The question of all questions: what is calisthenics?
Calisthenics is a sport that deals with the archetypes of movement. In plain language, you pull yourself up on things, push things away from you, or cling to them. This is where functional fitness comes into its own. Main disciplines are things like the muscle up, the pull-up, the dip or the front lever. There are also exciting holding exercises such as the Iron Cross or the Human Flag. To clarify any terms you may be unfamiliar with, the pull-up and the dip are the two components of a muscle up. First you pull yourself up on a bar, then after you reach the "tipping point" you push your body up until you are holding it with straight arms over the bar. Without wanting to scare you: The muscle up is a basic discipline in the higher ranks of athletes who practice calisthenics at competition level.
More complex is always possible:
The Human Flag and the Front Lever are not without reason components of bodyweight sports that get the most media attention. In both exercises you hang freely in the air. The Human Flag is performed by holding a pole to the side. By tensioning your entire back and torso, you then bring yourself up parallel to the ground, so you hang like a flag on the pole. Hence the name "Human Flag". The front lever (also front lever) is almost simpler. Here you also bring your body into balance, but below a pull-up bar. Your arms remain straight and at an angle to the rest of the body. The body itself also goes into a stretched position. This is where your core and grip strength suffer most!
What is the carryover for functional fitness?
A workout that requires your own body weight requires all of your senses. When you lift a weight, your whole body is used, but individual muscle groups may be isolated. In a frontlever, for example, but at the latest in a freestyle consisting of several elements, the entire body has to work. The result: Your posture and your body tension improve, smaller and deeper muscles are also stressed. You can't avoid gravity, but sometimes you can. That means for you: With calisthenics you inevitably improve your basic strength. You can't do anything about it. The individual exercises are, just like in gymnastics in general, scalable down to the smallest detail and are therefore suitable for all levels of athletes. Even someone who is standing at a bar or entering a gym for the first time can be tempted by calisthenics in no time.
In addition, things like a steely grip are also advantageous in weightlifting or kettlebell sports. Fitness is a holistic approach. Bodyweight training must and should take up a significant part of your training time, coming lockdown or not.
Pull-ups, pull-ups, pull-ups-where are the legs?One of the criticisms that calisthenics has to admit is that the upper body is much more dominant than your lower body. Most exercises use a pull-up bar or rings like the Via Fortis ones in our shop to work on. However, it cannot replace a squatrack. So in order to build maximum strength outside of the sport and to be prepared for all kinds of interdisciplinary competitions, you should only consider calisthenics as part of your sporting career. Restricting yourself to just that may push you to the limit when it comes to your legs. Although your quads develop through the torso tension, calves, joint strength or knee stability are hardly challenged or promoted by calisthenics on parallel bars and the like.
Conclusion: home gym and programming - please with calisthenics
We at wodmagazin are fans of seeing someone do multiple one-arm pushups in a row, only to then do dips on the bars with a 180° rotation. Calisthenics is a sport that encourages grip and speed while making you an entertainer without having to show off. With the help of bands, such as those from Lift Heavy or rings from Via Fortis, you can make exercises easier and take pressure off your body if they are too difficult for you at the beginning. Trust us: low-hanging rings or a strong band are great for training the technique of a muscle-up!
Find your balance:
However, if you're competitive in fitness, flirting with Hyrox, or if military fitness is your thing, then you need more than calisthenics to discover your full potential. From our point of view, no workout is really fun without body weight.
How about you: do you belong to Team Body or Team Weight? Show us with a comment!
Photos from the RENEW Festival in Braunschweig // Cali38 - Calisthenics Braunschweig
Ich bin Team Body&Weight :-). Sowohl Eigengewichts- als auch beladenes Cali Training macht Spaß.