11 Calisthenic Exercises That Build Muscle Strength

Whether you’re trying to lift weights or just want to ensure that you can pull yourself up from a low chair, building muscle strength is important for your body. Your muscle strength is responsible for keeping your body moving and making it easy to do basic everyday tasks, such as lifting boxes or opening doors.  

When improving muscle strength, some people think that they need to hit the gym as it requires the use of equipment. While that may be helpful, you’re not limited to such an option. Calisthenics is one viable alternative. It uses your body weight to strengthen your body instead of relying heavily on gym equipment. That said, it’s safe to say that the best calisthenics workout program can help you achieve your fitness goals right in the comfort of your home.

To further help you out, here are some calisthenic exercises that build muscle strength: 

1. Pushup

One of the most popular and classic calisthenic exercises that help build muscle strength, especially in your chest, shoulders, and overall upper body, is pushups. This only requires you to get on the ground on all fours, have your palms against the floor, and lower then push your body up, all while being in straight position all throughout. To avoid injuries, your arms should extend straight to your shoulders and never at an extended angle. For an added challenge, you can do alternating shoulder taps with every push and let yourself balance using one arm.  

2. Hanging Leg Raise 

If you have access to a pullup bar in your home or at your local gym, you might want to try doing hanging leg raises. While this can be more advanced and difficult, it’ll surely be a great calisthenic exercise to help you build upper body strength. As you hang from the bar, you slowly try to lift both of your legs up until you form a 90° angle, all while engaging your abdominal muscles. Thus, it also helps tighten your core. 

3. Pullup 

Apart from doing hanging leg raises, one thing you can do at a pullup station is to do pullups. This exercise focuses mainly on your upper body as you lift your body off the ground and rely on your arms and shoulders to support your body’s weight. The goal is to be able to lift your body up until your head goes over the bar. Pullups can help sculpt your shoulders, chest, and forearms. In addition, they can help strengthen your ab and back muscles.

4. Dip

Using a dip machine allows you to practice dips, which can help strengthen the muscles on your chest, upper and lower back, shoulders, and triceps. To do this exercise, you ought to hold the grip handles on both sides of the machine. Once you’re comfortable with your position, you can slightly lift your legs and have your arms support your body. Slowly dip your body without touching the ground, and then raise yourself back up. 

5. Burpee 

With burpees, all you need is enough space that allows you to lay your entire body on the ground, as well as ample headroom for jumping. While burpees are popular for their fat-burning benefits, they’re also helpful with strengthening the muscles in your shoulders, arms, chest, abdomen, buttocks, hips, and legs. What you need to do is to go from a squat position to a push up position, then back to squat position, and, afterwards, do a quick jump while raising both hands in the air. To maximize its benefits, you should do this as fast as you can. 

6. Jumping Jack 

One of the most popular exercises that even kids enjoy is jumping jacks. Apart from helping you lose weight, jumping jacks can also help strengthen the muscles in your lower body. They also help boost your shins, calves, hips, hamstrings, and glutes, which can help prevent spasms and cramps. Ideally, you should do this routine as fast and higher as possible to allow your body to develop stronger muscles.  

7. Lunge 

While more popular for being a cardio exercise, lunges can also help strengthen your muscles. With proper form and constant practice, lunges should help improve your calves, hamstrings, quadriceps, gluteal muscles, back muscles, as well as abs. In addition, this movement can help you lose weight and get toned.  Moreover, you don’t even need a large space to carry out this exercise.

8. Squat 

Squatting is a popular exercise that focuses on your lower body. Apart from improving your buttock’s appearance, proper squatting can also help strengthen your calves, obliques, hamstrings, and hip muscles. Moreover, it also helps minimize your chances of injuring your ankles and knees as it strengthens your bones, tendons, and the ligaments surrounding them.  

9. Plank 

Planking is one of the most popular and effective calisthenic exercises you can do in the comfort of your own home. As you put yourself in a planking position and stay for as long as possible, ideally above one minute, you’ll be able to strengthen your abs. Additionally, it can also help boost your hamstrings, glutes, lower back, and abs.

10. Wall Sit 

If you don’t have enough space in your home but have a sturdy wall you can lean on, doing wall sits would be a great solution for you. With this, you’ll put yourself in a sitting position, with your back glued against the wall. Your goal is to stay in this position for as long as possible. During this exercise, you’re improving the muscles around your glutes, quads, calves, and abs.  

11. Crunches 

One of the most popular exercises that can help you develop strong abs is crunches. With this exercise, you need to lay flat on the ground, bend your knees, plant your feet on the floor (hip-width apart), put your hands under your head, and lift your body by engaging your abdomen. This should help strengthen your abs and develop a chiseled stomach. 


Practicing calisthenic exercises will provide your body with plenty of amazing benefits. Apart from helping you lose that unwanted weight, these can also help you develop stronger and bigger muscles. With proper exercise, you should do plenty of benefits for your body which you’ll be thankful for as you age. 

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