THERES NEVER BEEN A BETTER TIME TO START A BODYWEIGHT REVOLUTION!
DITCH THE WEIGHTS (AND THE GYM) AND START LEARNING HOW TO MASTER YOUR MOVEMENT, AND GET STRONG AS F**K WITH CALISTHENICS.
SECTION 1: MY PITCH AT CONVERTING YOU FROM MIND-FUCKINGLY BORING GYM TRAINING, INTO EMPOWERING & IMPRESSIVE BODYWEIGHT TRAINING
SECTION 2: UNDERSTANDING SAPIEN TRAINING'S SIMPLIFIED CALISTHENICS SKILLS SYSTEM
SECTION 3: UNDERSTANDING CALISTHENICS TERMINOLOGY SO YOU DON'T FEEL LIKE A KNOB
Post COVID, the world may NEVER be the same. The pandemic has shone an inquisitive light onto some of our pre-existing behaviours, habits, and preferences, many of which which we may well be changing for good.
WHAT'S NEW? TOP 5
More people working from home
Decreased use of cash, handshaking, and sharing of lollipops
Increased awareness of good health for immune system support
Barnard Castle will be remarkably more popular
My mum will probably never visit Morrisons again
Retail, Tourism, Hospitality, & Leisure have been dealt a critical blow.
Gyms have shut, biceps have decreased in cross-sectional area, and membership advisors up and down the country are wandering around empty leisure centres trying to sell 3 month deals to vending machines.
It's bleak out there, it really is.
The exercising public have carried on dutifully, maintaining mobility with online Yoga, working their cardio with HIIT classes and outdoor pursuits, and keeping their tummies tight with online Pilates & Core classes (specialist disciplines such as sports sadly have been harder hit).
But strength training has taken a massive hit.
You really cant get much stronger with a set of 2kg dumbbells from the middle of Lidl and someone in jazzy leggings on Youtube
As we all know by now, the desired intensity for strength training is pretty hard to replicate in your house. Unless you want to start deadlifting a Volvo.
Muscles respond best reaching fatigue in the 1-5 repetition range, or in short VERY high intensity static exercises (ie Calisthenics & Bodyweight strength training).
WTF IS CALISTHENICS?
The word calisthenics comes from the ancient Greek words kállos (κάλλος), which means "beautiful" (to emphasize the aesthetic pleasure that derives from the perfection of the human body), and sthenos (σθένος), meaning "strength" (great mental strength, courage, strength, and determination). It is the art of using one's body weight as resistance in order to develop physique.
4 REASONS TO TRAIN WITH CALISTHENICS
1. Calisthenics replicates the physiological demands required to develop your muscular strength.
There are many different types of physiological adaptations that occur as a result of differing muscular demands and stresses;
Calisthenics and Bodyweight disciplines focus on delivering incredible amounts of force, often through the muscle(s) full range of motion (ROM) to produce controlled & powerful compound muscular contractions, enabling them to perform powerful and impressive moves.
Weight lifters focus on delivering incredible amounts of force through the muscle(s) for the purpose of simply lifting more weight and increasing strength (respectable in its own right).
Bodybuilders focus on delivering incredible amounts of force through the muscle to quench their narcissism and upload pictures to instagram.
2. Bodyweight training develops the full chain of muscular strength & movement through the human body, which is usually preferential to isolating one muscle group at a time.
Isolating muscle groups can have its benefits, but on the whole breaking up the kinetic chain into separate working parts instead of developing strength through the whole human body isn't ideal when it comes to human performance.
Calisthenics & Bodyweight work the whole body as one, and the exercises usually require strength through a full range of motion (ROM) which in turn is beneficial for functional strength and injury reduction.
3. You don't need to go to a gym, it requires very little space, and minimal equipment
The costs of starting Calisthenics are zero. Even once you get more advanced and need a few bits of kit its still cheaper that the joining fee and monthly membership from most gyms.
My gear has cost me under £50 so far, its developed my body in far greater ways that weight lifting ever has, and it never texts me asking to refer a friend.
You can train anywhere, anytime, and its lockdown compatible.
4. It looks fucking cool.
The exercises and fun, and look really impressive! They get people interested and inspired as to what the human body can do! Far more fun than arbitrarily moving some heavy metal around, which undoubtedly didn't need picking up anyway.
I do obviously recommend lifting weights as part of a well structured strength and/or athletic development programme, and done correctly they can help any athlete or layperson develop a healthier & stronger body.
However weight lifting has arguably appointed itself as the only path to strength across the exercise industry, and is frequently butchered in the gym, causing more damage than progress.
THE SAPIEN TRAINING CALISTHENICS SKILL SYSTEM
Gymnastics operates a >17 level progressive system for skill development, with the handstand at around level 5, front lever at 8, and the infamous iron cross at 13.
Other systems range from Beginner, through Intermediate & Advanced up to Elite.
For us mere mortals who hope just want to do cool stuff and get strong at the same time i've simplified it. Albeit with swear words. Introducing the Sapien Training Calisthenics Skill System!
