Rage Against the Machines
Encouraging ancient training methods over fancy machines
Before gyms, before free weights and before machines, there were callisthenics. The word callisthenics is Greek and has been around since the nineteenth century, but the concept itself has ancient origins. It translates as “beauty-strength”.
Callisthenics is the art of using bodyweight resistance for exercise by the manipulation of you’re weight distribution. For example, you might progress through a wall push up all the way to a one arm push up via different push up progressions.
Ancient warriors and soldiers trained using callisthenics for strength, rather than solely for endurance as is commonly (and mistakenly) supposed. It can range from beginners to advanced levels and is suitable for men and women.
Who wants a gymnast’s body?
There was a story I heard of a gymnastic coach who’s students trained almost entirely with callisthenics. The coach did an experiment with some of his students by asking them to bench press and deadlift. This was the first time they had ever been asked to perform these exercises in their lives. Amazingly, they were lifting twice their bodyweight straight away! A feat most weights lifters can’t achieve.
I am by no means against using certain gym equipment, but for the average person’s goals, this just is not necessary. The almighty one would have made damn sure that gym equipment would grow from trees if we really needed it!
So why train with callisthenics over training in a gym?
- Most of the equipment in a gym is unnecessary for the average person’s goals, we’re talking like 85% equipment
- It is free. It requires very little equipment that cannot be found in the house or outside
- Generally, callisthenics incorporates more core muscles than you’re average isolated gym machine
- It is safer. Most people who lift weights regularly have at least some kind of niggling pain
- You can do it virtually anywhere
- The movements are more natural and functional than many manufactured resistance machine and free weight exercises, which is a plus for longevity