Calisthenics is the art of sculpting your body using bodyweight training exercises. Calisthenics are excellent for anyone looking to improve their fitness level from children to adults and from those beginning their fitness journey to the advanced.
Where to Start
Sometimes getting started is the hardest part, but keep in mind that your strength and endurance will increase each week if you stick with your exercise routine.
You will realize after some time that your beginning routine is more like a warm up for you. If you have been out of the exercise game for some time, you might need to start with a 20-30 minute routine 3-5 days per week.
Another important item is to make sure you are doing the exercises correctly. Doing exercises with proper form helps you to train the muscles that you’re targeting and avoid injury. There are videos for each of the following calisthenic exercises that demonstrate how to correctly execute the moves.
Benefits of Calisthenics
• It’s For Everyone – Since calisthenic exercises do not require
weights, anyone can perform them without high risk of injury. This includes
children. The exercises can also be modified to fit any fitness level.
• You Build Muscle Mass and Strength – If you are looking for
muscles like that of a bodybuilder, these are not the exercises for you. If you
want to look like a streamline athlete by increasing your lean muscle mass and
build strength and endurance, jump on in (no pun intended). For example
exercises like push-ups build chest muscles and make them full and strong. Even
though you may not bust out of your shirt like The Incredible Hulk, you will be
explosive and powerful like him.
• Lose Weight – Calisthenics requires many of your muscle groups
to work together to compete the exercises. These exercises are called compound
exercises. Compound exercises require more energy from your body, so your body
burns more calories for fuel.
• No Equipment Required – You won’t need a gym for these
exercises, so save some money and work out wherever you want to. Note: even
though equipment is not necessary, you can purchase things like pull-up bars,
jump ropes, a power tower, a dip bar or weight vests to continually change your routine or make it more
• Calisthenics are the Epitome of Efficient – The workouts are
highly efficient because they are high output. You can do a lot of work in a
shorter period of time, and the exercises work your entire body. If you feel like
you don’t have a lot of time to devote to fitness, these workouts will fit your
schedule and yield quick results.
What Exercises Should You Focus On?
• Squats – develops the quadriceps
o Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p3g4wAsu0R4
• Lunges – develops the quadriceps
o Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rKh41FO_eao
• Push-ups – develops the upper body including the pectorals, triceps, and anterior
o Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eh00_rniF8E
o Modification: If you can’t execute a push up, you can drop to your knees as a
modification. Example: http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-
• Pull ups – develops your Latissimi dorsi, commonly known as your lats which are
the widest part of your back.
o Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aL51AyAYcNU
o Modification: If you are not strong enough to do a pull up, you can modify them
in many ways until your strength increases. Here are some ways to modify a pull
• Crunches – develops core strength
o Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M6yAoJJQvGY
• Calf-raises – develops the calves
o Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-M4-G8p8fmc
• Dips – develops the triceps
o Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0326dy_-CzM
• Plank – develops, strengthens, and tightens the core
o Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pSHjTRCQxIw
• Leg raises – develop your core strength
o Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JB2oyawG9KI
• Jumping jacks – strengthens many muscle groups and is a form of cardiovascular
o Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c4DAnQ6DtF8
This is Getting Easy
Once you are familiar with these exercises and they become easier, it is time to add variation to them. The more you vary your workouts, the less your body can adapt to them. If you keep your workouts varied, you will see better results.
Learn from the Pros
Once you have the basics going for you, you have the strength to try more advanced exercises. There are some great videos on YouTube to get inspiration from the best.
You will never be bored with calisthenics because there is no limit to the variety of the exercises. You can go anywhere to workout including your living room, outside, parks, the gym…pick your place! The exercises will never get too easy because there is always a way to increase the level of difficulty or your duration. So, no excuses!! Get started on your bodyweight fitness journey. There is never a workout you will say that you regret doing because you will look and feel great. Here’s to your health!
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