How to Get Ripped With Calisthenic Workouts

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Calisthenics involve exercising your entire body with rhythmic movement using little or no equipment. You can increase muscle definition and size, which helps you burn more calories to reduce body fat. Calisthenics are economical and you can do them anywhere, even in a small hotel room. You can use a kettlebell, a chair, a pullup bar or an elastic band to help improve muscle definition, movement and strength. Fitness professional Juan Carlos Santana, author of "Essence of Program Design," recommends three exercises to develop a basic foundation of movement and strength.

Overhead Squats

Stand with your legs about shoulder-width apart and raise both hands overhead. Point your feet and knees forward.

Squat as low as you can without excessively leaning your torso forward or letting your arms fall forward. Keep your torso upright.

Exhale and stand straight without moving your body or arms. Keep your knees and feet pointing forward. Perform three sets of 10 to12 reps.

Inclined Pullup

Use a sturdy horizontal bar, such as a bar on a Smith machine or squat rack. Set the height of the bar between 2 and 3 feet.

Grab the bar with both hands about shoulder-width apart and crawl under the bar so your chest is below it. Put your feet about hip-width apart.

Tighten your buttocks, exhale and pull yourself up until your chest almost touches the bar. Inhale and lower your body until your arms are fully extended. Perform three sets of 10 to 12 reps.

Ball Pushups

Put your shins and the tops of your feet on top of a stability ball and your hands on the ground about shoulder-width apart.

Tighten your buttocks and lower your body until your chest almost touches the ground.

Exhale and push yourself back up without moving your body or the ball. Perform three sets of 10 to 12 reps.


Instead of performing exercises individually, do them without rest between sets for 20 to 30 seconds per exercise. This method helps you save time in your workouts, burn more calories and improve muscular endurance at the same time, says Vern Gambetta, author of "Athletic Development." When you have completed one round of exercises, rest for 30 to 60 seconds and repeat the workout two to three more times.