10 Effective Full Body Calisthenics Exercises For Full Body

Written by Jyotsana Rao

Want to improve your fitness and body aesthetics without any equipment? Try calisthenics. Calisthenics exercises are body weight exercises – a kind of strength training with various movements performed rhythmically.

You will use your body weight to activate the muscles and work on every part of your body. No added weights are required! They are great for beginners who want to boost muscle strength, endurance, balance, and coordination (1), (2), (3).

Here is a list of the 10 best calisthenics exercises for beginners. There’s no other better way to burn calories, feel good, and stay in shape. Let’s begin.

10 Effective Calisthenics Exercises For Beginners

1. Jumping Jacks

Jumping Jacks

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Jumping jacks are one of the most common moves for burning calories and strengthening the body. They provide good cardio and are beneficial for the heart and lungs. This workout is one of the foundation exercises in calisthenics.

Works On – Lats, shoulders, chest, calves, hamstrings, glutes, and core

Steps

  • Stand straight with your feet together and arms at your side.
  • Inhale and jump while kicking your legs out and wide.
  • Raise your arms overhead simultaneously. For good measure, you can clap or join your hands.
  • Again, jump and bring your hands down and your feet back together.
  • Do 2 sets of 30 reps.

2. Prisoner Squat Jumps

Prisoner Squat Jumps

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Prisoner squat jumps are a modified version of squat jumps. The various positioning of arms in the prisoner squats work on the core and lower body.

Works On – Glutes, quads, hamstrings, calves, lower abs, and mid abs

Steps

  • Stand straight with your feet shoulder-width apart and toes pointing out.
  • Put your hands behind your head with your elbows high and pointing out to the opposite side.
  • Squat down low with your torso slightly forward. Keep your spine straight and knees above your heels. Do not let your knees overshoot the heels.
  • Jump up as high as you can with your hands behind your head.
  • Land softly and get back into the squat position.
  • Do 3 sets of 5 or 8 reps.

3. Lunge Jumps

Lunge Jumps

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Jump lunges are great for toning and strengthening your legs and improving balance and coordination. Alternating jump lunges also help burn calories and build lower body limb strength.

Works On – Hamstrings, quads, calves, glutes, and lower abs

Steps

  • Stand straight with your feet shoulder-width apart. Keep your shoulders rolled back and chest out, and look forward.
  • Take your right foot forward and lunge by bending both knees until the right thigh is parallel to the floor. Make sure that the knees do not overshoot the heels.
  • Jump and land softly on the floor with your left leg forward and right leg behind.
  • Lunge down by bending your knees until the left thigh is parallel to the floor. This completes one repetition.
  • Do 3 sets of 8 reps.

4. Bicycle Crunches

Bicycle Crunches

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Bicycle crunches help burn fat from the abdominal area, improve coordination, and build a strong core.

Works On – Obliques, lower abs, upper abs, mid abs, quads, hamstrings, glutes, lats, and shoulders

Steps

  • Lie down on a mat, bend the knees, keep your feet flat on the floor, and push your lower back to the floor.
  • Place your hand behind your head with your elbows pointing out, lift your head, and look at the knees. Do not tuck in your neck.
  • Lift your legs off the floor. This is the starting position.
  • Extend your right leg and crunch up to touch the right elbow with the left knee.
  • Bring your right leg to the initial pose. Extend your left leg and crunch up to touch your left elbow to your right knee. This completes one repetition.
  • Do 3 sets of 8 reps.

5. Sit-Ups

Sit-Ups

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Sit-ups target the belly region and are a great way to build core strength and endurance. The placement of the hands (behind your head or overhead) determines the muscles sit-ups work on.

Works On – Lower abs, mid abs, upper abs, hip flexors, chest, shoulders, quads, and hamstrings

Steps

  • Lie down on a mat. Keep your knees bent, feet flat on the floor, and both hands extended over your head. Push your lower back down on the floor.
  • Engage your core, press your heels on the floor, lift your hands off, and then your head and upper body. Come to a sitting position with the forearms touching your knees.
  • Exhale and slowly lie back on the floor, keeping your hands over your head. This completes one repetition.
  • Do 3 sets of 8 reps.

6. Wall Push-Ups

Wall Push-Ups

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Wall push-ups help improve the chest and arm muscles. They help build upper body strength required to do regular push-ups with better ease.

Works On – Pectorals (chest), biceps, lats, and core

Steps

  • Stand two steps away from a wall, facing it.
  • Place your palms on the wall and keep your hands shoulder-width apart. This is the starting position.
  • Bend your elbows and lean towards the wall.
  • Stop when your chest is about to touch the wall.
  • Exhale and push back to the starting position.
  • Do 3 sets of 12 reps.

7. Incline Push-ups

Incline Push-ups

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The incline push-up challenges the core muscles and helps tone the arms, chest, and shoulders. It helps improve balance and upper body muscle endurance.

