A Beginner’s Guide To An Effective Calisthenics Workout

A Beginner’s Guide To An Effective Calisthenics Workout

When many people think of calisthenics, they think of grade school physical education exercises. Maybe repressed visions of boot camp dancing through your head.

Either way, most people are not too fond of calisthenics workouts, it is all because of marketing. Who here is a fan of their first month in the military or has fond memories of puberty and gym lockers? Not me.

But, if you clean it up, toss on a coat of wax and add a bow and call it CrossFit in the mini mall, suddenly everyone wants to do it.

In today’s world, we need options. Sometimes going to the gym, or even putting on a YouTube video doesn’t cut it anymore with our busy schedules. If you ever find yourself needing workout options that can work anytime and anywhere, calisthenics is what you need.

Some of the biggest appeals to calisthenics is that you only need your body to work out. Most exercises work out several groups at once, giving you a better experience.

Versatility is why the exercises we do today, such as planks, push ups, sit ups and pull ups are used by everyone from Shaolin monks to the military.

Here is a perfect beginner calisthenics workout you can perform anywhere! The goal is to do four cycles increasing the amounts of each exercise week by week or as you see fit. Of course, exercise as you see fit if this is too much for you, feel free to start with two cycles or half the reps, or whatever works best for you.

Max Plank Time

Hold the position as long as you can muster (try for 30 seconds to start).

  1. Start with your hands and knees on the floor.
  2. Lower your forearms to the floor with your elbows positioned under your shoulders and your hands shoulder-width apart.
  3. Move your feet out behind you as if doing a pushup.
  4. Finally, keep a straight line from heels through the top of your head, looking down at the floor and hold it as long as you can.

You can change this up daily or weekly for variety.


Start off with ten squats per cycle.

  1. First, stand straight up with your feet spread shoulder-width apart.
  2. Lower your body and push your hips back, bending your knees.
  3. Finally, move back to the starting position while squeezing your glutes for stability and repeat.


  1. Stand straight up with your feet in a normal stance.
  2. Next, take a giant step forward, heel first then toe.
  3. Lower your body until the right thigh is parallel to the floor and if possible, tap your knee to the ground while keeping weight your opposing heel.
  4. Move back to your starting position and repeat eight times for each leg.

Push Ups

Do we need to explain this one? Yes, we do, because most people do it wrong.

  1. Start in a plank position with hands directly under the shoulders, tighten up your core for stability and keep your back straight and flat.
  2. Lower your body, keeping your back and legs flat, do not arch until your chest grazes the floor.
  3. It is helpful if you have a couple of books or foam brick under your hands for more of a drop.
  4. Finally, back to the starting position.

Remember, if you stick your butt out or only drop halfway, you are wasting time. Your form is vital for a proper pushup. Try for ten as a good starting goal.

Let’s Do This!

And there you have it!

Of course, there is so much more you can add to a workout, even dancing is calisthenics. Jogging, jumping jacks, even some kickboxing is all beneficial and can be done without equipment.

Remember, switch it up. Every week add a new exercise or take one away and replace it. Don’t just do the same thing every day adding reps. While adding reps is needed to avoid a plateau, so is variety.

At a minimum, monthly, half of this workout should be changed to keep things different. However, this is excellent for a starter session. Embrace calisthenics, it is a crucial factor in creating your no excuses mindset.

John Welborn

My name is John and I'm a certified Fitness and Fat Loss Coach. I help individuals get in the best shape they've ever been in and teach them to maintain it for good. I've got a Bachelor degree in Exercise/Sports Science, Associate's degrees in health science, accounting, business, and chemistry, 2 RockTape Kinesiology Taping Certifications, and an ACSM (American College of Sports Medicine) Personal Training Certification.

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