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.

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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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9 Reasons Why You Should Start Doing Handstand Push-Up

9 Reasons Why You Should Start Doing Handstand Push-Up

Have you ever experienced going to a park, to a beach, or to a gym, or just simply watching online these ultimately strong or scrawny dudes who can do a handstand push up as if it’s nothing? Most probably, you asked yourself,

  • “Why in the heck they are doing that to themselves?” or

  • “How can they do that? I can’t even do a regular push-up.”

But you are still impressed as to how strong they look like, then keep on reading.

You want to know why they are doing that complex movement when you can’t even find motivation in you to do your first push-up. You want to know why they look so cool and strong doing that and how you can also look so cool and strong. You want to know how long they trained before they were able to do their first handstand push-up and if it will take you an entire lifetime to learn that so better just give up now.

It’s normal to be intrigued. But mind you, handstand push-ups will change the way how you think about the world of fitness.

But mind you, handstand push-ups will change the way how you think about the world of fitness.

Let me show you the real deal about handstand push-ups and why this movement is a must-learn among all the other calisthenics movement. 

Handstand Push-Up? But which one?

I’ve been mentioning handstand push-up for several times already.

But let me discuss briefly what is a handstand push-up as there is a bit confusion on how to actually perform it.

I get asked all the time:

  • Do you have to do a handstand first then let go and do a push up?
  • Do you have to do a push-up first then move to a handstand position? Or do you have to do both at the same time?
  • Do you need a wall to support you or do you have to do it freestanding?

The truth is that there are few types of handstand push-ups such as wall handstand push-ups, freestanding handstand push-ups and   kipping handstand push-ups. However, we will stick with the basics for this article. I want you to understand the fundamentals of a handstand push-up before dwelling into different variations.

The fundamentals of a handstand push up

Basically, a handstand push-up is just like a normal push-up but instead of doing the push-up parallel to the ground, you have to do the push-up inverted. Yep. You read it right. INVERTED.

Come on, it doesn’t sound so bad right? I know that a handstand already sounds so cool but you can be COOLER by performing handstand push-ups.

Muscle Groups Involved in a Handstand Push-Up.

Before we get into the whole fiasco of why we should start doing a handstand push-up, let us first look into the muscle groups involved in this compound movement.

Push-ups mainly activate the arms and the chest while handstand warms up the shoulders, backs, arms and chest. Having these two upper body movements into one complex movement, you will not only activate your upper body muscles.

You will have to activate your entire body to perform a handstand push up.

These are the major muscle groups being used when performing a handstand push up:

  • Shoulders.

  • Your shoulders carry most of your weight in a handstand position. What more if you do a push-up while in a handstand position. Your shoulders will surely feel the burn for the movement but I assure you that your shoulders will be as strong as a bull.
  • Pectoralis Major.

  • Simply, your pecs or your chest muscles are also activated in doing a handstand push-up just like when you are performing a normal standard push-up.
  • Triceps Brachii.

  • When you dip for a push-up while in a handstand position, your triceps give your elbows the power to lift yourself back up in a handstand position again.
  • Lateral Deltoids.

  • This muscle group can be found above your biceps. To be able to maintain your balance and do that press for the push-up, your deltoids are ready to serve you.
  • Trapezius.

  • Look at your back in the mirror. If you can visualize a V-shaped muscle from the base of your back deltoid down to your middle back, that would be your Trapezius. This back muscle stabilizes your shoulders to carry your weight.
  • Serratus Anterior.

  • Responsible for your stabilization in performing the handstand push-up itself, this muscle group can be found at the side of your ribs extending to your back.

activated muscle groups in a handstand push-up
For the record, the mentioned muscle groups are not the only ones involved in performing a handstand push-up. YOUR WHOLE BODY is required to perform the deed.

Ready? Set… Go!

Obviously, you won’t be starting with the handstand push-up right away.

Since this is a compound movement, you have to familiarize yourself first with the let alone movements of push-ups and handstands.

Make sure to watch this very short video on how you can perform a standard push-up.

After that, let’s familiarize yourself with a handstand position. Handstand itself is already a challenging movement. If you are not used to doing this, it is better that we prioritize SAFETY before progressing to a handstand push-up.

If you can’t do a handstand, that is totally fine. You can check out our fundamental course on Calisthenics Academy.

Take the assessment so we can provide you a fully personalised training program professionally and efficiently to help you get where you need to be and to see how you stack up on the road to the handstand and other fundamental calisthenics moves.

Once you are comfortable with the two movements, you can start training for your first handstand push-up. Don’t be overconfident though. Always be safe in executing these movements.

