Gain muscle with Calisthenics - The 21 method post cover

Gain muscle with Calisthenics - The 21 method

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Yerai Alonso

There is a type of routine that is widely used in the world of bodybuilding, especially for biceps curls, known for geterating a great stimulus for muscle growth. We are talking about the method known as “21”.

The 21 basically consists of doing 7 full range repetitions, 7 partial range repetitions at the top of the movement and 7 partial range repetitions at the bottom. In this article we are going to see why this type of training can be interesting and effective for you and how to apply it to different calisthenics exercises.


One of the first feelings that “pops out” when doing this type of routine is the sensation of pumping, the sensation that the muscle is receiving a very intense work and that it is swollen with blood. At a psychological level it is very important and at a physiological level we are making sure that said muscle receives work that will stimulate its growth.

Another benefit of this type of routine is that it can provide you with variety, fun, and a challenge, which can come in handy when you feel monotony in your workouts. Also you will give a different stimulus to the muscle, which is often known as "surprising the muscle."

It is also a positive aspect to work in different areas of the range of motion, as it can help you break plateaus or work weak points of the range, which in the future will help you achieve more repetitions in full range.

In addition, for people who are a little tight on time or need to do a quick but effective routine, it is very useful, since in 20 minutes you can do 3 or 4 series of 21's (or one of its variants that we will see below), even with long breaks.


As we mentioned at the beginning, this type of routine is usually used in bodybuilding with the biceps curl, so perhaps the most direct example in calisthenics would be with chin-ups, we would start in full range, then in the upper half and finally in the lower half.

But it can also be done in all kinds of exercises, for example in dips, push-ups, handstand push-ups, even in triceps extensions if you want more isolated work.

In the muscle up we can divide it by the parts of the movement and do 7 complete repetitions, then 7 bar dips and finally 7 pull-ups.

An important fact to keep in mind is that it does not necessarily have to be with series of 7 reps. The essential thing is that you find it very demanding and intense, but that you can complete it. This means that sometimes, depending on the exercise, you will have to do it with fewer or more reps.

For example with leg exercises like squats, you may need to do something like 12-12-12 or even more. But for example with difficult exercises like handstand push-ups you can do 5-5-5.

In case you are using added weight you can leave the repetitions fixed and adjust the weight.


In calistheniapp you have some 21 routines, you can use them directly or save and modify them according to your level and needs. I leave you the links below:

21 pull-up version routine

21 routine muscle up version


Our recommendation would be that you use these types of routines as a boost to give a little variety to your training, or as a way to get a little more intensity on a specific day.

We do not recommend always using them for every training day. It would also be convenient if you add progressive overload, for example if the first day you do 7-7-7 and you manage to do it without problem, the next day you can try to do 8-8-8, try a slightly more difficult exercise, add a series more etc.

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