In the previous introductory part of Calisthenics, we talked about push-ups, pull-ups and their different variations.
We’ll continue the discussion with a few more body weight exercises:
- Sit-ups and crunches. Who doesn’t want six pack abs? Well sit-ups are one of the most famous exercise for building up the abdominal muscles and burning the abdominal fat, and probably the easiest too.
Start by lying down on the floor, chest facing upwards, arms folded and resting on the chest or behind the head. Bend the knees and now get up and touch the knees from the chin while exhaling, keeping the lower body fixed. Slowly get down and inhale. That’s how you do it.
A simple crunch could be modified in many different ways to maximize the benefits and target different muscle groups.
For example, in diagonal crunch, instead to getting straight up, you get up diagonally, both towards left and right alternatively. This will help building the oblique abdominal muscles.
Similarly, the side reach variant of sit-ups is also good for oblique abs, in which you just elevate your upper body a little bit above the ground and bend sideways, each side alternatively, to touch your ankles from the hand.
In order to work out the lower abs, leg raises would be a better option. Start by lying down on a mat, face up, and start to raise your legs up to 60 degrees slowly and then slowly get them down while keeping the upper body fixed at the mat. While bringing the legs down, don’t touch the ground, go for another rep instead. Do it till you can’t do a single more rep!
- Squats and other leg workouts: Squats are the best exercises to improve the lower body strength of the body, but they’re also the most ignored ones! Squats are quite easy to do! Sit down and get up, you just did a squat. The key point to remember in squats is that you must not bend your back. Keep it arched all the time. Among all the body weight exercises, squats are the easiest and involve large muscle groups, so, they’re the best way to increase the body temperature!
The problem with bodyweight squat is that after a few weeks, they stop challenging the muscles, and so, not much of a help. But then again, we always have the room for introducing varieties!
Jumping Squats could be a level up of the free squats. Get down and then jump with all your might. Do at least 20 reps. Free-squats work out only the quad muscles, while jumping squats will work out the calves as well.
Sprinting up the hill also helps in the development of quad muscles.
Next is catwalk. Sounds funny, but it’s really helpful in terms of its ability to induce strength. Sit on the squatting position and maintaining the same position, that is, knees folded, try to cover some distance, preferably up the hill.
For many people, double leg squats are not challenging enough. They should try the single leg squats. It’ll bring some stabilization too. Raise one of your legs and try to squat and recover using the other leg.
- Static Holds:
Static holds are various postures which you need to hold on as long as you can before total failure. The advantages are they burn fat faster, they build that extra strength in your body which was never going to be build up after you were unable to lift anymore and they bring stamina & endurance. Here are a few of the static holds:
V-sit static holds: These are very good for burning the fats around abs and strengthening them. Keep your base at the ground and lift up your legs as well as the trunk up to 45 degrees, arms should be kept parallel to the legs. Hold the position for as long as you can.
Plank: Another exercise to strengthen your core. The position is same as the push-ups, you just need to put down your forearms on the ground, and keeping your body straight, you need to hold on that position as long as you can. In order to hold it longer, you need to make all the muscles work as a single unit. A very common mistake beginners do while performing plank is that they just don’t keep the body straight. Hunching your back just to increase the total static time won’t take you anywhere. And arching the waist unnecessarily would bring you the waist pain. Thus it improves the overall coordination between different parts of the body. Building a strong core is very important in calisthenics to sustain advanced exercises.
Half-squat static hold: As the name suggests, get into the half-squat position first and hold it. First stand up and then bend your knees by 90 degrees. Project your arms parallel to the ground and hold the position. Maybe after a minute or so, your legs will start burning. DON’T GIVE UP. Keep holding, because unless you push the comfort level, you won’t grow!
A combination of squat and static hold: This is to add up some more resistance in the bodyweight training. Do some bodyweight full squats. Next, break the squat into 4 equal periods, that is, quarter squat, half squat, three fourth and full. Everything is same as it was in the squat, you just need to pause for 10 seconds each at those period.
That was all, keep training!