If you’re completely new to calisthenics and bodyweight exercises, make sure to check out the Getting Started page. Below you will find workout routines meant for total beginners. If you find these too easy, head to the Advanced Beginner section instead.
Note: always remember that if you can’t do the full repetition numbers shown, just do as MANY AS YOU CAN. It’s perfectly fine to do less repetitions, as long as you are still pushing yourself hard enough to see fitness gains.
Modified Baristi Workout
This is a slightly easier version of the Baristi workout. It is very similar to the Advanced beginner version, but the rep numbers are lower.
- 5-8 Negative Chin-ups OR Static Hold
- 5-8 incline push-ups
- 10 leg raises
- 5-8 inverted rows
- 5-8 bench dips
- 10-15 squats
Rest: minimal between exercises, 90 seconds between cycles.
Al Kavadlo’s 5×5 Beginner Workout
Al Kavadlo is one of the most well-known calisthenics trainers and experts in the world. This is a simple complete beginner routine. If you can’t do the full 5 reps, just do as many as you can.
- 5 Australian pull-ups
- 5 Lying Knee Tucks
- 5 Split Squats (5 for each leg)
- 5 Push-ups OR as many knee push-ups as you can if normal push-ups are too difficult
Rest: Minimal rest between exercises – ideally only as long as it takes you to get into the next exercise position.
Cycles: Start one with 1, once it gets easier you can do up to 3 with 1-2 minutes of rest between each cycle.
The Push-up Progression Routine
This routine was designed by Scooby1961, a very popular fitness guru. This routine is great for progressing to full-fledged push-ups over the period of a month or two. You will start out with:
- 20 counter push-ups for 5 sets – that’s a total of 100 push-ups. Rest for 2 minutes between every set.
Do this until you feel comfortable enough to progress to knee push-ups. If you’re a complete beginner, this should take you a couple of weeks.
- the next stage is 20 knee push-ups for the same 5 sets. Same rest time of 2 minutes between sets.
Once you feel comfortable with knee push-ups, you can progress to stage 3 – a mix of normal push-ups and knee pushups.
- For this stage, you will do as many normal push-ups in every set as you can, and do the rest of the 20 on your knees. Once again, 5 sets total, 2 minutes rest time in between each set.
You should aim to do this workout 3 times a week, ideally every 2 days to give your muscles enough time to rest. Here’s a video to demonstrate the routine:
The Pull-up Progression Routine
This routine is a great way to work up to doing full pull-ups and chin-ups. If you’re a bit confused about the terminology – a chin-up is the same as a pull-up, except your palms are facing TOWARDS you as you do the exercise. Chin-ups are slightly easier for most people to do because they target slightly different muscles.
The first phase of this routine is bodyweight rows. Use either a table at home, or a metal bar at a local park/playground.
- lie under the bar / table as shown in the above photo, and pull yourself up. You can make this exercise easier by bending your legs and using them as support. Aim for 6-8 repetitions to start out, for a total of 4 sets. Rest for 1-2 minutes in between sets.
Once you’ve done this for a couple of weeks, you should feel strong and confident enough to move on to the normal pull-up position. Here, we are going to start with a static bar hold. Find a bar at the local park/playground (or purchase/build one yourself at home if you wish).
- With your palms facing TOWARDS you at about shoulder width apart, get yourself up on the bar until your head is above the bar. A jumping motion should give you enough momentum to get you to the top of the bar. You can also try finding a bar that is lower. With your arms flexed, hold for 10 seconds, and then come back down. Repeat this 8 times, with 15-30 seconds of rest in between. If you can, repeat the whole cycle again after 1-2 minutes of rest.
Once you notice that this is getting easier, you can move on to negative pull ups / chin-ups. A Negative is basically the same thing as a static hold, except you’re also going to do a slow movement back down from the bar.
- Once again with your palms facing towards you past shoulder width, get your head over bar with a jumping motion. Next, slowly lower yourself over the period of about 5-1o seconds. Do this for 5 times with 0-10 seconds of rest in between. Then rest for 30-60 seconds and repeat again 2 more times. This should give you a total of 15 negative chin-ups.
After you’ve done negatives for a couple weeks and start to find them easy, you can progress on to full-fledged pull ups and chin ups. A full pull up / chin up is the same as a negative, except you will pull yourself up by your arms at the beginning, rather than jumping up. Each pull up should take you about 2 seconds. Start out with chin-ups as they are easier.
- Do 5 chin-ups, then rest for 1-2 minutes, and repeat again for a total of 3-5 sets (15-25 total chin-ups). Feel free to switch your grip to have your palms face AWAY from you (these are normal pull-ups).
Here’s a video to demonstrate this routine: