The Top Calisthenics Exercises for Building Strength and Muscle

Calisthenics Exercises

February 12, 2023

Calisthenics is a form of exercise that utilizes your own body weight to build strength and muscle. With the right combination of exercises and proper form, you can achieve impressive results without the need for expensive gym equipment. In this blog post, we’ll be discussing the top calisthenics exercises for building strength and muscle. From push-ups to pull-ups, these exercises are sure to challenge your muscles and help you reach your fitness goals. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned fitness enthusiast, these exercises are a great way to add variety to your workout routine and take your fitness to the next level. So, let’s get started!


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  • Push-ups are the most popular calisthenic exercise.
  • They primarily train the chest, shoulders, and triceps.
  • In a pushup, the body is held straight and bent over a bench or other flat surface with hands on the ground about hip-distance apart.
  • To perform a pushup, the person lowering their body must bring their body down to the ground and then push back up to a fully straight position.
  • This requires strength, balance, and coordination.
  • For beginners, simple pushups can be done using only bodyweight or using dumbbells.
  • This can be modified to add complexity and difficulty.
  • Advanced pushing exercises include handstands.
  • Resistance bands and pull-ups bars can also be used to increase the load of push-ups.


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  • Pull-ups are a type of calisthenics exercise primarily used to train the muscles in the posterior side of the upper body.
  • They can be done using bodyweight or with an assist from a pull-up bar or gymnastic rings.
  • There are several variations of pull-ups, such as bodyweight rows and negative chin-ups. A beginner could try practicing bodyweight pull-ups first, as these are easier and safer to perform.
  • To perform pull-ups, one requires some sort of equipment such as a pull-up bar or gymnastic rings.
  • A calisthenics workout should be around 30-40 minutes to be effective. This is because it involves high intensity training for a long period of time, which helps to increase muscle strength and endurance.


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  • Squats are a great exercise in calisthenics for both beginners and advanced practitioners.
  • They can help improve strength, balance, coordination, and fitness.
  • To do squats, lie down on the ground and position your body with arms and legs shoulder-width apart.
  • Next, lower yourself down into a squat position until your thighs are at least parallel to the ground.
  • After that, lift back up to the starting position by straightening your legs.
  • You can vary the variation of squats by adding weight or a resistance band to the exercise.
  • Other calisthenics exercises include jumping jacks, prisoner jump squats, bicycle crunches, lunge jumps, wall pushups, and sit ups.
  • These exercises target different parts of the body and provide high-intensity exercise.


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  • Lunges are an excellent calisthenics exercise for beginners to incorporate into their workout routine. They are a great way to strengthen the legs and improve body strength and balance.
  • Lunges can be done using different equipment, such as barbells, dumbbells, squats, or jumping jacks.
  • To perform lunges, you will need to stand with your feet hip-width apart and lunge forward with your legs until they are parallel to the ground. Straighten your legs back out and then return to the starting position.
  • You can make lunges more difficult by alternating between going down on one knee and then back up on two knees or by performing squat lunges. You can also increase the intensity of a lunge by decreasing the distance between your feet or increasing the speed at which you lunge.
  • Lunges can be incorporated into a 30-40 minute workout session as part of a calisthenics program.
  • This exercise is beneficial for strengthening the legs, abs, lower back, and shoulders. It’s also a great way to improve overall strength and mobility and can help to transform a weight training regime.

Plank Holds

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  • Plank Holds is a bodyweight exercise that targets the core muscles, including the abs, obliques, and lower back.
  • To perform a Plank Hold, you start by getting into a push-up position, but instead of lowering yourself to the ground, you hold this position for a set amount of time.
  • The key to a successful Plank Hold is to maintain proper form, which involves keeping your body in a straight line from head to heels, engaging your abs and glutes, and avoiding any sagging or arching in the lower back.
  • This exercise can be made more challenging by increasing the hold time, adding movement to the exercise, or using unstable surfaces, such as a Swiss ball or stability disk.

Combo Crunches

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  • Combo crunches are a great abdominal exercise that combines a standard crunch with legs raised or moving in a cycling motion.
  • The exercise focuses on using the core muscles to complete the movements to ensure the abs are being worked.
  • Adding in a twisting motion from the tummy as you raise your head and shoulders will help to tone the external and internal oblique muscles.
  • Another variation of example is bicycle crunches, which also build strength in the core and can help burn fat around the abdomen.
  • Finally, strength coach Paul Carter’s program Jacked at Home pairs three full-body workouts per week with sprints and outdoor walking. This helps to strengthen the entire body, improve coordination, and improve overall body shape. It’s a great way to enhance your body’s overall health and well-being.

Bench Dips

Bench Dips

  • Bench dips are a great exercise for building strength and muscle. They’re an easy and effective way to strengthen your upper body, legs, and abs.
  • The exercise can be made easier or harder depending on if you keep your legs straight or bent.
  • You can increase the intensity of the exercise by adding weight around your waist. This will make it more difficult to lower yourself from the bench, making it a more challenging exercise.
  • To perform a bench dip correctly, keep your hips close-to the chair and lower your body from the chair for 12-15 reps. This will help target chest, triceps, and abs muscles efficiently.
  • You can also combine bench dips with other exercises such as burpees and feet-elevated push-ups to build strength and muscle quickly and efficiently. Overall, bench dips are a great exercise for strengthening your upper body, legs, and abs without spending a lot of time doing them.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Can I build muscle and strength through calisthenics?

Yes, you can build muscle and strength through calisthenics. This form of bodyweight training provides an opportunity to turn your body into a muscle-building machine as long as you follow some important principles.

Firstly, you need to provide your muscles with enough tension or weight in order to stimulate growth. You must perform exercises in the 8-12 rep range to create an adequate level of tension or weight and progress over time.

  1. What calisthenics build the most muscle?

Calisthenics exercises can be used to build muscle, but it does take time, patience and consistency. Bodyweight exercises can provide sufficient resistance to stimulate muscle growth when done properly. For example, push-ups are a popular bodyweight exercise that can be progressed by doing more repetitions, increasing the height of the push-up and adding weight if necessary.

  1. How do I build strength fast in calisthenics?

Building strength fast with calisthenics requires a dedication to training, along with a proper plan.

Make sure you have a basic level of fitness before starting calisthenics. To do this, start off by training 2-3 times per week using basic and intermediate calisthenics plans that focus on bodyweight exercises like push ups, pull ups, squats, and planks. Focus on the technique and form while doing these exercises at low intensity. As you get stronger, increase the tension or weight placed on your muscles.

  1. Is calisthenics better for building strength?

Calisthenics is an exercise regimen that focuses on bodyweight exercises such as squats, push-ups, pull-ups, and more. It can definitely help build muscle strength over time, as it provides tension or weight on the muscle group which helps in tearing down the muscle fibers and rebuilding them for strength. Additionally, calisthenics allows you to target specific muscle weaknesses and other issues such as strengthening the pelvic floor.

Let’s Sum Up

The bodyweight exercises mentioned above are not only easy to perform but also help you build strength and muscle mass. All you need is a workout bench or any stable surface for variations of pushups, squats, and pullups. If you’re ready to take your calisthenics training to the next level, we have an exercise-specific workout plan that will help you do just that. It involves training with bodyweight exercises like squats, pushups, and pullups. You can also check out our blog on the best bodyweight exercises for beginners.


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