We are in front of a complete fitness discipline at 360 degrees, able to lead to exceed their limits and give the opportunity to shape the muscles in a harmonious way, developing strength and balance.
Technically, the calisthenics is also called “functional training” because its exercises lead to tone up the body oriented towards a general improvement in performance. The exercises are born from artistic gymnastics, but have a considerable degree of customization to the point that some poses even defy gravity.
Thanks to calisthenics it is possible to get to know oneself and one’s body, understand one’s body and one’s limits, develop and strengthen every type of muscle in order to give strength to the entire apparatus, far surpassing the effects of weight training. With calisthenics everything improves thanks to your body, without the need for anything else: strength, muscle elasticity, extension, motor skills, concentration and psychological aspects.
The discipline is spreading to the point that this year will live in Italy his first symposium, Burningate. During this event, which aims to spread the practice of calisthenic, you can talk, discuss, learn, learn techniques from the best teachers and experts in the discipline.
Practicing calisthenics for strength and balance
To practice this specialty well with the aim of combining strength and balance, it is very important to develop a good technique. The secret is to do the exercises efficiently in order to effectively achieve a goal. Calisthenics is not only about achieving a goal, but also about how the goal is achieved. Only through this path is it possible to get the full benefits of this “new” kind of free body gymnastics.
Everything is based on balance, not only physical, but also mental to be able to practice the training: it makes no sense to train a part of the body leaving out the others and even less makes sense to force the exercise with the risk of giving in to injuries that would lead to interrupt the practice of calisthenics, frustrating part of the work done.
To get closer to the discipline and start it, it is good to focus on the abdominal core and on proprioceptivity, ie the ability to understand the position of your body in space. Having the perception of oneself is the best way to approach calisthenics. An example is two typical positions of the discipline that are recorded at an advanced stage: planche and front lever.
These positions, within the calisthenics, are characterized by an unparalleled mastery of the body that is expressed by a perfectly straight positioning of the back. Most of the time the same figures are performed in normal gymnastics incorrectly, losing control of the back, which tends to arc and overload the lumbar area.
In fact, performing the exercise incorrectly means forcing your body to stress that the body is not always able to absorb and over time can occur serious diseases, as well as damage and muscle imbalances.
The control of the pelvis and the abdominal core
One of the first foundations of calisthenics, which is usually introduced in the first skills, is the control of the pelvis by activating the abdominal muscles: retroversion and anti-reversal are also present in many functional gymnastics exercises and control is crucial to the success of the exercise. “Keeping the abdomen”, as it is often said in jargon, is a foundation that can correctly route those who begin to practice calisthenics.
The bases of calisthenics are designed to generate perfect control in pulling, bending on the arms, verticals, dips (parallel exercises to develop strength and control in the upper body), without ever neglecting the heart aspect.
Once you have mastered these exercises, here is that you can increase the level and move on to the next skills and more difficult: front and back lever, planks, muscle ups, one-arm pulling (called OAP), extensions of triceps (called TED, a very advanced skill apparently impossible, but made possible thanks to calisthenics).
Hallow Position, Cat Position and Dog Position
The calisthenics has several stages that must last for different time to be able to switch from one skill to another. An example is the Hollow position, a basic exercise that allows you to learn how to manage abdominals and pelvis with the aim of developing the muscle elasticity of the back.
This position is preparatory to the vertical, which however will be done only later. Lying down with your belly upwards with legs and arms outstretched, you raise your limbs trying not to lose the back-floor contact, an operation possible only if you focus by pushing the navel down.
The same effect will then be replicated when performing the vertical or other skills. The same should also be done in reverse, ie by changing the curvature of the lumbar area by acting on the abdominal muscles, moving from what is called Dog Position to Cat Position. In addition to giving various benefits at the postural level, the position helps to develop the abdominal and diaphragm.
If the time to maintain the posture is reduced, it means that there will be a lot of work to be done to improve, and this can be seen from the progressive lowering of the shoulders and legs themselves. Developing the core will achieve good dynamic stability, which is the key to being able to perform in harmony and correctly many other subsequent exercises.
The first steps of calisthenics therefore lead to a total improvement that starts from the muscle elasticity to get to get great control and an easier transfer of strength. The focus is always on the abdominal core.
Step by step for new skills
Having stated that the calisthenics is composed of a path made up of several skills, to be a good practitioner you need to sweat a lot to always challenge their muscles, achieving increasingly difficult goals.
The transition from one skill to another should be planned because the beauty of this discipline is
If today you work to have mastery in the execution of Muscle Ups on the bar (to be performed slowly), during the following months will be such the control of the movement that the same exercise will be used as a warm-up before a new skill.