You have probably seen groups or individuals training in an outdoor gym performing a street workout. This is the most common form of bodyweight calisthenics. You still can do your calisthenics training at home or in a gym setting but then you might need some calisthenics equipment. This article will look at what is calisthenics, what’s the best way how to start calisthenics and also list down the best calisthenics equipment you’ll need. Let’s dive in!
With the amount of material available online, it is easy to overcomplicate our training. You may have a fitness program that you can commit to for a week, but at the end of that week, you’ll be even more confused and annoyed than when you started since the amount of information available can be overwhelming. Don’t worry, you’ll find all the required and relevant information on Calisthenics in this blog.
The purpose of this article is to help you grasp the fundamentals of bodyweight fitness and calisthenics routines, as well as to provide you with the best and most suitable apps and equipment. That way, you’ll be able to discover how to arrange your calisthenics routines in a way that can assist you in achieving your fitness goals.
This blog discusses all of the major themes for those of you who are just getting started with calisthenics as well as for more advanced trainers.
What is Calisthenics Training?
Calisthenics is bodyweight training that uses minimal equipment because it mainly focuses on an individual’s own strength. It’s only fair to start with the fundamentals for all of the newcomers. To master anything, you must first understand what that thing is. Calisthenics is a type of bodyweight training that requires little equipment and focuses on a person’s natural strength.
With calisthenics training, you can increase your strength and flexibility. It also improves your balance and coordination. You can do it following a specific calisthenics workout routine or just do a freestyle version – either way it will be good for conditioning. You can improve your strength and flexibility by doing calisthenics exercises. It also enhances your coordination and balance.
Calisthenics exercise helps you to work with all of your body parts while also giving you better control. With this form of exercise, you can concentrate on training the complete body with proper technique rather than just focusing on one muscle area or group. Although Calisthenics at its core is supposed to be weight-free, you can, however, add weights to your calisthenics training routines to make it more intense, but it should come organically. By this, we mean that you shouldn’t add weights until you can lift yourself up! It will defeat the purpose of calisthenics exercise while also increasing the danger of injury.
Calisthenics training allows you to work with each of the body parts and have more control over your body. Because it’s weight-free, you focus on working the entire body with a correct form rather than train one specific muscle group.
To make it harder, you can still add weights to your calisthenics workout routines, however, it should happen naturally. It means that before you can actually pull yourself up, you should not add weights. It will take away the whole point of calisthenics training and increase the risk of injury.
Before we continue, let us remind you that while bodyweight fitness is wonderful for developing functional strength, muscular endurance, and learning new abilities, it is not the most effective training method for increasing muscle growth. If your primary aim is to become bigger, calisthenics will not be the most useful, but it will undoubtedly help you build the muscle endurance you’ll need for all that weightlifting and so on.
In calisthenics, you don’t necessarily perform push-ups to increase the number of push-ups you can do, and you don’t necessarily do pull-ups to increase the number of pull-ups you can do. These are byproducts, not the ultimate purpose. Similarly, you do not work out to get an attractive body. It’s all part of the adventure!
Aside from that, the purpose of calisthenics is to perfect the movement. Of course, there is a requirement for a baseline degree of strength, which can only be obtained by pounding out repetitions. However, after you have gained some basic strength, you will discover new worlds.
“Disciplines” of Calisthenics and Deciding your Goal
There are multiple reasons why people prefer calisthenics over traditional exercises, including the fact that there are numerous ‘disciplines’ that you may test to find what works best for you in the comfort of your own home and leisure.
Calisthenics workouts are ideal for folks who want the freedom to work out anywhere they want and at whatever time they want, or who just struggle to get to the gym. Having the option to work out at home or in your local park may be a significant benefit, and it may also help you save money by eliminating the need to pay for expensive gym subscriptions.
But the best thing about calisthenics is that there are so many different skills you can work on, and see the progress as you go in your grip, muscle, flexibility, and overall body.
Most people’s skills fit into one of the following categories: statics, dynamics, and handstands.
Static holds, often known as ‘isometric holds,’ involve holding your body stationary in a precise posture. Your muscles work hard and contract against a force in a static hold, but the length of the muscle remains constant, which retains you in a precise posture.
A seated wall squat is a simple static hold, but the human flag, planche, front and back lever, and v-sit are some of the most sought-after advanced static hold in calisthenics.
Statics are popular because they demonstrate your strength in relation to your body weight. Some of the advanced techniques mentioned here can however take years to learn and may need a particular exercise regimen to attain, but with constant effort and practice you can most certainly achieve these skills.
Dynamics, often known as “bar flow” or “freestyle calisthenics”, is all about power, velocity, and self-expression. Dynamics is mostly the format used in calisthenics contests all around the globe. The ability to move effectively is at the heart of calisthenics freestyle. Controlling momentum and knowing the mechanics of the body and the bar are key. Once this essential knowledge is achieved, the creative process begins.
