How to Start Calisthenics – Beginners Full Body Workout

You can learn new things at any time in your life if you’re willing to be a beginner!

This applies to Calisthenics too, as there is no age, gender, weight or height limit for starting it. Anyone can do it, as long as he is willing to be a beginner.

As a beginner there is no need to do cycles (work different muscle group every day). Doing full body workout with basic exercises is optimal for you.

On the other hand, simplicity is the key. Your workouts should be structured very simply, especially when you are a beginner who can be easily disoriented by multitude of exercises and training methods.

In order to make an efficient full body workout, you need to implement exercises targeting all your muscle groups (chest, back, shoulders, core, legs, biceps, triceps). Bear in mind that most Calisthenics exercises use the majority of your muscles. So this won’t be really hard to achieve.

In this article you are going to find the basic exercises you need to implement in your workout as a beginner.

For every exercise there is also an easier variation. You should start from there if you can’t perform the recommended exercise with proper form or can’t do a many reps.

1. HOLLOW BODY HOLD

The first exercise that all Calisthenics athletes need to train and master is the Hollow Body Hold. It is a really important movement as it will be used in almost all the exercises in this article.

The Hollow Body Hold makes a lot of Calisthenics movements (like the handstandplanchefront leverback leverdragon flag) easier to hold and better looking! 

In order to practise it you need to lie on your back with arms overhead, biceps by ears, and legs outstretched.

Lift your legs and arms so shoulders and feet are off the ground. 

Keep your head in a neutral position.

SUPERMAN HOLD

The Superman Hold exercise strengthens your lower back, works your glutes and builds up your core. It as an essential exercise for building the strength required in skills like the front lever and back lever.

Start by lying face down with arms and legs outstretched.

Lift your armslegsupper back, and head off the floor. Keep arms and legs straight but not locked, forming a “U” shape with either side of your body several centimetres off the floor.

Hold this position for a few seconds then lower back to the starting position.

While performing the Superman Hold make sure that your head is in a neutral position in line with your spine. If you feel like you’re straining your neck, stop and fix your form.

Do 4 sets of 30 to 60 seconds holds.

2. PUSH UP

The Push up is one of the most fundamental exercises and prerequisite for a a lot of Calisthenics skills such as the handstand, planche and front lever.

This exercise is simple and targets a lot of muscles (chestshoulderstricepsabdominal muscles),

The problem is that, most people focus on rep quantity in expense of their form

In order to perform a proper Pushup you must focus on keeping the Hollow Body Position (rounded back) during the hole movement and also your abdominal, heaps and legs engaged.

Never let your back arch and your chest drop.

Your hand position is, also, really important. You need to place your wrists in a vertical line under your solders and keep your elbows as close to your body as possible, during the movement.

And, of course, make sure you are doing the full range of motion

It is more beneficial for you body to perform fewer, full range reps with perfect form than many short range reps with bad form.

Depending on your hand position, there are a lot of Pushup variations you can try and play with. Some of them are the Diamond Pushup, the Wide Pushup, the Archer Pushup and also the One Arm Pushup.

KNEE PUSH-UP

An easier version of this exercise is the Knee push-up.

For this variation you are, basically, following the same steps as before, but you lower the leverege by performing the exercise on your knees.

Do 4 sets of 10 to 15 reps.

3. PIKE PUSHUP

The Pike Pushup is an advanced exercise that focus on strengthen your solders as well as you core and helps you prepare for the handstand.

To perform this, place your palms on the ground as you “pike” your back so that your hips are elevated and your legs are straight.

Then, bend your elbows and lower your upper body until the top of your head nearly touches the floor.

Pause, and then push yourself back up until your arms are straight

If your hamstrings are too tight for a fully stacked body position you can open your legs and get to a straddle leg position.

PIKE WALK

The Pike Walk is a great exercise for building core strength while also training your shoulders and body coordination.

To perform this, place your palms on the ground as you “pike” your back so that your hips are elevated and your legs are straight

Then walk your hands out as far as you can and then back in to your feet. You do not need to stand back up every time.

