Starting with this post I will be making a detailed description the common routine styles. In this post we will explore the world of bodyweight training together. starting with the history of bodyweight training, then head into the different modalities involved with calisthenics, and finishing with the comparisons to other common types of workout styles such as Powerlifting, Crossfit, Strongman and others.
Now its an easy concept to grasp that body weight training has always been around. As we know humans have always had a bodyweight. The earliest documentations of bodyweight training come from ancient yoga practitioners in India. Around 1,700 BCE, back then the yoga was not the fun, flowery, morning routine people fitness craze. Yoga was meant the warrior class. It was meant to develop physically and mentally strong warriors.
The word Calisthenics comes the Greek root words "kalos" and "sthenos" meaning 'beautiful strength'. The Greek Spartans were heavy advocates for using Calisthenics in their daily lives as the Spartan warriors start from nearly birth training to become a warrior.
Okay, so now that we have a grasp on the history of body weight training and calisthenics. Lets look at some of the different versions of Calisthenics. These include Street, Freestyle, Military and many more ways. Now each of these styles deserves their own article all about them and eventually I may cover that but today we will be dumbing them down into a paragraph or two.
Let's start with Street style. Street style has grown very popular in urban areas with many parks being created with pull up bars, dip bars and assorted monkey bars. Also the growing internet profile around the Street style calisthenics has created a lot of buzz around the subject. Some of the most popular street exercises are: Pistol squats, Handstands, One-arm chin-ups, One-arm push-ups, Front levers, back levers, and etc. The main goal around street style calisthenics is to JUST GET OUTSIDE AND MOVE!
Now Freestyle calisthenics is easily the flashiest of all the styles. I mean how could you not love and be envious of someone who can perform: bar transfers, 360 pull ups, clapping muscle ups, toe touch pull ups, and many more extreme exercises in and around a few bars. The major draw back from Freestyle calisthenics is it takes an immense amount of strength and muscular endurance. With that, you cant just build all of that in one night. It could take many years to develop the strength and technique required to perform some for these exercises.
On the opposite side of calisthenics there is Military of (grind) style. Military calisthenics has a very simple exercise list as it mainly has to do with exercises that can be done during boot camp. That exercise list is basically just as follows. Push-ups, Pull-ups, and Sit-ups. It can be one of the easiest ways to get into Calisthenics. Anyone can easily start if you have a pull up bar all you have to do to start is a few sets and a few reps. Military style will not as much to cardio as the other styles will. Many ex-military personal continue to do them after they leave the military as it has become a way of life and furthers their discipline to their craft.
There is many other ways people can include calisthenics into their daily routine. All it takes is some stretching in the morning when you wake up. One thing to be careful of is the risk of injury as with any exercising a proper warm up and a proper progression is best. Take push-ups for example, an easier progression is to change your angle so instead of straight horizonal make your body become more vertical. Put your hands on a chair or stairs or wall. If they're to easy try putting your feet on the chair or doing one arm push-ups. with all the different progression you will never get board with calisthenics.