Do you want to be able to perform amazing feats of movement and strength? You need to know how to build muscle correctly.
Calisthenics training is an efficient and feasible training solution for amplifying body composition, strength, and posture. All of which can be done without relying on any major training equipment.
But getting from square one to mastery is no easy feat. Every beginner has to start from somewhere and give their body a well-rounded base to work on. If you have no idea where to start, you are in the right place.
We compiled a practical beginner-friendly calisthenics workout guide that will have you reaping the benefits in no time. You might even benefit from doing them as part of a group.
Benefits Of Calisthenics For Beginners
- There are numerous benefits that calisthenics can offer people who are considered beginners. Even if the person is not fit and hasn’t been active for some time, calisthenics can still be a beneficial option when they are looking to work on their fitness.
- Calisthenics does not require any equipment when a person gets started. This is great for those individuals who find themselves on a tight budget – unable to buy a gym membership or expensive equipment that they can use to work out at home. Since no equipment is needed, it also means that calisthenics is versatile – the person can perform these exercises almost anywhere, even while they are traveling.
- Since there is no equipment used, beginners are also able to gain more control over the resistance of their exercise. With weightlifting, there is always a risk of pushing the body too far – particularly when a beginner adds too much weight to the bar.
- Both your body and mind have to work hard to develop fine motor skills. In time you build quickness, acceleration, power, and coordination. The longer you train, the sooner you gain strength and agility. Simply put, with calisthenics you better the mind-body connection.
- Calisthenics can be used for both strength training and cardio. This adds to the overall versatility that these exercise routines offer. The strength training exercises can also be used to target all of the major muscle groups in the body.
What Should Beginners Know Before Starting With Calisthenics
- Starting slow is one of the most important factors that beginners should keep in mind when they start out with a calisthenics program. Don’t forget to consume healthy fats on a regular basis. Including vitamins and minerals for proper cardiovascular health.
- The person also needs to keep their own fitness level and physical strength in mind. When the individual is not trained, then the program they follow should start out at an even slower pace. Even though there is a greater level of control with calisthenics, it is still possible to experience an injury when the intensity of exercises are pushed up too soon.
- Muscular injury is a common issue for many athletes and beginners. Skeletal muscle injuries represent roughly 30% of the injuries recorded in sports medicine clinics. It is imperative that you use the best means to avoid these problems. Warm-up and/or stretching protocol can help with that. Do classic warm-ups 15 minutes before your calisthenic workout to obtain the biggest benefits. That way you can boost flexibility, performance, and circulation.
- Remember to focus on your form rather than the competition. There will always be an experienced gym-goer who can handle tougher challenges at a faster pace. But, in cases such as these, your form should remain a top priority. The better the form, the easier it is to hit better rep numbers and get further results. While a poor technique will hold you back. You may start to feel tired sooner than you realize.
- Another important factor is not to go overboard. Around 60% of competitive athletes tend to overtrain. From 200 elite athletes evaluated, 15% met the overtrained criteria. It’s normal to feel eager to gain faster results. But, achieving your goals takes time and effort. Don’t damage your muscle health, recovery, and ability to start building muscle by overtraining. Instead, give yourself time and get enough rest. Your body will thank you for it.
Developing A Workout Schedule
- The best workout program should be based on the individual’s own schedule. Before developing a program, it is important for the individual to carefully take a look at their day-to-day schedule.
- The goal here should be to find spots that a workout routine can fit into. This may include early in the morning or perhaps later in the afternoon when the person gets home from work.
- It is also important to ensure each session provides sufficient time for the individual to fully utilize the benefits associated with calisthenics. It is generally a good idea to aim for workout sessions that will last for a minimum of 20 minutes. This provides sufficient time to get the heart rate up and ensure muscles can enter a state of hypertrophy.
Best Beginner Calisthenics Exercises
Often seen as the toughest moves, this fitness classic builds serious upper-body strength. Although pull ups can be used to challenge various parts of the arms, you will mostly use the pull up bar to amplify core strength.
But, this is not something you want to do incorrectly. Given the amount of effort and strength you put into the core strength, poor form can lead to injury, discomfort, and aches. Follow the steps below to do it right.
- Grip the pull up bars with the hands about shoulder-width apart. The palms should face forward.
- Extend the arms above you. Slightly curve the back and stick out the chest. This will be the starting position.
- Use your back to pull the body up until the bar is at chest level. Make sure you breathe out while doing the above movements.
- Carefully and slowly lower the body to the starting position as you take in a deep breath.
If you are interested in a practical calisthenics program using nothing but a bar and bodyweight training, then seach out few solutions online. You can find some practical tips on bodyweight movements and motivational info. With that in mind, pull ups activate the posterior chain muscles. They are a solid full body workout.
