With the amount of information we are exposed to, it is easy to complicate our training. When it comes to calisthenics it seems unsafe because we see the end product of the best athletes, but calisthenics is for all levels.
There are several forms of calisthenics / bodyweight training that you can do depending on your goals.
It’s important to keep things simple. You have to ask yourself the question, “Does my training match my goals?” I often see that people don’t train specifically for the goals they want.
They say they want apples, but they plant orange trees.
This article aims to make calisthenics training easier, take you from beginner to advanced, and show you how all levels can use the body as a brush to create a masterpiece.
General Strength – Beginner to Advanced
I know the temptation to move forward as quickly as possible is substantial, but will only result in injury, massive weakness, burnout, and frustration.
If you haven’t already done this style of training, start with the basics. Work on the big six:
These are the pillars of calisthenics training as they cover the muscle groups that are used in many advanced skills. Do this for 3-6 months.
It may seem long, but it’s the fastest way to get ahead.
If you skip this important stage in your development, you will still have to come back to it as the cracks in your armor will show and progress will be slow.
In this phase the goal is to learn your first pullup.
For example, get familiar with 12+ reps. As you move on, start implementing different variations of these movements in the free beginner’s calisthenics program, Bodyweight Strong.
Use this time to improve your mobility and flexibility so that you are no longer restricted later.
Remember, less is more. More time in the gym and more days of training won’t produce better results.
As a beginner, train 2-4 days a week. One hour per session is enough to do a good, quality job and to give your body enough time to recover.
Specific Strength – Intermediate to Advanced
At this point, you focus on specific goals like static skills, freestyling, and rings.
Choose 2-3 goals that you want to focus on::
It really depends on what you want and where you want to do your workout.
Design your program in blocks of 4 to 8 weeks, with all of your training lasting 3 to 6 days per week.
|High intensity||Low intensity||High intensity||Low intensity||High intensity||Rest||Rest|
|traction||Handstand balance grip||traction||Handstand balance core||traction|
For example, if your goal is the muscle and handstand pushups, any exercise you choose for your program should improve one aspect of achieving those specific goals.
I see too many people trying to cover every movement pattern and working on every weakness.
Less is more. You can always change your focus in the next program.
The word strength is used too loosely in fitness, so let’s define it. When I mention strength, I refer to absolute strength as maximum repetition and maximum strength (85% to 90% of 1RM).
The stronger you are, the more calisthenics skills you can use.
Understand that your body has three energy systems that it uses independently or simultaneously to contract your muscles.
- Creatine phosphate lasts 1-12 seconds and is used for high intensity and demanding tasks like heavyweight or difficult body weight exercises that you can only do for low repetitions.
- Glycolysis and the oxidative system are used for muscle building, conditioning and endurance.
- The anaerobic system lasts 10 seconds – 2 minutes. The aerobic system is low-intensity and long-lasting. This is your endurance training or for daily tasks.
Strength training puts a strain on the nervous system and requires at least 24 hours to recover between strength exercises.
- Exercise 2-4 days a week.
- Training your absolute strength to the point of failure should be used sparingly to test your current level or to achieve this motivation boost.
- You can’t exercise like this all the time because your nervous system won’t recover between sessions and will ruin your progress.
- Instead, train your maximum strength and leave 1 rep in reserve. If you know / think that you can do a maximum of 3 reps of any exercise (e.g., building muscle), do 2 reps for all of your sets.
- This strengthens without overwhelming the nervous system.
- Do high sets of 4-8 and 1-5 reps.
- For isometry (during contraction, the muscles do not noticeably change length, and the affected joints do not move) 1-12 s.
- Eccentric (contraction by lengthening the muscles) 1-5 reps, each rep for 7 seconds.
Remember, if you feel the pump or your muscles burn, you are no longer exercising strength.
Run away from anyone who says, “You can’t build muscle with calisthenics.”
Your muscles don’t know the difference between bodyweight exercises, weights, or a table.
It cannot be determined whether you are lifting a 6 kg, 20 kg dumbbell or a body weight. Your body feels the resistance, the intensity and the stress of a movement.
What does the training look like? A rep range of 6-12 reps (at 65-85% of 1 rep maximum) is the most effective way to stimulate muscle growth.
Instead of increasing the weight, you increase the difficulty of the bodyweight exercises.
Choose exercises that challenge you in this rep range.
When pull-ups get easy, do a harder variant, such as B. Close-grip pull-ups. Use the same muscle building techniques as you would with weights such as mechanical tension, eccentric damage, metabolic stress, push-pull splits, or drop sets.
Current culture wants to create a rivalry between calisthenics and weights when the reality is you can use both.
Gymnastics is a body weight sport and they use weights in their workouts.
Many sports, soccer, basketball, athletics, use weights to improve performance, calisthenics is the same.
- Weighted calisthenics like weighted pull-ups and weighted dips are great ways to build strength and muscle.
- Bodyweight exercises and weights are great for training compound movements (multiple muscle groups and joints).
- There are a variety of isolation exercises (multiple muscle groups and one joint). Isolation exercises allow you to target specific muscles, which is great for improving aesthetics.
The lower body is inherently powerful, so bodyweight training can only go so far. Because of this, weighted squats, deadlifts, and hip kicks are great for building muscle.
Match training on goals
I always say there is no perfect way to train. It depends on your skills and goals.
Make sure your training is in line with your goals, and train specifically with those goals in mind.
Train like a powerlifter if you want to do these advanced calisthenics skills.
Train like a bodybuilder if you want to be in the best shape of your life.
Train like an athlete when you want to be crazy fit or do freestyling.