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Mastering Advanced Calisthenics

It will take hard work, sweat and consistency, but if you put your mind to it and follow the steps, every single person can achieve the levels of strength of these athletes and gymnasts.

Here at Body Weight Training Arena, your dreams can come true. The more you train with bodyweight exercises, the more you become motivated to train harder and achieve more advanced calisthenics.

Arguably more important than the repetitions performed is the time your body and muscles are under tension. If you think about it, your body doesn’t count repetitions or weight, it only counts stress.

There’s just one question that you need to ask yourself when you are searching for an advanced calisthenics workout program that will suit you. Is this program going to provide the needed intensity?

Furthermore, before you get to choose the best calisthenics workout, here’s some quick physics fun: A body at rest tends to stay at rest. That’s the fitness version of Newton’s First Law, and it means that humans will find literally any excuse to not work out. I don’t have time…I felt a slight ache in my knee and don’t want to make that worse… It’s high tide. Somewhere. Probably.

Hence, this happens to everyone, even the most dedicated, ruthless, disciplined gym-goers among us. (As we said, it’s science.)

Read the highest quality content available! Learn more about powerful and progressive calisthenics!

What can you expect from advanced calisthenics?

The calisthenics world is full of exercises that push our bodies to the limits with gravity-defying skills. Pulling off advanced calisthenics moves is the ultimate test of body control. It requires strength, mobility, balance, body coordination and mind-muscle connection all at once.

How do you know if you are ready for advanced calisthenics workout routine?

Advanced calisthenics seem too hard to be executed by an average person. That’s because foundational strength and mobility aren’t enough to learn the move. They will help you, but advanced skills require a specific kind of strength, that’s the first factor.

The second factor is the time required to learn the skill. Moreover, these movements always take time to learn, unless you’re a freak of nature. Don’t expect to get a ‘plank’ or ‘a one arm pull-up’ in your first or even 50th try. It will take time, but you will eventually get there, as in everything persistence is the key.

Eight rules for the proper calisthenics workouts

A proper and progressive calisthenics routine can be done anywhere and anytime, without any equipment. Even calisthenics for beginners doesn’t have to involve any additional gear, but has to follow some rules.  

Here are eight important rules for effective and proper calisthenics skills development:

Prioritizing nutrition – This is the single most important thing for fat loss. If you’re serious about stripping off body fat, you must make time for grocery shopping, cooking, meal prep, doing dishes and keeping a food journal. If you don’t have time for this, make time.

Picking hard exercises – Regardless of your goals, effective training starts with picking the right exercises.

Getting stronger – While most people understand that getting stronger is important for building muscle and enhancing performance, its relevance for fat loss is often overlooked. When your goal is fat loss, you want to burn as much fuel as possible. To do this, you want your body to be as fuel efficient as possible.

Building muscles – Virtually everyone trying to lose body fat should gain some muscle. Most people know this, but it bears repeating again and again. Even a few extra pounds of lean muscle means a lot more calories burned each day.

Jacking up the metabolism – Years ago, exercise scientists told us to do long, slow cardio in order to burn fat. Fat-loss training isn’t about what burns the most amount of fat during a training session; it’s about what burns the most amount of fat in a 24-hour period.

Scheduling wisely – When designing a weekly plan for your training, consider how different styles of training affect different systems and thus affect recovery.

Rotate strategies – As with any goal, following an effective program will only work for so long before you hit a plateau.

Getting outside – People are made to be outdoors. While it’s not always practical to haul a whole barbell set outside or train at Muscle Beach, look to do something physical outside.

Challenging yourself with an advanced workout

Calisthenics training is a form of strength workout that uses the body’s own weight to develop natural strength.

People who are just getting started with bodyweight training see themselves starting at the near beginning of a progression chart, and over time, as they build strength, they progress through the stages.

It follows a series of progressions that become increasingly more challenging at each stage, resulting in an intense full-body calisthenics workout.

Individuals training in calisthenics will strengthen multiple muscle groups all at once, as well as the tendons and nervous system.

Moreover, it may not be easy in the beginning, and you will have to adopt the stepwise approach. You have to start with the basic calisthenics exercises. Advanced calisthenics exercises seem impossible, but nothing is impossible in this world as long as you have the will to try and strive to achieve your goal.

