Ultimate Calisthenics Motivation Guide: Tips, Benefits & Quotes to Remember

Whether you want to build your biceps, lose your love handles or boost your cardio fitness, there are hundreds of fitness gadgets screaming out for your attention.

This is great news for the bottom lines of fitness manufacturers but not so much for you and I, the hapless consumers.

That is because the most effective method for developing strength and losing fat has been largely overlooked – calisthenics!

Most people refer to calisthenics as bodyweight training. It simply refers to exercises that use your body as the resistance.

When combined with gravity, bodyweight training allows you to train every muscle in your body while also burning body fat and improving the efficiency of your heart and lungs.

One of the great benefits of calisthenics training is that you don’t have to join a busy gym or buy a lot of equipment to get in a great workout.

This, however, presents a challenge. It means that you are not in the motivational environment of the gym but, usually, training alone in your own home,

Training at home is convenient but it brings with it a whole horde of distractions.

That is why we’ve put together this motivational booster to keep you pumped for your calisthenic workouts!

Let’s dig in.

9 Amazing Calisthenics Benefits to Keep You Motivated

Here are some reasons you might want to buckle down and make sure you stick to your calisthenics routine.

1. Calisthenics is Safer Than Weightlifting

Body weight exercises make use of motions that protect you from the many chronic injuries, such as joint problems, that many people who lift weights are plagued with.

They also do away with many exercises done in gyms that are biomechanically unsound and potentially dangerous.

This includes moves like upright rows and overhead presses. You also avoid the problems associated with the spinal pressure that comes from doing squats with a weight on your back.

Gyms can also be a dangerous environment.

When you train with calisthenics you avoid the risk of uneven weight bars flying in your face, plates dropping on your foot or germs of viruses being spread between gym users.

2. Calisthenics is More Functional

Functional exercises are those that resemble what we do in real life, whether it is playing a sport or just going about our everyday activities.

The first and foremost way that calisthenics does this is by working the body as a unit rather than individual parts. Most weight training exercises isolate certain muscles.

This is not natural, works only a small portion of your muscle mass and burns far fewer calories.

Throughout the course of our day, we are constantly manipulating our bodyweight. That makes exercises using our bodyweight the most natural and functional type of exercise that exists.

Calisthenics exercises are predominantly multi joint exercises.

As a result, they work the body in the way it was designed, as a whole unit.

This is far more functional than doing, for example, an isolationary move such as biceps curls. Most of the exercises you do in the gum, whether on a machine or with barbells and dumbbells are not multi joint moves.

This is not only not functional; it is also very time consuming if your goal is to work the entire body.

(Learn more about the different types of calisthenics.)

3. Calisthenics is Aerobic

When you train the traditional weight training way, you are not working your cardiovascular system.

As a result, you need to head over to the cardio section of the gym after doing your weights workout.

But, when you perform calisthenics exercises, you engage many large muscles along with small stabilizing muscles at once.

This requires a great deal of energy which, in turn, makes the heart work much harder. The heart supports the muscles, and both should be challenged simultaneously, as they are in real-life situations.

4. Calisthenics is Time Efficient

The biggest excuse that is given why people don’t get their 30 minutes of exercise per day is that they don’t have enough time.

That is understandable when you consider that they think they have to drive to a gym, wait around for equipment, get in their workout and then drive home again.

But when you train with just your bodyweight, you don’t have any of those concerns. You can exercise anywhere, anytime. You don’t have to spend time setting up machines or waiting for equipment.

Just drop and start exercising!

5. Calisthenics is Joint Friendly

Weight training can be very stressful on the joints, especially if you’ve been working out with weights for a number of years.

The problem actually lies with the selection of exercises and the lack of warmup and exercise form that is so common.

If you have been working out with weights for more than 10 years, it is probable that you will have joint issues in one or more of your wrists, shoulders, knees or hips.

Calisthenics is far more joint friendly than weight training. Properly performed body weight exercises do not overload your joints the way that heavy squats, deadlifts or bench presses do.

Even when you fail on an exercise, your joints will be far more forgiving on a body weight exercise.

As we get older, our joints naturally become weaker. Calisthenics is the best way to offset this age related joining degradation.

(Speaking of low impact workouts, check out calisthenics vs yoga here to see which one is best for beginners.)

6. Calisthenics is Ideal for Circuit Training

When it comes to overall fitness, circuit training is a great option.

It involves doing a series of exercises as a circuit with no rest between each move. You then go through this circuit a pre-set number of times. Try doing this at your local gym and you will find it almost impossible (unless you turn up at 3 in the morning).

The big problem is that other people will be using the equipment you want to use.

Calisthenics, however, is tailor made for circuit training.

Because your exercise equipment is your body, you don’t have to worry about waiting for equipment. There is also no setting up of equipment.

That means that you move seamlessly from one exercise to the next, which is the ideal when you are doing circuit training.

7. Calisthenics Removes Barriers

There are plenty of excuses as to why we shouldn’t exercise.

After not having enough time (maybe because we work too much), which we have already dealt with, the next biggest is that you can’t afford it.

The fitness industry has convinced us that we need to spend a lot of money to get in shape – gym memberships, workout shoes, training apparel, and supplements, to name just a few.

Calisthenics removes all of those financial barriers.

You don’t have to spend money to get in shape. You may want to invest in a  pull up bar for around $30 but that is about it!

