So…what exactly is calisthenics?
Well, basically, it’s a fancy word for body weight based exercises or movements. Stuff you can do at home with minimal or no equipment. Sounds too simple to be better than going to the gym? Well actually, one of the main reasons it’s so good for you is because you don’t need a gym to get an amazing workout from it, plus it’s safer and better for your body in the long-run.
Unless you’re training for a specific sporting event, or you’re an upper-level type athlete looking to achieve specific strength related goals, then it’s safe to say that you, like the rest of us, view exercise as something that is there to maintain general levels of fitness, health and wellbeing. It’s something we have to do. After all, the human body is designed to move right?!
Maybe you’re tired of the travel time associated with getting to the gym? Maybe you’re bored of hitting the same machines over and over again? Maybe the most enjoyable part of your weekly exercise routine is the part where you’re out running on the road away from the gym?
If any of these are true for you, maybe calisthenics is something you’d benefit from.
Before we get into the justifications for why calisthenics should be part of your weekly exercise regime, let’s remind everyone about a few things to do with the human body and how we’re designed to move.
We are supposed to be able to move our own bodies. Simple. The type of requirements involved in doing a body weight related movement have always been around. Before the coming of modern society and all its amazing comforts, we lived existences which required us to move more…a lot more. We climbed more, we got onto and off the ground more, we lifted ourselves and our loved ones more in and out of things like holes, caves and trees more. Not a whole lot has changed since then in regard to our bodies. They’re pretty much exactly the same… just weaker.
Calisthenics are movements we should be fairly adapt at performing. Meaning that our bodies react well to that type of stress and we can continue that movement at a high level over a long period of time.
Here’s why that’s important when it comes to making exercise part of our weekly routine…
Being time short becomes a non-excuse
You can do a 20-minute calisthenics workout using nothing but your living room floor and be absolutely spent afterwards. This means getting to and from the gym, or not having access to equipment is no longer an excuse not to exercise. What happens if you adopt this approach? You end up exercising more over the course of a year.
Multiple muscles at once
Body weight movements, such as push ups, pull ups, jumping lunges, all work multiple muscle groups at once. For example, a pull up doesn’t just work your biceps, it also relies on your back and core muscles. You ask more of your body in a shorter amount of time, and who doesn’t like to save a bit of time these days when it comes to exercise?
More calories burnt
According to the Harvard School of Public Health, “Vigorous calisthenics burn more calories than many common cardio workouts”. This is due to the greater amount of muscle engagement that is required by these exercises as mentioned above.
Better for your body
Because you’re not lifting heavy weights, there is a reduction in risk of injury. You’re designed to be able to move yourself in different ways, meaning calisthenics is easier on your tendons, joints and muscles. You recover quicker, meaning your workload increases during the course of your exercise life and you end up getting in more workouts during the course of the year.
Not only will you build great functional strength, making everyday tasks easier, but by reducing stress on your joints while building that strength, results in a longer lifespan for those joints.
Calisthenics actually increase your resting metabolic rate, as well as enhance and develop muscular and aerobic endurance. Not only that, but it is more effective at developing lower-body coordination compared to Pilates within the same period of time.
Money and time
Yes, callisthenic workouts can be done with ZERO equipment, but even with one or two pieces of equipment (pull up bar/dip bar) you will still save thousands on gym membership fees.
You can achieve a seriously hardcore workout as soon as you step through your own front door in just 20 minutes…that’s no travel time, no parking time, no waiting for machine time, no heading to the grocery store after the gym time…over the course of a year, this adds up tremendously.
Calisthenics builds your body’s proprioceptors. Proprioception is the internal sense that tells you where your body parts are without having to look at them. This internal body awareness relies on receptors in your joints, muscles, ligaments, and connective tissue. They pick up information as muscles bend and stretch as well as when your body is still.
For example, the joints, muscles, and connective tissue in your buttocks, hips, and legs are compressed (pushed together) as you sit and read this. They are “distracted” (pulled apart) when you hang from a chin-up bar. Calisthenics is one of the best ways to develop these.
We are designed to move. If we want to live the best possible life we can and feel the best we can, we have to. It’s simple.
Get in touch with usand we’ll help get you moving the way you should.