How to Train Everyday – for the rest of your life

This is a post outlining the two main strategies we use inside Calisthenics Academy to make sure that the training for our athletes is optimal.

We use deep personalisation and autoregulation to create training that is adjusts based on our athletes needs. Today I want to talk about autoregulation.

SECRET WEAPON #1. AUTOREGULATION

Adapt to your changing needs to train productively for the rest of your life

It’s not that difficult to push yourself for a few weeks and make a lot of improvement.
But it isn’t any good if you stop after that, which is what most of the people do.

The only sustainable way to include training in your life for good is to think long term and adjust training based on how you’re feeling.

The truth is that there are many variables affecting your training

Sleep, emotional stress, illness, work, energy levels and diet all significantly influence training.

There are days when you feel great and on the top of the world and you just power through your workout. Other days you might be feeling really bad. Some weeks are amazing, some are miserable.

And unfortunately, there are too many variables to predict and plot how you’ll be performing on a specific day to then schedule the right kind of workout.

The old school of thought would say that you just need to push through it and train, but the truth is that these are real variables. Instead of fighting against them, you should work with them to make your training more effective.

How can you do that, you ask?

By using a fancy strategy called autoregulatory training.

Auto-Regulatory Training

It just means changing how you set up your workout session. Auto-Regulatory Training (AT) uses your current performance in comparison to past sessions to help you make intelligent changes to your program. It takes how you’re feeling as well as actual progress into account to help you plan your next session.

AT wants to help athletes find the balance between the stress of training to actual readiness. It’s designed to help individuals workout according to their changing needs so that the training remains regular and consistent.

For example, the difficulty of a workout can vary greatly based on the athlete’s recovery, rather than the actual physical challenge of the routine. It allows the athlete to build their own workout based on their recovery in addition to their progress. It’s an amazing tool that has been proven to accelerate strength rehabilitation more efficiently than traditional methods.

AT believes that the athlete knows their needs best. Their awareness can then be used to program their overall program, which will greatly improve performance and progress.

So how do we rate this readiness?

Auto-Regulatory Training IN REAL LIFE

In an ideal world, you’d optimize your training sessions by adjusting your sets, reps, and intensity based on how hard is to perform the exercise in your current session.
In practice, that’d mean that the coach would give you a number of sets and reps to perform. S/he’d ask after each round or even each exercise how that felt and adjust based on your answer.

Here’s how we translate that for you to use to autoregulate your current or next session: ever heard of Rating of Perceived Exertion?

Rating of Perceived Exertion (RPE)

It’s a scale we use to help AT by being aware of the level of effort and exertion you put into your exercise.

Here’s how it goes:

RPE, also called “The Borg Rating Scale of Perceived Exertion” was developed by Gunnar Borg (surprise, surprise) in the early 1980s. It was first used to gauge aerobic training, but soon became a tool to clinically analyse breathlessness and dyspnea, chest pain, angina and musculo-skeletal pain.

Overall, it’s a reliable tool for you to track your day-to-day training and how it compares to past sessions. This will help you in the long-term, teaching you how be aware of the impact your training had on your body and the kind of effort you put into your sessions. This will impact how you react to hitting a plateau during a workout. Rather than pressure yourself about your lack of progress, it will push you to just relax and accept the current situation while encouraging you to do better in the future.

Our current Calisthenics Academy Scale

Over time we were experimenting between a 3-point scale and 5 point scale to adjust the sets and reps. After a year of training athletes, we know that the  5-point scale gives us more data points and overally works better. The smaller scale simply wasn’t giving us enough data, but we still needed a simple version of the RPE.

This is a really important part of the training routine and it will work magic to help you with your progress. It’ll also help you build awareness of you body and take your training to the next level.

So after every single exercise you do, we’ll ask, “How hard was it to complete that set of reps?” and adjust your next set based on your feedback.

This is how the adjustements look now inside the Calisthenics Academy

calisthenics assesment

Calisthenics Academy assessment

 

We also have a sheet for offline workouts. This is an example of a 5 point scale:

calisthenics academy assessment

 

WHY IS AUTOREGULATION A GAME-CHANGER?

With AT, all you need to do is get your workout started rather than try to predict how it’ll go beforehand.

This also means that no matter how you feel, the workout is always enjoyable.

What kind of difference would that make for your mindset knowing that every workout, no matter how you feel, is good and it’s moving you one step closer to your goals?

I let go of my expectations and just took my training one day at a time. I took it all in stride, the good and the bad alike. I stopped overthinking and worrying, and it’s helped me stick to my training whether it felt satisfying or not. Whether I felt like it was a good workout or not. Whether I was in the right mindset that day or not.

This is the key to lifelong training.

What would it feel like to never have to give up on another fitness program again?

The truth is that you showing up, aware of how your body’s feeling and adjusting based on that, will give you more gains long term than you’d expect.

Also, how amazing would it be to have the most effective training ever, just because you’re listening to your body’s needs?

No more feelings of disappointment or like you’re not moving forward. You always are.

Want a more optimal training?

