If you're new to the gym or you really want to improve your strength, endurance,flexiblity and become full-body fit then look no further than Calisthenics. Calisthenic training is a modality of training that utilises full body strength and co-ordination from head to toe - all using only your own body weight as the resistance. Squats, Planks, Push Ups, Pull Ups, Burpees, and many variations in between are all good examples of calisthenic exercises that work multi-muscle groups all at the same time. A quick and focused calisthenic workout can take less than 20 minutes to complete from start to finish, which can be fit into even the busiest working lifestyle. Often the benefits of a short calistenic workout will challenge you in areas you just won’t touch with a traditional weights lifting gym session. A 20 minute session can give greater results than a typical 60 minute gym session.
A common sight at the gym with people wanting to lose body fat and build lean muscle is that they focus too heavily on the ‘body building’ style of training; often performing a set of chest press for example, resting for 1-2 minutes then repeating again and again. Sure these ‘isolation’ type exercises will promote strength to the chest, and don’t get me wrong will help build more beef to that area of the body, but in terms of giving you the most ‘bang for your buck’ and providing the 3-4 sessions/week gym user with the most benefit I believe calisthenic type training can offer so much more.
As the body holds itself up and works hard against the forces of gravity your muscles are forced to work a lot harder when compared with more 'simplier' isolation exercises. It is when the body has to stabilise and recruit the muscle fibres of many muscle groups simultaneously is why calisthenics is so effective. Your typical exercise session will be intensified, promote a greater symmetry of lean muscle development and full body strength. A body that is more cohesive and collectively strong as a unit is a body that is resistant against muscle imbalances (which will reduce potential for injury) and will result in a body that is not just ‘strong-looking’ but also provide a body that is functionally strong to the core.
Give it a try, perform 3 sets of 10 reps for each exercise below for a full-body workout. Ideally rest only at the end of each set, if you can. Otherwise reduce the time between exercises as your fitness improves.