10 Steps to Building Muscle and Gaining Mass with Calisthenics

Posted on April 07 2019

10 Steps to Building Muscle and Gaining Mass with Calisthenics

So... you want to learn about building muscle with calisthenics? Fortunately for you, I've been doing calisthenics for a few years now, and I've gotten pretty ripped. If I do say so myself. I've got a hefty list of steps, tips, and tricks for you to follow if you're looking to build muscle and gain mass!

To kick things off, we're going to start out with diet. To build muscle with calisthenics you need a pretty good diet FILLED with protein and carbs. Now, my diet isn't great, but I make sure to hit between 0.5 grams to one gram per pound of body weight every single day, because without protein you can't build muscle, and also you've got to make sure you're eating enough. So, if you're a skinny little guy, you've got to make sure that you're eating probably around 3000 or more calories a day. If you're eating salad, celery, and all these other girly foods, then you're not going to gain ANY muscle, sir. So drop that salad and eat a steak...or two.

The second thing that I'm going to put on this list is to do cardio. Now, you say, "Why would I do cardio to gain muscle?" Well, let me explain... when you do cardio it keeps you healthy on the inside and on the outside. Now, you might have realized this, okay? When somebody does cardio and they lose fat, they burn fat, they lose weight, but guess what? They look, ripped, they look bigger in a sense, even though they weigh less. So that's why you should at cardio to your routine. Now, you will lose weight, yes, you will burn the fat, but in doing so you will get that illusion that you're bigger. Does that make sense? I hope so.

The third step to building muscle with calisthenics is you've got to have the right rep scheme. Now, if you're doing tons and tons of push-ups, I'm talking 30, 40, 50 plus, you've got to change it up, my friend. You've got to keep your rep scheme between six and twelve and do not go any higher, do not go any lower. If you go any lower, you're just gaining strength, if you go any higher, you're just building endurance. So you've got to find that sweet spot in the middle to build some nice quality lean muscle. Now, combine this with the cardio and the diet, and you will be making some major muscle gains.

The next tip to building muscle with calisthenics is that you have to have a balanced routine. What I mean by this is that you can't be doing tons of push-ups and very little pull-ups, or vice versa, tons of pull-ups and no push-ups. You've got to make sure you split your pushing, pulling, vertical and horizontal movements all even so that they all get trained at the same frequency throughout the week. And an example is my personal routine, right? I do push, pull, legs, push, pull, right? And in that push routine, I do a horizontal and a vertical movement with the same amount of sets and reps, and in the pull routine, I do a horizontal and vertical pulling movement with the same sets and reps. So that all balances out, there's no off balance or miss balances anywhere.

Okay, this next step to building muscle with calisthenics is a big one. I see this so much, and it just blows my mind the amount of people who do this, and what I'm talking about is doing cycles. You know, like those cycle routines, do 20 push-ups, next immediately after to 10 dips, then do 15 pull-ups, then do a muscle up. No, no, no, no, no. I'm telling you, that is wrong for building muscle. You're not going to get any muscle doing those types of routines, you're only going to gain endurance. What I suggest that you do to build muscle with calisthenics is to train like a bodybuilder, and that's what I do. I do sets and reps, and the number of sets and reps you should do, we already talked about it earlier, the number of reps, keep it between six and twelve, no lower, no higher, and the sets you want to keep between three and five, according to the movement that you're doing. Now, I usually do four sets for every exercise that I do, and it works pretty well I would say. So remember train like a bodybuilder, but think like a body weight trainer.

Let's move onto the next tip, this one is pretty obvious, a lot of people do it, at least I hope you do, and that is to track your progress. Now, how do you not track progress, is by just going in and out every day just doing your normal stuff, not remembering how many sets or reps you do. So how do you know if you're making progress if you're not tracking it? So that's what you need to do. You need to get your phone, or any type of notepad, pen, and paper, when you work out, write down the exercise that you do, right down the number of reps and sets that you did, and then over time, within three, four, six months, see if you have improved any beyond that point, and if you have, then good, you're doing something right.

If not, then this leads to my other point in which you need to switch up exercises and keep variation within your routine. Now, just don't keep doing one-handed push-ups forever. If you hit a plateau, just change the exercise, change the number of reps, go low, go higher than what you say, but try and go lower is always better than higher, and just keep it at that or change the number of sets, and you should bust that plateau. And remember, it takes a long time to see results in regards to building muscle.

Another way to build muscle with calisthenics is to do skill training, and what I mean by skill training is by doing anything that requires you to hold yourself under an amount of time. So this is front levers, planches, handstands, back levers, any other things like that. So you do it before you work out, after your warmup and you'll be fine.

And finally, the last and final, tenth tip to building muscle with calisthenics is to be patient and keep it consistent. If you're not consistent with anything, you're not going to get the results that you want. In and out every day, I always work out. That's being consistent. Just remember, if you skip a workout that you're hindering not only yourself but your future progress, alright? So remember to stay consistent, be patient, it takes a long time to see these results. It took me years to get the body that I have now, and I'm still not where I want to be. I'm always continuing and making progress. 

Found my tips and tricks insightful and want to know more? Check out my programs that give you step by step guidance to making some major gains at thebodyweightbodybuilder.com!


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  • Larry: December 09, 2019

    Keep eating. Five meals a day, minimum.

  • Eldy dhafina: April 12, 2019

    Im a skinny guy that want to build muscle P.S im also black btw how do i build muscle or lean musclewith calisthetics for begginer

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