Calisthenics... Pick 3

Discussion in 'Bodyweight' started by Nathan, Jul 17, 2017.

  1. Nathan

    Nathan Double-Digit Post Count

    With the knowledge that my Tactical Barbell Law Enforcement program does a circuit of Push-ups, Sit-ups, and Mountain Climbers after every conditioning session, I wanted everyone's opinion on what calisthenics movements I should use for my strength days. I want a fairly stripped down and streamlined program, and am curious to see what you would choose if you were limited to just 3 movement options.

  2. Steve Freides

    Steve Freides Forum Administrator Staff Member Senior Instructor

    @Nathan, welcome to the StrongFirst forum!

    What are you trying to accomplish? A circuit after a conditioning session sounds like a conditioning session after a conditioning session, no?

  3. 305pelusa

    305pelusa Strong, Powerful Member of the Forum

    For your strength days, Pull ups and Dips.

    I don't feel particularly strong about any third option. Others can chime in.
    Carl likes this.
  4. Antti

    Antti Strong, Powerful, Explosively Athletic Member of the Forum

    Do I understand correctly that one day you do conditioning and strength endurance, and then on another day you want to train max strength with three separate movements?

    If I understood correctly, I'd go with push-ups, squats and pull-ups.
    North Coast Miller likes this.
  5. Carl

    Carl Double-Digit Post Count

    For strength, I'd second pull ups (various grips) and dips and include variants of both (inverted rows, narrow grip push ups) to sub in occasionally plus a squat variant (skater squat, Cossack) that challenges you sufficiently.

    Do some bar hangs at the end and you'd be pretty set for a minimalist 3 move approach.

    The classic bodyweight exercises (dips, pull ups, push ups) are classics for a reason.
    Kozushi likes this.
  6. Nathan

    Nathan Double-Digit Post Count

    @Steve Freides: I am working towards Law Enforcement fitness. This is just what the program calls for, but I am choosing to do calisthenics instead of barbells for the max strength days.

    @305pelusa: Recognize you from the dragondoor forums. So I've noticed nobody has mentioned handstand pushup.

    @Antti: You are correct, that is the goal. Knowing I am doing an ample amount of pushups on conditioning days, I am wondering if doing more on the max strength days is necessary.

    @Carl: I've been battling between dips or handstand push-ups, but I can see the benefit of doing dips for their more direct carry-over to pushups but with 100% bodyweight.
  7. SolidBrawn

    SolidBrawn Triple-Digit Post Count

    If you're looking for solid strength moves I'd go with:
    1. Pull-ups*
    2. Handstand Pushups and/or Dips*
    3. Pistols
    *Weighted for the best results.

    However, it seems you're looking for more Strength-Endurance type calisthenics? If so I'd just switch the pistols out for some form of lunges (Dragon Lunges, Bulgarian split squats) and keep everything unweighted.
  8. Marc

    Marc Helping Make Others Stronger

    Press: One arm push up progression
    Pull: Tactical Pullup
    Legs: Pistol squat progressio and single leg deadlift

    Note: I would not recommend the above as some 10min wipe off moves but rather a dedicated session! You can spend a liftime perfecting these!
    Karen Smith, runninggirevik and Carl like this.
  9. Marc

    Marc Helping Make Others Stronger

    For high rep bw stuff I would suggest hindu squats and hindu pushups!
    SolidBrawn likes this.
  10. MikeMoran

    MikeMoran Strong, Powerful Member of the Forum

    Push - Push up or Dip variation
    Pull - Pull up or Row variation
    Legs - Squats/Pistols/ SLDL variations

    *Bonus - Leg Raises.
    Maine-ah KB and Carl like this.
  11. Nathan

    Nathan Double-Digit Post Count

    My high-rep calisthenics goes after my runs and such; so my goal would be purely strength for the 3 movements I need. I'm also leaning towards HSPU, Pull-Ups, and Pistols. These seem to be the best options, unless an argument can be made for other movements.

    Again, I get push-ups, sit-ups, and mountain climbers on the conditioning day, so yes it is conditioning on top of conditioning in the same day.
    Antti likes this.
  12. Antti

    Antti Strong, Powerful, Explosively Athletic Member of the Forum

    Nathan, when I mentioned "push-ups, squats and pull-ups", I mentioned them generically. I think it's best you take the movements, and take the appropriate difficulty for you, which allows for the greatest development. I am not familiar with your level, so it is impossible to say which version of push-up or squat would be the best. You are the best judge of it. Whether it be a pistol or a one-arm push-up or even a one-arm pull-up, I think these three movements are the best bang for the buck in general.
    SolidBrawn likes this.
  13. 305pelusa

    305pelusa Strong, Powerful Member of the Forum

    Dip until you become proficient with dips, and then you can move right along to HSPUs.

    Calisthenics progressions are all about increasingly higher levels of movement complexity. Pushups before dips, dips before HSPU, and so on.

