PCC – Its time to hit the bar

Having recently completed The Progressive Calisthenics (PCC) course that was hosted by Read Performance Training and successfully passing the requirements of the “Century test” I now have a new fondness and respect for all things bodyweight.

It was obvious to me from the start that I would have my work cut out in managing to “ace” all the moves being taught. You see I’m a lifter and like to lift what I still in my own mind think is heavy stuff. (It’s a macho thing!) however this “stuff” as I put it was rarely bodyweight. And boy was I in for an enjoyable surprise. When it was initially promoted from approximately 6 months prior, I immediately jumped on, paid my registration and then though here we go again, time to get it done and earn another worthwhile certification.

Hang on, I’ve never really been heavily into Bodyweight training so what do I do now? What have I done? Have I gotten ambition mixed up with ability, again?

Well this had to change, and given that I previously dropped my own bodyweight down from a solid 92kg frame to a now leaner and much more comfortable 78kg (due to my focus now being on running plus a desire to be more of a complete trainer) it wasn’t long before I was playing around with my own bodyweight preparing for PCC. Fortunately I have in my possession the two convict conditioning books along with a reasonable library of other resources that allowed me to plan accordingly and help me meet the criteria on the day.

After all I am a trainer and work with people so you would expect me be organized I guess. So here goes.

My programming was designed around the following basic movements. In no particular order, here was my template of the main moves that I at least has control over. Please note these were not all performed on the same day.

  • All the stretches I knew!!!
  • Chins ups & push up variations.
  • Pistol squats.
  • Hanging leg raises, now my go to abs exercise.
  • Running. Well it is bodyweight!
  • Bridge holds
  • Prone hold ( reminded me of group classes)
  • Handstand /play holds and Handstand pushups.
  • Bodyweight Dips on Gymnastics rings
  • And my trusty 10kg weight vest.

Let me spell it right out. It was mostly 90% working on a basic 5×5 based strength protocol for all the movements when practicing. The benefit of this for me was that I had applied it to Barbell (naturally), Kettlebells and now given my fondness of it to bodyweight training. Sometimes it even got to the stage of a simple 3×3 depending on how “fried” my body felt from the previous overloaded workout the day before – a rookie mistake that I made often due to my stubbornness. It’s a different kind of hurt when the nervous system is depleted! Take my word.

The only major difference to this was on the days I felt ok and decided to put more volume into it. For example a 15 x 5 set on the chins up. (Clearly I like chin ups) It’s the one movement that petrifies the newbie’s and was the base test entry going into the RKC cert. So I out of fear I already had the “money in the bank “ In relation to pull ups and now actually enjoyed them.

Unfortunately these volumes did not transfer well to other exercises. Like any well balanced program, we all can’t do what we like. So play it smart. Take for example the hanging leg raise series found in convict conditioning. There is a clear process to follow in getting though the recommended progression and I must admit that I cheated and moved on and jumped a few steps ( keep this quiet please) then eventually  common sense prevailed and went back to start.

With my new enthusiasm and weigh drop I was eventually well on the way in working toward my plan on passing the PCC.

Yes I like to plan, so my first stop was asking myself. What did it take to pass? How long do I have? Then work backward from there. You have to pass the century which is as follows for men conducted at the end of the 3 (long) days after all the work had been done!

1. FULL SQUATS:                        40 reps

2. FULL PUSH-UPS:                    30 reps

3. HANGING KNEE RAISES:         20 reps

4. FULL PULL-UPS:                    10 reps

TOTAL:    100 reps

At first this for me was a reasonable request and gave it a go and sort of completed it and thought to myself “yeah not bad” it should be right. This was another rookie mistake as it was obvious later on when I increased the volume during my workout that I would have 3 days of bodyweight hands on training and had to finish the test within 8 minutes with no stops and strict form or else! Oh and I knew the instructors (all of them), so no hand outs where ever going to be given. “So much for mate’s rates”

Fortunately for me this was a great wake up call and as I like to believe prepared myself accordingly with a solid base of general physical preparation. (GPP)  In other words I turned up ready to be taught and was physically conditioned to at least perform the basic exercises, learn and not get hurt due to a lack of conditioning. It costs money to attend these courses and it’s a total waste for all if you turn up unprepared.

The movements that are taught are many, just to name a few. Push ups and variations, chins and variations, front levers, back levers, pistols and floor holds to name a few – let’s not forget the muscle ups .

Check the website for a more comprehensive description on the PCC

This inaugural Bodyweight course was held at Read Performance, Australia’s Dragoondoor arm run by Andrew Read and along with top flight PCC instructors Al Kavadlo & Danny Kavadlo and the rest of the team facilitated a well run and enjoyable experience from start to end. To say there was energy in the room is an understatement. It was booming!

As usual I take a casual approach to these workshops. I like to have fun and absorb the knowledge given out and as I know these guys are not going to hand it to you just by turning up like many other certs I make a point of getting myself adequately prepared and ready by cert time. No excuses.

You have to earn it, so be warned!

It was clearly one of the more enjoyable workshops that I have done and along with the incredible manual the information I now have access too, will keep me busy and clients challenged for a long time to come.

Now off to the bar for some much needed practice and remember to have always have fun.

Tough Mudder- It’s all about the headband

Given the recent interest in all things obstacle racing by the general public and the abundance of current choices promoting these events I thought it might be good to educate some on what these things are all about.

