Calisthenics EXPLAINED! All You Need To Know About Calisthenics

Have you ever googled, how to get a well-rounded exercise routine? Did you ever feel confused by the results? Ever see, what is calisthenics as a result? That’s because most sites don’t know how to tell apart between different forms of exercise. You can find a form that works for you if you know the kinds of results you want.

Let’s take a strong well-rounded set with optimal results for a cut body. Then you need Calisthenics, one of the oldest and most well-known forms of exercise.

What is Calisthenics?

Calisthenics, to put it simply, is a kind of exercise that uses a lot of different movements to move big muscle groups. You’ll be doing as much movement as possible, including standing, running, pushing, grasping, etc. The main focus is that you’ll be using your own bodyweight to preform them and minimal equipment. 

They increase fitness, flexibility and strength, through movements like pushing, pulling, jumping, swinging or bending, using bodyweight for resistance. The ancient exercise has been practiced in Ancient Greece using to train the best armies of the Ancient World. The Spartans were well known for using the practice to preform at their best for battle.

If you want the overall workout then calisthenics will provide both muscular training and improve your balance, coordination and agility.

Even though it’s been around forever, there are different types of the exercise going around. Known as Urban or Competitive calisthenics, the exercise is blowing up as a competitive sport that combines acrobatics and gymnastics.

It’s basically a street workout, usually done in a group where you have to train your body to level up. The most important part is being to do freestyle moves like flips, kicks and spins.

What Is Most Important To Start?

It’s often recommended to start that you need to understand what goes into your routine. The best thing about calisthenics is that it can be done just about anywhere. That’s what makes it so flexible! The most basic routine are going to target your largest muscle groups. You need to make sure to follow the most basic routines before attempting a one arm pull-up.

You have to decided on what you want to build. Do you want a wider back? Do you have to pull yourself up with one arm? A good calisthenics workout will be able to include every muscle group you want to work.

  • First- Draw up your usual gym or home routine.
  • Second- Decide what muscles you want to work or where you want to see improvement
  • Three- Decide which exercises will add the most to your routine
  • Four- Slowly implement the routine, you don’t want to add too much to fast

For beginners, it’s recommended to layout a routine that does a short amount of sets and reps. You should also know what is being targeted in an exercise. Click Here for more info on workout plans for beginners in calisthenics.

Pull-Up’s – This seems simple for a lot of people, but pull-ups have a wide range of uses. Your lat’s or latissimus dorsi muscle, are the back muscle that helps you support your shoulders. There are tons of ranges and grips for pull-ups which is why it’s recommended to include any normal gym routine.

Pull Up

Floor Routine – This is just you and your body and the floor. These exercises will work your full body, but can also be used to strengthen your core. Your tensor muscles, flexor muscles, and oblique muscles all support your back and arms. These exercises will make sure you are able to target longer sets for endurance.

Squats – The name is misleading, as these range row high energy squats and lunges. Adding extra weight to squats will be to sure to balk out any Leg Day. They target your leg muscles known as the vastus lateralis, vastus medialis, and vastus intermedius. You can do these exercises without any extra equipment; they rely on your ability to use balance and gravity. They not only strengthen your legs, but add to your balance and agility. 

Burpees / Jumping Jacks – Similar to squat, burpees and jumping jacks are going to use your full momentum to get going. They’re the answer to getting cardio in any routine, but with also building muscle endurance. You’ll need to include sets to make sure that you can go longer for adding other elements to your routine.

How Does Diet Help?

If you really want to be able to pull yourself up by one arm or hang upside down, then you need to have a really strong endurance and strength base. A big part of this is being able to know what you should be eating. We get a lot of our energy from what we put into your bodies. If you aren’t eating the right kinds of foods, you might not see the results you really want.

You should understand that every person is different and what might work for someone won’t work for you. A diet is a thing that needs to be set per lifestyle and requires different things to function correctly.

The best starting point is that most adult persons need around 2500 calories per day. If you eat less than that, it might be because you are not exercising as much. You should first calculate your calorie input with a free online calculator. Once you’ve done that you can decide how space your meals correctly.

Most important of all is keep a food diary. If you are going to be on this journey to a better body, you have to hold yourself accountable. You might be surprised what you’re actually eating. This is a good thing, most people will assume they are eating correctly.

If you have any questions, a food diary can help a registered dietician or doctor figure out what needs to change. Many personal trainers also recommend the technique so that they can adjust a work out as needed. 