Holding a handstand necessitates a great amount of body weight control. As a result, it’s no wonder that handstands are so closely associated with calisthenics.
Many calisthenics training regimens include handstands because they are excellent for increasing balance, shoulder strength, and posture.
Many people get so enamored with handstands that they make them their major workout aim!
General Strength Training – Beginner to Advance
We understand how tempting it is to go right into advanced methods and exercises, but doing so will only result in injuries, extreme weakness, exhaustion, and discontent. Start with the fundamentals if you’ve never done calisthenics training before, and even if you have, you should slow-start again. Work on the six major movements: pull-ups, handstands, dips, rows, push-ups, and L-sits. These are the calisthenics training pillars because they include the muscle groups that will be employed in many of the more advanced methods.
Remember that less is more; spending more time in the gym and exercising on more days will not result in greater outcomes. As a novice, 2–4 days, 1 hour per session is enough time to engage in solid, quality training while giving your body the time to recuperate.
Specific Strength Training – Advance
This is where you begin to concentrate on particular goals, static skills, rings, free-styling, and other aspects. Choose 2–3 targets to work on, such as the front lever, handstand, push-ups, muscle up 360s, or 30 pull-ups constantly, depending on what you desire and where you want to take your training. Plan your program in 4–8-week increments, with total training 3–6 days per week.
For example, if you aim to enhance your muscle-ups and handstand push-ups, each exercise you do in your program should help you in some way towards achieving those specific goals. You train on particular pulling power, grip, and core for the muscle-up.
How to Start Calisthenics?
The best way how to start calisthenics is by mastering the basics first. If you cannot do the fundamental exercises like push-ups and pull-ups with a clean form using your bodyweight only then you shouldn’t add any artificial weights.
Do effective HIIT routines first if you’re overweight. It will help you burn off some of those calories before going into calisthenics mobility training.
If you’re a person with a gym background then most likely your muscles are even stiffer than beginner’s muscles because the chances are you don’t stretch after training. You’ve probably have worked out a particular muscle group in isolation to other groups so your main goal should be to master your form. Don’t push it to the next level if you cannot do at least 10 clean pull-ups. There are plenty of pull-up bands to support your form and help you polish it.
Also, focus on getting your core as strong as possible because in bodyweight calisthenics your core is always engaged. In order to do so, you can do exercises like leg raises and supermen hold to strengthen it (or get a core set like this).
You should also be able to hold a clean plank for at least one minute before moving up to the next level. Your 6-pack will come either way, but the mobility and flexibility should be your primary aim. You must understand that you’re asking your body to be in positions in which he’s not familiar with. It’s the best way to prevent injuries and get all the benefits out of calisthenics training.
Don’t push it to the next level if you cannot do at least 10 clean pull-ups. There are plenty of pull-up bands to support your form and help you polish it.
I would recommend doing a minimum of 3 days resistance training per week (preferably one-day training, the next day recovery, one-day training, the next day recovery and so on). That should be enough for your body and your central nervous system to get used to the new physical activity especially if you’re a beginner.
On your training days focus on resistance and upper body workouts doing exercises like pull-ups. On your recovery days focus on flexibility and mobility. This means go out for a run or do some stretching. Make sure to have at least one day a week for rest when you do nothing.
Equipment you need for Calisthenics
Investing in calisthenics equipment will greatly expand the number of exercises you can try. This will help you achieve your fitness objectives faster since you will be able to bring variations to your workouts more easily and train different muscle groups with greater ease.
This section of the guide will go over the calisthenics equipment that is highly recommended for you to buy, so you can get the most out of your calisthenics workouts.
Parallettes are a portable type of gym equipment as compared to parallel bars. They are lightweight and portable, making them ideal for transporting to your preferred training location or facility. They also provide a low-risk, safe platform for practicing handstands, planches, and L-sits.
There are a variety of parallettes available. Plastic, metal, and wood are all options. Because of the quality and feel of the material, the majority of the gymnasts choose wood.
Apart from the material, you must keep in mind that the height might also vary amongst the different options available in the market. Parallettes are small parallel bars that can range in height from a few inches to over a meter. Low parallettes are better for handstands, while higher ones are commonly purchased for dips and maybe even pull-ups and levers.
The base of support is another key factor to consider when purchasing your pair of parallettes. This is crucial and frequently missed. The thickness and form of the parallette legs serve as the primary source of support. When it comes to stability, this is a huge consideration. The larger the base of support, the greater the stability. Larger, taller parallettes often have a stronger foundation of support.
