Calisthenics is a type of bodyweight training regimen that is quickly gaining popularity all over the world. From humble origins in Eastern Europe, the phenomenon has been popularised in the western world through social media – especially Youtube and Instagram.
It’s mostly practiced outdoors in calisthenics parks – although it can be practiced at home with minimal equipment as well!
What’s so great about calisthenics?
Calisthenics helps build a lean, athletic physique without the gym. The exercises build on functional strength and muscular endurance. Unlike weightlifting, very little equipment is needed.
It incorporates all the major movement patterns, emphasising form and control. Having mastered one exercise, you will find there is always another, tougher one beyond it. This gives a greater sense of achievement and variety when exercising – and ultimately leads to better routine adherence.
How do I start calisthenics?
Many people from all training backgrounds discover calisthenics and fall in love. There is something truly infatuating about it. It can be a little intimidating to make the first step, however. It is super impressive, and a lot of girls feel they are not up to it.
This is false, however. Calisthenics caters for everyone, no matter age, sex or ability. Every exercise in calisthenics has many progressions and regressions that can make it more suitable to your level. In this sense, however, it is more complicated than weightlifting.
In weightlifting you can adjust the amount of weight you are lifting, but in calisthenics you need to be a bit more creative. In bodyweight training, it’s all about changing angles, heights and lever lengths.
Program for beginners
A calisthenics program for beginners should be well balanced and include all the major muscle groups. Here is an example program:
- Pull ups
- Push ups
- Hollow Body Hold
- Seated row (with resistance band)
Sets and reps will vary depending on your goal, however an ideal starting range would be 2-3 sets of 8-12 reps of each exercise – and 30-45 second holds for hollow body hold and superman exercises. If your goal is muscular endurance/ weight loss than consider increasing the amount of repetitions to 10-20 (hold times should be kept the same).
Training should be completed 3-4 times per week for the best results, ideally with a rest day in between. Once this complete body routine is mastered, workouts can be split by muscle group and made more complex.
Extra help when starting calisthenics
It’s often recommended that beginners get extra help when starting calisthenics. Although the exercises don’t look particularly complex, there a ton of mistakes people make that can negatively affect their results in the long run and can potentially cause injury.
Personal trainers are a great way to boost your progress and make sure your technique is on point! Calisthenics specialised personal trainers, such as those at Street Workout St Kilda, can make a huge difference in your calisthenics journey.
It’s ideal to have another set of eyes, and someone with fitness knowledge and experience to tailor your training based off your individual ability, goals and limitations. A personal trainer can do just that and much more!
Vic is Melbourne-based Personal Trainer, Calisthenics Athlete and the Founder of Street Workout St Kilda. Passion for bodyweight training and the art of movement.
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