Check out Calisthenics Academy or take a FREE Assesment to see how do you stack up on 8 main calisthenics fundamentals

calisthenics progressions assessment

Professional trainer, ex cross-fitter and a long time calisthenic practitioner. I started with Convict Conditioning and achieved levels of strength which enabled me to take part in street workouts championships. Check Out our Resources and Start Building Real Strength just using your Bodyweight!

The end of beginner/intermediate/advance – that is hurting your training

A few years back I moved to Glasgow – I was well into calisthenics and I started training at the local Circus School Aerial Edge. The next months that followed were some of the most fun, yet frustrating months in my training career.

I absolutely fell in love with acrobatics, handstands, moving and seeing how my body was changing. I didn’t know much about programming for body weight, circus movement, or acrobatics. So I attended all the group classes and was just learning as much as I could and enjoying myself – the training added up to 15-20 hours a week – which I absolutely loved.

I even got ripped, not even knowing about it.

There was just one problem…

6 months in – and I felt like I had hardly made any progress.

Don’t get me wrong, the six pack was there, my handstand was getting better, my tucks were getting tighter, and I definitely was more flexible and mobile – BUT when friends and family asked how I was doing….

I had nothing really to show for all the training I had completed….

What was going on?

Knowing  that patience is bliss, especially in calisthenics, I kept on going.  

But then I got really frustrated and spent months researching, reading books and learning how to train and how to program this type of training in order for it to be effective.

Turns out that advanced gymnastics and calisthenics moves are way more complex than we imagine.

I realized my handstands were lacking serious shoulder mobility and were hindering me from being able to hold it during a free standing.

I also learned that practicing a few skills at the same time (like in my group training we would train for back tucks and back handsprings at the same time and then not train it for months) was hindering my progress as my body was getting confused.

The most surprising part is that I learned I am not the only one who has trouble with it. Once I started working with Calisthenics Academy – we saw people from all over the world struggling with the same issues.

During this time I came across an article which perfectly explained what was going on.

Dr. Tilly – the author of the article I am referring to, explains how a lack of personalisation, even at the level of competitive gymnastics is hurting athletes progress.

He described a program where all the students are given an assignment that was the same level of difficulty: 3 sets of 10 pull ups, dips, handstands, push-ups, and then 2 sets of 20 leg lifts. Something we all know, either from school or from gym classes.

No matter the level, it was the same training.

Now you might not be taking group training, but this is WHAT you will get in any calisthenics and gymnastic program online. They might assign you to the beginners/ intermediate/ advanced level- but you will be doing the same as all other folks in your group.

What’s the problem with that, you ask?

Well. Here it is.

Problems with the one-size fits all training routines

Below is a breakdown of some of the few problems that one-size fits all training creates:

1. Promoting Compensation, Movement Dysfunction, and Possible Injury Risk If Too Challenging

“Say for example part of your conditioning assignment is 3 sets of 5 handstands and push-ups. You send your team of 20 gymnasts to do it. Maybe for 12 of them, they are appropriately challenged by the workload, they fall in the middle of the bell curve, and it will serve its job to make them adapt and get stronger.

However, for 4 of them it may be too challenging and with the “get it done” mindset, they may have to cheat their range of motion, use a poor form like excessive back arching, or may simply just not do it.

Not only is this dangerous and engrains movement dysfunction (as quality slips away), it also really doesn’t help them on the performance side because they won’t truly develop strength. When you consider the  fatigue, things start to tank even faster. It will likely get them to be overwhelmed and frustrated.

Taking them a step back in a regression that demands perfect technique is better for their safety and long-term development of strength.”

2. Not Promoting Adaptation/Development If Not Challenging Enough

“The other side of the coin to the example, there may be 4 athletes who breeze through them and as a result don’t really get a challenge that stimulates development. Although this is not really as concerning with the compensation and danger side, they aren’t going to continue to get stronger/faster/more powerful, etc.

These athletes need a progression to make sure it’s challenging enough for them.

Dr. Tilly summarized not personalizing a training program as:
“Slamming a square block into a triangular hole may not be the best choice. The whole “1 step back for 2 steps forward later” and building a house on a concrete foundation versus sand analogy is a good fit here”

A recipe for disaster in terms of safety & hindering athletic progress & performance development by months

We are individuals, with different characteristics – one-fit-all training will not cut it!
No only you will not progress effectively, but you’re also risking injury.

Do you need any other reasons why a cookie cutter workout should not be used again?

So why on earth are we are still not personalizing these workouts?

In his article, Dr. Tilly talks about a coach’s ego. That’s it’s the culture and the way we always doing things, but the biggest problem is that:

IT’S EXTREMELY HARD.

When you get a bunch of people coming for a workout, you would have to analyze every single one of them and give them personal options.

For the coach it’s IMPOSSIBLE.

How on earth can you personalize a training program for every single person based on their PERSONAL STRENGTHS, MOBILITY, FLEXIBILITY, and HISTORY?

That calls for a serious, hours-heavy and expensive personal training program.

Well… unless you can leverage technology to do just that…

And this is why personalisation is at the HEART of what we are building inside Calisthenics Academy.

