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Street workout 101 – Exercises and programs

Have you heard of Street Workout, the new alternative to indoor sports? Indeed, this sport practice has become very trendy. Especially since the health crisis forced the closure of gyms at some point, street workout has become a new way to exercise for many. This discipline mixes strength, flexibility and self-transcendence and can be done anywhere. And in Pret-a-Train, we’ve always been involved in Calisthenics and street workouts as we love to move and master our body weight efficiently.

Let’s then discover what street workout is all about.


What is the street workout?

street workout man doing flag

Street Workout is training your body to hold or perform under challenging positions. It is a mixture between bodybuilding and gymnastics. Unlike bodybuilding, all the work is done with the body weight. It is also possible to use weights to increase your actual body weight. Bodybuilding aims to strengthen your muscles by pushing, pulling or lifting weights; in Street Workout, it is the same thing, but only with your body. Street Workout is a free discipline that does not require a structure. Some also call it Calisthenics. Indeed, this sport is practised only with body weight, so training with or without equipment is possible. Usually, most people who practice it train in a street workout park.

With the help of urban furniture, it mixes gymnastics and weight training through physical exercises to be done everywhere. With public benches, poles, children’s games, barriers or dedicated parks, the city becomes your gym. Or your playground! At first, you do primarily classic exercises – like sit-ups, pull-ups, push-ups and dips – and then explore more complex movements, which will be discussed later in this article. After that, it’s up to you to be imaginative and create exercises and programs with the means available!


Street workout vs Calisthenics vs Gymnastics

Gymnastics is a well-known sport that we can find in the Olympics. It’s also older than calisthenics and street workout. Gymnastics is a sport that includes physical exercises requiring balance, strength, flexibility, agility, coordination, dedication and endurance. So you might have understood that they are similarities as it’s what we can work with Calisthenics and street workout. But the other 2 disciplines have a more recent origin and are more prevalent outdoors.

Gymnastics is more practised inside with a coach for the competition. As Calisthenics and street workout are more work outside with friends and people, let’s put it. Thanks to Youtube, we’ve discovered this discipline by watching guys like the Bar brothers or some Californians from the beach doing crazy stuff on the bars. You might also know Frank Medrano, who popularised calisthenics by showing impressive control of his body doing the movements (video below).

But then, what’s the difference between Calisthenics and Street workout?

Calisthenics, like gymnastics, is more age, and the name originates in ancient greek. “Kallos” – means beauty, and “sthenos” – implies strength. Let’s say that “Street workout” is a modern name for calisthenics, but the street workout word has been more developed with the outside gym and bars you can find outdoors.


Variants of street workout

Street workout has three main sub-categories: set and reps, strength figures and freestyle. This is what we see at the bottom of our street workout programs.
It would be best to have self-control and phenomenal strength to reach the level of strength figures. That’s why everyone inevitably goes through the Set and Reps process. This is a short form for working in sets and reps and doing several sets of push-ups, pull-ups or dips. Fundamental movements serve to strengthen the basic structure of our body as well as our strength.

Once in good shape, you can work on more specific exercises and strength figures. Doing activities closer to strength figures, such as the front lift or the muscle-up. Be aware that these exercises are much more challenging than push-ups or dips. To succeed in doing strength figures, you must train a lot and be patient and consistent.

Finally, there is freestyle. You must handle many street workout tricks to do freestyle to link the movements together. This training style is slightly similar to the gymnasts’ routines on the asymmetric bar. That can be pretty impressive. Check a bit of the video below.


The benefits of street workout

There are significant benefits to practising street workouts. Like in any sport, the benefits are numerous for your health and mind, as you should know. But let’s see a few specifics concerning our urban sport.


Outdoor sport

Firstly, it is a sport that is mainly played outdoors. Most of the free parks are in outdoor public places. Why is this an advantage? It forces you to go outside to train. It would be best if you were motivated to train outside, whether sunny, grey, ugly or cold. Training outdoors improves our health and fights sedentary lifestyles. It may be a little more difficult at certain times of the year, such as in winter, but on the other hand, it strengthens the mind and its self-discipline. Of course, not everyone dares to go and train in bad weather (cold, wind, rain). However, the decision differentiates between someone who will get accurate results and not give up and someone who only trains when the conditions are right.

Related –> Winter Exercise: Tips to Maximize Training in the Cold


Body weight workout

No need to buy equipment. Finding just the right set-up, like an outdoor fitness park or some bars and benches, will be enough to start working out. As seen previously, the street workout is about working with your body weight. With exercises like dips, push-ups, pull-ups, etc.. your body is your load. 


