Calisthenics workout programs are a traditional and integral part of any training program because calisthenics workout programs require minimal” equipment and can be performed in almost any location. Calisthenic exercises & workouts, depending on how they are performed, can be used to develop flexibility, muscle strength, muscle endurance, and/or muscle power.
Here we will discuss the benefits and proper use” of calisthenics within the training environment.
The Muscle Strength-Endurance Continuum
Muscle strength and, muscle endurance exist on a continuum. Given that muscle strength is the amount of force generated by one repetition and muscle endurance is the ability to exert force repeatedly over time, improving muscle strength will improve muscle endurance.
The first occasion depends on individual fitness level and how many repetitions can be performed. Individuals who can only perform a low number of repetitions during a calisthenics workout programs (less than 10-12) will develop muscle strength.
Those who can perform a higher number (more than 10-12) will develop muscle endurance. For example, when you first start doing pull-ups you may only be able to perform 9 repetitions. At this point, you are developing muscle strength. As your performance improves, and you are able to perform over 12 repetitions, you begin to develop muscle endurance.
The second occasion occurs where calisthenics workout programs are modified to overload the muscles so that they contribute to strength development.
This can be achieved by any of the following:
Adding weight (e.g., pull-ups or push-ups while wearing a weighted pack) Using a buddy for resistance (e.g., having a buddy sit on your hips while doing bent over calf raises; buddy- assisted leg extensions) Exercising on one side of the body only (e.g., one-legged squats or calf raises) Modifying the exercise (e.g., elevating the legs during push-ups) Super sets/pyramids These modifications can be particularly helpful if weight training facilities are not available and a strength workout is required.
If your one repetition maximum weight is increased, your submaximum multiple repetitions can be performed with more weight (resistance).
Muscle strength is developed by performing low-repetition (6-12), high-resistance exercises. When more than 12 repetitions can be performed, the resistance should be increased, and the repetitions decreased.
Muscle endurance is developed by high-repetition (>12), low-resistance exercises.
A set for an exercise is the number of repetitions performed per unit weight.
Increasing the number of repetitions per set develops endurance. For example, if an individual can perform only 10-12 sit-ups using proper technique, the exercise will develop muscle strength.
Once an individual can perform over 15 repetitions per set, muscle endurance is being developed.
Note that strength and short-term efforts have no effect on aerobic capacity because the aerobic/endurance system is not recruited with maximal or heavy loads. In contrast, sustained efforts with a light load recruit the aerobic system and have minimal effect on strength.
Generally, activities of longer duration require more muscle endurance. You should modify your training programs according to the principles of strength and endurance specific to mission requirements.
Muscle strength and endurance are both essential for extreme fitness performance. Muscular strength is also required for many team sports. Muscular endurance is needed when work is required over longer periods of time.
The goal of calisthenics workout programs should be to develop complete muscular fitness (i.e., strength, endurance, and power). Muscle strength provides the foundation for muscle endurance and power. An adequate strength base not only improves performance, but also decreases the likelihood of injury.
For this reason it is recommended that at least two strength workouts (low-repetition [10-12 reps], high resistance exercises per muscle group per week), be part of your calisthenics workout programs.
Traditional calisthenics workout programs performed two to three times a week will develop and maintain muscle endurance. Plyometric exercises when necessary, can also be used to develop muscle power.
Training schedules, lack of exercise equipment, and inadequate nutrition can keep you from maintaining required fitness levels.
Calisthenics workout programs, however, are practical for almost any situation because they can be performed anywhere with minimal equipment. Moreover, calisthenics workout programs can also be modified to provide a strength workout.