We covered benefits of calisthenics in a previous article where we talked more about calisthenics being a balanced workout in terms of lifestyle, ease to start and some physical benefits. In this article, we want to touch upon the different physical benefits you could receive from doing bodyweight workouts. Specifically regarding strength, flexibility, coordination and agility.
When I first started calisthenics, it was at the very basic format of pushups, pull ups, sit ups etc. That coupled with the boxing workouts I also involved were plenty for me to build out a great workout routine and schedule. Like any workout or exercise, my body naturally adapted, some workouts started to become “easier”, I felt much healthier, awake and had more energy.
That was years ago, and looking back through the transition of many types of bodyweight exercises the skills learnt. There is really nothing to regret. Thinking back on it all there were a couple of things that truly were noticeable that I can only give credit to the choice of workouts I’ve done and been doing.
Does Calisthenics Build Strength
On top of living a healthier lifestyle, many people choose calisthenics as their main form of exercise because of the muscle building aspect.
Calisthenics is a form of bodyweight exercise, where you use your body as the main form of resistance, primarily in building muscle. Through various progressive exercises, those who utilize bodyweight workouts can get fit, lean and build muscle.
With bodyweight exercises, although you would be building a great deal of strength. There is a difference that you would notice between heavy weightlifters and calisthenics athletes. The two would differ where weightlifters build incredible muscle mass and strength, as result they are much bigger in appearance. Calisthenic athletes although build strength as well, can appear much leaner.
A stand out benefit on top of the muscle building aspect is the functional strength you get. One thing that makes calisthenic workouts different from working out with weights, is your strength training is more balanced. With weights you can be hyper focused and single out certain muscles. With calisthenics you would be required to work different muscles and joints together just by the nature of the types of exercise.
Does Calisthenics Improve Flexibility
When you find yourself growing in your calisthenic journey. You will find that you will hit a ceiling with most of your exercises. Meaning current exercises that you are doing would be come less challenging as you get stronger. This is when you would need to find a progression exercise that will work the same muscle area with more overload from your body.
With calisthenics and the progression exercises. Often times you will find yourself needing to change the way you position your body in order to keep your muscle groups working. By doing this you gradually will be able to perform various ranges of bodyweight exercises, and at the same time having better control of your body, having built this skill over time. As a by product of these exercises, you may notice that you have also become more flexible.
Think of a gymnast. Often times calisthenic workouts are mistaken to be gymnastics. Although they are both very similar visually, the purpose of the two are very different.
You can read our article about calisthenics vs gymnastics here.
Calisthenics is a form of exercises whereas gymnastics is more of an art form. Both will require a level of flexibility in order to perform certain exercises well.
Does Calisthenics Improve Coordination
Having perfect form when performing exercises should be one of the goals you are striving for. In order to get max benefits from your workout, you should avoid cutting corners to your exercise that compromises form.
In doing this, not only do you compromise your workout, but you are also doing yourself a disservice by not doing it properly from the beginning.
Calisthenics is made up of a variety of bodyweight exercises. There can be hundreds, if not thousands of workouts and their progressions. As you progress in your workouts, you will find yourself having to perform variations of workouts and at the same time learning and building new skillsets to do them properly. Often times they would require more care on precise movements and control in order to be done well.
In the long term, you would be trying out many different types of workouts when doing calisthenics. You just have to. The benefits of it all is that you gain a tonne of others skills from all those exercises. Coordination being only one of them.
Coordination is also greatly improved when using calisthenic equipment such as parallettes or dip bars. Introducing these into your workout will bring another level to your exercises. When using these equipments and performing the associated exercises, being coordinated is necessary.
Does Calisthenics Improve Agility
For me personally, the more advanced level calisthenic exercises you get to, the more agility comes into play. Mostly because you were able to go through many different exercises that would build muscle areas and twitch reflex muscles.
Being made up of only bodyweight exercises, when doing calisthenics, you build functional strength as well as functional mobility. The movement based exercises involved in calisthenics can help focus in on working the right muscles that could make you more agile.
Incorporating bodyweight exercises such as plyometrics and other movement based workouts can help increase your agility. Keeping within bodyweight exercise mentality, including exercises that work on your lateral movements and explosiveness is a great way to get a more balanced workout.
One could think of these exercises as skill based routines. Your main goal could be to become stronger and healthier, but in order to reach those goals. You would be learning different types of exercises, how to do them and gaining the knowledge as well as physical benefits when performing them.
What makes calisthenics appealing to me, is the fact that you require zero equipment in order to get an ideal workout in. Being able to get such extensive workouts with no equipment frees up your time, space and bank account.
If you’re anything like me, having workout routines that benefits you outside of your fitness is a major plus and what I typically look for. The two I repeatedly use is boxing and calisthenics. They work well with each other, and coming out of it, I feel I learn certain skills along the way. Something you just doing get with machine exercises.