Calisthenics is a form of workout where one uses only their body weight to achieve strength and get in shape. Calisthenics exercises can be practiced without much machinery or elaborate gym structures. The basic idea is to get endurance, stamina, flexibility and strength without depending on any tools or sophisticated equipment.
Calisthenics workouts are designed differently for everyone according to their fitness level and medical history. Without doubt it is one of the most suitable branches of fitness for those who like to enjoy wholesome health. It is this display of brawn and body control that has turned it into a sport that many people enjoy practicing and competing in.
- 1 The Fundamentals of Calisthenics Workout
- 1.1 Who Can Practice Calisthenics?
- 1.2 Benefits of Calisthenics
- 2 Types of Calisthenics Exercises
The Fundamentals of Calisthenics Workout
Calisthenics is a versatile genre of workout where one's body weight is used as resistance. Equipment usage is kept to the minimum with basic tools like pull-up and dip bars, which can be bought from a local market or welded at home. Most people are drawn to it because these exercises can be performed almost anywhere. You can have some bars installed in your backyard and you are good to go.
Who Can Practice Calisthenics?
Calisthenics is for everyone but as the form is based on body strength and endurance, it will need some getting used to with training and patience. People who are new to fitness and exercise routines may take up to six months to be able to perform all basic movements smoothly.
Calisthenics workout can be used to reach all kinds of health targets. Some athletes and bodybuilders practice them to increase power and body suppleness. The workout has various levels and so can be used to achieve all kinds of goals.
It is an ideal workout for weight loss, lean muscle build up, core strength and overall body coordination and shape.
Even if you do not have definite health goals and like to enjoy good health in general, calisthenics exercises will do the trick.
Benefits of Calisthenics
Calisthenics Can Be Adapted For Any Fitness Level
There are many variations to bodyweight calisthenics exercises, giving you the ability to make them easier or harder. This is why they are great for beginners as well as seasoned fitness enthusiasts.
Calisthenics Train Natural Body Movements
Often, resistance training methods do not directly improve movement patterns that are naturally used in everyday life, but this is not the case with bodyweight calisthenics. Fitness excellence is often measured by your ability to control the movements of your own body and not your ability to control the movement of an object. Train the way you naturally move to see more physical improvements applicable in the real world.
Calisthenics Improve Muscular Strength, Power and Endurance
Rarely are the challenges of sport, work and life one dimensional, but rather a combination of strength, power and endurance weaved together. Depending on the exercises used, the reps and sets and the intensity, you can effectively target strength, power and endurance separately or collectively.
Calisthenics Improve Strength and Cardiorespiratory Endurance While Burning Fat
When most of us participate in a fitness training program we want to improve strength, cardiorespiratory endurance while burning off unwanted fat. Bodyweight calisthenics can do all three in a single workout. By varying the exercises, stresses and intensities of your workouts you can effectively and efficiently get stronger, better conditioned and leaner.
Calisthenics decrease depression
Regular calisthenics are an excellent way to boost your mood, regulate your emotions and get in shape. When you exercise, your body releases endorphins, adrenaline, serotonin and dopamine. These are the body's natural feel good chemicals. They work together to make you feel good. Try to train three days a week for about 45 minutes and your body will thank you!
Types of Calisthenics Exercises
Calisthenics cannot be defined into a category as it involves anything and everything that promotes body-weight training. There are certain types of exercises, however, which can be done at the beginner's level. Once a person is adept at these, they can be incorporated into circuit training or other forms to reap better results
Beginner level Calisthenics Exercises
Prior to doing any calisthenics workout as a beginner, one should first develop a suitable workout routine, which needs to be followed closely to get the best results. If you are new to exercise, there are a few rules that will help you get a hang of it.
Make sure to keep at least a 1 minute break in between one manoeuvre and the other. Be sure to take it slow at first and be conservative. However, once you get the hang of it, you should gradually increase the number of repetitions. As a novice, you should commence with the basic movements and as time progresses, proceed to the more advanced ones.
There are various beginner level calisthenics workouts such as jumping jacks, push-ups and crunches. The proper ways of performing these exercises will be briefly demonstrated.
Jumping jacks- For a full body workout
Start by standing with the feet together and arms at the sides. Contract your abdominal muscles to pull pelvis forward and to diminish the curve of the lower back. Next, bend both knees and jump, moving the feet apart until they are wider than the shoulder. Simultaneously, raise your arms over your head and remember that you should be on the balls of your feet. Keep the knees slightly bent while you jump again, bringing the feet together and the arms back at the sides. Your weight should be on the heels at the end of the movement. Repeat the exercise, working in sets and with rest periods in between. As you become accustomed, do jumping jacks faster for a particular length of time rather than in sets.
Push-ups- For the chest, shoulder and triceps muscles
Assume a prone position on the floor or any firm surface and position the hands about shoulder width apart. Keep palms turned slightly inward. Then push your body up, making a straight line from the head to the heels. This is called a "planche" position, which is used for other different types of exercise. Exhale as you lower your torso down until the elbows form a 90 degree angle, pause for a second while keeping head facing forward then push yourself up. Initially, do 10 repetitions and gradually increase as you get comfortable and confident. You may elevate your feet to increase the degree of difficulty.
Crunches- To strengthen the abdominal muscles
Do a supine position or lie on your back on any firm area. Bend both knees and the balls of the feet and heels are positioned flat on the ground. Next, place the arms across the chest or straight out front above your head. Keep your heels and toes flat to the ground; slowly lift your shoulder blades off the floor. Contract your abdominal muscles while concentrating on your bent knees. Pull up, about half-way through from the floor. Hold this position for at least 3 seconds without holding your breath. Then gradually lower your torso back to the floor but try to keep it slightly elevated off the ground. Meaning, do not place your back flat to the floor but to keep it in a slight, yet comfortable arch. For beginners, do this exercise for 10 repetitions and gradually build up the amount over time as you gain strength.
Calisthenics workout can be done almost anywhere and anytime of the day. Moreover, these manoeuvres can help burn the unwanted fat deposits in the body. When calisthenics workout is done on a regular basis, this can help provide relief from various body aches and pains. So start your exercise routine and be fit for life.
These exercises should be more than another for a good calisthenics workout as a beginner. I recommended to follow the routine for 6-8 weeks before mixing it up with other exercises.