How to Start Calisthenics – The Ultimate Guide for Beginners

calisthenics workout basics

So you are searching for a beginner calisthenics workout routine? In that case, you are on the right way to begin a sport which can help you to build bigger and toned muscles without even going to do gym.

One of the greatest advantages of bodyweight training is that you can do anywhere, anytime, and there are a lot of exercises you can choose from to strengthen your entire body.

Besides, it is a good strength training for all sort of sports, it supports with weight loss and it is a good start if you want to do bodybuilding in the future.

If you are interested in calisthenics, I’m sure you have already seen many videos in which boys make amazing movements. But before you want to make a calisthenics exercises such as the human flag or one arm pull ups you need to be really strong at the basis.

What are the basic calisthenics exercises you will have to start with?

  • Various pull-ups – This workout is essential to strengthen your back and arms, and secondary muscles such as your abs and shoulders.
  • Pushups – This exercise will build your strong chest and triceps, and secondary muscles like shoulders.
  • Squats – To strengthen your legs.
  • Various dips – This workout is responsible to strengthen your whole upper-body.
  • Ab exercises – There are several body weight abdominal exercises. Having a strong core is crucial for calisthenics.

In the following video you can learn the basic moves but if you want an all in one course check this out.

 

All the other exercises you may have seen are just the variations or the combination of these basic workouts.

 

Body. Transformation. Xtreme.-min

 

Tips for Beginners

One mistake of beginners is that they do not perform the exercises correctly. I have seen numerous people giving street workout up after a few months because they did not see any results. This was mainly because they did not do the exercises properly. It is better doing 5 pushups accurately than do 20 improper ones. It is critical to control the motions! You cannot build strong muscles if you lie yourself!

Getting results take time, so be patient and never give up! Those boys have been practicing for years. Increase the repetitions and sets little by little to keep your progression. If you are getting better include tougher activities. If you feel one of your body parts is weaker, integrate more exercises to strengthen that part. You have to discover calisthenics yourself to reach your goals. You can keep your motivation by reading related articles and watching videos.

If you have some extra kilos begin doing cardio training and start a diet. When I began doing bodyweight workout I was 115 kg! I understood in order to get the results I want, I ought to drop some kilos. Since, I like boxing I purchased a heavy bag and started punching training for cardio. In addition, I changed my eating habits. I eliminated sugar rich foods and included more fruits, vegetables, nuts as well as protein rich meals. As a result, I lost over 15 kg and now I can do calisthenics activities that I had never dreamed before. Learn about healthy nutrition here.

Ultimately, do stretching exercises after and before your workouts to avoid injuries and strains. Stretching also helps to be more flexible and beneficial for muscle recovery.

Recommended: Get complete bodyweight training at home! Check this post – Best Calisthenics Equipment for Efficient Home Workouts

Now lets see a few beginner calisthenics workouts, you can start with.

For Total Beginners

If you have not done any workouts before and you cannot do the most important bodyweight exercises yet, then here are some tips. These variations can help to start and train your full body.

 

Beginner Calisthenics Program

This routine is optimal both for women and men. It includes the following beginner calisthenics exercises: chin-ups with the helps of resistance band, negative pull ups, dips with resistance band, dips behind back, knee push ups. Do this program 3-4 times a week until your get stronger and familiar with these workouts. (1-2 months), then change to the basic exercises mentioned above. (You may include some abdominal exercises.)

 

Al Kavadlo 5×5 Bodyweight Routine for Beginners

Al Kavadlo is one of my icons, and I have learned a lot from him. Here is his beginner workout routine with 5 exercises, these are Australian pull ups, lying knee tucks, split squats, push ups. I recommend doing this routine 3-4 times a week and do 4-5 rounds.

 

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2 Harder Beginner Workouts

If you have some basic strengths or you think that the first two programs are too easy for you then here are 2 harder routines. The first one is simpler and contains the following exercises: static chin ups, elevated push ups, leg raises, inverted rows, bench dips, squats. The second part shows is a routine which is harder with these calisthenics exercises: pull ups, push ups, hanging leg raises, dips.

 

Here is my calisthenics routine I followed when I began.

calisthenics-basics


Another alternative.

starter-bodyweight-routine

 

A simple plan for absolute beginners.

Beginner-Calisthenics-Workout

 

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72 thoughts

  1. Nice article.
    How many days a week should i perform routine and how many days should i rest.
    Or can i do it every day?

    • The advantage of calisthenics is that you can workout more frequently but since you are a beginner I think it is enough to workout 3-4 times a week for the first 2 months. You know, having enough rest is important for the muscles to recover.

      • For how long? I want to get at least 2 hours in daily

        • 2 hours every day is too much. Unless you are a pro. I think, 4-5 times a week is enough. Plus make your workouts just 1 hour but intensive. Your body and mind need time to recover.

