DENIS PICCOLO | Progress in Statics & Strength | Interview | The Athlete Insider Podcast #57
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the straddle planche is an extremely hard move gymnastic moves that comes from another sport where you get conditioned for 16 years before you start training it and you expect to learn it in two years it just doesn't work like that for most peopleyou gorillas welcome to the athlete insider podcast by gornation my name is phil and today's guest is one of the most successful statics coaches in europe right now and somebody who has a lot of knowledge a lot of scientific knowledge and i'm really looking forward to the interview with you dennis we received a lot of interesting questions from the community and we will now go into the questions uh go into some static details and yeah happy that you are here very happy happy and honored too thank you for having me here phil so um yeah the the quality of the questions that came in are like really really high quality and i'm really looking forward to jump into these but before how are you is everything fine uh where are you right now so yeah i'm doing well everything's very good um right now i'm in vienna where i live i'm actually italian but uh the last 10 years because of my studies i've been living here and i think i'll be staying here for a while wow that's cool so 10 years you're in vienna i thought you spent your whole life already in in austria no no i'm actually from uh south tyrol uh so italy uh northern italy uh was born there uh went to school there uh my family is actually italian but my mom spoke german too so she taught me german and since i went to german school then i decided to move to vienna for my uh pharmacy studies which i completed one or two years ago i don't even remember yeah wow interesting so um yeah maybe you want to present yourself a little bit i guess uh some of the the people who are following following um the static scene might know you might uh know the next um what you co-founded but maybe you can explain more who are you what do you do okay yeah well my name is uh dennis i am 29 years old as i said before i'm actually originally from italy live in vienna i have a master's degree in pharmaceutical studies i've been doing calisthenics for almost 10 years now so quite a while and i've been coaching calisthenics for four to five years in the beginning just by giving workshops all around germany and austria uh together with archangels mostly uh judging some competitions um like world of bar heroes and some little ones and then moved on to online coaching mostly and a few years ago i co-founded stannics with my coach leo who founded the first or one co-founded one of the first calisthenics gyms in italy actually calisthenics milano and we've been uh coaching uh a lot a lot of uh clients since then from all levels we had pro athletes that you might know like manuel caruso or alessandro ponti or lucha and stannut as well as intermediate and some beginners uh so a bit of everything yeah it's super interesting like uh i often i once had the situation that um i think i asked my community on instagram about some advice of my throttle planche i think it was and i received a voice message from you which was packed with so much content and with uh so much value which i like i i think i listened to the voice messages three or four times so i had to i was able to get all the the value from it and the information so um yeah i'm just um happy that today you take the time to uh reply to some of the questions and to go into detail um about yeah aesthetics trainings um before i would be interested how did you get in in touch with calisthenics with calisthenics but also with aesthetics i wrote down why are you so in love with with aesthetics and tell us the last story how did it begin so it started off when i was uh 20 years old i've lived in vienna for like i've had had been living in vienna for one year and i was an extremely skinny guy like i almost didn't exist i was like 48 kg like i weighed less than 50 kg yeah super skinny um and used to game a lot and drink and party a lot and i lived in a student home and we had a little gym there and with a friend we made a bet and said yo uh we're gonna start training and just just as a fun bet to look like models one day something something stupid like that it wasn't really the idea behind it but um so we started training and i didn't like moving weights uh from a to b i wanted to do something with my body i always i was i did a lot of sport when i was a kid i liked climbing i always was on the move and did lots of different sports was always quite good at them too and i wanted to do something with my body and i looked online and found calisthenics like i saw bar brothers hannibal for king frank medrano those classics from 10 years ago and i said dude i want to do that so i started doing push-ups dips everything in my student home and stayed away from the weights because i was scared of them and then i found out that in italy the scene was actually pretty big already back then even 10 years ago and there were some good tutorials online good for for the standards um back then and well i started looking at those trying out a few things and just started training statics always on my own and in austria the sport was like non-existent back then and i started going to the parks to train sometimes met some people like ahim i think in the second year of training and he was one of the first in austin to do this too and we started training together sometimes and just so um started out like that uh it was uh was this slow process and i always liked statics i liked um that with if you build up the strength you can hold something which you couldn't do before and i was always like uh scaredy cat and so dynamics didn't really interest me you didn't even really have a possibility to train them here because back then there weren't many parks and the scene was only evolved time after and i always trained at home in my own room so i couldn't do flips and jumps and and things like that even though i always found him pretty cool uh i found more love for the aesthetics and the the progress you have to put in there the the methodology that you need to get better in strength time training general but that's something that evolved with time then yeah yeah because you and ahem it's also like some kind of uh i don't know love story uh like youtube he's he's also not the dynamics guy uh you two are like really strong in aesthetics but also in in uh weights like in weighted calisthenics so um yeah this uh was always impressive to see you at the fibo etc um doing your your combos and so yeah so um yeah one question that people always have is um for how long did you only train basics because i guess you didn't start with your uh i don't know with a straddle planche or tech planche even for almost two years since i was so skinny and since the first videos i watched were the bar brothers back then i knew that a lot of basics are very important and i think that's something that was like intuitive back then because you saw these people and they just were big and had this huge muscles and were training a lot of basics um that i really invested a lot of time in debt before i even thought about skills now that there's the tendency that the first thing you see is people doing skills and the first thing you want to do is skills and so for almost a year i actually built up some muscle before i started doing these movements and i gained over 10 kg in the first two years before before even thinking about front lever planche etc etc yeah but you also change your nutrition drastically i guess i did i i started eating out eating a lot actually before i got into programming and everything uh in that sense my main interest was nutrition before uh since with my pharmaceutical studies i had some lectures there and i just found them interesting and first of all um took care of that learned everything about that went through a few phases where i get got to know a few extremes and you like understood what's wrong and what's not for me too i think everyone in the fitness industry goes through a phase where they do something stupid especially nutrition wise and then training wise too and then you just find the the right way to get out and uh and um and find a good balance that works for you yeah because i'm always interested in this uh transformation from a skinny guy to somebody who is muscular with like uh yeah you can show the the arms sono but uh like i'm always interested in this how did this transformation uh go like uh what are your learnings now if if i ask you as a as a skinny guy um dennis how do i gain uh like weight uh what would be your learnings from back then um from deck back then i mean the general idea is i thought i was eating a lot i needed to eat much more that's point one many people think they eat a lot uh but often especially if you're skinny you probably move a lot you