calisthenics geography: The Itinerary Of Gains

Written By: Todd Kuslikis
April 14, 2016

This week, A Shot of Adrenaline reached a milestone we’re excited to share: we now have over 5,000 likes on our Facebook page! As we continue to grow, we’re humbled and honored that so many people have found value in what we offer. We plan to continue this growth while remaining committed to the values that got is to this point, and we thank you for your support.

Now, though A Shot of Adrenaline is based in the good ol’ U-S-and-A, we’re proud to say that we have fans, followers and subscribers all over the world. Through our site and social media pages, we regularly correspond with people from nearly all over the globe (still nothing from Antarctica, but we’re optimistic).

calisthenics geography

So in that light, we thought we’d show our appreciation to our fans the world over, and highlight some of our favorite international exercises. These were each inspired by or named after places beyond the States, and in true calisthenics fashion, you don’t even need to leave your home to try them. Our “airline” is remarkably accommodating, free for all passengers, and won’t put you through those weird body scanners that don’t actually do anything. Ready to come on board?

First, a few safety announcements:

The captain has informed us that these can be somewhat turbulent exercises, so please keep a bottle of water handy.

In the event of a shortage of breath, suspend all activity and place your hands above your head, breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth until normal breathing pattern resumes.

We know you have many choices when selecting a fitness program, and are glad you chose to spend part of your day with us. So get up, get stretched out and enjoy your workout. Welcome to Shot of Adrenaline Airways!

Inca Thigh Slap Push-Up

The first stop on our journey is the Inca Empire, located in the modern-day South American country of Peru. According to sources, the Inca Empire was the largest empire in pre-Columbian America.

Now, when they say “largest”, do they mean geographically, or in regards to muscle mass? Because we’d have to go with the latter if the Inca thigh slap push-up is any indication:

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Knee Health Score 1

Video by Omar Simmonds

Maltese Push-Ups

Chest a little sore? Well we’ve got one more stop on our push-ups leg of the trip (for now).

The Republic of Malta is a Southern European island country comprising of an archipelago (meaning “chain of islands”) in the Mediterranean Sea. And of course, this is information we definitely knew already and in no way needed to Google. Stop looking at us like that.

Maltese push-ups are basically a tougher version of pseudo planche push-ups. In Maltese push-ups, the hands are rotated so that your fingertips are pointed down toward your feet with your hands kept at a 45-degree angle out from the hips. Keep a consistent lean forward to increase difficulty.

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Video by AllStrengthTraining

Bulgarian Split Squats

With our upper bodies sufficiently aching, we now turn our attention to Bulgaria. Located in eastern Europe, Bulgaria has a rich history of traditional dance, music and, apparently, sculpted legs.

If you’re looking for an awesome way to expand your index of lower body calisthenics exercises, the Bulgarian split squat is great because it allows you to go lower than a normal split squat, giving your quads a better workout. All you need is a bench or an elevated surface on which to rest one foot, and you’re ready to go!

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Video by ScottHermanFitness

Hindu Squats

Demographers estimate that India will become the world’s most populous country by 2022. Well, it may happen a little sooner yet, because that’s our next stop!

Hindu squats have been used for centuries by Indian wrestlers to build lower body strength, speed and endurance. And while this exercise may look simple at first glance, there’s a lot to it. They take a good amount of coordination and practice, but they are tremendously beneficial.

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Video by Original Strength

Bulgarian Dips

Sorry, everyone. The captain left his cell phone in Bulgaria so we had to make a slight detour. The good news is apparently these people like to get just as good an upper body workout as they do lower.

Now, Bulgarian dips require the use of gymnastics rings. If you don’t have any on-hand, you can stick with regular dips if you promise not to tell Bulgaria. This is a very difficult exercise, but will yield amazing results as you have the added challenge of balancing on the rings.

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Video by GymnasticBodies

Korean Dips

We’re not sure which Korea these dips are named after, but for the sake of argument (and because we most certainly aren’t flying into North Korea), let’s go with the non-crazy one — that is to say, the one that didn’t once claim its dictator shot a 38-under par golf game.

So then, Korean dips are unlike a standard dip in that it’s primarily a back exercise. You will need a horizontal bar, but will likely require one a little lower than a typical pull-up bar.

It’s sort of like a reverse muscle-up, and you probably already know how tough those are. But by following the progressions, you can use this very effective back workout.

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Video by Awaken Adult Gymnastics

Russian Dips

Getting jet lagged yet? Stick with us, you’re doing great!

We next touch down in Russia, where we’re learning how to improve on the standard dip. As you lower yourself on the dip bars, instead of immediately pushing back up to the starting position, you first lean back on your elbows, then bring yourself forward, finally pushing back up to complete the rep.

This added motion adds more tension to your chest, core and lats in addition to the triceps.

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Video by OfficialBarstarzz

Russian Twist

The plane’s running low on fuel, which we’re told is a key component in keeping these things up, so we’re going to pull over for some gas. Since we’re still in Russia, let’s try another exercise, this time really activating our core!

If you’re unfamiliar with the Russian twist, it should be added to your regimen immediately if you want a workout that will really carve your stomach. Sit with your legs out, bent at a 90-degree angle, and pick your feet up off the floor so that your legs are now about 45 degrees. Lean back to immediately activate your core. Then, in a controlled motion without moving your head and neck, twist your torso to each side, and get ready to feel it in your oblique muscles.

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Video by Howcast

Australian Pull-Ups

Our trip is winding down, so let’s be sure to finish strong! Our next stop is in the Land Down Under, where we’re going to be doing an interesting take on a calisthenics classic.

There’s a long-standing urban legend that when you flush a toilet in Australia, the water spins the other way, due to the Coriolis Effect. In other words, everything in Australia is backwards.

The thing about the toilets isn’t true — Bart Simpson confirmed that years ago. But it was this quirky scientific misunderstanding that inspired the name of the Australian pull-up. Instead of an overhead horizontal bar used for standard pull-ups, Australian pull-ups use much lower bars lower so your feet can rest on the ground as you grab the bars from an angle. It’s still a great back exercise and there are different variations to increase difficulty.

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Video by Backyard Strength Training

Turkish Get-Up

As some are aware, the people of Turkey know how to build a great bath house, but they also know a good full body workout when they see one. Well worth a stop to check it out.
This exercise has some complicated steps, but be sure to give it a shot. It’s a total body exercise that builds torso strength and increases stability. It almost looks like a dance maneuver, but it’s an exercise that cannot be rushed; you must take your time to get the full effect of this workout.

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Video by Marina Aagaard

Knee Health Score 1

Aztec Push-Ups

Our final stop on our journey takes us back to North America with a visit to our neighbors to the south. And since we started with some push-ups, it’s only fitting that’s how we end our trip.

The Aztecs were a once-mighty nomadic tribe located in Northern Mexico. In fact, they were the most powerful empire in Mexico until their fall in the 16th century. What caused their collapse? Well, if they were regularly practicing their Aztec push-ups, it wasn’t lack of strength.

There’s a reason Aztec push-up tops our list of hardest push-up variations. You think the Inca thigh slap push-ups are tough? Take a look at these:

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Video by gruniste

And that completes our trip. Thanks for taking this journey with us! We hope you had a great time and learned some new exercises that you can add to make your workouts a little more cultured. Did we miss a destination you were hoping to visit? Does Argentina have a chin-up variation you think we should know about? Let us know in the comments.

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