How To Train At 50 And Dare To Bare Your Arms & Abs

Let’s face it…  We all want nice arms and a waistline we can show off to the world. Better yet, we all want to be fit no matter our age. Women want Michelle Obama’s arms, Kelly Ripa’s abs, and Rachel Mclish full package. Men want Arnold Schwarzenegger”s arms, Daniel Craig’s eight pack, and Sylvester Stallone’s physique. And they want to have these at any age.

But why does aging past 50 years mean you can’t have a sexy waistline and strong arms?

Older and wiser does NOT have to mean fatter, weaker and jigglier.  

In this post, I will teach you a different way to approach your body training.  It is less conventional, yet very effective if you are over the age of 50.  Because training daily, as a habit to better your body, should be as natural as brushing your teeth. The “rules” changed when you entered your 50’s. Do you change your approach to match the new rules? In my experience, the most frustrating thing for my older clients is the realization that they are no longer 23 years old. But age is not the problem. It’s your body that changes. What worked in your thirties no longer works in your fifties.

So how can you train now that you are in your 50’s?

Improvidus, apto quod victum

As most U.S. Marines will tell you, “Improvise, adapt, overcome.” Age-related muscle loss and fat gain are not for YOU. Most science suggests that as we age we have little to no control over these things.

We need to take action to overcome our own bodies.

Many age-related issues can be avoided with strength training and good nutrition. Aging does NOT mean more aches and pains, unless YOU allow them. Yes, the “rules” did change somewhere along the way. But it is up to us, athletes, to challenge those “rules.” [VERY IMPORTANT] If you are new to training, go easy, get guidance and be patient. If you ARE over 30, overweight and in chronic pain – visit your trusted medical professional before taking on any exercise program.

The biggest rule I suggest you break is your training frequency.

As we age, moving more often is really helpful. Training daily helps keep things going, and if done right, leads to less frustration and better results. Are you ready for a paradigm shift?

A training session can be done in 5 minutes.

Read that again. Five minutes to train? NO WAY. Yes way.

5 minutes for A Training Session.

Here’s an example – Set a countdown timer for 5 minutes. NO… Really.  Stop, grab your phone and set a countdown timer.  Do it now.  I’ll wait. C’mon… Just do it. OK. Start the timer. Perform 21 “air” squats, followed by 8 straight bridges or wall walks.  Repeat this sequence as many times as the timer allows.  That’s One Training Session, done. If you did it… Congratulations!

You could have done that session literally ANYWHERE and anytime.

Now do that 4 more times today.  Whenever you can. NO gym required.  NO wasted/lost time.  Just 15 to 25 minutes of focused exercise for an entire day. “But Steeeeve…  You said ARMS and ABS!?” Yes, I did.  Fortunately, I am a “responsible” training specialist. Deep squats DO work your abs, especially your lower belly and pelvic floor.  The straight bridge hit the back of your arms, didn’t it? There’s your arms.

Now, how’s your Plank?

Can you hold a Straight Arm (Push Up Position) Plank for 2 Minutes? If NO, Start here.  It really is important for your shoulder health and core strength. Clockwise from top:  Low Plank, Reverse Plank, Prone Back Extension, Side Plank, Front Plank

The basics of the plank must be practiced and developed.

plank positionHere’s your core training if the 2 minute plank eludes you:

Work on holding each of these for 20 seconds a few to several times per day.  Increase your time to build up toward 60 seconds each. Test your plank in 3 weeks and let me know where you’re at. Clockwise from top:  Low Plank, Reverse Plank, Prone Back Extension, Side Plank, Front Plank

push up, bridge

If your plank is solid, try this:
  • Push Up  (pick the version that challenges you for 13 reps)
  • Straight Bridge

Stick to the 5-minute timer.  Alternate back and forth between exercises (8 reps each), resting as needed. How do your arms feel? Continue to do this session throughout your day.

