Bodyweight exercise is a training method like no other. It galvanises every fiber of every muscle in your entire body to bring about unparalleled levels of strength and endurance. For this reason it requires intense dedication.
1. Thou shalt not run before thou can walk
It’s easy to get pumped up after watching videos of people performing one-armed pull-ups or human flags but that doesn’t mean you should go straight out and try to replicate them.
This is a fast track to injury and disappointment. Everyone, no matter how great they are, had to start from the beginning and that means you do too.
2. Thou shalt not swing
Poor form is the enemy of progress. Sure, you might be able to get your head above a pull-up bar a few more times by kipping but ultimately it’s about quality, not quantity.
He who performs 10 perfect repetitions will progress much more than he who craps out 5 with shitty form.
3. Thou shalt not glove up
This is a source of some debate in the fitness community as a whole, but calisthenics practitioners are leading the way with the bare-skin revolution.
We’ve written a post on exactly why gloves are a bad idea, check it out later if you’re still unsure.
4. Thou shalt spot and be spotted
It’s a good idea to use a spotter whatever form of exercise you are doing, but it’s especially important in calisthenics as many of the movements will be new to you.
Buddy up during training to stay safe and get strong!
5. Thou shalt warm up and cool down
Calisthenics is a brutal assault on the body and without proper preparation it can become extremely tight, sore or even worse.
Since bodyweight exercise relies on range of movement and flexibility for many movements it is important to ensure you are ready to hit the ground running. Warm up before EVERY session and spend 5-10 minutes stretching off afterwards.
6. Thou shalt dine like a god
If you don’t know the importance of diet and nutrition by now then stop whatever program you are on and learn about that first.
A perfect body is made in the kitchen first and sculpted in the gym later. Pay close attention because what you put in is what you get out!
7. Thou shalt not over train
It’s tempting to go all guns blazing when you calisthenics is still new and exciting to you, but this can be a dangerous path to follow.
By all means train hard, but if you feel especially sore or even injured then give your body time to repair before you break it all down again. It may seem counter-intuitive but sometimes you can actually gain more by training less!
8. Thou shalt be patient
Rome wasn’t built in a day, week, month or even year. That shit took centuries. Obviously you don’t have that long but the point still stands.
All forms of exercise require long-term thinking so don’t obsess over progress. Measure it on a reasonable time frame and understand that, especially with bodyweight exercise, it will take time to adapt to the movements and see results.
9. Thou shalt go all in
Nobody ever achieved anything by being half-assed about it. If you are merely ‘interested’ in calisthenics then your results will not be anything to write home about.
If you are OBSESSED with it, if you live it and breathe it then that will be reflected in a total body transformation, the like of which you never knew was possible.
10. Thou shalt buy our stuff
Look, we’re here to help and we spent a long time making this place all nice and pretty for you so the least you could do to repay us is check out our book!