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Posted 16 July 2011 by, Writer: Alex Zinchenko

10 Reasons To Include

Calisthenics Into Your Routine

I’m going to state this straight to your face: You must include calisthenics into your training routine for ultimate development. Pretty straightforward but it is true. Even more. I have tons of reasons why you should use your own bodyweight in your training but I compressed them to 10 most important.

What Is ‘Calisthenics’?

At first let me explain you what is ‘calisthenics’. Calisthenics is a form of training where you use only your bodyweight as resistance. In other words it’s bodyweight training. So is it those endless push-ups and sit-ups? Hell no. Calisthenics is much more than that. Although legwork is pretty limited to pistols or plyometric stuff, there’s upper body feats of strength that seem almost unachievable. For example, One-Arm Handstand Push-Up or One-Arm Planche. Calisthenics can be ultra hard. Try some advanced moves and drop me a note how it was.

10 Reasons Why You Should Include Calisthenics into Your Routine...

1. Calisthenics are easier on joints.

Bodyweight training (if you use it properly) is actually easier on joints than weight training. It can be explained by the fact that the only resistance you use is your bodyweight. If your joints hurt after too many weight training you can switch to bodyweight only training for couple of weeks or even month and heel your joints through calisthenics.

2. You can perform calisthenics everywhere.

It’s that easy. You can get a great workout literally anywhere. The only equipment you will need is a place to hang from, the wall and the floor. Quite cheap and achievable.

3. Calisthenics provide greater neural adaptation.

You can get stronger actually in days not weeks. That’s a great phenomenon. Couple of days ago I was able to do a single in full range handstand push-ups (I was performing them from kettlebell handles; it’s like a military press with a bodyweight). Right the next day I was able to make 4 singles throughout the day. And the next day I did a double! I added 100% in only 2 days. And it’s not uncommon. You can progress faster in bodyweight movements by practicing them.

4. Calisthenics force you to treat training as practice.

It’s very important. It’s like riding a bike. At first you were falling all the time. Next couple of days you were falling 2/3 of time. Then ½ of time. Then just couple of times. And then you learned to ride a bike without falling. You practiced the skill and perfected it. The same is with strength training. The advantage of bodyweight training is that you don’t need to imagine something. You are actually learning skills like Back Lever, Front Lever, Muscle-Up etc.

5. You can train up to 6 days a week.

Even every day. Calisthenics are easier on nervous system so you can train more frequently. And the more you train without burning out the more results you will achieve. I’m a big fan of frequent training so it’s awesome reason to use calisthenics for me ☺.

6. Plyometrics.

Explosive push-ups, explosive pull-ups, explosive dips, explosive lunges etc. All these exercises train your explosiveness and dynamic strength. It will supplement your maximal strength big time. For example, month ago I was struggling with weighted chin-up with 50.5 kg of additional weight. Then I added explosive pull-ups to my training regimen. Clapping Pull-Ups, Change Grip Pull-Ups and Muscle-Ups to be precise. Couple of days ago I nailed weighted chin-up with 50.5 kg with ease. Also admit that I wasn’t training at all weighted chin-ups for a month or more. Even more than that. I nailed weighted chin-up with 58.5 kg to eye level. That’s the power of plyometrics.

7. Static Exercises.

Back Levers, Front Levers, Planches, Human Flags etc. You will expose your body to whole new world of loads. Believe me, these skills not only look awesome, but will load your muscles in ways you have never imagined before.

8. Calisthenics will help you with any goal.

Whether you want bigger muscles, insane strength or those abs, bodyweight training will get you there. If you want strength then pick the hardest exercises. If you want muscle pick hard exercises and add volume. If you want to get ripped train more frequently and faster. And watch your diet.

9. Old time strongmen were proficient in calisthenics.

You may think why bother with those oldies if you want to be cut and jacked? Look at Pyotr Kryloff, Eugene Sandow, Arthur Saxon, Sig Klein, John Grimek. They were proficient in weights AND in calisthenics. They mastered their bodyweight. That’s why, I think, they were so insanely strong and proficient with weights. Master your bodyweight. It’s not cool when a lifter can pull 600 lbs deadlift and can’t do even 1 pull-up.

10. Calisthenics look awesome ☺

Try to make a human flag in crowded place. You will understand what I mean.

Final Thoughts

I can actually go on and on talking about calisthenics but that’s enough for this time. One more thing. I don’t mean that you should completely quit weight training. I’m a big believer that the more implements you include in your training the better overall strength you will achieve. But you can achieve everything even with your bodyweight only. That’s it. Thanks for reading., Contributing Writer: Alex Zinchenko  
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