Building hydrothropy with Calisthenics

Hello calisthenics family!

Today I thought about constructing a workout samples depending on your calisthenic goal.

Each week I will provide one week of workouts that can be followed for 4 weeks before changing it up.

No matter if it’s about increase in strength, increased endurance or building muscle trust me with bodyweight training you can work wonders.

The bodybuilding mentality tells people to pick up heavy objects which are of considerable weight in order to go about building mass and bulk up muscles to their highest points. No one ever considers using their own body to do this, which will also allow you to create a range of motions with bodily exercises, bringing bulk and stability to your muscles which was never possible with the use of free weights of machines when building mass.

Yes, you can build mass with calisthenics

When you think about it, it really wasn’t that long ago that the world’s strongest men didn’t have fancy gym equipment or access to free weights to build muscle size and strength. Instead, they relied on calisthenics, plyometrics, and body weight training to get bigger, faster, and stronger. Go back a generation and Charles Atlas was one of the most well-known bodybuilders in the world who relied exclusively on calisthenic-style workouts. And no one can dispute the impressive muscle size and physique of the legendary martial arts master Bruce Lee

Speaking from my experience [tweet_box design=”default”]calisthenics are way better than any other type of training, especially if you want to strengthen your joints, tendons and ligaments.[/tweet_box]

Low rep vs high rep

If you’re trying to build muscle size and strength using body weight training, you just need to go about it the right way. In a recent study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology, researchers found that three sets of low-rep heavy-resistance training compared to three sets of high-rep low-resistance training over a 10-week period resulted in similar gains in muscle size. That means that even after you’ve mastered some of the most basic body weight moves like push-ups, pull-ups, and squats, increasing the number of reps you perform in each set can still help you build muscle size.

Progressive Calisthenic is the answer

While muscle size increased at a similar rate for high-rep and low-rep sets in the study, researchers found that muscle strength increased more for the heavy-resistance group. If you’re aiming to build muscle exclusively with body weight training, that means you should employee progressive training strategies to basic moves to make them more difficult as you get stronger. For example, once standard push-ups are too easy, perform incline push-ups by placing your feet on a couch or stool. You could make pull-ups more challenging by wearing a weighted belt or altering your grip. Adjust your workout at least every couple of weeks to keep your muscles guessing at what’s next to help them continue to grow in size and strength.

Your Diet is Important

In addition to progressive exercise techniques to keep challenging your muscles to grow, you can also increase muscle size and strength by following a high-protein diet. Aiming for about 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight a day is a good goal to aim for if you’re working out and trying to build muscle. You can do this by eating foods like egg whites, nuts and seeds, lean meats and skinless poultry, and low-fat dairy products like milk and yogurt. If you’re still having a hard time getting adequate protein after adjusting your diet, adding a protein shake as a snack or with meals a few times a day can help you get to that 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight mark. Read more on calisthenic diet here.

These are just 3 out of many rules you should follow while trying to build calisthenic mass.

Al Kavadlo on his website recently posted the ten commandments of calisthenic mass. Here they are

The Ten Commandments of Calisthenics Muscle Mass

Truly effective muscular training boils down into THESE Ten Commandments.

COMMANDMENT I: Embrace reps!


COMMANDMENT III: Use Simple, Compound Exercises!


COMMANDMENT V: Focus on Progress—and Utilize a Training Journal!

COMMANDMENT VI: You Grow When You Rest. So Rest!

COMMANDMENT VII: Quit Eating “Clean” the Whole Time!


COMMANDMENT IX: Train the Mind Along With the Body!


Want to know more about these commandments and how to use them straight from the master Al Kavadlo? Get our FREE RESOURCE. Simply click at the image

Your body is your own gym, remember that.

Ok, Lets get down to business:

Muscle building 4 week workout plan to build calisthenics muscle mass

Today I will start with the hypertrophy or muscle building 4 week workout plan. After 4 weeks pass you should change your routine and the exercises in it too. You should not let the body to get accustomed to one type of exercises because then you won’t see any progress at all.

Let me explain a little more detailed about the workout structures.

For those trainees who are working on a daily basis this is not something new. In fact, by knowing your goal you will know what you should focus upon and, you will know your workout structure (The exact number of repetitions, sets and rest periods).

So, if you are training to increase your strength then you should aim for no more than 10 reps in a set (recommended 4-6).

This cannot be said for example if you train to improve your ENDURANCE. Here you should do anywhere from 10 to 20 reps, sometimes if the exercise is too easy even more than 20.

And last but not least, if you exercise in order to put new quality muscle mass, then you should go for 6 to 10 reps per set and no more than 3 – 4 sets total.

Here I should mention the SUPERSET technique that has been proven to provide great results. By doing 2 exercises simultaneously one after another your body will get in a “shock mode”. This means you will feel burn in your muscles and you will experience a great pump too.

