Tag Archives: calisthenics

Strength VS Skill Training

Handstand in the WoodsHave you ever wondered how professional athletes can train almost daily for SEVERAL hours per day? Well, according to this correlation, it is possible only in one case: they are so strong and conditioned that their sport training is not that intense for them anymore. It is skill work for them rather than strength.

[NOTE: The higher your training frequency and volume, the lower your training intensity should be. Otherwise, you will overtrain]

So, what if you could take this idea and somehow implement it in your own training for more results and fun? Check out what I came up with.

Strength or Skill?

Continue reading

The Planche: So, How Can You Achieve It?

Top-Planche-on-Pedestals

The Planche is easily one of the most impressive bodyweight skills out there, if not the most. Maybe it is not the hardest gymnastic position, but for an average fitness enthusiast (especially if he/she wasn’t competing in gymnastics since childhood), holding a Full Planche for 5 seconds is a great achievement by all means.

The Planche is the skill that requires nerves of steel and infinite determination. You won’t achieve it overnight/in 4 weeks/for some individuals even in several years. Patience is your biggest friend in this affair, not ego.

The Planche is also one of the most unforgiving skills out there. Move to a harder variation too soon and you will most certainly win a jackpot of wrist and forearm injuries, lack of progress and frustration.

Furthermore, the Planche, as any other advanced gymnastic skill, has its clear and unquestionable technique points:

– Your elbows should be completely locked during holding the position.

– You should maintain a so-called hollow body position. Your lower back should not arch compensating the lack of upper body strength.

– Your scapulae should be protracted as much as possible.

If you don’t meet any of these requirements, I’m sorry to frustrate you, but it wasn’t a real Planche on that video you posted on YouTube.

Finally, I like the Planche because it requires no equipment and seems to question the gravity.

OK, I’m done with this unexpectedly long intro. Two minutes of your life spent on reading it are gone. Deal with it. On the bright side, what you can read below may be exactly what you were looking for.

Just recently, I was lucky enough to interview several calisthenics experts on the theme of the Planche. I am quite pleased with the result and I believe you can benefit from this information big time. My goal with this improvised round table was to gather different opinions on training the Planche. You will be able to see how different people approach the process of obtaining the same skill, which I find educating. Read, absorb, and use the information below.

Here is the full list of participants (in no particular order):

– Yuri Marmerstein;

– Ryan Hurst;

– Alessio Proietti;

– Steven Low;

– Alan Thong;

– Al Kavadlo;

– Max Shank;

– And of course, I couldn’t possibly leave you without my own answers. So, yes, you will have to read that stuff that Alex Zinchenko finds funny and relevant to the theme (writing in third person about yourself makes everything much more serious).

Without further ado, let me present you the Rough Strength Planche Round Table. Enjoy!


1. Introduce yourself. Tell us about your training experience. Continue reading

How to Incorporate Static Exercises into Your Training Routine

The Only Way to Perform Static ExercisesSo you want to take your strength training to another level. You are certain that lifting weights is not your limit and you definitely need some cool statics like the Handstand or the Planche in your routine. Here comes the tricky part: how to incorporate both static and dynamic exercises into a sound training program without sacrificing too much of a progress?

Well, this article will help you to answer this question.

What Static Exercises?

You probably know and have seen the cool stuff like the Human Flag, but are bodyweight statics your only options? No. There are tons of static exercises you can perform with heavy weights. Let me somewhat classify them: Continue reading

The Pulley System: The Best Thing That Happened to Calisthenics

The Pulley System: The Best Thing That Happened to CalisthenicsIt is the 100th post here on Rough Strength, so I decided to make it special. Not long time ago I managed to set up a pulley system at home destroying neither the walls, nor the ceiling (more on this later), and I am truly amazed with the results of my experimentation with it. I will go further and state that the pulley system invention is possibly the best thing that happened to heavy calisthenics. If you strive to learn advanced skills like Planche or One-Arm Chin-Up, then this can be your lucky ticket.

Why Is the Pulley System So Awesome?

First of all, why should you bother? Continue reading

What Equipment to Add to Your Training Arsenal

What Equipment to Add to Your Training Arsenal

Rough Strength is all about getting more with less – getting stronger with anything you have at hand, getting a good diet with less money investment, being smarter about your training and nutrition, etc. It is a minimalist approach that shows you how to become a better version of you starting right now, not in some distant future that depends on whether you will be able to attend a gym or not. It is excuse-proof and excuse-free. That is why I like it so much.

However, what to do if you have been implementing the Rough Strength Method for a decent period of time, have some extra money, and crave some equipment variety? It is not really necessary, but if you add right tools to your training arsenal, you can benefit big time. And the sweetest thing is that some of them will not cost you a lot of money.

So I created the Rough Strength chart of the possibly useful additional equipment. I am assuming that you are already familiar with the Rough Strength Triad: calisthenics, sandbags, and kettlebells. Still I will devote a couple of paragraphs to these bad boys. Furthermore, I have put the tools in a specific order. The more effective/versatile/cheap implements will be higher, the less effective/versatile/the more expensive – lower.

Without further ado, the Rough Strength chart of what is useful: Continue reading

Bodyweight Reverse Pyramid Training

Rough Strength Back Lever on RingsSo I have not been releasing new articles for quite some time. You may think: “Ah… He just gets drunk every night and is so hungover that cannot even type”. There is no fucking way for this to be true. I was busy with some useful things, which I will reveal at the end.

And now I would like to kick some ass with an article about the training approach that I consider the one of the most effective out there. Enter the Reverse Pyramid Training.

What Is Reverse Pyramid Training [RPT]?

It all started in my early training days. I experimented a bit with an approach  that everybody called “Reverse Pyramid Training”. There was no information on it, and I had no access to the internet at that time. It was a pure assumption that if you can ramp the weight up every set, you should be able to do it other way around. Due to the lack of expertise and  the moronic race to increase the working weight every session I was not able to get any meaningful results. As a consequence, I dropped the approach and considered it ineffective for some time.

Several years ago I was introduced to a reasonable version of Reverse Pyramid Training by this article. Martin Berkhan claimed it to be “the most successful” for him and his clients. The photos and videos proved his words. After that, I have seen lots of people all over the internet who used this approach with success.

So what is this Reverse Pyramid Training? Continue reading

The Most Flexible Set/Repetition Scheme Ever

Why Not Lee Haney?In one comment to my previous article I promised to write a post on the most flexible set/repetition scheme ever. So I decided not to put it away too far and to create another epic piece. Will it really be epic finally or like other Rough Strength articles? I don’t know. All I can say that it will be flexi-flexi-flexible.

What Is Flexible Set/Rep Scheme?

The most flexible set/rep scheme [FSRS] is an unconventional way to organize your workout. Instead of boring 5 sets of 5 or 3 sets of 10, or 8 sets of 3, or 4 sets of 4, or 3 sets of 3, or 4 sets of 12, or 3 sets of 6, or any other X sets of Y you count only total number or reps (number of sets doesn’t really matter as long as you meet your volume requirement (your total)). Continue reading