Calisthenics is a form of exercise that uses your body weight to build strength, flexibility, and endurance. Unlike weightlifting, which requires equipment, calisthenics can be done anywhere, anytime, using only your own body weight. This makes it an easy and less pricey way to stay fit and healthy. Let’s dive in!
A Brief History of Calisthenics.
Calisthenics is a form of strength training that uses a person’s body weight as resistance to perform multi-joint, part movements with little or no equipment. The practice was recorded in use in Ancient Greece, including the armies of Alexander the Great and the Spartans at the Battle of Thermopylae. Calisthenics was also recorded to have been in use in Ancient China, where Han Dynasty physicians prescribed calisthenics as one of the methods of keeping up one’s health.
Types of Calisthenics.
There are several types of calisthenics exercises, including:
- Bodybuilding Calisthenics: This type of calisthenics is focused on building muscle mass and strength. It involves performing exercises that target specific muscle groups, such as push-ups, pull-ups, and dips. Bodybuilding calisthenics can be done with or without weights.
- Freestyle Calisthenics: This type of calisthenics is focused on doing complex movements and tricks that require a high level of skill and stamina. Examples include muscle-ups, handstands, and backflips.
- HIIT Calisthenics: This type of calisthenics is focused on performing high-intensity interval training (HIIT) workouts that combine strength training and cardio. HIIT calisthenics workouts are designed to burn fat, build muscle, and improve cardiovascular health.
- Weighted Calisthenics: This type of calisthenics involves adding weight to your body to increase the resistance of the exercises. Examples include weighted pull-ups, weighted dips, and weighted squats.
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Benefits of Calisthenics.
Calisthenics is a versatile form of exercise that offers numerous benefits, including:
- Increased Flexibility and Mobility: Calisthenics exercises can help improve your range of motion and flexibility, making it easier to perform everyday activities and reducing the risk of injury.
- Improved Body Awareness: Calisthenics exercises require you to engage multiple muscle groups simultaneously, which can help improve your body awareness and coordination.
- Increased Endurance and Muscle Strength: Calisthenics exercises can help build muscle strength and endurance, making it easier to perform daily tasks and reducing the risk of injury.
- Increase in Muscle Mass: Calisthenics exercises can help increase muscle mass, which can help improve your overall health and fitness.
- Improved Motor Coordination: Calisthenics exercises require you to engage multiple muscle groups simultaneously, which can help improve your motor coordination and balance.
- Improved Body Balance: Calisthenics exercises require you to engage multiple muscle groups simultaneously, which can help improve your body balance and stability.
How To Get Started with Calisthenics.
Here are some tips on how to get started with calisthenics:
- Set Your Goals: Before you start, it’s important to set your goals. What do you want to achieve with calisthenics? Do you want to build muscle mass, improve your flexibility, or increase your endurance? Once you’ve identified your goals, you can create a workout plan that’s tailored to your needs.
- Start Slowly: If you’re new to calisthenics, it’s important to start slowly and gradually increase the intensity of your workouts over time. This will help prevent injury and ensure that you’re able to stick with your workout routine.
- Focus on Form: Proper form is essential when it comes to calisthenics. Make sure you’re performing each exercise correctly and avoid rushing through your workouts. This will help ensure that you’re getting the most out of each exercise and reduce the risk of injury.
- Be Consistent: Consistency is key when it comes to calisthenics. Make sure you’re working out regularly and sticking to your workout plan. This will help ensure that you’re making progress towards your goals.
- Track Your Progress: Keep track of your progress by recording your workouts and tracking your performance over time. This will help you stay motivated and make adjustments to your workout plan as needed.
Calisthenics Equipment and How to Use Them.
Here are some of the most useful calisthenics equipment and how to use them:
- Workout Rings: Rings, also known as gymnastic rings, are very popular for training with your own body weight. Due to the additional stabilization of the body required, new stimuli are set in the workout. This means that not only one muscle group is worked, but often many groups at the same time. They can also be attached very easily and everywhere, whether at home (for example, with a door anchor) or during outdoor workouts flexibly in the environment.
- Chalk: Many athletes have a problem with sweaty or slippery hands during training. Chalk is the perfect solution for this. An ultimate grip is provided by applying the chalk to the hands during any workout, whether on the bar, parallettes, rings or on the ground. Another advantage is that the chalk is very easy to wash off with water. It is often used in bouldering, crossfit, gymnastics or even weightlifting.
- Parallettes: Parallettes offer endless possibilities and are one of the most popular workout tools in gymnastics, calisthenics, functional fitness or crossfit. They can be used for basic exercises and their variations like push-ups and dips, but also for advanced skills like planche, l-sit or handstand. Whether in the home gym, or outdoor training, both are possible.