To keep a food diary you only need to know a few things:

Always record during meals not after- If you wait to long, then you’ll probably forgot what you actually ate. If you don’t want to it on a piece of paper, fitness trackers are a great digital alternative.

Be Specific- Include if you can, how much, where you ate, the est. calories in everything. The digital trackers will have a library you can pull from for information, but if your eating out your menu should have it listed.

Don’t stop- most people think one week is long enough to know how to change their habits. You really need at least three months to understand what’s going on. 

Change is important- if you find that you are not getting the result you want it could be your menu. You can look and compare week to week and your exercise routine to see what you should be changing.

Now that you have a way to keep track of these things you’ll need a secondary guide. What should you be eating? There are a ton of online diets that you might already be following, but this set of exercise allows for a minimalist approach. You only need a few guidelines to get started on how to build your meals for the best results.

What Should You Be Eating?

Some quick tops on how to get started to building a meal plan:

Avoid sugars and high fat- these foods shouldn’t be really eaten on a daily basis, but you should keep these to a low intake

Eat Organic- You can really never get enough of fresh fruit and vegetables. These natural foods will break down better in your body and give better energy through their vitamins. Often you might not live near somewhere you can get this easily, still try. If worse, frozen organic vegetables are better than canned vegetables.

Protein! Protein! Protein!- You don’t need to go full keto and eat only meat. Try to stick to lean meats with less fat percentage, turkey, chicken and lean ground-beef. If you can it, try and eat organic grass fed beef that hasn’t been treated with a lot of farm antibiotics. Your diet should not only consist of meat, but a well-rounded portion will make sure you’re getting the calories you need.

Cut Down of Dairy- Wheat and Diary products can often leave people feeling sluggish or worn down. They don’t need to be completely cut out, but stick to moderation. The lower carbs from consuming smaller portions should help with energy levels.

What goes into my exercise program?

We have so far covered what calisthenics is, how to start and what to eat, but now how to build your own. If you already know what muscles to target, then you’re on the right track. Calisthenics can be used with already established routine to build a muscle or can be started as a new routine. 

We’ve established that you don’t need equipment to get started, but if you would like to use it in your routine, there are guidelines. The most popular types of equipment can be ordered through any major retailer or you may live near a park with an open gym area. The top four that you should be on the look out for are:

Pull-Up Bar – These can be found at the gym or ordered for your home. Most routines are going to start with the pull-up making it by far the most versatile.

Recommended Read: Top 5 Calisthenic Pull Up Bars REVIEWED!

Resistance Bands – These are essential for helping you push in an exercise. They work regardless of which muscle group you’re targeting and are easily carried. They can add extra challenge to an exercise or act as an aid helping you stretch further.

Weight Vest / Dip Belt – For the more advance user, a weight vest or dip belt helps add extra challenge. They work by increasing how you work in each exercise, helping with both balance and endurance. Once off, you’ll notice how much longer you can go in your routines. It is not recommended to use with every routine or for total beginners.

Ab Wheel – This is another piece of more advance equipment, but essential to get to the next level. The Ab wheel works by rolling out in front of the person, forcing them to balance as they maintain a push-up. It is a great addition for any work-outs targeting the core or shoulders especially.

What about Calisthenics vs Weights?

You may be thinking, but what if I deadlift? Is calisthenics still right for me? The answer may surprise you. Calisthenics is in some ways better than just using weights. The benefits have included being able to target multiple muscle groups at once compared to just weights where you can ignore whole muscle groups.

You also have the added flexibility of taking your routine with you, where as weight training you most often have to be at the gym. Also, whereas weights require you to train with the same weight every day, calisthenics uses your body. Think about it, you’re forcing yourself to lift your own weight every time. It builds your endurance and lets you understand where you need to build out more. Calisthenics might not be able to build the same body mass, but it will help you get a better result than just weights alone.

Overall, it doesn’t matter if you decide to alternate between the two, it matters more than you have a routine. Calisthenics can make impressive results when combined with other exercises, but you have to commit to the results you want to see.

So do you feel you know, what is calisthenics now?  Overall you should be doing calisthenics if you’re looking for results. The program is so flexible that you’ll be able to practice anywhere. Also, with the rising popularity of the exercise, you might even be able to find a group or team to join. You’ll definitely start to see results in your body. Not only with how you look, but endurance and balance. If you need more research, try finding what calisthenics exercises are right for which muscle groups first. Find what program works for you and don’t wait!