ADIT – What does it mean

You might be able to do 5, 8, or more 5-minute training sessions per day.  Each session “Hits” your metabolism pretty hard. Each session makes a barely noticeable dent in your time. I call this, All-Day Interval Training (ADIT). Yes, I just made that up and I claim dibs for infinity! Why wouldn’t ADIT be great for your fat reduction efforts??  Rhetorical. It will. If body fat reduction is a priority – Prioritize 5 minutes (One “mini-session”) of exercise before any meal, snack, or beverage (other than water). If muscle growth is a priority – Get a solid 10-12 minutes of targeted work 4 times per week.  Your targeted muscles should feel “Pumped Up” after these. I’m gonna share with you another another secret.

Work your whole body, or most of it, all the time, with every exercise.

Sorry, machines really won’t cut it. Not most of the time. Or at all, in my world. The first combo I shared worked your core hard.  Upper back and glutes…  so what  muscles are left? More importantly (if you tried it), How Do YOUR Arms FEEL? We targeted the arms and the back of the arms. Tomorrow we target something else. Could be legs. But WHY? calisthenics training over 50 It’s all about the arms and abs, right?

Top secret:  Do one session every day for legs, like the 5 minutes we did above.

Here’s for tomorrow:  grab a moderately heavy Dumbbell for Biceps Curls.  You only need one as you will be doing one arm at a time (more challenge for the core). Alternate 8 or more

  • Dips (bench, chair, box, bars, etc.) with,

1-Arm Strict Biceps Curls for the same number of reps on each arm.  (Concentration Curl shown) If it’s a busy day at work…  Every 30 minutes, do one round, more if you can.  Don’t forget 5 minutes for the legs.  You could do “double step stairs”, up and down in the stairwells before lunch.  In the picture, I did Picnic Bench Step Ups. Hopefully by now you’ve picked up on my concept of increased training frequency and exercising as a habit.

The most important thing is to successfully turn exercise into habit

  • Train every day. Don’t kill yourself everyday.  Target the important areas (Arms & Abs) daily.
  • Accumulate 20 or more minutes of total training per day.
  • Focus on multi-jointed movements that require your core (not a bench) to support you.
  • You don’t need a gym or special clothing to be strong and sexy.
  • Mobility training is still training. Two 5-minute mobility sessions per day is a great idea.

If it’s important, DO it every day. Train your arms and core daily.  You can find more training sessions on my Instagram.

One more secret

This is an “AB” or core training secret – Do NOT focus on crunching the “6-pack”.  Instead, imagine a ball inside the middle of your abdomen.  Crush down on the entire surface of that ball – Squeeze from all sides.  Doing a Kegel helps here. Using calisthenics and bodyweight protocols/progressions can thoroughly train you for strength, fat loss, mobility, and power in for short sessions every day.

The key is to Do It Every Day.

This helps to solidify the HABIT of exercise.  How many days would you go without brushing your teeth? It’s not some competitive gym thing.  It’s about YOU and YOUR body. This is real world, common sense physical culture. To learn more different techniques of weaving your “workouts” into your day, leave questions in the comments below.

Are you ready to Overcome your 50’s?

Improvise. Adapt. Overcome. Trainer Steve P.S. – Below are a list of trainings I did while writing this article:

  • Tactical Pull Ups
  • Ring Rows
  • Close Push Ups
  • Bridge Push Ups
  • Pike Push Ups

Each session provided a nice break from the keyboard and took me about 3-5 minutes. Bonus Arms:  Halo Arms, Halo Tri-Extensions and Halo Curls Halo Arms, Halo Tri-Extensions and Halo Curls Bonus:  Whole Body Circuit whole body circuit 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!

Be The Movement: How Federico’s Passion For Movement Became His Mission

by Alexandra

Over on The Movement Athlete Facebook Group, we hosted a 30 Day Hand Balancing Challenge with Sam McFarlane a few months ago. We were highly impressed by so many of the participants that we felt the need to get to know them a little bit better and learn about their journey with movement. We hope that by sharing athletes’ journeys with movement we can inspire athletes all over the world to explore movement and play.

Meet Federico Lopez Sanz

Let us introduce to you Federico Lopez Sanz, the co-founder of Alma Comunidad and a movement teacher. We were drawn to him from his skills, creativity, and inspirational commitment to the movement culture. When we recently interviewed him, here is what we learned about his journey with movement.

Federico, a movement athlete in his late twenties, from Santiago de Chile, knew from a young age that he would build a career around fitness. As a kid, he enjoyed playing sports at a competitive level. He played rugby for most of his younger years and competed in skateboarding and rollerblading. He love all sorts of physical activities.

