Introduction to Calisthenics


Calisthenics is a special training system, the main principles of which lie in training only with one’s own weight and striving for absolute control over one’s body. Acquiring the skills, Calisthenics results in, requires discipline, persistence, patience and mental strength, as the very name “Calisthenics” suggests. “Calisthenics” means “Beauty and Strength” in Greek, but according to Greek philosophy, these two words have a multi-layered meaning, with the word “beauty” referring to external as well as inner beauty and the word “strength” referring to not only physical strength, but also mental fortitude.

Although workouts may start with basic exercises for beginners, in a short period of time, one can reach levels of “impossible” as the athlete progresses and develops. The results can be utterly amazing.

Calisthenics is said to have been taught in Ancient Greece, as a method of physical training at school, in preparing athletes for the Olympic Games and in the military camps for soldiers to be ready for an upcoming battle and to always be in excellent physical and mental condition. This information has been recorded by Callisthenes from Olynthos and it is speculated that “Calisthenics” was named after this historian.

From the ancient athletic games and the introduction of gymnastics in school education to athletic associations, modern sports and today’s Olympic Games, sports is a timeless building block of human culture. Calisthenics is a part of this whether we recognize it by that name or not.

One of the positive aspects of Calisthenics is that since it uses body weight, little or no equipment is needed, making it accessible to anyone anywhere. Specialized training facilities are not always necessary, it can be done at home and is fun, but also addictive, as it makes one realize the potential of one’s own body. With basic and inexpensive equipment such as the pull-up bar, gymnastic rings and parallel bars, one can achieve a lot and cover a wide variety of Calisthenics exercises.

The bodies sculpted by Calisthenics are natural, aesthetically beautiful, flexible and extremely strong, for men and women. The skills and strength one gains with Calisthenics is evident in every sport one may do, but most importantly in one’s daily life and energy levels.

Calisthenics Training is, in short, a gift to ourselves, a means to reach our best physical and mental level, counting in the amount of focus required to develop as an athlete. Perhaps, as argued, it really is the physical education system of the Ancient Greeks, since it is as authentic and deeply philosophical as their culture.


Electra Radioti