Calisthenics for Size and Strength

Calisthenics for Size and Strength

Calisthenics for Size and Strength

  • This is full body workout
  • It’s a workout that can be done anywhere with minimal equipment
  • Use of this routine will pack on size and strength
  • Combined with sprint work like Tabata or HIIT fat loss is inevitable

I did this routine a few years back with much success and have recently reintroduced it into my training.

The best part is it’s simple and effective and you can do this anywhere.  This workout can happen at your local gym, in your garage or at the park.  It will consist of 5 drills.  A pull up, a dip, a push-up, a squat and a lunge.  The drills will be done in circuits and ladders.

In addition, you can sub in what ever drills your fitness level will allow and/or you can add weight or reps depending on what you’re after.

A circuit is when you move from one exercise to the next.  In this case we’ll be doing a pull-up, then a dip, a push up next, then squats and lunges (or some variation of that movement.  (see alternatives below)

A ladder is where you work through your repetitions by increasing the number of reps per set and each rung increases in number.  For example, looking at pull-ups, do one rep, rest a sec, then do two.  Another quick rest and knock out three, rest a moment and do 4, shake that off and then do 5.  That’s one rung.  Rest up and start back at one.  (see chart below)

Calisthenics for Size and Strength

Warm up:  Jumping Jacks 5 x 100

Calisthenics for Size and Strength


Alternative exercises for beginners:

Door pulls, Rows, Assisted Pull-ups, Chair Dips, Assisted Dips, Push-Ups on Knees, Push-ups off a counter, Sit down and back up, 1/4 lunge.

Alternative exercises for advanced:

Weighted pull ups and dips, olympic ring pull-ups, dips and push-ups, box jumps, weight vest all around, Kettlebell Front Squats, Pistols, Walking lunges with Dumbbells or Kettlebells

Calisthenics for Size and Strength

Here’s how to roll this out.  Rung One:  Do one pull-up, two dips, 3 push-ups, 4 squats, 5 lunges per leg.  Take a quick breather.  Rung Two:  Do 2 pull-ups, 3 dips, 4 push ups, 5 squats, 6 lunges per leg.  Another quick break.  Work your way up to Rung Five, 5 pull-ups, 6 dips, 7 push-ups, 8 squats, 9 lunges per leg.  This is one round.  Rest for 3-5 minutes and then repeat the all five rungs.  Work up to 5 rounds.

VOLUME:  One round is 15 pull-ups, 20 dips, 25 push-ups, 30 squats and 70 lunges.  If you work up to five rounds, you got 75 pull-ups, 100 dips, 125 push-ups, 150 squats, and 350 lunges.

Try this 3 times a week.  Alternating the volume to maximize the recovery.  Day one, just do one round.  Day two, do three rounds and on day three, hit all five.  On the off days, if the goal is size, rest.  If you’re looking to get lean, do high intensity interval training.

After 3 weeks of alternating volume intensity, raise the stakes and on your light day, do 3 rounds, medium day do 4 rounds and then 5 on the heavy.  Do this for another 3 weeks.  6 weeks total or until this gets “easy.”

Once this gets “easy” it’s time to make it harder.

That means add repetitions or add weight or switch out the drill to a more challenging one.  Pull-Ups on rings is harder than pull-ups off a bar, dips with a 24kg Kettlebell hanging off a weight belt, also more challenging.  Follow?  If it get’s “easy,” make it hard again.

Another thing is that when you’re doing calisthenics for size and strength, this is a great time to really work on your form.  Notice, the volume is high but the work sets are low.  This is intentional so you can focus on your strength and executing perfect form.

Hopefully, you’re catching on and this is making sense.  If you go for it and give it a try, report back.  Make sure to track your progress because that will help you know you’re getting stronger – feel free to do the old before and after measurements and pictures too.  Not for me mind you, but for you.  So you know it’s working and you’re getting bigger and stronger.  The mirror can be deceiving and so can your mind.

Keep me posted…

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