Calisthenic exercises are muscle-toning exercises that don't require the use of weight equipment. These body-weight exercises can help you get toned and cut so you're jiggle-free and ready for bikini season. Since spot reducing is a myth, you'll want to combine cardio and calisthenics exercises to get rid of fat as you build muscle.
Since you'll be exerting your muscles more as you perform calisthenics exercises, it's important to warm up your body. Pedal the stationary bike at a leisurely pace for five minutes, take a short walk or march in place. This gets your heart and oxygen rate elevated while loosening up your muscles. When performing calisthenic exercises, make sure you use proper form. Compromising form to do more reps can lead to injury. You're better off doing only two or three perfect reps than 20 that are done improperly. After you complete your calisthenic workout, stretch your muscles to prevent soreness and tightness. Stand with your feet hip-width apart while extending your hands toward the sky. Hold the stretch for 20 counts. Hinge at the waist, and bend forward. Reach your fingertips toward your toes. Hold the stretch for 20 seconds.
Calisthenic exercises can be used in place of or in conjunction with other strength-training exercises to tone your body and get cut. Perform your calisthenics routine two to three times per week for 20 to 30 minutes. Include exercises such as pushups, squats and bicycles. Do couch climbers to tone your legs and core. Position yourself in front of your couch, making sue it won't move as you exercise. Place your hands on the edge of the seat cushion, and extend your arms so your shoulders are straight over your hands. The rest of your body should be at an incline. Keep your upper body in position as you bring your right knee forward in a climbing motion. Alternate your right and left knee to perform climbers for one full minute.
Cardio for Fat Loss
When performed at a rapid pace, some calisthenics exercises will provide you with cardiovascular benefits. But slower, more precise exercises such as planks or chair triceps dips focus on building muscle mass. To make sure you're burning the calories needed to lose or maintain weight, include cardio exercise in your overall plan. Aim for 150 minutes per week, at least, and choose forms of cardio you'll enjoy doing to avoid exercise boredom. Exercises such as swimming and biking burn around 500 calories per hour, while less vigorous exercise such as walking burns around 250 calories per hour.
Keep in Mind
Even though you aren't using weights to perform your calisthenic exercises, you still need to give your muscles adequate time to rest. Take a breather for one day between strength-training sessions. It's also smart to take one day off from your cardio workouts so your body can rest and rejuvenate for the next week. No matter how young or fit you are, you should always check with your doctor before you begin a new type of exercise.
- MayoClinic.com: Strength Training -- Get Stronger, Leaner, Healthier
- American Council on Exercise: Why is the Concept of Spot Reduction Considered a Myth?
- American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons: Warm Up, Cool Down and Be Flexible
- American Council on Exercise: What Are Some Ways to Get a Workout without Any Exercise Equipment?
- Shape Magazine: The Ultimate Home Workout
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Physical Activity
Mary Ylisela is a former teacher with a Bachelor of Arts in elementary education and mathematics. She has been a writer since 1996, specializing in business, fitness and education. Prior to teaching, Ylisela worked as a certified fitness instructor and a small-business owner.