Achieving Advanced Calisthenics Skills: Planche, Front Lever, and More

3 min read

Calisthenics, also known as bodyweight training, has gained popularity in recent years as an effective way to build strength, flexibility, and endurance using only your bodyweight. While basic calisthenics exercises like push-ups and pull-ups are already challenging, there are advanced skills that take the practice to a whole new level. In this article, we will delve into some of the most coveted calisthenics skills, including the planche, front lever, and more, and discuss how to achieve them through a progressive training plan.

The Planche: Defying Gravity

The planche is a remarkable calisthenics skill where the body is held parallel to the ground, supported by only the hands, without any contact with the floor. Achieving a planche requires tremendous upper body and core strength, as well as wrist and shoulder mobility.

Training Tips:

Start with basic exercises like push-ups, dips, and tuck planches to build strength in the arms, shoulders, and core.

Gradually progress to advanced exercises like straddle planches and full planches, focusing on maintaining proper form and balance.

Include specific wrist and shoulder mobility exercises in your routine to prevent injuries and facilitate a deeper range of motion.

The Front Lever: A Showcase of Back Strength

The front lever is a static hold where the body is held horizontally with the arms straight, facing upwards, and parallel to the ground. This challenging skill primarily targets the back muscles, especially the lats, while also engaging the core and arms.

Training Tips:

Begin with exercises such as Australian pull-ups, bodyweight rows, and straight arm hangs to develop the necessary back and grip strength.

Progress to advanced variations like tucked front levers and straddle front levers, gradually increasing the duration of the holds.

Incorporate exercises that strengthen the core and improve body control, such as leg raises and hollow body holds.

The Human Flag: Defying Gravity Sideways

The human flag is an incredible calisthenics move that involves gripping a vertical pole or bar and holding the body horizontally, with arms fully extended. This skill showcases exceptional upper body and core strength, as well as tremendous shoulder stability.

Training Tips:

Build foundational strength through exercises like pull-ups, push-ups, and planks, focusing on developing a strong core and stable shoulders.

Utilize exercises like side plank holds, windshield wipers, and L-sit pull-ups to specifically target the muscles used in the human flag.

Gradually progress to more challenging variations, such as straddle flags and full human flags, while continuously working on maintaining proper form and balance.

The Muscle-Up: The Ultimate Upper Body Combination

The muscle-up is a compound exercise that combines a pull-up with a dip, requiring explosive strength and coordination. It involves pulling yourself up from a hanging position to a position where the chest is close to or above the bar, then transitioning into a dip and returning to the starting position.

Training Tips:

Begin by improving your pull-up and dip strength through exercises like eccentrics, assisted variations, and negative reps.

Work on explosive pull-ups and dips to develop the necessary power to execute the muscle-up transition.

Break down the movement into its components, focusing on mastering each part separately before attempting the full muscle-up.


Achieving advanced calisthenics skills like the planche, front lever, human flag, and muscle-up requires dedication, patience, and a progressive training plan. By gradually building strength, improving mobility, and focusing on proper form, these monumental feats of bodyweight mastery can be within reach. Remember to always prioritize safety, listen to your body, and enjoy the journey of pushing your limits in the world of calisthenics.

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