How To Start Calisthenics – PUSH UPS & DIPS

Calisthenics is mostly seen as a difficult, sometimes impossible form of training. Even though it can get pretty complex and challenging, Calisthenics can be done by anyone. It is not always about spinning or jumping from bar to bar, in fact, it is about simply working out using only your own body weight. This can be done by doing simple and basic movements such as push-ups, dips, pull-ups and squats.

Lets take a look at push ups and dips.

These two movements are considered pushing exercises. They work primarily on the chest, triceps and shoulders. `

Although these patterns are considered ‘basics’ in Calisthenics, they are a bit of a challenge for some people (especially dips). However, as any other body weight exercise we can scale down into easier progressions in order to make it accessible to everyone.

Lets start by breaking down the push-up.



  1. Knee push-ups:

    This is the easiest pushing movement there is. It will teach you the proper muscle engament necessary in order to master the push-up. To do it, get on your knees and spread your hands shoulders with apart. Lower down by leaning forward and flexing your elbows. Make sure your elbows are going inward (closed to your body) and that you are in a straight line from your knees to your shoulders. After getting to the bottom position, use the strength of your chest, shoulders and triceps to push yourself back up. Once you can do about ten perfect reps, you are able to move on to the next progression.

  2. Assisted push-up:

    use any elevated surface to place your hands. This will make the push-up easier by taking away resistance and overall weight. This time you will be on your feet and your body will be straight from the very bottom to the very top of your head. As you get comfortable with a given elevation, start bringing it down and get your body as parallel to the ground as possible. Once you can do ten with little elevation, you are ready for the next progression.

  3. Low plank to high plank:

    This progression is a little bit different form the previous ones. Start on high plank (top of a push up) and lower to your forearms one at a time to get to an elbow plank. From there, move to high plank by placing one hand on the floor, pushing up and placing the other hand right next to it. This movement will increase your overall pushing strength required to perform your first push up. Once you master this move you should be ready to do your first push-up.

In order to increase your strength, choose the hardest progression for you and do as many reps as you can. Then move down in difficulty and do the same until you get to the first progression. If you can do more than ten push-ups, you are ready to add variations such as explosive, diamond and even archer push-ups.

You will be also ready for more harder pushing exercises such as the dip.

Lets take a look at its progressions.



  1. Bench dips:

    This movement will test your tricep strength. It will also teach you the range of motion necessary in order to perform a dip. Place your hands in an elevated surface behind your back and keep your feet on the ground. Lower down by flexing your elbows (keep them facing inward and closed to your body) and keep your back as close to the surface as possible. Push back up by engaging your chest, triceps and shoulders. Once you can do ten perfect reps you are ready to move on to the dip bar.

  2. Jumping negatives dips:

    This is the closest progression to the dip. By jumping to the top of the dip and lowering yourself as slow and controlled as possible, you will be able to gain the strength necessary to perform a dip. Don’t worry if you come down too fast at the beginning. Work your way up until the movement feels good and natural on the way down.

Once you feel comfortable with the negative you can try your first dip. Feel free to add variations to make the dip harder.

Remember to apply the same method of the push-up in order to get stronger in this movement.

If you want to learn more about how to apply these progressions, proper technique and especial workouts check the latest THENX youtube video bellow!

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