Blog Fitness Workouts Calisthenics Workout Calisthenics Warm Up 101: Bodyweight Exercises To Get Your Blood Flowing Before Your Workout

Calisthenics Warm Up 101: Bodyweight Exercises To Get Your Blood Flowing Before Your Workout

Pilates vs calisthenics weight loss

Any seasoned weight lifter will tell you one thing about a good warm-up; it’s crucial to prime your body for the strain that follows. And by prime we mean getting your blood pumping, muscles loosened up, and your heart rate slightly elevated.


Calisthenics warm up exercises are perfect for this. Think about it—bodyweight exercises are not only incredibly simple, but they can also help you prepare your body for more complex movements and heavier sets. Plus, you don’t need any fancy equipment or gym machines to do them.

Not sure where to start? We’ve compiled a list of calisthenics warm up moves that will get your blood flowing so you can maximize the results from your next workout. But before that, let’s cover the basics.

Can You Use Calisthenics As Warm Up?

You can use calisthenics as a warm up. In fact, it’s an excellent way to get your body ready for a rigorous workout. Calisthenics exercises are dynamic and engage multiple muscle groups, making them the perfect precursor to lifting weights. 

Now, let’s go into the distinct qualities of a calisthenics routine that make it ideal for warming up.

Calisthenics Engage Multiple Muscles Simultaneously

Unlike many traditional warm-up routines that target only specific muscles, calisthenics allows you to engage multiple muscle groups at once. Think about a burpee or a jumping jack – these exercises work your arms, legs, and core simultaneously. 

This full-body engagement not only warms up your entire body but also promotes better coordination and balance, preparing your body for the multi-muscle group strain of weight lifting.

Calisthenics Can Help Improve Flexibility

When you dive into a calisthenics routine, you’re not just warming up your muscles – you’re also enhancing your flexibility. 

Research shows that dynamic stretching, which is a major component of calisthenics, can help increase flexibility and potentially reduce the risk of injury during workouts (6).

Exercises like lunges and leg swings warm up and engage your muscles, increasing their elasticity and reducing the risk of strains or pulls during your main workout. A more flexible body can lead to a greater range of motion, which can be advantageous in your weight lifting performance.

See also
Shoulder Workout Calisthenics Guide For Beginners

Calisthenics warm up for beginners

Calisthenics Elevate Your Heart Rate

According to the Mayo Clinic, one of the main goals of any warm-up routine is to get your heart rate up, and calisthenics does this brilliantly (2).

High-energy movements like star jumps or quick step-ups will quickly elevate your heart rate, boosting blood flow and ensuring that your muscles are well supplied with oxygen. This increased oxygenation of the muscles can help you stave off early fatigue during your workout, allowing you to more efficiently and for longer.

Calisthenics Boost Body Strength

While the primary goal of a warm-up isn’t to build strength, it’s a definite plus that comes with calisthenics. 

According to a study in the Strength and Conditioning Journal, bodyweight exercises like those in calisthenics can lead to notable gains in strength and endurance (3). This added strength serves as a solid foundation for your weight lifting workout, helping you to lift heavier weights and push through more challenging routines.

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What Are 5 Warm Up Exercises?

Calisthenics-inspired movements provide an excellent foundation for a warm-up routine, especially for weight lifters. 

These bodyweight exercises are versatile, engaging, and can be performed anywhere – at home or in the gym. They target multiple muscle groups, boost heart rate, and increase flexibility, making them the perfect way to prepare your body for a challenging weight-lifting session. 

Here are five unique calisthenics exercises that can form a comprehensive warm-up routine.

1. Mountain Climbers: The Heart-Rate Booster

Mountain climbers are a fantastic calisthenics warm up for beginners. This full-body exercise elevates your heart rate quickly, getting your blood pumping and your muscles warmed up.

See also
Back Workout Calisthenics Guide To Go From Novice To Pro

Steps to follow:

  • Begin in a high plank position with your hands directly under your shoulders.
  • Bring your right knee towards your chest.
  • Switch and bring your left knee towards your chest.
  • Continue alternating legs for 30 seconds to 1 minute.

2. Arm Swings: The Shoulder Mobility Enhancer

Arm swings are an essential part of any shoulder warm up calisthenics routine. They help to loosen up the shoulder joints and prepare them for the strain of lifting weights.

Steps to follow:

  • Stand upright with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Extend your arms out to the sides.
  • Swing your arms forward and backward in a controlled movement.
  • Continue for about one minute.

3. Wrist Circles: The Grip Enhancer

Wrist circles make for an effective wrist warm up calisthenics exercise. They help to prevent wrist injuries that could occur during weight lifting.

Steps to follow:

  • Extend your arms in front of you.
  • Make circles with your wrists, first in a clockwise direction, then counterclockwise.
  • Continue for about one minute.

4. Walking High Knees: The Hybrid Calisthenics Warm-Up

Walking high knees combine elements of cardio with stretching, making them an ideal hybrid calisthenics warm up. This exercise targets your lower body, core, and balance, preparing you for more intense workouts.

Steps to follow:

  • Stand upright with your feet hip-width apart.
  • Lift your right knee as high as possible and step forward.
  • Repeat with your left knee.
  • Continue alternating knees for about one minute.

5. Inchworms: The Full-Body Stretch

Inchworms are perfect for a calisthenics warm up at home, providing a full-body stretch that targets your hamstrings, calves, and shoulders.

Steps to follow:

  • Stand tall with your feet hip-width apart.
  • Bend at your waist and touch the floor with your hands.
  • Walk your hands forward until you reach a high plank position.
  • Walk your hands back towards your feet and stand up.
  • Repeat for about one minute.

