Calisthenics is a branch of exercising that is often debated about – Does it work? Is it better than weighted exercises? Can a workout routine comprise entirely of Calisthenics exercises?
Believe it or not, Calisthenics done right can make a big difference to your workout regime and can prove to be just as effective (or even more so) as traditional weighted workouts. Of course, it all boils down to your fitness goal and what your focus is. Calisthenics is not just about burning fat and increasing stamina; it can have a lot to do with building muscles and strengthening them as well.
There are Calisthenics workouts that target specific muscles groups and parts of the body and those that work on the entire body.
If you are getting into the fitness regime but a gym is too far to travel to, then you will find calisthenics is an equal if not better alternative. If you are into calisthenics, then you don’t have to invest in too many pieces of equipment.
Granted, it would definitely help having a TRX trainer with you as it multiplies the number of exercises as well as targeting specific muscle groups much better than without any equipment at all.
Fitness on the Move
For people who travel often, calisthenics offers a great alternative to lugging around different pieces of equipment all over the place. All you need is some space in your hotel room and you can get started on getting fit. Even if you’re planning to pack something like an extendable doorway pull up bar or a suspension trainer, you can easily accommodate it rather than having to carry dumbbells or barbells with you.
Increased Musculature and Toning
Calisthenics is one of the best ways to build your muscles as well as tone it. If you are looking for a “swimmer body” rather than to get big like a bodybuilder, then calisthenics is the way to go. Muscles are built based on progressive resistance and it works if you’re a beginner looking to get moderate muscle growth or to maintain your build. A critical difference between calisthenics and weight training is that there is none of the tearing and rebuilding of muscles associated with the latter.
When it comes to weight training, the movement of the muscles are locked to a particular pattern which means they are pretty much locked to the same pattern. Calisthenics forces your muscles to extend and flex through a wider variety of movement and hence it will keep your muscle supple and flexible. Calisthenics is the best way to tone your body.
Accelerated Weight Loss
Another calisthenic fact is that it can help you lose weight much more significantly that weight training in the same amount of time. Calisthenics builds more overall muscle than weight training which results in giving you increased musculature throughout your body. More muscle means burning more fat. You can use the HIIT principle with calisthenics which causes your heart rate to increase making it more of an aerobic exercise than simple weight training.
While weight training does offer enhanced strength as a bonus, without adequate endurance it is kind of pointless. Calisthenics can give you strength gains as well as improved endurance, so you’ll feel better overall. And not just muscles, but your cardiovascular system gets a major boost through calisthenics.
Calisthenics vs Weight Training
This is one of those questions that has been asked around for ages when it comes to every fitness enthusiast. The key here is to understand your goals and work your body accordingly. There are always many roads to reach the same destination, and this is usually the case with fitness as well. That said, let’s take a look at weightlifting and calisthenics in detail.
Calisthenics doesn’t require you to invest in various types of equipment. All you need is a bit of space to get going. This is a boon when you find yourself traveling and don’t want to break your fitness routine. A few powerful compound exercises movements like pushups, lunges, squats, and planks can do a lot for your body. Also, if you’re a social fitness practitioner, there are several classes available that focus on group calisthenic exercises. A 40-minute boot camp class will burn about 400-500 calories effectively.
Again, it’s all about the goals you are pursuing. If you are looking to get big in a short time or vying for a bodybuilder competition type of body, then calisthenics is not for you. When it comes to calisthenics, it’s all about getting toned and fit rather than ripping up muscle fibers and building it up again.
Weight Training Positives
Weight training is the process by which you increase your musculature through heavy resistance through weights. When you lift weights, your muscle fibers break apart and they are rebuilt stronger. If you want to build muscle and get big, weightlifting is the way to go. It increases your musculature in a short period if done correctly.
