8 Calisthenics Exercises for Beginners

Calisthenics is a form of bodyweight training that can be done anywhere, anytime, without any equipment. It’s a great way to build strength, improve flexibility, and boost overall fitness. If you’re just starting out with calisthenics, it’s important to begin with exercises that are appropriate for your fitness level.

In this article, we’ll look at eight calisthenics exercises that are ideal for beginners. Whether you’re looking to build strength, improve your balance, or just get a good workout, these exercises will help you achieve your goals.

We’ll cover exercises that target all the major muscle groups, including the chest, back, arms, core, and legs. These exercises can be done with just your bodyweight, no equipment required. However, as you progress, you can make them more challenging by adding weights, resistance bands, or other equipment.

If you’re new to calisthenics, it’s important to start slowly and pay attention to your form. Focus on mastering the basics before moving on to more challenging exercises. With consistent practice, you’ll be able to build strength, improve your fitness, and achieve your calisthenics goals.


What are squats?

Squats are a basic exercise that work the muscles in your legs, hips, glutes, and core. They are performed by bending your knees and lowering your hips towards the ground, then standing back up again. Squats can be done with or without weights, making them a versatile exercise for beginners.

How to perform squats

To perform a basic squat, stand with your feet hip-width apart and your toes pointed slightly outwards. Keep your chest up and your core engaged. Lower your hips down towards the ground by bending your knees, keeping your weight in your heels. Make sure your knees do not go past your toes. Then, push back up to a standing position. Repeat for multiple sets.

Variations of squats

There are many variations of squats that you can try as you become more comfortable with the exercise. These include narrow squats, wide squats, sumo squats, jump squats, and more. You can also add weights, such as dumbbells or kettlebells, to increase the difficulty.

Tips for performing squats

To ensure proper form while performing squats, keep your feet flat on the ground and your weight in your heels. Do not let your knees collapse inward or go past your toes. Keep your chest up and your core engaged throughout the exercise. Start with a low number of reps and gradually increase as you become stronger. And always listen to your body – if you feel pain or discomfort, stop the exercise.


The Basics

Push-ups are a classic calisthenics exercise that targets the chest, triceps, shoulders, and core. They are a great exercise for beginners as they require no equipment and can be done anywhere. To do a push-up, start in a plank position with your hands directly under your shoulders and your feet hip-width apart. Lower your body by bending your elbows and keeping your core engaged. Then, push back up to a plank position.

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If traditional push-ups are too difficult, there are several variations that can be done to make them easier. The first step is to start with modified push-ups, where you start in a plank position but with your knees on the ground. Another variation is the wall push-up, where you stand facing a wall and push your body away from the wall. As you become more comfortable and strong, you can progress to elevated push-ups, where your hands are on an elevated surface like a bench or step.

If traditional push-ups are too easy, there are also several variations that can be done to make them more challenging. One such variation is the diamond push-up, where you place your hands close together in a diamond shape. Another variation is the decline push-up, where your feet are elevated on a bench or step, making it more difficult to push your body up.

  • Modified push-up
  • Wall push-up
  • Elevated push-up
  • Diamond push-up
  • Decline push-up


When doing push-ups, it’s important to keep your core engaged and your body in a straight line from head to toe. Keep your elbows close to your body and avoid flaring them out to the sides. You should also avoid letting your hips sag or raising your hips too high, as this can put unnecessary strain on your lower back. Start with a few reps and aim to progress slowly over time.


What Are Lunges?

Lunges are a type of calisthenics exercise that focuses on strengthening the lower body. They involve stepping forward with one leg and bending both knees to lower the body towards the ground. This movement engages the quadriceps, glutes, and hamstrings, making it an effective exercise for toning and strengthening the legs.

How to Perform Lunges

To perform a lunge, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your hands on your hips or clasped in front of your chest. Step forward with one foot, keeping your back foot in place. Bend both knees to lower your body towards the ground, making sure your front knee is directly above your ankle and your back knee is hovering just above the ground. Push back up to the starting position and repeat with the other leg.

Tip: Focus on keeping your posture upright and your core engaged throughout the movement to help stabilize your body and avoid injury.

  • Perform 10-12 reps on each leg for one set.
  • Complete 2-3 sets of lunges in your workout routine.
  • You can increase the difficulty of lunges by holding a dumbbell in each hand or adding a jump between each lunge.

Lunges are a great exercise for improving lower body strength and can be easily modified to suit your fitness level. Incorporate this exercise into your workout routine to see improvements in your leg strength and overall fitness.



Plank is one of the most effective exercises for strengthening your core. It is also a great exercise for beginners as it doesn’t require any equipment and can be performed anywhere.

How to perform

To perform a plank, start by getting into a push-up position, with your arms extended and your hands placed shoulder-width apart. Lower your body until it is parallel to the ground, with your feet hip-width apart.

Engage your core muscles and hold this position for as long as you can. Aim for at least 30 seconds to start with, and gradually increase the duration as your strength improves.


  • Maintain a straight line from your head to your heels throughout the exercise
  • Avoid arching your back or raising your hips too high
  • Focus on your breathing, inhaling through your nose and exhaling through your mouth
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Incorporating plank into your regular exercise routine can help improve your overall fitness and posture. Give it a try and see the difference for yourself!

Jumping Jacks

Jumping Jacks

What are Jumping Jacks?

Jumping Jacks are a calisthenics exercise that involves jumping while simultaneously spreading your legs and raising your arms over your head. This exercise is generally done as part of a warm-up routine or as a cardiovascular exercise.

