Basic Calisthenics Workout Routine For Beginners

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About this Calisthenics Workout

If you’re looking for a beginner workout routine that is both easy to follow and effective, then look no further. The best calisthenics beginner workout routine will help you get started with the basics and have your calisthenics workout journey off on the right foot.

Calisthenics beginners often make the mistake of choosing the wrong or a bad program.  They often stumble into programs that are too hard, too easy, or include workouts they hate.

If you want to avoid these mistakes and get a head start on your workout using only your own body weight, then read this post!

Looking into a beginner calisthenics workout, you might be scared to start. But don’t worry! There are ways to get started without making any rookie mistakes that could set you back weeks or worse.

Proper routine

Everyone who would like to work out with this (or any) approach needs a solid workout plan.  This means a plan that will vary but have some constants to it.

A typical beginner training program for calisthenics would include:

  • Proper warm-up exercises (Dynamics)
  • Stretches
  • Mobility work
  • Skill development drills or bodyweight progressions in the form of basic movements, like pushup, pull up

That being said, having a plan carves a path for your workout towards your fitness goals.

What a calisthenics workout for beginners can do for you

It’s no secret that calisthenics can prove to be quite challenging in the beginning since it involves a lot of personal effort and — most of all — a lot of free movement. Not everyone knows how to move their bodies in efficient ways for how strange that might sound.

Let’s explore what makes calisthenics one of the best ways to get your body into shape.

Insane strength

Contrary to popular belief, calisthenics can build strength like no other. Even though calisthenics workouts may not look as intense and intimidating as weight training, calisthenics is still able to build a solid level of relative strength in a very natural manner by using your own body weight against you — meaning that the resistance will always be present (unlike with weight training).

Calisthenics can’t compete with the level of absolute strength weight exercises can provide. But you’d be surprised by the weight gymnasts can lift! Here’s a video of gymnast Nile Wilson showing incredible strength even without training with free weights.

Targets all muscle groups

First of all, calisthenics can target any part of your body in an organic way, meaning that you can build muscle without the use of complicated machinery or artificial motions that push you to do one specific thing, yet leave the rest of your body completely untouched.

Holistic approach

Strength and muscle are just other elements in the calisthenics journey. It’s not everything. You also get to work on your balance, endurance, body control, mobility, and flexibility.

Teaches good habits

A beginner workout is a great way to develop good habits that will stay with you for the rest of your life.

In other words, if you want to develop muscle strength and/or build muscle mass, then calisthenics may be perfect for you as a beginner workout because it is an all-around exercise that can help build muscle in various ways.  The movements are natural, effective, and functional.

Saves time

That’s what plans are for. It helps you get prepared, and you can save time for yourself to do other things.

Maintains consistency

Calisthenics training plan guides you to stick to a workout schedule, so you can stay consistent and not waste your time. It also directs you into a path of continual improvement.

Keeps it fun

You are only limited by your imagination, which is both the best way of keeping it interesting but also a great motivator because there are so many different exercises that will work all muscle groups in different ways.

0 to minimal equipment with the primary use of own body weight

You can work out without the need for any fancy equipment. For more optimal gains, it’s best to have at least these pieces of equipment:

  • Pull-up bar
  • Dip station
  • Resistance band
  • Stable elevated surface
  • Low bar or gymnastics ring

All of these mentioned are affordable and accessible. You can also prepare a sturdy chair and wall to widen the number of calisthenics exercises to choose from.

If you need a detailed guide on calisthenics equipment, check out the article below:

Ultimate guide to calisthenics equipment and accessible alternatives

Functional movement

Functional movement is the art of doing things that are actually necessary for real life. In calisthenics, there’s a large focus on functional movements: all these exercises prepare you for handling tasks like climbing stairs, carrying groceries, and picking up heavy objects with ease.

There is also a great emphasis on core strength as it will make your everyday life a whole lot easier by making your body free of restrictions of movement and free from nasty body pains.

You can read more about it in the article below:

What does it mean to be strong in the real world?

 

Naturally progressive

Bodyweight exercises are naturally progressive in that the body is forced to adapt and get stronger over time.

Especially if you’re working with a proper calisthenics routine, your body and body weight will adjust accordingly to the demands; making you much lighter and more prepared for more advanced calisthenics exercises.

If you can’t believe it, here are stories of real people making real gains with calisthenics:

Read more: What happens when you train with calisthenics

 

Working on the fundamentals

Basics movement patterns are important to work on. You’ll never be able to do calisthenics-based exercises, muscle-ups, or even pull-ups if you don’t have a good foundation of strength and control in your body.

 

The human flag and planches are complex moves that require far more than brute strength. You need balance, flexibility, mobility, and skill as well. That’s why these moves take a lot of effort to master – it’s not enough just to be strong!

