Calisthenics is bodyweight training
Calisthenics is a form of training in which you only use your own body weight as resistance. The word is derived from the Greek kallos (κάλλος), meaning ‘beautiful’, ‘good’ or ‘beauty’, and sthenos (σθένος), meaning strength.
Calisthenics is probably the oldest sport in the world. This is because the first movements a child makes are actually all bodyweight movements, a push-up to crawl, a squat to stand, a lunge to walk. Even without accessories, people made their bodies strong long before game sports existed.
Calisthenics has only really become known again in recent years, in the time when Youtube was emerging, a few groups of athletes started sharing their calisthenics workouts on videos. This is how different styles arose and soon many different calisthenics exercises were distributed via the internet. Our coaches Dean and Tommy also discovered calisthenics via Youtube and started training from there. Competitions were held for the first time in 2008. Initially, competitions were only about max repetitons, but this quickly developed into all kinds of different exercises in combinations.
Since 2020, calisthenics has had a extreme growth online, because people could no longer go to the gym, calisthenics suddenly became very popular and people started training at home, because hardly anyone has all kinds of machines and devices at home, many people simply did push-ups and pull-ups in the garden.
The different calisthenics disciplines
There are a few disciplines that use just about all types of calisthenics exercises, training methods and competitions:
In freestyle calisthenics you are free to do and combine whatever you want. This starts, for example, with a few different push-ups in a row where you improvise, in addition, you can also creatively stick different ways of pulling up behind each other on a bar (bar). When you master a lot of exercises or tricks, you can make endless combinations with the hundreds of different exercises. The freedom and creativity makes Freestyle calisthenics very fun and challenging.
Freestyle calisthenics competitions are also very well known worldwide and very spectacular to see!
Reps is short for “repetitions”. When you practice this discipline, you perform the same exercise X number of times in a row. You can go for a number of sets of a number of repetitions (Reps and sets), or you can go for a maximum number of repetitions (Max reps). When your body weight becomes too easy for you, you can decide to do calisthenics exercises with extra weight on your body, for example with a weight vest or weight belt. When you add extra weight we are talking about ”Weighted reps”. Weighted reps can also be done in sets with a fixed weight (Weighted reps and sets), a maximum number of repetitions (max weighted reps) or even one repetition with a maximum weight (Weighted 1RM).
Calisthenics workout competitions always consist of several fixed exercises in quick succession.
How to start with calisthenics
By doing push-ups or squats at home, you are actually already doing calisthenics. This makes it very easy and accessible to start with as it can be done anywhere.
Yet it is difficult to think further, which exercises should you do more? And what if you can’t push-up yet?
On this website you will find a huge amount of information about the sport of calisthenics. From types of exercises and how to learn them to different training schedules and online workshops.
Discover more about calisthenics: