Calisthenics Cardio Workout: 3 Routines & Cardio Explained

If you are looking for a calisthenics cardio workout, you are in the right place!

A reliable cardio routine done with calisthenics exercises can help you lose weight and get lean. The main benefits? It has a low impact on your joints, doesn't require equipment, and can be done anywhere.

Keep reading to find out:

  • The cardio workout with calisthenics
  • What exactly is cardio calisthenics
  • The difference between cardio and calisthenics

And more.

If you are ready, here goes.

Calisthenics cardio workout




Jumping jacks

1 min


High knees

1 min


Mountain climbers

1 min



1 min


Jump squats

1 min


Jumping jacks

1 min


After completing 30s of an exercise, take 10s of rest, then continue with the next exercise. Once you get to the end, you have completed 1 cycle. Do a total of 3-4 cycles.

This workout is enough to elicit a cardio response and help you lose weight.

Now let's get into some nerdy things.

In the next session, we will have a look at what a calisthenics cardio workout really is, by seeing what calisthenics is, what cardio is, and how you can mix them together.

What exactly is cardio calisthenics?

Woman doing a calisthenics cardio workout

A lot of people have heard of calisthenics workouts, and even more people heard about cardio.

However, what is a calisthenics cardio workout?

What is calisthenics?

Calisthenics is, in a nutshell, bodyweight fitness.

It consists of exercises where the load is represented by your body weight.

The intensity is represented by the load, and also how your body is positioned in space. For instance, a knee push-up will be easier than a regular push-up, because on the regular push-up you are lifting more of your weight.

The main benefits of calisthenics are:

  • With your body as the load, you can have a workout anywhere
  • You need minimal equipment to get a good workout
  • Since the load is smaller, calisthenics is usually easier on the joints than free weights

What is cardio?

Cardio is a fancy word for aerobic exercise.

Perhaps the name "aerobic" lost its meaning when groups of bouncy cheerleader-type girls started doing classes in commercial gyms and calling them "aerobics".

Cardio, or aerobic exercise, is a type of exercising that involves taking your heart rate in the aerobic zone for at least 20 minutes. The aerobic zone is around 65-70% of your maximum heart rate. (1)

Therefore, any exercise done at the right pace can be considered cardio.

Even weightlifting.

The main benefits of cardio are:

  • Helps with weight loss
  • Strengthens your heart
  • Reduces risk of cardiovascular diseases
  • Improves lung capacity

Among others just as good.

What is cardio calisthenics?

Knowing what calisthenics and cardio is we can draw a conclusion.

A cardio calisthenics workout is a workout where you are training in the aerobic zone (see above) for at least 20 minutes, by only doing bodyweight exercises.

For instance a high volume calisthenics workout performed in a circuit manner.

This gives you three main advantages:

  • No equipment like treadmills, rowing machines, etc. is needed
  • You can do the cardio anywhere
  • The cardio is usually low impact, as opposed to say jogging, where the constant impact on the knees can lead to some negative effects

Knowing what calisthenics and cardio is we can draw a conclusion.

Calisthenics vs cardio

Man doing a muscle-up for his calisthenics workout

A lot of people try to figure out which is better: calisthenics or cardio.

The truth is that, since there is such a thing as a calisthenics cardio workout, you can tell these physical activities are not in conflict with each other - like calisthenics vs weights for instance - but actually can be merged into a workout protocol.

Therefore, instead of choosing calisthenics or cardio, here is how you can mix them:

  • Calisthenics for strength and muscle mass
  • Cardio for health and weight loss

Calisthenics for strength and muscle mass

Bodyweight fitness is usually best suited for building muscle and getting stronger.

Whether you are talking about pull-ups, push-ups, or training for more different skills like planche and front lever, you will be building strength and muscle mass.

Therefore, instead of making cardio out of your calisthenics workout, you could train for the aforementioned attributes.

And to supplement your training, use cardio.

Calisthenics for strength and muscle mass

As mentioned above, cardio comes with the benefits of increasing your lung capacity, making your heart stronger, and helping with weight loss.

However, the truth is that you can't get many weight loss benefits with cardio.

Yes, you will get some.

But the best way to lose weight is to be in a caloric deficit - a state where you consume less calories than you burn. Therefore, you need to focus on your calisthenics diet.

So most of your cardio efforts will go towards strengthening your heart.


Here are some of the most common questions in regards to a calisthenics cardio workout.

Can I do calisthenics after cardio?

The short answer is yes. Is it ideal though? Not really.

There is no reason why you can't do calisthenics after cardio. However, if you want to use calisthenics as resistance training, you are exhausting your body even before starting your workout. The optimal way is to do your routine so that you can give it your best, then end with a cardio session.

As explained above, cardio is achieved by reaching the aerobic zone and staying there for at least 20 minutes. You can do that even after a workout without issue.

But can you train without issue after a cardio session?

Not really. Your performance will drop significantly due to fatigue.

Is cardio part of calisthenics?

Depends on the workout.

Some calisthenics workouts are done at such a fast pace that they also act as cardio. Others are not. A cardio workout will raise your heart rate to about 65-70% of your maximum and keep it there for 20 minutes. If your calisthenics cardio workout doesn't increase your heart rate that much or is shorter than 20 minutes, then cardio is not part of it.

With that being said, you can make cardio a part of calisthenics, at least for you.

Just do the workout at a fast enough pace.

Do calisthenics guys do cardio?

This depends solely on them.

Some calisthenics guys do cardio, others choose not to. Does doing calisthenics automatically imply that you are also doing cardio? No. Calisthenics being regarded as cardio is a misconception.

This misconception comes from the fact that most calisthenics athletes are lean.

However, most calisthenics athletes are skinny to begin with.

They want to stay lean so that weight doesn't interfere with their performance.

Is a calisthenics workout better than a cardio workout?

This question stems from another misconception.

Calisthenics and cardio are two different things and training one doesn't offer the benefits of the other. This is like asking "is running better than swimming"? As far as being on the ground is concerned, yes, it is. But if you are in the water, it is not.

Calisthenics is a strength and muscle development activity.

Cardio is meant to strengthen your heart and help you lose weight.

Different tools for different goals.


As you can see, there are a lot of misconceptions about calisthenics and cardio.

Hopefully, this article shed some light on the topic of calisthenics and cardio. With this new information, go and use that calisthenics cardio workout to get rid of some body fat.

Over to you.