That’s why you should start with the calisthenics fundamentals. Until you are doing them consistently, do not even try any other advanced moves. Master the fundamentals and they will allow faster and more efficient learning.

With The Movement Athlete, this is done by deconstructing a movement pattern into its core components so that you can learn an exercise or skill part by part.

You can read more about this here: Gymnastic coaching: Ultimate deconstruction for learning skills 

The best calisthenics beginners workout routine

It doesn’t have to be complicated!

It’s time we make fitness simple again.

Focus on calisthenics for the rest of your life, and you will never have to worry about getting strong again!  We all know how hard it is to find time in our lives with everything going on that we want to do- so a workout plan helps us get back into shape while also giving us more freedom of movement, from aches and pain.

About this bodyweight training plan

BASIC CALISTHENICS WORKOUT FOR BEGINNERS

Level:

Time

Goal

Beginner

25 minutes

Strength Building

Here is Your Workout :

MoveSetsReps
Static Chin-ups18s
Elevated Push-ups110
Leg Raises110
Inverted Rows 45 Degrees115
Bench Dips110
Squats120


No rest between each exercise and rest for 90 seconds for each roundTotal of 3 rounds.

How far in the game are you?

Our certified coaches have developed a fail-proof assessment to give you an idea of where you stand in the Calisthenics game.

Circuit training

Circuit training is a type of physical exercise that combines strength conditioning and aerobic exercise. It consists of a series of different calisthenics exercises, performed sequentially one after the other with little or no rest in between.

This workout plan is designed for a complete beginner in calisthenics looking to building muscle and losing fat in the process without the need for a gym membership. 

Full body workout

We will use our entire body for this calisthenics workout plan, hitting the upper body and lower body, including our core. A whole-body workout will further increase the intensity of the session that amp’s up the potential gains.

That being said, you can work out using the program 3 times per week leaving at least 24 hours between sessions for maximum recovery.

FUNDAMENTAL strength training is THE MOST important goal for every beginner.

When first starting with calisthenics workouts or weight training or any other form of resistance training, the number one priority is strength training.

Why?

Because it’s the best time to maximize the “noob gains“.

What are noob gains you may ask?

It’s when our bodies experience neural adaptation. A phenomenon when our bodies’ muscle and strength gains decrease as we get more advanced in training. Beginners tend to make massive strength gains which is very useful if you want to progress to more difficult exercises to further increase your progress.

Strength training is exactly what beginners need to be focused on to set a proper foundation for further developments.

Apply these rules when performing any bodyweight exercises.

Know these key points by heart as you will be using these in all calisthenics exercises.

  • Proper form for every exercise
  • Core tight when executing movements
  • Quality reps over quantity
  • Whole-body tension
  • Breath in during negative and breath out during the positive motion
  • Use entire range of motion
  • Mind-muscle connection – focusing on targeted muscles to increase muscle activation

Warm-ups

Start training with a proper warm-up. Dynamic movements do the trick! Avoid static stretches. Here’s a short and general guideline:

  • Jumping jacks or any cardiovascular movements
  • Joint rotations
  • Arm swings
  • Torso rotations

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List of Best Beginner Exercises

Static chin-ups (10 – 30 second hold)

Targets: Lats, back, biceps, core

Equipment: Pull-up bar or any sturdy beam

Let’s first start with one of the best isometric exercises to build upper body strength. This exercise is part of the pull-ups progression. It’s basically a chin-up (palm towards your body compared to a pull-up with palm facing away) but as an isometric hold at the top-most position. Why the top position? Because it’s the easiest position to hold in the motion apart from the dead hang, of course.

How to perform:

  1. Stand near a low bar.
  2. Jump to the top position of the chin-up.
  3. Hold the position for a specified amount of time.

Coaching Pointers:

  • Push your shoulder down and away from your ears
  • Pinch your shoulder blade together at the top position
  • Head in a neutral position
  • Hands shoulder-width apart or slightly wider/narrower depending on comfort
  • Full-body tension
  • Use leg assistance or band assistance to make the exercise easier

Elevated push-ups (8 to 15 reps)

Targets: Chest, triceps, shoulders

Equipment: Rigid wall

One of the most popular calisthenics exercises known to man is push-ups. The push-up is great for building chest and tricep muscles but also good for shoulder strength and stability. The problem is that not all beginners can do a single rep with good form. To address this issue, it’s best to move to an easier exercise such as wall push-ups. The inclined variation lessens the load while still trains the necessary muscles for harder variations.

How to perform:

  1. Face the wall 1 to 2 feet away. Far enough so when you lay your hands on the wall, you can still lean towards it with straight arms.
  2. Stand with good posture. Feet together.
  3. Place your hands flat shoulder-width apart on the wall.
  4. Pull your body towards the wall by bending your elbows.
  5. Stop until your chest is near the wall.
  6. Push up using your chest and tricep muscles back to starting position.
  7. Repeat the motion for reps.

