Where you can find all the necessary information about Calisthenics and Street workout!

7/14/2017

Handstand Push ups

Overview: 

Handstand push up is the best exercise for shoulders. They primarily work your anterior and lateral deltoids and the muscles in the back of your arms (your triceps). They also engage the muscles of the upper back (the trapezius).

Handstand push ups also help to build strength for free handstands. A strong core and strong shoulders will help you find your balance and maintain the position more easily.


Progression

Choose one of the following variations which you can do 3 sets of between 4 and 8 repetitions with periods of between 1 and 2 min of rest between each set. When you can do 3 sets of 8, move on to the next exercise in the progression.

 1. Incline pike push ups 

handstand push up progression

Place your hands shoulder-width apart on a raised platform. Bend at the waist keeping a straight back. Your outstretched arms and torso should form a straight line. Bring your head to your hands.

 2. Pike push ups.


Same as above, without the platform. Make sure that your head travels directly between your arms. Try to keep your head, arms and torso all in the same straight line.


 3. Decline pike push ups.


handstand push up progression
Same as above with feet on a raised platform, and hands on the floor.

 4. Wall bent waist handstand push up. 

handstand push up progression

Walk your feet up the wall, keep a bent waist (you will need to remain some distance from the wall), then perform a push up. Make sure your head and torso remain in line with your arms.

 5. Wall half handstand push up. 

handstand push up progression

Facing the wall in a handstand position, lower yourself till your arms are half bent, then come up.

 6. Wall handstand push ups. 

handstand push up progression

Lower yourself all the way down, until your head touches the ground.

 7. Wall handstand diamond push ups

handstand push up progression

Same as wall handstand push ups, but with thumbs and index fingers touching each other.

Important notes

  • If you don't want to hurt your shoulder, when performing handstand push ups, make sure your upper body, your arms, and your head remain in a straight line. Check out my  free handstand tutorial to get the perfect form for handstand 
  • Don't forget to breathe when you are upside down. Inhale when you go down and exhale when you push up.
  • You can do handstand push ups in parallel bars to increase range of motion.

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Plank

Exercise Overview

Plank is one of the best core exercises. You hold your body in a straight line over a period of time, the longer is the better. It sounds simple, but it is not that easy. The plank and all its variations will work your core muscles (the rectus abdominals and the obliques, as well as stabilizing deep core muscles) isometrically.
It is a foundation of all good bodyweight programs, and a great introduction to static, isometric work.
And like almost calisthenics exercises, it requires no equipment and can be performed just about anywhere (well, use your judgment).
Plank muscle worked, plank progression
Plank muscle worked

The progression

Choose one of the following variations as a starting point and hold the position for 30 seconds. Gradually build up to a hold of one minute over time. When you can do the exercise for one minute, move on to the next variation in the progression.


1. Kneeling plank. 

Plank progression
Performed on your knees, with thighs and spine in line.


2. Kneeling side plank. 

Plank progression

Bend your legs at the knee at a right angle and keep your thighs and torso in line. Your forearm, elbow, knee and lower leg are your points of contact with the ground.

3. Plank. 

Plank prgression

With your weight resting on your toes and forearms, keep your core muscles tight and remember to breathe throughout the duration of the exercise.


4. Side plank. 

Plank progression

Can be performed with your upper arm at your side, or in the air. Aim for 30 seconds on each side, with a quick transition between the two.


5. Decline plank.
 

Plank progression

Performed with feet elevated on a bench. Keep a straight back and remember to breathe throughout the exercise.

6. Leg lift plank. 

Plank progression

From the plank position, lift a leg straight behind you, parallel with the floor. Hold one side for up to 30 seconds; then change legs for the remaining 30s.

7. Arm and leg lift plank.

Plank progression

 From the plank position, lift a leg up and its opposite arm. Keep a horizontal back throughout the exercise. Hold one side for up to 30s; then switch arms and legs for the remaining 30s.

8. Wall plank. 

Plank progression

Performed with your feet flat against a wall. Prop yourself hard on your forearms and dig the soles of your feet hard into the wall.

Common mistakes


1. Collapsing the lower back.

The Fix: Instead of compromising the lower back by dipping the bum, engage the core by imagining your belly button pulling in toward the spine. This will help keep the torso flat, and in turn, the spine safe. If you want to get super technical, have a friend gently place a broomstick or yardstick on your back—the top of the stick should make contact with the head, and the bottom of the stick should rest between the buttocks. The stick should also make contact right between the shoulder blades for proper alignment.

