Nok it, big re­sults

Men's Fitness - - Front Page - Words Matt Huckle Photography Danny Bird

The press-up gets a bad rap. De­spite be­ing the most recog­nis­able work­out move in the world, it’s also the most mis­used – done with sloppy form, half-hearted in­ten­sity and of­ten a range of mo­tion that’d make a drill sergeant even more fu­ri­ous. That’s a real shame, be­cause you can use it, along with the rest of its body­weight brethren – squats, pull-ups and V-sits, for in­stance – to build a body that’s ev­ery bit the equal of the dumb­bell-sculpted tor­sos you see in most gyms. How? By har­ness­ing the tougher vari­a­tions de­vel­oped by the new wave of cal­is­then­ics ex­perts.

‘Any­one can ben­e­fit from cal­is­then­ics, whether you play sports pro­fes­sion­ally or need help to get up from the sofa,’ says Ricky War­ren, a per­sonal trainer and cal­is­then­ics ex­pert. ‘The fo­cus on core strength and train­ing the body as a unit can work won­ders par­tic­u­larly for peo­ple sit­ting at desks who have de­vel­oped back prob­lems or hunched shoul­ders.’

And cal­is­then­ics doesn’t re­quire a whole­sale shift in ap­proach. ‘It’s easy to in­cor­po­rate a few moves into your work­out,’ says War­ren. ‘If you’re do­ing a back work­out, start with some pull-ups to warm up.’ The clas­sic mus­cle-builders should also be­come part of your work­out when you’re work­ing your back, arms or shoul­ders. ‘Once you’re do­ing pull-ups you re­alise that the ac­tual pulling-up is only the start,’ says War­ren. ‘You get to the top and think, “Ac­tu­ally, I can do more stuff while I’m up here”.’


Where this form of train­ing gets in­ter­est­ing is the vari­a­tions that are pos­si­ble. ‘Ex­perts are play­ing with what they know and cre­at­ing new moves all the time,’ says War­ren. ‘The ba­sics are clearly laid out, but there’s al­ways some­where for peo­ple to aim.’

So, since most of us can al­ready bash out a few sets of the ma­jor body­weight moves, at what point can we say we’ve mas­tered cal­is­then­ics? ‘If you can do a strict mus­cle-up – which means no kip­ping – and a full planche, you’re def­i­nitely there,’ says War­ren. Get on your way with this three-part work­out.

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