#MySport: Calisthenics

Calisthenics is a cool-sounding word for something that many of us have done before: Exercise with your own body weight. As simple as it may sound, it can be very efficient – and the big advantage is that you can train anywhere, anytime, without the need for a lot of equipment. In this blogpost, I’ll tell you about my approach to calisthenics and why you should try calisthenics.

My Story

I do not remember when I tried pushups for the first time and had my first contact with Calisthenics. However, I have seriously started my training with my own body weight when the term “calisthenics” had not been established yet .

At the age of 14 I first thought, that I wanted a body that was slightly more muscular and I started doing as many pushups as possible every night. Later, I added situps to my routine.

My interest in training with my own body weight was aroused and I began to research online and to integrate more and more exercises into my routine. When I started martial arts a few years later, these exercises continued to accompany me because they were always part of the training.

Even when I integrated strength training with free weights into my routine, Calisthenics was still very important to my training.

What does it matter if I can move a lot of weight but can not control my own body?

This way of thinking continues to this day and I make sure to integrate exercises with my own body weight in addition to the training with free weights into my routine.

The advantages

The advantages are pretty obvious. You can train anywhere, anytime and need very little or no equipment. That’s great, especially if you’re just starting out and do not want to invest money into a gym or equipment.

Also, the risk of injury is relatively low because you mostly do functional movements and limit yourself to your own body weight. Functional in this context means that the movements are based on movements from everyday life. Usually, you can apply the power that you build this way in your everyday life!

A little extra: It’s really cool when you master Muscle Ups, the Human Flag, or many other Calisthenics exercises. This is often much more impressive than, for example, bench pressing a lot of weight.

The disadvantages

Many people think that it is hard to build muscle mass with bodyweight exercises. I do not think so, but at some point it can be hard to build more muscle.

With conventional strength training, you can easily focus on your weak points with isolation exercises. This is very difficult with bodyweight exercises, as most exercises involve several muscle groups. This has 2 effects:

  • It is hard train your weak points specifically
  • Your weaker muscle groups could prevent you from mastering more difficult variations of some exercises

Generally, progression in calisthenics is slightly harder than with conventional strength training. While there are a lot of more difficult variations for many exercises, it often takes a lot of time and training to master them. This can be frustrating in the long run. In classic strength training, you simply use more weight for your exercises. Progression is much easier here.

Why not both?

I’ve compared conventional strength training and calisthenics, but you should ask yourself:

Why not both?

While conventional strength training (often associated with building muscle mass) and calisthenics seem to embody seemingly contradictory training approaches, these two approaches can be combined to achieve great restults in my opinion.

For many years, I have been integrating both approaches into my weekly training and am thus able to move a lot of weight, but also to master my own body pretty well.

Do you feel like trying Calisthenics now, but do not know how to start? Then check out my workout routine: Full-Body Workout without Equipment. You only have to spend 15 minutes 3 times a week, so you can easily immerse yourself in the world of training with your body weight!

How do you prefer to work out? Let me know in the comments!

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