What is Calisthenics?
Article last updated on 11th August 2016: <a href="http://www visit site.mpcalisthenics.com/introduction-to-calisthenics/introduction-to-calisthenics-what-is-calisthenics”>Calisthenics is a type of training method that involves almost exclusively body weight exercises. There are multiple forms of calisthenics, but the type we’re discussing today is the strength training calisthenics, where you perform calisthenics exercises to improve your overall strength and build muscle at the same time.
Advances of Calisthenics
- No Gym Required – As most of the exercises simply require your bodyweight and a pull up bar, there is no need to have a gym membership. Calisthenics training is probably the cheapest training type on the planet, the only equipment you need is your mind and your body.
- Low chance of Injuries – Although there is a lot of stress on the muscles, as the only additional weight being used is that of your body, the chance of injury is greatly reduced. There is also a lower risk of poor form.
- Isometric Strength Increases – As many of the exercises performed are ones that involve a lot of bracing and preparing for a “pull” for example, the isometric strength (also called static strength) for your body is drastically increased.
- Core/Abs Constantly Engaged – Although calisthenics may not be the most effective movements for lower body, for constant ab engagement and overall abdominal development, it may be the most effective training type. All exercises in a basic calisthenics routine will have a brace element, similar to the above point, but this bracing also has a positive effect on the core, constantly working the abs and hence helping build the abdominal muscles and core strength.
Can it be used for Strength?
One of the biggest myths of calisthenics is you can’t build muscle from these exercises, which is utter BS. If you look at some of the professional Calisthenics experts, these guys are shredded, for example Frank Medrano looks approximately 6% BF. A youtube calisthenics expert named Hannibal looks like he could compete in a bodybuilding show!
The same basic muscle building principles apply. Performing “heavy” movements to work large muscle groups. If you look at the exercises most commonly associated with calistenics for strength you see: Dips, pull ups, chin ups, muscle ups, all compound exercises designed to work large muscle groups (chest, shoulders, triceps and lats.) Do I think this is the most effective training routine? Probably not, but if your goal is to slowly build muscle and strength with an emphasis on staying lean, then calistenics training might be the route for you.
Conclusion – Would I recommend calisthenics?
Generally I think I would. I’m a huge advocate of getting in the gym and lifting heavy. Bench, squats, deads, do it often and do it heavy. But when it comes to calistenics the ideas are totally different, instead of heavy, the primary concept is time-under-tension, which is one of the keys in building muscle. So I would recommend calisthenics training for the individuals looking to build muscle and strength, with an emphasis on upper body work. I don’t personally believe bodyweight squats (even single legged) will have all that much of a positive effect after a certain point, so maybe add 1 legs day in the gym!