Read more: Calisthenics Bicep Workout: 5 Ingenious Exercises With & Without Bars.

Do You Stretch Before Calisthenics?

Stretching before your calisthenics warm up routine is both necessary and beneficial. Yes, even if your calisthenics routine is intended as a warm-up for a weight lifting routine, we highly suggest you dedicate 5-10 mins for some calisthenics stretches before getting started.

See also
Calisthenics Bicep Workout: 5 Ingenious Exercises With & Without Bars

Muscles, tendons, and ligaments need to be warm and flexible to function optimally and withstand the stress of the subsequent workout. 

Stretching helps to reduce the risk of injury, increase range of motion, and improve muscle control (4). So even if you have a killer calisthenics warm-up routine planned out, make sure you start it with some dynamic stretches.

Dynamic stretches are a highly recommended part of any warm-up routine. They not only warm up your muscles but can also enhance your overall performance (1). 

For example, walking before you jog or doing light bodyweight exercises before moving on to more strenuous calisthenics moves can prepare your body for the workout ahead.

Calisthenics warm up exercises

Below is a sample dynamic stretching routine that you can do as part of your warm-up:

Toy Soldiers

An active stretch for your hamstrings. It mimics the marching motion of a toy soldier, which is why it got its name. 

To execute this movement:

  • Stand tall with your feet together and swing one leg up in front of you while keeping the other leg straight. 
  • Repeat on each side for 15 seconds.

Trunk Rotations 

A dynamic warm-up exercise that helps to loosen up your spine and abs. 

To do it:

  • Stand with your feet hip-width apart and place your hands behind your head. 
  • Twist your torso to the left and then to the right, repeating this motion for 15 seconds.

Shoulder Rolls

A fantastic warm-up exercise for your shoulders that can boost mobility and helps prevent shoulder injuries. 

To do this movement:

  • Stand with your feet hip-width apart and roll your shoulders backward in circular motions.
  • Continue the motion for 15 seconds.

Leg Swings

An active form of stretching for the hips, hamstrings, and glutes.

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and swing one leg forward and then backward in a controlled movement.
  • Repeat on each side for 15 seconds.
See also
Basic Calisthenics Workout: A Comprehensive Guide for Beginners

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How To Warm Up for Calisthenics, Sans Stretching

If you lack the time or motivation to stretch, don’t worry – there are other ways to warm up for calisthenics.

Walking or running on the spot is an excellent way to get your heart rate up and bring blood flow to your muscles. This will help prepare your body for the workout ahead, without having to dedicate a significant amount of time for stretching for calisthenics.

Jump rope, boxing, or any kind of aerobic exercise can also be used to warm up your body. These activities are designed to get your heart rate up and prepare your muscles for the grueling calisthenics workout ahead.

Finally, you could try foam rolling as part of your warm-up routine. Foam rollers help to release tightness in the muscles and increase blood flow (5). This can help to prevent injuries and make sure that your muscles are ready for the exercise, however foam rolling shouldn’t replace dynamic movements specific to the workout ahead.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is It OK to Do Calisthenics Before Bed?

Yes it is, but you should stick to a gentle routine. Light to moderate calisthenics can help in relaxing the muscles and mind, promoting better sleep quality. However, high-intensity calisthenics might trigger an adrenaline rush, making it harder to fall asleep.

How Long Should I Warm Up Before Calisthenics?

It is recommended to warm up at least 5-10 minutes before starting any calisthenics routine at home or at the gym. This will give your body enough time to prepare itself for the workout ahead.

See also
Calisthenics List Of Exercises For Every Level

Is Calisthenics a Good Warm-Up?

Calisthenics is an excellent way to warm up your body before any exercise routine. It increases blood flow, loosens tight muscles, and prepares you both mentally and physically for the workout ahead.

Should I Do Calisthenics Before Gym?

Performing calisthenics before the gym can serve as an effective warm-up routine. It helps in preparing the muscles and joints for the upcoming workout, thereby reducing the risk of injury and improving performance. 

Ensure to align the calisthenics exercises with the muscles you intend to work out in the gym.

Is It Good to Start with Calisthenics?

Yes, starting with calisthenics is a good idea for a few reasons. First, calisthenics movements are relatively easier to learn compared to weightlifting exercises. 

Second, bodyweight workouts can help in building strength and flexibility while also working on coordination and balance. Finally, since calisthenics is a low-impact form of exercise, it puts less strain on your joints and muscles.

What Should I Do After Calisthenics?

What you should do after calisthenics depends on your goals. If the goal is to build muscle and strength, you should follow up with weightlifting exercises. On the other hand, if your goal is to increase flexibility and balance, following up with stretching or yoga exercises would be ideal.

For general fitness maintenance, moderate cardio exercises such as jogging or cycling could be a great choice.

Read more: Basic Calisthenics Workout: A Comprehensive Guide for Beginners.

The Bottom Line

Calisthenics is not only an effective form of exercise in and of itself, but it can also be used as a warm-up for more strenuous workouts like weight lifting. By targeting multiple muscle groups and improving your flexibility it will help prepare your body for the workout ahead.

The five calisthenics warm up exercises outlined above are a great starting point for any workout routine. Go ahead and add a few dynamic stretches to the mix and you’ll be good to go.



This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!


  1. Acute Effects of Dynamic Stretching on Muscle Flexibility and Performance: An Analysis of the Current Literature (2018,
  2. Aerobic exercise: How to warm up and cool down (2023,
  3. Bodyweight Training: A Return To Basics (20201, c
  5. Does the type of foam roller influence the recovery rate, thermal response and DOMS prevention? (2020,
  6. The effect of warm-up, static stretching and dynamic stretching on hamstring flexibility in previously injured subjects (2009,
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