Front Lever Progression

Front Lever Progression

Front lever progression

Front lever progression

The front lever is an upper body progression which starts off with some relatively easy exercises before moving on to the ultimate step. The Front Lever is a fairly dynamic exercise made up of many different static motions as you build up through the progression. By the end your control of your own body weight will be an impressive feat and the muscular shape of your upper body will definitely improve.

front lever

front lever

Step 1 – Vertical Rows

For this exercise you should use a low bar where your feet can touch the ground. Alternatively you can use a high pull-up bar with a raised flat surface to rest your feet on. Put your feet flat on the floor or surface and grip the bar with your knees bent. Pull yourself up until your chest is near the bar and control back down.

Step 2 – Horizontal Rows

The added difficulty in this step involves moving more of your body weight with your arms. Instead of putting your feet on the floor, straighten your legs and rest your heels on the floor. This time you will be pulling some of your leg weight as well as the weight of your upper body.

Step 3 – Wide Bar Rows

This step is very similar to the previous step except for the hand position. In order to increase the difficulty to work up to a front lever position, you must make the exercise more difficult on your arms by spreading your hand position much wider than shoulder width apart. If you can manage it, try to double the distance your hands have been apart in the previous two steps and pull up.

Step 4 – Archer Rows

The purpose of this exercise is to bring strength to your core in preparation for the front lever step. It is not a full-proof way of being able to prepare you for the final step as it is not a similar exercise, so you may wish to consult some exercises in the leg raise progression for full preparation. Use two small dumbbells (3-8kg) and hand them in your hands while adopting a push-up position. You should concentrate on pulling up with your arms alternatively so your opposite side is facing the ground. This exercise will give further strength to your arms while engaging your core and obliques which are also key for the final exercise.

Step 5 – Front Lever Rows

Back to the bar position, place your heels on the floor. This time when you pull up focus on bringing your knees in towards your chest while pulling your chest towards the bar, hold this position shortly before controlling back to the starting position. To progress from this, you can balace with your body parallel to the ground with your feet unsupported then pull up and bring your knees to your chest.

There are other Front Lever variations you can try:

By the end of this progression your upper body will be strong and stable. See what else you can use this new found strength for with some of our other progressions.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Check those additional resources for the levers:

L-Sit, V-Sit and Hamstring Mobility

Fundamentals of Straight Arm Strength Training

3 Reasons Why You Must Practice Levers

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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!
Planche progression

Planche progression

[tweet_box design=”box_10″]The planche progression is a gymnastics-based progression suited to bodyweight training.[/tweet_box] There are countless references to gymnastics workouts when it comes to calisthenics. Therefore, it is our pleasure to include this into our list of progressions. [tweet_box design=”box_10″]The planche will give you insane whole-body strength and outrageous and seemingly superhuman body control.[/tweet_box] It is certainly a must for all bodyweight training enthusiasts.

Planche

Planche Progression Infographic

Step 1 – Pseudo Planche Push-Ups

A very easy first step of this progression, pseudo push-ups give you the sensation of performing push-ups in a planche-like position. Support your legs on a raised platform (e.g. table, chair etc.) and place your hands on the floor or some bars. Perform push-ups at a steady pace by controlling the motion up and down.

Step 2 – Frog Stand (or Crow Stand)

The first step was a delicate introduction to a planche scenario with no balance involved. This step adds difficulty by bringing the sensation of balance to the progression, balance on your hands and rest your knees on your elbows. Be sure to hold this position comfortably before your move on to the next exercises of the progression as they act of balancing becomes more difficult.

Step 3 – Tuck Planche

Adopt a position with your hands on the floor and your knees together between your hands. Begin to balance on your hands and move your knees away from your hands until you are balancing with your knees together in the air about the same height as your elbows.

Step 4 – Advanced Tuck Planche

As the name might suggest, this is a more difficult version of step 3. Adopt the same tuck planche position but allow your knees to come apart and touch the backs of your elbows while balancing on your hands. This means your body will have to work harder to support and balance your weight which is distributed fully on a much narrower base.

Step 5 – Straddle Planche

Balance on your hands but this time allow your backside to face the floor and extend your legs out either side of your arms. This will make it much more difficult to balance and will demand much more strength and stability from your core which will now be working much harder to maintain this position.

