10 Effective Calisthenics Exercises To Strengthen And Build Muscles

Image : © Mqdee

So, what’s stopping you from getting fit? An inability to get that much touted gym membership? Can’t afford all those expensive workout equipments? Now, let’s not allow these factors stop you from working out and lose weight, to get fit and sexy!

Calisthenics exercises use body weight for resistance. It needs no equipment. These exercises strengthen and build muscles without the need of any dumbbells, barbells or balls. Usually combined with stretching exercises, calisthenics exercises provide cardiovascular benefits.

Benefits Of Calisthenics Exercises:

  • Calisthenics exercises help in building and strengthening muscles.
  • Improves balance, agility, and coordination.
  • Enhances stamina, strength, and flexibility.
  • Calisthenics prevent muscle and joint injuries that can be caused by heavy weight lifting.
  • People from all age groups can do these exercises.
  • Improves your control over your body.
  • Are completely free and can be done anywhere.
  • Calisthenics exercises burn more calories.
  • These exercises help in building lean muscles instead of the bulky look that is added by weights.
  • Most of calisthenics can be done by beginners.

Top 10 Calisthenics Exercises:

Most of the calisthenics exercises involve rhythmic movements and are progressive in nature. So, you never get bored with them and never run out of challenge. Here are ten best calisthenics exercises, which are a mixture of old school as well as new moves. These exercises works your upper body, core, and lower body.

1. Burpees:

Targets: Total body

Most people have a love-hate relationship with this ultimate fat burning move, burpees. It is a cardio-strength training combination move. It is also called squat jump thrusts.

  • Start standing in an erect posture with abs tight and shoulders back.
  • Get down into a squat position and put your hands on the floor in front of your feet.
  • Now balancing your weight on your hands, jump and thrust your body back into a plank position.
  • Jump back into the previous position and stand up.
  • Repeat the move 15-20 times.
  • To intensify this move, do a push-up after getting into the plank position.

2. Jumping Jacks:

Targets: Total body

Jumping jacks are one of the most common and effective move for burning calories and strengthening the body. The jumping jack provides good cardio. It is beneficial for the heart and lungs. It is one of the foundation exercises in calisthenics.

  • Start standing in the erect posture with feet together and arms at your side.
  • Now inhale and jump in the air while kicking your legs out and wide.
  • At the same time, raise your arms overhead. For good measure, you can clap or join your hands.
  • Again, jump and bring your hands down and your feet back together.
  • Repeat this 30-50 times.
  • You can vary your speed according to your level.

3. Prisoner Squat Jumps:

Targets: Total body, specifically legs

Prisoner squat jumps are a modified version of squat jumps. The different positioning of arms in the prisoner squats works on the core, opens up the chest, and tightens the muscles in the upper back.

  • Begin with standing in the erect posture with your feet apart.
  • Put your hands behind your head with your elbows high and pointing out to the opposite side.
  • Squat down low with your torso slightly forward. Keep your spine straight and knees above your heels.
  • Now jump up in the air while straightening up as high as you can. Do not move your hands.
  • Land softly and repeat the move for 15 counts.

4. Front And Back Lunge:

Targets: abs, butt and thighs

It is a modified version of lunges. Instead of doing simple back or front lunges with alternating legs, this move involves doing front lunge and back lunge alternately with the same legs. This puts more pressure on your thigh muscles and leaves them burning.

  • Start with standing erect with feet apart.
  • Take your right foot forward and lunge by bending your left knee down as low as you can.
  • Make sure your right knee is above the heel and your thigh is parallel to the floor.
  • Now putting pressure on your left heel, straighten up and bring your feet together.
  • Now take the right leg backwards and lower it down into the lunge.
  • Repeat the front and back lunges for 15 counts with the right leg, and then do it for the left one.

5. Bicycle Crunches:

Targets: Core and legs

Bicycle crunches are one of the best exercises for building a strong core. It works on both abdominal muscles and the obliques.

  • Lie down flat on your back with your whole body straight, bellybutton sucked in and abs tight.
  • Put your hand behind your head with your elbows pointing out.
  • Now raise your legs and bend your knees such that your thighs are perpendicular to the ground and your calves are parallel to it.
  • Lifting your head up and crunching those upper abs, touch your right elbow to your left knee and straighten the right leg at the time. Do not make your legs touch the floor.
  • Then in the same manner touch your left elbow to the right knee while straightening the left leg.
  • Do it for 15-3 reps.

6. One-leg Push-up:

Targets: core, shoulders, triceps, biceps and chest

One-leg Push-up is a version of push up, which is more advanced than the simple push-ups. This version of push-ups put greater emphasis on the shoulders and back muscles while working the core and arms.

  • Start in the basic push-up position on your hands and toes with your back straight and abs tight.
  • Place your hands under your shoulders and lift one leg off the ground.
  • Now lower yourself by bending your elbows and pushing them back to your sides. Go as low as you can without touching the floor.
  • Push yourself up and do it again as many times as you can without lowering that leg.

7. Forearm Push-ups:

Targets: Core, arms and shoulders

Forearm push-ups are a variation of plank and are amazing for strengthening the core.

  • Start in the plank position with your abs tight and spine straight.
  • Now come to the forearms by bending your elbows one by one.
  • By straightening your arms one by one return to the plank position. This makes one push-up.
  • Repeat this move 15 times.

8. Triceps-Dips:

Targets: Triceps

Tricep-dips are the best exercise for working on triceps. It is one of the foundation moves in calisthenics. You require a bench or a raised surface for doing the dips.

  • Sit on the chair or bench whatever you are using for the dips.
  • Now grip the ends of the chair by your sides and push yourself forward off the chair while gripping the ends such that your posture is the same as if you were sitting on a chair.
  • This is your posture for doing the tricep-dips.
  • Now bend your elbows and lower yourself as low as you can till your triceps become parallel to the ground.
  • Push yourself to the original position.
  • Do 15 reps. 

9. Superman:

Targets: Back and Abs

Superman is great for both the upper and lower back while working on the smaller muscles in the body. The best thing about this exercise is that it can be done by beginners. It can be used as a rest exercise in between high intensity moves.

  • Lie in the prone position on your stomach and place your arms straight by your sides.
  • Lift your legs and arms till your thighs are off the floor and your chest is slightly lifted.
  • Now make a sweeping motion by pushing your legs and arms as much out as they go.
  • Return to the original position.
  • Do 15 reps.

10. Hip Raise With Leg Lift:

Targets: Belly, lower abs and butts

This is the best exercise for your butt. Hip raises are also effective if you want to get rid of that belly fat and muffin tops.

  • Lie on your back with your back straight and abs tightened.
  • Bend your knees and put your feet on the floor.
  • Now raise your butt high off the floor such that your thighs and back make a straight line.
  • Now lift one leg up straight. Beginners can bend their knees slightly.
  • Lower your butt as low as you can without touching it on the floor. Then raise back up.
  • Repeat this motion for 2 minutes.

All these exercises can be made more challenging by adding some extra weights.

Calisthenics exercises are great for your body. So do not let the lack of equipment or gym membership keep you from building that oh-so-sexy body!

Have you ever tried calisthenics? Which move do you practice? Share with us in the comments section below.

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