Calisthenics, Gymnastics, along with other Body weight programs generally get a bad wrap for being insufficient when it comes to strength and quality of exercise. This is widely believed among the fitness community even among some fitness veterans. I used to believe it myself! However, through the last year I have learned some very interesting things regarding body weight exercise. I think you will find them quite helpful.
Before I start however I do want to make the remark that I am not in anyway putting down Weight training, in fact, Body weight routines can be extremely well supplemented with a weight routine, especially for muscle groups like the Quadriceps or Hamstrings which require weight to grow and develop substantially. Both Body weight and Lifting Routines have amazing benefits and can work even better together!
The Way Our Bodies are Supposed to Move
It is not unknown that mobility and range of motion have been part of our strength as human beings for millennia. However, in recent years with most living sedentary lifestyles, limited range of motion and rigid joints have plagued the populations.
However with Body weight workouts, most movements are compound and require extensive range of motion, such as the Pistol Squat shown above. The Pistol Squat requires range of motion and stability in the hips, an amazing quality of balance, and superb range of motion in the ankle to support the movement.
As stated above, with the pistol squat being just one example, some body weight strength movements require almost superhuman feats of stability.
And the main contributor to stability? You guessed it! The Abdominal Muscles.
You may notice that most gymnasts or street workout athletes have absolutely shredded abs and its for a good reason! The core is responsible for all stability, even in a simple movement like the Push-up or Pull-up, meaning their abs are always engaged leading to some pretty noticeable shreds in the stomach area.
YOU CAN BUILD MUSCLE, And Quite a bit Too!
Of course, the amount of muscle you put on can be predetermined by things like Genetics and Nutrition, it is entirely possible to put on muscle with Body weight exercises as well! I myself put on about 10 pounds of lean mass after switching over to Body weight exercise. Now you may be wondering how it is possible without any opposing force but your bodyweight?
They key is in Hypertrophy.
When it comes to building muscle with Calisthenics the key is having something called the “Body Builder Mindset” and through doing a certain amount and sets and reps till failure, you may find it quite easy to put on muscle depending on your fitness experience.
If you are a beginner you can expect to put on quite a few pounds of muscle within the first few months of training also known as “Newbie Gains”
If you are more experienced it may take a bit longer but it is definitely still possible as long as you follow the right routine!
A good example of Hypertrophy is…
2 Sets of Pull-ups till failure, 3 minutes of rest in between sets.
Here are 5 more Benefits for Those Who Wade it This Far
Now I could go on and make this article longer than your Grandmas Thanksgiving stories but that would keep you here for quite a while wouldn’t it? And I want you to be able to apply this information you your routine ASAP, so here are 5 more benefits of Body Weight Exercise.
- Anywhere Anytime– Body Weight Exercise can be done literally anywhere, on the go, or in the comfort of your own home, no expensive gym memberships, and no contracts just you! Though if you want to take it a step further you can choose to buy equipment like resistance bands or roll out wheels.
- Staying Lean– With most Calisthenics workouts requiring lots of short bursts and explosive movements, many may find it quite easy to stay lean, no matter the season.
- Combining Cardio and Strength Training– When it comes to weight regimens, most struggle to combine Cardio and Weights as it is time consuming and it drains energy, however you’ll find that most body weight workouts are enough to make your muscles sore and get your heart rate going, even the lightest of workouts are enough to make your heart rate elevated.
- Challenging for All fitness levels!– If you are a plain beginner or someone who has been in the fitness industry for a decade, there is always something for you! For example with the push-up. Beginners may start with a standard push-up while more advanced fitness goers may do One Arm push-ups or superman push-ups.
- NEVER GET BORED!!!- They beauty of body weight exercise is the fact that there are thousands of different progressions, exercises, and ways to mix up your workout! When you start to burn out, you will find it quite easy to switch it up and keep things fresh. 😉
White it is different for everyone and there is no “best” way for everyone to workout, Calisthenics can be life changing and offer up tons of benefits, even more than the ones I have listed! Whether your at home, travelling, or like to be at the gym, body weight training can be done by anyone, anytime, and anywhere!