As you probably know, calisthenics are bodyweight exercises. This form of strength training is well suited for women focused on achieving their ultimate body.
Calisthenics for women can shape and sculpt an hourglass figure. This means maintaining/building certain curves, reducing fat in the abdomen and tightening those problem areas.
Bye-Bye Arm Jiggle
Common problem areas for many are the arms, more specifically the upper arms. Arm flab is hated by all. It shakes when you wave and expands when the arms are down which can make a girl too self-conscious to go sleeveless. Calisthenics can quickly whip your arms into shape by turning flab into tight, toned muscle minus the bulk. Let’s discuss two exercises you must add to your routine.
Dips do a great job at toning the arms, especially the triceps. Very few know that the triceps make up 60% of the arm so working those muscles regularly will result in fat burn, more lean muscle mass and get you closer to that toned appearance everyone strives for. You can perform dips on the designated station of a power tower, a dip stand, at the edge of your couch or a bench. Once you make your selection:
- Face the dip station and firmly grab both handles or, if performing on a couch/bench, place your hands shoulder width apart on the edge, slide your bottom off the edge and extend the legs.
- Extend both arms to lift yourself up. If using a tower or stand, bend the knees.
- Lower the body by bending at the elbows.
- Extend both arms again to return to the starting position.
- Repeat until the desired number of reps are completed. Aim for 2-3 sets of 10-15 reps.
Pushups are another must try exercise for women interested in firmer arms. In addition to sculpting them, they work the chest muscles resulting in a beneficial boost and throw some abs training into the mix. Feel free to perform them on an exercise mat or, for an added challenge, the pushup station on a power tower. Since hands are slightly elevated upon gripping the handles, you get better muscle activation. To perform them correctly, always keep your back straight and ensure that your chest grazes the floor with each repetition.
Cinch that Waist
Calisthenics ab work can be tough but once you notice a flatter tummy with more definition and perhaps an ultra-feminine indented waistline, you will be hooked. If you are struggling with a pooch at the bottom of your abdomen or just want to give that area extra attention, leg raises are the way to go. To start:
- Lie flat on the floor with hands at your sides.
- Slowly raise your legs until they are perpendicular to your body.
- Tightly squeeze your abdominals as you slowly lower the legs back to the floor. This movement must be very controlled.
- Raise the legs again and repeat. Complete 3 sets of at least 15 reps.
You can perform leg raises while hanging from a pull up bar as well. Just hang from the bar, lift legs until they are parallel to the ground and slowly lower.
As for achieving that indented waist, you must work the obliques. One of the best exercises for that is the oblique v-up. To perfect your v-ups:
- Lie on your right side with legs at a 30-degree angle. Keep them straight.
- Rest your right arm on the floor and place your left hand behind your head.
- Lift legs off the floor as you bring your torso towards your legs. You will feel your obliques contract.
- Return legs to the floor and complete the desired number of reps before switching sides. 10-20 reps per side is a good starting point.
A Shapely Backside and Killer Legs
The number one calisthenics exercise that will help you achieve a shapely backside and killer legs are squats. Despite there being several variations, start with traditional squats. To perform them:
- Stand with your feet shoulder width apart or slightly wider if that is more comfortable for you.
- Plant feet firmly on the ground and point your toes outward for added stability.
- Slowly bend your knees to lower the body into a squat as you look straight ahead. Contract your abs as you do this, stick your glutes out and do not let your knees pass your toes.
- Push through your heels to return to the starting position.
- 2-3 sets of 20 are recommended.
As mentioned, there are also several squat variations. This includes sumo squats, crossover squats and pistol squats. Those focused on boosting their booty definitely want to give pistols a try. They allow you to target one glute at a time in a very intense way. Below are the instructions:
- Stand straight with your right foot firmly planted on the ground and your left extended in front of you at hip level.
- Extend your arms in front for additional balance as you slowly lower into a squat. Try to get as close to the ground as you can.
- At your lowest point, squeeze the glutes and rise up very slowly while maintaining your balance.
- Repeat and then switch sides. Aim for 2 sets of 5 reps per side to start.
Pistol squats are tough so gradually work towards squatting low. Most will not achieve full depth during their first try. Bridges are also effective at defining that curve. They target all three gluteal muscles (gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, and gluteus minimus) which yield a round and lifted result.
Although we’re talking about calisthenics, fitness efforts are useless without proper diet. People have developed a negative view of the word diet when it simply describes the way a person feeds their body.
Diet does not mean deprivation, hunger, or eating boring, tasteless food. It is providing the body with the nutrition it needs to look great, feel great and stay alive!
To make things easy on yourself, start eating clean. Clean eating means consuming only whole foods and omitting processed ones. Of course, you can indulge on occasion but 80-90% of what you eat should be real food. This means chicken, lean beef, salads, stir fries, fatty fish, beans, oatmeal, fresh fruit, and vegetables.
Along with making the right selections, you have to find the right macronutrient ratio. A 40:40:20 (protein, carbs, fat) macro split is a good starting point for most. In addition to that, you must determine your daily caloric intake.
The easiest way to get that number is using an online calculator. You enter your height, current weight, physical activity level and whether you want to gain muscle, lose fat or maintain your current weight. Keep in mind that this is an estimate meaning it’s up to you to make changes if necessary.
As long as you eat well and exercise, your body will look incredible and you’ll feel even better. No matter where you’re starting from or what your goals are, calisthenics and healthy eating are the way to go. Best of luck ladies!
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