Starting calisthenics at an older age isn’t easy, but you can progress quickly if you are consistent with your workouts.
Calisthenics improves your strength, balance, and flexibility. Making it one of the best ways for older adults to get into or stay in shape.
Increase Your Strength With Calisthenics
Strength is a key component to doing calisthenics. Unlike bodybuilding, where your goal is to gain size. When you train for calisthenics you train for strength by doing exercises in the hardest way that you’re capable of. Always challenging yourself to get stronger.
Calisthenics exercises are compound exercises, meaning that they use a group of muscles to perform an exercise. So when you’re doing a push up for example. Not only the pecs are getting worked out, but your whole body is involved in the exercise. Even an exercise as simple as a plank, can be difficult to hold for a long period of time. Your entire body is benefitting from the exercise.
The strength you gain from calisthenics is a functional strength. Because you are strengthening the body as a whole, the ligaments and muscles will work together with less chance of injury as you do your daily tasks.
Often it’s the simple things like reaching down to pick something up that can injure us. It doesn’t matter how big your arms are.If you have muscles that have not been trained because you only do isolation exercise with weights you will have weakness and imbalance that will make you susceptible to injury.
If you take a chain that is attached to an anchor. Cut it in the middle and replace one of the links with a link off of a necklace, the throw your anchor in the ocean. You will lose that anchor, because the chain is not functional anymore.
Calisthenics training leaves no weak muscle behind. Making you strong throughout your whole body.
One of the challenging things about calisthenics is holding a pose for a length of time, such as a lever. Imagine picking up a dumbbell and curling it half way, then holding it there. If you can do ten curls in a minute with that dumbbell, you probably will find it difficult or impossible to hold that dumbbell in one spot for that same minute.
Static strength is one of the hardest challenges you can put your muscles through. It’s the kind of strength that will give you that super human ability. By training with static holds you are forcing your nervous system and muscular system to cooperate at the highest level. Your brain is throwing the maximum amount of energy at the muscle being used. By repeatedly doing this you are training your brain to make the maximum amount of energy available to you at any time. This is great if you start to fall. Your bodies ability to get the strength to where it’s needed to keep you upright will be much more efficient.
Keep Your Balance
As I get older I have noticed that my balance isn’t as good as it used to be, maybe you have also. Part of the reason is that lack of cooperation between your nervous system and your muscles. This can be improved through calisthenics training.
Exercises such as a pistol squat or a handstand require a lot of balance. As you continue training to get to the point where you’re doing these movements, your nervous system will become faster at sending signals to your muscles. Try standing on one foot for a few minutes. You can feel your muscles twitching and pulling, trying to keep you from falling over. If you did that everyday, it will get easier, until you get to the point where you’re not hardly moving.Doing calisthenics develops this balance to the point where you can eventually do that handstand.
Being flexible is more important now as we get older, than it was when we were young. The ability to move in a full range of movement will keep us moving better and with less pain throughout the rest of our lives. Just like getting stronger, you need to work at gaining flexibility.
Part of your daily routine should involve stretching. When you’re doing calisthenics you are strengthening the whole body, so when you stretch for calisthenics you should stretch your entire body. Having the ability to touch your toes is good flexibility, but you need more than that. To do a handstand for example you need your shoulders to be flexible enough to reach over your head and slightly behind you. This takes time to develop. So it’s always good to start stretching now, and not wait until later in your training.
Generally you wouldn’t stretch just before or during the workout. This causes the muscle to be less efficient during the reps. Right after the workout is the best time to stretch because your muscles are warmed up and more flexible.
Calisthenics Is Fun
After spending years going to the gym, loading plates on bars, pulling cables, and eating like a horse to try and gain some mass, all I got was bored. Don’t get me wrong, I totally enjoy working out. So I wasn’t hating it, but working became just doing the same exercises week after week. There was no challenge because your goals just become about gaining mass when I didn’t need it, I’m not a bodybuilder.
Calisthenics can be done anywhere. Even if you train at a gym, it’s still nice to pump out some pull ups in the sunshine, if you find a bar. When you are just starting to do calisthenics is the time when it seems a little boring. If your only doing push ups and pull ups because it’s all you can do. If you workout constantly you will get through this phase fast and start progressing to more movements.
If you’re someone who likes a challenge in your workout to keep you motivated, calisthenics has many challenging movements, so you will always have something to work toward.
Calisthenics helps you lose weight
Training in calisthenics uses large muscle groups at one time. So the energy you are expending is much greater than you would lifting weights. So you of coarse are burning more calories.
There is also the fact that the lighter you are, the easier it will be to do the exercises. This motivates you to make better choices when eating. By training to make yourself stronger, and losing the extra pounds you are attacking your calisthenics training from both ends.