Calisthenics training

What is calisthenics? The workout with your own body weight

Hanging, pushing and pulling with your own weight. Calisthenics is a trend sport from the USA that is slowly establishing itself in Germany. In many parks there are now calisthenics facilities where you can do a lot of exercises. It strengthens muscle growth and helps people stay fit.

With calisthenics you train outdoors with your own body weight and are with it independent of place and time, because you can complete your training anywhere. Whether it's a pull-up bar, parallel bars or hanging bars, everything can be used for training.

Everyday objects that can be found in parks, such as stairs and benches, can also be converted into devices. Be at this fitness level various elements from athletics, gymnastics and parkour integrated, making it a versatile workout.

How does calisthenics work?

Calisthenics is a series of simple and rhythmic movements using only your own bodyweight. The weight that is moved in the units is more or less constant. The training exercises are often varied and so the training does not become monotonous.

It consists almost exclusively of exercises in which several muscle groups are used at the same time. This makes it possible to build an athletic body and fewer imbalances arise.

What does calisthenics do?

With the use of body weight, the load on the individual exercises is more or less constant. To make it extra difficult you can vary the exercises by adjusting the lever or the angle changes. In addition, there are super sets, explosive executions or new challenges such as one-armed push-ups.

A clear advantage of bodyweight training is that not only individual muscle groups are stressed in isolation, but entire muscle groups. In this workout is above all the Whole body tension is important and it also depends on the interaction of all flexors. In order to further increase the calorie balance through training and also to train endurance, it makes sense to do this between exercises additional cardio elements, such as rope jumps.

Where can you train calisthenics?

The basic idea of ​​this sport is the workout in the fresh air - no matter what the weather. In general, calisthenics can be practiced anywhere. The sport is becoming more and more established in Germany.

There are already many in the USA this outdoor calisthenics park but here, too, there are more and more. In such parks you will find pull-up bars, parallel bars and much more that can be used for such a workout.

Entry to such parks is free and open to everyone. As an alternative to outdoor parks, calisthenics fans can also train in normal city parks, gymnasiums or playgrounds. Here will be then Gymnastics, climbing frames, benches, thick tree trunks, ladders, wall bars or the like converted for the training.

How do you learn calisthenics?

Most people are already familiar with the basic exercises, such as push-ups, squats and pull-ups. The exercises are the basis of a calisthenics workout and only change in their execution and difficulty, the basic exercise remains.

What are the training methods?

With the exception of weight vests, hardly any additional weights are used in calisthenics. In order to ensure a progressive additional load, the calisthenics unit is made more difficult by the Lever arm changes, progressions to difficult exercises, explosive exercises, or supersets.

Calisthenics workout

How often should you exercise?

Calisthenics is a very varied unit, but it should sufficient regeneration phases between the individual workouts. Because as a full-body workout, all muscles (flexors) are always strained with every unit.

In order for the body to regenerate and the muscles to grow, they need rest. In the best case about 48 hours. If you train again too early, there is no supercompensation, the flexors do not grow, and in the worst case there is muscle loss.

Why Calisthenics Training Plans?

No matter what kind of sport you play, if you want to practice seriously, you will die a solid training plan not around. So the same goes for calisthenics. In the beginning, an individual training plan makes little sense.

Because everyone is built differently, some will have more muscle in one place and another in another. That's why it should first goal be, to compensate for the deficits. Because starting such a workout is exhausting even for university students.

Important: Never without a warm up

In most exercises this is an important issue and must not be neglected. Before you start with the actual unit, you should at least just a couple of jumping jacks or something similar to warm up to prepare the body for the coming effort and thus reduce the risk of injury. the Shoulder girdle very heavily loaded. If you also perform the exercises incorrectly, whether through false ambition or exhausted flexors, the load increases even more.

Stretch and warm up is therefore also an important topic for street workouts and must not be neglected. Before you start with the actual unit, you should at least just a couple of jumping jacks or something similar to warm up to prepare the body for the coming effort and thus reduce the risk of injury.

First – building a base of endurance power

Getting started with calisthenics training is easy or difficult, depending on your training level, but basically feasible for every athlete of every age. Practicing with a strict calisthenics training plan from the start makes little sense.

Because everyone has strengths and weaknesses, which is why it is important to balance out the differences in performance between the individual muscle groups and build up good strength endurance.

increase difficulty
When you start the lesson, you can do the basic exercises in their basic form. As with any meaningful strength training, as an advanced user you should gradually work your way up to more demanding variations in order to achieve further success.

The easiest way of progression is it natural more reps or sets to make or to shorten the break times in between. Alternatively, the lever arm can also be changed. Depending on the fitness level, very intensive exercises such as Human Flag, Front Lever or Muscle Ups can also be dared.

It is important that the training plan are made more and more difficult should to avoid a training plateau.

