Raising the Bar Review | Bodyweight Training Arena


Forget about buying a gym membership, hiring a personal trainer, or spending thousands of dollars on equipment to build a home gym. A lot of people think they need the latest fitness gadget, tool, or pair of shoes to really get their workout on. And some people blindly believe that the only way to get fit and build a better body requires forking over cash to a gym or health club every month. But it’s just not true. You can build an incredible body, lean muscle tissue, and massive strength without ever stepping into a gym. And you can do it with a single piece of equipment…The pull-up bar.

raising the bar

raising the bar

Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, personal trainer, author, and badass bodyweight master Al Kavaldo proves it in his book, Raising the Bar: The Definitive Guide to Pull-Up Bar Calisthenics. If you’re looking for a minimalist program to build the best upper body of your life, Al Kavaldo can show you how it’s done.

raising the bar

raising the bar


Raising the Bar: The Definitive Guide to Bar Calisthenics is available in print, as an e-book, and in DVD format from Dragon Door Publishing and Amazon.com. In this 203-page guide, Al Kavaldo guides you through the process of building an awesome upper body with nothing more than a pull-up bar.

His program is based largely on mastering a couple moves designed to build massive upper-body strength: pull-ups, dips, muscle-upd, and levers. But you don’t have to be able to do any of these the first time you open the book. Al Kavaldo guides you through a series of progressive exercises to help you build the muscle strength you need to execute those advanced moves. He’ll even point the way to being able to achieve the one-armed pull-up.

The book contains well-written instructions and sensible advice about how to get stronger and do it safely. There are also plenty of photo illustrations to demonstrate the many variations of the moves he recommends for the pull-up bar. For some moves, the DVD may be a better option to watch how certain exercises are performed, but isn’t a requirement.

You’ll want to have access to a good overhead bar to jump into this workout program. There are some good in-the-door-frame pull-up bars you can buy. There’s exercise machines that feature a pull-up bar, and then there’s always the gym if you go to one, or possibly children’s playgrounds after hours.


Simple and easy-to-follow program to build upper body strength that only requires a pull-up bar.


There’s an urban jungle-survivor theme that runs throughout the book. It’s clever and interesting, but it’s a little over-the-top.

raising the bar

raising the bar

Bottom Line

If you’re looking for a low-cost bodyweight training program to build upper body strength, this is an excellent buy. Al Kavaldo knows what he’s talking about. He’s among only a few extreme bodyweight training athletes to master the Big Six moves featured in Paul Wade’s Convict Conditioning: How to Bust Free of All Weakness Using the Lost Secrets of Supreme Survival Strength. He published Convict Conditioning 2 with his brother Danny Kavaldo. And he’s helped millions of people lose weight, burn fat, and transform their lives through progressive bodyweight training exercises.

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Posted on

January 21, 2022