2. Reaching the butt to the sky.

The Fix: Planks aren’t supposed to look like a downward dog. To really get the core working the way it should in the plank position, keep your back flat enough so your abs feel engaged from top (right below the sternum) to bottom (directly below the belt). Just don’t dip the tush too far toward the ground.

3. Letting the Head Drop

The Fix: While the focus may be on keeping the hips, butt, and back in the proper position, form isn’t only about the core and the lower body in this move. It’s important to think of the head and neck as an extension of your back. Keep your eyes on the floor, letting them rest about a foot in front of the hands, which will help keep the neck in a neutral position.

4. Forgetting to breathe.

The Fix: It’s human nature to hold your breath when in a strenuous position for a period of time. But denying yourself oxygen can bring on dizziness or nausea, which is unpleasant at best and dangerous at worst.
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Human flag tutorial


Human flag
The human flag is one of the greatest body weight challenges of all time. When someone can hold a full human flag, it always attracts the attention and admiration of onlookers. In my opinion, it is the most eye-catching skills in the calisthenics world.

Most people assume it’s strictly an issue of upper body strength, but there are other things to consider when training for the human flag. Training for this unique exercise will strengthen every muscle in your body, as well as toughen up your tendons, ligaments, and other connective tissues. The ability to do a human flag demonstrates a high level of strength and control, but even just the process of working toward this skill will help you improve those attributes. Achieving a full human flag begins by having a thorough understanding of these considerations. From there it’s simply a matter of practice, dedication, and patience.

In this tutorial, I’ll show you what it takes to get the human flag, and take you step-by-step to master this impressive skill.

Prerequisites

Don't go for the human flag training if you can not do

20 Push ups in a row

or 10 Pull ups in a row

or 90 seconds plank.

You must have some basic strength before going to the training progression. Then make sure that you can hold a position at least 30 seconds before going to the next step if you don't want to hurt yourself.

Progression

Step One: Support Press

This flag variant will start to give you a feel for the full press flag while allowing for considerably more favorable leverage and less proprioceptive confusion. You will need a pull-up bar with a vertical support to practice this exercise.
Grab your overhead bar with one hand while using your opposite hand to press into the vertical pole that supports the bar.
Make sure to keep both arms totally straight with your shoulders and lats engaged.
Lift your feet as you press into the support beam with your bottom hand, while pulling from your top arm.
Avoid bending at the elbows as you tense your entire body, holding yourself at an angle approximately 45 degrees to the ground.


Step Two: Tucked vertical hold

Once you’re able to hold the support press for 30 seconds, you can begin the transition to practicing with your top hand positioned directly above your bottom hand.
Tucked vertical hold, human flag progression
As the leverage here becomes significantly more difficult, we’ll be elevating the hips above the shoulders and bending both legs to compensate. Changing the angle and shortening the length of your body will allow you to get a feel for holding yourself sideways against a vertical pole without having to overcome your entire body weight.
Grasp the pole as described earlier, then jump and kick your legs to lift your hips in the air. It’s helpful to aim to overshoot the kick up when starting out, as it’s higher than it often seems.
Press into the pole with your bottom arm while simultaneously pulling from your top arm, keeping your knees tucked close to your body.
Hold this position for 30 sec, keeping both arms fully extended. Remember that your hips should remain just above shoulder height.


Step Three: Vertical Flag

After establishing a solid 10-second chamber hold, you can begin lengthening your legs to prepare for what it will feel like to move toward a full press flag.

For this variant, you’ll aim to keep your body closer to vertical than horizontal, almost like a crooked handstand. The vertical flag requires less strength than the horizontal version but starts to give you a taste for the full expression of the move.
From the chamber hold position, carefully extend your legs in the air and hold for 30 seconds.
Aim to stay as vertical as possible in the beginning, eventually working toward more of a diagonal angle. Remember, the closer your legs and torso are to the pole, the better your leverage will be.


Step Four: Bent Knee Flag


human flag progression

Once you can hold the vertical flag for 20 seconds, you can work towards lowering your hips down with one or both legs in a tucked position.


Feel free to experiment with different leg positions to find what works best for you. Remember, any modification that improves the leverage is a good way to work towards the full human flag.





