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How to Start Calisthenics from Zero

Calisthenics is all the rage. Although it is as old as mankind, physical work with your own body weight has become a great alternative to traditional weight training

In this article we are going to tell you everything you need to know about calisthenics so you can start practicing it as soon as possible.

Hacer solo dominadas no es una opción recomendable.

To understand how to do calisthenics for beginners, we first need to talk about what calisthenics actually is.

Originally developed by the ancient Greeks, calisthenics are routines that rely solely on your own body weight and strength. In calisthenics, the movements can vary depending on your skill level; they can be performed at different levels of intensity and at a pace of your choosing

1- It is a versatile and adaptable practice

Las ventajas de la calistenia como deporte.

Basic calisthenics for beginners will require some sense of body awareness and strength; being aware of your skill set and limitations is a vital necessity if you want to succeed with calisthenics.

It is worth noting that if you are just starting out with calisthenics, it is possible to adapt the basic exercises to your fitness level, which avoids imposing limitations on calisthenics participants and allows people of all fitness levels to participate.

For example, if we take a simple exercise such as a push-up, instead of fully extending the legs, the position can be modified to do the push-up from a kneeling position, which will make it slightly easier as the upper body receives less load. Also, if you want to challenge yourself, you can modify this exercise by doing the push-ups with only one hand

Calisthenics is a practice that naturally adapts to each individual’s lifestyle, as discussed above you can use equipment or you can use your own body depending on your ability. This is in contrast to weightlifting, which generally requires you to have access to a gym space, gym equipment or your own set of home weights, which of course is not practical or affordable for everyone.

When approaching other forms of calisthenics equipment and exercises, you may have to be creative in your approach to make it suit you. Remember to never push yourself too hard, as everyone has to start somewhere.

2- Improve your overall fitness

Beneficios de la calistenia.

Calisthenics exercises can not only act as a form of strength training, but they can also improve your overall fitness skills.

This idea can be supported by a number of research available on the effects of calisthenics on the body, such as a study conducted in 2017. Researchers found that participants’ posture, strength, and overall body composition improved significantly after participating in 8 weeks of calisthenics

Results showed that at the end of the study, all participants saw a 16.8% increase in their performance during a press up and pull up test – further supporting the theory that calisthenics improves overall fitness levels.

In addition, calisthenics are known to improve health and fitness, as they can also help people suffering from diseases such as COPD.

This was highlighted in 2014, when a research study was launched on the effects of calisthenics on COPD patients. The research found that low-frequency calisthenic training helped improve exercise capacity and muscle mass of participants in an outpatient program with COPD.

When approaching calisthenics for a beginner, it’s important to know how it can benefit your body. In general, you can expect to see significant improvements in strength, flexibility and balance; but keep in mind that these improvements will not happen overnight, keep a steady pace that you are comfortable with and you will reach your goals.

3- Involve several muscle groups at the same time

La calistenia te permite trabajar todo tu cuerpo con tu propio peso corporal.

When comparing the benefits of calisthenics versus weight training, many people’s interest lies in the benefits calisthenics has for the body.

One of the main benefits of calisthenics is that it includes compound exercises. These are exercises that target multiple muscle groups at once, which is in contrast to weight training, which tends to target only specific areas of the body rather than numerous groups.

While weight training allows a primary muscle group to work against a form of resistance, which in turn makes it easier to increase the size of that muscle at a faster rate, calisthenics, on the other hand, require much more on your part to increase your overall muscle strength.

If you are looking for calisthenics workouts for beginners, you should keep in mind that this form of training usually requires a greater amount of energy and movement compared to other forms of weight training. However, as a result of this, it also encourages a higher calorie burn, particularly in a short period compared to what you would burn in weight training.

This promotes a body composition that features less body fat and greater muscle definition in the abdomen. Calisthenics also excels at promoting a “chiseled torso,” whereas weight training focuses more on increasing the strength of other muscle groups, such as the upper body.

When it comes to getting started with calisthenics, it’s important to know the two different calisthenic disciplines before you start practicing.

People encounter calisthenics at different times in their lives and often have different goals for wanting to practice it. As mentioned above, to get the most out of this practice, you should consider modifying your calisthenics training to suit your level and abilities.

The different calisthenics disciplines can be classified into two categories: static and dynamic. While all disciplines offer overall strength-enhancing benefits, the approach to calisthenics is slightly different.

