Adam Deane is an advanced calisthenics expert and trainer and I was lucky enough to have the chance hear his answers to a number of useful questions that many people ask when it comes to calisthenics. Take a read below and hopefully your questions also get answered, whether you are a complete beginner or advanced athlete. There is a lot of useful information for everyone!
For someone getting into the basics of calisthenics training, How would they start off and what sort of programme could they follow?
Im actually busy working on a full blown Calisthenics programme for beginners at the moment. The best way for anyone to start is to literally do countless reps of the 5 foundational exercises. Once these become stronger they can start experimenting with variations.
- Push Ups
- Pull Ups
- Bodyweight Squats
- Tricep Dips
- Leg Raises (Seated or hanging)
When someone is no longer a beginner and is well versed in the basics and moves onto things like the front lever and handstand push ups. In your opinion what is the best way to train for these?
(For instance should they pick one feat and focus all their effort on it until they get it (e.g. only training for the front lever for weeks and weeks until it is achieved) and then move on to the next one OR can they focus on a few different holds each week, say one day on handstands and the next on levers and keep alternating? What do you think is the most effective way to do it?)
Small doses everyday.
It’s inefficient to focus all your time and effort on one move or exercise as you’ll neglect stabilizers and opposite muscles that need to be strengthened. I would suggest someone at an advanced level carry on with their strength routine and devote 10 or 20 minutes everyday to the move they are trying to master.
And how often should one train for a specific move?
Everyday, a couple of reps or static holds each day will aid the muscle memory as that’s largely what allows us to do what we do, not letting the body take a step back.
What are some of the best exercises which people seem to neglect when training calisthenics that need to be done to strengthen the core and surrounding muscles in order to do the advanced exercises?
I would say the lower back and hip flexors. Though I do believe its not strengthening exercises most people neglect but the flexibility exercises.
Loose and stretched muscles exert less energy as they stretch and contract easier. This makes a lot of moves much easier and reduces the risk of injury tenfold.
If we take one move such as the planche, what would you say are the best progressions and other exercises needed to be done in order to achieve it? As well as any tips you can give for someone struggling to get the final touch on it?
Start from the bottom, train your wrists, forearms and shoulders to support varying degrees of weight first. The planche places all your body weight on your fingers so your foundation needs to be built first.
Next would be to get your feet off the floor and support your weight in a tuck planche. Once that is comfortable for at least 45 seconds you can start extending the legs one by one as you figure out the balance. Ultimately you will be able to extend both legs and then its just about balancing.
If you can’t nail the final touch, go back to basics and see what you’re doing wrong, usually you’ll find the problem in your foundation.