For a beginner, pull ups can be one heck of a challenge. If you can’t handle pulling up your entire body weight, then reduce the resistance with beginner calisthenics. If you are going to the gym, you will most likely have an assisted pull-up machine at your disposal. Here, you can mitigate the pressure of the full body weight and handle more repetitions.
Chin ups are different than pull-ups. With these calisthenics workouts , you work on the chest and biceps. While with pull-ups, you mostly target the shoulder and back muscles. Nevertheless, these calisthenics workouts are both highly effective body weight exercises that target the full upper body. They build muscle and whole body strength. Chin-ups take some getting used to. But, with proper form, you will quickly get the hang of it. These steps can help.
- Grip the bar with the hands shoulder-width apart. The palms should be facing you.
- Bend the elbows completely, until you’ve managed to pull yourself up and your chin is on top of the bar.
- Take a quick pause for about a second.
- Lower the body to its starting position with the arms straight.
This grip of the calisthenics workout is meant to activate the anterior chain muscles and build muscle. If you find it difficult to handle right off the bat, that’s completely normal. Many beginners have a hard time doing chin-ups. But, with gradual progress, you boost your strength until you eventually get there.
If you are looking for a bodyweight exercise that adds real muscle mass to the triceps, then dips are a great way to start. This is versatile training to build muscle mass that both experts and beginners can handle. It is simple, effective, and pretty straightforward.
Dips can be done at the gym or without the equipment. If you are at the gym, then you will need two dip bars to do it. These are stable, fixed, and parallel bars that can handle a lot of weight. Here is how to do it.
- Grab ahold of the bars with each hand and jump up. Lock the elbows and balance your body and weight.
- Bend the arms and lower the body. Lean a bit forward with your torso. This is a dip.
- Bring yourself downwards until the shoulders are under the elbows at the bottom. You’ve now broken the parallel.
- Rise back up again by lifting the body in its starting position. Straighten the arms to achieve the desired result and repeat.
For those who don’t have a gym membership or minimal equipment to work on their own body weight, then a chair dip will do. Take the sturdiest chair or bench you can find. As a beginner, a chair with arms can come a long way. Take a seat and place each hand on the hands’ rest.
The legs are a hip-distance apart and feet should be flat on the floor. Grab the arms of the chair and lift your torso up, while keeping the back straight. The buttocks should be hovering over the floor and the knees slightly bent. Take a deep breath as you lower your own body weight and breathe out with each push up.
While there isn’t a lot to unpack when doing squats, it’s important that you do it right. They are not just a workout, but a movement pattern that can come in handy in day-to-day life. Squats are seen as a compound movement. They engage various muscle groups and joints.
Plus, squats are critical and fundamental movements capable of amplifying sports performance, decreasing the risk for injury, and supporting lifelong physical activity. A beginner start calisthenics can figure out the correct squat skills below.
- Stand tall with toes facing forward and feet slightly wider than hip-width.
- Don’t tilt your head down. Instead, keep the chest up and pull the navel in to engage the core.
- While keeping the toes and heels firmly on the floor, bend the knees and hips.
- Slowly sit down to bring the body into a squat position. Abs in and shoulders back to achieve approximately a 90-degree angle.
- Tilt the pelvis forward and squeeze the glutes to get back up again. Until the legs straighten. Then repeat.
Once you’ve mastered the basic squats, you can take it up a notch with pistol squats or dumbbells. To start weight training, hold one dumbbell in each hand and repeat the exercise while keeping the arms at the side. If you are still a long way off from handling typical squats, then prep the body for the real deal. Stand a couple of feet in front of a counter and hold onto it with your fingertips. Do a mini squat while you use the counter to maintain balance.
Start toning the buttocks, abs, and legs with jump squats. They may not be the easiest workout out there, but can definitely boost your sports performance, strength, circulation, mobility, and balance. Learn how to do them by following the steps below.
- Stand tall with the feet shoulder-width apart.
- Start with a typical squat, then jump back up.
- The moment you land, move your body back into a squat position to finish the rep. You should land with the whole foot touching the ground. Try to reduce the landing noise as much as possible. This requires control and great balance.
A practical tip when doing jumping squats is to use the entire foot to jump, not just the toes. Also, avoid letting the shoulders lean out beyond the knees. That way you can prevent a back injury or strain.
Performing a basic crunch is the “bread & butter” of proper abdominal exercise. As a beginner, make sure to pay attention to the form. Otherwise, you may experience neck and lower-back issues. When done the right way, crunches can target the oblique, abdominal, and back muscles. The step-by-step methods below can help.
- Lie on the back. Preferably on an exercise mat or a comfortable carpeted surface.
