Client Spotlight: Ellen

What’s pop’n, ninjas? Today I wanted to spotlight one of my DIESEL clients, Ellen!

Ellen began training at Momentum Fitness after sustaining an injury to her Achilles tendon. After intense physical therapy for several months she began doing personal training to correct imbalances caused by her injury and improve overall strength.

Ellen also had very fitness-specific goals like learning to do an L-sit, and other yoga arm-balances. She also wanted to achieve her first pull-up and learn to do a V-Sit. Right off the bat I was extremely impressed by her intensity and drive to want to achieve such advanced moves and knew right away we were going to have a lot of fun training together! 🙂

At 63 years old, Ellen is in the best shape of her life!

Read on to learn a little bit more about Ellen…

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What was your prime modality of training before Calisthenics?

One way or the other I’ve been active all my life. When I was 5 and my brother was 3, we used to careen around our suburban neighborhood on bikes or roller skates. My grandfather taught me to swim in the ocean–which is not for the faint of heart. By six, I started dance. A year of tap commenced many years of ballet and then I found expression & athleticism in modern dance. By the time my kids came along, I had taken it to the gym. I engaged in all manner of high impact aerobics thru fad after fad.

If you were to convince other women in your age group about trying calisthenics, what would you say to them?

As I grow older, I thought I should be more cognizant of what’s best for my body to keep me going physically & mentally. I started thinking of yoga as more than just a good stretch class and embarked on weight training which was specific to someone my age-height-weight in order to be injury-free. I still like to spin and kick-box, but don’t feel it’s a daily necessity.

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Why do you think women should practice Calisthenics? What benefits have you noticed?

The biggest seller for women training calisthenics is that it gives one more energy and the ability to do all kinds of activities afterward. I usually start my day by exercising, and can still run and play w/ my three grandchildren without tiring quickly.

 

Which moves are the most challenging for you?

I don’t think I’ve ever had upper arm strength, so pull-ups are difficult for me. However, sometimes I’ll manage one rep without a band-assist. I also find Dips to be particularly challenging, too.

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What are your favorite exercises to practice?

This probably will not come as a surprise to you, but I actually like and thrive on all those exercises which present a challenge to me. I love practicing handstands, skin-the-cat, finding the “floats” in yoga jumps from downward dog and back to forward fold.

Do you have any final words of encouragement or a motivational quote for my readers?

Why stand still when there is still so much to learn and do no matter what your age?

One of the most rewarding things about being a personal trainer is getting to witness my clients performing some awesome feats of strength! Check out my client Ellen (@ellenwkl )who is super DIESEL!! Yesterday we worked on a few new moves to help challenge her core stability like the Bent Arm Stand on P-bars, Hanging Leg Raises and the Zombie Press to Headstand and she nailed them all!!#nyctrainer #fitnesstrainer #momentumfitness #strongwomenrule #dieselgrace #clientspotlight #progressivecalisthenics #coreworkout #corestability #personaltrainers #womenwithmuscle #bentarmstand #zombiepressheadstand #hanginglegraises #bodyweightninja #bodyweightworkout #bodyweighttraining #bodyweightexercises #calisthenicsworkout #calisthenicswomen #parallettes #inversions

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Battle Ropes Training

What’s pop’n? As many of you may already know, I’m a total minimalist when it comes to training. The less equipment I have to use, the better! Recently they built a new fitness park in our neighborhood and they installed a set of Battle Ropes. If you’ve never used them before, they are a great way to not only build strength but improve your conditioning, too. The latter being the most appealing to someone like myself that gets bored easily of doing traditional cardio like endurance running.

Here are 12 different exercises you can try next time you get a chance to train with Battle Ropes:

  1. Alternating Waves
  2. Slams
  3. Deep Squat Alternating Waves
  4. Plank Single Arm Waves
  5. Russian Twist Waves
  6. Alternating Reverse Lunge Waves
  7. Deep Squat In-n-Out Waves
  8. Kneeling Alternating Waves
  9. Kneeling to Standing Alternating Waves
  10. Cossack Alternating Waves
  11. Straddle Waves
  12. Alternating Stage Coach

Do all 12 movements consecutively for 30s work and 30s rest for 3 rounds!

