Calisthenics is but one of many types of strength training. Specifically, it uses your own bodyweight, without any equipment. This includes repetitive motions such as push-ups, squats, crunches, or even the agonising burpees, wherein you are essentially fighting gravity through these exercises through push and pull (or jump, bend, and twist). Sometimes, this is done on bars and rings, but isn’t entirely necessary. These exercises build muscle, stamina, flexibility, and overall fitness.
Calisthenics originated from physical education programs in the 19th century, with gymnastics exercises at its core. Competitively, it shares similarities with dance and gymnastics routines, in that it is performative. On the street, calisthenics can be translated to aesthetic parkour or a “street workout”. It can be done solo or in groups, and requires balance, strength, and teamwork.
However, while there a lot of different ways calisthenics is practiced, a calisthenics workout is a little different. Since it doesn’t require any equipment, it can be done in any location – whether inside in a small space or outside in a park (“street workout”) and but still affords you variety and strength training with little hassle.
Indeed, a home-gym doesn’t necessarily have to be massive power racks with cables and weights, dumbbells, and a sparkling clean bench. Instead, it could just be something as simple as a staircase to climb up and down, a well-worn rug to do some floor exercises and a good pair of runners.
Some exercises you might want to start out off with include:
- Push-ups: to build your upper body strength and core.
- Sit-ups: to build your core and abdomen.
- Lunges or squats: to build your glutes and lower body.
- (Box) jumps: to build your lower body, legs, and balance.
- Running or jogging: to build your endurance and get some cardio!
Calisthenics is just one approach to strength training. Fitness equipment is not cheap, and it is important have a strong foundational knowledge and skill before spending thousands of dollars on your home-gym. It’s a great place to start, and we recommend doing more of your own research and watch some videos on how to get your form and technique accurate.
Once you start gaining confidence, you can consider getting some equipment to make your calisthenics journey easier. Common equipment include:
- Gym rings or a bar (for chin-ups, muscle-ups, and pull-ups)
- A plyometric box (for step-ups, box-jumps, and dips)
- Skipping rope (for increased agility, endurance, and coordination)
- Free weights (build strength faster and add more variations to all exercises)
- Resistance bands (to improve form and use your bodyweight against you more effectively)
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Ultimately, calisthenics is the perfect way to start your fitness journey and learning how to do calisthenics exercises is the best foundation for building knowledge, form and skill.
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