If you want a calisthenics workout for weight loss, you are in the right place!
Doing calisthenics to lose weight is a matter of training to strengthen and tone your muscle mass, controlling your diet to lose weight at a healthy pace, and resting to assure proper recovery.
And in this article, we will give you very actionable tips on how to do just that.
Keep reading to learn:
Let's get started with the most important stuff: workout and nutrition.
How to lose weight with calisthenics
When it comes to losing weight, there are three main components you have to take into account. In no particular order, these are:
Let's go through each one in part so you can have a better understanding of how to do things, as well as an action plan to start on right after you finish reading.
Calisthenics workout for weight loss
Training will help you by burning calories, as well as strengthening and building your muscles to look good once you lose some weight. If you are a woman, don't be scared because you won't get bulky - especially with the type of training we have prepared.
In our article about calisthenics for women we have explained in detail how and why women can't get masculinely muscular with calisthenics.
Now let's have a look at our calisthenics workout for weight loss:
No push-up burpee
Repeat this workout 2-3 times.
As you get stronger, increase the time for the exercises to 45 then 60s each.
With this workout you get a mixture of cardio and strength exercises. If it is too easy for you, you can make it more challenging by increasing the difficulty of the exercises.
If you are looking for a strength workout, rather than a cardio one, check our article for beginner calisthenics workout.
When it comes to calisthenics weight loss, or any kind of weight loss for that matter, your workout is not as important. In reality, nutrition sheds the extra weight and training is used to model your body by increasing the muscle mass.
However, when it comes to nutrition, a lot of people overcomplicate the matter.
In our article about diet for calisthenics we explained the easiest way to eat for both weight loss and weight gain.
There are a few rules you need to follow:
These rules will set the ground for your plan to use calisthenics to lose weight.
If you follow these rules, there will be no foods that will be so high in calories that you will need to starve yourself for the entire day just to mitigate the damage.
How to lose weight with calisthenics without counting calories?
Now, here is how to determine if you are losing weight and if you are doing it in a healthy manner:
If you are not losing weight, cut down on some of the food.
For instance, remove some of the carbohydrates in your plate - potatoes, rice, pasta, etc. - and replace them with protein or vegetables.
If you are losing around 0.5 to 1lb - or 0.25 to 0.5kg - per week, keep it up.
This is what losing weight safely means. If you lose weight at a slower pace, most of it will come from deposited fat tissue.
If you are losing more than 1lb or 0.5kg per week, you are losing weight too fast.
This is what unhealthy weight loss looks like. When you are losing weight at such a rapid pace you will start feeling exhausted, you will be losing muscle tissue, and you run the risk of developing gallstones.
Don't worry, doing so over a week or two until you adjust your calorie intake will not have these negative effects.
How important is rest after the calisthenics workout for weight loss
Another important part of weight loss is rest.
Firstly, rest is necessary to help your muscles recover after your calisthenics for weight loss workout.
Secondly, you need the rest to replenish your energy.
When you are in a calorie deficit - i.e. you are eating less calories than you are burning - your energy levels will drop a bit. Proper rest can counteract the effects of your deficit.
How to do the exercises in the calisthenics workout for weight loss
In this part of the article we will teach you how to do the exercises above, as well as how to make them more difficult. After all, having a calisthenics workout for weight loss is useless if you don't know how to do the exercises.
To get to one particular exercise, press on its name in the list:
Jumping jacks are a very popular calisthenics weight loss exercise used in most weight loss workouts.
The best thing about jumping jacks is that they require no equipment, mobility, flexibility, or balance. With a bit of coordination, you can do jumping jacks for days.
As far as calories burned with jumping jacks, you are looking at around 8 to 16 calories per minute, depending on factors like body weight and total muscle mass.
To correctly do jumping jacks:
To make jumping jacks harder:
High knees are a bodyweight conditioning exercise, ideal for burning calories and improving your cardiovascular fitness.
Not only that they don't require any equipment but they can also be done anywhere. With high knees you are virtually running in place, so the footprint you need for a good workout is minimal. Expect to burn around 8 - 10 calories per minute of doing high knees.
To correctly do high knees:
To make high knees harder:
No push-up burpee
We believe that some form of burpee has to be included in any calisthenics workout for weight loss. Regardless of whether you are doing the full burpee, half burpee, or the burpee without a push-up, this exercise will bring great benefits.
For beginners, for whom this workout was intended, we believe that the no push-up burpee is ideal.
As far as calories burned, you are looking at around 10 per minute.