Gymnastics rings, often known as “Olympic rings” or “calisthenic rings”, are the most adaptable piece of calisthenics equipment. They may be used for a variety of bodyweight exercises and provide one of the greatest platforms for core training.
They are classified into two types: wooden and plastic. The wooden rings are often thought to be of superior quality and have a comparatively nicer feel. Wooden rings also provide a stronger grip, especially if you use chalk, which may make plastic rings slippery.
Gymnastics rings include straps that may be wrapped around bars, trees, and ceiling beams. The height of the rings may be changed by adjusting the straps. This is advantageous since some exercises require the rings to be adequately elevated above the ground, whilst others require the rings to be closer to the ground.
When utilizing gymnastics rings, there are three major positions you may take: under the rings, on top of the rings, and in the push-up position. Each of these postures provides a unique set of workout possibilities.
When it comes to buying a pull-up bar, there are five main varieties to pick from. Because most individuals, understandably, only buy one pull-up bar, it is critical to understand the benefits and drawbacks of each style of the bar before purchasing one. Freestanding pull-up bars, Wall-mounted pull-up bars, Ceiling mounted pull-up bars, Pull-up stations, AKA “Power Towers” and Doorframe mounted pull-up bars are the five types of pull-up bars you can choose from depending on your end goal.
If you want to work out at home but don’t have a pull-up bar, you should certainly look for some portable alternatives. There is a variety of pull-up bars available, most of which can be mounted in your door-frame and are reasonably simple to install.
Resistance bands are another key piece of calisthenics equipment that can be utilized for almost any kind of exercise! Resistance bands are classified into numerous varieties, each having a distinct purpose. Each sort of band has a variable thickness, with wider bands being more difficult to separate. Thicker bands make workouts harder, but they also make band-assisted activities simpler since they give more support.
Another popular type of resistance band is the longer band which can be attached to a variety of inanimate objects, including poles, bars, and even trees. They may be used for workouts like band deadlifts, rows, and a variety of band pulls and pushes, just like a cable machine at the gym.
Chalk is a must-have item in each calisthenics practitioner’s inventory. Chalk is the ultimate solution for greater grip. Chalk, also known as Magnesium Carbonate, comes in two types.
Powder chalk is the original chalk and has been used for as long as anybody can remember in gymnastics, rock climbing, and weightlifting. It works effectively and can be easily washed off from the hands with water.
Liquid chalk is a relatively recent product in the market. It is packaged in little airtight bottles. Liquid chalk is superior to powder chalk because it stays in the container, as opposed to powder chalk, which spreads everywhere. Liquid chalk is excellent for grip and depending on who you ask, it may even be somewhat superior!
Squeeze a small amount into your hands and hold it for 30 seconds. It will dry in the same way as powder chalk would. Use sparingly though since using excess may not dry fully and may make the bar more slippery until it does.
Must-have Apps for Calisthenic Training
The finest calisthenics app will offer you all of the guidance you need to increase your strength, flexibility, and fitness. As a result, we’ve compiled a list of the top three apps in this section of the blog that provides workouts personalized to your needs, objectives, fitness level measurements, and accessible equipment.
Caliverse was released in January 2019 and constantly updated depending on user input, with an emphasis on accessibility, especially for novices, and plenty of free material. This app is one of the top rates calisthenics apps out there!
Daniels Pitkevics, the Caliverse creator worked with the “United Calisthenics Group” to develop routines, programs, and exercises that include video demonstrations and textual instructions. The software is really simple to use, with simple navigation between the homepage, a vast exercise library, and various plans.
Because of the thorough guidance of reps, sets, weight, and rest time, this is one of the greatest calisthenics applications. If you use weights, you can also change the number of reps and add more kg; otherwise, most exercises are bodyweight-only.
The best part is that the workouts are then noted on a calendar, this way you can easily plan future workouts for the next week. Furthermore, this app gives you the choice to pick between pre-made and community-created routines or to simply create your own. It is appropriate for all fitness levels because the routines are designed with newbies in mind.
- iOS: 4.8
- Android: 4.6
The premium edition costs $4.49 per month or $44.99 per year, with a seven-day free trial.
Caliverse’s free edition includes 100+ bodyweight workouts, 300+ calisthenics routines, professional videos and explanations, and 10+ training programs.
The premium version offers more advanced and progressive training routines that target certain abilities or where motions are included. It also grants access to new monthly plans, live training sessions with rapid performance feedback, and unique Caliverse courses.
Thenics Fitness app
Thenics Fitness app is an app designed specifically for Calisthenics practitioners. Although this app is mostly used by experts and experienced athletes, it also includes certain great features for beginners. We would suggest everyone to use the Thenics Fitness app free version. It’s excellent for testing and developing your abilities, as well as tracking your progress. The pro edition is intended for more advanced users who wish to learn the more challenging methods and routines.
