Calisthenics Benefits, Exercises & Workouts To Keep Fit

Man experiencing calisthenics benefits in diamond push up

Although not always the trendy choice, calisthenics exercises are an important part of a strong workout routine. You might not realize it, but you may already be doing these exercises regularly.

In this post, we will take a look at calisthenics benefits. And, we’ll help you to design the blueprint for the perfect full-body workout. You’ll get to know the advantages of these types of workouts and take your training to the next level.

What Makes Calisthenics So Great?

guy doing pull up

The trick with calisthenics is using your body weight to perform exercises. This means that little to no equipment is needed for the basic movements. 

But, this doesn’t have to completely remove equipment from the scene. If you prefer, you can always get a power tower for those infamously hard pull-ups. Or, use small-duty equipment like compact parallettes and weighted vests to increase the challenge and allow you to experiment with weight and exercise progressions.  

In short, calisthenics exercises are functional bodyweight exercises that mimic everyday movements. These are basic human functions such as pushing, pulling, or jumping.

Because you need so little to get started, many people choose to do calisthenics training instead of paying for a gym membership. Or, spending thousands on exercise equipment. This is a great way to save money and still get the results you want.

The best calisthenics exercises help improve motor skills while doing workouts. These are often incorporated into boot camps, strength training, and HIIT workout programs.

Different Types of Calisthenics Exercises

man doing dip at gym

You might be wondering what are calisthenics movements? Well, the list of calisthenics exercises is endless. You may be familiar with some of the classics, such as:

  • Push-ups: where you raise and lower the body using your arms. These exercise multiple muscle groups at once, like the pectorals, triceps, and deltoids.
  • Pull-ups: you begin by hanging from a bar by your hands. You then use your upper body to lift your chest to the bar. This flexes your elbows and adducts the shoulders.
  • Dips: you hold on to parallel bars with straight arms. You then bend your elbows until your upper arms are parallel to the ground before returning to the starting position.
  • Inverted rows: position yourself under a bar lying face up. Grab the bar with an overhand grip and pull up to the bar until your chest touches it.
  • Squats: a strength exercise in which you hinge your hips and squat down from a standing position.
  • Lunges: take a step forward with one leg. Bend your knee and place your foot flat on the ground (knees should not go over toes). 

Who Can Do Calisthenics Exercises?

man doing sit ups

It’s a no-brainer that these exercises are a major benefit for almost anyone who wants to get in better shape. Anyone from beginner level to pro-athlete can benefit from calisthenics.

These are simple movements that anyone can start doing immediately to build better conditioning and strength.

Start with the basics and from there you can add variations to customize your calisthenics training. The different styles, progressions, and weights you use will depend on your overall goals.

Benefits of Calisthenics

man doing squats

You don’t need to be a professional to feel calisthenics benefits in your exercise routine. Here are some good reasons why you should put down the barbell and take up calisthenics exercises.

Calisthenics moves use multiple muscle groups at once

man performing side crunches at the beach

One of the best benefits of calisthenics is that it involves compound exercises. This means that multiple muscle groups are activated at once.

High amounts of movement are required to perform the exercises. These exercises give you a chance to use your entire body while you work out. This allows you to torch a decent number of calories.

The results? More chances to burn fat and increase muscle definition. And, one step closer to that sought-after chiselled look with visible lean muscles we all strive for.

Improve your mind-body connection

The best exercise is the one that trains your mind as well as your body. Calisthenics helps develop those fine motor skills while making sure you put in the work.

Skills such as coordination, speed, muscular endurance, and agility are all benefits of calisthenics. Just think of a gymnast and all the skill and coordination that goes into practice. This is the kind of mind-body connection you get from calisthenics workouts too.

Elevate your mood

man running with arms elevated

The feeling of having full control over your whole body and core muscles is indescribable.

Of course, lifting massive kettlebells over your head will make you feel like a badass too. But, so will the ability to do a push-up with one arm.

The human body is an amazing tool and there is no better feeling than mastery of your capabilities. You might soon find that this feeling is something you get addicted to.

Get impeccable form

A good rule of thumb is that if you can’t lift your body weight, you probably shouldn’t be trying to add extra weight just yet.

Often at the start of training, beginners add too much resistance to a machine or weights that are too heavy. This can lead to muscle fatigue and poor form.

Bodyweight calisthenics gives you the opportunity to develop a solid base of core strength and proper form. And since the only resistance you are using is your body weight, it is just the right amount.

How to Get the Most Out of Calisthenics

squats against the wall

When training, we are always looking to be as safe as possible and avoid injury. Here are some tips to get the most out of calisthenics:

  • Start gently and increase your fitness level slowly.
  • No matter how you choose to begin, progress steadily and start with smaller sets of consistent repetitions. You will see results over time.
  • Ask a personal trainer for advice on your movements and form. This is important as it will ensure that you are using the right muscle groups.
  • Try and alternate the type of exercises you do on different days. This will keep things fresh and interesting. It will also help give the different muscles a rest.

Calisthenics Exercises List: How to Get Started

woman doing lunges

There is no shortage of calisthenics workouts. We suggest getting the basics down and slowly moving on to more advanced movements. This is a great way to prevent injury and see the results of the work you put in.

Good calisthenics for beginners

Just starting? Here are a few great basic exercises you can select from for a basic calisthenics routine:

  • Push-up: a crowd favourite, this exercise works your chest area while strengthening your core.
  • Plank: your core strength will thank you for this one. It allows you to build stability and strength.
  • Lunge: looking to improve your strength and mobility? This is the perfect workout for your lower body.
  • Burpee: this one gets your heart rate pumping. Beginners are welcome to try half burpees at first (no push-ups or jumps are included in this “half” variation).

For instructions for performing these exercises, check out our post on basic calisthenics

More advanced calisthenics

Once you get the hang of things, try these exercises to increase your speed and agility:

  • Bodyweight Ladder Workout: excellent for resistance training. This workout is best done in reps of 10.
  • Human Flag: This is the ultimate calisthenics move. Imagine being suspended sideways from a vertical pole. All your upper body strength is needed for this one. Here’s a glimpse of what you are in for.
  • Iron Cross: a set of gymnastics skills on the rings in which your body is suspended upright while the arms are extended laterally, this forms the shape of a cross. To do this, you will require major shoulder and bicep tendon strength.
  • Muscle-Up: an advanced strength training exercise. It combines a routine of a radial pull-up followed by a dip. 
  • One-Hand Handstand: this is an incredibly difficult and rewarding skill to learn. You support your body in a handstand position by balancing on only one hand. Not for the faint of heart. 

Get Started with Calisthenics Exercises

woman doing squats

Be it, beginner, intermediate, or athlete level, calisthenics are a welcome addition to any workout routine. The number of exercises and variations is incredible, making them an easy fit for anyone.

Why not make a list of calisthenics exercises and figure out the ones that would best suit you? You can even track the muscle groups and plan out a weekly routine to ensure even development across your whole body.

Think of this as an opportunity to use your body weight as a tool. Get fit, achieve the best results, but most of all, enjoy all the calisthenics benefits!

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