Top 10 Calisthenic Exercises To Get You In Great Shape!
When many of us think about exercise, the thought of expensive gyms and workout equipment comes to mind. What many of us do not realize is that gyms are a very new human invention, and that gyms are not necessary whatsoever to exercise.
Whether you want to mix it up from your gym routine, want to have a more “natural” workout out in nature, etc., a calisthenic, bodyweight workout is a great, free way to stay healthy and happy.
Listed below are some great exercises to do around your home, in the park, or anywhere you feel. Try to keep the repetitions between 8-15 reps, depending on your workout goal.
1. Squats – Squats are often the mother of all exercises. There are number of variations for squats that range from simply sitting to standing up, to performing a bodyweight squat with no help, to single-leg squats to seated position (below),
to pistol squats (below).
Whatever you decide to do, try to choose an option where you reach fatigue within 12-15 reps. If single leg squats without any support is still too easy for you, try and find a heavy rock or backpack to hold while performing the squat to make it more challenging.
2. Lunges – There are a number of different lunges that you can do as well. The most basic is walking lunges where you take lunges in a linear fashion as you move forwards (or backwards).
You can also perform split squats, which are lunges in place. Another option is to perform lunges in place stepping backwards during each repetition. The last option is to perform side lunges (below).
This is really important to perform with good form with your butt back, to really get the most out of this exercise.
If these are still too easy, then adding some weight, such as a big rock or heavy backpack can make it more challenging.
As with squats, performing about 12-15 reps per leg would be ideal.
The easiest variation of pull-ups are inverted rows (right). The closer your legs are, the easier it is, and the straighter your legs are, the more difficult it is.
Next would be pull-ups with assistance by having a friend hold your feet up during each repetition.
After that would be regular pull-ups which can be performed using a wide variety of grips, from close grip, neutral grip, wide grip, reverse-grip, etc.
To make it even more challenging add a “muscle-up” at the top of the pull-up (seen below).
Dips are another great exercise. The easiest version involves finding a bench (see picture to the right). The more bent your legs are, the easier it is (straight legs would be the most difficult version).
A more difficult version would be with parallel bars. To add a little bit more challenge, curl your knees up and then perform the dip.
There are so many variations of push-ups, that can be its own article. From diamond push-ups, to wide push-ups, to staggered pushups, to divebomber push-ups, there are many possibilities.
For beginners, starting with knee push-ups would be best. Diamond push-ups are probably the most difficult.
6. Planks/mountain climbers/crunches/mountain climbers
I put the core exercises in one number, because there are tons of different core exercises you can do. I listed four basic ones but there are tons of different core exercises you can do. Be creative!
7. One-legged Romanian Deadlifts
This one may be a little bit more difficult to do, but if you find a weighted object, such as a brick, you can easily perform this exercise, which is great for working your hamstring muscles.
This is often people’s least favorite exercise and for good reason. It involves a push-up followed by a jump followed by a push-up, etc. This will really get your blood flowing and your heart rate up.
9. Squat Jumps
This is similar to the squat, except your jumping. Make sure to get pretty deep into the squat before exploding upwards.
10. Lunge Jumps
This article is just the tip of the iceberg in regards to calisthenics. There are so many other exercises, variations, and progressions to keep you on your toes. If you need help creating a workout plan, there are tons of great resources throughout the internet that can help you get into the best shape of your life!
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About Danny Maman My name is Danny Maman. I have a real passion for health and fitness and enjoy having a life that revolves around this. I have my bachelor's degree in exercise science with a minor in allied health. I am also a certified personal trainer with ACE and am a former college basketball player.