Can Basic Calisthenics Unlock Elements Without Dedicated Skill Training?

Hi! I am the author and founder of Old School Calisthenic

February 17, 2020

There was a time, and especially at the beginning of my calisthenics journey, when all I cared about was obtaining my first muscle-ups, levers, walk freely in my hands, do one-arm pull-ups, and build more muscles than the majority could by lifting weights inside of a gym.

These were my calisthenics goals back then. Now, because I am more matured and experienced, I shifted entirely from those goals to focus more on the basics for sustainability, health, and general athleticism and made progress in advanced moves nonetheless. So,

Does Basic Bodyweight Training Prepare You For Advanced Moves?

The answer is yes,  but up to a certain extent! Basic calisthenics can prepare you for numerous advanced and sophisticated moves. Still, you will not unlock the 360-degree pull-up, all the barspins, and other overcomplicated exercises specific to Street Workout alone. The planche or planche pushups might also require a tremendous amount of dedicated training too. All these particular elements demand colossal specialized preparation!

However, essential bodyweight training can make you brutally strong over the years, and that eventually can unlock many cool elements from plyometrics to isometrics, etc. The exercises I talk about are: muscle-ups, levers, flags, walk freely into your hands and do one arm chinups. It all depends on the training methods, how patient you are, and how much work you put in every year.

Listen, even the best Street Workout athletes have to train their basics if they want to improve their skills simply because it strengthens the tendons and joints and all the connective tissue around them. Without rock-solid ties, they couldn’t transfer and behold all the force generated by those extremely complex movements that shift the center of gravity from a side to another of the body. Or they are more exposed to injuries.

Why Basic Calisthenics Works for Advanced Elements Too?

The nervous system is what gives signals and generates strength in your body. It travels through your tendons and muscles, and if they are weak, then you’ll never generate enough force. Consciously, you are not aware of that.

That’s why you need a lot of time to adapt to any new exertion. That adaption is related to creating more powerful connections and ties to strengthen the chain. It’s that moment alone when you get stronger and able to hold on advanced movements too.

What basic calisthenics does to you is training your nervous system, the muscles, and all connections within regardless if we talk about connective tissue, lactate threshold, tendons, etc.

So my suggestion is, train progressively, and by that I mean, high-rep, high-volume calisthenics utilizing light and moderate exercises such as pushups, body rows, pull-ups, burpees, walking lunges, squats, plyometrics, pistols, Bulgarian splits, Wall-Sits, leg raises, sprints and the list goes on and on.

The idea is that in general, you should focus on exercises you can currently execute for higher volumes without problems. Master the basics and gradually include harder variations, too, like Towel Pull-Ups or Weighted Pull-Ups if you will. But if these challenging exercises seem impossible right now, then don’t get frustrated. Your nervous doesn’t allow you because somewhere, it found a weak link.

Only time and hard work can ever intensify and secure results. So work with those light exercises even if it looks stupid and pointless.

Guys! I still do Wall Sits, Inclined Pushups, Burpees, Crouch Walks and utilize them effectively to increase my maximal strength as well and muscular endurance. Somehow, I got powerful as a consequence in a way that I can a lot of advanced moves now.

That alone is not a coincidence. Genetics have nothing to do with it. It was all planned accordingly, and I was very patient with myself.

How To Do It?

It all makes sense if you analyze it in detail. When I wanted to unlock the free handstand walk, I had to focus on coordination and balance training a lot. But that equals 0 if my shoulders, triceps, trapezes, and back muscles can’t endure the pressure. I also needed to learn how to breathe being upside down, so I don’t get dizzy.

Training the coordination and balance practically means getting upside down and try to walk, fall, get again in your hands, fall once more, back and forth for months. And that was dedicated training, learning the technique behind.

Besides that, I did dozens if not hundreds of handstand pushups against a wall every single week. This alone grew my shoulders a lot bigger and stronger so that walking in my hands wouldn’t be such a challenge anymore.

Therefore, most of my training was fundamental, and during weekends and whenever I felt it so, I tried to see whether I can walk in my hands or not. I continued this process until one day when I could add a few more steps than before. It’s the same in everything else.

I wanted so badly to muscle up. So instead of training the technique all day every day, I focused on mastering pull-ups, dips, and pushups. Then I wanted to get more explosive, which comes once with more strength. So I added plenty of variety in my training so that I can increase muscular endurance.

Pull-ups slowly started to feel natural. Then I was able to bring my chest touching the bar. That extra range of motion meant I was a lot stronger and dynamic than ever before. I felt like it’s time to get myself over the bar finally. With a little practice, I managed to unlock the muscle-up too.

It all connects and comes down to essential bodyweight training. I don’t recommend all the methods that exist, though. What I do recommend is volume training!

So while you aim to achieve these hard movements, because of the nature of your basic training, it will increase not only your strength and muscular endurance but the size as well.

Also, Incorporate a Bit of Calisthenics Skill Training

I don’t say you shouldn’t incorporate dedicated training too to speed up the process. Just rely more on basic hardcore training and less skill training if building athleticism, functional strength, and muscles are also the goal.

Add the dedicated skill training, in-between your basic training. The tricky part is knowing when to do it correctly and how much to push it because you may be sore after working out.

That will be something to figure out for yourself, but it was a problem for me too.

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