Any views or opinions presented in this blog are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the company. This blog is a unique perspective of one persons journey into fitness. Not all clients and participants at Parsons Training undergo the same training, and each person makes his or her own decisions regarding dietary discretions.
By Steve Sharpton, Parsons Training Center, Tucson, Arizona
March 19, 2018
We all know that little problem when you start your workout regimen. You have been dormant for years, letting your body go and letting you weight escalate. Over time, you get tired of the tired feeling and say to yourself, “This has got to stop!” Depending n the time of the year, you make that resolution or you set the goal to officially change everything in your life and start to work out. You go to the gym and in a lot of ways, it seems easy. Do the stuff everyone else is doing and let it work for you. Of course, this all kind of blows up in your face eventually. You get tired, run into some problems due to the equipment and eventually you stop. Someday you come back but in the end, you just created a lot of soreness and a bad feeling about the whole fitness thing. You think YOLO and move on until next year when you gain more weight or those pants start becoming too tight or the doctor tells you to get off your rump and start exercising. Listen, we all want to be that guy in the amazing transformation videos that gets off the schneid and changes their life. But so many times, going head long into weights might might not be the right choice. Sometimes you have to walk a few miles a day to build up a little strength. Sometimes you to start with an elliptical or a rowing machine. This is really where building the foundation of your fitness regimen stems from. You may need to start from a very simple place, and that is when you start hearing the word “Calisthenics.”
Now a lot of gym bros will start talking trash if they even hear the word. For some people with a very huge ego, they think this sort of stuff is for losers. Well, calisthenics is a pretty good way to get yourself into the fitness vibe. Much like yoga, there are no weights to utilize except the weight you carry with you. To put the word into meaning, calisthenics is the kind of workout you would use when you have no weights and minimal equipment at your side. When you look at YouTube guys doing random stuff at the playgrounds, that could be considered a form of calisthenics. https://youtu.be/1FkLrz-MyRw Now sure, the guy in this video is ripped to begin with, but this is the foundation of calisthenics right there. The whole concept of using your body as the weight was the foundation of TRX Suspension training, with the main difference being the fact you can use angles to increase the resistance. Some people also forget that doing standard stuff like push-ups, sit-ups, planks and other anger inducing workouts are A form of calisthenics. So if being able to do 30 full push-ups in a row is not impressive to you, maybe you need to try it for yourself and see just how hard it can be.
Now you may wonder about the whole validity of calisthenics. Science seems to support the validity of calisthenics in various forms. https://sites.psu.edu/siowfa15/2015/12/03/weight-lifting-or-calisthenics/ Here is the base benefits of just doing these types of exercises. First and foremost, you can go at a much more vigorous speed with less likelihood of hurting yourself. Since you are not working with weight, topping a kettle bell or a barbell is not possible. Second of all, if you are trying to rebuild your cardio, doing these types of exercises can give you similar caloric burn as well as improve your performance. And lastly, they can be utilized to help with the random tonic of your body. Think about the cross “pollination” effect that standard calisthenics has had in the fitness industry. TRX Suspension training is calisthenics with bands and ropes. Some Crossfit workouts utilize calisthenics is high volumes, forcing you to try and do 100 body squats in a minute or something. German Volume Training—lightweight training with a set number of reps and little rest time—can be considered a weighted form of calisthenics. And of course, depending on what you do, High Intensity Interval Training utilizes a lot of calisthenics type of workout movements. So if so many philosophies utilize these types of movements, why should you be ashamed to do it? I mean, back when physical education was a huge thing in the country, most school didn’t have money to have weight sets built for the school’s general populace. So they used pull up bars, playground equipment and rope to build strength and muscle.
So I have three quarters of the article and you are probably wondering what in the world is calisthenic exercises? Sorry, I got off on a tangent there and was shooting form the hip due to my own experiences with the stuff. Anyway, calisthenics have a broad range of actual exercise. Squats, push-ups, sit-ups, lunges, planks, bench dips, calf raises, pull-ups, jump pull-ups, jumping jacks, skip squats, “bear” crawls…..I mean, all of this stuff is really useful in some form or fashion. Every day at Parsons Training, there is some form of calisthenics training included in the workout of the day. I mean, if this sort of things is good enough for your trainer, then it is good enough for you. But why do so many hate this sort of stuff? Well, like with a lot of none-weight lifting workouts, the misconception is that you can’t get huge and ripped from this type of stuff. I don’t know about you, but doing pull-ups everyday and working on your planks will sure as heck get your metabolism moving and also tone your body out. The misconception is of course created by a society that believes if something is difficult to gain huge muscle mass with, then it is not worth a man’s time. Of course, “calisthenics are great for old people and women” these gym douches might state, but this is most likely coming from the same guys that could not do a lunge to save their life. If anything, tune out the noise from these people and listen to what your body tells you. Calisthenics is a great way t get your body prepared for the rigors of future weightlifting. You think Jon forced me to try and bench press and back squat all of the time when I first started. Nope, he forced me to do push-ups (which I was bad at) and also do “skunk” push-ups as the more advanced movement (and I was horrific at those). I did some barbell work in the early days but they were low weight or no weight at all. I see this philosophy in place with the older clients at Parsons as well, as a base is being built to met the demands of tougher and faster workouts down the line.
So think about your opening stanza on you workout routine. Calisthenics is the prelude, and once the bombastic cymbals and heightened strings of the violins kick in, you will know that listening the soft opening will have been worth it. And like I said, it is not like you can’t make the calisthenics a little tougher down the line, going for more reps or going for faster paces. Remember…it is about you…not the knuckleheads that will try to embarrass you because you are doing what they are doing.
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About Parsons Training
Parsons Training is a Tucson leader in fitness and personal wellness training. Every personal trainer with this company designs and implements effective fitness programs for their clients; these programs serve as the foundation for good health, fitness, and wellness. Additional information about Parsons Training is available at http://www.parsonspersonaltraining.com
Any views or opinions presented in this blog are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the company.
About Our Blog
Steve, a Parsons Training Client, went from 400 pounds to Running half-marathons, from lifting pizzas to lifting hundreds of pounds through training with us.