What Is Calisthenics: 14 Best Calisthenics Exercises

So, What is Calisthenics? Calisthenics is made from two Greek words Kalo and stenos, meaning beauty and strength. As per the name, it was initially originated by the Greek people to train their armed forces.

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This tradition has now moved to various countries such as China, Rome, and so on. Nowadays, calisthenics is a part of training in every defense sector.

So when people ask, what is calisthenics? Simply put, calisthenics may be a sort of strength training together with your weight. Most of the bodyweight exercises you’ve probably done before are calisthenics.

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Think about: squats, push-ups, lunges, and sit-ups. Calisthenics exercises acquire weight and use gravity as resistance in strength exercises instead of weights or exercise equipment.

You will not be asked to use any other weight than yourself, as the goal is to utilize your body weight to increase flexibility, coordination, strength, and endurance.

People use this as a muscle toner and stamina using HIIT and Cardio workouts. Practicing such movements not only builds power but increases body-mind coordination. This form of exercise is for every sort of person when done with good care.

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The U.S has made calisthenics a mandatory part of the secondary school education system since the late 1800s. Now it is one of the most popular training methods among everyone.

This article will teach various things about calisthenics and not just introduce “what is calisthenics.” It will, in turn, urge you to make it a part of your daily routine and improve your fitness level.

Now that you know “what is calisthenics,” let us see a little about its history.

What is Calisthenics: Its History

As said earlier, it is always a path of defense training. This method was also used in fighting and many other fields like athletics.

Slowly Friedrich Ludwig Jahn proposed the involvement of gymnastics in the United States schools inspiring the whole world. Calisthenics is now known to be a street workout involving the viewers and judges.

These street workout programs are now very popular as it requires great skill and tricks.

What is Calisthenics: Current Scenario

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People are now exhausted by the conventional gym and bodyweight training method and buying types of equipment, including losing your pocket.

With the availability of the internet so wildly, everyone is now going with the flow of calisthenics. It’s been around a long time, yet people are enjoying it so fruitfully.

Top 3 Facts About Calisthenics

1. The exercises in calisthenics are divided into three types

The various calisthenic activities are divided into three types, namely, basic, dynamic, and static.

2. It arose in the early 19th century

The calisthenic exercises first came into existence in the 19th century by Adolf Spiess and Friedrich Ludwig Jahn.

3. It was originally only intended for women

Catherine Beecher, an early advocate of calisthenics, promoted that calisthenics was originally only designed for women. However, with time it became an activity for both the sexes.

What is Calisthenics: A Beginners Guide

Many calisthenics exercises are simple and commonly used. If you’re starting to work out, beginning with calisthenics exercises can help you learn the correct form safely before progressing to weighted exercises.

If you have just started your fitness journey, it is important not to push yourself extremely hard. For the amateurs, beginning with squats, lunges, crunches, and planks can be beneficial.

Following this routine for about a time can change your body and let you get the strength for advanced workouts. Again after a certain time, start pushing yourself to advanced exercises like push-ups by doing beginner range to advanced ranges and keep changing forms.

If you’ve never done calisthenics before, it’d feel a bit overwhelming watching people lift their entire body over a pull-up bar or press up into a handstand. Whatever your preferred sort of training is, the road to putting together body strength may be a long one.


  1. Push-ups:
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Push-ups are a workout targeting the upper body strength of an individual. It exercises the pectoral muscles, deltoids, triceps, etc. Push-ups can be done in various forms, from the easiest wall push-ups to the toughest- planch push-up.

2. Sit-ups:

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Crunches or sit-ups mainly fixate and strengthen core muscles. It also works on the biceps and your obliques.

Take care of yourself and do it in proper form to avoid back injury. Keep your core tight, and make sure not to eat or drink something before training your abdomen.

3. Squats:  

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Squats are a great workout/warm-up for runners as this tones your thigh muscles and give them a proper shape. You can stick to regular squats or try pulse squats for better results.

