Calisthenic Movement have been killing it with the content lately, having brought out more and more programs since 2016 or so. Initially they had their Level 1-5 Basic Bundles (more on them here) with some specific programs alongside. Then came their long awaited & anticipated Mobility Program in 2018, followed by their Body Transformation bundles last year!
As of early 2020 they’ve now launched their new ‘Home Workout’ Program – a system using no equipment other than standard and commonly found household items. One that promises to provide short and effective workouts designed to build muscle, increase endurance and all round proficiency within calisthenics themed exercises.
And with the crisis the world faces right now they couldn’t have released it at a better time. It’s like they’re either psychic or had some secret inside info! Whatever the case, this coincidence will benefit the thousands/millions of fitness enthusiasts out there. Their new YouTube video below will give you a nice taster/preview……….
I recently got hold of the program and was excited to give it a once over and see what it’s all about.
The program is a 25 week long periodized plan broken down into 6 mini phases. There’s a deload week after the first 12 weeks of training in which you do a mobility week designed to allow recuperation and super-compensation. Then you’re back at it for the next phases in which the exercises are progressed in a combination of volume, complexity and even the frequency is manipulated to spark certain training effects.
One thing I’ve always liked about Cali Move is their intelligent programming. These guys really understand the laws of progressive overload and apply it superbly in their plans. A thorough look through the home workout shows this yet again. They subtly increase workload in the first phase, then increase complexity in the next while gradually amping up volume alongside.
One of the things I first questioned upon seeing this program was the length of it; 6 months is forever to a society in which our attention spans are officially worse than a goldfish. But like any trainer, coach or authority in this game will tell you who’s worth their crust, long lasting results take long lasting investments. You cannot force grand scale transformation in 4 weeks, sorry.
I’ve heard the odd ADD sufferer whining that Cali Move’s plans ‘didn’t work’, for me to ask them how long they used it for and them to tell me, ‘3 weeks but I could only get 2 sessions in per week and I cut out some of the exercises because I didn’t want to do them’. To which I smile and reply: judging a program without running it in its entirety is akin to saying you’ll marry someone because their first name ‘has a ring to it’.
So like all their plans, this one is extensive and comprehensive. If you’re not willing to put the time in, don’t bother. And ironically, the workouts are short – averaging around 36 minutes, give or take, subject to warm up time. ANYONE, yes, ANYONE has 35/40 mins to dedicate to their health 3 to 4 times per week.
The days you train per week vary between as little as two and as many as 4/5 depending on the phase but the workout length seems to remain pretty standardised.
No equipment? Like NONE at all?
Many ‘home workout’ plans are marketed as completely equipment free but then you open up the PDF and see a ‘required equipment’ list, or a ‘recommended but not essential extra equipment’ list which translates to: ‘you don’t have to have the extra things we recommend but by not having them you aren’t getting half the results you would if you did have them’…………
So the first thing I wanted to see was whether there was any hidden equipment needs like rings or a doorway pull up bar, or even an ab wheel or some resistance bands. And to their credit, there’s none whatsoever. All you need is you, some floor space, a house with everyday furniture and you’re good to go, for the whole 6 month system! The only thing you’re encouraged to use is a table or a couple of chairs to anchor on to but even then there’s plenty of ideas for the minimalists lacking furnishings.
Things that caught my eye
It’s not often nowadays I haven’t heard of a bodyweight exercise but Cali Move provided me with an elusive eureka moment or two with some of the moves they’ve thrown in the plan. Some are neat spin offs of basic patterns, designed to add a movement/mobility/stability component to spice things up and they are cleverly selected with the minimalism component in mind.
As I mentioned earlier, the exercises are nicely progressed and layer on to each other leading somewhere bigger. It’s not just thrown together; there’s a movement hierarchy clear to see.
From a training stimulus standpoint I also liked the inclusion of the ‘5 minute time challenges’, where the goal is to accumulate high quality workloads in short time frames, designed to increase work capacity and density simultaneously. And, they neatly incorporate different training splits – from full body, to push/pull and upper/lower all being used throughout the various cycles.
The first thing I instinctively narrowed my eyes at slightly was the workloads being measured in time as opposed to reps in some of the workouts. I’m not the biggest fan of this as it’s quite arbitrary and the variance you can get in terms of reps within a time span is huge between person to person – some people will whack out 50 reps in 40 seconds and others will struggle to get 15. Having said that, Cali Move do advise a tempo for all exercises in the program so this should go some way to policing the rep speed.
Other possible limitations of the program are a lack of vertical pulling movements and by the same token, grip/hanging movements. Obviously Cali Move have a wide range of row options and when trained the right way, rows can build pull up strength plenty well, but the raw movement pattern isn’t the same. This is less a criticism of Cali Move as they’ve done it this way to minimise need for equipment, and more a general outside look at what might be missing.
Overall this seems to be a great program for the minimalist who doesn’t want to invest in gym memberships, calisthenics friendly equipment and home cardio machinery. The sessions are easy to follow and you have videos to accompany every session in which, Alex (El Eggs) talks you through the session including the rest times. So it’s very much like having a virtual personal trainer!
If you’re more advanced and have a decent catalogue of equipment at your disposal then there are probably better options for you but this is a really innovative and creative program with minimal requirements and is available to virtually anyone.
Grab your copy of the program HERE!
For other reviews of Calisthenic Movement’s material, have a browse through my previous articles & write ups:
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