How Calisthenics Shifted Taha’s Mindset to Building Skills

with Taha Hachana

Join the tribe of Movement & Calisthenics Athletes -people just like you that are working with their own body weight to gain strength, lose fat, build muscle, recover from injuries and live their best lives.

Taha’s Calisthenics Story

Taha discovered calisthenics while researching on the Internet about parkour. He had never heard about bodyweight training or calisthenics before. It was all new to him, and he was intrigued to learn more. He learned about the benefits of building strength with bodyweight that would help with his parkour practice. He wanted to get back into shape after experiencing a few injuries doing martial arts. Yet, what appealed to him most about Calisthenics Academy was that he would learn the exercises and techniques properly thanks to how the program is set up and from there master them.

“The primary reason I joined Calisthenics Academy was to build the strength necessary to practice parkour moves.”

Taha, now in his early thirties, lives in Tunisia working in the tech industry. He practiced tournament oriented martial arts until he suffered several injuries. Looking to avoid more injuries and improve his flexibility, he started practicing calisthenics.

For Taha, Calisthenics Academy is the most authoritative online resource available on calisthenics. Since joining, he’s gained extensive information on correct exercise formation and guidance on how to progress. He praises the assessment system because it aligns with goals and skills to guide progress at the right pace.

In addition, you don’t have to spend time thinking about programming reps, counts or exercises. It sets it for you based on your assessments.

One thing Taha has taken away from joining Calisthenics Academy is that he’s learned to focus on building skills and not just working out for aesthetics reasons.

“I like to learn things properly. You could rely on someone to pick a few exercises for you to do and call it a day, but I want to go further.”

The 3 Main Benefits Taha Gained Since Joining Calisthenics Academy

Improved His Posture

“My posture has improved. I feel myself becoming taller.”

The first thing Taha noticed was an improvement in his posture. He’s more aware of maintaining good posture throughout trainings and daily activities. He feels taller and carries it proudly.

Gained Strength

“I feel that my legs are stronger.”

Despite the fact that he’s still below 10% in the majority of the skills, he’s already noticed his body changed physically. He’s made incredible strength gains already and he’s not even halfway through his progression.

Focused On Skill Building

“Now I have movement skills as my main objective.”

Since starting calisthenics, Taha’s focus has shifted to skill based goals. He’s learned to focus on building his skills instead of working out for the sake of looking good. He wants to progress daily with the moves and prefers spending his time becoming able to do a one arm push-up instead of watching videos on the Internet.

Taha’s Advice To Anyone Curious About Calisthenics

“Calisthenics training gives you flexible muscles, strong joints, and brings lots of fun and challenges to the sport that you’re into.”

Taha’s biggest struggle used to be injury prevention. Now, he no longer has to worry about getting injured. He’s learned so much about himself and his capabilities since starting calisthenics. He’s so thankful because now he has a better posture, he’s gained strength and is focused on what is really important – building skills.

He recommends to anyone starting off with Calisthenics Academy to “focus on becoming better and remember to take rest days.”  He also advocates to “give up on activities that are less beneficial and you’ll find the time to train.”

Now go on, shift your mindset like Taha and we guarantee you’ll PROGRESS with Calisthenics Academy.

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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!

How Busy Auto Technician Fought Stress With Calisthenics

with Matthew Higgins

Join the tribe of Movement & Calisthenics Athletes – people just like you that are working with their own body weight to get strength, lose fat, build muscle, recover from injuries and live their best lives!

This is Matt’s Calisthenics Academy Story

Matthew is a very busy man. He’s a full-time student by day, a part-time auto technician by night, and also a husband and a father. Despite all of his responsibilities, he is still able to do his Calisthenics training and generate maximum benefits from it.

“Everything you do should bring some type of joy and fulfillment to your life. If you are considering training and you are not, then get out of your head and take action. Start now.”

 matt calisthenics transformation

Badass Training Program For Badass Auto Technician

It’s definitely a real struggle to manage finishing a degree while at the same time having a family to support. But Matthew didn’t only finished his degree in automotive diagnosis and repair and fulfill his duties as a husband and a father, he also worked part-time jobs at night as an auto technician.

Can you imagine how busy his schedule must be? He’s probably tired after a full day at school and work at night. So how did Matthew manage to fit calisthenics training into his crazy routine?