Most people tend to feel more comfortable practicing one discipline than the other, but we recommend that you try both, even if you have to make adjustments to your approach to make the discipline easier on your body.

Static Calisthenics

Calistenia estática.

Static calisthenics, also known as “isometrics,” is the practice where you hold your body in a specific position while staying as still as possible, which you might have already guessed from the name.

For those new to calisthenics, you may be interested to know that when performing static exercises, the length of the muscle does not change noticeably during execution. These exercises are excellent for maintaining strength, but are not as effective for developing strength.

There are two main types of static calisthenics exercises:

  • Holds: These movements involve holding a position for a set amount of time.
  • Pulls and pushes: These exercises involve holding a certain position/exercise while preloading the muscles to perform greater force.

A beginner static calisthenics workout includes exercises such as the wall squat and abdominal plank. However, if you’re looking for something more challenging, advanced static calisthenics exercises include: the human flag or the V squat.

If you want to include equipment in your static calisthenics workout, you can opt to practice the dead hang using pull-up bars.

Another example of an exercise to include in your static calisthenics workout is doing the pike, as they require great control of your own body. As you master this exercise, you will see your balance, strength and overall physique improve. Remember that in calisthenics it is important to set small goals: we suggest you set the goal of successfully doing the pine tree as an initial goal, as this will indirectly improve your overall performance in other exercises and in calisthenics in general.

Static exercises are a great way to showcase your strength. However, it’s important to keep in mind that some of the more advanced grips can take years to master, so don’t feel discouraged if you can’t perform them instantly and have to make subtle changes to decrease the difficulty for a while.

Dynamic Calisthenics

Dynamic calisthenics, also known as freestyle calisthenics or “bar flow,” is all about power, movement and self-expression. When considering a beginner calisthenics workout, jumping to freestyle dynamic calisthenics may be ill-advised, as these dynamics revolve around exercises performed on a barbell.

While static calisthenics is about strength training against an immovable force, such as a wall or the floor, dynamic calisthenics is about being expressive and moving the body against a resistance force, much like dynamic stretching.

This form is most commonly used in calisthenics competitions around the world and should only be attempted by those who are comfortable swinging from a bar and pulling on it.

Freestyle calisthenics has the potential to create a lot of adrenaline and excitement in the body, so it is important to make sure to stay focused when performing dynamic calisthenics, as the potential for injury is high.

Now that you understand the basics, we can move on to give you some examples of calisthenics exercises for beginners. In the following list we have explained how to perform the exercises accurately so that you have a good understanding when approaching them

The calisthenics exercises mentioned will not be anything too difficult to perform and we have tried to keep them as simple as possible to ensure that they are accessible to beginners, even if it is just for one repetition.

Remember that all the exercises are adaptable. In the event that you are unable to perform an exercise at first there is the option to modify it to make it easier.


The pull-ups are self-explanatory, as the exercise is in the name.

  • Start by standing just below a pull-up bar, placing your hands in an overhand grip (palms facing away from your body) with your hands slightly shoulder-width apart.
  • From there, lift your feet off the floor so your body hangs off the bar. Activate your core and pull your shoulders back and down.
  • Next, you should activate your arm and back muscles, bend your elbows and lift your upper body toward the bar, ideally until your chin is above the bar. If it helps, imagine bringing your elbows toward your hips.
  • As you go up, it’s important to avoid swinging your legs or shrugging your shoulders upward. The shoulder blades should remain back and down throughout the exercise.
  • When you reach the top, remember to inhale, then extend your elbows and lower your body back to the starting position.

Note: If you cannot reach the bar while standing on the floor, you can place a chair/box underneath you so that you can assume the starting position.

is it advisable to do pull-ups every day? Know the answer


Chin upsare performed with a different grip and involve different muscle groups than prone pull-ups.

  • Grasp the bar with your hands approximately shoulder-width apart. The palms of your hands should be facing you with a supinated/top hand grip.
  • Hang from the bar with your arms fully extended. Squeeze the shoulder blades slightly, pulling the shoulders back.
  • With the help of your abdominal muscles, pull your stomach in toward your spine (this helps activate your core and ensure the correct muscles are used, while helping you maintain balance).
  • Next, come up. Do this by locking the elbow joint and squeezing the shoulder blades down and together. Continue pulling up until your chin is above the bar.
  • Pause at the top and then slowly, under control, lower back down to the starting position.


