simple and eat mainly foods produced as nature designed them.

Eat fresh, eat natural, eat whole, and you’re bound to see impressive results in your fitness and all-around health.

READY TO TAKE IT TO THE NEXT LEVEL?

If you’re looking for a complete resource that will guide you through each step on the journey. I have something very special for you.

Renegade Diet is one of the best diets and used by a lot of calisthenics athletes to bring incredible results in a short period of time.

Check it out – it works magic:

calisthenics diet

Diet is absolutely critical in your fitness success. Do you have questions about the diet or how to fit it into your workout schedule? Post a comment, send us an email or reach out through our Facebook Group and we’ll get back to you shortly. 

Stay Strong.

It's TIME to get your DIET RIGHT!

DISCOVER 10 BIGGEST NUTRITION LIES! 

Professional trainer, ex cross-fitter and a long time calisthenic practitioner. I started with Convict Conditioning and achieved levels of strength which enabled me to take part in street workouts championships. Check Out our Resources and Start Building Real Strength just using your Bodyweight!
Why most calisthenics skills are IMPOSSIBLE with tight hamstrings

Why most calisthenics skills are IMPOSSIBLE with tight hamstrings

Do you need to bend your knees to the point that they make noise to pick some
thing off the ground? That’s probably because you’re struggling with hamstring tightness.

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Hamstrings are the set of muscles below the buttocks. Their main role is to help keep your posture upright. But they’ll also limit your range-of-motion if you don’t keep them loose and limber.

Why should I care if my hamstrings are tight?

 

1. You need to move!

Hamstring tightness typically occurs from lack of use. If you don’t move enough, your body naturally stiffens up. Imagine leaning forward to pick something off the ground. How much effort is it for you?

Having more flexible hamstrings will help you feel comfortable in your day-to-day movements.

Additionally, if you’re an athlete with tight hamstrings, you’ll be limited in the tricks you can accomplish. You can’t do an L-Sit with tight hamstrings.

 

2. Got joint pain?

The Stretching Exercises Guide tells us that the hamstring muscles wrap around the hips and the knees. Their role is to bend the knee and flex the hip. If your hamstrings are tight, they can limit your overall range-of-motion (ROM) and cause problems in both your hip and your knee joints.

 

3. Don’t be so stiff

As I mentioned before, the main role hamstrings play is to help you keep your upright posture. Because of that, they’re able to contract for long periods of time without fatiguing.

But…that also means that they tend to get stiff and shorten over time if they aren’t properly loosened. This will eventually reduce your ROM. If you don’t loosen your hamstrings, you’ll be stiff as a board (though definitely not light as a feather).

This happens all the more to us nowadays. We spend so much more time either sitting or standing, without putting our body through its true range-of-motion on a daily basis.

…unless you’re an athlete. Or a contortionist.

Too much sitting and not enough moving messes with the body’s natural balance.

Butt (gluteal) muscles will get weak from lack of use, and compensation through the hamstrings will occur. The body will engage the hamstrings and, basically, ruin your natural posture because it’s calling on all the wrong muscles.

It’s gonna hurt.

Help me loosen my hamstrings!

1. Stretch

The most important thing you can do is to stretch. It loosens the muscle and gives it a larger ROM.  Stretching also decreases lower back pain, improves performance, and reduces the risk of injury.

Doing just a few hamstring stretches every day can significantly improve a muscle’s flexibility.  

This study explains that the way you stretch will depend completely on what your goal is:

  • Do you want to become more flexible, or do you have range-of-motion issues? You need to use passive stretches.
  • Do you want to gain strength, or are you using stretches before working out? You need to use active stretches.

Passive stretches

A passive stretch means that you aren’t engaging any of your muscles to cause the stretch.

A good example of a passive hamstring stretch is the forward bend. You can do it sitting or standing:

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Lean forward, bend your knees a little if you need to, but don’t force the stretch. Just relax into it.

Active stretches

They’re the opposite of passive stretches. So instead of just letting the body stretch, an active stretch will use muscles to create the stretch.

A good example of an active hamstring stretch is the hamstring supine stretch:

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Lie on your back and keep your legs straight together. Bring one knee towards your chest, keeping the other leg straight, your ankle flexed (c.f. picture). Slowly extend the leg at a 90-degree angle from your body. Don’t push this stretch to the point of pain. It should feel a tad uncomfortable, but no more than that. Hold the stretch for as long as you can before bending your knee towards your chest once again and gently letting it return to the ground. Repeat the exercise with the other leg.

