3 Reasons Why You Should Be Doing Calisthenics

Written By: Todd Kuslikis
March 29, 2016

We get a lot of visitors to our website that have previously never heard of Shot of Adrenaline, and don’t really know much about calisthenics. But they stick around because they’re looking for answers to their fitness questions, and a solution for their desire to be healthier.

Over half of all Americans want to lose weight, according to the latest polls. But the same polls show that only 26% of Americans are seriously trying to lose weight. That means that people have a desire to be healthier, but either lack the discipline to do so or do not have a viable means.

Now, while we remind you that losing weight does not necessarily mean being healthy, those statistics remind us of one of our favorite quotes by Antoine de Saint Exupery: “A goal without a plan is just a wish.” So for many people–hundreds of millions, actually–their desire to lose weight is as likely to occur as hitting the jackpot.

So for those of you that are looking for that plan to lose weight, build muscle, and be healthier overall, we want to be there to help you.

As we mentioned, our specialty is calisthenics. We pretty much love them, and find that most people that try them love them too. But we also know there are a lot of options out there for people looking to get in shape. You can lift heavy weights. You can do long, arduous cardio. You could pull a car with your teeth. We want to show you the benefits of calisthenics; the advantages bodyweight training has over all other disciplines.

Now, we’ve touched on this subject before, but today we’re going to boil it down to our very top three reasons we love calisthenics, and why we think you will too.

Benefit #1: It’s Far Less Expensive (and a Better Value Overall)

Alright, so you’ve decided to stop messing around and get in shape — good for you! As they say, the journey of a thousand steps something something something. Enough with the proverbs. The point is, you’re going to need one of those plans we talked about. Something that’s going to work for you.

One of the biggest reasons people don’t even make an attempt to start exercising is because they believe it’s too expensive. Well, in many cases, they’re right! Working out can really burn a hole in your pocket.

A normal gym membership (including initiation fees) can run you up around $800 a year. Some people hear that and think they’ll just have to use the “Buffet Mentality”, meaning they simply prepare themselves to use the gym (or “eat”) so much that the cost is essentially offset, making it a better value. The problem is, people overestimate how much they’re going to utilize a gym membership by over 70 percent. So if you purchased a gym membership today and on your calendar circled one hundred times you’d go and work out, statistics indicate you’ll end up going less than thirty times.

This means you’re paying a whole lot for something and not getting much in return (which, unfortunately, is the exact opposite of what happens in a real buffet).

Knee Health Score 2

The next solution would be home gym equipment. Perfect solution, right? If the equipment is sitting right there in your spare bedroom, you’ll practically be sleeping on it! It’ll pay for itself!

Well to start, home gym equipment is very, very expensive. Multi-exercise systems run at least a few hundred dollars, and those are the cheapest ones you probably don’t want to trust to hold a bunch of weight. Then the high-end machines come in at $7,000 and more.

This could be a worthwhile investment if it were the catalyst to a lifestyle change that focused on fitness, but that’s usually not what happens. While home exercise equipment has been shown to help people start working out, it doesn’t last. One consumer report showed that 40% of people who bought home gym equipment don’t use it nearly as often as they thought.

And then there’s calisthenics. Your necessary equipment is a little less expensive (i.e. free). For the bare-bones, meat and potatoes bodyweight training (which can certainly do the trick), all you need is you.

There are countless exercises you can do that don’t require anything but your body, and we use as many of them as we can in our programs. Now there are a few pieces of equipment that can add to your arsenal of exercises, like a pull-up bar or some gymnast rings. But these expenses are pretty modest compared to the aforementioned home equipment.

Benefit #2: You Can Do It Anywhere

Hands down, the number one biggest reason people give for not exercising is time. And hey, we get it. We’re all busy. We’ve got jobs to do, families to raise and comic book movie franchises to argue over. 24 hours is not nearly enough time for one day, so it is quite often that the first thing left off the to-do list is exercising.

