Bodyweight Training

antraniks-progressions-l-sit

 

Note: If you’re interested in strength and skill training on the rings and floor, I have created this rings-oriented intermediate bodyweight training routine. If you want to get serious with the rings, make sure to check it out because I believe it is vastly superior to this routine below.

Last Updated 4-17-2015. Click here to see update history

This bodyweight routine allows you to build impressive strength with minimal equipment. All you need is the floor and a pull up bar for most exercises. That’s the magic of bodyweight exercises! If you have access to a parallel bar or a set of rings, you could do even more!

Credit: The split routine was created with the advice from the fundamentals of bodyweight strength training. The original inspiration came from the residents of Original Muscle Beach, Santa Monica who got me into the traveling rings.  OMB is now my home away from home.  The exercises were compiled from a multitude of sources including but not limited to the reddit progressions wiki, this post and other forums such as GymnasticBodies.com.

RULES TO MAINTAIN SAFETY:

  • Everything in the lists generally go from the easier variation to the more advanced.
  • DO NOT ATTEMPT the progressions if you have not mastered the prerequisites in red.
  • Go to the next exercise only when you can do 3×12 or 60s holds of the previous with perfect form.
  • If you cannot maintain proper form, go back to an easier variation or the prerequisite.
  • If you feel pain, STOP. Never work through the pain. REST.
  • If the rings are too difficult (they move!), use the parallel or pull up bars.
  • Implement a Steady State Cycle for the static moves because a stronger foundation is better than injury down the line.

Need more guidance than just photos or video demonstrations? Look for the #1, #2 for links to full tutorials.

Wrists feeling funky? Give em a break and try this: Wrist Friendly Modified Bodyweight Routine

Warm Up

Bodyline Drills (Go for a 60sec hold)

Flex butt and then abs to lock that position and hold that in every bodyline drill. (Source)

Note: I alternate between the dolphin and normal variants every week.  The dolphin/forearm versions are great to give your wrists a break if they are feeling funky.

Skill Work (1-2min for support holds, 5-10 min for L-sit & Handstand practice)

Here is More Skill Work if you have the time for it

Strength Routine

Day 1 (Pushing)

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Day 2 (Pulling)

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Day 3 (Legs & Core)

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Core Work (choose a new exercise on every workout day to keep things interesting)

Printer/Mobile Friendly Version so you can take this with you anywhere!

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Supplemental Info and FAQ

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mdusa rings Need a set of rings to level up your game? Rings add instability, versatility and facilitate a wider range of movement because you can do pull-through exercises (front/back lever, rows, ring push ups) that are not possible with just a pull up bar (or the iron gym or power tower). These MDUSA Wooden Rings (pictured on the left) are the nicest pair of rings and straps available and won’t break the bank. Throw them over a pull up bar or structural beam and BAM, you got rings. They also come with a lifetime warranty, which is a sign of a product that’s meant to last.
  • nick

    how many bodyline drills do you do as a warm up
    ?

    • http://www.antranik.org/ Antranik

      All of them.

      • James Fishwick

        Rest between bodyline drills? Or just go straight through em?

        • http://www.antranik.org/ Antranik

          Rest is very individual. Months ago, I used to rest between bodyline drills. These days I tend to go straight through them nonstop EXCEPT for the hollow rocks and reverse rocks. Those are much more challenging so I rest a bit to get everything I can out of it. And yes I do the BD business, I love that stuff (why do you ask?).

          If the L-sit exercises are very difficult, then they are considered strength work (not skill work yet), and so you may not want to include them everyday (because it can be fatiguing). Eventually though, as you get comfortable with the L-sit, you’ll be able to do it every time.

          • James Fishwick

            Oh, I was asking if, in a single warm-up, do you perform the standard BDs AND the Plank BDs? Or do you just do the Plank BDs? Similarly, would I do both hollow hold AND hollow rocks in one warm-up? Or just the later?

            I’m trying to advance from 3×20 L-sits to 2×30 and I’m finding that its hard to progress for some reason. I’m doing L-sit work every workout. Beneficial to maybe not do it every time?

          • http://www.antranik.org/ Antranik

            Oh I see! If you can hold the regular BD easily, do the Plank BD and nevermind the knee-version.

