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If you are on the lookout for an effective full body workout, calisthenics workout might be an answer to your prayers. It involves utilising your body weight as well as gravity for pushing the limits of your body. Workout regimes which include handstands, push-ups, one arm push-ups, pull-ups, pistol squats and the most impressive side workout, are all part of a calisthenics routine. In fact, gymnastics is also a form of calisthenics workout!

What is calisthenics workout?

Calisthenics workout requires you to use your energy and your body. These are exercises that are done only using body weight, explains fitness trainer Poonam Bhatewara. “Calisthenics exercises enhance your strength, increase your endurance as well as flexibility. The exercises involve movements that use large muscle groups, such as push-ups. People typically perform these exercises at a moderate pace,” she says.

Calisthenics workout is a great way to burn fat as well. “A lot of muscles are put to work in this form of exercise. So, fat is burned in the process. They are multiple-joint exercises that build muscles,” adds Bhatewara.

The best advantage is that anyone can do it! “This form of workout does not require training and irrespective of whether you have worked out before or not, calisthenics workout is something that anyone can do. Even factors such as age and gender don’t matter,” says Bhatewara

Calisthenics workout, fitness
There are many kinds of bodyweight squats such as wall squat, prisoner squat that are part of a calisthenic workout regime. Image courtesy: Pexels

What to keep in mind while performing calisthenics workout?

  1. Start with basic exercises

    It is very important to note that progress takes time, especially with this workout regimen. In fact, you can adjust the difficulty level of the exercises to make them easier or harder.

  2. Monitor heart rate

    According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, your heart rate needs to be between 64 to 76 percent of your maximum heart rate. Keeping a check on the pace of your heart is important.

  3. Stretch and warm up

    If your body is stiff, you might experience some pains during the regime or after.

  4. Don’t overdo it

    Start slow and build up your strength and tolerance gradually. Beginners can train three to four times a week.

Is calisthenics workout better than weight training at the gym?

A calisthenics workout regime is one of the best when you are looking for flexibility with fewer injuries as well. A study was conducted by the Sport and Exercise Sciences research unit at the University of Palermo, Italy, to evaluate the effectiveness of calisthenics workout. In the study, people were divided into two groups and while one group was made to do calisthenics workout, the other did normal workout regimes. After eight weeks, they observed that calisthenics training actually helped to improve posture, strength and body composition without the use of any external equipment.

A woman doing bicycle crunches
Crunches are a big part of calisthenics workout. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

5 calisthenics exercises for your fitness

  1. Bodyweight Squats

    The basic squat is one where you start with your feet wide, shoulder-wide apart, bend your knees and start to sit down. Raise your arms in front of you. Make sure that your knees don’t turn and your back remains straight.

  2. Crunches

    To do crunches, you need to lie down on your back. Bend your knees at a 90-degree angle and make sure your feet are flat on the ground. Cross your arms on your chest. Bring your upper body up by engaging your core muscles, towards your knees. Pause and then go back to the original position.

    Also read: Avoid these mistakes during bicycle crunches to reduce belly fat

  3. Pushups

    To do push-ups, you need to lie down on the floor, face down. Next, keep your hands beside your shoulders, palms facing down. Stretch your legs and make sure your toes touch the ground. Now start to push the ground by straightening up your arms and raising your body. Next, bend arms and lower body to original position.

  4. Planks

    For a plank, you need to get into the same position as that of a pull up. Put your forearms on the ground. Next, keep the body in a straight line by flexing your core muscles.

  5. Lunges

    For this you need to stand straight. Put your right foot forward and bend the knee at a right angle. Extend the leg so that the left knee almost touches the floor. Now, with the help of the heel of your right foot, push back up, and come into a standing position. Repeat the same for the next leg.

    Before you indulge in any exercise, make sure you do some warm-up exercises to get prepared and reduce your risk of a muscle pull or injury.

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