move a lot without noticing like for example when i talk i use my hands a lot and that's might is because i'm italian but just generally i'm always on the move and um therefore you need more and tracking to get to know and understand what you're eating just to like take a day eat whatever you want like how you usually eat and that and at the end of the day you sit down and you maybe weigh the things before you eat them but you just use the portion that you usually do you put them into an app so you get an idea how many macros you eat of this how many macros you eat of that etc etc you follow some standard rules five times a day you eat veggies and fruit drink enough water have enough protein etc etc see if what you eat kind of falls into those standards and then you you will see that you probably don't eat as much as you think and then you can upper that by 200 calories knowing kind of getting a feeling how many 200 calories are and then adding up order 200 if it doesn't work and just give yourself and your body time to adapt and slowly push through it but it wasn't easy especially when i started like i remember of course i didn't do it the right way but i went quite extreme and i just ate so much until i almost felt sick often because i just wasn't used to eating this much i started eating a big breakfast and that made it for me like that changed a lot i always ate a little breakfast especially as an italian we don't eat a lot for breakfast and changing that up eating oats and consuming like 800 calories for breakfast and while eating the same things during the day makes a huge difference so those are the tips stay consistent eat healthy but do not get into the extreme like you only eat clean or stuff like that just eat normally you need to gain weight uh eating calorie dense food will help you to get gain weight and often if i have clients that have a very very hard time gaining weight tell them dude eat a ben and jerry said in the evening after dinner you'll see the weight it's going to go up with time okay ben and jerry's and pringles is the solution for everything yeah um okay so this is the the cheat code if nothing helps um this is like you as a coach you say that this is okay to do to do that absolutely i mean calories calorie if you're you're just skinny like you need you need to get them in and if you eat only food that isn't calorie dense you need to eat a lot of it and just your your stomach isn't that big and not used to expand that much and you want you don't want to that to happen either so yeah absolutely interesting cool so um from your first basics workout from starting to work out becoming a model um uh two which never happened yet to the the first straddle planche how much time uh did was between these two events okay so time frames always the thing with calisthenics like everyone wants to know how long it takes here and there um i can say like if i take myself as an example i was always extremely um gifted in pulling like i managed to learn a one and pull up in almost no time it always was a natural movement for me i could do seven to ten in a very short short time which is extremely rare uh in in the scene generally like someone who does 10 quite beautiful one on pull ups isn't you don't find him often and it's not something many people can reach and that was just because i had good genetics and i i was little i have uh good muscle attachments and i just always like climbing trees when i was a kid and those things those things change a lot over the time um like change a lot on how how quickly you can learn something the planche straight arm movements were never my thing uh so i always had a hard time uh even though like that the planche got me famous in austria because i was probably the first person to to achieve it here it was never my thing i just had the luck that i started very early and i made many mistakes so i think i started after my second year of training when i when i did a lot of basics i started doing a tiny bit of tuck blanches flange liens things like that since i knew some methods from italy and i didn't want to just go in with tries i actually reached a straddle planche probably after one year after that in my third or fourth year of training but it was bent arm my hips were completely piked and it wasn't a pretty uh planche uh i think uh when when we met actually 2017 um i could hold that plan for around 12 seconds or something like that um and there i actually at that fibo i actually met leo who co-founded calisthenics milano and stanx with me later and who was the coach of manuel caruso back at the day uh back in the time and we talked for the whole stay there and then i asked him to to come judge the austrian championships and after that i asked him to to become my coach just i knew he he knew a lot of things that i didn't and he had a lot of experience and he started coaching me and only after three months then because i had so much strength already i achieved the full planche so in total it was almost a five year journey uh with some setbacks um to really achieve it but if i would have worked with method earlier it would have worked way faster and still i always had a few private problems especially by extending my arms completely because my bicep is so short it always has the tendency to pull it and um always had a hard time with that so that's kind of the time frame that took took me to learn it yeah and technique made a huge difference super interesting like uh the the um the input from a coach that the impact that he makes on on your uh workout is like really uh impressive um yeah because it really it when you tell the story it sounds like a cheat code uh like it sounds that leo was inserted the code and bomb you got the full planche so i mean it was uh it was quite crazy and therefore i got i got so interested it and i started studying programming like a madman i started before because i was injured i had an impingement because i was training badly way too much way too often with a frequency just by trying a lot and i started reading about programming and then started working together with leo and i had already such a good base uh that it worked so quickly but i was very light my legs were inexistent and it was already quite strong that's why it worked so quickly and that is not that's like an exception it's not the rule and i had already been training for four or five almost almost five years already i think at that point so i had some time on my back it wasn't like um you get a coach three months later you fly now it's it's just not like that and the way the aggressive way of coaching we had back then uh we don't have any more right now it was way more straightforward and now we are way slower more careful build it up with more time just because uh we learned a lot from back then too like especially with working with more and more people you notice some trends which you always notice after working with hundreds and hundreds of people over a long period of time and not just three months here and there so coming to your experience as a coach right now uh what are the the main goals that uh your your coach coaches your the athletes are coming to uh to to you for coaching which are the what are the the goals um most of the athletes we we have have been actually training for quite a few years so i think in average between three and five years uh some more some less i like them to have trained for a while too to have tried out things to have already a feeling for the body especially because it's online coaching and if you give clues the people need to understand them they need to try to give objective ratings and of course you can learn everything over over the time uh by trying but uh it's not so intuitive for everyone from the beginning and usually um they come because they were injured for a long time many many people with injuries so we have a third person on our team too who is a physiotherapist and really knows his stuff and those things uh because you find so many injuries in this sport sadly um and most of them want to learn handstand handstand push-ups planche front lever one on pull-up and weighted stuff many have this idea which i like of the complete athlete who can do everything who can squat too uh who who can um move big weights so they want to do weighted dips weighted pull-ups and i remember when i started off most of my clients they just wanted to reach skills and with time and how the sport shaped with time and the weighted scene growing and growing everyone wants to become this this kind of hybrid athlete that does everything so most of them like all the general skills from the one and pull up to the pull up to the front lever planche hands and push up usually these are the big four or five skills they want to reach and then you have dips pull ups squats uh things like that next to them or fancy things of course we have some clients working on maltese on iron cross on victorian things like that but those aren't the