What Are Calisthenics & How You Can Work Them Into Your Fitness Regime

How to tone and strengthen your body through learning this form of exercise.

By Steve Thio        2 October 2021

So what are calisthenics all about? And how do they help you? We speak to Michel Velasco, a Fitness Practitioner from UMove fitness studio at SAFRA Mount Faber to find out more.

What are calisthenics?

Calisthenics training is a system of strength training where you use your own weight as resistance for your exercises. You can consider static running, jumping jacks, push-ups, and pull-ups as a starting point in its basic form.

As you get better in the course, you can progress towards more complex and physically demanding gymnastic types of movements.

Whats great about calisthenics is the convenience of being able to practise it anywhere! Whether you are at home, on a two-week holiday or at the office working late, you can still fit in a couple of calisthenics exercises during your breaks. The convenience alone makes calisthenics a very effective method for consistent progress.

Is calisthenics tough for beginners?

Anyone and everyone can do calisthenics as we have variations of the exercises to suit and fit your abilities. But we do encourage beginners to start off with pilates first before embarking on calisthenics. Pilates will complement calisthenics training and help you to understand your body better.

The only difference here at Umove is our step-by-step approach to guide you from the very beginning all the way to the advanced level. We have carefully studied the progressions of the exercises so even a 50-year-old can do it safely.

What are some of the basic exercises in this course?

The Calisthenics Fundamentals Class is a full-body workout that includes four groups of exercises focusing on the upper body, lower body, core, and movement work.

What will I learn from the 4 different groups of exercises?

In the upper body, we will work on your pushing and pulling strength – you will learn how to do push-ups and pull-ups correctly and then advance to progressions that suit your abilities.

In the lower body, we will be working on developing mobility in the hips, ankles, and knees while working on building strength as well.

As for the core exercises, we always make sure that we dont target the abs only which is a common mistake in fitness classes. This can cause imbalance and injury. Instead, we work on the entire core from the front to the back to develop a more balanced musculature.

The movement part of the work which can happen either at the start, the end, or in between sets is where we will be working on locomotion – crawling on the floor, co-ordination exercises, ball drills, and balance work.

What do I have to be mindful of when doing these exercises?

At the beginning its important to learn how to do these exercises properly. These may look like basic exercises and movements but its very common for people to execute them wrongly. For example, the push-up. Everybody knows about push-ups but not many people do it well. At Umove we will guide and teach you to do it properly.

And what can I expect after mastering these basic exercises?

Once you have mastered this and the other basic bodyweight movements, you can slowly progress towards the more advanced variations of the exercise. At the same time, we will help you work towards increasing the volume of the exercises that will in turn increase your capacity. Once you have built enough capacity, you can slowly venture towards exploring more movement-based training where we will work on your coordination, balance, handstand training, and even visual training where we target developing your peripheral vision to catch or react to objects.

What are the benefits?

Body awareness. Calisthenics help you increase awareness of your body positioning and posture. As you do the movements, you begin to understand your body a lot better.

Strength gains. You will get stronger after a few regular sessions and move your body with greater ease. If you stick with the practice for long enough, you will develop strength gains that many can only dream of.

More toned. You will gain muscles from comfortably carrying your own body weight, and not through gym weights. Hence, you can get stronger and build more muscles without getting too bulky.

Getting lean and longand having more flexible muscles. You will get that lean and taut beach body look”! With good form, you can achieve a healthy level of flexibility in calisthenics, in addition to getting stronger.

Our sessions incorporate a beneficial type of bodyweight stretching that will also strengthen your muscles whilst increasing their flexibility simultaneously. This will make your body more resilient to injuries.

Achieve your fitness goals faster. Since you don’t need fancy equipment to get going with your calisthenics exercises, you can achieve more consistency with your training session. And that is the most important key in achieving your goals.

Note: Do not attempt any of the suggested actions or instruction in this article without first consulting with a medical professional. 

For more information on UMove Fitness classes, go to www.safra.sg/amenities-offerings/umovesg

About Michel Velasco

Michel Velasco is qualified physiotherapist/physical therapist and has been teaching pilates for over two decades. He also teaches the calisthenics and handstand classes at UMove Fitness SAFRA Mount Faber. His calisthenics class incorporates Ido Portal Movement concepts and teachings.