4. Burpees:

How To Do A Burpee | The Right Way | Well+Good

Burpees 1is a great workout to burn calories from your entire body. Full-body calisthenics lets you build endurance and strengthen your large muscle groups like hips, legs, abdomen, arms, chest, and shoulders.

5. Chin-ups:

How to Perform Chin-Ups | Bodyweight Exercise Tutorial

Chin-ups is an exercise for proper muscle strengthening, and it targets your biceps. It requires minimal equipment like a chin-up bar. This exercise is also beneficial for increasing shoulder width.

6. Pull-ups:

The Perfect Pull Up  - Do it right!

Pull-ups are an upper body strength exercise like chin-ups, but it uses your arms to hold the bar and a pull-up bar. It is efficient for your forearms, wrist, biceps, Shoulders, lats, grip strength, and Core.

7. Dips:

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This is one of the best exercises for your tricep muscle. It is a push-type exercise and works well when done in moderation.

8. Jumping Jacks:

Jumping Jack Weight Loss Workout (10 Mins)

Jumping Jack is a very simple exercise, and just like a burpee, it targets your full body and increases your cardiovascular strength resulting in a good heart rate.

9. Handstand:

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Doing a handstand requires minimum arm strength and the ability to balance yourself. You may or may not need a personal trainer here.

10. Leg raises:

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Leg raises are a strength training workout targeting your abdominal muscles, increasing body balance and stability. It is really good if you want your ads to pop up.

11. L-sit:

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L set is an acrobatic2 exercise where the body shifts its weight on the hands of an individual. It improves your obliques, hips, quads, tricep, shoulder, lats, and abs.

12. Muscle Ups:

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Muscle-ups come under an advanced calisthenic, where an individual lifts his whole body using arms on a roVarVariations can follow it.

A plank becomes very beneficial when done right! Doing planks daily for a minute can increase your upper body and core strength and burn belly fat.

13. Shuttle Runs:

Shuttle Runs

It is a high-intensity workout done in small sets of running and turning towards the same position.  It increases body-mind coordination and strength.

14. Calf raises:

How to Do a Calf Raise | Sexy Legs Workout

Calf raises are a nice workout to strengthen your calf and give them shape. This exercise is a method of exercising the muscles of the lower leg.

It is important for improving your ankle stability and strength.

What is Calisthenics and Types of Calisthenics:

By now, you already know a lot about what is calisthenics, so it is time to check out the different types of calisthenics.

I. Freestyle or Gymnastic Style Calisthenics:

Freestyle and gymnastic style calisthenics (sometimes called “playground calisthenics or vigorous calisthenics”) is the one to impress the crowd.

It’s very cool to observe, but it is often deadly to perform. Even though it is “freestyle,” this group of calisthenics certainly needs a lot of coaching.

II. Military-Style Calisthenics:

Military-style calisthenics regimens specialize in strength and endurance, training the way soldiers do. It means you employ little to no equipment, and you’ll do extremely high reps in your chosen exercise.

III. General Health and Fitness Calisthenics:

General health and fitness calisthenics are nothing but simple bodyweight workouts that help you get fitter. In this type of calisthenics, you are not trying to master any particular skill.

Most fitness apps and follow-along video HIIT workouts, especially those performed reception, are calisthenics workouts.

IV. Calisthenics for Muscle and Power:

It is a unique calisthenic type specifically targeting a muscle or a group of muscles.

You’re not looking to point out what you’ll do; you’re looking to coach to increase your strength and build muscle, a bit like lifting weights within the gym3.

Misconceptions Regarding Calisthenics:

It is not for women: Many calisthenics involve upper body strength exercises such as pull-ups; there’s a common myth that women don’t or shouldn’t do it.

Women have relatively lower upper body muscle mass than men, which means they may take longer to build strength to master upper body calisthenics exercises. However, it is entirely wrong considering women not to step on the ground.

