It’s probably been awhile since we’ve heard the term “calisthenic,” so to reiterate: a calisthenic exercise is one that uses no weight other than your bodyweight.
And this calisthenic flow is about to be a savage one.
We’re utilizing a pull-up bar to add extra resistance, variety, and an endurance challenge, which will be a nice shift from your usual ground workouts. Before we dive into the moves, let’s check out the benefits of this type of workout.
Why You Should Train Calisthenic-Style
In short, when you do them right, bodyweight workouts can be beast. From improving functional fitness, to being super convenient, here’s just a few reasons you should try them out.
Improves Functional Fitness
Strength and fitness is more than just being able to bench double your bodyweight, or being jacked. It involves being able to turn that strength into usable strength that can be accessed anywhere and in any situation. Functional strength involves not only muscle strength, but flexibility, agility, balance, and endurance.
To train for functional strength is to train multiple muscle groups at once and in a way that mimics real-world movements. Think squatting to pick up heavy objects, or performing jump squats to mimic real-world or sport-specific jumps.
When you train with only your bodyweight and flow through movements that require more than one muscle group, such as burpees or even standard pull-ups, you also strengthen muscles called stabilizer muscles. These are the smaller muscles that link larger muscle groups and support large muscle groups during movement. The stronger these muscles are, the more balance you’ll have and the stronger “base” you’ll have to build larger muscles.
Circuit training using only bodyweight massively improves muscle endurance and aerobic endurance, especially if you’re combining them with full-body explosive movements like clap push-ups or jump squats. Compare isolated muscle training like dumbbell curls with clap pushups, and you’ll quickly see which has your heart rate up and your entire upper body on fire almost immediately.
Improves Agility and Flexibility
Full-body (and especially explosive movements) also encourage agility and flexibility. When you’re utilizing multiple muscle groups and moving from one exercise to the next, you need to be conscious of foot and hand placement, and also how you’re moving through space. Think of the agility and flexibility required to do bear crawls, or burpees to knee-tucks. You are moving at a decent pace with your muscles firing simultaneously, which trains you for faster, more efficient movement in real-world scenarios or sports.
Savage Calisthenics Bar Workout
Ready for a taste of a unique calisthenics workout? Find a pull-up bar and let’s get it.
1. Reverse Grip Pull-Ups
Your standard reverse grip pull ups work more areas of your body than you think. Aside from a full upper body burn, including your back, you core is also highly engaged during this exercise.
1. To begin, leap up and grab the bar in a reverse grip, palms facing you.
2. Exhale and curl up, avoiding swinging your body to reach the bar.
3. Lower slow and controlled. Repeat for as many reps as you can.
2. Reverse Grip Pull-Ups: L-Sit
The L-sit is going to further isometrically engage your core by adding in a hold with your legs in front of you. Lower ab burn? Like never before.
- Begin facing the bar and grabbing it in a reverse grip, palms facing you.
- Perform 3-5 pull ups, then on the final extension, draw your legs out and in front of you. Hold for at least 10 seconds, if you can.
3. Bar Push-Ups
Bar pushups are a unique twist on regular pushups. Balancing on the bar adds another level of core engagement, and being high off the ground further encourages proper posture so you don’t bust it.
1. Place yourself in a pushup position on two bars, one hand and one foot on each.
2. Push up as you would in a standard pushup, aiming for 10-15 pushups or more.
4. Muscle Ups
Muscle ups will challenge nearly every muscle group in your body and require quite a bit of full body strength to master. Don’t be discouraged if you can only get a few reps – keep at it.
1. Begin by grabbing the bar in a standard pull up position, palms facing away from you.
2. Pull up to the bar while simultaneously swinging your knees toward your chest to propel you up and over the bar.
3. Push up once you swing over the bar, then lower back to your starting position (but don’t touch the ground).
4. Repeat for as many reps as you can.
5. Leg Raise – Knee Raise – Oblique Raise
These various raises will hit every angle of your core – perform as many as you can of each in this sequence.
6. Inverted Pull Ups
This twist on a standard pull up is great for building your upper and lower back muscles, an area we can often neglect. You’ll also feel an intense burn in your chest and biceps. If you’re having trouble with standard pull ups, you can also start with these.
1. Begin beneath a lower bar, grabbing the bar with palms facing you and feet extended out in front of you.
2. Pull yourself up towards the bar, keeping your body straight.
3. Repeat for 10-15 reps.
7. Handstand Press
The handstand press is a serious core strengthener and balance-challenger. Keep practicing this one – it may take a few tries to build the muscles needed to keep you straight in the air. Focus on tightening your core throughout the movement, and keep your gaze on one point in front of your to help with balance.
8. Air Walk-Ups
This one looks fun (and it is!), but expect a serious challenge for your arms and upper body due to the slow rasie above the bar.
1. Begin by grabbing the pull up bar, palms facing away from you.
2. Now, slowly pull up while “walking” your feet in front of you. Once you reach the top, lower slowly, repeating the walking motion.
3. Repeat as many times as you can.
Savage Calisthenics Bar Workout – Full Flow
Here is the full flow bar workout via Youtube; while you’re there, go ahead and hit subscribe to stay updated with new free workout uploads!