Welcome to this blog post about Calisthenics, what it is and some sample exercises you can do, this is the first blog of a series dedicated to Calisthenics, links to the others are at the end of this post, but please read this one first as if it will give you a good understanding of Calisthenics.

Maybe you have you been looking for a way to avoid the gym? Being honest, I have been there and done that, I made all kind of excuses not to go, main one being travel time, takes an hour out of my day to go to the gym and back, and to put it frankly I couldn’t be bothered!  Motivation for me was what I struggled with and having a 30 minute drive to the gym really didn’t help with that. Doing a routine from home, I could put some music on, turn it up full blast, and get in the zone very quickly 🙂

Or maybe you are looking for a few things you can do at home in between your gym days? There are some people who go to the gym 3 times a week, and want something they can do at home in-between to keep their fitness routine going.

So maybe you don’t have time to get to the gym or go for a run every day and you need a few things to keep up your fitness level, burn some of those calories and develop some lean muscle …….  between doing the housework, making dinner, doing homework with the kids, work or taking the dog for a walk. In any of these cases, and more, calisthenics just might be what you’re looking for.


What Is Calisthenics Workout?

what is a calisthenics workoutBefore we go into detail on what a Calisthenics Workout is, you need to know what Calisthenics is and means.  Simply put Calisthenics are a type of exercise that uses your own body weight. The term was actually very popular in the 1970s and made a come back in the mid 2010s and is going strong ever since. However, while the term is making a come back, the exercises have always been popular, trust me you will all know them – they are just called other names. they originated thousands of years ago and have been a major portion of the fitness programs for law enforcement, military and athletes for years!

All for very good reasons.

Calisthenics use your own body weight. They don’t require too many pieces of equipment, in fact some of the exercises require no equipment, simply you and your body weight. They are free to do with enough floor space. You can do them to music, which is great and why for me personally, Calisthenics is great, for me there is noting better than working out whilst listening to your favourite beats, but you can also do them in the quiet of your room or, if you are in any kind of law enforcement or military, with a drill sergeant barking in your ear!  My main point is it doesn’t matter where or when you are, in time or space, you get them done.

You can incorporate calisthenics into your fitness program to build strength, flexibility and stamina. It’s easy to add running or swimming to your calisthenics for a full strength and cardio workout. As with any form of exercise or workout routine, it’s important to first warm up and then to cool down afterwards to get both the best from your time on the floor and to reduce the possibility of injury to your muscles and joints.

What Is Calisthenics Workout? well the Wikipedia on Calisthenics state: “Calisthenics is a form of exercise consisting of a variety of movements which exercise large muscle groups (gross motor movements), such as running, standing, grasping, pushing, etc. These exercises are often performed rhythmically and with minimal equipment, as bodyweight exercises. They are intended to increase strength, fitness and flexibility, through movements such as pulling, pushing, bending, jumping, or swinging, using one’s bodyweight for resistance.” If you are interested you can read the full post here:

While calisthenics is a form of exercise in the US, in other countries it is a competitive sport which ranges from movements similar to gymnastics, through specific types of dance movements.  Below is a periodic table of bodyweight exercises, ranging from easy to insane.

different calisthenics exercises

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Different Calisthenics Exercises

As you can see from the infographic above, Calisthenics exercises are exercises that you probably already do as part of your workout routine, they are well known moves that use your own bodyweight.

Here are a few more calisthenic type exercises that you can use to build strength in your upper body, lower body and core muscles. This helps to improve your balance and coordination, improve your self-esteem and burn some of those pesky calories.

1 – Decline Push Up

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These push ups or push outs against a wall are important during rehabilitation and to teach beginners the proper form and technique of a horizontal push up.

Place your feet arms length from a wall in the standing position. With your hands against the wall, do a push up with your body straight and stiff – pushing away from the wall and then leaning in.  Full step by step instructions with pictures can be found here.

what is calisthenic workout pushup

2. The Push-Up

You can do these within a range of easy to supremely difficult depending upon your current level of fitness.

The standard position is one in which your hands are on the floor at shoulder width or just a bit wider. Back and legs straight, up on your toes, elbows bent slightly and not locked. To do an easier push-up from this position put your knees on the ground and do your push ups from the knee position keeping your feet in the air and ankles crossed.

When you can do 15 or 20 reps and 3 sets you can move on to doing pushups with your feet on the floor. Once you reach doing 15 reps and 3 sets with your feet together and hands at the shoulders you can move your feet further apart to increase the effort. With each move it increases the load on your body to achieve the same results and therefore also increases the amount of muscle development. Moving your hands back toward your hips will also increase the difficulty.


3. Incline Push ups

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These are difficult and really work your upper body, taking full advantage of gravity to add weight to your body. Place your hands shoulder-width apart on a sturdy, elevated surface like a sofa arm, bench, chair or table. Stretch your legs and place your feet straight out behind you. Your back should be straight and your body should be positioned diagonally relative to the floor. Slowly lower your upper body toward the elevated surface until your elbows are bent at a 90-degree angle.

Full details here.


4. N-Up or V-Up

what is calisthenics workout nup1 what is calisthenics workout nup2 what is calisthenics workout vup1

Image sources and full step by step details can be found here:

This is a sit up type move in which the arms and legs are pulled in an upward motion from a supine position – lying flat on your back. In the N-up your knees are bent and you are tucking. During a V-up your knees are kept straight througout the motion and arms kept extended overhead. The V-up is more difficult than the N-up.


what is calisthenics workout jumping jack5. Jumping Jacks

You can do these vertically or horizontally. In the vertical position you are standing with arms at your side and feet together. In one movement your arms come out from your side and meet at the top of your head, while you have jumped up and your feet spread wide. Again in one movement you return to the starting position.

Horizontally this movement becomes more difficult. In a push up or plank position you hold your hands to the floor shoulder width apart and jump your feet from a position of being together to being apart and back again.

So To Conclude… Is calisthenics a good workout?

Calisthenics are a great workout as they use a mixture of bodyweight movements that can strengthen your upper body, lower body and core muscles, using no equipment at all or very little and can be done from the comfort of your own home, garden or even the local park, all you need is you and a bit of space!  People lead busy lives nowadays, and cannot always find the time or have the money to visit the gym, Calisthenics exercises are a great way to keep fit, strength train and build you muscles, at a time and pace suited to you.

For a great Calisthenics Workout, click here and watch the video for details.

Thanks for reading, I hope you have enjoyed this post about What Is Calisthenics Workout, here are link to other posts in this Calisthenics post series:

  1. What is a Calisthenics Workout?
  2. The Calisthenics Benefits
  3. Calisthenics At Home
  4. Calisthenics Training Program


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