Calisthenics is a broad term that includes all kinds of bodyweight workouts. A distinct quality of these workouts is that they don’t require any equipment. You can do them anytime and anywhere. The practitioners must use their body weight to enhance strength, coordination, endurance, and flexibility.
Different types of calisthenics can be done to target various muscle groups. You can do repetitions of each move to build that muscle while continuing the exercise. Most people will use calisthenics to improve their conditioning by combining the movements with HIIT workouts. It may also be a warm-up or cool-down for any other fitness routine. Or it could just be a workout of its own.
Calisthenics has made a huge comeback in the fitness world. This is largely due to the perks it brings our way. This article sheds light on different types of calisthenics workouts, which will allow you to create a strategic training routine for yourself.
What Are The 5 Types Of Calisthenics?
Calisthenic exercises are the best way to build muscle and increase strength. Including multiple movements in your routine helps you to target different muscle groups. When you repeat each exercise 10-12 times and follow a consistent pattern, you will notice a huge difference in your fitness level.
Check out the different types of calisthenics exercises below:
Military calisthenics are the OGs when it comes to regular workouts. They encompass the entire body and increase your heart rate (1). This gives you the whole package, as there is no choosing between muscle groups. When you do a military-level workout you can expect to improve your strength, coordination, and endurance altogether!
Know that military calisthenics are not intended for weight loss. The only motive for these workouts is to remain in shape. They should be combined with other cardio workouts or calisthenics if you want to lose weight.
Listed below are the exercises that fall under military calisthenics:
- Leg raises
- Plank (elbow or side)
- Rope climbing
Aesthetic calisthenics is a common part of calisthenics training. This, like military calisthenics, could be combined with other types of calisthenics to gain muscle mass (2). Bodybuilders and weightlifters usually perform this kind of calisthenics.
This type of calisthenics workout covers several advanced and beginner positions. Most athletes also include calisthenics in their routines to boost their field performance. They can progressively increase the exercise intensity for maximum strength. Doing weighted calisthenics like squats while having dumbbells in your hands is also optional.
If you loved playing around on the monkey bars during childhood, this calisthenics is for you. These versatile movements resemble moves done during gymnastics and are quite fun!
You could diversify your movements on the parallel bars and gradually advance towards more complex movements. The risks of injuries are also high when you freely move your body on the bars. It is, thus, recommended to seek professional coaching to maintain proper form without getting injured.
Some common exercises in freestyle calisthenics include:
- Extreme Muscle Ups
- 360 Muscle-Up
- Clap Muscle-Up
- Bar Transfer
- Double Bar Hop
- 270 Dip
- Clapping Dip
- 360 Pull-Up
- Toe Touch Pull-Up
Static or isometric calisthenics is known for pushes, pulls, and holds. Using holds, the athletes remain in the same position for a long time. And when doing the pulls and pushes, they stay in a certain place while their muscles preload. This helps them gain strength and achieve muscular force.
Including these in a calisthenics workout is easy for beginners as no prior training is needed. The conventional exercises take the muscles through an eccentric and concentric phase. But static, as the name suggests, keeps muscles in the same position.
Static calisthenics may help build endurance because you stay in the same position (3). Please note, you should get out of the workout if you feel you are straining your muscles too hard. A few reasons why this type of calisthenics is considered tough include:
- More muscle fibers are involved, and they consume energy
- There are few contact points with ground or equipment
- They involve long periods of holding the same positions
This is categorized among the advanced types of calisthenics workouts. It includes exercises like one-hand pull-ups, which require constant training.
Flashy calisthenics are typically meant to turn heads. These are performed when gym trainers or professional athletes are making videos. Given that these include sophisticated exercises, they demand constant movement and gradual advancement. It goes without saying that following a regular flashy calisthenics workout may help you stay fit and enhance your performance over time.
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How Many Types Of Calisthenics Exercises?
Now that we know different calisthenics, let’s break down some basic exercises. Below is the list of movements directed at several muscle groups. It would help if you started with the easy ones and then progressed toward the more sophisticated exercises.
