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Calisthenics

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There are numerous methods to beat the weight and stay fit, calisthenics workout being one of them. Bodyweight calisthenics exercises help in improving the overall fitness, physique and strength of a person. Calisthenics originated from the Greek words, 'kalos' meaning beauty and 'thenos' meaning strength. Check out the benefits of a calisthenics workout.


Calisthenics

Calisthenics involves numerous simple movements that are generally performed without weights or other equipment. Body weight is used for resistance. Calisthenics involve anaerobic exercise generally done without weights. The origin of calisthenics is linked to gymnastics. Disciples of Friedrich Ludwig Jahn share the credit of bringing in their own version of gymnastics to the United States. Initially, both men and women participated equally in this workout. Later on it became a favorite with women.


Every human body has its own innate activity pattern. Added physical activity in the daily routine helps in conditioning the body in a natural way. Calisthenics help in regaining the natural conditioning of the entire body. Methodical, regular exercises like push-ups and sit-ups are intrinsic to any calisthenics workout. They help in toning and strengthening the muscles and also help in improving the overall fitness of the body.


Calisthenics exercises are also popularly known as body strengthening exercises. These exercises help in improving the fitness level of a person by strengthening numerous muscles throughout the body including the cardiac and skeletal muscles. An increase in the heart beat rate helps in improving the health of the heart and lowers the risk of cardiovascular diseases.


Calisthenics exercise

Calisthenics exercises provide a balanced and exceptionally efficient exercise program. These exercises promote vigor, resistance, flexibility, agility, and coordination. Calisthenics exercises can be termed as tough, efficient and effective on the body. They focus on particular areas of the body. E.g. Sit-ups strengthens the abdominal muscles and push-ups focus on the pectoral muscles. Just a few exercises work the entire muscle group of the body.


Calisthenics exercise routine should be followed carefully. A 3-minute break is a must between each of the calisthenics exercises to give time for your body to 'recuperate'. While beginning the program, repeat each exercise five times and increase the number of repetitions as you get used to the exercise pattern and schedule. Begin with the core exercises always. Even as you add new and advanced exercises to your schedule, you have to start with core exercises and later on proceed to the advanced ones. This will help exercise your body in a total and balanced manner. Find you natural rhythm as you go along. The natural endorphins released during an intense calisthenics workout is known to increase the pain threshold in addition to creating a sense of well-being.

A simple yet effective calisthenics program is listed below:


Squats: Stand with feet spread apart, squat as much as possible while keeping your arms parallel to the floor. Get back to the standing posture and repeat. Other types of squats include squatting by lifting one leg off the floor in front of you and positioning both the arms in front of you for balance (mainly for lower body).

Sit-ups/crunches: Lie down on your back, position your knees at right angle. Place your hands below your head and support your head while you lift up slowly using your abdomen muscles (mainly for abdomen).

Arm rotation: Stand straight and stretch out your arms horizontally. Move your hands in a circular motion both in forward and reverse directions.

Knee rotation: Place your feet together, keep your hands on your knees. Gradually rotate your knees clockwise and then in reverse direction for one minute each.

Hip rotation: Stand straight and keep your hands on your hips, gradually rotate your hips in the clockwise direction and reverse direction for one minute each.

Flutter kicks: Lie down on your back and place your hands below your buttocks. Raise one leg at a time for a minimum of 6 inches from the ground. Follow leg motion similar to motion of kicking legs while swimming.

Jumping jack: Start in a standing position with both legs close to each other; hop up while spreading your feet apart as you hop. Keep clapping your hands over your head and then get back to the initial standing position.


Calisthenics workout


Calisthenics workouts increase the metabolic rate of the body hence these exercises should continue with a smooth flow from one exercise to another. The calisthenics workout should not be stopped all of a sudden in between exercises. Initially each exercise can be repeated for five times and as you get used to the workout each exercise can be repeated 25 to 30 times. It is recommended that you begin calisthenics workout after a few warm up exercises. This exercise workout can be made more interesting by playing music and following the rhythm.


Calisthenics exercise routine


  • Start slowly, exercise according to your stamina levels. Slowly and steadily increase the exercise repetitions and period. Calisthenics require high energy levels.

  • Exercise according to the energy levels of your body for the day. You need do all the exercises everyday. You can skip a day of exercising when you feel low and embark again when you feel better.

  • Calisthenics must be practiced in a safe, clean place. The flooring where you practice should be of even level. Good ventilation, lighting and serene atmosphere are equally important.

  • Wear comfortable clothing that is stretchable. A padded floor mat will be immensely helpful for floor exercises.

  • Begin with the core exercises and get on to the advanced ones later. Have a guide or friend to help and assist you during the workout.

  • Breathe well and drink water as you feel thirsty.

  • Stop exercising if you experience pain, discomfort, dizziness or shortness of breath.

Advantages of calisthenics workout


  • Calisthenics exercises can be done anywhere.

  • They turn out to be effective workouts for all age groups.

  • There is no need of any expensive gym or equipment for working out these exercises.

  • Overall strength and energy improves thus promoting overall health.

  • Helps in treating depression in people as it improves mental health.

Disadvantages of calisthenics workout


  • The number of exercises is limited.

  • Resistance cannot be varied as body itself is the resistance.
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