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I am trying to find or recreate a simple calisthenic workout I got from Health class in high school maybe 20 years ago. It was a one or two page schedule that increased weekly (and possibly varied within each week some as well).

Exercises included jog in place, jumping jacks, push ups, sit ups, and chin ups, though there could have been more.

First week was very low intensity, something like jog 4 minutes, push ups to 10 or fail, etc. Times and reps increased steadily.

I vaguely remember it was a "family exercise plan" or something, and we did it as a family. Now I am trying to find anything similar. I don't really care about the details of the method, just prefer calisthenics and no required equipment, and safe for a third grader and adults to do. The only completely laid out beginning workout schedules I can find are C25K or are weight equipment oriented.

Is there a C25K-like thing for calesthenics? Or a one page beginners calisthenic calendar?

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2 Answers

up vote 5 down vote accepted

Calisthenic exercises are great since you can do them anywhere and anytime, and when doing body weight exercises properly, you can get great results. Look at many gymnasts.

According to your description above, you considered yourself as a beginner fitness level, meaning you probably haven't worked out consistenlty for a long time (correct me if I'm wrong). If this was the case, then I think it's a good idea to start on a light and low level of some sort of a high intensity interval training exercise program. High intensity interval training can be difficult at first, but it is a great way to get the most out of the least amount of time.

Here is a sample of a high intensity interval training calisthenic exercise program for beginners:

Weeks 1-2 (3 days per week with one day of rest in between)
1. Squat (lower body)
2. Knee Push-up (upper body)
3. Plank (abs and core)
4. Mountain Climber (fat burning)
5. High Knee Sprint (cardio)

For weeks 1-2, try performing each exercise for 20 seconds continuously (perform the Squat for 20 seconds, then move on to the Knee Push-up, and so on until you finish with High Knee Sprint), then rest 60-90 seconds at the end. This will be one cycle. Repeat 2-3 more cycles.

Weeks 3-4 (4 days per week with 2 on, 1 off, then 2 on)
1. Side to Side Squat
2. Push-up
3. Inchworm
4. Mountain Climber
5. High Knee Sprint

For weeks 3-4, try performing each exercise for 30 seconds continuously, then rest 60-90 seconds at the end. This will be one cycle. Repeat 2-3 more cycles.

Weeks 5-6 (5 days per week with 2 on, 1 off, then 3 on)
1. Squat Jump
2. Knee Gator Push-up
3. Side Planks (both sides)
4. High Knee Sprint

For weeks 5-6, try performing each exercise for 30 seconds continuously, then rest 60-90 seconds at the end. This will be one cycle. Repeat 2-3 more cycles.

Weeks 7-8 (6 days per week with 3 on, 1 off, then 3 on)
1. Squat Jump
2. Gator Push-up
3. Plank
4. Side Planks (both sides)
5. Mountain Climber
6. High Knee Sprint

For weeks 7-8, try performing each exercise for 30 seconds continuously, then rest 60-90 seconds at the end. This will be one cycle. Repeat 2-3 more cycles.

Don't forget to warm-up! And for beginners, a good way to warm-up is to perform 2 sets of 20 jumping jacks each time prior to starting your workout. Each workout should last about 10-15 minutes long, depending on how much of a break you are taking at the end of each cycle. By the way, make sure you know how to perform each exercise properly to prevent injuries and for best results. You can find all of these exercises on youtube these days. Good luck and have fun!

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+1 effort in the answer, and for giving a solid looking program anyone could do from home. –  user4963 Jan 9 '13 at 12:05
    
Wow. I was hoping for a link and you wrote up a complete plan. Thank you! –  user15741 Jan 9 '13 at 12:58
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Do a quick search and you should be able to find a free PDF file of the Royal Canadian Air Force 5BX program such as this one. It is very similar to what you described, and was such a big hit back in the 1960's that it was sold in booklet form at supermarket check-out stands. It is a very progressive program that was meant for RCAF personel that were stationed in cold remote locations that didn't have very much in the way of fitness facilities. It was such a nice simple progressive program that the MD who came up with it extended the progression of the exercises and the standards from age group 6 to 80+. Each progression is a set of 4 bodyweight exercises (push ups, sit ups, upper back, lower back) done in a roughly 5-6 minute period, followed with a run or walk. There is a level for everyone from children to seniors to elite athletes. Tweak it to your personal needs, and it will still get the job done.

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That was some good suggestion. Can you please share a link to it? –  Freakyuser Sep 21 '13 at 3:53
    
@Freakyuser: I've added a link for you. –  Sean Duggan Jul 7 at 19:18
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