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Calisthenics are performed without weights or equipment. It is a form of organized exercise consisting of a variety of simple movements that are intended to increase body strength and flexibility using the weight of one's own body for resistance. They are usually conducted in concert with stretches. Some of the more popular exercises are:

The exercise is done in between parallel bars or facing either direction of trapezoid bars found in some gyms. Feet are crossed with either foot in front and the body is lowered until the elbows are in line with the shoulders. The subject then pushes his/herself up until his/her arms are fully extended, but without locking his/her elbows. This process is then repeated. Dips focus primarily on the chest, triceps, and deltoids.

Standing on a platform with an edge where the heels can hang (e.g. a curb), the heels lift the body on the balls of one's feet. The subject then slowly returns to starting position. This trains the gastrocnemius. A seated calf-raise trains the soleus.

Standing with feet shoulder width apart, the subject squats down as far as possible, bringing his/her arms forward parallel to the floor. He/she then returns to standing position, and repeats. Squats train the quadriceps, hamstrings, calves, and gluteals.

An overhead bar (sometimes called a chin-up bar) is grasped using a shoulder-width overhand (palms facing forward) grip. The subject lifts his/herself up, leveling his/her chin with the bar and keeping his/her back straight throughout. The bar remains in front of the subject at all times. The subject then slowly returns to starting position in a slow controlled manner. This primarily trains the lats or upper back muscles, as well as the forearms. An underhand grip variation or chin-up trains both the back and biceps.

Performed face down on the floor, palms against floor under the shoulders, toes curled upwards against the floor. The arms are used to lift the body while maintaining a straight line from head to heel. The arms of the subject should go from fully extended in the high position to nearly fully flexed in the low position, while the subject makes sure to avoid resting on the floor. Resting is only done in the high position of the exercise. Chest, shoulders, and triceps are trained with this exercise.

Like the sit-up, except instead of bringing the whole torso area closer to the knees, only a concentrated but shorter movement of the abdominals is performed. Shoulder blades are lifted off the floor, and abdominals tightened.

This exercise starts with a person's back on the floor, knees bent, and bottoms of feet against the floor. Then they lift the shoulders off the floor by tightening abdominal muscles and bringing the chest closer to the knees. The final movement is to lower the back to the floor with a smooth movement. This trains the abdominal muscles.

Jumping jacks
Performed by jumping to a position with the legs spread wide and the hands touching overhead and then returning to a position with the feet together and the arms at the sides.

Performed properly, calisthenics have a number of positive benefits to the fitness, strength, and flexibility of athletes in virtually any discipline. Calisthenics are intended to be performed in a routine, with careful attention paid to form and the completion of each movement. An example is the maintaining of calisthenic stretches for 20- to 30-second intervals, and the importance of engaging all muscle groups in the exercises.

Once you become conditioned to the intensity of the calisthenics exercises - and they are extremely intense and challenging at first for most people - the Core program will take 10 minutes to perform each day. An advanced routine takes about 30 minutes, depending on your level of fitness and familiarity with the exercises.

Where did Calisthenics Originate From?

Calisthenics originated in ancient Greece, where it was mentioned in a Persian scout report on Spartan warriors before the Battle of Thermopylae, with the Persians interpreting the odd synchronized movements as a form of dance and thus a sign of weakness.

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