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10 Calisthenics Exercises and How to Perform Them

Calisthenics exercises are done mainly using your bodyweight, but some exercises like pull ups might require calisthenics equipment such us pull up bars.

Calisthenics originated in Greece and have been popular ever since. Nowadays, athletes, military personnel, law enforcement, and home workouts use this type of exercise for daily fitness.

We have created a list of calisthenic exercises you can add to your workouts. They should work your upper body, your core, and lower body.

Some of these you may have tried before while some are new. They are simple movements that you can do anytime and anywhere by using just your body weight.

Here are 10 Calisthenics exercises with instructions on how to perform them:

1. Burpees

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and keep your weight in your heels and your arms at your sides.

  1. Push your hips back and bend your knees and lower your body into a squat.
  2. Place your hands on the floor directly in front of your feet then shift your weight onto your hands.
  3. Jump backon your feet to softly land on the balls of your feet in a plank position. Your body should form a straight line from your head to heels. Do not let your back sag or your butt stick up in the air, as both can keep you from working your coreeffectively.
  4. Reach your arms over your head and jump in the air.
  5. Land and immediately lower your back into a squat.
  6. Repeat 10 times

2. Crunches

Targets the abs and lower back.

  1. Lay down with your back on the floor.
  2. Bend your knees.
  3. Cross your hands across your chest or hold them against the side of your head or under your butt.
  4. Curl your shoulders off the ground and towards your knees (do not lift your entire back off the floor).
  5. Come back down slowly without making your head touch the floor.

There are many varieties of crunches, such as the bicycle crunch, side crunch, twisting crunch, and V crunch.

3. Forearm Push ups

Targets the arms, shoulders and core. This is an excellent exercise for core strengthening.

  1. Place yourself in the plank position.
  2. Tighten your abs and keep your spine straight.
  3. Bend your elbows one by one and come to the forearms.
  4. Straighten your arms one by one and come back to the plank position.
  5. Repeat 15 times.

4. Hip Raise with Leg Lift

Targets the lower abs and butts. This exercise is effective for belly fat removal and muffin tops.

  1. Lie on your back (make sure your back is straight).
  2. Tightened your abs.
  3. Bend your knees and put your feet on the ground.
  4. Raise your butt off the floor making sure that your thighs and back are in a straight line
  5. Lift one leg up straight.
  6. Lower your butt as low as you can without touching the floor then raise back up.
  7. Repeat for 2 – 5 minutes.

5. Pull-Ups

pull ups

Targets the chest, upper back, shoulders, and arms.

  1. Stand facing the exercise bar.
  2. Place your palms away from you and grab the bar from in front with your arms at shoulder-width apart.
  3. Use your shoulder to pull your head above the bar.
  4.  Complete two sets of 10 pull-ups or repeat as necessary.

The calisthenic pull-up exercise takes time to master. But by practising you will be able to do a couple of reps.

6. One leg Push-Ups

Targets the triceps, biceps, shoulders, and core. The one leg push up is more advanced than the simple push up. It focuses more on the shoulders and back muscles while still working the core and arms.

  1. Place yourself in the basic push up position. Keep your back straight and tighten your abs.
  2. Place your hands under your shoulders and lift one leg off the ground.
  3. Lower yourself by bending your elbows and push them back to your side.
  4. Go as low as you can without touching the floor.
  5. Push yourself up.
  6. Repeat as many times as you can without lowering the leg you lifted from the floor.

7. Push-Ups

Targets the chest, arms, shoulders, back, abs, legs.

  1. Lay flat on the ground in a plank position.
  2. Place your arms directly beneath your shoulders.
  3. Keep your legs straight and lower down until your arms are 90-degree angle.
  4. Drop your chest to the ground.
  5. Push right back up.
  6. Keep your abdomen flexed while pushing back up and down.

Push-ups are effective calisthenics exercises that are strength building and easy to learn. If you are looking to build lean muscle mass, consider adding push-ups to your workout regime.

8. Triceps Dips

Targets the triceps and is a foundation move in calisthenics exercises. You will need a bench or a raised surface for the dips.

  1. Sit on a bench or chair.
  2. Grip the side of the chair or bench and push forward off the chair, keeping your posture the same as if you were sitting on the chair.
  3. Bend your elbows and lower yourself (as low as you can manage) until your triceps are parallel to the ground.
  4. Push back to your original position.

9. Skipping Rope

  1. Hold the skipping rope handles roughly the distance from the center line of your body.
  2. Use your wrists to rotate the rope over your head while jumping at the same time at about one to two inches into the air.
  3. Keep your toes pointed down and slightly bend your knees as you jump.

10. Superman

Targets the back and Abs. This exercise is great for beginners and can also use as rest exercise between high intensity moves.

  1. Lie on your stomach and place our arms by your sides.
  2. Lift your legs and arms until your thighs are off the floor and your chest is lifted.
  3. Make a sweeping motion by pushing your legs and arms as far out as possible.
  4. Go back to your original position.
  5. Repeat about 10 times.


These calisthenics exercises are great for building body muscles without having to use any equipment. They are simple exercises and anyone at any level of fitness can do them.

Adnan Munye

A certified personal trainer, Adnan specialises in weight loss, muscle building, body conditioning, core strengthening and injury rehabilitation. Adnan comes from a sporting background, where he has played football, badminton, rugby, and swimming all at various levels.

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