Remember that with calisthenics can work in a very similar way as the weight lifting training, except for the pump duration. If you want a longer pump in your muscles, then going to the gym and lifting weight is for definitely for you.

Also, building muscle with calisthenics is a way longer if compared with the bodybuilding type of training. My point is, you should not need to think that for 1 year you will be able to build a 17 inch biceps and huge chest.

Everything takes time, so as building a great sculpted body.

So now that you know the concepts of calisthenics we can get our hands on the workout sample.

I prefer dividing the workouts by muscle groups, and working out for 5 days a week with 2 days rest in-between.


Back and Triceps an integral part of Calisthenics


  • Assisted 1 arm pullup work 3 – 5 x 1-5 (L/R)
  • Wide Pullup 3 – 5 x 8-10 / Wide Row 3 – 5 x 8-10
  • Close Pullup 3 – 5 x 8–10 / Close Row 3 – 5 x 8-10
  • Normal Pullup 3 x MAX
  • 1 Arm pushup 5 x 5 (R/L)
  • Diamond Pushups 3 – 5 x 15–20
  • Triceps extension 4 x 8–10
  • Straight Bar Dips 3 – 5 x 6–8 (Slow negatives)
  • Dips 2 – 3 x MAX


  • Pistol Squats 5 x 5 – 10 (R/L) (If you can’t perform a pistol find a variation that fits you)
  • Normal Squats 3 – 5 x 15-20
  • Close Squats 4 x 15-20
  • Lunges Matrix (Front, Side) 3 x 6 – 8 (Immediately after you perform a Front Lunge you go into Side Lunge)
  • Calf Raises 5 x 15 – 20 (Slow Reps)
  • 1 Legged Calf Raises 3 – 5 x 10 (Slow Reps)
  • Jump Rope 3 x 70 – 140 jumps straight knees using your calves as a jumping power / Sprints 5 x 30 m 2 x 50 m (MIX IT UP)



  • Handstand Wall 3 – 5 – 45 Sec + (If you can perform a free stand handstand then do it!)
  • Handstand Pushup Wide 3 x 6 – 8 (FREESTAND OR USING A WALL)
  • Handstand Pushup Close 3 x 6 – 8 (FREESTAND OR USING A WALL)
  • Hindu Pushup 4 x 10 – 15 – SUPERSET – Pseudo Pushup 4 x 10
  • Straight Bar Dips (Slow negatives) 4 x 10
  • Dips 4 x 8 – 12 (Slow tempo)

NOTE: If you can’t perform a handstand pushup, then you can follow our  book on Getting Started With Calisthenics or access a FREE HANDSTAND PROGRESSION.


Handstand push up a vital part of Calisthenics



  • Wide Pushups 3 – 5 sets of 15 – 25 reps
  • Close Pushups 3 – 5 sets of 15 – 25 reps
  • Declined Pushups 3 – 5 sets of 15 – 25 reps
  • Dips 4 sets of 12 – 25 reps
  • Chin-ups 4 x 8 – 12
  • Chin-ups negatives 3 – 4 x 6 – 8 negatives
  • Rings Biceps Curl 4 x 8 – 12
  • Close grip chin-ups 3 x MAX (GIVE ALL YOU GOT)


You can follow this workout program for 4 weeks before changing exercises and repetitions. If you are a beginner, you can start by doing easier exercises as I already mentioned. For example, if you can’t perform a pull-ups start with rows and check YouTube tutorials on how to perform a pull-up. Work your way up and mix it up. This routine is intermediate to advanced so don’t get discouraged if you can’t find yourself capable of executing it.

For the rest period I suggest anywhere from 1 minute to 2 minutes, depending on your experience level.

Rest about 2 and a half minutes between exercises. If you think you are not ready and you need more rest than don’t be shy to take it. Listen to your body, train smart and you will make great things happen.

This is just one routine that is focused on muscle building (hypertrophy). Note that I didn’t include a nutrition plan, but that doesn’t mean you should eat processed food, hamburgers and French fries.

Eat a lot of veggies and healthy protein (no need of supplements because there are already a lot of protein source foods (Fish, Milk, Eggs, Beef, Beans)).

If you are looking for a complete guide on how to diet to lose fat and build mass – then Renegade Diet is the place to go. Check it out

calisthenics diet

Don’t forget to warm-up before each and every workout to avoid possible injuries.

Also, I recommend stretching and foam rolling for about 30 minutes total after you are done with the workout. Recovery is a huge puzzle of the picture so you better don’t underestimate it.

I really hope you found this post interesting and useful.

I really look forward to hear about your progress on your body. You can share your results below in the comment section, and you can ask any question you want.

It's TIME to get your DIET RIGHT!


calisthenics training program

Professional trainer, ex cross-fitter and a long time calisthenic practitioner. I started with Convict Conditioning and achieved levels of strength which enabled me to take part in street workouts championships. Check Out our Resources and Start Building Real Strength just using your Bodyweight!
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