7 Things to Know Before You Start Calisthenics

man doing a push up on a calisthenic bar

Calisthenics is fantastic way for anybody to get a whole-body workout. However, if you are a beginner, it can be intimidating to watch people rep out impressive pull-ups or hand stands.

Fortunately, calisthenics makes progress achievable. With time, commitment and practice, you can exceed beginner status. That being said, today we are breaking down how to start calisthenics for any beginner.

man doing a pull up on a calisthenic bar

1.     How to Start Calisthenics?

The thing about fitness is that there is no “right” time or place to start your fitness journey. You just have to start to get anywhere. The very same applies to starting your calisthenics journey. With calisthenics, just start wherever you are.

The wonderful thing about calisthenics is that it is built for everybody. Regardless of your age, size, gender or experience, you can kick start your own calisthenics journey. Not to mention, you do not need any fancy gym equipment. You don’t even need a trainer. You just need yourself and the will to begin.

man doing a half push up

2.    Walk Before You Run

A fitness pitfall many people fall into is overestimating your progress. What I mean by this is that you might notice a huge amount of progress at the start of your journey. The new fitness environment and lessons can easily drag you into trying to run before you can walk.

It is important to understand that you must build a solid foundation and not over-complicate matters. It will reduce the chances of injury and improve your chances for long-lasting process.

topless man getting a selfie to show off his calisthenic body

3.    Do Not Compare Yourself to Anyone

Everyone is different. As such, everyone is bound to start their calisthenics journey in different places and progress at different rates.

No one will share the same training history or fitness history as you. It is important to remember that you are unique, and your journey has nothing to do with anyone but yourself.

It can be intimidating to see other people who are moving faster than you. However, turn that into inspiration instead. Comparing yourself will only result in negative perceptions about yourself which will only slow you down.

Do not think of it as you racing against other people. It is better to measure your improvement against yourself. Ask yourself if you are better than the person you were yesterday. If yes, then you are progressing.

man doing a pull up on a home made calisthenic bar

4.    What Are the Basic Calisthenic Exercises?

Calisthenics can get a reputation for focusing on strength, but it is so much more than that. In reality, calisthenics is a balance between strength and movement. They rely on each other.

That being said, it is important to start with the basic exercises that build up your strength and mobility.

Here are the basic calisthenic exercises you can start with:

  1. Pull-Ups: They strengthen your back and arms as well as your abs and shoulder.
  2. Push-Ups: These build a strong chest and triceps.
  3. Various Dips: This exercise is designed to workout your entire upper body.
  4. Ab Exercises: These exercises improve your core.

When you begin, keep it simple. There is no need to get fancy. What matters at the start is building your endurance and strength and mastering proper form.

man doing a chin up

5.    What Are Proper Forms?

Since calisthenics focuses on the foundation of the body, using proper form is vital to beginners. Proper form protects you from straining the wrong muscles and ensures you are getting the most out of each exercise.

The forms you should pay close attention to are your body alignment and your shoulders.

For example, you back should never be arched in press-ups or plank position. Instead, your back should rest flat and depressed between your shoulder blades.

These two aspects are key to developing strong foundations to the rest of your calisthenics journey. Paying attention to these forms will eventually make these exercises easier for you to progress.

overweight man exercising on a treadmill

6.    How to Start Calisthenics When Overweight?

As we mentioned earlier, calisthenics can be done by just about anyone. However, when you are overweight, simple movements can be painful. That is not to say calisthenics are impossible if you are overweight. It just means you have to ease into calisthenics much more carefully than others to avoid straining your joints.

If you are obese, start with low-intensity cardiovascular exercise. Start with something as little as a 1-minute walk three times a day. From there, you can slowly get more accustomed to more rigorous, daily activity, such as swimming and water aerobics. These exercises should take strain off your knees, ankles and hips and help you achieve a higher intensity and increase your stamina.

Resistance training is also perfectly viable for overweight people. Resistance training deals with increasing your muscle to fat ratio and boosting metabolism.

However, squats, lunges and step ups are limited and hurt for people who are overweight. Instead, train your legs by doing seated leg extensions. Do pushups against a counter or a wall to work your chest.

a before and after picture of a young adult showing the transformation he has gone through by doing regular calisthenic workouts.

7.    Can Anyone Do Calisthenics?

Calisthenics has to be one of the most accessible fitness plans out there. Like we have mentioned, anyone anywhere can take up calisthenics. It is just a matter of being aware of where you are starting, mastering the basics and establishing a strong foundation for progress.

Granted, like all fitness plans, it is best to consult your doctor if you have a specific health condition. Make sure you get approval from your doctor to do certain exercises. While they might not be as outrightly rigorous as weightlifting, calisthenics can definitely be intense.

Other than that, everyone who is willing can easily start calisthenics.


When you boil it down, calisthenics is a creative style of training. While there are some vital things to be mindful of, calisthenics is essentially freeform training.

There are many ways you can strengthen your body so have fun with it and feel free to explore. Remember, it is your fitness journey. How to start calisthenicsis up to you. If you have any comments or questions, feel free to share them!

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