Calisthenics for Beginners

Posted on Dec 26, 2020


Date Updated: December 26, 2020

What is Calisthenics

Known also as bodyweight training, these are exercises that are done using mostly your own bodyweight or minimal equipment. If you’ve ever taken up any kind of workout, then chances are you’ve done some form of callisthenics or other, like pushups, squats, and crunches.

These days you won’t see many Singapore gyms offering callisthenics classes straight up as they’re not as trendy as the likes of HIIT, Functional Training, or boxing. What many people don’t know is that callisthenicss conditioning exercises are a great way to build the strength and stamina needed for high-intensity complex movements.

Callisthenics is the perfect workout for people who are only starting to get into a fitness regimen. At Pilates Plus Singapore, we recommend callisthenics as a complementary class to our Pilates for Beginners sessions. No special skills are required to perform these exercises, and they can be adjusted easily to your strength and fitness levels. What’s more, once you’ve learned how to do them properly, you can do callisthenics just about anywhere, anytime.

Callisthenics Benefits

If your goal is to develop muscle mass like that of a bodybuilder, then callisthenics is a good supplementary exercise for weight training, which should be your main workout. But if you’re aiming for a limber and toned physique, then callisthenics would suit you fine.

Callisthenics exercises help you build a fit and strong upper and lower body, and core. With these simple and natural movements, you’ll be able to: 

  • Improve your flexibility
  • Enhance your range of motion
  • Maintain good form
  • Develop your aerobic capacity
  • Tone and strengthen your muscles
  • Gain flexibility on your hips and lower body
  • Get in shape or cross-train for a sport/competition

Step-by-Step Guide to Calisthenics

Although it’s ideal for beginners, callisthenicscalisthenics are a go-to complementary workout for seasoned gym-goers, bodybuilders, and exercise buffs. That’s because these exercises are an effective way to work out your entire body, improve strength, stability, and mobility to help you perform better not just in your sport or workout of choice but in your daily tasks and everyday routine.

Pushups Get down on all fours but place your hands slightly wider than your shoulders. Extend your legs and hold your body up into plank position using your arms. Lower your body until your chest is nearly touching the floor. Pause, push yourself back up, and repeat.

Category: Pushups
Where it works: torso—pectorals, triceps, anterior deltoid

torso—pectorals, triceps, anterior deltoid
Squats Stand up straight with your toes facing forward, but place your feet slightly wider than the hips. Clasp your hands over your chest for balance and thrust your hips backwards. Then bend your knees and go down as low as you can while keeping your back in a neutral position.

Category: Squats
Where it works: thighs/quadriceps

Bench Dips Sit down on a stable bench with your hands placed next to your thighs. Extend your legs and lift your backside off the bench with your arms supporting your body. Bend your elbows to lower your body so your arms are at a 90-degree angle. Push yourself up with your palms. Repeat.

Category: Bench Dips
Where it works: upper arms/triceps

upper arms/triceps
Calf Raises Stand up straight then raise your heels off the floor by pushing through the balls of your feet until you’re on your toes. Hold it, get back down slowly, then repeat.

Category: Calf Raises
Where it works: calves and ankles

calves and ankles
Crunches Lay down with your back flat on the ground, knees bent at a 90-degree angle, and feet planted on the floor. Cross your hands over your chest and bend your head slightly toward your chest. Contracting your core, push yourself up until your chest touches your knees.

Category: Crunches
Where it works: abdominal muscles: trunk, pelvis, obliques

abdominal muscles: trunk, pelvis, obliques
Lunges Stand up straight then step forward so one leg is at a 90-degree angle to your body. Slowly sink into a lunge until the back knee is a few inches off the ground. Switch legs and repeat.

Category: Lunges
Where it works: thighs/quadriceps

Burpees (1) Get into a squat position. (2) Lower your hands to the floor. (3) With your hands supporting your weight, kickbackkick back so you’re on your hands and toes, and in a pushup position. (4) Do a frog kick by jumping back into your starting position. (5) Stand up and reach over your head. (6) Jump up and land back down with your knees bent, then get into a squat position and start over.

Category: Burpees
Where it works: chest, arms, quads, glutes, abs, hamstrings

chest, arms, quads, glutes, abs, hamstrings
Chin Ups Stand in front of an exercise bar. Grasp the bar from underneath—in a tight grip and with your arms slightly closer together. Pull yourself up using your biceps so that your head goes up over the bar. Repeat.

Category: Chin Ups
Where it works: back muscles

back muscles
Mountain Climbers Start in plank position—shoulders directly over your hands and wrists; with your spine in a neutral position. Work your core to lift the right knee and bring it toward your elbow as close as you can. Move the right knee back to starting position while driving the left knee toward your left elbow, then back to starting position. Think of it like you’re running in place but in a plank position.

Category: Mountain Climbers
Where it works: deltoids, biceps, triceps, abdominals, chest, obliques, quads, hamstrings

deltoids, biceps, triceps, abdominals, chest, obliques, quads, hamstrings

Why Pilates Plus for Calisthenics

At Pilates Plus in Singapore, callisthenics is one of our go-to methods for building the foundations of our Pilates practice. We guide our students toward achieving their fitness goals in a way that is physically and mentally suited to them. Progressing through their workouts, they gain a better appreciation of callisthenics as a way to build better functional mobility, so they can go about their lives with ease, comfort, and control.

We help you move your body better with these callisthenics class options at our studio:

  • Callisthenics Fundamentals: to help you get the basics with the right form and movements
  • Bent Arm Class: to level-up your pull-ups, dips, squats; and advance to complex variations
  • Rings Class: to work out the arms through gymnastic rings, paralettes, and floor work

Ready to get started on callisthenics? TAP HERE to register an account and after you have purchased the package we can update your class credits accordingly. A booking confirmation email will be sent after you book your session. Feel free to contact us at +65 6221-1845 for more details.

* All content (text and visuals) on this page was reviewed by Michel Velasco on December 22, 2020