How To Overcome Plateaus in Calisthenics Training

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

February 8, 2020

The plateaus reached in your calisthenics training usually arise if you stood too attached to one or two training styles only for an extended period. If you got stuck in your workout routine for too long, then you should see these barriers as milestones to overcome, indicating that your routine has to change from the ground.

Bringing in variety is the game-changer to defeating these obstacles. And for further progress, you have to step back from what you continuously do. It applies to almost everybody regardless if you train to master harder bodyweight variations, to increase the strength and endurance or for muscle growth. But more often, plateaus issue to those who follow strict progressive steps or chase specific rep and set ranges all the time. For those more experienced and knowledgeable (like me), a plateau represents a shift in the workout routine, so that training continues nonetheless.

Change Your Workout Routine for Further Progress in Calisthenics

The solution as you probably figured it out already is to change more often your training routine. Use the same exercises but implement different training strategies.

Calisthenics comprehends a lot of methods, so try them all. Do full-body circuits, split workouts, sets and reps, pyramids, supersets, etc. Don’t believe that only 1 or 2 methods out there work to build strength and master calisthenics.

My focus was always fixed on performance alone. I was still more interested in building up my stamina, endurance, form, overall strength, and to train the muscles hard. I used all this mixture of methods even though the exercises were always the same. And that led me not only to the mastery of calisthenics – I can do almost all the most advanced moves – but I shaped my body very well at the same time.

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The mighty One-Arm Pull-Up unquestionably stands amongst the hardest strength exercises . I never explicitly trained to achieve this magnificent strength feat and yet unlocked it as a byproduct of my basic bodyweight training. Boosting only one repetition required years of consistent training . I am thrilled with the result. It's proof that my training program works even though gaining a colossal level of strength isn't my general focus. Health and general athleticism is my primary goal, and ever will. I care more about complexity and variety rather than mastering impressive feats . I will continue to work the one-arm pull-ups indirectly, till it becomes smooth and easy . . . . . . . . #onearmpullup #onearmchinup #onearmchinups #onearmchinuptraining #onearmpulluptraining #onearmpullupprogression #strengthtraining #strengthandconditioning #strongman #strong #pullups #heavypull #strengthfeat #calisthenics #streetworkout #pullupsprogression

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Set Clear Goals Before Planning Your Training Plan

Everything depends on your goal. You reached a plateau, but what’s your ultimate purpose with calisthenics? Respond to this question first so you can canalize your energy over the path leading there.

Do you want to get fitter, stronger, achieve your first pull-up, or do you want to unlock your first 20 pull-ups? You may also be interested in building muscles with calisthenics.

These goals connect with all the training forms I mentioned previously. Only one training method doesn’t lead to all these results. That is why it’s wrong to believe that a workout alone helps you in hypertrophy or strength. It’s the sum of everything you do and relative to time that improves your aesthetics.

Hence include the best and more suitable workouts, but it’s how you execute them and what they offer as a whole that is significant to advance and crush the boundaries.

A couple of days ago, I published a video about why you may not gaining much in calisthenics or other reasons besides these of why you don’t progress anymore. That video blends elegantly with the article you read right now, so go check it out below:

Don’t be afraid to shift in a new workout style and even to rep out more. Changing more often is an asset and a requirement to overcome any plateau in calisthenics as well as in other fitness culture. But as I told you, it depends on your fitness goal. For me, everything is straightforward. I care about training regularly a lot more than achieving goals.

I have no goal other than training hard. It’s almost impossible to reach a limit when you desire to work out daily. And I got to the mastery of calisthenics, I am mighty and strong and developed a great muscular physique too.

Once you know the variety of workout routines best suited and how to shift from one to another, all that matters is to train, keep pushing, move on, recover, and eat. Let time do its magic!

I added below articles to help you with muscle recovery, diet and to learn details in nutrition too:

  1. Essential Articles about Dieting and Nutrition
  2. Articles Relevant to Your Muscle and Body Recovery
  3. My video about how to eat for hypertrophy and fat loss.

Spice Up and Add Cardio or Other Sustained Physical Activities

Weighted Squats to Get Past Plateaus

Another very effective method to release the stress induced by plateaus is to integrate cardio into your weekly plan or other sports activities. By cardio, I mean running, riding the bike, swimming, or whatever is that works for you. It allows your muscles space and time to recover and believe me, that cardio will not make your muscles shrink if you know how to target fat loss and stamina only (The Right Way to Burn Stubborn Fat: 3 Simple Steps). Plus, you’ll clear up your mind and regain fresh energy, much needed when you get back to your calisthenics workouts.

I run with consistency, and as you can see, I didn’t lose my muscles because of that:

So whatever is what you do right now, consider adding and spicing up your workouts from now on. I have a few workout examples on my YouTube channel and in my programs.

And in case you didn’t try volume training yet, then maybe that’s what’s missing to overcome the current limit. Volume is what I usually do and recommend as being most relevant in training in general.

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What is your current fitness level? What are you looking for in your journey to get fitter than ever and what do you think could help you get in the best shape of your life?