How Mark built his own dip station to master calisthenics skills

How Mark built his own dip station to master calisthenics skills

A while back, I wanted to buy a set of Horizontal bars. But in Canada, their price can be anywhere between CAD $100 and $300.

For example, I looked at the Lebert Equalizer. You can see it in Frank Medrano’s Youtube videos, and boy did I want them! There are other brands and whatnot, but these were the ones I wanted the most.

I priced out how much it would cost to buy them. And because of their price, I started to think, “Hey…Maybe I can make my own!”

And so my adventure to build my own horizontal bar started.

I wrote out a rough plan on how I wanted to build it, inspired by my doorway pull-up bar. The handle is roughly 30 inches for pull-ups, which I figured would be a good size for a horizontal bar.

My goal with my new bar is to get better at pull-ups and horizontal rows, so I used the measurements of my pull-up bar.

The idea was simple.

I wanted to keep it light and movable, while still being strong and solid. I knew I wanted the parts I’d hold to be round.

I played with the idea of making the base out of wood, but that would make it bulky and heavy. So I ended up deciding to use some kind of plumbing pipe instead.

And I was off to the plumbing store!

I went exploring and found some fencing poles, but I could neither find 90s or T-shaped poles here. It was sad, because Fence poles are dirt-cheap (CAD $3 for 8 FEET)

I thought of using copper because it’d look nice, but it was too expensive and way too soft a metal for what I wanted to do. I settled for a black pipe in the end. Many people have used black pipes for their DIY pull-up bars.

I still didn’t know if it’d be stable enough to be a stand, but hey, nothing tried, nothing gained, right?

Also, they were very affordable for me. Not even CAD $2/foot!

Apparently, black pipes are normally used for gas lines. So it’s pretty solid stuff.

As I was shopping at the store, my idea became clearer and clearer. I knew I wanted a bar about 30 inches across, but how high should it be?

I figured 30 inches in height would also be good.

So here’s the list of materials I used after all my deep thinking:

Three  30-inch length black pipes, threaded both sides

Four  8-inch length black pipes, threaded one side

Two  90s

Two  Ts

All 1 inch-wide pipes.

Once you’ve bought the material, have all the ends of the pipe threaded, if it isn’t already.

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This is a threaded screw. The striations on the screw were made by a machine to connect it to the different parts.

When you buy plumbing pipes in a store, they’re not always threaded. So you can pay to have it done in the store, or you can just buy pipes that are pre-threaded.

All that’s left after that is fitting the different parts together! Here’s mine:

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You might be asking, “But Mark, what’s that white tape on it?”

Well! glad you asked.

Lucky for me the local sporting store was closing down, so that tape is Hockey Tape! I got a bunch for less than CAD $5.

The Ts on the feet were making the bar rock back and forth, so I bought caps for the ends, which made them more stable.

Although I didn’t like the idea of adding more weight to it or it being able to stretch floors, metal on a wooden floor doesn’t normally do well…for the floor. So I wrapped the bottom legs to get some grip and stability, with great results.

After a few uses, the tape kind of flattens out and becomes a perfect landing for the bar. I’m sure any kind of grip tape would work just the same.

It was super simple and cost me CAD $50 for all the parts. I’d have saved $15 had I wanted to thread the pipes myself, but I chose to pay for it instead.

Just so you know, most big box stores do that for free.

I chose to make 30×30”, but next time I make them myself, I’ll be fitting them to my height of 5’5” – it’d be nicer if I could reach the bar while laying on the ground, flat on my back.

If you want to custom tailor your horizontal bar, I suggest that you measure your arm length and add 1-2 inches to get a perfect fit in height.

I’d also suggest you use 10-inch pipes for the “feet”. It’ll be a bit more stable than my first creation.

With that said, I love it!

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So that’s my custom built Horizontal Bar.

I’m probably not done making my own custom fitness equipment after this first one! So keep your eyes open, you’ll be seeing more from me.

Also – if you make a second horizontal bar, BAM! you have your own dip station. 

If you want to try building your own horizontal bar and have questions, leave a comment or shoot me a message in the Facebook group!

Make sure you follow Mark on his Instagram and check out his personal site 

 

READY TO GET STARTED WITH CALISTHENICS?