The PROPER FORM of a Handstand Push Up

Despite knowing how to do a handstand, we strongly encourage you to master the proper form first before advancing to the handstand push-ups. This is the perfect freestanding handstand:

perfect freestanding handstand

Your GOAL is to be able to do this position in a COMFORTABLE manner. You have to make sure that you build up on our strength to be able to support yourself in the handstand position and to sustain that position long enough for a handstand push-up.

Be mindful in keeping your body alignment straight. Your hips must be fully extended as well as your elbows and wrists. Your spine must be in a neutral position and NOT LIKE THIS:
bad handstand


The ultimate step for you to reach before performing a handstand push-up is to be able to sustain the handstand position in PROPER FORM.
good handstand


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.

pasted image 0pasted image 0 1

To help you even further, this handstand push up progression can lead you to the right track..

It’s perfectly fine to start with a push-up, then to a handstand, before attempting to do a handstand push-up. In this way, you will be stronger and more capable after learning and mastering the fundamentals.

Check this out to see how COOL a handstand push-up looks like.


Why bother doing handstand push-ups?

After the lengthy discussion on what and how do you perform handstand push-ups, here are 9 MAJOR REASONS why doing a HANDSTAND PUSH-UP daily can help you to be STRONGER AND BETTER:

1.Very effective to build strength in your shoulders and upper body.

       Since a handstand push-up is a compound movement of a handstand and a push-up which both target the upper body, performing this can obviously strengthen your shoulders and upper body. According to B.K.S. Iyengar, the venerable founder of Iyengar yoga, sustaining a handstand itself requires you to have stronger upper body muscles. Whatmore if you are performing handstand push-ups.

2. Improve your balance, focus, and brain function.

Being in an inverted position means that blood will rush to your brain. Abundant oxygen supply will be delivered to the brain which will be used to function and to focus effectively. Aside from that, the inverted position also elevates your mood and reduce the risk for depression as discussed by the “Yoga Journal.”

Hanging upside down will totally give you a different perspective on how you see the world. LITERALLY. Hence, performing handstand push-ups motivate you to focus more to maintain your balance.

3. Increase your glute and core power.

Handstand push-ups are more challenging than normal push-ups and crunches mainly because you are performing the movement against the gravity.

Simply put, you are putting more work for your glutes and core when you have to pull yourself up after pressing for a handstand push-up. You have to engage your core and glutes completely to maintain your balance and power.

This additional work makes this movement beneficial than the other movements.

4. Being comfortable with the uncomfortable.

We all know that challenges excite us. Doing the same things over and over again will make us resistant to the effect that these things can give us. If you are so used to doing push-ups or handstands and they don’t challenge you anymore, the benefit of building stronger muscles doesn’t really show.

Trying to do something uncomfortable like handstand push-ups will continuously keep your interest and challenge you to do better at it. Let’s just say that it’s similar to dating. You don’t want to always do the same thing every single time and still feel the excitement and engagement from your partner.

As long as you are motivated to do better at something you are not, the results of that hard work will surely pay off.

5. Doing a handstand push-ups makes stronger!

Let’s stop pretending that doing a handstand alone doesn’t impress you at all. We all know it is pretty challenging to balance yourself in an inverted position.

What more if you can do a handstand push-up? Trust me, after you manage to do your first rep, a wave of pride will immediately rush through you and you’ll feel stronger more than ever.

6. Significant back pain reduction

Being inverted releases the gravitational pressure off your nerve roots and discs in your space. As discussed by Dr. Lakowski of Mayo Clinic, you will have more space between your vertebrae hence decompressing your spine relieving back pain. Although, this is not advisable for someone who has high blood pressure and glaucoma since blood will be rushing to your brain.

7. Definitely a stress-reliever.

According to published medical studies of Teeter, stress is typically related to increasing tension in your muscles that can cause pain and inflammation. Being inverted in a handstand push-up helps the body to circulate the blood to reach the sore muscles. Aside from that, this blood circulation helps the lymphatic system to flush out the toxin build-up from the muscles that cause tension and stress.

Performing a handstand push-up enables your body to rehydrate the discs, reduce nerve pressure, realign the spine and relax the tense muscles which definitely reduce stress.

8. You can grow taller!

In one of the podcast episodes of Jeff Sanders<, he interviewed Dr. Lockhart who claimed to grow 1.5 inches for being inverted.

If you perform handstand push-ups daily, your back is frequently decompressed, relieving pressure from your back and increasing the space in your vertebral discs. Hence, this particular movement can help you to lengthen your spine and grow taller. How amazing is that?! You still have hope to achieve that dream height!

