Regardless of whether you’re a fitness enthusiast or someone who exercises out of necessity, you may have heard of calisthenics. The term takes its roots in two Greek words, namely “kalos”, which means beauty, and “sthenos”, which means strength.
With this, calisthenics is described as a group of exercises that aims to achieve physical fitness and grace of movement. It’s also a form of resistance training that takes advantage of your body weight, which is perfect for beginners.
The primary objective of calisthenics is to boost your strength, flexibility, coordination, agility, and balance. The mastery of these aspects is beneficial to human beings, which is part of the regimen’s appeal.
If you’re mulling over the type of exercise that will suit your needs, here are the benefits of calisthenics over other regimens:
No Or Minimal Cost
One of the best things about calisthenics, as mentioned above, is that it takes advantage of your body weight. This means that you can do the exercises without any equipment, which is an excellent deal for the budget-conscious.
Enrolling in a gym doesn’t just entail the cost of membership. There are other charges to consider as well, such as joining and annual fees. Plus, you may also end up paying for the costs of additional perks, like showers, pool, and sauna.
Moreover, most gyms conduct specialized fitness classes, like spin, yoga, and Zumba. However, these sessions often mean additional costs on top of your gym membership.
With calisthenics, you just have to look for resources online and follow guides, like this one from biostrap.com. Then, you can easily replicate the regimen at your own pace.
If you want to start strengthening and building your muscles at home, check out these effective exercise moves:
- Burpees – This power move is a hybrid of cardio and strength exercises that helps in burning calories. You start with a standing position before going down into a squat with your hands on the floor. Then, you have to jump and immediately put your body into a plank position. Repeat the entire routine as often as you like.
- Jumping Jacks – One of the most straightforward calisthenics moves is the jumping jack, which even toddlers can emulate. You stand straight, then inhale as you jump and raise your arms overhead while you kick your legs out and wide simultaneously.
- Prisoner Squat Jumps – For your designated leg days, you can do the prisoner squat jumps, which is a variation of the burpee. While standing, you place your hands at the back of your head with your elbows pointing to each side. Then, maintain that position as you squat and jump straight in the air as high as possible.
- Lunges – If you want toned buttocks, abs, and thighs, you can make lunges by placing your right foot forward and bending your left knee. Take it up a notch by making front and back lunges with the same foot. With this, as you lunge forward with your right foot, move it backward and lower your body, then repeat the movements with your left leg.
- Bicycle Crunches – This move strengthens your core and legs. First, you lie on your back and place your hands at the back of your head. With a bent knee, raise your legs and lift your head to crunch your upper ab muscles, replicating a cycling motion.
Of course, limiting your resistance to your body weight is just for beginners. As you outgrow this bulk, you can purchase pieces of equipment to make your calisthenics routine more challenging.
Since you don’t need any equipment or tool to start doing calisthenics exercises, you can perform the moves anytime and anywhere. It’s very convenient, that’s why it is ideal for people who are always on the go.
Lifting weights are also good, but you can’t really lug around dumbbells and other accessories wherever you go. Fortunately, calisthenics allows you to maximize your time and insert a little workout throughout your day.
For instance, you can do some burpees or lunges at home while waiting for your laundry to finish. You can also insert quick squats or jumping jacks if there’s a long queue at the grocery store. However, perform these exercises in public at your own risk because people may think you’re weird.
A calisthenics workout can be incorporated into your ordinary school or workday. As you wake up, you can do push-ups or crunches to get your heart pumping. You can also perform some moves if you have a midday break. Make your binge-watching sessions healthier, too, by doing dips, squats, and even jumping jacks.
Another benefit of calisthenics is that you can pick the exercise moves that best suit your current needs. For instance, if you want to work more on your abs and thighs, you can prioritize doing squats and bicycle crunches. On the other hand, if you’re pressed for time, you can perform routines that get your entire body moving, like burpees and jumping jacks.
These are the different areas that you can target and their corresponding calisthenics exercises:
- Chest – Target your torso muscles with chest dips and push-ups. You can do variations of the latter, such as incline, decline, or closed-hands push-ups, to make it more challenging.
- Back – Pull-ups and chin-ups are ideal moves for your back muscles. You can also perform inverted rows, where you hang below a barbell with your feet on the floor and replicate a rowing movement by pulling your body up. It’s just like lifting, but using your body weight.
- Shoulder – Your shoulder muscles can benefit from handstand holds and push-ups. You can also do pike push-ups, where you form a triangle with your body as you lift your butt in the air then proceed to do the usual push-ups.
- Abdomen – To strengthen and tone your abs, you can do some planks, bicycle crunches, hanging knee or leg raises, and flutter kicks. Moreover, the windshield wipers move is the best for targeting your obliques.
