5 Reasons Why You Should Learn How To Handstand

egypt pyramids handstand

Handstands are awesome.

Next to pull-ups, they’re my favorite exercise and the most fun one to do.

Here are 5 reasons why you should start learning them right now:

They Keep You Strong Without Having To Go To The Gym

We’ve all had our relapses, when you spend weeks or even months, years without going to the gym.  I spent months without touching a bar or a dumbbell because I just didn’t have the motivation I had before.

But handstands… they are a hard habit to break.  And once you get used to doing them right, you’ll want to do them whenever you can.

It just feels like playing and not like working out because they’re so fun to do.

So even though I hadn’t worked out in months, my shoulders were always in great shape and I didn’t feel much of a difference lifting random objects (due to the forearm and hand strength) because I kept doing handstands for fun almost every day.  And even when I got back to my regular gym routine, the coming back wasn’t that hard because the handstands kept me minimally fit.

Don’t think handstands are miraculous though. They’re a great way to maintain and improve shoulder strength but don’t forget that you still need to keep that body fat low and workout the rest of your body.

They Improve Your Grip and Forearm Strength

Handstands can help you increase your grip strength immensely.

When doing a handstand you need to use your fingers to stay balanced and to keep your body from falling. Being in the handstand position forces you to constantly adjust your position and that requires your fingers and forearm muscles to stay under constant stress and adaptation.

Besides those extra benefits, once you get used to pressing yourself while upside down, you’ll find it gets easier to press any type of weight while standing.

They Are the Best Shoulder Exercise. 

Not the handstand itself, but one of its variations: The Handstand Pushup.

No other exercise, in my opinion, comes close to Full Range of Motion Handstand Push-Ups in terms of shoulder work. They’re brutal on your shoulders and upper body.

You need a set of Parallel or Parallete Bars to do the full range of motion though, otherwise your head will hit the floor before you complete the full range. But if you’re a beginner/intermediate don’t worry about those yet and focus on doing a normal handstand first.

The basic handstand or handstand pushup against the wall is also great for your shoulders and easier to do but it would be unfair to consider them the best shoulder exercise.

They Increase Your Balance and Core Strength

They’re a great addition to your daily core workout –  you can have fun doing handstands and build core strength as well.

Staying on a handstand position forces you to stabilize your muscles and you’re constantly working your abs, as well as other muscle groups such as your hip flexors, hamstrings, inner thigh muscles, obliques and lower back.

Handstands Are One Of The Most Impressive Exercises You Can Do

Let’s admit it.  If someone does a handstand at the gym, everyone turns their heads around.

Pushing your whole bodyweight against gravity is just super badass.

And they make for epic pictures like this one!

egypt pyramids reasons to handstand learn handstands

I hope I convinced you to take the time to learn how to do a handstand. You won’t regret it!

I’ll post a tutorial about the method I used to learn them soon. Stay tuned!

Top 5 Advanced Calisthenic Core Exercises

Top 5 Advanced Calisthenic Core Exercises dragon flag

Most men who work out want to have awesome abs.

In fact, if you ask most guys, it is probably the muscle group that they are most concerned about.

Having prominent, visible abs is the ultimate sign of being super fit.

But everyone knows and repeatedly does the typical ab exercises: Crunches, planks, russian twists, etc. While they may be great, doing the same exercises over and over again may drain your motivation to go the gym and stall your results.

In this article, I’m going to show you some of the most effective and advanced calisthenic core exercises that you can start doing if you’re already advanced, or start practicing the right moves so you can be able to do these awesome exercises.

They are tough – certainly not for everyone – and most certainly you won’t be able to do any of them right away.

But they are also incredibly effective – and if you are able to master them, you’ll improve your results tremendously.

The Dragon Flag

Advanced Calisthenic Core Exercises dragon flag

The dragon flag was originally popularized by Bruce Lee, and was also featured in Rocky as part of Stallone’s intensive training regime.

To do the dragon flag, you lie on a standard weight bench, and grip the end of the bench with both hands firmly for support.

At this point, slowly hoist your body up into a vertical position, with your feet pointing towards the ceiling, legs straight, and your weight resting on the back of your shoulders.

From there, the goal is to bring your legs down slowly while keeping your body as straight as possible.

Once you get to the bottom, pause, and then bring your body back up to the starting position – again, trying not to bend your knees – and at no point should your lower back make contact with the bench.

This is a very hard exercise, and to do this you’ll need to have an already well-developed core.

However, it’s awesome to do, and you’ll feel like a badass doing it.

Windshield Wipers

The windshield wiper is a more advanced variant of the hanging leg raise. Like the name implies, the purpose of the exercises is to mimic a car windshield wiper:

Grab a pull-up bar and raise your legs up like the hanging leg raise. Keep your legs straight and rotate them from side to side.

This advanced calisthenic exercise is also a great exercise to get your abs and core in shape for the next exercises on this list. Just make sure you warm up properly before doing this exercise or you’ll risk tearing your obliquus externus (the obliques). You wouldn’t be the first, believe me.

 

Front Lever

 

This is an exercise that very, very few people can do – even the ones that have been practising calisthenics for years!

To do these, you’ll want to stand under a straight pull-up bar, and grab it with a shoulder-width grip. Even a home pull-up bar will do.

Then pull yourself into a hanging position, as if you were going to do a regular pull-up – but then instead of completing the pull-up, use your core and back muscles to pull your entire body completely straight, so that you are horizontal to the ground.

This should look kind of like an upside down plank when done correctly.

From there, the goal is to try to hang on in that position as long as possible.

The Human Flag

This one sits in a way higher level of difficulty than the other 2 exercises. For me, it’s the hardest isometric core exercise of them all. I’ve been able to do front levers and dragon flags for a long time, but I still struggle with the Human Flag.

It requires incredible shoulder, core strength and endurance to pull off, but it looks awesome and impressive.

Imagine doing a dragon flag horizontally as you hold on to a pole.

In fact, when does correctly, it kind of looks like you’re floating in mid air.

 

Why You Still Don’t Have Six Pack Abs

destroy your abs calisthenics calisthenicz



I like to add the abdominal muscles into, as I like to call it, the “Stubborn Muscles” Category.

Along with the Forearms and Calves, they’re muscles that must take a heavy beating before they grow. You need to literally destroy your abs every day if you want “fast” results.

But why is that?

Why do those muscles that so long and such commitment to grow?

As most of you must know, those 3 muscle groups are activated constantly throughout our day.

Every time you take a single step, your calves are activated.

Every time you grab something with your hands, your forearms are activated.

And most of our movements while we’re standing up engage our abs.

So yeah, those muscles are used to some hard work. And If you don’t kick the living shit out of them, they won’t have any reason to grow.

Like good old Schwarzenegger says:

You have to shock the muscle.

If you haven’t seen Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Blueprint, I strongly advise you to do so:

It’s simple: The muscle won’t grow if it doesn’t need to. You have to push it to the limit.

So How Do I Destroy My Abs?

The solution for this is simple: Consistency and Variation.

“Consistent Action Creates Consistent Results”

And this why you must work on your abs every single day and even harder than you’re used to. Focusing on every movement.

If the only way you’re getting your ab training in is at the end of your workouts for 10 minutes, that’s not enough.

The core is the most important muscle group. That’s why it has that name.

It’s a fundamental supporter for every lift.

In every exercise or movement you do, you engage your abdominals. Which is why you need to be dedicating at least one full day just like you would for any other muscle group.

One full day of training just for your abdominals.

And don’t forget to include all angles and different approaches to your ab workouts. Do them on the ground, hanging, high intensity/high repetitions, isometrically, etc.

And vary your workouts.

Shock The Muscle

Use whatever equipment you have at your disposal. One of the cheapest and most effective ones I’ve used is the Ab Wheel

You’ll notice massive improvements in your abs if you’ve never used of these before. You can get a cheap one here or here.

Just make sure you do the Ab Rollouts correctly because they put a lot of strain on your lower back if done incorrectly.

Or if you don’t have access to a gym but still want to try the most advanced stuff, the only thing you need is a home pull up bar.
No excuses.

You can do hanging leg raises, or one of my favorites: Windshield Wipers.

Use your imagination and be Creative.

Your training doesn’t have to be boring and repetitive.

There are endless awesome abdominal exercises you can do with only your bodyweight.

Why do you keep doing the same ones every week?

Have some fun and mix things up!   Don’t let your body adapt to your workouts.

Don’t let it know what’s coming. 

 

Destroy your abs.

 

I hope I’ve motivated you to put in some extra work on your abs. But as we all unfortunately know, this is just one of the pillars required to build an amazing physique.