Push-ups can be performed in a number of variations depending on your ability, however for this purpose we will explain how to perform a traditional push-up

  • Start by getting on all fours, place your hands at shoulder height and assume a high plank position with your feet, knees, hips and shoulders in a straight line.
  • Contract your abdomen and keep your arms extended to meet the starting position.
  • Bend your elbows and bring your shoulder blades together to lower your chest toward the floor.
  • Pause and then press with the palms of your hands to straighten your arms back to the starting position.

can I do push-ups every day? Find out the answer


Parallel bar pull-ups are another fundamental calisthenics exercise that can’t be missing from your workout routine

  • Start by grabbing the parallel bars and jump up, straightening your arms while your legs are bent at the knees (feet should be behind you).
  • With your shoulders down and back, lower your body by bending your arms – make sure you’re leaning forward.
  • Keeping your elbows at your sides, lower yourself down/bend until your triceps are parallel to the floor.
  • Just before you can lock your elbows, raise your body back up by straightening your arms.
  • Lock elbows at the top and repeat.

Jumping squats

One of the least complex calisthenic exercises, but don’t be fooled, as this is a great exercise to get fit and work your body.

  • Start by standing with your feet hip-width apart, toes pointing slightly outward.
  • Lower your hips back and gently lower yourself into a squat position, with your thighs slightly higher than your knees.
  • When you reach the squat position, exhale and press your feet down to push off the ground and jump as high as you can, propelling yourself powerfully with your legs and pushing yourself further into the air with the tips of your toes. The body should remain straight throughout the movement and the hands should be above the head, keeping the center of the body to avoid rotation.
  • As you approach the ground, let your knees bend at 45 degrees when you land, and then gently control yourself back to the squat position. Jump back up.


Lunges are another basic and fundamental exercise to work your legs with your own weight. It also involves other trunk muscles, making it a very complete exercise

  • Start in a standing position with your feet hip-width apart.
  • Take a step forward longer than a walking stride, so that one leg is in front of your torso and the other behind. Your foot should land flat and stay flat while on the ground. The back heel will lift off the ground.
  • Bend your knees to about 90 degrees as you come down. Remember to keep your trunk upright and your abdomen engaged.
  • Next, forcefully push off the front leg to return to the starting position.


This is a basic exercise (hated by many) that will help you strengthen your abs, arms, glutes and legs and make it easier for you to perform other exercises.

  • Place your hands directly under your shoulders (slightly wider than shoulder width) as if you were going to do a push-up.
  • Rest your toes on the floor and squeeze your glutes to stabilize your body. Your legs should work as well – be careful not to lock or hyperextend the knees.
  • Neutralize your neck and spine by looking at a point on the floor about 30 centimeters beyond your hands. Your head should be in line with your back.
  • Hold the position for 20 seconds. As you become more comfortable with the movement, hold the plank for as long as possible without compromising your form or breathing.

Jump rope

Jumping rope is one of the most effective exercises you can perform to gain strength, endurance and improve your overall fitness. It’s an exercise that only requires a jump rope and you can do it virtually anywhere, plus it’s a great alternative to traditional cardio


Although it may seem intimidating at first, the L-site is a great exercise to strengthen your entire core and much simpler than it looks. Remember that you can always make small modifications to the exercise to make it easier. In this case you can ask someone else to help you hold when you raise your legs

  • Start with both feet on the floor, placing your hands on the parallels and extending your arms so they are straight.
  • With your arms straight, place your hands on the floor or equipment.
  • As a beginner in calisthenics, it may be helpful to start the movement by lifting one foot off the ground at a time, making sure the legs remain straight and pointing with the toes.
  • Next, lift the other leg so that it meets the one that is already extended until both are parallel to the ground, so that your body forms an “L” shape.
  • As you do this, bring your shoulders back and down, keep your back straight and look straight ahead with a neutral neck and hold.

Calisthenics for a beginner can be challenging for your body, as you can imagine. Therefore, before starting this wonderful practice, it is advisable that you consult your doctor, especially if you have any type of disease or physical condition that makes it difficult to practice sports

Remember that calisthenics is not a competition, it is a practice that allows everyone to go at their own pace. Listen to your body and avoid overexertion

David A.

David A.

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