Calisthenics Exercises: A Guide To Build Strengthen And Muscles

Calisthenics Exercises: To Build Strengthen And Muscles - sharpmuscle
7 min read
Updated: April 30, 2023

This calisthenics training is designed for beginners to practice calisthenics exercises to build muscle, strength, balance, control, mobility, and flexibility.

Calisthenics Exercises became popular from the 19th century. Today’s athletes, military personnel, enforcement officers, and those trying to keep in shape use the fitness training for warming up for strenuous sports or to help build their bodies.

Scientists are now also studying the use of callisthenics to help treat a variety of health conditions, from obesity to COPD. 1

So, what’s stopping you from getting fit? Inability to get too many touted gym memberships? Can’t you afford all those expensive workout equipment? Now, let’s not allow these factors to stop you from working and losing weight to be fit and sexy!

Start your calisthenics journey. To put it another way, it is an ideal addition to any workout plan.

What is calisthenics?

Calisthenics exercises are known to promote lean muscle growth, while also helping to increase endurance, strength, mobility, and flexibility.

Calisthenics exercises are bodyweight exercises that use the weight of your own body as resistance.

Calisthenics exercises can help build muscle, improve cardiovascular fitness, and increase flexibility and balance. They can also be modified to suit different fitness levels and goals.

Some examples of calisthenics exercises include push-ups, chin-ups, pull-ups, squats, lunges, calf raises, leg raises, and dips. These exercises can be performed with little or no equipment and can be done at home or in a park. Sometimes these exercises are performed with lightweight handheld tools such as rings and wands.

ALSO READ:  Supine Crunches (Reverse crunches): Steps, Benefits and Contraindications

Usually combined calisthenics exercises with stretching exercises provide cardiovascular benefits.

Many studies have found that calisthenics exercises can be just as effective as weight training in terms of improving muscle strength and endurance, cardiovascular fitness, and overall physical fitness. 2

One study, published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, found that both weight training and calisthenics exercises improved muscle strength, endurance, and cardiovascular fitness in men. 3

However, it should be noted that this study only lasted 8 weeks and more long-term studies may provide more insight into the differences between the two types of exercise. Additionally, weight training may be more effective at building muscle mass compared to calisthenics, since it allows for more resistance to be used.

But overall, both types of exercises have their own benefits and can be incorporated into a well-rounded fitness routine.

Steps to calisthenics exercises for beginners

Calisthenics training for beginners is based on two major physical components: movement and strength. Sharp Muscle has included the steps below to give a brief description of how it works and how to use it.

Step-1 Movement

The movement is divided into two categories; Movement Preparation and Movement Patterning. This is an important part for all Calisthenics movements because they demand high levels of joint mobility and coordinated muscle activation.

Movement Preparation:

This is a key element of this beginner’s guide as poor postural patterns are an epidemic and achieving this way is the first step on everyone’s journey.

Many calisthenics activities place a great emphasis on the shoulders. Our modern day lifestyle includes extended periods of seating that often fall short of optimal postural alignment.

The shoulders become stiff, the front is rounded, the head is stretched and we lose the mobility of the thoracic spine. It is a long way from where the body should be and where to be in optimum force production required in calisthenics.

ALSO READ:  Leg Workouts: 8 Weeks Plan for Mass and Definition

If we ignore postural dysfunction, we face the risk of injury and can expect limits on our progress. Therefore we should prepare the body for motion.

It is a continuous process but real changes can be achieved in minutes in a session. Our aim is simply to relieve muscle tension, improve muscle length, increase mobility, and activate the muscles that we want to use in such a way that we are prepared to move.

The ultimate objective is to get back as close to optimal posture as possible.

Movement Patterning:

Movement patterning is about teaching the pattern of new movements of the brain and body. This is especially important when working toward a new calisthenics movement (such as a human flag or an inverted lever for example), because your brain and body have never connected muscles before the correct movement pattern.

However this beginner’s guide focuses on building the foundation strength to begin your calisthenics journey, rather than developing specific movement patterns.