It is only for fat loss: Calisthenics often burns many calories and drenches you in sweat, but it doesn’t mean it is only for fat loss.

This workout can also lead to muscle gain. However, weight training can let you gain muscles comparatively fast, yet; calisthenics4 is more effective and sustainable.

Less resistant: It is limited and won’t let you provide further resistance: without the option to increase weights, you can’t progress in your training beyond your body weight.

This is not entirely true. To increase resistance in certain calisthenic exercises, you can increase reps, use resistance training methods, do complex versions or add weight to any part of your body.

Not made for skinny people: Though it is said that calisthenic workouts help you lose fat mass, it doesn’t mean it should not be done by people already having less fat.

It targets certain muscle groups and also increases bone strength so it can let you gain muscle mass.

Why is it more convenient?

Most people related to fitness find calisthenics a more conventional and reliable method of gaining fitness. Not only does that burn hundreds of calories, but the benefits of this workout can also be utilized in your daily life.

Calisthenics has a lot to offer to make an everyday task easier, build strength to lift a whole box, relieve stress both mentally and physically, boost metabolic rate and lifespan.

What is Calisthenics: Perks of Calisthenics

  • It requires less to no equipment, leading you to a pocketful of money and full-body strength.
  • Calisthenics can be done by targeting every muscle group.
  • It is great for people with less or no experience regarding achieving the fitness level.
  • Performing calisthenics can help you in your daily routine and is beneficial both physically and mentally.
  • It improves diaphragm health and is great for vocalists.
  • It improves body-mind coordination, which is required in a lot of fields.

Calories Burnt

On average, a person can burn 300 to 400 Calories, and through light effort, calisthenic exercises, and harder variations, the calorie count can reach up to 700.

The amount of calories burnt per minute depends upon the MET score, and the MET score depends upon the workout. You can find the Metabolic Equivalent of Task or MET score of every exercise via google.

Calorie burn per minute = (MET x bodyweight in Kg x 3.5) ÷ 200

How Often Should You Do Calisthenics?

One can perform calisthenic exercises daily or as per they wish. You can decide to target certain muscle groups as per your requirement with special guidance. Your frequency can be determined by how hard you put your efforts into it and your recovery time.

It would be best if you took care of yourself when you are prone to injury, and it is ok to take a break. Researchers have also published that taking a day off with your physical exercise is used to recover and soothe your muscles, helping a better day for your next session.

What is Calisthenics: Last Words

After going through all the content, we can surely admit that this is not only a great warm-up and workout but is also so very affordable and effective.

Performing calisthenics is a nice job to do but only when done in intensive care. It is suitable for all body types and is a reliable mode of training yourself.

Try not to bug yourself too hard, which may cause you injury. And start yourself with easy ones. The given workout can also be used as a warm-up or as your regular workout.

I hope this article on “what is calisthenics: 14 best calisthenic exercises” provided you with all the necessary details you need to know on what is calisthenics. 

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  1. Mayr Ojeda, Erika, et al. “Burpee Interval Training Is Associated With a More Favorable Affective Valence and Psychological Response Than Traditional High Intensity Exercise.” Perceptual and Motor Skills 129.3 (2022): 767-786. ↩︎
  2. Xayrullayevich, Sayfiyev Hikmatullo. “Use of Acrobatic Exercises and Their Terms In The Process of Teaching Gymnastics.” Intersections of Faith and Culture: American Journal of Religious and Cultural Studies (2993-2599) 1.9 (2023): 80-86. ↩︎
  3. Goel, Karan, et al. “Robustness gym: Unifying the NLP evaluation landscape.” arXiv preprint arXiv:2101.04840 (2021). ↩︎
  4. Hollingsworth, Joshua C., et al. “Protocol for Minute Calisthenics: a randomized controlled study of a daily, habit-based, bodyweight resistance training program.” BMC public health 20 (2020): 1-9. ↩︎

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