Fitness is a very subjective word. For some, it means doing 20 push-ups in a go, for some others, it means running a kilometer or two without stopping. One thing that is more true than anything about fitness is that you can’t be steady and fit both. Fitness and growth are synonyms. And growth is not limited to an increase in the size of your biceps or chests. Fitness requires pushing yourself to redefine your known limits. They often say that fitness is a 40 percent workout and a 60 percent diet. But, if the former 40 percent is left ignored, the latter 60 percent may go in vain as well. How people workout has also changed over time. From bodyweight exercise to strength workout, it has been a full circle. However, the best workout to keep your body fit is a moderate one. One such exercise form is called Calisthenics.
Calisthenics is an extreme form of body-weight exercise that requires utmost control, balance, physical strength, and flexibility. It is the art of shaping your body using your weight. However, you can always use extra weights to make your exercise even tougher. But before you try emulating Frank Medrano or Jessie Graff, you must cover the basics. Strong arms, a strong core, flexible muscles, and a fighter spirit are prerequisites for learning and performing exercises. Despite all the characterization on the internet, there’s no basic level of calisthenics. You are either a learner or a practitioner. There’s no perfection either, because, ‘Sky’s the limit’.
Some key advantages of calisthenics include no gym requirement, free of cost, the best way to burn fat, and of course you’ll look cool walking on your hands. Not many can do that.
We’ve compiled a list of 5 calisthenic exercises that will help you in shedding fat and gaining strength.
1. Pull-ups: This is the basic exercise that everyone should master before moving forward to complex exercises. All you need is a rod that can bear your body weight to do pull-ups. Stand below a rod or exercise bar and hold it with both the hands in such a way that the grip is slightly wider than your shoulders. Make sure that your wrists are not tilted. Now try pulling up your body weight using the strength in your arms. However, you can bend your knees to thrust upwards in the beginning but a perfect pull-up is where no lower body strength is used. Try performing 10 repetitions where one repetition includes pulling yourself up and coming down in the same motion. Your head should be above the bar. This exercise helps in building arm strength and also helps in building a strong core. A perfect workout for strong arms and shoulders – a must-have requirement for calisthenics.
2. Dips: Dips are slightly tougher than pull-ups. You can perform them at home, in the park, or at the gym. You need two bars that are erect parallelly at a height slightly higher than the ribs. Stand inside the space between two bars. Hold the bars from the top in such a way that your palms are facing downwards. Now lift yourself using the strength of your arms and shoulders while applying force from your palms downwards. Keep your core tight and legs crossed with each other. Bend your elbows using the triceps muscles to move down and stretch them using the downwards force on the rods to push yourself up. This exercise triggers your triceps, arms, and shoulders.
3. Muscle-Ups: It might take you longer to learn a muscle-up and hence, you should be patient and determined to learn this exercise. A muscle-up is an extension of a pull-up that requires much more strength and stability. A trademark calisthenics exercise, it is a combined movement of two exercises, pull-ups, and dips. To perform a muscle-up, you first do a pull-up, hold when you are up and perform a dip from there. Sounds simple, right? Well, it isn’t. It requires tremendous strength and practice. After you go up in a pull-up position you need to ship focus to your triceps and apply downward force to go up with a jerk. To complete a muscle-up, your waist must be above the level of the bar. Once you have mastered this exercise, you’ll get Superman-like strength in your arms.
4. Human Flag: There’s no better time to defy gravity than your youth. What if someone told you that you can stand on a pole horizontally? That too with the help of your hands. Well, a human flag is almost like that. It is one of the most intense exercises but once you have mastered this you can always show-off your skills to impress people. A typical street workout, to perform a human flag, you need a rod or pole erect on a ground. Place your right hand a few inches above the bottom of the pole and your left hand in the upper part at a distance slightly wider than the shoulders to get a strong grip. The thumb of your bottom hand must be facing downwards while the thumb of the other hand at the top must be facing upwards. Now try to lift your body in the air in such a way that you remain parallel to the ground. Apply push force from the hand at the bottom and apply pull force with the hand on the top. This is the trick that will help you in finding the proper balance. After you are perpendicular to the pole, hold for a picturesque pose. One needs a really strong core to perform this along with immense strength in the upper body.
5. Handstand: The coolest of all, a handstand is where one stands on their hands with their feet in the air. Fitness enthusiasts have been performing this exercise for a very long time and it never goes off-style. You should start learning a handstand near a wall or a tree to avoid injuries. Also, make sure that you perform it on grass or a mat rather than a concrete floor. Get on your palms and toes. Now start walking towards your arms to make a V. After you have reached the closest you can, try kicking upwards from one leg and follow the same with the other leg. Keep your core straight and tight and make sure that the weight falls on your fingers not only on your wrist joint as it will help you in finding the right balance. Try doing it without support. This exercise helps in boosting immunity, improving the bowel system, proper blood flow, increasing the core strength, and relaxing the nervous system.