How to Do Jumping Jacks

To perform a Jumping Jack, stand with your feet together and your arms at your sides. Then, jump up while spreading your legs apart and raising your arms over your head. As you jump back down, bring your legs together and lower your arms back to your sides. Repeat this movement for a complete set.

Make sure to keep your core engaged and your back straight throughout the exercise. Additionally, land softly on your feet to minimize impact on your knees and joints.

Benefits of Jumping Jacks

  • Jumping Jacks are a great cardiovascular exercise that can help improve your endurance and stamina.
  • This exercise also helps to improve coordination and balance.
  • Jumping Jacks provide a full-body workout, engaging your legs, arms, core, and cardiovascular system.
  • This exercise requires no equipment and can be done anywhere, making it a convenient option for a quick workout session.

Overall, Jumping Jacks are an effective calisthenics exercise that can provide numerous health benefits. Incorporate them into your workout routine for a fun and challenging cardio workout.

Mountain Climbers

What are Mountain Climbers?

Mountain climbers are a calisthenics exercise that combines cardio and strength training. This exercise targets the core, arms, and legs.

How to do Mountain Climbers?

Begin in a high plank position, with your wrists under your shoulders and your body in a straight line from head to heels. Keep your core engaged and your gaze at the ground.

First, drive your right knee towards your chest, and then return it to its original position as you simultaneously drive your left knee towards your chest. Continue alternating the legs as if you are running in place or climbing a mountain.

Variations of Mountain Climbers

There are different variations to mountain climbers, depending on your fitness level:

  • Beginner: Start slow and controlled. Do 10 repetitions, rest, and repeat for 3 sets.
  • Intermediate: Increase the speed and intensity. Do 20 repetitions, rest, and repeat for 3 sets.
  • Advanced: Add a push-up or a mountain climber jump, where you jump your feet forward and backward instead of running in place. Do 30 repetitions, rest, and repeat for 3 sets.


What are burpees?

Burpees are a full-body exercise that involves several movements such as a push-up, squat, and jump. It is a cardio exercise that doesn’t require any equipment, making it an excellent exercise to perform at home or while traveling.

How to perform burpees?

To perform burpees, start by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart. Then, drop your hands to the floor in front of you, jump your feet back into a plank position, do a push-up, and then jump your feet back to your hands. Finally, explode upwards, jumping as high as you can with your arms stretched overhead.

What are the benefits of burpees?

Burpees are a high-intensity exercise that will get your heart pumping and burn a lot of calories. They are an excellent full-body workout that targets your arms, chest, core, glutes, and legs, helping you develop strength and endurance. Burpees also improve your coordination and agility, making them an excellent addition to any workout routine.

Leg Raises

Exercise description

Leg Raises are an effective calisthenics exercise that strengthens the hip flexors and lower abs. This exercise is performed by lying on the back with legs straight, then raising the legs towards the ceiling while keeping them straight.

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There are several variations of Leg Raises that offer different levels of challenge. Beginners can start with the basic Straight Leg Raise and progress to the Hanging Leg Raise or the Windshield Wiper Leg Raise, which require more strength and control.


  • Keep your lower back flat on the ground throughout the exercise.
  • Breathe out as you raise your legs and breathe in as you lower them down.
  • Engage your core muscles to keep your body stable.

Sample Workout

Include Leg Raises in your calisthenics routine by performing 3 sets of 10-12 reps of Straight Leg Raises, followed by 3 sets of 8-10 reps of Hanging Leg Raises or Windshield Wiper Leg Raises.

Questions and Answers:

What is calisthenics?

Calisthenics is a form of exercise that uses body weight for resistance training. It involves performing various movements such as push-ups, pull-ups, squats, and lunges without the use of equipment.

What are some benefits of calisthenics?

Calisthenics can help improve strength, flexibility, endurance, and overall fitness levels. It can also be done anywhere, anytime, without the need for equipment or a gym membership. Additionally, calisthenics can help reduce the risk of injury by focusing on functional movements and proper form.

What are some beginner calisthenics exercises?

Some beginner calisthenics exercises include: jumping jacks, push-ups, squats, lunges, planks, mountain climbers, burpees, and dips. These exercises can be modified to make them easier or harder, depending on individual fitness levels.


Ashley Jackson

I found this article to be very helpful in introducing me to calisthenics exercises for beginners. The descriptions and pictures made it easy to understand how to properly execute each exercise. As someone who is just starting out with fitness, it’s great to have a guide that doesn’t require fancy equipment or a gym membership. The exercises also seem very achievable, and I’m excited to incorporate them into my workout routine. I appreciate the focus on proper form and safety, and am looking forward to seeing the benefits of calisthenics on my overall fitness level. Overall, a great resource for anyone looking to get started with calisthenics.

Emily Wilson

As someone who is just getting into calisthenics, I found this article extremely helpful! The exercises presented were perfect for beginners like myself, and the instructions were easy to follow. I appreciate the emphasis on form and technique, as it’s important to do these exercises correctly to avoid injury. I especially enjoyed the variation of the exercises, such as the different types of push-ups and squats. It kept things interesting and challenging. Overall, a great article for anyone interested in adding calisthenics to their fitness routine. I can’t wait to try these exercises out for myself!

David Johnson

As a beginner who wants to start working out, I found this article on “8 Calisthenics Exercises for Beginners” really useful. It provides clear descriptions and visual aids for each exercise, which makes them easy to follow along. What I like most about these exercises is that they don’t require any fancy equipment or gym membership, as they can be done anywhere and at any time. I particularly enjoyed push-ups, squats, and sit-ups, which I found to be the most beginner-friendly exercises. Overall, I feel more motivated to get started on my fitness journey thanks to this article. I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to get in shape without breaking the bank or going to the gym.