Blog Fitness Workouts Calisthenics Workout Easy Calisthenics Workout: 9 Must-Have Exercises for Your Routine

Easy Calisthenics Workout: 9 Must-Have Exercises for Your Routine

Bodyweight exercises are an excellent way to build strength, flexibility, and endurance. They require no gym membership, as you can perform them anywhere, anytime. Also, they engage multiple muscle groups, which can improve balance and coordination. And most importantly, they cater to all fitness levels, making them perfect for beginners and advanced athletes alike (10).

So, how do beginners start their calisthenics journey? Do they just dive into complex movements? Or must they first master the basics?

Even the easiest calisthenics workouts can be challenging if you don’t know where to begin. You’ll need a structured plan to gradually increase intensity and avoid injuries.

To help you get started on the right foot, here’s a simple yet effective nine-exercise calisthenics workout routine designed for beginners.

How Do Beginners Start Calisthenics?

Beginners start calisthenics by choosing an easy calisthenics workout with no equipment and committing to it at least three times a week. They also need to learn proper form, warm-up techniques, and rest intervals. Depending on their fitness level, they may consider incorporating some equipment into their calisthenics workout at home.

Choosing an Easy Calisthenics Workout

As a beginner, you don’t want to jump right into advanced calisthenics exercises like muscle-ups or handstands. Instead, start with basic movements that engage multiple muscle groups and build overall strength.

Here are some of the best exercises to include in a 30-day calisthenics workout plan for beginners:

  1. Push-Ups

  2. Pull-Ups or Inverted Rows

  3. Squats

  4. Lunges

  5. Planks

  6. Dips

  7. Mountain Climbers

  8. Jumping Jacks

  9. Burpees

easy calisthenics workout  

Push-Ups (Chest, Triceps, Shoulders)

Push-ups are timeless exercises that effectively target the chest, triceps, and shoulders. They are ideal for beginners as they help build upper body strength and core stability (4). Push-ups can be modified to suit various fitness levels, making them adaptable to individual needs.

Steps to perform a push-up:

  1. Start in a high plank position with your elbows fully extended and hands shoulder-width apart.

  2. Keep your body in a straight line from head to heels, engaging your core.

  3. Lower your body towards the ground by bending your elbows.

  4. Push back up to the starting position by extending your elbows.

  5. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.

See also
At-Home Calisthenics Workout: Transform Your Fitness Journey from Home

Modifications:

  • For an easier version, perform push-ups on your knees.

  • To make it more challenging, try declined push-ups by placing your feet on an elevated surface.

Pull-Ups or Inverted Rows (Back, Biceps, Forearms)

Pull-ups focus on the upper body, particularly the back and biceps. Beginners might find pull-ups challenging due to the strength required, so inverted rows are a suitable modification. These exercises promote functional strength and improve grip (7).

Steps to perform a pull-up:

  1. Grab the pull-up bar with an overhand grip, hands shoulder-width apart.

  2. Hang with your arms fully extended.

  3. Pull your body upward until your chin is above the bar.

  4. Lower yourself back to the starting position with control.

  5. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.

Modifications:

  • Use resistance bands for assistance during pull-ups.

  • Perform inverted rows using a bar positioned at waist height; pull your chest towards the bar while keeping your body straight.

Find more calisthenics back workouts in our article.

Squats (Quadriceps, Glutes, Hamstrings)

Squats are foundational lower body exercises targeting the quadriceps, glutes, and hamstrings. They mimic everyday movements and enhance overall leg strength and stability (5). Squats can be easily modified to match the fitness level of beginners.

Steps to perform a squat:

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, toes slightly turned out.

  2. Engage your core and keep your chest upright.

  3. Lower your hips back and down as if sitting in a chair.

  4. Make sure your knees track over your toes and thighs are parallel to the ground.

  5. Push through your heels to return to the starting position.

  6. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.

Modifications:

  • Use a chair to perform sit-to-stand squats for added stability.

  • Increase intensity by holding weights or performing jump squats.