Weight Training Drawbacks
A lot of people feel that weight training compromises on flexibility. People who lift heavy and are flexible are rather exceptions than the norm. This is because muscles are locked into a specific pattern of working under heavy load that they get built back up again to service that movement better. Another thing to consider is that weight training does not reflect real-life situations – there will never be a time when you have to lift a 500-pound deadlift bar unless you’re at the gym.
For the Full Body:
Get yourself into a push-up position first. Then, bring your knees forward one after the other, almost like you’re jogging in that position. You must make sure that you’re balanced well on your arms and that one leg is straightened while the other is bent at all time. This exercise focuses on the leg muscles, the arms and the lower core and abdominal muscles.
Gorilla Chin Crunch
This is an advanced pull up movement that includes regular pull ups with a knee tuck movement to give you a good upper body and core workout. Start with an underhand grip at shoulder width the pull yourself up while at the same time bringing your knees fully close to the chest.
An extremely difficult movement which very few have mastered, the manna is a huge step up from the full planche. From the full planche position lift your legs towards your upper body and then hold for a count. Only attempt this move when you can competently planche.
While it is a dance move it also happens to be an advanced whole-body strength development tool. Grip the floor opening your hand wide and then fold your legs and lift your body off the ground. This is an incredibly hard exercise, so you need to first work up to it with a one-arm handstand initially.
A pretty strenuous and challenging exercise, the dragon walk is essentially a modified push up where you go down to the ground, but you raise your leg to bring your knees up to your elbow while keeping it parallel to the ground. Once you get the coordination right, you’ll find it a lot easier.
How hard can adding a little jump to a lunge be? Very hard. The jumping lunge is an intense plyometric exercise for the lower body that challenges you to maintain posture and balance while pushing yourself up off the floor.
This workout is brilliant as a full-body warm up as well. First, you need to start by standing on your feet and then hinge on your hips and touch the ground. Next, use your hands to “walk” forward and take your body ahead as well, in the same hinged position. Now, as you go on, get on your toes and stop when you are at an elevated plank-like position. Stay in this position for a few seconds and then walk backward at the same angle. This exercise works on multiple muscle groups at the same time!
This exercise involves a lot of movement and is a great form of cardio as well. First, get down in a frog-like position. Next, reach out with your arms and start crawling forward. Your hips shouldn’t be too high or too low and your legs need to be bent at the knee at all times. And, once you’ve moved forward, you can go backward in the same position instead of turning and moving forward again. This workout is sure to make you sweat and work your whole body out as well.
One of the most comprehensive full body callisthenic exercises ever developed – burpees can stretch your body to the max while not putting too much stress on your joints. Burpees work out every muscle in your body, improve coordination and help you lose a lot of weight. All of these together make it a favorite of people who want to either tone their body or have weight loss in mind.
For the Butt and Legs:
The next step to the falling tower exercise would be the sissy squat. Get on your toes, have some support on the side, and then bend backward. Just enough to feel the burn in your quads. Then get back to the starting position. This exercise really pumps the lower body and knees. You should be able to do this without any support.
This exercise works the butt and tones your calves and also gets exponentially hard the longer you do it. Assume a sitting position and rest your back on a wall completely with your hands for support. Hold this position for as long as possible. After a while you will feel your legs quivering – don’t give in just yet.
Pistol Box Squat
This is an easier version of the pistol squat. Rather than go through the entire squat, this uses a chair which can sit on when you are in the final motion of the squat. For people who need to work up to the pistol squat, this variation is a good stepping stone till they get more used to it.
This exercise is a fantastic glute toning exercise and should be part of everyone’s lower body training routine. Get on all fours, resting on your palms and knees. Then raise your leg, still bent at the knee over your back and hold it for 2 counts. This is a fantastic lower body exercise as well as core strengthener.
Bodyweight Romanian Deadlift
While the RDL is a fantastic exercise not a lot of people are able to do it with weights included. The solution? Just do the bodyweight version for an easier way to benefit. It’s a simple move, bend down progressively and then back up.