And if you’re counting on a gym or fitness center to be your source for exercise, it’s definitely going to take up a good chunk of your time. In addition to your actual workout, you have to factor in the commute to get to and from your gym. Then there’s waiting for your favorite equipment to become available, which can be very time consuming. And don’t forget loading the weight onto machines like a leg press, squat or bench press. Just loading and unloading can add several minutes to each exercise.

With that in mind, a lot of people turn once again to the home gym idea. Now this certainly does solve a problem: You are able to get a workout without having to spend valuable time commuting to a gym. (Again, this is if you even use your equipment after a couple of months).

But it still doesn’t solve one major problem, that being your exercise resources are still tethered to one location — instead of the gym, it’s your home. But what if you’re on a business trip and want to get a workout in? You can’t always count on the hotel you’re staying at to have adequate exercise equipment in the fitness center (or have a fitness center at all). Same goes with a family vacation. Maybe you’re just out one day, enjoying the great outdoors and decide it is a great time to get a workout. What are your options.

Again, this is where calisthenics is your ally. With calisthenics and bodyweight training, you don’t need to drive to a gym. You don’t need to drive anywhere. And you don’t have to be at home. There’s no DVD you need to pop in to get a great calisthenics-based workout.

We mentioned some equipment you can buy to assist with your training, but it’s not essential. Don’t believe us? Take a look at this guy finding a bunch of different places to work his arms.

And here’s another guy showing us 100 different places to do pull-ups, to give you some more ideas.

Truthfully, you can do bodyweight training pretty much anywhere you can think of. You can even do it in some places you likely haven’t thought of, as evidenced by these guys who performed some of the most dangerous handstands we’ve ever seen (including the ledge of a skyscraper).

This is probably a great time to remind you that just because you can do calisthenics anywhere, doesn’t mean you should. But the point is, if you’re looking to cut back on time, this is the way to do it. You aren’t dependent on a facility or a specific machine to get a workout. You can do your calisthenics at pretty much wherever you are.

Benefit #3: You Get To Be More Creative

There’s only so many ways you can use gym equipment (at least correctly). At the end of the day, a leg press machine is just a leg press machine. And when you rely on weights and machines to get a workout, your scope of possibilities is greatly limited.

That’s not the case with calisthenics.

Some people disagree, because when they hear ‘calisthenics’, they think of push-ups, pull-ups, sit-ups and dips. But the truth is, calisthenics spans more disciplines and more cultures than anyone could possibly master in one lifetime.
Just take a look at the meaning of calisthenics from Wikipedia and see if it sounds like a limited exercise practice:

The word calisthenics comes from the ancient Greek words kálos (κάλλος), which means “beauty”, and sthénos (σθένος), meaning “strength”. It is the art of using one’s body weight and qualities of inertia as a means to develop one’s physique.

We believe there is an inherent beauty and strength in calisthenics, and we’ve dedicated our lives to bringing to the forefront the different ways in which people express that beauty. Here are some of the magnificently diverse, immensely challenging calisthenics disciplines that are waiting for you to try:

Street Workout— Here, you’re able to use something as simple as a playground, a building or just your body in one of the most well-known ways in which to utilize calisthenics.

Knee Health Score 1

Gymnastics — For those of you who have never tried simple gymnastics exercises, they’re a fun and humbling way to challenge yourself. And for a look at true mastery of body, look no further than advanced gymnastics.

Parkour — We recently did a piece on Stephen Vigroux, one of the innovators of contemporary parkour. If you haven’t familiarized yourself with the sport beyond the cringeworthy fail videos online, give it a read. Vigroux is a world-class athlete and is a representation of a sport that truly epitomizes the true nature of calisthenics.

Yoga — Yes, yoga. It’s probably the oldest bodyweight discipline and it has nothing to do with building muscle. Utilizing only the body, you are able to increase your flexibility, balance, and become more relaxed.

So there you have it, our top 3 reasons for choosing calisthenics. And again, we could go on and on, but instead, we want to hear from YOU! What is it about calisthenics you love? Is your top 3 different from ours? Let us know in the comments.

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