“Humility is key to open your heart and really learn.”

Once he started travelling the world, he was first exposed to different body movement disciplines. He learned about aerial silks, acrobatics, dance, and different circus disciplines. He then bumped into yoga and loved it so much that he became a Certified Instructor. Yoga is still a crucial discipline in his daily movement routine.

A few years later, he dedicated himself to Crossfit, reaching Level 1 Certified Coach. It matched his energy levels and was a huge stress reliever.

“If I could get great rewards from my training, so could everybody else.”

At a crossroad in his life and eager to define his role in the movement culture, he decided to commit his practice to teaching others. Having been inspired by so many in their respective disciplines, he now wanted to inspire as many people as possible with movement. It’s what excites him most and fulfills his soul. He wanted to give back and share the conscience of movement.

“We must have conscience of what our bodies can and can’t do.”

His Movement Practice

Movement is a key component in Federico’s training. He incorporates it into his workout routine to build strength, improve flexibility and become aware of his body. His main goal is to dominate his bodyweight to reach freedom. He believes that freedom allows you understand any method, discipline or sport.

“Someone able to dominate his bodyweight in every direction, and use their body as a tool (more than a load) is really free.”

“Bodyweight mastery is infinite, simple and complex at the same time. Hard and easy; everything depends on your patience and practice. If you do it treating your body with love and respect you reach impressive longevity.”

Federico’s Advice to Beginners In Movement Training

“What others do, you can do too. If you listen and understand your body.”

“Observe and enjoy what you’re doing. It will be a path full of adventures. You don’t need anything but your body.”

The Challenge

Federico had been wanting to be part of a challenge for a while. When his wife introduced him to our Facebook challenge, something ran deep in his soul that he knew immediately he wanted to input his grain of sand.

“You reflect what our hearts want: promote movement culture big scale.”

What he found most challenging was having patience. The patience to build something as beautiful as an arm balance. Yet, the reward of finding play with movement, capturing the moment and sharing it with a community outweighed the challenge.

The challenge got him out of his typical training spot and outdoors. Anything that spices up his routine, the more he likes to incorporate it. Especially since he felt really creative and inspired.

“I can make space to share something different and change my original plan in order to let something more elevated take over: creativity, community and play.”

His Passion Project: Alma Comunidad

“I’m in the path to materialize a dream that’s been in my heart for years.”

Federico had been wanting to be part of a challenge for a while. When his wife introduced him to our Facebook challenge, something ran deep in his soul that he knew immediately he wanted to input his grain of sand.

Federico’s desire to inspire and share his knowledge brought him to building his passion project with a friend. Together, they build a space available for anyone who wants to share or teach something different or unconventional. Alma Comunidad is a community bringing people to connect more from movement and less from ego. Their main principle is that:

“Awareness of our bodies comes before technique.”

Alma Comunidad’s Instagram

Federico’s journey with movement is no short of inspiring. He lives and breathe movement daily. He embodies everything, we at Calisthenics Academy stand for and want to build. He’s an inspiration for us to continue building and sharing our discipline and community with you and the world.
Feeling inspired too? Join The Academy today and stay tuned for our next Facebook challenge.

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!

Cali Academy Special Section

SPECIAL LAST CHANCE OFFER! CLOSING November 30th 2017!

GET A LIFETIME ACCESS TO THE CURRENT & NEW CALISTHENICS ACADEMY 2.0

COMING OUT LATER THIS YEAR

TODAY $97 ($399 AFTER)

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!

Workout In Small Spaces – Arya’s “No Space Workout”

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!

No Space? No Worries!

You may think you have to be in a specific place to exercise, but it’s not necessary. Common exercise spaces are definitely motivating, but aren’t the key to a successful or consistent routines. You can still workout in small spaces.

The lack of access to these spaces, such as gyms, parks, or even specially-designed calisthenics are also a common excuse to avoid or put off exercise. Once you start to find reasons not to exercise, you’ll only blame those same excuses for holding you back. Believe me, I’ve been there….until I found the “no Space” Workout.