It is a beginner friendly movement and targets the upper legs and calves. You basically supplement your jumping jacks with a squat motion at the end. This helps you increase your core strength, lower body fitness, and leg power.
Squat to Chair
If you are starting out with squats it might not be the easiest thing to do. This variation uses a chair behind you for support. This means if you have trouble going deep in a squat, then this will help you push off the ground a lot easier.
Bulgarian Split Squat
This variation of the split squat is one of the best exercises that can work your quads, glutes, and inner thighs. It also helps you improve balance and your stabilizer muscles. Get a bench or a chair and hook one leg behind. Lower your body with on one leg while bringing your hands up to your chest to maintain balance. Do it for both legs.
This explosive squat variation takes the regular squat movement and adds a wide jump to it. This gives more dynamic platform which can increase your lower body musculature and hones your balance.
This lower body movement tones your legs and butt. Lie down on your back with feet flat on the floor. Now push your hips to the top until you’re resting on your shoulder blades and hold it for a count of 10. You need to make sure that you’re pushing off your heel rather than toes.
A variation on squats, the pistol squats requires good coordination and balance to pull off consistently without injuring oneself. It has the same basic movement as a squat, but you put weight on one side of the body for balance.
Single Leg Squat Jumps
A harder variation on the pistol squats, it remains the same till you lower yourself. The point where you come up, you do so with a lot of force which should lift you off the floor. A very challenging movement but it can build explosiveness in your lower body.
A sumo squat is nothing but a wide and deep squat. While regular squat works more on the glutes and butt, sumo squats are brilliant for the butt and the legs as well. The hamstrings are extensively worked with this exercise. You need to keep your legs wide apart, preferably wider than your shoulders, and squat down as deep as possible. Remember to stick your hips out while doing so and keeping your back straight.
You could either lay on the ground or use a bench to do this exercise. Balance your weight on your shoulders first, and then stretch your legs out but bend them at the knees. Next, use your pelvic muscles to lift your body up and lower it down again, but without making contact with the ground. If you can hold the raised position for a few seconds, it works great for firming the butt and works on the glutes and hams.
Stationary lunges or moving lunges are both great for working the butt and legs. It’s the same action as getting down on one knee to do something, but without actually letting the knee touch the ground. Forward and backward lunges work on the upper leg muscles and the glutes. While stationary lunging requires a narrow stance, moving lunges are wider apart and put some pressure on the calf muscles as well.
For toned butt muscles, the donkey kick is a good exercise option. First, lie on the ground on all fours and position your hands flat on the ground. The arms must be as wide and the shoulder and the legs, closer together. Next, lift one leg up and backward at a 90-degree angle and bring it back down to the same level as the stationary leg. Repeat this for 15-20 reps on each leg. The glutes are also conditioned with this workout.
Standing Calf Raises
Calf raises increase the strength of your calves. While you might have seen calf machines at the gym, you can accomplish the same thing if you half step on a ledge and then try to haul your body high as you can and then lower it. While this is the equipment-free version, you can also get more load on to your calf when you use weights.
Russian Leg Curl
If you are looking for a fantastic method to increase lower body strength, this exercise can definitely do it. Get into a push up position and prop your legs under a weight to get some leverage. Then from a lowered push up position, push yourself off just enough to catch your body with your lower body muscles and then lean back. These are also called manual hamstring curls.
For the Upper Body
Falling Tower Exercise
A movement that can work your upper body strength as well as tone your butt. With a chair behind you, get on your knees, arms folded back, and straight back. Bend backward enough to touch the back of your head to the chair. Then get back up to your starting position.
One of the primary exercises that most people have been slogging with at the gym for decades. This is the ultimate test of upper body strength and works at enhancing your core as well as your arms. Start with hanging off a horizontal bar and then pull yourself up without help from your lower body. Rinse, repeat.
This is a combination of pull up and a wide dip. It gives you a complete upper body workout. You start with a pull up but at the peak of the motion, you pull yourself above the bar then push off until your arms are fully extended. Then get back to the starting position. This is definitely an exercise to work up to.
Clapping Pull Up
If you want to up your pull up game, then you should try this variation. Start like you do a regular pull up at close to the peak of your motion, explode upwards and clap just in time to grab the bars again. This is difficult, so you need to work up to this by starting off with explosive pull ups initially.
The Iron Cross
Another advanced movement based on the pull up/dip motion, this is a lot more difficult than just an ordinary pull up. Also, you’re going to need Olympic rings for this exercise. Grip the rings, push yourself off the ground until you’re in the initial position of a dip. Then lower yourself until your arms (by your side) are parallel to the ground.
A difficult exercise based on the pull up motion to start, this requires good coordination and rhythm to master completely. First, hand off a bar then bring your body to the peak of the pull up motion. Then lean back into a lever stance while locking out your elbows. Revert to intermediary position. Rinse and repeat.
Plank to Push Up
This combines 2 of the best full body exercises into one complete cohesive package. You start off in the plank position and then transition into a push up position one side after other. Then complete one push up. Do this for a total number of reps for total upper body strength and increased core workout.
The walkout is an intermediate exercise movement that can help tone the body and increase core strength and coordination. First bend your body over and put your hands on the ground. After which you will move your hands step by step until you’re able to. Hold for a count of 5 and revert to the starting position.
Towel Door Row
If you are looking to get a good workout for your back, then this movement can help. A bonus is that this exercise requires minimal, all this requires is a towel and a door. Fold the towel around the door upper and under the doorknob. Hold on tight to it, sink back and then pull yourself back close to the door.
Rows are great for developing your back muscles. All you need a horizontal bar to pull yourself up off. If you don’t have access to a horizontal bar or a smith machine, you can improvise with a sturdy table which you can hang off and pull yourself up horizontally. Before started, you need to make sure that the table can take the weight.
Feet Elevated Inverted Row
If you think the default inverted row is getting too easy as an exercise, then you can increase the difficulty by elevating your feet. This focuses all your weight on your shoulder and this means more resistance to overcome. You can also substitute the horizontal rod with a table and chair combo.
Doorway One-Arm Row
While rows are fantastic to develop the lats and upper body in general, if you don’t have access to equipment, then you’d find this exercise useful. Line up your ankle with the door jamb and then hold the door jamb with a firm grip. Hang off this and then pull yourself back to the starting position. Do this for your other arm as well.
Side-To-Side Pull Up
While pull ups are one of the best upper body workouts you can get, but after a while, it can become easy. For people who are looking for more of a challenge, the side to side pull up can give you just that. Same as a pull up, at the peak of the action, you move to one side then the other and then let yourself down.
Walking Pull Up
If you want to up the difficulty factor, then walking pull ups are something that can do just that. If you have rows of places to pull up from like a playground, then you should try this. You start at one end of the monkey bar, pull up every time you shift your grip to the next bar. While this looks easy, it is anything but.
Plyometric Body Row
If you wanted an exercise that can build speed and power in your upper body, this is it. On the smith machine, set the bar to a comfortable height so you can hang off horizontally. While lying on your back, grip the bar tight and then pull yourself up while keeping shoulder blades back and together.
Tiger Bend Pushups/Sphinx Push ups
A variation of the pushup, which works the upper pectorals and your deltoids. Assume the standard push up position but when you lower yourself, do so with your elbows moving back and then touch the ground with your elbows. Remember to not change the position of your hands when doing this.
An extended variation of the Hindu pushup, the movement is the same as the Hindu push up with the difference at the end. From a downward dog position, dip downwards until your reach the hyperextended finish position but from here while Hindu push ups revert to the downward dog directly, dive bomber movement reverses the same initial movement.
