The Ultimate Calisthenics Workouts Routine You Need To Know

Jake TylerBy Jake TylerFeb 14, 20170
The Ultimate Calisthenics Workouts Routine

If you want to start a calisthenics workouts plan, you are in the right place. You don’t need to workout in the gym to get toned and achieve bigger muscles. You can get into an exercise regimen that shapes and sculpts your body like never before using your own weight. Read on:

Calisthenics - The Greek Form Of Yoga

Calisthenics - The Greek Form of Yoga

Calisthenics started in the times of ancient Greece. It comes from ancient Greek words, and means ‘beauty’ and ‘strength.’ Today, these body exercises constitute the standard in home workouts and don’t require equipment. Calisthenics workouts are increasingly popular among celebrities (Ex: Ryan Reynolds - yes the Deadpool Guy), athletes, law enforcement, and army training routines. Recent research also suggests including it in physical education classes at the school level for enhanced strength levels in children.

In fact, think back to your days in school. It was where you began calisthenics workouts by doing bodyweight exercises including jumping jacks, push-ups and sit-ups. Apart from keeping fit through exercise, calisthenics provides aerobics while enabling people to develop muscle mass.

In other words, calisthenics workouts is the best route to incredible body building.

This training can be done in any location and at any time of the day or night. What’s more, there are several exercises you can do to give your body the required additional strength. Another plus point is that calisthenics doesn’t require a lot of floor space as well as sophisticated gym machinery. Further, if your aim is to cut weight, calisthenics is the best form of exercise available.

As much as it does not involve weight lifting, your body can be one hell of a load to cope with in the first place. You can also improve lung and heart circulation while burning more calories by introducing cardiovascular activity like biking, swimming and running to your exercise schedule.

Ten Incredible Advantages Of Calisthenics

Ten Incredible Advantages of Calisthenics

According to a recent study, calisthenics exercises enhance the quality of life and fitness level while reducing fatigue. Not yet convinced? Here are ten more advantages of calisthenics workouts:

1

Location

It’s the most obvious advantage of body-weight exercise. You can perform calisthenics anywhere. It means, even though you are traveling, you can find some place to exercise. As long as you have some pull-up and dip bars, (and this is purely optional), you could go to the park along your route and get on with your calisthenics workouts. Conversely, your hotel or lodge may have gym facilities, if not you could go ahead and do your body-weight exercise right in your hotel room comfortably.

2

Minimal Gear

You don’t require much gear. In fact, you will not need any gear at all unless you want to change to your routine. Look at it this way – do you really need any equipment to handle your body weight? It doesn’t make sense. You’re already carrying it around. You can workout pretty well, and it gives you the freedom to try out different exercises without any restrictions.

3

Time-saving

Going to the gym means queuing up to use a particular type of equipment for a specific exercise. In fact, you may have to suffer the agony of someone that is distracted by their phone. It could affect your motivation and throw you off balance. With body weight training you can start right away and avoid all the pressures of delays especially if you are on a tight schedule.

4

Versatility

Working on gym equipment restricts your movement. Our bodies have different physiques as well as heights. Some contraptions may not suit everyone of us because of size and shape. On the other hand, bodyweight training allows you to adjust your motion according to the dimensions of your body allowing you to exercise every part of your body accordingly.

5

Adjustment

You can choose to increase or decrease the intensity of your workout by adjusting your posture or position as you engage in calisthenics. What it means is that you can choose the amount of weight or force required depending on your strength and goals.

6

Strength

Strength

You gain more control over your body with calisthenics. Any form of body weight training requires you to have total control over your body. You need to be coordinated and steady while performing the exercise. Add more methods of calisthenics while you’re at it and you will feel the strain on your muscles. Moreover, your body develops strength naturally, and it gives you an added advantage over the use of gym equipment.

7

Conditioning Weaker Body Parts

There are times that you may exercise or even do weight training in the gym but find that certain muscles in your body remain unchanged. The benefit of calisthenics over regular weight training is that your whole body gets involved in the body weight training. It means that your upper and lower body muscles are exerted equally. You can do a lower body or upper body squat. The latter being a pull-up.

