Ever heard of attaining a muscular body without lifting a dumbbell? Calisthenics allows one to do so. If hard to believe then check the videos of calisthenics masters like Frank Medrano, Hannibal for King and Bar Brothers to name a few, on YouTube and other social networking platforms. The videos are a craze, earning increasing hits and likes everyday. With perfect chiselled bodies, the workout by these masters looks like a piece of performing art.
Calisthenics is appealing and is catching everyone’s fancy, but the sophisticated moves have also given rise to concerns about whether they are meant for everyone or just for the seasoned fitness freaks. Gunjan Sharma, considered the face of calisthenics in India, says: “Everybody can do it; our clients vary from three to 50-year-olds. Calisthenics comprises different exercises like lunges, jumping jacks, sit-ups, crunches, push-ups, pull-ups etc and before we start, we check what all exercises the person can do and only then start with them.”
Calisthenics, or bodyweight exercises, originated thousands of years ago in ancient Greece and have been a major component of fitness in athletics, military, law enforcement and daily fitness for home workouts without equipment. The exercises are often rhythmical. They are intended to increase body strength and flexibility with movements such as bending, jumping, swinging, twisting or kicking, using only one’s weight for resistance.
Sharma says, “I believe in progressive calisthenics and incorporate exercises from other fields like parkour and martial arts. I do conditioning exercises—based on real life motions—that increase athletic skill and physical fitness while decreasing the likelihood of sports injuries.”
There are some amazing body transformation stories owing to calisthenics. Robert (64), a grandfather from Louisville, Kentucky, US, is in the best shape ever; but a few years ago he was overweight and couldn’t walk without a cane.
Fitness group BarStarzz introduced Robert to the world of calisthenics on its YouTube channel. “I discovered calisthenics watching BarStarzz on YouTube about a year-and-a-half ago and I decided I would give it a whirl and fell in love with it,” he says.
Even calisthenics master Madrano has an interesting story to share. He was naturally lean, but when he started to lift weights he realised that he had the potential to put on some muscle. Medrano gained muscle mass and appeared to be muscular but there was something not quite right with him. He was constantly sore and had no energy, as he got bigger he noticed that he was actually getting fat. He started to experiment with his training. In 2010 he incorporated mostly bodyweight exercise into his training and noticed his core and overall strength increasing. He was further influenced
by calisthenics bar athletes like Kalosthenos and Hitman Richards. Better results from calisthenics also inspired him to change his nutrition. He stopped eating meat and animal by-products and became fully vegan. Medrano confesses, “Better and faster recovery from workouts, more energy throughout the day, a better sense of wellbeing and overall strength are some of the incredible benefits of becoming vegan.”
So, if gym tends to be boring for you, harness your body weight with calisthenics in natural surroundings.