Hey tribe! As you know the Team at Calisthenics Academy has been hard at work to bring together a brand new app – a gamified platform for skill-based training that will not only bring fun and a new dimension of motivation to your training – but all the more will take you on the journey to be healthier, stronger, leaner and more mobile with our calisthenics training program.
As we are getting ready to launch the app publicly, we are starting a blog series showcasing some of the features, answering all your questions and showing you why this new training is unlike anything else.
Today we want to talk about what moves you will be learning inside the app and how are they structured.
Note that the way training works is that you are working towards certain skills and they represent a specific level of strength, mobility and flexibility you achieve. But at the end, it’s just a more effective way to reach your goals of losing fat, building muscles and getting insanely strong.
And we have over 100 new moves you will be learning with the app all organised on a big map of movements.
Before we go into that though – we just wanted to remind you that there is still time to snap a lifetime access deal. If you are interested in joining us in building an amazing product and have a lifetime access to current (over 100 moves) and ALL the future updates – check it out. If you buy today you will get access to beta and you will be considered a part of our team forever.
Back to the moves!
“If you want to live a good life in your older years, start training now.”
Deconstructing the moves
As you know, we approach the movement from a very scientific point of view. Our team of coaches and physios deconstruct each move understanding what goes into it – what muscles, flexibility, mobility, strength, skill and then create a step by step path that can take anyone from zero to performing that move (we will talk about deconstruction in next blog post).
We think about our physical potential as a journey- you start with simple moves, build the foundation, learn the basics, make sure your joints, your muscles and your tendons are ready to handle higher loads and more complex moves and once they are we lead you towards the harder and harder moves.
Turning movement training into a game you can’t lose
Think about it as a map of treasures and quests – just this time the moves are the quests. The system carefully guides you through all those little important things through a personalised training plan. Step by step helping you unlock harder and harder moves.
Note that we are just getting started and even though we have over 100 new moves in the app the library will be growing as we go along as well as offered assessment and complexity of the app.
Taking you safely from zero to advanced moves
So how do you safely take someone from zero to planche? muscle up? front levers? backflips? You lead them, constantly assessing where they are on those different attributes and adjusting training daily making sure that the progress is effective and safe.
With our team, we created a whole map of moves – all interconnected where we map exactly what you need to develop to safely move forward.
We also categorized the moves based on complexity ensuring that we keep the playfulness, feeling of constant progress and holistic approach to overall body development.
Below is an outline of how the moves are divided and what moves you can expect to learn in current app.
100 calisthenics moves you can start today
The moves you will be learning are divided into different categories.Just like in the game we have:
“Main Missions are the main moves in gymnastic and calisthenics. They require lots of preparation and progressions and usually take a ong time to achieve”
Main missions are divided into fundamentals and advanced. They are very important as a make a base for all the advanced moves.
Once you achieve the fundamental moves you unlock harder & harder moves – so
Back Fundamental unlocks Back Lever and Bridges Progression,
Wall Handstand unlocks – Handstand Pushup and Free Standing HAndstand and so on…
The way system is structured is that not only it makes sure that you develop all the attributes that are prerequisites for a given move – keeping you safe. But also that every single day you are making effective progress towards your goal. Once done with fundamentals that are obligatory you are able to choose what you want to be working on.
Some of the advanced moves that you will see in the app are
– Human Flag
– Back Lever
– Front Lever
– Handstand Walk
– Handstand Push-Up
– Sitting Press
– Muscle Ups
– Ring Dips
… and more.
“Side quests are additional moves that still require progressions but they are not a core of your program. They are usually small and fun moves that help you develop strenght and skill”
Just like any move in our program – these moves also have prerequisties and are unlock as you go along.
Some of the side quests in our new app are:
– Backwards Roll
– Elevated Bridge
-Freestanding Handstand Pushup
SINGLE MOVES (VARIATIONS + TRANSITIONS)
“Single moves don’t have progessions. They include everything from one off moves eg a corow, variations of particular exercises, to connecting two different exercises (transitions) to connecting multiple exercises – what we call flow”
Some of the single skills that you will be learning inside the app:
-Pushup Variations eg. Aztec Pushup, X Pushup, Superman Pushup, Decline One Arm Pushup,
– Cartwheel Variations
– Pull Up Variations
– Handstand Variations
– Forward Roll to Handstand, Front Lever to Back Lever, Handstand to Planche, Handstand to Bridge etc
We are opening moves library to experienced trainers to create a filled with creativity library of different moves you can be learning
As you can see, the structure is there to keep fun and light approach while helping you safely push boundaries, stay playful but at the same time effective in your training.