Step-2 Strength

Like movement, the strength component also has two elements; Applied Strength and Capacity Strength.

Applied strength:

This strength is specific to a chosen calisthenics movement.

For example, doing a reverse lever or human flag for the first time means placing your body in a position it has never been before and applying a high level of muscle force to that shape.

It takes some programming through movement, but using progressive exercises that allow the body to build the necessary strength.

Capacity strength:

This phase of calisthenics training for beginners is where the bulk of your training will be done.

Building a beginner level of strength in a number of key areas will set you up perfectly to begin your first calisthenics movement goal. It is really important that you remember this key phrase; ‘Earn the right to progress’

ALSO READ:  Leg Press 101: Steps, Proper Form, And Common Mistakes

Often we see people jumping into more advanced movements without mastering basic or contextual progress. They really want to go straight to level 5 without completing levels 2 to 4.

Essentially in all cases the athlete has to return to go through the stages properly if they are to achieve long-term success.

Exercises in this phase are less specialized, global strength exercises that will help build strength.

Although we can also develop neuromuscular control, postural stability, strengthening, and muscle coordination that are all essential in calisthenics movements.

For example you can do push-ups without thinking about it, or you can do push-ups with our training program and load more physical adaptations that will transfer to your future training.

Calisthenics exercises routine for beginners

Basic Practice Calisthenics Training

Before you attempt muscle fluctuations and face pushups, you will need to develop your practical fitness through basic exercises:

Push exercisesSets/reps/rest
Standard push upSets- 3-4
Reps- 8-12
Rest- 60 seconds
Push up plusSets- 3-4
Reps- 8-12
Rest- 60 seconds
Planche push-upsSets- 3-4
Reps- 8-12
Rest- 60 seconds
Pike push upSets- 3-4
Reps- 8-12
Rest- 60 seconds
DipsSets- 3-4
Reps- 8-12
Rest- 60 seconds
Frog standSets- 3-4
Reps- 8-12
Rest- 60 seconds

Pull exercisesSets/reps/rest
Active hangSets- 3-4
Reps- 8-12
Rest- 60 seconds
Pull upSets- 3-4
Reps- 8-12
Rest- 60 seconds
Skin the catSets- 3-4
Reps- 8-12
Rest- 60 seconds
Bodyweight ring rowSets- 3-4
Reps- 8-12
Rest- 60 seconds

Core exercisesSets/reps/rest
DeadbugSets- 3-4
Reps- 8-12
Rest- 60 seconds
plankSets- 3-4
Reps- 8-12
Rest- 60 seconds
or walkout
Sets- 3-4
Reps- 8-12
Rest- 60 seconds
Leg lowersSets- 3-4
Reps- 8-12
Rest- 60 seconds

Combine exercisesSets/reps/rest
Push exercisesSets- 2
Reps- 8-12
Rest- 60 seconds
Pull exercisesSets- 2
Reps- 8-12
Rest- 60 seconds
Core exercisesSets- 2
Reps- 8-12
Rest- 60 seconds


  1. Greulich, T., Kehr, K., Nell, C. et al. “A randomized clinical trial to assess the influence of a three months training program (Gym-based individualized vs. Calisthenics-based non-invidualized) in COPD-patients.” Respir Res 15, 36 (2014). doi: 10.1186/1465-9921-15-36.[]
  2. Thomas, E. et al. “The Effects of a Calisthenics Training Intervention on Posture, Strength and Body Composition.” 1 Jan. 2017 : 215 – 222.[]
  3. Tsourlou T, Gerodimos V, Kellis E, Stavropoulos N, Kellis S. The effects of a calisthenics and a light strength training program on lower limb muscle strength and body composition in mature women. J Strength Cond Res. 2003 Aug;17(3):590-8. doi: 10.1519/1533-4287(2003)017<0590:teoaca>;2. PMID: 12930192.[]

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Discover more from SharpMuscle

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading

Scroll to Top