Calisthenics Triceps And Chest Workouts
The chest is composed of muscles, including:
Small Pectoralis Minor
It is a thin, triangular muscle located at the upper part of our bodies.
It is a wide, thick muscle that sits under the breast tissue and makes up the front wall of the armpit.
The triceps are located at the back of your upper arm and help you straighten your arm. When strengthened, these muscles may help you to lift heavy objects and feel more energetic overall (4).
Do you wish to get a big chest and tricep? The good news is that you don’t need heavy equipment to work out your upper body. A calisthenics triceps and chest workout can be more than enough for you.
Here are some exercises that could help:
Incline push-ups are the same as standard push-ups. The only difference is that you must place your hands on a higher plateau.
Stand a few inches away from the wall and use it as a support to push you with minimal resistance. It involves a little pressure on the wrists and is an easy workout.
This requires placing knees on a flat surface and keeping a shoulder-length distance between the hands while keeping them under the shoulders. Then continue like you do the standard push-up.
The gradient marks the difference between a decline and a standard push-up. When you keep your hands on a high surface, it increases the body weight that your arms are lifting.
Close Grip Push-Ups
Keep your hands close together when starting the push-up. This targets the tricep muscles, chest, and pecs.
Wide Grip Push-Ups
Keep your arms further apart than you do in a standard push-up. This will put pressure on the chest and tricep muscles.
This is one of the advanced types of calisthenics training. You can achieve expertise at it with diligence and assistance from a professional. Once you do, you may notice a stark difference in your balance and stability (4).
Put a raised bench or flat surface on one side of your body. Then, do a push-up, but position one arm higher than the other.
Calisthenics Back Workouts
Our back is made up of the crucial muscles responsible for our posture and performance in our day-to-day activities. It includes:
The trapezius is a big muscle on your neck and shoulders. It has two parts, the upper and lower trap. They help lift and pull back your shoulders and let you move your neck from side to side.
Teres Minor And Major
These muscles help to strengthen the back and define it too.
This back muscle is like having big wings on both sides of your spine. It covers most of your back and helps you pull and lift with assistance from other muscles.
This is a long muscle that starts at the neck and goes down to the lower back. It helps hold up the upper body and keeps you standing tall with good posture.
Calisthenic back workouts are your best friend when you want to strengthen your back without weights. You can do them at home without depending on a machine or an instructor.
Some exercises that you should learn include:
Inverted rows or horizontal pull-ups target the back muscles. When you do this exercise regularly, you may notice improved posture and a stronger body.
You can do the wall pull-ups using a sturdy doorframe or a pull-up bar. This exercise helps in increasing grip strength along with overall muscle strength.
This type of pull-up engaged one arm at a time. You should do an equal number on both sides to ensure the whole back muscles are targeted.
This exercise starts the same as the traditional pull-up. However, you should make an L-shape using your lower body when you move upwards. This is a variation of the standard pull-up. When you stay in the static position, it may help to boost your endurance.
Muscle Up combines tricep dips with traditional pull-ups. It is performed by doing a pull-up and then switching to a tricep press.
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What Calisthenics Are The Best?
You may feel dazed after looking at the 5 types of calisthenics and different exercises for various muscle groups. After all, how can you decide the best type of calisthenics for yourself?
It may also make you wonder what is the best type of calisthenics? If you are stuck and want to find out, scroll down! We have listed the X best calisthenics of all times!
- Keep your feet at a distance wider than your hips while pointing your toes outwards.
- Inhale, tighten your core and keep your body stable. Shift your weight to your heels while pushing your hips behind.
- Squat down until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Your feet should remain flat on the ground.
- Return to standing while keeping your chest outwards, and then push yourself back up.
- Begin by tightening your stomach muscles and standing with your feet apart, about the width of your hips.
- Step forward with one leg and shift your weight forward, ensuring your heel touches the ground first.
- When your front leg is level with the ground, your lower leg should be straight up and down.