general rule interesting what do you think is the main motivation to learn aesthetics is it uh to impress uh the people or is it to build muscle because we also received some press skillsyeah but like honestly what do you think is the the or do you see any similarity between your um i think the the thing i see the most is um the the story i always ask when i'm on the phone the first question i ask is like how did you get into calisthenics just as you did and they tell me their story and nine out of 10 people tell the story that they started off in a fitness center uh when they were 17 18 20 something like that they they liked it they did bodybuilding for a few years they maybe saw some progress they maybe didn't uh they found it boring because it didn't give them any bigger goals and then they found the sport where the bigger goal was achieving something with the body doing impressive stuff like handsome push-ups holding this incredible form the planche or or the front lever and this fascination fascination of being able to get so strong that you can hold something that you couldn't before uh just with with the pure strength of your muscle and having this control over the body is what leads people to do this what people forget when they want to do this is how long it takes and how frustrating learning skill is um and i think that this is the second big uh big thing that happens um many people get discouraged with time because uh it like just to make a little step to learn the planche can take months and yeah or years for some people and you always see on instagram the people that have uh absolute god genetics and there's they're not a lot like when you scroll through instagram of course you see the people who are successful but you don't see the 99 who doesn't make it to get there and those are the people who then ask for coaching because just by trying they don't get better and they don't manage to achieve those things that they want to um and yeah i think the the motivation is is that and then there's always the question if they want to keep going and that's one of the reasons why i like working with people who already have been doing it for a few years they know how frustrating can get and they know how long it takes because a coach can give you a way it can give you programming and can help you for sure doing the right things but he's no magician um yeah okay um yeah as i said like uh one motivation also of the people is uh building muscle and one question was i are statics a good way to build muscle okay so um let's say it the the straight the straight answer is no it's not a good idea um if you if you look at the at the spectrum and look at the studies that are out you have um eccentric movements when you do a slow negative that damage the muscle a lot uh therefore uh create a lot of fatigue make you tired but they create the most damage meaning the most damage it gets built the most a concentric movement is quite effective quite effective too but not as effective combination of the both is always the best and isometrics are somewhere in between the thing with isometrics uh and when we're talking about skills static skills we are holding an isometric movement so the muscle is under tension but it doesn't go through the motions um lay somewhere in between and the thing is the hypertrophy or the range where you put in the strength is about 30 degrees in there so you will like if you hold a planche the shoulder will work a lot but just to a certain range of course if you do a side raise the range will be bigger you go from this position down here up to here where it's completely shortened and here where it's not shortened and doing that is more effective and more safe to build muscle so first of all statics can build muscle of course it's a tension the muscle doesn't care what if you have a weight in your hand or if you're doing a planche or not but the most effective way to build muscle is in other wrap ranges uh with other intensities and through bigger ranges of motions while creating less fatigue and those movements are usually movements that you see in bodybuilding uh or i mean or like the pull-up or things like that but isometrics i wouldn't use isometrics to build muscle of course you will find people that have built an incredible physique by doing isometrics they probably did some basics too they have incredible genetics for building muscle if they would be doing if they would do bodybuilding they would probably explode be even bigger because it just is the better way to train that specific thing um but and they build it with isometrics too i built quite some muscle by doing a lot of skills too after having a good base in uh in basics but generally i wouldn't like if somebody says i want to build muscle i wouldn't advise that if that is the only way to have fun in training of course i'll take that because the most important thing is being consistent over time and having fun at it and being able to stick to it if you don't stick to it and the training is boring for you it won't work but i would combine both and use skills more as a neuromuscular understanding movement part and doing the muscular part somewhere else more than using the isometric to build muscle it will happen for sure you have some extreme positions in the planche is extremely extended and you put a lot of tension under there and when a muscle is completely lengthened it gets damaged a lot if you put weight on it so it will grow that's why planches have ginormous biceps even if they never cold in their whole life same for me i had quite a good bicep but when i started curling my arm doubled in no time so you see you see the the the general line is that yeah like when you talk i have to think about uh filippo pichi like because he's like uh also known for his statics he also does weighted but um it would be interesting to know about his training i don't know if you have any insights but like he's really big and i always think that he would be a bodybuilder he would he would blow up absolutely i think filippo uh philippo if i'm not mistaken i'm not 100 sure had a history of training like he started quite early uh with uh with weight training and gymnastics and he just had an incredible potential to to build muscle and skills are enough to maintain it or make it better but he pulls crazy weights he dips crazy weights he does absolutely absurd volumes of training like if you see what he does it's like out of this world like most humans would just feel like crap for the whole week after working like that and having a constant work volume that is so high um and yeah you always find people like that but um that's it and they're they're not the norm there aren't many filippo peaches out there yeah and that's one danger of social media because you see a lot of filippo peaches out there like it can seem like this um exactly yeah okay um one thing that uh it was interesting for me you're always like also showing showing and sharing your uh weighted um trainings you're also pulling extreme numbers um you're dipping heavy um so um yeah tell us more about the relation between weighted and statics for you why do they go together so well for you uh why do you do both um do you think that weighted is slowing down your statics progress or do you think it it even supports each other it would be interesting okay so uh the answer to that is i think tiny bit more complex um generally there are many skills that gain a lot from weighted training umespecially the main mover always is uh the muscle so you can imagine the muscle as a big glass the bigger the glass the more water you can fill in so the muscle is the glass and then you if you do a lot of weighted you build up a lot of muscle you will have a big glass if you fill it up with water which is high intensities or in if we train skills very specific training towards the skill i will be able the bigger my glasses the better the skills will be until a certain extent of course with skills there's always the thing there's specific muscles that help a lot and there's always muscles that don't do anything for that movement therefore if um if i uh hold the front lever but i have ginormous legs the muscles there won't help me they will just make it harder if i have a ginormous chest it won't help me in a front lever uh if i have a ginormous slat yes it will help me if my my lat is completely enormous it will probably not help me that much at the end of the day there's there's a stop to that spectrum um there are skills that gain a lot out of weighted training because they're very similar from the movement pattern and extremely specific every client that comes to me and wants to learn the one arm pull-up i let them do pull-ups weighted pull-ups the easiest way to progress um no matter what is by working with numbers and numbers are objective they don't care like what you do if the form is right and the numbers go up and you just get stronger it's very easy to see when you work with quantum