Hold the stretch for as long as you can before bending your knee towards your chest once again and gently letting it return to the ground. Repeat the exercise with the other leg.

2. Roll It Out

Foam-Rolling is a great way to loosen up tight muscles.

There’s no doubt that it’ll be painful the first go, but it’ll be worth it…you’re essentially giving yourself a massage. It increases blood flow through the body, decreases recovery time, increases range-of-motion, and relieves any tension in the muscles.

If you don’t have a foam roller, you can also use a tennis ball, or baseball for the same purpose.

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Just place the foam roller on your legs, between the buttocks and the knees. Raise your upper body from the ground, placing some of the weight on your hands. Make sure that the bulk of your body weight is on your hamstrings being worked over by the foam-roller.

3. Therapy

Massage Therapy
Massage therapy’s main purpose is to relax your muscles, which will help release any tension. It’ll help increase flexibility, improve blood circulation, and heal any muscle pain.

Physical Therapy
In my opinion, physical therapy should be your last resort.  If none of the other options work, think about undergoing physical therapy. Professional physiotherapists can help loosen and strengthen your hamstring muscles.

So get started!

Your hamstrings are definitely an important part of your body, so give ‘em some loving! Share your own tips and tricks with us, either in the comments or our Facebook group.

Watch your posture

Stretch your body

Play, move, don’t stay static!

Stay strong.

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Make sure you follow Tyler on his Instagram

 

READY TO GET STARTED WITH CALISTHENICS?

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calisthenics training assessment

calisthenics training assessment

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calisthenics academy the ultimate calisthenics training program

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I’m a 18 year old, Canadian, with a passion for calisthenics. Just a few years ago, I suffered from anorexia and depression. Discovering calisthenics got me out of the dark hole I was in, and I haven’t

looked back since. Whether it’s snowing, raining, hot, or cold, I’ll be doing calisthenics. Every day is an opportunity to improve yourself, and I take advantage of that, and want to help you too. Calisthenics
has brought me a lot, and I hope to help others find the same joy and passion as I have. Follow me on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/tylerbaigrie/

How to Train Everyday – for the rest of your life

How to Train Everyday – for the rest of your life

This is a post outlining the two main strategies we use inside Calisthenics Academy to make sure that the training for our athletes is optimal.

We use deep personalisation and autoregulation to create training that is adjusts based on our athletes needs. Today I want to talk about autoregulation.

SECRET WEAPON #1. AUTOREGULATION

Adapt to your changing needs to train productively for the rest of your life

It’s not that difficult to push yourself for a few weeks and make a lot of improvement.
But it isn’t any good if you stop after that, which is what most of the people do.

The only sustainable way to include training in your life for good is to think long term and adjust training based on how you’re feeling.

The truth is that there are many variables affecting your training

Sleep, emotional stress, illness, work, energy levels and diet all significantly influence training.

There are days when you feel great and on the top of the world and you just power through your workout. Other days you might be feeling really bad. Some weeks are amazing, some are miserable.

And unfortunately, there are too many variables to predict and plot how you’ll be performing on a specific day to then schedule the right kind of workout.

The old school of thought would say that you just need to push through it and train, but the truth is that these are real variables. Instead of fighting against them, you should work with them to make your training more effective.

How can you do that, you ask?

By using a fancy strategy called autoregulatory training.

Auto-Regulatory Training

It just means changing how you set up your workout session. Auto-Regulatory Training (AT) uses your current performance in comparison to past sessions to help you make intelligent changes to your program. It takes how you’re feeling as well as actual progress into account to help you plan your next session.

AT wants to help athletes find the balance between the stress of training to actual readiness. It’s designed to help individuals workout according to their changing needs so that the training remains regular and consistent.

For example, the difficulty of a workout can vary greatly based on the athlete’s recovery, rather than the actual physical challenge of the routine. It allows the athlete to build their own workout based on their recovery in addition to their progress. It’s an amazing tool that has been proven to accelerate strength rehabilitation more efficiently than traditional methods.

AT believes that the athlete knows their needs best. Their awareness can then be used to program their overall program, which will greatly improve performance and progress.

So how do we rate this readiness?