            Similarly, if you could hold a HH for 60+secs, just go for the hollow rocks.

            In regards to your plateau, if you feel you need a break from L-sits for whatever reason, then by all means take a break from it.

          • http://milleniumenterprises.mychoices.biz Patrick

            Hello, my question is about the static holds IE Planche, Front Lever and Back Lever. Is practicing them one time a week each enough to progess in them?

          • http://www.antranik.org/ Antranik

            Hi Patrick! Yes once a week is enough, but make sure you are not screwing around. Make that session count. (In other words, be sure to time your holds and complete all the sets.)

            Hope that helps!

          • http://milleniumenterprises.mychoices.biz Patrick

            If I wanted to work on those holds three times a week what kind of programming would you recommend

  • nialljd

    This is 3 times a week right? Awesome guide.

    • http://www.antranik.org/ Antranik

      Pretty much. If you’re becoming hella strong, you could probably squeeze 4 times a week, but you must make sure you’re getting enough rest, sleep and nutrition. The problem with overtraining is usually associated also with under-resting. Find ways to squeeze solid naps in through the week. 😉

  • Abteen

    Pretty stupid question, but when you say one progression, do you mean to either pick (e.x) one arm progressions, or planche progressions. Or one step from each?

    • http://www.antranik.org/ Antranik

      Not a stupid question at all! Thanks for asking it because it is likely there will be others wondering the same thing.

      Let’s look at Day 1 for example. It says…

      “Ver­ti­cal Push­ing Exer­cises (Choose one pro­gres­sion and do 3 sets of 5–8 reps)”…

      Your options below that are Dips and Handstand Push Up progressions.

      Choose ONE exercise from the Dips section and choose ONE exercise from the HS-Push-Up section. Start with the FIRST thing listed if you are unsure of your capabilities and go for 3×8 of it (or a 60s hold if it’s an isometric move).

      If you have any other questions, feel free.

      • Abteen

        Thayt was the only thing I was confused about, thanks for clearing up. Awesome guide, by the way.

      • Abteen

        Sorry for another question, but what is the best pace to do these exercises for strength and hypertrophy? Fast, or slow like it says in convict conditioning?

        • http://www.antranik.org/ Antranik

          I generally prefer everything to be on the slower side, especially on the eccentric portion of the exercise. This is what truly strengthens you because the eccentric contraction is the one that causes the most microtrauma. Also, use this slow pace to always, and I mean always, do whatever you’re doing with perfect form.

          (Btw, I wrote a little about the meaning of eccentric/concentric/isometric contractions here: http://antranik.org/the-three-phases-of-movement/)

          • https://www.vizify.com/donnieclapp Donnie Clapp

            Your link at the end there is broken. It has a trailing parenthesis which is causing a 404. Just FYI.

          • http://www.antranik.org/ Antranik

            Thanks! Fixed.

  • oldage

    Can I do the dips on the iron gym tool?

  • Leonardo

    could you elaborate a bit more in the L-sit progression? for how long should I hold a progression in order to move up? . and those 5-10 mins, would it be just in one progression? if so, how do I build up? holding it up and then resting, holding it up and the resting, or fast reps.

    Sorry for the confusion, I totally get the support holds and handstand, I just don´t get the 5-10 min L-sit practice.

    bbtw, amazing post.

    • http://www.antranik.org/ Antranik

      In the L-sit progression, with the hanging leg raises, progress after you’re able to do a solid 3 sets of 10 reps. The progression exercises afterwards are all isometric holds. Shoot for a solid hold time of 60 seconds before progressing to the next exercise. Give yourself 5-10 minutes for the L-sit and handstand practice (with rest breaks included). And yes it would be for just one progression.

      >if so, how do I build up? holding it up and then resting, holding it up and the resting, or fast reps.

      If you could hold up a move for only 20 seconds before failure, then try to hold it for a few seconds shorter than failure, so try to hold it for 15 seconds. Then rest for 1-2 minutes. Repeat that 4 times so you spend a total of 60 seconds holding that. Eventually, you’ll be able to hold it for 60 seconds all in one go. When you’re able to do that, you’re ready to try the next progression.

