So, you’ve mastered the basics of Calisthenics and you’re ready for something a little more intense. We get it. A good workout is addicting, and you want to keep building.
The only issue with Calisthenics is that you can’t simply add weight to every exercise (pull ups and dips are great weighted, not much else).
You have to change up the exercises to keep it challenging. Your routine needs to be constantly evolving. Once you master one move, start thinking about how to up the ante.
If you’ve read our Calisthenics 101, then you’ve already tested your mettle on a beginner’s circuit. If you haven’t read it, stop now and check it out here.
Now it’s time to build on that. One way to step it up is to do exactly what you would do in the gym: Splits. We’ve put together an upper and lower bodyweight split.
Upper Body Workout:
Pull-Ups (Overhand) – AMRAP (As Many Reps As Possible)
Chances are, if you can’t knock out full pull-ups by this point, you didn’t actually master the beginners circuit. However, if you want, use the chair method to get a few.
Parallel Bar Dips – 10 Reps
To really advance your workouts, you need to be able to do muscle ups. Unfortunately, you can’t do muscle ups if you can’t do dips. The normal learning progression goes parallel dips, straight bar dips, and then muscle ups, so let’s start at the ground floor.
4 Second Push-Ups – AMRAP
To really tap out your chest, shoulders, and triceps, do some negative work next. Perform a standard push-up, but take 4 seconds to lower your body to the ground. After 4, explode back up.
Close Grip Chin-up (Underhand) – AMRAP
Not only is this an extra lat move, but it’s also going to blast your biceps. Calisthenics doesn’t do much isolation work, but you can always vary your compound exercises to target your vanity muscles.
One Leg Plank – 30 sec each leg
If you’ve already gotten up to one minute on normal planks, don’t just keep stacking up time. Change up your planks and make them work for you.
Leaning Headstand Push-up – 8 reps
You’re not quite ready for a jackhammer, but you can still get some of the benefits. Kick up into a handstand with your feet against a wall. Lower your head towards the ground until you almost touch. Press back up to full extension.
Execute all of the exercises in a row with no rest. After you finish one round, take a minute off. Repeat this 3 to 5 times.
Lower Body Workout:
1 Leg Squat – 10 reps each
Kick one leg up on a bench behind you. Putting all your weight on your front leg, squat down to 90 degrees.
Drinking Bird – 10 each leg
Slowly raise one leg back while hinging at the hips. Reach forward with your hands. Raise your leg until there’s a straight line from your foot to your finger tips.
Pulse Lunge – 8 each leg
Drop into a deep lunge. Hold it at the bottom, then push up about a third of the way, then lower back down. Keep your movement controlled. This shouldn’t be a bounce. Do 10 of these “pulses,” and that’s one rep.
Box/Bench/Step Jumps – 15 reps
Stand in front of whatever elevated surface you can find. The ideal height is at least 18 inches, but if you execute the jump with enough explosive energy, any height will work. Make sure you load your hamstrings, and then jump. This should all be from your quads.
Execute all of the exercises in a row with no rest. After you finish one round, take a minute off. Repeat 5 times minimum.
You’re working your way up. Do the upper and lower body days back to back, take a day off, and repeat. The ideal schedule should include two days off after every other cycle.
The next step will be incorporating the classic muscle ups, levers, and all the wild stuff that you can show off at parties (if your party has a pull up bar.)