Calisthenics Workouts to Get Your Muscles Toned & Cut

Calisthenics are exercises that do not require any equipment. They utilize your body weight against the resistance of gravity. Calisthenics build strength by recruiting multiple muscle groups to work simultaneously to push, pull and balance your body. Because calisthenics require more than one muscle group working together, your body consumes more calories in comparison to performing isolated muscle exercises. You not only increase your energy expenditure doing calisthenics, but you also enhance muscle tone and definition.

Warm up with at least 10 minutes of cardio exercise prior to your calisthenics workout. Complete 10 to 12 repetitions of each exercise if you are new to working out. If you are an experienced exerciser, complete 15 to 20 repetitions. Maximize the effectiveness of your workout by limiting yourself to 30 seconds of recovery between exercises before moving to the next one. Beginners should begin with one round and experienced athletes should complete three to five rounds.


Sculpt your chest, triceps, shoulders and abdominals with pushups. Begin in a plank position with your wrists in line beneath your shoulders and your legs extended so the balls of your feet are in contact with the floor. Keep your body in a straight line from your shoulders to your feet as you bend your elbows and lower 3 to 4 inches from the floor. Maintain your alignment as you straighten your arms and return to your starting position. For less resistance, allow your knees to remain on the floor during the exercise.

Side Plank Leg Lifts

Tighten your waistline and sculpt your outer thighs with side plank leg lifts. From a plank position, shift to a side plank by placing your weight on your right hand. Turn your body so your left side is facing the ceiling and your right side is facing the floor. Keep your hips lifted as you lower and lift your left leg for 10 to 20 repetitions. Return to a plank position and repeat on the other side.

Dolphin Pushups

Enhance shoulder and abdominal definition by challenging yourself with dolphin pushups. Begin on your knees and forearms with your elbows shoulder-width apart. Curl your toes under and lift your hips toward the ceiling, forming an inverted "V" position. Keep your abdominals engaged as you lower your body into a straight line, allowing your shoulders to press over your hands. Remain on your forearms as you push back, lifting your hips up and back to the starting position.

Squat Jumps

Enhance lower-body strength as you tone your butt and thighs with squat jumps. Stand with both feet hip-width apart. Press your weight into your heels as you bend your knees and lower until the back of your thighs are parallel to the floor. Push off the ground and jump as high as you can. Bend your knees as you land back in a squat position and repeat.

About the Author

Amanda Hynes has more than 10 years of professional experience in fitness and wellness. Her fitness column appears in the weekly publication, "The Red Springs Citizen." She is an avid runner and a certified pilates and yoga instructor who enjoys sharing her enthusiasm for fitness with others. Hynes graduated from Florida State University with a Bachelor of Science in foods and nutrition.