Develop physical strength and lean shape

This sport allows you to develop a lot of physical strength. Since it is a bodyweight-only sport, it takes a lot of power to lift, pull or push your body. Unlike bodybuilding, it is not possible to remove a small amount of weight to perform an exercise. For example, if you struggle to push 60kg in the bench press, you only need to remove a few kilos to get it right. In Street Workout, you cannot remove a few pounds from your body to do pull-ups. Because of this, he is forced to work his raw strength tremendously to do more bodyweight exercises and also, working out on muscle, it can help you to remove the fat and have a lean body shape, which will help you to master your body in this discipline.


Develop self-control

Street Workout and Calisthenics allow you to develop great self-control. Indeed, the more you train, your strength will let you put yourself in previously impossible positions. As a result, your body will gradually become lighter and lighter, allowing you to do many more movements than an average person. In addition, you will control your body in many different ways. Whether facing the floor, standing on your back or standing upright, your training will give you better proprioception and self-control.


Making friendship

As in any sport, you can easily create friendships as calisthenics and street workout will be your common point. You can meet up with some people working out, getting advice on how to perform an exercise or so. You could even then train weekly with the same guys. It can create a great workout buddy and even a true friendship in the long term.


Change your character

Like boxing or sports, street work has helped many find a passion and motivation to keep it real. To keep living and spreading positivity. We know that in the streets, we can feel violence or anger, which is held by maybe unhappiness or wound. And street workout has been helping people to feel better and get out of negativity. That’s why also street workouts can help you in life. And we find that’s just great, and this is how by finding a place where we belong, keeping fit, the passion and meeting people who share the same point, we can feel better and help others and our environment.


The disadvantages of street workout

When you have the pros, you’ll always have the cons. Some pros can become cons, and some cons can become pros. Do you follow me? Anyway, let’s still discuss it quickly.


Outdoor sports, so weather variable

As you can see in the previous paragraph, I mentioned that it is an outdoor activity as a strength, but it can also be a drawback. The only problem with being an outdoor sport is that the weather is variable. And yes, when the weather is terrible, it’s not always easy to motivate yourself to go and do your session anyway. So it would be best to have more willpower and discipline to practise this sport, which can be a break for many people.


Might have to travel

Then, there is not always something to do street workouts near your home. Indeed, when you live in the middle of the city, you will have to travel a few kilometres to find the right spot to practise your sport without disturbing others.


Careful when you start

Finally, if you are not used to practising sports, the absence of a coach or Personal trainer can pose a problem because it is always good to be advised on your posture when you start. Even if, with the health conditions, more and more sports coaches are doing street workouts, this is not the case for everyone. Therefore, Street Workout or Calisthenics are not recommended for those just starting the sport.

Note that you can go to a gym to begin. And work on reps and set to build up the strength to do efficient figures afterwards outside on your bars. In the gym, there are Personal trainers, so they also might advise you on doing the correct forms, and that would be good to master the basic before going out and doing a proper street workout.

After discussing what street workout is all about and their benefits and disadvantages, you might want to start it. So in this second part, let’s now see different exercises of calisthenics that you can implement into your street workout program.

Street workout man with bars


Exercises of street workout

When we were writing this article, it’s been quite cold outside. But, the sunny days will soon arrive, and you will be tired of doing your sport at home. Street workouts can be a great way to reclaim the city and use street furniture to slim down your figure. Accessible to all except those with medical contraindications, this discipline allows you to gain strength and muscle while getting fresh air.



Plank calisthenics exercise

This exercise allows you to build up your muscles without putting pressure on your spine or hips. This means that planking reduces back pain and improves posture, reducing the risk of injury in the long term. With or without a mat, this exercise can be done anywhere. On all fours, first place your knees and hands on the floor, with your face towards the ground. Then lift your body by stretching your arms and legs. Keep your back straight to create a slant with your shoulders, buttocks and heels in line. Next, bring your right knee towards your elbow, hold for a few moments, and then return your foot to the floor. Do the same with your left knee. This three-in-one exercise can strengthen your abdominal muscles and arms while working on your balance!


Chair or wall sit

Wall sit street workout exercise

As the name suggests, chair exercise involves positioning ourselves as if sitting in a chair. The chair can be done anywhere; you only need a wall to stand on! For this exercise, place your back against the wall, stare at a point in the distance, and bend your legs so that your knees are 90° and thighs are parallel to the floor. Hold the position for a few seconds. You will naturally contract your whole body, especially your buttocks and thighs. This is an excellent exercise for your thigh and buttock muscles.


