The end of beginner/intermediate/advance – that is hurting your training

A few years back I moved to Glasgow – I was well into calisthenics and I started training at the local Circus School Aerial Edge. The next months that followed were some of the most fun, yet frustrating months in my training career.

I absolutely fell in love with acrobatics, handstands, moving and seeing how my body was changing. I didn’t know much about programming for body weight, circus movement, or acrobatics. So I attended all the group classes and was just learning as much as I could and enjoying myself – the training added up to 15-20 hours a week – which I absolutely loved.

I even got ripped, not even knowing about it.

There was just one problem…

6 months in – and I felt like I had hardly made any progress.

Don’t get me wrong, the six pack was there, my handstand was getting better, my tucks were getting tighter, and I definitely was more flexible and mobile – BUT when friends and family asked how I was doing….

I had nothing really to show for all the training I had completed…

What was going on? 

Knowing that patience is bliss, especially in calisthenics, I kept on going.  

But then I got really frustrated and spent months researching, reading books and learning how to train and how to program this type of training in order for it to be effective. 

Turns out that advanced gymnastics and calisthenics moves are way more complex than we imagine.

I realized my handstands were lacking serious shoulder mobility and were hindering me from being able to hold it during a free standing. 

I also learned that practicing a few skills at the same time (like in my group training we would train for back tucks and back handsprings at the same time and then not train it for months) was hindering my progress as my body was getting confused.

The most surprising part is that I learned I am not the only one who has trouble with it. Once I started working with Calisthenics Academy – we saw people from all over the world struggling with the same issues.

During this time I came across an article which perfectly explained what was going on.

Dr. Tilly – the author of the article I am referring to, explains how a lack of personalisation, even at the level of competitive gymnastics is hurting athletes progress.

He described a program where all the students are given an assignment that was the same level of difficulty: 3 sets of 10 pull ups, dips, handstands, push-ups, and then 2 sets of 20 leg lifts. Something we all know, either from school or from gym classes.

No matter the level, it was the same training.

Now you might not be taking group training, but this is WHAT you will get in any calisthenics and gymnastic program online. They might assign you to the beginners/ intermediate/ advanced level- but you will be doing the same as all other folks in your group.

What’s the problem with that, you ask?

Well. Here it is.

Below is a breakdown of some of the few problems that one-size fits all training creates:

1. Promoting Compensation, Movement Dysfunction, and Possible Injury Risk If Too Challenging

“Say for example part of your conditioning assignment is 3 sets of 5 handstands and push-ups. You send your team of 20 gymnasts to do it. Maybe for 12 of them, they are appropriately challenged by the workload, they fall in the middle of the bell curve, and it will serve its job to make them adapt and get stronger.

However, for 4 of them it may be too challenging and with the “get it done” mindset, they may have to cheat their range of motion, use a poor form like excessive back arching, or may simply just not do it.

Not only is this dangerous and engrains movement dysfunction (as quality slips away), it also really doesn’t help them on the performance side because they won’t truly develop strength. When you consider the  fatigue, things start to tank even faster. It will likely get them to be overwhelmed and frustrated.

Taking them a step back in a regression that demands perfect technique is better for their safety and long-term development of strength.”

2. Not Promoting Adaptation/Development If Not Challenging Enough

“The other side of the coin to the example, there may be 4 athletes who breeze through them and as a result don’t really get a challenge that stimulates development. Although this is not really as concerning with the compensation and danger side, they aren’t going to continue to get stronger/faster/more powerful, etc.

These athletes need a progression to make sure it’s challenging enough for them.

Dr. Tilly summarized not personalizing a training program as:
“Slamming a square block into a triangular hole may not be the best choice. The whole “1 step back for 2 steps forward later” and building a house on a concrete foundation versus sand analogy is a good fit here”

A recipe for disaster in terms of safety & hindering athletic progress & performance development by months

We are individuals, with different characteristics – one-fit-all training will not cut it!
No only you will not progress effectively, but you’re also risking injury.

Do you need any other reasons why a cookie cutter workout should not be used again?

So why on earth are we are still not personalizing these workouts?

In his article, Dr. Tilly talks about a coach’s ego. That’s it’s the culture and the way we always doing things, but the biggest problem is that:

IT’S EXTREMELY HARD.

When you get a bunch of people coming for a workout, you would have to analyze every single one of them and give them personal options.

For the coach it’s IMPOSSIBLE.