9. Stronger body, better posture.

Helping your spine to take a break for standing as always, doing handstand push-ups can reset your spine by decompressing and realign it to aid you in having a better posture. No only you are training for a stronger body, but you are also giving your spine a favour by having a better posture.

To sum things up…

You should not have a second thought of starting your training for handstand push-ups. Aside from looking cooler and becoming stronger, handstand push-ups can also help you physically and physiologically. This compound movement does magic to your spine, balance, brain function, flexibility and strength. Handstand push-ups are one of the most effective and reliable calisthenic movements that will strengthen and improve your body in no time.

Before I end, I want you to DECIDE NOW that you will start your training to your first handstand push-up. Take note of your starting prowess and then comment on this article weekly regarding your improvements. In that way, you won’t forget to look back into the fundamentals and the benefits as you progress your skills in performing handstand push-ups

calisthenics assessment

Following a terrible injury, Hans was told he’d never exercise again

And then he found Calisthenics…


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!

This is story of Hans, – Calisthenics Academy

Hans, a 39 year old company coach from Belgium, has had to face some pretty extreme physical challenges in his life. When he was xx, he experienced terrible consequences from a momentary physical action.

“As the result of a quick and unexpected movement, my neck turned sharply away and I heard a snap. The next day I literally had to drag myself out of bed by the hair. Since the hernia was pressing against my spinal cord, it needed quick fixing, so a week later I was in surgery.”

It took him a very long time to recover from that accident, and he was repeatedly told that he’d never be able to work out again. “Bit by bit I proved them wrong. Actually, the more (sensible) I [work out], the less back pain I have.”

So how did Hans defy medical expectations and face his physical challenges? Calisthenics! Hans is also a big proponent of holistic living and plant-based nutrition and Calisthenics Academy is a program that allows him to incorporate these principles into his exercise routine while protecting his neck prosthesis and his back.

“[Our body] is a great device we get at the beginning of our lives, and there is so much potential we don’t (or forget to) use in terms of mobility and flexibility.”

Hans believes that life is meant to be lived holistically. He’s been in search of the kind of exercise that would allow him a true exploration of his body, and would help him move towards a greater, long-term goal. It was during this search that he discovered Calisthenics Academy.

“There is no limit to what the body can achieve at any given age, given the right time, the right training and the right goals.”

“As most people I started out with the intention of doing a human flag as soon as possible. But now the mindset has changed to mastering the current exercise sets. and then progressing to the next, and the next. All thanks to Calisthenics Academy”

The 3 benefits Hans gained since starting calisthenics

His body doesn’t hurt him anymore

Following Hans’ terrible accident and spinal surgery
he was repeatedly told that he’d never be able to work out again. “Bit by bit I proved them wrong. Actually, the more (sensible) I [work out], the less back pain I have.”

“I’m no longer troubled by back pain which helps my self confidence a whole lot—those who have suffered from back pain, they surely know what I mean.”

He’s in a state of constant learning and self-betterment

Hans believes that the body is constantly improving and learning. But it needs to be motivated to do so. He’s gained that motivation thanks to Calisthenics Academy. “We are never finished, we are becoming. And that is represented in your program.”

“The real gain for me are the thank yous I get from my own body.”

The principles of calisthenics translate into a code of ethics into his work life

Hans, along with Philippe (whose story you can find here), is a company coach, offering support in the design of organisations. “We help organisations in adaptive challenges. We create progression paths with them in order to see which steps they can take in a continuous change path.”

He sees a correlation between his work and the principles behind calisthenics. Once goals are hit, either in business or calisthenics, then what?

“We are never finished exploring and building, that is why the way forward is more important than the end product.”

“I’m more focused on the updating process of my body than in the final product. As long as I keep moving forward, keep learning, I’m on the right path. Within our organisation progressiondesigners.com, we try to integrate a few concepts such as Biomimicry, lean concepts (continuous improvements) and calisthenics/gymnastics.”

“Discovering calisthenics was the result of a few converging principles in my life.”

Holistic, plant-based living

Holistic principles follow the idea that you must look at your life as a whole: the mind affects the body, the spirit affects the mind, the body affects the spirit and the environment affects it all.

“I believe in a holistic approach to life, living a plant-based life, having a respectful approach to all living things, with my own body as a good example. Respecting my own body is something I found translated very well in calisthenics and The Movement Athlete Manifesto. I read your Manifesto and got hooked.”

“Secondly, I have a prosthesis in my neck and a mild back issue. So weight lifting is not only extremely boring but also quite tricky for me.”

When looking at life from a holistic standpoint, Hans simply doesn’t see the value of training at the gym following traditional weight-lifting programs.

“I’ve always asked myself the question what the attractive goals in weightlifting are—keep on lifting more and more until your body collapses? That’s a road to nowhere for me.”

Calisthenics is holistic exercise

Calisthenics doesn’t only focus on the body. In fact, if you read the Calisthenics Academy’s second edition of its ebook, you’ll get to learn about the importance of focusing on both your diet and your mindset in order to successfully reach your calisthenics goals.

“In our professional life we’re also approaching things systemically and holistically, and that translated for me in a search for a movement method that doesn’t isolate muscles and integrates flexibility/mobility, strength and skill.”

Train anywhere

Calisthenics training requires so little material that you can virtually do it anywhere.

“You can do the training everywhere, so it becomes part of your daily routine easily. “

“The hardest part was/is discipline in following up to mastery skills with the exercises. I’m prone to experimenting with new things and like to try out new things, so here the Calisthenics Academy app was a great tool to straighten out my program.”

Calisthenics is more than just training – it’s a lifestyle

“This quote from the original Calisthenics Academy ebook did the trick for me:”

“Soon, calisthenics became so much more than just a training program for me. It became a way of life. I will teach you the rules and lessons I have learned over the years. You will learn how to set your own goals and how to work out, but there is just one thing I want you to keep in mind: we are each a work in progress. Be in the moment. There is no competition. Train hard, move, eat healthy food, and love life! Go get it!”

“As most people I started out with the intention of doing a human flag as soon as possible. But now the mindset has changed to mastering the current exercise sets. and then progressing to the next, and the next. All thanks to Calisthenics Academy”

Here’s Hans’ advice to anyone curious to try calisthenics out

“There is no limit to what the body can achieve at any given age, given the right time, the right training and the right goals…Learn to listen to your body. Why? Because I think these are the basics to keep progressing.”

“Calisthenics Academy has really helped me in streamlining my movement routine for the rest of my life.”

From injured weight-lifter to calisthenics athlete

the value of starting over


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!

This is story of Philippe – Calisthenics Academy

Braden is an army officer and former weight-lifter, whose injuries caused him pain and problems for years, until the day he found calisthenics.

“A journey of a thousand miles start with the first step”

The path from weight-lifting to calisthenics

Braden started his fitness journey weight-lifting and relay racing in high school, until joint pain and a shoulder injury caused him to rethink his view of exercise and movement.

“When I was in high school, prior to my injury I was 169lbs benching 300lbs, squatting 2 x 325lbs, and deadlifting 475lbs. I was one of the strongest kids pound for pound. I was very successful with weight lifting and was showing more progress as the weeks went on. I was weight strong but not body strong.”

While in full sprint during a relay race, he made a wrong movement, which caused his hip to pop. This resulted in disparity and imbalance in his entire body, particularly affecting one of his shoulders. His form changed, and weight-lifting was putting extra stress on one side.

“I injured my shoulder from heavy lifting. I was at my strongest, and from then on, I haven’t gotten back to that strength. I didn’t plan to rehab, because I loved the gym so much, and didn’t want to step away. My stubbornness kept me from getting it fixed. Not a smart move. It didn’t get better until I started calisthenics…I realized the benefit of having less stress put on my joints, ligaments, and tendons.”

– “I found that with calisthenics I was able to still workout hard and also have my shoulder heal.”

“My workouts are sometimes 20-30 minutes. That’s the beauty of bodyweight. Just keep moving.”

The 3 main benefits Braden experienced with calisthenics

He’s able to train his body intensively without aggravating his shoulder injury

Calisthenics was a challenge to him and his expectations; progress in calisthenics just isn’t the same as in weightlifting. “It isn’t an ego builder. You do not put on size as fast and it takes a while to master moves.” But he discovered the long-term benefits that came as a result of his calisthenics journey;

“I found that with calisthenics I was able to still work out hard and also have my shoulder heal…My body has become more proportioned and I am much more mobile than I was as a weight lifter.”

He’s still interested and committed to using calisthenics years later

Braden considers himself to be a ‘wherever the wind takes me’ kind of person. When something became boring to him, he’d simply move on. And yet, two years later, Calisthenics Academy has helped him stay focused, interested and constantly improving.

“It is simple. It has good descriptions in the video and the progressions are realistic…The majority of the moves in calisthenics I cannot do yet. I am starting at square one.”

He’s learned to pace himself

Calisthenics Academy seems to have helped Braden immensely in his overall training habits, and what he’s now capable of, mentally and physically. He’s experienced first-hand the benefits of periodization; he’s no longer too rigid in his training and appreciates the importance of allowing his body to rest and recover.

