Nearly EVERYONE has performed some form of calisthenics. Everything from pushups, to pullups, to situps, are great examples of calisthenics exercises. Calisthenics requires no special equipment, and can be done anywhere, anytime, and by anyone.
How can I get started in calisthenics?Getting started is easy - you can incorporate sets of pushups, pullups, and dips into your training routine to begin building a great foundation. If you can't perform any or all of these, there are great regressions for each movement.
For those unfamiliar with the term, a regression is an easier version of a movement or exercise. It allows someone who is unable to perform the more advanced movement to build up the strength and endurance by eliminating some of the difficulty.
Is it too late for me to start calisthenics?I receive this question perhaps more than any other. Every time I am asked this, I think back to the beginnings of my own journey in calisthenics. I also remember wondering to myself: "Do I have what it takes, or is it too late for me to start in calisthenics?"
This is a normal feeling to have. Many of us go through this with any type of exercise routine. However, we must realize (as I did at the time) that we need to change our mindset.
The fear of starting something new is intimidating at times. It can create a mental block where we tell ourselves, "It's too late" to create an out and never even try. Drop the worries of "is it too late?" and replace them with the confidence and positivity of "I am doing this now and its better late than never."
I have met THOUSANDS of people who train and exercise in calisthenics, and they all started from a base of not knowing how to do anything. Some of these individuals progressed faster than other, but every I've ever met who has stuck with it has made amazing improvements in strength, skill, and appearance.
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My Beginner Tips For Success in Calisthenics
Tip #1 - Position yourself in a "can-do" environmentIf you surround yourself with friends, family, or other associates who constantly tell you how hard things are - or that they cannot be done - you are reducing your chances of success before you even start. You need "can-do" friends who push you to do all you can AND MORE.
Many times a friend or partner can get that last bit of effort out of us that we could not unlock on our own. They can also provide insight or info on your form, and make the journey more fun overall.
Tip #2 - Make social media work for youDon't let it consume or intimidate you. Comparing yourself to those you see on YouTube, FaceBook or Instagram can be motivating or demotivating depending on how you utilize what you see.
Rather than obsessing over the current fitness or skill levels of those around you, let it motivate you and inspire you while never forgetting that YOU are on your own journey. Everyone started where you are now. Remember that as you watch people do what seems impossible.
At one point, what you are watching was impossible for that person as well. They made it possible through the same hard work and discipline that you are now applying.
Tip #3 - Listen to your bodyIt is normal to feel fatigue during workouts, burning in your muscles while performing reps, and soreness the next day. There is a difference between these feelings which are a sign of hardwork, and the pain of an injury or improper form that will lead to injury.
Focus on building a solid foundation in performing movements and exercises correctly and you will greatly reduce your chances of injury. Over time you will learn to understand the signals your body gives you about when to push yourself and when you need to back off or ease up.
Everyone started where you are now. Remember that as you watch people do what seems impossible.
Tip #4 - Fuel your bodyLearn how to eat healthy, nutritious foods to fuel your body. A poor diet will slow your progress and ultimately prevent you from performing anywhere near your maximum capacity.
Make sure your diet includes adequate protein and overall calories for your goals, and research natural supplements that can help with obtaining key nutrients that are crucial for health, optimal performance, and recovery.
Tip #5 - Start where you are, not where everyone else isIf you've never worked out, your starting point will be different from someone with an athletic or fitness background. It doesn't matter if your focus is developing your ability to do an assisted pull up or a controlled muscle up.
Calisthenics is calisthenics. What matters is you are committing to improving your physical fitness through exercise. It's up to you to adjust the program to fit you. Just remember, that in order to start, it all begins at step one.
And it's never too late to do that. Your journey will be very different from mine or next person's. But it is your journey, and you have to enjoy it to make this a lifelong commitment.
Every movement has a progression and a regression. If you see someone doing a muscle up and you can't perform one currently, realize that there is a regression that you CAN perform. Start there, and WORK your way up to the ultimate goal of performing a muscle up.
Tip #6 - Be ready to WORK That's right, I said WORKAs with any other area of fitness or life in general, your outcome will be dictated by the quality of your input. Work hard, smart, and consistently to progress slowly over time.
Even if your gains seem slow on a day by day basis, they will add up to something incredible over the course of a month and even better in a year.
I hope this was helpful. My wish is that we can all learn to conquer our fears and be the best we can be. May we all come to the understanding that there is no such thing as too late in life.
- Frank Medrano