Some ways to make your calisthenics workouts harder

After a certain length of time on your calisthenics journey, as you grow bigger and stronger, you will begin to notice that the workouts you once thought were hard are now too easy.

Because of this, you may find it very challenging to get a tough workout in; this can certainly be very annoying…

Unfortunately, this physical adaptation is inevitable and while it is a good sign that shows increased strength and/or size, it can make you feel stuck and leaves you wondering where to go next.

Fortunately for you, I know all about this issue! I not only understand it but I know exactly what you can do to continue progressing! So, without further ado, let’s take a look at some ways we can make your calisthenics workouts harder!

Take shorter rest breaks to make your calisthenics workouts harder

Perhaps one of the biggest mistakes that people make when trying to train intensely with calisthenics is that they rest for far too long in between sets. Allow me to explain why this is a big mistake…

Resting for too long in between sets allows the body to recuperate a little too much. This means a reduction in blood flow to the muscle which, in turn, means less lactic acid, a smaller pump, and less muscular swelling.

When all of this is combined, you get a workout that produces very little soreness – (during and after the workout) and a workout that does not elicit a very noticeable muscle growth response.

All in all, to start increasing the intensity of your workouts, take shorter rest breaks in between sets.

Leave out the chalk…

Regardless of what form you use or even how much you use, chalk really does help make your training easier. Now, when it comes to trying to beat your personal best on any specific exercise/hold, feel free to use however much chalk you want.

However, if your gains are on standby and you wish to add more intensity to your workouts, stop applying the chalk!

By not applying the chalk, you will inadvertently force your wrists and forearms to work harder to maintain your grip. This added weight load and stress onto the forearms and wrists will, without a doubt, cause an increase in growth and strength.

So, if you are training to get bigger and stronger, leave out the chalk every now and then.

Use some resistance bands

Resistance bands are great. They are extremely convenient, easy to use and they will surely add intensity to any given workout!

For example, if you wanted to add a little intensity to your pullups, you could simply attach a resistance band to both your feet and any part of the floor. This, as you can imagine, would make pulling up much harder.

Another great example would be to wrap the resistance band around your back and put one end of it in each hand. When you have executed this stance, simply intensify your pushups by doing them!

As you can now see, resistance bands offer a truly easy and convenient way to make your calisthenics workouts harder.

Go until failure on each set

Something that perhaps most people don’t do during their workouts is to train until failure on each set. Because of this, most people find themselves not only missing out on progress but losing valuable time on poor workouts.

In terms of muscle growth and strength, training until failure drastically helps. It encourages the breakdown of muscle tissue which, in turn, produces a bigger and stronger muscle.

To effectively train until failure, ensure that each set finishes when you cannot do another repetition. You must literally empty the tank on each set to reach failure.

By doing this every time you workout, you will have not only upped the intensity but you will effectively grow bigger and stronger.

Complete extra sets to make your calisthenics workouts harder

Ahh humans, creatures of habit we all are and because of this, many of us, unfortunately, make the mistake of sticking to whole rounded numbers. When referring to our workouts, most of us tend to stick to a certain number of sets and never waver.

The thing is, in the world of progression, sticking to the same routine and hitting your body with the same quantity won’t do much past a certain point…

If you want to take your calisthenics to the next step, you have to start inducing a larger frequency.

So, this being the case, I would highly recommend that you slightly reorganise your workout schedule. Do this by adding a single set to each and every one of your workouts. Not only will doing this place your body under more stress but it will encourage more growth.

Go with less rest and higher reps

Out of all the techniques on this list, this strategy is without a doubt the ultimate way to maximally optimise your workout intensity. This method involves two strategies rolled into one and this is perhaps the very reason as to why it is the best.

As mentioned earlier, a shorter rest break in between sets halts the muscle recovery process during your workout. This means that your muscles will become fatigued and sore very quickly.

The higher reps however help to exacerbate this process by flooding the muscles with even more lactic acid, therefore fatiguing the muscles further.

All in all, if no other method on this list has worked, be sure to try this one as I can guarantee it will work with making your calisthenics workouts harder.


After a little read of this article, you will now possess a deeper understanding of how to effectively up the intensity of your workouts.

Not only will you possess a deeper understanding of this matter but you will now know detailed techniques such as lowering your rest breaks and upping your reps and sets.

Lastly, if the above-mentioned techniques do not work, you will at least possess additional methods previously listed such as throwing away the chalk, using resistance bands and/or going until failure.

In conclusion, you now have a very detailed and informative article on exactly what you need to do to further text your calisthenics games to the next level!

Till next time everyone!