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Fast Calisthenic Bodybuilding Workout

author image Mike Samuels
Mike Samuels started writing for his own fitness website and local publications in 2008. He graduated from Peter Symonds College in the UK with A Levels in law, business and sports science, and is a fully qualified personal trainer, sports massage therapist and corrective exercise specialist with accreditations from Premier Global International.
Fast Calisthenic Bodybuilding Workout
Pull-ups are the ultimate upper-body calisthenic exercise. Photo Credit Jerod Harris/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

You want muscles and you want a quick workout, but you don't have any equipment. Many people would give up and pick another goal instead, but you can follow a bodybuilder-style workout performing only body-weight moves. Not only that, but when performed in the right format, you can get your routine done in minimal time too.


Step 1

Secure your pull-up bar in a doorway or use the pull-up bar in your gym. Hold the bar with your hands about shoulder-width apart, then take your legs off the floor so you're hanging completely straight.

Step 2

Pull yourself up toward the bar until your chin is over the bar. If you want to make chin-ups even tougher, keep pulling until your breastbone touches the bar. Pause for two seconds, then lower yourself under control, aiming to take three seconds to descend.

Step 3

Perform as many wide-grip pull-ups as possible, with your palms facing away from you, then rest for 10 seconds before doing as many medium-width-grip pull-ups as possible. Rest another 10 seconds, then go for as many medium-grip, under-hand chin-ups as you can. Finally, after another 10 seconds rest, perform as many narrow-grip chin-ups as possible. Rest for three minutes, then go again. This routine is the brainchild of strength coach Charles Poliquin and is virtually guaranteed to build your back, shoulders and arms.


Step 1

Stand between two parallel dipping bars with one hand on each. Lift yourself up -- either by jumping or by stepping onto a box -- so that you're supporting your whole body weight with just your arms.

Step 2

Start with your elbows completely straight, then bend your elbows and descend toward the floor. Keep going until the angle between your biceps and forearms is slightly less than 90 degrees. Pause briefly, then push back up.

Step 3

Lean forward a little while doing dips. Keeping completely upright puts all the tension on your triceps, but leaning forward transfers some to your chest so you're hitting both muscle groups in just one move.

Step 4

Complete 100 reps in as quick a time as possible. Combining 100 dips with 100 pull-ups is also a way to create a seriously challenging-but-effective muscle-building workout, notes trainer Lee Hayward. If you're new to dips and 100 reps takes too long, cut the number down to something more manageable, such as 25 or 50 reps to begin with.

Split Squats

Step 1

Place a weight bench on the floor and stand 2 to 3 feet in front of it.

Step 2

Lift up your left leg and place it on the bench behind you, so your laces are touching the surface of the bench.

Step 3

Get your balance, then squat down by bending both knees. Keep going until your left knee is around 3 inches from the floor and then push back up forcefully.

Step 4

Keep most of your weight on your right foot and hold your hands out to the side to help you balance. Complete 10 reps with your right foot on the floor and your left foot on the bench, then switch sides.

Step 5

Add a jump to the top of every rep or pause for three seconds in the bottom position to make split squats more challenging. Complete five sets of 10 to 15 reps in each session. You can either do these in a straight-sets fashion, one after the other, or put your sets of split squats between sets of chin-ups and dips.

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