How to Raise the Bar and Challenge Your Limits

how to raise the bar

I want to tell you a story about how I raised my own bar and challenged my absolute limits with cycling. We all have goals in mind when starting with calisthenics. Raising the bar is the way to improve. But how can you do that? I hope my personal experience will motivate you and make you realize you can do the same with calisthenics. My aim is to give you advice on how to raise the bar and achieve higher goals with realistic expectations in calisthenics over time.

How to Raise the Bar with a Cycling Trip

As a physical therapist, I often meet athletes who need to rehabilitate for one reason or another. While I talk to them, I usually get to know their hobby’s and lifestyle. Lately, I talked to a lot of cyclists who cycle long distances. And those chats inspired me to try it out, to to see if I could do it too. I am not new to cycling. But I thought it was time to raise the bar and try more and longer distances. A friend of mine recently moved 65 kilometres away to a hilly area and it seemed like the perfect opportunity to go and cycle there.

Expectations About Raising the Bar

Cycling back and forth would be a 130 km trip with a 226 metres height difference. And I wanted to do this with a regular bike, not a proper racing bike or mountain bike. A lot of family and friends called me crazy and expected that I wouldn’t succeed. Deep down inside though, I knew I was able to achieve this. 

My Preparation 

Of course, you need some kind of training and preparation when you raise the bar for such a trip. I trained twice on a distance of 30 km and 40 km respectively to see if I could manage my pace. I didn’t train my legs 3 during my calisthenics workouts in the days before the cycling trip. For my trip, I also got 2,5 litres of water, 1 litre of fast sugar-flavoured sports drink, 6 sandwiches with either protein or high carbohydrate intakes, 4 pieces of fruit and 2 protein shakes. If I turned out to be unable to cycle the full trip back and forth I had a back-up plan of taking the train home. 

My training pace was 20 km an hour without headwind and I was able to keep it up without a problem for 2 hours. With this in mind, I calculated a cycling trip of 3 hours and 15 minutes with a 15 minute break for a single trip. After resting at my friend’s place, I intended to stay there for a couple of hours and then cycle back. And of course it was my goal to stay under my own time expectations both ways.

My Results

First trip: 64 km with a pace of 19,9 km an hour.

Way home: 65 km with a pace of 20,8 km an hour.

During my trip to my friend’s place I struggled with heavy rain and light headwind and some closed roads that made it harder to navigate. At one point, I cycled a touristic route next to some cows on a dirt road. That was pretty funny though. The way back was easier with a light tailwind and a lot of downhill riding. I was close to giving up halfway back though. I needed to cycle up a bridge but just couldn’t do it. My legs were too sore to stand so I had to cycle in low gear and keep pushing.

For a moment, I doubted I was going to make it home. But this was all about me raising the bar. If I made it this far, I would be able to go all the way. I rested for 15 minutes to get back some energy. That was all I needed. I continued on my trip and made it home. And man was I exhausted!

cows along my trip of raising the bar

Raise the Bar By Not Giving Up

The message in my story is to never give up. If you’re trying out something new and failed at your first attempts do not stop. You are just exercising, practicing. In calisthenics, a lot of people struggle with their first muscle-up. In my case, it took me over a year to master it. Sometimes it will be hard or difficult to achieve goals. But in those cases you need to push on and step beyond your own borders. It’s the only way to reach new heights.

Raise the Bar By Setting Goals

To achieve anything, you need to set realistic goals. Start working step by step and do not try to be on top immediately. Set one big goal for yourself. For example, make it your goals to perform a front lever one year from now. Divide that goals into smaller stept. For example, to perform a one leg front lever 6 months from now and a tucked front lever 3 months from now.

Over the course of a year you will notice progress and the smaller goals being achieved. This gives you the motivation you need to push your limits once again. If I had not been able to cycle 40 km at a continuous pace with headwind, I would not have cycled back. But after unlocking my goal, I felt great and motivated to set a new goal.

Achieving goals takes time in any sports. That is true for calisthenics goals too. You need to be patient and motivate yourself every time. Progress is the best intrinsic motivation. It also helps to have people around you that support you and help you raise the bar. At Calisthenics Worldwide, we are here to support you on your journey. We will providing you with the best content available. We direct you to the best equipment out there. And we are here for you to help you reach your goals!


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