Works On – Pectorals, rear deltoids, biceps, and core

Steps

  • Place your hands shoulder-width apart on a bench, sofa, or box. Extend your legs back and feet together.
  • Keep your eyes on the bench. Do not tuck your neck in. Align your spine, buttocks, and legs in a straight line. This is the starting position.
  • Engage your core and bend your elbows to lower your chest towards the bench.
  • Stop when your chest almost touches the bench.
  • Exhale and push your body back to the starting position.
  • Do 3 sets of 8 reps.

8. Side Lunges

Side Lunges

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Side lunges target the inner thighs and lower body. They help build balance, coordination, and lower body muscle strength.

Works On – Adductors, hip flexors, glutes, hamstrings, and quads

Steps

  • Stand straight with your feet shoulder-width apart, palms together, shoulders rolled back, and chest out. This is the starting position.
  • Take one step to the right with your right leg, bend your right knee, and lower your body to the right. Make sure your buttocks are pushing out, and the weight is on your right leg. The right knee should not overshoot the right heel.
  • Push your body backward and get to the starting position.
  • Do the same on the left. This completes one repetition.
  • Do 3 sets of 8 reps.

9. Donkey Kicks

Donkey Kicks

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Donkey kicks are best for shaping the glutes and improving the muscle tone of the lower body. They also help build core strength and upper body muscle endurance.

Works On – Glutes, hamstrings, quads, core, and shoulders

Steps

  • Get down on all fours. Make sure your elbow is directly below the shoulders. Tuck your core in to engage the muscles.
  • Lift your right leg off the floor. Push your right foot to the ceiling without extending the leg.
  • Bring it back to the starting position and kick up again. Keep breathing.
  • Do 10 kicks before changing legs and repeating the same.
  • Do 2 sets of 10 reps for each leg.

10. Triceps Dips

Triceps Dips

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Triceps are muscles present at the back of your upper arm. Toning this area can be a challenge. Thankfully, these dips are perfect calisthenics for the triceps and the upper body.

Works On – Triceps, shoulders, and core

Steps

  • Sit on the chair or bench, whatever you are using for the dips.
  • Grip the chair ends on your sides and push yourself forward off the chair such that your posture remains the same as sitting on a chair.
  • This is your posture for doing the tricep dips.
  • Bend your elbows and lower yourself as low as you can until your triceps become parallel to the ground.
  • Push yourself to the original position.
  • Do 3 sets of 12 reps.

These are the top 10 calisthenics exercises for beginners to improve body strength and fitness. Once you get a grip of these, you can move on to the advanced calisthenics exercises. Check out the following section to learn 5 advanced calisthenics exercises.

5 Advanced Calisthenics Exercises

1. Burpees

Burpees

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Most people have a love-hate relationship with this ultimate fat-burning workout. Burpees, also called squat jump thrusts, are a cardio-strength training combination move.

Works On – Core, glutes, shoulders, chest, hamstrings, and quads

Steps

  • Stand straight with your abs tight, and shoulders rolled back.
  • Get down into a squat position and put your hands on the floor in front of your feet.
  • Balancing your weight on your hands, jump and thrust your body back into a plank position.
  • Jump back to the previous position and stand up.
  • Do 3 sets of 8 reps.
  • To intensify this move, do a push-up after getting into the plank position.

2. Box Jump

Box Jump

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Ready to take squats to the next level? Do box jumps. They help improve balance and coordination, burn a lot of calories, and are great for a lower body workout.

Works On – Glutes, hamstrings, quads, and lower abs

Steps

  • Place a sturdy box about 1-2 steps away from you.
  • Stand straight with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Bend down slightly and propel your body into a jump. Keep your eyes on the box.
  • Land softly on top of the box. Keep your body slightly bent forward to prevent falling back on the floor. Squat down.
  • Get up and jump back on the floor. This completes one repetition.
  • Do 3 sets of 8 reps.

3. Push-Up

Push-Up

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Push-ups are great for building chest, shoulder, and core strength and endurance. If you don’t find the regular push-up challenging, try one-arm push-ups.

Works On – Pectorals, deltoids, biceps, triceps, and core

Steps

  • Get into a high plank position. Keep your elbows right below the shoulders, core engaged, and look at the top of the mat. Do not tuck your neck in or look upwards.
  • Keeping your legs, spine, and head in the same line, bend your elbows and slowly lower your chest to the floor.
  • Stop right when your chest is about to touch the floor.
  • Push your body back up to the high plank position. This completes one repetition.
  • Do 3 sets of 8 reps.

4. Chin-Ups

Chin-Ups

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Chin-ups are a great way to build upper body strength and endurance. They also serve as a prepping exercise for pull-ups. All you need is a bar secured at a height to perform this exercise.

