3 Ways You Can Switch Up Your Calisthenics Routine
by Simon Hart
Wednesday, December 12, 2018
Now, if you’re reading this you’re probably bored with your current calisthenics routine or aren’t making any progress and need a way to switch it up.
Well, look no further because I have 3 ways you can improve your bodyweight fitness and keep your routine fresh and challenging. When I say challenging though, I do mean challenging, but that’s kind of the point of exercise anyways right? Exercising as a whole is a means to challenge ourselves and improve ourselves by means of grueling, fun, pleasuring, intense, focusing and a lot of other pronouns for just plain awesome training.
I’m a huge DBZ nerd, and those guys in the show did a lot of insane calisthenics training doing thousands of push ups and sit ups. This was a lot of inspiration for me to take my own training to the next level which gave me the idea to use these 3 ways to pump up my calisthenics training and take it to the next level.
1.Single Limb Variations
We’ve all heard of the one-arm push-up before. It’s a pretty challenging and advanced calisthenics exercise but one once you get it down, your body weight strength goes way up, and your push-up performance does as well.
The biggest issue is getting the form down. I’ve been doing this variation for months and I am still working on perfecting the form.
One of the biggest factors is core strength and being able to hold yourself up with one arm and press with it. If you attempt a one-arm push-up, you’ll notice where it affects your core strength and how wide you’ll need your legs to be in order to not fall over. But, not only do you have to increase your core strength for one side, you need to do it for the other as well.
All of this in tandem makes the One-Arm Push-Up a very challenging variation.
This is another challenging single limb variation. The title of it is pretty self-explanatory, it’s a squat you do on one leg. Although it sounds simple, it’s actually pretty challenging.
You must be able to get the full range of motion and take your squat all the way down to be able to do it properly.
Ways of working on this is to hold something while you do it and stabilize yourself a bit before you really get into it.
Weighted vests are my favorite tool to use to improve my bodyweight fitness and to improve speed and explosive strength.
These are multi-faceted and can be used for a variety of different exercises such as running, push-ups, pull-ups, plyometrics, and even to increase the resistance for heavy sled pulls.
I’ve been training with weighted vests for a couple years and I have to say that there is a huge benefit to training with these if done right. You need to take necessary safety precautions and warm up before training with them because you can injure yourself pretty easily.
One of the greatest things I like about weighted vests is that once you get to point where you feel like you’ve mastered an exercise, you can throw these on and it’s like day one all over again. Then you have to work back up and increase your strength with an extra amount of weight on your body which is oh so satisfying.
Now, these have to be probably the most controversial of all weighted clothing and a lot has been said about the chance of injury being really high. This can be true for a lot of different reasons, but if you can prepare your body, stretch after a workout, and don’t do anything you think you shouldn’t do, you’ll be able to see the benefits of these weights.
I use them for punches and kicks and have seen a lot of improvement from using them in terms of speed and explosiveness. They can also be used for a lot of the same exercises as weight vests can but provide more resistance to different muscle groups and parts of the body
Using things like these on your wrists is no different from the Iron Rings used to strengthen your forearms and punching power in Hung Gar Kung Fu which have been used for thousands of years. Although there has really been no equivalent thing for your legs, it’s the same concept as the wrist weights but you have to be more careful about your knees and ankles.
3. Progressive Overload
Progressive Overload is a concept I’ve written a bit about before. It’s the idea that slowly increasing resistance over time will make you stronger which is incredibly true, and I’ve used it in the past. So, if you’re really looking towards making your calisthenics training more challenging, this is the way to go.
What you want to do is increase the amount you do over a period of time. Say, for example, if you’re doing 5 sets of 50 reps, you’ll bump that up to 5 sets of 60 the next training session and so on until you hit a point you can’t go any further. It’s a great way to test your fitness levels as well to see how many reps you can get up to per set.
The highest I’ve gotten up to using this method is 12 sets of 95 push ups before I was too worn out to go any further. This is when I took the opportunity to employ the weighted clothing method and started from the beginning just working my way up to 100 pushups and then using progressive overload to max out.
All-in-all, these are all really effective methods to increasing resistance in your calisthenics routine, make you stronger, and present more of a challenge to keep you lean, strong, and limber for whatever reason you train for. The next step after this is to implement it into your routine and get training.