5-Step Beginner Calisthenics Workout, No Equipment Needed!

beginner calisthenics workout no equipment

You’re looking for a solid beginner Calisthenics workout with no equipment? No worries at all, we’ve got your back. Calisthenics is bodyweight exercise after all, and Calisthenics equipment is not a strict necessity. In this useful article, we’ll show you various beginner Calisthenics workouts using no equipment at all. We’ll also show you a potential way forward with a professional Calisthenics workout which you can also start immediately and that also needs no equipment, fits beginners but that can be augmented with optional Calisthenics equipment. We’ll go through the whole concept of bodyweight exercise from a beginner perspective step by step. In these 5 steps, you can begin with Calisthenics without investing in expensive equipment. We’ll also find out that there are excellent beginner Calisthenics programs that need no equipment or even prior preparation from you.

[Originally published on December 7, 2022. Updated Februari 27, 2024: improved readability, added improved conclusions]

Fast results? Start With The Best Beginner Calisthenics Workout With No Equipment!

Step 1: Begin with an Easy Calisthenics Workout with No Equipment

Any beginner can do a Calisthenics workout with no equipment available to them. If you are a complete beginner, that means you have low physical strength or stamina, or you think you’re too heavy for Calisthenics; we have an excellent article on Easy Calisthenics Moves which includes three complete workout routines. These easy routines will prepare you for any full-scale, full-spectrum and professional Calisthenics workout using no equipment whatsoever. They will also kickstart your weight-loss program in earnest.

Step 2: Beginner Calisthenics Workouts with No Equipment

Our field of fitness has many beginner-friendly Calisthenics workouts with no need for equipment whatsoever. In that way, Calisthenics is the complete opposite of Weightlifting. Where Weightlifting requires equipment to do any exercise, Calisthenics assumes no equipment (with a caveat we’ll come back to) but where you can add equipment later to augment each exercise. Indeed, weighted Calisthenics is a prime example of how the base exercises are done without equipment. The weighted versions are either straight up with the equipment simply added, or at best slightly altered to allow for the use of the equipment. 

Here are 10 beginner Calisthenics workouts with no equipment needed:

Push-Up

The venerable Push-Up has been a staple of bodyweight exercise since at least ancient Greek times. It is a versatile exercise which works out a surprisingly broad range of muscles. Push-Ups focus mainly on the upper shoulders, triceps and chest, but also do their bit on your biceps, back muscles and even your abdomen if you do them right. The best thing is, they are the quintessential beginner Calisthenics workout that require no equipment at all.

Prone Angel

The Prone Angel is a very easy version of the Plank. Lay flat on your belly and keep your head raised off the floor and your hands stretched to the sides. This alone counts as a static hold for your core muscles and neck. Now slowly make back and forth waving motions as if you’re making a snow angel.

Bench Dip

Technically this isn’t a Calisthenics workout that requires no equipment. You need a bench or a staircase for this to work, but since we can hardly imagine missing those from your life, we decided to include the Bench Dip. Sit on a bench with your knees bent 90-degrees. Grab the edge of the bench on either side of your thighs firmly. Next “walk” forward while keeping your knees bent and while keeping a hold of the bench, until your behind is hovering free. Then you can do dips of various kinds in that position, shallow dips but also just shoulder compressions.

Lunge

There are many variations of the lunge. One of the most effective lunges is just a big step forward with one foot and making a 90-degree knee bend while keeping the back foot in place. You then retract the forward foot back and alternate between your feet like that. This is not only a good squatting exercise for your thighs and glutes, but also plyometric (e.g., it combines strength with cardio exercise). Remember to put the focus on the front foot, the back foot is there to keep you stable.

Squat

Along with the Push-Up, the Squat is a core exercise of Calisthenics and fitness in general and has been for millennia. Why change things now, when you can do squats with no additional equipment needed? Stand straight with your feet straight underneath your shoulders. Bend your knees to 90-degrees while keeping your upper-body completely straight and then come back up again. It’s that easy but it’s immensely effective in building those legs and glutes. You can vary the focus of your squats by speeding them up or slowing them down. Faster squads aid in cardio, while slowing down focusses more on stability and muscle strength. Consider combining both fast and slow squats in your routine. A very inexpensive addition to Squats would be Resistance Bands

Burpee

Burpees will be one of the most challenging Calisthenics exercises you’ll ever do, and they’re super simple. You don’t need any Calisthenics equipment either. A Burpee combines a Squat with a Straight Arm Plank Hold or a Push-Up. From a standing position, squat down until your hands can reach the floor, from there get into a Push-Up position (Straight Arm Plank Hold), then come back up into the original standing position. For extra cardio and strength, perform 1 Push-Up before getting back up.

