Benefits of Calisthenics for All Ages
The benefits of calisthenics are for people of all ages, fitness levels, and body types. Calisthenic is a form of resistance training and can include any exercise that utilizes only your bodyweight.
Calisthenic exercises are often referred to as bodyweight exercises to differentiate them from exercises that require the use of dumbbells, kettlebells and other workout equipment.
The benefits of calisthenics include the fact that anyone can do both conveniently and consistently, resulting in increased speed, strength, flexibility, stamina, and agility.
Top Benefits of Calisthenics
Incorporating calisthenics into your existing workout offers several benefits.
- Calisthenic training is a type of exercise you can never outgrow. The harder you work, the stronger your body will become. The stronger your body becomes, the more advanced movements you can explore. You can start out with modifications on most exercises to make them easier; but, eventually, you may choose to explore more advanced body positions.
- This is the simplest way to build muscle or maintain muscle tone as you get older. People of all ages benefit from weightlifting, and these exercises deliver weightlifting benefits without the heavy weights.
- Calisthenics is the most portable form of exercise, so it helps to know how to use it effectively. Calisthenic exercises are easily performed in a hotel room, and they don’t require you to pack heavy equipment when traveling. You can also perform many calisthenic movements outdoors, which is why they’re heavily utilized by boot camp instructors.
- You don’t have to invest money in equipment that may eventually collect dust and take up space in your home. Your bodyweight is free, and there’s nothing to give away or sell if you decide to give up the routine in favor of something else later.
- You can easily work calisthenics into your daily routine. When you take a five-minute break from work, do a round of push-ups or squats to wake your body up. You can also do lunges and many other exercises while you’re cooking, washing laundry and performing other everyday tasks.
Now that you know some of the benefits of calisthenic training when added to your existing workout routine, it’s time to explore some of the most effective calisthenic movements and workouts.
5 Calisthenics Exercises Anyone Can Do
Calisthenics has been around for thousands of years. Although it isn't new, it is being incorporated into modern workouts, dance, and gymnastics.
Most people are already familiar with calisthenic exercises because they have done them at some point in life. For instance, you may recognize some of these movements from gym class in your elementary and middle school days. Most likely, you already know how to perform them and can start working them into your daily routine right away.
Take a look at five of the five most commonly performed calisthenic exercises.
- Squats. Stand with your legs hip width apart and your hands on your hips. Bend your knees, allowing your bottom to push down and out toward the back. You may start by squatting over a chair and trying to touch your rear end to the edge of the chair. This will teach you the correct movement for an effective squat. You can work different muscles by moving your feet further apart. If you’re up for a challenge, try putting them together and lifting one foot from the floor for a one-legged squat.
- Push-Ups. Sit on your knees, then lower your hands to the floor a little ahead of your body. A full push-up requires you to extend your legs out behind you, balancing on your toes and hands. Bend your elbows, lowering your body toward the ground and then pushing back up to your starting position. You can start by keeping your knees on the ground and just moving your arms, or you can do push-ups against a wall in standing position.
- Planks. Get into classic push-up position with your toes and hands supporting your body weight. Lower your arms so that you’re balancing on your forearms and elbows instead of your hands. You should feel your core muscles engage. Hold this position for a set period of time or as long as possible.
- Lunges. Stand with feet slightly apart, step one foot out in front and then bend that front leg at the knee. The goal is to lower your body slightly from the front bent knee, and then stand back up and return to the starting position. Alternate sides. If you feel off balance, step your front leg out to the side just a bit. This creates a more stable stance, or you can hold onto the back of a chair or a nearby table. If you want to add some fun into your day, try lunge walking around your home. Each leg goes out a little further than you would in a typical step, and then you lunge down. Instead of returning to the starting position, bring the back leg forward and lunge again. When lunging down, don't allow your forward knee to go past your toes.
- Jumping Jacks. This is one of the best calisthenic exercises to use as a warm-up because it gets your circulation going, increases your heart rate for cardiovascular benefit while building muscle in your lower body. You start with your legs together and arms at your sides, then jump your legs apart while bringing your hands over your head. Jump again to close your feet and bring your hands back to your side. Do this movement faster to get your heart pumping. A modified version of this exercise is to step one leg out to the side while raising one arm and then step the other leg out while raising the second arm. Then step each leg back in while lowering the arms. Try to do this as quickly as possible so that you still get the cardio benefits.
You can reap the benefits of calisthenics workout programs at most gyms and YMCAs. Boot camps are also a great resource. You can design your own calisthenic workouts by picking any combination of exercises and doing them in sets. Create a calisthenic circuit by picking five or more exercises and doing one set of each with multiple rounds. One of the great benefits of calisthenics is that you can create a HIIT workout by rotating between high-intensity and low-intensity movements.
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