The most common question I get from those who are inactive but debating whether or not to start working out is “Why do I need to exercise? “To get stronger” I typically reply. “But why does being strong matter?” Which is an honest question. The average persons day revolves around sitting in a car, sitting at a desk, or sitting on the couch; none of which requires strength to execute properly. However, the car, the desk, and the couch are only recently-added conveniences in terms of evolutionary biology.
[tweet_box design=”default”]The human body is not meant to be weak, it’s not designed to live in comfortable surroundings.[/tweet_box] Sitting is killing us and industrialized food production is making us fat, while freezing cold showers alleviate depression, and intermittent fasting reduces the chance of diabetes and heart disease. So, the honest answer is that physical strength doesn’t play a much of a role in the modern world. It does, however, play a huge role in our physical and mental wellbeing. Our ancestors were strong, not for recreational reasons, but because the environment they evolved in required them to be.
What physical benefits come from being strong?
1. Increased Human Growth Hormone (HGH) levels.
By becoming strong, [tweet_box design=”default”]your body releases growth hormone which helps your muscles adapt to resistance training.[/tweet_box] Growth Hormone is important because it prevents fat storage and regulates your blood glucose levels, decreasing your chance of diabetes. High levels of HGH also leads to increased bone density, whihc prevents injuries.
2. Lower levels of inflammation.
Hitting your head, scraping your knee, ear infections, and stress, cause your body to react in the form of inflammation. Acute inflammation (short and fast) occurs when you experience one of the above instances, and your body responds by increasing blood flow and immune cell delivery to the affected area. This usually appears in the form of swelling and redness. Chronic inflammation occurs when the body doesn’t turn off the inflammatory response and, as a result, further damages the affected area. Most common forms of chronic inflammation are heart disease, depression, and metabolic disease. Being strong reduces the amount of inflammation needed by the body to correct such maladies and prevents the likelihood of inflammation becoming chronic.
3. Your body becomes more economical.
Strength is based on the ability to fire motor neurons faster and more efficiently. Whether you’re a cyclist, dancer, boxer, or yoga instructor, being strong makes your body execute movement more effectively.
What mental benefits come from being strong?
4. Increased levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor.
BDNF, similar to HGH, is a protein that encourages growth and differentiation of new neurons and synapses in the brain. In particular, it can leads to a dramatic improvements in memory and delay cognitive decline.
5. Increased confidence and emotional stability.
Self-confidence is determined by the values an individual hold him or herself accountable to. Having strong personal relationships, being physically attractive, being able to defend and provide for your family, are all things that people base their self-worth; and all of them can be improved through physical strength. Being strong requires that you workout, having a successful workout regiment almost always involves creating a social circle of like-minded workout companions. [tweet_box design=”default”]Strength also improves your physical appearance, and the ability to take care of yourself[/tweet_box], (and those around you).
A lot of this is related to the anti-inflammatory effects of being strong mentioned earlier.
We have done an excellent job of making the world around us comfortable.
The underlying goal of all technical innovations it to make life easier with less work. Unfortunately, living in a comfortable environment goes against every aspect of our biology. Physical strength derived from resistance training, cardiovascular exercise, and other acute stressors may not seem very practical in today’s world, but it’s 100% necessary to live a long and healthy life.
Do you agree? Let us know in comments!
calisthenics training program
If someone tells you there is a secret to calisthenics, run as far as you can. There are none. There are none in fitness too. 80% of results will always come down to actually doing the work.
I know, unsexy, but it’s true.
It took me years to stop searching for a secret source and focus on what was most important – training.
The game is on – It’s just you, your body and your mind.
What is different about calisthenics though is the approach you need to take. Coming from weight background, 30 minutes workouts and sweating it out I really had to adjust my training philosophy to understand what it takes to achieve body mastery with calisthenics, the strenght, teh skills, the control, the balance.
The switch was in philosophy. I stopped looking at workouts as something that I need to get out of the way, that is something I am just doing for 30 minutes a day or something I am doing to only look good.
Calisthenics thought me a lot about movement, life, persistence and patience.We wrote more on this approach in our Movement Athlete Manifesto which you can read here.
