Calisthenics are exercises that rely solely on body weight for resistance that can be performed anywhere. No gym, no cash, no problem. Calisthenics are a great way to build muscle and improve your mood, all without stepping foot in a gym!
We have compiled a list of the perfect way to target specific muscle groups, build muscle mass, and how all of these exercises effect your mind and body. Keep reading for the top tips from Health Fitness Revolution and author of the book ReSYNC Your Life Samir Becic:
• You can practice calisthenics anywhere, anytime. These exercises can tone and build muscles to make them lean and improve your endurance.
• You work multiple muscle groups at once, for example: pull-ups work out your arms, lower back, and abs.
• According to the Harvard School of Public Health, “vigorous calisthenics burn more calories than many common cardio workouts”. This is due to the greater amount of muscle engagement that is required by these exercises.
• Since there is no equipment involved, there is also a reduction of risk for injury. This is makes this type of exercise easier on your tendons and joints. “Calisthenics are the most beneficial way to build functional strength,” and they make completing everyday tasks much easier on the body.
• Calisthenics can act as a self-confidence and self-esteem booster.
• This form of exercise creates more naturally built bodies due to being a full body workout.
• “The whole-body stability given by calisthenics allows for exponential capacities of full body control, balance, speed, endurance and flexibility.”
• Squats (a calisthenics exercise) engage the entire lower body as well as touching your back, core, and shoulders. Squats in general are fantastic but the best of these is the deep squat: it engages more muscles with more intensity (more intensity translates to more calories burned, yay!). Contrary to popular belief, deep squats are not bad for your knees; they actually may help strengthen the ligaments that operate the knee joint!
• There is less stress on your joints than weightlifting, and as it turns out, these exercises actually align your joints.
• Calisthenics actually increase your resting metabolic rate, enhance and develop muscular and aerobic endurance.
• Calisthenics are more effective at developing lower-body coordination compared to Pilates within the same period of time.
• Practicing calisthenics also helps increase flexibility by incorporating movements that fully extend the body. It also decreases your percentage of body fat! Bikini bod here you come.
• A popular calisthenic exercise is the jumping jack. This elementary school class does more than just burn calories: it also works towards heart health, strength, and stress relief.
• Your fat – burning metabolism is most effective while you run at intensities ranging from 47% to 64%. Sprinting is the most effective means of increasing your endurance, and it increases your maximum oxygen capacity. The added benefits of sprinting are a reduction in blood pressure, and increased production of endorphins, which help to relieve stress.
• One of the most well-known calisthenic exercises are push-ups. By placing your body in a way that requires your back and arms to lift your body weight, they capitalize on the laws of motion and leverage. The Resync Method (built on calisthenics and bodily resistance) also improves strength, endurance, cardio, flexibility, and balance through the utilization of your own body weight and resistance.
• One of the main reasons calisthenics are such successful forms of exercise is that their effects on the body cannot be replicated by weight training; they engage multiple muscle groups at once, and develop “proprioceptive awareness”.
BREAKING DOWN HOW SPECIFIC CALISTHENIC EXERCISES AFFECT THE BODY
• Push ups work a variety of major muscle groups such as triceps, pectoralis and deltoid muscles, chest & shoulders, and additionally works out the rotator cuff, back, and abdominal muscles. In doing so, they improve muscular balance, strength (specifically core), and mass.
• Squats have also shown to be an effective method for improving muscular strength in knee extensor and overall body composition. A study conducted in Japan argues that this especially true in adolescent boys. Please remember that stretching is always recommended: here are some steps to properly warm-up your legs before you exercise!
• Knee Bends work multiple muscle groups including the quads, hamstrings, hip abductors, calves, and glutes. They also tone the abs, glutes, hips, calves, shins, and thighs. This exercise promotes weight loss by burning fat in the long run; they even increase the density of the capillaries and mitochondria (the powerhouse of the cell) in your muscles. Knee bends are also great if you are looking to increase your flexibility!
• Lunges work the glutes, hips, hamstrings and quads. They also burn a ton of calories. In fact, Harvard Health states that “a 155-pound person can burn up approximately 55 calories with 10 minutes of calisthenic exercises, such as lunges”. Here are a few more reasons to lunge it out: they improve balance and coordination, while strengthening leg and core muscles.
• Sprints target hamstrings, quads, glutes, hips, abs, and calves while increasing loss of body fat. Sprinting also strengthens your heart, increases its size (in a good way), and improves blood flow.
• Pull ups work a variety of muscles: they engage the latissimus dorsi your back and arms(specifically brachioradialis) as well as your biceps and triceps (duh). • This exercise is beneficial for building “upper body strength and muscle mass,” and strengthening your grip. Fun fact: it can be turned into a great cardio workout too.
• Jumping jacks provide aerobic, strength, and relaxing benefits. They provide a whole body workout for all large muscle groups, elevate your heart rate to burn fat, tone muscles, and even improve blood flow and increase endorphins.
• Burpees target major muscle groups: chest, back, and thighs to be specific, but they also have an intense engagement of small muscles in torso, shoulders, and arms. Burpees improve your posture, tone muscles, and seriously target fat. Disclaimer: proper form is very important!
• Ab exercises improve your balance and stability. In doing so, you can prevent falling or injury during physical activity. They also alleviate lower back pain and improve posture. Here is a list of great ab exercises that don’t require equipment.