As you join the program, you will be run through a comprehensive athlete assessment to figure out EXACTLY where you are on the progressions and create a fully personalized training program just for you.

But that’s not all.

As you do your workouts, the system will adjust sets and reps based on your personal feedback, making sure wherever you’re at the workout is optimal for your progress.

Click here to learn more about the Calisthenics Academy.

We know you will love it.

Professional trainer, ex cross-fitter and a long time calisthenic practitioner. I started with Convict Conditioning and achieved levels of strength which enabled me to take part in street workouts championships. Check Out our Resources and Start Building Real Strength just using your Bodyweight!
Can I TRAIN Calisthenics Every Day? THE TRUTH REVEALED!

Can I TRAIN Calisthenics Every Day? THE TRUTH REVEALED!

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Since Calisthenics Academy was created, I’ve seen many athletes rely on excuses to avoid getting started.

“I can’t train every day, I don’t have the time.”

“You’re asking for too much! What about overtraining?”

“Daily movement? I’m no pro, that’s too much!”

These are valid fears new athletes may have. But I’m here to tell you that you can do calisthenics every day.

I want to alleviate these fears once and for all while showing you a better way of thinking about your daily training and movement practice. I’ll also share strategies to move every day without overtraining and still get amazing results.

Ready for it? Let’s get started

Let me get something straight:

Calisthenics & Movement is a lifestyle

…and yes, you should be moving every single day.

The typical get-fit-quick, 8-week program pushes for hours upon hours of working out from the get-go, with a strict schedule and training for optimal and quick results.

For a lot of us, especially when just getting started, it’s just too much to take on.

Some of the strategies from these programs are effective and get results, but they don’t tackle the thought-process behind exercising. They create a tall, seemingly insurmountable mountain that takes hours upon hours of daily workouts to climb.

But what of someone who’s never done this before? How can they get started when the first step of the journey is already so challenging?

The answer is simple…

MOVE EVERY SINGLE DAY

But then, you start wondering…

Should I move every single day?

Would I feel better if I did?

Hell yeah!

Regardless of what your program says, even when talking about these so-called “rest days,” you should be moving.

Now, moving might not mean a full-on 2h training session. It’s important to understand that moving doesn’t always mean training, though training usually means moving.

Before I talk more about this, let’s get something straight:

I’m worried about overtraining”

Or is that just an excuse?

Read this LOUD and CLEAR: overtraining is ONLY a problem for elite athletes in competition training.

If you aren’t a professional, elite athlete, overtraining has just about NOTHING TO DO WITH YOU.

And yet… trainers hear clients express this worry repeatedly.

Soreness doesn’t equal overtraining. Working out for 2, or even 4 hours in the day isn’t overtraining.

There’s a big difference between overtraining and over-doing:

When you get started, your body isn’t conditioned for long training sessions. It’s completely unused to the work you’re putting it through, and so you can easily overdo it, because your body isn’t conditioned yet.

Working out an hour every day is not overtraining.

This might sound like a lot to you, but if you progressively condition your body into being used to a one-hour daily workout, it’ll just become normal.

You can alternate between having very dynamic workouts and taking it a bit easier on some days, but moving daily is extremely important for your overall health.

So rather than worry about overtraining, you need to ask yourself:

Should I be training every single day?

I’m not talking about moving. I really mean “training.” Remember, moving doesn’t have to mean training, but training always means moving.

And the answer is, you don’t have to TRAIN every day, but you should definitely MOVE every day.

So if you train for an hour 3 days a week, you should still be moving the 4 other days. It as simple as practicing your handstand, stretching or a short yoga session. Or even running after your kids, playing tag.

Studies show that even just 15 minutes of movement will help you extend your lifespan by 14%. The best would obviously be a bit longer, with approximately 45 minutes of mindful exercise per day, but even just 15 minutes will have amazing results on your overall health and mindset.

The WHO estimates that a quarter of European adults, and four-fifths of European adolescents, are insufficiently active. This means that they don’t regularly engage in the recommended levels of physical activity. Across Europe, the lack of activity has contributed to over 500,000 deaths per year – deaths that could have been averted by enabling and encouraging all European inhabitants to engage in more dynamic lifestyles.

And you know what the recommended level of physical activity by WHO is?

15 minutes a day.

But the upside is massive:

“Engaging in these levels of physical activity substantially reduces an individual’s risk of developing one or more of the health problems or disorders set out, quite the opposite. This underlines the extensive benefits which physical activity can bring: in addition to promoting cardiovascular health, it is effective in treating or averting a broad range of serious non-communicable diseases, physical and mental health issues.”

In other words – it’s a life-saver.

“All efforts to increase levels of physical activity can be seen as life-saving medical interventions, as well as investments in human health and potential. Physical activity delivers longer, happier and more productive lives, contributing positively to economic and social outcomes in numerous ways.”

So should you be moving every single day?

Hell yeah!

But what about the results?

We all want results. And that’s good. We need goals to keep on moving, keep on progressing, keep on getting better. It’s really important.

There’s a sweet spot, though, where training more won’t get you more results. Unless you’re a professional athlete and you’re training for some sort of competition, consistency is more important than the volume.

