Practicing calisthenics for nearly a decade means learning a lot along the way, and this certified professional shares its secrets. In a recent video, YouTube channel Bodyweight Warrior’s Tom Merrick celebrated eight years of destroying calisthenics by sharing the lessons he learned along the way.
According to Merrick, his success boils down to persistence, perfecting the fundamentals, and evaluating instruction. But this body weight wisdom was hard earned.
Merrick says when he first started exercising he was a real fitness brother who chugged pre-workout and protein shakes with an emphasis on arm gains.
“When I trained for the first time, the focus was on appearance,”
But he says his outside of exercise lifestyle didn’t exactly support his exercise habits. After all, after a fight with Mono, Merrick had a so-called “revolution”. He says he lost nearly three years in “profits” in a single month and had to train again after his illness. Then Merrick discovered bodyweight training.
“I thought, ‘Weight training is easy, isn’t it? So easy. The the easiest“He says with a laugh.” Little did I know where we would end up. “
He adds, “I quickly realized that this is more difficult than it seems as I am sure many of you know it. I was also very inflexible. At this point, I couldn’t really touch my toes. “
Along with basic bodyweight exercises like pull-ups and squats, Merrick started stretching every night. That eventually led him to the skills of calisthenics, like handstands, which Merrick is known for perfecting.
“It got really difficult here in the end,” he says. “And guess what? I’ve joined the dark side of calisthenics.”
At this point, Merrick says he trained two hours a day, six days a week. Although he had made good progress, he found that he was “doing too much” which resulted in an injury. Merrick experienced golfer’s elbows, a type of tendinitis, and ulnar nerve compression, which he describes as seemingly tiny injuries that affect virtually every part of upper body exercise.
“[Tendonitis] just don’t want to leave. Basically, it’s a persistent bastard, ”he says. “It felt like the first time [with mono] where I’d just lose all of my progress because of some stupid incident. “
Ultimately, he had to withdraw from training for about nine months. As an addition, Merrick decided to double the flexibility training. After nine months of calm and flexibility, Merrick won “something stupid” – a flag that tore up his supraspintus. This put him out for another three months.
“I realized that I just hadn’t spent enough time on the basics,” he says. “If there’s one thing I want to share with people, it’s not to underestimate the basics and spend time getting strong.”
So Merrick got back to basics and focused on the bodyweight exercises rather than impressive skills. He calls it the best training decision he has ever made.
“Unless you have a good foundation on which to build the rest of your skills, those skills are not going to peak,” he says.
After Merrick had perfected the basics, he focused on perfecting a one-handed handstand that was held for ten seconds. He estimated it would take him six months to perfect it. It actually took two years. To help achieve that specific personal goal and multiple goals along the way, Merrick hired a trainer and said it was a benefit to only pay someone who knows more than you. He says that coaches tend to spot places where they can improve and to trick you into stepping out of your comfort zone.
“Sometimes it’s just useful to have someone who isn’t doing things themselves and giving you things to do because they are likely to discover something that you haven’t necessarily thought about,” he says.
In preparation for his eight year training anniversary, Merrick said he recently revisited an old video from five years ago and found that many of the fitness goals back then are the same goals he has now. And he says that simply doing it defines a lot of his experience in the calisthenics world.
“Calisthenics is difficult. Mobility is difficult. Handstands are tough, ”he says. “It’s one of those things that have been practiced for a long time, but not something that I necessarily recognized back then.”
Check out Merrick’s full video below. Read these workout tips to start your own calisthenics journey.
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