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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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Beginner: Complete the exercise as described above

Intermediate: Complete three punches rather than one

Advanced: Kick out with a punch

Exercise 3: Plank Jacks

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

bodyweight back exercises

Using just your bodyweight, it is possible to get in a good back workout. Maybe you don’t have access to weights, maybe you’re traveling, or maybe you’re just looking for something new to add to your routine. Either way, your bodyweight is more than enough to get in an effective training session.

We’ve put together a list of 10 bodyweight back exercises you can use to develop a stronger back anywhere.

Benefits of Bodyweight Exercises

Incorporating bodyweight exercises into your workout routine offers some unique benefits that you won’t achieve with weighted exercises.

  1. Mobility – Without additional weights present, our bodies can get into positions that promote a greater range of motion. Weights often prevent us from reaching a full extension.
  2. Balance – Weights can act as a stabilizer for many exercises. Bodyweight exercises encourage balance since you can only rely on yourself to keep your center of gravity while performing the movement.
  3. Increases Strength & Endurance – Many body weight exercises simultaneously enhance strength & endurance levels, so you can get more benefit from doing one exercise.
  4. Better Form – While learning movements, bodyweight exercises can be a good place to start to ensure proper form is used. If you don’t have correct form while doing bodyweight exercises, adding in extra weight will just make it worse.
  5. Convenience – Needless to say, since no equipment is necessary you can do them practically anywhere.

Why It’s Important to Strengthen your Back

Every time we move around, our back is engaged. Walking, standing up straight, and basically all other activities we do throughout the day rely on our back muscles in some capacity. Maintaining a strong back plays a critical role in preventing back pain and keeping your back healthy. A majority of people, about 80%, experience back pain at some point in their lives so it’s important to do what you can now to prevent issues down the road.

10 of the Best Bodyweight Back Exercises

The following 10 bodyweight back exercises are grouped into some example circuits. Feel free to tweak the reps and mix up your own routine as you see fit.

Circuit 1: Follow exercises 1-3. Then repeat.

  1. Toe Touches x 6 each
  2. Cobra x 10 seconds
  3. Kneeling T-Spine Rotation x 6 each

Toe Touches: Place your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart. Bring your arms up directly beside you so they are parallel to the ground. You should look like a star. Take your right hand and bring it to your left toe. Return to starting position. Now do the opposite with your left hand and right toe.

Cobra: This is a yoga mobility pose. Lay stomach down with your hands on either side of your pecks faced down. Slowly push up so your back will arch backward while your hips remain on the ground. Lift your chin to the sky.

bodyweight back exercises

Kneeling T-Spine Rotation: Start in table pose. Lift your right arm off the ground and place your hand behind your head. You will move your right elbow underneath your left arm towards your left knee. Then you will rotate outwards and point your elbow to the sky. 

Circuit 2: Follow exercises 1-3. Then repeat.

  1. Superman x 10
  2. Plank Row x 8
  3. Wide Pushup x 6

Superman: Lay on your stomach with your arms outstretched ahead of you and your forehead on the ground. Simply lift your legs and arms off the ground while arching your back. Your head will rise in line with your arms. Hold and then lower back down.

Plank Row: Get into a plank position with your hands on the floor. Take your right arm and bend your elbow so you row your elbow back to your hip and back down. Repeat with the left arm. 

Wide Pushup: This is like a regular pushup, except with your hands in a slightly wider position. You don’t want to be too wide as you will lose stability on your way down and up. If you need to modify you can always do it from your knees. 

bodyweight back exercises

Circuit 3: Follow exercises 1-3. Then repeat.

  1. Prone Pull x 8
  2. Reverse Fly x 6
  3. Dolphin Kick x 4

Prone Pull: This is like a superman, but instead of raising both your legs and arms you will raise just your arms. Pull your elbows back to pinch your shoulder blades together and form a 90-degree angle with both your arms. Bring your arms back in front of you, this is one rep.

bodyweight back exercises

Reverse Fly: Start with your feet shoulder with apart. Keep your back flat while you push your butt back with a bend in your knees. Your chest should almost be perpendicular to the floor. Start with your palms together and then move your elbows in opposite directions till they are level with your palm. You will immediately feel this in your back as you bring your arms up.

Dolphin Kick: This exercise requires a bench, but any type will do. Lie face down on the bench while gripping the sides. Ideally, your hips should be aligned with the end of the bench, but you can move your hips further up the bench if you’re having difficulty. Straighten your legs and lift them upwards as high as they can go. Hold the position for 5 seconds before brining your legs back down.