 

How Matthew Fit Calisthenics Into His Busy Schedule

“I made the decision to follow Calisthenics Academy because I didn’t have enough time nor energy to get to my traditional bodybuilding routine.”

Because of his busy schedule, he can’t keep up with his bodybuilding training at the gym. It was very challenging for him to get a workout done with all the studying, working and having to be present to his family. That’s when he stumbled across Calisthenics Academy. He signed up right away.

It was the first program of its kind that showed sound training programming and progression, so I quickly signed up and began diving into the training programs.”

 

Better Endurance, Better Athlete

“Endurance was my biggest struggle, I had a hard time completing the recommended sets and rep ranges for push-ups, and pull-ups. To overcome these challenges, I just kept telling myself to focus one rep at a time and put in the reps, the more I do it the better I will get. So, it was a mental game for me.”

Matthew was a total newbie in Calisthenics. He only had the skills for powerlifting before he started training for Calisthenics. Hence, he needed to develop his endurance physically and mentally to be able to perform bodyweight movements. Since his desire to workout fuels his mental prowess to keep going on the movements, he was able to reach the progress that he was aiming for.

At first, he was wondering whether he can do the calisthenics movements because he is a bigger guy.  But after trusting the process of Calisthenics Academy, he was able to build on his endurance, improve his strength and even enhance his mobility.

 

“You don’t have to train like a bodybuilding to build a great looking physique.”

3 Main Benefits Matthew Gained from Joining Calisthenics Academy

Train Anytime, Anywhere at His Own Time

For Matthew, time is very precious. He has so many things to do and working out is not a top priority for him. But after starting with Calisthenics Academy, his stress levels for having to fit a gym time in his schedule completely disappears.

With Calisthenics Academy:

  • He has instant access to his training programs anywhere at any time.
  • He doesn’t have to use all that fancy equipments to be challenged in each session.
  • His bodyweight is sufficient to provide him challenging workouts every time.

Developing a More Balanced Shape

Another added benefit of working on his bodyweight is that Matthew is able to address his weak points that he developed during  his bodybuilding days.

“My pain threshold has dramatically been challenged and I believe that there has been a fundamental shift in my mentality. I can keep going with my workouts a lot more than before. Physically, I see my body taking a more balanced shape.”

Not only did he improved significantly in his weak points, but he was also able to break through strength plateaus with smaller muscle groups” like his triceps and biceps.

Fun Training Program For A Beginner

Matthew’s training before to maintain an active lifestyle is bodybuilding. But after doing it for an extended period of time, the thrill of it slowly died down. Plus, the hassle of squeezing in a gym time in his busy schedule is not really attractive at the moment for Matthew.

Through the Calisthenics Academy training, “I have some fun with the new training program that I am a complete beginner. He is a complete beginner that really had hardships in performing several calisthenics movements. That is why this training program is so effective for Matthew.

“Calisthenics training breaks through barriers that hold people back from going to a gym because you can train anywhere and no one else really sees your weaknesses. It’s just you and your training.”

“Not having the time to workout is a matter of prioritizing it. If it’s important to you then make it a top priority.”

Matthew’s advice to anyone curious about calisthenics:

“Everything you do should bring some type of joy and fulfillment to your life. If you are considering training and you are not, then get out of your head and take action. Start now.”

If you are not happy with how active your lifestyle is right now, consider making a change. Do not overanalyze every step of the process. If you want an active lifestyle, start your training NOW. No more hesitations. No more excuses. No more holding backs. Just like Matthew, you just have to make it happen. The fulfillment that you will achieve after putting in the work and effort will surely be priceless.

Get out of your head and take action, NOW.

“A badass progressive program that coaches your through your fitness journey.”

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!
9 Reasons Why You Should Start Doing Handstand Push-Up

9 Reasons Why You Should Start Doing Handstand Push-Up

Have you ever experienced going to a park, to a beach, or to a gym, or just simply watching online these ultimately strong or scrawny dudes who can do a handstand push up as if it’s nothing? Most probably, you asked yourself,

  • “Why in the heck they are doing that to themselves?” or

  • “How can they do that? I can’t even do a regular push-up.”

But you are still impressed as to how strong they look like, then keep on reading.

You want to know why they are doing that complex movement when you can’t even find motivation in you to do your first push-up. You want to know why they look so cool and strong doing that and how you can also look so cool and strong. You want to know how long they trained before they were able to do their first handstand push-up and if it will take you an entire lifetime to learn that so better just give up now.

