Moving well is one of the biggest indicators of physical fitness there is, and calisthenics is among the best ways to get better at it. But when you see people in calisthenics YouTube videos demonstrating perfect muscle-ups, front levers and human flags, it’s a type of training that can feel out of reach.
It doesn’t have to be that way though. This bodyweight workout, for instance, offers an introduction to calisthenics you can try at home. It’s been created by gymnastics coach and PT Chloe Mac and the moves will help you build the strength and skills needed to help you progress to more advanced bodyweight exercises like the pull-up, dip and pistol squat.
There are just five moves—the push-up and push back, Cossack squat, knee raise, squat up and downs, and wall walks—and you don’t need any special equipment. Mac also offers easier alternatives for several of the exercises in her video below, as well as providing handy demonstrations for each one.
To try the workout, perform each move for 30 seconds, followed by a 30-second rest. After you’ve finished all five, take a two-minute breather. Repeat until you’ve completed a total of five rounds.
Calisthenics may have a fancy name but it’s nothing complicated—at root it’s a form of bodyweight strength training. There’s a focus on performance over physique, but in a similar way to hypertrophy training it places your muscles under load as they support your body through the various movements, so you can expect a degree of muscle growth.
You’ll also be constantly challenged to perform more difficult moves or combinations of exercises. Though it isn’t dressed in its usual guise of steadily increasing weights, sets and reps, this is still unmistakably progressive overload, which is the foundational principle behind building strength.
Toss in bolstered mobility and more resilient joints and you’ve got yourself a great all-round fitness booster.
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