I don’t know about you guys, but this winter I’ve been pretty inconsistent with both my exercise program and my eating habits (and blog posts. Ugh.). The result is an extra 8 – 10 lbs in my waist area that I’m none too happy about. And now that the weather is finally getting warmer, I’ve decided to do something about it. I’ve created a progressive calisthenics program of steadily increasing repetitions over the month of April with the following exercises:

  1. Push-ups (full range – chest to floor)
  2. Squats (thighs parallel to floor) – I plan to use a 35 lb kettlebell for resistance.
  3. Planks (forearms on floor, body straight) – instead of repetitions these will be for time in seconds.
  4. Pull-ups (dead hang to chest) – I prefer the neutral grip because it’s easier on my shoulders.

The starting point is 20 reps (secs for planks) so beginners can join in, but feel free to start wherever you think is best for you. Here’s the progression:

  1. April 1 – 4:  20 reps of each exercise (20 secs of plank), 3 pull-ups.
  2. April 6 – 11:  40 reps of each exercise (40 secs of plank), 6 pull-ups.
  3. April 13 – 18:  60 reps of each exercise (60 secs of plank), 10 pull-ups.
  4. April 20 – 25:  80 reps of each exercise (80 secs of plank), 15 pull-ups.
  5. April 27 – 30:  100 reps of each exercise (100 secs of plank), 20 pull-ups.

As you can see this program starts off pretty easy, but gets challenging quick. Start where you can, even if you have to make some adjustments to the intensity. For example, if you need to go to your knees for the push-ups, go to your knees.


  • Sunday is a day off for recovery. This is especially important if you haven’t exercised in a while.
  • The repetitions can be broken up into as many sets as necessary to complete the total for the day.
  • I’ve created a pretty cool spreadsheet with a table for recording your daily reps. The columns are set up to add up your totals throughout the month. If you’d like a copy, hit me up in the comments with your email, and I’ll be happy to send it to you.
  • Nutrition: I will be using the Slow Carb Diet during the month of April while on this plan. If you’re interested, let me know and I will get you more info.
  • For other guidelines on exercise or nutrition, check out some of the other posts on Smart Fitness.
  • Do what you can, and never ever give up.

I’ll be posting a short video showing how to do each exercise with the correct form in the next day or so. As always please leave a comment below if you have any questions.