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OVER 30 YEARS OF CALISTHENICS EXPERIENCE...

DANNY TELLS ALL IN OUR EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW!

17 November 2015 | Photo Credits: Danny The Trainer via Facebook

 

 

"EVERYBODY NEEDS TRAINING!"

I started doing push-ups and pull-ups almost 30 years ago. Back then I honestly didn’t know what “calisthenics” was. The phrase “street workout” wouldn’t be invented for decades. I just wanted to get strong. I grew up in a neighborhood in Brooklyn where, how shall I say it, not getting your ass kicked was a priority. Today you’d call it non-hipster Brooklyn. Back then, it was called a “two-fare

zone”, meaning we were so deep in Brooklyn, that you’d have to take the train to the bus to get there from the city. Although I had a non-athletic background as a kid, I did have brothers and a dusty, old pull-up bar, so we would have push-up contests, pull-up contests, etc. It would be another 20 years before I ever even saw a muscle-up. But I have no regrets. That solid foundation gave me the tools I needed to get into advanced calisthenics training in the mid-2000’s. In fact, if I have any advice to offer, I’d say to start with the basics. Get good at the fundamentals. Don’t show me your moves until I see your reps.

 

  • Age: 41
  • Height: 6' 0"
  • Weight: 180
  • Location: NYC

 

WHAT IS YOUR REGULAR WORKOUT ROUTINE?

 

I paint in broad strokes. I simply make an effort to work steadily, consistently and intensely. I try to train my body evenly so I mix it up: Push/Pull. Upper/Lower. Flexion/Extension. I usually do about two intense, full body days a week, and two less intense days, where maybe I’ll work on improving a specific skill rather than focusing on raw strength. It’s hard to say what my regular workout routine is because I constantly improvise, change and adapt.

That said, this is what I did today:

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  • 5 Muscle-Ups, 5 Straight Bar Dips, 5 Ice Cream Makers (aka Front Lever Raises), 5 Pull-Ups, 5 Shins-To-Bar Leg Raises, WITHOUT COMING OFF THE BAR
  • Then, 5 Left Pistol Squats, 5 Right Pistol Squats, 5 Handstand Push-Ups (against a wall, nose to ground)

Then rest. I repeated this circuit 3 total times. It was brief, but intense. It got the job done. Tomorrow I’ll probably have a more mellow day where I work on bridges, handstands and balancing, but I wont know for sure until tomorrow.

 

DO YOU FOLLOW A NUTRITION PLAN?  SUPPLEMENTATION PLAN?

My nutrition plan is to eat lots of good food and never diet. I avoid food rendered in a factory (therefore no supplements whatsoever) and enjoy food made in a kitchen. I eat tons of fruits, vegetables, meats, fish, beans, seeds, nuts and legumes. I cook with as few ingredients as possible. I drink lots of water. Yes, I eat dairy. Yes, I drink coffee. Yes, I drink alcohol. I even have an ice cream cone sometimes, just not all the time. My book Diamond-Cut Abs has over 50 pages devoted to my nutritional stylings. I urge you to check it out. It has a lot more detail than I can get into here.

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DO YOU HAVE ANY ADVICE IN REGARDS TO HEALTH AND (WORKOUT) RECOVERY?

 

Let your body recover as appropriate. It’s a cold, hard fact that your body needs time to adapt and change. If you are going balls out on the pull-up bar several days in a row, and you find that you need a break then take it! No shame in that game. If you are going for muscular growth and squeezing out every last rep you can, then you may want to take the next day off. Muscle needs to repair after it’s been broken down. Having said that, it is absolutely possible to train every single day, but you may need to tone it down in some regards. Simply put, there is an inverse relationship between frequency and intensity. Experiment. You won’t get results if you don’t work hard, but you must find the balance.

 

WHAT KEEPS YOU PERSONALLY MOTIVATED?

 

My son. He inspires me to be the best version of myself. Hopefully, I can return the favor.

 

WHAT SORT OF THINGS ARE YOU WORKING ON CURRENTLY?

My next full-length book with Dragon Door Publications, STRENGTH RULES, is scheduled to be released some time this week. My last book Diamond-Cut Abs was extremely well received.  In fact, it went to #1 on Amazon! After its release, I started getting A LOT of correspondence asking for a book about full body strength. I considered working on such a project, but the time wasn’t right.

"WALKING THROUGH THE FIRE AND COMING OUT, NOT ONLY ALIVE, BUT STRONGER FOR IT..."

On a personal note, shortly after DCA, my wife moved out abruptly, leaving our son and me, after 9 years of marriage. Then it hit me: a book about full body strength would not be enough... It would have to be about mental and emotional strength too. This project is about perseverance, endurance and overcoming obstacles. Yes, it includes over 60 necessary bodyweight exercises, but it also focuses a great deal on walking through the fire and coming out, not only alive, but stronger for it. It talks about making time to train, living a healthy life and establishing priorities, both in the gym and out, all while fostering a positive mental attitude. I expect it to be released late 2015. Aside from being a dad, this book is the best thing I’ve ever done.


DO YOU HAVE ANY LONG TERM GOALS?


I was in better shape in my 30’s than I was in my 20’s. I’m in better shape in my 40’s than I was in my 30’s. My long term goal is simple self improvement. I want to get better with age. I am not looking to “master” anything. Rather, I’m looking to get better at everything.

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WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CALISTHENICS EXERCISE OR PROGRESSION?

 

Good question. I want to say human flag. I want to say front lever. I want to say one-arm pull-up. But at the end of the day, I’d have to go with the one exercise that started it all for me: the humble push-up. To me the push-up embodies the heart of bodyweight strength training. It loans itself to infinite progressions (feet elevated, single limb, fingertip, fist, thumbs, etc), yet it’s also infinitely regressed (even the most deconditioned individual can do a limited range of motion push-up on a wall if they had to!) This universal scalabilty makes it very appealing to me. Not only that; it requires zero equipment and is the most fundamental upper body pressing movement there is. No need to get fancy. You gotta know the rules before you can break ‘em.

 

WHERE CAN WE FIND MORE INFORMATION ABOUT YOU?

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