Wednesday 18 July 2018

Bodyweight or calisthenics?

A common misunderstanding in the fitness world is the terms bodyweight and calisthenics. Some personal trainer's even advertise themselves as specialising in both. If you come across such a trainer I'd suggest finding another one who knows what they are talking about and has experience of the terms they use so carelessly.

Pull-up - bodyweight or calisthenics exercise?
A bodyweight or calisthenics exercise???
(Picture from Wikipedia - Pull-up (exercise))

Bodyweight and calisthenics both mean the exact same thing: exercises performed using only one's own body as resistance. The moment you add a weight you are no longer doing either. The only difference is the term being used, with calisthenics obviously being the more fancy and scientific sounding name.

The term calisthenics is derived from the Greek words kallos (meaning "beauty, a beautiful thing") and sthenos (meaning "strength") plus the English suffix ics (meaning "the art of, the science of"). Thus "the art of beautiful strength" can be one translation of the term, and its first known use is said to have been in 1827. When you see some of the more advanced calisthenics exercises the meaning of the term you will find is incredibly fitting and well deserved.

In British English the spelling is actually callisthenics, however I prefer the American spelling with one "L" and this is the form I most commonly see of the Internet.

Common calisthenics exercises that everyone knows includes press-ups, pull-ups and sit-ups, but few people actually realise that walking, jogging, jumping and swimming amongst other activities are also calisthenics exercises!

A special area of expertise for me, I will be expanding upon all things bodyweight on this site in time. However for now, if you have any questions or queries about bodyweight exercises or routines then leave a comment below or send me some feedback!

Lyle Richardson,
Gym Pal - Your Friend In Fitness


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