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

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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!
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.
Change to a healthy lifestyle with Jason Manning’s Triple H Plan

Change to a healthy lifestyle with Jason Manning’s Triple H Plan

In the pursuit of a healthy lifestyle

People that practice a healthy lifestyle look their best, are the happiest, and live longer. Living a life full of quality reduces health risks, offers instant gratification and increases your chances of longevity.

How we pursue a healthy lifestyle is all a matter of personal choice. Being happy, fit and healthy is up to you.

We sometimes find ourselves needing to make lifestyle changes in order to pursue a healthier happier life.

Do you want to the best version of yourself?

Here’s your game plan

First be happy, be fit and hustle … really hard. Every SINGLE day.

This is how you progress and attain anything worth anything in life.

This game-plan only needs one player… YOU. Stop getting in your way because that kind of self-sabotage needs to be destroyed so you can start a revolution.

Are you ready to turn things around starting today? I mean like right this instance. 

ARE YOU?

If you’re ready to go on this journey, take these easy tips. They will be of great value and give you time to hustle and just be you.

The Triple H plan

These H’s serve as the basis for any thought-out plan for progression in any aspect of your life. HEALTH, HAPPINESS AND HUSTLE.

Health

In your pursuit for a better life, do not neglect your health. Your body needs movement and real food. It thrives on these 2 things. They provide an abundance of  energy and a clear, focused mind.

Here are 5 tips on how to start living a healthy lifestyle:

1. Eat Real Food
I will not impose any special diet on you. It’s really quite simple! Just eat high quality, nutritionally dense food and cut out processed food. Rule of thumb: eat food that come from the earth and not out of some packaging.

2. Exercise

Is your time limited? Following this game-plan, you’ll start to only use your time for things that are useful and necessary.

Now, exercise falls into both categories. Exercising for at least 20-30 minutes, 3 days per week has the potential to add years to your life. A well-structured program, adhered to at least 3 days per week will transform your body and give you the strength to avoid illness that comes as a result of lack of exercise.

3. 80/20

Consistency is important, but there is always room and time for some indulgence.

So eat lean protein, veggies and fruit 80% of the time. And as so long as you keep at least 80% of your diet in good standing, it’s OK to make the remaining 20% be those things you cannot do without.

Treat yourself for the way you hustle. You deserve it.

4. Take Fish Oil

It’s very common for people to not get enough healthy fats in their nutrition. Yet by increasing your fats, you can increase your metabolism, reduce stress, and improve cognitive function. So try adding fish oil capsules to your daily intake.

5. Boost That Burn

Some foods naturally burn more calories than others. For more muscle and less fat, eat more lean meats, nuts, and berries. It will increase the burn of calories following your meals.

Other foods that help burn fat include:

Cinnamon, Garlic, Turmeric, Ginger, Cumin and Cayenne pepper.

Don’t forget to keep your belly full and your metabolism burning by drinking more water and green tea.

Happiness

Most people depend on external things to bring them happiness. It would be dismissive and unbalanced to say that having the good things in life doesn’t contribute to happiness. However, it is greatly over-emphasised.

Now, there are some things that are out of our control. You should instead focus on what you have control over like relationships, jobs, habits, and hobbies. Strive to improve in these areas to increase in real happiness.

1. Write Your Mission Statement        

What’s YOUR big picture?

Who are you?

What do you represent?

Where do want your life to go?

Take some time out to think about it. Doing this will build a personal framework that will affect your priorities, actions and expectations.

2. Simplify        

Less really is more.

Eliminate negative influences and toxic relationships. Recognise that there is a massive difference between what you want and what you need, and between essentials and excess.

3. Stop criticising, get inspired        

Stop criticising other people’s hustle.

No one is perfect and that includes you, but I’m sure you don’t want people pointing it out all the time. Get inspired by the hard work people do to achieve things instead of criticising, it’s beautiful.

Offer sincere advice if need be, but invest more time working on yourself than criticising others. You’ll be amazed by what you can achieve when you’re not wasting so much energy on the negative things.

4. Show Gratitude        

Being a driven person, it is very probable you will not have everything you want.

But please be appreciative of what you do have. Most thankful people are happy people.

Everyday, take time  to contemplate the things you should be grateful for. Studies show that doing this increases optimism and decreases stress.

5. Add Value

Giving is really underrated.

Remember, life is not ONLY about you! Being charitable with your time, your skills, and your gift without expecting something back is good for the soul. So concentrate on being an authentic and genuine person. It’s simple. Be the kind of person you would like to meet.

Hustle Hard

Overachievers have this mastered and an average Joe just does not recognise the importance of it. Become well acquainted with this word … HUSTLE!

