“How much do you bench bro?” is the most common question to compare strength levels at the gym. However we think a better question is “how well can you handle your own bodyweight?”. Being strong in relation to your own size allows you to be more explosive, performing impressive calisthenic moves and controlling your own bodyweight with ease in general. By attempting the following 6 calisthenics exercises to test your strength you can check on which level you are right now and if you have any specific weak points.
What you will learn in this article:
The first of our calisthenics exercises to test your strength is Passive Hang. Hanging from a bar mostly tests your grip, which is determined by the strength of your hands and forearms. Having a strong grip is not only important for many calisthenics exercises but also for other sports such as climbing, lifting weights and even some everyday activities. So the weaker your grip the more you are limited in all of these activities. Just think about it! How should you train your back in pull ups or your Abs in knee raises effectively if your grip is always the limiting factor?
To test your relative grip strength just hang from a bar with relaxed shoulders and completely straight arms as long as possible. Important Tip: Hanging with thumbs over the bar transfer better into real-life situations, such as any form of climbing or getting over fences or walls. With the thumbs under the bar you have more hand surface area on the bar and this leads to a better grip. It’s also the safer grip, especially for exercises like explosive bar muscle ups.
The requirements are:
- 30 seconds for absolute beginners
- 60 seconds for intermediate
- and over 90 seconds for slightly advanced athletes
If you want to improve your grip strength we suggest practicing passive hangs regularly. Of course it’s also possible to use other exercises and tools to improve that ability.
This movement tests your static support strength for muscles like the shoulders, chest, triceps and the serratus anterior. The frog stand has a good carry over effect for exercises like the Bend Arm Handstand, the Elbow Lever and even some planche or Press to Handstand progressions. To do it right make sure to support yourself by keeping contact between your thighs and elbows, while still actively pushing yourself up with upper body strength.
The requirements for the Frog Stand are:
- 20 seconds with feet support for beginners
- 20 seconds without feet support for intermediates
- and over 40 seconds without feet support for slightly advanced athletes
Don’t worry if you have to rebalance yourself a bit when trying this exercise. This is totally normal because balance is a crucial part of this movement.
While the regular plank is a good test for your abdominal strength and front support strength, the side plank tests the often neglected obliques and leg abductors.
The requirements for this exercise are:
- 20 seconds with feet support from both legs for beginners
- 20 seconds with one leg support for intermediates
- and over 40 seconds with one leg for slightly advanced athletes
To do it right make sure to raise your body as high as possible and aim for maximum lateral flexion in your spine. You don’t pass the test if you hang in your structures like that!
Here we’re testing your leg and glute strength. To make this test accessible to as many people as possible we don’t do it in a deep squat position. Don’t get us wrong, a deep squat is a really good exercise but it would make the test harder in terms of mobility and not strength. For this test you should hold the squat position with your hips at knee height while keeping your torso as upright as possible. If you can’t get that deep without sacrificing proper form just work with your current range of motion. If your ankle mobility is the biggest issue It’s also possible to put something below your heels to work around this problem.
For the Squat you should aim for the following requirements:
- 30 seconds for beginners
- 60 seconds for intermediates
- and over 90 seconds for slightly advanced athletes
Typewriter Pull Up
Here you need your lats, lower traps, forearms, biceps and even your chest to some degree. This exercise looks very advanced at first sight, but is easier than it seems. All you need are 2-3 regular pull ups, the right technique and a good static strength in the top position. We strongly recommend doing this exercise on rings because it’s much easier and way more joint friendly than on a bar.
Rings allow you to rotate the arm into the most comfortable position without losing the grip, while the bar forces you to make some adjustments during the movement. The most important point to succeed with this test is the right arm to torso position. Bring your arm slightly in front and fix them as close to your torso as possible. Also make sure to move slowly and don’t extend it too quickly.
To pass this test you have to meet the following requirements:
- a 20 second High Pull Up hold for absolute beginners, which can also be done on a bar
- a Half Typewriter for beginners to intermediates
- and one full Typewriter for intermediate to slightly advanced athletes
Wall Supported Handstand Hold
This exercise tests your overhead support strength which is mostly determined by your delts and upper traps. The best way to start is by trying the Pike stand first. Here you place your feet onto an object like a chair while aiming for a nearly vertical position with your upper body. We don’t want to test your hamstring flexibility so it’s totally fine if you do this exercise with bent knees. The most important point for this test is your shoulder position. Always make sure to elevate your shoulder blades as much as possible and at the same time, try to open your shoulder angle as much as you can.
When trying the real handstand later you can do it with the belly or the back facing the wall. However, we highly recommend letting the belly facing the wall. With this execution you don’t have to place your body as close as possible to the wall to maintain the correct form. Only make sure your body is straight itself. Important tip: Don’t forget to save a bit of strength to get back to the ground safely.
The requirements for this test are:
- a 20 second pike stand for beginners
- a 20 second handstand hold for intermediates
- and a 40 second handstand hold for advanced athletes
All right guys these were the 6 calisthenics exercises to test your strength. Just give them a try and leave your results in the comments. Did you pass them all or do you have any weak points in a specific category? Also make sure to check our calisthenics workout programs on calimove.com to improve your strength in all of these tests evenly. No matter if you’re a beginner or already pretty advanced, we got you covered.
Watch the video to see the 6 calisthencis exercises in action
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