When I was just starting out with bodyweight training, I thought that all I needed to do was pushups, pullups, and bodyweight squats. So I did them, got good at these workouts, and then hit a plateau.
I went through many free bodyweight programs and most of them were relatively the same. I needed something new, and something more complete. It wasn’t until I purchased Coach EddieLomax’s Workout Without Weights manual that my bodyweight training journey really began.
In a previous article, I mentioned that there were actually 7 different forms of bodyweight training. Coach Lomax’s eBook covers 4 out of the 7 methods: basic bodyweight training, calisthenics, plyometrics, and animal training.
What is Calisthenics Training?
It is very important to make a distinction between all the various forms of bodyweight exercise because each method can be used for a specific purpose. Basic bodyweight exercises such aspushups, pullups, and bodyweight squats can be used for overall strength and conditioning.
Calisthenics training, on the other hand, is more of a cardio-type form of exercise. I go much deeper into the difference between bodyweight and calisthenics training in a previous article.
Because I personally despise steady state cardio, I tend to use bodyweight and other training methods to replace the necessity for cardio. But besides my personal distaste for steady state cardio, there are other very important benefits to using high intensity calisthenics training as a form of cardio:
The Benefits of Calisthenics
One of the biggest benefits of Calisthenics is improved cardiorespiratory endurance, which is the ability of your body to gather, process, deliver, and sustain oxygen to produce the energy needed for the successful completion of a particular activity.
- It is characterized by a healthy and efficient heart and lung. Cardiorespiratory (cardio) endurance is probably more important than fat loss or muscle gain, but is one of the least talked about aspects of fitness.
- If you have greater cardio endurance, then you can simply do more for a longer period of time. This improves your ability to perform in sports, work, and life activities. If you combine basic calisthenics movements with bodyweight training, then you will be able train your muscles while training your heart and lungs.
- This will help you perform other physical activities better. Most people get winded and exhausted trying to perform simply tasks such as lifting boxes up the stairs or trying to catch a bus.
- Well, these activities require both physical fitness and cardio endurance. Many gym rats will often face injury because they fatigue easily. When your body fatigues from heavy weight training, it is actually a sign of poor recovery.
- Your muscles are not being delivered the proper amount of oxygen for full recovery. Fatigue leads to poor form, which in turn leads to injury. Overall, you’ll be much healthier if your heart and lungs are healthier.
- Cardio conditioning basically allows you to improve your ability to live life to the fullest. On the flip side, many people are brainwashed into believing that there is a specific “target heart rate zone,” which effectively helps you burn fat and improve cardio endurance.
- This is false and no such zone exists. Athletes with the best cardio endurance – a balance of healthy heart and lung function along with good physical fitness – are ones that engage in high intensity exercise, such as sprinters.
- In short, train hard to last longer. But be warned, bodyweight calisthenics workouts are very intense and difficult. You should steadily build yourself up to it, especially if you’ve been spending most of your time following the easy, bring cardio workouts published in most magazines.
Sample Calisthenics Exercises
Coach Lomax covers a good number of calisthenics movements. Some of them you have heard of and perhaps have even performed before. But many will be completely new to you.
Here’s a list of the Calisthenic movements that Coach Lomax will teach you:
- Split Jump
- Jumping Jacks
- Simulated Jump Rope
- Standing Twist
- Reach and Bend
- The Windmill
- High Knees
- Jogging in Place
Calisthenics movements will seem easy to you, however the key is to perform them for time. You can start off by performing each exercise for 60 seconds, then moving straight to the next movement.
This circuit style workout will be much more fun and exiting then a traditional sort of cardio workout. Once you get good at these basic calisthenics movements, you can start to learn Animal Calisthenics movements which places greater stress on your heart, lungs, and muscles.