The benefits of Calisthenics are great and manifold and you should start today if you haven’t already. We want to back this spurring and motivational claim by listing you some of the major benefits Calisthenics has. As a sport, Calisthenics utilizes your own bodyweight with a variety of movement exercises to work out your muscles and burn calories. It is very much both a strength and a movement-oriented branch of fitness which saw a surge of popularity in the last decade. Even the U.S. Military has recognized the benefits of Calisthenics in physical education for its Basic Combat Training. Calisthenics is easy to get into, doesn’t need to cost you any money realistically and will transform your body and your life if persisted and done properly. Here are the benefits of Calisthenics and why you should start today.
The Benefits of Calisthenics for Your Body
As a sport, Calisthenics has a number of benefits for your body. Here is what Calisthenics does to your body on the short term and the long term. Don’t go thinking it will all be easy, but if you have faculty over some or all of your limbs, it is possible.
Benefit 1: Increases Body Strength and Endurance
When we think of the benefits of Calisthenics, we obviously think of building muscle. It’s true, Calisthenics makes you stronger. What Calisthenics does is use your bodyweight to put stress on certain muscles and muscle groups to cause hypertrophy. That’s where microscopic damage to your muscle tissue occurs which is then regenerated with new muscle tissue. It’s actually during the resting periods between workouts where you grow stronger — the microscopic gaps in your muscles attain new muscle fiber, resulting in bigger, stronger muscles overall.
But unlike bodybuilding or just plain weightlifting, Calisthenics focusses much more on stamina as well. Over time, you’ll find that you can perform more sets and reps and that you can hold stress positions for longer. This builds up your muscle’s endurance, in short strength and holding power. This translates much better into practical strength which you can use every day than simply pushing a weight up in one direction.
Benefit 2: Improves Biomechanics (Posture, Balance, Flexibility)
As a movement-oriented sport, Calisthenics can improve your posture, balance and flexibility. Exercises are designed to stretch muscles, improving flexibility and preventing locked-up or shortened muscles like you see so-often with weightlifters. Balance is another key area which benefits from Calisthenics. Many exercises increment in difficulty until you have to balance yourself, for instance with handstands or using Gymnastic Rings.
Your improved body, strength and balance will also improve your posture. You’ll walk more upright and your muscles will naturally be more relaxed. Your muscles also need to do less work proportionally to keep you upright or walking. This prevents slumping and all the muscle, joint and backaches that can bring.
Benefit 3: Improves Mental Health
A healthy body is home to a healthy mind. This is one of the least known benefits of Calisthenics. Bodily health is intrinsically linked to mental health. By taking good care of your body and doing regular exercise, you’ll feel more confident about your own capabilities. During and after your workout, you’ll experience a release of endorphins; your body’s reward for a good experience. But it’s not just short-term rewards either. A healthy body just has fewer little problems, fewer ails and complaints which distract you and remind you of how unhealthy you are. Having no problems affect you, instead of momentary joy, is true long-term happiness. The Greeks called this “Eudaimonia”, literally meaning “A state of good spirit”.
Benefit 4: Enhances Physical Aesthetics
Between the two extremes of the cult of body positivity and objectifying human beings because of their good looks; there is the healthy desire to look at and possess a healthy body. It’s natural instinct to be drawn to people who look good and healthy. It signals to us that they might be good partners and mates. Whether you have it one way, the other way or like it both ways, physical aesthetics will always be a major factor. How you look is certainly the first thing people will notice about you. Calisthenics is the best way to achieve that healthy body style you (subconsciously) desire. It combines both agility and strength to sculpt the body. How far you want to take this, is entirely up to you.
What does Calisthenics Help With?
Apart from the obvious and more immediate benefits of Calisthenics, it has a number of other, perhaps less so obvious benefits. Long-term health and stress release is a major predictor of success in life, success boosts confidence which leads to more success.
Benefit 5: Fight and Prevent Obesity
The number one cause of death in much of the Western world is obesity. Being too fat isn’t healthy for your body and has a very many health risks associated with it. Calisthenics is a great way to shed weight and to lose that silent assassin, cholesterol. But even if you are not obese right now, time is not your friend. The man with the scythe is waiting for us all, and the only way to outrun him is by staying healthy and fit. By doing regular Calisthenics, you keep a healthier body and stave off obesity later in life. Don’t go thinking just because you’re 20 that you’ll be fine for a long time to come. In ten years, it will be a lot harder going already and on a human lifetime, ten years is nothing.