So here’s the deal with our event- tough mudder. You have to like to run (20klm) on dirt, mud, gravel, pavement and trotting along paddocks. You have to like getting mud everywhere. And I do mean everywhere. If you are the type of person that likes to jump of moderate heights into a dam, slide down a makeshift water slide, get “mildly”electrocuted, trounce over mud, enjoy and ice bath, swim in cold water and even crawl underground for a few dark metres you should be ok and will survive! Oh did I mention you have to run.

At the end of the line In Tough mudders case , we are welcomed with a complimentary beer (VB) which to me, I wouldn’t even wash my old mans carburettor with , however not to be too anti social and really wanting to drink anything that did not have mud in it turns out to  quite a treat. The reality is I’m just a beer snob!  On completion all you get for your effort is a silly once size fits all orange head band along with a finishers T-shirt. You then basically look like everybody else around. Filthy, exhausted, jubilant, proud, somewhat energised, ready to tackle the world knowing you have accepted the challenge and along the way conquered some fears! All while proudly showing off your new kit! I really treasure my “silly little headband” It is after all my badge of honour.

“Before anything else preparation is the key to success” – A .G. Bell

Our preparation began by getting our general physical preparation (GPP) up to safely ensure we would all have a better chance of getting out it alive! (joke here) Let me put it this way Lack of preparation will show up on the day. period. Like any endeavour this will ring true. The better the preparation the better you will be both mentally and physically ready to not only run the 20klms plus 18 obstacles, but to actually complete the event and complete it well. That is after all our plan.

Our team at will be tackling this event for the third time and having been through the initial “first scary one” we know what lies ahead, what it takes and most importantly how to prepared for it. We now have a team of around 10 plus our support crew/cheers squad tagging along for the ride. For the tough mudder crew in addition to their own particular Personal/group training requirements our basic programming over time has been lots of bodyweight movements, regular running, all the basic compound lifts ( pulls, press, push and squat) while utilising both barbells and Kettlebells for variety.  A solid serving of hard style kettlebell swings was always a regular treat. The Cardio component in particular with the ladies group has been complimented with Boxing specific training (a truly full body workout) overall the group is well prepared and physically ready to tackle the coming challenges.

With a basic preparation of running along with a solid strength base anyone should be able to complete the course without much trouble. A properly followed program not only readies you for the event but allows you to recover quicker and reduce the risk of injuries. However if you are one of many and turn up unprepared with only a bare minimum of preparation, (and believe me I’ve seen plenty examples out there) You will somehow find a way through and eventually make it but I don’t like your chances of pulling up well for the next couple days following or even worse, get an injury that could have been prevented in the first place by simply taking the time to prepare your body for the an obstacle course. So please be warned.  Our team newbie’s naturally are a little nervous but with all our events they will be taken care of by the more experienced among us during the day  – after all it the way we do it.

We are prepared and we will conquer it ……….Together as a team.

If you don’t turn up you don’t get results.

Hello and welcome to the first publication of my blog on fitness, life, banter , promoting myself silly and whatever happens to jump into my old head. I’ll try not to go astray and do my best to keep to the subject matter. Well ill try at least, ok?

A bit about me. I’m currently 46 year young and sometime behave like a 12 year old, really I do, just ask any of my colleagues and my clients. I keep things simple which allows me to get results and be understood. Why complicate something for the sake of impressing great people who are after results and a solid workout. Not a workshop. My background to my own training goes back to the good old days where I would just turn up and decide on the day what I was going to train.  Most likely chest and arms. Quite simply I wanted to get big, lean and look good for the ladies. In actual fact I was more interested in looking better than my mates for bragging rights as the ladies didn’t give me attention     ( feel free to pity me now) So after approximately 10 year of “ bodybuilding” type training I decided that I needed something else that wasn’t going to break me , actually see my neck again and take me onto my future years and be pain free.

And a little bit of that fitness stuff other people do would probably be ok.

This is where I took up traditional karate (Goju Kai) learned to move , and slowly over the years worked my way up the ranks by simply turning up, listening, training hard and making an effort to learn what was on offer. Basically I was the fellow who was always there chipping away, (over the colder months) not fast, strong or gifted. Just happy to be there, in fact by doing so I got to be respected by my peers and as a consequence was given some extra attention by my new friends which went along like this “we are sparring on Saturday, be there!”. In later years I followed the same process with Boxing at club level. Turned up, got fit, got leaner, and got to learn a little about the sweet science known as boxing. Are you following the pattern here? TURN UP! As a bonus my coach who knew I was a personal trainer invited me to participate in the coaching course and as a result I’m registered with Boxing Australia as a boxing coach. Oh yeah.

It was only when I began my professional career in Personal training that I realised that with a disciplined approach to traditional karate and boxing, what all the years of training did for me. It actually taught me how to be a better person/trainer that now operates as Claudefit. how? By listening, caring and knowing how to help others…..go figure.  And I thought my high kicks and sense of humor were enough.

Fast forward to now and how it affects my Approach on training you?

I simply listen to your needs and ensure that we prepare the body and mind accordingly in order to meet those goals.  Whether you are looking at losing weight, getting stronger, fitter or becoming more resilient for your chosen sport. I see myself as only a trainer that gets the job done.

Look forward in catching up with you soon. Our group is getting ready to tackle the future fun runs along with tough mudder and Spartan race. Let me know if you are keen.

One more thing before I go. Commit to your fitness program and TURN UP.

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