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Calisthenics for Beginners

Calisthenics is a form of physical activity that involves using your own body weight and gravity in order to induce resistance and develop strength, mobility, coordination, and agility, among other things.

It has been used in the military, in Physical Education classes, and even in competitive sports. These types of exercises involve all muscle groups.

How To Start Calisthenics

The first thing you have to know before starting calisthenics is that you don’t need special equipment for it, however there are calisthenics equipment available to support you execute some exercises.

Apart from the convenience of being able to perform calisthenics exercises anywhere, there is also the added benefit of health improvement.

Calisthenics is a form of complete physical training that works all of the muscles, not just smaller groups the way weight lifting does. The main purpose of this type of training is to master your own body weight in more than one way. Therefore, apart from muscles, joints, nerves, and connective tissue, we should also pay attention to other parts of our bodies, like the vestibular system in our ears.

Its purpose is to provide information about the position of your body and determine your following movements. Training our vestibular system – which is also responsible for maintaining your balance – is just as important as training our muscles.

Calisthenics training is a process, which means that you shouldn’t expect results overnight. Patience and willingness to keep doing these exercises for a long period of time are some of the most important things to keep in mind when you decide to start doing these exercises.

It is also essential to discover the right exercises for your body. Don’t start with the hardest ones as strength and resistance develop gradually over time. Start with some casual exercises and once you feel like you are ready for more, you can follow up with the more complex ones.

Make sure to take care of your joints when starting calisthenics, as it is possible to put too much strain on them during even the more basic exercises.

The tendons and ligaments in your joints have a lower blood flow as compared to the muscles, therefore they will need more time to adapt to the movements and requirements of your training. With time, you will learn to use your strength without putting unnecessary pressure on your joints.

The exercises that you do can also contribute positively to your mental health as well as your cognitive skills. Not only does the physical effort release serotonin – a hormone that influences your moods and feelings in a beneficial manner – but the complexity of the exercises also improves the brain’s thinking patterns by promoting focus and motivation, and applying the physical skills that you have learned to other situations in your life. In a sentence, calisthenics could make you smarter.

You can do these exercises with a specialised trainer, at the gym, or even at home. The advantage of calisthenics is that you need little to no equipment in order to obtain the desired results.

Beginners Calisthenics Exercises

There are some basic exercises in calisthenics that can be put together to form more complex ones. If you master these exercises, you will be able to gain full control of your balance and movements.


pull ups

All the equipment that you need is a chin-up bar. This exercise consists of gripping the bar with your palms facing away from you, and then lifting your body up while keeping the back straight the whole time.

The muscles trained by this exercise are the forearm muscles and the upper back muscles (also called lats). There are variations of pull-ups, such as chin-ups where the palms are facing the person doing the exercise. In addition to the other muscles, chin-ups also train the bicep muscles.


Push Up

This exercise is done by getting into the plank position first – palms on the floor, feet pressed together, the whole body in a straight line. Then, while keeping your spine and legs completely straight, bend your elbows and lower your entire body towards the floor without touching it.

Continue to push your body back to the initial position. With this exercise, you work on the strength of the chest, shoulders, and tricep muscles.



Spread your feet so they are at shoulder width, and squat down as low as your body allows you to. At the same time, keep your arms in front of you, parallel to the ground.

Return to the initial standing position. This exercise trains the gluteal muscles, the quadriceps, and the calves.



Planks, or the “top position of a push-up”, is an exercise where you have to keep your palms and feet on the ground, your body forming a straight line. This position can be maintained for an extended period of time, depending on your strength.

The main muscle trained in this exercise is the rectus abdominis.

Beginners Calisthenics Workouts

A good calisthenics routine involves a full-body workout. In order to achieve this, you will have to find a set of exercises that you find well suited to your own body.

It is recommended that beginners stick with basic exercises for a while until they have built up the necessary resistance and strength to level up to more complex ones.

There are plenty of workout routines a calisthenics beginner can try, but the most important thing is that you choose the perfect combination of exercises for your own body, regardless of what other people might recommend.

Calisthenics workout routines you can try:

3 Days Beginners Workout

Day 1

  • 10 pull-ups
  • 20 jump squats
  • 10 push-ups
  • 30 seconds in the plank position
  • 30 seconds of jump rope

Day 2

  • 15 pull-ups
  • 25 crunches
  • 10 push-ups
  • 10 burpees (Burpees are advanced calisthenics exercises that combine squats, push-ups, and jumps)

Day 3

  • 10 pull-ups
  • 20 crunches
  • 20 jump squats
  • 30 seconds in the plank position
  • 10 push-ups

Remember that between each exercise you must take a 1-minute break, and between each set of exercises, a few minutes. If these workouts feel too tiring in the beginning, try lowering the number of repetitions for each exercise until you build up the resistance to do the initial number.

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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