Calisthenics can get you better muscle tone, cardio fitness and full-body strength that you can't get with traditional exercise machines. These exercises rely your own body weight as resistance, working virtually almost every muscle in your body and helping you burn more fat after your workout, according to the IDEA Fitness Journal. With very little or no equipment, you can do calisthenics anywhere without relying on a gym. Now you shouldn't have an excuse to skip your workout.
Pullups strengthen all of your back, core, shoulders and arms at the same time. The standard pullup is performed by using a pullup bar where you pull yourself up vertically until your head clears over the bar. This can be challenging more many women who are new to exercise. Pullups can also be done by using a lower horizontal bar -- such as a squat bar -- or a suspension cable. With your feet on the floor for support, you can pull yourself up much more easily than the standard pullup.
Pushups are not just for guys who wants to show their pecs. They strengthen your chest, arms and shoulders while improving core stability. To do the standard pushup, put your hands on the floor about shoulder-distance apart and extend your legs behind you with your feet together. Inhale as you lower your chest and hip together toward the floor without flexing your spine. Exhale as you push yourself away from the floor. If you can't do this, you can do pushups on your knees or put your hands on an elevated surface, like pushup bars, an aerobic step or stairs. You can even wrap a strong exercise rubber tubing around your waist and secure the handles to a hook on a cable column machines. The tubing will pull you up while you maintain your form.
Lower Body Patterns
There are three basic leg positions you can do to train your lower body without weights, which are the squat, lunge and step-up. These exercises work all muscles in your lower body while improving core stability, balance and left-right coordination, physical therapist Gray Cook says, author of "Athletic Body in Balance." For the lunge and step-up, you can vary these exercises by moving in different directions by moving to the side or in a diagonal pattern. You can even add a torso rotation to all exercises.
Add a little burst of power to your calisthenics to boost metabolism and reflexes. You can apply this any basic calisthenic exercises. For example, you can do squat jumps with a jumping box or just on the floor, or you can do power pushups by quickly pushing your hands off the ground as you push yourself up. Other power calisthenics include power lunges, power step-ups and side hops. If you are new to power training, work with a qualified fitness professional before doing it on your own.
- IDEA Fitness Journal: Body Weight Exercises
- Western Washington University: Introduction to Plyometrics
- Athletic Body in Balance; Gray Cook
Nick Ng has been writing fitness articles since 2003, focusing on injury prevention and exercise strategies. He has covered health for "MiaBella" magazine. Ng received his Bachelor of Arts in communications from San Diego State University in 2001 and has been a certified fitness coach with the National Academy of Sports Medicine since 2002.