It can bury all my excuses six feet under. So whether you’re on a trip, stuck in the hotel room, or have a really tight schedule, I have a routine that will work for you.

What Is The ‘No Space’ Workout?

First things first, don’t misunderstand the meaning of “No Space”. It means you can exercise with very little space, even if it’s only 2m x 2m. It’s still enough space to work out. I came up with the term to trick myself, so I can’t make up excuses to avoid exercise.

Now, the beauty of bodyweight or calisthenics exercise is that your body is the limit. This means you can express your body with basic movements, as well as variations of that movement.

READ MORE: 3 Power Packed Breakfast Options You Will Ever Need

‘No Space’ Exercises

There are a lot of ‘no space’ exercises you can start out with. The movements that are ideal for small spaces include Push-Ups, Dips, Squats, Lunges, Crunches, Leg Raises, Sit-Ups, High Knees, Jumping Jacks, Mountain Climber, and Burpees. You name it, calisthenics has it, and uses it regularly to help athletes master movement.

And in case you don’t notice, all of those are the most basic exercises that don’t need for any equipment too!!!

So why don’t you make a workout program from those huge lists of exercises?

“Wait, I already have a program I must follow…is it ok?”

The idea of a “no space” workout is to keep you exercising when you have no place to do it. You can use the basic movements to create a workout program that isn’t restricted by space. This won’t take away from your typical program. Instead, this helps you keep a routine even when you’re traveling or busy and need to workout in small spaces.

In fact, in my experience, it will help you to get some variation in your exercise and keep you away from the boring feeling of only following your program.

READ MORE: 7 Methods of Progressing in Calisthenics

How To Create Your Own ‘No Space’ Workout

You could follow the standard, basic workout, with 3 sets of 10 push-ups, 3 sets of 10 squats, 3 sets of 10 dips, etc.

What I suggest, though, is to make it more efficient by using full-body exercises, while training in a shorter amount of time and doing a circuit.

All you need is a timer. You can use a timer app, your basic mobile phone timer, or even your watch.

Now pick your kind of exercises. I personally always pick 4 different kinds of exercises. My favorites are Jumping Jacks, Push-Ups, Squats and Mountain Climber. And as you can see, my pick already consists of Cardio, upper body, and lower body exercises.

Here’s My Personal Routine:

1. 20 seconds of Jumping Jacks

2. 20 seconds of Push-up (any progression you can do)

3. 20 seconds of Squats

4. 20 seconds of Mountain Climber

5 – 10 rounds, with a rest-time of up to 2 minutes between rounds. If you catch your breath before the 2 minutes are up, then you can go for another round.

Next-Level Workout In Small Spaces

If you feel that these exercises are too easy for you, then feel free to change and take it up a notch.

Here’s my next-level routine:

1. 20 seconds Running High Knee

2. 20 seconds Explosive Push-up

3. 20 seconds Jumping Lunges

4. 20 seconds half burpee

Now you can see how easy it is to workout with very little space.

Don’t Forget To Keep Perfect Form

You should maintain perfect form for each exercise, so it’s not necessary to go as fast as you can in 20 seconds. You have to do as much as you can in perfect form, that’s what will make your exercises count and bring the result you always want. As long as your form is good, it doesn’t matter that if you exercise in gyms, parks, or workout in small spaces.

There you have it.

Now, when you think you can’t find a place to work out, you’ll immediately remember the “no space” workout thing.

I bet you have a lot of ideas pop up. Then why don’t you try this “no space” workout and share with me how it feels and what kind of exercises you do?

Be Strong.

“Whether you’re on a trip, stuck in the hotel room, or have a really tight schedule, I have a routine that will work for you.”

“You can exercise with very little space, even if it’s only 2m x 2m. It’s still enough space to work out.”

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!
8 Challenging Push-up Variations To Spice Up Your Calisthenics Training

8 Challenging Push-up Variations To Spice Up Your Calisthenics Training

When it comes to working out, push-up is probably one of the most common movements that every athlete has performed inside or outside the gym.

Push-ups are done in your yoga classes, pilates classes, boot camp classes, crossfit and many others. Soldiers even perform push-ups in their training.

The are the also the fundamental calisthenics pushing movement that is absolutely required if you want to build towards some of the more advanced movements.