pull up variations like the archer pull-up you have so many things you can compensate to make it easier and therefore progressive overload is way more difficult because the person can just be cheating more and more and it's easier to spot the cheat when they put on more weight um therefore working with weighted pull-ups to learn one and pull up is the best idea you can have uh you can work slowly you can work progressively over time you can just get stronger to a certain point where you say okay he's moving very well he's using his muscles well he is pulling himself up very uh in a very good pattern uh and then you start specific work for the one and pull up and you keep that volume very low just to understand the movement understand how with one arm you can activate your scapula pull your your elbows well towards the body etc etc without stressing the the tendons too much and other little structures that you would if you would just be doing that uh and already having a good base and doing most of the volume on weighted training so there are things that gain a lot a lot a lot uh from weighted training there are things that do less the dip for example is good to give general strength and have good strong shoulders a good strong triceps but if you take like many people think that the dip is a must to learn the planche it's not um it can be helpful of course but the let's say the exercise again uh planche gets most out of is actually the handstand push-up because just because of angle specificity and the muscles that get used in the hands and push-up are way more important for for the planche and we have many clients that when doing dips um they are not interested in dips they don't like dips they had bad uh injuries with dips in the past there are much better exercises you can do instead of the dip uh you can work more enhanced than push-ups you can work more on push-ups stay safe build up muscle anyway and do the specific work on the flange um i think for me it's always been about changing things up uh when you've been training for 10 years um things get repetitive uh like training especially um when you when you work with plants um it gets repetitive you do the same thing over and over and over and over again and i've reached what i wanted in skills um i did get injured a few times over my career and i just wanted to change things up and do something a bit different i wanted to be better in things where i wasn't good at um just as a challenge for myself and to keep myself interested into the sport so really went a weighted way i started training legs i um i wanted to get my one arm up i wanted since i always sucked in dips i never liked doing dips i wanted to get better in that and so i just kept my skills very very uh like on the side just maintained them a tiny bit put on other 10 kg especially on my legs lost a lot of skills that way because i just was motivated to put enough effort in them to really maintain them just doing them kind of and then stopping doing them because i had other interests and i just wanted to do something else for a bit of time and now i'm for example cutting training mostly in my bodybuilding style and regaining some of the skills that that i lost over that time which happens very quickly after you've learned them once which is uh super nice too uh at the same time so for me it's always been a bit um before i was um i i saw myself and i identified myself as an athlete mostly uh so i had this pressure to be better be the best always push and um when i started coaching more and more and especially when i saw how some people learn things extremely quickly because they're just good at it naturally and some people need to struggle two years to understand one single activation um how like i knew that i wouldn't have a chance in certain things against other people or like if i didn't put 20 years of work into it then i could have made it and just the risk of injuring myself especially because of some things i already had or structures that i built uh a certain way uh in me i knew i need to put that dream aside and i have other things that are fun and that i like where i'm extremely good at dude i want to get my 80kg pull-up and they went and and i got it you know things like that it just um i identified myself more as a coach which put off a lot of weight as me of an athlete and i saw training less stressful and more as a fun thing to get my mind off things how he used to be in the beginning especially because the few last years were extremely stressful between finishing university and building up the business and stuff like that so it always depends on on shifting goals and everyone like i'm always off the idea anyone can do whatever they want and what they like um but what i like at the same time is sticking to it like if i take a decision i do it for one or two years so i really get the most out of it if i change every month i won't get anywhere that's that's true so focus um is like really important especially with all the static moves like uh if we come back to the topic of statics with all the static moves you could learn uh there are like i don't know 20 to 50 things that are really attractive um and that i would like to do but um how many skills at the same time and your experience makes sense to to train for is it one or is it three or what is it um i would say most of our clients work on six to eight skills or things at the same time in in average uh which doesn't mean that there's weird fancy stuff in there like uh but you have to pull up you have to dip and the squat um the muscle up and then you learn flange front lever and one on pull up depending like if you do pull ups you're ready train for the one and pull up honestly and if you're a bit more advanced you will have some technical work in it and if you're extremely advanced you will have direct work on it and maybe less on weighted pull-ups but i think that most people they they think that they can do only one thing or two things at the same time if you program it smart if you think about it more uh in a way of what muscles are used for this and that and just do a tiny bit of technical work which is more than enough usually many like everyone um does way too much most of the time often you just need to learn certain activations certain movements do the way uh do the work in a safe manner um you stay free from injuries you get stronger and you learn the things maybe slower but in a more safe way and then you're able to work at four to six things even ten things at the same time no problem of course after a certain point um progress will be slower uh especially if you take legs into account uh just part of it will take a tiny bit longer uh it's physics but and it's fatiguing uh but if you do it smart you you have phases where you concentrate on one thing and then the other you can do everything uh i wouldn't exaggerate it i think like over eight it becomes kind of difficult throwing things together uh regeneration wise and just time wise yeah interesting something that i see a lot and also uh two or three people asked in the in the instagram question question box was um that they are stuck with a straddle plant for example two two uh at two to three seconds something between one and three seconds i would say and um how can they now um make the static hold longer so do they practice the tuck planche and go to uh there and maximize the hole there or what is the the next step if you're stuck at one to three seconds of your of your static hold okay so i will take into account that the static hold they have the two to three seconds they have they are extremely clean uh that they they have all the activations in the right places otherwise like it's like take three steps back and start from the beginning kind of story who nobody wants to hear um so they they hold the straddle planche for two to three seconds let's say when somebody has two to three seconds in training it would be nice before they really start integrating it uh the day actually if they directly want to train that movement have five seconds of hold uh in that movement so that you work with a certain buffer uh that you have this three seconds in reserve that you can really focus on the movement and that you can get better and you have a margin it's like bench pressing 100 kg uh when 100 kg is your max and you every training you go in you bench press 100 kg everyone even if you don't have a lot of experience in training would think okay maybe it's better i do 90 for three reps and then i do 92.5 for three reps the next week etc etc and get better and then i probably won't be benching 100 for a while but the next time i try i will bench 110 same principle uh just very simplified um so they probably can hold it five seconds meaning they can do a few sets of direct work two to three maybe four sets of direct work uh what they can do if it's extremely solid they can add set wheat week by week meaning if the second week you hold for three seconds