Benefit 6: Focusing the Mind and Relief Stress
Here at Calisthenics Worldwide we have a saying that Calisthenics is only 50% physical. The rest of Calisthenics is a mental exercise. By taking some time every day to focus on just your sport, you relieve stress and bring focus back to your mind. Calisthenics is like meditation in that regard as it clears the active mind and makes you super aware of everything that is going on in your body. Top Calisthenics athletes enter a state of trance, a “flow” when they perform Planche Flows — hyper focused on the here and now and every little detail of their bodies.
Benefit 7: Boosting confidence
Confidence is a major factor in determining success in life and in finding an attractive partner. Especially women are particularly attracted to confident men, if you are confident and have a presentable, desirable body, you don’t need a winning lottery ticket anymore. This isn’t just a long-term effect of possessing a healthy, strong and attractive body either. Unlike over-confidence, confidence needs to be bred and nurtured carefully. You do this by taking small steps you know you can take, and keep succeeding like that. Calisthenics helps by gradually making exercises harder while sculpting and honing your body. With each successful step in Calisthenics, you feel better about yourself and your capabilities.
How do You Get into Calisthenics?
Calisthenics is free or at least very cheap to start with. What you need is yourself and a determination to succeed. Besides that, some light clothing, a towel and a gym mat gets you a long way.
Benefit 8: Calisthenics is Cheap
Another major benefit of Calisthenics is that starting costs you 0 dollars, just some of your time and energy. Most of the exercises in Calisthenics use only your own bodyweight as resistance. You don’t need a gym subscription and you don’t need any expensive equipment. Plenty of Calisthenics practitioner are perfectly content with where they are not ever buying anything outside a bottle of water and a pair of sports socks. There are also many Calisthenics Parcs all around the world which you can visit for free. If you want too, you can acquire Calisthenics equipment which either add a little to the Quality of Life you’re getting out of your exercises or to push your body to the next level.
Benefit 9: Calisthenics is Fast
There’s a reason the military has adopted Calisthenics to raise the level of fitness of recruits to an acceptable level. Basic Training isn’t a very long period of time, so the physical exercise part of it needs to be efficient and effective. Calisthenics benefits from those two things; being effective in shedding weight and building strength and efficient in doing it within a couple of weeks. It’s also time efficient during your workouts. You don’t need to travel to a gym or some other place and you don’t need to switch equipment. Only a little bit of room is what you need and you can get going.
Start Your Calisthenics Journey Today
After reading about all the benefits of Calisthenics, we’re sure you want to get right into it. There’s a reason you took a couple of minutes of your life to read this article, after all. If you’re still not convinced, then your problem is most likely not physical but psychological. Something between your ears is holding you back and no amount of empirical evidence of the benefits of Calisthenics will change that. You need to change you! You need to make the decision to start doing Calisthenics. Sometimes that means intentionally not listening to that little voice telling us not too.
Start today. Start right now. Go to a place where you can be by yourself and have some room. Get on your knees and do 1 Push-Up. Or 1 Squat. If you can’t do that, do 1 incline Push-Up against a table or even a wall. Take that one step and you’re already reaping the benefits of Calisthenics; you did something. Then try a professional Calisthenics app fit for beginners for a week. We recommend The Movement Athlete because it includes an assessment of your current capabilities and they also have a free 7-day trial. That should suit your needs perfectly and when that week is over, you need no more motivating going forward.
Last but not least, you can also make your own beginner Calisthenics training schedule.
Jari Dohmen has a B.A. in physiotherapy and has been involved with Calisthenics since 2013. Around the time Calisthenics began to proliferate in the Netherlands, he was already keenly interested in both the physiotherapeutic and general lifestyle benefits Calisthenics possesses. Jari started Calisthenics Worldwide (CWW) in 2016, after numerous internet searches for Calisthenics topics that sparked his interest yielded barely any information. Today, CWW is one of the largest and most widely recognized Calisthenics blogs in the world. Become part of the Calisthenics community by commenting on this article.