8

Joint Therapy

You can rehabilitate joints that are problematic through calisthenics. If you apply the proper frequency and volume, you can ‘grease the groove’ by strengthening and building your weaker joints. It’s possible to avoid further deterioration of the joints by engaging in body weight exercise as opposed to weight lifting exercises. Whether you perform squats, pull-ups or push-ups, the effect is the same. Your joint moves in full motion and it increases lubrication in the affected area.

9

Enhanced Weight Training

By adding more exercises to what you are already doing, you will get more muscle gain, and it results in more control, power, and strength with time. In fact, this is the equivalent of additional weights for those that use gym equipment. It will surprise those that think you can put on more muscle by simply exercising more. For instance, you can start by throwing in some Bulgarian split squats followed by a number of walking lunges then finishing off by using pull-downs as opposed to pull-ups.

10

Enduring Exercise

The problem with gym equipment is that you can’t go on lifting heavy weights well past your middle age. Moreover, you are better off with training that keeps your body conditioned allowing you to do the daily tasks that require a physical input. As you grow older, doing shoulder, leg or bench presses becomes more difficult. Moreover, you only need to be in good condition to get by. It’s not about how much you can lift, but if you can get around and lead a normal life. Save your gym fees for something more beneficial in your old age.

Beginner Calisthenics Workout - Exercise Vigorously By Harnessing A Wide Variety Of Motor Movements

Beginner Calisthenics Workout

Upper Body Workout

This warm up is entirely focused on upper body exercises. If you want to follow a more general full body warm up, you can add some lower body exercises as well

Before doing calisthenics, you need to warm up your body. This is a separate workout, and it entails mountain climbers, jumping jacks, and shoulder dislocations for the upper body.

Jumping Jacks

Jumping Jacks
How to Do it:
  • Spread your legs wide to get into position
  • Place your hands on top of your head
  • ​Position your hands on your hips
  • Place your feet together
  • Return to the original position

Follow these up with active hand and fingertip knee push-ups.

Don’t take a break between the warm up exercises. However, you should not do it as if there are no other tasks to be performed later even though you are required to do three rounds of each.

Lower Body Workout

The lower body exercises consist of using a jump rope, squats, ten hip cycles and two minutes of glute stretch or glute foam rolling. Take one-minute intervals to rest in between the exercises and the same period before getting into your main workout.

The Best Calisthenics Exercises List

If you’re looking for a good physique and want to build muscle without machines or weight you can get creative. Start by using resistance in your exercises. Several body weight exercises are sufficient, and you can get another person to assist you by applying pressure so that the muscles can be better simulated. Besides, it allows for quick muscle burn.

Note that you need to vary calisthenics so that it can be effective during workouts. Conversely, you have the opportunity to use the whole body in particular exercises, particularly when you have enough strength.

For instant gratification, you can start with the simplest form of body weight exercises like crunches, squats, and push-ups. But if you want results, you will need to put in a lot of effort. Start by focusing on a variety of the exercises mentioned above, so that you can get comparable training to that of the gym.

Chest Exercises

Chest Exercises

Push Ups

These are necessary for the delts, triceps, and chest.

How to Do it:
  • Do it with your face down on the floor
  • Place your palms on the floor right under the shoulders
  • ​Keep your toes curled up against the floor
  • Now, use your arms to raise the body while maintaining a straight line from heel to head
  • Your arms must go from completely extended in the high form to almost flexed in the flat form while ensuring you don't rest on the floor.

You can also watch this video:

Workout Tips:

By placing your hands lower, it involves exercising more muscle fibers of the pec Major. But by putting your hands higher, it will be more efficient on the upper part of the chest. The traps will also be touched by going until your face. By placing your arms wider, more of the outer chest is exercised as well, and the reverse works by placing your arms in a close position.

Variants:
  • Use one arm with the other positioned on the back
  • Workout on the knuckles
  • ​As you repeat, you can clap midair
Incline Type:
  • You can use a chair for this technique
Decline Type:
  • Vary the steepness of the decline or incline to work the lower or upper part of the chest.

