Posted On December 2, 2019
Everything in calisthenics is possible for everyone. It just requires time and dedication. The best way to start is to lay down a strong foundation. This foundation is two-fold. It’s made up of strength and body awareness. In this blog post we will concentrate on strength.
Strength in calisthenics is achieved by practising fundamental movement patterns. It’s likely that you have come across many of these exercises, however it is imperative that you don’t dismiss them, but instead attempt to master them. Mastering exercises in calisthenics means building volume and perfecting technique.
Exercise 1: Push ups
It is suggested that you are able to complete at least 50 standard push ups in a row, before playing with the different variations of push ups. Once you are able to successfully complete 50 push ups in a row it is time to start incorporating push ups with different hand and body positions.
Push up progressions include: diamond push ups, shoulder (or pike) push ups, and bicep push ups. Additionally, the speed of the movement can be modified. Explosive or clap push ups are a great tool for building power.
Exercise 2: Pull ups
It is also important that you are able to correctly apply the principle of progressive overload. Progressive overload requires a 10% increase in intensity for strength exercises. It is possible to apply this principle to low rep ranges, however progress will be very slow. Instead you should aim for a minimal of 8 repetitions.
If you are unable to hit 8 repetitions in a row, the exercise is too difficult, and you should make it easier. Bodyweight exercises are different to traditional weightlifting where you can slightly increase the weight you are lifting, instead you must adjust lever lengths and angles.
It is recommended that beginners start with Australian pull ups. These pull ups are usually done with parallel bars, while keeping the feet on the ground. This exercise is done at 45 degrees and therefore equally builds vertical and horizontal pull strength. Once you are able to achieve 20 Australian Pull ups in a row, it’s time to move on to standard pull ups.
Exercise 3: Hollow body hold (Dish)
As someone who has neglected their core, it is recommended that you regress the hollow body hold, and instead start with dead-bugs. This exercise has all of the benefits of the hollow body hold. In this regressed exercise the abdominals are essentially holding up 50% of the weight as only 1 leg and 1 arm are extended.
Exercise 4: Superman
The superman is the perfect lower back exercise. As with any workout regiment it is important to work antagonistic muscles to prevent imbalances in muscle groups. The lower back works antagonistically to the abdominals and should receive the same amount of dedication that most people spend trying to hone their six packs. The superman makes up the second essential shape in calisthenics, the ‘arch’. It is recommended that you work towards holding the superman for a minimum of 30 seconds at a time.
Although the superman is considerably easier than the hollow body hold, for some people it may be too difficult. To regress the superman, instead try an exercise from yoga called the ‘bird-dog’. The relationship of bird-dogs to superman is the same as dead-bugs to hollow hold. It allows our lower back to hold 50% of the usual load of the superman exercise.
Have you tried calisthenics training?
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