Step 6 – Full Planche

The full planche involves balancing on your hands and holding your body steady in the position described in the last step but with your legs out straight behind you.

Step 7 – Planche Push-Up

A full-on, undiluted version of step 1. Adopt a planche position with your hands on the floor and your legs extended straight out behind you. Perform push-ups in this position. This is a great upper body exercise as your arms are working not only to balance your body but also to push up and down.

Here is a video demonstration of how this should look:

If you have worked your way through this progression then we congratulate you on your effort and thank you for attempting the purely gymnastic view of bodyweight training!

Planche progression

Planche progression

DOWNLOAD 6 STEPS ONE ARM PLANCHE PROGRESSION!

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We have more Calisthenics progressions for you to attempt.

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

Then we need to adjust your training, But before that let me tell you something:

WHY USING A COOKIE-CUTTER TRAINING ROUTINES  (like the one above) WILL HINDER YOUR PROGRESS AND WHAT TO DO ABOUT IT 

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.

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 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 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!
Muscle Up Progression

Muscle Up Progression

In its most simply described form, a muscle-up is a pull up followed by a dip. That means that while hanging from a bar, your pull yourself up and then slightly adjust your and position to extend your arms above the bar pushing your whole body up. This i and extended muscle up progression. The initial exercise is not for beginners and you may want to work yourself up to it by progressing through some other exercises. See our Pull Ups Progression. [tweet_box design=”box_10″]The muscle-ups progression are a great bodyweight exercise for building strength and bodily control[/tweet_box], one of the key philosophies about the spirit of calisthenics.

muscle up progression

muscle up progression

Step 1 – False Grip Pull Ups

In order to correctly perform a muscle-up, you must be able to adopt a hand position on the bar that allows you to push up from the bar once you have pulled yourself up. To do this you must practice pull ups with what is known as a “false grip” here you grip the bar with your fingers over the top of the bar and your palms facing away from your body, but instead of putting your thumb around the bar, simply rest in to the side of your hand. Practice hanging like this before attempting to perform a pull up in this position. It may be slightly more difficult than a normal pull up, but it is the necessary hand position to be adopted to be able to work through the rest of the progression.

Step 2 – Muscle-Ups Eccentrics

The eccentrics of any exercise are known as the movements which are unique to that exercise to be practiced before the full exercise is put together. For the purpose of this progression the eccentrics are the second part of the muscle-up which involved pushing up from the bar. Balance on top of the bar with your hands and let your body drop until your elbows are near a 90 degree angle. Push up so that your arms are fully extended on the top of the bar before controlling on the way back down.

Step 3 – Kipping Muscle-Ups

This is a gravity-assisted form of the final exercise in this progression. The kipping part gives you momentum to pull yourself up into the muscle-up position. This involves holding the bar and letting your body move forward under and in front of the bar before swinging back and using this momentum to perform the muscle-up.

Step 4 – Muscle-Ups

Without the help of the swinging kipping motion, perform the muscle-up as described starting from static position below the bar. This is an impressive display of strength if you can complete this progression and will stand you in good stead to attempt some of our other upper body progressions available.

Here is a helpful video for the steps of this progression:

one arm pull up progression

DOWNLOAD 10 STEPS MUSCLE UP PROGRESSION!

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One Arm Pullups

One Arm Pullups

Pull ups are an ultimate display of using your own strength to control your body weight. [tweet_box design=”box_08″]If you can pull your dead weight with just your arms and upper body, then you will have developed some great strength.[/tweet_box]

one arm pull up progression

one arm pull up progression

An insight into the ideology of progressions and featuring our pull-up progression in Convict Conditioning:

Step 1 – Vertical Pulls

[tweet_box design=”box_08″]This difficult progression starts by building strength over many repetitions of very simple exercises.[/tweet_box] This first one involves holding on to a doorway or similar structure, leaning back and pulling yourself closer. The high amount of repetition will build strength and make you able to move onto more difficult exercises.

Step 2 – Horizontal Pulls

A slightly more difficult exercise progression for pull ups. Hold on to a bar or similar object with your heels on the floor hanging by your arms around a 30 degree angle to the floor. Then you pull yourself up until your chest almost touches the bar before lowering yourself slowly back down. This is another exercise which will increase your strength and muscular endurance over many repetitions.

