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Calisthenics - How Do I Begin??

Updated: May 23, 2022

Before you move into advanced calisthenics moves like the muscle-up, skin the cat, handstands, and hand levers, you need to have the basic body-weight moves under your belt as a solid foundation. Here are some easy-to-follow and key points to getting started.

1. Have a SOLID Foundation on these key, core body-weight exercises. All other advanced moves stem and rely on having these integrated into your repertoire. Make sure you can do them with a full range of motion (ROM) and clean form (form does not fail during reps). Be careful to make sure your accessory muscles are not compensating for weak prime movers.

Pullups - 10 clean, full ROM reps

Dips - 15 clean, full ROM reps

Tricep extensions on bar - 10 clean, full ROM reps

Bicep curls on bar - 10 clean, full ROM reps

Pushups - 20 clean, full ROM reps

Pike pushups - 10 clean, full ROM reps

Elbow Plank - 60 seconds

Hollow Body Hold - 60 seconds

Leg Raises - 10 clean, full ROM reps

2. Work on a VERY strong core. We're talking true strength, not aesthetic 6-packs. Practice these moves until you can do them, yep you guessed it, with clean form and full range of motion!

Leg raises

Toes to bar

Hollow body holds

Superman holds

Elbow planks

Side planks

Hanging Oblique holds

Floor Windshield wipers

3. Work on Flexibility & Mobility! Length in muscles and a full range of motion of the joints is a crucial part of attaining those sought after advanced, gold-standard calisthenic moves.

Mobility is the movement capacity of your joints, or how far your bones, within their joint structure, can move. This is the joint's ROM. ex. Skin the cat move

Flexibility is the length of the muscle. Without the capacity to stretch into position, the body will compensate in ways that can make the moves prone to injury. ex. Hand lever

Okay, so where do we start? Follow this easy, beginner's program to give yourself the boost you need to add strength, stability, balance, and flexibility/mobility to continue your journey into the world of calisthenics training!

Besides your body-weight, the only equipment you need are a pull-up bar, some bands, and a table (or TRX if available). This workout is also ideally suited to a park. So catch some rays and up your Vit. D intake at the same time!

Full Beginner Workout - new to exercise. Make sure to warm up first for each day's workout with 5 minutes of aerobic movement (squats, jumping jacks, mt. climbers, running in place, etc) and some dynamic stretching.

Week One

Day 1: Full Body Circuit workout - Complete all exercises, then rest 60-90 seconds and repeat for 1-2 more rounds:

12-15 Pushups - slow eccentric tempo 4/2/1 tempo (4s eccentric/ 2s iso hold/

1s concentric). Modification: perform from knees, box stance, or wall

10 Bench dips (slow eccentric) - decrease difficulty by bringing feet closer in, if


8-10 Band asst. Negative pullups

30 second Wall sit

12 TRX or Table or Bar Rows - slow eccentric tempo 4/2/1

15 Box Squats - slow eccentric

30-45 second Plank hold (on elbows or high plank)

30 second Superman hold

Day 2 - Full Body Circuit workout - Complete all exercises, then rest 60-90 seconds and repeat for 1-2 more rounds:

10 Half-pike pushups

12 Diamond pushups (modify by doing from knees or in box position if needed)

8-10 Assisted Band Chin ups

10 Table Rows

15 Glute Bridges (or Single Leg glute bridges to increase difficulty!)

15 Squats - slow eccentric (or Jumping Squats for highter intensity)

10 Single Leg step ups (each side)

30 second Hollow hold

30 second Side Plank (each side)

Day 3 - Full Body Circuit workout - Complete all exercises, then rest 60-90 seconds and repeat for 1-2 more rounds:

8 Pike Walkouts

10 Tricep extension pushups (from knees to modify)

8-10 Band Assisted Pull-up Negatives

15 Single Leg bodyweight deadlifts

10 Walking lunges (each leg)

10 Floor windshield wipers

30 second Birddog hold (or Butterfly hold to increase intensity)

12 Rope Climb ab crunches

Are you feeling pumped and excited to make this your new go-to exercise routine? Leave your comments below if you've tried this & let me know how it went! Better yet, snap some selfies and post them to our instagram

Go get those gains everyone & stay Strong 4 life!


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