3 men explaining everything you need to know about calisthenics

Calisthenics has become increasingly popular in recent years, especially with the rise of social media. With its focus on bodyweight exercises, calisthenics has attracted people of all ages and fitness levels, promising to build strength, improve flexibility, and transform your physique. However, like any other form of exercise, also here there is the good, the bad, and the ugly side. In this article, we’ll explore the benefits of calisthenics, along with some of the potential risks and drawbacks. Here is everything you need to know about calisthenics.

What you will learn in this article:

The rise of calisthenics fueled by social media

3 men doing calisthenics and with the rising number of calisthenics users in the world

When we started in 2012 Calisthenics was more of a niche. A small group of people that created a new style of working out by sharing their experience online. Over the years it evolved to a mainstream fitness trend with millions of people doing and loving it. However, there is no light without shadow, so let us show you the good, the bad and the ugly side of this sport. We are ready to show you everything you need to know about calisthenics.

The Good

The fist thing that you need to know about Calisthenics is that Calisthenics connects people. Doing the same thing and sharing your results with like minded people, is a great way to stay motivated and reach your goals. Many of you probably started because you saw someone doing a muscle up, a handstand or a planche and wanted to do the same. Another good thing about Calisthenics is the variety because Calisthenics is not a simple sport with one goal. It actually offers a very wide spectrum for different goals and training styles.

Calisthenics styles

Man doing the Calisthenics Style "Zero Equip Focused"

There are people that just want to stay fit without going to the gym or using any equipment at all.

Man doing the Calisthenics Style  "Mobility/Flexibility Focused"

Others like to focus on mobility and do yoga-like training with some calisthenics elements in it. 

Man doing the Calisthenics Style "Skill Focused"

Another group focuses on skills, so improving their strength & coordination to learn challenging moves.

Man doing the Calisthenics Style "Hypertrophy Focused"

There are also people that do Calisthenics with the main goal to build an athletic body, so something that could be called: Bodyweight Bodybuilding.

Man doing the Calisthenics Style "Strength Endurance Focused"

Sets and reps is another unique training style. These people focus on basic exercises like pull ups and push ups with high numbers. 

Man doing the Calisthenics Style "Max Strength Focused"

There are also competitions for weighted Calisthenics, such as how much additional weight you can pull, push and squat.

Is it possible to combine this styles?

  • Man doing stretching during a calisthenics workout
  • Man doing a V Sit during a calisthenics workout

Each of these styles is different and requires a different training approach, at least if you want to max out these styles. On the other hand it’s also possible to be a good allrounder and some styles can have a carryover effect for others.

For example:

  • Mobility is important for many calisthenics skills.
  • Weighted Calisthenics has a carry over effect for the strength aspect of skills.
  • And strength training in general will build muscle, no matter if you do weighted Calisthenics in a lower or sets and reps in a higher rep range.

Besides these styles: Calisthenics is a sport that doesn’t require a fully equipped gym. Most of the exercises can be done on the ground, on a pull up bar, or on a pair of rings. To get a specific or good all around calisthenics workout program, make sure to join our online courses on Every program comes as a detailed day by day guide so that you don’t have to worry about what to do, how much to do, and when to train. Benefit from our knowledge and experience and make your workouts count.

The Bad

Man training to show the bad side of calisthenics

One of the major downsides of Calisthenics is that it’s a bit tricky to adapt the exercises to your level. If you train with weights it’s very easy to add or remove weight in very tiny steps. So you can adapt every exercise very precisely to your level and the rep range you wanna train in.

With Calisthenics it’s a bit different. You can’t change your own body weight immediately so you have to find other ways to make the exercises easier or harder. So if you can’t do pull ups, start with row, do negatives or use a band. If you can’t hold a front or back lever, start with skin the cat and shorten the lever when doing holds. And if you can’t do handstand push ups make them easier by doing pike push ups with feet support on the ground. There are many options, but you have to be aware of them and also know when and how to apply them correctly.

The Ugly

Man with injury during calisthenics training

Over the years we’ve seen so many people who killed their  joints, tore their muscles, and beat down their bodies because they were too impatient and let their egos take over. Sure this is not a Calisthenics exclusive thing but Calisthenics seems to be a magnet for people that like to show off. This is not about shaming people for showing and sharing the results of their hard work. Of course you can and should be proud of your achievements! It’s only a problem if you’re doing way too risky things you’re simply not ready for

That’s also the reason why we preach the same principles over and over again: 

  • Be patient and prepare your body
  • Always train with proper form
  • and don’t let your ego take over

Long story short: you may progress a bit slower if you’re more careful but if you’re injured you can’t train at all and with that even lose what you’ve built so far.

Uncovering the truth behind calisthenics on social media

Calisthenics on social media: The good

Man standing to show the right position of the spine

This last point has something good, bad and ugly to it. The good part is that social media allows us to share our results & motivate each other. You can watch other people’s success stories, you can read fitness articles & get hyped up by motivational videos. Besides that, social media makes it very easy to get and share information & knowledge about calisthenics and fitness in general.

Calisthenics on social media: The bad

Comparrison with man training and video of a man training on social media

However the bad part is that everyone can also share misinformation with the click of a button. People can pass opinions off as facts and sadly, some will believe those things even if they are simply not true. So it can be tricky to find reliable sources that care about your health while offering solid information, but they are definitely out there.

Calisthenics on social media: The ugly

Man struggling during a calisthenics workout

And here is our last point of our “Everything you need to know about Calisthenics” guide. The ugly part about social media are wrong expectations and a distorted image of reality. That´s because most of the time you only see the results, and not the hard work behind it. So don’t get frustrated because you can’t do muscle ups after just a few weeks of training and can’t look like a Greek god immediately. These things need time and usually don’t come that easy! Also be aware that social media favors content that is impressive. So you are more likely to see an above average performance or physique, and this can lead to skyrocketing expectations. 

Graph that shows how many push ups can people do in a row

To get a reality check here is a little fun fact:  According to a study, more than half of Americans are incapable of performing 10 consecutive push ups, and more than a third cannot even do 5 pushups in a row. So if you can do more than 10 push ups in a row you are above average! 

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