Calisthenics for Complete Body Strength
Time to Read: 6 ½ minutes
Points of Interest
- How Calisthenics can bring the elite athlete’s training to higher level
- Calisthenics training - anytime, anywhere
- What is Calisthenics?
- The World is your gym
- Introduction to Calisthenics training
- Training for intramuscular coordination
- Reactive methods
Elite and professional athletes have their training pattern strictly planned by trainers and expert teams.
Naturally, their success is equally dependent on targeted sports training as it is on strength and stamina.
Conditional training can be defined as a process of enhancing the motor and functional abilities, morphological characteristics, and health status.
Strength training, on the other hand, doesn’t have to concentrate only on weightlifting, as is usually believed.
How Calisthenics can bring the Elite Athlete’s Training to a Higher Level
During the winter months, strength training is performed in gyms using weights and specialised machines. But, since elite athletes often travel a lot, both professionally and personally, they often struggle to combine conditional training as well.
General condition preparation is aimed at improving total body fitness by increasing the efficiency of all organs and organic systems. This, of course, increases functional abilities, as well as primary strength and speed.
Calisthenics Training - Anytime, Anywhere
While Calisthenics is one of the earliest methods of training, it has not yet been extensively adopted by professional athletes.
The physical requirements for any professional and elite athlete are high! To achieve top athletic performance, practical strength is constantly challenged. This is something that Calisthenics assuredly ampifies.
As a bodyweight exercise, it includes push-ups, pull-ups with a bar, and numerous different operations that demand complex muscle combinations to work simultaneously. Athletes who frequently practice Calisthenics are able to improve their functional strength at a greater scale. This is a great form of exercise for everyone from elite athletes to beginners, although proper form is essential to prevent injury, despite only using body weight.
Professional athletes will especially benefit from practicing calisthenics, as many of the actions performed within their specific sport are functional movements applied within the Calisthenic practice.
What is Calisthenics?
Calisthenics is a specific form of training in which the body's own mass is used as a load in defiance of gravity.
With such a training method, we can achieve an extremely high level of flexibility and motor skills such as strength, coordination, endurance, precision, speed… What’s most interesting is that athletes can develop larger muscle mass in targeted zones. Very important for gaining the upper edge in their specific sports!
Exercises using body weight are "complex" or compound exercises. In this way the multi-joint movements training more muscles (or muscle groups) at the same time.
Due to the many benefits of Calisthenics training, they are being increasingly practiced and introduced into many different sports programmes as an additional way to improve athletes’ strength, precision and stamina.
The World is your Gym
Professional athletes are engaged in various Programmes and often travel around the globe. International competitions are not the only reasons to travel! A busy schedule often involves seminars, additional education, marketing activities, promotions and other professional engagements which take place in different corners of our planet.
The main advantage of Calisthenics is that it can be performed anywhere and at any time because little or no additional equipment is needed.
All you need is the ground, but you can add the horizontal bar or rings as you progress.
If the weather permits, thanks to many initiatives in different countries, parks are often perfect for street training, provide you with climbing frames, ideal for quality Calisthenics training.
Introduction to Calisthenics Training
The basic Calisthenics training exercises that are practiced most often today are known to fitness enthusiasts and athletes. They include:
- Push-ups (which affect the chest muscles and triceps),
- Pull-ups (most of which work on the back muscles and biceps),
- Squats (for leg muscles, mostly quadriceps),
- Abs (abdominal muscles),
- Back (of course for back muscles and lower back),
- Dips (one of the most effective exercises to develop chest muscles and triceps)
The most effective training methods with the aim of increasing muscle mass and strength are:
1. Superset training is perfect for athletes wanting to increase their muscle mass in a particular area.
It consists of a set containing 2-3 exercises which run without pausing. Each has to hit the same muscle and each has to have a certain number of repetitions.
The workout can look like this: 5 Russian pull-ups, 10 dips, 10 pull-ups, hanging on the bar for 20 seconds (chin above the bar, head under the bar, then hanging again) without pausing.
This is always conducted as one superset.
2. Pyramid training is a fundamental element to be incorporated in your training program for improved stamina and strength. It includes basic exercises such as push-ups, pull-ups, squats or similar.
In particular during resistance training, the pyramid is a fundamental construction applied when designing your sets and reps.
It involves starting out light then stepping up the load used for each consecutive set. As you add resistance the quantity of reps you can achieve naturally decreases. This shows the inverted correlation between the two variables.
3. Circuit training applies the principle of repeatedly performing a variety of exercises with a predefined number of reps.
To do this: Move from one exercise to the next with a small gap of up to 1 minute between each exercise, then a longer rest of 2 minutes can be taken before beginning the next cycle.
If preferred, all exercises within the circuit can focus on one specific group of muscles.
Intramuscular Coordination Training
A key element of Calisthenics training is enabling the development of intramuscular coordination.
The group of methods suggested below, focus on the development of strength without the need to increase muscle mass. The most significant changes occur at the neural level (for intro- and inter-muscular coordination improvement) to induce the development of maximum power.
Maximum strength development relies on the biological basis of syncronising the use of the maximum number of muscles in the body at once. This requires higher resistance. In this case, not additional weight, but utilisation of between 75 - 100% of the athlete’s maximal effort.
Athletes with top performance in strength and stamina will reap the most benefits from adding calisthenics to their training program, experiencing a boost in their achievement in the run up to an event or competition.
It’s crucial to point out that this method can be performed only by an athletes with a well-conditioned, pre-trained physical form. It is recommended predominantly for highly trained athletes who have years of strength training experience. However, anyone can perform calisthenics with professional guidance.
The minimum muscle mass gain and the minimum weight gain of the athlete is a useful force-development method.
The features that fall into this group of methods are characterised by an explosive-reactive ballistic muscle strain.
This strain is present only in the eccentric-concentric muscle action cycle, in which the concentric (contraction) part of the movement is preceded by the rapid stretching phase of the musculoskeletal system.
Reactive methods are primarily used for the development of elastic and explosive forces. These exercises can significantly help the athletes in improving general power.
They typically include a lot of explosive movements such as burpees and box jumps. However, the best examples of reactive training include:
- Squat jump
- Box jump up/down
- Medicine ball chest pass
This type of training is known as explosive sports training.
Plyometrics can be defined as a type of exercise that reduces the gap between strength and speed. It is recognised as a bridge between power elements developed in the gym and applying them to velocity acceleration and other explosive elements.
The method involves a number of variations of horizontal and vertical jumps including; jumping on the spot, whilst running, or from a step or box.
There is an important relationship between the power of the jump, speed, agility and endurance. These parameters can be drastically improved by applying plyometric training on a regular basis.
Examples of exercises that can be used in this method are: jumps forward and backward, side jumps, rhythm jumps, vertical jumps over 50-100 cm high, vertical single-jumps over 20-30 cm high, triple jumps, athletic jumps, deep athletic jumps, and deep-distance jumps.
While Calisthenics is one of the earliest methods of training it is yet not extensively utilised by professional athletes. This article examines the benefits of Calisthenics, and how elite athletes can consolidate its key considerations to transcend their current fitness and sporting level.
Every athlete needs to work on their general fitness and stamina!
This specific method makes it possible at any time and in any place. Whether travelling, exercising at home or incorporating it to their standard training program.
Over to You...
Do you employ Calisthenics into your training plan? Do you find it brings diversity and improves your strength and performance? Get in touch to share your story firstname.lastname@example.org
Recovery is always an important aspect of training. It's the time when the work is consolidated and your muscles get stronger through repair. For tips on how to recharge and recover see our blog here