Here are three very familiar calisthenic exercises that you can combine to produce a basic workout that still manages to use nearly every muscle in your body.
Targeting the Legs with Squats
The leg muscles are among the largest in the body, so any workout that features them will give your whole system an invigorating boost while building plenty of muscle mass and burning a decent number of calories. The size and importance of the leg muscles is underlined by the fact that most systems of unarmed martial arts focus first on using the legs, not the arms, including everything from kung fu to savate.
Squats are a simple exercise but give your legs and buttocks a thorough workout, as well as having at least some effect on the lower back. To carry out squats, place your feet at shoulder width apart with a firm, upright stance, and stretch both arms out horizontally in front of you. Then, squat down while keeping your arms straight and allowing your buttocks to hinge backwards slightly, before straightening to a fully erect pose again.
Squats should be carried out with a slow, smooth motion – lower yourself steadily rather than dropping abruptly onto your hams. The latter will prevent you from gaining most of the muscular benefit that the exercises offer, while lowering yourself slowly will work every muscle from your toes through your hips and your lower back. Carry out at least several repetitions.
Toning the Abdomen with Sit-Ups
The abdominal area of the torso is the next area to target with calisthenics, and this can be done effectively with sit-ups. These are familiar to practically everyone who has exercised. Lie down on the floor with your knees bent and the soles of your feet flat on the floor. Clasp your hands behind your head, and pull yourself up using your abdominal muscles only, while keeping your feet flat on the floor. Raise yourself as far as possible, then lower yourself slowly to a prone position again.
Carrying out the exercise slowly and smoothly is, again, the key to getting the most out of this workout.
Back, Arms, and Shoulders – the Pushup
Pushups are another exercise familiar from gym, sports, and military films, and usually personal experience as well. Full pushups involve keeping the body straight and lifting it while balanced on the palms and toes only. These may be difficult at first, and you can substitute half pushups with the knees on the floor – but work to switch over to their full equivalent as soon as possible.
The full pushup is the ideal form for muscle-building in these areas, and once you have mastered it, these three basic calisthenics exercises will be enough to give your whole body a good, well-rounded exercise session.