This is the same principle as with the clapping push ups but you have to take into consideration that this movement is a whole lot more difficult since your whole body is suspended. Same action as parallel bar dips, but when you’re pushing up you will engage your explosive strength together with tucking your legs to achieve enough hangtime to clap.
Muay Thai Push Up
A hardcore variation of the clap push up, this movement is a bit more difficult. You need to push off during the top of the push up movement with more explosive power and clap behind your back and come to rest in the starting position. This increases flexibility in the upper body.
Full Body Explosive Push Up
This is just like the regular push up but during the phase when you push, you do so with enough explosive force, so your body is launched into the air. You need to take precautions doing this if you’re overweight or aren’t used to it.
Toe Tap Push Up
This is similar to the regular push up but at the top of the exercise you will bring the left leg upward and touch toes with your right hand. Do this for both sides. This exercise works your core and obliques addition to your shoulders and arms.
Pike Push Ups
A variant of the push up that hits the shoulders and the upper body. It is an intermediate difficulty exercise. Start from the downward dog position, start tucking your elbows in so your head moves towards the floor. Have some cushioning so you don’t injure your head.
Feet Elevated One Arm Push Up
Taking the one arm push up a step further, you can make it even more difficult by raising your feet by resting them on a sturdy object or a stack of plates. Take care that your arm is on your back for better balance.
Superman Push Ups
One of hardest push up variations of the push up is the Superman pushup. Although it looks easy, it is anything but. Lie on the ground, arms and legs extend forward and back. Palms down and thumbs touching, push your body up to remain parallel to the ground engaging your core and thighs.
Power Push Ups
Similar to the regular push up, but a bit wider than usual. You push yourself up with an explosive motion that causes your body to lift and hands off the floor as well. On the decent, you need to decelerate and slow down just before your chest touches the ground.
Hindu Push Up
A totally different take on the push up, this is a total upper body workout which is reasonably challenging to do as well. Start from the down dog position, pull your upper body up to a raised position making sure you don’t rest your lower body on the ground.
Archer Push Ups
A unilateral type push up movement, archer push ups are the stepping stone to fully one-handed pushups. If you’re just starting on this, it is recommended to get comfortable with close grip push ups first as a lot of weight is likely to rest on your dominant hand.
Another derivation of push up but completely different, you use a medicine ball while in push up position and basically push off with it for a unilateral action. What you need to do here is not just pivot your body but move parallelly left and right during the exercise movement.
Kung Fu Style Tiger Push Ups
A push up variation which focuses on total body strength. Start with a wide stance, bend over at a 45-degree angle and rest on the floor with your fingers (beginners can start with their palms) with your head down. Push forward, elbows bent, chest close to the ground similar to a Hindu pushup. Go back to the initial position by swinging back on your body.
For the Abs and Core:
Stretch Walk Push Up
This is a type of push up which while not having the same basic movements as a pushup, works the whole body nevertheless. Get into the standard push up position then “walk” your hands about a foot in front of you and back. This increases flexibility and also forces your core to stabilize.
One of the most popular exercises in the entire history of calisthenics, the sit up requires basic core strength to execute correctly. You lie on your back knees folded and feet on the ground. You try to bring your upper body in an arc towards your legs. Of late though, people prefer other types of exercises like planks or hanging leg raises.
If you want to get toned abs then there is no better exercise than ab crunches. This is one of the most well-known exercise to get your abs in shape as well as your core. The thing is you need proper execution, or you will end up hurting your back.
A variation of the ab crunch, the side crunch focuses attention on your obliques strengthening them to give you that ‘V’ taper. Instead of lying flat on your back, you lay on your side and then flex your oblique muscles. This is really effective at reducing flab and building oblique muscles.
A multipurpose exercise movement that can help you improve core strength, increase shoulder and hip mobility. Get on all fours, and try to move forward remembering to keep your midsection as parallel to the ground as possible and not letting the knees touch the ground.
