Some may not see it, but there is a big difference between body building and performance training. One difference is that body building is primarily done for aesthetic purposes, whereas performance training is done to improve certain physical skills. Another difference is that the muscles that are focused on. The body builder, in most cases, wants to build that muscle mass focusing heavily on the slow twitch muscles that help with raw strength and appearance. In the realm of performance training, you want to focus on the fast twitch muscles and the tendons. Performance training sometimes requires quick direction changes and explosive movements. For the aesthetic purpose, the body builder will also focus on keeping the body fat low to look more defined, whereas body fat only becomes an issue in performance training if weight class or poor performance become an issue. Now, I’m not saying that you won’t be aesthetically attractive doing performance training, but it is more of a side effect or after thought not a focus. Also, you do work strength into performance training, but it is more for the purpose of performing a certain physical activity. In the end they both have benefits, and it really comes down to what do you want in the end.
So after a lot of uncertainty, I decided to bite the bullet and attend the first Boston PCC (Progressive Calisthenics Certification). I will admit I had no idea what to expect out of this 3 day, 8 hour a day workshop. First day in Boston I, of course, had to see the sites, because, hell! There is a ton of history here!
Day One of the PCC was a lot of push-ups and pull-up progressions showing how to advance from a beginner to advanced. I even managed to get my first one arm pull-up! After lunch we moved on to human flag progressions. Yup, you read that correctly. So, it was amazing to see how strong everyone was through all those progressions. We finished the day working on the mighty muscle-up. Yeah, I have been doing them for a while, but they showed me how to make them even more challenging by only using my wrists and going slow.
Even better was seeing all the other people getting their first one! That night I got to go out with some friends from high school that I have not seen in almost 19 years. We had a blast! It was like nothing had changed.
Day Two was all legs and core work. There were a ton of first time moves for everyone! Some getting their first pistol or shrimp squats some getting their first front or back levers, for me, I got my first Meathook and Reverse Grip Back Lever! Even finished the day with a bad ass photo with Al and Danny Kavadlo.
Day Three I got to have breakfast with Danny and Al and just shoot the breeze. In class we went a bit lighter focusing on skills like hand balancing. I was impressed to see everyone’s skill level. They were some truly impressive people! After lunch the pressure was on… we had to test for our certification. When my name came up, my heart jumped up into my throat despite practicing this test over and over for the last few months. But I nailed it! After all was said and done, there were hugs all around. We were all like family in the end. I truly hope to stay in touch with my new calisthenics family.
Now, as the only Dragon Door certified calisthenics trainer in Michigan, I can’t wait to pass on all I have learned this long vacation!
See my personal journey.
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This year, at Quest Fitness, we will be holding a fitness challenge! For a $5 admission you can enter! (Quest Fitness is not keeping any of it.) Whoever has the best over all improvement wins the cash pot! There are 4 exercises that you will be judged on.
Squats must be performed with a minimum depth of top of the thighs parallel to the floor and a full lock out at the top of each rep. Arms may be raised in front, crossed, or placed on top of the head. Heels must stay flat the entire time.
Push-up depth must reach a minimum of 90 degrees of flexion as measured along the outside of the elbow and a full lockout must be achieved at the top of every rep. A straight body position must be maintained throughout the entire range of motion. No sticking your butt into the air or leaving your hips down on the ground.
Hanging knee raises must be performed with the knees being raised above waist level and a full extension of the legs at the bottom of every rep. Swinging shall be kept to a minimum. Arms must remain straight the entire set.
Pull-ups may be performed with an overhand or underhand grip. The chin must clear the bar at the top of each rep and a full extension must be reached at the bottom. Kipping will not be allowed. Chin-ups will be allowed, but you must do the same style of pull-ups both at the beginning and end of the challenge. If you choose to use a assistance band, you must use the same one through the entire competition.
Rests may be taken in between exercises, but each exercise must be completed in a single set. You may pause briefly between reps as long as the position is held (i.e. top of push-up position, bottom of pull-up, etc.)
The entry date starts 1/2 and entry closes 1/9. You will be allowed to take a progress test the week of 1/30, but it is not mandatory. The final test will start on 2/27 and officially end 3/6. Entry will be allowed via Skype or FaceTime. But the $5 must be paid at entry.
Good luck, and may the gains be with you!
Have questions? Contact me.
A lot of people want that flat belly or ripped abs.
But a lot of people tend to over train them. Abs are like any other muscle, and like other muscles they need time to recover.
A personal suggestion would be to train them only 1-3 times a week. If you focus on proper movement through your kinetic chain you only really need to once.
Here are some examples of what I mean by Kinetic Chain Training:
Instead of using a bench for chest press, get out the Stability Ball.
- Balance your shoulders and neck on the ball
- push your hips up
- tighten the core to hold yourself level
Yes you will likely have to go with decrease the weight load but you will get more core engagement. To compensate for the decrease in weight, slow the tempo.
Now for the legs.
First, get off the machines, and yes you can do squats. Squats take a lot of core engagement!
- At the top of your squat tighten up that core by pulling the belly button into the spine.
- Then lower yourself down with back straight and weight in the heels.
Things like this can be added into any routine to aid in building the abs. It’s not all about crunches and planks. Your abs can be worked by properly moving. Also don’t forget the cardio and proper diet. I suggest meeting with a trainer to learn proper movements to build that core. If you still want to challenge that core, then checkout the link to my latest ab routine.
Have Questions? Contact Me.
Want to see how I’ve progress? My Fitness Journey.