Updated: Apr 22
Wikipedia defines the word “calisthenics” this way:
Calisthenics or Callisthenics is a form of strength training consisting of a variety of movements that exercise large muscle groups, such as running, standing, grasping, pushing, etc. These exercises are often performed rhythmically and with minimal equipment, as bodyweight exercises.
Basically, busting your ass without equipment is how you can translate that. To be honest, once I started doing calisthenics, I gained a whole new appreciation for how awesome working out with no equipment can be.
Here are 9 ways I use calisthenics to my advantage with a bonus 15-minute video at the end showing you all of them.
Jumping Rope (with no rope)
You may think I am crazy on this one but I am here to tell you, jumping rope with out using a rope is unbelievably awesome. The concept is simple, just jump and swing your arm like you are roping. It is not only a great cardio workout, but it also puts great emphasis on the lower half and abs.
Do 5 sets of 40 jump reps.
Standing Squats (with no weight)
You don’t have to be the giant at the gym trying squat a car with this one. Actually, when is the last time you went and did 100 squats without stopping and without weight? The reality is that your top half provides all the weight you need and squats are still the most powerful exercise around.
Standing with your feet shoulder width apart, you put your hands on your hips and drop and pop until you feel the burn. Go low and make your legs do the work.
Do 5 sets of 15 reps.
There are a few different ways to do these but my favorite is the easiest (albeit still a workout). My version works by touching your feet and then raising your hands up above your head with a jump. This is a super simple technique but with great results.
Do 4 Sets of 15 reps
Side Step Squats
Ready to take the next step in your squat journey? From a standing squat position, simply side step left (or right) and then squat down. Side step back to the right (or left) and squat down. The premise is simple and adds an extra feature to the squat.
For this one you can take it up a notch and stick your arms straight out. By doing so, you add in a great core workout as well.
Do 3 sets of 20.
This one is just too good of a workout to leave out. From a kneeling position, kick one leg out in a motion that a donkey would make. Alternate between legs and remember to kick straight out and slightly up.
Do 4 sets per leg with 12 reps apiece.
These can be a beast, especially when you are already a little gassed from the workout. From a sprinters position, simply keep both hands on the ground and run-in place.
The sensation starts to feel like you are climbing up a mountain which is never bad for shaping the body.
Do 4 sets of a 20-count rep – 10 reps for each leg.
Like the squat, this exercise has been around since the beginning of time and yet gets neglected over and over again. You know why? Because people are afraid of it. Think about that, a no equipment exercises that people are terrified of?
Must work huh?
Do 4 sets of 10 reps.
My favorite way to crank out the shoulders is with this easy to do exercise. By the time you do everything else, your shoulders are already spent. This just kind of caps it off. From a standing position, lift those hands high above the head and back down.
I can feel the burn now.
Do 4 sets of 12 to 15 reps.
Here’s the thing, each of these exercises are fantastic but when you put them altogether you get magic. It just so happens, that I know a great 15-minute total body calisthenics workout that incorporates all of these exercise with some surprises.
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