Calisthenics freestyle can be overwhelming. There are so many exciting and impressive moves to learn when you first begin which can leave many people wondering where to start. However, once broken down it is not so complicated.
Most calisthenics freestyle moves are based on unique and challenging variations of the push-up, pull-up, and dips. Meaning getting a good grasp of each of those basic exercises will give you a great foundation to get started.
However, there is so much more to calisthenics than just pull-ups, push-ups and dips. Once you have built a good foundation there is a whole new world that opens up that will let you perform awe-inspiring and eye-catching feats of strength, and that is the world and opportunity of calisthenics freestyle.
In this article, we will tell you about a multitude of different freestyle calisthenics moves that range from something beginner calisthenics practitioners can do, all the way up to advanced and professional moves.
Authors note: We highly recommend using a crash matt (or similar) to protect yourself from injury when learning freestyle calisthenics skills. Progress at your own pace, and where possible, with the supervision of a professional.
#1 Freestyle Push-ups
Freestyle push-ups are the best way to begin getting into freestyle calisthenics. They can be performed anywhere, without any equipment and they are also one of the best ways to show off your new calisthenics skills and progress to your friends as freestyle push-ups look very impressive.
There are many different variations of freestyle push-ups, with some being harder than others. Watch the video above by Darek Woś to learn quite a few different alterations and also an explanation of how to learn each.
Even if you are a complete beginner to freestyle calisthenics you can get started straight away on some variations of freestyle push-ups that will get the attention of many onlookers. There is also a variety of different difficulties depending on which ones you are trying to perform meaning there is a good progression system too.
#2 Skin the Cat
Skin the cat is also another great beginner calisthenics freestyle move. This move will allow you to get comfortable using gymnastic rings as well as being upside down and sideways too. This will get you used to being on gymnastic rings and will also develop your core.
This move is not too hard to learn and complete, it just requires a decent to above average level of strength and practice. It is an amazing foundation for performing many other moves that can be performed on gymnastic rings and is a good way to get started.
Once you’ve mastered the technique on the rings, you can try it on the bar. Although relatively simple, the mobility and strength needed to perform this skill will be useful when transitioning between other freestyle moves.
Watch the video above by the Calisthenics Power to see what the skin the cat looks like when performed as well as a step-to-step guide on how to complete the move.
Now we are moving on to possibly the most infamous freestyle calisthenics exercise there is. The muscle-up. This move is certainly not for beginners and can take many years of dedicated training to learn.
Anyone who can perform this move is worthy of some level of admiration for their strength and dedication to fitness. It also looks very impressive when performed and certainly grabs the attention of anyone who is nearby. Its difficulty comes from the fact that you have to have an exceptional level of strength as you are only relying on your arms to lift your whole body, it also needs an insane amount of explosiveness to get into the dip portion of the muscle-up.
Once mastered, the muscle-up will become one of the most utilised moves in freestyle calisthenics, since it’s one of the quickest way to transition on top of the bar.
Watch Thenx athlete Chris Heria above demonstrate what the muscle up looks like and provide a step-by-step guide on how it is performed. Do not be discouraged if you this move takes you a long time to learn. There isn’t many people who can perform a muscle-up!
#4 The 360 Bar Spin
This move is one you will see commonly used by calisthenics athletes in freestyle. It is one of the most popular freestyle calisthenic moves as it looks good and improves flow when performing a bar routine. It’s also one that doesn’t require an insane amount of strength to learn.
The 360 Bar spin isn’t exactly a beginner move and will take a long time to learn, however this isn’t because it requires a lot of strength to perform. The hardest part about this move is having speed, explosiveness and coordination. Because of this reason the more you practice this one, the better.
Watch the video linked above by Daniel Flefil to see this moved performed as well as a very good and well-made guide you can follow to learn the 360-bar spin.
#5 The Gienger
The Gienger, also known as the twist flip is an advanced calisthenics freestyle move. This one requires a superhuman amount of strength, power, explosiveness, speed and coordination.
This move should only be attempted by people who have trained calisthenics for years and already have a good amount of experience in freestyle. This move includes doing a flip, which is why it should only be attempted by experience calisthenics athletes as the risk of injury could be high if attempted by a beginner.
Anyone who does manage to learn and perform this move will have a truly impressive amount of skill in calisthenics freestyle and would not be out of place competing in a calisthenics tournament or event.
Watch the video linked above by nordinWORKOUT to see what a Gienger looks like when performed and also a guide on how to learn this.
#6 Alley Oop
This video by Flythenics shows you how to Alley Oop, which is an impressive trick to get yourself over the top of the bar.
Tip: Skip to 3 mins to see the 3-step tutorial for this trick.
Like most freestyle calisthenics tricks, the Alley Oop requires a mix of strength, momentum, and lack of fear to master. Similar to the 360 Bar Spin and Gienger, you’ll want to be comfortable with your swing in order to gain the large amount of momentum needed on the back-swing.
We hope you have found our list of calisthenics freestyle moves useful, and if you have any you recommend adding then please leave a comment below with a YouTube link included.
This list includes a variety of different moves from beginner moves to moves for professional athletes. Whether you want to just learn moves to gain some strength and impress your friends or if your goal is one day competing at a calisthenics freestyle event, this list has got you covered. Have fun!
Founder of www.calisthenics-101.co.uk. Training calisthenics since 2012.
Currently working on: 30 second one-arm handstand, muscle-up 360, straddle planche.