It’s normal to be intrigued. But mind you, handstand push-ups will change the way how you think about the world of fitness.

But mind you, handstand push-ups will change the way how you think about the world of fitness.

Let me show you the real deal about handstand push-ups and why this movement is a must-learn among all the other calisthenics movement. 

Handstand Push-Up? But which one?

I’ve been mentioning handstand push-up for several times already.

But let me discuss briefly what is a handstand push-up as there is a bit confusion on how to actually perform it.

I get asked all the time:

  • Do you have to do a handstand first then let go and do a push up?
  • Do you have to do a push-up first then move to a handstand position? Or do you have to do both at the same time?
  • Do you need a wall to support you or do you have to do it freestanding?

The truth is that there are few types of handstand push-ups such as wall handstand push-ups, freestanding handstand push-ups and   kipping handstand push-ups. However, we will stick with the basics for this article. I want you to understand the fundamentals of a handstand push-up before dwelling into different variations.

The fundamentals of a handstand push up

Basically, a handstand push-up is just like a normal push-up but instead of doing the push-up parallel to the ground, you have to do the push-up inverted. Yep. You read it right. INVERTED.

Come on, it doesn’t sound so bad right? I know that a handstand already sounds so cool but you can be COOLER by performing handstand push-ups.

Muscle Groups Involved in a Handstand Push-Up.

Before we get into the whole fiasco of why we should start doing a handstand push-up, let us first look into the muscle groups involved in this compound movement.

Push-ups mainly activate the arms and the chest while handstand warms up the shoulders, backs, arms and chest. Having these two upper body movements into one complex movement, you will not only activate your upper body muscles.

You will have to activate your entire body to perform a handstand push up.

These are the major muscle groups being used when performing a handstand push up:

  • Shoulders.

  • Your shoulders carry most of your weight in a handstand position. What more if you do a push-up while in a handstand position. Your shoulders will surely feel the burn for the movement but I assure you that your shoulders will be as strong as a bull.
  • Pectoralis Major.

  • Simply, your pecs or your chest muscles are also activated in doing a handstand push-up just like when you are performing a normal standard push-up.
  • Triceps Brachii.

  • When you dip for a push-up while in a handstand position, your triceps give your elbows the power to lift yourself back up in a handstand position again.
  • Lateral Deltoids.

  • This muscle group can be found above your biceps. To be able to maintain your balance and do that press for the push-up, your deltoids are ready to serve you.
  • Trapezius.

  • Look at your back in the mirror. If you can visualize a V-shaped muscle from the base of your back deltoid down to your middle back, that would be your Trapezius. This back muscle stabilizes your shoulders to carry your weight.
  • Serratus Anterior.

  • Responsible for your stabilization in performing the handstand push-up itself, this muscle group can be found at the side of your ribs extending to your back.

activated muscle groups in a handstand push-up
For the record, the mentioned muscle groups are not the only ones involved in performing a handstand push-up. YOUR WHOLE BODY is required to perform the deed.

Ready? Set… Go!

Obviously, you won’t be starting with the handstand push-up right away.

Since this is a compound movement, you have to familiarize yourself first with the let alone movements of push-ups and handstands.

Make sure to watch this very short video on how you can perform a standard push-up.

After that, let’s familiarize yourself with a handstand position. Handstand itself is already a challenging movement. If you are not used to doing this, it is better that we prioritize SAFETY before progressing to a handstand push-up.

If you can’t do a handstand, that is totally fine. You can check out our fundamental course on Calisthenics Academy.

Take the assessment so we can provide you a fully personalised training program professionally and efficiently to help you get where you need to be and to see how you stack up on the road to the handstand and other fundamental calisthenics moves.

Once you are comfortable with the two movements, you can start training for your first handstand push-up. Don’t be overconfident though. Always be safe in executing these movements.

The PROPER FORM of a Handstand Push Up

Despite knowing how to do a handstand, we strongly encourage you to master the proper form first before advancing to the handstand push-ups. This is the perfect freestanding handstand:

perfect freestanding handstand

Your GOAL is to be able to do this position in a COMFORTABLE manner. You have to make sure that you build up on our strength to be able to support yourself in the handstand position and to sustain that position long enough for a handstand push-up.

