What are some great calisthenics home exercises

Calisthenic exercise versus weight lifting

I think that's a wrong dichotomy. In other words, it's much more about getting "shredded" or building strength than just focusing on calisthenics or weight lifting. The first thing you need to do is identify your goal.

  • Getting shredded means lean muscle but very little (single digit percentage) body fat.
  • Getting strong means being able to move more weight.
  • Running a marathon is all about endurance.
  • Sprinting and Olympic weightlifting are about short, intense bursts of energy.

The truth is, as you keep your eyes on new opportunities that you didn't have before, your goals will change over time. The bottom line is that I don't see it as an either / or suggestion, but rather as a question of proportion. As your stated goal is being torn to pieces, the rest of the answer will focus on that.

Lose body fat while maintaining muscle mass

Everything here revolves around nutrition. It is usually the first step to being "shredded" unless you are already underweight. The keys to getting shredded with your diet are:

  • Enough protein to maintain your muscle mass
  • Enough work to maintain your muscle mass
  • Manage total calories
  • Enough fat to keep your testosterone levels normal
  • Enough carbohydrates to fuel your exercise, but nothing more

The common saying of 1 gram of protein per pound of lean body mass (or total body mass) is "good enough" to be correct. The truth is, as a genetic outlier, you don't even need that much yourself. Protein needs more energy to be processed, so eating more than you need is not a bad thing.

Too little saturated fat will lower your testosterone (T) level below normal. Too much fat does not increase your T levels above normal, it increases your calories. 3g of omega-3s would be decent and no more than 6-7% of your calories come from saturated fat. NOTE: 1g of fat = 9 calories. In addition, the amount of fat you have is necessary to meet your caloric needs.

Carbohydrates are the quick energy consumed in almost all strength training. These are the variables to think about. As long as you're at or below your target calories for the day, when you see yourself cutting down on carbs a little more smoothly. Otherwise, keep pushing it up until you find that threshold.

Required in relation to the work of maintaining lean mass. Both calisthenics and weightlifting work well. They're sending the right signals to let your body know that it needs the muscle.

Building size

Muscle size is all about the volume of work. When you focus on calisthenics, you need to balance the limit of body weight with the volume of work. Another tool for varying the intensity is changing the levers (wide pushups, narrow pushups, T pushups as an example). When lifting weights, all you need to do is change the weight you use.

However, the total volume is the key to building muscle. Once the volume stops changing, you won't be adding any more muscle. That means for calisthenics, you're doing a lot more sets / reps of everything that's on the menu today. For weight lifting, you use weights that you can lift many times. 3 sets of 8-12 repetitions are the traditional bodybuilding ideal.

There will come a point where adding weight stops working or you just can't do more reps. Then you need to introduce the concept of different intensities and ranges of repetitions. In calisthenics, you use more difficult techniques (like human flags, muscle building, etc.) on high intensity days and the old standby mode on volume days. Weightlifting is about increasing the weight and doing shorter rep ranges on some days, and decreasing the weight and doing longer rep ranges on other days. The actual programming for this is outside the scope of the question.

Inherent benefits

Both weight lifting and strength training have some inherent benefits to your stated goal of being shredded.

  • Lifting weights increases your strength, which can help you increase the volume of work (weight * repetitions) beyond what is possible with calisthenics alone. That means more muscle mass like a Ronnie Coleman (steroid questions aside).
  • Calisthenics will increase your stamina, which will also help burn fat. Arnold Schwarzenegger took this approach before he had access to a weight room and won his first youth bodybuilding competition.
  • Calisthenics can be restored very easily, allowing you to keep the volume up over time.
  • By lifting weights, you can use intensities much lower than your body weight if you are not yet strong enough to do the calisthenics properly.

After all, Arnold used the weight room to win the world title in bodybuilding. But the end result is both to achieve your goal.

Use both to get a good effect

There is nothing wrong with focusing on 3-4 main exercises per week and using bodyweight exercises for all auxiliary work. It is a very effective combination that allows you to take advantage of each one to achieve your end goal. Wendler's 5/3/1 program even has a variation in which the entire assistant work is calisthenics.


+1 Very helpful tips and clear explanations.