Female Calisthenics Routine for Beginners

The Perfect Beginners Bodyweight Workout for Women

female calisthenic athlete performs handstand

No gym? No problem. It’s still totally possible to get in a great workout and build muscle without the use of weights. Especially with a well put together calisthenics workout.

The beauty of calisthenics is in it’s creativity and simplicity. All you need is your own bodyweight to complete the fundamental movements.

Then, it’s all about getting experimental. Challenging your body with different speeds, timings and pieces of equipment.

Your own bodyweight is typically your only load, but this restriction can be your biggest freedom. Workouts can be completed anywhere from the office to a park’s jungle gym.

So, it’s pretty handy for girls on the go. Plus, it’s a great alternative to sweating inside a dark gym when the sun is shining.

Functional Full Body Freedom

As calisthenics training uses many compound movements, the body becomes equally balanced in strength. This style of training helps to combat imbalances, keeping us healthier for longer.

Exercises such as handstands, levers and single leg squats also help to build a solid core. This is because many of these movements require full mastery of the mid-section to keep us balanced.

Rope climbs, bar hangs and pull-ups are also all great for developing grip strength, girls. So, throw this style of bodyweight training into your routine to quickly boost your functional fitness.

Building the Basics

But, like any kind of fitness field it’s easy to become lost in information. That’s why we’ve put together a short routine for beginners built on the basics.

Mastering the basics will be the key to your calisthenic success. Professional competitor Melanie Driessen says; “I always tell these people to start with the “basics” first. It is very important to first build a basic strength before you focus on the tricks.”

You should be able to find all the equipment needed for this routine quite easily. However, we’d recommend heading to a gym, park or even a dedicated calisthenic centre.

You will need:

  • A bar to hang from
  • A wall to lean on
  • A bench to push from
  • A lower bar to row from

The Female Calisthenics Routine for Beginners

Make sure you are well warmed up before heading into this routine. If in doubt, take a steady job for 5 minutes until you’re working at around 4 out of 10.

Then, slow down to a walk and complete a few dynamic stretches. The aim here is to get the body nice and loose, ready for action.

Exercise 1 – Negative Pull-Ups

Reps: 10  Sets: 2  Rest: 30 seconds

woman hangs from pull up bar

The negative pull-up is perfect for bodyweight beginners. This is because the muscle lengthens instead of contracts, known as eccentric loading. Because women can actually handle more load eccentrically, this style of pull-up is much easier

How to do it:

  • Stand with feet shoulder width apart underneath a bar.
  • Jump high ready to land in the top of a pull-up position and under control.
  • Land grabbing the bar in a pull-up position. Your hands should be comfortably wider than shoulder width and using an overhand grip.
  • Lower your bodyweight slowly and under control until the arms are fully extended.
  • Let go of the bar and land softly, bending the knees on impact.

This whole sequence of movements counts as 1 rep.

If you aren’t too sure about jumping towards the bar, grab it from a step or box. So long as you start at the top of the pull-up, the exercise will work.

Exercise 2 – Pistol Squat

Reps: 10  Sets: 2  Rest: 30 seconds

woman performs pistol squat

The pistol squat can be quite a challenging move for beginners but it’s totally worth it. Not only will the variation help build strength, but it’ll improve your mobility and balance too.

The pistol squat relies heavily on a strong core and stable lower body muscles. So, rather thank thinking about speed, aim for one smooth movement. Maintaining control all the way from the top to the bottom.

How to do it:

  • Start with feet a comfortable width apart with eyes facing forward in good posture.
  • Bend the knees slightly, and align the spine by slightly pushing the chest upwards.
  • Slowly lower yourself into a squat position by flexing the hip and knee joints. Meanwhile, extend one leg out in front whilst taking your bodyweight on the other leg.
  • Take a deep breath once you reach the bottom, feel the stretch.
  • Breathe out and return to starting position under control.

Repeat this process on both sides to complete 1 rep.

If the movement is still a little too challenging, don’t worry. You can make it easier by grabbing hold of a post or bench to support your weight. It’s always better to perform a movement well with assistance, than badly without it.

woman performs assisted pistol squat

Exercise 3 – Inverted Row

Reps: 10  Sets: 3  Rest: 30 seconds

woman performs inverted row

Throwing an inverted row into the mix really brings the back muscles into play. In fact, this variation can even utilise extra muscles fibres the standard barbell row can’t.

One of the reasons this exercise is great for beginners is because the difficulty can easily be changed by foot positioning. If you aren’t even breaking a sweat, elevate those feet sister! On the other hand, if you’re finding the exercise tough, position your body a little more upright.

How to do it:

  • Start out hanging from a bar, keeping the body straight and using an overhand grip.
  • Using the heels as an anchor, pull the chest upwards towards the bar (make sure to keep a solid core whilst doing this).
  • Take a moment in this position before gently lowering back to the starting point.

Complete each of these steps to perform 1 rep.

Exercise 4 -Bench Dips

Reps: 10  Sets: 3  Rest: 30 seconds

woman performs bodyweight bench dips

The ever popular bench dip is a staple in many routines for targetting the ticeps. It’s pretty simple, and can be performed anywhere with a supportive surface available. If you’re sat down whilst reading this, you could probably jump into a set right now.

How to do it:

  • Position yourself with the bench behind you and at a comfortable distance that you can hold onto the edge. Your arms should be fully extended and situated shoulder width apart.
  • Keeping your feet flat on the floor, bend your knees and hips until you are almost sat elevated in the air. You should now be supported by your arms and feel the tension in your triceps.
  • Lower your bodyweight slowly until the angle inside the elbow joint is a little under 90 degrees. Try to keep the elbows back and tucked in during this motion.
  • Take a moment here at the bottom before exhaling and engaging the triceps to push yourself back upwards.

Yeah, you guessed it. All of the above equals 1 rep.

Exercise 5 – Wall Walk Handstands

Reps: 10  Sets: 2  Rest: 60 seconds

woman performs wall walk hand stand

Okay, we definitely saved the best ’till last with this one. The handstand is a popular exercise amongst bodyweight experts from gymnasts to yogis. Not only does it look cool. But, it definitely feels cool too!

However, besides being visually impressive, the handstand is a pretty legitimate exercise. It’s a killer core workout, builds bulletproof shoulders and requires impeccable balance.

Before you begin to invert though, we suggest learning the wall walk variation first. This way you’ll be able to slowly build up the necessary strength and coordination to pull them off in the open. So, here goes!

How to do it:

  • Find a flat and solid wall with space in-front for you to place your hands.
  • Put your hands palm faced down onto the floor and place your feet on the wall.
  • Now, keeping a neutral spine and braced core, slowly walk your feet upwards.
  • Once your body is straight and you are upside down, take a second here and breathe.
  • Slowly descend under control to the starting position.

All together these movements count towards 1 rep. Remember to keep a strong core throughout the movement and to leave a small gap between your hands and the wall.

Final Thoughts

When asked what she would say to a beginner just starting their calisthenic journey, pro Amira Spear had some pretty inspiring words. Saying; “To push yourself and try new things”, which if you’re a beginner leaves endless possibilities.

Also, as with any new kind of exercise, some things can be a little tougher than others. Amira says we should; “not give up if you can’t get a move within a few attempts. It’s important to know that skills take a lot of time and effort.”

So, it’s all about practice and determination. Keep that in mind and the handstand push-ups and muscle-ups will soon be yours. Go get ’em!

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