8. Calisthenics is Core Centric

Because it is highly functional in nature, body weight training incorporates the core in virtually every exercise.

That makes it different from most weight training exercises which provide machines to stabilize your body.

We can effectively illustrate this with calf training. In the gym, you train your calves by positioning yourself under a standing calf raise machine, which is designed to isolate the calf muscle.

However, the bodyweight version, in which you are balancing on one foot while performing calf raises directly involves the core to balance the body.

(Learn more about the results you can get from calisthenics here.)

9. Calisthenics Burns Calories

A body weight exercise will burn more calories than a weight training exercise that is targeted to the same muscle group.

So, push ups will burn more calories than a bench press.

That is because it is working both your aerobic and your anaerobic systems. As a result, you will more effectively burn off stored body fat with calisthenics than you will with weight training exercises.

Performing body weight circuit training, HIIT with calisthenics and bodyweight supersets will allow you to burn even more calories with calisthenics exercises.

(Remember, you still need to eat in a proper caloric deficit to see weight loss – but calisthenics is an excellent tool to help you get there.)

5 Motivational Calisthenics Quotes

Repeat these in your head when those pushups start to burn, or when you don’t feel like dragging your butt out of bed to workout.

Print them and pin them on your wall, if you must!

The best feeling is when you didn’t want to exercise and you worked out anyway.

When life knocks you down…do a burpee!

Your body can stand almost anything. It’s your mind you have to convince.

Waiting for the kettle? Do 30 push ups!

Good things come to those who sweat!

If calisthenics get boring, try these motivation tips

If you’ve been grinding away in your garage for 8 months working on pushups, dips, and pull-ups over and over, here are some ways you might try mixing things up.

Don’t let yourself get too bored — that’s how you end up skipping workouts!

Combining Bodyweight with Weights

Use bodyweight training and weights together to ramp up the intensity of your calisthenics training.

One way to do this is with supersets where you pair a weight exercise with a body weight move for the same body part.

For example, you can do a set of bench presses and then get on the floor and do a set of push ups.

Another way to combine bodyweight and weight training is to do the body weight exercise first and then go directly to the weighted exercise.

This is a form of pre-exhaust training that allows you to temporarily weaken the target muscle group so that it does more work during the second exercise.

An example would be to do a set of push ups and then go directly to the push up. The push ups will temporarily make your chest weaker than your triceps and front deltoids so that they get more of the effect of the bench press.

Ladder Sets

We can demonstrate ladder sets with the example of push ups.  Do 10 push ups, then rest for 10 seconds. Now do 11 push ups and rest for another 10 seconds.

Continue going up by one push up until you have done 5 sets. Then come down the ladder so that you are returning back to your starting number after 11 sets – good luck!

You can choose the starting number for your ladder. If you are a beginning exerciser, start with one rep, then work progressively up to 5 reps and then go back down the ladder to finish with one rep.

Circuit Training

Circuit training involves doing a series of exercises in a row with no rest for a set number of rounds. It is a great way to burn fat, improve your cardio efficiency and build muscle all at the same time.

Here is a sample circuit training workout. Do each exercise for 30 seconds with no rest between exercises. Then rest for 1 minute. Complete 3 rounds of the circuit:

  • Body weight squats
  • Push Ups
  • Jogging on the Spot
  • Plank
  • Wall Sit
  • Burpees

HIIT Workouts

HIIT stands for high intensity interval training.

It involves performing high intensity training on an exercise for a short time followed by an even shorter rest period for repeated rounds.

Here is an example of how you can incorporate HIIT into your body weight program.

We have chosen burpees as the exercise to build the HIIT program around, but you can choose any compound bodyweight exercise or plyometric move that will get your heart pumping and that you will be able to perform at high intensity during each 20 second round.

  • 2 Minute warm-up (dynamic stretching / light cardio)
  • Burpees – 20 seconds
  • Rest – 10 seconds
  • Burpees – 20 seconds
  • Rest – 10 seconds
  • Burpees – 20 seconds
  • Rest – 10 seconds
  • Burpees – 20 seconds
  • Rest – 10 seconds
  • Burpees – 20 seconds
  • Rest – 10 seconds
  • Burpees – 20 seconds
  • Rest – 10 seconds
  • Burpees – 20 seconds
  • Rest – 10 seconds
  • Burpees – 20 seconds
  • Recover on the floor covered in sweat!

Deck of Cards

A Deck of Cards workout adds an element of fun to your training.

Assign each suit to a different exercise.  For example, you could allocate the suits as follows:

  • Diamonds – Push Ups
  • Hearts – Body Weight Squats
  • Clubs – Reverse dips
  • Spades – Burpees

Then select a card and do that number of exercises.

As an example, you can then divide the deck into 4 stacks and do four rounds of 13 exercises.

There are many other ways to use Deck of Cards training to spice up your workout — learn more and discover some other cool fitness card games here.

Wrapping Up

Calisthenics is the most functional, least expensive and most accessible form of exercise that exists.

It removes all of the traditional barriers to exercise, allowing anyone to work out anytime.

Of course, calisthenics does present its own challenges, including training boredom.

We encourage you to feed off of the motivation we’ve provided here, make use of our workout variations and start making calisthenics training a part of your daily routine. Your body will love you for it!

Before you go, check out more motivation guides like:

Hope this helps!