If you are looking to tone your muscles, bodyweight exercises are one of the most trusted ways to do just that. Calisthenics exercises are some of the best workout options available to you, and they don’t require any additional weight.
You might hear people taking part in boot camp workouts or CrossFit. These are usually just more expensive versions of basic calisthenics that you can do right at home if you know what you’re doing.
When we are done here, you’ll be able to look at your own personal calisthenics before and after. Let’s take a look at calisthenics in more detail.
Calisthenics: What Is It?
Calisthenics is a pretty straightforward concept. It is basically a workout routine that includes only bodyweight exercises. In most cases, the exercises don’t require you to use any equipment or apparatus. Rather, the exercise just requires the use of your own bodyweight to help you build muscle and strength.
There are plenty of calisthenics exercises from which you can choose, and they range from beginner level to quite advanced. They can also be used to target certain muscle groups. Therefore, if your focus is on toning your back, for example, there are plenty of calisthenics exercises for your back.
One thing to keep in mind before you start your calisthenics workout is that it doesn’t matter how much you can bench-press; you always want to start out with the most basic versions of the exercise available.
If it becomes too easy, you can advance it. Some of the exercises seem quite simple in nature but may surprise you when it comes to their difficulty. Bodyweight workouts, overall, are quite different from what you might be used to when it comes to the more traditional weight workouts.
Calisthenics vs. Traditional Weight Training
As is the case with anything, there are both pros and cons of focusing on calisthenics as your primary workout routine. This is especially true when you compare calisthenics with traditional weight training.
Calisthenics will not help you to gain mass very quickly. Weightlifting, on the other hand, is perfect for isolating a specific muscle group and helping it to gain mass.
Calisthenics emphasizes a focus on building the strength of your core and on improving your agility. Weightlifting focuses on developing strength and resistance.
Calisthenics has a much lower risk of stiff muscles, tendonitis, or overall injury, while weightlifting has a high risk of injury due to the stress placed on the joints. With calisthenics, there is rarely equipment required, whereas weightlifting requires the use of either machines or free weights.
Calisthenics Before and After: Measuring Your Progress
There are a couple of things that become really apparent when you start your calisthenics routine. You should see signs of improvement rather quickly; most notably, your body will get leaner and be far more agile than it was in the past.
Some other effects you may notice over time when measuring your calisthenics before and after are listed below.
Many people find a sense of calm when they start a calisthenics routine. They have a boost in energy and a better mood overall. This could also be attributed to exercise overall, which is known for releasing endorphins.
This is absolutely one of the key things you should notice in your calisthenics before and after progress. You will absolutely be stronger.
You might find you can lift heavier things in your everyday life. Maybe you can run faster or swim faster. Whatever it is, you should absolutely see a difference in your overall strength. You’ll also likely be able to make some impressive moves you couldn’t do before.
Similar to overall strength improvement, you should absolutely see some better toning of your muscles after you’ve started to follow a calisthenics routine. One of the greatest benefits of calisthenics is that nearly every move will target more than one muscle group.
You could notice that better tone anywhere, really. After all, calisthenics is a great overall workout. You might notice it in your shoulder muscles if you are doing assisted handstands. Maybe you’ll notice it in your glutes or legs if you focus a lot of your time on bodyweight squats.
Wherever it is, you should really start to see some definition and improved tone. That doesn’t necessarily mean that you will get bigger; it just means you will have more definition.
Many people who practice calisthenics do lose weight. With that said, correlation does not always equal causation. Calisthenics is not a magic cure for being overweight. Instead, if you are looking to lose weight, you’ll need to incorporate calisthenics into an overall weight loss plan.
This might include a better diet along with some cardiovascular activities. Calisthenics can certainly help turn fat into muscle, but it isn’t going to help you magically shed extra pounds. It’s actually a bit difficult to know just how many calories you’ve burned with a calisthenics workout.
How to Get Started: A Beginner’s Workout
There’s no doubt that calisthenics is an incredible workout option for just about anyone. However, it is not something you can just immediately start doing at an advanced level.
If you are new to bodyweight exercise, the following options might be a great choice for you. They can even prove effective for more seasoned individuals. These exercises are best done with proper form, so you really have to pay attention to that as you move through them.
These are pretty basic, but they work so many parts of your body. Even better than that, there is an incredible number of variations available that you can use to make them more difficult as you progress.
You can do diamond push-ups, dive-bomb pushups, and more. The list really is endless when it comes to push-up variations.
There are plenty of squat variations available, as well. Start with a standard squat, and then you can try the other variations.
To do a standard squat, just stand with your legs shoulder-width apart. Hinge at your hip and push your glutes back. Sit straight down as if sitting on a chair, but do not lean too far forward. Make sure that your knees do not go over your toes.
If you want to change things up, you can do a sumo squat by positioning your legs further than shoulder-width apart.
This is another pretty standard exercise that is familiar to most people. The key to its effectiveness is making sure that you keep your core tight and engaged as you do them. It can also really benefit you to pause at the top of the movement and squeeze your abs.
The goal is never to speed through sit-ups. Taking your time will really help when it comes to toning and definition. It isn’t effective to raise through them. Also, try not to help yourself through the movement too much by lifting your head, and subsequently, your upper body. You really want your core to do that for you.
These three exercises are quite beginner-friendly and seem really simple. However, if you keep your proper form and use the right technique, they aren’t just a walk in the park. They are the core exercises of calisthenics.
Done properly, you should be able to see some calisthenics before and after progress. The best part about these is that you can make them more challenging as you see fit.
Calisthenics: A Few Key Things to Keep in Mind
There are a couple key things to keep in mind if you are just starting out. The first is that it does not benefit you to move through the exercises by cheating on the proper form.
Even the above exercises, which are quite simple, should not necessarily be easy. They are still intended to be a workout, and they will be if you keep the proper form. It does you no good to lose your form, so pay attention to your form through every move.
Secondly, make sure that you progress methodically. Moving from a beginner move to an advanced one should take time. If you are moving up too quickly, you also aren’t helping yourself. Make sure you have thoroughly developed enough strength doing the beginner move before you try to advance to the more challenging one.
You absolutely do not need a ton of weight to build a muscular, toned body. Your body weight is enough. Calisthenics can transform your body if you perform the exercises deliberately, methodically, and with proper form.
You will be able to see calisthenics before and after progress in no time at all if you stick with the program. As you see results and build strength, you can continue to build on the exercises you’ve already mastered.
One of the greatest benefits of calisthenics is that there are so many variations to each exercise. In addition, every one of them is a compound movement, which means that you are working out several muscle groups at the same time. All of that leads to a toned physique overall.