Training skills is one of the more rewarding elements of calisthenics training.
Some skills require a bar or rings, like the Front Lever or Muscle Up.
Others rely on a pole like the human flag,
But a lot of calisthenics and gymnastics skills can be done on the floor or parallettes making them ideal for training at home, whether it is out of choice or necessity.
This article is going to take you through what skills you can train at home without any equipment and how to train skills in the comfort of your own apartment or house.
What Is Skill Training?
Skills are complex movements and holds that use multiple muscle groups across your whole body.
Skills are often based on gymnastics skills such as the LSit or Half Lever and Handstands or Planche, but they also include more advanced Yoga based skills such as the Crowstand and Tiger Bend.
Skill Training is training to learn these advanced kinds of movements, they take the strength you have and challenge you to apply it beyond the simpler reps and sets game that you typically see in the gym environment.
How To Train Skills
Training skills can be as simple or as complex as is necessary to acquire the skill that you are training towards,
It will involve strength mobility and control combined together to teach your body to move through or maintain any given position.
Training skills takes a lot of energy and attention and will force you to think about your training as well as doing the work itself.
Progression Exercises are easier forms of a skill that will help you get to the full skill.
Isometric Skills are holds, these often use levers and hinges in your body.
Progression exercises for isometric skills involve shortening the lever to make the skill easier, and as your strength and control improve, you are able to increase the distance of the lever until you reach the full skill.
Dynamics skills are slightly different. These are skills where you move from one position to another, such as a handstand push up, and have less of an obvious pattern to progress.
They do usually involve a few kinds of movement though, negative reps, isometrics and mini reps.
Dynamic skills are usually more advanced versions of isometric skills and will take more work to achieve, because you need to master the initial skill before you can change it into a dynamic rep.
Before you think I have gone off on a tangent here . . .
All of this can be done at home.
Training Calisthenics Skills At Home
All you need to train skills at home is a little bit of space.
Depending on the skill, this will usually be a little bit of floor space, but it could also include a wall for handstands.
If you have parallettes these can also give you a little bit of an advantage by raising you slightly off the ground, but aren't necessary.
You may have to get a little creative with how and where you train your skills at home depending on how much space you have available, but if you re-shuffle a few bits in your living room you can usually make enough space very easily.
At my old house, I had to slide our coffee table up against the sofa to be able to train my planche and wall handstand progressions like HSPUs
But this is easy to do and can quickly be replaced as to not cause any arguments with house mates or spouses and partners.
Realistically speaking you should be able to find space in your house or flat to train your skills but just in case, you can always use your balcony or garden so there's really no excuse for neglecting any kind of skill training at home.
The biggest issue is usually picking a skill to train based on what kit you have available.
What Skills Can You Train Without Equipment?
If you only have floor/wall space available to you, there are more than enough skills to train to keep you busy for months and potentially years.
Here are a few ideas to get you started
The LSit or Half Lever is a very basic gymnastics skill that can be done on the floor, parallettes or even hanging from a bar.
LSits will challenge your core strength, shoulder stability and your ability to straighten your legs.
You can get a great workout at home just by training your LSit, and once you have mastered it, you have a load of dynamic variations available to train that will take your LSit and core strength to the next level.
You also have transitions into and out of the LSit, but they often require parallettes so that you can move your legs through your hands without touching the floor.
The Crowstand is a Yoga skill that is commonly used in calisthenics and gymnastics training as a progression for more advanced skills and as a conditioning exercise.
It will help you develop your hand balancing for handstands and will train your core and shoulders surprisingly well.
Once you have a stable crow you can start thinking about variations like a single leg, and progressing on to more complex strength based exercises like a press to handstand and even handstand push ups.
The Crowstand is one of those often neglected skills that actually open up a lot of fun challenges in your training that will make you very strong very quickly. All without leaving your house!
The handstand is an obvious choice for home training.
You can do it in doors outdoors and basically wherever you are and is one of those skills that is used in CrossFit, Yoga and Gymnastics and is plastered all over Instagram and other social media platforms, making it a very popular goal.
The handstand can be trained against a wall in various positions, and once you have got competent enough, free standing.
From there the only way is up and there are variations and transitions that will keep you busy for as long as you can imagine new and interesting movements within hand balancing, from handstand push ups to one arm handstands to crazy contortion positions and much much more.
Handstands are one of those skills you can take further and further and one quick glance at Instagram will give you 10 more ideas for new skills to train in your handstand.
And it can all be done in the comfort of your living room!
The planche is one of those impossible skills. It is also the only comparable skill to the front and back levers that you can train on the floor (and the hardest of the three, hands down)
Training the planche at home is just as simple as the others though, and the sooner you start the sooner you master it.
It is mostly focused on shoulder strength and wrist mobility although anyone who has trained it will agree that there is a lot more to it than that.
The planche os one of the biggest strength challenges you will face when training at home, and even when you have finally mastered it, there are variations and transitions to take it up another level or two!
Think Planche Push Ups, Press To Handstand and more!
Even the planche can be taken beyond what you can currently imagine.
Getting Started With Skill Training
No matter what level you are currently at, a complete beginner to calisthenics or very advanced, there are skills to train to help you develop and push your strength and control further.
You don't need any equipment in order to do it and you will get stronger than anyone who is limited to push ups and bodyweight squats.
A lot of people don't know how to train at home to build serious strength and now you have the tools and knowledge to train in ways you never thought possible and achieve skills and levels of strength that defy gravity.
I have a few home training programs that you can get stuck into if you would like further guidance on skill training at home.
Otherwise clear a little space and get training! I’ll see you at the finish line!