The problem is – when you think push-up you probably think normal, generic push up on the floor but there are hundreds of push-up variations that you can use in your training.

Wether you are looking to add variety to your training, challenge yourself, have a bit of fun, follow some variations tried by calisthenics masters – we’ve got you covered.

In this article we will cover the benefits of push-ups as a fundamental horizontal pushing movement, how to use it to progress in your training and we will show you 8 fun variations to try to get your training to the next level.

Why you should start doing push-ups now?

A push-up requires literally nothing but your body weight, yet it has the power to activate almost every muscle in your body. It may appear to be very simple, but once you press your hands against the floor, you’ll know why a PUSH-UP is something that EVERYONE SHOULD KNOW AND START DOING.

There are many movements that you can incorporate into your workout regimen. PUSH-UPS should definitely be one of those movements for all the exciting benefits it can provide your body. Your training will be so much better with push-ups.

Strengthens Your Muscles

Push-up is a simple workout that brings a myriad of miracles to the body. Doing push-ups stretches your whole body and strengthens your muscles, particularly those located on your chest, shoulders, triceps, abdomen, and the wing muscles under your armpit called serratus anterior. It also helps with the growth of your muscles as this exercise increases the production of the Human Growth Hormone (HGH), which is responsible for muscle growth.

Improves Your Health

Push-ups also help improve your health. This exercise improves your cardiovascular system as it makes your heart work harder to pump blood to your muscles. Moreover, studies have shown that push-ups help prevent osteoporosis development for both men and women.

Prevents Injuries

In addition, push-ups are also a great way to prevent unwanted injuries. By stabilizing your muscles through push-ups, not only can you strengthen the vulnerable parts of your body such as shoulders and your spine, but also improve your posture, too!

What is a push-up?

The push-up movement is one of the most simple and inexpensive movements that activates all your muscle groups, as discussed by Michelle Hobgood, MS, of Daily Burn.

In addition, Calisthenics Academy discussed that “push-ups are one of the best ways to strengthen the upper body, shoulders, triceps and chest. They also stress the core muscles throughout the movement.”

How to do a PUSH-UP?

Basically, a standard push-up is performed by:

  • Place your hands shoulder width apart on the floor. Make sure the arms are straight.
  • The upper back is slightly rounded. Keep the abs tight.
  • Keep the legs straight and close together with the toes resting on the floor
  • From this position lower your body down by bending the elbows to more than 90 degrees till the body is two inches above and parallel to the floor. The elbows stay close to the body.
  • Come to initial position by tensing the triceps and chest muscles.
  • Keep low back and abs tight throughout the movement.
push ups variations calisthenics

This is how you should look like in the starting position.

pasted image 0 8

push ups variations calisthenics

REMEMBER: Maintain a neutral straight position while pressing yourself on the ground.

Now, that you have an idea on how to do a push-up, or  your memory has been refreshed on doing one, let me share how this one simple movement can influence dramatically your training for Calisthenics and Gymnastics.

Pushing Movement Modalities to Improve Calisthenics and Gymnastics

Pushing movements such as push-up, handstand, pull-up and other bodyweight exercises are very important in building up overall strength and control over your body.

The gymnastics modality comprises of body weight elements or calisthenics, and its primary purpose is to improve body control by improving neurological components like coordination, balance, agility, and accuracy, and to improve functional upper body capacity and trunk strength. – The CrossFit Training Guide, 2006

Before you can do crazy gymnastic movements such as handstand push-ups, pull-ups, or even back flips, performing standard push-ups to get better is a good start. If you already got the hang of performing push-ups, there are always modifications and variations that you can do to spice up your training.

Advanced Push-Up Variations That You MUST Try

1. Typewriter Push-Up

Muscles worked:

  • Upper back muscles like rhomboids and middle trapezius
  • Triceps
  • Chest (pectorals major and minor)
  • Shoulders
  • Core

Why you should try it: 

This specific variation challenges the athlete to engage the core during the whole duration of the movement. The athlete is not only focused on the up and down motion of the movement, rather the sides are also accounted for.