Auto-Regulatory Training IN REAL LIFE

In an ideal world, you’d optimize your training sessions by adjusting your sets, reps, and intensity based on how hard is to perform the exercise in your current session.
In practice, that’d mean that the coach would give you a number of sets and reps to perform. S/he’d ask after each round or even each exercise how that felt and adjust based on your answer.

Here’s how we translate that for you to use to autoregulate your current or next session: ever heard of Rating of Perceived Exertion?

Rating of Perceived Exertion (RPE)

It’s a scale we use to help AT by being aware of the level of effort and exertion you put into your exercise.

Here’s how it goes:

RPE, also called “The Borg Rating Scale of Perceived Exertion” was developed by Gunnar Borg (surprise, surprise) in the early 1980s. It was first used to gauge aerobic training, but soon became a tool to clinically analyse breathlessness and dyspnea, chest pain, angina and musculo-skeletal pain.

Overall, it’s a reliable tool for you to track your day-to-day training and how it compares to past sessions. This will help you in the long-term, teaching you how be aware of the impact your training had on your body and the kind of effort you put into your sessions. This will impact how you react to hitting a plateau during a workout. Rather than pressure yourself about your lack of progress, it will push you to just relax and accept the current situation while encouraging you to do better in the future.

Our current Calisthenics Academy Scale

Over time we were experimenting between a 3-point scale and 5 point scale to adjust the sets and reps. After a year of training athletes, we know that the  5-point scale gives us more data points and overally works better. The smaller scale simply wasn’t giving us enough data, but we still needed a simple version of the RPE.

This is a really important part of the training routine and it will work magic to help you with your progress. It’ll also help you build awareness of you body and take your training to the next level.

So after every single exercise you do, we’ll ask, “How hard was it to complete that set of reps?” and adjust your next set based on your feedback.

This is how the adjustements look now inside the Calisthenics Academy

calisthenics assesment

Calisthenics Academy assessment

 

We also have a sheet for offline workouts. This is an example of a 5 point scale:

calisthenics academy assessment

 

WHY IS AUTOREGULATION A GAME-CHANGER?

With AT, all you need to do is get your workout started rather than try to predict how it’ll go beforehand.

This also means that no matter how you feel, the workout is always enjoyable.

What kind of difference would that make for your mindset knowing that every workout, no matter how you feel, is good and it’s moving you one step closer to your goals?

I let go of my expectations and just took my training one day at a time. I took it all in stride, the good and the bad alike. I stopped overthinking and worrying, and it’s helped me stick to my training whether it felt satisfying or not. Whether I felt like it was a good workout or not. Whether I was in the right mindset that day or not.

This is the key to lifelong training.

What would it feel like to never have to give up on another fitness program again?

The truth is that you showing up, aware of how your body’s feeling and adjusting based on that, will give you more gains long term than you’d expect.

Also, how amazing would it be to have the most effective training ever, just because you’re listening to your body’s needs?

No more feelings of disappointment or like you’re not moving forward. You always are.

Want a more optimal training?

Check out Calisthenics Academy or take a FREE Assesment to see how do you stack up on 8 main calisthenics fundamentals

calisthenics progressions assessment

Professional trainer, ex cross-fitter and a long time calisthenic practitioner. I started with Convict Conditioning and achieved levels of strength which enabled me to take part in street workouts championships. Check Out our Resources and Start Building Real Strength just using your Bodyweight!
The end of beginner/intermediate/advance – that is hurting your training

The end of beginner/intermediate/advance – that is hurting your training

A few years back I moved to Scotland – I was well into calisthenics and I started training at the local Circus School The next months that followed were some of the most fun, yet frustrating months in my training career.

I absolutely fell in love with acrobatics, handstands, moving and seeing how my body was changing. I didn’t know much about programming for body weight, circus movement, or acrobatics. So I attended all the group classes and was just learning as much as I could and enjoying myself – the training added up to 15-20 hours a week – which I absolutely loved.

I even got ripped, not even knowing about it.

There was just one problem…

6 months in – and I felt like I had hardly made any progress.

Don’t get me wrong, the six pack was there, my handstand was getting better, my tucks were getting tighter, and I definitely was more flexible and mobile – BUT when friends and family asked how I was doing….

I had nothing really to show for all the training I had completed….

What was going on?

Knowing  that patience is bliss, especially in calisthenics, I kept on going.  

But then I got really frustrated and spent months researching, reading books and learning how to train and how to program this type of training in order for it to be effective.

