Calisthenics exercises for beginners – the basic 6

Calisthenics is the art of using your body’s own weight to maximise your potential. The calisthenics exercises for beginners in this post will give you a great total body workout when you start out.

Most people look at body weight training as endurance and circle training, but you can build inhuman strength and power with the right system. It will also give you more functional strength and better athletic abilities than most traditional strength routines.

When working out for strength, the routines are based around progressive calisthenics. This basically means that you make every exercise harder as you get stronger.

I could write a lot about the benefits and my personal experiences of starting with calisthenics and body weight training, but here are a few:

-Bodyweight training requires very little equipment.

-It develops functional athletic abilities.

-Bodyweight training maximize your strength.

-You will naturally regulate your body fat levels.




The basic 6 exercises


The calisthenics exercises for beginners may not be new to you, but for most people all the different progressions possible are. Starting exercises will give you a solid strength foundation and a great start as a calisthenics athlete. When learn to progress the right way, you can build massive strength with these exercises alone.

The routine will give you a complete total body strength workout, but there are of course a lot of other exercises you can add later.

The basic 6 calisthenics exercises are:

1. Pushups – trains the upper body pressing muscles in coordination with your core and the lower body.

2. Squats – the ultimate lower body exercise.

3. Pullups – the best exercise to build a powerful upper back.

4. The plank – the safest way to build a powerful core.

5. Bridge exercises – train the muscles of the spine for strength and flexibility.

6. Handstand pushups – develop healthy and powerful shoulders.


Calisthenics exercises are for everybody

The key to the exercises mentioned are the progressions. There is a starting point for everybody, because you can divide every exercise in at least 10 different variations or levels.

10 normal pushups may be to hard for some people, but 10 knee pushups may be a good start. If 10 normal pushups are too easy, try 10 narrow pushups or 10 pushups with one arm.

Some people may find 10 squats with only your body weight as resistance easy, but have you tried 10 pistol squats?

Pullups may be a hard calisthenics exercise for beginners, but there are easier variations like Aussie pullups.

Instead of handstand pushups you can start with standing on your hands against a wall. Another easier variation of the handstand pushups are the pike pushups.

This is just a few examples of some different variations in each of the exercises. When start to learn more about this, only your imagination is the limit. You can make an exercise as easy or as hard as you want. When are training progressive calisthenics you move to a different variation of an exercise instead of increasing the repetitions as you get stronger and more conditioned.

If you train for muscle and strength, your rep range should be between 8-12 repetitions on every exercise. When you get stronger you progress with a harder version of the exercise. If you just focus on pounding out more repetitions it will be more of an endurance routine instead of a strength and muscle building routine.

Speed and form

Most of your repetitions should be done fairly slow, about a second from start to middle position – and a second back to start again.

There are two main reasons for a slow and steady pace. You will develop pure strength, because in an explosive movement it is easy to use momentum in parts of the exercise. Your goal is to use your muscles and not the momentum create in the movement. Secondly, your joints will adapt easier to the exercise and you will prevent injuries.

Another benefit is that you will connect more with the muscles you are using, and it is easier to maintain a perfect form.

When your body get more conditioned you can add a couple of fast sets for athleticism and variety. This will also help you get more explosive. Despite of this, most of your repetitions still should be steady and slow if you are training for strength.


Workout routines

There are different ways to make a workout routine of the 6 basic exercises depending on your schedule and your goals. Before I give you some variations, here are a few suggestions:

When starting out, try to perform every exercise with at least 3 sets of 8-12 repetitions.

Perform the exercise slow and steady with perfect form.

Your last repetitions should be hard without loosing your form.

When can perform more than 15 repetitions of an exercise, move to a harder variation.

Get enough restitution in your muscles before you perform the same exercises in the next training.


Day 1

Pushups 3•10

Squats 3•10

Bridge 3•10


Day 2

Pullups 3•10

The plank 3•1 minute

Handstand pushups 3•10


You can do this two or four times in a week. Another variation is to have one day with upper body exercises (pushups,pullups and HS pushups) and one day with lower body and core exercises.




These calisthenics exercises for beginners are a great start for developing a strength foundation. Even for the advanced calisthenics athlete, the basics still are the foundation that never gets old. There is a lot of other great calisthenics exercises, but in this article I narrowed it down to 6 basics. We have a tendency to think that complexity makes a routine better, but that is not always the case.

Our body are designed to move in synergy, and you will not achieve that in a machine that isolate a movement to build one muscle alone. Every exercise in this program will train multiple muscles in synergy, and you will get a functional strength and increase your athletic abilities because of it!

Let’s get started!

Feel free to lease any questions or comments you may have below this post.






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