Calisthenic training can develop flexibility, muscle strength, muscle endurance, and/or muscle power.
The information on this page will explain the basics of this form of exercise in general.
Further down this page you'll find information on workouts, exercises and other fitness details.
Let's begin by discussing what is known as the Muscle Strength And Endurance Continuum.
Muscular strength and endurance co-exist on a continuum.
Let's look at it this way, if you can generate enough strength in order to perform one rep of a given exercise and your muscle endurance gives your the ability to exert force constantly over a certain period, improving your muscular strength will also improve your muscular endurance.
If you can increase a set by one rep then your maximal weight will increase.
You will eventually be able to lift more weight for more reps on each set.
Your muscle strength will improve be exercising with low rep high intensity resistance, calisthenics exercises.
Once you get to the point where you can perform medium reps, twelve or more, you need to increase the resistance on your muscles. This will of course reduce the number of reps you can do. To improve muscle endurance you will need to perform high rep, low intensity fitness training exercises.
What is calisthenics?
A set for any calisthenic exercise you are performing is the total number of reps that you can do in a row before having to stop.
By increasing the number of reps you can do on any given set you will improve your muscular endurance. As an example, if you can do only ten to twelve abdominal crunches using proper calisthenic techniques you will begin to develop muscular strength.
Once your can do over fifteen reps during each set you will begin to develop muscular endurance.
Short bursts of strength using heavy weight have little effect on your aerobic capacity because your endurance system is not activated when exercising with heavy resistance. However, when exercising for longer sets with light weights you will activate your aerobic system but will not improve your strength.
For the most part fitness sessions that are longer in length will require better muscular endurance. Change your fitness training programs according to the type of sport or activities you participate in.
This type of fitness program will develop your muscle endurance. However, in some cases it will also dramatically increase your strength.
What is calisthenics as it relates to strength?
The first cases where these types of workouts can improve your strength will depend on your actual fitness level and the number of reps you can do in a set of exercises.
If you can only do a lower number of reps in any given exercise you will be able to improve your muscular strength and size.
If you can do a higher number of reps, over twelve, you will more likely improve your muscular endurance.
Using body weight pull-ups as an example; at the start you may only be able to do 4 – 6 reps on each set. This will develop your strength and will have no effect on muscular endurance.
Over time, and as long as you are consistent with your fitness training, the number of reps you will do will go up. Eventually, if you are able to perform more that twelve reps per set, you will be improving your muscular endurance and no longer be gaining strength.
The next time when workouts will improve strength is when your exercises are changed in order to overload your muscles so they can improve your strength.
You can do this simply by adding more weight, exercising one side of your body at at time (such as doing one-side leg presses), or by doing super-sets or giant-sets.
Muscular strength and muscular endurance are both important for all athletes, regardless of the type of sport you're involved in.
Your main goal in any type fitness sessions should be to develop complete muscle fitness. This would include not only strength and endurance but power as well. The strength of your muscles will provide the foundation for endurance and power.
Having good strength will not only improve your athletic performance, but also help to decrease the chances of an injury from occurring.
You should try and add in at least two strength focused workouts into your fitness training program each week.
Taking the time to gradually increase calisthenic fitness will improve your athletic performance, prevent over-training, and prevent injuries.
When you are doing exercises, more is not always better. In fact, you can injure yourself very easily if you're not careful. Performing too many reps can cause you to injure yourself or make an existing injury much worse.
Your goal in any type of fitness training program should be focuses on improving your aerobic capacity, strength, endurance, power, and flexibility, not to do more than the person next to you. Never fall into this trap – leave your ego at home.
More strenuous fitness training programs using methods such as pyramid sets are more challenging but can cause serious injury if not done properly. Train responsibly and avoid negative situations.
Calisthenic fitness sessions can occasionally include pausing in the middle of a rep in order to make the exercise more difficult. This is not recommended for beginners. Holding a mid-rep contraction will increase the stress on your joints, tendons, and ligaments and can cause an injury make an existing injury much worse.
A better method is slowing the tempo for each rep. This will help you to improve your strength while at the same time increasing the difficulty of the exercise and eliminating any boredom.
Ideal Bodyweight Program