Step Five: Full Human Flag


Human flag progression
There are essentially two ways of getting into position for your human flag: from the top down or from the bottom up.
Top-Down: The idea behind the top-down method is to gradually increase the load on your body so that you can prime your neurological system. Start from a vertical flag, then lower yourself into the full human flag position, gradually transitioning in order to maintain control and ease yourself into the full hold.
Bottom-Up: The bottom-up method is generally more difficult, as it involves pressing yourself up into the horizontal position from the floor.

For either method, you will need to press into the pole as hard as possible with your bottom arm while squeezing and pulling from your top arm. You will also need to focus on keeping your entire body tense.
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11/05/2016

Another way to do more Pull ups


You have stuck with your current Max rep of Pull up for a long time.

If you have free time through day, I recommend you to try GTG training method. But if you have work to do, can only use 15-20 minutes a day to train, this routine is the best for you.

I am talking about a special Russian pull ups program, also created by Pavel - a former Soviet Special Forces physical training instructor, you can find more information about him at his website www.PowerbyPavel.com.

You do 5 sets of pull up a day. It took only 15 -20 minutes. I used this routine on 3 months of my 2015 summer and it helped me to add 15 reps to my Max rep pull up from 20 to 35.

Before going to the detail, see my previous article to know how to do a proper Pull up.
If you can do one full pull up, see the Pull up progression.

Routine Templates

If you can do a 5 - 7 full up in a row.

Day 1        5, 4, 3, 2, 1
Day 2        5, 4, 3, 2, 2
Day 3        5, 4, 3, 3, 2
Day 4        5, 4, 4, 3, 2
Day 5        5, 5, 4, 3, 2
Day 6   Off
Day 7        6, 5, 4, 3, 2
Day 8        6, 5, 4, 3, 3
Day 9        6, 5, 4, 4, 3
Day 10      6, 5, 5, 4, 3
Day 11      6, 6, 5, 4, 3
Day 12  Off
Day 13      7, 6, 5, 4, 3
Day 14      7, 6, 5, 4, 4
Day 15      7, 6, 5, 5, 4
Day 16      7, 6, 6, 5, 4
Day 17      7, 7, 6, 5, 4
Day 18  Off
Day 19       8, 7, 6, 5, 4
Day 20       8, 7, 6, 5, 5
Day 21       8, 7, 6, 6, 5
Day 22       8, 7, 7, 6, 5
Day 23       8, 8, 7, 6, 5
Day 24  OffDay 25      9, 8, 7, 6, 5
Day 26      9, 8, 7, 6, 6
Day 27      9, 8, 7, 7, 6
Day 28      9, 8, 8, 7, 6
Day 29      9, 9, 8, 7, 6
Day 30  Off

You start with an all-out set and then cut a rep in each consecutive set for a total of five sets.
The next day add a rep to the last set. Then a rep to the set before that, etc. The system is
intended to be used for four weeks. In the end of the month take two or three days off and
then test yourself. It is not unusual to up the reps 2.5-3 times. In other words, you are likely
to end up cranking out 12-15 reps if you started with 5. If you can already do between 6 and
12 reps start the program with the first day your PR shows up. For instance, if your max is 6
pull ups start with Day 7; if your max is 8 start with Day 19.
If you run into a snag with this routine, back off a week and build up again. If you hit the
wall again switch to another routine.

Here is how the program applies to those who currently max at three pull ups. The below is
also excellent for anyone whose goal is pure strength rather than reps; just hang a kettlebell
or a barbell plate on your waist to bring the reps down to three.

Day 1    3, 2, 1, 1
Day 2    3, 2, 1, 1
Day 3    3, 2, 2, 1
Day 4    3, 3, 2, 1
Day 5    4, 3, 2, 1
Day 6 Off
Day 7    4, 3, 2, 1, 1
Day 8    4, 3, 2, 2, 1
Day 9    4, 3, 3, 2, 1
Day 10  4, 4, 3, 2, 1
Day 11  5, 4, 3, 2, 1
Day 12 Off
Now you are ready to move up to the 5 rep max - program.

For guy who capable of 13-15 pull ups the routine would look like this:

Day 1     12, 10, 8, 6, 4
Day 2     12, 10, 8, 6, 6
Day 3     12, 10, 8, 8, 6
Day 4     12, 10, 10, 8, 6
Day 5     12, 12, 10, 8, 6
Day 6 off
Day 7     12 x 4, etc.

A stud with a 25-pullup max would do it slightly differently:

Day 1    20, 16, 12, 8, 4
Day 2    20, 16, 12, 8, 8
Day 3    20, 16, 12, 12, 8
Day 4    20, 16, 16, 12, 8
Day 5    20, 20, 16, 12, 8
Day 6 off
Day 7    22 x 4, etc.