For now though, as you are getting started I want you to focus on 3 things and 3 things only. Apply them at the start of your journey and you will not only get stronger faster, become a better human but you will be more content with life.
The 3 principles below are applicable to any other fitness routine but are even more important in calisthenics.
Keep that in mind and you will succeed.
Rule # 1. Be Patient and Consistent
It sounds like a no brainer, but you will hear me talking about it a lot. Why?
Because, its a number one killer for those taking up calisthenics.
I don’t know about you, but if I don’t see results within a few weeks I am freaking out, I troubleshoot things, I change my diet and I go nuts. My attention span is very short and I have no patience whatsoever. It is so strange that we as humans want everything good to happen very quickly despite knowing the fact that to achieve something worthwhile you need to give it your all for a significant amount of time. Nothing good happens overnight. Patience and consistency are critical factors for success. No great strength and physiques were built in 4 weeks.
What I want you to understand though, is that this is even more true in calisthenics. The reason why strengths gains are so significant and stay with you for life,is because building them take time and you do that by slowly conditioning your body into it. Your nervous system needs time to adjust. So right here and right now I want you to set yourself on a journey of a lifetime.
Keep an eye on the prize and set short-term goals to keep you going. But focus on the process, on being present, on keeping the training every single day, on developing your body awareness, on training your skill. Yes, you can gain some decent amount of muscle in a short period of time with the right tools and regime, but do not expect to see results overnight. Remember, it’s not a routine, it’s a lifestyle. Go slow but be consistent. Your nervous system will be slowly getting used to different movements and getting stronger.
Rule # 2. No cheating. Focus on the full range of motion
This one is a killer.
I see so many people doing half push ups and saying that push-ups are not sufficient to build your chest muscles.
Whaaaat? Most of the people doing calisthenics simply are doing it wrong.
Now, I know it sounds basic but it can literally make a difference between you succeeding and failing. Performing all your repetitions in a controlled way with a full range of motion, taking it all the way down and all the way up is critical to your success. First you train for quality, when you get your form perfect, you can move on.
Another benefit of it is really exploring the movement and becoming hyper aware of your body, your muscles, little tensions here and there. When you focus on that, breathe in and out it brings a different quality not only to the exercise itself but to your whole workout. Try going super slow, try squeezing everything is there and feel your body, try to be as present as you can.
Its hard especially when you are just getting started with calisthenics so keep that in mind.
Rule #3 Push yourself with progressive resistance
This is the most important rule of all especially when you are just getting started. And although its so obvious in weight training when you just add weight, it must be rigorously applied to calisthenics.
There is a simple rule in getting better.
You constantly need to go further, you need to push yourself, you need to go beyond whatever you have right now. And this is a mindset thing.
Like in personal development to grow you need to keep on getting out of your comfort zone, same with fitness. I don’t want any of you not progressing. I don’t care what level you are, how good or how bad you are.
Every single day I want you to do a little bit more.
If you are not growing you’re dying, and in calisthenics like in any other fitness regime you must challenge yourself every single time. If you are not doing more reps, more sets, harder exercises or having shorter rest periods you won’t get stronger and your body composition will not change to the better! Period.
Progressive calisthenics gives you tools and structure to progress so use it wisely. Keep these in mind, eat right, and you will see results
Later on I will teach you how to troubleshoot progressions, how to deconstruct the movements and how to overcome plateau. But for now, all you need to do is get in the right mindset and set yourself up for success.!
Are you ready to take your fitness to the next level?
PS. What are other rules you think are critical in succeeding with bodyweight strength training?
[tweet_box design=”box_03″]Women, listen up! Calisthenics and bodyweight training is very much marketed as a workout to promote the gain of your ultimate physical strength. [/tweet_box]While strength is commonly associated with male dominance, women are more likely to be interested in staying slim, toned and agile without bulking up. If you are looking for a fitness regime that works on improving your entire body, then this is the workout for you – with calisthenics, any wobbly bits will vanish with persistence. Here, Bodyweight Training Arena wants to discuss the many EXTRA benefits for bodyweight training asides from strength gain, to get across the message that calisthenics training is for EVERYONE.
