Bodyweight calisthenics. I wish I had learned about this type of training when I was a teenager. The BEST fitness advice I’ll ever be able to give my son, and the BIGGEST fitness thing I’d tell myself if I had a time machine would be…
Agility. Mobility. Flexibility. Symmetry. Balance. STRENGTH. A well-constructed bodyweight training program can not only correct muscle imbalances, but it can also strengthen the supporting tendons/ligaments in a way that traditional single-plane weight lifting exercises won’t.
To quote Mark Lauren, “You Are Your Own Gym.” Great book. Great way to start yourself off on a bodyweight path. Buy it here on Amazon – You Are Your Own Gym: The Bible of Bodyweight Exercises
If you want to be inspired, watch these people move…
And yes, women can kick some ass too…
I used to think that I had a decent exercise program, and that I was relatively fit. Then I started doing regular HIIT (high intensity interval training) work. I quickly learned that I didn’t have a very high VO2 max threshold. When I shifted to mostly bodyweight training and calisthenics inspired workouts, I quickly learned that I wasn’t as strong as I thought I was. Many years later, I have such an appreciation for the amount of work and training that goes into what you saw in those videos. It has changed my perspective on what actual fitness is. In my humble opinion, the ability to MANIPULATE, MOVE, and CONTROL your bodyweight through space is a true sign of fitness.
In addition to our weekly garage workouts, I scoped out a calisthenics park in the greater Kansas City area, and now we have a standing Saturday AM workout (weather permitting). And, working out outside is awesome to boot.
When we have the apparatus available, I like to program in some skill training, as well as mobility work, and a circuit to reinforce the skills while raising our heart rate. I also might throw in a special “burner” which I am today.
- Jump rope 2 min – freestyle skills
- Side twists (holding band or JR) – 25 sec
- Chair squat (holding band or JR) – 25 sec
- Side bend (holding band or JR) – 25 sec
- Combo move (plank walkout -> spider lunge right -> side angle pose right arm -> side angle pose left arm -> left hip dip to ground -> return to plank -> spider lunge left…..repeat cycle – 50 sec
- Scorpion twist – 25 sec
- Soldier kick – 25 sec
- Side leg raise – 25 sec
- Gliding lunge – 25 sec
- Egoscue shoulder sequence (elbow curls – 20 count, arm circles forward – 20 count, arm circles back, 20 count)
Pulling – dead hang, scapular hang, hang w/knee raise hold, tuck lever hold, skin the cat – HOLD UNTIL FAILURE
Pushing – plank hold, one-arm plank hold, beginner planche hold work (lean shoulders out over hands in plank), frog stands – HOLD UNTIL FAILURE
Push/pull circuit do one right after the other, rest for 2 minutes between cycles):
- Dip (assisted dip) – 3 x 6-10
- Inverted row – 3 x 6-10
- Handstand (or pike) pushup – 3 x 6-10
- Pullup (assisted pullup) – 3 x 6-10
Leg burner (3 min):
- 20 seconds squat, 10 seconds squat hold x 2
- 20 seconds squat jack, 10 seconds squat hold x 2
- 20 seconds squat jump, 10 seconds squat hold x 2
Heart rate circuit (5 min):
- High knee jump rope – 1 min
- Double battle rope slam – 1 min
- Jumping jacks – 1 min
- A-skips – 1 min each leg
There were 5 of us, so we did it circuit style and moved station to station. My rotation was:
- A skip (R)
- A skip (L)
- Double rope slam
- Jump rope
- Jumping jacks
I like this HR chart (max HR in the 170’s)…
Overall, the group found this challenging, but liked it. The most visceral responses came from the leg burner circuit. At one point, of the participants was just kind of pulsing and shrugging (during the squat jacks), and it looked like she was kind of miming the sequence (I’m sure in her head she was doing the full movement).
You know it’s a good workout when one of your compadres asks you to pour their coffee for them during the victory omelet because her hands are still shaking.