Top 7 Best free calisthenics programs

There are quite a few free calisthenics workouts programs out there, but most are medicore if not outright useless. That is why I have compiled a list of some of the few free calisthenics programs that is worth checking out, of course the might be others I have missed (you can make me aware of those, then i might update the list if i agree). With further ado here are the 7 best calisthenics programs:

The Calisthenics Program by PRIMALFITNESS

The first program on the list is my own program, the program lets you choose between two paths: one focused on mastering impressive strength moves like back levers, planches, front levers, and muscle-ups, and another concentrating on core strength and targeted isolation exercises. The programs also includes a solid warm up and cool down unlike most of the other programs.

Pros and cons of The Calisthenics Program by PRIMALFITNESS:

  • Detailed Google Sheets: This helps you to track your progress and is easy to use.
  • Video Demonstrations: Each progression exercise is demonstrated via videos to ensure correct form and technique.
  • No signups to access (unlike the other programs)
  • It is created by me, so I am biased πŸ˜‰.

Heavyweight calisthenics free calisthenics program for beginners (alike)

Heavyweight calisthenics free calisthenics program for beginners is a full body workout program that is structured into three weekly workouts. You have to subscribe to their email list to get the program, which you can do here. Also, be sure to read the full article before starting the program especially if you are new to calisthenics.

Pros and cons of Heavyweight calisthenics free calisthenics program for beginners:

  • Even though that program mostly targets beginners it is a decent program for intermediates also, that like to keep things simple and stick to the basics.
  • The program doesn’t cover much more than the basics, therefore it may get a bit boring long term if you want to learn skills and other fun things.
  • The website features a lot of knowledge about the program and is very helpful along with the pdf (which is also quite high-quality)

Bodyweight Training by Antranik

Bodyweight training is a free push/pull/legs calisthenics program designed by the one and only Antranik. You do have to subscribe to his email list and create a login to get access to the program which is a bit tedious.

Pros and cons of the bodyweight training program:

  • The program looks a bit messy on his website, however, he has included a much cleaner docs sheet, which makes the experience a bit better.
  • Push/pull/legs is not an optimal split for beginners, beginners should start with a full body routine. Because full body routines allow for more frequent practice of exercises and lead to faster mastery of the technique and execution.
  • Antranik updates the program periodically unlike some of the other workouts (the pdf’s) and makes appropriate changes to keep the program relevant and up to date. Plus Antranik seems like a cool guy and contributes a lot to the calisthenics community.

An adaptable guide to bodyweight training by Tom Merrick (Make your own routine)

An adaptable guide to bodyweight training by Tom Merrick aka the bodyweight warrior is a pdf that consists of 3 different programs (or templates) a handstand routine, mobility routine, and mass routine. Plus a lot about how to structure your training and what you should know when creating your own program.

Pros and cons of becoming a bodyweight warrior:

  • The pdf is meant more like a guide for providing a framework for making your own routine, making it ideal for intermediates who have been following a premade program for a while and have some programming knowledge already.
  • An adaptable guide to bodyweight training, as the name applies is the most adaptable program on the list, and also features both handstanding and mobility besides strength training, which a lot of calisthenics trainees will be interested in.
  • Tom Merrick has a lot of knowledge about calisthenics, handstanding, and mobility which he shares in a easy to read and digestible way, so even if you don’t decide to follow the program reading the guide will definitely not be a waste of time.

The Recommended Routine (RR) (r/bodyweightfitness)

The Recommended Routine (RR) is a calisthenics program developed by the r/bodyweightfitness mods.

Pros and cons of the recommended routine:

  • The Recommended Routine offers a structured and adaptable approach to calisthenics training, with straightforward ways of progressing, and is therefore a great program you can run long-term.
  • The routine is good for everyone who has some experience with bodyweight exercises but not for beginners (check out the “Primer” πŸ‘‡ instead).
  • The subreddit community is very supportive and offers valuable advice and feedback for everyone interested in bodyweight training and if you have any doubts about the routine.
  • There a tons of resources, which may be a bit overwhelming at first, but is great once you get a to get a hang of things and keep you from avoiding common mistakes.

Extra resources for the RR:

Best app for the RR: There are serval apps for the RR, but after trying several of them out I found the 8×3 to be superior, because of the user interface and options for keeping track of your progress unlike most of the other apps.

Best spreadsheet for the RR:

BWF Primer (The perfect routine for beginners)

The BWF Primer is a program for beginners, it features a 14-day build-up phase that gradually introduces the exercises and helps develop proper form. Following the build-up phase, the program consists of a full body workout routine that can be performed three times per week.

Pros and cons of the BWF primer:

  • It is the only good free program for true beginners with little to no experience, who wants to start calisthenics.
  • The program offers guidance on what to do after completing the primer routine, ensuring a smooth transition to a more advanced program.
  • The program is not good for people who have some strength (even though they might be beginners at calisthenics) and can do a few pull ups and dips already.

Bodyweight Strength Foundation (BWSF) Routine

The bodyweight strength foundation (BWSF) Routine is a follow up to the primer made by Nicholas Elorreaga aka Nick-e, the program is for everyone who possesses a foundational understanding of bodyweight exercises and has built some base strength already. The BWSF Routine is designed to be trained three times a week and is a full body workout split.

Pros and cons of the BWSF routine:

  • It is a good alternative to the RR and is one of the routines on the r/bodyweightfitness subreddit, with a lot of resources you can go through to learn about how you should program and mistakes to avoid.
  • The BWSF does not include dips, which some people prefer over pike push ups, especially if the main goal is hypertrophy and not strength skills.
  • It is on Nick-e’s private website which means he benefits from it by drawing people to his paid content, unlike the recommended routine which is available on reddit (r/bodyweightfitness).

If you are interested in paid programs (which tends to be better, but not always) I would recommend checking out Ricks from calisthenics 101 post, where he rates serval different paid calisthenics programs he has gotten access to and tried.

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