Callisthenics, which is an ancient form of exercising, has seen a major resurgence recently because it perfectly fits the short, high intensity exercise routine needed
for those with a busy lifestyle.
It is gym-free and can be done just about anywhere, and at any time. Callisthenics was heavily promoted in schools in the mid 1900s.
In some ways, it has recently supplanted aerobics, which this focused more on building heart and lung fitness rather than
muscle mass and strength. Callisthenics can do both of these.
Callisthenics is equipment-free as it uses the body’s own weight as resistance to work the various muscles to develop muscle mass, strength and endurance. The exercises are quite simple and easy to learn. They involve well known activities such as push-ups, jumping jacks, pull-ups, various lunges and sit-ups.
A recent trend in callisthenics is the concept of increasing the loads placed on the muscles by changing the exercise to progressing increase work loads and get enhanced benefits.
This is referred to as progressive callisthenics and it involves changes to the loads to increase resistance as people get fitter and stronger.
Workloads can be increased by using stronger and less flexible bands and cords. Progressively pushing or pulling your muscles to new limits builds muscle strength and endurance. Doing the routines quickly builds aerobic fitness.
This article introduces the concept of marrying callisthenics and using resistance bands to progressively increase the loads on the standard exercises.
It discusses the advantages of resistance bands and callisthenics singly, and shows how resistance bands can be used in various callisthenics routines.
This is common sense rather than rocket science and once you see some examples it will be easy to develop your own routines.
Advantages of Callisthenics
It can be done anytime and almost anywhere. This includes during a break at work. Research studies have highlighted the dangers of inactivity.
It is gym-free and can be done in a room in your house, or better still outdoors
It can be done as a group activity, and is suitable for all ages and all members of your family
It requires no expensive equipment such as home gyms, exercise bikes or rowing machines.
It is very flexible and can be ramped up with heavier body weight loads, number of repetitions and the rate at which they are done. It can be incorporated into interval routines.
It has an inbuilt stretching component as the exercises move the muscles over a full range of actions. You can start slowly and increase the intensity as you warm up.
It can be combined with other training routines such a pyramids or circuits.
It generates resistance in your muscles by using your own body weight.
Most of the exercises are compound movements that involve an entire muscle group and often different parts of the body as well.
It helps to strengthen the core of the body as well as the limbs.
Advantages of Training Using Bands
Highly Portable and Minimal Equipment Needed - Bands are very cheap and you can afford to have one set at home, one at work and one set in your locker at the local gym. They are easy to carry in your luggage when you go on holiday.
Bands are Very Versatility and Adaptable - Bands and cable units can be used with the handles held in your hands or under your feet. They can also be hooked up furniture, railings, doors, or trees.
Bands have a Wide range of Applications - The elastic resistance can be used for developing muscle mass and strength, developing power, endurance and flexibility.
Bands Provide A Powerful Acceleration Action - The resistance in the bands and cables increases relative to the extent that they are stretched. This provides a flexible load and allows you to accelerate with power. This action helps develop explosive strength in ways that cannot be achieved with the fixed resistance of a weight.
Bands Provide a Matching Strength Curve - Your muscles and power develop by parts of your body is weakest at the start of the exercise and is strongest at full extension or contraction. This biomechanical strength curve of the muscles is mimicked by the variable resistance of the elastic bands.
Bands are Less Stressful on the Joints than Weights - Elastic resistance and your response to it tends to be smooth and avoids any jerking or straining that puts extra strain or the joints such as the hips, ankles, elbows and knees.
Bands are Suitable For All Levels of Fitness and Ages - This applies from novices to expert body builders. The exercises can be geared to your current level of fitness. You can also progressively ramp up the resistance, number or repetitions and speed with which you do the exercises.
Advantages of Combining Callisthenics with Resistance Bands and Cords
It makes the progression to higher loads much easier as you don't have to shift to alternative exercises that use more of your own body weight. You progress by using a resistance band and then adding more bands or less stretchy ones as you develop more strength and get fitter.
Both callisthenics and resistance band training can be done anywhere and so you can combine them anywhere. The addition of the resistance bands is minimal in terms if inconvenience
The combination is very effective but very simple as well. Simpler systems are easier to follow and this means you are less likely to drop out. The routines are also a lot of fun especially if done outdoors.
The Combination Offers Plenty of Variety and is Highly Adaptable - There are a huge range of books and guides for callisthenic exercise routines and resistance band routines as well. Be creative and thing of the ways the two can be combined to enable you to adopt progressive callisthenics to build strong lean muscles, strength, stamina, endurance and aerobic fitness.
Variety is the spice of life and callisthenics with resistance bands is the catalyst for successful training anywhere, anytime and any how.