Be mindful in keeping your body alignment straight. Your hips must be fully extended as well as your elbows and wrists. Your spine must be in a neutral position and NOT LIKE THIS:
bad handstand

 

The ultimate step for you to reach before performing a handstand push-up is to be able to sustain the handstand position in PROPER FORM.
good handstand

REMEMBER!!!

The 45 degree angle during the handstand position before you do the press is VERY IMPORTANT for a SUCCESSFUL HANDSTAND PUSH-UP. This angle will help you to stabilize while pushing yourself towards the ground.

pasted image 0pasted image 0 1

To help you even further, this handstand push up progression can lead you to the right track..

It’s perfectly fine to start with a push-up, then to a handstand, before attempting to do a handstand push-up. In this way, you will be stronger and more capable after learning and mastering the fundamentals.

Check this out to see how COOL a handstand push-up looks like.

 

Why bother doing handstand push-ups?

After the lengthy discussion on what and how do you perform handstand push-ups, here are 9 MAJOR REASONS why doing a HANDSTAND PUSH-UP daily can help you to be STRONGER AND BETTER:

1.Very effective to build strength in your shoulders and upper body.

       Since a handstand push-up is a compound movement of a handstand and a push-up which both target the upper body, performing this can obviously strengthen your shoulders and upper body. According to B.K.S. Iyengar, the venerable founder of Iyengar yoga, sustaining a handstand itself requires you to have stronger upper body muscles. Whatmore if you are performing handstand push-ups.

2. Improve your balance, focus, and brain function.

Being in an inverted position means that blood will rush to your brain. Abundant oxygen supply will be delivered to the brain which will be used to function and to focus effectively. Aside from that, the inverted position also elevates your mood and reduce the risk for depression as discussed by the “Yoga Journal.”

Hanging upside down will totally give you a different perspective on how you see the world. LITERALLY. Hence, performing handstand push-ups motivate you to focus more to maintain your balance.

3. Increase your glute and core power.

Handstand push-ups are more challenging than normal push-ups and crunches mainly because you are performing the movement against the gravity.

Simply put, you are putting more work for your glutes and core when you have to pull yourself up after pressing for a handstand push-up. You have to engage your core and glutes completely to maintain your balance and power.

This additional work makes this movement beneficial than the other movements.

4. Being comfortable with the uncomfortable.

We all know that challenges excite us. Doing the same things over and over again will make us resistant to the effect that these things can give us. If you are so used to doing push-ups or handstands and they don’t challenge you anymore, the benefit of building stronger muscles doesn’t really show.

Trying to do something uncomfortable like handstand push-ups will continuously keep your interest and challenge you to do better at it. Let’s just say that it’s similar to dating. You don’t want to always do the same thing every single time and still feel the excitement and engagement from your partner.

As long as you are motivated to do better at something you are not, the results of that hard work will surely pay off.

5. Doing a handstand push-ups makes stronger!

Let’s stop pretending that doing a handstand alone doesn’t impress you at all. We all know it is pretty challenging to balance yourself in an inverted position.

What more if you can do a handstand push-up? Trust me, after you manage to do your first rep, a wave of pride will immediately rush through you and you’ll feel stronger more than ever.

6. Significant back pain reduction

Being inverted releases the gravitational pressure off your nerve roots and discs in your space. As discussed by Dr. Lakowski of Mayo Clinic, you will have more space between your vertebrae hence decompressing your spine relieving back pain. Although, this is not advisable for someone who has high blood pressure and glaucoma since blood will be rushing to your brain.

7. Definitely a stress-reliever.

According to published medical studies of Teeter, stress is typically related to increasing tension in your muscles that can cause pain and inflammation. Being inverted in a handstand push-up helps the body to circulate the blood to reach the sore muscles. Aside from that, this blood circulation helps the lymphatic system to flush out the toxin build-up from the muscles that cause tension and stress.

Performing a handstand push-up enables your body to rehydrate the discs, reduce nerve pressure, realign the spine and relax the tense muscles which definitely reduce stress.

8. You can grow taller!

In one of the podcast episodes of Jeff Sanders<, he interviewed Dr. Lockhart who claimed to grow 1.5 inches for being inverted.

If you perform handstand push-ups daily, your back is frequently decompressed, relieving pressure from your back and increasing the space in your vertebral discs. Hence, this particular movement can help you to lengthen your spine and grow taller. How amazing is that?! You still have hope to achieve that dream height!