the third week if they're extremely solid in it probably have already seven to eight seconds of hold the next week they can do four sets with three seconds then five sets of three seconds six sets of three seconds then seven or eight then deload and then start off maybe with one second more and three sets again just super linear super easy if they have a talent in it usually it doesn't work this uh beautifully and nice and linear um the second thing they can do is as a back off having the progression before meaning you have a quite easy back off like you have your four times three seconds straddle planche and as the next exercise you use the advanced tech planche to gather volume and you maybe just have two sets where you hold until three seconds you have three seconds in reserve somewhere there so a quality hole where you don't go all out um and you hold about 10 to 12 seconds meaning you have enough specific work to uh maintain the skill to get better at the same time without making yourself too tired without throwing yourself out the window by trying and trying and trying straddle planches without having a risk of injuring yourself putting yourself constantly in a position that you can't really hold for a long time and we have extreme strain on certain structures um and then if you're you're three sec you can't get better in the straddle planche it always stays there you will work on um improving the volume on the advanced stock planche and the third thing which is the most fancy thing if you really see that you have a certain thing that doesn't that isn't right uh in your movement that you need a certain activation uh that is missing you can add assistance work for that for example you have problems to depress the scapula in the right way or maybe you exaggerate it and you need to find a nice position where you work well usually i like to do this work directly just by giving feedbacks but if somebody really has a very hard time you can put some extra work but this is very fancy and needs to happen after months and months that you see that it doesn't work and the person doesn't have the right activations and need isolated work for it um and maybe he's really missing some muscle and then we need to take our time to build up stronger shoulders come back after six months of really building up stronger shoulders but still maintaining the movement and then going at it again so this are the ways to get better and a lot a lot a lot of patience never forget the straddle planche is an extremely hard move that it's uh wall level gymnastics moves that comes from another sport where you get conditioned for 16 years before you start training it 12 to 16 years before you start training it and you expect to learn it in two years um it just doesn't work like that for most people well that's really important because yeah i always say it in every podcast episode but it's really important for me because i really feel that this is the the difficulty with social media that you tend to have the the impression that everybody uh learns straddle planche especially in italy where everybody's born with a straddle planche absolutely yeah that's crazy it's important that you say it yeah um yeah high frequency low volume versus low frequency high volume uh specific question but there are like different training approaches and somebody was asking about your opinion uh on on like the volume and frequency and stuff okay so um we'll start off with high frequency um generally for a long time especially in germany i think there and there has been this um this idea of greasing the groove and trying um like going into the front lever every day i don't know how many times extremely high frequency the idea behind it that is that you do it in extremely low intensity so you don't get hurt that's what most people forget and they just throw themselves into a full front lever even if they can't hold an advanced stock but that's another story um so there's a big idea the more you do it the better it is like the more i do it the better it is from experience i can tell that most people um can get better in a safe manner when they train let's take the planche because everyone wants to learn to planche twice a week just twice a week you do other work uh on the shoulders uh maybe in total three times a week on that day and maybe on another day something else in calisthenics since many movements are full body movements you will have some of the muscles here and there always um but rarely people gain something from doing it three times a week or four times a week if you have an extremely advanced athlete if you work with extremely low intensity you can you can do it more often but as a standard rule start two times and if you tried everything else out you can play around with frequency but frequency is not something i like to play around with a lot because it's very very risky it's very easy to throw somebody completely off by by doing it once more a week um and usually it's enough and then we can talk about volume as a second thing um so generally imperialization and nothing changes for calisthenics calisthenics is a strength sport many people think it's this special snowflake that doesn't doesn't apply where no rule applies that applies in every other sport in the world and generally the standard rule of periodization is you start with a higher volume which makes absolutely sense especially if you if you work on skills um i can give some numbers as an example because that's what i always wanted to hear uh or i used to so we take somebody uh can hold a tuck planche for let's say seven to eight seconds but the activations aren't great um so what do i do now um his biggest problems isn't the whole time he can he's already quite strong because eight seconds stuck launch is quite good but he doesn't understand how to get into into the movement uh here working with very high volume is a great idea he can do 10 sets which sounds crazy but you can do ten sets of two seconds meaning every the first five to six sets probably have five seconds in reserve uh they're super easy for him and then only it starts to to really train and drain the muscle but before he can only focus on his activations and working with high volumeslike that generally in the beginning even like if you do pull ups you maybe start out with uh six reps in one day four or else on the other day and the months to come you go down with the reps you go up with the weight and you go up with the intensity with the skills you kinda do the same thing um just way more soft like it's not as appropriate because everyone the the progress in skills is way less linear because many people need to understand activations before they they can get better in the movement and that can take a while and they need to stick to more sets for for a longer time to understand the movement faster um and generally if you if you take the example that i said before you maybe start with 10 uh eight sets let's say you work up to 10 to 12 sets at the end of this cycle you see at the end hey he has understood activations easy peasy everything's easy you can probably put on one second to every set and he has no problem doing that the next month you can start with less sets more seconds um or even if everything's going extremely well test out the tuck planche see how he holds it maybe he has already understood the activations for the advanced planche and start with that with a normal volume which is four sets twice a week eight sets in total where you put up the sets over the weeks and you end up with uh somewhere between 16 and 20 sets at the end of of the month so i wouldn't use a high volume method or a low intensity low volume high intensity method but i would i would do it so just as the metaphor that i used before big glass lots of volume and then you start filling up this glass with high intensity but the volume gets lower because if you do 10 sets of 10 seconds where you can only hold 10 seconds for one time you're just gonna hurt yourself um but you will end up with three sets of three seconds of advance that planche at the end of that so it's a continuum uh and then you just keep replaying this uh this uh wave kind of and uh did you say something about the rest between the sets because this was also a common question how much rest should i make between static setsdepends a lot on the intensity of the set generally i give a standard rest time of two minutes plus so after two minutes you can you can go and see how you feel and go again um there are methods for example when we work with 10 sets and the person just needs to understand the technique but is very good at it where we keep the the rest times lower 30 seconds one minute because the repetition is important like keep going in going in going in understanding it but generally most of the moves we do uh they they go in a mug string range if you want to call it like that which in power lifting or usually say one two three or one to five reps whatever