Considered by many to be one of the most flexible training methods available, bodyweight training or calisthenics is something everyone should include during their training workouts. This is especially true for people working nowadays, which unfortunately, are sitting at a desk for hours and hours. This considerably limits the body’s movements, blood flow and can be damaging on the long-run. Doing calisthenics can be an exhilarating experience and very beneficial if you are serious about training your body. Calisthenics can be intense for those just starting out but it can be very rewarding, especially if you are looking to improve muscle strength and control of your body. In this article we will be covering some of the basic principles behind calisthenics, what to look out for and the types of exercises available.
How to start?
You have probably checked out some calisthenics videos by now and might even be anxious to get started. However, how exactly does one start doing calisthenics? It is fortunate that you have come across this article as you will be able to avoid the mistakes that many have done before and pick up some key lessons before starting out with calisthenics exercises.
For starters, calisthenics stems from the Greek words of beauty and strength. In its essence, calisthenics involves flexibility, movements, techniques and raw strength. It is not as simple as adding weights to a bar. In fact, your own bodyweight is enough to get started. Whether you are lifting weights in a gym or lifting yourself up on a pull-up bar, it all helps the body to build muscle over time. Nonetheless, calisthenics requires that one learns about their body and capabilities first in order to improve on these.
There are a lot of calisthenics exercises available to someone who is just starting out. Some of the core and basic exercises of calisthenics include pull-ups, push-ups, dips, squats and abdominal exercises. When doing any kind of training it is useful to know what body areas you want to work on though. There are exercises that can help you work on your legs and abs as in the case of Leg Raises or those that help build muscle in your upper-body as is the case with Muscle-ups. Starting out with the basics is recommended as you will get used to doing them. Pull-ups and push-ups for example are often the building blocks for more demanding exercises, so having a good grasp on the basics is essential.
Take things one step at the time
As you start working out you will likely feel that you are able to do many things. Feeling like superman is not a bad thing on itself. However, it is important to show some restraint and to take things one step at the time with regards to your training workouts. This means that you ought to start with basic exercises first in order to get yourself ready for more advanced and demanding calisthenics exercises. In doing so you will be able to avoid injuries and make sure that you are ready for trying out more techniques, variations and positions.
Posture is important when doing calisthenics exercises as it will affect the quality of the workouts you do. Making sure that your body (e.g. core, arms, legs) are aligned is crucial to executing techniques successfully. A mistake a lot of people do is performing calisthenics techniques in the wrong way or failing to control the motions/movements of techniques and exercises. Calisthenics training requires time for your body to adapt in order to produce tangible results. Therefore, it is more important to understand how to do exercises properly in the beginning than to challenge yourself to do high reps early on.
As we indicated before, when starting out with calisthenics it is important to cover your basic exercises first (pull-ups, push-ups, dips etc.) in order to get your body used to working out. Only then is it recommended to move on to more demanding exercises. One thing to look out for is the strain placed on your joints when working out. It is important to remember that your ligaments and tendons are much more active when doing calisthenics as opposed to lifting weights in the gym. This is because of the movements involved in most calisthenics exercises. Make sure that you rest properly when putting your shoulders and wrists for example under heavy strain in order to avoid bad injuries and to give yourself time to recover.
Additionally, if you feel that you are somewhat overweight then it might be a good idea to undergo a good diet in order to lose some weight first before starting out with your calisthenics training. Some cardio workouts may also be advisable if these are needed. Losing some kilos will make you more able to undergo training and build muscle.
Enjoying the ride!
Anyone starting out with calisthenics should remember that it is way more important to have fun with what you are doing as opposed to getting all the techniques right for the sake of getting them right. Only if you have a pleasant experience is it possible to continue working out regularly and push your body to achieve new limits. As we noted in the beginning, calisthenics is very demanding and requires proper preparation and commitment in order to see desired results. Suffice it to say that without a burning desire to train and a positive outlook it is virtually impossible to do the demanding calisthenics exercises. Thus, make sure you are having fun every step of the way.