Going to the gym can sometimes feel more of a chore than a stress reliever. After all, not only do you have to grapple with the often expensive membership fee, you’ll also need to deal with the crowd and jostle for exercise machines. Plus, you’ll have to tote around your toiletries and other gym essentials, and all these can feel like the last thing you’ll want to go through after a long day.
If that description sounds familiar to you, then perhaps calisthenics is the way for you. But before you go “cali-what?”, we’re here to give you the lowdown on the fuss-free workout option.
In its simplest form, calisthenics are exercises that make use of gravity and your body weight. Depending on the nature of and the number of exercises and sets you do, calisthenics trains your fitness level in terms of your strength and endurance. Best of all: Calisthenics can be done in the comfort of your own home and most exercises require little to no equipment.
Convinced yet? From planks and push-ups to burpees and rope jumping, here are 10 moves to get your fats crying.
Photo: Chloe Ting / Instagram
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Lie down on the floor with your face facing the ground. Using your elbows as support, lift your body and tighten your core while keeping the body level. Hold this position for at least 30 seconds. Increase the difficulty by holding the position for longer periods of time or by raising one leg in the air while in plank. You can also do the side plank to train your oblique muscles.
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From the plank position, move from resting your weight on your elbows to your palms. The distance between the palms should be slightly wider than the width of your shoulders. Bend your elbows to lower your body till the arms reach a 45-degree angle before pushing to rise and straighten the elbows. Your body should be level throughout.
With your feet hip width apart, bend your knees and lower your buttocks like you are sitting down on an imaginary chair. Your knees shouldn’t extend beyond your toes. Straighten your legs and stand back up. You can challenge yourself an add a jump (squat jumps) to return back to standing position.
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Extend one leg forward and move the other back. Lower your body till both knees are bent to about 45 degree angles. Raise up and repeat. Add a jumping motion and switch your orientation of your legs in between lunging (i.e. jumping lunges) to add a cardio element.
While lying on your back, raise your knees and feet off the ground. Your knees should be above your hips and bent at 45 degrees. Place your hands behind your head and raise the head forward to meet your elbows to your knees — that’s one crunch. You can increase the intensity by doing criss-cross motions, i.e. right elbow to left knee and vice versa as pictured.
While lying on your back, raise your legs off the ground while keeping them straight. You can choose between keeping them stationary or having them flutter up and down without touching the ground. The closer your feet are to the ground, the more intense the leg raise will be.
With your knees shoulder width apart, bend down to a squat position and place your hands on the ground. Then, kick your legs backward to assume a push-up position and execute a push-up. Reverse the sequence to complete a burpee. Burn more energy by using a jump to transition from push-up to standing position.
Pull-ups require a bar that allows you to hang off it without your feet touching the ground (you can get them from sporting equipment shops). Grip the bar shoulder width apart either with your palms facing towards (trains your biceps) or away (trains your shoulders and back) from you. Next, pull yourself up and try to get your chin above the bar before straightening your arms.
Sitting adjacent to the edge of your bed or a sturdy chair on the ground, place your wrists on the bed/chair behind you and lift your body off the ground. Bend your elbows to lower your body without letting it touch the ground. Straighten and repeat. You can have your knees bent or straighten.
This exercise requires you to have a skipping rope, which can be found at most sporting equipment shops. Hold the rope by the handle and keep them about equidistant apart from your body. Throw the rope forward by rotating your wrist and jump off the ground to allow the rope to make a complete circle around you. Land with your knees with slight bend to prevent injury.