A unique stretching and balance movement, the bird dog works on your core making you stronger and more balanced. Start on your hands and knees lift your right hand and your left leg, hold for a second then back to starting position. Do this on the other side as well. There are several variations of this exercise based on your fitness level.
One of the best exercises for your core and your abs which can also help your posture, the plank is a good all-around effective full body exercise. You get into a basic push up position and then make sure you rest on your elbows. Hold this pose for as long as you can. Remember to hold your body straight and not arch your back.
Another variation of the plank, the side plank targets the obliques and helps you get maximum work on them without straining them too much. Lie down on your side on the floor, prop yourself on your elbow, and hold the position. It is not difficult to execute, you need to make sure that you hold your body in a straight line without lowering in the middle.
We’ve dealt with Leg Raises before, this is the same drill but you bring your knees closer to your chest. This works your abs in particular and engages your core. Instead of raising your leg, raising your knee will be an easier alternative.
Hanging Leg Raises
This is the next step to leg raises. You can hang off a bar or Olympic rings for this exercise. While remaining reasonably still, bring your legs upward and hold it for a second before you get to the initial position. This exercise is great for your core, your upper body and can improve your posture.
Hanging Knee Tucks
This exercise is the same as the hanging leg raise, but here instead of your leg, you try to bring in the knee closer to your chest. While a lot of people feel that this movement actually exerts your abs more. You can use this as a follow up to your leg raises to tone your abs.
Skin the Cat
This is a fantastic core strength and flexibility exercise that you can accomplish with Olympic rings. Start with a dead hang with your arms outwards. Slowly perform a toe raise while keeping your arms straight. Continue with the movement until your legs pass through your arms. Stop when you reach the final position which is skin the cat.
Another difficult exercise movement, the human flag is the equivalent of a plank but without the support of your legs and all the stress on your shoulders, especially the lower shoulder. Find a sturdy vertical support, get your grip top and bottom and lift off with your legs while stressing on your core.
Invented by the fighting machine Bruce Lee, this is similar to the human flag, but you have support from the upper back when doing this. Lie on your back, grip 2 sturdy vertical supports for balance and lift your lower body off the bench.
Double Arm Lever
A much easier movement when compared to the planche, the significant difference here is that instead of your palms pointing forwards, they point the opposite way. This means there’s lesser strain on your wrist and the movement is a lot easier.
If you are looking to get started on improving your balancing skills, then this is what you should start with. Start in a squat position, place your hands on the ground right in front of your feet. Slowly lift off pushing off with your toes and hold this position for 5 counts to start with. Hand balancing is important for other complex calisthenic exercises.
This is an advanced exercise movement which targets the whole body and you need peak fitness to achieve it. A planche is when you hold your body parallel to the ground with just your arms. There are several intermediary planches until you get to the full planche.
L Pull Up
A pull up movement but with an additional action that engages your abs. Start off with the regular pull up position, underhand grip to begin. As you raise your body concurrently raise your leg as well, remember to keep them straight. This engages your abs and your hip flexors.
A tough exercise to master (V Sit) successfully learning to do the L Sit means that you have peak upper body and core conditioning. Sit on the floor, both palms on the floor beside you. It’s alright to have a slightly bent back. Now push off the floor and balance yourself while simultaneously lifting the feet off the floor.
Hanging Knee to Elbow
While this needs a bar to hang off, this simple but challenging exercise movement engages your whole body. You need to remember to bring your legs as far up as possible for a complete ab workout.
The V-Up (Jackknife)
One of the best core developing exercises out there bar none, the V-Up engages your core to the max, top, and bottom. Lie on your back, hands and legs stretched out. Then bring both together making a ‘V’. It is hard but offers a complete workout.
Crunches are the most commonly performed ab exercise. This particular workout is very effective for the abs and can actually do wonders for your core. Great thing is that this can be done absolutely anywhere. Lie on your back, lift your knees up with your feet flat on the ground and close together. Next, tighten your core and start lifting yourself as much as you can. The more burn you feel, the better the workout!