Hollow Body Hold

Lay flat and straight on the floor on your back, with your arms stretched above you and held together. Keep your feet together too. Raise both your arms and your feet ~1 foot off the floor while keeping them straight and hold that position. You can vary the height at which you raise your limbs for added difficulty.

Wall-Sit

The Wall-Sit is a great core-building exercise that may prepare you even for the eventual Planche. All you need is a sturdy wall you can lean against with your full weight. Stand with your back flush against the wall. Walk forward while you keep your back pressed firmly against the wall, you do this by bending your knees and lowering your stance, until you’re sitting on an “invisible chair”. Hold this position until you can do so no longer. 

Planche Lean Hold

The Planche Lean is not for everyone. Planches are some of the most difficult exercises in Calisthenics, ever. They look so easy, but for the human body to assume and hold the Planche position, literally every muscle in our body must be tensed up. Any weak link will be exposed immediately and cause you to fail. But Planches can be done with no equipment at all, and they look absolutely awesome. 

Calf Raise

Never skip leg day again with Calf Raises. These are possibly the easiest exercises from a body mechanics point of view but if you’re not used to them, you’ll feel their effects very soon. Stand straight with your feet together and pointing forward. Raise your body onto your toes and your heels off the floor. Next, lower your heels back towards the floor but without touching the floor. Bring your heels back up. Repeat. This is a very effective way to build up your calves. 

Fast results? Start With The Best Beginner Calisthenics Workout With No Equipment!

Step 3: Calisthenics Worldwide 12-Week Beginner Calisthenics Workout (No Equipment)

Many professional beginner Calisthenics programs have workouts that require no equipment at all. We always recommend that you follow a professional, guided routine. To get you acquainted, here is a quick routine beginner Calisthenics workout needing no equipment using these exercises. Even if you choose to only take this plan for information purposes, you can now determine that there is a right Calisthenics program for you without having to buy equipment.

PHASE 1: BREAKING IT IN
MonTeuWenThuFriSatSun
Push-Ups
Squats
Calf Raises
RestPush-Ups
Squats
RestPush-Ups
Squats
Calf Raises
RestPush-Ups
Squats
RestPush-Ups
Squats
Calf Raises
RestPush-Ups
Squats
RestPush-Ups
Squats
Rest
Push-Ups
Squats
Calf Raises
RestPush-Ups
Squats
RestPush-Ups
Squats
RestPush-Ups
Squats
PHASE 2: GETTING USED TO GAINS
MonTeuWenThuFriSatSun
Push-Ups
Squats
Prone Angel
Hollow Body Hold
Push-Ups
Lunges
Bench Dips
Calf Raises
Push-Ups
Squats
RestRest
Push-Ups
Squats
Prone Angel
Hollow Body Hold
Push-Ups
Lunges
Bench Dips
Calf Raises
Push-Ups
Squats
RestRest
Push-Ups
Squats
Prone Angel
Hollow Body Hold
Push-Ups
Lunges
Bench Dips
Calf Raises
Push-Ups
Squats
RestRest
PHASE 3: PUSHING THROUGH
MonTeuWenThuFriSatSun
Push-Ups
Squats
Calf Raises
RestBurpees
Calf Raises
Push-Ups
Lunges
Burpees
Calf Raises
RestWall Sits
Push-Ups
Squats
Calf Raises
RestBurpees
Calf Raises
Push-Ups
Lunges
Burpees
Calf Raises
RestWall Sits
Push-Ups
Squats
Calf Raises
RestBurpees
Calf Raises
Push-Ups
Lunges
Burpees
Calf Raises
RestWall Sits
PHASE 4: MIND OVER MATTER
MonTeuWenThuFriSatSun
Burpees
Lunges
Wall-Sit
Hollow Body
Push-Ups
Squats
Calf Raises
RestPush-Ups
Squats
Calf Raises
Burpees
Lunges
Wall-Sit
Hollow Body
Burpees
Lunges
Wall-Sit
Hollow Body
Push-Ups
Squats
Calf Raises
RestPlanche Lean HoldBurpees
Lunges
Wall-Sit
Hollow Body
Burpees LungesWall-Sit
Hollow Body
Push-Ups
Squats
Calf Raises
RestPush-Ups
Squats
Calf Raises
Burpees
Lunges
Planche Lean Hold
PHASE 5: READY FOR THE NEXT STEP
The Rest of Your Life
Choose the Best Calisthenics Program

Step 4: Adopt the Right Frame of Mind

Gaining knowledge about Calisthenics is an important part of self-improvement through Calisthenics. That is why reading Calisthenics books is a great mental supplement to your workout. We want to be careful here, because it’s easy to fall into the trap of just reading about it but never taking any action. You won’t get anywhere with just reading about physical fitness, you must go and do it. That is why we always suggest that the beginner first “blindly” follows the advice of an expert and starts. Just starting is better than doing nothing, after all. This of course leads to a situation where you as a beginner will have to trust that expert — a trust sadly often broken on the internet where a multitude of charlatans peddle unwanted and unneeded products under the guise of being “experts”. 

This is why it’s important that you do this simultaneously. Begin somewhere, anywhere is fine as long as it’s a step forward from remaining sedentary. And while doing, you surround yourself with knowledge about Calisthenics and soon enough you’ll recognize the good from the bad.

You should focus on the great many benefits of Calisthenics all the time and regularly remind yourself of both the goals and the path towards those goals. Greater strength and speed, higher mobility, greater mental focus, better mental health and more confidence, to name a few, are all acquired through Calisthenics. Any beginner can achieve these with a Calisthenics workout with no equipment. And remember, the end goal isn’t the most important! It’s about continuous improvement of the self and pursuing the best version of yourself, knowing that this perfect image may never be achieved. This is the paradigm you must adopt; aim to improve every time you work out, do not look back, do not look at others unless it is to learn, look ever forwards never backwards.

Step 5: Time to Go Pro with a Complete Calisthenics Program

You don’t need to do any of the prep-work we mentioned above to dive straight into a great selection of Calisthenics programs. But you now have a good grasp of the potential of Calisthenics. You know several beginner Calisthenics Workouts needing no equipment whatsoever. What’s also in your understanding is that, at its core, Calisthenics relies on your bodyweight to exercise with. That alone makes the need for specialized equipment much less a factor than for instance, with weightlifting. Only exercises requiring you to lift yourself off the ground would necessitate some object, in other words equipment, to suspend yourself from.

If you want to start your Calisthenics path in earnest, you’ll need a repeatable, professional Calisthenics course. There are many beginners Calisthenics Programs available that require minimal to no equipment. Our go-to advice for people in search of an excellent all-round Calisthenics program is the Calisthenics Movement Complete Calisthenics program. Also called Cali Move, they are the best choice for people looking to get fit, stay fit and build their body to an esthetically pleasing level. Cali Move usually does not require (much) additional equipment and doesn’t lean overboard towards bodybuilding.

Improvised Equipment for Beginner Calisthenics

Some Calisthenics exercises do need some kind of basic equipment to work, while many others can be augmented with added equipment. Here are a few solid ideas for improvised equipment.

First, there might be a Calisthenics Park near you! In that case, most if not all the equipment you really need is provided for you, for free. Other Calisthenics workouts can be done with the help of everyday objects:

  • A bench or sidewalk can stand in for a set of Dip Bars for your bench dips.
  • A wall can be used for Wall-Sits.
  • A staircase can be used as an incline Push-Up Bar.
  • An open staircase without risers, a handball or soccer goal, or monkey bars in a playground can act as your Pull-Up Bar.
  • A backpack filled with books or other objects can stand in for a Dip Belt and to some extent, a Weighted Vest.

Conclusion: An easy Beginner Calisthenics Workout, No Equipment

Calisthenics is bodyweight exercise and by and large, this means you only need your own body to exercise with. Even if you’re just starting with Calisthenics and are a Calisthenics beginner, you will find it easy and accessible. A beginner Calisthenics workout with no equipment will incorporate many time-tested exercises like Push-Ups, Dips, Squats, Planches and many more. Together they form a solid full-body workout which gives you great results both in the short term and medium term. 

The only feasible equipment you might need after that is a Pull-Up Bar. These can be fancy, like a Power Tower, or simple and affordable like Door Pull-Up Bars. You can also make use of alternatives to the real tools or visit a Calisthenics Park near to you instead. 

After getting a head start with this beginner Calisthenics workout using no equipment at all, we recommend seeking out a professionally made Calisthenics Program. In this case, we recommend the Cali Move Home Workout program. It is a solid from-home beginner Calisthenics workout with no equipment required. Very useful are a set of Gymnastic Rings or a Pull-Up Bar, but these are not necessary to participate and make great gains.

Fast results? Start With The Best Beginner Calisthenics Workout With No Equipment!

Frequently Asked Questions About Calisthenics Workouts with No Equipment

Here are some frequently asked questions about Calisthenics Workouts and doing them with no equipment at your disposal.

Can you do calisthenics without equipment?

Calisthenics is a class of bodyweight exercises and as such, does not need much if any specialized equipment at all. Most Calisthenics workouts can be done without equipment, with the notable exception being those where you lift yourself off the floor. These will need something to hold onto and lift yourself from. Examples of classic Calisthenics workouts with no equipment are: Push-Ups, Squats, Lunges, Wall-Sits, Burpees and Planches.

Can you build muscle with only calisthenics?

The short answer is yes. Calisthenics can build muscle just like weightlifting and bodybuilding can. People who build their bodies through Calisthenics tend to look very lean, muscular and athletic.

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