You can see that the higher the RM, the quicker the reps drop off. The reason is simple. You
should have no problem doing four reps a few minutes after a set of 5 reps. But 24 is not going to
happen after an all-out set of 25. The higher the reps, the greater the fatigue. Therefore
you need to start more reps down from your rep-max and cut the reps more between sets.
Experiment. An extra day of rest here and there is also in order; the recovery from sets of
fifteen or twenty is not nearly as quick as from fives and triples.

This process seems a little bit slowly, but trust me, it WORKS!! Try it!
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10/30/2016

Handstand tutorial

Handstand progression
A perfect handstand

One of the main aims of many of those who come to bodyweight training is to learn how to do a handstand.
Freestanding handstand is an impressive skill that demonstrates a high level of strength and control and it will require many hours of practice before you can hold the position for any length of time.

There are many ways to do a handstand but the variation is discussed in this guide is the straight line handstand. It has many benefits over other variations such as
  • Shoulders are open up
  • Encourages a stronger, tighter core
  • Strengthens the legs and butt
  • Protects the back
Think about if you had more flexible shoulders, a tighter core, stronger legs, butt, and back, your performance in almost every other exercise would improve!

Straight handstand vs Arched handstand


Preparation before Handstand practice


Before jumping right into a handstand, it’s important to get your body ready for the work ahead.
The two areas that will take the brunt of the force when you’re upside down are your wrists and your shoulders.
No matter what type of training you’ve been doing until now, there isn’t really an equivalent exercise that stacks your entire bodyweight directly on your shoulders and wrists. So you’ll have to make sure these joints are good and ready to handle handstand training.

Here are 2 exellent videos demonstrate how to prepare for your wrists and shoulders by GMB fitness




The Hollow Body Position for Core Strength and Control

The core of the straight line handstand is the hollow body. It’s important to practice this position on the floor, not only for core strengthening, but also to get a feel for the position you should be going for when you’re upside down. Spend a lot of time on this drill and you’ll get a lot of benefit.
This video by GMB shows you several variations on the hollow body hold.


Hand Position

The hands should be shoulder width apart, with the fingers splayed wide.
One of the common mistakes is keeping the fingers too close together, which creates a narrower base and makes it much more difficult to balance.

Shoulder Position


The ideal position for the shoulders in the straight line handstand is for them to be fully elevated and hugging your ears.
To get a feel for this position, it can be helpful to stand on a strength band (or tubing) and push your hands overhead as much as possible, attempting to squeeze your shoulders to your head.

Once you start practicing handstands and paying attention to the little details, you’ll see how the elbow position is integral to getting the shoulders into the right position too. If you flare your elbows out, your shoulder blades will want to come together, when they should be lifted up towards your ears.

Lower Body Position

The lower body is the most overlooked part of the handstand because, at first glance, it doesn’t seem like it’s really involved.
In reality, the lower body plays a big role in the handstand. After all, that’s most of what your hands and shoulders are supporting, so it better be in the right position!

Now, remembering the proper position for the lower body is easy. It’s just: SQUEEZE, SQUEEZE, SQUEEZE.
Your feet should be together and pointed, and your legs should be squeezed together as tightly as you can muster. Tighten your butt and reach your feet to the sky.

How to Breathe in a Handstand


Breathing may not exactly be part of your body position in the handstand, but it is extremely important, and can certainly affect how you hold yourself.
The best way to breathe in a handstand is to do so naturally, but that’s not as easy as it sounds.
This video by GMB shows some tricks you can use to make sure you’re breathing, and that you’re not going past your breaking point.


Handstand Progression

Now that you understand the proper body position for the handstand, and how to build your awareness, let’s get into the progression to get a perfect handstand.
Every person is going to be different and, depending on your background, you may be spending more or less time on each progression before moving on. The important thing is to keep working on the level you are at until you feel very comfortable.


1. Crow stand

Crow stand, frog stand
Crow stand - Frog stand

The crow stand a.k.a frog stand is an ideal position from which to start building towards a handstand: it let's you get a feel for hand balancing, and how shifting your centre of gravity can affect your balance.
You should be able to hold the position for 1 min before you start working on your handstands.


2. Hollow body hold

Hollow body hold
Hollow body hold
The hollow body position: in order to develop a straight handstand, it is important to spend some time in the hollow body position. Lying on the floor, lift your legs and arms of the ground, with the small of your back remaining in contact with the floor at all times. Engage your core muscles.
You should be able to hold this position for 1 min before you start working on your handstands.


