This 6-move calisthenics workout builds functional muscles and endurance in 12 minutes

You only need your body weight and 12 minutes to work your muscles hard, making this the perfect go-to exercise if you need a home workout without weights. 

We test a lot of physical and mental workouts at Tom’s Guide, from celeb exclusives to plank variations or breathing exercises — we like to think we’ve got most areas covered. We’ve designed this one to torch your major muscle groups and work up a sweat — all you need to do is roll out one of the best yoga mats to get started.

Bodyweight complexes are the most efficient way to add intensity, especially if you’re not lifting weights. We recommend focusing on form during the short 12 minutes of work. If you have more time, you could also couple it with another workout from our recommended picks below. Here it is!

What is calisthenics?

Woman exercising outdoors in the sunshine in a high plank position drawing her left knee towards right arm

(Image credit: Shutterstock images/ Jacob Lund)

Calisthenics embodies bodyweight training, and they’re interchangeable. Calisthenics includes bodyweight compound exercises, which means the moves will work various muscles and joints rather than one muscle in isolation, like squats. 

Calisthenics can scale from functional training like CrossFit and F45 to advanced gymnastics and highly technical moves. But at the heart of it, your body weight drives the movement, and the payoff includes burning calories, building muscle and improving your functional strength, endurance and coordination. 

We spoke to a calisthenics instructor who put together this calisthenics workout for beginners, but the one below is suited to all abilities. Fear not, you won’t need to contend with handstands or backflips to do it.

6-move 12-minute calisthenics workout

The six-move calisthenics workout includes three exercise complexes. A complex means performing a series of exercises back-to-back. Typically done with weights, they allow you to transition from one exercise to the next without resting

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