Calisthenics Workout for Arms & Abs

August 30, 2016 by VAHVA Fitness

Calisthenics workout to build strength and size to your arms and abs. Will also develop the chest, back, shoulders and obliques to a great degree.

When it comes to building strength and size, calisthenics (or bodyweight training) will work as effectively as lifting weights.

There are many guys and gals who have got jacked with calisthenics alone. This is due to the fact that your body doesn't really care where the resistance is coming from, as long as there is enough of it.

Lifting weights is only a recent addition to our training. Bodyweight exercises and movement training have been the main methods we've used for many years.

This calisthenics workout is a great routine to build strength and size to your biceps, triceps and abs. Most of the exercises are compound exercises so they will effectively hit the chest, shoulders and back muscles as well.

Your arms are like any other muscle group in the body: they need strength and mobility in order to stay healthy and to perform at the highest level.

Even if you don't fully care about the size and aesthetics of your body, your arms require targeted work to grow strong and healthy. 

It's easy to underuse and under-develop your arms if you have never isolated them.

For more advanced calisthenics work, check out our previous calisthenics workout:

If some of the exercises of this workout are too difficult, then just pick the exercises you can do.

Calisthenics Workout for Biceps, Triceps and Abs

Close-grip Chin Up: 2 x 7-10 repetitions

Underhand Dip: 2 x 5-10 repetitions

Half-rep Close-grip Chin Up: 2 x 8-12 repetitions

Diamond Push Up: 2 x 10-20 repetitions

Inverted Bicep Curl: 2 x 10-20 repetitions

Tricep Push Up: 2 x 10-20 repetitions

Tiger Bend Push Up: 2 x 10-20 repetitions

Leg Circles: 2 x 5 repetitions per side

Obliques Knee Raise: 2 x 8-16 repetitions

Knee Raise: Burnout until Failure

Take 1-2 minutes of rest between sets. This workout should make your biceps and triceps burn like never before.

You should focus on feeling the biceps and triceps, because it's possible to overpower your arms with your lats and chest muscles.

Calisthenics Exercises for Arms and Abs

Close-grip Chin Ups

close grip chin ups for biceps

Take a close grip of the bar. Your hands can be touching each other or there can be a small gap.

The close-grip will emphasize the bicep muscles. You should pay special attention to the form, because it's easy to do this exercise primarily with your lats despite using the close-grip.

Feel a burning sensation in your biceps and try to lead and pull with your arms, not with your back. 

Inverted Bicep Curl

inverted bicep curls calisthenics workout

Choose a single bar and take a narrow grip of the bar. Your legs are touching the ground and you are basically in the inverted row position.

This is basically the bar version of the ring bicep curls. Both are excellent ways to isolate the biceps and thus make your biceps grow with just your bodyweight.

You will engage the lats and posterior deltoids to some degree, but when done right, you should get your biceps to burn very nicely.

Underhand Dips

underhand chin ups for triceps

Take a single bar and use an underhand grip. The underhand grip will force your elbows to go backwards which increases the activation of the tricep muscles.

This is a special variation of the standard single bar dip (pronated grip). Another variation of the single bar dip is the korean dip.

You can stay upright or lean forward. Either way you will blast your triceps incredibly hard. The more you lean forward, the harder it will be and the more your chest and shoulders are involved.

There is no other dip variation that will hit your triceps as much as the underhand dips.

Diamond Push Ups & Tricep Push Ups

diamond push ups for triceps

Diamond push ups and tricep push ups will decrease the activation of the chest and shoulders, but increase the engagement of your triceps. Check out the video for the correct form demonstration.

By using the diamond or the narrow hand position, you increase the range of motion of your arms (=more triceps) and decrease the range of motion of your shoulder joint (=less shoulders and chest).

You should keep your arms relatively close to your upper chest. If your hands are too low, you are using more shoulders (anterior deltoids).

Diamond and tricep push ups are an excellent way to isolate the triceps. You will hit the chest and shoulders a bit, but the major focus will be on the triceps.

Tiger Bend Push Ups

diamond push ups for triceps

Tiger bend push ups are a complete tricep isolation exercise and when done right they involve only the elbow extension. The plank position will require strength from the abs though.

Tiger bend push ups are the same exercise as the tricep extensions or the bodyweight elbow extensions, except these are done on the ground/floor.

Tiger bend push ups are the bodyweight equivalent of the skullcrusher exercise - and both are great ways to hit the triceps.

Similar to the skullcrushers, some people feel pain in their elbows when they do tiger bend push ups. In this case, don't do them. 

Abs & Obliques

knee raises for abs

Finishing the calisthenics workout with 3 different abs & obliques exercises: leg circles, knee raises and obliques knee raises.

Leg circles will hit the hip flexors, abs and obliques. This exercise can be tough because it demands a high level of mobility in your lower body.

You should first build sufficient levels of strength and mobility for the leg circles with knee raises and hanging leg raises (done with straight legs).

Knee raises are an excellent way to hit the abs (especially the lower fibers) and also the upper hip flexors.

Obliques knee raises on the other hand are a great way to target the lower fibers of the obliques. It's important to train your obliques.

Do ALL of these exercises for your calisthenics workout and your arms should grow stronger and bigger.

Train hard, stay safe.

samuli jyrkinen

About the author 

Samuli Jyrkinen

Samuli is the ninja behind the scenes (photography, videography, websites, program platforms and more). He has been training religiously for over a decade and has a firm grasp of physical and mental fitness. You will find our story here.

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