Progressive Full Body Calisthenic Workout

Reclining Pistol Squat Pullup Band Chest Dip Band Hanging Hyperextension

Overview

This program involves performing a full body calisthenic workout consisting of 5 exercises. It requires minimal equipment and is scalable to participants’ level of strength. As the participant becomes stronger, a more challenging variation of the same movement or a slightly more difficult calisthenic will be performed. Here is the equipment this program will require:

  1. Double anchored suspension trainer (or gymnastic rings) or horizontal bar (ideally adjustable height or shoulder and hip heights) and parallel bars (found at some parks or playgrounds)
  2. Benches, multiple or adjustable height platforms, or stable elevations at various heights
  3. Optional Incline board for crunches and/or sit-ups. Otherwise added weight plates can be used.
  4. Low horizontal bar mention above or large stability ball near wall or back extension apparatus (horizontal or 45°)
  5. 40" (100 cm) resistance / assist loop bands, assortment of resistances

Initially the routine should be performed on 3 nonconsecutive days per week. No more than one session per week should be missed during weeks 1-6. Cardio exercise can be performed on the same days or on alternative days. Begin easily and progressively increase the intensity and duration.

Beginning on Week 7, the calisthenic workout can be performed only twice a week, allowing for greater recovery with increasingly intense workouts and the higher training volume (additional workout set).

Eventually, not even the most challenging bodyweight exercises may offer adequate resistance. For continued progress, additional resistance can be added by use of resistance bands or weight plates. However, eventually a more conventional weight training program will allow for greater progress affording greater exercise variation with more granular progressions.

Sets

All exercises [except (E) Abs]:

  • Set 1 (Warmup Set): Warm-up exercise: 12-15 reps
  • Perform an easy exercise or variation (approximately half resistance of workout exercise) within the exercise progression list allowing for an easy 12 to 15 reps to be performed.

Workout Set(s): Workout exercise:

  • Perform the exercise or variation which allows for the ideal number of reps to be adequately performed.

Phases

Weeks 1-4 (Conditioning):

  • 1 Warm-up Set,. 1 Workout Set
  • Workout Rep Ranges:
  • Prepubescent Children: 10-15 reps, E) Abs: 15-20 Reps
  • Pubescent Children & Adults: up to 8-12 reps, E) Abs: 15-20 Reps

Weeks 5-6 (Initiation of Undulating Resistances)

  • 1 Warm-up Set, 1 Workout Set
  • Alternate between below workout rep ranges every workout:
  • High Rep Day: 11-15 Reps, E) Abs: 20-25 Reps
  • High Resistance Day 6-10 Reps, E) Abs: 10-15 Reps

Weeks 7-8 (Increased Volume)

  • 2 Workout Set
  • High Rep Day: 11-15 Reps, E) Abs: 20-25 Reps
  • High Resistance Day 6-10 Reps, E) Abs: 10-15 Reps

Weeks 9-10 (Increased Intensity):

  • Moderate Rep Day: 2 Workout Set @ 8-12 Reps, E) Abs: 15-20 Reps
  • Very High Resistance Day: 3 Workout Set @ 3-7 Reps, E) Abs: 8-12 reps

Weeks 11-12 (Recovery Phase):

  • High Rep Day: 1 Workout Set @ 11-15 Reps, E) Abs: 20-25 Reps
  • High Resistance Day: 2 Workout Set @ 6-10 Reps, E) Abs: 15-20 Reps

First Workout

  1. Begin with easiest exercise for first session.
    1. Attempt to perform as many repetitions as feels challenging, well short of failure, but only in good form.
  2. Record exercise and number of successful reps performed in good form.
    1. If upper rep range (eg: 12 reps) has not been achieved in good form, keep with same exercise for subsequent workouts until upper rep range has been achieved.
    2. If upper rep range has been achieved or exceeded in good form, next workout, graduate to next more difficult variation of same exercise (eg: higher arm position, lower angled position, etc). Record new variation (eg: arm on chest, 40” bar height) so it will be used for next workout.

Remaining Workouts

  1. Perform Warm-up Exercise, initially first exercise in list, for an easy 12-15 reps.
    1. If the current warm-up exercise becomes too easy to provide an adequate warm-up resistance (less than half the resistance of workout exercise), record a slightly more difficult exercise or variation to be used for warm-up sets for future workouts.
    2. Rest for a few minutes
  2. Perform Workout Exercise
    1. Attempt to perform as many reps as feels challenging in good form, but no more than one repetition short of failure.
      1. Record number of successful repetitions performed in good form for current workout exercise or exercise variation.
        1. If upper rep range has not been achieved in good form, keep with same exercise for subsequent workouts until upper rep range has been achieved.
        2. If upper rep range has been achieved or exceeded in good form, graduate to next more difficult variation of same exercise (eg: higher arm position, lower angled position, etc) or if no greater exercise variation is available, perform next exercise listed within the respective progression list. Record new exercise or variation so it will be used for next workout.

Exercise Progressions

(A) Leg Push:

(B) Upper Body Pull:

(C) Upper Body Push:

(D) Low Back / Hamstrings

Option 1

Option 2

Option 3 (i)

  • Hanging Straight Leg Bridge
  • Hanging Gliding Leg Curl
  • Hanging Single Leg Straight Leg Bridge
  • Hanging Single Leg Gliding Leg Curl

(E) Abs

Letter Notation Key

(a) increase height of step or bench incrementally

(b) adjustable height horizontal/pull-up bar preferred but height adjustable gymnastics rings or special suspension trainer can be used if not available

(c) progress from chest high to mid thigh height

(d) fixed parallel bars/dip bar preferred but height adjustable gymnastics rings or double anchored suspension trainer can be used if not available

(e) 45° hyper-extension apparatus preferred. If not available, horizontal hyperextension apparatus or a stability ball with feet on floorboard can be used. If neither is available, participant can either perform hyperextension off of tall padded bench with strong assistant holding lower legs down or next to wall on large exercise ball.

(f) Progress using arm positions (side, chest, behind neck, top of head, above head

(g) Movement can be made harder for Low Back and Hamstrings, yet easier for Abdominals and Hip Flexors by positioning body closer under anchor of suspension trainer.

(h) Exercise can be made more challenging by placing feet more forward, thereby angling body back at initiation of movement.

(W1) Progressively heavier weight plates can be held across upper chest below chin. Alternatively an exercise band can be used to add resistance on some exercises.

(W2) Progressively heavier weight in the form of either (1) dumbbell between ankles, (2) weight plate looped on dip belt, or (3) weight plate attached to back harness. Alternatively an exercise band can be used to add resistance.


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