First, I want you to get familiar as to what Calisthenics is all about and how you can start building strength and muscle without using any weights. If you’ve been a long enough fan of lifting weights, you must have realised the overwhelming speed at which evolution of Bodybuilding has taken place.
There have been sort of countless reforms like new training methods, variety of supplements, strange diets and introduction of different sports in order to build muscle or lose fat. One of the methods that has prevailed significantly over last 3-4 years is Calisthenics – the art of Building Muscle using weights.
Even if you’ve not been into lifting weights, you must have come around those YouTube ripped stars doing crazy stuff on those dips and push ups bar in some local park or gym. Frank Medrano, Bar Stars & Calisthenic kingz are some of the Youtubers who have really got the attention of not only the beginners but also world class bodybuilders or advanced athletes with inexplicable display of human strength and aesthetics just by using bodyweight.
If you are someone who looks forward to do all those cool moves like muscle ups, handstands, planche pushups, dragon flag human flag etc then this is just the right post for you. Here we’ll discover some the most important and basic elements in the realm of Calisthenics.
Define Calisthenics and Why you should do it?
You might have heard so much about calisthenics and calisthenic workout routines but you don’t know what they are. Don’t worry. That’s what you are here for. We won’t go into literal definition but understand the term in a much simplified form.
Calisthenics are bodyweight exercises. It is the art of using your own body weight and qualities of inertia as a means to develop your physique.
Calisthenics is the act of working out with little more than the weight of your own body, running, gymnastics, even martial arts are all forms of calisthenics, but more specifically muscle building and strength training exercises.
Along with aesthetics and strength it also gives you power, flexibility and cardiovascular fitness of gymnasts. The biggest plus point- It will help you use your body with grace and control.
Calisthenics improve overall stamina, strength, energy, agility, coordination, balance, and promote overall fitness for your health, improve mental health just as it does psycho-motor skills like balance and coordination. It also help in treatment of mental problems such as stress, anxiety, depression, etc. and can boost your self-esteem.
But don’t expect to jump straight into an iron cross on rings. And don’t even try before you achieve a certain level of fitness. You’ll hurt yourself. It might take a hundred hours of training to be able to manage a ten-second hold. So start slowly and make sure you are well equipped first with basics before you dive in the realm of Calisthenics.
Understanding Calisthenics Basics: Building Muscle Without Weights?
I am not going to sugarcoat stuff in here. If you’ve never done it before, it’s going to be really hard. But You can start by doing easy stuff and then moving on to more advanced exercises.
Another eye opener for you: It’s easier to go to the gym and start lifting dumbells, you take a set of 10 kg each and you aren’t able to lift them, no problem, just drop them on the ground and take another set with a lighter weight.
If you are doing calisthenic exercises and in particular you can’t do any pullups, you can’t just drop your body weight and start doing them.You will start slow and patience is the main thing here. However the reward in the end it’s going to be bigger.
Targeting Muscular System:
The common error that most Calisthenics Beginners make is to train like agymnast Thatis, they start by training their nervous system. That means training with low reps, high sets and more rest. That definitely makes you strong, but if you’re looking to build muscle, that’s not all the right way to do it.
In order to gain muscle you have to target the muscular system through various calisthenics exercises. What that means is, you gotta shift your training away from nervous system work to pure muscular work. Stop training like a gymnast, and start training like a bodybuilder but with your body weight. How will you do that?
You build big muscles by draining the chemical energy in your muscle cells. It’s by exhausting the energy of your muscle cells that you allow them to recover with adding new ones which induces Hypertrophy. The best way to exhaust the energy in your muscles is through tough, grit-yerteeth, continuous reps. Learn to love ‘em. For huge gains, drop the single, double, and triple reps. Definitely start looking at reps over five. Six to eight is great. Double figures are even better. Twelve to fifteen is another muscle-building range.
There are pretty strong guys (even some Youtubers) training with low reps for years who couldn’t build a quarter inch on their arms. They switched to performing horizontal pulls for sets of twenty reps, and gained two inches per arm in a single month! These kind of gains aren’t uncommon on Convict Conditioning, due to the insistence that you pay your dues with higher reps. They work!
And yes, Do not forget to work really really hard. You must make sure your form is correct while doing these calisthenics exercises, or else you’ll try to work out your chest but all you’ll get is a nice pair of trapezius. So master the basic moves before you progress to advanced ones.
How to Start: Sample Beginner’s Calisthenic Exercises
Compound exercises would be your best friends as a beginner. I don’t care how much you can bench press or squat, but you can’t do 20 Chinups with strict form, and I mean chin above the bar and all the way down, you need to start with the basic stuff. These moves involve multiple muscle groups at once. Not only are these simpler – the body works as a whole, which is more natural but you are getting better stimulus by working different muscles at the same time. Here are the top Best Bang for Your Buck Calisthenics moves:
This is my first post on Calisthenics Workout on this website. I’ll be covering different Calisthenic progressions and techniques in future, so stay tuned.