READY TO GET ON TEH JOURNEY OF A LIFETIME?
See what our users are saying:
“Would you rather have the ability to boast of bench pressing 300 pounds or to do a one-arm pull-up? To me, pulling my entire body up with one arm is much more impressive. – Michael – Calisthenics Academy User”
“Calisthenics Academy is not the kind of program that demands you to be this physically fit to be able to perform. Instead, it caters to your own strengths and capabilities and keeps track of your progress.”
“Stick with it! It is hard at first, especially if you are stuck on a lower-level, high rep exercise. But persevering is worth it! Finally reaching each goal is so exciting.”
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Matthew is a very busy man. He’s a full-time student by day, a part-time auto technician by night, and also a husband and a father. Despite all of his responsibilities, he is still able to do his Calisthenics training and generate maximum benefits from it.
“Everything you do should bring some type of joy and fulfillment to your life. If you are considering training and you are not, then get out of your head and take action. Start now.”
Badass Training Program For Badass Auto Technician
It’s definitely a real struggle to manage finishing a degree while at the same time having a family to support. But Matthew didn’t only finished his degree in automotive diagnosis and repair and fulfill his duties as a husband and a father, he also worked part-time jobs at night as an auto technician.
Can you imagine how busy his schedule must be? He’s probably tired after a full day at school and work at night. So how did Matthew manage to fit calisthenics training into his crazy routine?
How Matthew Fit Calisthenics Into His Busy Schedule
“I made the decision to follow Calisthenics Academy because I didn’t have enough time nor energy to get to my traditional bodybuilding routine.”
Because of his busy schedule, he can’t keep up with his bodybuilding training at the gym. It was very challenging for him to get a workout done with all the studying, working and having to be present to his family. That’s when he stumbled across Calisthenics Academy. He signed up right away.
“It was the first program of its kind that showed sound training programming and progression, so I quickly signed up and began diving into the training programs.”
Better Endurance, Better Athlete
“Endurance was my biggest struggle, I had a hard time completing the recommended sets and rep ranges for push-ups, and pull-ups. To overcome these challenges, I just kept telling myself to focus one rep at a time and put in the reps, the more I do it the better I will get. So, it was a mental game for me.”
Matthew was a total newbie in Calisthenics. He only had the skills for powerlifting before he started training for Calisthenics. Hence, he needed to develop his endurance physically and mentally to be able to perform bodyweight movements. Since his desire to workout fuels his mental prowess to keep going on the movements, he was able to reach the progress that he was aiming for.
At first, he was wondering whether he can do the calisthenics movements because he is a bigger guy. But after trusting the process of Calisthenics Academy, he was able to build on his endurance, improve his strength and even enhance his mobility.
“You don’t have to train like a bodybuilding to build a great looking physique.”
3 Main Benefits Matthew Gained from Joining Calisthenics Academy
Train Anytime, Anywhere at His Own Time
For Matthew, time is very precious. He has so many things to do and working out is not a top priority for him. But after starting with Calisthenics Academy, his stress levels for having to fit a gym time in his schedule completely disappears.
With Calisthenics Academy:
He has instant access to his training programs anywhere at any time.
He doesn’t have to use all that fancy equipments to be challenged in each session.
His bodyweight is sufficient to provide him challenging workouts every time.
Developing a More Balanced Shape
Another added benefit of working on his bodyweight is that Matthew is able to address his weak points that he developed during his bodybuilding days.
“My pain threshold has dramatically been challenged and I believe that there has been a fundamental shift in my mentality. I can keep going with my workouts a lot more than before. Physically, I see my body taking a more balanced shape.”
Not only did he improved significantly in his weak points, but he was also able to “break through strength plateaus with smaller muscle groups” like his triceps and biceps.
Fun Training Program For A Beginner
Matthew’s training before to maintain an active lifestyle is bodybuilding. But after doing it for an extended period of time, the thrill of it slowly died down. Plus, the hassle of squeezing in a gym time in his busy schedule is not really attractive at the moment for Matthew.
Through the Calisthenics Academy training, “I have some fun with the new training program that I am a complete beginner.“ He is a complete beginner that really had hardships in performing several calisthenics movements. That is why this training program is so effective for Matthew.
“Calisthenics training breaks through barriers that hold people back from going to a gym because you can train anywhere and no one else really sees your weaknesses. It’s just you and your training.”
“Not having the time to workout is a matter of prioritizing it. If it’s important to you then make it a top priority.”
Matthew’s advice to anyone curious about calisthenics:
“Everything you do should bring some type of joy and fulfillment to your life. If you are considering training and you are not, then get out of your head and take action. Start now.”
If you are not happy with how active your lifestyle is right now, consider making a change. Do not overanalyze every step of the process. If you want an active lifestyle, start your training NOW. No more hesitations. No more excuses. No more holding backs. Just like Matthew, you just have to make it happen. The fulfillment that you will achieve after putting in the work and effort will surely be priceless.
Get out of your head and take action, NOW.
“A badass progressive program that coaches your through your fitness journey.”
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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?
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?
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 firstmastered 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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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
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
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:
Shoulder circles – 5 times each direction
Up/Down/Right/left neck tilts – 5 times each side
Arm crossovers – 5 times each side
Wrist stretches, fingers facing into and away from the knees – 5 times each
Elbow circles with hands on the ground – 5 times each way
Scapular shrugs, hands, and knees on the ground – 5-10 times
Cat/Cow alternation – 5 each pose, hold for 3-5s
Shake out those shoulders for a few seconds!
Dips – 5-12 reps
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.
A few weeks ago America Ninja Warrior competitor and professional rock climber Brian Arnold powered his way to the finals at the world’s most challenging obstacle course known as Mt. Midoriyama in Las Vegas, Nevada. Pure muscle and grip strength helped him make his way through Stage 1 and Stage 2 of the course. And despite falling on the Flying Bar in Stage 3, he set a new record for going farther than any other American, and showcased an incredible level of grip strength from day one.
Grip strength is crucial for rock climbers, parkour athletes, gymnasts, or baseball players gripping a bat to hit a homerun. But it’s also a critical element of calisthenics that can determine whether or not you can move on to the next exercise in the THE FUNDAMENTAL series of progressive exercises. It’s particularly important to develop grip strength to achieve the one-arm pull-up and one-arm hanging straight-leg raise. Calisthenics progressive exercises for these two moves will help you develop grip strength. But if your grip strength is what’s keeping you from progressing, you may want to add some grip-strength training to your exercise routine.
Is your grip strength powerful enough to tear apart a phone book like this guy? Watch the video.
Grip Strength Matters
You need grip strength to help you achieve the Big Six, but it’s more important than that. Grip strength is an indicator of your overall health and longevity. Healthcare professionals frequently used a grip strength test to measure improvements in strength after hand surgery. But it’s also used to predict problems with mobility as you age, according to a study published by the Journal of the American Medical Association, a nice reminder that following calisthenics progression for the long haul will help you live a longer, healthier life.
If you’re having trouble with the progressive exercises to execute the one-arm pull-up or hanging straight-leg raises, improving your grip strength can help. Here are two ways you can improve your grip strength to help you progress through calisthenics:
Squeeze the Bar.
Hop on to your pull-up bar to muscle your way through a couple of reps. Take a break and repeat. Do that a couple of times, and you may notice that with eat set, your grip gets a little weaker until you’re clinging to the bar by your fingertips trying to eek out one more rep. But that approach isn’t the best way to build your grip strength.
Instead, squeeze the bar tightly while doing the repetitions for a set like you’re hanging on for dear life on an out-of-control roller coaster ride. Grip the bar, squeeze tightly, and then complete your reps. When you make the effort to use your grip, it triggers a response in your body that engages more of your hands and fingers to hang on and perform the exercise. And the result is a lot like everything else in calisthenics. Stick with it, and this habit will make your grip strength legendary.
Use Grip Builders.
You can buy padded grips to put on your pull-up bar to make it thicker. This modification makes gripping the bar harder, and forces you to squeeze a little tighter to perform the exercises that require grip strength. But if you’re on a budget, you don’t have to buy jack to improve your grip strength. Just wrap your pull-up bar in a towel to make the bar thicker and more difficult to hang on to.
Fat Gripz are something I am using and loving them:
At first, you probably won’t be able to do as many reps as you could without a towel wrapped around the bar, but backing off a little to exercise this way is an investment in building grip strength. You can also toss the towel over the bar, and squeeze the two ends of the towel to perform pull-ups or hanging leg-raises like this below. But be prepared to discover that this technique will turn any bar-pulling or hanging exercise into a tug-of-war torture match between the towel and your forearms.
Hang in There.
If lack of grip strength is holding you back, here’s another way to improve your grip strength. End ever set of exercises by gripping the bar, squeezing, and hanging on as long as you can. It’s one more way to engage build the kind of muscle strength and endurance you need to go the distance with calisthenics