Calisthenics: Workout Routine & Health Benefits

Calisthenics are a training method that uses your own body weight to work on muscular strength and endurance, without the need for gym equipment.

In addition to increasing strength, endurance and body awareness, calisthenics improves flexibility and mobility. Calisthenic workouts can be incorporated into many training programs, like crossfit, functional training or gymnastics.

It is important that calisthenics exercises are carried out under the guidance of a qualified instructor to ensure that the exercises are being performed correctly. This will help to lower the risk for injury and ensure the maximum health benefits are taken advantage of.

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Calisthenics workout

This calisthenics workout routine targets the full body. It stimulates muscles in the legs, abdomen, arms, back and chest, and is particularly formulated for those who are starting this type of training. This routine a lower level of strength, agility and flexibility.

You can repeat this calisthenics workout up to 3 times, resting 4 minutes between each one set, and 30 to 60 seconds between each exercise.

1. Wall sitting

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To perform this exercise, stand against a wall, and then place both feet about 60 cm from the wall,without removing your back and glutes from the wall. In this position, slide your glutes down the wall until your knees are at a 90º angle. Hold this position for about 30 seconds.

This exercise is similar to the squat, and mainly works the gluteal and thigh muscles without causing stress on the knees. It is a good option for those with injuries to this joint.

2. Squats

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Squats are a common exercise and are great for working almost all of the leg muscles and glutes. To perform a squat correctly, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, then squat with your glutes sitting back until your knees are at 90º. Then return to the starting position, keeping your knees slightly flexed.

Repeat this exercise 8 to 12 times in each set. One way to intensify the exercise is to hold a weight in front of the body and/or to lower yourself slowly.

3. Pull-ups

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A pull-up is a great exercise for strengthening the chest, back and shoulders, and can be done with a low or high bar. The low bar pull-down, which is close to the hip height, is beneficial for beginners, as it is possible to maintain contact with the floor throughout the exercise.

To perform the low bar pull-down, the person must hold the bar at shoulder width apart and position the body under the body, with your legs straight in front of you or semi-flexed. Then, pull your body, upward trying to get your head above the bar.

Another more advanced pull option is using the high bar, in which you jump up to grab the bar, taking your feet completely off the ground. Place their hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, and pull the body upwards until the bar comes close to your chin. Perform this movement 3 to 5 times. Initially, you can do the exercise with the help of an elastic band, which must be attached to the bar. "Step" into the elastic band to help with the upward movement.

4. Tricep dips

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To do triceps extensions or dips on a bench, rest both hands on a bench or chair and bring your buttocks to the edge of the seat. Stretch your legs in front of you, bending them slightly, and bring your feet together. Bend your legs slightly in front of the body, bring your feet together and point them upwards. Then lower your body from the bench, keeping your hands behind you, until your elbows are at a 90º angle, then raise your body back up.

To make the movement more difficult, keep your legs extended, as this will require more force to perform the exercise.

5. Push-ups

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To do a push-up, lie on the floor on your stomach and place your hands under your shoulders. Then, raise your body from the floor in a plank position, and lower your body until your elbows are at a 90º angle.

Initially, it is possible to perform the exercise with your knees resting on the floor and, and progress to your feet as you get a better feel for the exercise.

During the entire exercise it is very important to keep your abdominal muscles contracted to keep your body completely straight and to prevent back injuries. This exercise is great for strengthening your arms and back, as well as your chest.

6. Crunches

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Crunches are done by lying on the floor, with your legs bent. Brace your core to lift the upper back off the floor.

Another abdominal exercise for beginners is the jacknife crunch, whicih involves lying down straight on your back with your arms straight above your head. Brace your core, then raise your knees to your chest and hug them before stretching out, back to the starting position and repeating.

As you become stronger, you can train your abs using two parallel bars. With one hand on each bar, lift your body from the floor, keeping your arms straight. Then lift your knees to your chest and lower again. Repeat 8 to 10 times.

One way to increase the difficulty is to keep your legs straight and to raise them, without bending your knees.

7. Plank

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A plank is also an exercise that can be included in the calisthenics workout routine for beginners. To do this exercise, lie down and support their body weight on their hands, or forearms, and feet. Hold this position for 30 to 60 seconds, while keeping your abdominal muscles contracted.

It is also possible to add plank variations to your routine, like a side plank or side plank crunches to increase difficulty.

Health benefits

The main health benefits of calisthenics are:

  • Increased flexibility and joint mobility
  • Increased resistance and muscular strength
  • Greater body awareness
  • Increase in muscle mass
  • Activation of metabolism
  • Increased energy expenditure and decreased fat percentage
  • Development of motor coordination
  • Improved balance

Because calisthenics does not require gym equipment, this type of training can be carried out in any environment, which can keep it exciting.