Calisthenics, which originated in Greece, have been used for years by the U.S. military, law enforcement and workout buffs to get in shape and firm up. Even famous bodybuilder trainer, the late Joe Weider, advocated free-hand exercises before people took up weightlifting to get their bodies acclimated to resistance training. If you are interested in starting a calisthenics regimen, following are some of the key benefits you can enjoy and experience.
You can perform these bodyweight exercises from the comfort of your home, hotel room or even outside on your private beach. And you won't need to waste time traveling to and from a workout facility. For example, you can do pushups and squats, two types of resistance exercises, while watching television in your den.
No Equipment Necessary
Although you can use chin-up bars or other gadgets for calisthenics, you don't need them. A simple towel or rope can provide resistance for triceps exercises, for example.
Many workout votaries spend hundreds and even thousands of dollars per year on gym memberships. Calisthenics cost you nothing. You just need the determination to do them on a regular basis.
Easier On Joints
Weightlifting puts excessive strain on your joints and tendons, making you much more susceptible to injuries. Resistance exercises using only your bodyweight are much easier on your joints.
You can be much more creative with your workouts when doing calisthenics. For instance, you can start your routine with some stretching and warm-up calisthenics before commencing more taxing resistance exercises. Touching both toes in alternating movements with your legs spread is a good stretching exercise, while jumping jacks can help you get the blood flowing. Then to vary your routine, try doing some Yoga movements some days and run in place to warm up.
If you need proof that calisthenics build muscle, purchase a vinyl measuring tape and start measuring the circumference of your muscles each month. Gains will come faster when you first start working out. Work your entire body for the best results. While pushups work chest, shoulders and triceps, place your left hand on top of your right palm to add resistance for one-arm bicep curls. Switch hands to work your left bicep muscle. Do three sets of 10–25 repetitions for each arm.
Using your body weight for resistance training allows you to employ more natural movements versus weightlifting, as you can distribute your weight more evenly. This, in turn, reduces your chances of getting injured.
Any exercises that burn calories can help you shed weight. But one advantage of calisthenics is that you can perform more exercises in a shorter period of time, which burns even more calories. To start working on your six-pack abs, perform leg lifts and crunches two or three times per week.
The Mayo Clinic reports that physical activity greatly reduces your risk for developing heart disease. Just perform the exercises at a faster past to increase your pulse rate for 15 to 20 minutes.
Any exercise, including calisthenics, increases endorphins, which are chemicals that make you feel better and reduce the perception of pain in the body. That's why many people who work out regularly get a natural high from their training, which can counteract bouts of depression.
As those in athletic administration graduate programs know, there are practically no cons to performing calisthenics, and their benefits are manifold. The key is to stick with your routine and accomplish the goals you set for yourself.
This feature was written by Dixie Somers. Dixie is a freelance writer and blogger for family, home, and business niches. She is the proud mother three girls and wife to a wonderful husband. Follow her on Twitter!