Mountain climber

Mountain climber street workout exercise

The Mountain Climber is a fitness exercise that allows you to use all the muscle groups of the body, especially the legs, arms and abdominal muscles. Performed at high intensity, mountain climbers also burn many calories and improve their cardio and endurance. For example, place your hands on the first step at the bottom of a staircase, and bring your knees up towards your chest while keeping your back straight.


Squat jump

Squat jumps exercise street workout

The squat jump, as the name suggests, is an exercise that combines a squat and a vertical jump. The squat is one of the top functional movements. It specifically targets your leg muscles and allows you to gain muscle tone. Like all plyometric exercises, it is ideal for gaining explosiveness and power. If you do it at high intensity, it also improves your cardiovascular capacity. To do this exercise, you only need to find some stairs! Place your feet hip-width apart, parallel and at the bottom of the stairs. Keep your back straight and focus on a point in the distance. Bend your lower body, then jump to the top step. Bend your knees to cushion each landing and climb the stairs step by step. This exercise is excellent for your front thighs and glutes and works cardio!


Inclined push-ups

Inclined push up bodyweight exercise

Overall, the muscles most worked during this exercise are the pectorals, anterior deltoids and triceps. And this exercise allows you to strengthen your deep back muscles by maintaining a sheathing position. Moreover, it only requires a bench or a chair. Place your hands on the bench with your face turned towards the seat. Stretch your arms over the middle and your legs over the floor. Bend your arms so that they are at a 90° angle, then straighten them again. This exercise strengthens your arm, shoulder and pectoral muscles.


Declined push-ups

Declined push up street workout

Like a classic or inclined push-up, this push-up is more challenging, as it puts more tension and loads on your upper body. Because this time you must put your feet on the bench and your hands on the floor. So you’ll get your feet elevated, different angles for a different feeling. This exercise is the best to target the upper chest. 

Related –> How to get bigger arms in a month


Lunge, with or without jumping

Lunges bodyweight exercise

An essential exercise in bodybuilding, the front lunge is highly effective for firming up the buttocks and sculpting beautiful, shapely legs. To do this, stand with your hands on your hips and place one leg in front of the other. Bend both knees at 90 degrees, one towards the sky, the other towards the ground. Do not put your knee on the floor. Then bring both feet back to the centre and repeat the exercise, reversing the front and back legs. Keep your back straight and aligned with your leg, shoulders, and hips. If you want to make the exercise more challenging, you can do it while jumping! Without going through the centre stage, reverse the back and front leg with a jump. This exercise is excellent for your entire lower body, as it muscles the glutes, back of the legs and front of the thighs.



Dips street workout exercise 15.40.12

Dips will target mainly the triceps muscle. All you need is a bench or 2 bars, as they are variations on dips. First, with the bench, you need to put your hands behind your back, get the glutes close to the bench and your back perpendicular to it. Then bend your arms to reach the closest glutes to the floor. Then extend your arms again and do several reps like this. Same with the parallel bars, put both hands into these two bars. You need to have enough space to put your body between and cross your knees, control yourself on the bars, bend your arms by keeping your body in control, and then go back up.


Inverted row

Inverted row bodyweight exercise

As mainly all pulling exercises, the inverted row will work effectively for your back and biceps. Again, like with the dips, all you need is to find that 2 parallel bars out from the floor to pass under this time. Grab the bar with your hands, your back straight close to the floor, and pull your body weight to the bar by flexing your biceps. Then extend and get back to the starting position. As in any exercise, you can play with the tempo to do the workout harder. Try doing several reps of this.



Pull-up exercise street workout

Pulls ups require enough strength and might need a good body shape. You have to lift your body load with your arms from the ground to the chin up to the bar. To execute this exercise, you only need to find an upper bar to hold with your hands and pull your body up. Again cross your knees and keep your body aligned. Pull-ups will work mainly on your back and biceps.


Muscle up

Muscle up street workout exercise

This is one of the most fundamental exercises in street workouts and calisthenics. We can also find it in gymnastics as many. Except this one requires a lot of strength, good self-control and the proper technic. Muscle up is a pull-up, but instead of just passing your chin up to the bar, you need to get your body weight up to the bar this time. As you pull up, this will work your back, biceps, triceps, and chest. It’s a great compound exercise.


Peak push-ups

Peak push-up starting position bodyweight

This will work mainly on your shoulder and triceps. Put yourself into a downward dog position. You must keep your glutes high and get your head down close to the ground by keeping your feet and legs well grounded. Flex your arms and extend to get back to the starting position.


