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An Indian Fitness Enthusiast’s Guide To Calisthenics

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An Indian Fitness Enthusiast’s Guide To Calisthenics

An Indian Fitness Enthusiast’s Guide To Calisthenics

Weight training is probably the sharpest tool in the shed when it comes to building a body. That being said, it is not the only path one can take when it comes to achieving their fitness goals. One of the most effective and equally underrated methods of training is Calisthenics. 

The system of calisthenics essentially involves the use of bodyweight exercises that combines the goals of hypertrophy, balance, strength, and endurance.

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The dominance of Bodyweight training has been continuously established in India over the years. Back when nobody had even heard of a dumbbell, physical fitness was prized amongst the Indians, and every village had an “akhada” in which people trained and wrestled.  Not many are aware but the calisthenics regime followed by the Indians is what led to them being the most dominant wrestlers in the world for centuries, and it’s obviously way more brutal than your average gym workout. The program Indian wrestlers use arose out of this millennia-old system of training do over 2000 dands (dive bomber pushups) a day, and can do 1500 of them an hour, and the upper body specialists in India do over 5000 a day.  Additionally, they do two to three thousand bethaks (free squats standing on their toes) a day, and the fewest a wrestler will do in a day is 500.  On top of that, they do tons of somersaults to build flexibility and core strength, wrestler’s bridges for their necks, and headstands. Not to mention the wrestling practice after that.

But who wants to look like a Pehlwan? Definitely not your average gym goer! You want to get lean, right? Big muscles and surplus strength doesn’t impress you. It’s the muscle definition and leanness that impresses you. Not to worry. Calisthenics is still the perfect route to take.

Ever saw a Gymnast preparing for a ring event. The upper body muscularity and leanness these guys have achieved is truly awe-inspiring and makes you desire a similar physique. And they probably don’t touch the iron throughout their careers. The control you get over your body once you get in a habit of pushing or pulling it thousands of times a day makes you well coordinated and immensely strong. 

Or let’s take the example of boxers or MMA fighters. These guys practice their skills in the ring and take special time out for calisthenics. Many think that it’s the only way to grow stronger without getting muscle bound. Mike Tyson, Herschel Walker, Bruce Lee and Mohammed Ali amongst others were huge proponents of this style of training. To sum this up, bodyweight training gives you steadier muscular gains and along lasting built. Keep in mind that you are already accustomed to lift your bodyweight on a daily basis by just walking. That’s why calisthenics is the most natural way of exercising that probably even your ancestors did. Non requirement of any equipment makes it even more convenient.

This is the “Desi” method to fitness. Getting better at the pull up, chin up, bodyweight squat and push up also makes you a better weight lifter. You can conduct long intensive bodyweight workouts until your muscles fall off and repeat the same thing the next day. The body recovers from an all body calisthenics workout super fast.  Tired of your gym training? Do you feel like quitting weight training all together? Give this work out a go then, completing it six days a week.

Pull-Ups 5-6 sets
Dips 5-6 sets
Push Ups 6-8 sets
BW Squats 6-8 sets
Inverted bodyweight rows 5-6 sets
Sit Ups, Leg Raises 4 sets each.

Try to time your bodyweight workouts and push for more reps in each set. You can always attach weights to your body for even greater resistance and hence, effect.

Just remember this:
This style of training often gets stale after a while and you really need to be motivated to train this way. These workouts, once you advance, are highly time consuming. Stating the obvious, you can aim for the physique of a boxer or a gymnast by training this way but you won’t be able to emulate your favourite bodybuilder’s physique. Weight Training is still the go to method if you want to get huge. This will, however, get you in a really good athletic shape and help you develop core muscle strength.

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