Calisthenics: The no-gym workout you can do anywhere

Want to avoid the gym but look and feel like Tarzan? Hang upside down poles (instead of trees) in the park and breathe fresh air into your lungs with Calisthenics.


Calisthenics is an exercise form that is being practised the world over, and has found its way into India in the recent past thanks to advocates like Bollywood actors Sushant Singh Rajput and Karan Singh Grover.

What is it about this bodyweight workout that has celebrities queuing up?

While Karan combines Calisthenics with yoga and weights to stay in shape, for Sushant it was a life – and career – saver. A fitness routine largely centred around Calisthenics workouts is what made Sushant fighting fit barely four weeks after sustaining an injury. The MS Dhoni actor’s Instagram feed has a series of clips where he’s doing Calisthenics indoors. Handstands, pistol squats, pull-ups, chin-ups, he’s doing it all.

Training video for Raabta preparations. #raabta this Friday.

A post shared by Sushant Singh Rajput (@sushantsinghrajput) on

This workout is usually done outdoors putting it in the “street workout” category. Maybe, Sushant doesn’t want to risk getting mobbed during exercise time.

Calisthenics is the category of exercises that use a person’s own bodyweight for resistance. With regular practice, it strengthens and tones musculature, and increases endurance.

Baar Baar Dekho actor Taaha Shah

Says Taaha, “If you are looking at functional strength, a lean yet muscular body, strong bones and having a solid mind, then Calisthenics is one thing that will get you there.” The word comes from the Greek ‘kalos’, meaning beauty, and ‘sthenos’, which stands for strength. Martial artistes and former armymen are known to practice Calisthenics to look athletic and stay fighting fit. Beginners can start with lunges, jumping jacks, squats and step ups and advance to pull-ups, chin-ups, push-ups and handstands pretty quickly.

Why it’s great

Pistol squat

It’s a no-frills form of exercise you can do without having to join a gym. You don’t really need equipment for it except parallel bars to hang on; every public playground has those.

  • Since there is no setting up time for the exercises compared to a gym, you can quickly move from one exercise to the next without rest time, in the efficient format of circuit training.
  • You grow in self discipline and mastering your physical self.
  • calisthenicsCalisthenics teaches coordination, balance, proprioception and self awareness. Proprioception is the ability to sense stimuli arising within one’s body in relation to external factors. Unlike resistance machines at the gym where the machine guides your movements, bodyweight exercises are functional since you have to control your limbs and maintain the right position.
  • You can adjust the difficulty of the exercises depending on your fitness and strength levels. For instance, a press up can be as easy as a wall press up with your body only slightly angled to very demanding – such as a handstand press up.
  • It doesn’t cause discomfort to your knees. Calisthenics is recommended if you have a long history of hard training or are over 40 years old and want to continue exercising despite worn-out joints.
  • People who have difficulty showing up at the gym every day can breathe easy in the flexibility of working out wherever they want.

by Kasmin Fernandes

Via WordPress daily prompt Athletic

(A version of this post was previously published on
Calisthenics is an athletic do-anywhere sport that requires no equipment (except bars and rings sometimes). What does the blogosphere think of athleticism? Bloggers are talking about everything from running to coaching. Click the links below to read my favourites on the topic of athletic:





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