HOW DOES THE SYSTEM WORK?
The system is a simplified progression for us normal folk who want to start introducing Calisthenics into our lives!
THE BASICS/FREE YOUR BODY
FOUNDATION POSITIONS DEVELOPING YOUR BODYWEIGHT STRENGTH & CONTROL FOR DEVELOPMENT OF LATER SKILLS.
"The Basics" lay the foundations for and smooth & injury-free introduction to Calisthenics.
They focus on developing straight arm strength, and straight body strength independently (and sometimes together).
ALL EXERCISES SHOULD BE CONDUCTED WITH STRICT FORM FOR A MINIMUM OF 45 SECONDS BEFORE PROGRESSING TO THE BUILDERS
THE BUILDERS/SQUARE UP TO GRAVITY.
IMPRESSIVE DYNAMIC & STATIC BODYWEIGHT EXERCISES DEVELOPING YOUR STRENGTH AND CONTROL.
"The Builders" develop the strength, control, and mobility required to start producing some powerful and gravity defying moves.
The builders are by FAR the largest group of exercises, also spanning the greatest range of intensity!
On the lower end of the spectrum we have things like strict PUSH UPS & PULL UPS, a few SQUAT variations, in the middle we have things like WIDE/CLOSE GRIP variations, and at the top there's things like ARCHER PULL/PUSH UPS, HIGH PULLS, KOREAN DIPS, GERMAN HANG, SKIN THE CAT, PISTOL SQUAT, SKATER LUNGE, WALL HANDSTAND PUSH UPS, X-OVER PUSH UPS, EXPLOSIVE PUSH UPS, TOES2BAR, ROUND THE WORLD, PULLOVERS, NEGATIVES, ARCHER SQUAT, SHRIMP SQUAT, BREXIT CURL, SOCIALLY DISTANCED PULL UP, & THE EPSTEIN SHUFFLE.
THESE EXERCISES SHOULD BE MASTERED AND EXECUTED WITH PERFECT FORM FOR 5-8 REPS (OR 8-12s FOR STATIC EXERCISES)
THE BOLLOCKS/WIZARD LEVELS OF GRAVITY DEFIANCE
THESE MUTHAF**KERS WILL CONSUME YOUR TRAINING FOR SEVERAL YEARS TO COME
Calisthenics pretty much boils down to these 5 giants.
FRONT LEVER & BACK LEVER
I don't own all of them yet, technically speaking I'm only three years in. I was strength trained prior to commencing Calisthenics, but interestingly enough I'd argue that the strength wasn't all that transferrable, and i'm still ironing out the mechanical inefficiencies caused by lifting heavy weights for so long.
I can't Planche and the Flag isn't quite there yet. My handstands aren't straight all the time and I can only Pistol Squat on my right leg (left's shit). Furthermore my front lever needs just a tiiiiny bit more work, my one arm pull up is close, and my hips don't lie.
But THAT'S part of the charm of Calisthenics! The pursuit of beauty and perfection can only be achieved through failing, falling, laughing, playing, pushing, and persevering.
EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW TO START CALISTHENICS
The best thing about training with Calisthenics is the lack of equipment required for a seriously productive workout.
Iv'e been training it for over 3 years now and all I own is a set of Gym rings (£40) and 4 heavy duty resistance bands (£35).
4 x Heavy Duty Resistance Bands (essential) £25-35
Gymnastic Rings (optional) £30-40
Door frame Pull Up Bar (optional) £20-30
Paralettes (optional) £20-40 or they're really easy to make
I do make and sell my own kit, however these guys are quite frankly much better and the kit is much sturdier than my wooden stuff https://www.gravityfitness.co.uk/
The world of sporting Jargon has bestowed us with hilarious doozers such as Googly (cricket), Backdoor Slider (Baseball), & Ball Handler (Basketball).
Calisthenics thankfully doesn't sail so close to the euphemistic wind, but it does have its share of confusing terminology.
PROGRESSION: A strict(ish) series of progressive exercises targeting development the bigger, harder moves. For example, the progression for a handstand could follow: Headstand, Wall Handstand, Single Leg Wall Handstand, Wall Facing In Handstand, Free Handstand.
Typically you will work your way through any exercise progression over months/years, slowly developing the strength & control to move onwards through the progression.
REGRESSION: Used in a workout, a regression is a training technique working backwards from an advanced move down through easier variations with no rest, for training and hypertrophy purposes.
DEADHANG: Hanging straight from a bar (or rings) with very little body tension
INVERSION: Turning upside down (handstands/bar/rings)
MUSCLE UP: Getting from a deadhang, above the bar/rings and pressing out into full elbow lock
STRADDLE: Wide Legged Positions, Toes pointed, Legs pushed out
TUCK: Shortened body, Heels to butt with knees pulled into chest
HOLLOW BODY: Foundation body shape for most Calisthenics moves (Ribs to Pelvis, Hollowed Body)
WHIPPER: The painful slap received through incorrect resistance band setup. This WILL happen. Try to make sure its not your face.