Calisthenics fans, it’s time to talk about using your mind behind your muscle. Say what now?
In any fitness training, it’s essential to understand why you are exercising the body in specific ways. Understanding the muscle behind the movement allows you to perform exercises correctly and efficiently.
When it comes to conscious calisthenics, that is exactly what you need to do. Don’t worry. We’ll walk you through it and get that practice going.
This way, you can use conscious calisthenics with all of the best calisthenics programs.
Bodyweight Training vs. Calisthenics
Before we dive into conscious calisthenics, let’s discuss the ever-popular debate between bodyweight training and calisthenics.
While people often use them interchangeably, they are not the same. Bodyweight training is exactly what it sounds like. You use only your body weight to train.
We are talking about push-ups, pull-ups, dips, and burpees with no extra weight added. Calisthenics is bodyweight training like handstand push-ups, pull-ups, planches, and pistol squats, to name a few.
However, as you progress, there is the option to incorporate some additional weight. Think pull-ups with weight added. It sounds like fun, doesn’t it?
Conscious Calisthenics Explained
Conscious calisthenics is all about focusing on what you are doing when training and why. It’s not just about performing the exercise, but understanding what muscles are working and how.
It involves focusing your mind as you exercise to reach a new level in your fitness. As you go through your workout, think about the muscle performing the exercise and what it’s doing.
Think about moving slowly and correctly as your progress through the exercises.
By doing this, you understand the muscles working and avoid the common mistake of letting momentum take over the movement.
Conscious calisthenics helps you determine which muscle groups are activated during your training.
As you educate yourself on the muscles stretching and contracting during specific exercises, you gain perspective on exactly what is happening in your body. This requires focus and concentration as you push yourself mentally through a workout.
Performing conscious calisthenics involves a visual technique where you imagine what each muscle is doing during your exercise.
The benefits to your health include body awareness, injury prevention, increased effectiveness, improved muscle isolation, better progression, and improved mental state.
If you haven’t tried yoga before, now is the perfect time as it is an excellent form of conscious calisthenics.
By focusing on your breathing, concentrating on each movement, and moving your body slowly and fluidly, you gain that perspective of what your body is doing. It’s easy to get into a downward dog, right?
However, if you think through the motions and control your breathing, chances are you will get a lot more out of that stretch. Focus on the muscles in the back of the leg stretching.
Lift your glutes into the air and angle your body down. Feel your back muscles contracting and releasing as you come out of the stretch.
Also, as you move slowly through each movement in yoga, you feel each stretch more than if you just walked through it quickly.
The tempo is everything in conscious calisthenics. Let your brain focus on each movement and make them all count.
Science is Onboard
If you thought conscious calisthenics was good before, just wait until you hear what science has to say about it.
In a study that investigated the effects of internal focus (focusing on the target muscle that is contracting during weight lifting) vs. external focus (focusing on the outcome of the lift), researchers found that those who used internal focus had higher elbow flexion strength and quadricep thickness after three weeks.
The idea of focusing your mind on the muscle workout proved to increase muscle tone and strength. Performing all of the exercises slowly and with purpose led to stronger individuals and higher muscle hypertrophy.
Slow and steady wins the health race.
Final Thoughts on Conscious Calisthenics
Whether you are performing the most challenging calisthenics moves like planche push-ups, the human flag, muscle-ups, superman push-ups, or the front lever or simply performing burpees and pull-ups, conscious calisthenics is the best way to push your body to the next level in your fitness journey.
By utilizing your mind and putting your energy on the target muscles being worked, your physical fitness will change for the better.
Add a healthy diet to that, and you are on your way to a sculpted mind and body. Both being equally essential, of course!