How to perform it:

  • Place both hands two feet apart and with elbows straight.
  • Keep the upper body rounded and abs tight.
  • Legs are straight and should be placed hip width apart with toes resting on the floor.
  • Lower your body towards the floor, by bending both elbows fully, till body is approximately two inches above and parallel to the floor.
  • Now shift your body towards either side a few time by straightening the opposite elbow. The body should move from side to side by alternate bending and straightening of the elbows – imitating a typewriter
  • Come up to initial position by tensing the triceps, shoulders and chest muscles.
  • Repeat.

push ups variations calisthenics

push ups variations calisthenics

push ups variations calisthenics

You should look like this while performing this movement!

2. Muay Thai Push-Up

Muscles worked:

  • Chest
  • Triceps
  • Abs
  • Shoulders

Why you should try it:

This may be one of the most difficult push-up variations that you would want to try. This movement would require tremendous strength and balance in your core and upper body. If you already graduated from doing clapping push-ups, this can be your next challenge.

How to perform it:

  • Get down into the push-up position with arms straight.
  • Drop down to the ground to perform a standard push-up and explode up out of the push-up.
  • While in the air, clap your hands behind your back and place your hands back down on the ground as you drop down into the next push-up.
  • Be careful not to lose your balance and momentum from transitioning in the clap back to the ground.

Here’s a sample video of someone performing muay thai push-ups:

3. Triple Clap Push-Up

Muscles worked:

  • Chest
  • Shoulders
  • Abs
  • Triceps

Why you should do it:

Can you do one clap push up? That’s good! How about two claps push-up? That’s impressive. But if you can do a triple clap push-up, you are a beast. This is definitely a challenging push-up variation that once you have done it, you’ll feel extremely strong.

How to perform it:

  • Get down into the push-up position with arms straight.
  • Drop down to the ground to perform a standard push-up and explode up into the air.
  • Clap your hands in front of your chest, then clap your hands behind your back and finally clap your hands again in front of your chest. Use the momentum from that explosive push off the ground to perform the three claps.
  • Place your hands on the ground and drop down into the next rep.

This is how fast you should be able to perform the three claps successfully:

4. Two Fingers Push-Up

Muscles worked:

  • Index finger
  • Thumb
  • Triceps
  • Chest
  • Core
  • Shoulders

Why you should do it:

Are you a Bruce Lee fan? You definitely would want to work your way to perform 2 fingers push-up. This can be really challenging since you have to develop strength on your fingers to be able to do this movement.

Building strength on your fingers is not an easy job for sure. Hence, this is not advisable for beginners. Doing push-up variations with your arms can be easy enough for you. But, this one can bring back spice to your push-up movements.

How to perform it:

  • Start from the standard push-up position.
  • Adjust your position so you can balance on one hand. Make sure that your arm is well-balanced and your legs evenly apart from one another.
  • Put all your weight on your index finger and thumb. Try to hold your weight firmly on those two fingers. Engage your core and maintain a straight spine to complete a push-up.
  • If your fingers are not that stable, do not attempt to continue with the movement to avoid injury.

Are you curious if this variation is even possible? Check out this video to be amazed:

5. Planche Push-Up

Muscles worked:

  • Triceps
  • Chest
  • Shoulders
  • Core

Why you should do it:

If you want to be extremely challenged, developing strength to perform this push-up might be the perfect regimen for you. To be able to do this movement, you must have already mastered the basic push-up movements. It may take weeks for you to master this, but ain’t that an exciting challenge?

How to perform it:

  • Lie on your belly on the floor and extend your arms by your hips.
  • Put your palms on the floor directly below your abdomen. Rotate your fingers out to the side of the room.
  • Press against the ground to perform a push-up by leaning your weight forward into your chest and shoulders.
  • Squeeze your legs together and engage your core to lift both your feet and legs off the floor.
  • Move into a planche position in which only your palms make contact with the ground.
  • Bend your elbows to lower your chest to the floor while keeping your lower body elevated the entire time.
  • Extend your elbows back up to complete one repetition.

Watch this video to visualize the full range of motion for this movement:

Also, check out this planche progression to help you build on your strength.

6. One Arm Push-Up

Muscles worked:

  • Chest
  • Triceps
  • Shoulders
  • Core

Why you should do it:

One arm push-up is one of the most common variations of push-ups. However, it is still complicated to perform and requires extensive training. It is one of the fundamental movements in Calisthenics.

