High Volume Calisthenics Workouts – So you can progress without weights

True calisthenic workouts require using just your bodyweight to perform every exercise.

For bigger exercises such as squats, push-ups, lunges using only your bodyweight might make it hard to reach muscle failure. And muscle failure is important to get results.

So how do you maximize your results in your calisthenic workouts? That's where high volume calisthenics comes in.

Let’s get right into how high volume calisthenics can help you. 

The great thing about a calisthenics workout is you don’t need any equipment and you can do these workouts anywhere. All you need is you and a space big enough where you can lay down on the ground. It’s great for all fitness levels from beginner to advanced.  

High volume calisthenics is simply just like what it sounds. Your workouts have higher reps than the traditional 8-15 reps for 1-3 sets. It’s usually 20+ reps or if it’s lower reps then you’ll be doing a lot more sets. A higher set training example would be doing 10 sets of 10 reps of a push-up. 

Most of the exercises for high volume training are for the exercises that need the bigger muscle groups to perform them such as squats, lunges, and push-ups. Because your bigger muscles take a longer time to tire doing 10-15 bodyweight squats won’t cut it. With high volume calisthenics you might be doing 100 bodyweight squats. 

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You need to stress the muscle to see results. Whether your goal is to get stronger, or to look better aesthetically you have to stress the muscle. And this high volume way of doing calisthenics can do that without having to use any type of weights.  

100 reps may sound like a daunting task but it’s more achievable than you think. In general, you should be able to perform 4-5 times the reps you can do in a max set.

In other words, if you can do 20 push-ups in a row you should be able to do 80-100 push-ups in a session. 

The Benefits of High Volume Calisthenics

Many people who do weight training wouldn’t think they can get stronger with bodyweight training. But when they give it a try they’ll see how effective it can be. 

The key benefits of high volume calisthenics are it helps you 

  • Build muscle 

  • Build strength

  • Keep your joints safe

You can build muscle a lot more with a high volume calisthenics workout because you’re putting more stress on the muscle. For lower body exercises it’s very hard to get a good workout in doing less than 15 reps for any bodyweight exercise. 

Also as you get more experienced in calisthenics and how to perform the exercises you’ll find doing anything less than 15 reps you’ll feel you’re not maxing out your workout. Without putting the necessary stress in your muscle you won’t be able to build muscle mass. So fatiguing the muscle groups with higher volume will help build more muscle mass. 

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Like building muscle, building strength is also hard to do with low volume bodyweight training. Eventually, you need to add something else to make it more challenging. Increasing the number of rounds can provide this for you. 

A major calisthenic benefit is how exercising without the use of weights is great for keeping your joints safe. Weight training can put unnecessary stress to your joints that calisthenics doesn’t have. The last thing you want is to get an injury and be sidelined from physical activity for a long period. 

Who is High Volume Calisthenics for?  

High volume calisthenics is better suited for people who are more experienced with calisthenics. In the calisthenics vs weights debate, one of the cons to calisthenics is it’s difficult to progress. 

Without any weights, progressive overload is hard to achieve. It’s the progressive overload that makes you stronger, without making your workouts harder there will be no growth.  

High volume calisthenics is what can take you to the next level of your training. You can challenge yourself every workout by trying to get more reps every session. This is how you can achieve progressive overload without using any weights. It’s the progressive overload that’s the important factor in gaining muscle mass. 

It can also be used for people who are experienced in weight training but are new to calisthenics. They might not be a good enough workout in doing normal volume calisthenics so increasing the volume can make it more challenging for them. 

The military also uses high volume calisthenic workouts in their training regimen. Military calisthenics workouts can be used to start your own military training workouts. 


What Equipment is Required?

Calisthenics training is bodyweight based, but you can use some equipment to enhance your training. 

You can use equipment such as

Pull up bars is probably the best piece of equipment you can buy if you did want to use some additional equipment to make your workouts more intense. Pull-ups are great for your back and biceps. 

Push up bars are good to work your chest, shoulders, and triceps. You’ll be able to increase your range of motion in a push-up as you’re able to go lower at the bottom which will help build your upper body more. While it’s specifically for push-ups you can also use it for pike push-ups and dips.

A table where you can lay under it can help you build a strong back. You can use it for bodyweight rows as you pull yourself up and down the table. If you don’t have a pull up bar this is the next best thing to build your back and biceps.  

A simple chair or stool can be used for most calisthenics exercises. Step-ups, Bulgarian split squats, pistol squats, push-ups. You can use the chair or stool to change the angle of your body with any of these exercises changing the muscle groups that get worked. 

Gloves are more of a luxury piece of equipment you can use. It can help with your grip and keep your hands nice and soft. When doing back exercises on a pull-up bar or table a strong grip is necessary and you’ll be roughing up your hands as you use your grip. 


High Volume Calisthenics Workouts

Here are some examples of high volume calisthenics workouts.

The 500 Workout by BARSTARZZ is quite popular today.

Perform this in order. Do the 100 squats first before the next exercise. Take as many sets as you need in any rep range form. You’re doing this workout for time, so do it as fast as possible.

Read Also: Calisthenics for Women - Workouts, Routines, and more

100 squats (standing in an athletic stance imagine sitting down on an invisible chair behind you and standing up) 

100 pull-ups (with your shoulder blades back and down grab the pull-up bar focusing on squeezing your lats as you pass your chin pass the bar)  

100 push-ups (get in a plank position with your hands at chest level and slowly lower yourself toward the ground then push yourself up) 

100 dips (with your hands behind you on a table or chair lower yourself till your biceps are parallel to the ground then push yourself back up) 

100 knee raises (on your back raise your legs off the ground till your thighs are at least perpendicular to the ground.

Another variation of The 500 Workout is to split it up so you do as many squats you can in a row, then pull-ups, then push-ups etc. Keep repeating until you reach 500 reps.

For a variation to really get your heart pumping you can replace the knee raises with this 30 minute version.

The number of minutes it takes you to do the first 4 exercises is the number of burpees you need to do. 

Repeat for 30 mins.

  • 20 Squats 
  • 20 Pull-Ups 
  • 20 Push-Ups
  • 20 Dips

Burpees (put your hands on the ground, kick your feet back into a plank position, kick your feet back to your starting position and jump)

Burpees

Burpees

If you’re not sure how to perform some of these exercises check out our dedicated guide to at home strength training workouts for women.  Whether you’re a man or woman you can learn some helpful tips on how to perform some of these exercises properly. 

You can use these examples as templates to customize your workouts. The key is to have high reps so you can get closer to muscle failure. 

An additional thing to consider is getting the right amount of rest between your workout days. With increased volume comes an increased need for your body to recover. There’s an inverse relationship between the frequency of training and the volume of training. If you increase the volume of training per session, you will want to train those muscles less frequently in the week. 

Conclusion

If you want to take your calisthenics training to the next level, start to incorporate some high volume calisthenics into your routine. It’s a great way to increase the intensity of your workouts so you can keep progressing in your fitness goals. 

Brent Rarama

Brent Rarama

"We all have the potential to be a self-made success story." Credentials ACE Certified Personal Trainer INFOFIT Group Fitness Certification Interests Sports Olympic Lifting Weight loss programs Researching different diets and exercises

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