Draft an appropriate advanced calisthenics plan for your level, and see how your body and perspective changes.

Read the highest quality content available! Learn more about powerful and progressive calisthenics!



Calisthenics is all about strength training. You make use of your own body weight to develop strength. Mastering Calisthenics is a process, often a long one, but if you stick with it it can be very rewarding.

I personally have been doing calisthenics for years now and it’s amazing to look back and see how far you have come. But what’s even more exciting about this discipline is that there is always more to come and more to learn. Hence, I decided to create a list of all the most challenging calisthenics exercises and skills on earth to have something to aspire to and remind me that I can always be better and there are no limits.

It will take hard work, sweat, and consistency, but if you put your mind to it and follow the steps, every single person can achieve the levels of strength these athletes and gymnasts below did.

I hope you will find it inspiring! I definitely did when I was compiling the list.

Stay on track. You can do this!

Challenge yourself with these 44 Calisthenics exercises

Try out these fun yet difficult exercises and take your Calisthenics skills to another level.

1. Handstand using two fingers

Also called Two Finger Zenist KungFu, this move will surely blow you away.  Only a few people can even think of attempting this exercise. Many people already think handstand impressive, but just imagine doing it using only one finger per hand. You can’t even call it a handstand anymore. It’s more appropriate to name it a finger stand.

This advanced calisthenics move demands a ton of concentration for balance, and even more finger conditioning to prepare the very small joints. Specified training is required. If this is one of your training goals, proceed cautiously.

2. Wall-assisted single fingerstand

Source: Reddit

You might ask yourself if this one-finger handstand is even possible and the answer is YES. Most people would just say that this feat is impossible to achieve. However, there are Calisthenics experts out there who have been able to implement the one-finger handstand after a lot of hard work and focus.

Currently, this exercise has been performed with assistance from a wall. A freestanding variation seems impossible for now since micro-corrections for balance is too difficult to achieve using one finger. If you know how to balance a freestanding handstand, you’ll understand that minuscule adjustments are done to be able to maintain the inverted vertical position. However, with the very limited surface area and point of contact, corrections are almost impossible to execute, but we’re still waiting for that SPECIAL calisthenics athlete who will be able to conquer the freestanding variation. HOWEVER, this wall-assisted variation is still jaw-dropping! 

3. One-arm muscle-up to one-arm handstand

The one-arm muscle-up to one-arm handstand is a unique demonstration of strength, control, and focus. There are three very demanding components for this exercise. There’s the one-arm pull-up, one-arm dip to the top position, and the one-arm transition into the single-arm handstand. This crazy exercise is reserved for advanced calisthenics athletes who already have mastered each component separately. Lack one element then this move will feel like an impossibility. 

4. One-arm handstand pushup

Source: Athlete Matteo Spinazzola

The one-arm handstand pushup is yet another challenge for all those who wish to transcend to another level of advanced calisthenics. There are only a few names on the list who have succeeded in attempting this exercise. The name of Paul Wade, author of convict conditioning, tops the list. Superhuman shoulder and arm strength are needed to perform this exercise while stabilizing in the one-arm handstand. Naturally, complete mastery of the regular handstand push-up is a prerequisite of this advanced move. 

5. One-arm planche

Source: Video compilation thanks to Dante’s workout 

The one-arm planche is a breath-taking display of immense shoulder control, balance, and coordination. To achieve this skill, you need to fully master the full planche progression first. Working on the one-arm variation requires an understanding of lever biomechanics.

In order to balance one arm while maintaining the planche figure, you need to lean towards the base arm further. This puts extra force on your wrist and anterior deltoids. Additional demand from the oblique muscles is already needed to keep your hips squared and maintain a pristine form of the one-arm planche. This is hand-balancing at its finest.

6. Zanetti

Source: Video Compilation by Noa Man WORKOUT

Named after the elite gymnast 2012 gold medalist Arthur Zanetti, the “Zanetti” comprises two elements combined. It’s a ring back lever transitioning into a Maltese with a pause, then ending with a full planche. There are some variations to this move but that is the general sequence and form.

This is one of the most difficult elements in the gymnastics code of points with the rating of H (From A to H, A being the easiest and H the hardest). The combination involves high-level moves that are done on a very unstable surface. High-level of commitment, dedication, and very smart planning is needed if you want to achieve the level to reach this skill.

