Training Full Body With Calisthenics?

Today, I present you a total body routine consisting solely of bodyweight exercises.

Upper body

Bodyweight training offers a great variety of upper body exercises. If you use your imagination, you will be busy for years to come.

The upper body exercises are divided into three categories – pushing, pulling and core.


Recommended pushing exercises:

Push-ups – this exercise has passed the test of time. Why? It just works. The push-up builds your chest, triceps, deltoids and core. There are many different variations that allow virtually anyone to do some sort of push-up. If you can’t do a single one, you can start with wall push-ups. If you are too strong for regular push-ups, just elevate your feet on a chair. The sky is the limit.

Dips – the dip is harder than a standard push-up and works your chest from a different angle. The stretch at the bottom is deeper. Make sure to keep your form strict when doing dips. To avoid shoulder problems, progress slowly.

Recommended pulling exercises:

Pull-ups – the pull-up is an old exercise that has built a huge number of wide lats. The most joint friendly version is the ring pull-up.

Australian pull-ups – this exercise is the opposite of a push-up. It’s a good pulling movement for shoulder health.

Recommended core exercises:

Bodyweight training allows you to perform hundreds of exercises for your abs. Hanging leg raises, the plank, and the L-sit are the most popular. They are a good starting point that will build a foundation upon which you can complete your castle.

Lower body

Running (jogging) – running will help you develop endurance. There will be a small strength increase too. However, don’t expect leg growth from jogging. It may occur if you are tremendously untrained, but don’t dream of miracles. Jogging is not supposed to build tons muscle. It’s cardio.

Sprinting – explosive movements such as sprinting murder the lower body. If you take a strong squatter and make him sprint, the next day he will be sore like never before. The soreness is usually in the hamstrings and glutes. Frequent sprinting will build your legs, especially if you do it uphill. (Good, luck!)

Bodyweight squats – bodyweight squats can also be used as a form of cardio

One leg squats – after you’ve mastered the regular bodyweight squat, you can switch to different one leg variations. One of them is the “pistol”. It’s very hard to do, but there are many good tutorials on YouTube that will help you get there after following a progression.

Building an Example Routine

Day 1: Push + Legs

Push-ups – 5 sets of as many as you can do with good form
Sprints – 5 sprints between 50m and 100m (depending on your level of conditioning).

Warm-up properly before attempting any of the above, especially the sprints. If you are overweight, focus on losing weight first. You could also replace sprints with mild jogging. Make sure that your diet puts you in a caloric deficit too.

Day 2: Pulling + Core

Pull-ups – 5 sets of as many as you can with good form
Australian pull-ups – 5 sets of as many as you with good form

Two core exercises of choice for 3 sets. Example: 3 sets of hanging leg raises, 3 plank holds

Day 3: Rest

Day 4: Push + Legs

Dips – 5 sets of as many as you can with good form
Bodyweight squats/One leg squats/Bulgarian split squats – 5 sets of as many as you can with good form

Day 5: Pulling + Core

Pull-ups – 5 sets of as many as you can with good form
Australian pull-ups – 5 sets of as many as you with good form

Two core exercises of choice for 3 sets. Example: 3 sets of hanging leg raises, 3 plank holds

Day 6 & 7 – Rest

Q&A

Q: How should I progress?

There are many options. One would be to simply add 1-3 reps to the first few sets every week. Alternatively, you could also try to reduce the rest between sets over time. Eventually, it may be wise to add weight and/or start doing the upper body exercises on rings.

Q: Can I reach my potential with bodyweight exercises?

As far as some upper body muscles are concerned, it’s definitely possible to reach your natural potential. However, your legs, hips and spinal erectors would benefit greatly from lifting weights.

Another weak part would be your neck. You could do bridges for your neck, but many people complain of joint pain as a result of this movement. Exercises with the neck harness and/or resistance bands seem to be more joint friendly.

2 comments

    1. Truth Seeker Post author

      Of course. I was just trying to keep everything as basic as possible. Thank you for the comment.

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