Tired of Lifting Weights? Try Calisthenics


Let’s face it: consistently working out is hard.

Only 18 percent of Americans reach the recommended level of cardiovascular and muscle-strengthening activity in a week. As if consistency wasn’t hard enough, people like me can be intimidated by heavy weight lifting while surrounded by regular gym goers.

However, calisthenics is a workout method that uses the weight of your body to reach your fitness goals. The effectiveness of these exercises can substitute for most gym machines. In addition, they can be done anywhere and at any time, so there’s no excuse to skip weight bearing exercises.

Photo credit: Michael Lewis II
Photo credit: Michael Lewis II

Push-ups can beat the bench. The push-up has been proven to build just as much chest and arm strength as the bench press. Most people think lifting a weighted barbell somehow produces better results, but research has shown that six repetitions of each exercise produces the same results. To shake it up, you can use elastic resistance bands to increase the pressure on your arms or add in a stability ball to challenge your balance. This is a great way to take a break from heavy lifting and build strong results.

Take a dip instead of skull crushing. Skull crushers are another popular exercise used to work the triceps. Normally, they require medium to heavy weight to reach fast results. However, dips are a great way to use your natural body weight to build strong, toned triceps. It’s an easy exercise you can do on almost any surface. As long as you can hold your body off an edge, dips can be your go-to exercise any time of day.

Why weight the squat? Squats are probably the most popular leg exercise there is. However, everyone isn’t able to squat three or four 45-pound plates on a barbell. It turns out, you can tone your legs without weights by doing air squats. Normal squats are good for building raw power and size, whereas air squats are good for tone. Air squats can tighten your quads and hams without risking injury with weights. Besides, as long as you can squat your own body you’re doing well for yourself.

Pull yourself up. If you’re looking to work your entire upper body, then pull-ups are the exercise for you. This exercise doesn’t match up with any weighted exercises, however it is another great way to use natural body weight to build tone and strength. It’s easy to switch between different variations which can target different muscles in your upper body. The compound strength used to do pull ups can also transfer into weight training.

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Main image photo credit: Nikita Vasilyev


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Read 9 Comments

  1. Calisthenics is the best type of workout! I used to lift weights but then I turned to bodyweight training. It is far more enjoyable and versatile. Calisthenics is great for building strength, muscle mass and stamina. It has even helped me to lose weight. I recommend for everyone as well.

  2. I’m over 45 years old and I love doing Calisthenics body weight training, such as the human flag, front lever, back lever and muscle ups – so age shouldn’t be a barrier to getting started. I’ve got in the best shape of my life with Calisthenics.

  3. Calisthenics is in my opinion the best type of strength training exercise. I as well used to be big into weight lifting and now have jumped in HIIT cardio training and Calisthenics training. I find that I am way more agile and feel better as I have toned down and am less bulky. This type of training along with good diet is a great combo that I would recommend to anyone and everyone!

  4. I’ve been practicing mainly calisthenics for over 6 years now, and in my opinion it’s the best type of training there is. But don’t forget that balance is key in everything.
    Mixing some Weight Training with calisthenics is the one the best things you can do. Gymnastic rings workouts + squats = A match made in heaven

  5. I’m researching about calisthenics and I’m glad I came across your blog. I want to shed some weight, don’t like going to the gym. So this seems to be it for me. Will try the squats first. Thanks.

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