    Pistol sounds good as it incorporates some much-needed hip flexion core work in there as well. Good choice.
    SolidBrawn likes this.
  14. Nathan

    Nathan Double-Digit Post Count

    @305pelusa: I see your logic here and I appreciate that. Plus, doing dip progressions sounds pretty fun overall. I think we're all in agreement that Pull-Ups and Pistols are pretty solid here but the pressing work is always in question. I'm doing plenty of push-ups after my conditioning work so dips are the logical progression as you've pointed out. I've also got the perfect set-up for straight bar dips when I get to it + my Rogue Matador will give me tons of fun for a good long time.

    @Antti: As far as push-ups I can do sets of 3-5 reps of Lever Push-Ups from Convict Conditioning. I am capable of actually doing 3-5 reps of handstand push-ups on a 4-6" deficit. However these movements sort of hammer my joints due to my weight so I don't try to do them often yet until I've gotten myself back down to about 180lbs (and I am 240lbs now). Due to my weight, Pull-Ups are tough (didn't used to be), and progressing squats is probably the easiest thing for me.
    Antti likes this.
  15. North Coast Miller

    North Coast Miller Strong, Powerful Member of the Forum

    I'll put in a plug for Skater squats in addition to or in place of pistols depending on where you are with them.

    Another factor that works with many calisthenics is to make them somewhat plyo - do a slow eccentric until you have about 20-30% of the movement left, allow a short drop and fire back up. This works well with pushup and pullup variations though is extremely tough to do with single leg squats of any kind.

    Rest/Pause works well with calisthenics too, in moderation.
    Carl likes this.
  16. 305pelusa

    305pelusa Strong, Powerful Member of the Forum

    @Nathan : Do you have a training log here? Otherwise, keep us updated.

    A slightly advanced technique, but a good one. Well put. This guy knows what he's talking about.
  17. ClaudeR

    ClaudeR Triple-Digit Post Count

    why do you need to do calisthenics moves in the first place, is it program mandated?
    If you want pure strength with an endurance/conditioning aspect, why not do loaded carries/walks/sleds instead? These can be made for both conditioning (a bit lighter, for longer or higher reps), or pure strength (very heavy for shorter), and probably fill in any gaps that people usually have?

    Just an idea

    (edit) ok just read your comment to Steve, you want to NOT do the barbell stuff and do calisthenics instead, not in addition :)
    chose one from each:
    * a push
    * a pull
    * a squat
    * a hinge (probably the KB swing is the answer, unless you would be game for a barbell deadlift... nothing beats the barbell deadlift except KB swings, sometimes)

    and I'd still go for carries/sleds on your conditioning days :)
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2017
  18. Steve Freides

    Steve Freides Forum Administrator Staff Member Senior Instructor

    May I ask why? A barbell is a very good choice for maximum strength training.

    Baker and Antti like this.
  19. Nathan

    Nathan Double-Digit Post Count

    @North Coast Miller: That sounds like fun also, I may use that technique maybe once a week for the sake of variety and a new way to challenge the muscle.

    @305pelusa: I do not have a logbook here but may start one up when I begin my next cycle. I am on the last week of the 4 week long cycle and will be restarting after a week break (have some obligations next week and my lower legs need some rest from running).

    @ClaudeR: I personally choose to make it calisthenics only for now. I have had my fill with barbells, kettlebells, and all that other stuff. I spent about 3 or so years messing with Strongman competitions, and even though I think I would have become quite good, it was very hard on my body. I think once I get myself sufficiently strong in calisthenics, and some significant weight loss, I will [somewhat] return to the iron. I started this program coming off of the 10,000 Swing Challenge (alternating daily between a 16kg and 24kg), and it really got the hinging down good. I guess my focus right now is re-mastering my bodyweight.

    @Steve Freides: Its mostly a matter of choice and honestly how my body responds to barbells vs calisthenics. I always end up rather stiff in the joints after barbell work where calisthenics doesn't give me that same issue. In addition the idea of calisthenics lends itself to losing weight in order to progress (which I need to remain in that mindset right now). I tend to very easily put on muscle and weight when I use barbells, and want to really avoid that right now. May sound superstitious or it might be faulty logic, but barbell back squats make me grow no matter the rep range. I just can't afford that right now.

    ** If you haven't noticed my Ironmind hat in my avatar, I can still close the #2.5 gripper without much training. I could probably get my cert in the #3 but am not really interested. **

    ** Lastly I wanted to mention that this has already been likely the most respectful and civilized forum ever. Hurray for safe spaces! <--(just kidding, feel free to puke). **
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2017
    Oscar likes this.
  20. Carl

    Carl Double-Digit Post Count

    I couldn't agree with @North Coast Miller more on this. Pistols get more attention but skater squats (or whatever you want to call them) are tougher than they look and are a great move in their own right.

    Enjoy the break from the iron and I hope whatever you settle on helps the cause.


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