Coaching Pointers:

  • Push your shoulder down and away from your ears
  • Pinch your shoulder blade together at the bottom position
  • Head in a neutral position
  • When bending your elbows, keep them tucked near your body
  • Keep your body straight throughout the motion

Leg raises

Targets: Abs

Leg raises are excellent for the core muscles particularly the abs which is crucial for calisthenic exercises. The key here is to perform with correct form since many make minor errors that affect the overall effect of the exercise.

How to perform:

  1. Begin lying on the floor. Hands by your side.
  2. Lift the legs up until the hips are past 90 degrees.
  3. Lower down with control but do not let the feet touch the ground.
  4. Repeat for reps.

Coaching Pointers:

  • Keep the back fully flat on the floor. You can do this by tilting the hips a bit forward.
  • Use the abs to move the legs
  • Do not rely on momentum
  • Legs engaged

Inverted 45-degree row

Targets: Lats, back, biceps, core

Equipment: Low bar, dip bar, or gymnastics rings

Bodyweight rows are integral to developing strong pulling mechanics. It can also lead to pull-ups while you don’t have the strength yet for the exercise. Luckily, rows are scalable for beginners.

How to perform:

  1. Hang from a low bar.
  2. Extend the legs forward and straighten the body and arms.
  3. From the bottom position, pull upward until the chest is near the top position.
  4. Lower down with control.
  5. Repeat the pulling motion for reps.

Coaching Pointers:

  • Push your shoulder down and away from your ears
  • Pinch your shoulder blade together at the top position
  • Head in a neutral position
  • When bending your elbows, keep them tucked near your body
  • Adjust the angle to adjust the intensity of the exercise. The lower, the harder. The higher, the easier.

Bench dips (10 to 25 reps)

Targets: Chest, triceps, shoulders

Equipment: Bench or box

This is an introductory exercise to vertical pushing motion. It works primarily the triceps, chest, and shoulders. Like other calisthenics exercises, it cal also be adjusted to suit your skill level.

How to perform:

  1. Sit down on a bench and place your hands near your thighs.
  2. Extend your hips forward and walk your feet further until straight.
  3. Lower down your body by bending at the elbows.
  4. Push back up to starting position.
  5. Repeat for reps.

Coaching Pointers:

  • Push your shoulder down and away from your ears
  • Pinch your shoulder blade together
  • When bending your elbows, keep them tucked near your body
  • Lower down to the maximum range of motion but aim to reach 90 degrees in arms or deeper

Bodyweight squats (10 to 25 reps)

Targets: Glutes, hamstrings, quads, calves

Equipment: Optional – box or wall for support

The squat is a great exercise with many variations for different goals and skill levels. For our purpose, you can either use a box behind you for assistance or go full bodyweight instead. You can also make the exercise more difficult by implementing jumping squats or unilateral variations.

How to perform:

  1. Begin standing with good posture in legs shoulder-width apart. Feet facing forward or slightly outwards.
  2. Squat down by bending at the hips and knees.
  3. Lower to the maximum range of mobility.
  4. Hold the bottom position for a brief moment.
  5. Stand back up by pushing with your legs.
  6. Repeat for reps.

Coaching Pointers:

  • When lowering down, the upper torso will be diagonal.
  • Raise hands in front for balance
  • Hips squared
  • Maintain stabilized knees
  • Slowly go deeper as your mobility improves

Where does mobility come in?

These strength exercises above aren’t just for building muscle and gaining power. If they are done with perfect form, bodyweight movements also develop strength in a wider range of motion which equates to mobility.

Mobility can be improved through static stretching, but it’s best trained with strength exercises.

 

To Wrap it up

Start with a good solid foundational routine

Creating a solid foundation like the base for an architecture and engineering marvel is essential to getting stronger. Just like having a solid foundation of trust and love is important for a strong and lasting relationship.

We can go on and on with metaphors here. An excellent and proper routine will set the foundation for your fitness and calisthenics journey.

 

The ultimate calisthenics workout

The best calisthenics fitness program for beginners to advanced athletes is highly individualized and will vary from person to person depending on your current level of strength, age, weight, fitness goals, etc.

If you truly want to experience the ultimate calisthenics workout plans, you need something that’s specifically designed for you. You need personalization!

Cookie-cutter or one-size-fits-all programs are proven to be inefficient, hurting your gains, and can potentially be dangerous if the program is too difficult for you.

Like every person is different, every beginner is different as well.

The end of beginner/intermediate/advanced – that is hurting your training.

That’s why The Movement Athlete is such as beast compared to any other workouts out there!

It focuses on your journey and your progress alone.

Take the assessment now and see where you are at with your 9 calisthenics fundamentals.

Learn where to start so you’ll know where you will be heading.

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