- Keep the feet flat on the floor while bending the knees upwards.
- Cross the arms in front of the chest. Feel free to position the fingertips behind the head if it makes you feel more comfortable.
- With a controlled and smooth motion lift the shoulder blades off the floor.
- Slowly lower the body back onto the floor.
Once you’ve mastered the basics, you can move on to crunch variations. Such as side crunches, reverse crunches, bicycle crunches, and further work on those abdominal muscles.
To give your leg muscles a nice strength boost, lunges can always do the trick. When you emphasize different muscles with calisthenics exercises, you can stimulate the body to work harder and make the most of any physical activity. Allocating the focus to the lower body is an excellent way to engage the legs and provide that much-needed result. Here is how to do lunges for beginners.
- Stand on the floor with feet hip-width apart.
- Shoulders back and upper body in a straight line.
- Take a long step forward so that one leg is positioned ahead of the torso and the other is behind.
- Bend the knees at around 90 degrees as you lower the body. Keep the core tight and trunk upright.
- Use force to push your body off from the front leg to get back to the starting position.
When doing this calisthenics training or push exercises, the lead knee shouldn’t be placed past the toes as you lower towards the floor. And the knee in the back shouldn’t be touching the ground. The goal of such calisthenics exercises is to keep the hips at the same height and contract the abdomen.
As you lower your body to the ground, the muscles lengthen. But, they contract when you get back into the starting position. Due to the workout load from this calisthenics training, lunges are unilateral exercises. They help you work on your stability and balance, which are key factors for building stronger muscles and handling intensive movements.
In daily life, you will be doing more push ups than you realize. While they may not maintain the exact form as a typical workout, they still can make you sweat. Functional fitness is all about working on the upper body strength, muscle building, and keeping the rotator cuffs in tip-top shape. Figuring out the basics of push ups can help you achieve that desired result.
- Start by getting on the floor on all fours.
- Place the hands a bit wider than the shoulders. Avoid locking the elbows with a slight bend.
- Extend both legs back, while maintaining balance with the toes and hands.
- Tighten the core and contract the abdominal muscles. You can do that if you suck in the belly.
- Lift yourself off the floor.
- Bend the elbows and lower the body back towards the floor. Don’t let the stomach touch the floor.
- Contract the chest muscles and push yourself back up again.
However, if you’ve recently had an elbow, wrist, or shoulder injury, wait for it to heal before you do push ups. It’s easy to get hurt if the body has yet to heal. So, take your time with push ups to make sure you are in excellent shape before you start training.
Burpees are without a doubt demanding. They are both effective and practical ways that will virtually engage every muscle in your body. That includes the triceps, buttocks, abs, chest, and more. Maintaining a correct burpee form for these calisthenic exercises can set you on the right track. Take a look at the steps below.
- Stand tall. Then, bend the knees to a squatting position.
- Place the hands flat on the floor in front of you.
- Extend the legs back and do a push up.
- Jump the legs back in, then stand back up. Repeat.
Jumping jacks are relatively easy calisthenic exercises and a great training method. They are a basic exercise anyone can do. Start by standing with the legs straight and arms at the sides. Spread the feet and jump up while bringing the arms on top of your head. Then, jump again as you bring them down again. Bring the legs together and repeat.
Try This Calisthenics Workout Program For Beginners
- There are different strategies that can be used by a beginner when they are only starting out, but it is important to start with the basics.
- A good example of a beginner-friendly calisthenics workout plans:
- 10 pull ups
- 10 chinups
- 25 jumping squats
- 20 dips
- 20 push ups
- 50 crunches
- 10 burpees
- Rope jumping for about half a minute
- Of course, this program and workout plan can be adjusted according to the individual’s physical capabilities. For example, many beginners won’t be able to achieve 20 pushups and 50 crunches during the first few weeks. At this time, the person can aim to do as many of these as they can, and then move on to the next exercise.
Where To Go From Here
- Once the individual feels comfortable with the workout program and strength exercises, they can start to consider increasing both the frequency of their workout sessions, as well as the intensity.
- The same program can be followed with increased reps of each exercise type. This would provide the individual with greater results. The person can try to do a maximum number of reps for each, or set specific goals. For example, they can decide to double the number of reps. In such a case, 10 pull ups become 20, etc.
- There are also more advanced calisthenics exercises that are harder to perform but tend to be more rewarding in the long run. As physical strength and muscular endurance increase during strength exercises, the individual can start to look at incorporating some of the more advanced moves into their calisthenics workout routine.
- Examples of the more advanced exercises include a handstand push up, which requires exceptional balance. The human flag is also a very popular move that many people aim toward when they decide to do calisthenics.
Tagline: There are a lot of great benefits of using calisthenics to improve your strength.