If you want to know how to build muscle with calisthenics, then I can tell you from firsthand experience, it’s a very effective way to truly sculpt and transform your body using minimal equipment.
You can make incredible gains in a matter of months, and while it’s exciting to know you can do all of this from home, there are some factors that I want to share with you that were part of my own journey.
I was doing calisthenics training for several months exclusively, and I dropped about 15 pounds of pure body fat. I know you’re here to learn how to build muscle with calisthenics, and I mention this, because it’s important to determine whether you have excess fat to lose or not.
Depending on your answer to this really determines your diet. I was eating at a calorie deficit when I lost those 15 pounds. But what that did was clean off the canvas, so to speak, leaving me lean, and able to build up muscle after that initial few months of stripping off fat.
As of now, I’ve gained those 15 pounds back, by increasing my calorie intake, and adding resistance to my workouts, which I’ll explain below. Because a few of those pounds I gained back are probably in the form of fat, I’m going to do another cut soon. Let’s get to the details of calisthenics and muscle building below.
What Should Your Nutrition Be?
This is a question only you have the answer to. When I began my calisthenics journey, I knew that I had excess fat on my body that I wanted to burn off. I didn’t even know exactly how much I had to lose, but it was clear just looking in the mirror.
I think the scale can be deceptive. I weighed only 151 pounds, and being a guy who is 5″10, that seems like a healthy weight. While it IS a healthy weight, I also knew that Arnold’s Swarzenegger’s quote is true. “If it jiggles, it’s fat”.
So, my journey began by eating at a 400 calorie deficit. It’s not hard to do, yet it’s extremely important to dial in your nutrition properly when it comes to building lean muscle OR losing weight.
The reason I’ve gained those 15 pounds back is because I reversed my calorie intake from a deficit to a surplus. I did this, because I leaned down to a point where I was happy with my physique.
So, what should YOU do?
In short though, if you have excess fat to lose, then I’d absolutely begin by eating at a simple 400 daily calorie deficit. If you consider yourself to be skinny, and are looking to bulk up, then you’d want to begin by eating at a lean bulk, all explained at the link above.
What Equipment Is Needed?
One of the beautiful things about doing calisthenics training is that you really don’t need much equipment at all. In fact, there have been times when I wasn’t even home, and I used tree branches, stairs, and other parts of nature to get my workout in.
While no equipment is absolutely required to get a solid calisthenics workout in, I would strongly suggest a pull up bar at the very minimum. I can’t tell you just how many different workouts I’ve done using a pull up bar, each workout targeting different muscle groups.
Here’s something I’d like to stress though. As you get stronger, you’ll want to add resistance to your workouts. The combination of eating at a calorie surplus, along with adding more resistance to your training is what causes you to start gaining more weight in the form of muscle.
If you can’t afford a weighted vest just yet, you can always add weights to a backpack, which I did for a while myself. The point is though, when building muscle with calisthenics, you want to make sure to keep making the workouts more and more challenging, and outdo your performance every time you work out.
This is especially important when you’re eating at a calorie surplus, as mentioned in the nutrition section above.
Should You Do Cardio Too?
I stopped doing cardio when I began doing calisthenics. I’ve gotten more toned, and built better definition by simply walking daily. I hit 10,000 steps a day, and that’s it.
So, in some ways, my life has become quite a lot easier because of this. The reason I’m mentioning walking at all, is because it’s important to be shedding off fat while also building muscle. Walking is such a laid back activity that it doesn’t cause hunger cravings like a lot of cardio workouts do.
Plus, every time you walk 10,000 steps, you burn off about 400 – 500 calories. So, one of the huge factors of many of the people I know who have made incredible strides building lean muscle with calisthenics is that they also walked daily.
The Calisthenics Program I Recommend
I wouldn’t own this blog, or be writing articles at all if it weren’t for Kinobody and their workout programs.
In all my years of being a health and fitness enthusiast, nothing really clicked or worked for me until I discovered Kinobody, so I’m forever grateful to Greg, who I learned the ins and outs of nutrition and fitness from.
His methods and approach aren’t necessarily kind, but what he teaches IS effective. And there came a point when I was dead serious about sculpting my body in ways I never had done before.
So, I stumbled upon his programs, and for the first time in my life, rather than work out 6 days a week, doing intense cardio, and eating low carb, with little to no results in the mirror, I stripped that down to 3 workouts a week, walking daily, and eating what I want.
In only 3 months my body changed in ways I never could have imagined…all because of Kinobody’s calisthenics workout routine called Movie Star Body.
It was at that point when I realized I had fitness and nutrition backwards for years of my life. I wasn’t able to figure out how to get into awesome shape like I was in college until many years later, all cause of this program.
If you want a solid muscle building calisthenics program with no fluff that will actually get you results in a matter of months, it’s really the only direction I will point anyone.
Building Muscle With Calisthenics In Summary
You can absolutely build incredible mass and definition utilizing only calisthenics. My strategy was to strip off 15 pounds of unwanted fat first at a calorie deficit, which took me a good 3 months to do, and then reverse the strategy by eating at a surplus.
The latter has caused me to gain 15 pounds of weight back over the last several months. I also must stress that the weight came back due to a hybrid routine in their calisthenics program. The hybrid routine simply incorporates more resistance into your workouts.
I hope you found this article to be helpful. If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below and I’ll be more than happy to get back to you as soon as possible. Thanks so much for reading!