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Calisthenics 101

Stemming from the ancient Greek words kalós (καλός), meaning "beauty", and sthénos (σθένος), meaning "strength", calisthenics (aka Street Workout) uses bodyweight training techniques to build lean muscle and improve psychomotor skills such as balance and agility. It has grown rapidly on a global scale, largely because:

  • It requires little to no equipment — making it accessible to the masses
  • It's highly effective — dramatically improves functional strength and physique
  • It's fun, sexy, and challenging — different from the same-old gym routine

Respect the Rubber!

Rubberbanditz, our unique resistance bands, help you simplify, master, and then build on key calisthenics movements to accelerate your progress. In this section we lay out how Rubberbanditz will help you perform unassisted handstands, front levers, planches, and muscle ups.

Our bands can immediately advance your regular push ups to handstand push ups and your pull ups to muscle ups. By adding assistance to your body’s natural strength Rubberbanditz enables you to perform extra reps and hold static positions longer, making faster incremental strength gains.

Featured Calisthenic Exercises

Front Lever

This leverage exercise strengthens your back and core. Each inch in height adds foot-pounds of resistance pressure, thus making it more challenging [but not impossible] for taller, heavier people.

Follow the progressions in order below. Once you can hold any one for 30 seconds try advancing to the next progression.

step 1

Progression 1 Tuck Front Lever

Start in the tuck front lever position by leaning back, pulling your hips up and tucking into a ball.

tuck front lever, tuck front lever position

Progression 2  Advanced Tuck Front Lever

Make sure your back remains parallel to the floor, even if it is rounded. Slowly pull your knees away from your chest.

single leg tuck lever

Progression 3 Single Leg Tuck Lever

From the tuck position extend the banded leg outward keeping your body straight.

straddle front lever

Progression 4 Straddle Front Lever

Keep your core activated and glutes tight as you spread your legs apart.

full front lever

Progression 5 Full Front Lever

Bring both legs together and hold.

resisted front lever

Progression 6 Resisted Front Lever

Attach a light band to your ankles and fight the resistance as you raise your body.


*Note: An advanced variation is to start in a standing position with your hands on the bar and raise your hips and legs simultaneously into a front lever.

By breaking down the progressions, and using Rubberbanditz for assistance, you will incrementally improve, and ultimately master the lever.

assisted muscle up

Muscle Up

Muscle Ups are a challenging upper body exercise that combine a pull up and a dip. The complex movement works almost every upper body muscle group: back, chest, shoulders, core, biceps, and triceps.

assisted muscle up

Pro Tips:

  • Use a 'false grip' by pointing your hand inwards, flex your wrists, and try to place as much of your wrists and hands on top of the bar (similar to the photo).
  • Bend slightly at the hips and keep feet slightly out in front during your pullup.
  • Lean your shoulders over your hands immediately at the top of your pullup for leverage.
  • Think of pulling the bar down in front of you so that you go behind the bar (you won't make it by pulling yourself up under the bar).
  • Wrap your thumbs around the bar to avoid slipping off.
  • Synchronize leg kicking and arm pulling movements while transitioning between the pullup and the dip at the top.
  • Pull the bar to your hips once you've made it over the bar. This helps force your body upward and sets your elbows for the dip.
assisted muscle up

Assisted Muscle Up (Beginner)

Variation 1: Fasten the band to a pull up bar (see image beside PRO TIPS above). Place one foot into the looped band and grasp the bar. Feel the band’s elastic retraction help get you up over the bar. Brace your shoulders and elbows at the top before continuing upward while performing a straight bar dip.

Variation 2: Secure a band horizontally across a rack underneath a pull up bar at a height that comfortably assists your range of motion. Use the band for assistance to propel you up and over the bar.

resisted muscle up

Resisted Muscle Up

Secure the band(s) to a low lying anchor point and attach the other end to your feet, waist, or shoulders. Muscle your way through each rep while resisting the force of the band.

assisted muscle up on the ring

Assisted Muscle Up on the Rings

Position the band around your thumbs to help lock in a secure false grip on the rings.


This static hold works your abs, arms, shoulders, back, and chest. Holding your body parallel to the ground requires strength and balance. Using parallettes, push up bars, or Strength Wraps can help reduce excess stress on your wrists.

The [arguably] only way to accomplish the full front planche is to work through progressions, which we’ve outlined below. Once you can maintain the static hold for 60 seconds in these positions it’s time to progress onto the next one.

truck planche using ankle straps, truck planche with ankle straps

1. Frog Truck Planche using ankle straps

Place your hands on the floor next to your toes and slowly lean forward while resting your knees on your elbows.

truck planche

2. Truck Planche

Similar to the Frog Stand, except that as you lean forward your body weight should be on your arms and shoulders alone. Elbows and knees should not touch. Tuck the knees tightly against the chest and arch the back for stability.

advance truck planche, advanced truck planche

3.  Advanced Tuck Planche

From the Tuck Planche position, extend your hips back until your back is completely flat. Simply flattening the back will make this exercise significantly more challenging.

straddle planche

4.  Straddle Planche

Starting in the Advanced Tuck Planche, slowly extend your knees out behind you. Lean forward slightly as your legs travel back to compensate for the weight imbalance. Spreading your legs wider will help your balance.

full planche

5.  Full Planche

From the Straddle Planche position slowly bring your legs together.

full planche, full planche position

6.  Full Planche

From the Planche, maintain your hips and shoulders level as you descend and then press back up. Make sure not to dip your shoulders forward. Fully straighten the elbows at the top.

Planche Up

Pro Tips

  • Go slow to maintain balance.
  • Add pillows under you to cushion crash landings.
  • Aim to keep your body parallel to the ground.
  • Be patient! This is a challenging exercise that takes time to master.

 Ultimate Badass Progressions 

Planche Up

Resisted Planche

Wrap a band around your back and hold or stabilize the ends. Positioning the band further up towards your shoulder blades will help propel you forward.

Planche Up

Resisted Planche Pushups

From the planche, maintain your hips and shoulders level as you descend and then press back up. Make sure not to dip your shoulders forward. Fully straighten the elbows at the top.


Practicing your handstands improves your overall athletic performance. Handstand training builds shoulder mobility and strength endurance, tightens your core, and activates many smaller stabilizer muscles in your back that protect the spine.

Handstand Positioning:

Hands: Keep hands shoulder width apart with fingers spread out. Try and grip the ground using your fingers to counterbalance any swaying in your lower body.

Elbows: Position your elbows facing forward. Lock out your arms to evenly distribute your bodyweight.

Lower Body: Clench your glutes, core and legs as tightly as possible to help elongate your body.

Handstand Progression:

Back to Wall: Kick up so your back is flat against the wall then kick up into the handstand using the wall to balance yourself.

Face to Wall: Start in a pushup position with your feet low on the wall. Walk your feet up the wall, inching your hands back as you climb until your nose faces the wall. Don’t forget to breathe!


Which bands are right for me?

Planche Up

Basic Calisthenics Kit:

Ideal for those who are just getting started on their calisthenics fitness quest.

Planche Up

Bar Masters Calisthenics Kit:

A well-rounded portable training solution that provides seven distinct resistance levels by combining one, two, or three bands to accommodate progression.

Planche Up

Full Stack Calisthenics Kit:

The comprehensive functional training tool belt that comes with a full suite of all six bands.

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