So even though I know you want results – whether you get these results in 2 or 3 months won’t make much difference. What will make a difference is you building the habit of working out or moving, day in and day out.

Keep that in mind.

Yes, you’ll get there faster if you train 6 days instead of 3, but can you actually afford to train 6 days a week? or after 4 weeks, will you burn out and never want to train again?

It’s better that you train more slowly, and be able to stick to it for the next 6,12, 24 months. In fact, you should be able to commit to it for the rest of your life.

So let’s talk about how you can move, and even train, every single day without burning out while making sure that you’re moving forward a little bit every day.

3 Strategies To Optimise Daily Training

1. Cycle Your Training Focus

Working for hours upon hours of time working doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll improve.

You need to focus specifically on what you want to train and achieve. This will help you make progress much faster and more efficiently than if you didn’t focus your attention on your goals.

But you need to have first mastered the Fundamentals. If you’re just starting out and you want to master your handstand – that’s cool but you probably won’t have conditioned your abs, legs, or pulling strength.

If you want to have good form and master your handstand, you need to first develop the right muscles. This is how you’ll be able to go after more advanced moves.

This is why the training program in Calisthenics Academy starts with the fundamentals.

pasted image 0 11

Training your core will help your handstands, doing leg lifts will perfect your l-sit, pulling strength and vertical dips will help you eventually achieve a muscle-up.

Once you’ve got that – periodization and cycling come into play.

2. Split Workout Routines

I hear some of you saying: “But wait, how will my muscles grow if I train them every day? Don’t they grow during the resting time?”

This is where split routines can be used:

Split routines typically consist of either a 2- or 3-day split. With calisthenics, I’d stick with a 2-day split.

Examples of a two-day split routine could be:

Day 1: (PUSH + Legs): Handstands, Push-Ups, and Legs

Day 3: (PULL + Core): Pull-ups, Horizontal pulls, Bridges, Leg raises

Day 5: Back  (Progressions towards Bridges & Back Lever)

Another way you could split your training is based on the muscle group:

Monday         Chest and Triceps

Tuesday        Biceps and Back

Wednesday      Legs and Shoulders

Thursday       REST

Friday         Chest and Triceps

Saturday       Biceps and Back

Sunday         Legs and Shoulders

If that sounds confusing, here’s an easy solution for you.

This is how we create the routines inside Calisthenics Academy.

Our system gives you the ability to adjust the time of your workouts. You can pick the days and choose how much time you want like to workout for, from 30 to 90 minutes.

In the past, we had full and split body routines. Recently, we’ve deployed machine-learning algorithms to create the most optimal workouts for you.

Here’s how the routines are created:

When creating your workout based on time, we use 3 main elements to determine what goes into it. These are:

1. How long it takes to do each exercise

We gather data on how long it takes to physically perform each exercise and average it out.

2. Type of exercise

We categorize all exercises from each progression – core, arm, legs (and in the future, a back progression). When building your workout, our algorithm makes sure that none of the exercises in the same category are next to each other – that enables us to create the most optimal routine for you and give you time to recover.

3. History

We also track every last exercise accomplished. It helps for recovery.

Our system then rotates the exercises, so if you did a pistol squat, you’ll be run through other exercises in the queue before hitting the pistol squat once again.

This optimizes for effectiveness and recovery, so don’t need to build up your routine. You can just follow the program we set you, which will make your entire workout easier.

If you’re interested in Calisthenics Academy – you can find more details here – or Take an Assessment and see where you stand with the Fundamentals moves.

2. Autoregulation

Autoregulation is an important topic in calisthenics. It’s all the more important because it addresses the challenges we face as soon as we make a long-term commitment: some days a good, some day not so much.

Autoregulation is a tool that will help you adjust your training based on your performance.

Imagine you are coming into your workout but you are tired.

There are many variables that can affect the quality of your workout:

Sleep, emotional stress, illness, work, energy levels and diet all significantly influence your state of mind and body.

There are days when you’ll feel great and on the top of the world, where you just power through your workout. Other days you might be feeling really bad. Some weeks are amazing, some are miserable.

And unfortunately, there are too many variables to predict and plot how you’ll be performing on a specific day to be able to schedule the right kind of workout.

The old school of thought would say that you just need to push through it and train. But the truth is that these are real variables. Instead of fighting against them, you should work with them to make your training more effective. This is autoregulation.

The best thing about it is that you can easily train every day and simply adjust your training based on how you feel.

There are different schools of thought around this type of training. Calisthenics Academy uses a 5-point scale of RPE (Rate of Perceived Exertion), where, based on the image below, point 7, 8 and 9 are combined into one level of Exertion.

pasted image 0 10

How does it look in real life? After every single exercise you do, we’ll ask, “How hard was it to complete that set of reps?” – based on your feedback, the system will automatically adjust your next set by adding or subtracting reps. This, yet again, will ensure that your training program is the best for you.

If you aren’t a part of Calisthenics Academy, you can simply use this spreadsheet to record your training and adjust your own workout.

So, can you afford to train every day?  

The short answer is yes.

But you don’t need to train every day.

Remember the distinction between training and moving – you need to move every single day. Moving can be as simple as a 20 min handstand practice, or 20 burpees, or 10 min of yoga – basically, movement snacks.

Few are the athletes who can devote their entire day to training without having to worry about other responsibilities.

We normally recommend 3-4 days per week 30-60 min each session. In addition to regular movement outside of these scheduled workouts.

Most people will be able to accommodate their workouts to this much training, and it’s a reasonable amount of time to give you optimal results.

If you’re a part of Calisthenics Academy, you can pick your 6-day schedule and the program will make sure that your workouts will be perfectly optimized for you.

Cover your bases

I might have focused on calisthenics workouts, but you need to remember to rest and eat appropriately. Working out is just a part of the process towards better health.

Can you afford NOT moving every day?  

I will repeat this again. Movement is life – scheduled training sessions are good, but ideally your days are filled with easy movement, stretches – whatever feels good.

Remember, just 15 minutes of moving will protect you from these issues:

  • Heart disease
  • Stroke Reduced risk
  • Overweight and obesity Reduced risk
  • Type II diabetes Reduced risk
  • Colon cancer Reduced risk
  • Breast cancer Reduced risk
  • Musculoskeletal health
  • Improvement Falls in older people Reduced risk
  • Psychological wellbeing Improvement
  • Depression Reduced

And this is backed by science.

Don’t Get Caught Up Living Other peoples lives

Remember, move every day, even when you’re not training.

You’re playing a long game with your health – this isn’t a short-term solution that will just help you now. You’re making a lifelong commitment towards a healthier life, habits, and mind.

Use autoregulation to adapt your training to days where you might not feel like you’re doing enough. If you’re moving, it’s enough.

Don’t let anyone else’s expectations or judgment of what’s right influence what might be right for you.

Choose a routine and a program that feel right for you: it won’t matter or work in the long-term, otherwise.

Don’t give up when you hit a wall. If you’re trying, that’s good enough.

That’s where you’ll find your own kind of happiness.

Move every day.

 

DO YOU WANT AN OPTIMAL TRAINING PROGRAM SO YOU CAN MAKE THE MOST OUT OF YOUR TIME?  

Lack of personalization is hurting your training performance. It’s a FACT

Imagine if some of these exercises above were too hard for you. Your body will try to compensate with a poor form, movement dysfunction and possibly risk injury if it’s too challenging. And now imagine if some of these exercises were too easy they wouldn’t challenge your muscles to grow – you’d simply be wasting your time.  This is why we created Calisthenics Academy: to offer a fully personalized training program reflecting exactly where your level is for optimal performance.

Take the assessment to see how do you stack up on the 8 fundamental calisthenics moves

calisthenics training assessment

calisthenics training assessment

Share the results and comments in our Facebook Group

 

calisthenics academy the ultimate calisthenics training program

 

Professional trainer, ex cross-fitter and a long time calisthenic practitioner. I started with Convict Conditioning and achieved levels of strength which enabled me to take part in street workouts championships. Check Out our Resources and Start Building Real Strength just using your Bodyweight!
Bare Minimum Workout from a professional acrobat

Bare Minimum Workout from a professional acrobat

If you’re in a fitness rut, The Bare Minimum Workout is for you.

Have you left the office after work too exhausted to work out? Ever been stuck in a cycle of exhaustion and lack of exercise because of

minimal calisthenics workout with Rocco Lapaire professional acrobat

play time!

poor food choices? Or are you just bored with your current routine?

This happens to the best of us; I’ve experienced all types of workout plateaus, ruts, jeesh even valleys!…and that’s why I developed my “Bare Minimum” workout. It’s not a substitute for a full training plan. It’s more like insurance to make sure that you never, ever get out of shape. Consider it a way of bulletproofing your long-term fitness goals.

This workout combines basic everyday fitness needs with focused skill training. It can be tailored to meet your goals. This can mean, for example, doing it in the shortest amount of time with as little equipment and space as possible. With it, you’ll never, ever get out of shape. 

It’s a do anywhere, anytime workout.

Before you get started, though, you need to lay your fitness goals out. What does your body need to achieve your goals? Do you have any special exercises, like physical therapy exercises?

Get creative, and make sure the program you lay out for yourself is reasonable. Try building it with little to no equipment, and short enough to squeeze into even your most hectic days.

You are the creator of your plan, these are your goals -make this program your go-to when you can’t get a longer routine in. Smart, focused, and diligent training will yield results!

1. My “Bare Minimum” workout

I’m an acrobat, so I set myself very specific goals.

I’m an acrobat, so I set myself very specific goals. My body needs specialized exercises to make those goals a reality while protecting my joints from the wear and tear caused by advanced acrobatics.

My current goals: increase the flexibility of my active and passive splits; have a reliable one arm handstand.

My fitness needs: PT to prevent shoulder and wrist problems to continue my acrobatic work. For the splits, I need enhanced joint mobility and strength.

My Bare Minimum (BM) Workout: I start off with a PT warmup. It stretches my wrists and shoulders, preparing me for handstands.