9. Stronger body, better posture.

Helping your spine to take a break for standing as always, doing handstand push-ups can reset your spine by decompressing and realign it to aid you in having a better posture. No only you are training for a stronger body, but you are also giving your spine a favour by having a better posture.

To sum things up…

You should not have a second thought of starting your training for handstand push-ups. Aside from looking cooler and becoming stronger, handstand push-ups can also help you physically and physiologically. This compound movement does magic to your spine, balance, brain function, flexibility and strength. Handstand push-ups are one of the most effective and reliable calisthenic movements that will strengthen and improve your body in no time.

Before I end, I want you to DECIDE NOW that you will start your training to your first handstand push-up. Take note of your starting prowess and then comment on this article weekly regarding your improvements. In that way, you won’t forget to look back into the fundamentals and the benefits as you progress your skills in performing handstand push-ups

calisthenics 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!

Here’s how you should use calisthenics for legs training

Leg day has become a staple part of bodybuilders’ community over the past few years.

There’s a reason for that: squats and deadlifts are two great compound lifts.

However, they’re two exercises that don’t exist in calisthenics.

So what now?

We look for alternative bodyweight exercises that can be just as effective as traditional weight-lifting.

And guess what? They exist.

Just take a look at Lazar Novovic, a famous calisthenics athlete. He only uses body weight to train his legs and has a powerful and imposing lower body.

Still not satisfied? Then look at gymnasts. Gymnasts have well-proportioned bodies and need strong legs to complete flips.  Their leg training involves lots of calisthenics.

The benefits of training your legs with calisthenics

Calisthenics athletes do not have chicken legs. If you didn’t look before, verify this fact with Lazar Novovic, whose impressive body is almost exclusively developed with bodyweight.

This is one of the most common preconceived notions about calisthenics, and it’s completely wrong.

In fact, calisthenics offers much healthier benefits when training your legs than traditional weight-lifting.

1. It develops your flexibility

Let’s take a look at the deep squat.

Deep squat 1Deep squat 2Deep squat 3

I challenge you to try doing 20 squats, following this step-by-step tutorial.

Harder than it seems, right?

That’s because calisthenics develops your range-of-motion.

Most traditional weight-lifting will have you doing half-reps that will pump up the muscle but reduce the overall ROM of your hamstrings.

To successfully do 20-40 reps for 3 sets, your hamstrings need to be flexible enough to go down as low as proper form requires.

2. Calisthenics leg training helps you improve your balance

I’m sure you’ve heard of the staple calisthenics leg exercise, the pistol squat.

When I first met a friend, he was an extremely strong and active soccer player. And yet, he couldn’t do a single pistol squat.

Strength-wise, he was much stronger than me at that time (not anymore!). But balance and ROM-wise, I was much more advanced than him.

And that’s because I’d trained my legs with calisthenics exercises.

3. Your legs can do more than just look pretty

Calisthenics offers a variety of exercises that trains the body in as wide a range-of-motion as possible.

As I mentioned, this is amazing for flexibility. But developing your ROM will also mean that your muscles have applicable uses outside of just looking big and pretty.

You’ll develop explosive strength, which means that you’ll be able to exert a maximum amount of power in a short period of time.

You’ll have POWER thanks to explosive calisthenics training.

Calisthenics exercises to train your legs

After this, I’m sure you’ll believe that calisthenics can help you develop superhuman legs. Check out a few of the leg exercises calisthenics has to offer!

1. Pistol Squats

A pistol squat is a one-legged deep squat.

Once it gets too easy, you can up the difficulty level by slowing down each rep, adding a jump at the top, or completing the movement while standing on a balancing ball or a low pull-up bar (or high pull up bar if you dare).

How to do it:

  • Stand on one leg, with arms wide open for balance
  • The other leg is extended in front
  • Go down fully by bending at the hip and knee of the weight bearing leg, till the buttock touches the heel
  • Do not allow the other leg to touch the floor
  • Come up by pushing through the heel and straightening the knee
  • Repeat with the other leg

Pistol squat 1Pistol squat 3Pistol squat 2

2. Box Jumps

This is an explosive exercise, that will have very quick results on your strength, endurance and muscle growth.

If you don’t have a box, you could use anything solid enough to hold you (ie. Rocks, benches, picnic tables).