If you tend to let yourself off the hook, raise the white flag when things get tougher than you expected, send yourself on an unconscious binge-eating trip – BetterMe app is here to help you leave all of these sabotaging habits in the past!

Lunges (Quadriceps, Glutes, Hamstrings)

Lunges are excellent for strengthening the legs and enhancing balance. They target similar muscles to squats and are beneficial for unilateral strength (11). Beginners can perform static lunges before progressing to walking lunges.

See also
Calisthenics for Strength: Will It Make Me Stronger?

Steps to perform a lunge:

  1. Stand upright with feet hip-width apart.

  2. Step forward with one foot, lowering your hips until both knees are at 90-degree angles.

  3. Make sure the front knee doesn’t extend past the toes, and the back knee hovers above the ground.

  4. Push through the front heel to return to the starting position.

  5. Repeat on the other side and alternate legs.

Modifications:

  • Hold onto a wall or chair for balance.

  • Perform reverse lunges instead for a less challenging variation.

easy calisthenics workout  

Planks (Core, Shoulders)

Planks are simple yet effective core exercises that also engage the core muscles, shoulders and back. They help beginners build strong core muscles without complex movements, providing a solid base for more advanced exercises (1).

Steps to perform a plank:

  1. Start in a forearm plank position with elbows directly below shoulders.

  2. Keep your body in a straight line from head to heels, engaging the core.

  3. Hold the position for the desired amount of time without letting your hips sag or rise.

  4. Maintain steady breathing and focus on form.

Modifications:

  • Perform planks with knees on the ground for beginners.

  • Increase difficulty by transitioning to a high plank on your hands.

Dips (Triceps, Chest, Shoulders)

Dips primarily target the triceps along with the chest and shoulders. This versatile exercise can be performed using parallel bars or a sturdy chair. They are beneficial for building upper body strength and endurance.

Steps to perform dips:

  1. Position yourself between parallel bars or place your hands on the edge of a chair.

  2. Lift your body and maintain an upright posture.

  3. Lower your body by bending your elbows until they reach a 90-degree angle.

  4. Push back up to the starting position by extending your arms.

  5. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.

Modifications:

  • Use a chair with bent legs to reduce the weight on your arms.

  • Add resistance by wearing a weighted vest for increased intensity.

Mountain Climbers (Core, Shoulders, Legs)

Mountain climbers are dynamic exercises that test your cardiovascular endurance and engage multiple muscle groups, including the core, shoulders, and legs. They are suitable for beginners looking to improve agility and coordination.

Steps to perform mountain climbers:

  1. Begin in a high plank position with your elbows extended and hands shoulder-width apart.

  2. Engage your core and keep your body in a straight line.

  3. Alternate bringing each knee towards your chest in a running motion.

  4. Maintain a brisk pace without compromising form.

  5. Continue for the desired duration or repetitions.

See also
Calisthenics for Female Beginners: Why, How and What To Do

Modifications:

  • Slow down the movement for better control.

  • Elevate your hands on a bench to reduce the strain on your core and shoulders.

We’ve discussed more workouts for your core in our core calisthenics blog.

Jumping Jacks (Full Body, Cardiovascular)

Jumping jacks are effective cardiovascular exercises that get your heart rate up while engaging the full body. They are ideal for beginners, as they are simple to perform and require no equipment.

Steps to perform jumping jacks:

  1. Stand upright with your feet together and arms at your sides.

  2. Jump your feet out to the sides while raising your arms overhead.

  3. Quickly jump back to the starting position.

  4. Continue the movement at a steady pace for the desired duration.

Modifications:

  • Step one foot out at a time rather than jumping for a low-impact version.

  • Increase speed to boost heart rate and increase cardiovascular benefits.

Read more: The Simplest Lower Back Calisthenics Guide for Beginners

Burpees (Full Body, Cardiovascular)

Burpees are high-intensity exercises that challenge your entire body, combining strength and cardiovascular training. Although advanced, they can be modified for beginners, offering a powerful way to build endurance and overall fitness.

Steps to perform a burpee:

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.