1. Be uncomfortable … and like it

You CANNOT do the things that you have always done, or you will only get and can only expect what you’ve always got.

Get out of your comfort zone and don’t give yourself ANY excuses. If you want to stop being average, you have to start being comfortable with discomfort…Start by hustling harder than the next guy.

2. Do The Work

Actions speak louder than words.

So lessen the talk about all of the great ideas you have and do something GREAT. Explanations and excuses are useless, let the results speak for themselves. Believe in what you are trying to achieve. It’s your dream and you have the means to make it into a reality. Persist through self-inflicted doubts and ignore the naysayers.

Do this CONSISTENTLY today, tomorrow, and every day after that.

3. Be Confident

Don’t be arrogant, always be humble.

There is no need to ask for permission or apologise for wanting to be better or even the best. Be confident in your abilities and know there is nothing wrong with wanting to progress and improve.

4. F is for Failure, Fear and Forget

Don’t be afraid to take that first step.

Someone needs your ideas, your art, and your work. So being scared doesn’t just affect you but others as well. So F is also for forget.

Forget the critics and the naysayers, they will always be there. Don’t be selfish, share your gift. Once the hustle gets into your veins, the option of failure will not be entertained.

5. Shut Down

Work hard, play hard and at the same time, reset hard.

Even the Sun goes down.

Make a bedtime or at least a template. No screens (computers, smartphones, etc.) within 1 hour of bed. Switch off by writing, reading or contemplating over the day in silence. 7 hours of sleep will replenish your muscles and your mind.

Be a better You

A lifestyle change can seem scary at first. But if it’s for a better version of yourself then I’m telling you it’s totally worth it. You will be so much happier. You will be healthier. And you will be fitter.

Don’t waste another second and stop making excuses. I’ve shared my Triple H plan with you. Now, it’s your turn to start your game plan.

What are you waiting for? Start today and share with us your progress.

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A fully qualified Calisthenics specialist and fitness Instructor. Training to be a health Coach. His emphasis at Forge is on functional fitness and places a great deal of importance on building and developing total body strength, balance, agility and overall fitness. He is incredibly passionate about helping people enhance their lives and release their potential for an optimum existence. Not just physically, but in all areas of life.
7 Simple Tips & Tricks to Perfect Your One-Legged Squat with Momir Iseni

7 Simple Tips & Tricks to Perfect Your One-Legged Squat with Momir Iseni

with Momir Iseni

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!

The Challange: One-Legged Squat!

There’s certainly no shortage of articles and videos on how to’s for one-legged squats. The one-legged squat is a family of movements, with classic PISTOL SQUAT as the MOST BASIC.

What is a one-legged squat?

Before going into specific details that can greatly improve your performance in one-legged squats, let us have an overview about what is a one legged-squat.

Simply put, a one-legged squat is similar in performing a normal air squat but instead of using both of your legs to bring yourself down and push yourself up, you will only use one leg. This may appear pretty simple because you can do air squats perfectly fine.

But once you try performing the whole range of motion, it can be really challenging to do a squat with only one leg. Since one-legged squat can be a very challenging movement, do not feel pressured to perform one in full range motion right away. You can do it step-by-step by following this progression.

Perfect one-legged squats

According to CrossFit, you have to follow these steps to perform a perfect one-legged squats or the most basic, pistol squats.

1. Balance your own weight on the working leg while the non-working leg should be placed in front of your body.

2. Your standing leg hip should be able to descend backwards and downwards at the same time while pushing yourself down to a squat.

3. Aside from that, your standing leg hip should also descend lower than the knee.

4. Your standing leg knee should keep the straight alignment with your toes.

5. Make sure that your standing leg heel stays flat and grounded to the floor.

6. Keep the chest as high as possible.

7. You can use your arms to balance by positioning them parallel to the ground.

8. Most importantly, the non-working leg should NOT TOUCH the ground.

7 Simple Tips & Tricks to Perfect Your One-Legged Squat

Look ahead and down

Before you even start, fix your gaze to the spot in front of you. Ideally, it should be somewhere about sixty degrees down. By constantly holding this visual anchor, you will greatly enhance your stability.

“You don't have to lift the heaviest weights to be bad arse.”

Like many calisthenics athletes, Timo acknowledges that muscle gain simply isn’t the same as you might expect with weightlifting. However, you’ll experience many benefits that go above and beyond the physical appearance of your muscles.

He’s now working on unlocking and achieving the handstand push-up by his 44th birthday in June this year. “I’m 84% there now!”

Stand on it

Since the start of the first rep, you should actively push the ground with your standing feet as hard as possible. Try to visualize pushing the ground – the whole planet, even – away from you. Keep the sole of your foot slightly bent, like you’re trying to grab the ground with it.

