Calisthenics added to a circuit program can support gains in muscular strength and endurance. These muscular endurance exercises, which rely on body weight for resistance, are easily taught and can be modified to fit a person's fitness level. Calisthenics make exercise convenient as they do not require any equipment. They can compensate when stations are missing or unavailable in a circuit, especially in large classes. Calisthenics are effective and deliver results for both the upper and lower body.
Circuit training is a group of selected exercises consisting of aerobic, anaerobic, resistance training, or a combination. The circuit typically has nine to 12 stations with one exercise being performed at each, according to the American College of Sports Medicine. The design of the circuit can vary, such as the length of the circuit, the amount of time between each station and how many times the circuit is completed during the workout session.
Calisthenics such as pushups, squats and lunges, build strength and endurance by challenging control of your body weight. The physiologic benefits of calisthenics include increases in bone mass and the strength of connective tissue.
Using calisthenics with circuit training can increase the amount of calories burned during the workout. Calisthenics strengthen and help build muscle; muscle burns more calories than fat, even at rest. A circuit consisting of calisthenics can be performed anywhere, at any time. Together, these exercises can boost sports performance and overall fitness better than each on its own.
Although calisthenics do not require equipment, it is important they be performed with proper technique to avoid injuries and to maximize strength gains. Circuit training can also cause problems if protocols aren't followed, with overuse-injuries being among the most common, according to the American College of Sports Medicine. To reduce the likelihood of sustaining an over-use injury, vary the exercises at each station so the same muscle group, or body part, is not being worked.
- ACSM's Resource Manual for Guidelines for Exercise Testing and Prescription; American College Sports Medicine
- Calisthenics (Muscular Strength and Endurance Training - MSE); The Army Study Guide
Ronny Marie Martin is a certified personal trainer through the American College of Sports Medicine and a certified group exercise instructor through the Aerobics and Fitness Association of America. Martin began writing articles in 2009 and is the fitness contributor for "Urban Views Weekly." She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Virginia Polytechnic Institute.