Calisthenics is the newest, most popular trend in exercise and fitness It can be used to help sculpt your body, regardless of your end objective –muscle building, getting fit, or losing weight!
The word calisthenics is derived from the ancient Greek words kalós (καλός), meaning “beauty”, and sthénos (σθένος), which means “strength”. It is the process of making use of body weight and inertia qualities as a way to develop one’s physical structure. Some of the most common calisthenics exercises are lunges, sit ups and crunches.
Calisthenics are a form of exercise that consist of different gross motor movements, which are mostly conducted rhythmically, usually without using equipment or apparatus. These exercises are meant to increase body strength, body fitness and flexibility through the performance of movements like bending, jumping, swinging, twisting or kicking, using only the body weight for resistance. These exercises are mostly performed alongside stretches. When performed with force and with diversity, calisthenics can yield the advantages of muscular and aerobic conditioning. Calisthenics also improve psychomotor skills such as balance, swiftness and coordination.
Here is some information about the benefits of exploring your potential through bodyweight training:
You don’t need any equipment.
The beauty of calisthenics is that you can do it anywhere, anytime-all you need is your body. “It’s one of the only ways to build mass and strength without the use of weights,” says Calabrese. Read: You officially have no excuse not to work out.
You’ll improve your Physical Health
Bodyweight training represents exercise in its most natural form and combines strength training and basic gymnastic movements that can be done anywhere.
It’s true that there is beauty in simplicity and calisthenics has been tried and tested over millennia leaving no doubt that it delivers exceptional results in all facets; movement, strength and aesthetics. Whilst the latter is a consideration at the School of Calisthenics we encourage people to focus on what your body can do rather than just what it looks like.
The great thing about progressive bodyweight training is that with consistent training at an appropriate intensity, the two come together. You get a box full of gravity defying movement skills and, an athletic physique.
To be successful in calisthenics you must learn to use the body as an integrated unit instead of individual and isolated muscles. This is good news as exposing yourself to exercises that require you to transfer force from hands to feet means a huge potential return when it comes to functional movement and robustness. Calisthenics will serve you well now, and into the latter years of your life.
You’ll be gentler on your joints and connective tissue
Resistance training-when performed incorrectly, with too-heavy weights, too often, or in a way that creates imbalances-can put extra stress on soft tissue structures like your tendons, ligaments, and fascia, says Major. Calisthenics, on the other hand, “only develops strength and size in proportion to your muscular system with authentic and natural movements.”
You’ll feel like a badass
Yes, really. “There is an unmistakable swagger about someone who knows that they have total control over their body,” says Major. Truth: Executing a super heavy deadlift or hoisting a massive kettlebell overhead can make you feel super badass, but so does banging out plyo push-ups or being able to pull off a one-arm pull-up.
You’ll improve your Mental Health
Research shows that setting and achieving goals, learning new things, being resilient and having a community to be part of can help make you happier. Calisthenics creates the opportunity to do all these things.
Because the focus changes to what your body can do, instead of just what it looks like, issues with body image and dysmorphia can be reduced. Calisthenics also promotes mindfulness through a need to be present in your practice, particuarly in the skill acquisition phase of learning a new movement.
Your brain is a muscle that needs flexing as well and training it with progressively challenging movements is a great way to keep it sharp.
“Calisthenics training develops those fine motor skills that require your brain to work hard as well as your body,” says Major.
Redefine your impossible
Most people have a place in their brain where they put things they think they can’t do. We call this the ‘Impossible Box’. Before starting calisthenics you may find that you instinctively put human flags, muscle ups, handstands and front levers in that box. But we’re here to make sure they don’t get stuck there for too long.
Training and exercise should be enjoyable but so many people are not having fun with it. With calisthenics however it is unavoidable. Play is a central pillar of exploring your physical potential as you will become open to trying new things, falling over and getting back up with a smile on your face.
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