  2. Lower into a squat position and place your hands on the floor.

  3. Jump your feet back into a plank position.

  4. Perform a push-up, then jump your feet back towards your hands.

  5. Explode upwards, jumping into the air with arms overhead.

  6. Land softly and immediately begin the next repetition.

Modifications:

  • Skip the push-up and jump steps for a simpler version.

  • Perform the movement slowly to ensure proper form and reduce intensity.

Proper Form

Proper form is crucial in calisthenics, to prevent injuries and get the most out of each exercise (8). Beginners should focus on learning the correct positions and movements before increasing intensity or attempting advanced variations.

Luckily, mastering form is much easier for various reasons when you’re not using weights. First, the risk of injury is lower.

See also
This Stretching Calisthenics Routine Will Have You Loose and Limber for Your Next Workout

Second, because you can perform each movement slowly and focus on engaging the correct muscles. Lastly (and most importantly), because you’re not battling weight gravity, which makes it easier to maintain proper form.

easy calisthenics workout

Proper form looks different for each calisthenics exercise. However, some general guidelines include:

Neutral Spine

Your spine should remain in a neutral position throughout each exercise. Avoid rounding or arching your back, as this can lead to strain and injury (8).

Full Range of Motion

Perform the entire range of motion for each exercise (eff). For example, when performing push-ups, make sure your chest almost touches the ground before pushing back up.

Engaged Core

Engage your core muscles (abdominals and lower back) during each exercise. This helps stabilize your body and prevents strain on other muscles (2).

Controlled Movements

Control the movement throughout each exercise, avoiding any jerky or sudden movements. This helps maintain proper form and prevents injury.

Proper Breathing

Breathe in as you lower your body and out as you push up or return to the starting position. This helps maintain proper form and provides oxygen to your muscles (13).

Warm-Up Techniques

Before starting any calisthenics workout, beginners should perform a proper warm-up. This helps prepare the muscles and joints for exercise, reducing the risk of injury (12).

A proper warm-up should include:

  • Dynamic stretches: such as arm circles, leg swings, and hip rotations to loosen up the muscles and joints.

  • A light jog or jump rope session to increase heart rate and blood flow.

  • Activation exercises: such as glute bridges, plank variations, and push-up holds to activate the muscles used in the workout.

Rest Intervals

Rest is just as important as exercise when it comes to building strength and endurance. How long you rest between exercises and sets will depend on your fitness level, the overall goal of the workout and the intensity of your workout (9).

As a beginner, aim for 30-60 seconds of rest between exercises and 1-2 minutes of rest between sets. As you progress and increase intensity, you can decrease these rest intervals to challenge yourself further.

See also
Calisthenics Body Type: 6 Real-Life Benefits You Need to Know

We can also look at rest intervals from a different perspective. For example, you can structure your workout in such a way that one exercise targets a specific muscle group, while the next exercise targets an unrelated muscle group. This allows for active recovery and gives the other muscles time to rest.

BetterMe app is a foolproof way to go from zero to a weight loss hero in a safe and sustainable way! What are you waiting for? Start transforming your body now!

Equipment for Calisthenics Workouts

While calisthenics workouts usually require no equipment, incorporating some tools can add variety and challenge to your routine.

Some essential equipment for a calisthenics workout at home includes:

  • Pull-up bar: for pull-ups, chin-ups, and other hanging exercises.

  • Resistance bands: for assistance or resistance in exercises like push-ups, dips, and rows.

  • Parallettes: for handstands, L-sits, and other advanced movements.

  • Gymnastic rings: for more challenging upper body exercises like muscle-ups and dips.

Before incorporating any equipment into your calisthenics workout, make sure you have mastered the basic movements and proper form without any assistance.

Ask yourself the following questions before adding equipment:

  • Can I perform the exercise without the added assistance or resistance?

  • Do I understand and maintain proper form throughout the movement?

  • Am I ready to challenge myself with more difficult variations?

  • Do I have enough space and stability to safely use the equipment?

  • Do I have the proper equipment to ensure my safety and prevent injury?

If you can confidently answer yes to these questions, then consider incorporating some equipment into your calisthenics workout routine.

It may help to have guidance from a professional or experienced calisthenics practitioner when first using equipment, to ensure proper usage and prevent injury.

