Man has used his own body-weight for strength training since time immemorial, long before the use of dumbbells and the invention of weight training machines. This form of strength training is known as calisthenics. Calisthenics can be defined as a form of exercise that consists of various movements using one’s own bodyweight and the qualities of inertia for resistance, to build one’s strength and physique. It is practiced without equipment or apparatus, except for basic items such as a pull-up bar. It is also commonly referred to as body-weight training. It can be done as a stand-alone routine, or programmed into any weight loss, bodybuilding or fitness workout. It has many benefits, is convenient and can be tailored to suit beginner, intermediate or advanced trainees.
The word calisthenics is derived from the Greek words Kalos (meaning beauty) and Sthenos (meaning strength). The earliest recorded history of this type of strength training is in 480 BC, found in the chronicles of the Greek historian Herodotus – a contemporary of Socrates and widely considered as the “Father of History”. According to his account, the incredibly strong and ripped Spartan army of King Leonides practiced calisthenics. Although this is the earliest account, the phenomenon is not limited to Greece. Every civilization is known to have practiced some form of calisthenic training for strength building. The Indian bhaitak (squat) and dand (push-up) were routines commonly practiced by wrestlers. The Persian and Shaolin cultures are also known to have practiced similar body-weight based strength training routines. Of course, the ancient Indian yogasanas, which are now part of such an incredible global wellness movement, are also a form of body weight based training.
Calisthenics aligns perfectly to MettaSphere’s philosophy of natural techniques and minimalism. We recommend it over any other regimen as a stand-alone workout for overall strengthening of the body. We consider it as the art of training your body as it was meant to be trained; not by isolating muscle groups and using man-made machinery but by using the best tool that you already have – your body becomes your gym! You will strengthen your entire body as a unit, eliminating each weak link in the chain until every fibre of your being is working in harmony at extraordinary levels of strength. Calisthenics strengthens every muscle group and every link between those muscle groups. It is the ultimate form of exercise for creating true strength. Practicing calisthenics can help anyone achieve a stronger, fitter, more flexible body and it can be tailored to suit beginner, intermediate or advanced trainees.
Our calisthenics trainers are advanced professionals who will guide you through the various exercises and progressions. They will ensure you use proper form and technique to achieve measurable gains in strength and experience real body transformation. We believe that it’s all about strength, not just about how you look. But boy, does it make you look ripped or what! Check out our available subscription offerings to get started on your calisthenics journey.
A key benefit of calisthenic training is that it can be done anywhere, and you require minimal equipment to do it. The U.S. Army, among others, recommends calisthenic training to its recruits, saying that it helps to build muscular strength and endurance, as well as improving bone and joint strength, which aids in preventing injuries. Even if you’re a beginner, this method of training is perfect to help you develop a basic level of coordination, stability and muscular control which would in turn help you progress to advanced body-weight movements.
Calisthenics involves compound exercises which we personally believe to be the better way to strengthen the body. For starters, they will allow you to train multiple muscle groups at once and therefore they allow you to lift much bigger loads. You will always see faster and more consistent growth with compound exercises than with isolation. If overall strength is your goal, then compound exercises are the way to go.
Calisthenics also involves many unilateral exercises allowing you to even out any strength or size imbalances in your body. Most people tend to use one (stronger) side of their body more than the other in everyday life. This imbalance only gets more exacerbated by bilateral training. Most sporting activities involve unilateral rather than bilateral movements, so adding unilateral exercises to your training can help improve sporting performance and reduce the risk of injury. Calisthenic training not only exposes these imbalances, it also allows us to work on and eliminate them.