Everyone at our gym has their program designed with the same two elements in mind:
1. Our basic calisthenics program;
2. Additions and modifications for the who, what, where: who they are, what they want to do, and where they are in relation to their goals.
Our basic program consists of pushups, rows, squats, lunges, body alignment, rotator cuff work, and hanging.
Body alignment drills serve two purposes. They prepare the body for more advanced movements, build basic strength in static positions, and are very easily learned. They require no equipment.
Pushups and ring rows build basic upper body strength, scapular control, and shoulder stability. They introduce athletes to the importance of body awareness, proprioception, tension, and expressing force. They can be easily learned and progressed.
Rows are also excellent for improving posture and the prevention of light or basic injuries to the upper body.
Squats and lunges are the two most basic lower body movement patterns. It's of value to include both bilateral and unilateral movements - they each have specific benefits for an athlete. All jumping relies on learning and becoming comfortable with these patterns.
Squats are valuable because they demand mobility (in the entire lower body), are easily weighted, and are a fundamental human pattern. They set the foundation for many other movements with the lower body.
Lunges are practical - most of our movement in life isn't in a perfect squat stance. They challenge balance and coordination, improve knee health and stability, and build the posterior chain (weak in many people). Often, if an athlete is still building squat mobility, they can actively train with lunges to build elementary strength while working towards a squat.
Your rotator cuff is very important. It's responsible for stabilizing your shoulder and ensuring that your arm doesn't tear out of the glenoid fossa (where your humerus connects to your scapula). Weakness here can lead to serious injuries. And most people have pretty weak external rotators.
Hanging is essential. It builds grip strength, stretches the shoulders, lats, and trunk, and conditions the hands. It forms the backbone of any aerial movement.
All of these movements lay the foundation for advanced skills like levers, planches, crosses, handstands, and more, and provide a solid base for those wishing to pursue barbell-based lifting.
Master the basics - your future self will never regret it.