7. Inverted iron cross

Source: Youtube

Let’s talk about a single move this time, but the roots come from gymnastics; the inverted iron cross. Essentially, this is a VERY wide handstand stance done on rings. Sounds simple, but in execution, it will feel impossible. The inverted iron cross places a heavy emphasis on the whole upper body, particularly on the shoulders. Achieving this skill requires highly specific training.

8. Handstand clap push-ups

Source: Athlete Alexandre Izzi

Moving towards calisthenics more on the freestyle elements, the handstand clap push-up is one of the most impressive displays of explosive strength.

This connects your regular handstand push-up when lowering, but adds an explosive push to get enough height for the jump. The clearance between you and the ground should be enough for you to clap and catch yourself safely without your facing plummeting to the ground.

9.  Straddle planche clap push-ups

Source: Joshua Shriver

Another impressive explosive move is the straddle clap planche push-ups. The same concept applies, but this might feel much harder because sustaining the planche form is much more difficult. The planche form also places the body in a very mechanically disadvantageous position.

Bouldering iron shoulders are needed to achieve this feat as well as to master the straddle planche. If you need help on your planche, check out this complete guide: The Ultimate Guide to MASTER the FULL PLANCHE

10. Ninety-degree push-ups

Source: Athlete Simonster Strength

A popular calisthenics strength skill is the 90-degree push-up. This move involves the first part of a regular handstand push-up, then lowers into a bent-arm planche position at the bottom before returning to the starting handstand.

This skill demands strong anterior shoulders and coordination. Leaning forward enough similar to a full planche is crucial to hold the balance.

11. Walking Planches

Source: Athlete Maxim Ivanov

Moving while maintaining the planche position is just crazy to think about, but not impossible. To move, you need to lean more forward one arm so that you can lift the other one to step. This places tremendous pressure on the shoulders and wrists after each step. Bulletproofing your wrists is a good idea even before learning this skill.

12. Flare to planche

Source: Athlete Dimitris Gizmo

This combines an explosive move with an advanced calisthenics isometric hold.

Flare is a movement with roots in gymnastics, but breaking (breakdancing) also adapted. The flare requires a solid upper body foundation, good straddle lower body mobility, coordination, and control. It’s a powerful movement which is why connecting it with the planche is a challenge.

Stopping the momentum from the flare to hold a straddle planche exhibits great body control and mastery. You’ll notice most individuals who have mastered this skill has huge upper bodies to easily control the momentum.

13. One-finger pull-up

Source: Athlete Magnus Midtbø

The one-finger pull-up is a crazy strength skill that pushes your pulling strength and finger to their limits. Golfer’s elbow from the heavy pulling sessions is just one thing you need to be worried about.  With this exercise, you should be more worried about breaking your finger. Specialized loaded finger training is a must if you want to master this move. Apart from that, mastering your one-arm chin-up is also a basic prerequisite.

14. Assisted two-finger handstand

Source: Athlete Satish Chouhan 

Here’s another finger breaker move! The finger handstand puts your full body weight on your wrist in an extended position. It’s a high-risk move that calls for a lot of finger joint preparations.

While the assistance lessens the instability, the overall force is still crazy to put on such a small point. Calisthenics athletes who have mastered this skill took time in developing the fingers safely and gradually.

15. Single-arm single-leg ab wheel

Source: Athlete Yong Xu

The ab wheel progression is simply one of the best core exercises for both developing strength and muscle. But for an even greater challenge, performing it with one arm and one leg creates more instability which puts more loading on your core and other stabilizing muscles. If you’ve mastered this move, for sure you should already have a solid 6-pack by that time!  

16. Tiger bend push-ups

Source: Athlete Simonster Strength

The tiger bend push-up trains the tricep muscles in “isolation”. I placed it in quotes because it’s not actual isolation since you still must use your whole body to keep you in the vertical position, but the emphasis is placed primarily on the triceps.

