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The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Calisthenics (Free Workout Program Included)

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The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Calisthenics

The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Calisthenics

If you’re a fitness noob and have never heard the word “calisthenics” before, let this article be your initiation class. By the end of the article, you’ll not only know everything about calisthenics but will also be able to flaunt your new-found knowledge through your workouts and a chiseled physique – eventually.

Calisthenics /ˌkalɪsˈθɛnɪks/ comes from the Greek words kallos (beauty) and sthenos (strength). You’re not alone if Thanos comes to mind after reading sthenos. Moving on – It doesn’t take a scientist to figure out why this sport is catching up in today’s aesthetics-loving culture. It makes you wonder if the Greek gods followed a calisthenics program.

benefits of calisthenics

The calisthenics Wikipedia page describes the sport as “a form of exercise consisting of a variety of movements which exercise large muscle groups, such as running, standing, grasping, pushing, etc. These exercises are often performed rhythmically and with minimal equipment, as bodyweight exercises.”.

And a simple Google search explains it as a set of “gymnastic exercises to achieve bodily fitness and grace of movement.” Our goal is not to bore you with a bunch of textbook definitions. The aforementioned definitions show that calisthenics revolves around bodyweight exercises that are done with a focus on form and rhythm of movement.

Ultimate Calisthenics Kit

An Introduction To Calisthenics

Over the years, the term “gym” has been linked with people lifting heavy iron with a no-BS attitude. It’s got to such an extreme extent that it’s almost considered a crime if you try to start a conversation with a gym bro while he’s plugged into his Beats headphones.

If you despise the serious ambiance of the weight room, calisthenics and The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Calisthenics are perfect for you. Calisthenics can be more fun and appealing for some people as you don’t have to be around dumbbells, barbells or even worse – gym bros.

If you’ve been window shopping for different training styles, you probably might have come across ripped dudes doing insane moves on pull-up and parallel bars – that’s part calisthenics. Fun fact – any bodyweight exercises can technically be considered calisthenics.

Why Calisthenics?

Grow Stronger and Leaner

calisthenics no equipment workout

It’s no secret that working out is great for your physiological and psychological health. Some people believe that our bodies are designed to help us in hunting and gathering and not be slouched over a computer or phone screen.

Calisthenics is a high-intensity sport that will challenge your limits and can help improve your stamina, strength, vascularity, and muscularity, all while helping you shed off body fat. If you’re not interested in adding on significant muscle mass, calisthenics will help you develop a lean and shredded frame.

It’s Free!

One of the best things about calisthenics is that you don’t need to pay mind-boggling gym fees. Calisthenics expects you to pay in blood, sweat, and respect – okay that might be The Rock inside us speaking – but you get the point.

If you want to take your calisthenics practice to the next level, there is a high probability that your neighborhood parks have enough equipment. All you’ll ever need are pull-up bars that are high enough so that your feet don’t touch the floor while you’re hanging on to them.


A lack of time and a busy schedule are the two most common excuses responsible for growing obesity and health-related problems. Calisthenics exercises like push-ups, pull-ups, squats can be done from the comforts of your home.

With calisthenics, you’re in control of your health and fitness as you can call the shots on when and where you want to work out. Have an early morning flight or a late-night meeting? Calisthenics gives you the flexibility of squeezing in a workout whenever you can.


The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Calisthenics

Spending upwards of an hour amongst sweating and grunting dudes isn’t what fun looks like for most people. Calisthenics, on the other hand, allows you to design an enjoyable training program. Whether you like training alone, with a partner – or two, chasing pumps, building a solid core, you can twist and mold the calisthenics program as per your will.

Beginner’s Calisthenics Workout

Enough with the theory, let’s get down to what we promised at the beginning of The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Calisthenics – a free workout. We’ll be giving you a 6 weeks’ worth of workouts which should be enough to get you off the rookie stage. Through this program, you’ll learn all the fundamental movements and practices.

Day 1 – Getting Started

For the first week, you’ll not be using any equipment. You’ll be relying on bodyweight exercises to get you in the groove of things. After following this workout for a week, your body will be conditioned for what is to come next.

4 Circuits

  1. Planks – 30 seconds
  2. Push-Ups – 10 Reps
  3. Squats – 10 Reps
  4. Lunges – 10 Reps (each leg)
  5. Lying Leg Raises – 10 Reps
  6. Mountain Climbers – 10 Reps (each leg)
  7. Pike Push-Ups – 10 Reps

In this program, you’ll be performing the exercises in circuits. Unlike the bodybuilding exercises, there is no rest time between sets in this program. You’ll move into the next exercise right after you’re done with a set.

Day 2 – Welcome To The Bar!

calisthenics bar workout

There’s no reason to sound the alarms if you feel sore after the first day. While building strength will take time, your body should be able to handle today’s bar work. If you can’t perform the exercises in today’s workout with perfect form, feel free to ask someone for a spot.

4 Circuits

  1. Underhand Chin-Ups – 5 Reps
  2. Wide-Grip Pull-Ups – 5 Reps
  3. Parallel Bar Dips – 5 Reps
  4. Push-ups – 15 Reps
  5. Leg Raises – 5 Reps
  6. Jump Squats – 5 Reps
  7. Australian Pull-Ups – 10 Reps

If you can’t find a spotter, break down the exercises into sub-sets. For example, if you were supposed to do five reps in a set but aren’t able to, take a five-second rest after each repetition until you complete the set with the recommended number of reps.