1. Full Body Workout
[tweet_box design=”box_03″]Calisthenics is super effective in achieving that full body workout which is guaranteed to target a full variety of muscle groups within a single exercise. [/tweet_box]The benefits of targeting multiple muscle groups at one not only make better use of your time, but will give you an even and balanced appearance. Try our callisthenics workout here
2. Calisthenics is Free
Since calisthenics requires no gym equipment, no machines, and no accessories AND can be performed in the comfort of your own home, means that calisthenics is one of the most cost effective exercises out there. Even more, since you don’t have to leave the house, you don’t have to bother with travelling costs if you’d usually take the bus or car. [tweet_box design=”box_03″]Calisthenics is 100% free so why waste your money paying for expensive gym memberships when you could be making better use of that cash.[/tweet_box]
3. Suitable for any fitness level
This is one of the best things about Calisthenics; there is a very extensive amount of training exercises for all levels. Calisthenics is always promoted through the use of examples of men so physically fit and already at the top of their gain that it makes little sense that using the same methods of working out could work for you too. Calisthenics is all about progressing, and just because you aren’t doing one handed push up’s, doesn’t mean that training at your own level won’t have its benefits for you. The more you train and are really determined to improve, the sooner you’ll find yourself progressing through the stages. So start at a level you feel comfortable at and get going!
Take a look at Bodyweight Areas simple and easy to follow progressions chart.
4. Fast Fat Burning
Calisthenics can help speed up the body’s metabolism, help tone the entire body and strength the muscles and tendons. So by keeping active with calisthenics you’ll be looking your best in no time. Calisthenics is also responsible for targeting and toning the core muscle groups. Did you know that your core muscles are made up of at least 29 muscles? It is very important to target your core muscles because neglect can result in the emergence of many aches and pains.
Forget wasting time getting to the gym, forget organising your gym kit, just forget about all the hassle you’ve ever spent going to the gym to start your workout. Since you don’t have to leave the house, you have more time on your hands.
Calisthenics is great for any working people out there leading busy lives, constantly on the go and traveling away from home. With calisthenics you can use your office space, your hotel room, play parks; simply anywhere you have some open space to move around safely.
Are you running out of excuses to stop you exercising yet? Here’s more!
6. Increased Flexibility
Keeping your body subtle and flexibly not only is a desirable attribute but important for keeping yourself safe during exercise and preventing any unwanted or nasty injuries. Stretching is guaranteed to get you feeling better and more agile and is particularly important for office workers or anyone who finds themselves crouching in front of a computer for long periods of time. Stretching to increase your flexibility will put a spring back in your step in no time.
7. Recovery from injury
If you have been injured either in a physical activity or your daily life, calisthenics is excellent for recovering from an injury. Starting calisthenics after an injury will allow you to take a step back and re-evaluate that specific area. Commonly, some sports injuries result in weakened tendons and muscles; swift and long-lasting recovery comes from strengthening that area. Calisthenics will allow you to take your strength training back to basic altering the tension and pressure put upon that area.
8. Benefits will see you through into elderly age
As discussed, calisthenics has numerous advantages that will benefit you not only now but that will also support you in the future. It is very important to keep flexible, agile, have strong supported joints and retain good posture. Keeping yourself fit and healthy now will also allow you to stay happy, active and independent when you are in your elderly years free of aches and pains.
9. Better Posture
Strengthening your core muscle ensures they are supporting your body to their maximum capacity, helping you stand taller with better posture. Better posture in itself has so many fantastic benefits; from giving the appearance of a slighter, more graceful version of yourself, to preventing or curing back pain. So let’s get targeting your core!
10. Better Wellbeing
We are frequently told of the benefits of exercising and keeping happy so they’re must be something in it. Bodyweight training Arena has provided you with 10 convincing reason why Bodyweight training / callisthenics is for everyone or all levels of fitness – male or female.
To get started, follow this progressions and good luck with your new bodyweight adventure.
In a meantime check out recommended calisthenic training programs or have a look at recommended beginners program Getting Started WIth Calisthenics