Calisthenics Exercises for Every Muscle Group + Post-Workout Recovery

calisthenics

When it comes to workout effectiveness, calisthenics rank high on the list. Each movement helps to improve strength, conditioning, mobility, balance, and coordination. Not to mention, each exercise targets more muscles to give a better result and burn more calories. Plus, many calisthenics exercises can be done using just your bodyweight, so it’s easy to complete a workout pretty much anywhere.

Whether you’re new to calisthenics training or are looking for some new exercises to change up your routine, we have you covered.

Calisthenics Exercises

Get started with adding calisthenics to your workout program with the exercise guide below.

Glutes

Exercise 1: Squat Pulse

  • Start with your feet at shoulder width
  • Go down into a squat
  • At the bottom of the squat position, pulse 3 times then come back up
  • Reps: 8-15

Beginner: Complete the exercise as described above

Intermediate: Complete the exercises with 5 pulses instead of 3

Advanced: Complete the movement with a jump after pulsing

calisthenics exercises

Exercise 2: Walking Lunge

  • Start standing with hands on hips.
  • Place one leg forward then lower hips until both knees are about 90 degrees.
  • Bring back leg forward so you are in a standing position.
  • Repeat this movement on the other side as a walking movement.
  • Reps: 8-15
  • Optional Equipment: Hold dumbbells 

Beginner: Complete the exercise as described above

Intermediate: Complete the exercise with a pulse in the lunge then come back up

Advanced: Complete the exercise as a jumping lunge

Exercise 3: Fire Hydrants

  • Start on your hands and knees
  • While keeping your legs in the 90 degree position bring one bent leg out to your side
  • Reps: 8-20
  • Optional Equipment: Place a loop resistance band around your thighs just above your knees for extra resistance.

Beginner: Complete the exercise as described above

Intermediate: Complete the exercise with three pulses when your leg is up in the air

Advanced: Complete the intermediate exercise, but hold at the top for 5 seconds after your pulses.

Exercise 4: Rainbow Kicks

  • In the same starting position as the fire hydrants, straighten out one leg and bring it over to the opposite side and back.
  • Reps: 8-20

Beginner: Complete the exercise as described above

Intermediate: Complete the exercise with a kick up at the top of the movement

Advanced: Complete the exercise with three kicks up at the top

Exercise 5: Clam Shells

  • Lie on your side, with legs stacked and knees bent at a 45-degree angle.
  • Rest your head on your lower arm, and use your top arm to steady your frame.
  • Keeping your feet touching, raise your upper knee as high as you can without shifting your hips or pelvis. Don’t move your lower leg off the floor.
  • Pause, and then return your upper leg to the starting position on the ground.
  • Reps: 8-20

Beginner: Complete the exercise as described above

Intermediate: Complete the exercise with 3 pulses in the movement then come back down to the start

Advanced: You can add more pulses to the exercise or use a loop resistance band around your thighs just above your knees.

Upper Body

Exercise 1: Push ups

  • Start in a plank position, but in a wide arm stance. Your elbows should be out to the side in line with your shoulders. 
  • Bring your chest down to the ground, then bring back up to the starting position.
  • Reps: 8-15

Beginner: Perform the push up on your knees

Intermediate: Perform the exercise as described above

Advanced: Perform a push up, then move your hands and legs over and complete a push up.

calisthenics exercises

Exercise 2: Reachers

  • Start lying on your stomach
  • Place your arms out in front of you to make a ‘Y’ shape
  • Bring your arms and chest up, hold for a second or two then come back down
  • Reps: 8-15
  • Optional Equipment: hold dumbbells

Beginner: Complete the exercise as described

Intermediate: Complete the exercise with a longer hold time

Advanced: Bring your legs up as well

Exercise 3: Bicep Dips

  • Start on your hands and knees, but have your stomach facing the ceiling
  • Twist your hands so your fingers are pointing towards your feet
  • Bend your elbows to lower yourself down then bring yourself back up
  • Reps: 8-15

Beginner: Start with your bum on the ground rather than being on your feet

Intermediate: Complete the exercise as described above

Advanced: When you lower yourself down lift up one leg

Exercise 4: Supermans

  • Start by lying flat on your stomach
  • When ready, raise your chest up while keeping the rest of your body on the ground.
  • Hold for 3 seconds then bring your chest back down and repeat.
  • Reps: 8-15

Beginner: Complete the exercise as is

Intermediate: Raise your legs with your chest

Advanced: Hold for 5-10 seconds

Exercise 5: One arm plank reach

  • Start in a plank position
  • Reach out one arm in front of you and bring it back
  • Repeat with the opposite arm
  • Reps: 8-20

