The Top 10 Calisthenics Exercises for a Total Body Workout

  • By: gymtrix
  • Date: January 7, 2023
  • Time to read: 8 min.

Calisthenics is an invaluable, ancient training practice that has been around for centuries. Building strength and muscle without the use of weights or machines is not only fun, but also extremely effective.

This type of bodyweight training needs little or no equipment, so anyone can do it, no matter how fit they are or if they have access to gym equipment.

In addition, you can perform it almost anywhere; all you need is an open space and your own bodyweight. 

The word “calisthenics” comes from two Greek words that mean “beauty” and “strength.” This shows that this type of exercise is good for your health in a balanced way.

This workout is different from others because it isn’t just about working one muscle group at a time. Instead, it focuses on developing functional fitness and movement patterns.

Common calisthenics workouts include activities like pull-ups, push-ups, squats, lunges, and crunches, showing that many practical exercises are possible while only using your own bodyweight.

The Top 10 Calisthenics Exercises for a Total Body Workout

What Is Calisthenics?

Calisthenics is a good way to build muscle and get stronger because it uses the resistance of your own body weight. It relies on basic movements such as pull-ups, push-ups and lunges so it can be done by people of all ages and fitness levels.

Used in schools and even basic military training, calisthenics doesn’t require any special equipment for a good workout, making it an excellent choice for anyone looking for an easy way to stay in shape.

Calisthenics training is one of the most popular exercises today, and it shows no sign of slowing down. In 2018, a study found that calisthenic push-up training helped push-up progression more than bench press training did.

This has fostered even greater appreciation for the fitness potential in calisthenics exercises. People have come up with creative ways to use them in their workouts, like doing calisthenics circuits on playground equipment or making their own street workouts.

With these exercises providing a way to get fit without any expensive machinery and complex instruction, the calisthenics movement doesn’t show any signs of slowing down anytime soon.

The Top 10 Calisthenics Exercises

For those looking for an effective workout, calisthenics can be a suitable option. The great thing about calisthenics is that it is easy to do from home or at the park with no equipment needed.

This makes it convenient and accessible to all fitness levels. To get you started, here are some of the top 10 calisthenics exercises. 


Push-ups are one of the most popular and effective exercises for targetting the chest and upper body, and they can be done nearly anywhere with little to no equipment perfect for those who want to get in shape on a budget.

To ensure you’re doing it correctly, though, keep your chest up and tummy pulled in so that your spine remains aligned throughout the exercise.

Also make sure your hands are slightly wider than shoulder-width apart and under your armpits when starting out.

For those looking to increase their challenge further, incline or decline push-up variations can spice up your routine and really hit those targeted muscle groups even harder.


Sit-ups have been a mainstay of strength and conditioning programs for a long time. They work the chest, abs, and hip flexors all at once.

To perform a sit-up correctly, you start by lying on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the floor (or have someone hold them for extra stability).

Then you bring your body up off the ground using abdominal power until it forms a ninety-degree angle with your legs. Finally, you lower yourself back down in a controlled motion if you’re looking for variations here I suggest progressing through crunches to more difficult exercises.

Even when moving on to more complicated moves, it’s important to focus on form. The safest way to do a sit-up is always the most important thing.


Leg raises are a great calisthenics exercise for working your abdominal and hip muscles. To perform the move, start by lying flat on the floor or on a mat with your legs extended and arms comfortably placed by your sides.

Then, raise both legs towards the ceiling and try to keep your lower back firmly pressed against the ground. Finally, lower them back to the starting position before repeating.

Put some intention into each lift; proper form will only benefit you in building up strength and flexibility over time.

Adding leg raises to your regular workout routine is a surefire way to get stronger and get your abs and hips in shape.


Squats are considered one of the most effective calisthenics exercises for building lower body strength. To do a standard squat, start with feet shoulder width apart with toes pointing slightly outwards and then push your hips backwards while keeping your knees aligned with feet.

Continue until your hips are below the level of your knees, pause for a few seconds, then press your heels firmly into the ground and tighten your glutes to return to starting position.

A more advanced version of this exercise is the pistol squat, which places all of your body weight onto one leg as you lower into a deep squat position using purely the strength of that single leg to return to starting position.

Both exercises are essential in strengthening and toning the muscle groups throughout the lower body.