Day 3 – Rest

Rest Days are one of the most underutilized days of the week. Most people make the mistake of dozing off on the rest days. Use the rest days to the fullest by doing a cardio session and prepping your meals for the week.

Rest days are great for filling up on motivation. We recommend watching YouTube videos to keep yourself pumped for your workouts. Use this day to learn more about the sport through reading and watching videos.

Day 4 – Explosive Day

The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Calisthenics clap push ups

Now that it’s your fourth day doing a calisthenics workout, we’ll step up a notch in The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Calisthenics. Your muscles soreness should have subsided and your muscles should start getting used to your training – but this won’t be for long. On the fourth day of the week, you’ll perform the reps with an explosive movement.

4 Circuits

  1. Wide Push-Ups – 20 Reps
  2. Mountain Climbers – 20 Reps
  3. Wall Sit – 60 Seconds
  4. Clap Push-Ups – 15 Reps
  5. Superman Hold – 30 Seconds
  6. Squats – 30 Reps
  7. Plank – 1 Minute

Take 3-4 seconds to lower yourself to the bottom of the movement and explode to the top of the movement within a second. Your reps should mimic the movement of a spring which is slow to recoil but expands in an instance.

Day 5 – Fat Burning Day

The title of the day should be enough to tell you that the workout is designed to torch your body fat. You’ll be going in this workout willing to give it your everything. Follow a full range of motion and make sure you’re not resting between exercises.

4 Circuits

  1. Sprint – 100 Meter
  2. Dips – 10 Reps
  3. Jumping Jacks – 1 Minute
  4. Push-Ups – 10 Reps
  5. Alternating High Knees – 45 Seconds
  6. Mountain Climbers – 30 Seconds
  7. Plank – 30 Seconds

If you’re wondering why you have to do the sprinting or the jumping jacks, let us tell you that calisthenics and a low body fat percentage go hand-in-hand. Not being overweight ensures that you can balance yourself in the bar exercises and there won’t be any excess stress on your joints.

Day 6 – Beginner HIIT

treadmill hiit sprint

Top-notch muscle conditioning is the signature of a calisthenics expert. Apart from the 4-day beginner’s calisthenics workouts, in this program, you’ll be setting out one day for HIIT cardio training.

4 Circuits

  1. “All-Out” Sprint – 30 Seconds
  2. Walk – 1 Minute

1 Circuit

  1. Step-Up Knees To Elbows – 30 Seconds
  2. Bodyweight Walking Lunges – 1 Minute

4 Circuits

  1. “All-Out” Sprint – 30 Seconds
  2. Walk – 1 Minute

1 Circuit

  1. Step-Up Knees To Elbows – 30 Seconds
  2. Bodyweight Walking Lunges – 1 Minute

If you don’t feel exhausted after this workout, you didn’t do it right. This 6-minute workout is enough to make you call it a day. If you’re in a gym, you can take another half an hour to train your forearms and calves.

Day 7 – Active Rest

The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Calisthenics

Remember – there are no “couch potato” days in this program. To look and feel like a serious calisthenics athlete, you need to get rid of all the excess fat from your body. You don’t necessarily have to go sprinting on a rest day, but you should at least go for a 15-20 minute stroll.

A 6-Week Program

You’ll be following this plan for six weeks. As you get stronger and better, add two more reps every week to exercises like the squats and lunges and 10 seconds to core strengthening moves like planks, sprints, etc.

Who is Calisthenics For?

Now that you know all there is to know about calisthenics and have a 6-week training program, all your questions should have been answered. But if you’re still wondering if this training style is for you, check if any of the following points ring true for you.

Conditioning Over Size

calisthenics park workout

Some people never start their fitness journeys because they don’t want huge muscles. These are the same people who often point to a buff dude and say “we don’t want to look like that.” While everyone has their idea of a perfect physique, it’s universally accepted that you should be working out to stay in shape.

Resistance training is the major difference between calisthenics and bodybuilding, and its what is mainly responsible for helping bodybuilders build muscle mass. Calisthenics workouts will not only help you carve a shredded physique, but its intense workouts will also help you in building strength and stamina.

A Packed Schedule

A jam-packed schedule is one of the most common reasons that keep people from starting a fit lifestyle. Since calisthenics is usually a 30-minute intense workout session that requires no gym equipment, the “I’m so busy” excuse goes out of the window.

No matter who you are, what you do or where you live, you can surely take out 30-minutes in a day to work on your health. If you still can’t find half an hour in your day, wake up early or go to bed late and do the calisthenics workout in your house.

Make The World Your Gym

Some people despise the idea of spending more than an hour every day in the gym. The good news is that you don’t have to be around the iron to do your calisthenics workouts. You can do your workouts wherever and whenever you want.

Also, while a video of you benching 315lbs might be cool, it can’t beat the calisthenics invisible stair pull-ups. If you don’t know what we mean, you should watch this video. In our opinion, calisthenics athletes arguably have the best core strength amongst the bodybuilders, powerlifters, and CrossFitters.

The Negative


If you see calisthenics athletes doing their thing, you would notice that most of them have weak legs. But the good news is, now that you know calisthenics’ Achilles heel, you can put equal focus on your lower and upper body.

We hope you liked The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Calisthenics, but before you go, you might want to check these out:

25 Again? How You Can Stay Young

How To Lose Belly Fat

Building Lean Muscles Over 40

The Ultimate Sore Knee Remedy Guide

What do you think?

Written by Vidur

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