People are becoming more and more interested in living healthy and active lives, which also means that a lot of them are taking up exercise. And fortunately, there is plenty to choose from to suit everyone’s needs. One of the most relevant up and coming workouts nowadays is the calisthenic training.
Upon first hearing about it, one might be tempted to assume that it’s a fancy fad workout plan that will soon disappear from the market, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. In fact, both athletes and those in the military swear by it. So, what is it exactly and how does it benefit the body? Let’s find out.
What Are Calisthenics?
The term ‘calisthenics’ might sound complicated at first, but it actually involves a very simple concept. This type of training consists of exercises performed without weights being added into the routine. It’s a versatile workout that can be performed either stand-alone or as an integral part of a weight loss or bodybuilding plan.
The purpose of calisthenics is to engage the entire body with all its muscle groups. Therefore, such a workout involves both upper and lower body exercises that can be tailored to suit any physical fitness level, from beginner to intermediate and all the way through insanity mode. But what type of activities are included in calisthenic training more specifically?
Well, the answer is pretty straightforward on this one. There are plenty of things you can do, as long as you don’t involve any additional equipment, but the holy trinity is represented by pushups, pull-ups, and squats. The former two engage the upper part of the body with all its muscles, while the latter workers in the lower groups in a similar way.
First, performing regular sets of pushups builds the muscles in your shoulders, chest and triceps area, but it also heightens your endurance and improves the stability of your core. Second, pullups pick up the slack when it comes to your biceps, back and overall grip, which is great for upper body strength.
Although there are plenty of calisthenics you can do for your lower body as well, nothing beats the classic squat. To do it correctly, place your feet slightly apart to a degree a bit higher than shoulder-width and turn your toes out 10 degrees, or as much as you can within this limit. Push your knees and hips out in order to squat down.
Once you’ve gone as low as you can, stand back up again and repeat. This easy exercise is targeted mostly for your quads, but it also engages plenty of other muscles, such as your hamstrings and lower back. Furthermore, depending on which variation of it you perform, you can also increase your overall leg strength and mobility.
Now that we’ve established roughly what calisthenics are and which particular activities pertain to this line of workout, one question still remains. What are the overall effects of a full calisthenic training on the body? Here are the three most important ones that will better clarify how this entire thing works.
How Do They Work?
Because calisthenics uses your body’s own weight to create resistance rather than have you rely on additional equipment, they are even better than cardio aerobics. In fact, according to research conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health, one session of calisthenics burns more calories than a 45-minute indoor cycling workout under the right conditions.
Therefore, if you’re on a weight loss plan and you want an effective exercise routine to combine with your diet and other healthy living goals, including calisthenic training into your regular sessions, might be a good idea. An ideal balance between it and aerobics or any other type of physical activity can be achieved, which is good news for anyone who likes variety.
According to a recent study, home calisthenics increase your resting metabolic rate at least as much as, if not more than other activities which are generally perceived as being proper workouts, such as aerobics, hiking, cycling, weightlifting and even football. Not only does this stimulate weight loss, but it also helps you stay in shape in the long run.
Having a higher MET means that you burn more calories even while in a state of repose because this bodily function moves at a faster pace than it did before. This is why people who want to reach and maintain their fitness goals need to choose their workouts accordingly, and calisthenics is a great option in this case.
Naturally Built Body
The final and perhaps most visible effect that calisthenics has on the body is that this type of training leads to a more naturally built body than weightlifting. While there’s nothing wrong with getting the full gym workout, there are better alternatives for it out there nowadays, and one of them is certainly calisthenic training.
Known as body-weight training, this particular routine uses your own weight and resistance to build muscle. You don’t need any additional fancy props to reach your objectives, which means that you can exercise anytime, anywhere. Furthermore, your body will look better overall. Say goodbye to the odd-looking muscles some of the more avid bodybuilders have.
Calisthenics is all about raw, organic beauty in the form of a chiseled, well-defined body. Therefore, if this is what you want to achieve, you might need to start considering this training as a viable option. And once you decide to follow this route, it will be very easy to stick to it because the exercises that come with it are easily integrated into any session.
Even though it’s one of the simplest workouts because it doesn’t require any additional weights or machines of any type, calisthenics has amazing effects on the body. Not only does it help you burn off calories, it also boosts your metabolism so that you keep them off for good. And this all leads to a naturally built body that will give you self-confidence for days.