The pistol squat is a more advanced squatting exercise that requires significantly increased levels of coordination, balance and strength.

It involves standing on only one leg with the other leg extended straight in front, before slowly descending into a deep squat position putting all your body weight onto the grounded leg.

Focus on using the power of this one leg to push yourself back to the starting position, and make sure your core stays tight the whole time. This kind of movement is a great challenge for people who want to get stronger and more in control of their hips and legs.


The pull-up is one of the most effective exercises out there for developing strength and muscle in your chest, back, and arms.

To be successful with this exercise, you’ll need access to a sturdy pull-up bar; fortunately, you can find them in a range of places. If you have space at home, consider installing your own pull-up bar there for convenience.

Alternatively, commercial gyms typically have pull-up bars available for use by members.

Finally, some playgrounds have monkey bars that work great as a makeshift pull-up bar provided they are in good condition. Make sure to keep safety in mind when using any sort of equipment – the last thing you want is an injury.


The chin-up is a useful exercise to add to any workout regimen as it works not only the upper body, but also the biceps in particular.

With an underhand shoulder-width grip, chin-ups target the biceps more than traditional pull-ups, which use an overhand grip that’s slightly wider than shoulder width.

The chin-up is a great way to build muscle without spending extra time lifting or changing exercises and it can be done virtually anywhere by anyone. Use it as part of your regular fitness routine and you’ll see results in no time.


The dip is an effective exercise to improve both strength and flexibility. To begin this difficult move, raise yourself on two parallel bars with your arms fully extended.

Lean forward and bend your elbows to lower your body, making sure that the triceps are parallel to the ground.

Finally, hoist yourself back up by straightening the arms. Dips can also be done at home if you don’t have access to a gym or specialized equipment. Use two chairs as “dip bars” or a sofa arm as the base for one of your hands with feet on a chair or other elevated surface.

With practice, performing dips will be essential for reaching your fitness goals.


The muscle-up is a powerful compound exercise that combines the pull-up with the dip. It involves explosively developing strength and honing proper form to successfully complete it.

Start by grabbing the bar with both hands in a false grip and swinging back and forth to build up speed.

Following this, the knees should be swiftly brought toward the chest while simultaneously lifting the chin towards the bar.

The next step is to roll over the bar using bent arms, or alternatively by kicking out the legs, finally pressing down on it with straight arms utilizing a regular grip.

This gymnastics like move requires practice and dedication to develop full mastery.


Mountain climbers are an effective full-body workout that require strength, agility and coordination.

To perform them correctly and maximize the benefits, it is important to start slow and maintain proper form throughout the exercise.

Ensure that your back is straight, core engaged and shoulders over wrists to ensure proper balance.

Slowly increase the number of repetitions while focusing on smooth movement rather than bouncing or jerking motions.

An effective technique used by mountain climbers is counting aloud during their reps helping them stay focused and motivated this can help you reach greater success in perfecting the exercise.


The burpee is a great exercise to add to your routine if you want to work out your whole body.

It has the benefit of being very versatile. It works a lot of different muscle groups and gets your heart rate up, which increases your metabolism and makes you stronger.

Therefore, if you’re looking for an efficient way to get into shape or just get moving for physical health then adding burpees to your routine might be the right move for you. It will give your body a boost and push it to its limits, giving you great results.

Should You Try Calisthenics Exercises Training?

Calisthenics is a great way to get stronger and more toned for people who don’t have access to a gym.

Calisthenics uses movements that work out multiple muscle groups at once. This gives you a full-body workout that can give you great results.

Unlike weight training which relies heavily on external objects such as dumbbells or machines, the bodyweight-based nature of calisthenics means that it is possible to achieve an effective workout in any open space without having to invest in weights or other items of equipment.

Calisthenics can be used as a main way to get in shape or as a supplement to any weight training program.

While some of the movements may be challenging initially, with consistent effort, you’ll gain muscle memory and become more proficient in performing them.

What’s more these exercises can easily be done at home without any equipment or money investments all that is required is your own motivation and willingness to put in the work.

Many people find that giving themselves the target of mastering a certain skill or movement gives them an added incentive to excel at calisthenics.

If you’re wanting to give these types of exercises a go, why not give it a try today? You’ll soon find out how beneficial calisthenics can be for improving physical and mental health.

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