Chest Dip

Chest Dip

If you want to do an exercise that is highly effective in strengthening the anterior deltoids, triceps, and pectorals, you can try the chest dip.

If you don't have bars, you can pull two chairs or couches together. However, you need to ensure that you are safe before embarking on the exercise. You should also try to be creative and make sure that you do not misstep during motion. The most crucial factor is your setup.

How to Do it:
  • Get between two parallel bars
  • Hold your body tight at arm's length
  • While inhaling, lower your body gradually while leaning forward about 30 degrees
  • Keep your elbows widened out until you sense a slight stretch in your chest
  • When you sense the stretch, get your chest to return your body back to the initial position while breathing out
  • For practical results, learn to squeeze your chest at the top of the action for a couple of seconds

You can also watch this video:

Chin-ups

Chin-ups

The chin-up ranks among the best activities for the back. You can develop a great back and develop the lats because it stands out as the most challenging workout. Note that the location in which you do this exercise has to be solid. Once you can comfortably do a good number of rep ranges, get a partner to push down your shoulders as they stand on a chair.

Underhand Chin-ups

It’s the same as the previous exercise but with a different hand grip. Most people prefer the underhand grip over the open grip because you can lift more in this position and you can also use more resistance if needed.

How to Do it:
  • First, grab the bar and hold it just about shoulder width with an open or underhand grip
  • Next, raise your feet off the chair or box
  • Bend low your knees as much as you require, so your chin is right above the bar
  • Now pull yourself up by slowly pulling your elbows down to the floor (hold this position for about ten seconds) and return to the original position and repeat

You can also watch these videos:

Back Exercises

Back Extensions

Back Extensions

If you want to have a strong lower back, this is the right exercise. The other way of doing it is by positioning yourself on the edge of a chair or bed while somebody holds your feet in place, thus preventing you from falling. It's essential that you are safe while doing this exercise if not, you can fall and injure yourself.

How to Do it:
  • Start leaning forward gradually at the waist as far away as you can
  • Although you need to ensure to keep your back flat
  • Inhale slowly as you do this movement
  • Keep going forward until you can sense a gentle stretch on your hamstrings and you can no more do it without your back rounding
Tips:
  • Try holding up for five or more seconds for more intensity
  • Use somebody to exert pressure similar to stiff-leg deadlifts. The person should use a lot of pressure to get the best results for you. Tuck your elbows in serves to make the exercise harder. Conversely, the upper lats will also be exposed to use. On the other hand, keeping the elbows out will reduce the effect on the lats but puts more pressure on the traps.

You can also watch this video:

Bicep Exercises

Bicep Exercises

Pull Ups

Pull-ups are effective for the biceps and lats as well. Moreover, you can use a shoulder width grip as it is the most efficient way for building biceps.

How to Do it:
  • Place your hands a bit wider than the shoulders
  • Hang yourself in the hollow position
  • Hold the bar without using your thumbs for grip
  • Get into motion by pulling up until the chin goes over the bar
  • Position elbows downwards and backward to get over the bar
  • Reverse the motion with your elbows to allow you to gain height and get over the bar

You can also watch this video:

Tricep Exercises

Dips

dips
How to Do it:
  • Hold onto the bars then jump up
  • Bend your arms to lower your body and dip
  • Lower your body to get your shoulders under the elbows at the bottom to break parallel
  • Put your arms straight to lift yourself up and get back to the original position
  • Place your shoulders above your hands to get the right balance

You can also watch this video:

Variation:
Decline Close Grip Push Ups:

For the best tricep experience, position your arms at the lower chest while locking your shoulders in place. This is a tricky maneuver, but very effective.

Shoulder Exercises

The delts will feel the indirect effects of dips and push-ups. The delts can be isolated through exercise. However, you will need time to gain the strength to perform this exercise.