Step 3 – Jack knife Pulls

A simulation of a full pull up by initiating half the motion. Hold on to a pull up bar while resting your knees on a raised surface. Pull yourself up before lowering back to the original position. This gives the first sensation of pulling your bodyweight vertically.

Step 4 – Half Pull Ups

A more difficult version of a jack knife pull as you are supporting your weight throughout. Hold your weight with your arms wide apart and your triceps parallel to the ground. Perform the range of motion by pulling your weight the short distance until your chin is near the bar and lower to the starting position while supporting your full weight.

Step 5 – Full Pull Ups

Hang from a bar with you arms shoulder width apart and fully extended. Pull yourself up with your arms until your chin is near the bar and control on the way down. By now your will have some awesome strength by being able to manipulate your dead bodyweight.

Step 6 – Close Pull Ups

This is the first exercise in this progression which works towards the one-arm pull up. Here we create the sensation of lifting from a more narrow base. Hold the bar with your hands touching one another. Recreate a classic pull up in this position and control back down

Step 7 – Uneven Pull Ups

While holding the bar with one hand, hold your wrist with you other hand. Use both arms from this position to pull yourself up. The uses both your arms while putting more strain on the one arm which will soon be performing a one arm pull up.

Step 8 – Half One Arm Pull-Ups

Hold yourself in a raised position on the bar with one arm and pull yourself up until your chin is above the bar. This is a very short contraction which covers half the distance of the ultimate step in this progression.

Step 9 – Assisted Pull-Ups

Use an exercise band and hold on to it with one hand when it is wrapped around the bar. Fully extend your other arm holding on to the bar and pull your chin above the bar with this arm. This is the sensation of pulling yourself fully up with one arm with your balance supported on the exercise band.

Step 10 – One Arm Pull-Ups

Hold the bar with one hand, fully extend your arm and hang from that arm while your other hand is behind your back. Use your one arm to pull your chin above the bar and control on the way down. If you have reached this step, you will have built some incredible upper body and arm strength.

Feel free to use this strength to enter some of our other progressions.

one arm pull up progression

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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!
Pistol Squat Progression

Pistol Squat Progression

pistol squat progression

pistol squat progression

Squats

Squats Progression

[tweet_box design=”box_06″]The squat progression is a way of creating great muscle and explosive power in your legs by building up to some of these very difficult exercises.[/tweet_box] The progressions aimed at the upper body are well balanced out when you combined a very effective leg workout.

Step 1 – Shoulderstand Squats

The beginning of this exercise is to get you used to the sensation on bending and extending your legs. Use your elbows to help you balance on your neck and shoulders and extend your legs straight up in the air. The contraction of your leg muscles here involves bending them down until your knees are near your face and driving your legs back up again.

Step 2 – Jack Knife Squats

This is a shortened version of a traditional squat. Feel free to use a lowered bar to help you on your way up or down as pictured. Start by bending over then bending your legs until your thighs are about parallel to the floor. This is a relatively simple exercise done with many repetitions to build your strength and endurance for now.

Step 3 – Supported Squats

Use a bar to help support your body weight on the way down and up. Start by standing straight up and bend your legs until your backside is almost touching your heels. Use the bar to help your legs push you on your way back up.

Step 4 – Half Squats

This is the unsupported version of step 2. Stand straight with your feet shoulder width apart. Bend your legs until your thighs are about parallel to the floor and use your leg muscles to explode up to a standing position. You will now start to feel the full contraction of your quadriceps and hamstrings.

Step 5 – Full Squats

The unsupported version of step 3. With your feet shoulder width apart in the standing position, bend your legs until your backside is almost touching your heels and drive upwards using your legs for explosive power in your quads.

Step 6 – Close Squats

This exercise gives the sensation of squatting from a narrow base as you work towards the one-legged pistol squat. Standing straight up with your heels touching, squat down until your thighs are about parallel to the ground and push up. You will feel that your muscles are also working to keep yourself balanced as well as squat.

Step 7 – Uneven Squats

Start by standing with your heel outstretched on a small exercise ball. Squat down by bending your other leg until your backside is amlost touching your heel. Keep the leg which was on the ball straight and roll the ball out in front of your to help support your squatting leg. Push back up. This gives the sensation of squatting using only one leg.

Step 8 – Half One-Leg Squats

In this exercise your leg is now unsupported. This is a one-legged version of step 4. Squat half way down on this leg and push up.