How on earth can you personalize a training program for every single person based on their PERSONAL STRENGTHS, MOBILITY, FLEXIBILITY, and HISTORY?

That calls for a serious, hours-heavy and expensive personal training program.

Well… unless you can leverage technology to do just that…

And this is why personalisation is at the HEART of what we are building inside Calisthenics Academy.

As you join the program, you will be run through a comprehensive athlete assessment to figure out EXACTLY where you are on the progressions and create a fully personalized training program just for you.

But that’s not all.

As you do your workouts, the system will adjust sets and reps based on your personal feedback, making sure wherever you’re at the workout is optimal for your progress.

Click here to learn more about the Calisthenics Academy.

We know you will love it.

Curious about the app? Try our free

assessment below:

Workout In Small Spaces – Arya’s “No Space Workout”

Workout In Small Spaces – Arya’s “No Space Workout”

No Space? No Worries!

You may think you have to be in a specific place to exercise, but it’s not necessary. Common exercise spaces are definitely motivating, but aren’t the key to a successful or consistent routines. You can still workout in small spaces.

The lack of access to these spaces, such as gyms, parks, or even specially-designed calisthenics are also a common excuse to avoid or put off exercise. Once you start to find reasons not to exercise, you’ll only blame those same excuses for holding you back. Believe me, I’ve been there….until I found the “no Space” Workout.

It can bury all my excuses six feet under. So whether you’re on a trip, stuck in the hotel room, or have a really tight schedule, I have a routine that will work for you.

Arya Andika Workout In Small Spaces

What Is The ‘No Space’ Workout?

First things first, don’t misunderstand the meaning of “No Space”. It means you can exercise with very little space, even if it’s only 2m x 2m. It’s still enough space to work out. I came up with the term to trick myself, so I can’t make up excuses to avoid exercise.

Now, the beauty of bodyweight or calisthenics exercise is that your body is the limit. This means you can express your body with basic movements, as well as variations of that movement.

READ MORE: No More Diets: Tricking Your Mind Into Weight Loss

‘No Space’ Exercises

There are a lot of ‘no space’ exercises you can start out with. The movements that are ideal for small spaces include Push-Ups, Dips, Squats, Lunges, Crunches, Leg Raises, Sit-Ups, High Knees, Jumping Jacks, Mountain Climber, and Burpees. You name it, calisthenics has it, and uses it regularly to help athletes master movement.

And in case you don’t notice, all of those are the most basic exercises that don’t need for any equipment too!!!

So why don’t you make a workout program from those huge lists of exercises?

“Wait, I already have a program I must follow…is it ok?”

The idea of a “no space” workout is to keep you exercising when you have no place to do it. You can use the basic movements to create a workout program that isn’t restricted by space. This won’t take away from your typical program. Instead, this helps you keep a routine even when you’re traveling or busy and need to workout in small spaces.

In fact, in my experience, it will help you to get some variation in your exercise and keep you away from the boring feeling of only following your program.

READ MORE: Never Stop Learning. Never Stop Growing.

How To Create Your Own ‘No Space’ Workout

You could follow the standard, basic workout, with 3 sets of 10 push-ups, 3 sets of 10 squats, 3 sets of 10 dips, etc.

What I suggest, though, is to make it more efficient by using full-body exercises, while training in a shorter amount of time and doing a circuit.

All you need is a timer. You can use a timer app, your basic mobile phone timer, or even your watch.

Now pick your kind of exercises. I personally always pick 4 different kinds of exercises. My favorites are Jumping Jacks, Push-Ups, Squats and Mountain Climber. And as you can see, my pick already consists of Cardio, upper body, and lower body exercises.

Here’s My Personal Routine:

1. 20 seconds of Jumping Jacks

2. 20 seconds of Push-up (any progression you can do)

3. 20 seconds of Squats

4. 20 seconds of Mountain Climber

5 – 10 rounds, with a rest-time of up to 2 minutes between rounds. If you catch your breath before the 2 minutes are up, then you can go for another round.

Next-Level Workout In Small Spaces

If you feel that these exercises are too easy for you, then feel free to change and take it up a notch.

Here’s my next-level routine:

1. 20 seconds Running High Knee

2. 20 seconds Explosive Push-up

3. 20 seconds Jumping Lunges

4. 20 seconds half burpee

Now you can see how easy it is to workout with very little space.

Don’t Forget To Keep Perfect Form

You should maintain perfect form for each exercise, so it’s not necessary to go as fast as you can in 20 seconds. You have to do as much as you can in perfect form, that’s what will make your exercises count and bring the result you always want. As long as your form is good, it doesn’t matter that if you exercise in gyms, parks, or workout in small spaces.

