How calisthenics can include both isometric and isotonic exercises? Explained


Calisthenics has gained a lot of popularity in recent years. Calisthenics can be very handy when it comes to building muscle and increasing overall strength. All this can be achieved with calisthenics with minimal equipment, usually consisting of pullup bars and dip bars.

Many newbies believe calisthenics involves just some set body weight of exercises, that they have to do over and over. Which makes them feel calisthenics is boring. But the reality is something else, calisthenics involves various exercises with different types of movements.

It includes exercises with both isometric and isotonic movements. When both movements are combined in workouts it can provide amazing results.

What are isometric exercises?

Isometric exercises are those in which the body stays in one position. In this type of movement, you hold onto the same position for a certain period of time. In this, neither the bones nor the muscles move a lot. Isometric exercises can help in building strength and muscle endurance, which means the ability to continue doing an exercise.

Some common isometric exercises are planks, wall sit, etc. People usually do isometric exercises till failure and try to increase their time under tension gradually.

What are isotonic exercises?

Simply, isotonic exercises are those in which contraction of the muscle is involved. There are two types of isotonic movements- concentric and eccentric. The word “isotonic” comes from the Greek language which means the same tone or same tension.

At this, the movement of your muscles and bones occurs. This type of exercise is highly popular and known for building muscle and strength. Exercises which include isotonic movements are very common and are mostly involved in people’s workout regimens. 

Some common isotonic exercises are push-ups, squats, etc.

How calisthenics can include both isometric and isotonic exercises?

how calisthenics can include both isometric and isotonic exercises
Image – Pixabay

Calisthenics involves bodyweight movements, including isometric exercises that involve holding a pose and isotonic exercises that involve dynamic movements. Isometric exercises include the plank, while isotonic exercises include push-ups and squats. By combining both types of exercises in a calisthenics routine, one can target multiple muscle groups for a balanced workout.

Most of the calisthenics workouts are filled with exercises that involve contraction of the muscle (isotonic exercises). But, calisthenics also includes exercises with isometric movements. 

This is because in calisthenics your body weight is your resistance to exercise and you can use your body weight to put the muscles in tension while being in the same position and without your muscles moving.

The ability to use body weight as resistance in exercises is the main reason there are several isometrics as well as isotonic exercises in calisthenics. Now we hope that you got your answer on how can calisthenics include both isometric and isotonic exercises.

Some isometric calisthenics exercises

1. Plank


Plank is a great exercise that can build abdominal strength and tone your belly. It is one of the most common isometric exercises.

To perform plank-

  1. Start being in a pushup position. Face down seeing the floor with your forearms and elbows touching it
  2. Engage your core, keep your back straight, squeeze your glutes, try engaging your muscles, and make sure your shoulders are down and not around your ears. 
  3. Hold this position till failure and try progressing gradually and increasing your time.

2. Wall Sit

wall sit

Wall sit is a great isometric exercise that targets the quads, glutes, and calves. This exercise is very helpful in building muscle endurance.

To perform this exercise-

  1. Stand with your back against the wall and your feet shoulder-width apart.
  2. Now get in a squat position while keeping your back against the wall.
  3. Make sure your legs are making a 90-degree angle and your back is straight.
  4. Engage your core and focus while being in the same position.
  5. Stay like that either till failure or desired time.

3. Pullup Hold

pullup hold

This exercise is used to develop strength for pullups and even targets the back and bicep muscle. To perform it you will need a bar or something you can hang on safely.

To perform this exercise-

  1. Hang on a bar with your legs straight.
  2. Engage your core and keep your back straight.
  3. Pull yourself up towards the bar and make sure your chin is over the bar.
  4. Hold onto this position till failure and improve gradually.

4. Deep Squat Hold

deep squats

Deep squat or deep squat holds is another great exercise for targeting your leg muscles overall. This exercise is very good for joint mobility as well.

To perform this exercise-

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart with your back straight.
  2. Squat down deep, till you are comfortable.
  3. Do not go too much deeper if your knees hurt or you are not able to maintain your balance.
  4. Maintain that deep hold with your core engaged.
  5. Try till failure or till desired time. 

5. Calf Raise Hold

calf raise hold

The calf is one of the most undeveloped muscles in many people’s bodies. You can build big and good-looking calves by including both isometric and isotonic movements in your calf training. Calf raise hold is an isometric movement that can help build good calves.

To perform this exercise-

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  2. Now do a calf raise and hold onto that position.
  3. Make sure to keep your back straight and maintain your balance.
  4. You can use a wall as assistance if you are not able to maintain your balance.
  5. On the other hand, if you don’t need any assistance and this feels easy for you, then you can hold some weights to make it a bit more challenging.
  6. Perform till desired time or till failure.

Some isotonic calisthenics exercises 

1. Pushups


The pushup is a traditional calisthenics exercise that can help build the chest, tricep, and shoulder muscles.

To perform this exercise-

  1. Get in the pushup position with your hand a little wider than your shoulder, elbows extended but not fully locked out, and legs straight with feet touching the floor.
  2. Squeeze your glutes and engage your abdominal muscles.
  3. Now go down and bend your elbows to 90 degrees.
  4. Push up and extend your elbows.
  5. Do the movement in a slow and controlled manner.
  6. Repeat till the desired no. of sets and reps.

2. Squats


The squat is one of the most useful exercises when it comes to building strong and big legs.

To perform this exercise-

  1. Stand with your legs shoulder-width apart.
  2. Now squat down and bend your knees.
  3. Engage your core and maintain your balance.
  4. Come back up and repeat.

3. Pullups


Pull Ups is a great isotonic exercise that targets your back and bicep muscles. It can help you increase your pulling strength. To perform this you need a bar or some safe place to hang on.

To perform this exercise-

  1. Hang on the bar with your legs straight.
  2. Engage your core.
  3. Pull yourself up till your chin is over the bar.
  4. Control the movement, go back down, and repeat.

4. Sit-ups

sit ups

The sit-up is a traditional ab exercise used to train the core. It is an isotonic calisthenics exercise. There are some sit up variations you can also try.

To perform this exercise-

  1. Lay down on the floor with your knees bent.
  2. Place your feet on the floor and make sure they don’t come off when you are doing sit-ups.
  3. Place your hand behind your ears and make sure you are not pulling your neck.
  4. Lift your upper body and try touching your chest with your knees.
  5. Go back down in a slow and controlled manner and repeat.

5. Dips


Dips are a great exercise to build the triceps. You can do them with a bench or with dip bars. It is recommended if you have the convenience of dip bars go with them as they will allow more tricep, chest, and shoulder muscle involvement.

To perform this exercise-

  1. Grab the bars with your hands shoulder-width apart.
  2. Keep your back straight and your elbow extended.
  3. Now bend your elbows slowly till 90 degrees.
  4. Push back up till your elbows are extended.
  5. Repeat for the desired amount of reps.


By doing calisthenics exercises you can build strength around your body weight and do some stuff that makes you feel superhuman.

Calisthenics includes various types of exercises with different types of movements. It includes both isometric and isotonic exercises. It is because in calisthenics you can use your body weight as resistance and it gives you the ability to perform both isometric and isotonic exercises.

Overall, calisthenics is a great way of building strength and muscle mass by just doing bodyweight exercises.

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