A large section of this website is based around Calisthenics. We are always involved with this type of workout in our YouTube videos and sometimes in our articles. However some people don’t know what exactly this form of exercising is. Therefore I want to explain what Calisthenics actually is and the origin of it. So keep reading and you will learn everything you need to know.

Calisthenics are repetitive exercises that strictly use body weight to increase muscle mass, strength and flexibility. This form of exercise became famous during the last few decades worldwide; however its origins date back to Ancient Greece. In the picture below you can see the mythological story of Calisthenics. These are two Ancient Greek gods fighting (Kallisto and Yemo). Legend says that Kallisto asked Heracles to help him win and Heracles showed him a special skill to move his body and muscles with grace in order to defend himself. In the end he won the battle, thanks to Calisthenics.

The Life Upgrades - Kallisto and Yemo

Now the real origin of Calisthenics comes from the warriors of Ancient Greece. Why do you think they were the first nation to have the best natural physiques? It was part of the Ancient Spartan training and many other Greek warriors. The origin of the word comes from the Greek words kallos (κάλλος), meaning beauty and sthenos (σθένος), and meaning strength. This basically means you will make your body stronger and more beautiful. Socrates once said: “What a disgrace it is for a man to grow old without seeing the beauty and strength of which his body is capable.” Exercising was a part of their culture and not only for Greeks. Shaolin Monks in China, Roman Gladiators, Indian wrestlers and warriors used Calisthenics as their training to prepare them both mentally and physically.

Calisthenics were forgotten once Ancient Greece’s era came to an end. Later on Gymnastics were created which were heavily influenced by Calisthenics, which is why they have many similarities. Some people might tell you that Calisthenics can’t build muscle mass and weight lifting is needed. However they are completely wrong. As you can see, in our days gymnasts have the best natural physiques in the world, not body builders.

The Life Upgrades - Gymnastics

The last few decades Calisthenics became famous through an advanced version called Street Workout. People from all around the world use the principles of Calisthenics to work out anywhere they like, mostly parks. There’s even a new type of park, called Street Workout Parks. Check if you have any in your town and give them a try as they are becoming very popular. People have now started appreciating the benefits of Calisthenics. There are also competitions hosted in different countries around the world by the WSWCF (World Street Workout & Calisthenics Federation).

The Life Upgrades - Street Workout Parks

There are all sorts of benefits involved. First of all it improves many bodily skills such as balance, strength, flexibility, explosiveness, agility and endurance depending on the exercises performed. There is no need to buy any equipment, so it’s cost free. The only thing you need is your body, nothing more. Combined with the right diet, it will help you to lose weight and tone up. The environment needed doesn’t matter as any place you can think of is perfectly fine. Indoor or outdoor places, they will still get the job done. Just bring your imagination. The body will be more physically and mentally healthy as you can exercise outside in parks, beaches and even forests. Therefore you can breathe in fresh air and feel the hot sun on your skin whilst working out.

All the exercises in Calisthenics use more than one muscle (compound exercises) and especially the core muscles (abs, oblique, lower back), which are the most important ones because they hold your body stable. That’s important because core muscles should be the priority of everyone not having “bigger guns” or wide backs.

Also there are different levels of exercises from amateur to advanced ones. That’s why everyone can do it. Everyone can do Calisthenics if he/she is willing to. You can even do a simple push up or sit up, that’s still considered Calisthenics. At last but not least there is no risk for people who don’t exercise as they won’t be using weights or forcing their joints and muscles. Some of the most common exercises are squats, pull ups, push-ups, sprints, handstands, lunges, dips, crunches and planks.

When you advance and you are ready for better moves, there are always new and more difficult ones to try out, but keep calm and don’t rush into it. Some of the most common ones are muscle ups, human flag, front lever, back lever, pistol squat, one arm pull-ups and superman push-ups. Find a trainer that understands the moves quite well, their regressions and progressions. Listen to him carefully and do not act by yourself as it can be very dangerous. Master the basic moves first and then move on. Patience and dedication are the most important parts in Calisthenics and in any type of training. Give your body time to adapt to the exercises and at some point you will see progress.

The Life Upgrades - Calisthenics Workouts

You can now see why this form of exercising became so famous around the world as its popularity continues to grow single every day. I bet if you try even a few simple moves you will be amazed how awesome they are. You can even combine them with your weight training and change your workout routines a little. Remember, exercise while having fun and stay healthy.

Share this article to inform more people and tell us your thoughts in the comments below: What do you think about Calisthenics? Do you want to try any fancy moves? Do you like the workouts and tutorials in our YouTube channel? Are they helpful? Do you incorporate any of these exercises in your workouts?