Callisthenics has become the new norm for a lot of us during the lockdown . With restrictions lifted in many places, many still choose to continue with the bodyweight warrior alternative to becoming fitter without lifting any weights. After all, it can be done from the comfort of your own home.
But for those who are new to callisthenics might get intimidated, as their first exposure could be advanced movements like the front lever, handstands or other arm balances. In order to clear up this confusion, we start with -
What is callisthenics?
We spoke with Calisthenics Beasts, who described Calisthenics as, “A simple form of exercise where we workout using our body weight in which you not only increase your strength and endurance but gain total body control in the process”. Founded by Ashwin Haridas, the group was started in 2015 and has been training many for over 3 years.
There is a common myth that Calisthenics does not build muscle mass. However, Calisthenics Beasts said that just like with conventional weight lifting if certain parameters are followed while working out, callisthenics can definitely build muscles. Staying in the hypertrophy range can help build muscle mass for all athletes. Many practitioners of calisthenics around the world have done so with only bodyweight training.
A lot of us often dream about having visible abs. But in callisthenics, having a flashy six-pack won't help you unless you have good core strength. Core engagement plays a big part in many basic to advance exercises to make sure the form and technique are right. Along with training the core individually, engaging the core in different basic exercises helps build muscle memory which later helps out in various exercises. Core and lower back engagement play a vital role in movements like planche, back lever, front lever, etc. The more the strength and engagement the better the form of these holds.
Sold on the idea? You are probably wondering where do you start so Calisthenics Beasts provided us with a sample workout routine that you can try out.
Callisthenics like most forms of fitness has a general warm-up to increase the heart rate. You can perform basic exercises like jogging, jumping jacks, skipping, etc and then follow it up by dynamic stretching and joint mobility drills. The joint warm-up plays a very important role especially the wrist and the shoulder as improper or lack of warm-up can lead to injury.
Jumping Jacks - 30 seconds for 3 sets.
Arm rotation - 10 counts for each direction
Wrist rotation - 10 counts for each direction
Traditional Push Ups - 10 reps for 3 sets
Shoulder taps - 20 reps for 3 sets
Bench dips - 15 reps for 4 sets
Diamond push up - 10 reps for 3 sets
Pike push ups - 10 reps for 3 sets
Tiger bend push ups - 10 reps for 3 sets
Pseudo push ups - 8 or 10 reps for 3 sets
Core Workout: 2 cycles (no break in-between)
20 Russian twists
10 leg raises
10 toe touches
50 flutter kicks
This workout primarily focuses on the chest and triceps muscles but as said earlier, engaging the core will provide you with a good challenge if this proves easy. Make sure to rest for 1-2 minutes between each exercise and 30 seconds between each set. Depending on each person, one can start by working out for 2-3 days and move on to 3-5 days. But this is dependent on- whether you are training for strength, skill or endurance.
As with many other exercise disciplines, the cooldown routine involves static stretching followed by some light cardiovascular exercises that slowly bring the heart rate down.
Though it may not be one of the most flashy and advertised forms of exercise compared to many available on the internet, callisthenics is one of the most affordable and simple ways to keep fit. All it needs is your dedication and results will occur.