It’s a mix of both strength and coordination. A strong freestanding handstand is required for this move. If you need help on your handstand, check this out: The Ultimate Guide to Freestanding Handstand

17. Handstand diamond impossible dips

Source: Video compilation by Dante’s Workout 

If you’re working on building bigger triceps and shoulders, then this exercise should be a great inspiration for you. You can begin with building bigger arms using more basic calisthenics movement patterns, but when those get too easy, this advanced calisthenics move will definitely challenge you for quite some time.

18. Planche push-ups

Source: Video compilation by Axl Workout

The planche push-up challenges both straight-arm and bent-arm strength of individuals. The top position requires mastery of the full planche progression while the bent arm tests the biceps in the shortened position. The move doesn’t allow for you to get any “rest” as every position requires maximum tension to hold the planche.

19. Full planche

Source: Movement Athlete coach Jeremy Vera 

Speaking of planche, the full planche is still an amazing skill to achieve. The lengthened lever requires a good amount of forward lean to hold the position. It sounds basic, but to reach the full planche hold you just need to LEAN FORWARD ENOUGH. The idea is easy and simple, but developing the prerequisites for the full planche is immense. If you want to learn this gravity-defying skill, you can check this Ultimate Guide to the Full Planche.


20. Full Planche on four fingers

Source: Video compilation by SW_MOUAD

Moving into the elite level of calisthenics movement, the planche on four fingers is surely one of the hardest moves you will encounter. This move transfers the burden from the wrist and places them into the smaller finger joints. Definitely high-risk and looks impossible to do, but in this age, many advanced calisthenics athletes have risen to the top defying gravity!

21. Archer full planche push-ups

Source: Video by SW Domination.

Another out-of-this-world planche variation is the archer planche push-ups. This movement turns the full planche into a unilateral beast. Weaknesses will potentially be exposed as forces are applied much harder per side of the body. When mastered, the exercise is a display of high-level relative strength of both sides of the body.

22. Handstand push-up on rings

Source: Athlete Jake Dalton

In practice, everything done on the rings is much harder. There’s no doubt about that. Performing the handstand push-ups on the rings already feels impossible for the average calisthenics athlete.

It takes a complete gymnastic ring mastery just to hold a solid unassisted handstand on the rings, adding the push-up element pushes it further. You have to balance both the handstand and the instability of the rings. This requires an elite-level shoulder and core control, and general proprioception in the handstand position.

23. Manna

Source: Video from Acro Fitness Motivation

When I first saw a photo of manna, I thought it was a dynamic move that was captured in a mechanically disadvantageous position that looks amazing. Upon learning more about the move, my jaw dropped realizing it was actually an isometric hold and getting into the position is already an amazing feat!

Manna requires a strong mastery of shoulder mobility and flexibility while having enough compression mobility for the lower body. High-level hip, core, and straight-arm strength are also a MUST to hold the position in place. The manna progression is an advanced calisthenics skill that takes time to master.

24. Manna to handstand dislocate

Source: Athlete Lucas Fischer

Taking manna to another level is transitioning manna into a handstand dislocate. Don’t worry about the name. It doesn’t mean you have to break your joints to achieve this move, although it would “look” like if you’re able to dislocate your shoulder at will when you have mastered this skill.

This crazy mobility move pushes manna to the handstand position by relying on core and upper body strength and shoulder mobility that allows you to complete a crazy shoulder extension up to the overhead shoulder position. Getting strong isn’t enough. Mobility is the deciding factor!

25. Nakayama

Source: Video by Code of points 

Getting back into the world of gymnastics, this skill is a sequence done on gymnastics rings so, from that statement alone, you’ll already get an idea of the level of calisthenics we’re getting into. Nakayama has a few body variations but the essence is dropping into a back level hold then pressing up into an L-sit iron cross hold.

These elements are amazing on their own, but combining both on the rings takes a crazy level of specific upper-body mastery. No wonder why people able to do this sequence look crazy jacked!

26. L-sit straight-arm muscle-up

Source: Video by Noa Man Workout

The straight arm muscle-up isn’t your regular muscle-up. The straight-arm component creates an outstanding demand unto the shoulders and biceps. It’s actually passing through the iron cross position which is also a high-level calisthenics move. Beginning your journey with this skill, it’s safe to safe to first learn the negative motion as it will feel like an impossible task going straight to this move.

