Calisthenics 101

Fitness and working are more popular and trending in our culture today than ever before. No longer is resistance training and trying to improve one’s physique limited to a few sects of the population.

Because of this growing interest, there is enormous variety in regard to different forms of exercise. While traditional practices such as bodybuilding and yoga are still alive and well today, a large influx of methods have found their way into the mainstream, such as spin classes, and fitness-centered martial arts classes to name a few.

In this article, however, we are going to discuss what is quite possibly the grandfather of all exercise, calisthenics. Calisthenics is one of the most basic yet effective methods for working out and staying in shape. This form of exercise has been around as long as humans have been trying to improve their physical state.

Specifically, we will break down exactly what calisthenics entails, why it is beneficial, and how you can begin giving this method of exercise a spin!

What Are Calisthenics?

Simply put, calisthenics involves using your own bodyweight in different positions and leverages to perform exercise. While our bodies are made to move as efficiently as possible from certain positions, calisthenics seeks to take us out of the “easy” way of doing things to encourage an increase of strength and endurance.

Due to the simplicity of calisthenics, and probably a large factor in why this form of exercise has been around so long, there is not a need for lots of, if any extra equipment. Simply put, your body is the gym.

While calisthenics does offer a lot in the way of keeping things simple, this does not at all mean that the possible variations to your training are limited. Virtually every exercise commonly used in this form of training can be modified to increase or decrease difficulty and the movements themselves can take on vastly different appearances.

Benefits Of Calisthenics

The first and most obvious benefit from using calisthenics as a training method is the aforementioned minimalist approach to equipment. You certainly do not need a pricey gym membership, row after row of dumbbells or even a well-stocked home gym to dive deep into a calisthenics routine. All it takes is a modest amount of space to move around and, ideally, something to pull yourself up on and you are set to begin a really effective workout!

Another unique benefit regarding calisthenics is the reduced risk of injury. Notice that I said reduced risk, as any time you are challenging your body from a physical standpoint, there is always at least some chance that an injury will occur. However, this chance is well worth the almost certain price you will pay from living a sedentary lifestyle!

The main reason you are less likely to suffer an injury during a calisthenics workout is that you are never overloading your body with excess resistance. Your body is much more likely to sustain an injury while pressing a fifty-pound dumbbell than performing a push-up.

After all, calisthenics only uses your own weight as the resistance. Furthermore, calisthenics workouts are much more centered around natural movement patterns than most exercises performed using free weights or machines.

Variety and the ability to create is another neat aspect of calisthenics. If you find yourself growing tired of performing the same old movements in the gym, switching to calisthenics training, even if temporarily, can add some excitement a fitness routine desperately needing it.

How To Start

As with any form of exercise, calisthenics training should begin with the basics. Fortunately, there is a really good chance that you are already familiar with the basic movements involved in this form of training. Start by performing workouts that include things such as push-ups, pull-ups, and crunches.

You may want to add in movements such as dips and rows as well. Even within this relatively small number of exercises, there are an incredible amount of modifications and progressions available.

When you have mastered the basic calisthenics exercises, there are plenty of ideas and examples out there for you to add to your own workouts. Chances are, you will discover your own variations to different exercises just by immersing yourself in the world of calisthenics training!