Calisthenics is a great way to get an effective workout without the requirement of a lot of equipment and challenge your body to get better.
Callisthenics has its origin from two Greek words, ‘Kalos’ meaning beauty, and ‘Sthenos’ meaning strength. These two words sum up the overall objective of callisthenics exercises; to help develop a stronger and more aesthetic physical form. It is one of the most popular alternatives to spending hours at the gym and being dependent on dumbells, barbells, machines, whey protein, and all the other baggage that comes with weight lifting at the gym.
According to the fitness experts at Live Strong, calisthenic training involves any exercises performed using no added weight, and is commonly referred to as bodyweight training. This can include a variety of exercises that involve using your own body weight against the force of gravity to help work your muscles.
The best part about calisthenics workouts is that it is suited for beginners, intermediate, and professional fitness enthusiasts. It provides a dimension of bodybuilding that goes beyond targeting specific muscles and provides a holistic workout to each and every part of your body. Another advantage is that there’s no such thing as calisthenics equipment. These calisthenics exercises can be performed by anyone anywhere. Some of them may require minimal equipment, such as vertical or horizontal bars, but these can usually be found in any normal park or recreational space. This has helped calisthenics evolve into a popular form of ‘street workouts’ which involve exercises being carried out in public, urban spaces.
Benefits of Calisthenics Exercises
Callisthenics exercises also have a whole bunch of health benefits, some of which go beyond the original Greco objectives of looking good and being strong. Some of the other major benefits of callisthenics workouts are:
Callisthenics workouts help boost your basal metabolic rate (BMR) which means that you will burn through more calories faster.
Less stress on joints
While weight lifters may suffer from joint pain due to excess stress on joints, callisthenics actually helps align the joints and make them stronger.
Improved mental health
Studies have shown that exercise can play a significant role in boosting mental health. This holds true for any form of exercise, but starting off with callisthenics is much easier for those just getting into a fitness lifestyle.
The primary focus of callisthenics is to tone one’s muscles, and one positive effect of it is increased flexibility. As you push your body to its limits, your body finds itself expanding to its limits as well.
These are just a few of the many benefits that callisthenics training has to offer. While it is easy to class this exercise form into other more popular forms such as body-building and gymnastics, the truth is that it stands out on its own as a unique way to boost your fitness levels. You don’t need anything to start except having basic knowledge of what to do and how to do it.
List Of 10 Best Calisthenics Exercises
Now that you have a clear idea of what callisthenics is all about, let’s get into the details of how you can start developing your very own routine without any callisthenics equipment. Here is a list of the top 10 exercises that can help you achieve all your body goals for the year 2019, with nothing but dedication, grit, and your own body.
One of the best compound exercises in the game, squats can do wonders for your lower body including key muscles such as your quads, hamstrings, glutes, calves, and abs. The most basic form of squats is one of the simplest and most effective exercises around. All you need to do is find a place where you won’t be disturbed. Stand with your legs shoulder width apart, then bend your knees to bring your body down, while keeping your back straight and knees moving in a natural position. Bring your body down as low as you can and then go back to your starting position.
For starters, 3 sets of 10 reps is an ideal number to start with. As resistance increases, you can move on to other tougher varieties of squats.
2. Push Ups
What the squat is to the lower body, the push-up is to the upper body. This exercise helps work out your chest, arms and shoulders, helping you build strength and muscle. It is again, a very simple exercise. You support your body with your hands and toes while facing the ground, back straight, elbows bent. You then bring your upper body down keeping your back and knees straight until your chest is a couple of inches above the ground. Go back up and repeat. All you need is the push-up wheel grips to do this exercise.
For beginners, 3 sets of 10 reps are the ideal standard. Once your body strength increases, you can move on to more difficult versions of push-ups such as diamond push-ups, decline push-ups, and clap push-ups.
This is the ultimate shredder when it comes to callisthenics exercises. Even many of the best bodybuilders around are unable to lift their body weight using only their upper body. Pull-ups target many muscles such as your deltoids, pecs, traps, biceps, and forearms. The method is very simple. You grab on to an overhead pull-up bar with an overhand, wide grip, lifting your body off the floor. Then you lift yourself off the ground, going up till your chest is on the level of the bar. Then down and back up again.
This is a very difficult exercise, so beginners should be proud if they can even pull off half a dozen pull-ups at a go. The more advanced varieties of pull-ups include hammer grip, narrow grip, around-the-world, and muscle up pull-ups.
These are the three major freehand exercises, so let’s move on to other exercises now which can complement these three-
Helps build triceps. Grab two bars which are shoulder width apart with your body in between, lift your body above the ground, and bring yourself as low as you can.
An inverse pull-up that targets biceps and lats, take an underhanded grip and move in the same way as you would in a pull-up.
The best exercise for abs. Lie on your back with knees bent and feet firmly planted on the ground and use your core to lift your upper body above the ground.
Very effective lower body workout. Put one foot in front of the other, then bring down your backward foot till the knee hits the ground. The knee of your forward foot should bend naturally and your back should be straight throughout.
Handstand Push Up
The ultimate shoulder building exercise. Do a hand-stand against a wall, with the wall supporting your lower body, then go down till you head comes close to the ground and then lift up.
A powerful exercise to build biceps, this is like an inverse pull-up, with your back to the bar and you facing away. Pull back with your arms as far as you can and feel your biceps achieve maximum power.
The godfather of all callisthenics exercises, this exercise is only for professionals. It involves the Herculean task of raising your body into a horizontal position above the ground while keeping your hands straight and gripping a nearby pole.
These are some of the most effective callisthenics workouts for you to achieve the body of your dreams. Now that you know everything you need to do, we wish you all the best in your callisthenics journey.
Coming out of a serious injury I fell in love with Resistance Bands. Bands play an important role in injury prevention and rehabilitation. Here is a list of few key exercises that I regularly do at home.