Those who are looking to build muscle often concentrate most on strength training and ignore calisthenics. There are some amazing benefits to pairing calisthenics exercises to some of your regular routines. The following are a few superset examples.
Barbell Press and Pushups
Lie flat on your back on a weight bench with the small of it pressed into the surface. Grasp the barbell bar comfortably, taking care not to hyperextend your wrist. Lift off the rack and lower slowly toward your chest as you breathe in until your forearms are perpendicular to the floor, then exhale and push the bar back to the starting position. Perform 8-12 repetitions for 3 or 4 sets.
Pushups are one of the best calisthenics exercises for the chest, and go perfectly with bench presses. Start on the ground in a regular push up position with your hands directly underneath your shoulders and your back straight. Lower your body as a single unit while breathing in until you are almost touching the floor, then breathe out and ‘explode’ by pushing back to the starting position. Perform as many pushups as you can.
Barbell Squats and Jump Squats
Stand with feet (with toes pointed slightly outward) about shoulder width apart with an appropriately weighted barbell across the back of your shoulders. Using an overhand grip, lift the bar off the rack and slowly lower your body into a sitting position while breathing in. Keep your head facing forward. At the bottom of the movement, exhale while pushing through your heels to return to the starting position. Perform for 10-15 repetitions.
To do a jump squat, you will begin in the same position as before, but instead of holding a barbell, you will have your arms extended in front of you. Lower your body as through you were performing a normal squat, but once you reach the bottom of the motion, jump explosively into the air as high as you can. Repeat until failure. Alternatively you can also perform box squat jumps.
Barbell/Dumbbell Lunges and Jump Lunges
Stand with feet hip-distance apart, shoulders straight, chest lifted. While holding a dumbbell in each hand (or a barbell across the back of your shoulders), step forward slightly with the left foot until the upper leg is at about a 90-degree angle and the knee is over top of the toes. Pressing off with the ball of the foot, return to the starting position and then repeat on the other side. Perform 8-12 repetitions for each leg. Try to inhale while stepping forward, and exhale as you return to the starting position.
To perform jump lunges, settle into a left foot forward lunge position, though a little lower to accommodate the jump. Now spring up into a right leg forward position. Repeat until failure.
Calisthenics Exercise Tips
- Use lighter weights when performing strength training and calisthenics exercises together to avoid overexertion
- Remember that your form is just as important when doing calisthenics as it is when lifting weights
- Be sure to warm up and cool down properly before and after your workout
Calisthenics exercises are a fun way to change up your routine, and should be included often to provide you with even greater benefits than what you would normally achieve through weightlifting alone.