Calisthenics is a form of fitness that utilises the body and gravity to challenge the natural body movements.
The word "calisthenics" comes from the Greek words "Kalos", meaning beauty, and "Stenos", meaning strength, thus referring to beauty and strength (Daniels 2018). There are lots in common with Gymnastics and Calisthenics; however having evolved separately there are some differences too.
Why should you even bother with Calisthenics? That is a personal goal, and this guide gives you the tools if you want to pursue this course. The most beneficial element is that Calisthenics is based around the body's natural movements, but what we label Calisthenics is that version that pushes the body to its extreme capability.
Another way to think of Calisthenics is as the foundation for every form of strength-training (Daniels 2018). In terms of injury potential and financial costs:
- is it worth, attempting a bench-press if you cannot push yout body up in a press-up? (Daniels 2018)
- if you cannot pull yourself off the floor, is it worth concentrating on bicep curls?
- if a squat is a body's natural movement pattern, that makes gym squats a weighted calithenic exercise.
Daniels (2018) mentions a study in 2017, "The effects of a calisthenics training intervention on posture, strength and body composition", by scientists from the Sport and Exercise Sciences Research unit at the University of Palermo, Italy, found that calisthnics training is a "feasible and effective training solution to improve posture, strength and body composition wiwthout the use of any major training equipment."
Daniels (2018): "The study took 28 men, divided into two groups; one group practiced calisthenics for 8 weeks, while the other group continued with their normal workout routines. After 8 weeks, all of the participants underwent a body composition analysis, a postural assessment, a handgrip test and a press-up and pull-up test."
Results: "The men who trained calisthenics had improved their posture and lowered their fat mass, while the mumber of press-ups and pull-ups they were able to do had increased, even though their calisthenics training didn't include these specific exercises. in contrast, the group who continued with their normal training routines didn't really improve on what they could do before the eight weeks had begun" (Daniels 2018).