In the Exercises section of this app, you will find up to 151 exercises ranging from simple to advanced. There is a filter provided that allows you to simply select the type of muscle group for which you want to view workouts. It provides a quick review of the exercise as well as some important remarks. Each activity also has a YouTube tutorial. This is extremely useful when confronted with an unknown style of exercise!
- iOS: 4.7
- Android: 4.8
The premium edition costs $3.49 per month or $31.99 per year.
Thenx is on our list of the best calisthenics apps for a variety of reasons, one of which is its clean, straightforward structure that provides rapid access to options. For individuals who value functionality above appearances, the design is simple and clean.
The programs are created by skilled instructors and athletes who wish to make calisthenics accessible to everyone, regardless of their skill level. As a result, you can be confident that everything on the app was created by specialists.
The app has a feeling of personalization, and it’s simple to establish your profile with basic information like objectives, weight, height, and how many reps you can accomplish for each individual activity.
After creating your profile, you’ll see that each workout and training program is separated into three levels: beginner, intermediate, and advanced; they’re also organized by aim and muscle area, so you can quickly choose what’s suitable for you.
The routines consist of a list of exercises with instructions on how many reps to do and how long to rest, so even if you’re new to fitness, you’ll be well prepared. Furthermore, exercises include a wealth of relevant information as well as high-quality video examples produced by the Thenx team – ideal for novice; since. we all know scripts can be a little perplexing.
- iOS: 4.8
- Android: 4.3
The premium edition costs $9.99 per month or $89.99 per year.
The free edition provides access to all daily exercises, which are released once a day, are simple to follow, and include high-quality video demos for each activity. There’s no need to come up with your own plan, though, because the program includes a detailed breakdown of how many reps and sets you’ll need to accomplish.
Calisteniapp delivers routines for training at the gym or home without any equipment and is specifically developed to fulfill the fitness and health needs of active individuals. You may construct your own routines and timetables, or you can use the app’s programs, which are easily organized by fitness level and muscle area.
Not only that, but exercises are documented using a weekly calendar that you can customize, and the app will propose programs based on ones you’ve performed before. Aside from the excellent personalization, the app has a large range of workouts and routines, all of which are accompanied by high-quality, brief video instructions.
Calisteniapp also serves as an instructional resource, with articles for both beginning and higher-level trainers included in the app. These go into further detail on calisthenics and offer nutritional advice to help you grow faster.
One of the finest features of Calisteniapp is the amount of content you can access for free, which sets it apart from the competition. The free version is a wonderful choice for beginners since you can get your feet wet and see whether it’s right for you; but, if you’re at a higher level and searching for more, the pro version can be a better fit.
- iOS: 4.8
- Android: 4.7
The professional version costs $4.49 per month or $26.49 per year.
The free edition includes 250+ workouts, 400+ exercises with explanations and videos, and the ability to build up to three unique routines; best of all, it is ad-free!
This includes training programs, an infinite number of exercises and routines, faster video and download speeds, and access to all challenges – it also contains Smart Routines, which are adaptable routines that change based on your success.
Bodyweight Calisthenics is a Functional Training for Both Men and Women
The chances are, you have already done calisthenics training at least once in your life without even knowing it. You can see that calisthenics is getting more and more popular amongst both women and men as it outbeats strength training in every way.
In calisthenics, you’re training your whole body not a particular muscle group only. Don’t forget to get your form as clean as possible before adding weights. At the same time, your bodyweight will only bring you so far.
To actually build a lean muscle mass you will have to gradually cultivate the complexity of your exercises and play with the gravity. Legs are one of the toughest areas to target in calisthenics so you can look up some leg calisthenics workouts more in detail when you’ll come to that.
For now, stick to push-ups, pull-ups, squats, crunches, lunges, mountain climbers, flutter kicks, and planks. Parallel dip bars and diamond push-ups are best for triceps, while chin-ups in a dead hang position will be best for biceps.
A friend of mine used to put on his backpack filled with water bottles to add some resistance. So there are ways of doing it cost-consciously. Still, you must progressively overload the muscles and add an additional diet to see actual changes in your body’s structure.
Lastly, I wanted to also note that calisthenics training is extremely beneficial for both males and females. In fact, I used to own calisthenics equipment at home so every second day I would work out my entire body putting emphasis on my core. Calisthenics training gives faster results and long-term health benefits so definitely try it out!
Conclusively, we would like to remind you that there is no one approach to train in calisthenics that is perfect; it all depends on your ability and ambitions. Make sure your training is in line with your goals, and work out with them in mind.
Along with a strong will and the proper calisthenics disciplines, you’ll need the proper equipment and apps with training routines, videos, and goal trackers.
We hope that this blog helps you figure out which calisthenics app, equipment, and discipline suit you best!
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