HandStand Military Push-Ups

These types of push ups are done using the handstand position. Place your back against a wall to get the best balance. It will help develop your delts and anterior efficiently. Using a wide grip will help develop the posterior delts as well. Watch this video:

Ab Exercises

Ab Exercises

The options here are almost limitless. Take advantage of ab exercises below:

Lying Leg Raises

How to Do it:
  • Hold on to the bench by placing your hands on the sides
  • You can also put your hands facing downwards beneath the glutes
  • Extend your legs while your knees are bent slightly
  • Raise your legs to a ninety-degree angle to the floor

Also watch this video:

Crunches

How to Do it:
  • Place your feet flat on the floor then bend your knees and lie on the ground with the back flat
  • Put your hands on the backside of your head keeping the thumbs behind the ears
  • Place your elbows sideways slightly inward facing
  • Point your feet straight into the air and back
  • Alternatively, raise your hips and suspend them by using the abs

Also watch this video:

Scissor Kicks

How to Do it:
  • Lie on the back and place your legs parallel and straight
  • Tense your core muscles
  • Stick your pelvis as you push the lower back to the floor
  • Start the motion and add the coil

Also watch this video:

V-ups

How to Do it:
  • Point toes upwards by placing your feet together
  • Reach for your toes using your hands by raising the legs while they are straight
  • Raise the upper body at the same time
  • Gradually lower the body back to the original position

Also watch this video:

Twisting Crunch

How to Do it:
  • Lie on your back and place hands behind your head
  • Bend your knees and place your feet flat on the floor
  • Retain a space in the middle of your chest and chin
  • Breathe in and start exhaling as you lift your body up and move in a rotating motion from one side to the center and back again

Also watch this video:

Plank

How to Do it:
  • Get into a position for press ups
  • Bend your elbows and place body weight on the forearms
  • Keep your body straight from head to toe
  • Suck your belly button inwards
  • Remain in this position for a few seconds for the first time and keep increasing the time length

Also watch this video:

Tips:
  1. For greater intensity during exercise, your legs should remain straight at 90 degrees while working out on the upper portion of the abs. Again, you can cross your legs while keeping them bent and suspended. It will reduce the intensity unless you want to keep your feet grounded.
  2. You can further intensify the ab routine by keeping your arms extended over your head. If you want to make it easier, you can cross your hands above the shoulders facing your elbows upwards. To make it even easier you can cross the arms over the chest.

Thigh Exercises

Squats

Squats

This training doesn’t require weights. All you need to do is go deep and then back up. If you need resistance get somebody to apply pressure downward on your shoulders. You will develop large quadriceps this way.

How to Do it:
  • Stand on your feet at shoulder-width apart
  • Now go down as far as you can while extending your arms in front of you parallel to the floor
  • Now return to the original standing position
  • Squats shape up your quadriceps, calves, hamstrings, and gluteals

Also watch this video:

Sissy Squats

You can also consider sissy squats to build your quadriceps. You need to hold a stable structure and exercise caution while moving. It’s not necessary to have resistance. However, you can get the routine tougher by asking someone to apply pressure.

How to Do it:
  • Bend back until your body makes a straight position from neck to knees
  • Keep your knees slightly bent in the opening position
  • Now put one or both hands on your hips
  • Preferably one hand on a pole or rod for balance
  • Lower your body slowly backward while bending your knees

Also watch this video:

Split Single Leg Squats

It’s another great builder of quadriceps and works well without added weights. Place your foot on any safe surface or item like a step or chair as long as it is safe and sturdy.

How to Do it:
  • Stand in a position facing away from the bench
  • Place your foot on the bench and stretch it back
  • Flex your hip and knee to squat downwards
  • Do this until the knee of the other leg is close to the floor
  • Go back to the initial position by stretching the knee and hip of the leg that is forward
  • Repeat this motion then switch to the other leg
  • This is another great builder of quadriceps and works well without added weights

Also watch this video:

Other Types:
Wall Squats:

These squats are done against a wall. They enable you to squat deep as your knees remain behind your feet protecting the knee from any form of damage. This routine is known to respond appropriately to stationary holds. You can pause every quarter during motion while remaining still for half a minute. Once you have built up the strength, you can increase your movement gradually.

