GYM FREE POWER
Nok it, big results
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.