Recovery from Back Workouts

bodyweight back exercises

Every workout program needs a recovery routine. When it comes to keeping your body healthy, strength training is important, but recovery is what builds your body back up and allows you to keep going. The four pillars of fast and effective recovery are hydration, nutrition, active recovery, and sleep. Each one plays a vital role in your body’s recovery process. However, active recovery is the most overlooked since it requires the most additional effort. With Marc Pro, you can easily and conveniently achieve active recovery while sitting at a desk, watching TV, or traveling. Marc Pro integrates into activities that you already do, so you don’t need to dedicate any extra time for active recovery. Learn more about how Marc Pro can help you.

Other articles you may be interested in…

The 9 Best Bodyweight Exercises to do at Home

How to do Burpees like CrossFit Games Athlete Noah Ohlsen

4 Rules for Faster Muscle Recovery

air squat

Air squats are one of the most essential movements you can do. It’s a great exercise on its own, but it’s also the foundation for many other exercises such as the back squat, front squat, and thruster. Plus, with no equipment required, it’s an exercise you can do anywhere.

Noah Ohlsen explains how to air squat properly, avoid common mistakes, and recover post-workout. Doing air squats correctly is so important for preventing injuries and building a base for a variety of other movements.

How to Air Squat Properly

  1. Set your feet anywhere from hip to shoulder width apart, with your toes pointed slightly outward. Think about gripping the ground with your toes.
  2. Once your feet are set, initiate the movement by keeping your chest tall and pushing your hips back slightly, sinking your body down until your hips are just below knee level.
  3. Stand all the way back up, giving your core, glutes and legs a squeeze to make sure you’ve reached a good finishing position.
  4. As you continue to do more air squats, remember to keep that tension as you start to go back down and then squeeze again as you reach the top position.

Benefits of the Air Squat

Air squats are an awesome way to work your entire lower body. Your calves, quads, hamstrings, and glutes are the main muscles activated, but air squats also engage your core. If you do them at a fast enough pace, you can even elevate your heart rate and get breathing pretty heavily.  

Mistakes to Avoid

Although air squats are such a simple movement, there are many things that can go wrong. A few things you want to avoid are:

Following these steps and tips from Noah will get you close to a perfect air squat.

Recovery from Air Squats

air squat

There are some killer workouts you can do based on the air squat. When you do high volume air squats, you will likely find that your legs are very sore the following day, so recovery becomes even more important. Noah Ohlsen uses Marc Pro to ensure he’s recovered from workouts and training. After an air squat workout, his favorite spot to use Marc Pro is on his quads. With Marc Pro, pad placement doesn’t need to be exact, but Noah has found the best results with placing one pad near the bottom of the vastus medialis and another near the upper end of the sartorious muscle (locations pointed out in image). Marc Pro is proven to enhance the recovery process, eliminate muscle soreness/fatigue, and prevent overuse injuries. Click here to learn more about how Marc Pro works.

You may also be interested in:

Pistol Tips: The Ultimate Single Leg Squat

3 Questions for CrossFit Games Athlete Scott Panchik

How to Gain Confidence in Box Jumps & Recover Post-Workout

Training Techniques Tools BodyweightBodyweight training has been popular for quite a long time because of its simplicity: little is required besides the motivation to work out and some space in which to do so.

Thanks to the development of exercise science, today’s athletes can optimize bodyweight exercises to maximize their returns. Here are some examples of effective modern bodyweight training for those who are interested in improving their fitness, even without access to a gym or exercise equipment.

Aerobic and Strength Training Combinations

Bodyweight training techniques are great because they can train both aerobic en
durance and strength. For example, one of the most popular kinds of bodyweight exercises is the burpee, which involves transitioning from a standing position to a squat and then lunging into pushup position, then back to a squat and jumping back to standing.

Another reason that many athletes and fitness enthusiasts enjoy incorporating bodyweight training techniques into their standard regimens is that these exercises can be tweaked slightly to work different parts of the body. Moving one’s hands in a slightly different position, for example, will help you target different muscles of the arms and upper body when doing a pushup.

Easy Access to Fitness

Bodyweight exercises are also popular because they can be used in almost any location. This makes bodyweight exercises great for a busy professional who travels frequently or wants to work out in the place where they work or live.

Because of how easy it is to incorporate bodyweight training techniques into your fitness routine, many local gyms are beginning to offer these programs to their members in creative ways. For example, some bodyweight classes may offer a blending of cardio exercise as well as bodyweight strength exercises like pushups or situps.

Self-Paced Workout Videos

Thanks to the rise of video sharing websites such as YouTube, it is very easy for instructors to release videos to people who are interested in getting instruction without having to physically attend a class. These kinds of training techniques are excellent for the person who wants to set their own pace to truly customize their fitness program.

Bodyweight exercises can be an important workout tool for athletes and others who are simply interested in their health. Whichever type of bodyweight exercise you choose, it is important to give your muscles sufficient rest between competitions or workouts. Getting enough rest and staying hydrated will help with your recovery, as will having the right recovery tools.