Have fun! Til next time, Peace ❤ & Ninja Kicks!

 

Training with 12-Minute Athlete, Krista Stryker!

What’s pop’n, ninjas? Ever since I began practicing calisthenics, I’ve had the opportunity to meet and train with lots of different ninjas from all over the world! I meet folks from Instagram, at the parks, and of course, at the Progressive Calisthenics Workshops.

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One of these awesome peeps is my girl, Krista Stryker, of 12-Minute Athlete. I began following Krista on social media pretty early on when I started getting serious about bodyweight training and was searching for other women that were doing it, too.  Krista is the founder of the 12-Minute Athlete app and blog and an amazing calisthenics practitioner! Anytime I’m in LA or she’s in NYC, we always have a blast eating Vegan food and training together. Here is a video of our workout from her last visit:

It’s always a blast kicking it with the ladies of the Street Workout/Calisthenics movement! It’s important to train with other women because our bodies are different than dudes and you can exchange a lot of cues and advice specific to females only. There’s also no ego either, it’s not about competing with each other, but about encouraging and lifting each other up! 🙂

So ladies, find your best gal-pal and get some reps in!

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Til next time, peace, ❤ & ninja kicks!

Learn to do the Human Flag!

What’s pop’n, ninjas? Today I’m going to show you some progressions towards the human flag.

First up, find a sturdy, vertical pole that you can get a good grip on. I like to grab with the bottom hand facing toward me thumbs down and the top hand twisted all the way around facing toward me thumbs up. This grip tends to work well for women and it’s the one you tend to see in pole dancing. If you don’t have the flexibility for this, you can grab with a standard overhand or underhand grip.

From here you’ll need to generate power from your hips and legs to jump yourself into a tucked flag position. Aim to get your hips high in the air with both legs bent and your arms fully extended. This position allows you to get a feel for the move with the best possible leverage.

It will take some trial and error to get the timing right and learn to generate enough force to get your body to stay in the air. It can help to think about turning your hips upwards as you kick to generate more power. Also think about pushing with your bottom arm and pulling with your top arm. Remember we are aiming for straight arms – try not to bend at the elbows. The pull and push should happen from your shoulders and lats more than your biceps and triceps.

After you get a feel for this tucked position with your hips up, you can try to extend one leg and slowly begin to lower your body down toward a horizontal position.

Make sure to keep your whole body tense. Take a few minutes of rest between efforts as this move can be very intense on your joints.

The human flag is an advanced calisthenics skills and can take time to learn. Be patient and most importantly have fun!

If you want to train for the human flag and learn other calisthenics skills/exercises in person then come to one of our Progressive Calisthenics workshops. We’ve got several events coming up. Click the link below to learn more and hope to see you ninjas at a future PCC!

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Til next time…peace love and ninja kicks!

Calisthenics Cardio

Yo ninjas! Grace here. I’ve received several emails asking me what I do for Cardio. I’m not really a fan of traditional cardio like running or cycling so I just practice calisthenics….FASTER!

Check out my latest video:

Workout: Do 30 seconds of each exercise (Cossacks, Pikes, Burpees, Glider Push-ups, and Handstand push-ups) and then rest 1-3 mins between sets. Repeat for 3-5 sets!

This workout should definitely increase your heart rate, make you break a sweat and challenge even the toughest of ninjas!

Let me know how it goes!

Peace ❤ & ninja kicks!

Homemade Muscle Interview

What’s pop’n, ninjas?

Recently, I had the opportunity to meet and train with Anthony Arvanitakis, of HomeMade Muscle! Anthony’s mission is similar to Al and mine — to spread the word about the benefits of calisthenics and to show you how to get DIESEL without going to the gym!

