3 Exercises to start in Calisthenics

Ever wanted to start in Calisthenics but have no idea where to start? Well, here are 3 basic exercises to start with.

What is calisthenics?

Calisthenics is the same as pure bodyweight training that is getting more and more popularized nowadays, and can be a great substitute to traditional lifting.

In calisthenics, we putting more emphasis on the overall functionality of the body. We are not sitting on a machine to work on a specific muscle group. Instead, we are using more of the core for stabilization while exercising. By doing so, we can therefore increase strength, range of motion, flexibility and endurance.

Keep in mind that you want to control the eccentric phase of each movement, which is what will help you the most in building strength. The eccentric phase is also commonly referred to as the “lowering part of the movement”.

The 3 most important basic muscle groups to help you start in Calisthenics are the following:

1. Squats

Squats are great basic lower body exercise to help you strengthen your legs, as well as increasing range of motion and flexibility.


The first place to start with squats would be to sit on a chair or a box and get back up without using your hands to push off the chair/box. Try your best to keep your back and straight (chest out, butt out) and engaging that core during the movement.

Once you are comfortable with performing squats on the chair/box for 3 sets of 12 or more repetitions, try to increase your range of motion by getting a smaller box, forcing you to bring that butt closer to the floor.

Try to aim for 3 set of 12 or more reps before lowering down the box again until you are able to go for a full squat with control with no use of any box.

Perform the squats while controlling your descent as much as possible (eccentric phase)

2. Pushups

Pushups are great for building strength in your chest and triceps. Many people would recommend to start with elevated pushups, but I would suggest you start directly on the floor.


Try to keep your hands right underneath your shoulders, keeping the alignment from shoulders all the way to your feet (yes, Knees off the floor as well). Lower down with your elbows going along your rib cage, and once you are in the bottom position, place your knees on the floor to help you come back up.

Here, we are utilizing the eccentric phase to our advantage. This is a great progression to build the necessary strength in your chest and triceps while doing it with proper form.

Aim for 3 sets of 12 reps before increasing the intensity which would be varying the types of pushups with different hand positions.

3. Pullups

Those are maybe the hardest to master but here’s where to start.


If you can, try to jump into that top position of the pullup where your chin is over the bar, and just hold this position before lowering down with as much control as possible. You can do it holding the bar with palms facing you or away from you, it doesn’t matter.

Once you feel comfortable performing this for 3 sets of 12 or more, try to repeat the pullups with the use of resistance bands. The resistance bands are going to be great in teaching you the proper form of every pullup movement.


Boom! These are the only 3 exercises you need to worry about when starting calisthenics. Before you know it, you’ll have developed enough strength to go for more advanced movements and intensity.


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Til next time