A proper plank done for a good amount of time can really condition your core muscles and make them stronger than ever. Planks are usually the best when held for at least 1-2 minutes. Also, the best position to do this is to balance yourself on your elbows with the arms bent at a 90-degree angle.
Lie down flat on the ground and place your arms either on the side on right under your butt for some support. Next, raise both legs together all the way up, at a 90-degree angle, and then lower them again but without touching the ground. The idea here is to keep both legs suspended in the air throughout the duration and not let them touch the ground. This workout is really effective for strengthening your lower abs and abdominal muscles.
Again, lie flat on the ground, the then lift your legs together to form a diamond shape. Both your feet need to be touching each other on the inside. Next, lift your body up as much as possible while making sure that you keep the legs in the same position. This exercise burns fat rapidly in both the upper and lower ab muscles as well.
The Russian Twist
In this workout, you need to support most of your weight on your butt and hips. Your legs need to be bent and suspended in the air and your torso needs to be inclined at a 45-degree angle as well. Now, tighten your core and use both arms to do a “twist” from one side to the other. The idea is to move only your torso while your legs stay in the same position. This workout is great for your core and your obliques.
For the Chest:
No Arm Push Up
If you are looking for a push up variation that only exerts the upper chest and back without focusing on the arms, then the no arm push up can help. Assume the tiger bend position (elbows on the ground) and then try the regular push up motion only engaging your chest and back. It is harder than a regular push up but really works your chest and back muscles.
Isometric Chest Squeezes
This chest exercise is pretty intense, and it can even be done at your desk. Bend your arms at 90 degrees and put your palms in front of your chest. Contract your chest while pushing your palms together. You can increase your duration and intensity with time. Remember to breathe normally.
This would be medium on the difficulty scale and is straightforward. What you do here is push yourself up from two bars that are about chest height. Bend forward slightly so that the focus is on the chest and not just the shoulders. You can also get this done with chairs if you’re traveling.
Atlas Push Up
This is a push up movement that approaches your chest development at a different angle. Place your hands on 2 objects of equal height and which are stable. You push up resting your hands on these objects allowing your chest to lower to the top of the objects. This increases the work done by your chest and arms.
Wide Grip Push Up
As the name suggests, your grip on the ground or any other surface needs to be wider than the distance between your shoulders. This workout especially works on the pectoral muscles in the chest.
A wide grip push up is surely harder than a regular one, but it helps with building muscle in the chest to a great extent.
Incline Push Up
What you will need is a solid surface that you can incline on. It could be a wall, a heavy slab or ever a chair with weights on it to make it sturdy. Your body needs to be fully inclined and the push-up motion is basically the same. Also, it’s important to keep your back completely straight at that angle and not hunch or arch it.
In the same position as the wide grip push up, you need to hold the position instead of moving up and down. Your body needs to almost touch the ground but not actually do so, while you suspend your body in mid-air and hold it there for at least 30 seconds. While this exercise is known to be great for the core, it also works wonders on toning the chest muscles.
Slow Motion Push Up
When regular push-ups are done slowly, they have a greater impact and are hence, a lot tougher to do. Once you’ve lowered your body, take 15-20 seconds to raise yourself up completely and then take the same amount of time or lesser to lower yourself back down again. The duration purely relies on how much stress you can take. This type of push up is amazing for the arms and the chest.
While traditional chest flies are done with some sort of weights in hand, this popular movement can be done without them as well. This actually works like a brilliant stretch for the chest muscles and also for the shoulders. Just stand in an inclined position, with on leg forward and bent, and close your fists as you stretch both arms outward and then inward again.
For the Arms:
Handstand Tiger Bend Push Ups
A step up from the regular handstand pushup, the tiger bend variation puts even more onus on extensive forearm development. This movement is similar to that of the push up, but the difference is that the initial position starts from forearms on the ground rather than in the air.
