Getting starting in an exercise program is hard for many people. The variety of exercise programs is often overwhelming. It’s difficult to understand what will benefit you the most, and fit into your lifestyle. Here’s a helpful tip: no matter your interest it is important to incorporate both strength training and cardiovascular exercise into your regimen. The two work in tandem with each other to provide the best result.
When it comes to cardio that is a little more self-explanatory. You can hike, run, bike, swim, jump rope, and the list goes on. Resistance training, however, is intricate. There are two specific ways to engage in resistance training: calisthenics vs weight lifting. Both are forms of resistance training, but require very different things.
I like to say that weightlifting is described as picking up heavy things and putting them down. In retrospect this is somewhat true. Weightlifting is what you would consider, a more traditional form of resistance training. It requires weighted dumbbells, barbells, or machines you would find in a fitness center.
Weightlifting is definitely an effective way to train your muscles. Most people see instantaneous results. However, if a membership to a fitness center or purchasing your own equipment is too expensive you may have to turn to look elsewhere.
Enter Calisthenics. Calisthenics is a form of resistance training that utilizes your body as resistance. Common exercises include squats, lunges, push-ups, pull-ups, crunches, and more. A large benefit of calisthenics is that most exercises can be done outside of a fitness center.
They can be performed in the comfort of your home, outside, or even on vacation. Unfortunately, the rate of return on investing in callisthenic exercise isn’t as great as weightlifting. If you’re hoping to gain muscle, callisthenic exercises don’t develop your outward muscles strength as much as weightlifting tends to do.
I’ve provided some examples of both weightlifting and callisthenic exercises. Try each both types of exercises and decide which one is right for you!
What you will need:
- Dumbbells in various sizes – if you are new to weightlifting it may take a few times to determine which weight is best for you for the various exercises
- Weight bench – a step® aerobics step will also work
Perform each exercise 12-15 times. Take a 15-30 second rest and perform two more times for a total of three sets. If you perform the maximum of 15 repetitions and are not fatigued, you most likely selected weights that were too light. Next time you try the program increase your weights.
- With two weights of the same size in each hand rotate at the wrist until palms are facing up.
- Dumbbells should rest nicely in the palm of your hands. You should grip the dumbbells, but not too tightly.
- Contracting at the elbow bring the elbows up toward your chest.
- The end position should have your palms facing your chest as your grip the dumbbells.
- Lower the dumbbells down slowly as you keep your elbows tucked in at the side. It’s almost like your elbows are glued to your waist.
- Repeat this motion in a controlled manner.
- With two weights of the same size in each hand, find your bench.
- Sit down on one end and slowly lower your back on to the bench.
- Keeping your wrists straight lift the dumbbells over your chest and bring your elbows down so that your arms look like a football goal post.
- Palms should be facing out, and hands gripping the dumbbells.
- Slowly, and with control, push the dumbbells up over your chest. As you do really squeeze the muscles in your chest. Be careful not to lock out your elbows.
- There should be a slight bend in the elbow, but when you get to the point where you almost have to lock them out it’s an indication to reverse the motion.
- Bring your arms back into their starting place.
Note: Don’t forget to breath when weightlifting. Restricting your airway can result in the Valsalva maneuver and instead of focusing on building muscle you will be focusing on getting air to your lungs. If you’re having trouble breathing because the weights feel too heavy, it is a good indication that you are lifting too heavy of a weight.
What you will need:
- Just a mat! It can be a yoga or Pilates mat, or just a slightly carpeted surface, blanket, or towel.
Perform each exercise 12 to 20 times or until you feel fatigued. Take a 15-30 second rest and perform two or three more times for a total of three to four sets.
- Make sure you are on a flat and even surface. This exercise does not need to be performed on a mat.
- Stand with your gaze forward, chest held up and out, and feet about shoulder-width apart.
- Sit back and down like you are going to sit in a chair.
- To help keep your chest up you can extend your arms straight out or bend your elbows and clasp your hands out in front of you.
- Continue to descend making sure to track your knees in line with your toes, and lower down until your thighs are as parallel to the floor as you are comfortable.
- Press your weight into your heels and slowly bring yourself back up into a sanding position.
- ***Struggling with the squat? Use a physical chair and practice your stance and movement of the body as you move from seated to standing. As you get better just barely touch the chair when you move down. When you’re comfortable with this remove the chair and continue working on that squat!
- Keep your mat or blanket nearby. You will start out in a plank position making sure that your shoulders are stacked overtop of your wrists.
- Hands should be firm on the ground, engaging your glutes, hamstrings and abdominal wall.
- Flatten your back, but don’t release your hips to the ground.
- Lower your body slowly, keeping your back flat, gaze slightly out in front of you on the floor, and a neutral neck and spine.
- Elbows should be at a 45-degree angle.
- Draw your shoulder [blades back and down as you lower.
- Once you’ve come about parallel to the floor or slightly hire push yourself back up into the starting position without locking out your elbows.
- It’s best to inhale on the way down and exhale on the way up in a push-up.
- In addition, if you feel your form slipping you can take your mat or blanket and rest your knees on top.
- 1Maintain the same upper body positioning, but perform the push-up on your knees instead.
- ***The wider your foot stance the easier it is to keep your hips in line with the rest of your body. The slower you perform a callisthenic movement the more effective it will be.
Resistance training is pivotal to s successful exercise program. whether it’s weightlifting or performing callisthenic exercise, you will find the type of resistance training that’s right for you. Take these exercises for a spin to help you decide!
Was this article helpful? Let me know what you thought and which exercise program you determined was right for you in the comments section below.