How to do it:

  • Get into a starting position with your knees hip-width apart, your arms parallel to the floor in front of you.
  • Jump up and forward onto the box, your body relaxed.
  • Use your arms for balance, and always keep your knees bent.
  • Jump back down onto the ground, your body relaxed and your legs kept hip-width apart.

Doing this movement using one leg will test your balance similarly to the pistol squat.  Progression for this exercise is simple; if it gets too easy, jump onto a higher surface, if it’s too hard, jump onto a lower surface.

image01

3. Bridges

The bridge is known as a calisthenics replacement for deadlifts.  It works your glutes and hamstrings, as well as your shoulders and lower back, with the added benefit of working your mobility and flexibility.

How to do it:

  • Lie on your back, your knees bent and hip-width apart.
  • Place your hands, palms flat above your shoulders, right by your ears.
  • Push your hands and feet into the ground, raising your hips towards the ceiling.

If the full bridge is too difficult, try glute bridges. It is the same movement except with your upper back on the ground.  Work on your lower back mobility with similar bending stretches as well.

To make it more difficult, you can do it with one leg, one arm, or one leg and one arm.

image02

4. Depth Jumps

Depth jumps originated from the Russian trainer, Dr. Verkhoshansky.

How to perform it:

  • The movement begins on top of a small box, rock, bench, etc,
  • Take a small leap down to the ground
  • When you land, keep your body relaxed. Don’t tense your knees, or they will absorb too much of the impact.
  • As soon as you land, immediately jump forward or up as far as possible.

This movement was originally known as shock training, because of how quickly your muscles need to react and jump.  The depth jumps, similar to box jumps, will train your lower body explosiveness, and build mass in the entire legs, including the calves.

image03

5. Sprints

Sprints have a fat burning and muscle building effect.

Typically, you do sprints in intervals, for example, sprint for ten seconds, then walk/rest for twenty seconds, and repeat.

The intensity of the sprinting will keep your heart rate high throughout the entire rest period.

One of the main things Sprinting has over long distance cardio is EPOC, meaning you continue to burn calories after your workout.

But the benefits of sprinting don’t end there.  Sprints work the entire leg, helping build up lower body muscle, lose fat, and improve nutrient partitioning.

image04

So, there you have it.  You now know five ways to build lower body muscle and strength using calisthenics.

So even a calisthenics athlete shouldn’t skip leg day!

I recommend training your legs at least twice per week if you do split workouts.

If you train with full body routines, make sure to pick an exercise to do every workout for at least five sets.

How do you train your legs? Share your routines in the comments or in our Facebook group!

But what if I can’t do some of these exercises? 

Create an optimal training routine just for you

This is a problem a lot of us run into. We’re given routines – usually based on a standardized level – beginner, intermediate, advanced. Calisthenics Academy used to do that too – because it’s very hard to create a personalized training for each and every person unless we spend a significant amount of time with them.

There was just one problem with this approach (actually there are a lot of problems with it) – it hindered our athletes’ progress. We’ve written extensively on the matter in the blog post, The end of beginner/intermediate/advanced – that is hurting your training.

It simply explains why a lack of personalization is hurting your training.

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.

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

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!
A Calisthenics Bicep Workout Blasts Your Biceps Without Weights

A Calisthenics Bicep Workout Blasts Your Biceps Without Weights

Guys, have you ever watched action movies and wished you had a set of pythons or guns bulging out from under your t-shirt? Ladies, have you ever desired tone, fit arms that look great in tank tops? If you have, you’ve certainly come to the right place. A good calisthenics bicep workout will help strengthen your biceps without the use of weights.

My experience in the gym training others has led me to believe that having bigger biceps is the main, #1 goal for any guy just starting to train.

I KNOW that when I first started training I was OBSESSED with getting bigger arms, especially biceps. Unfortunately, doing curls for hours on end never helped me to reach my ultimate goal.

Despite what many “experts” may tell you, when I started adding bodyweight training to my regimen, I noticed a significant increase (at least 2 inches) in the size of my biceps.

Not only were my arms bigger, but they were also more toned and defined. So for you females who definitely don’t want huge, masculine arms, a calisthenics bicep workout training can most definitely help you attain the “toned” look you’re probably going for.

In the article below, I’ve listed the best bodyweight exercises that can and should be used to build stronger, bigger, and more defined biceps muscles with a calisthenics bicep workout. I have divided the sections by experience level so anyone, regardless of skill, can get started today.

I hope you enjoy. Let’s begin!

