What is Calisthenics?
Calisthenics might not have made it onto your radar yet, but chances are that you’ve already tried it or have seen it in action. A relatively simple concept, it’s a form of resistance and strength training using gravity and body weight. The beauty of calisthenics is that you don’t need much equipment and it can be practised outdoors too. Nowadays, calisthenic equipment can often be found in parks and outdoor spaces. It’s even known as a ‘street workout’. But that’s not all, scientific research has proven that calisthenics improves posture, strength, stability and body composition.
Yogi Bare Yoga Mats
If you’re new to calisthenics, it's best to begin with basic repetitions of press-ups, squats, lunges and planks. Try our 15-minute routine using a non-slip yoga mat. You might be wondering why you need one? Calisthenic exercises are going to make you work up quite a sweat. Slipping and sliding can be dangerous and is a common cause of injury. A non-slip yoga mat will also support joints, balance and posture and there’s much less likelihood of injury.
15 Minutes Calisthenics Routine Using a Yoga Mat
A round consists of doing each exercise 10-12 times. Complete a minimum of 2-3 rounds. It’s important for your body to take rest periods so factor in 2 minutes of rest in between each round.
The old favourite, aka star jumps. It’s a great one to get blood circulation going around the body. Start with your legs straight and arms down by the side. Jump up, spreading feet widely apart (beyond hip-width). Simultaneously bring arms above the head, hands almost touching. Jump again, this time lowering arms down by your side and feet together.
Begin with the body facing forward. Feet should be parallel and sit directly underneath shoulders. Move feet a few inches apart, point toes slightly outwards. Lower into the squat as if sitting into a chair. Lower hips back and down. Don’t forget to bend your knees so that weight is distributed evenly.
Incline Press ups
Press ups are the ultimate calisthenic workout. Great for burning calories too. Start in a high plank position. Hands can be on a plyo box, bench, low table or something similar. Place hands as wide apart as feels comfortable. The further apart, the harder you’ll work your chest. Brace your core, pull glutes in tightly, hold and then lower gently towards whatever it is that you’re using for support. Pause momentarily then push back up to the starting position. As you build up strength and stamina, you can progress to traditional floor press-ups.
If you want killer abdominals, then crunches are the way forward. Lie on your back, bend knees, and position knees flat on the floor, hip-width apart. Depending on what feels comfortable, hands can be rested upon thighs, across your chest or behind your ears. Curl up slowly towards your knees until your shoulders are roughly 3 inches off the floor. Hold that position for a few seconds and then gently lower back down.
A 2-part exercise, perfect for muscle strength. Simply put, it’s a push-up followed by a jump squat. Stand straight, position feet shoulder-width apart. Squat, and lower hands until they’re resting on the floor in front of your feet. Shift your body weight onto your hands. Jump the legs backward until they’re fully extended (your body should be in the plank position). Now, jump your feet back towards the hands. They should land just outside either foot. Reach hands over your head, whilst simultaneously leaping upwards. When you land, immediately lower back into the squat position again.
Fantastic for strengthening glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings and calves. Stand straight, relax shoulders, and place feet in line with hips. Hands can be placed on hips or reach them out in front. Now, take a big step, transferring your weight forward. Step the other foot backwards. Centre your body weight between both legs. Raise your left heel slightly. Bend knees, whilst simultaneously lowering your body into the bend. Back thigh remains parallel to the floor. Go as low as feels comfortable. Opposite shin should remain vertical though. Press the front heel firmly into the ground, straighten heels and slowly return to starting position.
A fantastic exercise for building core strength and stability. Hold your body off the floor with the elbows and tips of your toes. Hips should be raised. Sagging towards the floor is not allowed! To initiate the core muscles, keep your back straight. Forearms lay flat on the floor with elbows positioned below shoulders. Place hands in a comfortable position. This might be flat on the floor or clasped together. Bottom stays low. Keep feet hip width apart. Hold stomach muscles in and up. Remain static in full plank for 20 seconds.