6 Best Calisthenics Progressions For A Full-Body Transformation
Calisthenics Progressions are the backbone of your fitness progress. There are only 6 progressions you will ever need to develop all main muscle groups in your body.
Are you tired of the same old gym routine? Do you want to transform your body without needing expensive equipment or a gym membership? Look no further than calisthenics. It’s a form of bodyweight training that uses your own body to build strength and muscle.
Here are the 6 calisthenics progressions that will help you achieve a full-body transformation. Whether you’re a beginner or an advanced athlete, these calisthenics progressions will challenge you and help you reach your fitness goals.
1. One Arm Push Up Progression
One arm push-up progression will help you build your pushing strength. The move that can be pulled out as a representative of this progression is a classic push-up.
Push-ups are an all-time classic calisthenics skill. It will work your chest and triceps muscles. To do a proper push-up, start in a plank position with your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Lower your body until your chest touches the ground. Push back up until you are at the starting position again.
One arm push-up progression will help you work your chest and triceps muscles. Start with a move you can do 5-8 reps for 3 sets. Tackle one skill at a time. Move on to the next exercise when you master the one you are currently working on.
Variations of push-ups can target different muscle groups. To work your triceps more, try diamond push-ups by placing your hands close together in a diamond shape. For a greater challenge, do dynamic push-ups by exploding off the ground at the top of each rep. You can also try the one-arm push-up version for an added challenge.
Here are some push-up variations that you can add to your workout routine:
- Wide Push-Ups: Place your hands wider than shoulder-width apart to target your chest muscles.
- Diamond Push-Ups: Place your hands close together to form a diamond shape. This variation targets your triceps.
- One-Arm Push-Ups: If you are up for a challenge, you may want to try doing push-ups on one arm. This will challenge both your strength and your balance.
Remember to keep your core engaged and your elbows tucked in to avoid injury.
2. Muscle Up Progression
During muscle up progression most focus will be placed on strengthening your upper back muscles. Pull-ups are the core skill this whole progression relies on.
Pull-ups are one of the best moves for building upper-body strength. Skills found in a muscle-up progression are designed to target your upper back, biceps, and shoulders. To perform a proper pull-up, grab a bar with an overhand grip. Hang from a bar with your arms straight. Pull your chest to the bar, then lower yourself back down with control.
Variations of pull-ups can target different muscle groups. To work your biceps, try chin-ups by grabbing the bar with an underhand grip.
For a greater challenge, perform muscle-ups by transitioning from a pull-up to a dip on top of the bar.
Here are some pull-up variations you can try:
- Chin-Ups: Do a regular pull-up, with your palms facing towards you. This variation targets your biceps.
- Pull-Ups: To work your lats do regular pull-ups. Lift your body up in the air while holding onto a pull-up bar and your palms facing away from you.
- Muscle-Ups: Do a pull-up, but continue the move until your chest is well above the bar. Then, push your body up and over the bar to perform a dip. This variation targets your entire upper body.
Avoid swinging your body to maintain proper form. Check the complete muscle-up progression for all exercise options.
3. Pistol Squat Progression
Pistol squat progression is designed as a leg progression and mostly revolves around squatting moves. So, squats are the best representative of this progression.
Squats are one of the core calisthenics skills that target your leg muscles. Specifically the quads, hamstrings, and glutes. To perform a proper squat, stand with your feet a bit wider than hip-width apart. Lower your body by bending your knees. Keep your chest up and your weight on the center of your feet. Push back up and straighten your legs until you reach the starting position.
The easiest moves in pistol squat progression will work your lower back muscles together with your quads and glutes. As you move through progression the focus will shift more to the leg muscles and less on your lower back.
Here are some squat variations that you can try:
- Squats: Stand with your feet a bit wider than hip-width apart. Lower your body down into a squat until your thighs are parallel to the ground.
- Jump Squats: Do a regular squat, but jump explosively as you stand up. This will add another level of difficulty compared to regular squats.
- Pistol Squats: For the real challenge, you can try pistol squats. Stand on one leg and lower your body down until your non-working leg is parallel to the ground.
If you are recovering from injury or are new to resistance training, start with the easiest move in a pistol squat progression. Work yourself through the progression one exercise at a time.
