Far from being an exotic exercise, calisthenics is one of the categories of exercise that first appeared when physical fitness culture began in the West.

Learn more and see if this whole-body fitness routine is right for you.

What Is Calisthenics?

Calisthenics is a system of exercise that focuses on using your body weight as resistance to develop a better physique and better overall fitness. It’s intended to use large muscle movements like running, standing, jumping, and pushing to help develop your overall musculature, flexibility, and cardiovascular fitness.=

What Is The History Of Calisthenics? 

Doing Calisthenics on Floor

The term “calisthenics” has its roots in the Greek kallos, which means “beauty,” and sthenos, which means “strength.” This term was first recorded in Ancient Greece, and used among the Spartans, and the armies of Alexander the Great. 

Today, it is often utilized as part of school physical education programs in the West, and in military training.

What Type Of Exercise Is Calisthenics?

Man doing Calisthenics

Calisthenics is a hybrid system, which incorporates elements of both strength training, such as push-ups and pull-ups, with cardiovascular training, such as burpees, running, and plyometric jumping. For this reason, it’s a great option for those who want to improve their overall fitness.

Preparing For Calisthenics


Calisthenics usually does not require much special equipment, as your body provides resistance for most exercises. You’ll want to stretch and wear loose athletic clothing. Some calisthenic exercises require equipment like pull-up bars, boxes for box jumping, or climbing ropes.

Practicing Calisthenics 

You can practice calisthenics anywhere. Public parks and running trails often have equipment like pull-up bars which can be used for calisthenics, as do private gyms. A few of the most common calisthenic exercises include:

  • Push-ups
  • Pull-ups/chin-ups
  • Dips
  • Squats
  • Lunges
  • Handstands
  • Burpees
  • Seated leg raises
  • Planks
  • Sit-ups
  • Box jumps
  • Running, typically sprints or interval training 

Depending on your strength and level of fitness, preferences, and available equipment, the exercises that you will want to incorporate into your routine may vary.

The Basics Of Calisthenics – See Some Common Exercises

Want to see some basic tutorials about how to do common calisthenic exercises? The above video goes over some of the most popular calisthenic workouts that you can do just about anywhere.

The Benefits Of Calisthenics

pull ups

Thanks to its ability to work out both your muscles and improve your cardiovascular fitness, calisthenics has a number of great benefits. It can help strengthen and tone your muscles, improve flexibility, and assist in weight loss. 

You can also improve your aerobic endurance and overall fitness, and target specific muscle groups by doing specific exercises. Lunges or squats, for example, can be used to strengthen the legs, while pull-ups and pushups strengthen the upper body. 

Calisthenics Variations

Street workouts, which use equipment in public parks and other public spaces instead of a gym, are a common variation on calisthenics, and this type of fitness is regularly practiced in areas where going to a gym may be unaffordable, or adequate fitness facilities don’t exist. This is also sometimes called “urban calisthenics.”

In some cases, calisthenics is incorporated into endurance training. This is called “circuit training,” and usually consists of running around a track, and pausing to do specific calisthenic exercises, usually with very little rest between each exercise.

Start Working Out With Calisthenics Now

Thanks to the ability to work out just about anywhere without any special equipment, it’s easy to try out calisthenic exercises for yourself. Get started now – and you’ll be shocked at how much your overall health and fitness improves.