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Light Calisthenics: A Simple Guide For Beginners

The calisthenics movement is getting bigger and bigger, thanks to gym closures and people working out more at home.

Here’s everything you need to know about light calisthenics.

What Is Light Calisthenics?

Light calisthenics is a form of resistance training that uses your own bodyweight to gain muscle and strength. Compared to other types of calisthenics, light calisthenics is easy and low intensity so is perfect for beginners.   

In this article, we cover examples of light calisthenics exercises, whether you need equipment to do light calisthenics, who should and shouldn’t do light calisthenics, and much more!

6 Awesome Light Calisthenics Exercises

Knee Push Ups

  1. Start by kneeling on the floor.
  2. Next, extend your arms and put your hands shoulder-width apart on the floor.
  3. Bend your arms, lowering your torso until your chest approaches the floor.
  4. Finally, straighten your arms back again until you return to the position in step 2.

Wall Push Ups

  1. Start with your feet under hips at arm’s length away from a wall.
  2. Next, place your hands on the wall, with your wrists in line with your shoulders and fingers pointing upwards.
  3. Bend your elbows straight back until your face approaches the wall.
  4. To finish the rep, straighten your arms back until you return to the position in step 2.

Negative Pull Ups

  1. Start by gripping a pull up/overhead bar with your palms facing away from you and your hands at shoulder-width apart.
  2. Next, using a partner or an object to assist you, get into the top most position of the pull up exercise so that your chin is in line with your hands.
  3. Slowly lower yourself down so that your arms are fully straight and extended.

Dead Hang

  1. Start by gripping a pull up/overhead bar with your palms facing away from you and your hands at shoulder-width apart.
  2. Next, lift your feet off the ground so that you’re hanging.
  3. Keep your arms straight and hold the position for as long as possible.

Bodyweight Squats

  1. Start with your feet shoulder-width apart and your arms straightened out parallel to the floor.
  2. Next, with your core tightened, push your weight back into your heels while pushing your hips back as you squat down.
  3. Keep lowering yourself until your thighs are parallel to the floor, with your knees inline with your toes.
  4. With your spine in a neutral position, push through your heels until you return to the starting position.

Lunges

  1. Start with your feet hip-width apart and your arms down by your sides.
  2. Next, take a big step forward with your left leg. Ensure that your heel hits the floor first by shifting your weight forward.
  3. With your back straight, lower your body until your left thigh is parallel to the floor and your left shin is upright. Try to ensure your knee doesn’t go past your toes.
  4. Finally, press into your left heel to drive back into the starting position.
  5. Repeat the movement, alternating your legs each time.

Do You Need Any Equipment To Do Light Calisthenics?

Some light calisthenics exercises require equipment, but most don’t.

For example, knee push ups, bodyweight squats and lunges can be done anywhere, but you will need a pull up/overhead bar to perform dead hangs and negative pull ups.

(You can snag a pull up bar on Amazon for around $30.)

Alternatively, if you live near a calisthenics park or a gym, you can always just use the pull up bar there.

Can You Do Light Calisthenics At Home?

Absolutely!

The beauty of light calisthenics is that it can be done anywhere – including your home.

As we’ve just covered, most light calisthenics exercises require no equipment making them suitable for home.

But even if you do need a pull up bar, these can easily be fitted onto your door frame so are suitable for homes too.

Can Anyone Do Light Calisthenics?

In short, yes.

Light calisthenics is awesome because it’s super simple, meaning anyone with a pulse can do it.

Can You Do Light Calisthenics At The Gym?

Ok, I get it…

Whether it’s the distractions, lack of motivation, or being a clean freak, some of you just hate working out at home.

So, you may be wondering whether you can do light calisthenics at the gym.

Well the good news is yes – you can do light calisthenics at the gym.

As long as there’s a floor and a wall, you can do it anywhere.

And the beauty of doing it at the gym is that you won’t need to buy a pull up bar.

Can You Do Light Calisthenics Every Day?

Since light calisthenics is low(er) intensity, there’s no harm in doing it every day.

In fact, the more often you do it, the quicker you’ll be able to progress to moderate calisthenics to improve your fitness and physique even more!

But if you can’t do it every day, then don’t panic – it’s just a bonus if you can.

How Many Calories Do Light Calisthenics Burn?

The average male can expect to burn around 110 calories from a 30-minute light calisthenics workout.

Whereas the average female can expect to burn around 90 calories from a 30-minute light calisthenics workout.

(These estimates are taken from captaincalculator.com)

Why Should You Do Light Calisthenics?

Light Calisthenics Is A Great Stepping-Stone To Moderate Calisthenics

Most people start light calisthenics with the goal of being able to do moderate calisthenics.

And light calisthenics helps that goal massively.

Being able to do a standard pull up is much easier to do once you’ve mastered a negative pull up.

And similarly, being able to a push up is much easier to do once you’ve mastered a knee push up.

Light Calisthenics Helps You Lose Weight

As covered earlier, you can expect to burn around 100 calories from a 30-minute light calisthenics workout.

Better still, a 60-minute light calisthenics workout will help you burn around 200 calories.

While there are many factors that affect weight loss, ultimately it boils down to calories eaten vs calories burned.

To simplify things:

Weight loss = Calories Burned – Calories Eaten

So, the more calories you burn, the more weight you lose.

Light Calisthenics Works Many Muscles At Once

All forms of calisthenics (including light calisthenics) rely mainly on compound exercises.

These are exercises which use multiple muscles at once.

For example, knee push ups use your triceps and chest muscles.

Whereas negative pull ups use your biceps and back muscles.

By focusing on compound movements, you can exercise more muscles while saving yourself some precious time.

A real win-win.

Light Calisthenics Workout Example

Here’s an awesome light calisthenics workout to get you started!

Once you’ve completed all exercises, rest for a minute to finish the circuit, and then repeat the circuit another 4 times.

Exercise 1: Wall Push Ups (for 2 Minutes)

Exercise 2: Bodyweight Squats (for 2 Minutes)

Exercise 3: Dead Hang (for as long as possible)

Exercise 4: Knee Push Ups (for 1 Minute)

Exercise 5: Lunges (for 1 Minute)

Exercise 6: Negative Pull Ups (for 1 Minute)

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