um so rest times should be kept quite long two to three minutes uh just so you feel fresh and you go in again there are months and methods where you can be more fancy when you can play around where you can shorten your rest times to accumulate more volume to put more stress on it to keep repeating the movement and then end up in months where you have longer rest times less sets and higher intensities by having a harder progression cool um as you already said everybody wants to learn the pledge uh and front lever is a little bit the the smaller brother i would say um so a question was how to combine front lever and planche because the moves are somehow different but yeah maybe they have some similarities but what's uh what's your experience in someone learning wanting to learn these two um skills um i feel like flange and front lever uh they go well hand in hand you have one that is more push heavy a planche and one that's more pull heavy which is the front lever in both uh the the thing that connects them both is you have to understand how to use your shoulder blades the whole scapular movement so a lot of work for the scapula will be needed in one direction for for uh for the front lever in the other direction for the planche beautiful you have everything there uh you can use pull movements to to um strengthen up the front lever uh just like the pull up or if you want to be more specific something like the bend over row um and you can use um push movements like especially the handstand push-up maybe push-ups to strengthen up the planche and put direct work in so you can do one pull day one push day divide them i generally like to put them together it's just more fun makes the the training more fun and more various you can superset them um on certain months if you're quite advanced i like to keep them one after another for most people uh so they have planned to blanch blanche blanche blanche and can uh correct their mistakes between one set and the other uh in an easier way later on if they already know the activations it has even some advantages to mix them up have planche front lever planche front lever planche front forever if you already know what you're doing for some people using the antagonist muscle um creates a better performance um between sets there have been studies but generally they let yeah you can combine them extremely well in this way uh so there's no big problem to train both and i never had the feeling that one uh made the other one tired or anything like that or i got a better performance out of the other one because i wasn't doing one of the two yeah so no no big interference there okay that's that's good um last question uh like really specific on on training um no it's not the last question but it's an important one uh leg training uh is it um is it a disadvantage like what is your personal motivation to to train legs because i know that you are squatting heavy heavily um so uh yeah like what is your motivation and what do you what would you advise someone who is asking should i train legs does it slow down my skill performance etc okay so when people um tell me they want to train legs in the first call i always tell them um the probability that learning skills when training legs uh will take longer is very high um it always depends on genetics um as always but if you look from a physical stand point of view the more weight you put on the lower body um the the front lever and the planche mostly if you take these two exercises um there are levers and the more you put on one side the harder it is to balance it out so people that run around and say yeah i train legs and i can hold the front lever uh and the not training lag is just an excuse they have not understood physics at all uh if they wouldn't be training legs their front lever would be for sure be five to ten seconds longer um that's it like there is no discussion about that um in in addition to that um uh fact comes into play that lag training usually especially if your squad is extremely taxing on uh neuromuscular uh like on a city nest level um it makes you tired like after a squat session uh you feel like [ __ ] and especially if it was heavy and even the day after you feel lethargic and even if you do skills the day after some people have like from i for example i had problems activating uh just because i wasn't as fresh as i used to be that is one one other thing a tiny bit of leg training can um help to understand activations but it's more activation training than going having and building uh muscle um is it possible to do both absolutely like i'm not saying that it's not possible but it's something you have to take into account and like in everything it's different for everyone one person maybe can squat super heavy they do not put that much muscle on their legs while doing so they have an extremely high muscle density they don't look like much but they can squat extreme weights um that's just how their muscle fibers are are made um they will be able to squat extremely heavy and have no change in how they progress in in front lever just that the frequency of training like they they might be are a tiny bit more tired but other people they can recover extremely quickly even if they squat heavy so uh i can never tell if a person will be able to do this yes or no but i can tell that probably with some less weight on on their legs the hold will be longer and people who manage to hold very long holes um and have trained legs like i can take myself for example i i put on 10 kg and yes i trained way less skills but my front lever went from i don't know 25 almost 30 seconds to 3 seconds or something like that like it completely went downhill and my back though like i managed to pull more weight at the end of the day i was pulling more weight my one arm was higher um i was pulling my legs too when i was pulling up so my back got stronger generally but i didn't do a lot of specific training so i wouldn't count it as a well done case study uh if i've done more and and i wouldn't have put on the weight so so so quickly uh without training skills at all almost um it would've been a completely different story and it comes back very very quickly after that but um it does make a huge difference and i'm somebody who tends to put on muscle very quickly um like even if i stay quite light at the end of the day there just comes flash there and uh and that flash is heavy and it doesn't help me to hold my front lever some like for the planche for example having like heavier legs i just couldn't feel them anymore and not activate my hips like i used to like it was an absolute catastrophe and for some people it will not be like that and they will be able to do it anyway or they just get so much stronger over time they dip so much more and they move so much more weight or they pull up so much more that generally they got they get stronger anyway and they put on more muscle and they can equalize it that way but yeah the the response is it will take longer um there are smart ways to do it uh like you work for six eight months on a certain thing you maintain a skill then you cut you get off all the excessive fat you maintain the length training with low intensities but still high numbers and um you work on improving the skills again and then you rerun the cycle but as you can see this is something you have to think in years not in months and it's um it's quite a lot of work super interesting um i definitely appreciate like um you showing you're definitely showing up the risks of uh lecturing i would just call them or the downside but still showing the way how how it's possible because um yeah like training gives advantages to to the health uh to to uh long-term things yeah absolutely it depends on the goal and some people just want to learn the plans and then i'll tell them if you just want to learn the plans just learn the plans uh if that's your goal don't let social media or other people pressure you into doing something where you don't have fun and you make your life harder like if you like challenges okay do it but uh already be someone with decent genetics for planche if you really think about doing that because otherwise you can forget that move all together um yeah awesome two more personal questions um what are the the your current goals that you are working on right now okay uh sport wise sports ones sport wise at the moment um i'm actually in some kind of transit phase uh i i work towards one rams for a long time um and put skills a bit aside which was um fun but kinda burned me out towards the end i was very happy with where i got and the numbers i pulled and dipped and quite happy with those uh with the squat i had a little issue with my obliques so i stopped for a long time uh and put it on on the side again now i'm mostly training bodybuilding style and really changing up the training just going more for a muscle or feel i never trained bodybuilding wise many people did in the beginning and i'm regaining a