If you are looking for the best calisthenics warm-up, you are in the right place.
The goal of a calisthenics warm-up is to put your body into an optimal state for the workout to come - raising your heart rate, preparing the mobility of your joints and surrounding tissues, and reinforcing the movement patterns of the exercises to come.
Don't worry if it sounds complicated!
In fact, it is very simple. Keep reading to learn:
Let's get started.
Creating a universal warm-up can be difficult.
However, in this part of the article we will be presenting what is the closest thing to the perfect warm-up, and later on we will teach you how to tweak it to make it suitable for any type of workout.
Here is our best calisthenics warm-up:
It may look like a lot but this is going to take you around 10 minutes to complete.
In the following section, we will discuss the warm-up above and why each element is important, especially if you are doing calisthenics for strength or to build muscle mass.
The components of an effective warm-up for calisthenics
Every effective calisthenics warm-up should have the following components:
Blood flow work
One of the goals of a warm-up is to increase your core temperature. Warming-up your body will help your muscles contract better and your central nervous system activate better during exercise.
In the case of the workout above, we have chosen jogging.
However, there are some other alternatives like:
When you are doing your blood flow exercises, you should aim to get a light sweat, a moderate increase in heart rate, and a slight increase in breathing rate.
Choose one exercise from above and do it until you see these physiological signs.
Additionally, if your calisthenics workout is done in a commercial gym, you can do blood flow work on a treadmill. Set it to an inclination of 13 with a pace of 5.7.
This is it with the blood flow.
In this part of the calisthenics warm-up, you will be using a circuit of exercises, performed with full range of motion, which are meant to warm-up your ligaments, joints, and the surrounding tissues.
We see a lot of people doing this part of the warm-up superficially.
Arguably, this is the most important part, whether you are doing calisthenics everyday or once a week. Therefore, take it seriously.
These are our favorite mobility exercises for calisthenics:
You may notice that none of these exercises are static stretching. That is because it has been shown in different studies that stretching before a workout can negatively affect your performance. (1)(2)
Therefore, if you do static stretching in your warm-up, do it for less than 15s at a time.
Specific exercises work
This is the part of the workout where you can't have a cookie cutter approach.
There is a high chance that your calisthenics workout is different from mine, depending on your level, goals, and the equipment you are using. For this reason, naturally, part of your calisthenics warm-up should be different from mine.
This is where the difference is shown.
In the example above, this part was covered with the following exercises:
Which is a great starting point, especially for beginners.
These exercises are going to prepare the muscles around your scapula, getting your body ready for pull-ups, dips, push-ups, and inverted row. These are the exercises that beginners are going to do over and over again.
But what if your workout is different?
Let's imagine you are going to train with gymnastics rings. Since you will be doing calisthenics ring exercises in your workout, your warm-up should prepare you for it. Here's how you do it:
We will talk more about this in the following part of the article.
How to create your own calisthenics warm-up?
Now that we know the components of a warm-up, let's see how you can create one related to your goals. There are two parts of a warm-up that will always stay the same:
You will always have to increase your heart rate and warm your joints and surrounding tissues.
What will differ from workout to workout is the specific movements exercises, which you will change depending on what exercises you will be training in your workout.
Here are a few sample calisthenics warm-up routines for different types of workouts.
Weighted calisthenics, where you are focusing on pull-ups and dips
Planche workout, where you can do a tuck or advanced tuck planche
Muscle up workout
What do all these calisthenics warm-ups have in common?
Well, aside from the blood flow and the mobility, a part of the warm-up consists of exercises that you are about to do in the workout, but with a decreased difficulty.
When you can bench press 220lbs (100kg) you start with an empty bar and then progress your way to 220lbs over 2-3 sets. Those are warm-up sets.
You can think of the above as warm-up sets.
If you can do dips with 45lbs (20kg), you warm-up with bodyweight dips first.
Say your training starts with archer pull-ups. You do 1-2 sets of bodyweight regular pull-ups to warm-up for the archer pull-ups.
And so on.
This is the part of the workout where you change things up and don't have the possibility to have a cookie cutter approach. Unless you want to get injured, that is.
This is the gist of it.
Having a good calisthenics warm-up is a matter of getting your core temperature high, increasing your heart rate, preparing your joints, and practicing the movement patterns you will be doing in the workout.
If you are aware of your goals and the exercises you will be doing, the warm-up is taken care of.
You just have to not skip it.
Over to you.