Warm-Ups

You may or may not have seen some pretty gruesome YouTube videos like the one below of horrific bicep tear injuries doing “safe” exercises like bicep curls.


DON’T LET THIS BE YOU!

The last thing you or I want is to be sidelined from training, sports, or physical activity because of a nagging arm injury. For this reason, it’s absolutely CRUCIAL that you warm up. Even before training your biceps.

It doesn’t even take that long. Simply perform the following circuit of three exercises three times before starting your main training, and you will be ready to avoid injury, which should ALWAYS be the #1 goal when training.

1. Band Pull-Aparts (15 reps)

2. Push-Ups (any style) (10 reps)

3. Shoulder Dislocations (with band) (25 reps)

Top 3 Overall BW Biceps Exercises

1. Chin-Ups (Beginner-Advanced)

Chin-ups are far and away the best bodyweight movement and calisthenics bicep workout for building bigger and stronger biceps muscles.

And it’s not even close.

If you’re training exclusively with bodyweight movements and you’re NOT doing chin-ups, then you’re doing your arms a major disservice.

In this calisthenics bicep workout, chin-ups are essentially doing bicep curls with your own weight. The best part about them, and why they’re the #1 overall movement is because they are so adaptable. They can literally be done anywhere.

They can be done in the gym, at home (if you have a bar), or even in the park (using a sturdy tree).

The key to performing a CHIN-UP is to start by having your palms face you, instead of away from you (pull-up). This places the load of the movement on the biceps as opposed to the shoulders/back.

Another key tip is to not use momentum to “throw” yourself and your chin over the bar. Correct chin-ups are to be done somewhat slowly (see the video) and under control, making sure to REALLY use only your biceps to lift and lower your body.

Sometimes you may see people swinging themselves up over the bar to get that one last rep. DO NOT DO THIS.

The idea is to train the biceps. By using momentum in your calisthenics bicep workout, you’re essentially eliminating the biceps muscle from the equation.

 

2. Hindu, or Dive Bomber Push-Ups (Intermediate)

While regular push-ups will certainly train your arms slightly, the biceps are definitely not the main load-bearing muscle in them. However, Hindu push-ups place a much greater load on the entire arm (including the biceps), raising this calisthenics bicep workout to #2 on my list.

Start in a normal push-up position, then shift your weight back onto the ball of your feet while raising your hips toward the air. Your hands and feet are carrying most of your weight while you’re in a downward dog – or inverted V position. From here, shift your weight forward onto your arms while slowly diving towards your hands. Your arms slowly bend during the movement.

You complete the movement by pushing your arms back up and raising your head and trunk up as far as you can. At this point your head should be the furthest from the ground, your arms should be locked out, and your hips/butt should be nearly touching the ground with your back arched.

To really emphasize the biceps muscles, do the movement as slowly as possible, accentuating each part of the calisthenics bicep workout as much as possible.

 

3. Inverted Palms Facing Inward Bodyweight Row (Beginner)

I know you’re probably thinking, “I thought rows worked the back muscles?” And you’re mostly right. BUT again, by changing the position of your hands, you alter the muscles used.

By having your palms facing back towards your head, you’re turning the inverted row into a modified version of a chin-up working mainly the biceps, and partially the back.

Watch the video for the proper setup and form, but please make sure that during the exercise you keep your glutes (butt) squeezed as tight as possible to protect your lower back.

Read More: 10 Most Impossible Calisthenics Exercises

Top Advanced Bodyweight Biceps Exercises

If you’ve never trained in calisthenics before, I highly advise you to first check your level by taking the Calisthenics Academy Assessment. If you choose to still attempt these exercises, please use caution and proceed with care. And don’t force the success of any one of these!

1. Single Arm Chin-Ups

Almost exactly the same as chin-ups, this exercise is done using only one arm. These are obviously much, much, much harder than normal chin-ups, and if you can even do one rep, you deserve some MAJOR props.

In fact, if you think you can do these, video yourself and post it in the comments section of the article. I want to personally congratulate you!

It may sound obvious…with these, you do your reps on one arm, rest, and then switch arms. While doing them, you can place your off or non-working hand around your working wrist.

2. Reverse Push-Ups

If you’re familiar with the extended bridge pose in many yoga practices, then it will be easy for you to visualize reverse push-ups as they’re very similar.