The number one factor for having visible six-pack abs is still what happens in the kitchen.

Varied and hardcore workouts may give you super strong abdominals, but they’ll be safely covered behind a nice wall of fat.

So if you want to show off your hard earned abs, make sure you have a good diet and an overall healthy and unstressful lifestyle.

 



How To Increase Your Pull Up Repetitions

increase pull up repetitions calisthenics

I’m a huge pull-up and chin up fan.

It’s by far, my favorite exercise and one of the best bodyweight exercises that you can do to build a bigger back at home or at the gym.

If you’re not implementing them on your current workouts, I strongly recommend you to do so.

 

 

Here are 4 benefits of doing pull-ups regularly if you still aren’t convinced:

1. Functional Strength: As humans, we perform a wide range of movements on a daily basis, including standing, walking, pushing, pulling, twisting, turning, etc. By improving your functional strength through dynamic compound exercises like pull-ups, you strengthen the relationship between your nervous and muscular systems.

2. Posture Improvement: As you strengthen your back and core muscles, you can achieve better posture. When your posture improves, you appear longer and leaner.

3. Back Pain Alleviation: A lot of people sit on the drive to work, sit in front of a computer all day, and then sit driving home. You might even sit on the couch once you’re home. All of this cumulative sitting increases the physiological load on your back. By strengthening your back and core muscles with the pull-up, you reduce your chances of future back pain and injury.

4. Better Looking Physique: Want to look great in that tank top? Pull-ups help define your back and biceps and work your core. All of this makes your waist look smaller. For guys, it can also help create the “V” shape.

But this exercise can be very difficult to do for an increased amount of repetitions.

Even the most advanced lifters struggle to increase their pull up repetitions after hitting a certain plateau.

 

Have you ever noticed that chin-ups are way easier to do than pull-ups? But why is that? They both target the back, why would one be a lot harder than the other?

It’s not about the bicep helping or not.

 

 

The reason is that while both forms do target the back, the pull up requires a much heavier involvement of the arms.

In the pull-up, your forearms (specifically your brachioradialis muscle) is required to contribute much more than it is in the chinup. This muscle, if not trained enough, can become your weak link in performing more reps of the pull-up exercise.

Brachioradialis muscle how to increase pull up repetitions calisthenics
Brachioradialis Muscle

 

The brachioradialis is most active when your hands are in a pronated position and when your elbow is flexed.

In order to increase your pull-up repetitions, it’s a must that you work your brachioradialis muscle.

How To Make The Brachioradialis Stronger

The best way I’ve found to work on this muscle is to simply wrap a towel around your pull up bar and hold on top of it for as long as you can or do regular pull-ups that way.

Wrapping a towel around the bar makes it thicker, thus harder to grip and thus harder on your hands and forearms.

That’s the idea around Fat Gripz. Making the bar thicker so you put in more work on your forearms and hands.

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When I was working specifically on improving my pull-ups I used to hold on top the bar for 30-45 seconds around 3 times a day.

I definitely recommend you getting a  Home Pull Up Bar, so that everytime you enter your room, you remember to do that exercise.

If you rather use dumbbells, I’ve found that Hammer Curls and Reverse Forearm Curls work best.

If you’re really dedicated to improving your pull up repetition number, you should dedicate a single day in the gym just for forearms, or start working on them after your regular arm workout. Just remember, that focusing on your targeted muscle is crucial to developing it and doing the exercise properly.

Note that you use your forearms in many daily activities, so just like your calves, they need to take a beating to grow stronger.

Slowly build up your strength in these forearm exercises and you will find that your pull-ups will improve. Along with strengthening your core which is vital in every lift you make.

Even if you can’t do one pull-up right now, you can start to increase the number that you can do by working on this little worked arm and forearm muscle.

If you want more info about the brachioradialis muscle influence on your pull up repetition number check out this video:

Are you happy with your pull-ups? Check out why you still don’t have six-pack abs!

Note: This advice is for the intermediate/advanced athlete that can already do 8-10 pull-ups and is stuck on that number. If you’re still at 2-3 repetitions I suggest that you just keep doing pull-ups regularly and work on your back with other back exercises like Lat Pulldowns.

Want to show your friends the real reason why you’re stuck in the same number of pull up repetitions for ages? Make sure you share this article with them!