Read our, calisthenics for beginners at home for more guidance for calisthenics beginners.

easy calisthenics workout

FAQs

  • How Should I Eat for Calisthenics?

Eat a well-balanced diet that includes lean proteins, healthy fats, complex carbohydrates, and plenty of fruits and vegetables.

Some specific foods that can help support your calisthenics workouts include (6):

  • Lean proteins: chicken, fish, eggs, tofu, and beans for muscle repair and growth.
  • Healthy fats: avocados, nuts, seeds, and olive oil for sustained energy.
  • Complex carbohydrates: whole grains like quinoa or brown rice for long-lasting fuel.
  • Fruits and vegetables: for essential vitamins and minerals, as well as hydration.

It’s also important to listen to your body and eat enough to support your workouts. If you feel fatigued or weak during your workouts, you may need to increase your caloric intake.

Conversely, if you’re trying to lose weight, be mindful of your caloric intake and make sure you’re not overeating. In order to see weight loss, you will want to be in a calorie deficit. This means that you are consuming less calories than you are burning each day. Keep this in mind if weight loss is your overall goal.

  • How Long Should I Do Calisthenics?

The duration of your calisthenics workouts will vary depending on your fitness level, goals, and the specific exercises you’re performing. A general recommendation for beginners is to start with 20-30 minutes of exercise per session, 3 times a week.

As you progress and become more comfortable with the movements, you can increase the duration and frequency of your workouts.

  • Is 2 Hours of Weightlifting Too Much?

2 hours of weightlifting may be excessive for some individuals, especially beginners. It’s important to listen to your body and not push yourself too hard. Instead, focus on quality over quantity and make sure you’re performing each exercise with proper form. 

It’s also important to incorporate rest days into your routine to allow your muscles time to recover and grow.

That said, how long you’re resting between sets and exercises, as well as the intensity of your weightlifting session, will also play a factor in determining whether or not 2 hours is too much for you.

The Bottom Line

Starting calisthenics as a beginner may seem intimidating, but it’s all about choosing an easy workout plan, mastering proper form, warming up properly, and knowing when to rest. With time, you may add more challenging exercises and equipment to your routine.

Should you have any concerns or questions, remember to consult a professional and listen to your body. Stay consistent, and the results will come.

DISCLAIMER:

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!

SOURCES:

  1. Benefits Of Doing The Plank Exercise Every Day (2024,pharmeasy.in)

  2. Core Muscle Activity during Physical Fitness Exercises: A Systematic Review (2020,nih.gov)

  3. Effects of range of motion on muscle development during resistance training interventions: A systematic review (2020,nih.gov)

  4. Health Benefits of Push-Ups (2023,webmd.com)

  5. Health Benefits of Squats (2023,webmd.com)

  6. Nutritional Strategies to Promote Muscle Mass and Function Across the Health Span (2020,nih.gov)

  7. Pull ups benefits | 60+ Statistics & Facts [Research Review](2023,runrepeat.com)

  8. Prevent Injuries with Proper Form During Workouts (2021,nus.edu.sg)

  9. Profiling Rest Intervals between Sets and Associated Factors in Resistance Training Participants (2018,nih.gov)

  10. The advantages of body-weight exercise (2012,harvard.edu)

  11. THE LUNGE – AN EFFECTIVE LOWER BODY TRAINING EXERCISE (2022,nasm.org)

  12. Warm Up, Cool Down (2024,heart.org)

  13. Why Proper Breathing During Exercise Is Important & How to Avoid Common Mistakes (2023,houstonmethodist.org)

150 million people
have chosen BetterMe

Sets up work outs that you can do…

John M.
Sets up work outs that you can do anywhere any time. Completed two thirty day series of calistetics and am now moving on to other work outs.

Being able to workout without the…

Jack P.
Being able to workout without the feeling of judgment. But also to feel freedom and flexibility at the same time was amazing.

Simple and no equipment needed

Nazim M.
Simple and no equipment needed. Long enough with brakes to achieve my daily workout. I like it when I feel the burn and sweat.