- Wrist Wraps: Wrist wraps can be grouped into two categories, each of which brings different benefits. The commonality: both variants provide support for the wrists. The risk of injury is minimized, and stability is increased for better performance. The Performance Wrist Wraps place a greater focus on increasing performance during workouts and provide consistent wrist mobility. The Power Wrist Wraps deliver the benefit of even greater wrist stability with limited range of motion.
- Elbow Sleeves: The problem often arises that the elbows start to hurt after or during training and the joint cannot cope with the high load during functional training. The elbow sleeves counteract this by ensuring better blood circulation and stability. They are also very comfortable to wear and support the muscle attachments of the upper and lower arms.
- Resistance Bands: By using resistance bands in your workout, you can increase or decrease the resistance and either learn exercises like pull-ups or muscle ups or make exercises like squats or push-ups more difficult.
Calisthenics Exercises to Try.
Here are some calisthenics workouts that you can try:
- Push-ups: This classic exercise targets your chest, triceps, and shoulders. Start in a plank position with your hands shoulder-width apart. Lower your body until your chest touches the ground, then push back up to the starting position.
- Squats: Squats are a great way to work your legs and glutes. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, then lower your body until your thighs are parallel to the ground. Push back up to the starting position.
- Lunges: Lunges are another great leg exercise. Start by standing with your feet hip-width apart. Step forward with one foot and lower your body until your front knee is bent at a 90-degree angle. Push back up to the starting position and repeat with the other leg.
- Plank: Planks are a great way to work your core muscles. Start in a push-up position, then lower yourself onto your forearms. Hold this position for as long as you can.
- Burpees: Burpees are a full-body exercise that can help improve your cardiovascular health. Start in a standing position, then drop down into a push-up position. Do a push-up, then jump back up to the starting position.
Calisthenics VS Weightlifting.
The best choice between calisthenics and weightlifting depends on your fitness goals. If you’re looking for a convenient and cost-effective way to stay fit and healthy, calisthenics might be the right choice for you. If you’re looking to build muscle mass and strength, weightlifting might be a better option.
Here are some of the key differences:
- Equipment: Calisthenics exercises use your own body weight as resistance, while weightlifting exercises use external weights such as dumbbells, barbells, and weight machines.
- Muscle Activation: Calisthenics exercises tend to activate multiple muscle groups at once, while weightlifting exercises tend to isolate specific muscle groups.
- Convenience: Calisthenics can be done anywhere, anytime, using only your own body weight. Weightlifting requires access to equipment and a gym.
- Progression: Progressing in calisthenics usually involves increasing the difficulty of the exercises by changing the angle or leverage of your body. Progressing in weightlifting usually involves increasing the amount of weight you lift.
- Cardiovascular Health: Calisthenics exercises tend to be more cardiovascular in nature than weightlifting exercises, which can help improve your total cardiovascular health.
The Key Takeaway.
Calisthenics is a versatile and effective form of exercise that can help you build strength, flexibility, and endurance using only your own body weight. Whether you’re looking to build muscle mass, improve your cardiovascular health, or master complex movements and tricks, calisthenics has something to offer.
FAQs on Calisthenics.
Can I build muscle with calisthenics?
Yes! Calisthenics can be an effective way to build muscle mass and strength using only your own body weight as resistance. By performing exercises like push-ups, pull-ups, squats, and lunges, you can target specific muscle groups and build lean muscle mass over time.
How can I get started with calisthenics?
Calisthenics is suitable for all ages and fitness levels. If you’re new to calisthenics, we recommend searching YouTube for tutorials on the sport or finding a calisthenics coach.
What is calisthenics?
Calisthenics is a form of strength training that utilizes an individual’s body weight as resistance to perform multi-joint, compound movements with little or no equipment.
Which muscles are trained in calisthenics?
Calisthenics primarily trains the core muscles, but the arm muscles, legs and shoulders are also worked depending on the exercise and training style. The exercises can be adjusted to work different muscle groups more or less. This allows you to customize your calisthenics workout to your preferences.
Is calisthenics for mental or physical health?
Calisthenics is a form of workout that utilizes the person’s body weight. It can benefit both mental and physical health. A study published in 2019 found that strength training and calisthenics had benefits for mental well-being and physical health in older institutionalized adults. Calisthenics exercises can help improve coordination, flexibility, and strength, which can help reduce the risk of injury and improve overall physical health. Additionally, research has shown that calisthenics may reduce cognitive decline and could be useful for dementia prevention.