What his workouts look like

His workout routine now is just naturally built into his everyday life:

“first thing when I get home, I make a pre-workout cappuccino and get to my garage, get some music going and jump some rope to warm up. Then I am ready to rock and roll. My workouts are sometimes 20-30 minutes.”

Training as a Family

His workouts don’t take over his life, but they’re a valuable part of it.

“That’s the beauty of bodyweight. Just keep moving. Go through the circuit quickly. Do not take a rest if you don’t need it.”


Training as a family

Nowadays, Braden regularly works out with his wife Tawnee. She too is a calisthenics athlete, who loves acroyoga and was recently accepted to the ninth season of American Ninja Warrior! Check out her awesome Instagram account @tawneeleo.

“That’s the beauty of bodyweight. Just keep moving. Go through the circuit quickly. Do not take a rest if you don’t need it.”

“Calisthenics is great when it comes to the Army because you need to be mobile and strong in all positions.”

“I am much more mobile than when I was as a weight lifter.”

Here’s Braden’s advice to anyone wondering if Calisthenics Academy is for them

“Just go for it. You won’t regret it. A journey of a thousand miles start with the first step.”

“I was weight strong but not body strong. I am very glad I switched to calisthenics because my body has become more proportioned and I am much more mobile.”

Keep on climbing

How Philippe rediscovered an old passion thanks to calisthenics


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!

This is story of Philippe – Calisthenics Academy

Philippe is an independent coach and author of several blogs, articles and books. Between work, his family (including two young children) and his hobby of music, he doesn’t have much time to dedicate to exercise.

Although he was active in his youth, Philippe lost most of those habits as life got in the way.In particular, he was finding he didn’t have the time, energy or strength for rock climbing, a passion of his.

“I relate in a different way to my body and its intelligence. I feel more confidence to move on and start dreaming of my time as a rock climber.”

But that running caused him more and more issues in his knees and tendons, which then entirely killed his enjoyment of sports. And so as he became less and less active, he began to gain weight.

He decided to research some alternatives, and started with HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) via Freeletics, realizing after some time that the exercises kept repeating themselves.

“I missed having a logical progression.”

“Start where you are and don’t force yourself to go faster…the program will carry you along the way. Trust it.”

The 3 main benefits Philippe has gained with calisthenics

He’s fully recovering from long-standing injuries

By pairing a gymnastics training with calisthenics, Philippe is slowly recovering from problems he’s had for a long time.

“That’s a really, really great part of your program…you don’t have to push or force your body toward injuries.”

He’s integrated movement and exercise into his daily life

Exercise used to be an obligation. It’s now become a key part of Philippe’s lifestyle. “I’m much more aware of the movement of my body, I do much more stretching and flexibility exercises and feel – for the first time – that this is a real part of the journey.”

The principles of calisthenics correlate to his profession

Philippe (along with fellow Calisthenics Academy athlete Hans whose story you can find here), is an organisational coach. The ideas of calisthenics, where working holistically is key, can be found echoed through the core principles of his business. “Most of the companies we work for are not always working as an integrated whole. Departments do not always collaborate. Due to that, a lot of energy is wasted, a lot of frustration is created and a lot of potential is untapped.”

“A great part of our work is helping companies outgrow this silo-stage. The link with calisthenics is clear to us. Body-building is more oriented on training isolated muscles. Due to that, the interplay, or coordination between muscles isn’t trained, which makes a bodybuilder look very strong, but at the same time not that mobile, agile or flexible. Calisthenics is more oriented on the interplay between muscles, body parts, etc. It’s not about looking good, it’s about moving in an integrated way.”

Calisthenics inspired Philippe to start climbing again

Philippe Back to Rock Climbing

Philippe has a long-lost love of rock climbing and thanks to calisthenics, it’s something that his body is always ready to get back into, with the future possibility of his children joining him.

“From time to time I do some bouldering with my son and hope he’ll enjoy training with me. Once he has enough weight, we could go climbing together.”

It’s been 15 years since Philippe regularly rock climbed but calisthenics has allowed him to get back to it. “I feel more confidence to move on and start dreaming of my time as a rock climber.” As he goes from strength to strength in his calisthenics journey, it won’t be long before he’s doing more than just dreaming.

“This feeling of progress, even in small steps, and ability to see it motivates me to keep on going every day”

“Start where you are and don’t force yourself to go faster…the program will carry you along the way. Trust it.”

Philippe’s advice to anyone who is curious about calisthenics

“What I liked was the ‘science’ of [the] approach., the way you created small steps to make progress.”

“I liked the way the progressions were built and I like the easy way to connect with the people developing the program. This gives a feeling of connection or community.”