Calisthenics for Beginners: The Complete Guide

Guest Post Steve from Man Vs. Weight.

Calisthenics… not the sexiest word in the modern fitness industry. Which is ironic when you consider that the word “calisthenics” originates from the combination of the Greek words “Beauty” (kalos) and “Strength” (sthenos).

If you look up the definition of the word, it stands for “gymnastic exercises to achieve bodily fitness and grace of movement”. That’s not a very helpful, so let me give you a better definition about what is calisthenics:

Calisthenics uses your body’s weight to sculpt and shape your body with natural movements. (Hence its other name: body weight training.)

Today, calisthenics are part of many home workouts and almost every profession that requires stamina, flexibility and strength. It is most prominent in team sports practice, military boot camps and police training academies.

Want some examples? Here are a few of the most basic bodyweight exercises:

  • Push ups
  • Pull ups
  • Chin ups
  • Squats (the bodyweight version)
  • Dips
  • Lunges
  • Jumps
  • Leg raises
  • And so on

Basically, every exercise that doesn’t require a machine or extra weight could be defined as a calisthenics exercise. Personally, I don’t like to get bogged down in the details, so I use the terms calisthenics and bodyweight interchangeably:

  • Calisthenics training = Bodyweight training
  • Calisthenics workout = Bodyweight workout
  • Calisthenics exercises = Bodyweight exercises​

Simple, right?

“That’s great Steve. But how can I train with calisthenics?”​

While many people don’t understand how you can train without weights, it’s really not that hard. You simply follow an exercise program, just as you would for weights. No big deal. And don’t worry, you’ll find plenty of sample workouts here.

In this post you’ll learn everything about how to build the body you want by using only your bodyweight. If you’ve been looking for the most comprehensive guide about calisthenics for beginners, you’ve found it. Seriously. Just look at this table of contents to see what you’ll find on this page

 

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