These are some of the body-weight or calisthenic movements that we regularly use to build strength. We combine a handful of body-weight movements and kettle-bell techniques to create balanced strength training programs. Joining a gym can be intimidating so we’ve created these tutorials to give you a head start. Using these moves alone will provide a basic strength training program and may take some time to fully master depending on your ability level.
How strong can you get with calisthenic / body-weight training?
Calisthenics are excellent for developing ‘relative strength’ – or your strength to weight ratio, particularly in the upper body. Lower body callisthenics can be effective too, though sometimes it’s just a bit more convenient to use added resistance to challenge the large muscles of the lower body. We don’t have any particular preference or need to stick to only one modality.
Gymnasts demonstrate some incredible feats of strength gained primarily through body-weight training. They are specialists in this modality and are capable of some highly demanding and technical movements. The movements in this program are of a much more basic level than high level gymnastics. They are chosen because they are realistically attainable for a lot of people and have a good ‘carry-over’ to other activities. They are for the generalist who wants to achieve some basic general strength. There are many exercise variations in calisthenic training, but to get stronger you need to narrow your focus to a few movements and stick with them for a while. If you are capable of these moves and want to progress further with them you can add weight, such as a weighted vest.
Warm up before training with some simple low intensity movements, e.g. skipping, jumping jacks, jogging in place. Then do some joint circles.
The menu has three categories of movement: Push, Pull and Squat. Start with the top movement in each category and perform them as a circuit. As you master each movement work your way down the list. Unless stated otherwise progress to the next exercise once you are able to comfortably perform 10 repetitions of the current exercise.
Sets and Reps
This is not a rigid program with a prescribed number of sets and reps. Instead focus on the quality of each move. Try to train to a peak. This means stop once you feel your ability in a move start to decline. This approach will dictate the number of repetitions of each exercise and the total number of sets or circuits that you do. Strength training is best performed with plenty of rest between sets. Walk around between exercises, shake your limbs, stay loose. Training in this manner is very different to the ‘one more rep bro’ training to exhaustion method. However it is effective for gaining strength and should leave you feeling energised rather than broken.
Paying attention to how you perform should also dictate the number of times in a week that you train. You could chose to do small amounts almost every day or longer sessions a couple of times per week. Two to three times per week is a good place for beginners to start. If your progress stalls take a few days off and ease back a bit.
Finish your session with these stretches.