Want to get into calisthenics but don’t know how? Start here!
Calisthenics is one of the most effective ways to build an athletic, well-rounded physique – especially if you train at home. All you need is your own bodyweight (and maybe a couple of simple extra like a chin up bar or parallettes https://www.gravityfitness.co.uk/shop/).
Calisthenics – body weight mastery – is a style of training that has stood the test of time. And for good reason – it’s a simple but challenging way to train your body as one unit, just as it was meant to be trained. Calisthenics can be as simple or difficult as you want it to be, and there’s always something new to learn. The sense of progress and reward with this type of training is unique.
If you’re completely new to this style of training, or currently feel stuck at planks, press ups, and chin ups, here are 9 ways to progress your training.
No Equipment Necessary
Over time, you might like to add bars or a frame to your home gym. But for now just use your bodyweight. After all, calisthenics was developed by guys using outdoor playground equipment – so you can do it anywhere! Or just use floor space and a wall for balances and the basics.
Think About Posture
Calisthenics training will soon tell you about any misalignment in your body. If you spend the day sitting at a desk, computer, or in a car then you are probably internally rotated at the shoulders with a rounded upper back and forward head tilt. Your body will not be supported by benches or gym machines for callisthenics work – so these postural issues will be highlighted. Engage your core and glutes to support your entire body.
Master The Basics
Get good at the pull up, bodyweight dip, push up, handstand, and pistol squat – then you’ll know you’ve made it (to level one, at least!) Use progressions to get there. Negative chin ups, bent knee dips, push ups on your knees, wall-supported handstands, and assisted pistol squats. It’s all valid work and part of the process.
Get Started With Hand Balancing
Hand balancing is one of the most impressive and instantly recognisable moves in callisthenics. Get started by mastering frog stands, before moving onto elbow levers and supported handstands. Check out our blog posts about getting your first handstand here. https://www.gravityfitness.co.uk/skills-corner-mastering-the-handstand/
Combine Calisthenics & Strength Work
Bodyweight training will build strength, but basic strength can often hold you back at the beginning of your journey. So consider doing some extra strength work so your body has the muscular endurance to keep up with your mind (and imagination!)
Don’t Neglect Mobility
You need to stay flexible and agile if you want to master calisthenics. Do mobility work, yoga, and/or soft tissue therapy to stay mobile particularly around the shoulders, hamstrings, wrists, lower and mid back, and hips.
Joint Care Is Self-Care
Calisthenics might “only” use body weight, but that’s enough as far as your joints are concerned! Calisthenics training will put load through the connective tissue of your wrists, shoulders, elbows, knees – in fact, every joint in your body! So look after your joints. Eat enough healthy fats (20%-35% of total calories), consider supplementing with collagen, do soft tissue work, and keep up with your mobility.
Movements Not Bodyparts
Coming from a bodybuilding background? Then forget leg day and chest day. Instead, think in terms of movements (push, pull) or upper/lower. Train movements, not muscles. Calisthenics exercises work several body parts at once so there’s no need for a body part split approach.
Calisthenics is one of the most challenging forms of exercise – beautiful in its simplicity and endlessly rewarding! To start kitting out your home gym space with simple, functional body weight kit, check the Gravity Fitness store. https://www.gravityfitness.co.uk/shop/ And let us know if we can help!