Do You Make These Mistakes When Training With Calisthenics?

By | 2018-01-25T16:35:46+00:00 March 9th, 2015|Bodyweight, Fundamentals|

Getting stronger with calisthenics isn’t a very intuitive thing.

As a result, lots of athletes, especially beginners, make lots of mistakes when training with bodyweight movements.

This post will help you identify any of the common mistakes you might be doing and help you get rid of them.

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Mistake #1: Training With High Reps Only

Push ups

This may be the most common misconception out there and one of the biggest mistakes newbies make.

Training with high reps isn’t going to make your stronger (i.e. increase your maximal strength).

This mistake stalled my strength training progress when I was young and I didn’t know any better.

Having the endurance to do 100 consecutive push ups isn’t going to help you do one arm push ups.

Of course, training with high reps isn’t bad.

In fact, high reps are necessary for strength-endurance and conditioning. But if you want to get stronger, you have to train with harder and more advanced progressions.

What is a good progression for strength development?

Well, this depends on your level.

A good progression is one in which doing 3×3 – 5×5 reps are challenging for you.

You can get an idea on how to progress with calisthenics in these tutorials:

Mistake #2: Progressing too Fast

This is another error that I have fallen into when I finally found how to progress to more difficult movements.

I wanted to make up for the time that I “lost” while training only with high rep calisthenics. So I didn’t spend the necessary time to build the necessary foundation and progress slowly.

Fortunately, I learned early on that doing this isn’t helping me, in the long run.

There are two problems with this approach that you have to consider.

Firstly, even if you meet some success early on, your progress is going to stall very soon. That happens because you haven’t built the necessary foundation to advance further.

Secondly and more importantly, this may lead to an injury and further hinder your progress. You obviously don’t want to get into this situation.

The only way to avoid this is to stick to the progressions and to use some common sense.

Mistake #3: Lack of Focus


This is a mistake I see beginners make quite often.

They change training plans and goals too fast, especially when they don’t seem to make any progress or they progress slower than expected.

Right now, I can think of only two main causes for this mistake.

#1: Shiny Object Syndrome

Most of the beginners are easily tempted by the next great program that is going to help them get fit in 30 days with minimum effort.

The problem with this approach is that even if the new program works, they won’t give it the necessary time to see the results.

The only way for you to overcome this mistake, if you are prone to it, is to stay focused and committed to what you are currently doing.

#2: Boredom

Boredom is expected if you have been training with the same exercises for a long time.

Fortunately, boredom can be easily beaten with some of the methods below:

  • Adding some different exercises into your routine
  • Training in a different background. For example, if you have been training indoors, you can go and train outdoors.
  • You can add some skill training in the mix. Like juggling.
  • You can find a training buddy
  • Change the exercise order
  • You can train with a different tempo
  • You can practice with a different tool. For example, instead of pull ups on a pull up bar, you can start practicing pull ups on a rope.

Goal setting can be a cause as well, which leads us to the next mistake…

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Mistake #4: Absence of Goals

Apart from leading to a lack of focus, if you don’t set goals you miss out on some really great benefits.

Goal setting is going to help you:

  • Increase your motivation.
  • Reflect on your progress. Being able to reflect on your progress is a very important element of successful training.
  • Increase your focus. This is also very important if you want to get stronger.
  • Choose the right program. Having clear goals is going to help choose the exercises that are going to help you achieve these goals and, as a result, your training becomes more effective.
  • Help you prioritize. Sometimes goals may be in conflict with each other. Having your goals written down is going to help you pick between conflicting goals and prioritize accordingly.

I have written an extensive article about goal setting here [Goal Setting For Strength Training].

Mistake #5: No Consistency

Most beginners lack the discipline and motivation to train consistently.

The thing is that if you want to achieve anything with your training you will have to be consistent with it.

You have to train day after day, week after week, month after month and year after year.

This is the only way to get and stay strong.

The easiest way to stay on track with your training is by making it a habit.

If you are interested more in how to do just that, you can read my article on How to Stay Committed to Your Diet.

Mistake #6: Trying to Figure Out Everything By Yourself

This is by far the biggest mistake beginner (and even intermediate) athletes make.

This is wrong for two reasons.

Firstly, you lose a lot of time through trial and error while if you had bought a book, attended a seminar or got personal coaching you would have achieved it a lot faster. Sometimes, you may even not be able to figure it out and stay weak, despite the effort you put in your training.

Secondly, all the mistakes mentioned in this post and many others can be easily avoided by reading the right book, by attending a seminar or by getting a good coach.

I can think of only 3 causes that lead to this kind of mistake:

  1. Ego based reasons. Like being embarrassed to ask for help, feeling better if you figure it by yourself, or believing that you already know everything that you have to.This issue is easy to overcome. You just have to remember that most of the things you already know, you learned through someone else (e.g. reading).
  2. Not wanting to get scammed. No one wants to spend money on something useless. This is, however, unavoidable. If you are serious about your training you have to invest in it. Sometimes you are going to buy products that are useless, either because they are of low quality or because what they have to offer is something that you knew all along. But most of the times if you are careful you are going to buy valuable products, especially as you become more experienced.
  3. Not enough money. Solving this problem is beyond the scope of this blog, however, you can find cheap high-quality products if you search for them.

To Sum Up

  1. Embrace low reps and train with harder progressions.
  2. Be patient and progress slowly.
  3. Stay focused.
  4. Set clear goals.
  5. Train consistently.
  6. Invest in your training.

Do you have any questions?

Let’s talk about it in the comments below.



Photo credit: push ups 1, push ups 2focus,

No More Training Mistakes!

Start training the right way with the Beginner’s Bodyweight Training Plan

Download Now!