Are you seeking the best calisthenics exercise for beginners? By pure fluke, we have just met PureGym personal trainer and fitness lover Kasumi Miyake (@kaypuregym) and she would be delighted to tell you her top tips on the best calisthenics workouts. You’ll be building a stronger, more mobile body in no time.
“Calisthenics comes from ancient Greek word ‘kallos’, which means ‘beauty’ and ‘sthenos’ meaning strength. In simple terms, calisthenics is resistance training using your own bodyweight,” Kasumi explains.
“You might’ve comes across people doing calisthenics in parks, showing off their super human strength and performing things like the human flag, planche, muscle ups, front lever and pistol squats. It’s pretty impressive and – considering you don’t need a gym – it’s a great way to get into shape and build new skills without the outlay,” she explains.
But what is the best way to start calisthenics?
“Start with the basics. As with any skill, it’s good practice to nail the simple stuff first and gradually build up to some of those previously mentioned mega moves. Nailing down good habits and good form early on in your calisthenics journey will only help you reap benefits and help you to progress faster.”
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6 moves to get you going
Build strength in the lower back, posterior chain and lower body with a simple round of bodyweight squats. Stand feet shoulder-width apart and keeping the back flat, hinge at the hips and lower your bottom towards the ground as if you were about to be seated. Pause at the bottom of the move, when thighs are parallel with the ground, now engage your core, glutes and leg muscles and drive through the heels of your feet to standing position. Repeat.
This simple but hugely effective move will build a rock-solid upper body and give you the strength to take calisthenics training to the next level. Grab a solid bar (or branch or piece of park apparatus) with an overhand grip. Ensure feet are off the ground and bodyweight is controlled by the upper body only. Now pull the shoulder blades back and down towards your posterior, pulling your chin above the bar or branch. Lower to the start position and repeat. If this is too tricky, seek help with a friend of resistance bands, which can be looped around the bar to assist in the upward motion.
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It doesn’t get simpler than this, but the humble push-up (when performed correctly) activates the chest, back muscles, abs and muscles in the legs. It’s absolutely;y brilliant for building base strength. If you want to know how to perform a push-up properly, read our extensive guide here.
Similar to the push-up, the plank activates various major muscle groups and encourages all of those small stabilising muscles to get firing. Build these diminutive groups and you’ll be able to perform much more complex bodyweight exercises in the future. From a push-up position, lower onto your forearms, keep the back flat and glutes activated. Stay in this position for 30-60 seconds and don’t let the hips sag or your butt to shoot towards the sky.
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This is a slightly more advanced move and will require a solid bar that’s positioned around hip height or just above. It works best using a Smith machine in the gym, but it’s possible to find this kind off apparatus in a local park. Grab the bar with an overhand grip and extend your legs straight out in front. The move requires you to pull – or row- your chest towards the bars using your arm, back and chest muscles. Engage the powerful shoulders by pinning them back and bringing them down towards your butt.
A true tricep killer, this move can be performed on a gym bench, park bench or any old bench. Sit with back facing bench and place palms on the flat surface. Lower the body by bending your elbows, keeping them close to the sides. Repeat.
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