Man doing a calisthenics skill

Every bodyweight focused training that involves a mix of strength, mobility balance and endurance can be described as calisthenics. This means it can be done by everyone. No matter if you just started working out or if you’re pretty advanced already. To avoid mistakes from the beginning here are 5 key facts everyone should know about calisthenics.

What you will learn in this article:

First key fact about calisthenics: Progress takes time

2 men training showing 5 Key Facts about Calisthenics

Everyone wants fast results, but setting unrealistic goals can quickly lead to frustration. Learning a Plache or a Muscle Up is nothing that happens over night, especially if you’re an absolute beginner. Even Push Ups and Pull Ups can be very hard for the average person.

Keep in mind to set realistic short term goals to stay motivated. A short term goal should be something that you can achieve in a couple of months. This can be very different from person to person, so let’s take different types of pull ups as an example.

Absolute beginners could focus on clean negative pull ups or a certain amount of band assisted Pull Ups. With a couple of months practice, focus on your first pull up or your first couple of Pull Ups. Intermediate athletes could simply focus on more reps to build the foundation for advanced exercises. If you are an advanced athlete, you could focus on advanced Pull Up variations, Muscle Ups or Frontlever Training.

Want more than 5 key facts about calisthenics? If you need help to structure a good calisthenics workout plan, you could take an eye on our Complete Calisthenics Program. The course is divided into different levels and includes everything a good step by step workout guide needs.

Second key fact about calisthenics: Overdoing it is counterproductive

Man training showing what happens when you overtrain

If you think you have to kill yourself in every workout, you will probably sabotage your own progress and gains. As a beginner your body needs time to adapt. This not only includes your muscles, but also your joints and the complete connective tissue.

Doing too hard exercises, training till failure or training every day, can easily lead to injuries in the long term. Without the necessary preparation, experience and proper rest time for recovery, you will also quickly lack in progress or regress.

The harder the exercise in terms of strength and technique, the more you should avoid muscle fatigue and failure. As a beginner it makes more sense to almost completely avoid failure for the first weeks. Instead focus more on the movement itself.

Third key fact about calisthenics: Mobility is important

Man doing mobility to explain 5 Key Facts about Calisthenics

To achieve certain skillsstay healthy, maintain a good posture and build an evenly trained body, you should integrate mobility into your training. But don’t confuse it with passive stretching. Mobility means to increase your range of motion with active movements.

Even a basic mobility training is helpful. That’s because strength training can lead to stiff muscles – and stiff muscles can lead to imbalances and injuries. Practicing mobility training regularly, helps you to stay mobile and avoid these negative side effects. If Mobility is one of your goals or if you want to benefit from mobility training in general, check our Mobility 2.0 Program.

Fourth key fact about calisthenics: Calisthenics builds muscle

Fit man doing a calisthenics training program

Calisthenics vs Weights: which is better to build muscles? You should know that you can build muscle with calisthenics workouts, just like you can do it with weights. In some cases it can be a bit tricky, because you have to adapt exercises to make them harder or easier.

For example: You want to train your chest in the 8-12 rep range. If you choose weights you could do that with the bench press and adjust the weight to do the right amount of reps. In calisthenics you could do it with push ups. In this case, choose a progression that allows you to do the same amount of repetitions.

Finding the right progression can be tricky and sometimes the gap between these progressions can be huge. But it’s also more fun and adds more variety if you change an exercise instead of doing the same one over and over again and only add more weight. 

Calisthenics is all about the right progression and variation. With that you can adapt the exercise to the right rep range in order to build muscle. Our Body Transformation Program exactly focuses on this rule. Try this body weight workout and whatch your body and mind change!

Fifth key fact about calisthenics: Leg training is important

Man training his legs without weights

Calisthenics Guys don’t train legs, right? Well of course this stereotype has it’s reason. Many guys skip leg training because it’s harder to do skills with more muscle mass on the lower body. This doesn’t mean that you can’t train legs effectively with calisthenics. But you should still know that Calisthenics leg training has its limitations. 

If you already have a very strong lower body and want to push your strength to the limit, weighted squats are hard to beat. But as a beginner you could want a good mix between building muscle, improving mobility and increasing strength. In this case, exercises like squats, lunges, archer squats and pistols can do the job quite well.

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