No Weights, No Problem: The Best Ideas for Calisthenics Workout Programs

This was a problem I don’t think I was prepared for. I had joined the Army, and I had just shipped off to basic training. Sure, I was righteously swole, jacked, tan and vascular. But would I be able to maintain those gainz? After all, training to be a functioning member of the military will always fall in second place behind looking buff with my shirt off and dog tags dangling around my neck while I play volleyball with the boys.


I was in for a rude awakening, as not only did they limit just how much I could eat, but there were no weights in the barracks. The process would repeat itself often throughout my years of service, in different areas. This is a problem not unique to the military experience, but my first exposure to it. Others who are incarcerated might find similar struggles, or perhaps those who simply lack the funds for a gym membership or a home gym. Me and the fellow meatheads in my platoon found various workarounds. We did a lot of partner assisted/resisted work, sometimes we’d load up a backpack full of body armor plates for pushups, dips and pullups. It definitely flexed our imaginations as well as the muscles, trying to keep the muscle mass on.

Our biggest benefit during these times was that we had other people. Not for motivation, just for the extra weight of someone sitting on your back while you do pushups. This sort of workout is generally not what you would think of to attain the physique of a bodybuilder. But what if this is all you have? Should limited supplies and opportunities limit your ability to add on lean muscle mass, and look aesthetic while you do it? A simple look at a gymnast should answer it for you, as their stacked physiques are built entirely from handling their own bodyweight.


So what are some creative and effective programs to mximize the results with minimal equipment?

Training Basics & Starting CALISTHENICS (Beginners) – Complete Workout Routines (FULL Body) (from Calisthenics & Weight Training)


Full Body Home Workout – Routine for Beginners (from TrainingPal)

Start Calisthenics with This Workout (from OFFICIALTHENX)

Calisthenics Workout Routines – FULL BODY GUIDE (from Calisthetnics & Weight Training)


6 thoughts on “No Weights, No Problem: The Best Ideas for Calisthenics Workout Programs

  1. I do a lot of body weight exercises. I have back problems, and I do a lot of core work. You don’t need weights for core work. Push ups, chin ups, walking lunges, burpees, there are so many things you can do on your own. Like you mentioned the gymnasts do so much body weight training. I love this post, it shows people that you don’t have to go to the gym and be a complete meat head! You can do so much stuff at home on your own. Weights definitely have their place, but to your point, there is a lot you can do with just your own body weight. Thanks for sharing you have a lot of great information.

  2. Calisthenics’s is seriously hard and I respect them guys. Something I really want to start working on is my strength with my body weight. I have gotten up to a 25kg chin up for 5 reps which I am happy about.

  3. This is a post in my bookmark. The fact that I can reference to it for more than one thing is huge. The point you make about handling you own body weight is a goal for me. But I need to knock off a few pounds first. 🙂

  4. I want to start calisthenics workouts and I also do intermittent fasting but I can’t seem to find any good suggestion for when to do my calisthenics workout? Do you suggest before I break the fast or should I do it after?

    1. I know many folks are proponents of fasted cardio, but I haven’t read of many folk at all supporting fasted strength work. In the absence of carbs, your body will seek other fuel, by way of fat or proteins which is counterproductive for building muscle. I’d definitely workout while fueled up.

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