Also watch this video:

Squat jumps:
  • Get into a squatting position
  • Jump as high as you can by using a plyometric jumping motion

Glute-Ham Raise

It’s a particularly good exercise for developing the hamstrings. It requires support from another person similar to a hyperextension. However, you have to curl your leg upwards. Also watch this video:

Straight-Leg Deadlift

It’s one of the more complicated routines. It requires the addition of resistance while doing it. The lower back must remain straight through the whole motion. You can then apply pressure to your shoulders as you continue with the routine. You can also change both the feet position and stance to vary the effectiveness of the exercise. Also watch this video:

Lunges

Lunges

It’s among the best ways of developing the quadriceps. Your focus should be on high repletion sets coupled with getting low on this routine. You can get somebody to sit on your shoulders though this is hard to do.

How to Do it:
  • Slowly lower your hips till your knees are angled at nearly 90 degrees.
  • Remember, your front knee must not stretch over your ankle, and the back knee must hover above the floor
  • Hold your weight in heels while pushing right back up to initial position
  • Now repeat on both sides

You can also watch this video:

Variations:
1. Step Ups:

Use a stool to perform this exercise. It should be strong and stable with a height of approximately two feet. As the platform becomes high, so does the difficulty in training. Because these exercises are the same as lunges, the volume can be low but sufficient. Also watch this video:

2. Crossover Lunges:

You start by taking the regular lunging position. Then jump to the side over the opposite leg. It causes the glutes to be more isolated. Your front leg should be far enough forward to allow you to bend the back leg downwards comfortably. Also watch this video:

3. Side Lunges:

The adductor muscles and quads will feel the weight on the inner part of the thigh with side lunges. Also watch this video:

4. Alternating and Non-Alternating Lunges:

You can lunge with your front foot raised on a block or a stool. You can also lift your back leg onto the stand and lunge forward for a good stretch. Also watch this video:

Other techniques involve raising or lowering the platform or adjusting the angle you are stepping on. There’s also the option to try back step-ups onto the platform or side step-ups as well.

Leg Exercises

Leg Exercises

Quads

The legs are characterized by having the most movement in the body. As such, you can make use of all the motion.

How to Do it:
  • Keep your leg in the air
  • Wait two seconds
  • Breathe in and bring down your leg through a two second period
  • Turn onto the left side of your body
  • Do ten sets of the exercise
  • As your quads develop, increase the number of reps
Here’s How to Maximize the Effect:
  • There will be an emphasis on your outer quads by facing your feet forward. In this position, you get the outer sweep and pointing the feet outwards will cover the inner regions of the quads.
  • If you have a close stance, the outer portion of the quads will be covered, and a wider one will touch on the inner quads. It’s useful when doing the squats as well as leg extensions only.

You can work the glutes better by pushing off the heels while the quads can be worked better by pushing off the forefoot. You can also watch this video:

Calve Exercises

You can do these exercises on a block to get complete motion.

Pointers

  • Make full use of your stance and feet direction
  • Feet close and pointing forward will target the outer head
  • Aim for the outer head by placing your feet close and pointing in the forward direction
  • The inner head will be targeted by pointing the feet out and placing them apart
  • Press off either the bigger or smaller toes when doing the calf raise exercise. The smaller toes face the outer head quickly while the inner toes point towards the inner head.

Vary the position, for example, far, medium and close. Do one for each set so as to isolate each exercise. You can also watch this video:

More Exercises:

Seated Calf Raises:
  • You can use any chair to perform these tasks. Use the plank just as in standing calf exercises. These are highly effective by pushing against the quads utilizing your arm strength.
  • You can also do calf raises using the decline or incline approach. All you have to do is to lean forward while holding on to something. In doing so, the focus is on the upper half of the movement.
  • The other approach you can use is by leaning against a wall. Keep your legs straight and out, right in front of you. It shifts the focus to the lower half of the movement. Maximize the strength on the way to the bottom by placing a block under the feet.

