Source: Hannibal Doing Tricep Dips
Calisthenics legend Hannibal Lanham, otherwise known as “Hannibal For King”, has been at the forefront of the bodyweight training discipline for over a quarter of a century. He has taken the fitness world by storm by cranking out monster exercise routines that include intense variations of push-ups, pull-ups, and dips—all from a playground in Queens, New York.
It was Hannibal For King’s friend who posted a YouTube video on a sunny morning in July 2008 that went viral and gained over 10 million views. Hannibal displayed impressive calisthenic bar movements such as the front lever, muscle-ups, human flags, and planche push-ups on parallel bars (with feet elevated). These seemingly impossible moves are executed effortlessly by Hannibal.
After the release of the video, Hannibal For King came to be regarded as a legend of calisthenics and street workouts, inspiring many more from fans and imitators the world over. In fact, MuscleMadness listed him as the top 10 greatest calisthenics athletes of all time. Below is the story of Hanibal For King.
Table of Contents
Hannibal For King: Quick Facts
|Date of Birth
|February 4, 1978
|Awards and Accomplishments
|Created the “Around The World” workout routine for beginners
|Best Known For
|Hannibal For King
Hannibal For King Biography
Hannibal For King was born on February 4, 1978, and raised in Jamaica Queens, New York. He came from humble beginnings, as his father was sent to prison. According to Hannibal, his father served hard time for “Maybe bank robbery, murder, I never really knew.” It was Hannibal’s grandmother who raised him in the hope of saving him from his father’s misfortune.
His grandmother wanted Hanibbal to be a preacher. But her desire to save him from delinquent behavior was largely in vain, as he grew up to be a marijuana dealer and an occasional bicycle mechanic.
In the early 2000s, before his videos went viral, Hannibal belonged to a calisthenics workout group called the Bartendaz. They would train together at the park and use this as a safeguard to give them peace from the real world when they were stressed. Eventually, Hannibal and the group parted ways. But their inspiration continues to spread.
At the age of 29, Hannibal lived in a homeless shelter and was an unmarried father. What kept him going was training. “I usually train 2 to 3 times a day”, he says. For Hannibal, working out is a great way to “escape the outer world.” This helps him to switch off from the world and focus on what he loves to do.
He started by doing basic calisthenics fundamental exercises such as pull-ups, push-ups, dips, squats, lunges, and planks. Over time, he started to discover new and creative ways to work out by doing only bodyweight training.
By 2008, Hannibal performed a variety of extreme calisthenic movements while his friend filmed. His physique looked unreal and he made these skills seem effortless. The friend posted the video on YouTube and titled it “HANNIBAL FOR KING”. Over 10 million views later, this very video sparked a new wave of bodyweight training connoisseurs.
Shortly after the viral video, calisthenics experts across the U.S. started getting recognition across the world. Hannibal has become a calisthenics sensation with a growing fanbase of fitness enthusiasts. Hannibal was featured twice in Barstarzz, a popular calisthenics group in New York, with both videos gaining over 17 million views.
Now, Hannibal is doing well for himself, earning money from advertising contracts and a popular clothing line. He still continuously inspires many to join the calisthenics movement.
Hannibal For King Diet
Hannibal had a simple nutrition philosophy: train hard, and eat harder. He eats what he wants and has no particular diet. Right after he eats junk food, he always works out. “I utilize all that junk food to push me further to work all that junk food off,” he says.
In another interview, Hannibal recommends taking good quality protein powder as an absolute minimum. He recommended TREC NUTRITION protein supplements. His diet now consists of healthy prepared meals which consist of lean animal protein, healthy fats, veggies, and complex carbs.
Hannibal For King Workout
When it comes to training, Hannibal would work out for “about an hour and a half to two hours” every day. He focuses on high-volume endurance training rather than strength, which includes push-ups, pull-ups, dips, chin-ups, and squats with minimal rest.
He prefers to train multiple muscle groups in a single session, including both pull and push movements. According to Hannibal, training biceps one day and triceps the next is “a waste of time.”
When it comes to training, Hannibal believes that the keys to getting stronger are:
- Locking out on every rep at the lowest point of the pull-up and bringing your chin above the bar to ensure a full range of motion.
- Focus on squeezing the muscle that you want to get stronger. For example, squeezing your core for every bodyweight movement you do.
- Staying consistent in his workouts, despite having numerous reasons to give up.
In the Hannibal For King Workout Routine Part 1, he shares his workout routine when he first started calisthenics. This training is called “Around The World”. He does a cycle of pull-ups, dips, and push-ups for as many rounds as he can within his present workout time.
For example, if his preset time is an hour, he would do:
- 10 Pull-Ups
- 20 Dips
- 20 Push-Ups
After one cycle, you would rest as much as you need, and do the cycle again. But, remember, the goal is to go “around the world” as many times as you can within the preset time you’ve set, so rest as little as possible.
On top of this, Hannibal plays with specific variations of each movement. According to Barstarzz, the exact way Hannibal did his workouts was this:
- 5 Close-Grip Pull-Ups
- 5 Dips
- 10 Diamond Push-Ups (with one foot on the floor and the other over)
The above tri-set is what you would do if you want to imitate him completely. However, if you’re a beginner and still want a great workout, you can do regular pull-ups, regular dips, and regular push-ups. As the saying goes, you’ve got to crawl before you walk!
Hannibal emphasizes working on your basic calisthenics movements for “8-12 months to get it right,” before progressing onto the next level.
The Takeaways: Hannibal For King, a Calisthenics Legend
Source: Hannibal Doing Planche Push-Ups
Hannibal showed us that you can get fit and strong without going to the gym. No matter what your background is, you can get the recognition that you deserve by staying consistent and having a champion mentality.
Hannibal was a poor kid growing up until he made a break in calisthenics in his thirties. Thanks to his perseverance, he was able to obtain the international recognition that he deserved.
You can learn how to do these calisthenics fundamental movements in these complete tutorials covering the progressions, techniques, and variations in the following articles:
Contacts and Booking Info
Hannibal For King YouTube
Check out Hannibal For King on YouTube for more calisthenics motivation and inspiration for training routines.
I’m Pat Chadwick, a qualified Level 2 and Level 3 calisthenics coach and athlete from London, England, with six years of experience. I’ve competed in various UK competitions, including the Kalos Stenos Championships, where I achieved third place in the lightweight category. My passion is highlighting the beauty of calisthenics as an authentic and pure form of body expression. I believe that everyone has the potential to become a champion of their body and mind, and that calisthenics opens the door to personal empowerment.