Even if you’ve never heard the word calisthenic, you’ve probably seen it in action either on the gym or even the subway train. Many subway performers use calisthenics to jump and turn on those poles, making moves that you can never imagine would be possible.


What is calisthenics?


Calisthenics is a form of exercise that relies on gravity and one’s natural body weight to perform. Weight training is not calisthenic because you are not using your body’s natural weight but rely on a weighted object. Calisthenics helps you build functional strength, which makes daily life activities more effortless. It reduces stress on your joints while building endurance, which can prevent any risks of injuries. [1]


Calisthenics can also serve as an effective cross-training method to boost your sport!


More Benefits of Calisthenics: [2]

  • Achieve flexibility and range of movements

  • Safer than using weights

  • The most natural form of working out

  • No need to spend money on expensive equipment*

  • You can train anytime, anywhere

  • Body and mind coordination

  • Build balance

  • Uses entire body

*All you need is just some resistance bands, a parallel, or a pullup bar to get started!


Limits of Calisthenics: [3]

  • Lack of increased resistance

  • Harder to increase the intensity

  • Less effective if you want to gain muscle fast

You don’t have to do just calisthenics or weight training; you can incorporate both training types into your workout plan! That way, you’ll be able to gain the most out of your workouts with the result you wanted. If you feel a lack of resistance, you can always use a resistance band, weighted vest, or do jumping versions of the exercises.


Upper body calisthenics:

  1. Pushups (beginner) -Chest, triceps, shoulders, and strengthen the core

  2. Plank (beginner) -strengthen core, arms, and back muscles, builds whole body stability

  3. Russian twists (beginner)- core, abdominals, balance, stability, obliques

  4. Flutter kicks (intermediate)- abdominals, hip flexors

  5. Dips (intermediate)- tricep, deltoids, rhomboid muscles.

  6. Handstands (advanced)- stabilize and balance core, improve endurance, strengthen arms, abdominals, obliques, shoulders, and flexibility in hips.

  7. Chin-ups (advanced)- tricep, bicep, forearms, shoulders, lats, abdominals

  8. Pullups (more advanced)- works back, biceps, core


Lower Body calisthenics:[4]

  1. Squat jumps (beginner)- quads, hamstrings, glutes, calves, toning ab and back muscles

  2. Sumo walks (beginner)- glutes, quads, calves, hips, inner thighs

  3. Curtsy lunges (beginner)- quads, glutes, hip abductors

  4. Walking lunges (beginner)- quads. Glutes, hamstrings, calves, and core

  5. Calf raises (beginner)- soleus muscle, basically your calves

  6. Burpees (intermediate)- strengthen muscles in legs, hips, buttocks, abdomen, arms, chest, and shoulders

  7. Side to side jump squats (intermediate)- quads, calves, hamstrings, glutes, core

  8. One leg box squats (intermediate)- hips, hamstring, quads, glutes, and calves


Tips for Beginners:


You can do calisthenic training 3-4 times per week for 20-40 minutes per day. If you’re just getting started, gradually increase the duration and frequency of your training sessions! Remember to stay hydrated, fueled, and don’t overwork yourself to lessen the risks of injuries.


If you feel overwhelmed by those who can do handstands for some crazy moves, don’t worry. Always start small and gradually build up your intensity. If you want more challenge, you can always use some weights for resistance.


You will eventually get there, but you must be self-motivated and stop comparing yourself to others. Everyone has to start somewhere, so the key to success is to do the action and start exercising. So, I wish you all the best, and keep up with the excellent work if you did start working out!



[1] Madmin, MI. “What Is Calisthenics and Why Is It so Good for You?” Medicine in Motion, 20 Dec. 2018, https://medicineinmotion.com.au/2018/12/what-is-calisthenics-and-why-is-it-so-good-for-you/

[2] Pearse, Chris. “10 Benefits of Calisthenics Training: Calisthenics vs Weights.” Atemi Sports, 24 Oct. 2020, https://www.atemi-sports.com/benefits-of-calisthenics/

[3] Calisthenics Can’t Build Big Muscles (PROVEN), Can You Gain Muscle with Bodyweight Training, YouTube, Gravity transformation-Fat loss experts, Oct 28, 2017, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OrgQeSEHqKg

[4] Calisthenics Leg Workout ( NO EQUIPMENT ), Heria Chris, April 25, 2019, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0z5hJYXAQp4&feature=emb_logo

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