I then go into a routine with a variety of handstands, wrist strengthening exercises, and split stretching that addresses my body’s needs and moves me closer to my goals. The entire routine is 45 minutes.

Wait, what? 45 minutes?!

I know that for many people, 45 minutes is excessive for a “Bare Minimum” workout.  But my routine caters to my career as a full-time acrobat.  Remember, this program is customizable! Unless you’ve got the same needs as me, working on a one-arm handstand and splits, you’ll want to create a shorter workout that still keeps you on track with your long-term goals.

So let’s talk about YOU.

I think that it’s safe to say that there are three broad goals for general fitness:

  1. Lose weight
  2. Maintain current weight
  3. Gain muscle mass.

You can obviously add more goals to this list, though. Do you want to increase your cardiovascular endurance, so that you can run your first 5k/10k Marathon? Or maybe you want to focus on your chest and back, or your glutes! These are all goals that can be included in your Bare Minimum workout.

2 A BM booty workout routine

Shake that booty!

Fitness goals:  Lose 10 lbs and have a perfect booty.

Fitness needs: Expending more calories, increasing glute size and strength.

So what should your BM workout look like?

I’d suggest high-intensity interval training. Consider workouts like Tabata, burpees, mountain climbers, jumping rope, and other high-intensity full body moves guaranteed to burn some fat. Set a timer and do it for 15 minutes with a little rest as possible. It’s better to do an easier version of an exercise than have down time.

Now for the targeting –go for the hardest squat/lunge-type exercise you can do. Air squats, lunges, and squat jumps are all fair game. The key is to have a full range of motion. Pick an exercise or resistance level to do at least 8 and no more than 12 repetitions.

Bang out 3 sets and you’re done. Stretch and go home…unless you’re already home.

Never forget – these exercises all rock, but only if you absolutely nail the form. Every one of the above exercises is a risk for knee injuries if done wrong.

3 Bodyweight beast

Fitness goals:  Muscles, muscles, everywhere.

Fitness needs: Gain muscle without creating imbalances that lead to injury.

This is a staple bodyweight workout.

These are the three most important and complex exercises you can do: squats, pullups, pushups. Now make a workout around them.

Warm up with some wrist, knee, or shoulder PT.  You have to warm up anyway, so might as well keep your joints healthy. Almost every athlete develops problems in one of these three areas at some point. Some have problems their whole careers. If you really don’t feel warm enough yet (are you sweating yet?), go ahead and run around the block once or something.

The routine

Do 8-12 pullups, 8-12 pushups, and 8-12 squats. No more than 90 seconds of rest between each exercise.  If you can’t do a full pull-up yet, try pull-up negatives or pull-downs. If a normal pull up is easy, throw “pull-up progressions” at google and you’ll get a host of great sites like this one:

When I say 8-12, I mean pick a challenging-enough version of each exercise that you can do no more than 12 but can get at least 8 repetitions in. 8-12 is the NASM standard for hypertrophy (gaining muscle size).

This whole workout will probably take you as little as 20 minutes altogether, especially if you’re already warm. The only piece of equipment you need is a pull-up bar. Don’t have one? Use a door frame or jungle gym, fire escape, or the underside of some steps. Still, nothing? We’ve got you covered.  Now you have a basic bodyweight staple you could do even in your bedroom if you had to.

There is always a way.

If your workout can be done quickly, anywhere, at any time, you won’t have any excuses. So what are you still doing, reading this?

Share your Bare Minimum Workout with us in the comments, or on Facebook!

Extra resources to help you create your Bare Minimum Workout routine:

The Best and Worst Exercises for Bad Knees

Knee Physical Therapy You can Do at Home

Five Exercises for Rotator Cuff (Shoulder) Pain

calisthenics academy the ultimate calisthenics training program

 

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PRO ACROBAT with an extensive experience in movement science former Cirque Polynesia & Cirque Dreams acrobat and owner at http://gravityentertains.com/ Receiver of National Academy of Sports Medicine certification, 8 years experience in Martial arts. After a career in performance he passionately wants to bring movement disciplines to the masses
Getting over the bar! – 4 Muscle Up Variations to Master

Getting over the bar! – 4 Muscle Up Variations to Master

A couple of years ago, when I quit lifting weights and began focusing on bodyweight exercises, muscle ups were a huge goal for me to strive for.

Follow Johan’s journey on his Instagram for inspiration and calisthenics tips at johan.cali

To me muscle ups are one of a true exercises that define bodyweight excellence. A muscle up is an impressive display of strength, coordination and explosiveness that even very fit people may have a hard time accomplishing with practice. It’s an exercise engages the whole upper body in a way few other exercises does.

While completing the first muscle up is a feat in its own right, I don’t think bodyweight athletes should stop there. You’ll likely hit your first muscle up kipping style, by swinging and kicking to get your weight above the bar. Next most athletes move to a kipping muscle up on rings (if available), followed by strict bar muscle ups (no swinging) and finally, the strict ring muscle ups.

There is some variation in reported difficulty by athletes, for me personally I found the strict bar muscle ups the hardest, due to the effort needed to get around over the bar. Other athletes find the strict ring muscle up the hardest because of the necessary stabilisation one must achieve in addition to getting up and over.