    • Im no trainer but you should perform these workouts three to four days a week

    • Hey, i do 3 days workout then 1 day rest. I eat really good and strong. No junk food. Started 15 days ago. With this cycle my muscles are healing really good. Its about your eating and how strong your workout. Listen to your body it will tell you how when you need rest.

  2. What should I do about my belly fat

    • In order to get rid of belly fat, firstly you should focus on your diet. You shouldn’t eat processed foods high in carbs and trans fats. In addition, you need to do cardio workouts that help to burn calories. You can find tips here: Tips to Lose Belly Fat

  3. How do I gain weight?

    • In order to gain weight you need to modify your diet. You should take in more protein that helps to build muscle mass. You may also need to increase your daily calorie intake by consuming more beneficial carbs and fats.

      • How much protein do I need then If I have 60Kg or 132pounds
        and about these workouts that you posed your lets go routine and no equipment 8 workouts do I oly do them say in asending order 4 times a week

        • It depends on. If you want to build muscle mass the suggested amount is about 1 – 1.5 g/lbs.
          amount-of-protein-workout
          Source

  4. This was helpful thank you! What are good stretches to do before & after the beginner work outs? Thank you.

  5. Nice article. I’m a total beginner. What can be the alternatives for chin-ups and pull-ups since I’ve got no access to any resisting bands? And the other thing I want to ask is there is rest between rounds, but can we rake rest between each forms of exercises?

    • To develop your pull and chin ups, here is a great tutorial – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bAEua0zu_74 . Since you are a beginner you need to have longer rests between reps and the sets. When I was a beginner I had 2 minutes. If the rest is too short you won’t be able to perform the exercises correctly, and do the right number of sets and reps. You should test the length yourself to see what works for you.

  6. My veins are easily visible and I’m also underweight is this exercise beneficial for increasing weight?

    • Yes, but you need to pay attention to your diet if you want to gain weight. You need to take in more calories from beneficial carbs to have energy and protein to build muscle.

  7. In workout 2, it says ‘max plank’ and ‘max mountain climbers’. I was wondering what this means exactly and what is a good level to do for a beginner?

    • I think, it means that you perform the maximum number of repetitions and time you can do.

  8. Did i need to take any protein supplement while doing this workout? What effect does the supplement does to me if i take it?

    • If you have a good diet (that means you take in enough protein), then I think it is not so important. However, in most of the cases people can’t have enough of it, so yes, you may have some extra protein. On the other hand, it is not bodybuilding, so there is no need to consume too much.

  9. Excellent coverage on calisthenics for beginners here, especially the stretching advice you recommend – keep up the awesome content!

  10. I really love this post and give me more motivation to start my journey . Thanks you so much

  11. thanks man you helped my out of finding routines

    • Your welcome!

  12. what are the calisthenics that should be done in intermediate and advanced levels ?

  13. Hi. I would like to know, for a begginer like me, how long should a full body workout be? I mean, monday, how many minutes per full body workout? Thanks.

    • I think 45 minutes will do. But it depends on your fitness level.

  14. Thank you, James. That’s exactly the amonut of time it takes me (about 3-4 sets of 10-12 reps each, for pull-ups, push-ups, abs, lower back, squats and calves). I’ll stick to this routine days 1, 3, 5, and, in time, I will increase the sets/reps number.

  15. Great article. I usually did weight equipment body training and my upper body parts were the only parts that showed progress, but stopped training for 10 months due to busy work life. My main goal is gaining muscle mass and shred my body instead of bulking up. What main food groups do you recommend?

    • Have protein rich foods such as lean meat and fish, you can also have protein powder. Healthy carbs and fatty acids are also important. And, of course, avoid junk food.

  16. I’ve been into strength training, stronglifts 5×5 to be exact. But due to a defect in my spine which was detected later, I can never lift weightso again. At what level should I begin? I’m fairly strong.

    • I think should consult with your doctor first. And if it is OK, start easy and gradually increase reps, sets and add harder bodyweight exercises.

  17. i’m 15 and i want to look great.should i do calisthenics or dumbelss?

    • I used to pump iron and turned to calisthenics. Maybe you should try both and which you like more, pick that. Both are OK to put on muscles.

  18. Hey James! nice article i was looking for workout routine since i want to switch from gym to calisthenics. It’s been 1 a half years getting sweat on gym. Can you suggest which is calisthenics routine that fit with me? the last time i’m doing was the “calisthenics routine I followed when I began.”

    • The next step is to increase the number of reps and maybe sets. Also, include harder exercises in you routine. For example, instead of doing traditional push ups, try doing one arm ones or use a weight vest. However, it depends on your current level that I don’t know.

