Bodyweight training has exploded during the last year or two, with more apps and videos being developed to help programme your training and show you how to progress your movements. Not only is this calisthenics workout a great way to shape up your body, but being able to control your own body in all different planes of movement is crucial for it to function at its peak, and stay healthy day to day.
I tend to stay away from the term, ‘functional training’, because anything be functional if it serves a direct purpose. The term is highly applicable here for most people, as functional training can build core strength and posture in a society that’s been stuck to desk work and convenient travel for far too long. If you’ve ever seen someone try and do a handstand with poor posture and core, just doesn’t work. So, here’s a workout literally anybody can try out and either begin or progress on their way to the calisthenic glory.
This calisthenics workout will not only have some great movements you can do absolutely anywhere, but you might even be able to start progressing them and adapting the into your gym workouts. The true beauty of it is that you can perform any of these movements wherever you can swing your arms – whether that’s in the park or at home.
For this calisthenics workout, all you’ll need is a step, a wall and some sort of bar (if you can find one). The following calisthenics workout is all about progress, not necessarily the amount of weight you lift like a gym-based workout. You can get this by slowing movement down and using more control or performing more continuous reps.
The Calisthenics Workout
|Pistol squat||8 each leg||4||30 seconds|
|Handstand walk||6||4||30 seconds|
|Bear crawl||10||3||30 seconds|
|Body row||12||3||30 seconds|
|Cossack lunge||8 each leg||3||30 seconds|
|Wrestler twist||8 each side||3||30 seconds|
A classic exercise, and a great way to train arms, shoulders, chest and core. The emphasis should be on keeping your shoulder blades together and your core tight to keep your body flat from shoulders to ankles (or knees if you’re using that progression). Keep your elbows tucked into your body so your hands are directly underneath your shoulders.
2. Pistol Squat
This is a hard exercise to perform fluently the first time round, so here are some ways to build you up to the full range. First of all, start on a step facing to the side and begin the movement by lowering the hanging leg toward the floor. Try to keep your supporting knee over your toes and keep your hip from moving out to the side. When you get better, you can start lifting you hanging leg to increase the range of movement.
3. Handstand Walks
This is a great shoulder strengthener and will help to build you up to a full handstand. Start in a press up position facing away from a wall. Walk your feet backward up the wall using your hands to press you back and up. Aim to get as high as you can keeping your core tight and push your head toward the wall rather than trying to look at the floor in front of you.
4. Bear Crawls
For this one you might need a little space, but you can do it in a small area. Start in a box position with hands below shoulders and knees below hips. Squeeze your core and lift your knees up slightly keeping your spine parallel to the floor. Take a step forward moving one hand and the opposite foot at the same time. Keep moving like this with your core tight and if you can go backwards as well get a shuttle going.
5. Body Row
As the reverse of a press up, this exercise will train your core, back and glutes. Find something to hang from – this could be a bar at the park, or a table at home. Lean with your heels on the ground holding on, facing up. Pull your chest to the bar keeping your body rigid and slowly lower yourself down. The further you move your feet forward the harder the exercise will become. Make it harder by using a high bar and pulling yourself up unassisted.
5. Cossack Lunge
Start with a lateral lunge with your feet together. Step to the side, keeping your toes pointing forward and push your hips back and over with one leg straight. Step back to the middle and step to the other side.
Next, the Cossack lunge starts in a deep single leg squat position (on your toes if you need) with one leg straight to the side, to pointing up to the ceiling. Without picking your feet up off the floor, shift your bodyweight to the other foot, turning your feet so you are in the squat position on the other leg. Try to keep your hips low to stretch and work your hips more.
6. Wrestler Twists
Start in the bear crawl position. Pick up one hand and the opposite foot and rotate your whole body on one hand and one foot. Raise your arm up and kick your leg through the gap between your body and the floor. If you’re feeling adventurous, carefully control your whole body over into a reverse plank position.
The burpee is a great move for whole-body conditioning. It will help your mobility, power, and range of movement, all while burning off some energy. Start in a standing position and squat down to place your hands flat on the floor. Jump your feet back into a press up position, then jump them back forward. Lift your hands high and jump as high as you can. Simple, but oh so effective.
Take Home Message
At the end of the day, whether you train in the gym, at home, or outside, calisthenics is a fantastic way to challenge your body into different movement patterns, which is key to keep your body in the best state it can be in. The true beauty of this calisthenics workout is that you can perform any of these movements wherever you can swing your arms – whether that’s in the park or at home.