There you have it.

Now, when you think you can’t find a place to work out, you’ll immediately remember the “no space” workout thing.

I bet you have a lot of ideas pop up. Then why don’t you try this “no space” workout and share with me how it feels and what kind of exercises you do?

Be Strong.

Ready to get started with a way to stay fit on the go? Check out our Lifetime Membership of Calisthenics Academy and get Instant Access to the most effective and safe way to build insane strength, learn mad skills, and build a gymnast-like body.

4 ways to never get stuck in your workouts again

4 ways to never get stuck in your workouts again

4 ways to never get stuck again in your workouts with Tyler Brigade

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If you’ve been working out for a while, you probably experienced a strength plateau. Not being able to progress in your workouts for weeks, even months, can be frustrating. Especially if you don’t know the cause.

In a desperate attempt to break free, you might search for ways to change-up your routine – adding supersets, new grips, using different exercises entirely.  These are some great methods to break through a plateau, and for a lot of people, they work.

But sometimes, they don’t.

When faced with a plateau, most people assume that it’s the usual problem; sticking to a routine too long, not enough intensity, etc.

But, in some cases, it can all be mental

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Photograph by Lorem Ipsum via Unsplash

A while back, I was stuck in a rut with pull-ups.

Of all the exercises to plateau on, pull-ups weren’t such a bad one…there are so many different variations that you can use to break out!

I switched my grip, tried doing static work, changed the pace…practically every commonly suggested way to get out of a plateau is something I tried.

But it didn’t work, and for weeks I couldn’t make progress on the pull-up. After weeks of going nowhere on the pull-up, I’d had enough. One workout, I just thought, “This is enough. I’m getting out of this plateau.” On my first set of pullups, I told myself I was going to increase my reps, and nothing was going to stop me. Telling myself that got me fired up. It made me actually believe I could break through the rut, and I did just that.

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The battle is real – Overcoming a mental plateau

During the plateau, the frustration builds and builds, and makes the entire experience worse. It crushes your confidence. It feels like you’ll never get out. So what now?

What worked best for me was, basically, punching that mean, motivation-killing voice straight in the nose. It held too much power over me, and it wasn’t making my life easier.

When that voice in my head started speaking up, “This is boring, why are you doing this?” or “Just stop. You won’t make it. You won’t reach your goals,” I’d stop what I was doing, sit down, and listen to all those thoughts. I even started taking notes of all of those negative thoughts.

And I burned them. I mean, I literally burned my negative thoughts away.

I took a lighter, that piece of paper, lit it and threw it into my chimney. Don’t do this if you don’t have a safe space to burn paper.

Burning this paper with my negative thoughts jotted down was incredibly therapeutic.

It was a physical act of removing crappy thoughts from my mind.

But I know that burning thoughts might not be the way to go for other people, so

I’ve compiled a shortlist of different coping mechanisms you can try out for yourself.

 

4 tips to overcoming your mental plateau

 

1. Stop working out for a bit.

Maybe all you need is actually changing your routine up. Take an extra day or two to rest, move your schedule and training routine around. Take a break, it might be all that you need.  

2. Get Inspired

Go follow some athletes whose work you like on Instagram, or on Youtube. A lot of these athletes have awesome tutorials, or even monthly challenge specials, like “30 days of hand balancing” or “30/30 squat challenge,” where you do 30 minutes of squats throughout the day for 30 days. Again, this has been successful for me in the past. I love discovering young athletes who are devoted to their art. They’re so incredibly inspiring to me.  

3. Focus on a new skill.

Is there something you’ve been wanting to do but focused too much on your training routine to get to? A mental plateau would be an awesome opportunity to refocus your workout, even temporarily. I got to have fun with some cool hand balancing tricks that aren’t typically trained or taught since they’re very specific to movement transitions.  

4.Teach someone something you have learnt

I love to share knowledge, especially stuff I just learned. In fact, I tend to get super excited when a friend asks me to show them how to do this thing I just learned. Often, it’s a move that requires some training and extra work, which I end up helping my friend to do. …and then we’re working out together.  

And the plateau is overcome without a thought!

 

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Photograph by Lorem Ipsum via Unsplash

I would really love to hear about how you deal your mental plateaus, so PLEASE, reach out! You can comment on my post, or share thoughts and ideas in our Facebook group.