People will tell you that it’s impossible to build insane muscle mass with calisthenics. We beg to differ and we created a whole bunch of resources to not only prof them wrong but to guide you in how to do this.

So if you want to have:

  • legs like tree trunks
  • turtleback
  • abs like an ice tray
  • colossal bicep
  • big pecs and shoulders that look natural

Check out our most popular, easy-to-follow workouts and get ripped in no time, but before we jump in into workout routines. Let us lay out some rules of building muscle mass with calisthenics as well as guides on how to build and maximise muscle growth for calisthenics.



7 Bodybuilding Calisthenics Tips That Will Definitely Bulk You Up

Blame it on Arnold Schwarzenegger. The bodybuilder turned actor turned politician made it seem that the only way to gain muscle mass is by pumping iron. While there’s nothing wrong with lifting weights in the gym to get a body like Arnie’s, you don’t really need this heavy equipment to bulk up and get stronger. With calisthenics, a no equipment workout, you can absolutely do so!

Not many people are familiar with bodybuilding calisthenics. So, what is it exactly? This form of exercise only uses your own bodyweight to build mass and strength. This means that you don’t need to get a gym membership or to buy free weights and complex machines to actually get the body you want. All you need is constant dedication towards a calisthenics lifestyle and you’ll get to your goals.

Why Practice calisthenics for bodybuilding?

While it may take a little longer than lifting heavy weights, there are many advantages in practicing bodybuilding calisthenics. First, it gives you a more balanced physique so you’ll look better in 360 degrees. This is because calisthenics moves are mostly compound exercises that target multiple muscle groups in your body, unlike isolation exercises that only train one part of your body.

Another advantage is how it develops your body’s range of motion. Calisthenics exercises develop your stability, mobility and flexibility which means you will be stronger and more capable of performing everyday functional movements. This will also help you in maximizing the development of strength and muscle from your training.

Of course, the best part is that a bodybuilding calisthenics routine is very convenient and will not even cost you any serious cash. You don’t need an expensive gym membership to get started. You can do these exercises anywhere and anytime so you don’t really have an excuse to miss a workout.

If you are interested in gaining muscle mass through bodybuilding calisthenics, here are some essential tips you have to keep in mind.

1. Focus on Your Form

Are you guilty of bending your knees or slouching your back a little just to make that squat much easier? While this may get you through the workout session, the reality is, you’re just wasting your time by cheating on your form. If you do not perform the exercises accurately, you will not get the intended results you need.

Because of technology, there are now many resources that will teach you how to properly execute an exercise, complete with reminders and techniques to help you correctly perform an exercise. If you are a beginner, it is best to work out with a friend or in front of the mirror so you can check your form.

If you still do not have the required strength to perform an exercise correctly, find a simpler variation. The beauty of calisthenics is that you can change your body’s position to either make it simpler or more challenging.

For example, not everyone can do a standard floor push-up. Instead of totally skipping this incredible exercise, you can start by lowering your knees to the floor to do a half push-up. Once you build enough strength on your upper body, you can then try to do the standard floor push up with your legs parallel to the floor

2. Increase Number of Reps

Increasing the number of reps is one way to make you gain more muscle. In fact, according to a study, 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.

By increasing the number of repetitions, you are constantly pushing your body to do more. However, don’t forget that you should only increase your reps if you have already mastered the correct form required to complete the exercise.

3. Aim For Progress

Have you ever experienced doing an exercise for the very first time and it hurt so much the next morning you want to never do it again, but then after doing it for a few more sessions, you’re surprised to find out that it is relatively easy?

When you continuously do a movement, your body will adapt to this move over time. This is the reason why the exercises will feel easier as you get used to doing them. This will often cause your body to plateau, which is a stage where you’re not seeing any more gains. In order to break this plateau and for you to build more muscle, the key is to always challenge yourself to reach the next level. This is called progressive calisthenics.

Progressive calisthenics is a philosophy that involves the development of gradual strength gain by increasing the capability of the person to perform exercises of increasing difficulty. You would typically start with easy moves and as your body gains strength, you’ll then advance to more demanding moves. If you want to gain more muscle, you would need to continuously progress.

4. Diversify Your Workout

With bodybuilding calisthenics, it is indeed important to master exercises before you can progress. However, this does not mean that you should just stick to a single routine all the time. There are so many bodyweight exercises and even more variations of each exercise.

Diversifying your routine by practicing different exercises will not only keep your body guessing, but will also keep you from getting bored. Doing different exercises will also guarantee that you are utilizing different muscle groups in your body and gaining overall strength.

When performing a bodybuilding calisthenics workout, make sure to allow exercises for your upper body, lower body, back muscles, arms and abdominals. This will ensure that your bodyweight strength training routine is truly balanced.

5. Be Consistent With Your Training Schedule

If you want to gain serious muscle mass, you have to be dedicated in your training. An on-and-off routine will not benefit you. This is because when you stop, your body will take longer to adapt to the exercise making your progress much slower. It’s like always going back to day 1.

Aim for at least 3 times a week when strength training, with rest days in between. In the days that you are not working out, you can engage in other activities like sports or cardio exercises to keep your body active.
6. Fuel Your Body With Protein and Nutrient-Dense Food
Diet is one of the most important factors in muscle-building. You have to fuel your body with the right nutrients in order to build mass. Make lean protein a priority like chicken, beef, eggs and seafood. You should also eat a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables, healthy grains, and dairy.

While there’s nothing wrong with taking dietary supplements, the best way to get the nutrients you need is still from fresh, whole foods. However, you can also supplement with protein powders in case you are unable to get adequate protein from food.

You should also avoid junk foods and anything that is loaded with sugar or empty carbs like baked pastries, chocolate candy, chips, processed food, white rice, and pasta.

7. Rest, Rest, Rest.

Muscles are built at rest so it is important to give your body enough time to recover. Over stressing your muscles is also not beneficial. This does not mean that you should slack off and miss a workout. What you should do is space out your workouts with a rest day in between.

Getting enough sleep is also very important. There are many fitness athletes who skip sleep and push themselves to work out the next day by consuming energy drinks. This will actually damage instead of benefit your health in the long run. You must make sure that you are getting enough sleep of at least 7-8 hours at night.




But What If I Can’t Do The Calisthenics Exercises?

Building muscle with calisthenics is definitely possible as long as you follow the correct techniques in performing the exercises. But even with the right tips, not everyone can perform a basic routine. This is usually a problem especially for beginners.

The great thing with calisthenics is that there is a lot of room for you to adjust the different exercises to suit your personal capability. If an exercise is either too easy or too hard for you to do, you would need to find a middle ground to make sure that the exercise will still be effective for you.

This is the reason why we created The Movement Athlete Academy: to offer a fully personalized training program reflecting exactly where your level is for optimal performance.

Take the assessment to see how you stack up on the 8 fundamental calisthenics moves.