How to Create a Customized Calisthenic Workout Routine
A guide to creating a workout routine tailored toward calisthenics
There are a lot of different types of workout routines for weightlifting, calisthenics isn’t any different. In actuality, performing calisthenics can make it easier to create a workout routine due to the ambiguity of exercises and the creativity that can come with performing them. The beauty of calisthenics is that it can be done anywhere at any time, all you need is your own body weight.
Full body Routine
The majority of calisthenics exercises focus on compound movements, so creating a full-body routine is pretty easy. Focusing on one or two exercises for each muscle group, performed 3x a week, 6–8 exercises is the typical guideline for full-body routines.
L-sit Pullups 3x8
Bodyweight Rows: 3x10
Pistol squat 3x10
Nordic curls 3x10 (5-second eccentrics)
Split routines perform different muscle groups depending on the day of the week. There designed to split volume up throughout the week. The typically split routine focus on hitting muscle group at least once a week, with 4–8 exercises.
The push/pull routine consists of performing pull exercises on one day and pushing exercises on another. Throughout the routine, they perform leg exercises based on the push/pull routine.
Diamond pushups 3x15
Incline pushups 3x12
Calf raises 3x20
Nordic curls 3x10
This split is similar to the push and pull routine. The only difference would be that the legs get their own day, rather than being split between push and pull exercises.
Upper/lower split is exactly what it sounds like, upper body on one day, during lower body on another. The only con to this approach is the amount of volume you have on your upper body days, due to the different planes of movement that the upper body can go through versus the lower body.
Incline pushups 3x12
Pistol squats 3x10 L/R
Calf raises 3x20
Nordic curls 3x8/10second eccentrics
Straight/Bent Arm Split
The straight/bent-arm split approach to working out is taking static skills(hints the name straight-arm) and performing them one day while taking dynamic movements( bent-arm exercises) are to be performed another day.
V-Sit Hold 3x10s
Front Lever Hold 3x5s
Handstand Hold 3x20s
Bent Arm Day
Back Squat 3x15
Rule of 15
The rule of 15 states that for whatever exercise you’re performing, aim for at least a total of 15 repetitions. This will allow you to build strength for each exercise.
Pistol squat 3x5=15 repetitions
Performing Near Maximal Repetitions
When performing exercises if your goal is to increase strength you shouldn’t try to burn yourself out in one set because it will result in a lower number of repetitions. For example, if you can perform a maximum of 10 pullups you should aim to perform 9 pullups. Performing 9 pullups for three sets allows you get to get a total of 27 pullups, versus trying to perform 10 pullups for three sets, which would only get you between 25–27 repetitions due to fatigue.
When performing isometric exercises it’s best to perform them between 60–75% of your maximal hold. This will ensure steady progress versus going at a higher or lower maximal load.
Strength should always be performed with sufficient amounts of rest in between sets and exercises. Depending on your goals will depend on how much rest you will need to induce: strength; 3–5min, hypertrophy: 1–3min, and endurance; 30–90 seconds.
As a beginner, I would focus on a full-body routine until you’ve learned the basics. That way, it can allow your body to build the fundamentals before moving on to more fine-tune work exercises. When performing leg exercises, calisthenics is very limited, so I would incorporate some type of weighted leg exercise so that you are not performing thousands of repetitions to see the results you are looking for. If you enjoyed this article, share it with someone who would enjoy it just as much as you did. As always, if you have any questions leave them in the comments.
Cited source: Low, S. (2016a). Overcoming Gravity: A Systematic Approach to Gymnastics and Bodyweight Strength (Second Edition) (2nd ed.). Battle Ground Creative.