There are hundreds of calisthenics exercises that we could have included in this list which will help you build strength.

The 5 exercises we have chosen are the exercises we feel are the most effective for creating an overall strength which will benefit you with your calisthenics training especially if you are a beginner.


1. Pike push-ups

Pike push-ups are one of my favourite exercises for building shoulder and chest strength, one of the most important aspects of the pike push-up is making sure that you maintain good form throughout the movement, this will ensure you get the most out of the exercise.

Strength built through pike push-ups will be used for more advanced skills like the frog stand to handstand and handstand push-ups.

When performing the pike push up if you find the exercise easy you can elevate your legs onto a piece of equipment like a bench, chair, or even a box, this will add a level of complexity to the exercise.

How do you perform a pike push up?

Start in a pushup position on the floor, arms and hands should be shoulder-width apart.

Lift up your hips so that your body forms an upside down V shape. Make sure your legs and arms stay as straight as possible throughout the movement.

Bend your elbows and lower your upper body until the top of your head nearly touches the floor.

Once you have reached this position pause for a second and then push yourself back up until your arms are straight.


Bodyweight dips are one of the most important exercises that a lot of people miss when starting calisthenics but have a huge impact on how fast you can progress with certain skills as dips will build a good level of push strength that will help with your skills training.

If you are looking to build up your triceps then this exercise is for you!

How do you perform a dip?

You will need to find a piece of equipment that you can dip from and depending on what equipment you end up using you will need to adjust your form slightly.

If you are using parallettes/dip bars:

Start with your arms straight at the top of the dip position

Slowly lower yourself down until your upper arms are parallel to the floor.

Using your chest, shoulders, and arms push your back up to the starting position.

If you find yourself using a chair or a box for example then you will need to:

Sit on the edge of the chair and place your hands a few inches away from the side of your legs.

Push down on your hands to straighten your arms.

Slowly walk your feet forward until you are around 3-4 steps away from the chair
Slowly lower yourself down until your upper arms are parallel to the floor.

Using your chest, shoulders, and arms push your back up to the starting position.

To get the most out of these exercises we suggest investing in a set of parallettes, parallettes are awesome as they are so versatile and you will be able to use them to take your training to the next level…. 

We recommended and use Gravity Fitness Parallettes.


The dragon flag is one of or the best exercise to build a strong core, the dragon flag is used as of the main exercises the pros recommend when teaching how to learn the front lever, the dragon flag will also help with other exercises and general core strength.

The dragon flag is an exercise that you will need to work through the recommended progressions to see the best results and avoid unnecessary injuries.

If you are looking for a strong core then you should add the dragon flag to your workouts!


Having pull-ups on this list should come at no surprise, pull-ups are a fundamental exercise that you should be doing regardless of the type of exercise you are doing.

Pull-ups will work your back, biceps and forearms (if done correctly).

The pull-up is a great exercise that has many variations that includes the muscle up, being able to muscle up with good form requires the individual to have good pull strength to get their body as high as possible above the bar.

Pull-ups may seem very hard when you first start training them but by following proper progressions and using resistance bands you will be able to perform your first pull-up with good form in no time.

A good example for pull up progression is as follows:

Bodyweight rows
Assisted pull ups (with a box or band)
Negative pull ups
Full pull ups

5. Parallette Push-up

Push-ups are a stable exercise in all types of exercise but performing them on a set of parallettes adds a greater level of complexity.

By performing the push-ups on parallettes it allows for you to achieve a larger range of motion which will improve your pushing strength massively.

Being able to perform parallette push-up will also help you when it comes to learning transitions like the frog stand to handstand as you will have to able similar pressure when trying to push out of the lowest part of the frog stand as you do pushing out of the lowest part of the push-up.

If you don’t have a set of parallettes you can also perform this exercise between boxes or chairs, make sure that whatever you are using is stable and won’t break.

Parallettes are a great piece of equipment to have available when working out as you can perform lots of different exercises on them.

You can make some of the basic exercises like push-ups much harder by adding in a greater range of movement to the exercise, you can also use your parallettes for hand balancing exercises like handstands.

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