What is Calisthenics

Calisthenics (or callisthenics) is a form of exercise consisting of a variety of movements such as the planche, front lever and back lever, that are often performed rhythmically with minimal equipment, as bodyweight exercises.

They are intended to increase strength, fitness, and flexibility using one’s body weight for resistance.

Calisthenics can provide the benefits of muscular and aerobic conditioning, in addition to improving psychomotor skills such as balance, agility, and coordination.

There is no age, gendre, weight or height limit for this practise. It can take place anywhere, by anyone and it is completely free!!

Calisthenics is a way to discover and manifest the true potential and beauty of the human body.

It is a shame for a man to grow old without seeing the beauty and strength of which his body is capable.”

Socrates

Ancient Greece

Greeks were using Calisthenics in order to prepare their body and mind for battle and athletic competitions .

spartan warrior

If you were a soldier in training during the reign of the Spartans between 600 and 400 B.C., Calisthenics would have been a regular part of your workout regimen.

Young men being groomed for this elite army mastered the discus, javelin, wrestling, boxing, and other combat sports. And that’s where the history of Calisthenics began.


In Herodotus, we read that Xerxes’ spies saw this sort of flow movement that Spartans were doing with their bodies and mistook it for dancing; seeing this as a weakness, they attacked assuming the Spartans were weak.


We all know how that went…

(QUIZ: Can you already guess where I am from?)


Xerxes missed this key ingredient of Greek philosophy :

“The body and soul are tied together.”


These hardened warriors had been spending a great part of their lives practicing the blending of “beauty” and “strength” – Calisthenics.


The name Calisthenics comes from the ancient Greek words “κᾰ́λλος • (kállos)” which means beauty and “σθένος • (sthénos)” which means strength (physical and mental).


Kállos and sthénos by beautiful and strong people.

The two were not disconnected but instead,  were understood to go hand-in-hand.

Even amongst some of the fiercest warriors in history, we meet a consistency of respect for the balance, control and softer aspect of movement.

China

In 527 B.C., Shaolin Monks in China were dedicated to protect their monasteries from robbers and looters.

Instead of searching for a peaceful solution, these monks used Calisthenics to develop their ability to ward intruders.

They used bodyweight exercises to develop remarkable strength and speed.

This allowed them to deliver punishing blows to the enemy, move with lightning speed and elude any aggressor trying to capture them.

shaolin monks
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Modern days

Today bodyweight workout is still an integral part of modern sports training, armed forces and martial arts.

Also, as a result of the ongoing health issues that the world is facing, more and more people are turning to Calisthenics as an alternative way of training which is safer, cheeper and much more flexible.

Calisthenics is free and can be done anywhere by anyone.

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