How To Get Strong With Calisthenics

What is calisthenics?

Calisthenics is a bodyweight training regimen that can be done anywhere, no equipment required. This type of workout has gained a ton of popularity as its minimalistic, effective and can be done at home or from a local park.

Strong With Calisthenics

Its origins can be traced back to Eastern Europe, where they have outdoor fitness stations on every block. These outdoor fitness stations have high bars, parallel bars – but of late, resistance bands, gymnastic rings and other bodyweight paraphernalia has been popularised. 

How to get started with calisthenics?

Calisthenics can be done by anyone, at any level. The great thing about it, is that every exercise can be made easier or harder depending on your level! This can be achieved by changing lever lengths (bending limbs), angle (changing height of hands/feet), and by increasing/decreasing bodyweight (using resistance bands or weighted vests).

If you need extra help you can always consult a calisthenics personal trainer who can assist you with your fitness journey!

Push ups and Dips

Just like any type of training, it’s important to target every muscle group. The chest and triceps are targeted by 2 exercise groups: push ups and dips. Push ups are a great exercise tool as they are easily adjustable. Push ups can be done on the knees – decreasing lever length and making the exercise easier. Alternatively, by raising the feet, more pressure is placed on the chest and triceps, making the exercise more difficult. 

Strong With Calisthenics

Dips are usually done on parallel bars, although an easier alternative, the assisted dip, can be done on a bench. Dips are a fantastic way to target the chest and triceps while working on postural muscles and stability. Dips are generally harder than push ups and should be considered only after mastering push ups. 

Pull ups and inverted rows

There are 2 types of pulling that need to be addressed when working out. Vertical pulls – pull ups and horizontal pulls (inverted rows). Vertical pulls work the biceps, traps and lats while horizontal rows focus the biceps, traps and rhomboids. A healthy balance is important for maintaining posture – as vertical pulling tends to pull the shoulders forward, while horizontal pulling brings them back.  

Pull ups tend be quite difficult for most people. It’s suggested that resistance bands are used in the beginning. When training pull ups, you should aim to do at least 8 reps, if this is not achievable than you need more assistance. Another alternative is Australian pull ups, where your feet remain on the ground. 

Inverted rows are a more difficult exercise, and require you to be upside down beneath a pair of parallel bars, with your feet hoisted up near the top of the bars. This position allows you to grow against gravity. An easier alternative would be again, Australian pull ups, where your feet remain on the ground. As this exercise is on a 45 degree angle, it equally works horizontal and vertical pulls at the same time. 

Calisthenics is hard work but has great rewards

If you choose to go down the path of calisthenics, you’ll find it’s significantly more difficult than other forms of training, but you’ll be rewarded 10-fold for your efforts. People that train calisthenics are well known to have great athletic physiques and to have incredible strength to mass ratios.

Happy training!