Welcome to our beginner’s Calisthenics workout program. Are you ready for the ultimate training method, which simply uses your body-weight and gravity for resistance? No more expensive gym memberships or gimmicky equipment, it’s time to experience the purist form of strength training.
Before you start the program, it’s important to set yourself some measurable goals (we recommend at least 2-3), this way you’ll be able to see your progress throughout the program. Set specific, measurable, achievable and realistic goals. Have a time-frame within which you want to hit your goals.
So an ideal goal would be: “I want to do 3 bar muscle-ups within 3 months” This type of goal allows you to monitor your progress, and also breakdown the goal, to make it less overwhelming.
Another good idea before you get started, is to sign up for our free quick-guide on “The 10 Laws of Ridiculous Bodyweight Strength and Muscle Mass”. This provides extra foundation knowledge, giving you the edge in your journey towards a stronger, leaner, tougher body.
It’s free and it’ll really help! Enter your email at the bottom of this page.
Every workout always starts with a good, specific warm-up. The purpose, is to fire up your cardiovascular system, as well as warming your muscles ready for exercise. Never skip the warm-up!
A good warm-up improves your athletic performance, and it also helps reduce injuries and increase mobility.
Here’s the key structure to follow for every warm-up:
1. Raise your heart rate, with some legs-based body-weight exercises.
2. Mobilise your joints
Now your heart rate is elevated, start mobilising your joints ready for exercise. The key is, focus on specific exercises for the workout you’ll be doing. For example, if you are going to be focus on upper body or arms, mobilise the shoulder joint. If you are working the whole body, mobilise the hips, back and shoulders.
Spend at least 3-5 minutes performing several mobilisation exercises, and aim for around a minute on each exercise.
With the warm up done, it’s time to start your workout. As you’re new to calisthenics, we would suggest breaking your training down into 3 sections:
These skills help develop the strength and proprioception you’ll need, to progress onto the more advanced calisthenics exercises. They are perfect progression exercises, any beginner should be able to do. As they replicate certain parts of the more advanced moves, which may be impossible initially.
Dedicate at least 10-15 minutes of your workout to these skills. You don’t have to perform all of them in every session. In fact, we would actually recommend focusing on one or two per session, based on your overall goals.
They are also best performed before the strength fundamentals section of your workout, when your body is still fresh, and you can fully focus on performing the techniques properly.
These are the foundation of a good calisthenics workout. The key exercises that develop your body, and get you ready for some of the more advanced exercises. It’s really important to focus on correct technique, which ensures maximum results as you develop.
As a beginner it’s key to work the whole body in each workout, rather than split your workouts into specific muscle groups. This provides the greatest chance of anatomical adaption and also ensures you aren’t missing any muscle groups. A rest period of 3 minutes between sets is a good rule of thumb.
Once comfortable at these reps, use a weighted vest to keep your rep range to around 3-8 reps, for maximum strength gains.
Repeat this cycle 6 times
Repeat this cycle 5 Times
Repeat this cycle 5 Times
Repeat this cycle 4 Times
Repeat this cycle 4 times
Stretch the muscles you have worked, after every session. If you skip this, you’ll not only regret it the next day, but you’ll also hinder your progress. Flexibility is key in most body-weight movements. Check out this video for a great guide to the best stretches for calisthenics.
This plan provides enough variety, to build a 6 week program using these daily workouts. Aim for 2-5 sessions per week, depending on your existing level of fitness.
Simply pick your warm up and mobilisation exercises; select a couple of skills based on your personal goals; move on to one of the strength fundamentals workouts; and then finish with stretches.
This is designed to be a high intensity program, so perform all of the strength fundamentals as quickly as possible, only resting in the dedicated rest intervals. Take your time with the skills and stretching, as these sections are not about intensity.
You'll probably find your body hurts, as a result of the new stimulus, this is normal. There are a few common pains beginners experience, due to calisthenics workouts. These can be dealt with. Here are a few, and our tips on how to control them:
Fuel your body correctly with a clean diet, good hydration (minimum 2 litres of water a day) and plenty of quality sleep (aim for 8 hours) for optimal recovery.
If you have a child, calisthenics exercise is a great time to have fun together. There are a lot of extra things you can do with children to get them to stay fit and healthy.
Good luck with your first step into the calisthenics world!
Igor Kowtyn (Kovtun) is a Russian calisthenics superstar who is built like a superhuman. Of noteworthy attention is his unique take on the standard planche. One could say he's thrown some special Russian voodoo into the mix but let's face it, years of hard training and dedication might bring about similar results for you too.