Calisthenics Training From Ancient Greece to Have Body of Apollo

Calisthenics Training From Ancient Greece to Have Body of Apollo

When you think of callisthenics (also called calisthenics), you may have in mind the image of military jumping jacks or street athletes who do street workout, and you are not that far away.

In fact, calisthenics is a discipline much older than we think: it goes back to ancient Greece.

You have probably already experienced callisthenics exercises during school sports in the form of abdominal exercises, push-ups, jumps or other weight training exercises.

Practiced in a rigorous way, the calisthenics makes it possible to be muscled and can also constitute a form of aerobic training, a sacred saves time!

Speaking of time, it is a motivator for many people looking to maintain their fitness in a minimum of time. The practice of many training methods, including body weight, for short durations, has become very popular, as evidenced by the strong growth of CrossFit, training programs like Insanity or the Lafay method there is a few years.

What is calisthenics?

In simple terms, the definition of calisthenics is the use of body weight and gravity to perform bodybuilding exercises (some of which are quite intense) using good technique.

The big advantage is that it does not require a gym membership and it can include various activities like gymnastics, Pilates, street workout, with movements like squats, lunges, dips, pull-ups and push-ups, to name just a few examples.

This type of body weight training has the advantage of being versatile. It can be practiced alone at the heart of a fitness plan, or used in conjunction with other disciplines such as the weightlifter, combat sports, HIIT training, indoor weight training, etc.

“Varying workout styles is a great way to make sure all muscles work, from multiple angles and in different ways – that’s the key to developing a muscular and well-proportioned physique. 

Calisthenics exercises

There is a large number of callisthenic exercises, with push ups and pulls being the most common. These alone already make it possible to work many parts of the body and can be practiced anywhere.


The push-ups strengthen the muscles of the torso, shoulders and triceps while strengthening the muscles of the trunk.

You can add variety by pushing your pumps on a medicine ball or using plyometric jumps.

There are many interesting variations such as spiderman push-ups that work the obliques by bringing the knee up during the descent.


The pull-ups are ideal for working the back and the biceps. The two most popular variant variants are pull-ups (hand-over-pronation pulls) and chin-ups (supine hands).

The same advantage as push-ups: it can also be done almost anywhere, at home or away, just have a little imagination.

Exercises for the abdominals

One of the other pillars of calisthenics is abdominal training. Although having a six-pack may be aesthetically pleasing, a stomach with little abdominal fat is above all a guarantee of good health: the excess fat in this area is responsible for many chronic diseases.

Little clarification, work abdominals will not make you lose miraculously your belly, diet is actually for many. But anyway, exercise abdominals allows for a tonic strap more relaxed, less relaxed, which is very beneficial for the health of the back (in others) I will come back later.

There are many types of exercises to work the abdominals. Even the push-ups mentioned above can help you solicit them if you concentrate on your abs by performing the movement.

To work in a more targeted way, you can do cladding exercises like planks, crunches, leg raises, and many other exercises:

Exercises for cardio

High intensity cardio is great for burning fat because it helps to burn a lot of calories.

Running and cycling are good for cardiovascular training, but there are other exercises that can easily be incorporated into a daily routine no matter where you are, like jumping jacks or burpees.

Of course, there are many other cardio exercises to lose maximum fat.

Top 5 benefits of calisthenics

You can calisthenics anywhere

Since callisthenics does not require a weight training device, this type of training can be practiced anywhere. What a beautiful invention! (Read between the lines: no excuses!) So you can do your workout at home, in an outdoor park, in the forest, etc.

There are many ways to practice callisthenics exercises, whatever your level. For example, a push-up can be performed on the knees for beginners.

Over time, you will be able to push-up on your feet and possibly add clapping of hands.The options are many, progressive and can strengthen the musculature and endurance.

Calisthenics improves coordination

The Journal of Sports Rehabilitation has published a study on the impact of Pilates and calisthenics on the coordination of a person. The participants in this study were healthy women aged 25 to 50 years.

The results indicated that calisthenics exercises were generally more likely to improve coordination after 3 and 6 months of training than Pilates. Pilates is great for a lot of reasons, but if you’re trying to improve your coordination, you should get more benefit from Calisthenics exercises.

You will gain muscle mass

Callisthenics provides an impressive musculature that you can develop virtually as far as you want. Have you ever noticed the physics that gymnasts are able to achieve?This muscular development can be obtained with a regular training and especially an intelligent use of the body weight (we forget the training between two chairs).

In addition, when you raise your own body weight, you have to concentrate and use a lot more muscles to maintain a good posture (compared to a guided machine). As a result, more muscles are required, resulting in a better physical balance.

It is a tool suitable for all levels

Callisthenics is perfect for beginners, especially teenagers who are just starting a physical training or for those with an advanced level, and who want a more aesthetic and functional physique.

To start gradually, a beginner will have to choose a program which allows him modifications adapted according to his level: to start with a training too difficult will not allow to progress more quickly and increases the risk of injury.

As for the frequency of workouts, I suggest for beginners 3 to 4 days a week for about 20 minutes per session. Over time, it will obviously be possible to do more exercises over a longer period.

An experienced practitioner who has developed an incredible muscle tone, a lot of mass and strength will be able to perform extreme calisthenic exercises variations: push-ups and pulls with one hand, squats on one leg, but also human flag (male flag) muscle- ups, and all the exercises of cladding on rings or bodybuilding straps.

Callisthenics helps fight against low back pain

“Backache, the solution is the movement”, here is the title of the national campaign to prevent complications of back pain organized by the Health Insurance .

Indeed, a physical activity to strengthen your back is the best solution to fight against lower back pain, the famous lumbago, sciatic or cruralgia.

If you do not want to have back pain, it seems that you have to go Nordic walking … why not … if you are over 70 years old …

Otherwise, callisthenics is an excellent way to strengthen and strengthen both the back and the abdominal strap. Yes, what’s more effective than pull-ups or cladding exercises to no longer suffer from the spine?

21 pull-ups at 83 years old

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