3. Headstand

Headstand
Headstand

Once you have mastered the hollow body position, kick into a headstand, and engage your core muscles so as to maintain this 'hollow body' when inverted. Build up to a minute in the headstand position.

4. Pike to headstand

Pike press to headstand
Pike to headstand
This drill will challenge your balance and engage your core muscles. Start with your head on the ground and your legs straight, feet together. Raise your legs under control till vertical, then lower again under control.

5. Handstand against wall

Handstand against wall
Handstand against wall
Starting on the ground with your feet towards the wall, walk your feet up the wall, as well as your hands towards the wall. Try to come as close as possible to the wall, and aim to adopt the 'hollow body' position. Shrug your shoulders so your head would be as far as possible from the ground, and point your toes up.
Try to generate as much tension as possible by engaging your core and straightening your body.
Build up to one minute in this position before proceeding to the next step.


6. Wall handstand with one leg off the wall.

One leg Wall handstand
From a wall handstand position, take one leg of the wall and point your toes up. You will near a point of balance, but don't try to fully balance on your hands yet.
Build up to one minute in this position.

7.Off the wall freestanding handstand.

Off the wall Handstand
Off the wall Handstand
From the position above, bring your second leg to meet the first, toes pointing up and with good tension throughout. Find a point of balance, and build up to 4 or 5 holds of 15s, with a minute rest in between.

8. Kicking up into a freestanding handstand.

Kick up into handstand
Kick up into handstand
This is usually done as a dynamic motion. Plant one leg on the grounds, and put your hands on the ground in front of it. Kick up with your other leg, then allow your first leg to follow the second.
If things go wrong and you cannot find a point of balance at first, simply roll forward, or pirouette out.

9. Free handstand

Free handstand
Free handstand

Aim for 4 or 5 consistent holds of 15s at first, with a minute rest in between. Then build up to 2 holds of 30s ; one of 45s and one of 15s. And finally aim for a full hold of one minute!


Summary

Key Points for Successful Handstand Practice:
  • Always warm up your wrists and shoulders before practicing handstands.
  • Pay attention to your body positioning and breathing.
  • Start with the basics – Wall work may not be sexy, but it’s effective.
  • When you’re ready for freestanding work, first practice bailing out.
  • Take your time and don’t rush to meet arbitrary standards.


Frequently Asked Questions


How Long and How Often to Practice?

When it comes to handstand training, I don’t like to make specific sets/reps recommendations, since everyone will be starting from a different place, and face different challenges along the way.
The best rule of thumb for handstand practice is: the more often you can practice, the better. So even if that means just 10 minutes a day, that’s better than practicing less frequently.
If you can, I recommend setting a timer for 30 minutes, and practicing as much as you can with good form. That does not mean practicing for 30 minutes straight, but rather, doing a couple of attempts (or holds, depending on what level you’re at), then resting as needed before going back to it.
Using Greasing the Grove (GTG) method will keep you relatively fresh throughout your session.


Why do stomach-to-wall handstands?

You're more likely to get an arch in your back when doing back-to-wall handstands, while stomach-to-wall handstands force you in the proper alignment, which will save you a lot of trouble in the long run.

Can I just skip the chest-to-wall version and go straight to back-to-wall HS practice?

The back to wall version will make your back curve and that is a difficult habit to have to undo later on down the line. The chest-to-wall version helps you get good at generating full body tension (especially your LEGS) while in the RIGHT position. Plus, it will naturally open up your shoulders the closer you get your wrists to the wall. If it’s scary to come down, don’t stay in the chest to wall HS until failure so you could walk it out or practice the pirouette bail. When you’re comfortable with the chest to wall version, it’s a good idea to practice BOTH chest and back to wall in a session.

When I try to tuck up with both feet up at the same time, I can barely get my hips over, and can’t straighten the legs with control, what do I do?

Well, that’s totally normal. The tuck up isn’t easy and extending the legs can feel quite difficult so try this drill that helped me a lot:
Wear socks and go into a chest-to-wall handstand with your hands 1-2ft away from the wall. Slide the feet down into a tight tuck and extend them back up. Repeat. Start with 3 sets of 3-5 reps for starters. Again, socks are awesome for this to help you slide.



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Featured Post

Handstand tutorial

A perfect handstand One of the main aims of many of those who come to bodyweight training is to learn how to do a handstand. Freestan...