Last weekend I spent some time with my new friends Tim and Jacko, from the School of Calisthenics. If you’re not sure what Calisthenics means, the Greek origins of the word are kallos (beauty) and sthenos (strength). In it’s simplest terms it’s any bodyweight exercise, like push-ups and pull-ups — however, it’s more recently come to symbolise gymnastic based strength training, which pound for pound, develops a higher bodyweight to strength ratio, and more flexible athletes than other sports. The whole body is worked as one.
Whilst I could already perform the human flag for 10 seconds, back lever for 20 seconds, and do the muscle ups they were teaching…I find that everyone has different movement preparation routines, and progressions to get to get to the full versions.
Even if you think you know it all, there’s always benefit in training with, or being coached by others. Men in particular find it hard to ask for help. I recall getting lost many times before sat navs — almost preferring to drive in circles for hours, rather than stop to ask for help. 🙂 In fact, I was so embarrassed to ask for assistance, that Mrs Fitness would get really frustrated and insist I “stop the car now!” so she could ask a passer-by for directions! 😳
So my advice is to man up, and hire a Calisthenics Personal Trainer, in order to get quicker results.
Even the great Arnold Schwarzenegger owes much of his bodybuilding success from the help of others. He came over to America with the help of Joe Weider, who co-founded the International Federation of BodyBuilders (IFBB) and published a number of bodybuilding and fitness magazines.
“Joe didn’t just inspire my earliest dreams; he made them come true the day he invited me to move to America to pursue my bodybuilding career. I will never forget his generosity…he freely gave of his time and expertise and became a father figure for me…Joe was known for urging everyone, “Exceed yourself”
Arnold was also coached by Vince Gironda, the “Iron Guru.”
His other notable influence was Reg Park, a successful English bodybuilder who was Arnold’s idol and long-term mentor. Arnold trained with many other bodybuilders over the years, in order to learn from them. His long-term training partner and friend for over 50 years, is Franco Columbu.
Meet The School Of Calisthenics
David Jackson, a.k.a. “Jacko”is their human flag expert — he has held it for up to 30 seconds in the past — no mean feat! He played professional rugby for 14 years, before retiring following a head injury. He’s suffered many injuries due to rugby in the past, including the time he snapped his shoulder blade in two. The doctor and students at the hospital were so excited to see such a spectacular break, usually only seen in car crash patients.
Jacko and I had a long chat about how to make some of the exercises harder, rather than just holding for more time. We finally decided upon human flag pull-ups. I can flag for 10 seconds at the moment, so I’ve set myself a goal of holding the full flag for 15 seconds, before I give the pull-up version a try…watch this space!
Jacko has the following advice for people thinking about starting Calisthenics — “Don’t worry what your starting point is, don’t be afraid to try something you’ve never done before. Trying, failing and learning from our failures is the way all of us learn and develop most effectively…If you’re unsure about anything in Calisthenics just ask.”
Tim is also an ex-rugby player and the recipient of two shoulder reconstruction surgeries — at one time, he was barely able to raise his arms above his head. Tim’s journey into Calisthenics came from a desire to improve his shoulder strength and stability.
Tim recounted how when he took his Strength and Conditioning qualification, his shoulder dislocated during a barbell snatch. Someone on the course was a physiotherapist and popped his shoulder back into the socket, so he could perform the snatch again — what a trooper!
Tim felt that if he could master handstands, then maybe his shoulders would take on a new level of robustness. Consequently handstands is one of his key areas of expertise — but he also loves to planche.
To find out more about the School of Calisthenics, click here.
You Can Benefit From A Coach
If you want to break free from the gym, are new to Calisthenics, and completely stumped about where to start, then a coach or personal trainer with a Calisthenics qualification can get you on the right path — it’s a wise investment.
If you’ve been doing Calisthenics for a while, then a coach can help you to achieve the iconic Calisthenics moves faster, by advising on programs, monitoring your technique, and providing progressions at just the right time.
Calisthenics Instructor & Personal Trainer
Oxted, Surrey, UK
|Click here to access the Calisthenics Equipment — Beginners Guide in my Secret Library|
Related Articles on Calisthenics:
- How To Inverted Hang On The Rings
- Inverted Rows — Why And How To Do Them
- Skin the Cat — Exercise Tutorial
- How to do the Back Lever — Tips and Video Tutorial
- Muscle Up On Rings | Why I’ve Stopped Doing Straight Bar Muscle Up
- How To Do Pistol Squats
- Fitness Equipment — What My Wife Lets Me Take On Holiday
 Statement on the Passing of Joe Weider. arnoldschwarzenegger.com March 2013