Today we’re going to cover these 4 variations in detail. If you’re already doing basic muscle ups, or even a little further along, this article will help you hit a true muscle up without assistance (no kipping)

Each of these forms of muscle ups has its own difficulties to deal with and their own benefits and I really recommend exploring each one of them.

The muscle up is a three part dynamic movement that consists of a pull up, followed by a transition phase where the shoulders need to travel from under the bar to above the bar, and is finished of with a straight bar-dip. The main problem many face when trying out the muscle up is the transition phase; there seems to be no way the shoulders and upper body can move from the upper pull up-position to the lower part of a straight bar-dip. There are a two ways to accomplish just that; by momentum or by sheer strength.

To false grip or not?

The false grip is a kind of hand placement on the bar or rings where you hook your hand over the bar or ring. The ring or bar will rest in the area between your wrist and palm instead of in your palm. This will result in your hands already being where they need to be after the transition phase (in order to begin your straight bar dip at the top).

With an ordinary pull up grip your hands need to rotate at the same time your upper body shifts forward to get in position for the push. This may be fine when a muscle up is done relying on momentum, but it makes it almost impossible to complete a slow muscle up.

I would recommend doing pull ups with a false grip, both on bar and rings, from the start to condition yourself to a strong false grip. It will pay off in the long run.

1) The Kipping Bar Muscle Up

This variation may be considered the easiest but it still requires some decent strict pull-up strength, a few chest-to-bar or sternum-to-bar pull ups and a decent efficiency in straight bar-dips. By kicking the legs during the pull you can create enough momentum to drive you through the transition point to get your shoulders above the bar. In the beginning it can be helpful to let the body swing slightly in the lower pull up-position and time the pull when your body is swinging towards your back, and thus helping with the momentum created by the swing.

One thing to note is that you should do the pulling movement and pull the bar down in front of you slightly, instead of pulling straight down. This will make it possible to curve your body around the bar in an S-shape (shown in the video below).

If I time the pull with my body swinging back and make a strong kick with straight legs I will have strong movement to go up and over the bar. When the bar is in line with my lower chest, I do a fast lean forward with my upper body, elbows back and find myself in the lower position of a straight bar-dip. One should strive for reducing the kipping movements over time as you get more proficient with the movement.

2) The Kipping Ring Muscle Up


This variation is a little harder to accomplish since the rings are not a stable object like the bar, but moving ones. What makes this form somewhat easy is that you don’t need to bend yourself around the rings, you will shoot straight up through the rings instead. A false grip may not be required for this one but you may as well begin using it to strengthen your false grip.

I would recommend having some experience with ring-pull ups and deep ring-dips before trying this one out. I’m a big fan of weighted pull ups and they will serve you well here as well as in the previous muscle up form on bars. If you have problems doing ring-dips because of shoulder pain or something similar you may want to skip this one, because this movement puts the shoulders in a deep stretch-position.

The theory is the same as kipping bar-muscle up; by kicking with your legs you create momentum to propel you up. I begin with securing a strong false grip and enter the low pull up-position. I tend to bend my body slightly backwards and begin an explosive pulling-movement and at the same time kicking with both legs extended. When the rings are at the level of my chest I do another fast lean forward, bring my elbows back so they are tight to my sides and I end up in the lower part of a ring-dip. Then it’s simply a matter of completing the dip.

As with kipping bar muscle up I recommend reducing the kipping-movement over time so you rely more on the strength aspect of the pull. 

3) The Strict Bar Muscle Up

This is where things get difficult (and fun). No more crossfit muscle ups!

It takes some time to work up to enough strength to complete the transition over with no momentum involved. For me negative reps worked wonders; to begin in the top position of the dip and then as slowly as possible lower myself through the transition and work those negatives as reps. Another exercise I used to condition myself was heavy weighted pull ups and dips. For pull-ups I worked sets reps with around 50% of my bodyweight added in weights. In time the strength required to complete the strict ring-muscle up will come. Explosive chest-to-bar pull-ups with added weight was also included in my prep-workouts.

The sticking points that made this move possible, except the necessary strength, was a really strong false grip and a more narrow grip than your regular pull up grip; around in the middle of your collarbones. With time you’ll be able to move your arms wider and wider. You need to curve yourself around the bar and what I found helpful was to pull myself up in an L-sit position. In any case you need to have some part of your legs in front of the bar to act as a counterweight.

I prepare the move by securing a tight false grip and put myself in the start position of an L-sit pull up. I pull myself slightly bent backwards and when the bar is cleared I roll the shoulders forward and the elbows back and then begin the dip push.

4) The Strict Ring Muscle Up


The big Kahuna. THE Muscle Up.

One of the most important factors with this variation is the false grip and an understanding of how to use your bodyweight to aid you instead of hinder you. I find it very helpful to keep the movement very tight; hands and rings close together and the rings close to your body during the pull. As with many other bodyweight exercises tense your whole body to create a solid foundation.

