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Calisthenics is an exercise system using primarily your own body weight to perform resistance training. Calisthenics can be performed almost anywhere, and is a convenient way of strengthening or supplementing your current workout plan. Calisthenics is a great option for people who don’t have access to any gym equipment.

Here, I will outline some of the most common calisthenic exercises for you to utilize in your workouts.

Upper Body

Push Ups – Begin by laying facedown, body and legs in a straight line. Bring your palms up in line with your armpits and place on floor. Keeping your body straight, press up on your hands until arms are fully extended while keeping toes touching floor. Return to starting position. Modifications: keep knees on ground (if upper body strength is poor) or elevate feet on a chair (to increase intensity of resistance).

Bench Dips – Position your hands shoulder width apart on a secure bench, facing your feet, move your feet out as far as possible while still maintaining a grip on the bench. Lower yourself until you have a 90’ angle in your elbows before lifting back up. Modifications: elevate your feet on another bench to increase intensity.

Chin Ups – Using a chin up bar, place hands shoulder width apart with palms facing the exerciser, pull up until chin is above bar and lower back down.

Lower Body and Abs

Lunges – From standing position, step forward with right leg and lower body until opposite knee touches floor, and rise back up. Be sure not to let your knee extend past your toes when lowering to the floor.

Squats – From standing position with feet shoulder width apart, slowly lower your lower body into sitting position as your raise your arms to shoulder level. Stop when your quadriceps are parallel to the floor, pause, and raise back up.

Step Ups – Position a secure bench or chair in front of you. Step up onto the bench with one foot, and come back down without placing opposing foot down. The idea is to keep the tension throughout the entire movement. Lower yourself back down to standing on ground.

Crunches – Begin laying face up on either a mat or stability ball with your hands behind your ears and knee bent. Slowly contract your abdominals and curl shoulders towards your pelvis, hold, and lower back down. Do not use your hands to pull your neck up, use your abdominals.

Lying Leg Raises – Laying face up with legs straight and arms at your sides with palms down. Contract abdominals and raise both legs to 90’ and back down. Stop and inch above the ground and continue.

All of these exercises are great to add to your workouts for some variety or as a full body workout when you are in a pinch.



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