Build full-body strength using no equipment with this beginner-friendly calisthenics workout

Down the weights and grab a chair instead

A woman performing tricep dips on a chair in her living room
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

The destination of building strength and muscle is often viewed as a narrow road where you simply lift weights. While this is technically the most effective method it’s not the only way. Calisthenics is a type of bodyweight training that uses no equipment, but it can build lean mass and serious strength. You may have seen some people holding cool poses on the pullup bar at the gym, or climbing frames at the park – that’s calisthenics. This beginner routine won’t have you achieving that just yet, but it will build functional, full-body strength to help get you started. 

As well as requiring minimal home gym equipment, calisthenics is also a great exercise option for those who are pushed for time. This is because the exercises are often compound movements, working lots of muscle groups at once. This means you can work your entire body in a shorter amount of time, making it an efficient and effective way to train.

For this workout you’re going to complete the below exercises as a circuit, doing one exercise for 30 seconds, then resting for 30 seconds before moving onto the next one. You’re going to aim to complete four to five rounds in total. If you need to rest a little longer to maintain good form, do so. The last exercise is a little more complicated, so make sure you watch the quick video above so you know exactly how to do it.  Here’s your five exercises:

  • Commando plank
  • V-sit hold
  • Chair assisted single leg squats
  • Chair tricep dips
  • Elevated tuck hold

For more bodyweight-only workouts, check out this six-move calisthenics workout (although you may need to head to the gym for this one). Alternatively, if you're looking for another home-edition workout, this five-move session will do nicely and should take roughly between 30 to 40 minutes.

Bryony Firth-Bernard
Staff Writer, Active

Bryony’s T3’s official ‘gym-bunny’ and Active Staff Writer, covering all things fitness. In her spare time, you will find her in her natural habitat - the gym - where her style of training is a hybrid of bodybuilding and powerlifting. Bryony loves writing about accessible workouts, nutrition and testing innovative fitness products that help you reach your fitness goals and take your training to the next level.