Calisthenics: The Six Best Exercises for Shoulders, Abs, Chest & Triceps

When I was learning the basics of , I was told that there was no way you would be able to include progressive overload with bodyweight-only . Boy, were they wrong! Don’t listen to them. Think about all the bar athletes, street workout artists, and gymnasts that pervade the calisthenics scene.

YouTube Vavha Fitness demonstrates 6 of the best exercises to target the abs, , , and , ranging from beginner to movements:

Russian Dip

The first variation you’ll notice is the russian dip. This dip variation should only be performed if you’ve mastered the regular dip.

  • Type: Strength
  • Main Worked: Triceps
  • Equipment: Parallel Bars
  • Level: Intermediate

Image result for dip russian exercise

Image Source: MannaWeb.net

Instructions

  • Get into dipping position between parallel bars. From here, go as low as you can.
  • At the bottom position, lean back, so that your forearms are resting on the bar.
  • Quickly thrust forward using your elbows and triceps to the bottom dipping position, and press back upwards.
  • Use your core to stabilize your body, and lean forward as you press back up.

korean dip

I’m not too sure about these multicultural names. Did the Korean dip originate in Korea, and did the Russian dip originate in Russia?

Who knows.

All I know is that the Korean Dip requires a ton of shoulder flexibility and is one of the most advanced calisthenic shoulder .

  • Type: Strength
  • Main Muscle Worked: Shoulders
  • Equipment: Parallel Bars
  • Level: Advanced

Image result for exercise korean dip

Image source: King of the Gym

Instructions

  • Start off by sitting on one side of the parallel bar, or any straight bar, as shown in the image. Grab the bar behind you with a palms facing away grip.
  • Slowly extend your body and slide down slowly.
  • Open up your chest and curve your legs backwards as your push your body back, and then push back up.
  • Do not allow your body to just “slip” backwards. This is a purely controlled movement, even though it may seem as though an advanced trainee is swinging his or her body up and down.

L-SIT Freestyle

This one’s new to me. What a great way to work your abs! The L-sit typically is a boring . Well, this variation makes it just a tad bit more fun.

  • Type: Strength
  • Main Muscle Worked: Abdominals
  • Equipment: Parallel Bars
  • Level: Intermediate

Image Source: VahvaFitness.com

Instructions

  • Start off by getting into dipping position between a set of parallel bars. From here, bring your legs straight up into the L-sit hold.
  • You can perform various movements from this position including alternating leg lifts, double leg lifts, horizontal scissor over the bars, vertical scissor alternating, bicycles, and more.
  • Be creative and try to go for a good minute.

Pike Push-up

This movement can also be done with your hands on the floor with feet elevated. It is the one of the few movements that directly target the shoulders with a very short learning curve.

  • Type: Strength
  • Main Muscle Worked: Shoulders
  • Equipment: Parallel Bars
  • Level: Beginners

Image Source: HIIT Academy

Instructions

  • Climb up top of a set of parallel bars with hands and legs in such that you form an upside down V position as shown in the image.
  • This exercise can also be done with hands on the floor or grabbing a set of handles. For feet placement, keep them on the floor or place them upon a surface for greater difficulty.
  • From here, dip your head between your hands while bending your elbows. Do not let the head touch the ground.
  • You will be able to practice greater range of motion if using pushup handles or parallel bars.

One-Leg Pushups

Another great movement targeting the chest while also engaging the abs.

  • Type: Strength
  • Main Muscle Worked: Chest
  • Equipment: Parallel Bars
  • Level: Beginners

Image Source: Top.me

Instructions

  • If performing the movement on a pair of parallel bar, make sure that you are able to maintain your balance while keeping one foot on one bar.
  • If not, then you are better of executing the exercise on the floor. Start off in a pushup position. As you lower your body to the ground, lift one leg off the ground and execute the exercise.
  • Either alternate between legs, or perform all reps with one leg off the ground before moving to the other side.

Archer dip

A complicated movement with maximal benefit for your triceps, shoulders, abs, and chest! Trainee beware…

  • Type: Strength
  • Main Muscle Worked: Shoulders
  • Equipment: Parallel Bars
  • Level: Advanced

Image Source: Waa-Muh

Instructions

  • Place on arm straight out on a surface to the side as shown in the image, while bending the other arm in a dipping position.
  • Perform the dip. Much like an archer pushup or pullup, we are essentially training on side at a type.
  • This will work best if you have a wider space between the bars. Therefore portable dipping bars or dipping stations will work better.
  • Or, you can execute the movement as shown in the video.

For more gymnastics-based calisthenics exercises and workouts, check out Calisthenics Academy. Click here for more info!

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