Nowadays, there are several trends that are starting to stand out in the world of fitness. In my view, some are of a more commercial and temporary nature and others have even come to stay with their own structure and communities that support them beyond economic interests. The Calisthenics , also known as Street Workout , belongs to the latter category. It is a global movement which, because of its unique characteristics, is attracting millions of people and turning them into “calisthenics”.
Definition of Calisthenics
If it tried to provide as comprehensive a definition as possible, updated according to how the movement is currently evolving and complementing previous definitions, it would be something like this: A sporting modality, focused on the development of relative strength, using the ground and different types of bars, and which covers different exercises and plans of progressive difficulty, which require power and control of one’s own body weight.
Main features of Calisthenics
The characteristics of Street Workout can be broken down as follows:
- You can train without equipment or with bars . As such, you can train both at home and in the gym, but generally people train outdoors in parks and squares where bars are available;
- They practice compound exercises that work with the body weight , being the most basic ones are the flexion of arms in the fixed bar, dip of triceps, crunches and squats;
- The exercises can be worked on repetitions, static and negative positions or in freestyle mode;
- The main objective is to perform a demonstration of relative strength (strength in relation to your own body weight), which explains why practitioners work on exercises of increasing difficulty;
- In each exercise, the correct technical execution and control are valued .
Benefits of Calisthenics
One of the things that distinguish Calisthenics as a sport is its structural benefits: you can train without equipment, with a simple bar you have at home, or abroad, if you prefer … In fact, you can train wherever you want, all you need is the floor and a little imagination to find something you can hold on to. Another structural benefit is the infinite number of exercises . Already there are guides with over 200 different exercisesand as you become familiar with them and dominate you will realize that everyone can be adapted and changed to create countless new exercises, as far as your imagination leaves. In addition, this unlimited range of exercises goes from the easiest, which can be done by anyone without any previous training, to the most difficult and spectacular, which require years of training. Let us now see the benefits to your physical condition, health and others:
It is an honest method of training
Training based on one’s own body weight means maintaining an ideal percentage of fat. If you want to reach higher levels, you can not neglect your diet. Therefore, you should always maintain a good physical condition.
Easily adapts to other training and sports modes
Bodyweight exercises have always been used as a basis for physical fitness in most sports. In addition, the infinite variety of exercises and range of motion, progressive difficulty, coupled with increased strength, balance, agility and flexibility make Calisthenics an ideal platform for all types of training and sport.
Controlling body weight is extremely rewarding
One of the most rewarding things is to train hard and master an exercise that once seemed impossible. Being able to do muscle-ups, handstands, and push-ups will make you feel rewarded for the training hours you spent.
Although this is not the main goal, Calisthenics translates into a continuous increase in muscle mass. Your muscles will not only have an aesthetic dimension, they will allow you to perform true demonstrations of strength and control of body weight.
Flexibility, agility, balance, strength, endurance and speed of movement
Calisthenics develops all basic and complementary physical capacities. If you reach an advanced level, you will have achieved good performance in all these areas and an incredible capacity in some of them.
As with all physical activities, Calisthenics provides benefits to the health of your heart and joints, prevents disease, and slows down the aging process . Besides being a sport with a significant social component (especially if training abroad), it is a source of mental well-being.
This sport provides a cycle of work, improvement and reward (workouts to complete an exercise or a number of repetitions – you progress, you can do it and then you can master it). This makes it highly addictive and rewarding, as mentioned earlier. In addition, established social relationships with other practitioners increase your motivation and dedication to this sport.
Who can practice Calisthenics?
As mentioned previously, Calisthenics is a sport that has incredibly flexible exercises, so the only necessary condition is that you do not have a medical or health problem that prevents your practice (in case of doubt, always ask your doctor). You will often see people in parks where there are Calisthenics equipment, from teenagers 13 and 14 to adults over 50, with different levels and skills in each of the age groups. You do not need to have basic strength or be able to easily control your weight and you can start even if you’ve never played sports . In the next section, we’ll cover the practice of Calisthenics .