Some people who attempt in doing this push-up resort to use the shortcuts which is not really performing the proper one arm push-up. Nevertheless, being able to do one arm push-ups is a big accomplishment!

How to perform it:

  • Shoulders are parallel to the ground.
  • Feet are not wider than shoulder width.
  • Body is straight when viewed from the side.
  • Twisting in the body is minimal.
  • At the lowest position, there are no more than 10 cm between the chest and the floor.
push up variations calisthenics training

Be mindful that your posture must be very similar to this in performing one arm push-up.

If you are still working on your one arm push-up, it would be better to take the assessment test on Calisthenics Academy.  You will be able to determine at which level you are in. At the same time, you can also focus on the areas in which you need to improve on the most with the proper professional training and coaching.

7. Handstand Push-Up

Muscles worked:

  • Shoulders
  • Chest
  • Deltoids
  • Triceps
  • Traps
  • Serratus Anterior (muscles at the side of your ribs)

Why you should start doing it:

Handstand push-up is a very effective movement to IMPROVE  your upper body strength and balance. Also, being in an inverted position entails added health benefits such as better blood circulation and lesser back pain.

Moreover, you would definitely look cooler and stronger being able to do a push-up in an inverted position. If you are not convinced enough, read more of the reasons here as to why you need to start doing handstand push-ups now.

How to perform it:

  • Make sure that before you do your first handstand push-up, your handstand form is well-executed.
  • Your hips must be fully extended with your shoulders fully opened up.
  • Maintain a full elbow and wrist extension before going into the dip.
  • Neutral spine must be observed all throughout the full range of motion.

push up variations calisthenics training

This is how you should look like in the start of the handstand push-up. If you are not quite there yet, make sure to look into this progression to develop your balance and strength for a handstand push-up.

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.

push up variations calisthenics training

push up variations calisthenics training

To tackle this move we strongly suggest building up to a wall handstand pushup FIRST then moving to a freestanding handstand and then trying a freestanding handstand push-up.

What’s important is that you build  proper strength and mobility before attempting one.

Challenge Accepted! It’s time to show off your beast mode.

You’re looking for a challenge? Tired of the everyday normal push-ups? Then, here you go…

Get ready and puff your chest to try and test your strengths with these advanced push-up variations. Some might be really intimidating for you. But, you can never conquer a land unless you try it. Make sure to memorialize your every attempt so you can look back to your struggles and celebrate your achievements.

We look forward to seeing your results of dominating these variations! Make sure to comment on this post and share your photos and videos of you attempting these movements.

calisthenics assessment

SPECIAL LAST CHANCE OFFER! CLOSING November 30th 2017!

GET A LIFETIME ACCESS TO THE CURRENT & NEW CALISTHENICS ACADEMY 2.0

COMING OUT LATER THIS YEAR

TODAY $97 ($399 AFTER)

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!
Tricking Your Mind into Weight Loss with Katelyn Travers

Tricking Your Mind into Weight Loss with Katelyn Travers

The mind is a powerful thing.

When motivated, you can convince yourself of almost anything. “Yes, I do need to spend $200 on a new gym bag. No, I don’t need to wash my hair as long as I have dry shampoo.

When you’re highly motivated, you can get your body to play along with your brain, like in Phantom Limb Pain when there is pain in a limb that has been amputated, False Pregnancy when women who are not pregnant begin to develop many pregnancy-like symptoms or with the “Placebo Effect” that reports up to 70 percent of participants in clinical trials see an improvement in their symptoms simply from a placebo.

Although the conditions above are not favorable, you can also use this power for good. In this case, to make weight loss easier.

People spend lots of money on supplements that are supposed to suppress appetite to help lose weight. Although some do help a little, others are not yet proven to be effective…yet they’re still on the market!

What if I were to tell you that there is a cost-free strategy to naturally suppress your appetite, increase your metabolism and encourage your body to be lighter and leaner?

This strategy follows a training plan that focuses heavily on bodyweight training and gymnastic-type movements, such as handstands and pull-ups.

calisthenics weight loss

Think Like a Gymnast

Gymnasts are famously known for being lean, muscular and nimble.

