Calisthenics exercises are really making a move in fitness industry these days. Whether it’s to show off or you’ve got bored with regular gym workout plans, calisthenics can prove to be one of the best functional training methods as far as overall fitness is concerned. Now if you are a beginner to calisthenics, I would advice you to have a sneak peek at our post “The Foolproof Guide to Beginners Calisthenics Workout” to have the basic idea as how to start as a beginner and what Calisthenics workout is all about .
Now, the following Calisthenics exercises are an advanced form of your basic body-weight training moves like chin-ups, push-ups, body-weight squats, leg raises, crunches etc. It’s highly recommended that before moving to these hard calisthenics progression, make sure to master the above mentioned basic beginners move. Once you can comfortably perform the basic calisthenics workout, it’s time to take things up a notch and make them an intricate part of you workout plan. So, here are 12 Hardest but not impossible Calisthenics Exercises according to their difficulty level (12 being easiest and 1 being hardest):
12Ab wheel rollout
The Standing Ab Wheel Roll Outs takes core training to a whole new level by having you start from your feet.
- Hold the Ab Roller with both hands and kneel on the floor.
- Now place the ab roller on the floor in front of you so that you are on all your hands and knees (as in a kneeling push up position). This will be your starting position.
- Slowly roll the ab roller straight forward, stretching your body into a straight position. Tip: Go down as far as you can without touching the floor with your body. Breathe in during this portion of the movement.
- After a pause at the stretched position, start pulling yourself back to the starting position as you breathe out. Tip: Go slowly and keep your abs tight at all times.
11One handed pushup
Bored of regular pushups. Not sure how to get creative. Try one of these! The one handed pushups. The requires a great amount of core, arms, back and shoulder strength. It’s really important when doing this move to keep your back straight and come down to at least parallel. Many people slump their pelvis forward and only come down a few inches. I don’t consider that a successful attempt at a One Arm Pushup.
A great variation to the standard pull up. It’s going to work more of your bicep region as you stretch out your opposite arm. It’s also a great transition exercise to help develop your muscles and get them ready for the full Muscle Up.
- Begin like you’re performing a normal wide-grip pull-up, but bend only one of your arms as you pull your chin over the bar.
- This means your torso will shift toward that side while the opposite arm stays straight.
- You also need to reach your legs slightly to the side to counterbalance.
The Dragon Flag was made popular by Stallone in Rocky. It is a killer on the abs.
- You begin with the first stage of progression by lying with your back flat against a bench, your arms behind your head and your hands gripping the edge of the bench.
- Then bring your knees in to your waist so that your thighs are at 90 degrees and in one coordinated effort pull up with your hands keeping your whole body rigid until it rises up and your torso points directly towards the ceiling.
- Once there hold the position for a second or two and then lower your body back down under control until your buttocks are just a couple of inches from the bench.
This Pistol Squat, also known as the one legged squat, requires tremendous balance. Don’t be fooled by the name. I don’t care if you are strong in squats. Many of my 300 pound squatting friends have failed to perform even a single rep.
Before you even think about beginning to work specifically toward a pistol, make sure you can do at least 40 consecutive two-legged body-weight squats with a full range of motion. Until you can, you shouldn’t worry about any other squat variation.
7One arm chinups
This one move will take a while to perfect as your core stabilizers are not used to balancing the body when suspended on one hand. Initially just try to control yourself from swaying too much. Once you start feeling comfortable, try to pull yourself upwards while balancing yourself. The best way to train for this is to use the opposite arm as a stabilizer until your other arms gets strong enough to hold and lift your entire body weight.
This is one of the best pushups variation, and of course most impressive to watch.
- Start in a normal pushup position.
- Explode up in air and touch your fingers to your toes.
- Try to do as many as you can.
- It again requires a ton of coordination as well as strength.
Make sure you can perform at least 20 clapping pushups comfortably before you try this variation.
Superman Pushups are a great way to develop strength in your whole body but especially your lats and lower back. It takes strength not only in the chest but also in your abs and back muscles to lift your body off the ground while your arms are fully extended. Instead of beginning in a pushup position, start with your chest on the floor and your arms and legs hovering a few inches above the ground.
Free handstands are also considered as the basis for advanced calisthenics progression. This will take a lot of trail and error to perfect but make sure you don not go straight into the free handstands. The best way to progress is to master the wall handstand first. Try to control your breathing when all that blood is rushing in your brain and your face is red. Once you have controlled your breathing, try to hold yourself in a wall handstand position for at least 60 seconds.
Once you are expert at wall handstands, learn how to bail out of the free handstand. This single progression can take you weeks and weeks, before you can even hold yourself for 3 seconds in a free handstand pose. Stay committed, do it for 5-10 minutes every single day. yes it will take some times, but the rewards are high.
Muscle Ups are the infamous body weight exercise of the elite. Its crazy intense and you’ll need to do these at your local park.
- Find a bar that you can pull yourself up on.
- You’ll start off doing a normal pull up and then lift yourself up on the bar until you are fully extended upward.
- It would require a lot a explosive strength in your abs, biceps, back, triceps and even glutes.
For this move the key is to develop enough strength in your ab muscles to hold your legs out straight. As a transition move, you can get into the position but keep your legs crouched in. Over time, slowly extend them out. This one is really a tough one to get right. Master the Dragon Fly move and you’ll save a lot of time on this one.
Have a pronated grip on the chinup bar and extend yourself so as your body is parallel to the ground and arms and perpendicular to the body.
The first time I attempted the human flag, I didn’t come close to staying up for even a second, I’ve been working out for more than half a decade now.
This one for me is by far the toughest of em all. It takes considerable strength and lots of practice to do the human flag. You have to be incredibly strong, but you also must work specifically towards this skill. Now most might disagree with me, but trust me kicking your legs up is one thing and holding it there for even few seconds is another. Most people might be able to do the former but only a handful will be able to execute the later part. Human flag is by far the best “Show Off” Calisthenics move.
Execution: Find a secure and sturdy pole.
- Establish the grip and set the hands in position, ensuring that they’re in a straight line and perpendicular to the ground.
- With the body in position and in a straight line, first lift the outside leg off the ground. This will help maintain your alignment and make the coming press into the flag a little easier to execute.
- Press with as much force as possible with the lower arm and bring the legs together, raising the body to horizontal.
Now the difficulty level might be different depending upon the individual strengths and weaknesses. So, for someone who can perform handstands might not be able to perform one handed push ups. So, these rankings are just a basic idea of their difficulty levels. But if you really want to learn these moves, I would recommend to learn them in this particular order. Starting from Ab Wheel Workout and finishing with the Human Flag. Consistency will always remain the key with these Calisthenics exercises. Cheers!
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