Beginner: Complete the exercise as is above

Intermediate: Hold your arm out in front of you for 3 seconds

Advanced: Bring your arm out in front of you, then to the side, then back to your starting position

Glutes

Exercise 1: Walking Lunge

  • Start standing with hands on hips.
  • Place one leg forward then lower hips until both knees are about 90 degrees.
  • Bring back leg forward so you are in a standing position.
  • Repeat this movement on the other side as a walking movement.
  • Reps: 8-15

Beginner: Complete the exercise as described above

Intermediate: Complete the exercise with a pulse in the lunge then come back up

Advanced: Complete the exercise as a jumping lunge

calisthenics

Exercise 2: Clam Shells

  • Lie on your side, with legs stacked and knees bent at a 45-degree angle.
  • Rest your head on your lower arm, and use your top arm to steady your frame.
  • Keeping your feet touching, raise your upper knee as high as you can without shifting your hips or pelvis. Don’t move your lower leg off the floor.
  • Pause, and then return your upper leg to the starting position on the ground.
  • Reps: 8-20

Beginner: Complete the exercise as described above

Intermediate: Complete the exercise with 3 pulses in the movement then come back down to the start

Advanced: You can add more pulses to the exercise

Exercise 3: Single leg hip thrusts

  • The same as a hip thrust, use one leg instead of two
  • Reps: 8-15

Beginner: Complete a regular hip thrust using both feet

Intermediate: Complete the exercise as is above

Advanced: Complete the intermediate exercise but once you are done your reps hold at the top for 10 seconds.

Exercise 4: Glute kickback pulse

  • Standing up straight and using a chair for balance (if desired) kick one leg out behind you
  • Pulse this leg behind you 5-10 times to keep glutes engaged
  • Come back to starting position and repeat
  • Reps: 10-15

Beginner: Complete the exercise without the kickback

Intermediate: Complete the exercise as is above

Advanced: Complete the exercise with extra pulses

Exercise 5: leg raise with hip thrust

  • Start by lying on your back and bringing your legs up as if to do a leg raise
  • When your legs are at the top of the movement thrust your hips up to raise your bum off the floor and your legs higher
  • Bring hips and legs down and repeat
  • Reps: 8-15

Beginner: Complete leg raises with bent legs

Intermediate: Complete leg raises with straight legs

Advanced: Complete the exercise as described above

Core

Exercise 1: Scissor Kicks

  • Start lying on your back
  • Bring your legs slightly off the floor
  • Bring one leg up slightly higher than the other and repeat with the other leg
  • Reps: 20-45 seconds

Beginner: Complete the exercise as described

Intermediate: Complete the exercise, but at the end hold your legs still above the ground for 10 seconds

Advanced: Same as intermediate, but do a longer hold for 20-30 seconds

Exercise 2: Leg Raises

  • Start lying on your back
  • Bring both your legs up until they are over your hips
  • Lower your legs back down but do not touch the floor
  • Bring legs back up and repeat.
  • Reps: 8-20
  • Optional Equipment: Place a light dumbbell in between your feet

Beginner: Complete the exercise as described

Intermediate: Bring your legs down slower. Take 5 seconds to bring them down.

Advanced: Complete your leg raise and when your legs are in the air perform a crunch then bring your legs back down.

Exercise 3: Russian Twists

  • Sit with bent knees and your feet pressing firmly into the floor
  • Sit back slightly, keeping your spine straight.
  • Twist to the left, punching your right arm over to the left side and then do the opposite side
  • Reps: 8-20
  • Optional Equipment: Hold a dumbbell

Beginner: Complete a russian twist with feet on the ground

Intermediate: Complete a russian twist with legs slightly off the ground

Advanced: Complete the exercise as described above

calisthenics exercises

Exercise 4: Plank

  • Start in a plank position either on your hands or elbows.
  • Hold for as long as you can!
  • Reps: 20-60 seconds

Beginner: Complete the exercise as described

Intermediate: Perform the exercise, but touch one foot out to the side then back in. Repeat on the other side and continue until your time is up.