- Arm – Inverted rows are also ideal for building your arm muscles. You can also do some dips, dip holds, bench dips, and diamond push-ups for variety.
- Legs – During leg days, don’t forget to do squats, lunges, burpees, and calf raises. You should also master the wall sit, where you lean on a wall and form two right angles: one at the hips and the other involving your knees. Hold that position for as long as you can.
It’s best to have a schedule each day for the different muscles that you want to develop. This way, you can ensure that your body will be well-proportioned, and not one part will look more toned than others.
Unlike weightlifting, which focuses on building muscle, calisthenics aims to make your body look good on you. Every individual has different assets that they want to highlight. You can achieve your best overall look through calisthenics.
Your genes play a significant role in your appearance and physique. You can follow other people’s exercise regimens all you want, but you can only go so far, and you still won’t be able to emulate their look unless it’s in your DNA.
Nonetheless, you should cultivate best practices, such as eating healthy and working out regularly, to achieve your fitness goals.Combine your meal and exercise plans to lose weight or gain muscle mass effectively and safely.
Functional Movement Training
Calisthenics is a form of functional movement training that aids your muscles in making the necessary actions that you use in your daily life. That’s why it replicates a lot of practical activities, like jumping, running up the stairs, or squatting down to pick up an item on the floor.
More than your physical look, calisthenics emphasizes functionality. This means that you won’t only look good, but you’ll also feel great from the inside out.
Part of the appeal of the exercise is that it benefits people of all ages and genders. You can be a dad, mom, medical professional, business owner, or office worker, and you’ll still need your physical faculties to allow you to reach up, down, forward, backward, and side to side so that you can perform your duties well.
Moreover, calisthenics helps boost your strength and size according to your muscular system. As a result, you get to improve your natural gait and incorporate grace into your everyday movements.
There are seven functional movements that you need to get things done every day:
- Squat – The squatting action is useful for getting things off the floor, which is helpful if you’re a mom and toys are scattered everywhere. This is the practical application of the age-old rule about bending your knees instead of reaching down using your waist so that you won’t hurt your back.
- Lunge – You can also make a lunge and give your movements an extra flair when picking things up from the floor.
- Push – Pushing is a functional movement that you don’t really think about consciously, but affects your life significantly. Strengthening your arms and core can help you push doors or carts with ease.
- Pull – Similar to pushing, pulling is another crucial action to function like a normal human being. It allows you to follow door guidelines of pulling as you enter or exit, which shows others that you can follow simple instructions.
- Hinge – For heavier items, you can do a hinge, which allows you to carry those grocery bags with the correct form from the trunk of your car to your kitchen.
- Twist – Rotating your torso is another necessary action. You can look in different directions while walking and without straining your back.
- Walk – Moving from one point to another may be the most fundamental type of movement, so much so that it’s one of the significant milestones in a human being’s early development. To master this action, you have to strengthen your entire body and boost your endurance.
For some people, one of the drawbacks of calisthenics is that there’s a limit to resistance or your body weight. Nonetheless, that’s already been addressed since you can easily purchase accessories or equipment to add more resistance.
With weightlifting, on the other hand, the progression of your strength and muscle mass is more straightforward. However, one common mistake that people commit when doing bench presses or using machines is that they use up too much resistance and end up compensating for the weight through their movements. This means that they don’t perform the move properly and miss the target muscles.
Calisthenics can help you understand the fundamentals of physical training, especially regarding your form when making the moves. Then, when you progress toward more resistance exercises, you have a solid foundation and can hit the muscles that you want to target.
Plus, this exercise regimen emphasizes the use of the entire body, not just a few muscles. With this, you can strengthen your body from your head down to your toes.
Because calisthenics uses zero or minimal equipment, only your body weight, it’s the best exercise routine for beginners. If you haven’t tried pushing your muscles to the limit, you can start with this regimen.
Similar to other exercises, you can do it at your own pace and increase as you go along. However, one distinct advantage that it has over different types of routines is that you can select the moves that you want according to your current needs.
If you want to lose weight, perform more cardio exercises, such as jumping jacks and lunges. For toning your abs and thighs, you can opt for squats and bicycle crunches.
Calisthenics is an excellent option for budget-conscious people because it entails little to no cost. The exercise takes advantage of your body weight, so you won’t need to purchase fancy equipment and machines.
Moreover, it’s also ideal for people who are always on the go since you can do squats, jumping jacks, burpees, and the other moves anywhere. The regimen is also customizable according to your current needs. Also, it prioritizes overall development instead of merely targeting specific muscles.
It also improves your quality of life by boosting your strength and flexibility in performing functional movements that you use daily. Furthermore, it’s beginner-friendly and helps you understand the fundamentals of physical training, helping ensure that you do the proper form every time you make the moves.