Calisthenics is a form of physical exercise or training aimed at using one’s body weight to produce resistance. Calisthenics comes from two Greek words, ‘kalos’ meaning beautiful or attractive, and ‘sthenos’ meaning strength. This form of exercise is done by using your body as weights then performing routine movements that will develop body muscles in the targeted area.
How calisthenics is performed
Calisthenics combines various exercises done in repetitive sets or steps to not only strengthen muscles but to also improve endurance. One can choose the part of the body that needs concentration, but it is usually advisable to do a complete body workout. The exercises are categorized to parts of the body as indicated below.
Leg calisthenics workouts are quite common such that some are even done without knowledge. The most obvious ones are squats. Every person squats, but when doing it as an exercise, it involves repeating the up and down movement for a number of repetitions and sets. Also, the position assumed while doing the squats is different. The body should be in an upright position and on the down rhythm, one only lowers until the thighs and sheen form a right angle and go back up. It allows the legs to carry the whole body weight.
Another form of leg workouts is jumping. There are a number of jumping exercises but the most common ones are the star jumps where one jumps from a squatting position and clap hands while in the air. This is done in sets as well.
Finally, we have lunges. This is a form of squatting, but the legs are moved from front to back. One leg moves in front while the other is stationary. You then bend the legs until they form 90 degrees at the knee. It can be done repetitively by switching legs in the back and front movement or by doing the movements with one leg for a certain number of reps then switching legs and doing the same movements for the same number of times.
Hands and chest
This is the upper body, and since the hands are directly connected to the chest area, any workout of any part completes both hands and chest. The best, frequently used, most common and convenient workout is push-ups. It is done by lying straight on the ground and, with the hands close to the chest, one lifts the body up and comes back to the nearly same start position. This is done in as many repetitions as possible. Push-ups build the biceps, triceps and chest muscles. In advanced exercises, the positions can be varied by inclining or doing handstands instead.
The other exercise is pull-up or chin-up. This involves suspending your body on a bar or any stagnant rod that is stable then pulling your body up until the neck is in line with the bar or rod. This also builds the biceps, triceps, and chest.
Core or abdominal muscles
Commonly known as abs-workouts, these exercises concentrate on stomach muscles. The most common one is the sit-up exercise. One sits on a flat surface and bends the legs then retracts to a lying position and comes back to the sitting position. This is done in repetitions for as much as one can hold. The variation of sit-ups is leg raise. This is achieved by lying flat on the ground and raising one’s leg to about 30 degrees from the ground. Unlike the other exercises, this has no repetitions. One holds the legs in that position for a specific time set.