You can also watch this video:

Reverse Calf Raises

By doing reverse calf raises, you can get a thickened calf from both the sides by targeting the tibialis anterior muscle. Watch this video:

Donkey Calf Raises

For the upper calf, this exercise is highly effective due to the stretching motion. Watch this video:

One-Legged Calf Raises

Due to the difficulty in balancing, this practice is perfect. When there’s more bodyweight involved, there are better results. Watch this video:

The Optimum Schedule

The Optimum Schedule

You don’t have to set up a rep range due to the characteristics of body weight exercises. You can workout every alternating day during the week and focus on cardio for half an hour sessions over the weekend.

Back, Delts And Triceps

  • Lying Torso Raises: 2 sets of the appropriate number of reps for Abs, Biceps, and Chest
  • Hyperextensions: 2 sets of the right number of reps
  • Decline Close Grip Push-ups: 2 sets of the right number of reps
  • Tricep Dips: 3 sets of the right number of reps
  • Glute-Ham raises: 3 sets of the appropriate number of reps
  • Handstand Military Push-ups: 3-5 sets, of the appropriate number of reps only if you are capable of doing them
  • Chin-ups: 4 sets of the appropriate number of reps. Narrow grip for one set, medium grip for one set and wide grip for two sets.

Abs

  • Lying Leg Raises: 3 sets of the appropriate number of reps
  • Twisting crunches: 3 sets of the appropriate number of reps
  • Scissor Kicks: 3 sets of the appropriate number of reps
  • Crunches: 3 sets of the appropriate number of reps

You can do fortnight training for your abs. It all depends on your preference.

  • Chest Dips: 3 sets of the appropriate number of reps
  • Decline Push-ups: 2 sets of the appropriate number of reps
  • Incline Push-ups: 2 sets of the appropriate number of reps
  • Flat Push-ups: 2 sets of the appropriate number of reps

Legs

There are various squat positions due to the different feet stances and directions.

  • Seated Calf Raises: 3 sets of the appropriate number of reps
  • Reverse Calf Raises: 2 sets of the appropriate number of reps
  • Donkey Calf Raises: 2 sets of the appropriate number of reps
  • One-legged calf raises: 2 sets of the appropriate number of reps
  • Stiff-Leg Deadlifts: 3 sets of the appropriate number of reps with a partner
  • Step ups: (utilizing stride length) 3 sets of the appropriate number of reps while making use of the stride length
  • Side Lunges: 2 sets of the appropriate number of reps
  • Lunges: 1 set with back leg raised and 1 set with front leg raises - 4 sets total
  • Wall Squats: 2 sets of the appropriate number of reps
  • Hack Squat: 1 set of the appropriate number of reps
  • Squats: 3 sets of the appropriate number of reps

Quality Over Quantity - Calisthenics Before And After

It’s great to claim that you can do twenty pull-ups. However, you can do them the right or the wrong way. Put your big shot pride aside and go for quality. It will help you get all the strength you need and prevent you from incurring any injury as you workout.

After few weeks of high-quality calisthenics workout at home, the results of your efforts will be plain for the eye to see if you insist.

The Best Calisthenic Workout Routine On The Go

The bed in your hotel room is useful especially when you want to do hyperextensions. In most cases, you will have two chairs. Otherwise, you can move the bedside tables together and use them instead. Just make sure you have locked the doors.

Just get a little innovative. It helps you adapt your training to the environment by having a positive mindset. You will realize that there are many alternatives to the gym.

Keep in mind that you need to have the strength and will to perform calisthenics (as it takes consistency and hard work). When you feel like you are letting yourself down regarding fitness levels, it’s time to lift your body up with invigorating calisthenics workouts. So ditch the gym and start building your body like a Greek warrior. Go Spartan!

Jake Tyler

Jake Tyler

Founder
Hi all, I’m Jake Tyler, over the past decade I’ve been working strong on my personal fitness levels. From the age of 16, I have been a kickboxer, and I’ve built up an incredible passion for fitness & self-improvement. This experience has led me to a career in personal training and health & fitness.
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