PCC – Its time to hit the bar

Bodyweight course

This inaugural Bodyweight course was held at Read Performance, Australia’s Dragoondoor arm run by Andrew Read along with top flight PCC instructors Al Kavadlo & Danny Kavadlo and 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 knew these guys are not going to hand you a certification by just by turning up like many other providers. I make a point of getting myself adequately prepared and ready by cert time. You have to earn it, so be warned!

Having successfully passing the requirements of the “Century test” and weekend tasks 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. I’m an old Weightlifter lifter and like to lift what i consider 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 first promoted 6 months prior, I immediately logged in, paid my registration and then though here we go again, time to get it done and earn another worthwhile certification while learning some cool stuff.

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?

A different fitness approach

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 and a desire to be more of a complete trainer) it wasn’t long before I was playing around with my own bodyweight in preparing for PCC.

I like to plan, so i had to answer a few questions first. What did it take to pass? How long do I have? what is my current condition and have i got the proper resources, Then work backward from there.

Fortunately I have in my possession the two convict conditioning books written by the two course facilitators along with a reasonable library of other resources helping me to plan accordingly meet the criteria on the day.

You would expect a personal trainer to be prepared I guess.

The Exercises

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

  • All the stretches I knew.
  • Chins up & push up variations.
  • Pistol squats.
  • Hanging leg raises, now my go to abs exercise.
  • Running. Well it is bodyweight!
  • Bridge holds.
  • Prone hold
  • Handstand /play holds.
  • Bodyweight Dips
  • And my trusty adjustable 10kg weight vest.

I was mostly 90% working on the well knows 5×5 based strength protocol for all the movements when practicing. The benefit for me was that I had applied it to Barbell, Dumbbells Kettlebells and now given my fondness of it to bodyweight training.

Sometimes I would just work the simple 3×3 range depending on how “fried” my body felt from the previous 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 entirely depleted using pure bodyweight.

The only difference was on the days I felt ok I’d put more volume into it. For example a 15 x 5 set on the chins up. 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 I 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 the book convict conditioning, there is a clear process to follow in getting though the recommended progression. I must admit that I cheated and moved on and jumped a few steps then eventually  common sense prevailed and went back to start.

The Testing 

You have to pass the century which (For men) conducted at the end of the 3rd day after all the workouts you have done over this long and challenging course.

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 initially gave it a go and sort of completed it and thought to myself “yeah not too bad” it should be right. This was a rookie mistake as it was obvious later during preperation when I increased the volume during my workout. I would have 3 days of bodyweight hands on training and then had to finish the test within 8 minutes ,no stops with strict form or else!

As I knew the instructors , no hand outs where ever going to be given.

Fortunately for me this was a great wake up call and prepared myself accordingly with a solid base of physical programming. I turned up ready to be taught and was adequately conditioned to 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.

A great workshop

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. The level of movement taught require you to continually work on them , you simply cant just master all of them. im still to get the Muscle up and need to work on my levers.

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 Horizontal bar for some much needed practice and fun.

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