Works On – Pectorals, deltoids, biceps, triceps, and lats

Steps

  • Stand right below the bar. Jump up and grip the bar with both hands and palms facing you. Your hands should be shoulder-width apart. Bend your knees and cross your legs. This is the starting position.
  • Curl your biceps and pull your body up. Stop when your chin is just above the bar.
  • Slowly extend your hands and go back to the starting position. Exhale. This completes one repetition.
  • Do 3 sets of 8 reps.

5. Pull-Ups

Pull-Ups

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In pull-ups, you increase upper body strength by working all the muscles from your limbs to your core. It is perfect for burning calories and muscle toning.

Works On – Pectorals, deltoids, lats, biceps, triceps, and core

Steps

  • Hold a sturdy, secured pull-up bar at a height. Position your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart and palms facing outward. Bend your knees and cross your legs. This is the starting position.
  • Engage your core and bend your elbows. Pull your body up until your chin is above the bar.
  • Slowly return to the starting position by extending your hands and lowering your body. This completes one repetition.
  • Do 3 sets of 8 reps.

Why should you do calisthenics? What are the benefits? Let’s dig deep in the following section.

Benefits Of Calisthenics Exercises

  • Help in building and strengthening muscles.
  • Improve balance, agility, and coordination.
  • Enhance stamina, strength, and flexibility.
  • Prevent muscle and joint injuries caused by heavy weight lifting.
  • Can be performed anywhere by all age groups.
  • Improve your control over your body.
  • Burn calories.
  • Help in building lean muscles instead of the bulky look added by weights.
  • Suitable for beginners.

Calisthenics (or bodyweight training) are a great way to stay fit and look and feel good. But if you are curious why you should opt for bodyweight exercises and not simply jump to weight training, scroll down to the next section.

Calisthenics Vs. Weight Training

Calisthenics uses your body weight for exercise training, while weight training includes the use of dumbbells, barbells, resistance bands, or other equipment. In calisthenics, the resistance is provided by the weight of the body. This helps the muscles work in coordination with other muscles to improve fitness, strength, balance, and coordination.

Weight training might specifically be used to build muscles and tone up. On the other hand, calisthenics can be used to burn calories, shed fat, and improve muscle tone.

Weight training and calisthenics can both be directed to focus on only a particular body part, such as the glutes, core, or upper body. While it is possible to combine high-intensity cardio along with bodyweight training, it is impractical and unsafe to train with 20-pound dumbbells with high-intensity cardio.

Calisthenics also have their limitations. Here’s what you need to know.

Know This Before You Start Calisthenics

  • Calisthenics are difficult. You need to have a basic level of fitness in terms of muscle strength and endurance to complete the sets and reps.
  • Calisthenics will not help you build muscles or bulk up. They will only help tone your muscles and improve power, stamina, and endurance.
  • Performing calisthenics faster without taking care of the form can lead to injuries.
  • Measuring progress is tough.

Conclusion

It does not matter if you are at home or the gym, calisthenics can be performed anywhere. All you need is your body weight, a mat, and appropriate workout clothes. Start with the calisthenics for beginners before moving on to the advanced ones. Improve your muscle tone, fitness, and get a fabulous body and mind in a few weeks.

Expert’s Answers For Readers’ Questions

Can you build muscle only with calisthenics?

No, you cannot build muscle mass only with calisthenics. You must also include weight training in your routine to build muscles.

Is calisthenics better than the gym?

Calisthenics involves bodyweight training. You can also do it at the gym.

Do I need rest days with calisthenics?

Yes, you need rest days with calisthenics, especially if you are new to it. Make sure you warm up for 10 minutes before the workout and do cool-down stretches after calisthenics to prevent muscle cramps.

Can a fat person do calisthenics?

Yes, anyone can do calisthenics. They are a great way to burn calories, improve fitness, and help you feel good.

How many times a week should I practice calisthenics?

If you are a beginner, you can do calisthenics workouts 2-3 times a week. Get your rest time on alternate days.

Sources

Articles on StyleCraze are backed by verified information from peer-reviewed and academic research papers, reputed organizations, research institutions, and medical associations to ensure accuracy and relevance. Read our editorial policy to learn more.

  1. Effects of calisthenics and Pilates exercises on coordination and proprioception in adult women: a randomized controlled trial
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22104298/
  2. Effects of bodyweight-based exercise training on muscle functions of leg multi-joint movement in elderly individuals
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19702936/
  3. Effect of Progressive Calisthenic Push-up Training on Muscle Strength and Thickness
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29466268/

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Jyotsana Rao is an engineering graduate from NIT, Nagpur, who discovered her love for writing during her undergraduate days. She is passionate about writing about everything related to beauty - makeup, fashion, hairstyles, skin care, or hair care. When this social media junkie isn't stalking the world of fashion and glamour, she loves spending her time traveling.