Calisthenics is an effective form of bodyweight exercise. (Photo by Anastasia Shuraeva via pexels)

How to Do Calisthenics? Tips, Benefits and Common Mistakes

Ruby khanna

Calisthenics is a type of exercise that uses an individual’s body weight and gravity as resistance and involves movements that target and use large muscle groups.

Calisthenics exercises are typically performed at a moderate intensity and help improve flexibility, endurance, strength and coordination. Almost all bodyweight exercises you’ve performed or heard of, such as lunges, burpees, squats, etc., are calisthenics.


Calisthenics range from simple exercises like squats, to advanced movements such as muscle-ups and more challenging workouts similar to gymnastics, such as flips.

The best part is that you can do these exercises anywhere and anytime, and they do not require any equipment, making it convenient for at-home exercisers. However, you can still use some basic equipment in your routine to take your workout session to another level, such as a pull-up bar, parallettes, resistance band, weighted vests, gymnastic rings, etc.

Primary Benefits of Calisthenics


Calisthenics offers several incredible benefits, including:

It is adaptable and beginner-friendly.

It targets multiple groups of muscles at once.

It improves balance, strength, endurance and overall athletic performance.


Beginner Tips

Whether you are new to working out or are a regular gym-goer, calisthenics is something you can easily incorporate in your daily routine. However, if you're a beginner, it might be helpful to consider a few tips before starting with these exercises:

1) Always Get a Health Check-up

Before beginning your exercise routine, make sure to consult a doctor, and get a full-body check-up. That's especially important if you’ve had a sedentary lifestyle and are just starting to work out. Doing so will help determine what type of exercises and what intensity would be most appropriate for you.


2) Set Goals

Setting goals can be an excellent way to track your progress and improve your overall performance. It can also help keep a journal of your goals so that you can be motivated. However, whatever your goals may be, remember to start slow, and work your way up gradually to build up strength and avoid getting injured.

3) Be consistent, and Stick to Basic Exercises

Instead of quickly moving on to advanced workouts, first try to improve your strength and endurance, and increase the rep count of the basic movements. Make sure you master the reps and intensity of basic level exercises before jumping to advanced ones.

Calisthenics Routine for Beginners

If you are a beginner, you might start with:

Squats – 5 to 10 reps

Rest – 20 seconds

Push-ups – 5 to 10 reps

Rest – 20 seconds

Lunges – 10 reps on each leg

Rest – 20 seconds

Plank – 20 seconds

Jump rope – 20 reps

Rest – 20 seconds

Perform 3 sets.


4) Stretch, warm-up and recovery

Regardless of your fitness level, it's very important that you warm up and cool down before and after your workout sessions, allowing yourself enough rest to keep your body safe and prepared to get stronger.

Your warm-up can include exercises, such as running on a treadmill or jumping jacks, and a cool down can include a few stretching exercises. Always plan your warm-up and cool-down sessions for at least eight to ten minutes, and do not call it a day without performing them.

Including any type of workout programme in your routine can be physically, mentally and emotionally tiring. Therefore, adding a couple of recovery and rest days can be beneficial even though you can still move your body and engage in simple activities like brisk walking, casual bike riding, etc.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

Here are some of the most common mistakes people make when incorporating calisthenics into their workout routine.

Performing tough moves before developing strength and endurance

Do not move to advanced exercise till you are strong enough and have built muscular endurance to complete your reps.

Not performing full range of motion

When doing calisthenics exercises, do not perform partial reps; instead, make sure to perform a full range of motion.


Doing too many exercises

Alhough it's good to be versatile and perform different types of exercises, do not shift to new workout programs frequently. Stick to the basics first, and try to develop your strength with basic exercises before shifting to new workouts.

Not focusing on your lower body

Do not limit the exercises only to your chest, shoulders and arms; rather give proper attention to your lower body muscles too. As your legs make up about 50% of your body, you aren’t strong enough if you don’t have strong legs.

Edited by Bhargav
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