- To return to the starting position, push your weight into your front foot and push yourself back up. Repeat the steps with your other leg.
- Stand while your feet remain shoulder-distance apart. You should keep your weight in your heels and arms extended wide at your sides.
- Push your hips back and your knees as you keep them in a squatting position.
- Keep your hands on the floor. They should be kept narrower than your feet.
- Now jump back to your feet and try landing gently on your heels.
- Next, perform a push-up before you jump on your feet forward. Your feet should land next to your hands.
- Keep your body off the floor while your forearms, elbows, and tips of the toes are touching the floor.
- Ensure that your hips are raised and not sagging. Your back should be kept straight.
- Keep your forearms flat on the floor and elbows below the shoulders.
- Keep your feet hip-width apart. Squeeze your abdominals and glutes to ensure your body stays stable.
- Make a plank position. Ensure that your weight stays evenly distributed between your toes and hands.
- Ensure your arms are kept shoulder-width apart and the back stays flat.
- Now pull your right leg towards your chest. Do it as fast as possible and return to the initial position.
- Then, use your left leg to do the same movement.
- This exercise requires you to alternate between your legs and perform maximum repetitions for the best outcomes.
Which Calisthenic Exercise Is The Hardest?
If you are a fitness enthusiast who wants to improve your skills, you must wonder which calisthenics exercise is the hardest. A distinguishing quality of calisthenics programs is that you don’t need to purchase different types of calisthenics equipment. All you need is a little training to reap incredible physical rewards.
Are you looking to advance your calisthenics exercise? Here are 4 types of calisthenics that are considered the most challenging.
Handstand With Two Fingers
The name itself predicts the challenge that this exercise brings our way. It demands a ton of focus, concentration, and finger conditioning to prep the minor joints. This exercise asks for specific training and plenty of caution!
One Arm Muscle Up To One Arm Handstand
This exercise is a distinct representation of strength and concentration. The quick transitions in this exercise may be impossible for beginners and intermediates.
One Arm Planche
This exercise is a demonstration of balance and shoulder control. It exerts more pressure on the wrists and anterior deltoids. The hand-balancing definitely requires some mature skills!
Straddle Planche Clap Push Up
Maintaining the planche position is a difficult part of this exercise. It places the body in a tricky position and could result in injuries if you miss one move or make a wrong one.
Calisthenics is a term that covers multiple forms of bodyweight exercises. These workouts help with building strength, endurance, and concentration. You can formulate a calisthenics program to zero in on your fitness goals.
When you evaluate this domain you will discover different types of calisthenics. Some workouts are suited for beginners, while others are best for intermediates and experts. People may choose to do different levels of calisthenics simultaneously.
You are advised to consult a fitness trainer to learn how to target specific muscles. They will help you understand and guide you on proper forms.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Is Calisthenics A Type Of Exercise?
Yes, calisthenics is an exercise that uses the practitioner’s body weight. There is no need to purchase different types of calisthenics equipment when trying to include it in your fitness regime. Calisthenics has many health benefits; you can include it in your routine without any hassle.
What Type Of Exercise Is Calisthenics?
Calisthenics is a type of exercise that uses your body weight. It involves movements targeting large muscle groups with push-ups and pull-ups. These exercises are performed at a moderate pace and help to improve your strength and coordination.
Can I Bulk With Calisthenics?
Yes, you can build muscle mass with types of calisthenics workouts. The way you work affects how and where you gain the muscle.
Is Calisthenics Safer Than Weights?
Considering that you use your own body weight, calisthenics is a safer option than weights. It puts less stress on your joints, and you will get stronger as you advance into the routines.
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!
- FULL-SPECTRUM STRONG: ARMY RANGER WORKOUT (n.d., muscleandfitness.com)
- Aesthetic Calisthenics Workout to Build Dense Muscle (2022, noobgains.com)
- Types of Calisthenics: Everything You Need to Know to Get Started (n.d., thehybridathlete.com)
- Triceps brachii (n.d., physio-pedia.com)