Forget weights – build full-body strength with this 6-move callisthenics workout

Improve the strength in your core, arms, shoulders and lower body with this beginner-friendly workout

Woman doing bodyweight squat
(Image credit: Getty Images)

If you’re looking to get strong without lifting heavy weights, then callisthenics could be your calling. It’s a type of strength training that relies solely on your bodyweight using no equipment and is great for building functional strength and lean muscle-mass. This six-move workout is the perfect introduction for beginners, as it’ll work your entire body in just 15 minutes.

Callisthenics can help you do more than get seriously strong though, it can also be an effective way to help you lose weight too. This is because its training consists of compound exercises, movements that recruit multiple muscles in the body. Compound exercises demand a lot of energy from the body, resulting in a higher calorie burn. Research has also found that compound exercise promotes better fat loss, strength and muscle, in comparison to isolation exercises.

This workout is made up of six different bodyweight exercises that’ll help you strengthen your core, arms, glutes and shoulders. All these are key areas if you want to eventually be able to move onto more advanced callisthenics moves, like handstands or the front lever. You’ll do each exercise for 40 seconds, followed by a 15 second break and you’re going to repeat the workout twice. Although you don't need any equipment, make sure you have your gym water bottle to hand and an exercise mat (this is going to be thirsty work). Here’s your workout:

  • Negative close grip push ups
  • Half hollow hold
  • Kneeling forearm push ups
  • Narrow squats
  • Prone over-unders
  • Bent-knee wipers

If you're unsure how to do any of these exercises, checkout the video above, as it's really easy to follow along with. Why not try this 9-move bodyweight workout next? It takes a little longer (24 minutes) but, again, it has loads of compound exercises that will help you on your callisthenics journey. If it's just your upper body that you think needs some more attention, try this five-move callisthenics workout that'll take you 15 minutes.

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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.