Calisthenics workout preparation

Coach Zimo is a sports scientist, trainer and calisthenics athlete himself. In his online magazine [ALLROUND ATHLETICS] He gives a wide variety of training tips in the areas of strength training, endurance, speed, mobility and coordination. You will also find valuable tips on the topics of nutrition, mindset and have the opportunity to add a new one every week free training plan to get.

The right start to calisthenics training - the most important preliminary exercises

In this article, Coach Zimo explains how you should best train in order to eventually master the cool, challenging calisthenics exercises. Muscle Up, Human Flag, Front and Backlever will soon no longer be a challenge for you.

  • The most important basics in Calisthenics
  • Advanced calisthenics exercises
  • progression and regression
  • Important aids for calisthenics training
  • Warm up properly
  • Regeneration
  • Summary

1. The most important basics in Calisthenics

The transition between conventional bodyweight training and calisthenics is fluid. Since the exercises in calisthenics require a good mix of strength, body tension, flexibility and body control, I always recommend mastering the basic exercises in bodyweight training first.


That is, exercises like Sit-ups, leg-raises on the floor in the slope and in the support, push-ups, dips, pull-ups should definitely be mastered in correct execution. In order to train the body as balanced as possible, the legs should not be neglected. You should always include squats, lunges and squat jumps in your training. Of each of the above exercises, you should at best 10 to 20 repetitions create.


For mobility, you should regular mobility training for shoulders, spine, wrists, hips and legs into your training. For example, if you want to practice hanging leg raises or the so-called V-sit, you not only need strength in the abdominal muscles, you also need to be flexible in the hamstrings.

body tension

You build up body tension through regular core training. Exercises like this are good for this Plank, side plank or the hollow body Position. Here your goal should be to do each of the exercises at least one, better even 2 to 3 minutes to keep.

2. Advanced calisthenics exercises

If you can already do all the exercises just mentioned, you can slowly approach the first calisthenics exercises. The basic exercises include above all the Muscle Up, Human Flag and Dragon Flag, Front and Back Levers. Below you can see a few sample images.

Calisthenics gymnastic rings

3. Progression and regression in calisthenics

Since the exercises in calisthenics are extremely demanding, you have to start with easier exercise variations (regressions). For this purpose, the principle of leverage is usually used in the exercises.

4. Important tools for calisthenics training

In addition to leverage, you can also use training equipment and ours TOLYMP calisthenics stations attach. exercise bands, gymnastic rings or sling trainer can ensure that you can do various exercises with some support, even though the exercise is actually not yet possible for you.

5. Warm up properly

Calisthenics exercises are not only extremely demanding in terms of coordination, the strain on your joints is also very high. Especially shoulders, elbows and wrists this requires a lot.

For this reason, I recommend using before each workout easy warm-up exercises for the corresponding body regions to start and not only to stretch them, but also to strengthen them at the same time.

6. Regeneration

As already mentioned, calisthenics exercises are usually also a great strain on the joints. At the same time, they require not only strength, but also good coordination. That's why you should make sure that you give your body enough recovery time during training, similar to heavy weight training.

There should also be some time between the individual training units. Your body needs at least 1 day off to recover sufficiently. In this way you avoid injuries caused by overloading the joints.

Image sources: Photographer ©Stephan Tischmann


If you want to start with calisthenics, you should first master the basic exercises of bodyweight training. That means you should be able to do at least 10 repetitions of each exercise correctly.

When it comes to calisthenics training, you should first start with simple exercise variants and slowly work your way up to the more demanding versions. You can also use tools to make your calisthenics exercises easier.

Neverest Max

Coach Zimo trains at this station: Neverest Max 

A fully equipped calisthenics station with gymnastics rings, sling trainers, dip bars, pull-up bars and much more for a variety of training options.

  • Individually expandable thanks to the clever modular system
  • Stable construction, completely made of V2A stainless steel

The most important basic exercises

The basis for calisthenics training, regardless of whether it's freestyle or simply to build up strength four basic exercises. The lessons train the entire body and prepare you for the challenges in the movements, such as Muscle Up, Front Lever or Human Flag, wait for one.


With their different grip variations, they are the central lessons in bodyweight training, but also one of the most important basic exercises in classic strength training with weights.

This unit is particularly error-prone, so it's important to do it correctly. A clean and correct execution enables a strong activation of the entire pulling muscle chain of the upper body. This includes the arms, shoulders, chest, back, core and triceps.


Dip is a bar support that is usually only known under the English name "dips". It is an exercise in which your own body weight is lifted between beams. They belong to the demanding push lessons. At first glance, the implementation looks very simple, but you should pay attention to a few things.


They are also called push ups and are a classic bodyweight exercise. Many athletes use them for active training. Push-ups have a very high training potential if you do them correctly. The push up is a unit in which you try to push yourself off the floor horizontally.


They are also called squats and are a classic leg exercise. When using weight, they even belong to the supreme discipline.

