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Calisthenics Programming at Home

Hey guys,

I recently started going to a powerlifting gym after getting interested and seeing it as a good way to get fit which I posted about in the powerlifting forum, however it was very short lived as this week me and my girlfriend have decided to move into a flat together and seeing as we are both cash strapped I can not afford gym fees, we are on a very tight budget for the foreseeable future but it beat.
s living too far away to see each other only 2 days a week.

Seeing as I am new to working out anyway and very out of shape i am thinking I will be able to get a lot out of calisthenics anyway, I can only manage about 5-8 decent pressups and can’t even do chinups or dips so there is plenty of room for improvement.

I have a shoulder impingement too and reading up on the subject it seems pressups are reccomended to strengthen the area calisthenics can be done with just a chinning bar and dip bars so lots of money saved.

Any ideas on how to set up a program like this?

For example how would I set up pulling movements to be 2x that of pressing movements if i can’t do chinups, how should i progress when I do lower body movements and how often is can bodyweight stuff be done?

For the last 7 days I have been doing presusps every hour for a set to faliure and my max went from 3 to 8 since then, I am also doing burpees and air squats daily.

I have lost 9 pounds and dropped an inch off my waist just doing that and eating sensibly. I don’t want to procrastonate and plan so I am going to continue working out but if anyone could give any good advice about bodyweight programming please let me know.

I do not have a specific answer to your question, but I do have an alternative you may want to consider.

Buy a kettlebell. You can do a lot with just one bell, and I believe it would complement a bodyweight program very well without breaking the bank or occupying any significant space in your new flat.

It is hard to go wrong with a portable and indestructible chunk of metal that will last a lifetime.

[quote]twojarslave wrote:
I do not have a specific answer to your question, but I do have an alternative you may want to consider.

Buy a kettlebell. You can do a lot with just one bell, and I believe it would complement a bodyweight program very well without breaking the bank or occupying any significant space in your new flat.

It is hard to go wrong with a portable and indestructible chunk of metal that will last a lifetime.


Second this recommendation. Spend 50 bucks on a single kettlebell.

If you’re serious about getting into shape, it will be worth it.

A few dozen goblet squats, swings, rows, cleans, and presses done 3-4 days a week would be enough to get you started.

I really, really like Al Kavadlo’s stuff. It’s also dirt cheap if you buy the ebooks.

Look into Ido Portal

I would make a set of parallettes to work on the planche push up progression, dips, V-sits, etc. For lower body I would do pistol squats and single-legged deadlifts. When those get easy I would get a dumbbell set or just weight plates to make them harder. I would also buy a pull up bar and maybe a knockoff set of TRX cables for other bodyweight movements and shoulder work.

I’ve had to rely purely on bodyweight exercises for the last couple of months, and I’ve come to realize a few things with regards to programming as far as vertical pulling is concerned:

  1. Getting proficient at vertical pulling exercises takes a lot of work. Before you even begin doing pull-ups for reps, learn how to engage your scapula and lats properly. Start by hanging passively on a pull-up bar with your shoulders completely relaxed (shoulders to ears is a good cue for this). Get comfortable with this position, as this will tell you much about flexibility and mobility of your shoulders.

  2. Once you can hang passively for around at least 60s without any pain, you can start to incorporate some dynamic movement. With arms completely straight with elbows locked, think of pulling your shoulders away from your ears as hard you can. Doing so will “pack your shoulders” (or what people commonly refer to as “putting your shoulder into your back pocket”). A useful cue is to imagine “pinching your shoulder blades” together as hard you can. You will find that you head will rise in between your shoulders. Hold this contracted position for about 3 seconds, lower yourself again into a passive hang, and then pack your shoulders again. Repeat this pattern until you can manage 4 cycles of 10 second passive hanging + 5 second shoulder packing–this equates to about 1 minute of hanging. Some things to think about when doing this drill: if you are holding a straight bar with a palms-away grip, do you find that your arms rotate inward whenever you pack your shoulders with straight arms and locked elbows? Do you find it difficult to Do you feel a lot more stable in your upper back and shoulders in general?

  3. It is also helpful to think about how our lower body behaves when hanging overhead. Think of squeezing your butt and legs. You don’t want to squeeze them so hard to the point of exhaustion, but just enough to keep your whole body tense while hanging. Think of a “hanging plank”

  4. Once you’ve gotten to the point where you can hang passively/pack your shoulders without pain, you can start moving on to pull-up specific work. At this point I think it’s also a good idea to push your strength on your horizontal rowing. For the purposes of building towards a pull-up, inverted rows are the preferred exercise. Start off with your knees bent at 90 degress. Again, think of packing your shoulders, and once you do, think of pushing your elbows back as hard you can. If you’re doing inverted rows with a bar, don’t be too concerned if you can’t touch the bar with your chest at first; just focus on your shoulder blades! Once you can do 3 x 12 reps of these comfortably, straighten out your legs, and then elevate them to hip height, and then finally above hip height.

  5. Work on your isometric holds too. For this, you will need a stool, ladder, etc. Stand up and grab the pull-up bar with a palms facing away grip. Slowly let your weight down while keeping your chin well above the bar as hard you can. Again, a useful cue would be “pushing your elbows down into your hips as hard you can”. Your shoulders must not be hunched over, keep this in mind! Remember, keep your whole body tensed! If you squeeze your butt and legs throughout the duration of this drill, you will notice that your abs will tense as well. 5-10 seconds may be a good start. Work up to 3-5 sets of solid 30s holds. Also, remember to work on your hanging drill after this as a cool down. Passive hang, pack shoulders, passive hang, pack shoulders…

  6. When you can finally do the above drill without shaking wildly at the top, you can now start incorporating negatives. From the top position, slowly lower yourself down until your arms are straight and your shoulders completely relaxed. Yes, lower down until a passive hang! Additionally, once you’ve lowered yourself down into a passive hang, pack your shoulders once more for 5 seconds. Let go of the bar, get to the top position, hold the top position for a 3 count, then lower yourself slowly until a passive hang, then pack your shoulders, then repeat. So it will look like this: top hold–>negative–>passive hang–>pack shoulders–>top hold–>etc… (don’t neglect your horizontal rowing, and always perform the hanging drill as a cool down!) I would say 5x5x10s (5 sets of 5 10-second negatives) is a good goal to work towards.

  7. By now you probably are comfortable with lowering your whole body weight down. All that is left is to try to complete the concentric/pulling portion of the movement after you have packed your shoulders at the bottom position. Think of pushing your elbows down as hard you can. Don’t hunch your shoulders. Keep neck neutral, keep everything tensed. Pull until your chin clears the bar. Pause for a few seconds, then slowly lower yourself to a complete passive hang. You may find that 1 rep is very challenging at this point, but that’s okay.

  8. What you want to do now is to practice this “1 rep”. Do 3-6 sets of this rep spread throughout the day, 4-6 days a week. After 2-4 weeks, see how many you can do in one go. Whatever your max is, take 50-80% of that, and again, do 3-6 sets spread throughout the day. Don’t neglect your hanging work and horizontal pulling.

Jailhouse strong by josh bryant is excellent.

Bit douchey for some,but I’ve seen several people make good progress from this guys vids…