Strength training is trending big time, this is true. But remember, there’s always more than one way to achieve the same result. Lifting weights and using various machines at the gym is one, but calisthenics is another. With plenty of benefits (including not spending out on a gym pass), isn’t it time all of us women in fitness have calisthenics in mind?
A form of training using a variety of movements that exercise large muscle groups, calisthenics helps to shape and build muscle for ‘functional strength’. After all, who doesn’t want to be stronger for lugging heavy stuff up the stairs? Calisthenics also supports weight loss as different moves require different muscle groups; working and developing these means burning some serious calories. An added perk is that because the body will need more oxygen as more muscles are in play, the cardiovascular system will improve too.
If you haven’t been motivated yet to give it a go, then perhaps the fact it will save you money might. With no specialised space or equipment needed, it’s a home workout for women that’s free! So, fix that pull-up-bar to your door frame, check out our workout for beginners at home guide and get ready to work those muscles…
Working your chest, shoulders, triceps and core, there’s a lot to be said for the simple push- up. As a newbie, you may find it hard to perform one, but don’t sweat it. Your strength will build in time (as well as the amount you can do). Start nice and easy with a wall push-up; brilliant for beginners and for those who haven’t done them before. Next up is the knee push-up which is as close to the traditional one as you can get. If you can do around 15 of these, then you are ready for the real deal! As always, make sure you’re doing everything correctly by following instructions from a certified trainer or fitness instructor.
Squat & sizzle
Think the lower body squat is all about thigh muscles? Think again! It has the power to shape your hamstrings, bum, core and develop endurance. If you’re not strong enough yet, start with the bench squat to control the motion better. Good form is vital to get the results you’re after, so seek advice from the experts.
What is it that they say about putting the maximum in to get the maximum out? Well, they weren’t wrong when it comes to pull-ups and chin-ups! The hardest exercises for women as they involve pulling our entire body weight, it’s also one of the most beneficial for strengthening and shaping the back, arms, shoulders and core. Don’t let the challenge put you off; there are moves and techniques you can do to prepare your body before you attempt these moves.
No, not the kind for your vegetable crisps, but the awesome compound-exercise- strengthening kind! Great for shoulders and arms, the bench dip is a good one to start with where your lower body is placed on the ground and you just ‘lift’ the weight of your upper body. TIP: If you lean forward, there is more load on your chest and shoulder muscles. Once you can do more than 10 of these with ease, try the parallel bar dip.
The core of everything
Core training that uses bodyweight comes in the form of sit-ups, crunches, rotations and planks. But it’s also crucial to work your ‘entire’ core too, and by that, we mean lower back, lower and upper abs and obliques. For your lower back, the hyperextension floor exercise is a great one to start with (again; seek guidance from a certified trainer). For your lower abs, try moves that require your lower body to lift, such as leg raises. As you get stronger, take this up a notch with harder moves like hanging leg/knee raises on the bar For upper abs, crunches are good and for internal and external oblique, rotations-moves like the Russian twist can be an effective way to work that core.
So, you’ve got the moves for a full-body workout. Now all you need to do is make sure you’re doing them 2 to 3 times a week. Is a bodyweight workout at home better than lifting weights at the gym? Only one way to find out…
Swisse Me & calisthenics
Nutrition and exercise have always worked side by side to help achieve the results you want. And when it’s the strength you’re after, this is definitely the case. Getting the right nutrients, especially protein is important for supporting muscle growth and repair. For healthy diet ideas and protein-rich low-calorie snacks that fill you up, you can’t go wrong with our Boost Me energy range. Delicious too, with Beetroot, Mango, and Pear to choose from. Just some tasty and nutritious ways to help your body get the protein it needs throughout the day.