  • AJ

    why does it say in the reddit faq your routine is not for beginners when its actually pretty much the same as the reddit beginner routine but split up which means less volume? and is there a reason l-sits should be done before handstands? thx

    • http://www.antranik.org/ Antranik

      It’s not pretty much the same. The end-goals are quite ambitious in this guide and even just the earliest progression exercises are going to be very challenging to ANY beginner.

      For example, the following are of the most basic progression exercises in this guide

      1. dips on a p bar,
      2. pike push ups,
      3. normal push ups,
      4. chest-to-bar pull ups
      5. false grip pull ups
      6. rows
      7. pseudo-planche push ups
      8. tucked front lever.
      9. tucked back lever.
      10. vertical flag.

      Can you do 3 sets of 10 reps of all of those exercises? (or a 60 sec hold for the tucked levers/flag?)

      If you can, then great! But most beginners can’t. (Some people can’t even do a SINGLE dip or chest-to-bar pull up.)

      If this is easy for you, then it’s easy for you. But this isn’t easy for most people.
      Everything gets quite challenging by the 2nd progression exercise
      for most of the listed goals, especially if one is using the rings.

      And there’s no particular reason why L-sits are placed before handstands. Honestly you could do the Handstands immediately after the bodyline drills if you feel your core is completely warmed. The psoas muscle, for examle, is a deep core muscle that controls the back of your lower trunk and it must be awakened when trying to hold a handstand properly. So if you feel your core is firing on all cylinders, then go for it whenever. Hope that helps.

      • AJ

        thx for the reply!

        its true your endgoals are quite ambitious. the reason i thought it was similar to reddit beginner routine is the basic 2 push/2 pull + leg approach.the difference is mostly that here you have a whole plan with endgoals laid out whereas in reddit routine it only says do 2push/2pull+ legs and try to progress.if u try to constantly progress ofc there are some similarities because for example doing handstands,lsits etc+ ring dips+ chest to bar pullups+ring rows+one arm pushups +pistols 3 times a week like i do currently also would formally be ‘beginner routine’. the main difference being, yours is split up and not all done on one day so i just didnt get it why your plan is more difficult.sorry if i came across as offensive, i really didnt mean to.im just trying to decide which plan to follow;) another question, if you dont mind:are you a doctor or something?you seem to have quite some knowledge regarding anatomy and physiology! anyway, great website, definitely a new favourite.keep up the great work.thx

        • http://www.antranik.org/ Antranik

          Hey there! Not offensive whatsoever. I’m not an MD, although I wanted to be one, maybe in another life. (I’m studying to be a registered nurse at the moment and am absolutely fascinated by all things anatomy/physio/kinesiology.)

          • AJ

            my last reply got deleted so here goes againl. my last questions, ill be quiet then:p
            1. i just realized after moving to one arm pushups that if i do them to failure ill still be able to do normal pushups afterwards. do you think this means bad form and i should take a step back? i dont want to risl imbalances, ie not training chest properly.
            2. when (and why) do you think it would be beneficial to change from a full body routine every other day to a split programming like yours?
            3. do you alternate lets say dip and hspu progression or just do one and leave the other completely? i would like to progress in both but dont know how to avoid too much volume.
            thanks much and good luck (also with your future job as RN. almost became one myself:)

          • http://www.antranik.org/ Antranik

            1. It’s normal to be able to do an easier variation of an exercise after doing a harder one, so I don’t think there’s anything wrong with being able to do normal push ups after one armed ones. Sounds quite normal.

            2. The only reason I changed to a split routine was because I wanted more structure in my life. A year ago, a full body routine was fine, but nowadays, I can’t do a full body routine 4x a week without getting burned out too fast. The split programming basically allows me to recover faster.

            3.When it comes to pushing, I tend to do all of them all in one day (“day 1″).. but if it’s becoming a bit excessive, then just alternate! I think alternating is a great idea. Sometimes I can’t always fit all the pulling exercises on day 2 and 3, but I will make sure to do the ones I skipped out in the next cycle. Whatever you can do to keep hitting the body in new ways will make you progress efficiently. So keep playing around and as always, have fun! You’re bound to progress if you simply keep on trying 3×8’s of everything.

