Advanced Calisthenics Workouts and Exercises
Once you are comfortable with the workout above, you can increase the intensity by progressing on to more challenging variations to prescribe progressive overload, following the same workout guidelines as the beginner’s workout plan:
- Pull-ups (8-10 reps)
- Dips (8-10 reps)
- Push-ups (10-20 reps)
- Lying leg raises (10-12 reps)
- Goblet squats (10-12 reps)
- Bulgarian split squats (10 reps on each leg)
Anyone one can start calisthenics, regardless of age, gender, availability, or fitness level. You don’t need gym equipment, a personal trainer, or any previous training background. The key to achieving your fitness goals is to get started.
Whether you are working out at home, at your local park, at the gym, or in a hotel whilst traveling, calisthenics can be easily incorporated into your routine with just a few simple compound movements. If you’re still unsure where to start, try this follow-along chest and back routine with Pat Chadwick.
Calisthenics Exercises per Muscle Group
To target a specific muscle group and body areas, you have to select the exercises that give you the most muscle activation. Here is a list of workouts per muscle group that you shouldn’t miss when creating your calisthenics routine.
Biceps – Chin-ups
Chin-ups are great for building big biceps. The underhand grip used in chin-ups isolates the biceps and upper back muscles which would overload your muscles causing them to grow. If you can’t do much, do as many as you can follow by switching to negative chin-ups (lower down at a count of 3-5 seconds). You can add resistance to chin-ups by doing isometric holds for 3-5 seconds before lowering down, or you could add more weights.
Back – Pull-ups
This is one of the best exercises that target your back muscles, primarily your latissimus dorsi, trapezius, teres minor, teres major, and rhomboids. Pull-ups will give you wings, but only if you do them correctly with a full range of motion. Alternatively, you can do negative pull-ups if you find pull-ups difficult, and to make this harder, you can progress on to weighted pull-ups and muscle-ups.
Chest – Push-ups
The standard push-ups work wonders for your chest. It strengthens your pectoralis major and anterior deltoids. The form is key so make sure you are keeping constant tension in your core and glutes to ensure that your lower back is not arched. When this gets too easy, you can progress on to decline push-ups and archer push-ups. Or simply adjust the tempo when doing push-ups, 3 seconds down, 3 seconds up.
Triceps – Diamond Push-ups
The diamond push-up variation will leave your triceps feeling used and burned. The close grip hand position will put more isolation on your triceps. You can make this harder by elevating your feet on a bench. If you get wrist pains you can use a pair of parallettes instead.
Abs – Hanging leg raises
The hanging leg raise will elevate your core routine and give sculpted and chiseled six-pack abs. If your goal is to improve core strength and hip flexor mobility. Try to keep your legs as straight as possible, and if this is too hard, bend your knees to do knee raises until you get stronger. Raise your legs 45 degrees on each side to target your obliques too.
Shoulders – Pike push-ups
The pike push-up is a great exercise for increasing shoulder strength and a good conditioning exercise for the handstand. This exercise works the deltoids, triceps, chest, upper back, and ribs. The higher your feet are, the more load will be put on your shoulders and the more burn you will feel. Try your best to keep your elbows close to your torso, don’t flare them out.
Trapezius – Handstand
Build a solid upper back with handstand training. This will make your upper body look and feel stronger and it will increase your proprioception. Start by doing wall-assisted handstands and gradually ease off towards a freestanding handstand.
Quadriceps and Glutes – Lunges
Lunges are tough, and there are many variations in this exercise that will work your entire lower body muscles. If done with the correct form, your legs will be left feeling pumped. Once this becomes easy, progress on to Bulgarian split squats to increase the gains.
Calves – Calf raises
Calves can be a difficult muscle to develop, that’s why calf raises must be done regularly. To train them for optimal results: stand on the end of the stair.
Lower your heels down as low as you can to feel a stretch in and calves and hold this for 3 seconds, followed by pushing through the balls of your feet to raise your heels until you are standing on your toes, hold this for 3 seconds. Or you can try doing single-leg calf raises to increase resistance.
The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.