A Beginner’s Quick Guide on Calisthenics

Posted on Nov 22, 2018

Pilates and Calisthenics Pilates singpore
Whether you are looking to boost your current exercise routine, or you simply want to be healthy, Calisthenics can be a good way to break some sweat. Here’s an easy guide to help you get started.


What is Calisthenics?

Calisthenics, or Body-weight training, is a group of exercises which consist of a variety of movements that generally use minimal equipment or apparatus. Considered as one of those universal training methods, it uses your body’s weight to sculpt and shape your body through natural movements. It also increases body strength and flexibility with movements.

The basic premise behind Calisthenics is to gain better mastery of your own body. While resistance machines guide your movements, bodyweight exercises teach you balance, coordination, self-awareness, and proprioception (sense of self). It trains you how to control your limbs and maintain proper body position.

Calisthenics is part of many home workouts or professional activities that demands strength and stamina. It is a basic component in team sports, police academies and military boot camps.

Examples of Calisthenics workout are:

  • Push-ups – A good exercise to develop the muscles in the upper body such as the pectorals, triceps, and anterior deltoid.
  • Squats – This is excellent for developing quadriceps.
  • Bench Dips – This builds the triceps by developing good mass and strength.
  • Calf Raises – It builds the calves for better ankle stability and improved balance.
  • Crunches – This works on your abdominal muscles.
  • Chin-ups – This is a reliable exercise for building back muscles.
  • Mountain Climbers – It fires up nearly every muscle group in your body – deltoids, biceps, triceps, abdominals, chests, obliques, quads, and hamstrings.
  • Burpees – It is referred to as the ultimate example of functional fitness as it works muscles on the chest, arms, quads, glutes, abdomen and hamstrings.
  • Lunges – With high repetition and more focus on getting low, this can develop your quadriceps.


Calisthenics and Beginners

Beginners start with a simple and basic program which follow a pre-planned set or routine. Proper guidance helps you adapt the basics correctly. Initially, your focus should be more on conditioning to allow tendons to adapt to the stress that comes with progressions.

Before you decide how many sets, reps and seconds of hold you need in your routine, you first need to try out how many you can execute and hold in good form. Once you have worked on the basic positions, you will notice that you won’t feel as sore as when you started. You will follow the basics for a specific period until you develop skills and muscle memory to progress into intermediate or advanced levels.

While you work your way through each session, keep in mind that you shouldn’t just push yourself through different exercises with heart-pounding repetitions but without much improvement to show for it. Remember to train smart – quality over quantity. Eventually, you can start to mix and match certain exercises to create a routine that is truly your own.


What You Must Remember

  • Build a strong foundation. Never overlook the importance of perfecting the basics to build a solid foundation. It may be tempting to rush ahead with advanced exercises, but you need to cover your bases first. Instead of trying anything too ambitious, aim for double digits with the classics like squats, hanging-knee raises, or push-ups. You advance your skills when you aim to be proficient in the fundamentals.


  • Focus on more sets, but fewer reps.  When training for new skills, it is best to do only fewer reps at a time. You may have to do more sets to compensate for the total training volume for each session. For beginners, proper training can help you get into the groove of things.


  • Give your body enough time to recover. Learning a new exercise can be stressful for your muscles and neurological system. Allow yourself to take long breaks between every rep. It is normal to get tired quickly when learning a new skill. So, take a few minutes to breathe when you start to feel fatigue.


Here’s an example of a basic beginner level Calisthenics routine at Pilates Plus Singapore:



  • Improves your flexibility
  • Improve your range of motion
  • No advanced skills required which makes it perfect for beginners
  • It can be adjusted to your strength and fitness level
  • You maintain better form.
  • It provides a positive influence for sports or other functional activities
  • You can do these exercises anywhere, anytime
  • It improves your aerobic capacity if performed continuously
  • It gets you in good shape for sports


Calisthenics Vs. Weight Training

To say that one is better than the other would not be right. Your choice will depend on your goal and how you want to achieve it.

Calisthenics has the potential to be just as effective to weight training because what you can do with weights can be replicated using body-weight exercises. The results may not be as fast or dramatic, but it boils down to how you are working your muscles.

If your aim is to build more muscle mass as a professional bodybuilder, a calisthenics workout will not be enough. It takes more than just your body weight for your muscles to develop that much. But if you don’t want to beef up your muscles like a bodybuilder does and you prefer to trim and tone your body instead, then Calisthenics serve as a good exercise.


Why Train With Us?

Calisthenics is a valuable addition to just about any exercise program. At Pilates Plus, we select exercises that will suit your fitness level. We customise programs that are challenging enough to improve your workout routine. Once you have mastered it, we will help you progress into more demanding versions of each exercise.

Book your sessions with us today!