Advanced: Same as intermediate, but jump out both your feet to the side at the same time. Continue until your time is up

Exercise 5:  Legs Raised Crunch

  • Start lying on your back with your knees bent above your hips.
  • Have your hands behind your ears
  • Bring your chest towards your legs and then lay back down, while keeping legs elevated
  • Reps: 8-20

Beginner: Perform the exercise with legs on the floor

Intermediate: Complete the exercise as described above

Advanced: Rather than bent legs, have legs straight up

Full body

Exercise 1: Burpees

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your arms at your sides.
  • Bend your knees, and lower your body into a squat.
  • Place your hands on the floor directly in front of your feet.
  • Jump your feet back to softly land on the balls of your feet in a plank position. Your body should form a straight line from your head to heels.
  • Jump your feet back so that they land just outside of your hands.
  • Reach your arms over head and jump up into the air.
  • Land and immediately lower back into a squat
  • Reps: 8-15

Beginner: Complete the exercise without the jump

Intermediate: Complete the exercise as described above

Advanced: For your jump do a tuck jump, bringing your knees up to your chest

Exercise 2: Squat to Punch

  • Start with your feet slightly more than shoulder-width apart
  • Lower down into a squat
  • When you come up use your right arm to punch to the left side and the same with the other side.
  • Reps: 8-15

Beginner: Complete the exercise as described above

Intermediate: Complete three punches rather than one

Advanced: Kick out with a punch

Exercise 3: Plank Jacks

  • Start in a plank position
  • Jump both your feet out to the side and bring them back in
  • Reps: 20-40 seconds

Beginner: Go into a plank and step out your feet rather than jump

Intermediate: Complete the exercise as described above

Advanced: After two plank jacks jump your feet up towards your hands, repeat

Exercise 4: Scissor jumps

  • Start off in a lunge position with one foot forward and one knee bent behind you,
  • Quickly extend through both of your legs, jumping up as high as possible even swinging your arms to gain more height.
  • While in the air, switch the positioning of your legs so that your front foot is back and your back foot is upfront.
  • While you are jumping have your arms extended out in front of you.
  • One arm should come up towards your head while the other is moving towards your legs. Making a scissor motion.
  • Reps: 20-45 seconds

Beginner: Complete the exercise with just a slight knee bend

Intermediate: Complete the exercise as described above

Advanced: Move your arms with your legs

Exercise 5: Speed skater

  • With your knees bent and your back leaning forward, leap on alternating feet from side to side.
  • Swing your back foot behind the standing leg, but try not to let your toes touch the floor.
  • Reps: 20-45 seconds

Beginner: Leap side to side one foot at a time

Intermediate: Complete the exercise as described above

Advanced: Once you jump to one side stay low and hold for 3 seconds

Lower body

Exercise 1: Wall sit

  • Stand against a wall with your feet about one step away from the wall.
  • Squat down into a squat position with your back still against the wall.
  • It should look like you are sitting in a chair. Your back is straight with your knees at 90 degrees
  • Reps: 8-15
  • Optional Equipment: Hold a dumbbell

Beginner: Complete just one wall sit

Intermediate: Complete the exercise as shown above

Advanced: Complete the exercise with some weight in your hands.

Exercise 2: Squat knee-up

  • Lower yourself down into a squat
  • On your way up from the squat bring your knee up and out to the side
  • Repeat on other side
  • Reps: 8-15

Beginner: Complete just a bodyweight squat

Intermediate: Complete the exercise as described above

Advanced: Crunch to the side towards your knee when you bring it up

Exercise 3: Lateral lunge to single leg hop

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Take a big step to the right side with your right foot, and immediately bend your right knee, and go down into a lateral lunge, keeping your left leg perfectly straight.
  • Push off your right foot and as you bring your right foot back to the starting position, push off your left foot and hop up, without placing your right foot on the floor.
  • Repeat on other side
  • Reps: 8-15

Beginner: Complete a lateral lunge without the hop

Intermediate: Complete the exercise as written above

Advanced: Add an additional hop

calisthenics exercises

Exercise 4: Touchdown squat to calf raise

  • Squat down and have your hand touch the opposite foot
  • As you come back to a standing position go up onto your toes to raise your heels off the ground
  • Reps: 10-20

Beginner: Perform the first part of the exercise without the toe raise

Intermediate: Complete the exercise as written above

Advanced: Rather than just touching your toes touch, go down into a plank position and continue

Exercise 5: Leg extension

  • Sit in a chair and place a dumbbell between your feet
  • Bring your legs up so they are in line with your hips then bring your legs back down
  • Reps: 8-15

Beginner: Perform the exercise without weights

Intermediate: Complete the exercise as it is above

Advanced: Hold your legs up at the top for 3 seconds then come down

Post-Workout Recovery

Dedicating time towards post-workout recovery is a must for everyone who works out regularly. The recovery phase is where your body rebuilds and grows stronger. If you get back to working out before you’re fully recovered, you won’t get as much benefit from the previous workout and it leaves your body is in a more susceptible state for overuse injuries. Plus, working out is more fun when your body feels good.

Professional athletes to fitness enthusiasts use Marc Pro to speed their muscle recovery and prevent overuse injuries. Marc Pro is proven to deliver active recovery that’s both highly effective and easy.