Last updated on August 13th, 2018
If you cannot afford to go to the gym or lack of time, a full body calisthenics workout is the best option for you.
A lot of people underestimate the efficiency of bodyweight training, but with the help of it, you can build serious functional strength and muscle mass. And the other health benefits of calisthenics are numerous such as it is more beneficial for joints as if you were lifting weights.
Here I would like to help you to create your total body bodyweight training, and I will show you some examples.
What calisthenics exercises should you do?
Since we want to get a full body workout, we should pick the right types of calisthenics exercises to strengthen every part of your body.
Note: Do not make the mistake that you only focus on your upper body. Your body must be symmetrical. You do not want to look like Johnny Bravo, do you?
The benefits of calisthenics vs weights are that the moves are compound exercises. That means more than one muscle groups have to work together to perform the motion. And that leads to functional strength development. For example, when you do pull-ups, not just your back but also your arms, shoulders, and core are engaged.
What are the best calisthenics exercises that should be in your routine?
The fundamental ones!
- Push-ups that primarily work your chest but also your triceps and shoulders.
- Pull-ups for your back, upper and lower arms, but also involving your shoulders, core and grips.
- Chin ups that have almost the same benefits as the pull-ups, but they work your biceps well.
- Dips that strengthen mainly your triceps and chest, but also your shoulders.
- Bodyweight squats (and lunges) for your thighs.
- Standing calf raises to strengthen the lower parts of your legs.
- Core exercises for a firm midsection. In my opinion, the best for abs are hanging knee and leg raises. But, planks, sit ups, crunches, etc. will do as well.
If you have these moves, you will train every part of your body.
Note: You if you are lack of time or you are at a lower fitness level you can leave the chin ups and calf raises out. But, I strongly recommend doing them.
The beauty of calisthenics: unlimited variations for beginners and advanced trainees
Tips for beginners
If you are a beginner, you may think that the mentioned exercises are too hard for you to do, or even worse you cannot perform a single repetition.
I have good news for you. There are a lot of lighter bodyweight exercises that can prepare your body for the fundamental moves. And there are many substitutes as well.
So, you can put together your routine from these beginner exercises.
Let me give you a few examples.
If you cannot do push ups yet, you can do knee push ups instead. If dips on parallel bars are too hard, do bench dips instead. If squats are your problems, do them with the help of a chair or bench.
Here is a list of calisthenics progression tutorials.
- Pull up progression guide
- Push up progression for beginners
- Parallel bar dip progression
- Bodyweight squat progression
- Chin up progression
Note: It is crucial to always perform the moves correctly to get the best results and to avoid injuries. For example, if you can do 2-3 pull-ups with the help of momentum, it is better to go back to the progressive exercises.
Tips for advanced trainees
Some athletes think one of the disadvantages of calisthenics is that, after a level, it is not possible to develop. If you are already strong and you can easily perform many reps from the mentioned exercises, you can still have a killer full body calisthenics workout. Just, perform advanced exercise variations to keep your development.
For example, by just using one of your limbs. One arm push ups, pull ups, chin ups or pistol squat for your lower body.
Here are advanced examples of calisthenics exercises.
- Advanced push-ups to build muscles
- Advanced pull-up variations
- 20 ways to a dip
- Top 15 Hardest Bodyweight Leg Exercises
Tip: Another way to add extra resistance to the moves is using weights. You can hang a weight plate to a dip belt, but a better option is the weighted vest.
Full Body Calisthenics Workout Routines
OK, now you know which are the most beneficial exercises to have a total body training program. Here are some examples.
Calisthenics for beginners
Equipment tip: If there is no calisthenics park near to you, get a pull-up and dip station. That equipment provides all the opportunities to perform the mentioned exercises. Check out the best one here.
Even if you have just 3 days a week to work out, you can get excellent results both in strength and size. I know what I’m talking about as I have been doing calisthenics for some years now. I just sometimes lift weights. And since there are countless variations, my development is continuous, and I never get bored.
If you need help to create your own full body calisthenics workout plan, feel free to ask for help below.