The Essential 6 Month Calisthenics Workout Plan
Let’s get real here.
You are someone who acts, not someone who talks.
You want to work your ass off.
But you also want to know how you can do this as efficiently as possible.
Which is just as important as working hard.
The problem is that you are new to this and there are tons of routines, but which should you do?
The good news? This question has been asked over 10.000 times.
The bad news? There isn’t a one-size-fits-all for everyone.
While it differs per individual, I believe that with this 6 month calisthenics workout plan you’ll be pretty much covered as a beginner.
Keep what is useful, discard what is not and add what works best for you.
Ready to go from a beginner to a BEAST?
If you are reading this, it’s because you -just like many other people- have asked yourself 1 simple question:
How should I begin Bar Brother Training?
I have decided to set up a simple 6 month plan for calisthenics workouts which an absolute beginner can use to start training.
And to take the first step towards passing the official Bar Brother exam.
Every month has its own challenge and things aren’t going to become easier.
But you are going to get stronger…
The Requirements To Start With The 6 Month Calisthenics Workout Plan
In order to prevent injuries or become demotivated on this plan, there are certain requirements which you will need to meet first.
It will help smoothen your transition from one month to the other.
To start this six month schedule you need to be able to do:
- 5 push ups
- 5 pull ups/chin ups
- 5 knee raises
- 5 dips
- 5 squats
Bonus Routine: Lacking the strength for these exercises? Need to start from scratch?
Don’t worry about it.
If you don’t have the basics down yet, you might need to work on those skills first.
There is nothing wrong with starting at 0.
You can find a complete starter guide with a 15 minute full body routine for absolute beginners to start working on the foundational exercises.
Including a description on how to do them correctly.
You can also find some posts addressing the different progressions:
If you meet these requirements, prepare for six months of body weight training.
Once again, I emphasise that this plan should be considered a blueprint to a new body and is not a be-all end-all thing.
Whatever you put into your ‘calisthenics workout’ plan is up to you as long as you use the right foundation.
Or you might find yourself using one that does more harm than good.
And we don’t want that to happen.
So where do you start?
You probably know that it’s not an easy question to answer.
Generally you would benefit more from overdoing the basics than you would from progressing too fast.
Be conservative and humble. Slow and steady beats fast and impatient.
Wanting to be too cool and skipping the basics will lead to injuries.
It’s better to underestimate than to overestimate your level of strength.
It will pay off in the long run…BIG TIME.
Practical Training Tip: Progress does not work the way you think it does.
You will have periods on this plan where if feels like you are making gains every single day and then you will have periods where it feels like nothing is happening.
That’s because in reality progress has a very different path than you probably think it does.
Knowing this as a beginner, will allow you to deal with periods of little improvement.
And it will keep you motivated, because you know that when you hit a plateau you are heading for a leap.
As you move forward on this plan this will be a very familiar pattern.
Keep it in mind.
I don’t want to sound like the guy who keeps you on a leash.
But I’d like to take my responsibility and make sure that you get most out of this plan.
By managing your expectations and by making you aware of possible pitfalls.
Month 1: The Full Body Workout Plan
Your Workout Schedule
In a weekly plan, your workouts would look like the following diagram.
Assuming that you start on Monday.
With in between each day of exercise a rest day for you to recover.
Keep in mind that this is the bare minimum amount of training you will need to get consistent results.
Optionally you can add more days for leg routines, but training at least 3 days is a minimum.
In the first month the focus is on getting your body used to calisthenics training.
By doing a full body routine you hit all the muscles.
This means the 5 big muscle groups:
If you don’t have a pull up bar, use the no equipment routine instead of the full body routine.
If you have serious muscle soreness find out which 5 things you can do to keep training.
This is your first month of training so don’t expect any major results, remember how many years it took your body to become the way it is right now?
You can’t expect that to change in 1 month can you?
Just keep in mind that the first month is about adaptation of the entire body.
Make sure you do a proper warming up before every routine to prevent and prepare yourself for injuries.
Minimize your time between exercises as much as possible, take your rest between your cycles (1-3 minutes).
This month you lay your foundation for the other 5 months.
Keep in mind that training yourself into an imbalance here will lead to issues later.
While you might not notice it and feel like you are doing the same thing over and over, things will be changing in the first month…fast.
Or as mister Myagi from the Karate kid would say: “Wax on, wax off”.