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We did some pull-ups, handstands, and more at Tompkins Park and discussed some tips and advice for women interested in getting started with calisthenics training!

Check it out and don’t forget to SUBSCRIBE for more!

Hope you enjoyed that interview! Til next time, peace ❤ & ninja kicks!

4 Ways to get into a Handstand

What’s pop’n, ninjas?

One of my favorite aspects of calisthenics is the element of creativity.

Take the handstand for example: Do you know how many ways there are to get into one? A lot! For most folks, it comes down to personal preference, but it’s good to mix things up, as each method has its benefits.

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Here are some of my favorite ways to get into a handstand:

1.) Grounded Hands Kick-up:  Starting with your hands already on the ground helps establish a firm grip and a gazing point to focus on before initiating the kick. This method is also useful, as it allows you to use your back leg to guide your hips into position above your shoulders. I usually prefer to look either in between or slightly ahead of my hands.

2.) The Dive:  This can be intimidating for some because it involves basically diving into the ground from a standing position and trusting that you will be able to time your kick-up quickly. For others, this method can be more accessible than the grounded hands kick-up, as diving into the handstand allows for more momentum to propel yourself into position. A common mistake I see with beginners is diving too far ahead, which makes aligning the body for the balance more difficult. Instead, aim to place your hands only a few inches away from your lead leg.

3.) Frog Hop: This one’s great for folks who need more power from their legs to propel their hips over their shoulders. By initiating the launch from a frog squat position, you get more power from both legs. Remember not to place your hands too far ahead of your feet, and keep your elbows extended throughout the entirety of the movement.

4.) Crow Press: This is the most advanced of these four methods, and is typically an option only for those who have a good amount of handbalancing experience under their belt. This method involves beginning in a crow pose and then timing the pressing of your arms with the extension of your legs upwards. It helps to gaze a few feet ahead of your hands and stay focused on that point until your legs are fully extended overhead, at which point the gaze can move in between the hands.

Thanks for tuning in! Happy Handstands!

Til next time, Peace ❤ & Ninja Kicks!

Pull-ups Tutorial for Women

What’s pop’n, ninjas?

Having the ability to do pull-ups has made me a more confident woman and calisthenics practitioner. It took a lot of practice and consistent training, but getting my first rep was an EPIC moment I’ll never forget!

Pull-ups are tough for women, but not impossible! You CAN do it!

Al Kavadlo and I are here to show you how to get your first rep, ladies!

I hope this tutorial helps inspire you to train for your first pull-up rep or improve upon your current personal record. Remember, it takes consistent practice, a positive mental attitude and patience to get your first rep, but it is totally worth it!

If you have hit a plateau in your training or need some tips for improving your form, I am available for in-person and online coaching.

Email me for rates and more information!

Til next time, peace ❤ & ninja kicks!

The Yoga Sequence Every Athlete Needs to Master

What’s pop’n, ninjas? As many of you may know, yoga was my first introduction into bodyweight training. I credit my practice for introducing me into the world of handbalancing, as well as for helping me improve and maintain my flexibility.

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However, I know a lot of ninjas are often too intimidated to step foot into a yoga class because they feel they are not flexible enough, or perhaps because they don’t think it will benefit them. If you’re one of these people, then Namastay right there, and read my latest piece for Bodybuilding.com. Learn to master this easy Yoga sequence and reap the benefits of a practice on your own!

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CLICK ME!

Hope you enjoyed this article and take the time to learn this awesome sequence! Feel free to share with all your ninja friends!

Til next time… peace, ❤ & ninja kicks!

PCC Goes Commando!

What’s pop’n, ninjas? We just returned from a truly EPIC workshop at the most amazing gym in the world, The Commando Temple! We had a great group of 30+ ninjas that absolutely rocked it this past weekend. I wrote a quick recap of the event on the Progressive Calisthenics Blog! Ch-ch-check it out:

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Click me to read all about it!

We have a few other upcoming workshops this year and I am looking forward to training with YOU!

Til next time, peace, ❤ & ninja kicks!