Not everyone has access to weights and if this is the case for you, it can be difficult to get into a training routine. However, before there were weights, humans were using another form of training since the age of man. And it’s called calisthenics.
Calisthenics was invented thousands of years ago in ancient Greece. It is also known as bodyweight training. Although this is an old concept, it has stood the test of time and is used by the majority of athletes like gymnasts, boxers, and basketball players, still in this day and age. It is also the foundation of military training. And the reason why? Because it’s very effective.
Some Benefits of Callisthenics
- Builds strength
- Increases muscle size
- Strengthens the core
- Burns fat
- Increases cardio
- Develops flexibility
If you look at any person who trains in calisthenics; no doubt they will be shredded and built like an Ox. This is because two of the main benefits from training this way are increased strength and fat loss.
Calisthenics training increases your strength because it works out multiple muscle groups (calisthenics are predominantly compound movements). If you are skeptical about calisthenics building strength;
Just try and do what an Olympic gymnast can do.
Now I know there are different types of ‘strength’ and a powerlifter may be able to bench press more than a gymnast, but BODY strength is primary. Your body will be with you until you no longer exist.
Weight lifting is done in an artificial environment of a gym. What’s the point in deadlifting 500 lbs if you can’t climb over a wall or walk up a flight of stairs? We should all aim to build usable strength, the strength that will aid you in everyday life. This is the strength you want to build if you are training in boxing or mixed martial arts etc.
Weight lifting has its benefits, I also weight lift, but there should be at least a mix of calisthenics and weights when training. I often mix it up and go through phases of calisthenics and weight training routines during the year.
On the subject of fat burning, strength training is key. As calisthenics gets you stronger, it will definitely burn fat too.
Aside from the above benefits, calisthenics is FREE to utilise. You don’t need to pay for a gym membership or buy fancy equipment! Now who doesn’t like a freebie?
Calisthenics enables you to master your body weight. And by mastering your body weight you can perform awesome moves like the human flag, one hand push up’s, pistol squats, V-sits etc which are impressive enough to make even the most advanced bodybuilders heads turn! The empowerment you get from performing exercises that involve lifting your own body weight is second to none.
I’ve heard some people say that calisthenics cannot help you develop bigger muscles (hypertrophy). And that’s just complete B.S.. Have you seen male or female gymnasts before? They are undoubtedly physically impressive and have extreme co-ordination, balance, flexibility, and strength. And they train in predominantly calisthenics.
One of the best places to train in calisthenics is in a park. A park has the perfect apparatus that will allow you to improve in your calisthenics workouts.
Check out the video below of how advanced you can get at mastering your body weight with calisthenics.
If that isn’t enough impress you upon the benefits of calisthenics and body mastery, well then I don’t know what is.
Wait! Before you go crazy and try to do flips and one arm pull ups, it’s gonna take some training and practice to get to the level in the above video. Remember most worthwhile things usually do take practice and training!
If you’re a beginner, start with the workout at the top of this page. This will burn fat and build strength. It will prime your body and get you ready for the harder routines. Do it for a minimum 3 times a week until it becomes easy for you. When this happens you are ready to move on to level two!
If you have any questions feel free to contact me. Don’t forget to share this post with anyone that may benefit from it, thanks 🙂