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How Do I Perform a Calisthenics Routine?

Push-ups are a calisthenic exercise, requiring no equipment.
Jogging provides an aerobic workout.
Jumping jacks are one form of calisthenics.
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  • Written By: Matthew F.
  • Edited By: C. Wilborn
  • Last Modified Date: 13 August 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
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A calisthenics routine is a series of exercises you can perform without equipment. These routines are performed through different stretches, athletic moves, and physical exercises, all done with only your body. They are used for both cardiovascular exercise and as a way of building muscle and strength. Calisthenics routines frequently do not feature one exercise, but a series of different exercises which comprise the entire routine. You can perform calisthenics routines alone or in a group setting.

There are a variety of exercises that can make up a calisthenics routine. The time spent on each exercise can either be measured by an amount of time performing it, or by the number of repetitions — the amount of times the exercise is fully completed. If a routine is comprised of multiple sets per exercise, the amount of time per set or the repetitions being completed is usually lower than if only one set is to be performed. This saves energy for later sets.

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A very common exercise often incorporated into a calisthenics routine is called the jumping jack. This exercise improves coordination and stamina while increasing the heart rate. Jumping jacks are performed by beginning with your hands at your side and your legs together. You then jump, opening up your stance so that your legs are spread slightly further than shoulder-width apart, and lifting your arms up, bent slightly at the elbow, until your hands come together directly above your head. If you plan to perform multiple sets in a routine, 25 repetitions per set is a good place to start.

Different types of running can also be incorporated into a calisthenics routine. The best way to do this is to run a short distance, about ten yards (9.14 m), while working your legs in special ways to exercise the lower body and increase stamina. One such exercise, called high knees, can be performed by jogging to the intended destination while bringing your knees up to your chest as far as you can raise them.

Another calisthenics exercise used to exercise the lower body is the lunge. Lunges are performed by bringing one leg forward a comfortable distance and then lunging the pelvis forward and to the ground, supporting your body weight with the leg that has been brought forward. The body ends up with one leg forward and the other stretched out behind the body as the upper body lunges forward.

Push-ups and sit-ups are also very good exercises to incorporate into a calisthenics routine. These exercises do not focus as much on endurance as they do with improving strength in particular muscles. Push-ups, in which you lie face-down on the floor with your palms pressed down and push your body up using your arms, target the chest and tricep muscles specifically. Sit-ups, where you lie on your back with your legs bent upward at the knee and bring your upper body up off the ground toward your thighs, work to condition the abdominal muscles.

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