Doing weighted calisthenics workouts, especially for the upper body, brings a new and interesting element to strength and muscle gain bodyweight training. It spices up the training program in general, and it brings advantages like recruiting the largest muscle fibers, activating and training them to fatigue.
I like to utilize weighted calisthenics once in a while because it’s a great stimulus for the muscles and nervous system that cause it to respond very effectively. As you will find out for yourself, you will increase in size and strength if you do at least 1-2 weighted calisthenics workouts for the upper body every 1 or 2 weeks, along with your pure calisthenics sessions.
I also recorded the workout entirely to visualize from more angles, plus the blog post with all the required specs:
Weighted Calisthenics Workout: Dips and Pushups
- Dips + 40 kilograms: 4 sets of max reps
- Incline Narrow Pushups + 10 kilograms: 4 sets of max reps
- Regular Pushups + 10 kilograms: 4 sets of max reps
- Bodyweight Clapping Pushups: 4 sets of max reps
- BONUS: 100 Bodyweight Bench Dips.
After a very good warm-up, begin with heavyweight dips because they are the toughest of them all. If you don’t know how to effectively warm your body and prepare it for the physical task, then check out the video below:
Dips activate the chest, triceps, and shoulders but pay strict attention to form and execution as it can also injure you easily. Watch the entire workout video to see my precise execution.
I suggest you use a resistance that lets you do at least 4-5 repetitions so everything between extra 10 kilos and up to 50 kilos will work perfectly, depending on how strong you are and how fast you can recover between sets. The pause I recommend is of no longer than 2-3 minutes from set to set.
Weighted Incline Narrow Pushups
The second exercise on the list is an Incline Pushup with a close narrow grip. I used pushup handles of 20cm height and a weighted vest of 10 kilograms.
However, that was my only option available for weighted pushups, but if you have a much heavier vest, that is perfect.
Another option is finding a training partner and having him push you with his hands on your back or support some or his entire weight on your upper back. Pay extra attention to your spine and don’t support a large weight on the midsection because it’s dangerous.
Do a pause between 60 and 90 seconds from set to set.
Weighted Regular Pushups
Regular pushups go the same with the one before. I used a low bar here because if you watched the workout video, you could see that I needed a broader range for the vest to fit properly. I still used the 10 kilograms vest, but below is a picture of me doing pushups with a friend, supporting his entire body weight on my back. Watch closely and observe that I didn’t place him on my lower back. I stood protected with my spine and body alignment.
The intensity alters from a light weighted vest to supporting someone’s body weight on the back, but you can adjust the rep interval depending on the intensity.
Bodyweight Clapping Pushups
Doing only weighted calisthenics may not be sufficient to really burn out the muscles and make them suffer, so for this reason, I continued with bodyweight work.
You can include these awesome clapping pushups. It is a dynamic exercise that will require a bit more power per repetition than doing normal regular bodyweight pushups. This alone trains the explosiveness of your pushing muscles and will fatigue them more.
Accruing total work volume is essential even when you do exclusive weighted training because it is the one that will stimulate your muscles (10 Best Tips to Build Muscles with Calisthenics).
If you liked this workout, then perhaps you want to mix it with something pure bodyweight, like this one below where I did 100 pull-ups: