Long Term Admirer of Pavel wants to Return to Strength Training


Still New to StrongFirst Forum
My first post so hear goes...

Demographics - 27 year old male (month away from being 28), 183cm/6ft, 75kg/165lb and I'd say that I was lean.

Injury History - none, think I may have a few Knots that need sorting in the upper back/posterior shoulder, I'm using a tennis ball for this at the moment and it does help to make the shoulders feel "cleaner" if that makes sense but I think maybe a massage therapist/specialist or Osteopath may clear the area up more effectively and permanently...? There's no pain and my mobility in the shoulders is pretty good I think.

Movement History - I've done the FMS self Movement Screen Test with the stick, band and doorway (the overhead deep squat, hurdle step, incline lunge, shoulder mobility, active straight leg raise, trunk stability push up, rotary stability, spinal flexion clearing test and got 3s on all them and done this video test - Self Movement Screen https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h8G6jkEf1uI and passed that too. I explained it to my Dad and got him to "spot me" as it where and there were no dodgy side to side movements or things rising where they shouldn't be. The knots in my upper back/shoulders are annoying as I know things would run smoother if they were not there but I don't think they restrict me in any way yet...

I stopped any sort of real training when I went to music college very early on in my twenty's. Before this I was self taught it Hatha Yoga from the age of around 11 (I found a yoga book on my Dads books shelf an thought the moves looked fun and foundout I was good at them so stuck with it) and cycled a lot. I competed for my schools in shot put from around this time up until the age of about 16 (this was a bit freaky because I didn't have the build of a shot putter but could out throw the bigger lads. I was quite chuffed by this but lost interest eventually, probably because I had no specific coaching in it. Interestingly it was my last primary school teacher that introduced me to and found out I was good at it but this was the only real instruction I got at shot put.) It was in my early teens that I found Pavel and calisthenics and fell in love with his writings and teachings. I got up to the point where I could knock off sets and reps of pull-ups, chins, push-ups, dips, squats, hanging leg raises, reverse leg lifts, bridges etc. I didn't train for them but found I could just do them naturally so kept it up to keep healthy alongside my yoga and cycling. I admired the kettlebell but never really got interested in taking it up (maybe kettlebells were not available in the UK when I found Pavel and dragandoor, I can't remember). I deadlifted occasionally just to pick something heavy off the floor but never took it seriously. I can't remember what I could do but it was over my bodyweight at the time.

At about 20 this all stopped, life started to get real, I was in college, had a job, found girls etc etc and now I want to get back to being fit and strong again. A fair few months ago I picked up my copy's of super joints and RIS and began doing mobility work (all the exercises in SJ part 1 and have built up to 30 reps for each exercise) in the morning and flexibility work at night (mainly concentrating on spinal decompression, hip flexors, groin, hamstrings and calf's) alongside yoga's Sun Salutaion. Iv also tested my ability in the calisthenics exercises I used to love and have found I pretty well suck. My pushing movements are rusty, I can do 3 rusty chins, I would'nt count my 2 pull ups as pull ups (I like strict exercise performance), my HLR and RLL have disappeared. My Hindge and Squat movement are fine. I can still relax in a deep squat. Not too long ago I bought S&S and found it a very interesting read and bought a set of 12 16 and 20kg Kettlebells. Iv been playing around with the movements from S&S alongside some basic calisthenics but what I need now is a routine to follow and stick to. I don't know weather to do an easy strength routine were I could do some kettlebell ultra basics and build back up to pull ups & dips using ring rows & push ups and HLR & RLL using planks, bridges, hollows and arches (iv heard Gymnastic Bodies foundation course as a routine that would build my strength up in these areas quite quickly) or do something completely new and do simple and sinister until I get to the simple goal then get my pull ups etc back what are everyone's thoughts...


More than 500 posts
Welcome to the forum Lloyd

Our Admin here is a music aficionado and I made a good living out of racing pushbikes for quite a few years, so some of us have some common interests.

You don't seem to have any specific goal so it's a bit hard to guide you in the right direction. The S&S program will give you a fitness base and give you a good grounding for many other sports that need explosive power. The routine will have a good carry over effect for some calisthenic moves but if you want to get back into the bodyweight stuff, those exercises will need a bit of dedicated work.

All of the bodyweight stuff can be done as auxiliary work on the days when you are not doing S&S if you don't work too hard on them. Don't push anything to the point where you feel sore the next day (DOMS) and you should be good to go again for your S&S the next day.

Just practice the bodyweight stuff at a low sub max level and soon you'll be doing more reps than you can now.

After you build a good fitness base, you can then re-asses where you want to go and define some more specific goals. I like to get people your age (who've had a few years off training) to think of the first few weeks of training as a phase where they are reconditioning their tendons and ligaments to be used they way they were meant to be. In the first 10 -12 weeks of training after a long hiatus muscles respond very quickly but tendons seem to take a while to catch up.

So take your time and set realistic goals but don't push for big gains until you get re accustomed to all the new movements you will/could be doing.
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Still New to StrongFirst Forum
Thank you for your reply and advice Tarzan. If I was to do S&S I'd want to dedicate solely to that objective. Slowly building up to working on it 5 days a week until I eventually met the simple goal at least. I don't think I'm quite ready to go there yet but it would be a future goal. I guess my specific goal would be to get back to a good level with the body weight strength. I like your advice of "Just practice the bodyweight stuff at a low sub max level". I like the idea of using your advice to get to the point where Al Kavadlo's century workout (40 squats, 30 push ups 20 hanging knee raises and 10 pull ups) becomes say none stressful for me to complete then maybe reassess my goals then. How and would you program swings for conditioning into a program like this for 3-4 days a week? Or would you just stick to bodyweight and do a few rounds of say jumping rope for conditioning?


Still New to StrongFirst Forum
Thank you good Sir :)
I'm going to be using the gymnastic bodies Foundation and Handstand course's for the time being to build back proficiency in the bodyweight movements. I'd love to attend an SFB Course and Cert after this. Needless to say I'm going to be keeping up with my SJ and RIS routines. The Naked Warrior and Hardstyle Abs are going to be invaluable to me.
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