lot of skills very quickly i'm cutting getting more in my comfort zone uh of weight where where i used to be or where where i feel just better and lighter and want to regain a lot of skills at the moment uh just feel good have fun in training just not think about it when when you work towards numbers so long it's it just drains you like it's everything you think about you go into the training it needs to work you need to be fresh it needs to be a good day et cetera et cetera you're at your complete limit all the time makes you trash tired and at certain point you just don't want to see them anymore and now i'm working with low weights i have my ego side i just go for feeling and it's super fun and i really really enjoying it so at the moment it's that after that um my goal long-term goal as an athlete is actually i want to find the the perfect way uh the best way to just uh look good have as much muscle as possible be as lean as possible uh of course that will be phases like it's not possible to beat all the time and have um be able to do as many skills as possible for as long as i can and just feel good and healthy about it so we'll i'm trying to find a style of training that is very safe for me that is very fun that feels good that allows me to grow mostly in the body but um allows me to specialize very quickly because i've done everything already meaning if i spend a year bulking now and mostly training um hypertrophy wise maintaining some skills i will be able after a three to six month cut being extremely lean being bigger than i used to be and in those months where i cut specialize again maybe i want to do a weighted competition i have the muscle and the foundation and the technique uh to um to specialize for a weighted competitions and go and have extremely good results better even though if i i didn't touch high weights for a year to have a better performance there just because very specifically i can uh do those movements because i know them and because i have more muscle i want to do more skills again i go in that direction and this is the way of training that i like that i see doing myself long term um and not burning out on because it allows me to go in every direction i want be it endurance speed static speed this or that and at the same time since i'm not scared of injuries like i used to because before uh training was my life and i absolutely depended on it and now i see myself more as a coach i'm starting to trick i want to start tricking doing flips and stuff something i always wanted to do i was scared of doing and taking that on on me but less on the bar so not not freestyle i'm not going down that route but with flips and stuff on the floor um for now oh cool yeah keeping it fresh that's cool that's like really important if somebody trains for 10 years i think uh uh it can get boring um so yeah definitely feel you yeah um we received a question about your morning routine uh which is something that is also uh quite interesting um do you want to uh to tell us more okay uh well um since i've been a student or i was a student for a long time and now i'm self-employed and i always like to study in the evenings i like to work in the evenings i'm not someone who gets up early uh i don't like it so i don't i don't usually like if i have extremely stressful times i i um i do but most of the time i get up at around 8 30 or 9 depending of how long i worked in the evening um and the first thing i do is turn on my coffee machine as i picked up coffee as a hobby uh during the lockdown so i've i've always thought like i like having interests i always like cooking a lot and i always go very much into detail everything i like like i completely freak out about it and uh i i wanted to do it about a drink i don't drink wine or whiskey or anything like that and i wanted to have knowledge about something else so coffee was i always loved coffee and i got myself a nice coffee machine i buy different beans and i like to make myself a very good well extra extracted coffee try out different ones uh and draw in latte art and then i always have my the same breakfast kind of so the only meal in the day that's always the same for me is my breakfast which is oats uh some some berries always different uh protein powder um banana and milk or water if i don't have milk and now i'm i put it in the mixer before i used to cook it put some chocolate on it and uh i like to do that um usually that's my general working morning routine when it's warm i sit out on the terrace i have i stare into the sun and i put my phone away and i just enjoy my time there and then i usually come and sit down and start working or often i just drink my coffee work for four hours until 12 or so or 13 o'clock then i have breakfast only very very late and then i go training and then i have lunch at 17 o'clock and dinner at 20. that's like the more typical training day so everything's a bit shifted but yeah that's my morning routine if you want to call it like that it's a it's not a typical oh i wake up at 5 00 a.m and i start working now i i i like to work in the evening um i like to sleep in the morning i sleep very well there and i like to enjoy uh the peace and my coffee awesome wow that's cool so uh yeah we're slowly coming to an end uh of the episode um we always have some quick questions quick answers at the end of every episode so um yeah favorite food with a small edition from iris who asked except pizza with pineapplesteak i love the steak i've perfection the art of steak and i think that's my favorite food cool are you a dog or a cat person hmm i used to have cats i got allergic to them while i was in vienna i like dog as um as an animal and companion more but i i like them both i think dogs a lot of work cats less both are cute cool so no no no no right answer there okay um if you would have to choose uh would you choose a good body or uh cool skills um cool skills okay sure uh what athletes inspire you hmm this is an interesting one um i think the the athletes that like it always depended on on where i wanted to go at the time i think one of the most impressive athletes at the moment is actually bucky and zod i think those two especially baki it's just uh just incredible what uh what like how complete they are how strong they are how they keep improving after years and years and years and years of training um just beautiful yeah i would uh would say those true yeah like bucky when i see like his mobility like he's extremely extremely uh like with his side splits and his throttle planche he has like legs i've never seen before so like in so many areas it's true it's extremely impressive it's extremely difficult to be this good in this many areas is extremely rare it's an absolute gem because many people you find there they find something where they're good at but being so all so well-rounded uh looking the way he does and performing the way he does is extremely rare um and like just skills wise uh the there was one athlete in italy that not many people know uh that i always i always liked much but i forgot his name right you don't know him as well yeah i forgot him as well he stopped being active uh along uh uh lorenzo something um lollo he's called on instagram but he had the clean aesthetics he was able to do dynamics uh gymnastic dynamics and just um incredible and my daily i always liked to but those those freaks it's um it's just something different and once you learn like see people working extremely hard to reach certain things with way more dedication than uh very uh gifted athletes do i have more appreciation for that i have more appreciation for the hard work people put in um compared to being a genetic freak who trains very unregularly but is so gifted that he does does get better anyway and although they have a hard time they keep going and keep going and keep going so yeah that's true uh what's your favorite skillum the one i never really completely reached the maltese yeah cool um yeah pull or push well we already already said do you have a favorite book that you want to recommend because uh also we had one question that was asking where do i get the knowledge about skills and biomechanics maybe you can recommend some books for the people who want to go deeper in it okay uh so good books about calisthenics don't exist yet uh there is no book i would recommend where you can learn a lot from it overcrowding gravity is like decent to get an idea what skills exist but much more not more and not programming wise in italy thereof there is one book that is or two books that are decent from project invictus uh but they're only in italian um one of our plans is to write a book like like this in the future where you really have the basic foundations of everything in there the books i will recommend will be outside of the calisthenics world and you will have to learn to apply the knowledge you learn there to to the skills and find parallels which we did and mostly it's like the pyramids from helms uh the strength