Doing your squats barefoot, or in some thin- flat-sole shoes will be of great help here. Rep by rep, set by set, workout by workout, try to improve on that feeling of firmly pushing the ground away from you. The better you are at that, the more strength and power you’ll gain.

Tighten your core

This step is simultaneous with the previous two. As you inhale that 70% lung capacity of air, tighten your core. The inhaled air will be of great help in that. But don’t try to squeeze to tight. Try to find a delicate balance. In time you’ll see that somewhere in between – not too tight but then again not too loose – is the real sweet spot of optimum experience and performance. You should especially pay attention to the side abdominals – more on them soon

Push your thighs together

While you’re descending to the ground, try to keep your thighs close together. Don’t let your straight leg wander away sideways from your pushing leg. If you conscientiously keep them together, you’ll be tighter and more compact overall. One side note: the straight leg should be tight, but again not too tight – just enough to enable your full control of the movement..

Arms parallel to the floor

Like Perhaps you find yourself bent forward and your arms falling down in the bottom position of the one-legged squat. Try to implement a couple of cues:

1. First, from the beginning of the first rep, stand pushing your chest out and up. That will simultaneously push your shoulders back and arch your back in natural position. As you’re starting to descend, focus on keeping your chest up and keeping your arms parallel to the floor. Keep your arms tight, squeezing your triceps and forearms and keeping your fingers straight and firm.

2. Second, from the bottom position – as you’re pushing the Earth away from you – try to imagine vertical strings pulling at your hands, shoulders and the crown of your head. That’s right – just as if someone is pulling you straight up. Ridiculous as this may sound, you must try it to feel it working. Try to feel that your whole body is getting up in unison.

3. Now – on the way up – is the time to EXHALE. Try to not exhale the whole air – keeping some in the lungs while holding your core tight will ensure the stability during this phase. Then, before starting the next rep, refill again your lungs up to those 70%.

Control the vertical

Another thing that may pose a problem – it certainly was a problem for me – is the tendency to bend to the side and lose the balance in the bottom position and/or while standing up from the bottom. This usually is connected with straight leg going sideways (see #5). In order to fix this problem, you again need a little awareness. As you go down,

EVALUATE and feel your movement through space. Do you feel like you’re even slightly bent to one side? Is your straight leg “running away“ sideways from you? If that is the case, try to – from the beginning of the movement – bent only very slightly to the opposite side. This may feel awkward at first. You may feel that you’re bending out of balance, but you’ll see that you are in fact putting yourself in just the right balance. And this is the reason why I especially mentioned muscles of side abdominals. Controlling them will give you great stability.

Throughout the movement maintain complete awareness and focus.

Practice Improves Progress

 Beyond basic information that is available almost everywhere, there are numerous hidden cues and steps that, when used properly, greatly enhance and improve one’s progress.

At the beginning of this article I mentioned how pistol squat is the most basic of one-legged squats. In articles to come, we’ll progressively delve into more and more difficult variations of it. Feel free to leave your comments, ask questions, and offer some advice and cues that you’ve found while progressing in one-legged squats.

“After a while I got so bored, I started looking for random exercises online.”

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Momir has over 30 years of training experience and works as a fitness professional. He has ISSA certifications, as well as Metabolic Training certification. He trains exclusively with bodyweight exercises, and has been very successful with his own training as well as in training his clients. He contributes to a fitness magazine in Serbia, runs and manages his own website.
How To Start Your Own Calisthenics Community With Lex Lauron

How To Start Your Own Calisthenics Community With Lex Lauron

Start your own calisthenics/parkour community and empower the people to take charge of their own health!

If you have ever wanted to make a positive impact on your local community, try implementing the bodyweight exercises and parkour, and teach people how to do it. It’ll bring them together – regardless of their age, gender, religion, sexuality, social status and fitness level. Imagine a gathering of people from all walks of life and ages engaged in physical movement purely for the abundance of health benefits, and they’ll be having so much fun that they won’t realize they are working out.

calisthenic community

That is how to start a workout community. And the journey towards building it can be amazing and rewarding. Your community can grow each day by welcoming new and different people. It will create a unique set of characteristics and routines. Community brings people together, makes them take care of themselves and people around them and everybody can learn so much from that experience.

But why would you be the one to build it – you may ask yourself.

Why you should create your local workout community?

There is no greater feeling than having a positive impact on individuals and your community

When was the last time you had a positive impact on someone? Giving that one advice that helped your friend so much, teaching a child how to socialize with other kids or stand up to a bully, helped your parents switch to a healthier nutritional regime by going with them through it. Isn’t so fulfilling, right?

