Discover the untapped potential of your body’s true power through calisthenics
Exercise routines in the gym can often feel monotonous, leaving you looking for a change of pace. That’s where calisthenics comes in. This dynamic workout gives you control over your own body weight while helping you enhance your strength, endurance, mobility and coordination. In short, calisthenics can elevate your fitness level, and you can do it anytime and anywhere, without the need for expensive equipment or gym memberships.
Calisthenics has a long and rich history dating all the way back to 600 B.C. in ancient Greece. Back then, it served as an essential component of Spartan military training. The term “calisthenics” comes from the ancient Greek words kállos (meaning “beauty”) and sthenos (meaning “strength”). In the nineteenth century, calisthenics gained popularity as a form of physical education. Friedrich Ludwig Jahn, a German gymnastics instructor, is credited with popularizing calisthenics in Europe. Jahn believed this exercise could help foster physical and mental strength in individuals.
Since then, calisthenics evolved and gained popularity among diverse groups, including women, soldiers from various countries, school children and more.
In 2008, the exercise grew in popularity when Hannibal Lanham (famously nicknamed “Hannibal for King”) played a significant role in introducing it for a new era of street workouts through his top-rated YouTube channel. Today, you can find hundreds of thousands of devotees on Instagram posting their workouts and sharing tips and tricks. Calisthenics has become a fitness movement.
Making calisthenics a part of your regular workout routine can impart a long list of benefits for your body and lifestyle. Think a stronger and leaner body, less body fat and better fitness endurance
INCREASE YOUR CARDIOVASCULAR FITNESS
Regular calisthenics practice can improve cardiovascular health, including endurance and heart function. High-intensity exercises such as burpees and mountain climbers get your heart pumping and blood flowing, providing the same cardiovascular benefits as interval training or running. All in all, it offers superior muscular and aerobic endurance.
BUILD MUSCLE AND STRENGTH
Calisthenics is a great way to increase muscle growth and strength. By utilizing your body weight as resistance, you force your muscles to adapt and grow, resulting in lean muscle mass, better posture and a lower body mass index. Consistent practice leads to greater muscle strength and more calories burnt.
With calisthenics, you work multiple muscle groups at once. Body weight movements—such as push-ups, pull-ups, jumping lunges—engage multiple muscle groups. Pull-ups, for example, don’t just work your biceps but also utilize your back and core muscles.
TRAIN YOUR BODY FLEXIBILITY, BALANCE AND COORDINATION
Performing calisthenic movements requires a lot of strength, flexibility and stamina, not to mention incredible coordination. Calisthenics movements use the full range of motion of every joint to stretch and strengthen muscles, tendons and ligaments. Calisthenics can enhance flexibility and reduce stiffness, allowing for better mobility and improving gross and fine motor skills.
ENHANCE MENTAL HEALTH
Calisthenics, like other forms of cardio, can improve your mood, reduce stress and improve your overall well-being. You can improve concentration and mental clarity by practicing calisthenics regularly with discipline and focus. Studies have found calisthenics helps keep our brains healthy, reduces the risk of cognitive decline and prevents neurocognitive diseases like dementia.
SIMPLICITY AND ACCESSIBILITY
No exercise equipment? No problem. Calisthenics is one of the most straightforward workouts, requiring minimal or no equipment. Calisthenics exercises are also easily adaptable, making them suitable for any age and can be performed practically anywhere, making fitness accessible to all.
TYPES AND VARIATIONS
Calisthenics movements fall into five types: pulling, pushing, core, legs and plyometric exercises. By following a well-structured calisthenics training plan that incorporates exercises from every category, you can maximize the benefits of this sport and effectively train all muscle groups. Here are some calisthenics exercises classified according to their categories:
- Pulling: pull-ups, chin-ups, rows, bicep curls, muscle-ups.
- Pushing: push-ups, dips, handstands.
- Core: plank variations, leg raises, sit-ups, butterfly hold, hollow hold.
- Legs: Squats, lunges, step-ups, single leg.
- Plyometric movements: burpees, jump squats, box jumps, mountain climbers.
Begin with simpler movements and gradually increase the intensity of your workouts. Don’t forget to warm up before you begin and cool down afterward. As little as 20 minutes of calisthenics training three days a week can significantly benefit your body and mind.
We are designed to move. So, if you want to live your best possible life and feel your best, start moving as a way to invest in your health and well-being. Calisthenics offers a multitude of benefits while saving you time and money. Give calisthenics a try and unlock your full fitness potential.
Photography Wong Sim
Styling Peter Zewet
Grooming Irene Tedj
Styling assistants Edwin Habibun, Jay Robert Davies
Model Mitchell Wick/Chadwick
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