Transform Your Body With This Calisthenics Power Plan
This brutal calisthenics workout from the Robards method will help you build top-to-toe coordination, mobility and strength.

April 20, 2016

A guy hanging from a bar, doing a calisthenics workout

This brutal calisthenics workout from the Robards method will help you build top-to-toe coordination, mobility and strength: the building blocks for supreme functional performance. Bonus: you’ll chisel out a rock-solid physique in the fresh air.

Start with the three mobility exercises as a warm-up, then complete the five strength exercises as a circuit, keeping rest periods to a minimum. Aim to complete three circuits in total. Why the 11-rep count? “In The Robards Method, I want people to push themselves 110%,” says Robards. “So instead of going to 10 reps with each move, go to 11. Occasionally that’ll mean one arm does an extra rep, but just even that out in the next set.”

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Mobility Exercise

  1. Wall angel

Stand against a wall, your bum, shoulders and head touching the wall, feet 15cm from the wall. Engage your core to flatten your lower back against the wall. Raise your arms and bend your elbows, keeping your hands and elbows touching the wall. Slowly extend arms straight up. Do three sets of eight reps.

Wall Angel

  1. Gecko stretch

Assume a deep lunge position, your right knee bent at 90 degrees, your left knee touching the ground. Lean forward, place your left hand on the ground for support and, using your right hand, push your front knee out to the side. Hold for 20 seconds, repeat three times, then change legs.


  1. Deep Squat

Assume a deep squat position, your hamstrings resting on your calves. Using your elbows, push your knees out to the side. Engage your core, thrust your chest forward and keep it upright while maintaining a neutral curve in your lower back. Hold for 20 seconds and repeat three times.

Deep squat

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Strength Exercise

  1. Duck walk

Assume a deep squat position. Engaging your core and keeping your torso upright, place your hands behind your head. Walk forward 10 metres, taking small, controlled steps. That’s one rep; do three.

Duck walk

  1. Archer push-up

Assume a push-up position, your hand double shoulder-width apart and pointed slightly outwards. Keeping the movement slow and controlled, lower yourself over your right hand, so your left arm straightens. Repeat, lowering yourself over your left hand. Do 11 reps. Too hard? Complete the reps on your knees.


  1. Clap pull-up

Grip a pull-up bar with an overhand grip. Pull yourself up explosively, aiming to get your belly-button to the height of the bar. At the top of the movement, remove your hands from the bar, clap, then grab it again. Can’t do this advanced? Rather start on a lower bar with one foot on the ground, and then aim to improve. Do 11 reps.

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Clap push-up

  1. Skullcrusher

Assume a push-up position on a waist-high bar, your hands shoulder-width apart. Walk your feet backwards about 20cm. Keeping your elbows tucked in, lower yourself until your head is just above the bar, then push yourself back to the start position. Do 11 reps.

Skull crusher

  1. Walking negative pull-up

Looking along a pull-up bar, grab the bar with a neutral grip, left hand closer to you. Hoist your chin to the bar, then remove your left hand and lower yourself using your right hand only. Then grip the bar slightly further forward with your left hand and repeat the lift (with switched hand positions). Do 11 reps. Too hard? Lower with both hands but “walk” one hand forward after each rep.

Walking negative pushup