I thought it would be helpful to have an official Shot of Adrenaline resource page for the community. Here I’ll share important books, tools, products and programs that will help you on your path to mastering calisthenics and building an incredible physique. I plan to add to it as I find more. I recommend bookmarking it for your reference and convenience.
Disclosure: Please note that some of the links below are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, I earn a small commission if you decide to make a purchase. I recommend them because they are helpful and useful, not because of the small commissions I make if you decide to buy something. Please do not spend any money on these products unless you feel you need them or that they will help you achieve your goals.
I started A Shot of Adrenaline in the summer of 2011. Since then, I have created a couple premium programs that I am quite proud of. Both of the programs below dive deeper into the concepts of calisthenic muscle and strength building.
Complete Bodyweight Training Program: This program is designed to get you started in calisthenics. I go through the basics of nutrition and bodyweight workouts. It includes a 44 page ebook, over 100 downloadable bodyweight exercise videos and 10 workout routines. If you are just starting out and don’t have any extra money to spend, this is a great place to start. Click here to get it, its FREE!
The Ultimate Bodyweight Bundle Collection (Back By Popular Demand!): Several months ago we released an unheard of ultimate bodyweight workout resource called the Bodyweight Bundle. Since then I have heard so much commotion about wanting it back up again that I just had to listen. I reached out to the contributors and we have decided to bring it back! Hooray! If you missed it the first time, here’s your shot!
Bodyweight Overload: Out of all my programs this is the one I am most proud of. It is a 6 week progressive program. The first 3 weeks are geared toward muscle hypertrophy. The second 3 weeks are geared toward strength. I designed this program off of a professional bodybuilding routine but tailored it toward calisthenics. The results have been amazing for me and many others.
Isometrics Strength: Have you ever been mesmerized by the physical feats of old time strongmen? After hearing stories about people that could bend metal bars, lift horses over their heads and pull cars with their necks I became fascinated with their methods. The training style they used to build their strength is called isometrics. Isometrics are tension without movement. This is my 8 week program that incorporates all three types of isometrics: static contraction, yielding and overcoming. To see the feats of 3 old time strongmen, click here.
Calisthenic Strength Skills
Calisthenics include more than just pushups and no-weight squats. As you get more advanced in calisthenics you will be able to do moves like handstands, planches, front levers, muscle ups and many other skills. These skills aren’t geared toward helping you build size. However, they do help you develop tremendous strength AND are super fun to do!
Gold Medal Bodies: If I could recommend only one place to learn calisthenics skills (other than SOA of course) it would be GMB. Every one of their programs is laid out in a systematic, easy-to-follow way that helps you progress in every area of skill based calisthenics. You can learn how to do a handstand, elbow lever, planche, and many other skills. To see my progress as I went through GMB’s Parallettes 2, click here.
Many people struggle with dropping body fat. No matter how hard they workout they just can’t seem to drop those extra pounds. It really comes down to the right nutrition. I say the “right” nutrition because its not just about eating healthy.
Truth About Abs: This is one of the oldest yet best programs for helping people drop body fat. I used this program quite awhile ago because I needed to drop body fat. While I using it I dropped body fat quickly. Mike Geary lays out the reasons why people have a hard time getting a six pack and presents a simple to follow solution.
Bodyweight Finishers: I have fallen in love with finishers. A finisher is a short but intense “mini-workout” that you do at the end of your normal workout. It is used to boost metabolism to aid in fat loss. These are great to add to your current strength or muscle-building routines. They were created by my good friend Mike Whitfield who looks amazing and still eats pancakes!
Bodyweight Strong 2.0: This program was created by my friend Forest Vance. It is a 12 week program that will help you build strength and size while just using your own bodyweight. Forest stresses the importance of body control and progressions in his program. He states that before you move on to kettlebells, barbells etc., you must be able to control your body in various positions such as pistols, handstand push ups, etc. I totally agree with this. He also gives you progressions to follow to advance toward harder moves.
Sprint Conditioning: Sprints are one of, if not THE, most effective exercises for overall performance enhancement. They will improve your health, vitality, increase muscle mass in the legs and help you drop body fat. This program is effective because it not only has sprint workouts but also has alternative bodyweight “sprint style” exercises that can be used if you don’t want to drive to a local track.
You don’t need supplements. Calisthenics performance and physique transformation rests on two key elements: nutrition and fitness. Let’s use an analogy of a bicycle. Nutrition is one wheel. Fitness is the other. When you only have one wheel you can’t get very far. You need to FIRST get both your nutrition and fitness under control. Then you can add supplements. Here are the ones I recommend.
Vega Protein: I’ll be honest, I am a protein snob. Over the past 10 years I have tried so many protein powders it would make your head spin. Most of them have hurt my digestive tract and caused inflammation. If your digestive tract is inflamed, you are not absorbing the nutrients you need, thereby not growing muscle. Here is an article that I recommend you start with called: Is Your Protein Shake Killing You? . Vega protein is a vegan based protein powder (I’m not vegan but the combination and quality of ingredients is amazing). I highly recommend it.
Sunwarrior Protein: Sunwarrior is the only other brand I recommend. It has super high quality ingredients and is less expensive than Vega. Sunwarrior is also vegan based. You’ll notice that with both Vega and Sunwarrior the amount of protein per serving is less than the average protein powder. The absorbability of these protein mixes is much higher so you are actually getting more protein than the other brands that cause damage to the wall of your small and large intestine.
Calisthenics are great because you don’t need equipment. Your body is the only piece of equipment you need. With that being said, there are some awesome pieces of equipment that enhance your practice. Here are some of them I recommend.
