Calisthentic exercises have a long history of use by the military, law enforcement and other groups requiring strength, agility and conditioning. Using the body's own weight for resistance, hardcore calisthentics require no special equipment and provide a thorough workout when exercises that target all of the major muscle groups are selected. Calisthentic workouts can be performed by beginners or advanced fitness buffs to improve endurance and strength. Always consult a physician before beginning an exercise routine.
Warm up your upper body with five to 10 jumping jacks or pushups. To do jumping jacks, from a standing position, spring off the floor and wave your arms overhead while you spread your feet apart on landing. Next, bounce back off the floor and bring your feet together and your arms to your sides. Do pushups from a face-down position on the floor, using either your toes or your knees as a pivot point and your arms to raise and lower your body to the floor. Use jumping jacks or squats to warm up your lower body. Perform squats by bending at your knees and lowering your body, and then straightening your knees to stand upright. Repeat five to 10 times.
A full-body workout begins with pullups, if a pullup bar is available. Place your hands on the bar, palms turned away from you and slightly less than shoulder-width apart. Thrust your chest slightly forward, curving the middle of your back. Exhale and pull your body up until your chin is above the bar. Use your back muscles, lats and biceps only. Lower your body. Repeat pullups until you can do no more.
Full-Body Calisthentics Workout
Perform 20 to 30 repetitions of squats and pushups. Work your legs with 10 to 15 lunges, beginning in a standing position with your feet shoulder-width apart. Step forward with your right foot so your left foot flexes up onto its toes. Bend both knees, dropping the left knee near the floor and moving the right knee forward, but not beyond the right-foot toes. Do 50 crunches to work your abdominals. Lying on your back, bend your knees and place your feet flat on the floor or rest your feet on a stool. Place your hands behind your head. Exhale and press your back into the floor and roll your shoulders approximately 4 inches off the floor. Contract your stomach muscles. Roll back down to the floor.
Balance pushing exercises by doing 20 to 30 repetitions of reverse pushups and birds. Lie on the floor, face down. Extend your arms in front of you with fingers overlapping. Raise your hands 2 to 3 inches off the floor. Lower your hands. For a bird, extend your arms out in an airplane position. Pinch your shoulder blades together. Finish with a one-minute plank pose, the upper position of a pushup, at the end of your calisthentics workout.
For Judy Kilpatrick, gardening is the best mental health therapy of all. Combining her interests in both of these fields, Kilpatrick is a professional flower grower and a practicing, licensed mental health therapist. A graduate of East Carolina University, Kilpatrick writes for national and regional publications.