In your ideal world, your daily routine includes an amazing 60-minute sweat session at a posh fitness club, with your in-demand celebrity trainer pushing you to achieve the best body you can ever have. But in reality, not everyone can actually afford major dollars for a gym membership or have the time for an hour-long workout every single day.
However, this does not mean that you’re out of hope. What many people don’t realize is that it is absolutely possible to complete a workout session without any equipment at all. A full body calisthenics workout is a great choice especially if you have no access to any equipment or you don’t have much time to spare.
Calisthenics is a type of exercise that only uses your body weight for resistance. This means you do not really need any weights or complex equipment to perform exercises that will build your strength, mobility, flexibility and endurance.
This featured workout is a routine that you can do in 20 minutes from start to finish. It already incorporates a warm up and cool down session so you can confidently schedule that number of minutes in your calendar without any worry of going over time.
20 Minute Total Body Workout
Warm-Up: 2 minutes
Do each exercise 20 seconds each and do the warm up round two times.
This is a classic exercise that will give your body a cardio boost. Start by standing with your legs straight and arms at your side. Jump up with your legs hip-width apart and bringing your arms above your head. Then jump again to bring your legs together.
The air squat is a powerhouse exercises that strengthen your abs and your lower body. They are perfect exercises for your glutes as well. To do a proper squat is not easy. You can use this assessment to see if you’re doing the squat correctly.
This is a great warmup for your entire body. Start in a standing position, then bend down your upper body with your hands trying to reach the floor. Then walk down with your hands in front of you as far as you can until you reach an extended plank position. Hold for a couple of seconds then walk back until your hands reach your toes. Here is a video on how to do an inchworm.
Circuit: 12 minutes
Do each exercise for 45 seconds each, with 15 second rest between each exercise. Do the circuit twice.
The push-up is another classic exercise that trains many muscle groups in the body. If you are not strong enough to do a standard floor push-up, you also have the option of lowering your knees to the floor for a half push-up. You can then progress to the full one once you have developed enough strength in your upper body.
To do a lunge, keep your upper body straight with your shoulders back. Then, step forward with one leg lowering your hips until both knees are bent at about 90 degrees. Repeat for the other leg. This video will show you the proper way to do a forward lunge.
This is similar to the air squat but with a plyometric twist. To do a jump squat, add an explosive jump as you go up from your squat. To do a jump squat properly, you can check out this video.
These are great exercises to tone your arms. You will need a bench or a stable chair to do this exercise. This exercise can be harder or easier depending on the position of your legs. You can watch this video to see how to perform this exercise.
As the name suggests, this move involves lifting your legs which will help you develop lean leg muscles. Here’s a video demonstrating this exercise.
This exercise is called a skater because it imitates a skating movement. will help trim down your legs and also give you a cardio workout. This video will show you how to do skaters.
Burnout Mode: 3 minutes
Do exercises in a circuit increasing the number of reps per round within 3 minutes (1 rep, 2 reps, 3 reps, 4 reps, etc).
This is one of the most effective calisthenics exercises that will really challenge you. This requires you to assume a plank position and then to bring your knees forward alternately as if you are climbing a mountain. Here’s a video that shows how to do this move.
Start with your legs together then jump into a squat, with your legs apart and touching the ground in the middle simultaneously. JUmp back into starting position and repeat the move. This is a video demo of the touchdowns.
Another incredible exercise, the burpee is a combination of a push-up, two squats and three jumps all in one move. Here’s a step-by-step guide to doing burpees
Cool Down: 3 minutes
Do each exercise 30 seconds each and do the cool down round two times.
Downward Facing Dog
This is a yoga move that will stretch your entire body. Here is a video showing the accurate way to perform this cool down exercise.
These are great to relieve the tension in your upper body. And increase your blood circulation. You can do this exercise either sitting down or standing up. All you need to do is keep your upper body upright and back straight. Relax and rotate your shoulders together forward then backward. You can also rotate one shoulder at a time in an alternating motion.
Quad Stretch – Each Leg
To do a quad stretch, stand with your feet slightly apart. Then, bend your left leg behind you bringing your heel towards your butt. Use your left hand to grasp it behind you. Make sure your back is straight, your thigh is vertical, and your knee is directly below your hip. You can use your other hand to balance yourself with a chair or a table. Here’s a video demonstrating this move.
Tips in practicing this full-body calisthenics workout
You can start performing this exercise at least 3 times a week with one day of rest between each workout session. Just make sure that when doing the exercises, your form is accurate. When you are not adopting the correct form, you will not be able to gain the full benefits of the exercise.
In the beginning, don’t focus on how many reps you are completing within the allotted time. Rather, you should focus on the quality of your calisthenics practice. Performing a few accurate repetitions will get you much better results than doing several reps with terrible form.
If you want to upgrade the workout, you can increase the rounds in the circuit and do the workout longer. If you want to stick to the 20-minute timeframe, you can do more difficult variations of the exercises to make the moves more intense.
This is also a great daily workout routine as the exercises are compound movements that target multiple muscle groups in your body. On the days you’re not doing the workout, you can perform sports like running, swimming, or dance to keep your body moving.
About the Author
Rebecca Smith started calisthenics at age 26 as a means to lose weight and tone her body. After completing her first successful muscle up, the amazing feeling inspired her to train further and become a full-time calisthenics instructor. Rebecca also holds a Management Degree and a Diploma in Nutrition.