Here is a quick and little tutorial for people who are thinking about starting with calisthenics. This tutorial will not go into too much detail, but it is good enough to make a little beginning. Everybody will be able to do this. Just start at your own level and progress at your own pace. Nobody will judge you. The fact that you even started is already an achievement.
Alright, you have made your choice. You are willing to change your life.
There are three crucial exercises when starting with calisthenics. We call these the fundamental exercises of calisthenics. These are the exercises, everybody, without exceptions, must do. These fundamental exercises are:
- The push-up
- The dip
- The pull up
When starting, it is smart to determine your strength level. To have some an idea on what you should be focussing on first. A simple way to find out is to try your max reps in every fundamental exercise. It will give you an idea of what your current strength level is.
A problem that could be occurring is that you are not able to do one single rep. Most people in the world are not strong enough to do even one pull up or dip. If this also applies to you, then we need to make the exercises a little easier. There are a few ways to do that.
- The negative of an exercise. To do that, you need to jump up and go down slow.
- Use bands to help you to do the exercise
- Do easier versions of the exercise, for example, Knee push-ups or Australian pull-ups.
Do this for a couple of weeks, and eventually, you will see that your first pull-up is possible.
After some time, you will have to build a solid base strength. Unlike, in the beginning, it is important to focus on rep quality instead of quantity. Doing the correct form is very important. If you do the exercise wrong, it can cause injuries, and in general, doing an exercise the right way will make you progress much faster.
Start with doing exercises that you can perform 5-12 reps of because if you can do more than 12 reps, it means the exercise is too easy for you. Less than five means it is too hard. As for the sets, you should aim for at least 3-4 sets.
It is essential to have proper basics before going more advanced. That is why in the first months, you should focus on the basics. Aim for at least 10-15 pull-ups/ dips and around 30 push-ups.
The next thing we should discuss is your workout plan. On which day are you going to do what? The common examples are Upper body / lower body or Chest-triceps-Shoulder(push up and dips) / back-biceps(pull-ups) / legs-core.
A recommended Workout plan for beginners:
Sun: rest day
What exercises should you do?
In calisthenics, there are a wide variety of exercises. Some are better than others. The list below contains all the basic calisthenics exercises every beginner should do. There are many more but start with these exercises. You can always switch things up later.
I categorized each exercise with each muscle group. You will see some exercises multiple times, that is because a lot of them are compound exercises.
Chest: Push-ups, wide, dips, and incline/decline push-ups
Triceps: Dips, diamond push-ups(close grip), and skull crushers.
Shoulders: Pike push-ups and (wall)handstand push-ups.
Back: Pull-ups, chin-ups, Australian pull-ups, and muscle-ups.
Biceps: Pull-ups, chin-ups, Australian pull-ups.
Core: Planks, knee/leg raises, L-sit holds, sit-ups,
Legs: Bodyweight squats, lunges, and pistol squats.
What about Courses
When starting your Calisthenics journey and even fitness in general, there are two different routes to take. The first one is to discover everything by yourself with the use of the internet. Educate yourself with youtube videos etc. Just trying things out and see what works and what does not. On the other hand, you have the option to buy a course. CLICK HERE to see all the pros and cons if you consider purchasing a workout program.
Some beginner tips when starting with calisthenics
Here are four beginner tips that can help you when starting with calisthenics.
Legs in calisthenics are a real struggle. However, there are some exercises like jumping squats, and lunges, etc. But it is only a matter of time until these are not challenging enough. The pistol squat is a good exercise, yet really hard to do as a beginner. So I suggest using weights for the legs. You can also use the weight to progress to the pistol squat eventually. So use weight for your legs if that is possible.
Get a strong core
The core is almost in every bodyweight exercise involved. That is why getting a strong midsection will make other calisthenics exercises much easier. For example, the push-up is basically pushing yourself up as a plank. If you are not good at planking, then you will not be able to do many push-ups. Besides that, getting a sixpack is something everybody wants, don’t we?
Start with the basics!
A mistake many beginners make is that they start too soon trying to learn too difficult skills. Basics can get really boring over time. However, it is so important to have a solid base. Working only on skills will not get you much stronger. See it like this. You cannot build a house without its foundation. A good base strength is crucial before you start working on skills.
In calisthenics, there is no secret formula for massive strength. There are no short cuts. You have to work for it, but in the end, everything will be worth it. So just start by choosing a couple of exercises and start doing them. See what right for you. Always try to challenge yourself and keep progressing. Start even now after reading this. There is no day better than today!