This is obvious because they are required to propel their body weight over obstacles, balance and walk on their hands and perform feats that would be much more difficult if they were holding onto excess body fat.

If you’ve ever gone on vacation, gained a few pounds and returned to your workouts only to find they feel much more difficult, you know that extra weight doesn’t make running, pull-ups, or really any exercise, easier.

Hoisting five extra pounds up to the bar on a pull up or inverted row is no small feat for the muscles of your back. For someone weighing 140 pounds, that’s an extra 4% of their weight.

This brings us to the reason that bodyweight and gymnastic training can be so powerful for weight loss. If you are rigidly following a training program that requires you to practice handstands, plyometric movements and pulling around your bodyweight, your brain knows that these moves are easier when you are lighter.

The concept of neuroplasticity states that the brain reorganizes itself throughout your life. With training, “every movement of the body provides sensory feedback for the brain to process and adapt to.” Meaning, while you are practicing, your brain will work with you to make adaptations to improve your ability.

Your Hormones need to work with you

There’s also a little-known benefit that inverted positions, like the handstand, have on the body. Research shows that handstands help to stimulate your endocrine system and reduce Cortisol, the body’s major stress hormone. When Cortisol levels are high, weight loss is not likely.

Lower your cortisol and increase your capability for weight loss.

Furthermore, “the inversion [with handstands] brings blood to the thyroid glands to help regulate the production of T3 and T4 [metabolism controlling hormones], which also affects metabolism.”

So not only will you be building the strength of the muscles in your upper body, abs and improving balance, you will have increased blood flow, decreased Cortisol and increased metabolism.

calisthenics weight loss

Don’t look at the Scale

In addition to the hormonal and physical benefits of bodyweight training, focusing on these performance-based movements redirects your focus away from the scale. I enjoyed seeing my developments in strength with this type of training and used my nutrition as a means to enhance performance.

My focus wasn’t on the number on the scale, but at being able to improve my skills. This impacted my portion sizes and the choices I made.

Another benefit, of course, is that when you practice these movements, you increase your neural connection to the muscles and build more lean mass.

More neural connection = more body awareness and control.

More lean mass = better use of the food you eat to fuel and build your muscles rather than storage as fat.

There is also a convenient check and balance in this system. If you go totally off the rails with your diet over the weekend, your workout on Monday will remind you to reel it back in over the week because you don’t want to keep making the workouts harder and harder.

calisthenics weight loss

Prioritize Performance-based Goals

Finally, an often underestimated trick of bodyweight training or performance-based goals is the confidence and diligence you build while working towards these goals.

I still remember being able to do my first unassisted pull-up, a stark comparison to the middle school girl who achieved ¼ of a rep on her pull-up test. The satisfaction and confidence will empower you to continue making healthy decisions and stick to your training program.

So start small, but pick a goal or a training plan that involves a lot of handstands, pull-ups, sprints, plyometrics and push-ups. See if you can trick your mind into losing weight by enhancing the mind body connection and requiring it to be light, leaner and more nimble for your bodyweight movements.

A sample-workout to get started

 

Circuit One

  • Burpee to Pull Up
  • Handstand
  • Bulgarian Split Squat Jump
  • Inverted Row
  • Hanging Straight Leg Raise

Circuit Two

  • Pike Push Up
  • Pistol Squat (or assisted pistol squat)
  • Jump Rope
  • Eccentric Pull Up
  • Hollow Body Hold

Perform all exercises for 45 seconds with 15 seconds’ rest between exercises and one minute rest between rounds. Perform Circuit One for 4 rounds before moving on to Circuit Two for 4 rounds.

Have you noticed better weight control or weight loss with incorporating bodyweight movements into your training routine? Leave a comment a below or post in the Facebook group with your experience!

calisthenics assessment

Katelyn is a fitness & nutrition coach specializing in women looking to develop strong, defined bodies while improving their health and confidence. Katelyn’s drive to challenge her body and mind led her to compete in a figure competition, powerlifting competition and marathon race all in the same year. Check out HelloStrength.com or follow her on Instagram @hellostrength1 for recipes ideas, workouts and tips to get lean without giving up ice cream.