To correctly do no push-up burpees:
To make no push-up burpees harder:
Incline push-ups are a great way to tone your chest, shoulder, and triceps muscles.
Aside from the fact that they will develop your muscle mass, incline push-ups also burn anywhere between 0.3 to 0.6 calories per repetition. The rate depends on factors like your weight and the intensity of the exercise relative to your level of strength.
The harder the exercise for you, the more calories you will burn.
To correctly do incline push-ups:
To make incline push-ups harder
The bodyweight squat is an exercise that should be part of any calisthenics workout for weight loss. Aside from the calories it burns, it is also ideal for developing your leg muscles - from your quadriceps, to hamstrings and calves.
Since your leg muscles are the largest muscle in your body, training them will burn lots of calories.
To get an idea, the regular bodyweight squat burns around 8 calories per minute.
However, this is with moderate intensity. If you get into more difficult variations like the Bulgarian split squat or the pistol squat, you should expect burning more than that.
To correctly do squats:
To make squats more difficult:
Lunges work all the major muscle groups in the legs, helping you get more toned.
By doing them in an alternating manner you are making the exercise a bit easier. Additionally, since you are moving more, your oxygen consumption increases along with your pulse, which contributes to you squeezing more calories burned.
A 2014 study showed that lunges burn around 10 calories per minute.
To correctly do lunges:
To make lunges harder:
The triceps dip, or bench dip, is yet another effective muscle building exercise fit for a calisthenics workout for weight loss. In fact, it is so effective that we have also included it in our calisthenics triceps workout article.
The triceps dip burns around 4 calories per minute.
And even though it may sound too little, remember that weight loss is done mainly through dieting.
This exercise is great for toning your muscles, to leave you looking not just thin, but also aesthetic.
To correctly do triceps dips:
To make triceps dips harder:
If you are looking for a great calisthenics exercise to lose weight and improve the musculature of your legs, then the glute bridge is one of your best bets.
Similar to most calisthenics exercises, the glute bridge burns 8 calories per minute.
However, you are also strengthening your glutes and hamstrings in the process.
Lastly, not only will it burn calories and improve the musculature of your hamstrings and glutes, but it will also improve your posture as explained in our article about the best bodyweight hamstring exercises.
To correctly do glute bridges:
To make glute bridges harder:
The last calisthenics exercise for weight loss on our list is the plank.
You should expect to burn around 5 calories per minute spent in the plank. The best part of this exercise is not how many calories it burns, but the fact that you have to engage multiple muscle groups to hold the position.
Doing so will help tone your muscles, especially in the abdominal region.
To correctly do the plank:
To make the plank harder:
Do you burn more calories doing calisthenics?
Is calisthenics less effective, similar, or better than other types of exercise at burning calories?
Calisthenics is a great way to lose weight. In fact, you burn more calories with calisthenics than with most types of resistance training. That being said, calisthenics burns less calories than your average cardio exercise like stationary bike, rowing machine, or elliptical trainer.
Here is how many calories you should be expecting to burn with calisthenics and other types of exercises in 30 minutes of training:
Stationary bike (m)
Stationary bike (v)
This table was created with aggregated data from different articles coming from the Harvard Health website.
So if your goal is to develop your body appearance while also losing weight, then a calisthenics workout for weight loss is a great choice.
However, if you want to maximize calories burned, pure cardio exercises are a better choice.
Can calisthenics actually help you lose weight?
Calisthenics can help you lose weight if you are training optimally and, more importantly, if your nutrition is on point. Most calisthenics workouts will burn around 160 calories per 30 minutes of training - which is more than weightlifting. However, a medium plain donut is worth 198 calories.
Therefore, as you can see, you can't outtrain a bad diet.
The most important part of any weight loss program is sticking to a way of eating that will provide you with the necessary nutrients to stay healthy, the necessary calories to not be exhausted, and the necessary protein to preserve muscle mass.
The rest doesn't matter.
Therefore, if you refer to the nutrition part of this article and follow the guidelines outlined there, you will have a successful calisthenics weight loss transformation.
In this article, we have given you a calisthenics workout for weight loss, shown you how to properly do each exercise in the workout, and how to approach nutrition without being overwhelmed.
Furthermore, we have also explained how important nutrition really is.
At the end of the day, you can have the perfect workout to lose weight and still not lose any if your nutrition is not supportive of your goals. As mentioned before, you can't outtrain a poor diet.
With this in mind, it's time for you to start your transformation.
Over to you.