PVC Calisthenics Gym: Are you a Do-It-Yourself kind of person? Awhile back I created a full calisthenic gym using PVC pipe. I used it for about 6 months with great success. Then I took it a part and stored it so not sure how it would hold up long term but still worth experimenting with. You could always use thicker PVC, wood or metal.
Chin-Up/Pull-Up Bar: I am definitely in love with this type of Pull Up Bar for a few reasons: 1. You don’t need to bolt it into the wall so you can quickly remove it if you want to workout in other locations. 2. It has lots of different handles. This is important because each position will work your back muscles in a different way. 3. Its durable. I have had mine for several years. The foam padding was starting to wear off but I wrapped it in duct tape and it now works perfectly. Other than that, I’ve had no issues. 4. It’s cheap! Can’t beat the price.
Gymboss Interval Timer: I use my interval timer almost every day. Time is such an important factor when exercising. You need to know how much time you are spending both while your muscles are under tension and when you are resting. The interval timer is your key. I use a GymBoss interval timer but if you have a smartphone there are apps that you can download. You can even use one of the many online interval timers. http://www.intervaltimer.com/ I stick with my GymBoss because its more convenient.
Parallettes: Parallettes are simple pieces of equipment that elevate you off the ground when you are doing skill based work. They are a must for doing elbow levers, lever spins and L sits to handstands. If you don’t want to buy a set you can always create your own using PVC. Here is a great tutorial that you can follow.
WeightVest: Weight Vests are a great tool for adding more difficulty to calisthenics. They are not absolutely needed for building size but still help if you don’t have a good grasp on bodyweight progressions. I own a weight vest that goes up to 100 lbs. I throw it on every once and awhile to stress my body. I’ve only owned one weight vest and I got it through WeightVest.com. They have a lifetime return policy so there is really no reason to go anywhere else. Of course mine has held up perfectly through some very intense workouts. Put “SOA14” in the coupon code spot and get $15 Off your order.
Combat Conditioning: This was my first bodyweight book that I ever ordered. Matt Furey is the godfather of bodyweight exercises. His Royal Three: Hindu Push Up, Hindu Squat and The Bridge was the foundation for his program and I practiced it religiously.
The 4-Hour Body: Tim Ferriss is the king of “hacking”. He is most known for entrepreneurship but also knows his stuff when it comes to nutrition and fitness. The 4 Hour Body book shows how you can get stronger, more quickly by bring your body to the point where it tears muscle tissue sooner. He also lays out a nutritional plan called the “Slow Carb” diet. Super helpful for dropping body fat.
Fat Burning Man Show: Abel James might be the most popular health authority in the podcast sphere. He is paleo-based and also has some incredible interviews by top nutrition experts. Super easy to listen to. This is by far my favorite podcast.
Primal Blueprint: Mark Sisson of MarksDailyApple.com has a podcast that is super helpful for obtaining optimal vitality. I like Mark because he is so down-to-earth and lays out the principles of good nutrition without the B.S.
Gold Medal Bodies: GMB again makes my list of favorite resources. This is a link to their podcast. They talk about all things bodyweight exercise movement (and sometimes go off topic… which is pretty funny). They also have some great interviews including Steve Kamb (Nerd Fitness), Al Kavadlo and others.
Iron Radio: This is the GREATEST podcast for mass building nutritional strategies. Dr. Lonnie Lowery has his PhD in nutrition and applies these strategies for building mass. He is a strength coach and very easy to listen to. He does get a bit technical but if you listen to the older podcasts you’ll pick up on the jargon quickly.
Fix My Shoulder Pain: Shoulder pain is one of the most common areas of injury for bodyweight enthusiasts. We place a lot of muscular strain on our shoulder from doing handstands, push ups, planches, and other movements. Injuries can spring on anyone at any time and trust me… they stink. They can set us back from our training goals for a long time if you don’t know how to rehab properly. Fix My Shoulder Pain is a rehab program was created by my good friend Rick Kaselj. He has his masters degree with a focus in rehab and corrective exercise. He also has programs to help with pain associated with the low back, elbow, wrist and knees. Rick wrote an article for us on exercises to stop shoulder pain here.
Focused Flexibility: One of the reasons people get injured so quickly is because they don’t focus on improving their flexibility. Focused Flexibility is another one of GMB’s programs that will guide you in improving overall flexibility. One of my goals is to be able to do a full splits. Here’s a guest post that Jarlo from GMB wrote on how to do a full splits.
SOA Stretching Resources: Several years ago I worked as a medical manual therapist and helped people with rehabilitation through stretching and massage. There is a list of videos and stretching routines that you can follow along. They include routines for your neck, back, hips and many other problem areas. Best of all, its free! To check out another resource I created on recovering from a sports injury, click here.
Body Weight Strength Tests
7 Day Extreme Pushup Challenge: This is a super fun challenge that I created to help you improve your push up ability. It goes through 7 days of challenging video-based push up routines. They are short but intense. Can you make it through all 7 days?
Death By Push Ups Test: In this test, you will see how you stand against others in your push ability. You will do 6 different styles of push ups and go from one to the next. Find out if you really are the Push Up Czar… or are you simply a Push Up Sprout?
Death By Squats Test: As bodyweight enthusiasts we can’t just focus on our upper body. We have to develop strength in our legs too. How do you stack up in your squat ability? This Death By Squats test was inspired from the Death By Push Ups Test. You’ll also be doing 6 exercises. Can you make it to the Squat Behemoth level? Find out here.