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

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Mark is a fitness professional and the owner of Phase 2 Fitness with over 10 years of experience. He lives in a small Canadian town called Prince Rupert. In his own words: “I loved the gym, spent years weightlifting, until a while ago I injured my lower back pretty badly. And now, because I can’t lift more than 15 pounds, I’ve had to go back to the basics. I’ve been learning lots about balance training and the effects of using one’s own body, which brought me to the Calisthenics Academy.”

I’d love to share more of my story, so reach out to me in the Calisthenics Academy Facebook Group! Feel free to message me if you’d like to learn more.

Follow me on Instagram @WestCoastZarvie

Here’s how bodyweight CAN train your legs

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

 

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!

Why most calisthenics skills are IMPOSSIBLE with tight hamstrings

Do you need to bend your knees to the point that they make noise to pick some
thing off the ground? That’s probably because you’re struggling with hamstring tightness.

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Hamstrings are the set of muscles below the buttocks. Their main role is to help keep your posture upright. But they’ll also limit your range-of-motion if you don’t keep them loose and limber.

Why should I care if my hamstrings are tight?

 

1. You need to move!

Hamstring tightness typically occurs from lack of use. If you don’t move enough, your body naturally stiffens up. Imagine leaning forward to pick something off the ground. How much effort is it for you?

Having more flexible hamstrings will help you feel comfortable in your day-to-day movements.

Additionally, if you’re an athlete with tight hamstrings, you’ll be limited in the tricks you can accomplish. You can’t do an L-Sit with tight hamstrings.

 

2. Got joint pain?

The Stretching Exercises Guide tells us that the hamstring muscles wrap around the hips and the knees. Their role is to bend the knee and flex the hip. If your hamstrings are tight, they can limit your overall range-of-motion (ROM) and cause problems in both your hip and your knee joints.

 

3. Don’t be so stiff

As I mentioned before, the main role hamstrings play is to help you keep your upright posture. Because of that, they’re able to contract for long periods of time without fatiguing.

But…that also means that they tend to get stiff and shorten over time if they aren’t properly loosened. This will eventually reduce your ROM. If you don’t loosen your hamstrings, you’ll be stiff as a board (though definitely not light as a feather).

This happens all the more to us nowadays. We spend so much more time either sitting or standing, without putting our body through its true range-of-motion on a daily basis.

…unless you’re an athlete. Or a contortionist.

Too much sitting and not enough moving messes with the body’s natural balance.

Butt (gluteal) muscles will get weak from lack of use, and compensation through the hamstrings will occur. The body will engage the hamstrings and, basically, ruin your natural posture because it’s calling on all the wrong muscles.

It’s gonna hurt.

Help me loosen my hamstrings!

1. Stretch

The most important thing you can do is to stretch. It loosens the muscle and gives it a larger ROM.  Stretching also decreases lower back pain, improves performance, and reduces the risk of injury.

Doing just a few hamstring stretches every day can significantly improve a muscle’s flexibility.  

This study explains that the way you stretch will depend completely on what your goal is:

  • Do you want to become more flexible, or do you have range-of-motion issues? You need to use passive stretches.
  • Do you want to gain strength, or are you using stretches before working out? You need to use active stretches.

Passive stretches

A passive stretch means that you aren’t engaging any of your muscles to cause the stretch.

A good example of a passive hamstring stretch is the forward bend. You can do it sitting or standing:

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Lean forward, bend your knees a little if you need to, but don’t force the stretch. Just relax into it.

Active stretches

They’re the opposite of passive stretches. So instead of just letting the body stretch, an active stretch will use muscles to create the stretch.

A good example of an active hamstring stretch is the hamstring supine stretch:

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Lie on your back and keep your legs straight together. Bring one knee towards your chest, keeping the other leg straight, your ankle flexed (c.f. picture). Slowly extend the leg at a 90-degree angle from your body. Don’t push this stretch to the point of pain. It should feel a tad uncomfortable, but no more than that. Hold the stretch for as long as you can before bending your knee towards your chest once again and gently letting it return to the ground. Repeat the exercise with the other leg.

Hold the stretch for as long as you can before bending your knee towards your chest once again and gently letting it return to the ground. Repeat the exercise with the other leg.

2. Roll It Out

Foam-Rolling is a great way to loosen up tight muscles.

There’s no doubt that it’ll be painful the first go, but it’ll be worth it…you’re essentially giving yourself a massage. It increases blood flow through the body, decreases recovery time, increases range-of-motion, and relieves any tension in the muscles.

If you don’t have a foam roller, you can also use a tennis ball, or baseball for the same purpose.

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Just place the foam roller on your legs, between the buttocks and the knees. Raise your upper body from the ground, placing some of the weight on your hands. Make sure that the bulk of your body weight is on your hamstrings being worked over by the foam-roller.

3. Therapy

Massage Therapy
Massage therapy’s main purpose is to relax your muscles, which will help release any tension. It’ll help increase flexibility, improve blood circulation, and heal any muscle pain.

Physical Therapy
In my opinion, physical therapy should be your last resort.  If none of the other options work, think about undergoing physical therapy. Professional physiotherapists can help loosen and strengthen your hamstring muscles.

So get started!

Your hamstrings are definitely an important part of your body, so give ‘em some loving! Share your own tips and tricks with us, either in the comments or our Facebook group.

Watch your posture

Stretch your body

Play, move, don’t stay static!

Stay strong.

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Can I TRAIN Calisthenics Every Day? THE TRUTH REVEALED!

Can I TRAIN Calisthenics Every Day? THE TRUTH REVEALED!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ready for it? Let’s get started

Let me get something straight:

Calisthenics & Movement is a lifestyle

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

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

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

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

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

The answer is simple…

MOVE EVERY SINGLE DAY

But then, you start wondering…

Should I move every single day?

Would I feel better if I did?

Hell yeah!

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

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

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

I’m worried about overtraining”

Or is that just an excuse?

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

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

And yet… trainers hear clients express this worry repeatedly.

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

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

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

Working out an hour every day is not overtraining.

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

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

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

Should I be training every single day?

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

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

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

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

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

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

15 minutes a day.

But the upside is massive:

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

In other words – it’s a life-saver.

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

So should you be moving every single day?

Hell yeah!

But what about the results?

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

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

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

Keep that in mind.

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

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

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

3 Strategies To Optimise Daily Training

1. Cycle Your Training Focus

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2. Split Workout Routines

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

This is where split routines can be used:

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

Examples of a two-day split routine could be:

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

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

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

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

Monday         Chest and Triceps

Tuesday        Biceps and Back

Wednesday      Legs and Shoulders

Thursday       REST

Friday         Chest and Triceps

Saturday       Biceps and Back

Sunday         Legs and Shoulders

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

This is how we create the routines inside Calisthenics Academy.

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

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

Here’s how the routines are created:

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

1. How long it takes to do each exercise

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

2. Type of exercise

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

3. History

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

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

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

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

2. Autoregulation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So, can you afford to train every day?  

The short answer is yes.

But you don’t need to train every day.

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

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

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

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

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

Cover your bases

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

Can you afford NOT moving every day?  

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

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

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

And this is backed by science.

Don’t Get Caught Up Living Other peoples lives

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Move every day.

 

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

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

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

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

calisthenics training assessment

calisthenics training assessment

Share the results and comments in our Facebook Group

 

calisthenics academy the ultimate calisthenics training program

 

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

The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Parallets

From helping your handstand to getting started with your l-sit, parallets should be a staple in any beginner’s hand-balancing workout. Let me tell you why:

Typically, Calisthenics tells you to stick with the bare essentials of equipment. Some rings, a pull-up bar and that’s it. But sometimes, having one or two more things at home can make your training easier.

Take hand-balancing, for example. It’s crucial to calisthenics, but it’s one hell of a challenge when you’re just starting out:

You need to get your legs up straight, keep your balance and hold your posture. Even if you’re using a wall or support blocks, your wrists and hands will usually get tired long before the rest of your body is ready to give up.

And that’s where a little piece of equipment like parallets comes in handy. They’re an awesome and affordable hand-balancing tool that allows you to do train longer safely. You can even go to our Calisthenics Academy shop and get them today.

But how can I use parallets?

Parallets can help you in so many different ways, but there isn’t much info about how to actually add them to your training, or how to work out with them. This is why we’ve created a guide. Let’s dive into it!

WHY SHOULD I ADD PARALLETS TO MY TRAINING?

