Yoga is becoming a bigger part of my calisthenics workout plan, here are a few reasons why.
Combining calisthenics and yoga will help you advance much faster in both disciplines. Both forms of exercise focus on strength, balance, and flexibility. Yet they are opposing in strengths and weaknesses. Giving you the best all around fitness by practicing both.
What are the differences
Doing calisthenics exercises, most of your workout is focused on getting stronger. Reps, and lots of them. You aren’t going to do twenty pull ups in a row, without first doing hundreds of reps in training. So maybe you did little stretching in your warm up, and working on your balance, well who has time for that hippie crap. This is how I used to feel about doing yoga.
Yoga is still focus on strength.Primarily on strength that is controlled throughout a series of movements, or in a static pose. The movements and poses are designed to build strength and flexibility. One is as important as the other in yoga. Yoga focuses only on exercise performed without equipment, no pull ups in yoga.
What are the similarities
Calisthenics and yoga use different methods to achieve the same goal. The advanced movements that we all want to learn when we get strong enough, are about the same for both styles of fitness.The handstand and the planche, are two advanced moves that are shared with both. A calisthenics handstand is acquired by getting strong enough to hold yourself in a handstand.Then praying you have enough balance to hold yourself up for more than two seconds.
A yoga handstand is achieved by getting flexible enough to put your hands on the ground standing with your legs straight. Then just lifting your legs in the air, and hoping you have enough arm strength to hold it for more than two seconds.
How can yoga improve your calisthenics?
Improving at calisthenics requires a lot of reps, with a limited amount of exercises. You can’t be doing a couple of sets of a bunch of different exercises, and expect to get strong at any of them. So we are generally locked into a few good exercises, with many sets.
There are 650 muscles in the human body. If you are just doing a few different exercises, you might be missing a couple. Yoga uses dynamic movement to move you from one position to another. Through using a variety of movements you are going to be working all 650 muscles. At the same time putting your muscle through a much larger range of motion than we normally achieve in calisthenics.
The benefit will be greater flexibility and strength not only in the major muscle groups, but all of the supporting being strengthened will give you a better overall strength that will help you prevent injuries.
How can calisthenics improve your yoga
The ability of some yogis to hold pose poses that are not only linear, to the front and back, but also holding themselves to the side as well is beyond what most calisthenics people can do. To get to that level of strength requires hours of yoga practice. Adding even basic calisthenics exercises to your yoga workout will help you you build a strong foundation much quicker. Allowing you to hold your poses longer.
As I mentioned earlier, you don’t do pull ups in calisthenics. This can create an imbalance in your strength by not doing enough to strengthen your back. The majority of yoga exercises are done with your ass in the air, and your nose in the mat.
How can you put them together?
As a calisthenics guy my goal isn’t to become a yogi. The most beneficial way that I have used yoga in my workouts has been on my off days. I generally do full body workouts, and after a couple days of doing that I will take a day off from that kind of workout. By that time my body is stiff and sore. Doing yoga on the off day gets my spine moving around so I don’ get stiff. Allows me the time to get some good stretching in.
I also do some yoga during my warm up for the calisthenics workout. I’m old and injuries are too easy to get at this age. Doing a few yoga moves to warm up can loosen your spine and prepare you for a workout, better than doing a few jumping jacks.
What kind of poses should you use
I don’t claim to know a lot of yoga poses. You can see a variety of yoga workouts on Youtube. The most basic poses that I have found helpful are the “downward dog”, The “upward dog”< and the “chaturanga”. These three poses done sequentially will stretch your spine and shoulders, and is a harder workout than you might think.
These are the very basics of yoga. As you gain strength you can add other poses that will benefit your calisthenics training. Yoga offers a variety of stretches are good for overall flexibility, but can help you gain the flexibility to make calisthenics movement such as handstands and pikes easier. The benefit of flexibility to improve your calisthenics cannot be underestimated.
Do you need to wear yoga pants to do yoga?
Not if you’re a guy. Especially an old guy.
Nobody wants to see that.
Calisthenics and yoga, should you do both?
Doing calisthenics can give you explosive strength in a short amount of time. That’s only half of the equation. Your ability to hold static poses is the kind of strength not as easily developed with calisthenics, and is very necessary for overall strength. Yoga can improve your flexibility which will make you feel better and help prevent injuries.
Give it a try, you might be surprised at how difficult it is and how good you feel afterwards.