uh principles uh hypertrophy uh how is it called hypertrophy and strength principle uh by mike israel um some of the literature and video rts reactive training systems uh puts online but uh mostly um i would look into it's called mass m-a-s-s it's a website um by greg knuckles and eric trexler those are big people in the general fitness community who do a lot of research and what they do not only research themselves they take studies that come out and make reviews about them and they have built this incredible website where you pay a monthly appointment and they don't only review uh all the studies that come out in the fitness world every month but they uh have um some programming basics in there too and everything they put in here is science-based and evidence-based and it's well made it's beautiful and it helps out everyone who really wants that you need to dig into it and it's good you have read some of those uh those uh books uh but if you look up my chris retel and uh you will find some good and um eric helms you will find some good books by those two people and then you will apply what you learned there too um to to calisthenics and that is already a good start and much more than uh 99 common point nine percent of people are doing in this part cool also a quick uh cross uh shout out i would call it to frank's movement i don't i i guess you you know him uh eric uh from uh from poland who is like uh doing a really good job with podcast as well and he interviewed mike eastwood so um i know i know we will also leave the link um and also to the links to to your books you have to send me afterwards uh please um we can link them for the people who are interested but as i said like the podcast interview with um mikey's retell and frank's movement is really um worth listening absolutely um yeah favorite music genre um i don't really have one uh i i listen to a bit of everything uh honestly usually it's something in the direction of rock um it used to be epic music when i started training uh which is quite special but a lot in the calisthenics uh scene uh listen to that yeah those those two probably cool i would say uh the best calisthenics event you've ever visitedfor sure the the feeble world of bar heroes um the the last one we did what was it 2019 yeah before the world went to completeyeah and some events in italy uh but those were little ones like uh those events were where you get to know so many uh italian athletes um those are just fun uh just because the people are so crazy and fun like you you meet people you would never think of it's uh those events were always great yeah nice great the last question what's your message to the calisthenics community what do you want to give to the listeners um maybe something that you want to give them as an advice i think it's the thing i i repeated over and over again in the podcast i think it's the thing we always try to put in our marketing um so but thenx like the message we always want to try to give to people is that most things you see are outliners and you shouldn't feel bad about yourself when certain things don't work and they just take time that you shouldn't believe into fast quick uh best way to learn something but consistency hard work and working well and intelligent like with the brain using your head are the best way if you want to reach certain goals um never forget the fun uh working with a plan doesn't mean that it's not fun but you want to reach the goals and you just take the best way to do so which for most people is the thing they want to reach and this is what makes them happy um and yeah don't fall for stupid marketing don't fall for cookie cutter programs um use your head apply what you learned and learn from it and um and yeah stay real like everyone always searches for shortcuts especially in the fitness world 10 million diets quick 30 days 10 days learn this learn that it takes time and it's not a bad thing that it takes time your body needs time the muscle are quite quick in learning things your ligaments aren't and um and it's a journey and you should enjoy itawesome thank you so um yeah how can people get in touch with you how can they learn from you do you have open spaces for for coaching tell us a little bit uh so probably the most valuable information we put out there uh is on youtube right now so we have uh started us a youtube channel not a long time ago uh called stanx uh s-t-h-e-n-x um where uh we really tried to bring this message to people have some showing some how you learn the right technique and really taking some case studies of clients of ours where we follow them for like two years so long a long time and show them how they progress and what we did to to so that they reach certain goals um on instagram at stanx2 so at stanx and then underscore um and on instagram you can find me under dennis underscore kalis these are the things where i'm mostly active we have a podcast um on spotify um called stanx the stanx podcast and i used to be in the strengths and skills podcasts where they have a lot like i'm in the first 40 or 50 or 60 episodes where you find a lot of useful information too uh if you're interested in programming and training both in english and german and i think i think that's that yeah coaching spots we still have open coaching spots since uh we have one more coach and physiotherapist working with us we our capacity is has grown and we can take in more people yeah well that's good news uh so um yeah uh if people want to reach out to you i guess instagram is the best way instagram is the best way yeah directly on stanx and there you have a link tree if you want to apply to the coaching and everything and just follow me on instagram shoot me a message on my personal channel you won't find that much it's more about just me drinking coffee most of the time but on stanx we post uh very regularly every week client results and we explain what we did with them and some informative videos so there you can learn a lot of little things uh when you already have a base you will understand them very well which is quite untypical uh content for instagram because uh you're not the the fancy edited uh trap music uh content uh but it's like uh more like i would call it in a in a positive way like a webinar style or like a lecture um so it's really something that is worth watching and worth checking out and i think youtube is also really high quality uh what i saw until now so um yeah thank you so yeah you're doing an awesome job i think like the quality that you brought um into into this i still remember like i think it was um was it 2019 that you told me about this project and you had this small instagram page where you started posting or when was it like i think it was yeah two years ago so we started 2019 with uh with stanx and just posting results uh we never followed anyone we like every social media rule that you usually follow we we didn't we just said like if somebody's interested in what we do he genuinely needs to be interested otherwise he won't read our text he won't interest himself to to get better um so we never followed anyone we never liked anything we never comment anything every follower got in there because they were interested in our comment uh in our content of course it's not a lot but still i think we're um quite well known uh especially like in italy uh germany in austria through the podcast and stuff most people have uh have uh have heard from stannic somewhere still even if the channel isn't big even if the numbers aren't big um people always find a way to us some way or another so i guess it's working yeah that's uh if you if you do a good job if you have a good product you don't need the the a lot of marketing for it um so you can only focus on the quality of the product and i what i can say from here and the the incredible voice message to uh to to close that loop uh in the in the beginning that uh told me uh yeah the things that i have to improve like uh the quality will will um yeah just pull people towards uh the the coaching and you so yeah dennis thanks a lot uh for your time um and thank you mostly for for sharing so much like uh uh replying to the questions from the audience is really really nice i think like i took a lot of things for myself as well so that's uh that's also good um so yeah thanks everyone a quick uh thank you to you on the other hand on the other end listening to this uh it's been a long episode again one and a half hours um thanks a lot for staying with us till the end we really appreciate it um and if you want to support the episode give it a thumbs up that helps a lot and um yeah dennis you have the last verse thanks again for your time and uh you can end the episode and say goodbye to everyone okay i i wanna thank you uh for having me here um amazing opportunity and like uh super cool that you had me here and i appreciate your work too i always did since the beginning and thank you to the listeners thank you to everyone and have a good one.