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No weights? No problem!

By Jett Ryan, April 14 2023

Calisthenic workouts are a great way to build strength and improve overall fitness without needing equipment. They rely on your body weight as resistance and can be done anywhere, making them perfect for students needing more time or resources to access a gym or workout equipment. Here are some of the best calisthenic workouts.


There are many different variations of the classic push-up. If you can perform at least 25 reps of one variation, you are ready to move on to the more challenging ones. Consider which of the following is suitable for your training level.

Knee push-ups

Begin with both knees on the ground with your arms locked and your hands shoulder-width apart on the floor. Lower your body slowly until your chest touches the ground, then spring back to your starting position.

Standard push-up

Start in the same plank position, keeping your back straight throughout the whole rep. Lower your body and keep your elbows as close to your body as you can. Push yourself back up to the starting position and repeat.

Diamond push-up

Start in a plank position with both thumbs and index fingers touching to form a diamond shape on the ground. Keep your back and core engaged throughout, then lower yourself by bending your elbows until your chest nearly touches your hands. Push yourself back up to the starting position a repeat.

Spider-Man push-up

Begin in a high plank position, this time with your hands shoulder-width apart and your feet hip-width apart. Lower your body down toward the floor as you would in a regular push-up, but as you lower yourself, bring your right knee up toward your right elbow. As you push back up, return your right leg to the starting position and repeat on the other side. Alternate between the right and left sides for the desired number of reps.

Bicycle crunches

Bicycle crunches are an abdominal exercise that target your obliques. To perform a bicycle crunch, lie on your back with your knees bent and your hands behind your head like you would when doing a sit-up. Then bring your left elbow to your right knee as you extend your left leg straight out. Switch sides and repeat for three sets of 10 to 15 reps.

Mountain climbers

Mountain climbers are a full-body exercise that primarily works your core and engages your upper body and legs. To perform a mountain climber, start in a standard push-up position, quickly bring one knee up to your chest, then switch legs. Continue alternating legs for three sets of 30 to 60 seconds.

Bulgarian split squat

The Bulgarian split squats is a lower-body exercise that targets your quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes. To perform a Bulgarian split squat, stand with your back to a bench or step, then place one foot on the bench behind you. Lower your body until your front thigh is parallel to the ground, then push yourself back up to the starting position. Repeat for three sets of 10 to 15 reps for each leg.

Pistol squat

The pistol squat is a challenging lower body exercise that targets your quads, glutes, and hamstrings. Begin by standing with your feet hip-width apart and your arms extended in front of you. Shift your weight onto your right foot and lift your left foot off the ground. Lower your body down into a squat position on your right leg, keeping your left leg extended in front of you. Push back up to the starting position and repeat on the other side. If this exercise is too challenging, you can hold onto a stable object or use a resistance band for support.

Jump squats

Jump squats are a plyometric exercise that work your lower body, specifically your quadriceps, glutes and calves. Jump squats work to build muscle by negative resistance meaning upon impact. To perform a jump squat, start with your feet shoulder-width apart, squat down, then jump up as high as possible. Land softly and repeat for three sets of 10 to 15 reps.


This exercise targets your core and hip flexors while also engaging your triceps and shoulders. To perform an L-sit, sit on the floor with your legs extended in front of you and your hands by your hips. Press your hands into the ground and lift your body off the floor, keeping your legs straight. Hold this position for as long as possible, focusing on keeping your core engaged and your shoulders down and away from your ears. If this exercise is too challenging, you can bend your knees more for support

Bodyweight exercises are a great way to stay in shape and improve overall health. Calisthenic exercises allow you to perform multiple variations either increasing or decreasing the level of difficulty. You will also notice rapid improvements in building muscle through calisthenic exercises since you can easily adjust the movements to your strength level. 

Callisthenics don’t require special equipment and you can do them wherever there is a floor. Incorporating these exercises into your daily routine will help you build strength, improve your cardiovascular health and boost your mood. Always remember to warm up before exercising and cool down after your workout.

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