27. Iron cross

Source: Athlete Lachlan Walker

As mentioned before, the iron cross takes a crazy amount of dedicated and specific work. It’s done from a support hold position then lowering with your elbows straight and shoulders extended laterally until the shoulders are parallel to the floor then holding this position. The name comes from the shape you form with your body. To hold the position, shoulder and bicep tendon strength is a non-negotiable.

28. Straddle press to handstand

Source: Athlete Mr. Jumptrix

Straddle press is a cool handstand entrance that demands more than just handstand mastery. It’s a combination of lower-body compression mobility, overhead shoulder mobility, pressing movement pattern, and of course, handstand mastery.

Many people think this is based mostly on strength, but mobility huge role to execute the movement. If mobile enough, you can perform the motion even with less strength.

29. Human flag

Source: Athlete Chris Heria of ThenX

The human flag is one of the most coveted and iconic calisthenics skills.  You’re not actually doing a pulling motion when doing this isometric hold. It’s a combination of both pushing and pulling. As you pull with the upper arm, you push at the lower.

So before trying the human flag progression, it’s also wise to prepare both pushing and fulling fundamentals. The human flag is also oblique heavy to sustain a horizontal position with the body facing forward.

30. Human Flag pull-ups

Source: Athlete Mike Barstarzz

Talk about gravity defying. You will leave people in awe when performing these “horizontal pull-ups”. This move is very heavy in practice as you need to sustain both pushing and pulling of respective arms to hold the human flag while bending your arms to execute the pull-up motion. This definitely belongs among the coolest-looking moves in advanced calisthenics.

31. One-arm dragon presses

Source: Athlete Steven Dupuis

The one-arm dragon press is a superb advanced calisthenics variation of the dragon flag move popularized by the legend, Bruce Lee. However, in this advanced version, the hand is placed beside the body just for balance. No assistance overhead, so the demand on the core is much more intense just to stabilize the position. If dragon flags are too easy for you, we just trying to work towards this amazing ab exercise. Front lever is just part of this high-level progression.

If you’re interested in learning the front lever, read this: How to Do a Front Lever

32. Hand Hops

Source: Athlete Pigmie

Coming from the breaking (“breakdance”) community, the hand hops are a very fun hand-balancing skill to learn. You need at least a good handstand to make sure you have enough strength to work towards the skill.

Surprisingly, the one-arm hand hop is much easier to balance compared to the one-arm handstand hold. This is because the hop gives you a chance to “reset” your balance and give you a break from sustaining the balance. The hops aren’t also coming from your arm, but actually from the hips. Hand hops are so fun since there are many variations you can play with and you can even create your own!

33. One-arm handstand

Source: Video compilation by Budads Calisthenics 

Compared to the one-arm hand hops, the one-arm handstand is another beast to tame! Because it’s a static hold, there are many micro-corrections needed to be performed if you want to keep the balance up.

The difficulty shifting from two arms to a single arm is not just twice as hard. It becomes exponentially more difficult because you need to balance from multiple directions compared to a two-arm handstand in which you’re mostly going to fall either forward or backward.

Even with the high difficulty, it’s still a very achievable skill at any age as it has more focus on the balancing element.

34. One-arm bicep planche

Source:Video compilation by Noa Man WORKOUT

Not sure how advanced calisthenics athletes are able to build absurdly huge biceps? It’s because of working a ton on exercises similar to the one-arm bicep planche.

This move maintains the full planche position but replaces the full straight arms with just one arm in a supinated position to make the bicep do all the heavy lifting.

35. Pelican planche push-ups

Speaking of biceps, the pelican curl is one of the best ring bicep isolation exercises you can do to make them grow. However, the pelican planche push-up is a monster calisthenics move that only elite advanced athletes can perform.

This move is a combination of a planche and back lever. It kind of resembles a Zanetti, but arms are allowed to bend to facilitate the movement. The bend doesn’t make the exercise easier, it just shifts the focus unto the biceps more.

36. One-arm rope climb

Source: Athlete Jonas Vilikovsky

You’d think it’s impossible, but somebody can do it! Single-arm rope climbs are just crazy even just by saying it. Although there’s a bit of momentum involved, the movement requires superhuman one-arm pulling strength as well coordination to pull it off.

Mind you that in this variation, there are no breaks done by wrapping the legs around the rope. We’re talking about a variation that solely relies on one arm while holding an L-sit position.

