11 Calisthenics Isolation Exercises for Beginners

You don’t need a personal trainer or gym equipment to start calisthenics. It’s just a few basic movements that anyone can do. Getting started is the key to success. Whether you’re working out at home or at a gym, you can easily incorporate this exercise into your routine.

Below is a list of calisthenics isolation exercises for beginners:

  • Ring Tricep Extensions
  • Ring Bicep Curls
  • Lateral Raises
  • Ring Chest Flys
  • Crunches
  • Ab Rollout
  • Windshield Wipers
  • Hollowbody Hold
  • Nordic Curl
  • Reverse Nordic Curl
  • Hip Bridges

1-2 minutes is enough exercise for beginners. However, if you feel that your body needs more, you can go up to 3 minutes. During the first couple of weeks of training, three circuits are enough.

Ring Tricep Extensions

Ring tricep extensions are a great way to isolate your triceps. With the scalability of body leverage, the gains are endless. This exercise is best done at the end of your workout after you’ve done compound movements.

  1. Grasp each ring with one hand
  2. Depending on the leverage of your body determines the difficulty of the exercise
  3. Bend arms at the elbow to ensure muscle activation
  4. Once at the top, slowly let yourself down
  5. Rinse and repeat

Triceps are the most significant muscle in your arm, they are the muscle that makes your arm look big. Isolating these at the end of your workout is guaranteed to pump those arms to colossal size. The triceps are made up of 3 parts, the long head, medial and lateral head. This exercise works all three of them.

The best thing about this exercise is its scalability of it. You can start in a standing position and as it becomes easier you’ll be able to go lower and lower until you’re in a pushup position. Let us say you can’t do push-ups yet and because you’re new, these are a great way to strengthen those arms.

  • Easy to scale
  • Hits all tricep heads

Ring Bicep Curls

  1. Take each ring with palms facing upward
  2. Lean back with your feet in front of you.
  3. Start with arms fully extended in front
  4. Pull your palms toward you
  5. Hold for a second
  6. Let down slowly

Ring bicep curls are a great scalable exercise to isolate your biceps. With rings it makes the exercise not only interesting but fun too. The bicep is made up of two muscles the long and short head and

this exercise hits both of them efficiently with no injury risk. And just like the ring tricep extension, you can scale the difficulty of this exercise by leverage.

  • Less risk of injury
  • Easy to scale
  • Works both long and short head

Lateral Raises

  1. Take a towel
  2. Wrap it around your forearm where the elbow connects
  3. Lean on a door or smooth surface
  4. Push and slide your arm up the door
  5. Slide back down slowly

This exercise is one of the best shoulder isolation exercises out there. Very few people have access to bands or dumbbells and with using those there is a risk of injury.

With this exercise, it is easy to scale by using body leverage. It works the anterior and the lateral shoulder muscle.

Let us say you’re using a band or dumbbell and you use a lateral raise, well your traps will activate to some degree and put some pressure on your upper neck.

  • Easy to scale
  • Works front and side shoulders
  • Less risk of injury
  • Can do it almost anywhere

Ring Chest Flys

  1. Grab the rings
  2. Angle yourself downward by slightly leaning forward
  3. Start with both hands out to your sides
  4. Bring your hands together in front of you while also squeezing your chest
  5. Slowly bring your hands back to starting position

Ring flys are a great bodyweight chest isolation exercise, with how easy you can scale the difficulty of it the possibilities are endless.

This powerful exercise isolates the chest by hitting all three parts of it, the lower, middle, and upper.

If you have a hard time with ring dips this coupled with tricep extensions and lateral raises will have you doing ring dips easily.

  • Hits each part of the pec
  • Easy to Scale
  • Less risk of injury


  1. Lie on your back with feet flat on the floor
  2. Knees the distance of hips
  3. Interlace your fingers together with them behind your head
  4. Raise yourself up slowly using your abs
  5. Don’t go all the way up about 75 degrees
  6. Slowly lower yourself back down

Crunches are great because they isolate the abs and the other muscles of your core, the obliques, and the lower back muscles.

