The key to building muscle optimally with calisthenics or any other discipline is this chart. It shows you how difficult exercises should you choose to increase your strength, muscle mass or muscular endurance. As you can see, optimal repetiton range for hypertrophy, which is muscle growth, is between 7 and 11. So, for example, if you are doing a bench press and primarily you want to build muscle, then you should use such a weight that allows you to do 7 to 11 repetitions maximum. If you can do more, then you should increase the weight. If you can’t do that many reps you can either decrease the weight or build up strength doing less than 7 reps. Of course, when using weights it’s very easy to adjust difficulty of each exercise by changing weight slightly, but in bodyweight training we can do it aswell. Here I will present a few ways to adjust difficulty of bodyweight exercises using the most popular ones as an example: push ups, pull ups and squats. 1. Time of motion slow down the movement to increase the difficulty of an exercise. If you can do 30 push ups at a normal pace, you probably will do only half of it in a slower pace. And 15 slower reps will definetely give you a better results regarding muscle growth, than 30 quick ones. 2. Range of motion changing range of motion is also a way to adjust difficulty of an exercise. In general you should always aim for the biggest range of motion possible, but in some exercises, like pull ups, range of motion will be limited by your strength. In such cases, after you achieve the full range of motion, adjust it to get difficulty allowing you to do 7-11 reps of this exercise. 3. Weight distribution in most exercises you use both of your hands or legs to do it, so by changing their individual share of weight in pulling or pushing movement you can increase or decrease the difficulty and thus maximum repetitons. Leaning more towards one arm in pull ups or push ups will make the exercise much harder. Just don’t forget to do it on both sides. 4. Additional weight adding weight, thus increasing your overall mass is also a great way to make exercises harder, although this method requires additional equipment. However, you should consider investing in weight vest, as this piece of equipment is very useful and makes building muscle with calisthenics much easier. As you can see there are many ways to alternate bodyweight exercises to make them as difficult as you need it to be. Just remeber to stay in optimal hypertrophy repetiton range and you’ll be good. Ok, so now we know how to choose repetitions and exercises. What about sets?
We should do the same thing as bodybuilders 3 to 5 sets of each exercise, without mixing them. Don’t do circuits like 10 pull ups, 30 push ups and 20 dips for a set. This kind of training is mostly for muscular endurance. And that’s all for this video, I hope you’ve learned something with me. Remember that proper training is only one part of building muscle. The other one is diet, of course, but I’m not touching that subject in this video. Leave a thumb up if you found this video informational and I’ll see you soon.