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Calisthenics – Get Started: Push-Ups and Pull-Ups



Calisthenics is a form of exercise in which one uses one’s own body weight as a resistance to develop the physique. So, the good thing is that you don’t need all those fancy equipment neither do you need a gym membership. All that you need is the willingness for achieving a good physique! So, it is the easiest and the most inexpensive way to get your fitness targets achieved! From thousands of years, calisthenics is there as the main exercise for building muscles, flexibility, strength, endurance, mobility, agility, stamina and the list is too long 😛 It is also an essential component of the training for armies of most of the countries.

So, let us see what are some different calisthenics exercises we could start from:

  • Push-ups: The most famous, the most common and the most beneficial exercise for upper body. It builds the chest, the triceps and the shoulders. If you could perform 10 body-weight push-ups without any difficulty then you should try some other variations. It could be someone pushing you down while you try to push the ground and overcome all that resistance. There are different methods to enhance the difficulty level of a normal push-up. Single arm push-ups are the most common one. Place one arm at your back, and try to push yourself up with just one arm. Another variation is a single leg push-up where you just place one of your legs above the other and perform the push-up.

Put your legs over a chair or a bench, while hands on the ground. There you go. Inclined pushups. This will focus more on shoulders rather than the chest.

Different forms of push-ups are there to target upon different muscle groups. For example, place your arms wide and the push-ups will be affecting the pectoral muscles, keep them narrow, close to the shoulder-width and triceps would get worked out, or bring the palm close enough and you’ll be focused on shoulder muscles.

clap push ups

For explosive strength, clap push-ups are a good choice. In clap push-ups, you push the ground explosively drawing out enough time in air to clap before falling down to the ground position.

A lot of people develop strain in their palms while doing the push-ups, they should consider the fist push-ups. Plant your fist on the ground and start! Some people have also been heard complaining about the elbow pain. Such people should avoid the lockout at their highest position, this would help reduce the unnecessary strain on the elbow joints.

  • Pull-ups and Chin-ups: Just as push-ups develop the pushing muscles of the body, pull-ups and chin-ups workout the pulling muscles of the body.

Pull-ups: It is when your palm is facing away from you. Adds muscle mass to the back. Its main target are lats muscles which gives the attractive V-shape to the body. Triceps are also worked out to a very good extent. The grip should we wide while doing the pull-ups.

Chin-ups: If your palms face towards you, then it’s a chin-up. They too focus upon the lasts muscles, but their secondary target is biceps. The spacing between the grips should be narrower than the shoulder width to gain more benefit.

Forearms are worked in both the -ups as you need to keep your grip fixed and strong.

pull ups

Start from the hanging position and try to pull the bar down, while squeezing your back and lats muscles. One mistake that most of the people do while performing pull-ups is taking a jerk through the legs while pulling themselves up. This will reduce the effort put by your back and you won’t get as much benefits as you should have. Go slow and focus on the motion. The form should be correct in order to draw the most out of it.

Another mistake is not making up to the enough height. You must get your chin above the bar mark at your highest position and then slowly come back to the hanging position. Fold your knees a little if there are chances of touching the ground at your lowest point.


Further, if could comfortably do 10-12 pull-ups or chin-ups, you should try different variations of it, for example, one arm pull-ups. They might be difficult initially, and in that case, you could use the support of the other arm at the wrist, forearm or elbow level. Slowly, remove the support and try to do it independently. Like push-ups, you can get a training partner who would try to keep you down while you’ll use your pulling power to overcome his resistance.

Muscle-ups are yet another variation of pull-ups. In muscle-ups, you’re supposed to get to the highest position you could with pull-ups and then you turn your elbows and make it face upwards while shifting your whole body a little higher, and then pushing the bar down to get your elbows locked. At this point, the bar comes to your waist level, and you’re triceps get thoroughly worked out. Doing a muscle up for the first time could be difficult, keep trying though. Once you get the technique, you will be able to do tens of them.

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