What do you do when work, traffic, crowds, weather, and other obstacles block your workout mojo? One of the most effective forms of exercise is the broad category known as calisthenics. Also referred to as body weight exercises, these are activities that use your own weight as the source of load and/or tension.
But here is where all your excuses get thrown out the window: Your body is with you everywhere you go. You can hone extremely effective programs without having to rely on equipment availability, without contending with commuting, without being undermined by weather, and without paying for classes and/or memberships that you might not use. Also, the compound movements that form the basis of classical calisthenics can be made progressively more difficult. By honing the number of reps, the number of sets, and the amount of rest between activities, you can choose to build endurance, strength and/or mass in whatever way is best aligned to your personal goals. You can continuously level up while also combining many of the benefits of yoga or dance with the benefits of weight lifting.
One Year Calisthenics Progression: Push Ups
Perform 3 sets of 50 reps against a wall, performing the push-up motion while standing.
Perform 3 sets of 40 reps with your hands on a chair/desk/bed and your feet on the floor.
Perform 3 sets of 30 push-ups on the floor, but with your knees touching the ground.
Perform 2 sets of 25 half push-ups with your knees off the floor, but doing only the top half of the range of motion.
Perform 2 sets of 20 full push-ups with your hands below your shoulders.
Perform 2 sets of 15 full push-ups with your hands together below your chest.
Perform 2 sets of 12 push-ups on each side, putting one hand on a block/step/suitcase and the other on the floor (switch the block back and forth after each set of 12 reps).
Perform 2 sets of 10 on each side of one-arm half-push-ups, but doing only the top half of the range of motion.
Perform 2 sets of 8 on each side of one-arm push-ups with one hand on a ball and the other on the floor, allowing the ball to roll in and out against the inside of your forearm as you lever up and down.
Perform 1 set of 6 on each side of unassisted, one-arm push ups.