          • AJ

            thank you very much. especially for reminding me that its about the fun mostly.i tend to forget that and get stuck in paralysis by analysis. again, thx for all the help. should i ever be in your area ill buy you a beer:D

  • Grrrr…

    I cant click “Click here to expand” Nothing happens. Tried with different browsers and my phone, whats up?

    • http://www.antranik.org/ Antranik

      Hey buddy! Thanks for letting me know about this issue. I won’t be able to have proper computer access to fix this until later on tonight (I’m on my phone). Thanks again!

      • Derk

        Hope you figure it out soon. I never saved down the printer friendly version. I just started a few weeks ago and I don’t have the progressions you have listed memorized :/

        • http://www.antranik.org/ Antranik

          Fixed!

        • http://www.antranik.org/ Antranik

          Is it working for you?

          • Derk

            Yeah its been working just fine. Sorry I didn’t reply sooner. Keep up the good work!

  • geog

    So if I understand this correctly, I should be doing four different pushing exercises on day 1 and then seven pulling ones for day 2. Is that correct?

    • http://www.antranik.org/ Antranik

      Leave some pulling exercises for Day 3. Notice on the bottom of day 3 it says choose 1 horizontal and 1 vertical pulling exercise you didn’t do on day 2.

  • Shin

    I have no access to rings nor P bar, are there alternatives to the support holds skill work?

    • http://www.antranik.org/ Antranik

      You could try two chairs and put your hands flat on them. Also you could use them for dips. It may help if the chairs are taller like bar stool chairs if you are tall. There is also definitely overlap involved with the L-sit-work. When you press your hands against the floor and lift your butt off and the shoulders down, away from the ears, it’s using the same muscles involved in the support hold on the parallel bar. If anybody else reading this has any suggestion please feel free to offer Shin some advice.

      • Shin

        Thank you for the fast reply! :) I’m starting this training today.

  • banana

    can’t see Support Hold (P Bar) anymore

  • Martin

    Hi,
    the picture of Foot Supported L-Sit is wrong.

    Greets

  • war_hamster

    Do you see anything wrong with doing push/pull/legs (2 exercises per, 1 from each progression) every other day? I work 11p-7a and usually workout whenever I wake up, so I think I’m getting enough rest.

    Thanks for this workout! I feel so much better doing this instead of the weight room all the time. I’m noticing real functional improvements, not just size, and that helps a lot in my job.

    • http://www.antranik.org/ Antranik

      You’re welcome!

      You could totally do a full body workout instead of a split. The split is recommended for people who are not beginners anymore and are not progressing as fast, which is why I created it in the first place.

  • James Fishwick

    Didn’t the bodyline drills used to go up to 3 minutes? Is there a reason to just keep these to 60 sec?

    • http://www.antranik.org/ Antranik

      Yes they did used to be, but that was boring as shit. If you want to practice each one for up to 3 minutes, be my guest, but after a minute, it’s more-so just about endurance rather than strength, so it’s a waste of time for me.

      This is a living document, being updated all the time. If you haven’t reprinted the printer-friendly version I would recommend you do that as well as it’s much more clean and improved.

  • Ryan

    How many days a week is this for? Do you workout 3 days in row and the rest a day and start again on day 1? Or do you do every other day?

    • http://www.antranik.org/ Antranik

      Everybody is different. I don’t know how many days a week is right for you. Things like age, stress, genetics, diet, sleep and so forth all affect ones recovery rate. I personally do it around every other day.

  • Frost

    Two questions.
    1. How many reps do you recommend for the core exercises and how many of them should I do each day?

    2. Why are the sets 3×12, when in the FAQ you recommend 3×8?

    Thanks for the incredibly informative post.

    • http://www.antranik.org/ Antranik

      1. I build them up to 3×12. If 3×12 is too easy, go to the harder variation. (Tuck ups to saddle ups to v-ups… if you could do 3×12 toes to bar, add ankle weights or wear heavy shoes and do them, etc)

      2. The sets are 3×12 now because this is a document that’s constantly being updated and initially it was 3×8 but I didn’t like that because 3×12 helped bridge the gaps much more better between progressions. I’ve even gone up to 5×12 personally for some things like parallel bar dips to make the transition into ring dips more fluid.

