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Introduction To Calisthenics: Best Calisthenic Workout for Beginners

By Born Tough on

Have you ever seen athletes hanging onto rods and like a flag, performing handstands using only two fingers, or doing pull-ups using a single hand?

You might have thought that rules of gravity don’t apply to these people or they are superhumans. Well, they are just calisthenics experts doing what they have been doing for years.

Calisthenics is a training method that requires minimum equipment and is beneficial for improving strength, fitness, and flexibility.

Calisthenic workouts have gained popularity over recent years due to the spread of extraordinarily fit people performing some incredible calisthenic moves.

However, these intimidating moves require years of practice and peak body conditioning. At the basic level calisthenics comprises any kind of bodyweight exercise using gravity as resistance.

What Basic Exercises Are Included in Calisthenics?

Calisthenics primarily comprises all bodyweight exercises that you have probably performed before. The basic exercises in calisthenics for building strength and flexibility include:

  • Push-ups
  • Squats
  • Lunges
  • Pull-ups
  • Crunches
  • Planks
  • Supermans
  • Wallpulls

Yes, you are right, you have probably heard or performed these exercises. These are the basic exercises every calisthenic professional performs for building strength to execute those difficult calisthenic moves perfectly.

Learn More: Best Back Exercises to Get Perfect V-Physique

Some Misconceptions About Calisthenics

There are some common misconceptions about calisthenic workouts that hold back people from trying out this innovative training method.

Calisthenics Don’t Develop Muscles

Calisthenics is a safe method for building muscles and improving strength. You need two things for building muscles, the first is breaking those muscle fibers and then recovering them through diet.

When you exercise, especially when doing resistance training, your muscle fibers undergo microscopic tears. This is known as a hypertrophic state.

Later on, when your body comes in the recovery phase, these muscles are repaired through eating a nutritious diet and taking the required amount of sleep.

When your muscles are repaired, they tend to grow in size. Continuously breaking your muscle fibers and repairing them results in increasing their size.

So, we conclude that any exercise regimen that can break your muscle fibers can eventually help in building muscles. 

If you are dealing with joint pain or aches then weight lifting can have bad impacts on your joints although it’s great for building muscle.

However, calisthenics doesn’t sprain your joints that’s why it’s great for building muscles safely.

You Can’t Increase Resistance with Calisthenics

It’s a common belief that you can’ progress resistance with calisthenics because it requires adding weights.

Well, this is not entirely the case in calisthenic workouts. There are several techniques that you can do for increasing resistance in calisthenic exercises.

Here are some tips that can help you to increase resistance in certain calisthenic exercises:

  • Adding resistance to your training.
  • Increasing the number of reps per set.
  • Increase your range of motion.
  • Add a weight vest or dumbbells to your training.

Calisthenics Is Only for Slim People

To lift your body for calisthenic exercises, you need to have extraordinary strength. Having a high amount of body fat undermines your muscular strength which makes calisthenic difficult for obese.

But it doesn’t mean that someone who is fat cannot practice calisthenics. Calisthenics can help you lose body fat and help you in achieving a slim physique as soon as possible.

There are a majority of calisthenic exercises that you can perform even if you are obese. Some of them include planks, crunches, squats, pushups, etc.

Benefits of Calisthenics

Improves Functional Strength

Calisthenic exercises primarily comprise compound movements that force the majority of muscle groups to work together. This increases your functional strength.

Functional strength means the strength you need for performing daily activities such as running, lifting objects, or doing push or pull motions.

If you wish to build full-body strength then you won’t get it from doing isolation exercises like bicep curls.

For improving strength, you need to do big movements that force multiple muscle groups to coordinate together and help in transferring power efficiently.

Get Those Coveted Six-Packs Fast

If you want to have a flat belly displaying those ripped abs then calisthenics can help you in achieving your goal in much less time.

When you hit the gym you are more likely to train your chest, arms, and back. Abs are only exercised as a second fiddle to the main events.

But during a calisthenic workout, core training is incorporated in every single movement. No matter which bodyweight exercises you are doing, you will always engage your abs.

If you still want to hit your core more effectively then there are a large number of calisthenic exercises that light up your abs.

Get Benefits of Cardio and Strength Training

Calisthenics does not only work for strength training; it can also give you a perfect cardio workout.

If you want to get the benefits of cardio and strength training through calisthenics then perform your exercises in a circuit.

An easy way to pick up 5-6 calisthenic exercises and perform them one after the other and keep your rest periods short around 35-45 seconds.

When you are engaging different muscle groups continuously with minimum rest, your heart rate will rise very quickly which gives a huge boost to your cardiovascular endurance.

Learn More: 30-Minute HIIT Running Workouts for Everywhere

Can Be Done Anytime and Anywhere

Going to the gym is great, getting into a space that is dedicated to exercising can boost your motivation. But there are days where you don’t feel like hitting the gym or you are too busy to stick with your gym schedule.

Calisthenics empowers you to work out anywhere, anytime, and for free. You can do it at your home, park, or even in your office. It eliminates various barriers to exercise.

For doing calisthenics you need very little equipment and little space. For most of the exercises, you are already carrying the equipment with you that is your body.

