Calisthenics is a not so known sport that could be your preferred way to keep yourself fit. This sport is defined as the art of exercising with your body weight which means that the main weight you will use during the practice of this sport is your weight. You probably have heard of squats, push-ups, and pull-ups, these exercises are a fundamental part of this sport. But you also can encounter the dynamic side of the sport which includes somersaults, jumps, gyros, handstands and so on, now that is the fun part.
My experienceI have been practicing calisthenics for more than a year and I love it, why? Because of the community around it, every time you go to a calisthenics park you will find people willing to help learn a new movement or improve your form. I remember the first time that I went to the park near my house, the people that were training there help me with basics which are the pull-ups and the push-ups, at that time I could only do 3 pull-ups and 6 push-upsÂ at max but since the more experienced people are there to help you because they have to pass through that too, you will progress quite faster. In the park, you will find from little 6-year-old kids to 45-year-old men and women working out and learning from the more experienced ones. And that is just encouraging for me, that is one of the things that keep me going during the firsts weeks because once that you go one or two times you become part of the community and from there on, the regulars will expect you to keep going and to progress on your strength and ability.
The gym is everywhereIf you start practicing calisthenics you will find out that every single location around could be your gym for the day: the bedroom of your house, your garden, the skatepark, the park, the hotel room, everywhere could be a great place to take advantage of. A tree could become a pull-up bar, two chairs could become a parallel bar and the couch could help you get a decline position to perform some advanced push-ups.
No equipment need itNow, if you want to improve your performance or enhance your results faster you can add certain equipment such as resistance bands,Â gymnastic rings, parallettes, wrist wraps, and weight vests but this equipment is not obligatory. I get to used resistance bands around 2 weeks ago, wrist wraps and parallettes after 3 or 4 months of training, never used a weight vest but a backpack with some free weight after 8 months of training and I have never used gymnastic rings. So as you can see, you can definitely start without any of this equipment.
Calisthenics is for everyoneSomething really inclusive and encouraging from the sport is that there are so many variations of the exercises that you will never find yourself bored of doing the same things over and over, and there is always going to be a variation good enough for your current strength and ability. There are always new things to try and you can put your creativity to work and come up with new and unconventional movements to improve your strength and performance.
Take care of your jointsOn some other sports, you will find yourself continuously losing flexibility unless you make stretching sessions apart from your training but in calisthenics, you will be forced to be flexible because most of the movements will open your joints, mainly the shoulder joint which is one of the joints that when is not properly stretch it will deteriorate over time. So practicing calisthenics you donâ€™t have to worry about your flexibility. But there is an important reminder and advice that I have to do in regards to training and stretching, always remember to warm-up before starting the workout and stretching after finish the workout, donâ€™t skip the stretching just because the movements of the workout will make you stretch.
A quick summary of the benefits:
- You can do it everywhere and on the go
- You donâ€™t need any special equipment but your bodyweight
- The movements will keep you flexible
- There are variations of any movement for every level of strength and ability
- You can always try new things and challenge yourself
How to get started?As I mentioned before the best way to start if you now any calisthenics park is to go there and ask for help to get started. Thereâ€™s maybe a park nearby that you donâ€™t know about soÂ if want to know if is there any parks nearby just google something like â€ścalisthenic parksâ€ť and you will find the nearest one to you, now, if there are not any parks nearby donâ€™t worry you can get everything you need in your house itself. In regards to the workout itself, you have multiple options, you can start by experiment with the resources you have, try some dips in between two chairs, maybe some decline push-ups on your couch, some crunches and some squats for a full-body workout. You can also find apps that will explain to you how to perform the exercises and it will have premade workouts for any level, here is one for every single level:
BeginnerWarm-up 3 to 5 minutes jump roping and a 200 meters light jog then:
- 4 to 8 regular push-ups per 3 sets
- 8 to 12 squats per 3 sets
- 2 to 5 Australian chin-ups per 3 sets
- 5 to 1o crunches per 3 sets
IntermediateWarm-up 3 to 5 minutes jump roping and a 200 meters light jog then:
- 6 to 10 decline push-ups per 4 sets
- 8-12 jump squats per 4 sets
- 6 to 10 pull-ups per 4 sets
- Â 8 to 12 hanging knee raises per 4 sets
AdvancedWarm-up 3 to 5 minutes jump roping and a 200 meters light jog then:
- 8 to 12 pseudo-push-ups per 4 sets
- 8 to 12 pistol squats each leg per 4 sets
- 6 to 10 explosive muscle-ups per 4 sets
- 6 to 10 dragon flags per 4 sets