Handstand push-ups

Handstand calisthenics figure

Finally, we put you on handstand push-ups, one of the most challenging exercises. You can’t do this one before mastering your body load. As you have to lift your all-body weight head down, you need to hold your all-body straight. So before realising this one, ensure you can do several reps of peak push-ups easily, as it will work mostly the same muscle into a different angle. You can use a wall to hold your body before succeeding in making the figure without the wall. He takes a lot of dedication and technics to realise that figure and movement.


Burpees and burpees push-ups

Burpees bodyweight exercise

Almost all the exercises have variations to make them easier or more challenging. Let’s talk about 2 here. Burpees and burpees push ups. To complete a burpee, you need to get from standing to a plank position by bending your knees down, jumping back with your feet to get to that plank, and then doing the reverse to jump back up and bring to a standing starting position. Then you need to add the push-up when you are into the plank to execute the burpees push-ups.  Again, this exercise is a great compound exercise that will work your entire body.

There are several other exercises that you can find in calisthenics and street workout, and it’s always open to being creative.

Related –> The 5 best exercises to work out all your body parts



Street workout Programs

Man doing Calisthenics street workout

As we saw different exercises, it’s time to create a program to adapt to you. You might ask yourself how to start or what to do. That’s why we will give you a program to begin with. Get to the intermediate and a difficult one at the end. As we always say to our clients in personal training. Be patient and consistent, and try not to judge yourself, do the workout.

We want to remind you that before doing any of these exercises, you should mobilise every muscle and joint by doing a little warm-up which lasts at least 5 mins, depending on your age and condition. That could also include jumping jacks to get the necessary adrenaline and proper shape before starting your main workout. Also, we recommend stretching the muscle that worked well after each training.


Beginner workout

The goal is to get the basics and proper form to prepare the entire body muscle to get to an intermediate workout program. So the beginner workout will include all full bodywork. We will need to execute well the push-ups (chest and triceps), the squats (legs), inverted row (back), plank (core), and mountain climber (cardio, whole body).

So all we will do is take it all and a circuit training. Let’s aim to take 1 to 2 mins rest between exercises and do 2 to 3 rounds of the circuit. One, you can do the maximum reps of this exercise. Aim to target more rounds with less rest. In fitness, we play with tempo, rest, and set to make it more challenging.

Circuit training beginner street workout

  • 12-15 reps of squats (90-degree angle)
  • 8-12 reps of classic push-ups
  • 20-40 secs of mountain climber
  • 8-12 inverted row
  • 30-60 secs of traditional plank


Intermediate workout

Once you have adequately mastered the beginner workout, you can get to this one. As you now should have the basics, we can implement more challenging exercises like incline push-ups, pull-ups, and squat jumps. Again let’s make it simple with a circuit where you can play by making more rounds and getting less rest. This will boost your cardio, stamina and strength. You will get all the benefits of street workouts.

Note that the pull-up might still be challenging, so you might need to use elastic bands to help you carry your load.

Circuit training intermediate street workout

  • 15-20 reps of jumping squat
  • 8-12 reps of declined push-ups
  • 45-60 secs of mountain climber
  • 6-10 pull-ups
  • 8-12 peak push-ups

Also, you can still do some planks aside or incorporate hanging knee raise exercises and other abs workouts, as the bar brothers show in this video.


High-level workout

This high-level workout is not for anyone, and you have to be able to complete the first 2 workout programs before hoping to execute this one. We will do the most challenging exercises on this one. Again play with the reps, the sets, the rounds and the tempo.

Circuit training high-level street workout

  • 6-10 Handstand push-ups
  • 10-12 pull-ups or 6-8 muscle-ups
  • 10-12 burpees push-ups
  • 1 min mountain climbers
  • 16-20 jumping lunges

These 3 workouts are more like routines to put into a programme. To make a program, you need, for instance, to get the circuits that suit you and try to work out every 2 days. Try to make it simple; if you repeat the same exercises, you will see how much progress you have made. Take note of how many reps and sets you did with how much rest. Then once you feel confident, you can try to incorporate some different exercises. If you’ve been on the bars for a while, I’m sure you’ve been meeting people and seeing at least some other exercises to implement into your street workout program. Always have fun and drink enough water, eat well, and do the proper form.

Related –> Best sport for an overall workout



Calisthenic figures man

It is well known that sport is accessible to all, and the fact that it can be practised on the street is soundproof. With a bit of music, alone or with friends, street sport is a great alternative to exercise outside. Moreover, Pret a Train and our personal trainers offer private outdoor coaching.

So you too can get some fresh air!

Street Workout is a sport that is accessible to all but requires a minimum level of fitness. Although free, you will only find Street Workout parks outdoors (pull-up bars can be sufficient). This sport develops great strength and self-knowledge.

So get out there and do some street workouts!

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