If your hamstrings are too tight for a fully stacked body position you can open your legs and get to a straddle leg position.

Do 4 sets of 10 to 15 reps.

4. PULL UP

The Pull up is one of the most effective upper body exercises and prerequisite for a a lot of Calisthenics skills such as the front lever, back lever and human flag.

In order to perform it properly, you need to grasp the bar with a shoulder wide grip and pull with both hands evenly.

Make sure you are performing the full range of motion and you don’t use momentum by keeking or swinging.

INVERTED ROW

The Inverted Row is one of the best, simple and most effective exercises you can do to build pulling strength.

To do an Inverted Row you need to set the bar, or rings, around waist height (the lower – the more difficult the movement), lie on the floor underneath it and pull yourself up until your chest touches the bar/rings. Then come back down slowly in a controlled manner.

Don’t forget to keep your core tightengaging your quads, glutes and abs, so that your body is in a straight line.

Do 4 sets of 10 to 15 reps.

5. HANGING LEG RAISES

The Hanging Leg Raises is an exercise similar to the Dragon Flag, but with your body vertical to the ground.

Hold onto a pull-up bar and lift your legs as high as you can without bending your knees or using any momentum.

Then slowly lower them back down. Perform the lowering in a controlled way.

You must try to keep your legs as straight as possible and your glutes tight.

LYING LEG RAISES

The Lying Leg Raises exercise helps you build core strength required for the Dragon Flag.

Lie on the floor with your arms alongside your body and raise your legs up toward the ceiling. Then use a slow negative to mimic the difficulty of a dragon flag.

Just before your legs touch the floor, lift them up again.

You must keep your lower back flat on the floor throughout this movement.

Do 4 sets of 10 to 15 reps.

6. JUMPING SQUAT

Squats are considered a vital exercise in Calisthenics for increasing the strength and size of the lower body muscles as well as developing core strength.

The primary agonist muscles used during the squat are the  quadriceps femoris, the adductor magnus, and the gluteus maximus.The squat also isometrically uses the erector spinae and the abdominal muscles, among others.

The Jumping squat adds explosiveness and power to the movement.

To perform it, start with your feet slightly wider than your hips, your toes should be pointed slightly outward.

Then, raise your arms straight out in front of youkeeping your chest up and your spine in a neutral position.

Keeping your core tight and your spine straight, bend your legs and lower your body. Keep sending your hips backwards like you were about to sit down.

Continue until your hip joint is lower than your knees and then, drive with your arms up and push of the floor.

It’s important to keep your core engaged at all time and squeeze your butt at the top to make sure you’re using your glutes.

BODYWEIGHT SQUAT

An easier version of this exercise is the bodyweight squat.

For the Bodyweight squat you need, again, to lower your hips from a standing position and then stand back up, without jumping off the floor.

Don’t forget to keep the same form as mentioned above.

Do 4 sets of 15 to 20 reps.

7. BICEP CURL

The Bicep curl is an isolation exercise, perfect for working your biceps.

To perform it you need to lie on the floor underneath a bar or rings and pull yourself up bringing your head towards the bar. Then come back down slowly in a controlled manner.

Be careful! Make sure to use a supinated grip.

Don’t forget to keep your core tightengaging your quads, glutes and abs, so that your body remains in a straight line.

LESS INCLINED BICEP CURL

An easier version of this exercise is the Less inclined bicep curl.

For this variation you are, basically, following the same steps as before, but you lower the leverage by bringing your body in a nearly standing position.

Do 4 sets of 10 to 15 reps.

8. BODYWEIGHT DIP

The Bodyweight dip is an  isolation exercise, perfect for working your triceps.

Start in a table top position with your fingers pointing your heels. Then bend your elbows and descend to the bottom of the dip.

Keep your core and glutes engaged throughout the hole movement.

BENCH BODYWEIGHT DIP

An easier version of this exercise is the Bench bodyweight dip.

For this variation you are, basically, following the same steps as before, but you change the lever by performing the exercise on a bench.

Do 4 sets of 10 to 15 reps.

4 comments

Submit a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s