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Lifting free weights isn’t the only way to build and increase your strength, mobility, and stamina. Another way is to perform exercises that use your weight as resistance, like pushups and pullups.
Those exercises are referred to as calisthenics. It’s a popular form of resistance training that you can do to develop your muscles and become physically stronger with minimal equipment. Note that calisthenics is a subset of bodyweight exercises.
The main difference between them is that you can use extra weights in most bodyweight exercises while calisthenics often is restricted to your own weight.
If you’re new at it, calisthenics is a form of exercise that helps develop strength and endurance by using your body weight. It’s a straightforward, affordable, and effective exercise that can help you reach your fitness goals even in the comforts of your home.
As mentioned, you’re not required to purchase additional heavy equipment. You only need to be consistent with your calisthenics routine to witness and relish the results.
Elevating The Difficulty Of Your Bodyweight Training
If you’ve already mastered the basics of bodyweight training, you might wonder how you can introduce a few challenges to keep things dynamic and interesting. To give you some ideas on how to elevate the difficulty of your calisthenics routine, below are some of the things you can do.
1. Introduce Different Variations
If you’ve been performing the same moves for the past couple of months, there’ll come a point where the exercise will become boring and too easy for you. This is particularly true if your strength and mobility improved immensely recently.
The beautiful thing about calisthenics is that most exercises are modifiable since each has countless variations. Hence, you can tweak and make them more challenging.
A good start is to incorporate simple yet challenging modifications. You wouldn’t want to overwhelm yourself with complicated moves that can potentially lead to injury, if left unguided. Of course, even if you’re not using weights, you can get hurt if you don’t adjust the difficulty according to your current fitness level, goals, and body weight.
Another way to integrate different variations is to invest in small equipment pieces. While calisthenics doesn’t necessarily require any fitness device, investing in a few can help you perform more variations.
For example, you can purchase resistance bands and parralettes. And if you have some spare cash, you might want to buy a home pull-up bar. These fitness tools are practical to use and they occupy little space in your home. You can even bring some of them when you travel for work to allow you to maintain your routine wherever you are.
2. Add Weights To Some Movements
This is when the lines get blurred. Indeed, doing calisthenics doesn’t require using other weights, but if your weight isn’t giving you any challenge anymore, you should forget about definitions. The important thing is that you get the exercise your body requires.
To add weights to your exercises, you don’t necessarily have to purchase any heavy equipment—just regular free weights will do. For instance, holding a kettlebell while doing lunges can surely burn more fats in your thighs, making the workout more satisfying. Holding some weights also works wonders when doing other traditional calisthenics exercises such as squats, trunk twists, and the like.
Adding weights might seem easy; however, keep in mind to maintain proper form. The correct form can help you target the right muscle groups and at the same time, avoid the risk of injury.
Moreover, the point here is not to keep on hoarding weights to add difficulty to your training. Instead, master the exercises that feel too challenging to activate muscle hypertrophy and keep the momentum going.
3. Increase The Number Of Repetitions
Another surefire way to level up your calisthenics training is to add more repetitions to challenging moves. Repeating the movement helps you become familiar with it, which aids in making you more proficient. At the same time, increasing reps can potentially help you boost muscle endurance and stamina.
However, keep in mind not to overdo it to prevent injury and strains. Make sure to listen to your body. If you feel like you need to take a break, you can stop and determine that the current number of repetitions is your maximum. You can add more reps once you’ve gained enough strength to carry on.
Take note that when it comes to elevating your training regimen, rest days are crucial. Your scheduled rest days can help your muscles repair, grow, and become stronger to approach difficult progressions.
4. Work With A Personal Trainer
The right calisthenics training program will depend on your current fitness level, lifestyle habits, exercise preferences, personal targets, intentions, and more. While you can curate your training plan to increase your training’s difficulty, you can also tap into the expertise of a personal trainer.
A trainer can guide you in creating a tailored fit, a workout plan that works for you and that would help you progress toward your fitness goals. They can also guide you in making sure you’re performing the movements correctly to maximize your training and avoid injury.
You would have to upgrade your calisthenics routine with intermediate exercises to give you that extra boost and experience a satisfying workout regimen that you’ll always look forward to. However, make sure to add rest days so as not to exhaust yourself with the new program.
Moreover, by following the suggestions above, you’ll surely have an idea of how you can tweak your routine and keep it challenging for you.