  19. Hi, great article.

    Is is possible to have great fitness with completely no equipment. When I say no equipment, I mean not even pull up bar. As I do not have any access to do pull ups or any sort of minimal equipments. Is it still possible for me to put on significant muscles and get fit?

    • Yes, there are a lot of exercises that can be done on the floor. Anyway, you can get a doorway pull up bar that costs just a few bucks and doesn’t need space.

  20. Hi, great article.
    I’m 17 I have a little bit of muscle and I train cardio about 4-5 times a day by skateboarding for about 3-4 hours I do 3 sets of 10 push ups and bench dips. 3 sets of 20 squats, 3 sets of 15 hanging knee raises and finally 50 sit ups and 50 oblique sit ups. I do these exercises at home would these be enough for me to see results in the long run.

    • Surely. But do not forget your diet.

  21. I had 2 years weight lifting I’m 5’7 210 lbs after my several injures in shoulder .triceps and back i decide to leave weight lifting and begin in calisthenics i master the basics but I don’t have endurance to complete 5 cycles can you help me please?

    • It is obvious that your body needs time to get used to the new type of training, so be patient. At the beginning have less reps and sets, and gradually increase them.

  22. Hey, Great article.
    I am 16 yo i’m a boxer i’ve been doing it for year and a half and i am very skinny so i want to build strength and size and gain some weight i’ve heard about calisthenics and i loved the way that people learn how to control their full body with such balance and i’m wondering if it fits me to gain some of that weight and strength and what diet should i be following.

    • Absolutely. I do the same. I combine bodyweight training with boxing and it works well.

  23. should i go to a gym room to start the training because at home, i don’t have the equipments ?

    • Most of the exercises can be done without equipment, but a pull up bar and dip bars are good to have. Or you can have a pull up dip station.

  24. Thanks for this Article .. Simple and easy to understand..

    • Your welcome.

  25. hey there. i am planning to start calisthenics. i play cricket in academy. so would it hamper my game? do i need to bring some changes in the plan?
    i am planning to follow “another alternative(no equipment-8)”

  26. Hi James. Is it ok to perform all these exercises daily? I tried this and I don’t have any problem

    • If it works for you, just do it. However, you may want to try a harder workout routine with more difficult exercises, more reps and sets to keep your development.

  27. I am a total beginner. The main problem is i don’t have bars or any calisthenic park near me. I have done body weight exercise for about one year. I then lost all my equipments rather i only have a 2.5 kg dumble. I am 60kg in weight and i want to start my body fitness again. So what should i do in this situation and what should i eat? Lastly, calisthenic seems suitable for me as i am skinny. Moreover, i don’t get support from anyone. In this case,its too difficult for me to do exercises. What should i do??

      • How long do I need to exercise for, as in how long should an exercise be?

        • I think for these workout routines about 40-50 minutes will do.

  28. Good information. ???? but in case of dumbells, do i lift light or heavy at start?

    • Start with light weights if you are a beginner and pay attention to perform the exercises correctly.

  29. Hey, I am 14 and currently started playing basketball ( 3 times/week), and I’ve been swimming for 3 years once week. I am a tiny bit under average height and I have couple kilos in plus. I feel quite weak to be honest so I want to try out something new. Is this healthy for me?

    • Sure. Calisthenics will help you to be stronger.

  30. I am not actually a beginner I can do about 25push ups and 10 pull ups, but I got chicken legs. How to get rid of them at home or playground?

  31. If I want to start calisthenics do I have to stop lifting weights at the gym or can I also do both?

    • The two can go hand in hand.

  32. I’m unsure what to do since my body is kinda unbalanced, i can pump around 50 pushups straight but i struggle to do 2 pull ups, what is your advice in this matter ? Should i train my pullups first until it is up to notch or should i just reduce the pull up reps until i can do more ?

  33. Dear James, I have just stepped into the world of teenage & am totally new to everything – Gym/Workouts etc. Also I am a bit skinny. I want to gain weight as well as learn Callisthenics in a gradual and structured manner as I am aspiring to be a professional mountaineer in future.

  34. I am 16 years old and looking to start calisthenics. I’m 6 feet tall, weight 150 lbs and my body fat is around 20.8 i did all this research and know how much calories i need to intake everyday but i don’t know what to eat. Could you please provide me with some examples of simple/cheap foods i can get since i don’t decide much on what we eat.

    • Lean meat and fish are excellent sources of protein. Veggies and fruits are packed with fiber, minerals, and vitamins. Nuts for healthy fats. The best is if you prepare your food, so you know what you eat. I know cooking these days is not “trendy,” but the best way to take in the nutrients your body need. Cheap foods in shops? Well, I do not recommend, they are full of unhealthy components.

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