Another thing that makes them great is you need no equipment and can do them anywhere. Do enough of these and you’ll get those six-pack abs

  • No equipment needed
  • Works the entire core
  • Easy to start

Ab Rollout

  1. Start on your knees
  2. Grasp the ab wheel on both sides
  3. Tuck your stomach
  4. Roll in a straight line in front of you
  5. Hold for a second
  6. Then Slowly bring yourself back to starting position

The ab wheel is a very underrated ab isolation exercise for calisthenics, it uses every muscle in your core at the same time which is great for coordination.

The obliques, lower back, and upper and lower abs are all firing at the same time to hold your body upright. Another benefit of this exercise is the eccentric portion of it.

Eccentrics is an important part of an exercise because it builds more mass and strength at the same time. So, the longer you are on the down part of the exercise the more mass and strength you’ll receive.

  • Great eccentric exercise
  • Works all core muscles at the same time
  • Easy to scale for harder variations
  • Can do anywhere

Windshield Wipers

  1. Lie flat on your back
  2. Lay your arms out to your sides
  3. Raise your legs and have your knees at a 90-degree angle
  4. Keep your shoulders down
  5. Rotate your hips from left to right slowly

If you’re wanting to target your obliques more then this exercise is perfect. It does not need any equipment. There are harder variations of this exercise, if it becomes too easy you can fully extend your legs for a greater challenge.

  • Targets the core
  • Eliminates lower back pain
  • Can be done anywhere
  • Easily scalable

Hollowbody Hold

  1. Start by lying flat on your back
  2. Make sure you push your lower back into the ground
  3. Raise your hands above your head in a straight line
  4. Lower your legs as much as you can
  5. Hold for as long as you can

Most of the time you’ll see this exercise mainly used in gymnastics. Even if you’re not a gymnast this exercise is packed with benefits that’ll give you a stronger core and longevity.

It uses all of the core muscles in conjunction with each other. In addition, it uses different layers of the ab muscles, the transverse abdomis which is located under the obliques, it’s the deepest of all the ab muscles and is wrapped around your spine for stability and protection.

The internal abdominal oblique is located under the external oblique, the external oblique is located on the side and front of the abs, and the rectus abdominis is the front part of the abs.

  • Works all of your core muscles in conjunction with one another
  • Rids of lower back pain in everyday movement
  • Easy to scale to a harder difficulty
  • Good for stability
  • Hits the deep muscles

Nordic Curl

  1. Find something to hook your feet in
  2. Stand on your knees with your hands to the side
  3. Slowly lower yourself down as far as you can
  4. Catch yourself with your hands
  5. Push yourself back up while simultaneously using your legs

The nordic curl is one of the best hamstring exercises for calisthenics and I’ll tell you why. It hits all three of the hamstring muscles, the biceps femoris, semitendinosus, and semimembranosus.

The main movement of the exercise is an eccentric focused exercise so that means you’ll be strengthening your muscles under lengthening.

So, you’re stretching your muscles while also strengthening them at the same time, two birds one stone. Another benefit of this exercise is if you’re a runner it’s good for your knees.

  • Good for runners
  • Eccentric based exercise
  • Easy to scale difficulty
  • Little equipment needed

Reverse Nordic Curl

  1. Take the same position as with the nordic curl
  2. Instead of going forwards, lean backward
  3. Lean as far back as you can
  4. Either push yourself back up or if you have the strength raise using your legs
  5. Rinse and repeat

The reverse nordic curl is the brother of the nordic curl and is the best calisthenic exercise for your quads. Just the sheer benefits of this exercise will have you doing it for years.

It works every quad muscle and an extra muscle that’s under those muscles that run all the way to your hips. No other leg extension exercise does that. And just like the nordic curl, it is a big eccentric

movement that stretches your muscles while also strengthening them. Easy to scale to harder difficulties, this one will have you going back to it.

  • No equipment needed
  • Big eccentric movement
  • Easy to scale
  • Builds size
  • Reduces risk of injury
  • Improves mobility

Hip Bridges

  1. Lie flat on your back with the bottom of your feet touching the floor
  2. Lay your arms to your sides
  3. Thrust your hips high in the air
  4. Squeeze your glutes
  5. Lower yourself back down

The hip bridge is a great isolation exercise for your glutes. Its works all three parts of them, the gluteus maximus, medius, and minimus, which are the main muscles of your butt. This exercise is really great to scale and it minimizes lower back pain.

  • Reduces lower back pain
  • Works all glute muscles
  • Easy to scale to a harder difficulty