Step 9 – Assisted One-Leg Squats

Place an exercise ball underneath your non-squatting leg. Perform a full one-legged squat until your non-squatting leg touches the exercise ball. Use this ball to maintain balance at the bottom of the squat and then push back up. Balance at the bottom of the squat becomes the hardest part of the next step.

Step 10 – One-Leg Squats

Stand on one leg with your other leg slightly outstretched in front of you. Bend your standing leg until your backside is almost touching your heel and keep your other leg perfectly straight and parallel to the floor. As you maintain balance at the bottom, drive your body back up to standing position.

This is a very impressive progression if you can complete it. Your legs are the most explosive and durable muscles in your body and when trained in this way, they will be a force to be reckoned with.

Worried about your form? Have a look at this brief instructional video on step 10:

See also our other progressions.

one arm pull up progression

DOWNLOAD 10 STEPS PISTOL PROGRESSION!

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  • Avoid Injuries and Strenghten Your Joints with Proven Steps for Progress

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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!
Leg Raises

Leg Raises

Leg Raises

Leg Raise Infographic

[tweet_box design=”box_08″]This is a core muscle progression which will build great strength, endurance and muscular[/tweet_box] definition in your abdominal muscles. The value of leg raises works your core muscles so that you can gain a better athletic shape, more agile movement and perfect form.

Step 1 – Knee Tucks

Sit on the edge of a table of chair or other solid raised object. Let your body rock back slightly while supporting yourself with your hand. Slowly lower your legs back down and repeat.

Step 2 – Flat Knee Raises

Start by lying on the floor with your legs bent slightly and heels on the floor. Slowly raise your legs until your feet are around 6 inches from the floor. Hold this position momentarily before lowering slowly again.

Step 3 – Flat Bent Leg Raises

Start on the floor again but with your legs slightly bent and together about 6 inches from the floor. Raise your legs from this position Until your thighs are perpendicular to your body. Lower back down to the starting position. By now your will feel your core straining to keep your legs supported off the ground.

Step 4 – Flat Frog Raises

Lie completely flat on the floor. Slowly raise your legs holding them perfectly straight until they are around 45 degrees to the ground. On every second repetition bring them up til they are perpendicular to your body. Always control the movement on the way down for full contraction.

Step 5 – Flat Straight Leg Raises

Lie completely flat on the floor. Slowly raise your legs holding them perfectly straight until they are perpendicular to your body. Slowly control the movement on the way back down. The contraction of your muscles occurs when lifting your legs to the raised position.

Step 6 – Hanging Knee Raises

The first of the hanging leg raises. Hang from a pull up bar and lift your legs until they are almost parallel to the ground before slowly lowering them back down.

Step 7 – Hanging Bent Leg Raises

The difficulty is increasing now. Hang again but hold your legs in a slightly bent position. Raise them until your thighs are parallel to the ground and control back down. By now the muscular contractions will be much more intense.

Step 8 – Hanging Frog Raises

Hang with your legs straight. Raise your legs slightly and lower back down. Every second repetition raise higher until your straight legs are perfectly parallel to the ground.

Step 9 – Partial Hanging Leg Raises

Start by holding your legs straight slightly raised from the basic hanging position. Raise them slighlty until they are completely straight and parallel to the ground before returning to the original partially raised position.

Step 10 – Hanging Straight Leg Raises

The ultimate goal of this progression. Start in the straight leg hanging position and raise your legs using your now very strong core muscles until they are parallel to the ground. If you have worked through this progression, we are proud of you.

This is not the end of this progression necessarily. You may want to work on your flexibility in order to get a higher leg raise and a deeper burn on your abs:

Be sure to look at more of our progressions.

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GET A PROVEN STEP BY STEP BLUEPRINT FOR INHUMAN STRENGTH!

BUILD STRENGTH, MUSCLE MASS AND LOSE FAT WITH PROGRESSIVE CALISTHENICS- The most effective bodyweight strength training on earth:

  • Over 170 detailed exercises progressions with over 20 steps each to guide you through
  • Downloadable workout schedule, including detailed guidance on warm up, skills work, strength work and conditioning
  • 7 different workout routines for whatever is your goal and lifestyle (strength, fat loss, endurance, skills etc)
  • and everything you need in one place to get you started regardless your fitness level.
  • YOUR TIME IS NOW!
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!