Is Doing Calisthenics Every Day Good or Bad? When to rest? (Based on Science)

According to science, doing the exact same bodyweight exercises targeting the same muscle groups every single day is not good and may lead to injury or overtraining which may have negative effects on your body and progress. [1]

Here’s how to do it the right way. (The way I do it for many years)

What you will learn

  • How often should you train the same muscle group (or do the same exercises)
  • How many days should you rest every week? (Based on Science)
  • How long to rest between exercises? (Based on Science)
  • What is a good calisthenics workout routine (With Examples)

How often should you train the same muscle group (or do the same exercises)

So now you know that you shouldn’t train every single day the exact same muscle groups or do the same exercises. 

There are a lot of Youtube videos or challenges which tell you to do exactly that (“I did push-ups for 30 days every single day”) but it’s scientifically proven that this is not good practice and you should avoid it.

Instead you need to rest a minimum of 48 hours (2 days) after you train a specific muscle group until you can train it again [2].

So if for example you do 3-4 sets of pull-ups and chin-ups (focusing on your back) on Monday for maximum muscle and strength growth you should do them again on Thursday (2 days later).

How many days should you rest every week? (Based on Science)

According to a study published in 2018 [3] it is recommended by health officials that you train 2-3 times per week for a specific muscle group with 48 hours rest per group. Which leaves you with 1-2 rest days per week if you structure your workout program correctly. 

What most people (including me) do is we train around 5-6 days every week while we rest 1-2 days.

Here’s an example of what a normal calisthenics workout focused on muscle mass and strength looks like on different groups:

  • Monday: Chest and arms
  • Tuesday: Back
  • Wednesday: Legs
  • Thursday: Chest and arms
  • Friday: Back
  • Saturday: Legs
  • Sunday: Rest

As you can see this workout targets your whole body while giving you enough rest time between muscle groups so you can recover nicely while still having 1 complete rest day.

And everything is based on science.

How long to rest between sets and exercises? (Based on Science)

According to a study done in 2009 it is recommended to rest between 30 and 90 seconds per set to maximize muscle growth. [4].

So what I personally do is set a timer of 1 minute or use the phone’s built in stopwatch after I finish an exercise or a set to take a breath and prepare mentally for the next one.

But in case you don’t have your phone with you can always count the seconds yourself.

Just remember not to make your rest more than 1 minute and 30 seconds because anything else focuses more on strength training alone. (Not really calisthenics)

Quick Tip: If you want to progress with your workouts but don’t want to add more exercises or weight you can always lower the seconds you rest between your sets. If for example you rest for 60 seconds you can lower that to 45 seconds and increase the intensity. Trust me those 15 seconds do really add when you have 12 sets in total.

What is a good calisthenics workout weekly routine with exercises (With Examples)

Now you know that you need to train a body part and rest 2 days while taking a break for 30 to 90 seconds between sets.

Now let’s combine all that info and create 2 great workouts you can use straight away. (I’ve done them both and they work perfectly)

Calisthenics Workout 1 (6 workouts, 1 rest day)

  • Monday: Chest and arms
  • Tuesday: Back
  • Wednesday: Legs
  • Thursday: Chest and arms
  • Friday: Back
  • Saturday: Legs
  • Sunday: Rest

Calisthenics Workout 2 (5 workouts, 2 rest day)

  • Monday: Upper Body (Chest,back,core and arms)
  • Tuesday: Lower Body (Legs)
  • Wednesday: Rest
  • Thursday: Upper Body (Chest,back,core and arms)
  • Friday: Lower Body (Legs)
  • Saturday: Learn/Improve Calisthenics Skills of Your Choice
  • Sunday: Rest

As it comes to exercises if you don’t know where to start, here are a couple of my favorite ones to target each muscle group.

Chest and arms: 

  • Push-ups
  • Diamond push-ups
  • Shoulder push-ups
  • Explosive push-ups
  • Weighted push-ups
  • Dips
  • Weighted dips
  • Entirely focused chin-ups focused on biceps 

Back:

  • Pull-ups
  • Chin-ups
  • Horizontal pull-ups
  • Horizontal pull-ups with elevated legs
  • Explosive pull-ups
  • Muscle-ups
  • All exercises with extra weight

Legs:

  • Bodyweight squats
  • Bodyweight single leg squat (you can hold for something if you have bad balance)
  • Bodyweight Bulgarian Squats
  • Bodyweight Bridges (try the one leg version if too easy)
  • Running/Sprinting (You can do it first thing in the morning or before dark)
  • Hiking (if you like hiking you can try and climb a near mountain)
  • Riding a bike (if you like riding a bike try something with a lot of elevation)

Quick Tip: If you don’t know how to do a specific exercise ask somebody advanced you know to show it to you and teach you or watch a couple of youtube videos and try it out.

And that’s everything you really need to create a bodyweight workout program based on science. 

Don’t forget that in order to maximize your results you also need to eat enough calories and protein and sleep around 7-8 hours per day. [5]

Do all those things and the positive results will come.

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