For training to this level something that worked well was the use of resistance bands. I fastened a resistance band between the rings, and sat on the band in a L-sit position and then worked the transition from pull to lower dip position.

I start with the false grip and lower myself to the lower pull up position. I find it easier to enter a sort of L-sit position during the pull because that creates a natural movement when it’s time to shift the body weight forward. I do the false grip pull up slightly bent backwards and when the hands is about shoulder level or slightly lower it’s time to move the shoulders forward.

You’ll find it helpful to imagine that your thumbs are following the lower part of the pecs when you bring your elbows towards your back. Shoulders shifts forward, leg drops and elbows are moving towards the back. The false grip helps enormously here since it will automatically will bring your hands to the right place. Then it’s time for the push.

BOOM. You just did your first true muscle up.

No matter where you are on the muscle up progression you can develop different strength and physical expertise from each of these 4 variations. Figure out where you are and get started today!

Let us know in comments what are your favourite muscle up variations!

Editor’s Note:

Follow Johan’s journey on his Instagram for inspiration and calisthenics tips at johan.cali

If you’re still struggling to hit the basic movements that lead to a muscle up, like the pull up and the dip, we highly recommend you check out, and work your way through, the progressions introduced in BWTA’s e-book here and the awesome new video fundamental course here.

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I’m a father of two and I work for a Swedish agency. Working with my body is an integrated part of my life and has been since I was very young. I´ve been involved in martial arts, Muay Thai specifically for many years and switched to lifting weights. Two years ago I discovered Calisthenics as a training-regime and haven’t lifted weights since. As a father of two I really appreciate the simplicity of this form of training and I rarely have a day off.
3 UNEXPECTED BENEFITS of  LEVERS and HOW TO GET STARTED!

3 UNEXPECTED BENEFITS of LEVERS and HOW TO GET STARTED!

Levers are king in the world of men’s gymnastics. Athletes spend years refining their technique and bolstering the strength of their upper bodies to inhuman levels to perform feats of strength that appear to completely defy the laws of gravity.

Pound for pound gymnasts are the strongest athletes in the world with the ability to leverage their own body weight with completely straight arms. These skills are referred to as levers for that reason. Levers are not mere feats of strength but of skill, balance, control and dedication as well. Training to develop levers develops abilities and skills you will never come even close to with any other type of training. The isometric nature of levers means that training this way puts strain on your tendons and in turn strengthens them to unheard of levels. They also build immense amounts of strength in the torso musculature. And these are just a few from tons of benefits. I strongly encourage you to explore what levers can do for you and build strength you never thought of

What makes all this training worth it?

Why are levers such a key ability in the gymnast’s skill set?

How can a calisthenics athlete or even an average person benefit from straight arm strength training?

Let’s take a look.

levers

Back levers

Source: Gymnasticswod

1. Builds a bulletproof rotator cuff

Leveraging your body with straight arms utilizes the shoulder muscles to a large degree. Your body will recruit the smaller stabilizing muscles in the shoulder girdle in order to keep the scapula in the proper position to facilitate the movement. Any bending of the arms in a lever movement will transfer some portion of the load to the upper arm muscles therefore decreasing the work the shoulders are required to perform. This kind of strength training will transform your shoulders into a solid rack upon which weight can safely be borne, whether it be internal or external.

2. Strengthens the back and core, enhancing midline stability

You will build exceptional strength in the back muscles such as the lats, rhomboids and spinal erectors, as well as in your abdomen. All of these muscles working together support your spine and maintain posture. This effect has a tremendous carryover to different athletic endeavors such as weightlifting when you perform a squat, because your entire torso functions collectively as a solid foundation rather than twisting and collapsing under pressure.

3. Enhances control and awareness during upper body movements

Training to master the various lever skills requires that you pay close attention to body position in space. All of the pieces of your body must be working in unison and must be coordinated by your mind as such. This is a meditative practice as much as it is a physical one. Focus must be entirely set on performing the movement to the best of your ability. Only through practice with body awareness will you become the strongest you can be.

BONUS

That’s all pretty incredible when you think about it.

But there is a lot more to it like SKILL TRANSFER like in this guy

Today, I decided to do some muscleups for a change of pace and was amazed at how easy they were, in spite of the fact that I haven’t done any in months. What really surprised me was how smooth and slowly I was able to do them. In the past, I would have to put some explosiveness into them to get thru the transition, while today I was able to pull up and thru the transition with far less effort than before. A nice, unexpected carryover !

Now that you know all the benefits, its time  to get training.

Check out these FRONT LEVER Resources:

7 Days Front Lever Killer Workout,

Front Lever Progression

[FREE 7 WEEKS-LEVER TRAINING VIDEO COURSE ] (SIGNUP its coming soon)

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Alex Dutchak is a fitness trainer and athlete currently based out of Fairfax, Virginia. Since finding his passion in fitness, Alex has experimented with gymnastics, distance running, olympic weightlifting, cycling, rock climbing, crossfit, kettlebell training and much more. He will begin his college career at VCU in Richmond in August, 2015 in the pursuit of an exercise science degree. He is certified for personal fitness training by NASM and has a Progressive Calisthenics Certification.