With winter in full swing, many people who want to exercise find themselves in an awkward position: Thanks to the still-present pandemic, they either can’t go to the gym or don’t feel safe going. At the same time, the blistering weather makes it difficult at times to get motivated for exercising outdoors.
Ideally then, you’d have a good selection of equipment to work with at home. But if you don't — or if you're traveling — you may need to work out at home, in a relative’s home, or in a hotel room without equipment to perform calisthenics in winter.
The following 30-40 minute calisthenics workout was designed explicitly for such occasions. You may be unfamiliar with some of the exercises, so we’ll start by showing you how to do them and then get into the workout itself.
The 11 Calisthenics Workout Exercises
1. Prone Swimmers
Prone swimmers are a shoulder mobility warm-up exercise that moves your shoulders through their full range of motion.
Another warm-up exercise, the superman trains your back through its extension (bending backward) range, as well as stretching your hips behind your body.
3. 90s Transition
The 90s transition is a hip mobility warm-up that puts your hips through their full rotational range of motion. It also secondarily warms the sides of your quads, as well as the obliques and lower back.
4. Bodyweight Deadlift
While they won’t build muscle without an added external weight, deadlifts are still a good way to warm up your back and hamstrings and get blood flowing through your posterior chain.
5. Hand-Release Push-Up
Hand-release push-ups are simply push-ups with a de-load between reps to prevent you from using momentum or muscle elasticity (somewhat like re-racking the barbell between bench press reps). The difference here is that since you’re de-loading at the bottom of the movement during the calisthenics workouts, it also ensures that you utilize the full range of motion.
6. Elbow Front Plank
This is your standard front plank, and should be your go-to exercise for working the rectus abdominus (the front of your abs).
Related: The 15 Best Exercises for Your Abs
7. Lateral Bear Crawl
The lateral bear crawl effectively acts as a full-body endurance exercise, but also can work as a cardiovascular exercise if you do it fast enough. For the sake of this calisthenics workout, move as fast as you can with good form.
8. Single-Leg Hip Lifts
This is your go-to butt and hip exercise for when you have no weights to use. By only using one leg at a time, you raise the resistance to the point where it becomes significant enough to drive muscle growth.
9. Jumping Lunges
Jumping lunges are a high-speed, plyometric lunge variant that’s easy to do without weights. Overall, they’re the best calisthenic option for a squat- or lunge-pattern movement to work your quads and calves. While they also work the glutes, those will benefit from pre-exhaustion with the single-leg hip lifts.
10. Pike Push-Up
Pike push-ups are push-ups performed at a high angle by placing your body into a pike position, effectively making them more of a shoulder exercise than a chest exercise.
While performing pike push-ups, you'll suffer from a short range of motion due to your head touching the floor. (You can extend this range of motion by performing them “from a deficit,” placing your hands on a pair of foam blocks to allow your head to dip below your hands.) If pike push-ups become too easy, you can also replace them with wall push-ups, elevating your feet on a wall to increase your effective body weight for this exercise.
You knew this one was coming! The burpee is a Spartan’s favorite exercise, and for good reason: It combines several compound movements into a single whole-body strength exercise. On top of that, burpees can safely be performed at a rapid pace, effectively active as a combined strength, endurance, and cardiovascular exercise.
The Full Bodyweight Calisthenics Workout
The actual calisthenics workout will be separated into two parts: an initial warm-up and the main body of the workout, which will be performed in circuits.
For this calisthenics workout, you’ll need a timer. Each exercise will be timed rather than counted for reps.
Set your timer for 30 seconds and perform 30 seconds each of the following calisthenic exercises. Don’t rush this. Perform them slowly, in a controller manner, and make sure you’re using good form and a full range of motion.
A) Bodyweight Deadlift
B) Prone Swimmers
C) 90s Transition
After completing the first circuit of the warm-up, rest for 30 seconds, and then perform a second circuit. This time, go a little faster.
After completing two circuits of the warm-up, wait one minute before moving on to the main circuit.
The Main Calisthenics Circuit
For the main circuit, set your timer to 60 seconds. Perform 60 seconds each of the following exercises (exception noted for the single-leg hip lifts), going moderately fast but maintaining good form.
A) Hand-Release Push-Up
B) Elbow Front Plank
C) Lateral Bear Crawl
D) Single-Leg Hip Lifts (In this case, perform 30 seconds on each side.)
E) Jumping Lunges
F) Pike Push-Up
After completing the circuit, rest for 60 seconds, then perform a second circuit. This time, perform as many reps as you can in the one minute you have for each exercise.
After the second circuit, rest another minute and perform a third circuit. Once again, go as fast as you can. By this point you should be tired, so feel free to take a 20-second break in between exercises if needed. If you’re not tired by the third circuit, you’re not pushing yourself hard enough on the second circuit (and possibly not the first, either).
In total, this calisthenics workout should take you 30-40 minutes.