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Vigorous Calisthenics (Who Should Do It + Example Workout)

Many people have a false impression that calisthenics is too easy.

And that’s where vigorous calisthenics enters the fray…

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

What is Vigorous Calisthenics?

Vigorous calisthenics is a form of resistance training that relies on your own bodyweight to gain muscle and strength. Vigorous calisthenics is extremely challenging, so is suited to high-level athletes and those who are experienced in resistance training.

In this article, we cover some vigorous calisthenics exercises, whether you can do vigorous calisthenics at home, reasons to do vigorous calisthenics, and much more.

3 Insanely Challenging Vigorous Calisthenics Exercises

One-Arm Pull Ups

  1. Start by gripping an overhead/pull up bar with one hand with the palm facing towards you.
  2. To assist, hold the wrist of your lifting arm with your other hand. (You may want to avoid this step if you don’t require assistance.)
  3. Next, lift your feet off the ground and pull yourself up vertically so that you have a bend in your arm. Lift all the way up so that your head passes the bar.
  4. Finally, slowly lower yourself down until you return to the starting position.

One-Arm Push Ups

  1. Get into a standard push up position with one hand on the floor and your feet spread wide apart.
  2. Next, ensure your core is tensed and your free hand is pushed against your lower back.
  3. Slowly lower your body so that your chest approaches the floor.
  4. Finally, push yourself back up so that you return to the starting position.

Single-Leg Pistol Squat

  1. Start by standing shoulder-width apart.
  2. Next, extend your arms and one leg out in front of you.
  3. With your standing leg, bend your knee to lower into a squat.
  4. As you squat down, keep you back straight and your torso upright until your butt approaches your heal.
  5. Finally, as your butt approaches your heal, drive through your heel until you return to the starting position.

Are Vigorous Calisthenics Good For Beginners?

Absolutely not.

You should only attempt vigorous calisthenics once you’ve mastered moderate calisthenics exercises, otherwise you increase the risk of injury.

So if you are a beginner, I’d recommend starting off with light calisthenics and then work your way up.

Do You Need Any Equipment To Do Vigorous Calisthenics?

You can do most vigorous calisthenics exercises with just your body and a floor, but some require equipment.

For example, one-arm pull ups will require an overhead/pull up bar, but single-leg pistol squats and one-arm push ups can be done anywhere with no equipment.

(If you need a pull up bar, then fear not – they’re dirt cheap on Amazon.)

Can You Do Vigorous Calisthenics At Home?

You sure can.

One of my favorite aspects of vigorous calisthenics is that it can be performed literally anywhere!

(Ok… maybe not the surface of the sun, but you know what I mean.)

Even pull up bars can be fitted onto your door frame, so you can squeeze in an intense calisthenics workout in the comfort of your lounge.

Can Anyone Do Vigorous Calisthenics?

While there’s nothing stopping anyone from trying vigorous calisthenics, I’d only recommend doing it if you have a lot of experience with resistance training.

The last thing you want to do is jump straight into the deep end and get yourself injured!

Can You Do Vigorous Calisthenics At The Gym?

Look, I get it…

Some people just can’t stand working up a sweat in their clean and tidy home.

Well if that describes you, you’ll be delighted to know that yes – you absolutely can do vigorous calisthenics at the gym.

In fact, doing it at the gym saves you from having to buy a pull up bar!

Can You Do Vigorous Calisthenics Every Day?

Personally, I wouldn’t recommend doing vigorous calisthenics workouts every day.

Since it’s a lot more intense than lighter calisthenics, your muscles wouldn’t have enough time to recover if you were to do it daily.

So how often can I do it? I hear you ask.

Well, if you were to do a full body vigorous calisthenics workout lasting an hour or so, then I recommend a maximum of 3 times a week.

How Many Calories Do Vigorous Calisthenics Burn?

The typical male can expect to burn around 300 calories from a 30-minute vigorous calisthenics session.

Whereas the typical female can expect to burn around 250 calories from a 30-minute vigorous calisthenics session.

(Both these estimates use data from

Why Should You Do Vigorous Calisthenics

Vigorous Calisthenics is Awesome For Weight Loss

As covered above, you can expect to burn around 275 calories from a 30-minute vigorous calisthenics workout.

While there are many variables when it comes weight loss, ultimately it boils down to energy consumed vs energy burned.

So to keep things simple:

Weight loss = Energy Burned – Energy Consumed

The more energy you burn, the more weight you lose!

Vigorous Calisthenics Makes Calisthenics More Challenging And Interesting

The biggest complaint about calisthenics is that it becomes too easy/boring after a while.

When you’re lifting weights, you can easily make things more challenging by simply increasing the weight.

But since we don’t use weights in calisthenics, this becomes a lot more difficult.

So rather than going from 10 push ups to 50 push ups, you can use vigorous calisthenics to go from 10 push ups to 5 one-arm push ups!

Vigorous Calisthenics Workout Example

Here’s an awesome vigorous calisthenics workout to get you fired up.

After you’ve done each exercise, rest for 2 minutes to finish the circuit, and then repeat the circuit another 3 times.

Exercise 1: One-Arm Pull Up – Left Arm (until Failure)

Exercise 2: One-Arm Push Up – Right Arm (until Failure)

Exercise 3: Single-Leg Pistol Squat – Left Leg (until Failure)

Exercise 4: One-Arm Pull Up – Right Arm (until Failure)

Exercise 5: One-Arm Push Up – Left Arm (until Failure)

Exercise 6: Single-Leg Pistol Squat – Right Leg (until Failure)