Are body weight exercises really safer?


The term self-weight exercises doesn't exactly sound sexy, it is more reminiscent of dusty school sports. Calisthenics is nothing more than training with your own body weight - just a bit cooler and more modern. In New York, bodyweight exercises were rediscovered by the street workout scene in the early 2000s and enriched with a few elements from other sports, such as breakdancing.

Since then, calisthenics workouts have spread like wildfire around the world. The number of followers is now in the millions. Calisthenics is so popular because muscles can be effectively trained practically anywhere without special equipment. Weights are taboo.

Calisthenics is so popular because muscles can be effectively trained practically anywhere without special equipment.

The body is the training device

For the actual basic exercises - for example push-ups or squats - all you need is your own body weight. For pull-ups - with or without leg raises - the climbing frame in the playground, the wall ledge in the park or anything else that could serve as a pull-up bar is sufficient. If you want, you can put on a pair of fitness gloves to protect your palms. Otherwise you really don't need anything, except for physical exercise.

For people with little time and money, the hype from New York is a real alternative to the gym. In the meantime there are more and more sports parks or sports fields with the appropriate equipment in Germany that do not cost admission. Another advantage: when you train outdoors, you get plenty of oxygen and meet other calisthenics fans.

Shape the body with grace

Calisthenics comes from the Greek and means something like "beautiful strength". Already in ancient Greece people knew how to use the advantages of self-weight exercises for a beautiful, hardened body, whereby graceful and elegant movements were more important than sheer strength.

Gymnastics on parallel bars goes back to this long tradition, as does today's calisthenics, which is sometimes called "street workout" or "ghetto fitness". Functional training is also a synonym. This term already implies that the movements are carried out slowly and as gracefully as possible.

That brings calisthenics

Training with your own body weight stabilizes the entire musculoskeletal system and builds muscles properly. Practically every muscle is used - from shoulders, stomach and back to the calves. Long stretching is also a very effective fascia training and forms a beautiful silhouette.

In contrast to classic strength training or body building, the interaction of all muscles and coordination skills are also promoted. Because the processes are more complex and varied than monotonous weight lifting:

  • In push-ups, for example, in addition to the shoulder, arm and chest muscles, the abdominal and gluteal muscles are also trained together. No equipment training can do that at the same time.

Although there is almost something meditative about calisthentics, it also improves fitness and, depending on the duration and intensity, uses up a lot of calories. You can increase the calorie consumption even more if you incorporate endurance elements such as jumping jacks or knee-ups - running in place with your knees up - in your training program.

The effects at a glance

  • Muscle building, more strength
  • Stabilization of the musculoskeletal system
  • Stretching of the fascia
  • firmer body / silhouette
  • improved fitness
  • improved coordination skills

Diverse workouts

You will find loads of calisthenics workouts online and under the relevant hashtag.

There are many practical exercises, especially for beginners. The exciting thing is that the basic exercises can later be varied or made more difficult with simple tricks. A step up is, for example, the one-armed push-up or pull-up.

No sport without risk

But be careful: If you do the exercises incorrectly, you can do more harm than good to your body, such as overstretching ligaments or risking torn muscle fibers. Practicing on poles and scaffolding also has its pitfalls. If you accidentally slip, you can get hurt quite a bit.

Sticking to it with enthusiasm

A trainer or experienced partner who can guide and correct you is therefore better than any video.

Regardless of this, sports experts advise putting together a personal training program, with each exercise being repeated 15 to 20 times. Then a short break and the whole thing three times in a row, if possible three to four times a week. You can gradually increase the intensity and vary the exercises as you wish.

It is important that you have fun and do the exercises correctly and with dedication. This is the only way you will see the results you want and be enthusiastic about it for a long time.