When we hear the word “calisthenics,” something between leg warmers and warmup routines comes to mind. But that would be wrong. Essentially calisthenics are exercises performed using just your body weight — which might sound familiar if you’ve done any high-intensity interval training (HIIT) classes.
Calisthenics are some of the most challenging, fitness-spurring exercises you can do, says exercise physiologist Scotty Johnson, vice president of B-Fit Training Studio in Miami. Using your own bodyweight as resistance, these exercises have the power to tap dozens of muscles at once for fit and functional results. For instance, 2013 research published in the European Respiratory Journal found that when people performed calisthenics three times a week for six weeks, they significantly improved their exercise capacity, fitness and energy levels. Calisthenics have also been linked to improved balance and coordination.