5 Things you Should Know Before Starting Calisthenics

Most people discover Calisthenics by watching someone doing an advanced movement or skill. Without doubt, it can be really impressive to see a handstandplanchefront leverback lever or dragon flag for the first time.

But Calisthenics is more than impresive skills. It is a bodyweight training method that involves a mix of strength, mobility and balance.

It can be done by everyone, no matter the age, genre, if your are fit or you have never worked out before.

Here are 5 facts you should know before starting :

1. PROGRESS takes time

pushup
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Everyone wants fast results, but setting unrealistic goals can quickly lead to frustration.

Learning to planchefront lever or back lever is not something that happens overnight, specially if you are an absolute beginner. Even push-ups and pull-ups can be very hard for the average person, so keep in mind to set realistic, short-term goals in order to stay motivated.

A sort-term goal is something that you can achieve in a couple of months, but can be very different from person to person.

Let’s take pull-ups as an example.

If your are an absolute beginner, your short-term goal could be to do a clean negative pull up, or to do a certain amount of band assisted pull ups.

If you are a beginner with a couple months of practice, you could focus on your first free pull up with perfect form.

As an intermediate, you could simply focus on more reps.

And, finally, as an advanced athlete, you could focus on advanced pull up variations like archer or side to side pull ups but also muscle ups and front lever training.

All of these steps are important, but some will progress quicker and others will need more time. So try to be realistic about your own capabilities.

Finally, remember to take a step at a time and keep in mind that you need a lot of patience and consistency to achieve great things.

2. Don’t KILL your workout

ring workout
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If you think that you have to kill yourself in every workout you are wrong and will probably sabotage your own progress and gains.

As a beginner your body needs time to adapt. It’s not only your muscles but also your joints and connective tissue that get stressed during intense exercise. Performing too hard exercises, training to failure on every set or training every day, can lead to injuries in the long term.

Without the necessary preparation, experience and proper rest time for recovery, you will quickly lack in progress or even worse regress. So don’t expect major improvements from pushing your body to the limit in every single training session.

This also implies to advanced athletes, especially when it comes to Calisthenics skills. Here you should follow a simple rule :

The harder the exercise in terms of strength and technique, the more you should avoid muscle fatigue and failure.

cerebellum

You should keep in mind that Calisthenics training is highly neurological. 

You need to start with greater frequency and a moderate intensity in order to train your cerebellum to get used to those new and advanced movements.

As a beginner it makes more sense to almost completely avoid failure for the first weeks.

Instead focus more on the movement itself. The goal is to build a solid foundation, learn the correct execution and get a feeling for the exercises and your muscles.

3. MOBILITY is ESSENTIAL

mobility
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If you want to stay healthy, maintain a good posture and have an evenly trained body you should integrate mobility work into your training.

Don’t confuse it with passive stretching. Mobility means to increase the range of motion with active movements.

Of course it can, also, make sense to interpret some passive stretches, especially if you want to learn skills which require a good mix between mobility and flexibility.

Everybody could benefit from basic mobility training. The reason is that strength training can lead to stiff muscles and stiff muscles can lead to inbalances and injuries.

Practicing mobility regularly, will help you stay mobile and avoid these negative side effects.

Keep in mind that you don’t need an above-average mobility to maintain a healthy and evenly train body. Instead there are some fundamental movements everyone should be able to do.

4. Calisthenics BUILDS MUSCLES

muscles
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You can build muscle with calisthenics just like you can do it with weights. You just have to adjust the exercises to make them easier or harder.

For example, if you want to train your chest, you could choose to do it with weights and use the bench press exercise. You should, then, adjust the weights so that you are able to do the right amount of reps.

Now, if you choose Calisthenics, you could do it with push-ups and choose a progression that allows you to do the same amount of repetition.

Of course it can be tricky to find the right progression, but you can count on us for that!

Plus, it is a lot more fun and adds more variety if you change the exercise, instead of doing the same one over and over again and only add more weight.

Calisthenics training is all about the right progression and variation. With that you can adapt the exercise to the right rep range in order to build muscle.

5. Don’t forget LEG training

squat
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You should always train your legs alongside your upper body.

Truth is that, in Calisthenics most athletes focus more on achieving skills like the planchefront leverback lever or handstand, forgetting or neglecting to work out their legs.

That is why people have the impression that Calisthenics doesn’t involve any leg exercises.

That is NOT true. 

To begin with, you ‘re getting a pretty good amount of leg training while doing your mobility routine, which is really important in Calisthenics, in order to develop your balance and range-of-motion.

But also, if you want a good mix between building muscle and increasing strength and mobility, exercises like squats, lunges and pistol squats can do the job quite effectively.

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