Training Tip: Don’t Forget Legs And Feel Free To Add Variety
If doing this routine 3 times a week (or more) gets a little too boring and you want to do something else, just pick one of the 14 bar brother beginner routines or plans to add to the fun and intensity.
Just keep in mind that you want to hit all the 5 major muscle groups in a balanced way as much as possible.
If you feel like this is too easy you can add more days or continue in the next month.
If you want some more variety or train more than 3 times a week, add a leg routine.
Training both legs and upper body has shown to lead to increased levels of testosterone (which is good for overall muscle growth), compared to only training your upper body (study)
The leg exercises will definitely be sufficient for someone who only has time to workout 3 times a week and needs a full body workout.
Month 2: Let’s Go Workout To Develop Upper Body Strength
Your Workout Schedule
By now you should have developed some additional push and pull up strength.
In this second month the focus is on pushing your strength even more and building both your upper body and triceps, which you will need for a good muscle up.
Training Tip: Focus On Quality Over Quantity
It’s cool to say that you can do 10 pull ups.
But there is a huge difference between 10 bad pull ups and 10 good pull ups.
Drop the ego and the need to feel cool and stick to quality instead.
You will be way stronger and injury free down the road.
And if you really feel like you need to do a lot of bad quality executions.
Month 4 will show you why quality is important.
The hard way and I don’t want that to happen.
So start focusing on high quality, as soon as possible.
Month 3: Combining Workouts To Reach A New Level Of Intensity
Your Workout Schedule
This month is going to require a lot of effort since you are really going to a significantly higher level of calisthenics workout intensity.
Your upper body needs to start developing the strength to start a muscle up routine, which will be of a significantly higher level than you are used to.
The reason why the Full Body Routine is placed first is because I’d rather have you do the basics perfectly and be exhausted for the Let’s Go than to have it the other way around.
Better basics equals less injuries.
As you progress through the month and increase your strength you might want to alternate both or start with the Let’s Go routine first.
That’s up to you.
Training Tip: Use A Deload Workout Week To Refuel
During this month in the last week before you transition to month 4, I want you to take 1 week where you basically do only 50% of what you normally do.
It’s called a ‘deload week’.
And it’s a tool you can use to allow your body to ‘supercompensate’ for all the adaptive pressure you have been putting on it.
As a result you’ll become even stronger by doing less for a short amount of time.
Look at it as refueling and repairing yourself completely.
To start fully energized and filled with fuel again.
Make sure you can do these routines with the right technique and quality or the next month is going to be discouraging.
Which it will probably be anyways, but that’s part of becoming stronger.
Finding your limits and redefining them!
Month 4: Muscle Up Hunt For The Bar Brother Requirements
In this month your primary focus should be on the muscle up hunt.
Just make it a priority to do this routine with high quality, no shitty repetitions.
If you are having some serious difficulties with your typewriter pull ups, replace your Let’s Go Routine with one of these shoulder routines.
Or just give yourself more time.
You really need to be obsessed at this point, because this is going to be your most difficult month yet.
You might not want to hear this, but a big part of progressing is realising that you actually suck.
Not a little bit, but big time.
Once you accept and embrace that you are a beginner again, you’ll be ready to go to the next level.
If you want to keep progressing indefinitely, never stop with ‘being a beginner’.
Training Tip: Use Exercise Progression And Aim For 5 Repetitions In A Cycle
Always aim for 5 reps for 3 cycles at least where possible.
If you are unable to do 1 rep of the given exercise, regress to an easier progression.
Instead of typewriters do wide grip pull ups for example, minimum of 5 reps in the given amount of cycles.
If you can do 1 typewriter, do 1 and regress to 4 more wide pull ups.
If you can do 2 typewriters, do 2 and regress to 3 more wide pull ups etc.
Always aim for those 5 reps of 3-4 sets.
The same rule applies for clapping pull ups. Replace clapping pull ups with normal pull ups until you’ve developed enough strength for the explosive force.
It will be a bit of trial-and-error. You’ll discover where you need to take it down a notch and where you can add a more.
Doing these exercises with high quality standards will make transitioning to more advanced moves much easier.
If you have difficulties doing these, chances are that you have been doing some of the previous months with less quality that you should have.
If you can do all of the above muscle up hunt moves for at least 5 reps of 3 cycles, you will have enough strength for the next month.
This is definitely a month which can take you longer to complete depending on your development and baseline strength.
Patience is key.
Month 5: Muscle Up Progression To Get Your First Clean Muscle Up
Your Workout Schedule
This month the training is going to change a little, because right now you should have the fundamental strength to do all the basic full body exercises.