4. Front Lever Progression
The front lever is an advanced calisthenics skill that works the entire upper body. Especially the lats, abs, and arms. To perform a proper front lever, start by hanging from a bar with an overhand grip. Extend your legs straight out in front of you and lift your body until it’s parallel to the ground. Hold for as long as possible.
Here are a few exercise examples:
- Tuck Front Lever: Hang from a bar with your knees tucked to your chest. Hold this position steady.
- Straddle Front Lever: Start in tuck front lever and extend your legs so they form a letter V.
- Front Lever: Start in a tuck front lever. Extend your legs straight in front of you. Your entire body should be in a straight line parallel to the ground.
You can explore even more options in a complete front-lever progression. It starts with the easiest core strengthening skills on the ground and slowly move to a pull-up bar. In later stages, you will work more on your arm and upper back muscles together with your abs.
5. Back Lever Progression
The back lever is another advanced calisthenics skill that works the entire upper body, especially your lower back. To perform a proper back lever, start by hanging from a bar with an underhand grip.
Rotate your body under the bar and extend your legs. Keep your arms straight and your body tight. Hold for as long as you can.
Variations of the back lever can target different muscle groups. Back lever progression starts with easy exercises that will help you build the basic strength of your lower back. A strong lower back will be crucial to develop if you want to master this cool skill.
Here are a few options you can try when you build enough strength and shoulder mobility:
- Tuck Back Lever: Tuck back lever is an easier version than a back lever with legs extended. It’s performed like the standard back lever with your knees tucked to your chest.
- Straddle Back Lever: Start in a tuck back lever and extend your legs into a straddle position (your legs forming a letter V shape).
- Back Lever: Start in a tuck back lever. Extend your legs until they are completely straight. Your body should be in a straight line parallel to the ground.
Start with the move you can do for 5-8 reps in 3 sets. Work up the back lever progression one exercise at a time.
6. Handstand Push-Up Progression
Calisthenics progressions will not be complete without a progression targeting your shoulders. This is where a handstand push-up progression comes in handy.
Handstand push-ups are definitely one of the cool-looking calisthenics skills. You position yourself in a handstand and you are lowering your body down by bending your elbows. Then you push back up until you are back in a handstand position with your arms straight.
This move will challenge both your strength and balance at the same time.
The entire progression is used for developing your deltoids. Those are your shoulder muscles. But it will work other muscle groups as well like your core and your arms.
Here are a few important moves from a handstand push-up progression:
- Pike push-up: Start in a downward dog position. Lower yourself down slowly by bending your elbows and lowering your head down to the ground. When you touch the ground with your head push away from the ground until you are back in a starting position.
- Elevated pike push-up: Do the same move as in the pike push-up only with your feet on an elevated surface.
- Handstand push-up: You are starting in a handstand position and lowering down by bending your arms at your elbows. When your head touches the ground push back up into a handstand.
As in all other progressions, you would benefit the most by going through this progression one step at a time.
Creating a Workout Using Calisthenics Progressions
Now that you know the 6 calisthenics progressions, it’s time to put them into a workout routine. Here’s a sample full-body workout that incorporates all 6 progressions:
- 5-10 minutes warm-up
- Perform 3 sets of 5-8 reps of each exercise. Rest for 2-3 minutes between sets:
- Push-Up Variations
- Squat Variations
- Front Lever Variations
- Pull-Up Variations
- Back Lever Variations
- Handstand Variations
- 5-20 minutes of cool-down stretching
Remember to start with the easier skills in a progression and gradually work your way up to the more advanced ones. Always listen to your body and rest when needed.
Calisthenics Progressions Final Thoughts
Adding these 6 calisthenics progressions into your workout routine will help you achieve a full-body transformation. But remember, progress takes time and patience. Start with the basics. Slowly work your way up to the more advanced moves as you gain strength and confidence.
To maximize your results, track your progress and set specific goals for each progression. Challenge yourself to increase the number of reps or hold times for each skill. And don’t forget to give your body time to rest and recover between workouts.
In conclusion, calisthenics is an effective and accessible way to transform your body. You can do it without expensive equipment or a gym membership. By adding these 6 calisthenics progressions into your workout routine, you can target all major muscle groups and achieve a full-body transformation.
Not only will you develop strong and toned muscles, but you’ll also improve your flexibility and overall fitness. So what are you waiting for? Get started on your calisthenics journey today!