Prevents Injuries and Improves Joint Stability

Calisthenic exercises fall under the category of closed kinetic exercises. It means that one extremity of your body means hands or feet remain in constant contact with a fixed surface.

These types of exercises are best for physical therapy because they closely relate to the movements you do in real life. And, for this physiotherapist recommend doing calisthenic exercises to improve your joint stability.

Beginner Calisthenics Exercises

Here are some common calisthenic exercises that you can perform as a beginner to enjoy the great benefits of calisthenic exercises.

1.     Pullups and Chinups

How To Do It

  • Stand in front of an exercise bar.
  • Jump and grab the bar a little wider than your shoulder width with an overhand grip (for pullups) or underhand grip (for chin-ups)
  • Use force from your shoulders and arms to pull your body up until your head is over the bar.

Recommended Sets: 4

Recommended Reps: 10RM- 10 RM- 10 RM- 10 RM

2.     Jump Squats

How To Do It

  • Stand hip-width apart.
  • Stick out your butt and bend your knees to lower your body (squat position).
  • Lower your body as much as possible to get into a deep squat position and then explode upward into a jump.
  • Repeat this movement.

Recommended Sets: 4

Recommended Reps: 15RM- 15RM- 25RM- 25RM

3.     Crunches

How To Do It

  • Lay with your back on the mat.
  • Bend your knees to a 90-degree angle and place your feet flat on the ground.
  • Engage your core and sit up until your back is straight.
  • Make sure to focus on breathing, exhale as you sit up, and inhale while you lie down.

Recommended Sets: 4

Recommended Reps: 12RM- 15RM- 20RM- 20RM

4.     Burpees

How To Do It

  • Stand hip-width apart.
  • Stick your butt out, and bend your knees to lower your body into a squat.
  • Place your hand on the floor in front of you, and do a pushup.
  • Jump back up into a squat position.
  • Explode forcefully upwards by jumping using force from your legs.
  • Repeat this movement.

Recommended Sets: 4

Recommended Reps: 12RM- 15RM- 15RM- 15RM

5.     Plank

How To Do It

  • Get on all fours.
  • Rest your body over your forearms and balls of feet.
  • Tighten your core to engage your abs.
  • Hold this position

Recommended Sets: 4

Recommended Time: Try holding the plank position for 1-min in the beginning.

6.     Supermans

How To Do It

  • Lie face down on a mat and extend your legs and arms straight.
  • Raise your arms and legs at the same time as high as possible, you will feel a stretch in your lower back and glutes.
  • Hold this position for a few seconds.
  • Return to the starting position.
  • Repeat this movement.

Recommended Sets: 3

Recommended Reps: 10RM- 10RM- 12RM- 12RM

7.     Plank To Push-Ups

How To Do It

  • Start on all fours (standard plank position)
  • Engage your core to keep your hips still and push up onto one hand by placing it where your elbow is.
  • Push up onto your other hand and extend your both arms towards the ground.
  • Now, you will be in a standard push-up position.
  • Drop one elbow at a time and lower your body to the standard plank position.
  • Repeat this movement.

Recommended Sets: 3

Recommended Reps: 10RM- 10RM- 12RM- 15RM

8.     Lunges

How To Do It

  • Start by standing straight with your feet hip-width apart.
  • Step your right foot forward and bend it until it’s about a 90-degree angle with the ground. Your left leg will be bent and your knee will be slightly touching the ground.
  • Extend both legs and repeat the same movement with your right leg.

Recommended Sets: 3

Recommended Reps: 10RM- 10RM- 12RM- 12RM (for each side)

9.     Pike Push-Ups

How To Do It

  • Start on all fours (standard plank position).
  • Engage your core, keep your back straight and lift your body until it forms an inverted V shape.
  • Keep your arms and legs as straight as possible.
  • Bend your elbows and lower your upper body towards the ground.
  • Hold this position for a second.
  • Slowly push yourself back up until your arms and legs are straight.
  • Repeat this movement.

Recommended Sets: 3

Recommended Reps: 8RM- 8RM- 10RM- 10RM

10.Mountain Climbers

How To Do It

  • Stand by putting your both hands and knees on the floor.
  • Switch between your legs, pull your right knee towards your chest.
  • Bring it back and then pull your left knee towards the chest.
  • Continue switching your knees simultaneously.

Recommended Sets: 3

Recommended Time: 30-45 secs

Beginner Calisthenics Workout Plan

Monday

  • Squats
  • Lunges
  • Plank
  • Pushups
  • Supermans

Tuesday

  • Pull-ups
  • Chin-ups
  • Push up
  • Jump squats
  • Lunges

Wednesday (Active Rest)

As a beginner, you can perform low-impact exercises to give your body some time for recovery but at the same time, your body should remain adapted to the exercises.

Active rest steps in to help your body in adapting to your work and improve your athletic performance. It’s beneficial for refueling your body with glycogen.

Some of the best ways for active rest are as follow:

  • Swimming
  • Yoga
  • Leisure walking
  • Foam rolling

Thursday

  • Push ups
  • Crunches
  • Mountain Climbers
  • Jump squats
  • Superman Hold

Friday

  • 100M Jog
  • Burpees (10)
  • Mountain Climbers
  • Lunges
  • Jumping Jacks
  • Plank

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