Calisthenics have been around for thousands of years and is indeed one of the first forms of exercise. If you are into action movies, you have undoubtedly heard of the movie 300 featuring the warrior clan of Spartans. Spartans, around 600 to 400 B.C., are known to be one of the first groups of people to practice calisthenics as part of their daily regimen. In the east, Chinese shaolin monks are also known to practice calisthenics to build strength and flexibility. Calisthenics is consist of various exercises, like jumping, bending, kicking, and twisting, that focuses on the use of one’s bodyweight to improve both muscular and cardiovascular strength. Today, calisthenics is still widely practice in schools and in the military.
What Makes It Better?
Calisthenics have a lot of benefits compared to other types of exercises even the more modern ones. Calisthenics uses your own body weight to provide the resistance which is exponentially safer and more effective in many ways. Unlike most exercise programs today, you can burn fat, build muscle mass and increase strength and flexibility all at the same time. While there are some variations of calisthenics that does use some additional weight like chains, majority of the exercises are purely bodyweight.
Burns Fat Faster
One of the fastest and most effective ways to get rid of that flab is aerobic exercises which primarily stimulates your heart rate increase which in turn burns a lot more of your reserve energy. Calisthenics exercises increases your heart rate quickly through a mixture of slow and fast, but often deliberate, movements and routines. This not only burns a lot more energy but increases your metabolism which helps you burn more calories as you go about your day. This is mainly due to the fact that calisthenics allows you to build more muscle mass without having the need to take in a lot of calories. This means that you can finally enjoy the best of both worlds, burning more fat while building lean muscle mass.
Safer on Your Joints
Calisthenics do not require you to lift weights which mean your joints do not get punished as much. This all boils down to logic, it is simply safer to do push-ups than to press 200 lbs. of weight over your chest. When you are weightlifting, your body is often put into somewhat compromising position which, no matter how safe we try to be, can eventually cause problems to our joints. The fact that there are exercises in calisthenics that can yield the same muscle mass and strength means you can get just as strong and muscular without the added risk of joint pains due to excessive pressure.
Incredible Strength Training
Calisthenics have been around for so long that even the Spartans knew about its strength training capabilities. Granted that they had no access to more modern strength training equipment that we have today but the fact that they are famed for their sheer physical prowess is a testament to calisthenics’ effectiveness. Calisthenics also challenges you in a realistic and safer way because you are carrying your own bodyweight. How often have I seen guys who can bench press upwards of 200 lbs. but can barely finish a 10 repetition set of push-ups. This means that, granted that they may be big, they are still not strong. Calisthenics is the natural way of testing and increasing one’s strength and it also ensures that your body will not be forced to handle stresses that it is simply not built for.
There are so many calisthenics exercises and variations that it is virtually impossible to run out of variety. All you need is a bit of imagination. This is also one of the biggest advantage of calisthenics over more modern machine exercises which are often designed for one or two exercises, five at most. The virtual limitless possibility of calisthenics exercises also ensures that you do not get bored with your workout which is one of the biggest reasons why people lose interest working out. Variety also makes it almost impossible for you to hit a state that is all too common for weightlifters which is called plateau.
Simplicity and Cost Effective
Calisthenics routines are very simple and do not require the help of professional trainers for you to get results. This also means that you can do it pretty much anywhere. You can do it in a park or at the privacy of your own home. All you need are a few bars and you’re golden. You do not need to purchase a lot of equipment which can burn a hole in your pocket. This is the best thing about this kind of exercise program, the sheer user-friendliness that makes you want to go on and on without having to worry about how much space you have or how much money you will have to spend.
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