To perform a reverse push-up you start by laying on the ground with your knees comfortably bent. Next, you place your hands on the floor by your head with your fingers facing towards your body (like you were starting a back flip).

Now would probably be an appropriate time to mention that if at any point during this movement or set-up you feel any sort of pain in your shoulders or wrists you should IMMEDIATELY stop the exercise and skip trying to do reverse push-ups. The possibility of injuring yourself just isn’t worth the risk.

Back to the spiel. If you can comfortably place your hands in this position, the next step is to push your body up into an arc so that only your hands and feet are touching the ground.

Finally, do the push-ups by bending your arms and lowering the upper back to the ground (not your butt or lower half). Then push yourself back up.

 

3. Ring Curls

To do ring curls you will need gymnastics rings or a TRX Trainer system.

Ring curls are excellent because they give you a nice substitution for chin-ups, which can be taxing on the wrists. Ring curls also allow you to closely simulate dumbbell bicep curls by using your bodyweight alone.

Start by hanging the rings so that they hang at mid-chest. Then grab the rings and allow your body to slowly fall back (with the rings supporting you) until your body makes a 45-degree angle with the flat ground (you may need to adjust the placement of your feet to obtain this position).

With your arms slightly above your head, curl your body up using your biceps to where you are nearly in a standing position and repeat the process for your desired amount of repetitions.

While standing in the rest position, make sure to keep your body in a straight line with no sagging in the hip/butt area.

READ MORE: 3 Rules You MUST Follow To Build Superhuman Strength And Mad Skills With Calisthenics

Top Beginner Calisthenics Biceps Exercises

If you try these exercises out, and you can’t do them yet…that’s OK! “Beginner” can mean a different level for each person, so give these a try. If you’re not there just yet, slowly work your way up to successfully doing them, then surpassing them. You’re awesome.

You’ve got this.

1. Assisted Chin-Up

Assisted chin-ups are done using the same form as standard chin-ups, but with the help of either a machine that you can find in most gyms or by tying off a resistance band and placing it under your feet to obtain the same effect.

Assisted chin-ups are great for beginners because they’re an excellent way to build up strength and perfect the form needed to work your way up to normal chin-ups.

Again, make sure to pick an assistance level that allows you to CORRECTLY complete the movement without swinging your body up.

 

2. Negative Repetition Chin-Ups

If you can’t do regular chin-ups or assisted chin-ups, negative rep chin-ups are for you.

The idea is to start in the top position of a chin-up (arms bent at the elbows – chin above the bar). But instead of pulling your body up, negative rep chin-ups are only concerned with lowering your body to the bottom position (2-5 second count). Always keep COMPLETE control of your form.

To begin, you’ll need a sturdy bench or platform to raise yourself into the top position. When you do the first rep, step back up on the platform and start again with the second rep.

These will also help build up strength in your biceps and create the proper muscle memory needed to advance your way to assisted, and eventually unassisted chin-ups.

Master these and you’ll be cranking out chin-ups in no time!

 

3. Dynamic Tension Curls

If you’re a complete newbie, and there’s no shame in that – we all have to start somewhere and dynamic tension curls maybe your only option for a first calisthenics bicep workout.

Dynamic tension curls are very similar to doing a dumbbell bicep curl, but instead of using a weight, you use your off hand to resist or push down the working hand. Basically, you’re curling the resistance added by your off arm. They’re an excellent starting exercise because you determine the amount of resistance added. They can also be done ANYWHERE.

For that reason, they are also a great option for more experienced people if there are no other available options to train your arms.

For greatest effect, make sure that when you do these (or any curls for that matter), you’re keeping your working elbow tucked in tightly to your body. Doing this will ensure that you’re only training the bicep and not using your other arm muscles to curl the resistance.

Calisthenics Bicep Workouts For The Win

Arms that would make even the Hulkster jealous

Now you know how you can get a great biceps workout in without touching a single weight. Perfect one arm chin-ups and you’ll have arms that would even make the Hulkster jealous!

Please let us know what you think. Did we miss out on some great arm exercises that you use? Are you making progress with some of the exercises we listed? We’d love to hear about it. Be sure to let us know in the comments section below!

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.

Some of these exercises above might be too hard for you, yet you still try to do them. Now what?
Your body will compensate by using poor form, movement dysfunction and you’ll possibly risk injury if it’s too challenging. And now, imagine if some of these exercises were so easy that they didn’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.

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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!