Elbow Lever, Handstand, and L-Sit: Three Calisthenics Skills Beginners Can Learn At Home

Last updated on April 4th, 2022 at 09:44 am

Calisthenics is a great workout discipline that improves your overall strength, endurance, balance, and flexibility. With little or no equipment, calisthenics utilizes body weight and gravity as resistance to target your muscles and strengthen them. 

Before diving right into these skills, your muscles must be conditioned for these skills as having a solid foundation will make the learning process easier and reduce the risk of injuries along the way. By foundations, I mean pull ups, push ups, dips, squats, and their variations. I have previously written a blog: How To Start Calisthenics: A Beginner’s Guide which shows you how to use these fundamentals to train anywhere, anytime, with little equipment. 

An empirical study suggests that resistance training is associated with many improvements in physical function and athletic performance, with an increase in muscular strength, endurance, power, and hypertrophy.

Below are three calisthenics skills you can learn at home if you’re a beginner. You don’t need any equipment to learn these impressive skills, and they can be practiced anywhere around your home. You will learn all of the progressions to learn these skills if you can’t do them yet. 

Calisthenics at Home 

Elbow Lever

The elbow is an impressive skill that is challenging, though it’s not as hard as it looks. This is because you’ll be supporting most of your body weight on your elbows while balancing on your hands, hence the name elbow lever. If you’re interested in a comprehensive guide to this skill, check out this elbow lever tutorial.

Requirements to learn the elbow lever

  • Shoulder strength
  • Core strength
  • Flexible wrists 

#1 – Tucked Elbow Lever

  1. Place your hands on the floor with your fingers facing toward your toes. Bring your elbows together and press them in towards your hips. If you can feel your hip bones on your elbows, then your elbows are in the right place.
  2. Lean forward and bend your knees to raise your feet off the ground as you place your elbows against your hips. 
  3. Squeeze your midsection and keep leaning forward until your torso is parallel to the ground. 

#2 – Straddle Elbow Lever

  1. Place your hands on the floor with your fingers facing towards your toes. Bring your elbows together and press them in towards your hips. If you can feel your hip bones on your elbows, then your elbows are in the right place.
  2. Lean forward and spread your legs to form a straddle until your feet lift off the ground. Squeeze your glutes and flex your toes. 
  3. Maintain constant muscle tension from your upper body to your lower body, and keep leaning forward until your body is parallel to the ground.

#3 – Elbow Lever

  1. Place your hands on the floor with your fingers facing toward your toes. Bring your elbows together and press them in towards your hips. If you can feel your hip bones on your elbows, then your elbows are in the right place.
  2. Slowly lean forward and lift your legs off the floor and lift your chest to level your body to form a straight line. Squeeze your midsection, glutes, quads, hamstrings, and point your toes.
  3. Keep tension throughout your body. 

Handstand

The handstand is a fundamental calisthenics skill that every calisthenics athlete should learn as this is the gateway to more advanced skills such as handstand push ups, 90 degrees handstand push ups, and the one-arm handstand. I have already made a detailed handstand tutorial which you should definitely check out if you want to learn this awesome skill. 

Requirements to learn handstand: 

  • Shoulders strength
  • Shoulder endurance
  • Shoulder mobility
  • Core strength

#1 – Chest to Wall Handstand

  1. Begin in a push up position with your feet against the wall. 
  2. Walk your hands and feet back towards the wall until your body forms a straight line from head to feet. Push through your shoulders and squeeze your glutes and core. 
  3. Hold this position for 10 seconds for 5 sets. 

#2 – Wall Handstand Kick Ups

  1. Start in a push up position with your head facing the wall. 
  2. Draw in one knee towards your chest to form a sprint position. Position your shoulders so that it is in line with your fingertips. 
  3. Swing your straight leg up until it’s pointing straight at the ceiling while simultaneously pushing off with your bent leg. Keep your arms tensed and push through your shoulders once they are in the wall-assisted handstand position.
  4. Repeat this for 5-10 reps for 5 sets.

#2 –  Back To Wall Handstand 

  1. Start in a push up position with your head facing towards the wall. 
  2. Jump up into a wall-assisted handstand.
  3. Gently push off your feet away from the wall so that you can balance unassisted for a split second without the wall. Balance by pressing forward with your fingertips and pressing backward with your thumbs to try and keep your weight at the center of your palms.
  4. Ain to be able to hold this for 10 seconds consistently. 

You can train the back-to-wall handstand with the chest-to-wall handstand in a single session. I’d recommend you to start with either progression first for 10 minutes, followed by switching to the other. For instance, train the back-to-wall handstand for 10 minutes, followed by chest to wall handstand for 10 minutes. 

So that’s 20 minutes in total. The same principle applies here, you’d simply get into a chest-to-wall handstand position, followed by gently pushing your feet away from the wall to try and balance for a split second. Work towards being able to hold 10 seconds consistently. 

L-Sit 

The L-sit is a cool calisthenics skill that primarily targets the abs. It can be done on the floor, on a parallel bar, a chair with two handles, in between two chairs, or anywhere with two surfaces at equal height with space in between them. Holding this skill will require significant core strength, if you can’t hold it straight away, you can work on these progressions.

#1 – Tucked L-sit

  1. Place your palms flat on the ground by the side of your hips with your fingers pointing forward. Push your hands down to pull your shoulders away from your ears. Keep your core tight and butt underneath your shoulders.
  2. Draw in your knees towards your chest to lift your feet off the ground. You should feel the tension in your midsection. If you can’t keep your feet up, you can place them on the floor.
  3. Hold this position for 10-20 seconds for 4 sets. 

#2 – One Leg L-sit

  1. Place your palms flat on the ground by the side of your hips with your fingers pointing forward. Push your hands down to pull your shoulders away from your ears. Keep your core tight and butt underneath your shoulders.
  2. Draw your knees in from a tuck position. 
  3. Extend one leg, while keeping the other tucked. The goal is the have your leg fully straight, but for now, work on widening the angle of your knee over time. 
  4. Switch sides.
  5. Hold this on each side for 5-10 seconds for 4 sets. Work on both legs in a single set.

#3 –  Full L-sit

  1. Place your palms flat on the ground by the side of your hips with your fingers pointing forward. Push your hands down to pull your shoulders away from your ears. Keep your core tight and butt underneath your shoulders.
  2. Extend both legs out while keeping the rest of your body rigid. Point your toes. 
  3. This position may initially feel uncomfortable but don’t worry, over time you’ll get used to this position. Hold this position between 5-12 seconds for 5 sets. 

The Takeaways: Three Calisthenics Skills All Beginners Should Learn

So there you have it, three calisthenics skills to learn at home for beginners. I hope you enjoyed this article and that you’ve found some different movements to play with. In bodyweight training, it’s really important not only to learn the fundamentals and become good at those but also to be able to explore and have fun with them.

By doing this, you’ll start to enjoy moving your body and sometimes you may work on these skills for hours and not even realize all the training that you have done. So the next time that you’re bored and you’ve got nothing to do other than sit on a couch at night, you could try to do the elbow lever. Or while you’re waiting for the laundry to finish washing you could practice some handstands on the wall. 

Just have fun because that’s the most important part of exercising. If you’ve tried any of these exercises mentioned, I’d love to know how it went. Feel free to drop a comment down below and let me know.

If you’re looking for a step-by-step program that shows how to correctly train, eat, and recover, then check out our fitness programs. Otherwise, I hope you enjoyed this article, and I’ll catch you in the next one!

Leave a Comment