In addition to that, you have developed upper body strength to progress into a muscle up by doing the muscle up hunt.
So what you can do now is focus on the muscle up technique and some shoulder strength by doing:
- 60 seconds of shoulder activation
- 60 seconds of transitioning
- Optionally: 5 eccentrics
Do this 3-4 sets and then progress into the muscle up hunt or stick to just this.
If you don’t have the strength to do an additional upper body routine, progress into the full body routine or add a leg routine.
You can add some variety here, just make sure you spend plenty of time on the ‘skill part of the muscle up’ which is mainly in the transition and proper activation of the shoulders.
Training Tip: Focus On Skill Through High Volume Repetitions
One of the major reasons why people never get their first muscle up, despite having the strength to do so is because they are lacking the skill.
Or the ability to activate the right muscles at the right time, which in reality is also a function of strength.
But to keep things simple we’ll refer to it as skill.
Things such as the muscle up transition need to be hardwired in your brain.
Your body needs to recognise the ‘transitional moment’ without you having to consciously think about it.
How? Repetitions. Repetitions. Repetitions.
Those repetitions will accumulate over time and before you know it, you don’t even need to think about it any more.
It just happens.
Once that’s the case, you are ready to face the Bar Brother requirements for beginners.
Month 6: The Bar Brother Beginner Challenge To Set The Base For The Official Challenge
This is the Bar Brother Beginner Challenge, consisting of:
- 4 muscle ups
- 15 dips
- 20 pushups
- 10 jumping squats
- 10 leg raises
- 4 muscle ups
- 3 minute time limit
Now it’s time for you to do the calisthenic beginner challenge.
Make sure you do a good warming up and go for it, six months of hard work will surely allow you to pass this.
There is no doubt in my mind.
My suggestion is that you stick to the workout plan in month 5 during this month, while trying to do the beginner challenge at least once a week as shown in the workout schedule.
My piece of advice for passing the challenge?
Get a group of friends who join you in your training and make it a goal to try the challenge at least once.
Support each other.
It builds a bond. A strong body and a strong character.
Because in the end it’s not about what you can do, but about who you become because of it.
Training Tip: Rest Better To Work Harder
On this workout plan you might reach a point where you feel like resting is for weak people.
Well, the proper amounts of rest are the only way you’ll get strong.
You need to realise that the harder you work, the harder you need to rest.
Muscle construction DOES NOT happen when you train, it happens when you rest.
If you want to train 5-6 days a week, you need to focusing on ‘high quality’ rest.
How? Sleep is the most potent anabolic activity known to man. Yes, you build more muscle while sleeping than with anything else.
But only if you force the muscle to adapt while you are awake.
What do you need to do to optimise this? It’s simple, but not easy.
Sleep at least 8 hours a night.
Make sure your nutrition is in check and focus on specific exercises and nutrients that promote recovery.
Especially when you start having sore elbows.
Don’t make excuses when it comes to working out.
And don’t make excuses when it comes to resting, but only after you’ve earned it.
A Summary Of The Calisthenics Workout Tips For Beginners
Here is a short recap of the tips you need to learn by heart:
Training Tip 1: Don’t Forget Legs And Feel Free To Add Variety
Training Tip 2: Focus On Quality Over Quantity
Training Tip 3: Use A Deload Workout Week To Refuel
Training Tip 4: Use Exercise Progression And Aim For 5 Repetitions In A Cycle
Training Tip 5: Focus On Skill Through High Volume Repetitions
Training Tip 6: Rest Better To Work Harder
What Do You Need To Do After You Have Passed The Beginner Challenge?
So you’ve decided to go all the way?
Well…you’ve taken the first step. In reality that wasn’t a step.
It was a leap of faith. You might still be a beginner, but not the beginner you were before you started.
I’m sure you aren’t planning to stop anytime soon.
Continue training for the official challenge, which you should be able to do in the following 6 months.
Upgrade your training to the 12-week workout system by Lazar and Dusan.
And keep in mind that training is one part of becoming stronger and that the other part is a healthy calisthenics diet.
The healthier you eat while on this 6 month training schedule, the stronger you will be at the end of it.
And the better your results.
Even small changes in your daily habits and diet can have enormous effects.
And the sooner you get started, the sooner those goals of yours will start becoming real.
Just like the dream of the person you want to be.
Now I’d like to hear from you:
Did you like this post?
Or maybe you have a question.
Either way, leave a quick comment below right now.