Which equipment
do you need?

The body weight training works in itself anytime and anywhere, since no additional equipment is required apart from your own body. Nevertheless, there is helpful equipment to set certain stimuli. Useful equipment would be, for example, a bar for pull-ups, wall bars, gymnastic rings, or a resistance band.

For whom is the training suitable and for whom not?

In principle, calisthenics is suitable for everyone. It doesn't matter whether you're unsportsmanlike or well-trained from top to bottom - everyone can take part, because the units can be individually adapted to the respective strength level.

Calisthenics gymnastic rings

While beginners start with easier variations to first build up a strength base and learn the movement, advanced athletes can gradually increase the load. He can do that The lever arm or the reach can be changed, the number of repetitions or sets increased, pause times shortened or difficult exercise variants be executed.

Calisthenics is definitely a great fitness that is set to grow a lot in the years to come. Nevertheless, the type of training is not for everyone, because those who want to see visual success quickly and prefer to practice isolated and alone are better off with classic muscle training. It is recommended it just try it out and to see if it's something.

Train together instead of alone

What excites the most about sport is the community. With calisthenics you meet outside for training, try new things, help each other and, above all, you train together and not against each other.

Benefits of Calisthenics

  • It's budget friendly
    Almost no equipment or studio membership is required, at least for starters. As an intermediate you may decide to invest in rings or poles, but you can do without for starters. And even if you buy a few extras, the investment is a lot smaller than with weight training.
  • Training is possible anywhere
    Since you don't need any special equipment, it can be practiced almost anywhere without any problems. At home, in the park at a playground, on vacation or anywhere else. This freedom to exercise is a privilege few programs offer and gives you one less excuse not to exercise today. Because you are not dependent on opening hours or anything like that.
  • Optimal full body workout
    With bodyweight exercises, you move your body as a unit. The muscles work together and none are isolated.
  • Several types of training are trained at the same time
    Advanced bodyweight exercises are a blend of strength, balance, mobility, and flexibility training. You develop better body control, which also benefits you in other sports.
  • Varied training
    Bodyweight training is a lot more varied than pure weight training. There are many different exercise variations and there are no limits to creativity. The location independence is also unique. You can practice in the garden, in the park, on the playground or in the gym. With a constantly changing backdrop, training is more fun.

Disadvantages of Calisthenics

  • Muscle groups are difficult to isolate
    Isolation exercises aren't for everyone, but they have their place. For example, if you're recovering from an injury or want to strengthen a weak muscle, it makes sense to use isolation exercises to strengthen it. Bodyweight exercises are difficult to isolate a muscle group or weak spot. In these cases you are better served with dumbbell, machine training or the like.
  • Limited opportunities for leg training
    The level of difficulty cannot always be measured accurately for the units, which can be a disadvantage.
  • Difficult to measure
    With bodyweight exercises, you move your body as a unit. The muscles work together and none are isolated.
  • Progress is not always intuitive
    With dumbbell training you just need to increase the weight, with bodyweight training it's not quite as obvious how to move up next and how the exercise gets harder.
  • Body weight and stature can limit
    Many lessons are a lot harder when you have extra hip gold. When it comes to upper body training, not all bodyweight exercises are feasible above a certain weight. In such cases, it is better to start with weights and cardio training.

Tips for a real calisthenics lifestyle

Pay attention to the right diet

Since it is not just strength training as such, but also nutrition and your lifestyle play a major role, you have to fully engage in a calisthenics life. Athletes from this area, for example, make sure they only eat low-carb. However, there is no right or wrong way to eat. After all, it should go without saying that you want to balanced nutrition and one healthy lifestyle pay attention

Find a training partner or a group

In almost every city there are now places where street work groups meet. Among these athletes you will surely find someone who would like to practice with you. Maybe it's even a whole group that accepts you into their circles. Practicing with someone makes training a lot easier. You can give each other tips.

Trend sport calisthenics - the conclusion

Calisthenics is an intense and demanding full body workout, which is mainly trained with one body and without aids. While the trend sport is by no means new, it only spread out of the United States in the 21st century.

The success is precisely due to the training, which is possible at any time and any place. No gym membership or special equipment is required. Either lets in be trained in a free calisthenics park on pull-up bars, parallel bars and other special devices or in your own garden and in public places, such as in a playground or in a city park.

There is much more to calisthenics than just the sport itself, it is a whole lifestyle. Team spirit in particular plays an enormously important role for fans of this sport.

Your own calisthenics station for your backyard

Neverest Max

All TOLYMP stations are made entirely of V2A stainless steel. For calisthenics, street and fitness workouts and as a trim device or climbing tower for the whole family. Expandable with sling trainer, rings, bands, etc.

  • Certified according to TÜV standard DIN EN 16630:2015-06
  • Individually adaptable thanks to the clever modular system 
  • Stable construction, made entirely of V2A stainless steel