One Arm Handstand
A challenging movement that requires full body coordination and balance. This is the more advanced variant of the simple handstand. It is a lot difficult to maintain balance when you are relying on just a hand to balance yourself.
Handstand Push up
While this is not as difficult as the one hand variant, this can put extra work on your delts and arms. Get into a handstand position and push off the floor and get back down again for 1 rep. Ideally, this should be done against a wall and shoes that have a plastic addition to the heel for smoother movement.
A handstand is a test of balance and coordination which is a great way to work out your core. First get on all fours and lift one leg into the air. As soon as you get yourself balanced, lift the second leg as well in a smooth motion taking care not to rush it. If you are just starting, you can use a wall to aid you with balance.
One Arm Chin Up
Chin ups are incredible strength builders, but the pinnacle of strength comes from the ability to accomplish one arm chin-ups. This is like the standard chin-up, but you must do it with one arm. It is extremely difficult so don’t fret if you can get it the first time.
If you have access to a rack and a bar, then you should definitely try this out. Start with a firm grip on the bar, position your feet a distance away from the bar. Now lower yourself so that in the finish position your head is under the bar. Then straighten yourself to the starting position. This not only works your triceps but also your core.
One Arm Push Up (Assisted)
The one arm push up is the ultimate test of strength and coordination. If you’re just starting out, you can also do the assisted version where you can use a prop to support your other arm which also helps flex your back muscles.
Cobra Tricep Extension
Start with the initial push up position, tuck your elbows by the side of your chest and push your body up with your arms, triceps importantly, and shoulders driving your upper body straight up. Remember not to arch your back.
The Standard Push Up
This is definitely one of the most popular Calisthenics exercises ever. It does a great deal for your biceps, triceps, shoulders and your chest. There are different variations of this workout according to the experience level of the person performing it. Another great thing about this workout is that they can be done pretty much anywhere, and you don’t necessarily need a workout set up for it.
This should be an inclusion in anyone’s regime, whether they’re beginners or not.
This particular exercise works extensively on your triceps. All you need is a bench or flat platform to work with. Using the support of your arms on the bench, stretch your legs out, with the knees slightly bent, and lower your torso just a little above the ground and back up again. At no point is your hip or torso supposed to touch the bench. Most of the body weight is put on the arms in the act of balancing the body.
With the help of a sturdy bar, one can easily perform this exercise. With the knuckles facing outward, you must use the bar for complete support and pull your entire body weight upward. Pull till your chin is above the bar and then lower yourself down again. This exercise really helps with total upper body, toning the arms and increased stability in your grip.
Negative Push Up
In the same position as a regular push up, you must first lower yourself to the ground and let your chest touch the floor. Then, once your whole body has almost touched the ground, place your knees on the ground and lift your torso up in an inclined position. Next, lift your whole body up again and repeat. For strengthening the core and gaining stability in the arms, this exercise is brilliant.
When you skip the dumbbell or weights, doing a bicep curl might seem tough to do. Actually, doing a bodyweight bicep curl can be great if you have the right equipment. All you need is a harness or straps attached to a sturdy bar and handles to grip onto. This type of exercise is a “hanging” exercise. The body needs to be inclined while you use your arms in a curling motion to lift yourself up and back down. For stronger biceps, this workout is a good option.
There are dozens of Calisthenics workouts that one can try out, whatever level of fitness they might be on. The goal of Calisthenics is to be able to achieve substantial fitness without using minimal equipment or feeling compelled to go to a gym. One can easily work out at home or anywhere else that they desire with Calisthenics and still achieve favorable and visible results.
The classical calisthenic physique is completely different from the typical bodybuilding shape. Calisthenics offers you an aesthetic build without the bulk normally associated with lifting weights. So, if you want to look lean and shredded, calisthenics is definitely an avenue that you should explore.