Turns out that advanced gymnastics and calisthenics moves are way more complex than we imagine.

I realized my handstands were lacking serious shoulder mobility and were hindering me from being able to hold it during a free standing.

I also learned that practicing a few skills at the same time (like in my group training we would train for back tucks and back handsprings at the same time and then not train it for months) was hindering my progress as my body was getting confused.

The most surprising part is that I learned I am not the only one who has trouble with it. Once I started working with Calisthenics Academy – we saw people from all over the world struggling with the same issues.

During this time I came across an article which perfectly explained what was going on.

Dr. Tilly – the author of the article I am referring to, explains how a lack of personalisation, even at the level of competitive gymnastics is hurting athletes progress.

He described a program where all the students are given an assignment that was the same level of difficulty: 3 sets of 10 pull ups, dips, handstands, push-ups, and then 2 sets of 20 leg lifts. Something we all know, either from school or from gym classes.

No matter the level, it was the same training.

Now you might not be taking group training, but this is WHAT you will get in any calisthenics and gymnastic program online. They might assign you to the beginners/ intermediate/ advanced level- but you will be doing the same as all other folks in your group.

What’s the problem with that, you ask?

Well. Here it is.

Problems with the one-size fits all training routines

Below is a breakdown of some of the few problems that one-size fits all training creates:

1. Promoting Compensation, Movement Dysfunction, and Possible Injury Risk If Too Challenging

“Say for example part of your conditioning assignment is 3 sets of 5 handstands and push-ups. You send your team of 20 gymnasts to do it. Maybe for 12 of them, they are appropriately challenged by the workload, they fall in the middle of the bell curve, and it will serve its job to make them adapt and get stronger.

However, for 4 of them it may be too challenging and with the “get it done” mindset, they may have to cheat their range of motion, use a poor form like excessive back arching, or may simply just not do it.

Not only is this dangerous and engrains movement dysfunction (as quality slips away), it also really doesn’t help them on the performance side because they won’t truly develop strength. When you consider the  fatigue, things start to tank even faster. It will likely get them to be overwhelmed and frustrated.

Taking them a step back in a regression that demands perfect technique is better for their safety and long-term development of strength.”

2. Not Promoting Adaptation/Development If Not Challenging Enough

“The other side of the coin to the example, there may be 4 athletes who breeze through them and as a result don’t really get a challenge that stimulates development. Although this is not really as concerning with the compensation and danger side, they aren’t going to continue to get stronger/faster/more powerful, etc.

These athletes need a progression to make sure it’s challenging enough for them.

Dr. Tilly summarized not personalizing a training program as:
“Slamming a square block into a triangular hole may not be the best choice. The whole “1 step back for 2 steps forward later” and building a house on a concrete foundation versus sand analogy is a good fit here”

A recipe for disaster in terms of safety & hindering athletic progress & performance development by months

We are individuals, with different characteristics – one-fit-all training will not cut it!
No only you will not progress effectively, but you’re also risking injury.

Do you need any other reasons why a cookie cutter workout should not be used again?

So why on earth are we are still not personalizing these workouts?

In his article, Dr. Tilly talks about a coach’s ego. That’s it’s the culture and the way we always doing things, but the biggest problem is that:

IT’S EXTREMELY HARD.

When you get a bunch of people coming for a workout, you would have to analyze every single one of them and give them personal options.

For the coach it’s IMPOSSIBLE.

How on earth can you personalize a training program for every single person based on their PERSONAL STRENGTHS, MOBILITY, FLEXIBILITY, and HISTORY?

That calls for a serious, hours-heavy and expensive personal training program.

Well… unless you can leverage technology to do just that…

And this is why personalisation is at the HEART of what we are building inside Calisthenics Academy.

As you join the program, you will be run through a comprehensive athlete assessment to figure out EXACTLY where you are on the progressions and create a fully personalized training program just for you.

But that’s not all.

As you do your workouts, the system will adjust sets and reps based on your personal feedback, making sure wherever you’re at the workout is optimal for your progress.

Click here to learn more about the Calisthenics Academy.

We know you will love it.

Professional trainer, ex cross-fitter and a long time calisthenic practitioner. I started with Convict Conditioning and achieved levels of strength which enabled me to take part in street workouts championships. Check Out our Resources and Start Building Real Strength just using your Bodyweight!