Avoiding Falsehood of Calisthenics

Calisthenics do face the brunt of often being under rumors or Falsehoods. They are seen as something only to be done by experts, and that it may cause injury.

However, contrary to popular belief, calisthenics are appropriate for all levels of experience! Yes, it’s the training style most people associate with gymnastics movements on bars and rings, but that’s at the advanced level. Let’s dispel some of the most common falsehoods!

Debunking falsehoods of Calisthenics

Muscle cannot be built

Bodyweight exercises, as many of the strong women in the Sweat Community know, can definitely help you build strength and muscle! To see results, as with any strength training routine, consistent effort is required.

According to Harvard Health, bodyweight exercise helps build muscular strength and endurance without requiring an external load. A small 2016 study found that contracting muscles through their full range of motion with no external load increases muscle size in the same way that high load training does. Hence, it is one of the most common falsehoods that beginners fall for.

Another small study published in the Journal of Exercise & Fitness in 2017 looked at the effect of push-up training versus low-load bench press in two groups of subjects who did it twice a week for eight weeks. The findings revealed that both exercises resulted in significant increases in muscle thickness, with no significant difference between the two groups.

So, regardless of your fitness level or equipment, calisthenics can be a great training option if you want to build strength and muscle.

It is not suitable for females

According to a Princeton University article, the average man is significantly stronger than the average woman, especially when it comes to upper body strength. This is largely due to differences in body composition, but because many calisthenics exercises, such as pull-ups or advanced push-up variations, require significant upper-body strength, there is a widespread misconception that it is more of a male training style. Is this another one of the falsehoods? Absolutely!

While women may not have the same strength or size as men, it has been demonstrated that both men and women demonstrate similar strength gains when training consistently over time, and there is no reason why women should avoid calisthenics exercises.

The National Institutes of Health published an online study in 2016 that tracked upper-body strength gains in men and women after 10 weeks of resistance training. Researchers discovered no significant differences in strength gains between sexes and concluded that different resistance training programmes for men and women were unnecessary.

Resistance cannot be increased

It’s common to believe that increasing the difficulty of some of these popular movements without adding weights to your workout is difficult. This is yet again of the common falsehoods! 

Here are a few methods for advancing your calisthenics training and increasing resistance when performing bodyweight exercises:

Make use of a resistance band.

Increase your repetitions or speed.

Adjust the rep pace to spend more time under tension, such as 3-5 seconds to lower into a squat and one second to power up!

Small pulses, such as squat pulses, push-up bottom pulses, or pulsing lunges, can be added to your movements.

Experiment with advanced exercise variations (for example, progressing from banded or assisted pull-ups to unassisted pull-ups, chest-to-bar pull-ups, and eventually muscle-ups)

Include a weight vest.

To increase your heart rate and build explosive power, perform plyometric (“jumping”) versions of exercises like jump squats.

It’s not working if you’re not sore

People have a tendency to associate discomfort with progress. They believe that if their muscles feel normal after working out, their efforts are futile. This ‘no pain, no gain’ mentality, on the other hand, is completely illogical. There is no evidence that muscles cannot grow when they are not in pain. Fat burning is an invisible process that occurs as a result of microtrauma (muscle overuse), which can occur during bodyweight training as well as weight lifting. One of the most common falsehoods that you would hear float around in bodybuilding gyms.

Calisthenics is only for the short and thin

Calisthenics requires you to build your muscles against your own weight. This has led to the misconception that these exercises are only beneficial to short and thin people. That is untrue and one of the most illogical of falsehoods. While it is true that lighter people find it easier to lift their own bodies for exercises like dips, planks, and push-ups, this does not mean that overweight people cannot. Bodyweight training, in fact, can help you lose stubborn fat and slim down. Similarly, tall people may find pull-ups and planches difficult, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t try.

You do not require rest days

Weight training puts undue strain on your muscles and whips them into shape, so it’s critical to allow yourself a day or two to rest and recover. Otherwise, your muscles will not be able to function properly. Because people consider bodyweight training to be a less intense form of exercise, they overlook the importance of taking breaks in between. This is incorrect because the decision to take a day off should be entirely dependent on your body and its mechanisms. If you don’t feel physically capable of training after a strenuous calisthenics workout, take a break because you won’t be able to benefit from it otherwise.

Calisthenics does not strengthen your legs

Calisthenics do not tone your legs as well as weightlifting. This is due to the fact that the additional heavy weight of dumbbells, barbells, or kettlebells whips your lower body muscles into shape far better than regular squats and lunges. This is not to say that these bodyweight exercises are pointless. They do help to strengthen the knee joints and increase hip range of motion, but only to a lesser extent. Furthermore, some variations, such as the pistol squat and box jumps, necessitate a higher level of fitness and flexibility, which most people lack.

Did this clear your head better?

If you are a beginner in calisthenics, we do hope now you have found the motivation to get into this training by exempting yourself from such falsehoods, and even invite your friends to train along with you. Calisthenics is meant for everyone, irrespective of their age, height, shape or gender. It is after all an exercise technique that predates way before any gyms! 

Ridhiman Das
Ridhiman Das
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