      • ivan

        Hello everybody. First of all, Antranik you re the man. I have not seen anything like this detailed on the web.
        One question – stupid maybe but i am confused. Is is not the the goal should be a lot of pushups and pullups. If i follow this routine so 2x a week for example pullups equals= 3×12 pullups pull day and leg-pull day again 3×12 pullups. It is 72 pullups a week. Is that too little for an middle level?

        Thank you and once again sorry if this is stupid question..

        Best,take care.

        Ivan

        • Ivan

          Hello Antranik. I dont know did you answer me or? thnx for the help.

          also, i used to do (before i found you site :) ) a 5 day split which was very exausting (no rest, feeling lousy all week). but i used to have biceps/triceps day, back/chest, legs/shoulders, full body, core/abs day. does your routine cover everything? thnx my friend. Best,

          Ivan

          • http://www.antranik.org/ Antranik

            Yes this routine covers everything. If you follow all the horizontal/vertical pulling/pushing, then you’re all set.

          • ivan

            Once again, thnx very much. Glad to found someone who wants to help others. Lot of experts out there with bunch of you tube videos and very little help for people who are new in bodyweight.

            Best

          • ivan

            Hello once again :) i have one question regarding fat loss. I lost 47 kg in 7 months with swiming 3 times a week/boxing 3 times a week/calorie deficit (a big one). after that i immidiatly started calisthenics (not seriusly ), a after i while i got hooked on it so it has become my passion for the last year (maybe little less). so, here comes my question. i got to the point where i was 81 kg on 191 cm tall, my back developed, ass was smaller 5 x, biceps started to pop out but still have enormous amount of fat on my lower belly and chest (a lot on the chest). I think it is not gyno, but i don get it how so much fat on 81 kg (used to be 128) and 191 cm tall? it is really frustrating because i did a lot of cardio practice and muscle resistance practice – my diet was perfect.. just dont get it…thnx very much.

          • ivan

            a new question.

            for example, at the moment i am doing inclined one arm pushup (on the chair), goal is to get 3 x 12 on each arm right?

            Best

        • http://www.antranik.org/ Antranik

          The goal should not be “a lot” of push ups and pull ups. The goal is to build yourself up to 3×12 of the current progression you are at and then move to a harder variation. So if you could do 3×12 chest to bar pull ups, then it’s time to move on to L Pull Ups. Following the routine 2-3x a week is perfect.

          • ivan

            Thank you friend for your answer.

            Best

  • Nick

    Maybe I missed it somewhere above (or in the comments), but is the idea to do the bodyline and skillwork pregressions as a warmup before each day (push, pull, and legs)??

    • http://www.antranik.org/ Antranik

      Yes.

  • Zempire

    Dear Antranik,

    Leg day: Squats before sprints?

    Thank you for this Web page it is very helpful. I have a ganglion in my left wrist which is killing me in l sits but no pain no gain right?

    • http://www.antranik.org/ Antranik

      In regards to order of exercises, it’s really up to you. Whatever has more priority for you to get better at, do those earlier so you are more fresh. As far as the ganglion cyst, I haven’t had one so I am not sure.

  • Alicia

    With the manna prerequisite being Advanced Floor L-sit for 30+seconds. (advanced meaning, flat back, no rounding, hips forward), is that feet off the ground? Or can you start this progression while you still only have your L-sit with feet on the ground? Thanks!

    • http://www.antranik.org/ Antranik

      It should be with the feet off the ground. And also, I am going to update that to a 10-second Advanced floor L-sit, cause 30 is too high of a standard for no reason. The advanced version is hard as hell!

  • Zempire

    Have you calculated at all how many calories the average workout (based on this list) are burnt?

    • http://www.antranik.org/ Antranik

      Nah, that is quite impossible to do unless you use a heart monitor, and it would be dependent entirely on ones own height/weight/gender, and even then, it’s not very accurate. If you need a ball-park figure, just put 300 calories.

  • Supersegi

    Thank you very much for this amazing article! so for you, only one push session was enough work?

    • http://www.antranik.org/ Antranik

      I’m not sure what do you mean by “enough work”?

      • Supersegi

        Thanks for the reply – I was doing a full-body 3x/week and now only doing each body part once a week feels like not enough neursynaptical facilitation for getting better at movement/learning certain skills to me. So you really only train certain moves once a week, 3 sets?

        • http://www.antranik.org/ Antranik

          If you were progressing fine with the 3x/week full body workout, you should go back to that. When you get to more advanced levels of strength, you will reach a point where you find yourself not able to progress… and if you keep at it to make sure it’s not a temporary plateau and you’re still not progressing, then it’s time to switch to a split. Whether you do this routine 3x a week or more depends on your recovery rate, that’s why it’s not specifically mentioned, but I personally found great results doing it 3-4x a week.

          • Supersegi

            Thank you very much man! Do you think the following would be working as well since I want to improve my running as well:

            1) Running + yoga

            2) push+core

            3) running + yoga

            4) pull + core

            5) running + yoga

            6) rest

            7) rest

            Do you think its worth trying that or should I just do full-body when I only train strength two times/week?

          • http://www.antranik.org/ Antranik

            I love the yoga after running, that’s going to be amazing. Try the full-body 2x a week instead of the split for now. Keep a track of your numbers (sets/reps/hold times) and see if you are improving over the weeks. Also, if you need more rest, take it! No reason to risk injury or anything like that if any joints are feeling funky. :)

          • Supersegi

            Thanks so much!

  • René

    Hi! I am uncertain about the programming.
    Are the exercieses performed in a circuit?
    1A -> 1B -> 1C -> Rest
    or
    3x 1A+Rest
    3x 1B+Rest
    3x 1C+Rest

    • http://www.antranik.org/ Antranik

      This was not originally intended to be in a circuit. So the latter.

      But if you really want to do it like your first example, you could, except I would rest in between the exercises to work the exercises “evenly.” And I would start with just pairing two exercises rather than 3 if you do. Hope that helps.

  • ffghhhhhh

    should i be trying to do 12reps on each arm for the towel pullups before i advance to archer pullups?

  • Crisis_Wombat

    With the pull/chin ups, what sort of grip do you prefer? I started with only palms towards me then started to do palm away as well as one palm towards/one away but I would do only one set of each (ex. //set #1 – palms towards// set #2 – right palm away, left towards // set #3 – right palm towards, left palm away). If I want to do different grips, do I have to do three sets of each grip I want? Or can I combine like I had been doing?

    Thank you very much for sharing these resources that you’ve put a lot of effort into. I have really enjoyed this workout! I have had big changes in my body over the past 8 months while I’ve done your workout.

    • http://www.antranik.org/ Antranik

      I prefer pull up (palm away) because it’s harder, but chin up grip has its merits too, such as strengthening the biceps. I would just stick to one grip for 3 sets for the day so at least you work on one thing solid rather than many things half-assed. Hope that helps! (And glad to hear you like it! I’ll be posting a new routine soon this week)

  • Sponge bob

    Could you do the push pull legs twice a week, so you work out 6 days a week?
    And would 3 sets of planche leans and 2 of tuck, advance tuck straddle be a good idea?
    Could I do handstand training in the morning as well, gradually building up work capacity?
    I am not overly interested in hypertropy, so I think moving on when I get to 5×5 or 3×8 would be enough? How is this?

  • Tom

    hi, Tnx for the workout!
    I wanted to ask how can I incorporate this split with rock climbing sessions and still get a sufficient rest?

    • http://www.antranik.org/ Antranik

      First, let go of the concept of having to cram this routine into a “week.” A week is just a made up construct that represents 7 days. There is no need to HAVE TO cram in 3 strength-training sessions AND rock climbing sessions (which is strength/endurance as well) into a week. So simply, add more rest days in between sessions. You don’t lose any strength by resting longer between strength-sessions. In fact, I don’t think I’ve met anybody who hasn’t gotten stronger after a deload-week. On rest days you could focus on basic mobility/flexibility and movement and/or cardio of your choice.

  • Martin

    I’m not able to expand the strength part? What’s wrong?

  • AJ

    Hi Antranik,

    First of all great routine, really appreciate the effort that’s gone into it. I have a question about progressing on some of the movements that are done in sets. If for example I can do 3×12 perfect form diamond pushups so I move on to decline diamond pushups but I can only do 10 then 8 then 4 or something similar, do I just leave it at failure and try to improve next time or do I take breaks until I have completed 36 total say 6×6 or somthing similar?

    Thanks,

    AJ