The Basics of Calisthenics, Its Benefits & Exercises

Whenever the word calisthenics is mentioned, “military” might also come to mind. For the longest time, calisthenics workout has been associated with military training, but what you might not know is, it’s far more common than you think. In fact, plenty of people do this every day without even realizing it. You might even be one of them.

In this article, we discuss what calisthenics mean, its benefits, and some calisthenics exercises that you can do at home.

Definition of calisthenics 

Autumn Calabrese, fitness trainer and creator of the popular 80 Day Obsession Program – defines calisthenics as “resistance training with your own body weight”. This means exercises that leverage one’s body weight to increase athletic ability. Such exercises are geared toward enhancing every fitness skill from aerobic conditioning to balance, to flexibility and coordination, to strength. Ultimately, calisthenics workout should train you to gain control of body movement and lifting.

Calisthenics are considered simple and require no fitness equipment. They include lungers,handstands, squats, dips, push-ups, and jumping jacks, among others. 

Calisthenics has been around for a very long time too. Experts claim it dates back to the ancient Greek period. 

Benefits of calisthenics

Calisthenics workouts have become extremely popular over the years. Street workout and competitions for it have emerged, thanks to calisthenics. 

Its fame could be attributed to the myriad benefits that individuals enjoy, including improved wellbeing, fitness, and relatively minimal to zero costs.

  • It is accessible anywhere, anytime.

One great advantage of calisthenics over other fitness routines is that it can be done virtually in any space at any given time, without any equipment. You don’t need to buy dumbbells or fancy equipment to do it. All you need is a ground to work on and your body.

  • It targets all muscles.

Unlike other exercises that are targeted only for specific body parts (e.g. abdominal crunches), calisthenics workout hits all muscles from foot to finger. Your entire body exerts an effort, allowing you to strengthen different muscle groups at the same time.

  • It makes you super strong.

Don’t have a 100-pound barbell? No problem. Calisthenics is designed to improve your body strength using your own weight. By using your own weight for the exercise, it is equivalent to lifting a barbell that has the same weight as you.

  • It has less strain on your joints.

Other forms of exercises, when executed improperly, may put excessive stress on your connective tissues and joints. With calisthenics, because you are using your own weight, your body is also able to adapt and build strength according to your own body size and movement. 

It gives you a great base to work on for further resistance training.

According to fitness gurus, one common mistake that people do in terms of resistance training is using machines or weights that are far more than they can handle. This leads to overcompensation and muscle-joint stress – which is not beneficial in the long term. Calisthenics workout provides you with an excellent base to work with – your own body weight – in building strength and form, so that eventually, you can lift more using equipment. 

  • It improves your motor skills. 

If you’ve always wanted to boost your coordination, there’s no better way to start than with calisthenics workout. Considered both an art form and fitness routine, calisthenics trains your body to be better coordinated while being more agile and quick on your feet, and more powerful and flexible.

Basic Exercises for Calisthenics Workout

There are plenty of exercises you can include in your calisthenics routine, but experts say it’s good to start with basic ones, like planks, lunges, and push-ups, then move on to more advanced movements as you accelerate and develop better agility, stamina, coordination, and strength.

Once you’ve progressed, you can try doing advanced calisthenics routines like burpees, pull-ups, single-leg squat, and L-sit.

Do you do calisthenics? What are your favorite exercises? Share it with us!

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