Imagine what can happen when you spread that positive impact and change to a community that shares your same goals and values. You can actually do a great deal for all of those people.

How would it impact your life if it’s on a larger scale?

The positive impact on your own life will be stronger than ever, it will make you achieve your full potential and reach your main goals.

Here are some reasons I’d like to point out:

REASON 1 – People will learn that exercise can be fun and free for everyone



I have been working out for over 4 years 3-4 times a week and I have never had a gym membership or a personal trainer. Calisthenics and parkour never require anything but your own body and can be done indoors or outdoors.

You can start with a simple workout plan that will engage people, encourage them to do the exercises together, and help each other out. They won’t realize that they are working out!

When your community develops a mutual connection and gets in physical form, you can start creating workout variations and more challenging workouts.

REASON 2 – People inside a group will feel less self-conscious and motivated

When you get all these different type of people working out together, all the differences will be gone. People will forget about their own insecurities and start working harder if they see someone who is working harder than them.

The best thing is that people will feel way more motivated to not only exercise but to push themselves harder.It’s been scientifically proven. We tend to put more effort because we are in an unspoken friendly competition with others and ourselves, so there will always be someone to shout out a word or two to increase the motivation level.

calisthenic community

REASON 3 – We are all influenced and influencers

By creating a positive space for people to gather together and exercise, have fun, connect and work towards a common goal we’re creating a community – one with a profoundly positive impact. When you talk to, see or engage with someone who eats healthy you most likely are  inspired and motivated to eat healthy.

This influence can happen with good or bad actions. When I workout at the park people walking by or hanging out try exercises I am doing. I became aware of this influence a few years ago before calisthenics, so I figured our society can always use more positive influencers.

You can be that positive influence on your family, friends or strangers.

Now, when you know why – let’s talk about how to actually successfully build your own workout community, step by step:

calisthenic community

How I successfully built my workout community and you can too

1. I chose a name that motivated me a lot!

When I decided I wanted to start a community, I wanted to come up with a name that personally pumped me up, and something anyone could connect to. I named it Train like Gods!

2. I used social media to share events

Social media was the fastest way to get the word out there, so I began a YouTube channel. I made videos of my training and made sure to share that I’m looking for other people to train with, where I trained at and my  an email address to contact me.I used Facebook and Instagram to share events I created.I started a Facebook page to share my videos and meet events. In the events I made sure to include that it’s free and open to anyone. I would invite everyone, share it on relatives and a few friends page.

3. I made it as simple as possible

To create an event, all I did was choose a day, time, and  place. Most of the time I held the events at the  parks or schools. Once in awhile local gyms would let us train there, but I still preferred  the outdoors way better.

4. I interacted with as many people as possible

I would talk to and invite people I would see at parks exercising. Tell them about the community I’m was creating. I would also invite people from my job site.

5. Then I turned to Instagram

I used my Instagram to share my trainings clips and events. These sports happen to be more enticing to a younger generation so this helped spread the word quicker.

You’d be surprised how easy it is to make friends with the people you meet at the park.

calisthenic community

Now it’s your turn to build YOUR workout community

When you create a community around exercise, you’re not only working out, you’re asking what each other’s fitness goals are, you’re sharing diet tips and ideas as well as injury prevention, and eventually about work, school and other more personal questions down the road.

It’s important to not only care about how much muscle everyone is gaining or pounds they have lost. It’s called cohesion. When you talk about goals people have in other areas of life, and support and encourage them in reaching those goals and do things other than train together.

Now create a name you will love, make a Youtube channel, Facebook page, Instagram and any other social media account you like. Choose a day, time and place, make events share it with everyone you can. Have fun no matter if it rains or shines. Start making your community and our world a little more empowered, peaceful and more connected place.

Have you created a community of your own? We want to hear about them. Share with us your stories in the comments.

 

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He started his own calisthenics community in San Jose, California called Train Like Gods. Because of his passion for an active lifestyle and community, he combined these two things together and build an awesome community that has provided long lasting friendships. He organizes meet ups and helps at local competitions. He loves everything about Calisthenics and he’s committed to support the growth of it till the end.
How To Train At 50 And Dare To Bare Your Arms & Abs

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

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Trainer Steve lives in Connecticut and has been helping people realize stronger, healthier bodies for more than 12 years. His goal is to rebuild the lost Physical Culture humans once had. No crazy methods or snake oil, only the basics of good human movement and real food.
Steve’s beliefs are simple:
Strength will never be a “Fad”
Move very well and often (like a 6 year old, regardless of age)
Lean body mass (muscle, bone) must NOT be lost
Eat Real Food
Physical Fitness needs to be your habit

Follow Steve on Instagram: @gfdfitness
Email: Info@FitnessRehabCT.com