10 Common calisthenics beginner mistakes

As a beginner, you will make a lot of mistakes, which is totally normal. Mistakes will make you stronger. Every pro calisthenics athlete was once also a beginner. So making mistakes is not a big deal, although avoiding them is always better. You can save a lot of time and even potential injuries by training in the right way. So in this post, I will cover 10 of the most common beginner mistakes calisthenics newbies make in their first period of training. I also made some beginner mistakes in the past. By sharing these, I hope you avoid the same mistakes I made. So you can get to your goals quicker!

1. Sacrificing your form for more reps.

Achieving a new personal repetition record with basic exercises is always satisfying. A lot of people measure their strength level based on the number of reps they can perform. So hitting a certain amount feels great. This way, you know you are progressing. Or does it only seems like you are progressing? Aren’t you sacrificing your form to obtain more reps? This is a common mistake a lot of beginners make. 

When doing your push-ups or pull-ups, you should pay close attention to your form. Basics are useless when you are performing them with poor technique. Is your form correct? Are you doing the full range of motion of the exercise? All of these factors are highly important. You will probably see your rep amount decrease if you incorporate the correct form. But remember quality over quantity. It does not matter how many reps you can do as long as you do them with good technique. It is not a competition.

2. No flexibility and mobility work

A lot of people, especially in the beginning, overlook the importance of flexibility and mobility work. Doing a good stretching routine regularly will decrease the chances of getting injured and will make your life much easier when learning the handstand and the L/V-sit for example.

It is also scientifically proven that stretching regularly after training stimulates muscle growth. By doing flexibility and mobility work, you will give your muscles more space to grow, and therefore, you will get bigger eventually. So try to do a good stretching routine, at least three times a week, to avoid injuries and get better results.

3. Wanting to progress too much too fast

In life, everybody wants to achieve their goals fast. Of course, why not, would you think? It is a mistake I made myself at the beginning of my calisthenics journey. I was obsessed with all the cool-looking static moves like the full planche and the front lever. I wanted to progress too fast. Well, that is good, I got the spirit and was very motivated. However, it takes a lot of time to achieve all these difficult moves. A lot of people move on too quickly. It is a big mistake and can lead to serious injuries.

Your muscles grow and develop faster than your ligaments and tendons. Therefore, you are stronger, and it looks like you can progress to the next progression. However, this does not mean the rest of your body can handle it. Your tendons and ligaments take a lot of time to develop. So to avoid injuries and other miseries, Take it slow and enjoy the journey.

4. Training too many things at the same time.

Another common beginner’s mistake is to train for too many things at once. I get it you want to be able to perform every single skill, be and look the strongest. Theoretically speaking, it is possible, being able to do everything simultaneously with a good workout plan. But the truth is that it does not work like that in practice. Just focus on a maximum of three different skills and give them your full priority and effort. This way, you will accomplish much more in less time.

5. Not sticking to the basics.

A mistake a lot of people make further in their calisthenics journey is to neglect basics as they get stronger. I did this myself I wanted to focus on the static movements. I skipped doing the basics for a long time. Do not make the same mistake as me. The basics exercises are an important point in calisthenics. They are the exercises that will build solid base strength. Without a good base strength, you should not even think about learning the planche or front lever. Doing only skill training will not make you much stronger. Therefore it is important to build first a proper foundation and maintain this base strength by doing push-ups, pull-ups and dips regularly. No matter how advanced you are! 

6. Skipping the lower body.

People who have done only calisthenics for some time now know that it is not easy to build big legs in calisthenics. Many people make the mistake to focus only on their upper body and forget or train their legs too little. People also skip training their legs because they do not want their legs to be too heavy. This makes planches and front lever more challenging. But besides that, you should not skip leg day. A healthy muscular body consists not only out of upper body muscles. Stop walking around with chicken legs and start training them!

7. Underestimating the power of your wrists.

In calisthenics, you use your wrists in almost every single exercise. Therefore you should spend time building solid wrist strength, especially if you are a beginner. Having strong wrists is highly underrated. It can make a difference between failing or doing one more extra rep. Also, when performing skills, strong and flexible wrists will help you with handstands and planches. Invest some time in building solid wrist strength and stretch them from time to time. You will see better results in a matter of weeks.

8. Training through the pain.

From time to time, pains could occur during your workouts. The right thing to do at this moment is to stop exercising. Or try to work out other body parts. You should never train through the pain. Especially, when you want to accomplish a specific skill, this can sound like you wasting time, resting for a few days. But the pain could lead to injuries if you would continue to train. There is a saying: no pain, no gain. However, the only things you are gaining will be injuries. So stop training through the pain and take a day off. It will not hurt your progress.

9. Poor programming.

Working out without a plan is useless. A lot of people underestimate the importance of a good workout plan. Therefore you should take some time to create and schedule a good workout routine. Have a clear goal in mind and start working towards this goal with a suitable workout plan. 

If you are a complete beginner and you have absolutely no idea what works and what does not. And you do not want to invest time and energy in creating a good workout plan. You can always buy a workout program. The only disadvantage is that it will cost you some money, but it will save you a lot of time. A better option, in my opinion, is youtube. There are plenty of free tutorials you can use to learn more about calisthenics. 

In other words, it does not matter how you do it as long as you just create a decent plan and start working with this plan on your goals.

10. Comparing yourself to others.

The last mistake many people make is to compare themselves to others, often pro athletes who have done calisthenics for a long time. You want to reach the same level as they are now. You want the same results. So you copy their training routines and methods etc. However, because it works for them does not mean it works for you. Everybody is different, and everybody has different genetics. Calisthenics for small people is a lot easier than for taller people. The same goes for weight, the lighter you are, the easier it gets. So stop comparing yourself to others and focus on your own game!