37. One-arm chin-ups

Before attempting the single-arm rope climb, you first need to master the one-arm chin-up that’s also impressive on its own. Training this skill puts heavy emphasis on your lats, back, and biceps. It also puts tension on your bicep tendons that may affect your elbows. Take care of your elbows by reading this article: Say No to Golfer’s Elbow

38. One-arm front lever pulls

Source: Athlete Emanuel Majeli 

Is the full front lever progression too easy for you? Check out this crazy pulling static hold! The one-arm front lever pulls turn the full front lever into a dynamic pulling exercise. It’s very demanding on the bicep and the back muscles. Did I forget to mention that it’s done on just one arm?

39. L-sit rope climb

Source: Athlete Adam Grodrosi of the Gymnastic Method

Gymnasts have amazing, sculpted backs thanks to their mastery of the basic pulling fundamentals such as bodyweight rows and pull-ups. At the same time, they also progress with their calisthenics moves like into the L-sit rope climb.

This advanced pulling exercise puts a heavy demand on the core because of the L-sit position. This also places more burden on your lats when pulling from the bottom. The grip on the rope also simulates a one-arm pull as you shift from one arm to the other. It’s definitely an exercise worth working towards.

40. 360 planche push-up

Source: Video compilation by Workout Motivation

Thanks to the crazy advanced calisthenics athletes of the freestyle calisthenics world, the 360-degree planche push-up came to file! This explosive planche push-up variation requires twisting in mid-air horizontally then catching back the planche position.

After that, repeat for another round! This requires superhuman strength to propel your body off the ground from the planche position, get enough height to twist, then catch again with good form. Just imagine how strong you should be to pull this off?!

41. Wide front lever pull

Source: Athlete Emanuele Majeli

What’s the hardest variation of bodyweight rows? Possible this move, the wide front lever pulls! The fully horizontal, unassisted position with a wide-arm grip takes already a massive amount of strength to hold. Just think about pulling upward for reps? Advanced athletes who can perform this skill have very visible wide backs all from calisthenics.

42. Two-finger back lever to hefesto

Source: Youtube

Sometimes, there are just some calisthenics moves that will make you scratch your head and think how the hell was that even possible. This move usually includes the list if you even see one performing it live. Shoulder mobility, bicep muscle and tendon, and crazy finger joint strength are all needed in combination to execute this mind-blowing movement.

43. Victorian cross

Source: Athlete Yuri Van Gelder

Whether done on the rings or even just on the floor, the Victorian cross is definitely of the most impressive feats of strength in the calisthenics community and is reserved for the elite in gymnastics. The Victorian cross is a reverse Maltese in which a high level of scapula retraction and depression is needed.

44. Close to impossible

Source: Photo from Training  Pal. This is the ideal form of the move, but not actually performed by the athlete in the photo. 

We save the most impossible at the last, which is close to impossible. The name suits the move perfectly as no one, at least recorded, has ever done the move with perfect form. This mythical move requires you to hold a hollow body position vertically while your arms are extended in front of you and parallel to the ground.

While many have attempted and achieved a more diagonal close to impossible, it seems that this move is still in the realms of impossibility. While it requires a high level of shoulder strength, the deciding factor is on the wrist and forearms. As explained by calisthenics educator, Training pal, in his video, no human can generate enough force from the forearms to counteract the forces that will drop you from the ideal position of the move.


While Close to impossible is impossible at the moment, we can really ever say fully in the future if that will be the same case.

In the past few years, people are getting hungrier for success. More people have reached the elite status and attained the seemingly impossible moves through years of training (and some genetics for the lucky few). Technology can be attributed to this success as education and exposure to proper training protocols have been ever more accessible than ever.

Just watching all these 44 hardest Calisthenics exercises will inspire you to try them out. However, it would not be easy in the beginning and you will have to adopt the step-wise approach.

You have to start with the basic calisthenics exercises. You would see that when you are CONSISTENT, PROGRESSIVE, and SMART with your Calisthenics workouts then you would be able to develop strength and try out more challenging variations.

These Calisthenics exercises do seem impossible, but nothing is impossible in this world as long as you have the will to try and strive to achieve your goal.

Are you ready to get started on your calisthenics journey?

Let’s DO THIS!


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