Here are some of the awesome benefits parallets have:

  • Prolong your training. You can practice hand-balancing on the ground until you start experiencing wrist fatigue, then switch to using the parallets for the rest of your training session.
  • Prevent overuse injury. Hands and wrists aren’t naturally equipped to carry our entire body weight. If you don’t train them properly, they’ll quickly develop overuse injuries that take a lot of time to heal. As a beginner, parallets will help you train properly without putting too much stress onto your hands and wrists.
  • Add an extra step to your progressions. Is working on the floor too hard right off the bat? Try training with parallets as an extra step towards working on the ground.
  • Practice moves you can’t do on the ground. Can’t do an L-sit on the ground because, well, you just can’t yet? Start on parallets! They take you off the ground enough for you to get started.

6 ways to include parallets in your training

Here are 6 basic moves you can train on your parallets for a wider range of movement, easier progressions while safeguarding your wrists and hands.

Be careful with your wrists’ position! When starting, always keep them in a neutral position to prevent overexertion.

L-Sit
How-to: 
Keep your hips extended at the same level as your hands. Raise your legs as high as you can, preferably to a 90-degree angle, parallel to the floor. If you can’t, focus on keeping your feet off the ground while holding your back and arms straight.
Photo credit: Crossfit Magnus

Tuck-Sit
How-to:
Keep your hips extended, slightly in front of your hands, and your back as straight as you can maintain it. Your knees should be tightly held to get her and your head is held in a neutral position.
Photo credit: GMB Fitness

Push-up
How-to: 
Keep the parallets wide enough that your hands and shoulders are at the same width. Bend your knees if you need to, and lower down with your elbows tucked in. As per calisthenics, lower slowly while exhaling (4s) and push up quickly with a 1s pause each way. Watch out for your hip position and keep them aligned with your body!
Photo credit: Men’s Fitness

Tuck-Planche
How-to: Push down on your shoulders, round your back and pull your knees together, tight against your chest. Remember, keep your wrists in a neutral position.
Photo credit: Men’s Fitness

Dips
How-to: You have the option to do L-Sit dips, or follow the image with your feet on the ground. Keep your elbows tucked in and exhale while going down slowly (4s) and inhale coming up.
Photo credit: Desert Cart

Handstand (against the wall)
How-to: 
Place your hands on the parallets as close to the wall as you can while staying balanced. Align your head, shoulders and back, bring your stomach in to avoid the “banana” shape. Push your shoulders down and keep your head neutral (don’t overextend your neck). Try letting only your feet touch the wall.
Photo credit: Men’s Fitness

Wanna workout? Include your parallets!

  • Use the best warm-up for you.
    If you don’t have one, here’s a good warm-up routine from GMB Fitness:
  1. Shoulder circles – 5 times each direction
  2. Up/Down/Right/left neck tilts – 5 times each side
  3. Arm crossovers – 5 times each side
  4. Wrist stretches, fingers facing into and away from the knees – 5 times each
  5. Elbow circles with hands on the ground – 5 times each way
  6. Scapular shrugs, hands, and knees on the ground – 5-10 times
  7. Cat/Cow alternation – 5 each pose, hold for 3-5s
  8. Shake out those shoulders for a few seconds!
  • Dips – 5-12 reps
  • L-sit 5-10s
  • Tuck-sit 5-10s
  • Tuck planche 5-10s
  • Push-up – 5-12 reps
  • Rest 90s-2 minutes
  • Repeat steps 2-7 for no more than 3-4 rounds.
You can end your workout with a handstand (against the wall), holding for 10-45s.

 

Interested in getting your own set of parallets? Check out our shop at Calisthenics Academy!

Have your own experience with parallets? Share it in the comments or 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!
Bare Minimum Workout from a professional acrobat

Bare Minimum Workout from a professional acrobat

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

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

minimal calisthenics workout with Rocco Lapaire professional acrobat

play time!

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

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

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

It’s a do anywhere, anytime workout.

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

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

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

1. My “Bare Minimum” workout

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wait, what? 45 minutes?!

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

So let’s talk about YOU.

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

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

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

2 A BM booty workout routine

Shake that booty!

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

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

So what should your BM workout look like?

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

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

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

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

3 Bodyweight beast

Fitness goals:  Muscles, muscles, everywhere.

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

This is a staple bodyweight workout.

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

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

The routine

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

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

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

There is always a way.

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

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

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

The Best and Worst Exercises for Bad Knees

Knee Physical Therapy You can Do at Home

Five Exercises for Rotator Cuff (Shoulder) Pain

calisthenics academy the ultimate calisthenics training program

 

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