Kate’s Real Food Brand Ambassador, Nick Ranelli gives us some of his favorite calisthenics training tips:
Training Strength Without A Gym?
Yes! It is completely possible to build strength, grow your muscles, and burn fat without having to spend hundreds of dollars on a gym membership! How might you ask? Calisthenics! Calisthenics uses functional and obscure movements to train strength, body control, body awareness, mobility, flexibility, and SO MUCH MORE! Calisthenic movements have proven to be more functional, effective, and safer than weight training-- you also learn some cool tricks.
Why is Calisthenics Effective
Stay with us here, we’re about to dive into the science a bit. Calisthenics alters 2 systems of the body: The Musculoskeletal System (Muscles and Bones) and The Nervous System.
In the musculoskeletal system, calisthenics will activate more muscles to work synergistically with the agonist muscle (primary muscle performing movement). Thus, calisthenics creates more muscle activation in terms of stabilization, and support from the antagonist muscles (secondary muscles supporting the agonist muscle). Calisthenics also triggers more muscles to work together at once (synergy).
How does the body instruct the muscles to act like this? Take a guess...
he Nervous System
The brain perceives these movements you are trying to perform and sends that information to the necessary muscles to contract either concentrically (muscle shortens in length), eccentrically (muscle increases in length), or isometrically (muscles contract in one position, not shortening or lengthening, this is the stabilization piece). This information travels down our nerves through neural pathways. Calisthenic movements over time trigger a process called Neurogenesis: The creation of new neurons and neural pathways. This process allows the musculoskeletal system to learn new ways of movement, and not just the basics like pushing and pulling.
Where Do You Start?
By moving! It’s that simple, start by using basic movement patterns (like pushing, pulling, and squatting) and use your own body as the resistance! Then start to get in creative positions! Maybe do a movement with 1 leg off the ground, or do the movement on your elbows instead of your hands, etc. The list goes on and on! Get wacky with it! Experiment around with things like how many repetitions you can do or how long you can hold a position for. Play around and HAVE FUN!
How Can I Progress?
There are many ways you can progress! If you have specific goals, it might be time to seek consultation from a coach. You can also look on platforms like youtube and instagram. LOTS and I mean LOTS of people have been getting into calisthenics lately. Let me tell you, some of the movements people are coming up with are WILD. So you’ll find plenty of ideas on new wacky movements, and how to build workouts from them too.