The term calisthenics originates from the 2 greek words kallos meaning beauty and sthenos meaning Strength. Calisthenics was given this name because not only does it help you lose weight, but it will naturally sculpt your body to look attractive to the eye as well as provide you with functional strength & flexibility. How does it do this you might ask? Calisthenics is just any form of working out with only your bodyweight and if you perform your repetitions consistently, you will reap all the benefits this powerful skill set has to offer.
If you take a look at your everyday calisthenics athlete, they will be performing a wide variety of exercises working out muscle groups attached to pushing and pulling movements. All calisthenics exercises are compound movements, meaning they work out multiple muscles at the same time each rep. For example, a pull-up not only works out your back, but they also hit biceps, core, and forearms within one exercise. As long as you do each exercise controlled and don’t slack on the range of motion, you’ll be working out all of your “pulling” muscles every set. Working out various muscles at the same time will develop your strength much faster compared to only isolating one muscle at a time, therefore making the most gains as fast as possible.
Calisthenics doesn’t just get you strong, it helps increase functionality in your body which translates very well into everyday movements. Functional strength gains are made when you can manipulate your body into different positions in space with more ease. The stronger you get, the more movements you unlock, and the easier it will be to move your body. The progress you will get from calisthenics will seem exponential because when you unlock a muscle up for example, you also unlock the ability to train a movement that works out your entire upper body by combining an explosive pullup with a straight bar dip. Think of all the gains you can make! And all you need is your body weight.
My favorite part about calisthenics training is that you can workout literally anywhere, all you need is your own bodyweight and enough space to perform the exercises. This takes away the excuse of having to go to a gym to get your gains. Instead, just get those gains right where you are which will save you time and money. The ability to perform functional and efficient workouts wherever you are will open up an entirely new dimension of gains not found in conventional weightlifting routines.
IT TEACHES YOU ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE
Last but certainly not least, calisthenics workouts are my favorite because it’s an amazing way of testing your strength every day, setting goals, and then achieving them. Starting out at zero, some skills might seem impossible to ever achieve, such as the muscle up. But that feeling you get when you finally pull yourself over the bar is a moment you’ll never forget. Going from not being able to perform the skill, training as hard as you can to achieve it, and then later actually accomplishing it is such a pure moment of joy. Moreover, the feeling of being able to bust out a handstand or front lever whenever you see a bar is exciting and could also inspire people in the process to learn. Once you see yourself improve with calisthenics, the ongoing chase to achieve new skills awakens, and you’ll never want to look back!
by Mark Valeriote